[Musings] "I should have some pudding..."

I re-watched a 'art film' made by an old co-worker and friend (Avindair who does the Northmisfit blog), the film was 'The Thing that Happened'. Absurd, bizarre, ludicrous...french. These are all words that can be used to describe this movie.

"I am dreaming of sweet monkey love."


[Tech] 1 keyboards, 2 hosts

A co-worker of mine turned me on to a product called 'Synergy' which is a software KVM type switch. It is very nice. I allows me to use one keyboard on mouse on multiple machines.

Here is my setup:

laptop (left client): Mac OSx 10.4.2

workstation (host): Solaris 10

My workstation (solaris 10 host) is the Synergy server (we will call it host1 to protect the innocent). My laptop is a synergy client (we will call it client1 to protect the innocent). I downloaded the source code for synergy and compiled it. On my laptop (client1) I let it install (./configure, make, sudo make install) into the default /usr/local/bin, on my workstation (host1) I compiled it and installed it into /opt/synergy/bin. Synergy on non-windows requires that you create a config file. Here is my synergy.conf file:

---start synergy.conf---
section: screens
meta = alt
section: links
left = client1
right = host1
section: aliases

I then started the server on host1:

/opt/synergy/bin/synergys -f -c /opt/synergy/bin/synergy.conf

(note synergy's default behavior is to background in daemon mode, the -f keeps it in the foreground, which is useful for testing). I didn't receive any errors, so I moved on to my laptop where I started the client:

/usr/local/bin/synergyc -f host1

I saw a successful connection message on the server and poof! I was linked! But this is not very secure, as things are passed unencrypted. But wait! Here is where my trusty friend SSH came in. I tunnelled the traffic over SSH between my two systems and it worked.

I used this link as a guide, but found that the example synergy.conf did not completely work for my mix of Solaris, OSX and synergy, so I did things a little differently (see my .conf above).

My procedure was this:

1. start synergy server on host1 at port 7777
/opt/synergy/bin/synergys -a host1.mydomain.edu:7777 -c /opt/synergy/bin/synergy.conf

2. establish a ssh tunnel from client1 to host1 with my user account
ssh -f -N -L1024:host1.mydomain.edu:7777 myname@host1

3. start synergy client on client1 and point to localhost:1024

4. enjoy

Helpful tips:
* make sure you enable port forwarding on the SSHD config
* use the same versions of synergy on all systems
* setup authorized ssh keys on each system to allow you to connect back and forth with minimal fuss, but this method works without them as well
* add the 'meta = alt' part under the OSX entry if you are using a SUN type keyboard and want to use the 'meta' (diamond shaped key) as the apple 'command' key.


[Commerce] Outta the red, and into the black; they give you this, but you pay for that...

(...And once you're gone, you can never come back - couldn't resist)

A little reminder that Friday is 'Buy Nothing Day' in the US and Canada, and Saturday on pretty much the rest of the planet.

This little made up protest day marks the day usually known as 'Black Friday', during which you can see the trained seals of American consumerism barking for discount fish at five in the morning. Yes, you haven't shopped till you drop until you've gotten into a shoving match over the last pair of 40% off golf-tee patterned boxer shorts at 7am. My understanding is it is the day quite a few businesses go from debt to profitability in any given year (thus, out of the red ink and into the black in their ledgers...)

If you must hit the sales, be kind to your fellow shoppers and remember that about half the people on this planet live on less than $2 a day. Be thankful of your lot in life the previous day, eh (and all the others if you can). A very Happy Thanksgiving to all. You can get anything you want at Alice's Tofurkey Shack.


[Politics] Chavez to give cheap heating oil to poor

Kudos to Venezuela.


We (America) could learn a thing or two from actions such as this. Remember when we used to things called 'Humanitarian Aid'? For no reason other than goodwill and to help those truly in need? I've noticed that as this country becomes more right and more 'christian', humanitarian actions are becoming more and more infrequent. The ones that are done, have ulterior motives or strings attached (remember Bush's pledge of money to Africa for AIDS? Only if they buy name-brand drugs, only if they push a religious agenda, and so on).

Remember America when we used to be cool?


[Antidisestablishmentarianism] I am current on my salon reading

An excellent article about the non-war over xmas(a battle not-fought between the secular and the religious)

[Tech/Politics/Music] So I am back logged on my Slate reading...

Excellent article about hot barely-legal, nearly free mp3 on mp3 action!

[Humor] I am...

The NorthernMisfit blog has got me hooked on these cheesy 'what are you...' things, so here are a few more for me:

You're Nada from They Live.
They Live.

Which B-Movie Badass Are You?
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HEY! You're ICQ! The once trendy instant messenging
service, you are now more widely used by people
who can actually figure you out. A very hard
nut to crack for the basic user, you tend to be
used by those more sophisticated and web savvy.
Unfortunately for you, you are known merely by
a number. No way cool trendy screennames for
you, pal. 'You will be assimilated.
Resistance is futile'

Which Instant Message Service are you?
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You're crazy! YAY!
Now, if the world had more people like you, we'd be
cultivating chocolate and the ozone would be a
thing of the past.
^_^ Have a nice day.

Insanity Test
brought to you by Quizilla

The Land of Darkness

The Land of Darkness is your dreary home. Your life
is bleak and sinister. You are prone to
depression. You feel anger at the world and you
feel like the victim. Everyone is out to get
you. You have no problem showing your emotions,
and you probably show them in a destructive
way. You might have no objections to causing
other people pain as you put yourself through
pain. You probably cut or mutilate your body.
However, deep down you are lost and crying out
for help. You are a small weeping child with
the hard exterior of a person who has been
through extreme sorrow in their life.

What is the mystical land of your birth? {13 results with gorgeous anime pics}
brought to you by Quizilla

Snape - Potions

Harry Potter: Which Hogwarts professor would you be?
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[Science] Deja Vu explained


[Video] Beck's 'Hell Yes'

You must see the dancing robots!


[Musings] Where the hell am I?

Oh yeah that's right...waking from a long dream. In my dream I was in a fantastical world. I was standing on a cliff overlooking the turbulence. I was 17. The turbulence represented the unknowable future. I grew wings...and JUMPED. I dived head long into the future. I caught the first updraft and faltered but recovered slightly. I started to rise, but like Icarus, suddenly my wings did not melt, but broke and I started to plummet. I fell through time.

This was a dream I used to have when I was in my junior and senior year of high school. I had this dream again the other night. This time, I was incorporeal and at great heights watching myself standing on the cliff. I watched myself jump and try to fly but fall. I fell for a long long time. My older self watched from a distance and I remembered past pains. I saw myself fall into a dark abyss and when I could almost not see myself any more, bright points of light surrounded me and helped me to learn to fly.

I know this dream sounds a bit cliche. But serious, it is what I had, and could remember. I know it is filled with a lot of obvious symbolism. But that is how I've felt lately, like I've awoken from a long dream. The last time I had this feeling it was after I stopped working nights. I had worked nights for 5 years. A year after I switched to a day shift I suddenly realized I could only remember bits and pieces of my life from the previous 5 years. All the real memories had the feeling and consistancy of a dream.

Well enough of the pyscho-metaphysical babblings. Here is a snapshot of my intellectual pursuits at the moments:

Reading list:

Understanding Power - Collected speeches of Noam Chomsky
International Spy Museum Handbook of Practical Spying - by the International Spy Museum
Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone - J.K. Rowling
The Truth (with Jokes) - Al Franken
The Bush Dyslexicon - Mark Crispin Miller
The Only Bush I Trust is my Own - Periel Aschenbrand

What am I drinking RIGHT NOW: 20oz Mocha at J&S Bean Factory (support your local coffeeshop!)

Current playlist on iTunes:

zstuff (an eccelectic mix of damn near everything, current song is 'Circle Dream' by 10k Maniacs, next song is 'Candy Everybody Wants' by 10k Maniacs)

Activities planned tonight: NERD NIGHT!!! (or MN-Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con)


[Rantacular] Northwest Airlines

I am waiting for nerdwife to fly back into Rochester. NWA let her book an early flight home, which was awesome because we could then spend some time before going to the midnight Harry Potter. But no, due to their total incompetence (they could not figure out how to get a jetway to connect to a DC-9, because that is an unusual type of plane?), her flight was over an hour late into MSP, which means she missed her connecting flight to Rochester. Those asses then had the gaul to try and charge her $180 to rebook on a flight that now arrives at 10:08pm. $180 for their fuck-up?!?! I am glad they reconsidered. Because that is not only bad customer service, but extortion (according to nerdwife, only 5 people on a full flight actually made their connecting flight, everyone else was in the same situation as her). Northwest, I will dance on your grave when you finally give up the ghost. You've screwed the citizens of MN long enough. We've bailed you out at least twice. How do you repay us? 15% higher fares out of MSP than elsewhere. You busted your Mechanics Union with an underhanded and in my opinion, unethical manipulations of contract negotiations. I have not had an enjoyable flight with you myself since 2000, when I was on a flight back from Philadelphia that had only 10 people on board. I have started telling everyone that Sun Country Airlines is a much, much, much more enjoyable air travel experience. Granted they do not go to everywhere you do, but they at least treat you like a person, have a smile, and feed you a warm meal (even in coach). If I have to fly somewhere else, there is always United, while having a lot of the same issues as you, at least has larger seats.

[Humor] I am latin

Saw this on the Northern Misfit blog and had to try it.

Calliope, Muse of epic poetry
You are 'Latin'. Even among obsolete skills, the
tongue of the ancient Romans is a real
anachronism. With its profusion of different
cases and conjugations, Latin is more than a
language; it is a whole different way of
thinking about things.

You are very classy, meaning that you value the
classics. You value old things, good things
which have stood the test of time. You value
things which have been proven worthy and
valuable, even if no one else these days sees
them that way. Your life is touched by a
certain 'pietas', or piety; perhaps you are
even a Stoic. Nonetheless, you have a certain
fascination with the grotesque and the profane.
Also, the modern world rejects you like a bad
transplant. Your problem is that Latin has
been obsolete for a long time.

What obsolete skill are you?
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[Idea] The Cookbook for the Busy Person

Nerdwife has been out of town for a week so I have been going solo. She is an excellent cook and is the one who usually cooks meals, but while alone I have re-discovered my cooking side from my bachelor days (post-ramen noodles, pre-married).

Here is a simple recipe to gourmet up some pasta and red sauce. Others please contribute your quick and easy recipes.

Fancee Pasta w/ Red Sauce:
1 container of red pasta or spaggehti sauce (any kind, I use Muir Glen, but that is me)
1 can of chopped tomatoes (well drained, I prefer Muir Glen canned tomatoes)
some amount of pasta
1 partial onion chopped (optional)
at least 1 clove of garlic or garlic powder (optional)
shredded/grated/pulverized cheese of your choice (optional)
fire extinguisher (just in case)
intoxicating beverage

Boil pasta per instructions, or just wing it until you think it is done. Note there is a difference between boil and roiling boil and simply just warm water.

Strain pasta and put aside for now.

Heat red sauce, once sauce starts bubbling add the WELL strained tomatoes (you really need well strained otherwise it is too liquidy). Heat to a bubble, then simmer for about 5 minutes or so to let some of the moisture go away.

Add onions and garlic to taste, kicked it up a notch with some hot peppers. If you screw it up, there is always pizza delivery.

Put pasta on a plate, cover to desired amount with sauce (or just eat sauce out of pot) and cheese and anything else you want.

Eat and drink.

Note if you catch something on fire, use the fire extinguisher.


[Politics] Bill O'Reilly is an ass

Seriously, major ass. He pushes an agenda of hate and jingoism that he calls patriotism.

Here is a good example: O'Reilly to San Francisco

[Tech/Funny] Kill Bill's Browser

Bloody genius.



[TV] Kill your [TV]

{incoherent rant} Two months ago I had I 27" TV hooked up in my apartment. It dominated the main wall of my living space. It was the central frame of the room. All the furniture was situated around viewing angles.

It was gathering dust.

I'm not quite sure when it was that I realized it was a waste of time and valuable apartment real estate, but it only took me a couple of days to come to a conclusion of what to do with it.

I pitched it. Recycled it, actually, since CRT TVs have quite a lot of lead and other toxic chemicals in them.

I haven't had too much reason to regret my decsion. I kept a tiny 9" tv for emergencies, but it mostly resides in the back of a linen closet.

The state of television programs in the US is as bad as it has been at any point, perhaps no better or worse. To say the least, that is pretty lousy. Television has a grade average of about D+ most of the time. Sure, there might be a couple things that it does well, but most of the time it is just coasting, not living up to its potential as a medium.

First of all, television has been shortened to record-low times in the pursuit of more and more advertising time. Hour long shows now are only a little more than 40 minutes (I think the average is like 41 minutes now). One of the most compelling reasons to ditch your TV is to ditch the crappy adverts that break into your mental landscapes like a burglar in combat boots. If the bulk of Western civilization were selling anything I had any interest in buying, I might consider it a service. But they sell shit. Crappy worthless shit. Plus perscription drugs (for examples, see any evening national news program). They sell it using the most asinine and hackneyed techniques. There is no doubt that the people who write ads also write for television.

Second, most people consider cable TV a given now. $50-100 a month!? Are they kidding? Plus, a quick preview of what's on should tell you that cable TV is mostly more of the same crap the broadcast networks spout. I will not pay $60 a month for TCM and the Sci-Fi channel. My parent's recently got Dish Network, and mostly the only useful channel is the Sirius sattelite radio channels. Even that, as a stand-alone is $10 or $15 a month. Better to give that to Minnesota Public Radio, who actually play decent music.

Third, television programmers have shit for brains. I'd like to make a special shout out to the programming folks at FOX, who kill everything I love. FU Fox!

I mean seriously, Fox cannot market Arrested Development, probably the funniest show on television in a decade, and yet they'll cancel it and hope for lots of long term profits with 'Prison Break' (which has insufficient long-term prospects to warrant a miniseries, much less a series - let me give you a hint 'they break out and the show is over or they don't break out and you drag the show to death over rough asphault). Other networks fill their dead air with terrible soap operas that are almost more product placement examples and less actual story (boy meets girl, meetings and partings, TNA, numbskull beergut dads). Worst of all is when rank amateurs like J. J Abrams is given a bunch of shows and tons of people watch them, hoping he has some idea of where it is all going (he doesn't - see Alias post season 1 for proof). It isn't much better than this.

I'd normally bitch that broadcast TV cannot do scifi without cancelling it, but it actually seems like a couple networks have gone and done scifi this season. Too bad all the new shows look terrible. The networks want to replicate the success of the first five or six season of The X-Files (now, sadly, starting to look awfully dated), so they even retry Kolchak The Night Stalker, which the X-Files itself ripped off (and I should mention that the original Kolchak only lasted 20 episodes.) The only half-decent (and I am fearful that it really is only half) fairly new scifi is Battlestar Galactica on SciFi, which is better than the original but going in a very disconcerting direction. To confirm it, Hollywood is pretty much out of ideas, and anything new or cool will be killed swiftly (probably by Fox).

The FCC wants to sell off the multibillion dollar spectrum and have everyone switch to digital tv/hdtv. Then you can spend money to buy a digital tv or converter so you can watch hi def signals of shallow crap. $5000 for a plasma tv? I don't think so. Unplug instead. There is a whole world out there.

The benefits of ditching the tele as a foreground aspect of your life include the ability to take back your time and your ability to entertain yourself. Read a book. Play a musical instrument. Buy a puppy. Write something. See a play (plays are better than tv). Learn a skill. Seriously, at some point it is a good idea to stop bowing down to the altar of passive entertainment. You might even learn how to think for yourself again.

Plus it will free up some wall space.

{/ end of rant}


[Politics] Congrats to St Paul

Citizens of Saint Paul, good for you! I lived as a resident of St Paul for 12 years and had to live under the gentle (as in date rape) ministration of the Coleman and Kelly as mayors of that fine city.

It brought a tear to my eye to see Randy Kelly so overwehlmingly defeated.


[Politics] 53%


Even with a 2.9% margin of error, that means the support is over half.


[Interblogy Linkify] Graveyard of Urban Tanks

Check it out...

That is both very sad and very funny.