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In which I am annoyed at the radio

Music: 

"(Consumers are) getting their raise through the gas tank rather than their employers" - Sudeep Reddy, Marketplace

Sorry Kai, but yeah, that is a really weak statement. Between that quote last week, and all the stories about consumers already buying bigger more gas-guzzlin'er trucks and SUVs because pump prices have gone down, I just got annoyed enough to write this.

People don't really look at what's their ultimate best interest, they don't make math-based decisions. They think "Wow, gas just went down by 20%, so I can buy a car which uses 60% more fuel". Here is math:

At 90 miles/day, I drive somewhat more than the average person (78% of people have a less than 20 mile commute? DAMMIT). My 2005 Toyota gets a consistent 34MPG. Gas has gone down by 60 cents around these parts.

So what does that mean?

270mi per week (I work from home two days a week)
8 gallons of gas

$28.40 - 8 gallons of gas at $3.55

$23.60 - 8 gallons of gas at $2.95

$39.85 - What I'd pay at $2.95/gal for the 13.5 gallons of gas I'd use if I bought an SUV making 20mpg

(So all this means that I pay $7.80 every day to sit in traffic for > 3 hours, before factoring in maintenance / wear & tear)

That means that the difference caused by this precipitous drop in prices is $5 per week, for me. That's not even enough for a pack of smokes. So much for people "getting their raise through the gas tank". $260 per year, thanks a bunch guys, but I'm better off with even a 1% pay increase. Even with the 20MPG Jeep that I had prior to the Toyota, it would still only be a $9/week difference. Not exactly enough to finance payments on a new SUV, let alone the fact that you now burn much more gas than is offset by the price decrease.

Being able to do arithmetic also accounts for why I don't drive a Prius or whatever. There's no way the increased milage would pay off over the facts that a Prius costs $10000 more (base) than I paid for the Corolla which is fully paid for. Even if I were to get a new car, it's unlikely the Prius speicfically would be worth the extra cost for the extra 14MPG, that's not even factoring in battery changes, which aren't cheap, and which I'm sure I'd have needed a couple of to match the 220,000 miles on my Corolla.

I don't pretend to know or care why people make the choices they do, but it's almost certainly more that they "feel" things are "good", and so decide to splurge on some new car, telling themselves that gas is cheap, so it doesn't matter.

People probably feel this way because of glib statements by people they perceive as being subject matter experts.

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TV Cabinet

Music: 

Curtis Mayfield - Superfly

Last winter we had some of our barn renovated into a new living room. Natalie has gone crazy with the retro look in here, and we just put in the second-to-last piece, a good looking spot for the TV (I'm still nagging her to just drop the hammer on an Eames lounge...).

We had been looking for a while for a '60s hi-fi console, but she found them too big, and they're really not deep enough to fit things like computers and large receivers. My requirements were 18" for the PC to fit comfortably, for instance. At one point I told her to give up on those, and just look for dressers that matched the depth requirement, here's what she found, for $55:

For reasons that aren't entirely clear to me, I decided that Step One was to rip the pressed board back off. We still have it, and it should honestly probably go back on with appropriate holes drilled. I really don't remember what I was thinking.

Anyway, we shimmed the drawer holes so things would fit flat without taking out the drawer track. The goal was to do as little damage to this thing as possible, just in the case we want to use it as a dresser, or re-sell it or whatever later. None of those things are going to happen. Here's that interim state:

And a wider view of how it fits in the room:

To cover the holes I had suggested some cool amp grille cloth fabric, but we actually had some pretty good stuff on-hand. It also has the advantage of not having a really tight pattern, so if it's stretched more in parts, you can't tell. The grilles are then held on by cabinet magnets. So the extent of the modification of the dresser is 12 screws to hold the metal plates the magnets stick to:

Done:

I may take some black cloth and add it to the inside, just to block 100% of the LED light when all the room-lights are off, but with the lights on, you can't see anything.

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Name your vulns better

Music: 

George Clinton - Yank My Doodle

Drupalgeddon is silly, but at least it gets the point across that something is wrong and you must go fix it right now. Heartbleed, Shellshock, POODLE... not so much. At least we all had a heads-up that "some horrible SSLv3 attack" was coming even if no one knew specifics.

We've had enough this year already. Who wants a do-over on 2014?

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George Clinton & PFunk, Plymouth NH

Music: 

Ball of Confusion - The Temptations

If you've never seen the beautiful chaos of a George Clinton show, you hate music, it's that simple.

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GoFlex Headaches

Music: 

click-click-click-bzzzzzzzzzzzz-WHACK

A couple of weeks ago the drive in my GoFlex home finally died. It had had some filesystem corruption earlier this year, so I pretty much knew it was coming. I replaced the drive, and started making rash decisions. All the stupid factory junk software is disabled, but the big change was that I formatted New Drive with EXT3, since they were using NTFS (on Linux) for some unholy reason that I will probably never understand.

Well, now the drive seems not to sleep, and the drive LED blinks continuously. It doesn't vary at all, so I'm not convinced it's activity related, but there's also no LSOF on the machine, so I'm a tiny bit blind. I think a lot of the issue with Old Drive was that I was writing syslog to it from all my local hardware, which prevented it from ever spinning down. I'd like to prevent that with New Drive by sending all my shit to a Raspberry Pi instead (Raspberry Pi runs extremely well off the USB port from the GoFlex, and it also does a great job of running Privoxy).

I'm looking at ps and netstat -pnat output, and don't see anything which should necessarily be slamming the drive. Meanwhile, I need to go find an ARM lsof binary I can drop on this thing.

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I might have a concert problem

Music: 

Depeche Mode - Policy of Truth

Here is an annotated email from Ticketmaster:

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xrayspx's picture

Good Utility

Music: 

Natalie handed me this letter from PSNH last night. I had expected it to say something to the effect of "thank you for paying for all of our kids to go to college by installing baseboard electric". It started off mentioning something about snow.

I had my moment of: "OH AND YOU GUYS CAN GO FU... hey, this is nice", and so I share it:

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T**e *h* S**n****s B***i**G, **k* ***m b****n*.

Music: 

Xebox - Bunker Buster

This week David Lowery grumpled many of the Interbutts as he published a list of 50 "undesirable" (read: "un-licensed") music lyrics sites to target for legal action by the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA). With some major exceptions (RapGenius!), many of these sites do, in fact, suck. They're undesirable from an Internet user standpoint as well what with pop-unders and malware.

The fact is, they are worried about lost revenue from the licensing fees these guys should be paying, and the fact that lyrics sites have tons of ads, and that it follows that their owners are sitting on massive piles of cash in the Caymans. So let's go sue 'em all and get that Scrooge McDuck money silo each of them has to have. Here's a better idea, why doesn't the industry run its own goddamn lyrics sites? Well hell, I bet since we live in The Future and all, you could even track how many times someone searches for a song and give Dave Lowry his quarter of a cent per 100 impressions for Euro-Trash Girl lyrics.

The claim that it's "ripping us off as artists" is unconvincing though. If someone's reading the lyrics, you must assume they're listening or have just listened to that song, which they either own or they don't (Keep going after those pirates, I can at least see the point kind of, best of luck). Very very few songs have lyrics that merit reading on their own without music surrounding them. No one is reading the lyrics to Dr. Heckyll & Mr. Jive who isn't also listening to that song right now.

The Musician as modern Shelley is in all but the most exceptional cases disingenuous at best (Fun fact: Search for Percy Shelley on Google, and the #3 hit after Wikipedia and Poets.org is poemhunter.com, one of the NMPA's targeted sites of IP thieves). Off the top of my head, I can think of four musicians whose lyrics I could just sit and read, and even that is only a handful of songs per artist. Also off the top of my head, I can think of zero musicians whose lyrics I have just sat and read as art for its own sake.

It certainly didn't take Tennyson to write Take The Skinheads Bowling.

"Industry Sues Morons, film at eleven". Fine. "Fragile snowflake genius loses livelihood when someone can search for their lyrics for /free(!)/". Well you lost me there pal.

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It Was The D&D Of Food

Music: 

Talking Heads - Once In A Lifetime

Tue, 01/01/2008 - 12:01pm - We picked 12lb of plums from one of our two plum trees this week.  We'll have jam, crumble, vodka/plum-stuff, and just like, normal casual eating plums.</p>
<p>Part of this blog entry on a food trade I made for some bitter melon:<br />
www.xrayspx.com/it-was-dd-food csFlickr Some time ago, one of my cow orkers sent me home with some Chinese bitter melon in trade for some of our plums. Natalie fell in love with it immediately, but I can't really get past just how strong it is. I was knocking it down with hot sauce, as I do.

Yesterday I showed up and what do you know? Three more bitter melons ready for me to take home, including one /monster/ of the species which just couldn't have been natural. Fortunately I found the answer at a farm stand tonight. They had bhut jolokia (improperly "ghost chili") peppers.

This was like two titans doing battle on my tongue! I'm fine with the heat of the jolokia by now, but what I love from it is the powerful fruity, citrusy flavor that just crushes you when you put it in your mouth, before it even touches your tongue. It pretty much perfectly set off the bitter melon.

I must have eaten 1.5lb of stir fry and my mouth is very very happy with me.

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Visit Your Drive-IN

Music: 

Milford has a great drive-in theater, it's in the middle of a corn field and everything. It's perfect. But in the ten years we've lived here we've only gone twice, since most movies suck. I remember we saw the Johnny Depp Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, with Fantastic Four, and we saw Snakes on a Plane with Talladega Nights (which is terrible). Natalie got to see a Harry Potter movie with some of our friends while I was out of town. The problem is that most movies suck, and we have no interest in comic book movies or live action cartoon remakes, which are the only things coming out now which are worthy of a drive in. (I would go see a Spider Man or Batman movie there I guess. I'm mainly thinking of Transformers movies and Iron Man movies).

A few weeks ago we were driving by and I said to Natalie "You know what they ought to do? They ought to show movies from the '70s and '80s, those movies were awesome and people would come watch them. I'm going to write a letter dammit. We were home 6 minutes later, I forgot about the letter.

Somehow they got the message. Tonight we watched Back to the Future and Jaws! We just happened to be driving by like 1 hour before the sun was down and Natalie saw the sign and we scrambled all fighters and made the snap judgment that we had to go do this. It's always a great time, eating concession stand food and supporting a wonderful local business in an industry that needs it.

The best thing was actually all the kids watching BTTF and loving the shit out of that movie. It lacks all the modern indicators of a blockbuster. No anthropomorphic animals, no animation, no CGI, no Michael Bay. But those kids all went nuts when George McFly punched out Biff. After the movie a parent was explaining that Marty was Michael J Fox, and I felt old.

Milford Drive-In has already made the leap to digital projection which is proving to be a hurdle that threatens to put many drive ins out of business. I'm glad they've been able to make that move and will be here for years to come.

So yeah, go watch movies, they close next weekend, and because of the unique way in which their website is designed and managed, I can't tell you what those movies will be. I believe the most reliable way to find out is probably to drive by the sign and look at it. Go give 'em your money, it's always worth it.

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