I Have This Thing

I have this strange karma where I’ll be sitting in a restaurant, waiting an interminable time for my food, and I’ll realize that I need to run to the restroom. Upon my return, my food is invariably sitting there waiting for me. I had lunch today with a friend and we waited almost half an hour for our food before I remembered this little bizzaro thing. I figured I’d give it a try on purpose this time. Sure enough, by the time I got back from the bathroom, our food had arrived.

I seem to have a similar bizzaro thing with this blog. Last night I posted my rant about the seeming impossibility of finding a rental house in SE Portland when, lo and behold, today I got the call that my friend and I were accepted for a house we applied for a week ago and had given up on.

I’m thinking, when it’s time to look for a job I’ll try a preemptive blog rant and see what happens!

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Back in the Saddle – For the Moment Anyway

I’ve been absent from the blogging world recently for several reasons that all distill down to this — I’ve been completely wrapped up and obsessed with my own little world. When I’m in that head space, it’s impossible to write anything. I’m actually still completely wrapped up in my own little world but I feel like I’m seeing a glimmer of light at the end of the sewer pipe. I have a few comments to make for the record, while I’m still hanging out in the aforementioned pipe.

A. I joined a pool team. I suck at it, and that’s OK.

B. Selling a house and then packing up to move out of it is a pain, especially when…

C. Finding a new place to live in SE Portland (the cool part anyway) is ridiculously hard, time-consuming, and thus far fruitless.

D. I’m totally addicted to Smallville and I haven’t even made it through season 1 yet.

E. I really like a good soak in the tub.

As of today, I’m house-sitting for my friends next door. To keep with the Technogrrrl theme I so rarely pay any attention to, I’ll mention here that I brought over all of the essentials necessary to a high standard of living: my laptop, the Xbox, an mp3 player, some clothes and toiletries, my single cup coffee thingy, my kitchenaid stand mixer, and my Sidekick. Apparently, everything I’m jamming into my PODS unit is just fluff. Actually, given how heavy it all is, I suppose it would be ballast.

Your reward for making it to the end of my little rant is the following statement. Westfold is a pretty cool band and you should check them out.

Check back soon for a review of the latest book from my favorite vampire porn author!

Did You Know It’s Almost Boyfriend Season?

It's hunting season!I saw an online ad today which informed me that it’s almost boyfriend season. There’s a season for that?! How long does it last? Is it a Spring/Summer thing and then I’m supposed to dump him in the Fall?

“Hey baby, it’s been a blast but you’re out of season now. Look me up in the Spring.”

Who wants to be alone in the Fall and Winter when Portlanders huddle for warmth in bookstores, in coffee shops, and under fluffy blankets? It makes no sense. These people must live in Florida or something.

Advertisers — sheesh.

How I got My Music Off My iPod

construction_girl_holding_sledgehammer_hg_clr.gifI acquired a nifty new gadget the other day. It’s a Sansa e280 mp3 player. I got it so I can use Yahoo Music Unlimited To Go but I have a bunch of music already on an old iPod. I wanted to get all of that music onto the new Sansa with the least amount of trouble.

It turned out to be much easier than I expected!

1. Connect the iPod to your PC.

2. Right click on the [Start] button in Windows. Select Explore.

3. Browse to your iPod in the left panel and left click on it. Note: It should be listed as a separate disk under My Computer. In my case, it was called PODCASTS (F:).

4. In the right panel, double click on the folder called ipod_control.

5. Right click on the folder called Music then select Copy.

6. Right click on the directory in the left panel where you’d like to store you music and select Paste.

From here the directions depend on what application you use to synch your mp3 player. I used Yahoo Music Unlimited Jukebox. I simply added the Music folder to My Music and it organized all of the songs by Artist, Album, and Song Title. I synched my Sansa and I was in business. I had 4.7 gigs of data to transfer so it took a little while.

If you look inside the Music folder, you’ll see a bunch of other folders with your songs dispersed in no particular order throughout them. The filenames are truncated so if you try to find all of the songs from an album and move them into their own folder, it may see them as duplicates of each other. That’s the downside. Happily, the music players read the tags, not the filenames.

Another Note: These instructions assume you have Windows set to allow the viewing of hidden and system files.

What To Do?

A poster outside Green Park, London UKWhile in London recently, I had a conversation with a Muslim guy working in a mini-mart. I was clearly a tourist, on a quest for camera batteries, so he asked me where I was from. He hadn’t heard of Portland, Oregon so I told him it was above California. “Oh, you’re American then!” was his response. As with everyone I talked with after that, this revelation immediately initiated a conversation about George W. Bush. While he was glad George couldn’t run in the next election, he was dismayed that he’s being allowed to “destroy the world in the meantime.” He was aware that the American people aren’t happy with him and he thought Hillary might do a better job. The fact that a London mini-mart cashier knew more about American politics than most Americans was mortifying.

Civilizations rise and then they fall. Sight-seeing in London brought home for me how young America is, but also how precarious our place in the world is. I suggested to a friend that we’re the bratty teenager of the world, arrogant and inconsiderate. They countered that we’re more like the bratty two year old. We’re certainly willful and on the whole, ignorant. That part, I understand. My struggle lately is what to do about it?

I have yet to come across a pundit or a politician with a sensible plan. I see plenty of smokescreens and sirens but no solutions. How much preaching to the choir can we do before it’s all meaningless? I’ve reached the point where I need to DO something, something meaningful.

I’ve been checking out the moveon.org site lately to sign petitions but I’d like to hear some other ideas…

Today’s Head in the Sand – “An Inconvenient Truth” Proves to be, well, Inconvenient

truth.jpgI got a link this morning from Iggi pointing me to an article in the Washington Times about a school district that banned Al Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth.” I followed the link and was somewhat horrified to discover that the school district is Federal Way, Washington, my own former stomping ground!

From the article,

Frosty E. Hardison has made things a little chilly for Al Gore: The father of seven had Mr. Gore’s global warming film “An Inconvenient Truth” banned from his local public schools.

“Al Gore’s video has no place in my kids’ public school classroom any more than condoms,” Mr. Hardison told The Washington Times yesterday. “It is nothing more than an opportunity for him to grandstand and take more potshots at the Republicans for repeating his own error — of not doing enough. … Al Gore is not about finding solutions to the problem. Al Gore is all about getting his party re-elected.”

Federal Way is a suburb ensconced between Seattle and Tacoma. Most of the kids I went to school with had parents who were engineers at Boeing. At least, that was the case in my science and math classes. Perhaps the demographics have changed in the last 15-20 years, because it’s hard to imagine those people tolerating this nonsense. The school district banned the film until such a time as an opposing viewpoint is available. That’s like saying they’re not going to allow kids to watch “Eyes on the Prize” (a great PBS documentary about the civil rights movement) unless the kids also watch videos put out by the Aryan Nation!

I find it interesting that Mr. Hardison equates showing that film in school with allowing condoms in school. Apparently, if you don’t accept that something is happening, then it doesn’t exist. What does sex ed have to do with global warming? I would say that it’s all a part of the religious right’s campaign against science and reason. We’re supposed to be good shepherds of this earth. Science has the ability to help us do that. Sticking our heads in the sand so big oil and industry can take us up our collective asses is hardly likely to get us into heaven. But, it’s a good way to bring hell on earth.

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson – Coming Soon to a Television Near You

diamond.jpgI got happy news today from Iggi! The SciFi channel is doing a mini-series of The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson! George Clooney, of all people, is one of the producers.

Here’s an excerpt from the SciFi Wire press release:

Diamond Age, based on Neal Stephenson’s best-selling novel The Diamond Age: Or a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer, is a six-hour miniseries from Clooney and fellow executive producer Grant Heslov of Smokehouse Productions.

“When a prominent member of society concludes that the futuristic civilization in which he lives is stifling creativity, he commissions an interactive book for his daughter that serves as a guide through a surreal alternate world. Stephenson will adapt his novel for the miniseries, the first time the Hugo and Nebula award winner has written for TV.”

There’s no release date yet, but I thought I’d help out with the buzz factor. I hope they do a good job with it!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Season 8

buffy1.jpgLately, I’ve been watching my DVDs of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 7. For seven years that show was a weekly ritual for me. Rewatching it reminded me of how much I still miss it. Imagine my joy when I heard that Joss Whedon (the creative genius behind the show) is doing Season 8 in comic book form! You can check out a preview of the first several pages of Issue #1 from Dark Horse Comics, due out in March. It looks really freaking cool!
TV Guide has a great interview with Joss regarding the comic books. Here’s an excerpt:

TVGuide.com: How many issues will there be? And how many are you writing?
Whedon:
The season should run between 20 and 30 issues, I’m guessing. It has, like the [TV] seasons did, an overriding story with an ending point. I’ll be writing the beginning, the first four, the last four, and I’ll definitely be doing some others. I have a bunch of other writers — comic-book heavies and former writers from the show — who are going to write the other issues. I’ll be overseeing the whole thing, and they’ve all got my giant mission statement about what the giant arc is about.

TVGuide.com: What is the giant arc about?
Whedon:
I’m not going to tell you that. But I can tell you that it’s about the ramifications of everything that happened in Season 7. At the end of the show, Buffy made every girl who might be a potential vampire slayer into a fully realized slayer with all the remembered history and powers, so she’s made a big change in the way the world works. The comic will be dealing with that when we pick up the story several months later.

Thank you Joss!

It’s Been Awhile…

My goodness. I haven’t updated my blog in quite some time. I think I went into some sort of holiday hibernation period wherein I really didn’t feel like writing anything. I went to at least 4 shows during my absence. I’d tell you about them but I’m not much in the mood for it. I’ve been accused of being concertgrrrl instead of technogrrrl and they have a point! Instead, I’ll get more personal than I probably should.  God knows what this will tell you about me!

Today a friend of mine sent out an e-mail to a bunch of us that described a crazy dream he’d had the night before. This brought to our minds our own crazy dreams which we proceeded to share. I told them about a dream I had several months ago in which I died. Thinking about it later, I remembered that I actually recorded the dream as a “note” in my phone while waiting for a set change at the Doug Fir the night after the dream. The dream I related to my friends was not quite right in the details, so here’s the full account of it as recorded at the Doug Fir.

I died twice in my dreams last night. The first time, I was in my own body. I don’t recall how it happened. I found myself lying in my coffin, which I somehow knew was white. The lid was shut and I could sense that I was being lowered into my grave. As the clods of dirt started to hit the coffin lid with a dull thud and scatter, I reminded myself not to panic.

In concern for my friends, who were fighting the good fight in my absence, I left my body to find them. I don’t recall what they were fighting but it seemed to be a great evil, and they had lost their leader. I found that they had carried on but had reached a point of desperation. I took up residence in one of their bodies so that I could watch. I couldn’t bear to completely abandon them.

The final, desperate plan of my friends was to bomb the headquarters of the enemy. It was a suicide mission. The bomb would go off before they could make it out of the building. If they didn’t succeed, there would be nothing left to live for anyway.

When the bomb went off I was standing in the parking garage of the building. It was an underground garage, all concrete and artificial lighting. I stood and faced the ring of fire that raced toward me. At the last second, I dropped to one knee and welcomed the fire as it seared me to ashes. It was over and I was conscious of feeling relieved that there was so little pain.

And then I awoke to the breaking dawn and the prospect of another day at the office.

Perhaps I’ve watched too much of Buffy and The Matrix…

The Sun The Sea — The Best New Band I’ve Seen in Some Time

thesunthesea.jpgAlright, for those keeping track (although I can’t imagine why you would), I did not make it two weeks without going to a show. I scored free tickets to The Doug Fir Thursday night, and boy am I glad I did! The night started off with a performance by kids from The School of Rock. I only caught the last bunch but they were great! 14 year old kids jamming in a real bar in front of a real audience was a pretty amazing sight. Granted, part of the audience consisted of their parents, most of whom looked like aging rockers themselves.

Otherwise, the audience pretty much appeared to be hardcore music fans. Not fans of hardcore music, but rather people who were there for the music instead of the scene. I didn’t see even one bridge and tunnel person. The only person who stood out was a Troutdale-looking fellow in acid-wash ripped jeans and jean jacket, topped with a straw cowboy hat. It wasn’t much of a scene if he was hoping to pick up on someone.

Which brings me to The Sun The Sea. Of the new bands I’ve seen this year, they are my favorite. They consist of two guitars, drums, and bass. The Doug Fir described their sound as “Shoegazer and Rock had a Pop baby” and I think they’re right. One guitar handled the peddle effects to an expert degree of psychedelic joy, while the other guitar handled the rock riffs. The lead singer reminded both my friend and I of Brandon Flowers of The Killers a la Sam’s Town, but that was only his looks. His voice was smooth as silk. By the end of the show I realized he could be passionately singing about the weather for all I knew, because I was completely taken in by their overall sound. If they’d had an EP, I’d have bought it for sure. MySpace has four demo songs available for listening but there were a few songs during the show that I’d particularly like to hear again and they’re not on there. I will have to be patient! In the meantime, the more I listen to the available tracks, the more I like them. It’s an interesting listening experience.

The headliner Thursday night was called Hot One but we didn’t get to hear them because we got a call that the power went out at the house. So, we had to run home to unplug everything. I have a serious mistrust of surge protectors. Now that I think about it, the “Storm of the Decade” probably kept the bridge and tunnel people at home that night. It’s too bad because they missed a fun show!

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