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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

So, where's that woman?

There's an old story with which I can identify somewhat. Thus, I'm
allowed to paraphrase it, to put myself into the story.

So, there I was, after my first X months living and working out on the
unnamed reservation in northern Minnesota. Got rather drunk, and said,
"Ya know, I really, really wanna be a member of the tribe."

Uncomprehending looks.

"You want what?"

"I really want to be a member of the tribe."

"But you're not an Indian at all."

"Not true, my Mom's Dad's Mom was full-blooded Ojibwe. Canadian, so a
Native living on the Reserve, rather than a Native American living on the
Reservation. But even so. My aunt did a geneological search, and came up
with a name, and as far as I know, I'm 1/16th Native, or something like
that -- can't do the math in my head right now. Beer thing."

So they look at each other, with an expression meaning "WTF is up with
this fat white dude?" And finally Speedy says, "Well, okay then. Here's
what you have to do... um..."

"Drink a pint of whiskey."

"Wrestle a bear."

"Make love to a young woman."

I ponder this for a moment.

"Okay, make love to a whiskey..."

Exchanged WFT glances...

"No, DRINK a pint of whiskey, wrestle a bear, and make love to a young
woman."

"Okay, no problem."

"Huh?"

"I can do that. No problem. This is really, really important to me. I
love you guys!" I say, teary-eyed. "Wrestle a whiskey, and what was the
rest?"

I was, of course, way too drunk to remember all this. It's all kinda
blurry to me. I'm not a really brave guy, so the bear-wrestling thing
seems kinda unlikely. Making love to a young woman, well, back when I was
a younger man, that used to happen from time to time. I still remember
how. Probably. As far as you know.

Anyway, apparently, I actually finished the pint of whiskey. Suprising,
cause I hate whiskey. Wine, maybe, but whiskey? Oh, well, must be true,
I trust them explicitly.

So, I was there at one point, and all of a sudden, I was gone. Nobody was
sure where I went. They were ready to call out the troops to go look for
me, but hey, how much trouble could I get into on a small, admittedly
wild, reservation, so close to the Canadian border?

I don't remember this either, but eventually I came back, stumbling out of
the woods, filthy, my clothes all tore up, bruises and scratches all over
my arms and back and legs and what-not, raised my head and said with
bleary eyes,

"Okay, so where's this woman I gotta wrestle?"

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

New Format for the show -- shorter, and daily?

I've started a new practice with my podcast. Since I had such problems
with getting a 30 minute show done the other day, I decided to do shorter
shows. I've been consistently 10-11 minutes so far. Works well for me,
anyway. To be honest, my intro is a minute, and I run one song a show
that's maybe four minutes, so that leaves me five or six minutes of Me
Talking.

And I'm actually Writing these days, too, although I hope it doesn't sound
too scripted. That way I can cover everything I'd intended to talk about,
sound reasonably coherent, and usually have some sort of central theme, so
I'm actually talking about something as compared to nothing in particular.
I won't rule out doing longer shows if I have some content to justify
that.

Anyway, I hope those of you who listen like this way of doing things. And
I hope I can sustain it. Daily is a whole lot to do, and I won't promise
it'll always be daily. But I might get to like it, ya never know!

Thanks for your interest. Talk at you later, and Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Vista vs DOS 3.x

Okay, having spent some time trying to explain Vista, or XP, or you-name-
it, to various folks who just bought a computer because they thought they
ought to...

They should be using DOS 3.3, maybe with Win 3.1 on top, but probably not.


They need word processing, which was easy to do with DOS.

They probably don't need spreadsheets, but they could be done with DOS.

Most of what they actually need to do with the Web could be done with Lynx
under DOS. If there's more they really need to do, Netscape under Win 3.1
could do that, and then they go back to DOS.

And... well, that's pretty much it. There are a handful of fiddly things
they could do with newer OSes, but they probably wouldn't understand what
they are, anyway. Bill Gates said, "640K should be enough for everybody." So why are they paying for more hardware, and a couple-
three hundred more for the Operating System, for stuff they never do
anyway?

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Congress Vs. who?

Okay, some Congress Crittur is now jumping on Google for their actions as
regards invasion of privacy.

Excuse me? Congress, having recently abolished the Bill of Rights, is now
attacking _Google_ for invasion of privacy and deprivation of civil
rights? If Saddam Hussein wasn't dead, they only way Congress could look
more foolish is if they hired him as their spokesman.

Google is invading privacy? And Congress is perfectly fine? Et tu,
Brute?

--
Grizzly's Growls -- The Life and Times of a Minor Local
Celebrity
Podcast: <http://grizzly.libsyn.com>
Listen or Subscribe:
<http://feeds.feedburner.com/grizzlysgrowls>

Grandma-proof MP3 player

My Mom loves to listen to audio books. She usually gets them as CDs,
sometimes tapes. I think she might (for example) enjoy some books from
Audible, and she might enjoy some of the books available as MP3s (from
Podiobooks.com, for example).

She also likes to listen to some of her old vinyl collection, and would
like them available on CDs. But it'd be simpler, I think, to get them to
MP3s and have her access them via an MP3 player of some sort. However...

I've used a couple of gadgets for MP3 playing myself, including a teensy
device from RCA, and my now-aging PDA, which is what I'm listening to as I
type this. But...

Boy them buttons are tiny. And the displays are ridiculously small. I
have to put my glasses on, even on the PDA, just to be sure what the heck
I'm playing. I'm 49, my Mom, well, you do the math.

Anybody know of an MP3 player that is simple to use, and big enough in
buttons and display for use by my 70-something Mom, and not way out of my
barely-employed budget?

Christmas is coming. Come up with a good answer, and Santa will put you on
his Nice list!

Thanks!

--
Grizzly's Growls -- The Life and Times of a Minor Local
Celebrity
Podcast: <http://grizzly.libsyn.com>
Listen or Subscribe:
<http://feeds.feedburner.com/grizzlysgrowls>

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A downturn in my (future) career

I just wanted to make something perfectly clear. Despite the rumors it
turns out I will -not- be a contestant on "Make Me a Supermodel" this
season. As to why, your guess is as good as mine. Can't have anything to
do with my being nearly fifty, gray-bearded and overweight. That would be
descriminatory, wouldn't it?

Although I never actually -asked- to be on the show. Maybe for the
sequel.

--
Grizzly's Growls -- The Life and Times of a Minor Local
Celebrity
Podcast: <http://grizzly.libsyn.com>
Listen or Subscribe:
<http://feeds.feedburner.com/grizzlysgrowls>

Monday, December 3, 2007

Ma Cable

One of the cable companies is running local to me a whole series of ads
promoting what a Wonderful Thing it is that you have one company providing
all your (phone, internet and cable) services, and how "competitive" it
is. I forget which cable clone this is, they're all the same, the name is
changed, but it's still the same old gas.

I'm old enough to recall Ma Bell, and how they just barely didn't entirely
suck on their core services, and how stuck one felt with them. And I
recall how the Fiddle Gummint decided they were profoundly anti-
competitive. I also recall $5 a month for local phone service, which is
all I really have a use for.

So how is having Bob's Cable Company doing everything better than having
Ma Bell doing everything, including cable TV? Are the cableco's going to
get me the phone service I actually use for five bucks a month, like Ma
Bell did? Are any of the wonderfully competitive other phonecos going to
get me core phone service, with no other services required, for five bucks
a month? Are the cable companies finally going public in proving that the
old Ma Bell doing everything model actually works?

Or am I going to get spectacular bargains on long distance services I
don't need, or cable services I don't want?

Gotta love competition without regulation.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Eastern Standard Tribe, by Cory Doctorow

Just finished to Cory Doctorow's book, "Eastern Standard Tribe," which I
got from Podiobooks.com. I'm not sure how to categorize the book; science
fiction, probably, but technopunk, or whatever they call it? I dunno.

I like the basic concept from which the title "Eastern Standard Tribe" is
derived, and it makes a lot of sense to me. Cory's explanation of the
concept in the second episode of the Podiobook version is better than
anything I could come up with off the top of my head, of course.

Basically, his protagonist points out that people tend to form up into
tribes, and derive much of their norms of behavior from the tribe that
surrounds them. In the Olden Days when I was a boy, folks didn't travel
or communicate over long distances, so they if they didn't like or agree
with their tribe's normal behaviors, they were stuck.

Now we can at least communicate over longer distances pretty regularly, so
we can form new sorts of tribes with people in other areas who are more
conducive. Since those other areas are often in other timezones, we
adjust our diurnal cycles to be able to communicate live with our chosen
tribemates. (Kinda makes the title have obvious meaning, doesn't it?) Or
some folks do, anyway; doesn't work that way for me.

I just don't do much instant messaging. I rarely even remember to crank
up my IM client, Trillian, even if I'm online for a long stretch. I think
I never got the habit, because I started out with offline messaging
through BBSes, and even running my own BBS. True, I have had a number of
tribes over the years, one of them for a couple decades now, but since
that sort of messaging is all time-shifted anyway, the timezone tribalism
was never gonna be an issue for me.

My attitudes are awfully old-school, I suppose. I keep hearing about
these social-networking sites, Twittr, for example, that involve
constantly sending instant messages and text messaging on phones, and I do
some occasional IMing and IRC chat. So I know that's what people do now,
but I've never been very happy with the feel of IMing, or with using
websites for messaging. That's not what the Web is for. I hardly do any
IRC chatting, either, anymore.

Anyway, the Podiobook was excellent. A storyline I could understand, a
protagonist with whom I could identify, lots of cool techie ideas. I
kinda felt like I had to listen to that one book in particular because
Cory Doctorow is an SF author I've heard of. Think I might have seen some
of his work in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, back when it was
still called that.

It strikes me, too, that the book has a bit of the feel of a Great
American Novel, first person narrative style with a certain psychic
distance between the storyteller protagonist and the other characters, and
a certain edge to the quirky "supporting cast" that I haven't seen in
Science Fiction. Don't know if I can explain that well enough, but seems
to me that it's there.

The author does the reading himself, solo, does so quite well, and damn he
reads fast! The book proceeds at a breakneck pace because of that, I
think, and the reading style does a lot to add energy to the book. The
downside is that I was left wanting more -- I go through a lot of audio
books -- yet I'd have to say the book really did tell the story and, if
you will, it ended at the end.