Power cords, Rennies, Babies, Cousins, and me feeling OLD

In no particular order:

The power cord on my laptop is pissing me off and won’t reliably maintain a flow of electricity to my machine. This means that every time I turn it on might be one of the last. No replacement is apparently available despite me paying for multiple such right before getting a “notice” that the company is out of stock and will continue to be for the forseeable future.

My cousin-of-some-removed-nature-or-another continues to be devastatingly cute and pictures WILL follow at some point. Along similar lines, all the right people have been told by now so I can reveal that my sister-in-law, Brianne, is pregnant again! I think baby will be due some time in October, but don’t quote me.

Also in cousin news, my cousin Adam Reich safely returned from Iraq on Sunday. He was deployed a grand total of almost 18 months (during which time he was injured twice resulting in hearing loss in the same ear), meaning that Uncle Sam can only legally take him into active duty for another six months, meaning (knock on wood) that he shouldn’t actually be deployed again. Everyone is just so thrilled to see him back and safe!

And finally, I went to the Arizona Renaissance Festival for the first time in a few years today. Most of you know that I spent my highschool and most of my college Februaries and Marches in the middle of the Arizona desert pandering to the easily-fleeced. Well today I joined their number and paid for admission. I’ve missed it SO bloody much! It’s remarkable the number of people that I knew and the number of people who not only recognized me, but new me by name! Heartwarming, you could even say. I actually agreed to go out and help out for student days . . . what good is a flexible schedule if you can’t flex it every once in a while? Besides, something like 75% of my happy memories of my 16th through 22nd year revolve around being out there in the dust and sun. My favourite smell is still “Faire,” after all (a combination of dust, sweat, leather, sunscreen, and rose oil)!

It did make me feel old though. The girl who played the princess for years and will always be 11 for me is now a squire out at the Joust Crew. She’s like 17 now. This makes for an old-feeling Ash. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

That’s all. Sleep.


Geeky goodness and other sundries.

As per my usual routine, Tuesday morning I noticed the battery on my cell phone was dying so I plugged the rig in right before kicking back to watch an episode of CSI: NY (disappointing overall, by the way). By the time my 45 minutes were up the charging light was off so I grabbed the phone and took it with me to see what mischief my mother was up to. As I was sitting down, I noticed that there was no activity on the phone. Blah. Did the usual thing, took out the battery, cleaned the connection points, tried all the various “soft-reset” tricks I knew but still no dice. The battery or something similarly vital had gone kaput.

Luckily I have a mother who pays attention to things and a grandmother who likes to buy things. Mom had noticed the gleam of avarice in my eye when I was helping her and Dad pick out new PDA/phone hybrids for each other. They both ended up with the Samsung i730 through Verizon which is really very groovy but for two issues: 1) it is only dual band, so worthless anywhere outside the US and 2) it’s through Verizon who I have a totally irrational hatred of. What I had been pushing them to get was the HP iPAQ hw6500 through Cingular. Not only is Cingular better in every way than Verizon, but this phone has quad band, built in GPS, and is the same basic concept as my previous PDA the h4355 only smaller and, you know, a phone.

So I loved this phone. It was all the toy a guy could want and then some. So imagine my joy when I was sitting there shaking my head over my now-broken mobile and what should happen but my Mom come in and tell me that my Gran had already decided she was going to buy me the phone for my birthday which was still several days away. Since it has become an issue, she said, why don’t I just go and get it early?

So rock on. I now have a very groovy PDA/phone hybrid that I adore. I’ve always had problems making Outlook work for e-mail, so I don’t quite have a flawless solution as far as that goes, but I can still surf online any time and anywhere that I have cell phone signal. The speeds aren’t bad either. Yay for nummy geeky goodness.

In other news, Alex Gauntt, the guy who got me a job working at Jinty’s way back when, is getting married! This is not really news as they’ve been engaged for a bit of a while now, but what is quite exciting is they’ve moved the date up to the end of the January. Alas, this means that I won’t be able to make it to the actual ceremony, more’s the pity, but I’m still excited for him! I’ll also just announce that I received my degree yesterday in the mail. I really am a Massa now! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hope you’re all well, and as of 35 minutes from now, happy birthday to me! ๐Ÿ˜€


When you see this on your flist, quote Firefly.

When you see this on your flist, quote Firefly.

I am easily influenced by others. That, and I’m insanely excited to see
Serenity again, so I’m going to have to go with this slightly edited
quote from Serenity which I was lucky enough to see at the Edinburgh
Film Festival:

“As sure as anything, I know this . . . I aim to misbehave.”

~Cap’n Malcom “Mal” Reynolds

And thanks to
for continually reminding me by her geek rants how fantastic
Firefly/Serenity is (and now CSI to which I say “took you long enough
to realize!”). Oh, and I’m pretty sure the quote should be “I’m goin’
to my bunk.” Which is now code among my friends for . . . well . . .
YOU figure it out!

The word of the day is . . .

Konfabulator. Pretty strange name. Don’t really know what it comes from. What I do know is that this company has just been bought by Yahoo! and will apparently soon be called “Yahoo! Widgets.” Next you ask what a widget is. Right, well . . . I don’t properly know.

So you go to the afore mentioned Konfabulator website and download their newly-free software. This software is just the base from which all other bits are launched . . . and there are a lot of bits all of which are called widgets. Konfabulator starts up when your computer does and runs in the tool bar. You can program it to also open up one or more widgets at the same time. These widgets can do almost anything. They sit on your desktop and are multi-media tools, if you will. I, for instance, have a widget which tells me my wi-fi strength, one that tells me how long until I leave for Arizona (87d:2hr:38min:35sec), one that is an always-available controller for WinAmp, and one with weather information set for Glasgow and Mesa, AZ. So I use four regularly. That’s four out of literally hundreds which are available for download from the Konfabulator site.

An added bonus is it’s wide compatibility. When you download the base program you of course have to specify Mac or PC, but after that everything is 100% cross-platform. All the widgets are designed the same for either operating system. Common thought is that it’s also pretty easy to design your own widget, though I’ve not gotten around to that quite yet.

Oh, and did I mention it’s all free?!? My favourite word!

Just thought I would share my new discovery . . .


“Clark Kent is Superman’s critique on the whole human race.”
~David Carradine (as “Bill ‘Snake Charmer'”) – “Kill Bill Vol. 2”

Technolust. And an Announcement.

I want the Nikon D2x to have my children. This is one sweet bit of photography genius. It’s a 12.4 Megapixel digital SLR camera (meaning that it generally works the same way as my current Nikon but instead of images being recorded on film, they are recorded as an exceedingly high quality digital image). This is terrific since film processing has become so expensive that I’ve become limited in how much I can use my camera simply because I can’t afford to get the film developed (and don’t get me started on the 4 quid scanning fees they now charge to get a photo CD with it, meaning I have to scan the photos myself which takes forever). So the whole point is that I want every person reading this to get a hold of my folks and let them know you want in on the purchase. It’s going to be my graduation/birthday/Christmas present from pretty much everyone I’ve ever met (it does cost about $5 grand without any extras including the all-important memory cards).

But this camera is going to be of great use to me for my announcement. I have decided to re-marry. This time around it will be to my partner from work, Lauren. Why, you ask? Well, because Lauren is a beautiful, intelligent, sweet, and capable woman. But all those pale next to the fact that she just got accepted to Med School on the island of St. Martin in the Caribbean. So, I think I’m going to come along. Keep all this to yourselves for the moment though, because I haven’t really asked her yet and (and you can ask the folks in the pub on this one) you really don’t want to piss this woman off! ๐Ÿ˜‰

That’s all. For those of you who need a clue, the bit about me gettin’ re-hitched is a total joke. Lauren’s great and all, but I think I’ll keep my policy of never marrying someone I’ve never even dated intact for the time being. This will of course change the moment any of my Three Future Wives realize that I’m alive (the TFW being Shirley, Angelina, and Dido of course!). Hope y’all are enjoying your weeks. I know I am since I’m — you know — doing jack all week (though I did bake cookies today for a friend, so not a totally wasted day)! ๐Ÿ˜€


“Well I aint thirsty no more
I’ve gone beyond that thirst
And the tears I cried for you, all gone dry”
~The Refreshments – “Tributary Otis”

Scanners = Good. Scanning = Bad.

As threatened, I have scanned about 50 of the photos that I took in Iona. I actually took almost twice that number, but between sand, sea spray, and even fog from a VERY warm common room, many of them were rendered total rubbish. What can you do, I guess. Soooooo, you can see what passed muster here. You can also see my step-by-step guide to “quaffing” (in the words of Alistair McLennan, to quaf means to drink with great gusto so that half the liquid actually ends up in one’s beard. The substance in this case was white wine so you can’t tell so much, but believe me it was in fact quaffed!) as a lovely but LARGE (1.5Mb) animated gif right here.

Hope you all enjoy!


“I never did a single thing that did a single thing
To change the ugly ways of the world”
~Dave Matthews Band – “I Did It”

Without jinxing anything, success appears imminent.

About a year ago, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands and (what I thought to be) a small surplus of money. I therefore did what all totally and ridiculously overconfident people do . . . I decided to build my own computer. It took a few weeks to assemble all the parts (most of which were ordered at relatively low prices on E-bay), but I finally managed it after only a single trip to the pros so that they could corroborate my theory that I was sold a faulty motherboard. Since that time, my desktop (dubbed “Athene.” All my computers have been named. The laptop on which I am currently typing is Beowulf. I’ve also had Mad Martigan, Bruenor, and Nostradamus as well as a couple others) has had it’s ups and downs. The most recent down occured when a houseguest knocked it off of a low table, loosening the CPU fan and almost requiring a new CPU due to overheating.

I mispoke myself there. That was the second-to-most-recent issue. The most recent issue is that a few months ago I tried to install a copy of Linux (Umbutu) on the second hard drive. I thought it would be fun and interesting to branch out when it comes to operating systems. Well, instead of success, this distro of linux in fact screwed up both of my hard drives. Since I’ve been busy, I’ve just been making do on Beowulf, but now I’ve got a bit of time so decided to try and fix this bugger. The only problem is that any number of really important files were locked on that first hard drive so I couldn’t just wipe the both of them and start over.

So long story relatively short, I went this morning and bought a the cheapest little hard drive I could find. About 40 quid later (I could have gotten cheaper on E-bay, but didn’t want to wait) and several unpleasant minutes with my head literally inside the case of my comp, I have now installed a third hard drive on my comp (for a grand total of 240 Gb of memory!), have transfered those files onto the new HD, and am now happily formatting one of the original drives. Once I’m done with this lengthy process, I’ll be once again re-installing windows on the original drive. Maybe by this time tomorrow I’ll actually have a desktop computer rather than an expensive paperweight.

In other news, my parents had the Southwest Shakespeare Company Gala event “A Midwinter Night’s Dream” last night. Frankly I don’t know if it was a success as I haven’t spoken to them today, but knowing my mother, it was an absolute record-breaker (and apparently there were some very cool items up for auction, including lunch with Annette Bening).

You’ll be totally indifferent to know that I got my paper finished and even turned in on time. It came in at 3,040 words (not counting Bibliography or title page) and was very much about what I said it would be. I can’t comment as to its quality, but at least I got it finished. And finally, I’m pleased to report that I have finally been allowed to hire another bouncer at Jinty’s. I actually had a few choices, but ended up going with the one who undoubtedly makes Jinty herself happiest, a woman by the name of Lauren. I met Lauren originally through Chris, but she’s now in my Chivalry class. She’s a 25 year old Canadian professional rugby player (seriously) and is really disgustingly smart (she just can’t decide whether to go on and do a PhD in History, go back and finish becoming an MD in Canada, or both. I hate overachievers). She starts next weekend and I’m so psyched to finally have someone on the door with me!

Formatting is done now. I’ll talk to you all soon!


“It’s in that place where I put that thing that time.”
~Renoly Santiago (as Phantom Phreak) – “Hackers”

1st from the phone…

So I’ve just gotten myself a new toy. Its a new cell phone/PDA hybrid thingy. It doesn’t allow me as many yelephone minutes, but it has an always on connection to the internet with a true browser (instead of some sissy wap only beowser).

Obviously, thus makes my techno-lust very happy. It almost makes me accept the fact that the only reason that I have this hot new baby is because my previous phone died, and I would have had to have bought a whole new phone anyway… Ah well.

That’s it, so get on with your lives, why don’t you!!!