Archive for August, 2005

The Big O Turns 10

Happy 10th birthday, Opera!

I’ve been using Opera since 1997, version 2.12 (or earlier) and it continues to be my favorite browser. Even after Firefox came along, I still prefer Opera for it’s skillful handling of an MDI combined with tabbed browsing. Sure, they’ve added some stuff I never use like mail and the RSS reader, but these days, I’d say 299 out of 300 sites render properly in Opera (formerly the biggest criticism against it) and it runs far faster than Firefox or IE with better functionality.

If you like Opera but the ads have turned you off, get a free registration code, today only!

Moving cargo

We rented a cargo van this weekend and drove the 215 miles up to North Wildwood to get some of the larger items from Grandmom’s house. This was our last trip to the house, so it was a difficult “goodbye” to the place that’s been such a big part of my summers for my entire life.

Yesterday, Verizon came and installed FIOS (which went pretty much like Dan Bricklin’s installation). Our house was built, stupidly, with only two phone jacks in the entire house. So, for the past five years we’ve had a phone line running from our bedroom to the office. Finally, that’s gone, as FIOS doesn’t use a phone jack. As a bonus, though, we now have an additional phone jack upstairs in the office.

I got another large batch of 8mm film to get transferred to DVD, this time from my dad’s side of the family. Some of it dates back to the late 1930s and my great-grandparents’ 50th anniversary. The most recent is from 70s and early 80s of my sister and me. I was pleased with how the transfer of the first batch of films from my mom’s family went, so it’ll be nice to finally have all of the family movies well archived.

And unrelated to moving furniture or transferring movies or getting FIOS, I had a realization this morning that my ultimate job would be Professional Nap Taker. People could call me up and I’d come to their location and take a nap. And I could definitely work from home. I’m extremely qualified.

Damon Did It.

A police report described the man who shot [Suge] Knight in the leg Saturday at a party held in conjunction with the MTV Video Music Awards as black and wearing a pink shirt.

Oh my God! I know who it was!

Blaine Edwards from Men On Film!

Catch-up Post

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of those “catch up” posts…

Had a nice weekend last weekend, visiting Kristy and Corey and Ryder and Jack before meeting up with soon-to-be-wed Rodeo Rob (warning: neglected blog ahead!) and Cathy.

Went for a five mile run earlier this week at the best pace I’ve run in months. It was one of those great runs where I felt like I could have gone forever.

Had a dentist appointment yesterday that was suprisingly, a non-event. For some reason, the dentist makes me more nervous than going to the doctor’s.

Attic Beats has been going well, five weeks strong. If you haven’t checked it out yet, give it a shot. The feedback I’ve gotten has been really positive, except for the occasional, “I hate reggae, so that show sucked.”

It’s been a tough week for my sister and her family. So here’s to you, Stace, we’re thinking of you guys.

Is it fall yet? I’m really itching for fall weather, fall soups and stews, and the end of grass-growing season.

Monday, the Verizon FIOS installer’s coming out. 15 MBps, here I come!

For lack of a better way to end this entry: “SHOEHORN!”

Oreo part 2

The second part of the Chicago Tribune Oreo series went to press today. I was featured yesterday, and Paul leads off this one.

(BugMeNot login)

Ryan Eats Oreos

Craving the cookie

My mom would be so proud: I’m quoted in an article about Oreos. This was an article I was interviewed for last November and didn’t think would ever make it to press. So, there it is.

And, no, I don’t eat four Oreos every day.

Paul will be quoted in tomorrow’s edition.

(Can you believe they’re doing a three-part series on the Oreo?!)

Recording in the field

I decided not long ago that I’d like to do more field recordings. I’ve always been a sucker for ambient sounds and unique recordings beyond the “rain and thunderstorm” stuff you find at new age stores.

In the last few months, I’ve made two field recordings. Neither are great, as I’m still working getting levels right, but both have some interesting elements:

  • NYC Subway (98 megs, 71 minutes)
    Recorded during our trip in April to New York, this recording starts as we walk from our hostel to the subway, taking the train to a vegetarian pizza eatery, and having dinner. The one annoying thing is that you can hear the steps I take because the mic brushes up against my bag, where it was located. At the same time, it’s kind of mesmerizing. The most interesting thing to listen for is a conversation on the subway between a woman and a man about toy shopping for her kid buying DVD players and scamming a Big Box Store.
  • Ode to the Fudgy Wudgy Guy (48 megs, 34 minutes)
    Recorded a couple of weeks ago on the beach at North Wildwood, NJ. The ocean can be heard in the distance throughout, but the highlight is the Fudgy Wudgy Guy who goes by a couple of times, one time passing very close. If there is one sound I associate with summer from childhood, it is the call of the Fudgy Wudgy Man. Fudgy Wudgy! Ice cream sandwiches!

These are probably best listened to with headphones.

Jett Lagg

Last night I went to the Belmont Country Club (!) to see Joan Jett perform (!!). It almost goes without saying that Joan Jett rocked Assburn to its core. “Bad Reputation” was awesome, as was “I Hate Myself for Loving You” and even for all it’s played-outness, “I Love Rock and Roll” gave me goosebumps and took me back elementary school bus 54-G where I sang the chorus over-and-over because that’s all I knew the words to.

Belmont was a curious location for the venerable Ms. Jett to play, given the crowd. As tends to happen, I took entirely too much notice of the people around me and got annoyed, particularly by the woman to my left who was half soccer-mom-with-way-too-much-make-up and half mental patient thrashing around to every song and spewing profanities to her friend between sets (“Have you ever seen them? They so fucking rock! Like no one else I’ve ever seen before!”). However, Annoying Lady to My Left was offset by awesome scenes like the little girl sitting on her father’s shoulders singing the lyrics to “Roadrunner” while pumping her fist at the stage.

The US version of her new album is due out this year and from the sounds of it, should be really good. I loved “Androgynous” and her performance of “Fetish.”

The opening act, Niki Barr, also rocked pretty hard.

The passing of time and memories

Huyen and I took a long weekend this past weekend to head up to wonderful North Wildwood, NJ for a little beach time. It wasn’t strictly pleasure, unfortunately, as we also had the emotionally overwhelming task of going through things in my grandmother’s house.

When she passed away a few months ago and I stayed at her house with my family the night before the funeral, it was eerie to be in her house without her there. I kept looking up and expecting to see her standing in the kitchen or sitting on the couch while the rest of the family bustled about. During this trip, though, it was a lot more difficult to be at her house than I expected. There were a number of times while going through her things where I just had to stop and gather my thoughts because I found myself getting upset or caught up in the moment. A lot of the difficulty comes, I think, from the fact that her house is being sold. It’s a house my grandfather helped build. A house that was literally moved across town from another site (it was once connected to a motel my grandparents ran). A house that my mom and aunt grew up in. And a house that my sister and cousins and I grew up going to every summer. Even though it’s “just a house,” it’s also a home that represented the essence of the people that lived in it for so many years. In a sense, the passing of the house represents the passing of the last bit of physical connection with my grandparents’ life.

I’m upset with the fact the house is being sold–aside from the whole sentimental attachment to it, it’s also a nice beach house in a great location, just two-and-a-half blocks from the beach–but there’s not much I can do about it at this point other than help go through the things and make sure the items that hold some value, sentimental or otherwise, find a proper home. I thought I was alone in this emotional attachment to a place, but from talking to a few friends and family members, I know that I’m not the only one that’s had a tough time watching a house from childhood be sold.

I haven’t talked much about grandmom’s passing since it happened, and honestly, I probably won’t too much more. It’s been difficult, more difficult than any other death I’ve dealt with, and is one of those feelings that lingers well beyond the last sympathy card that arrives in the mail.

This evening I’m taking over eight reels of home movies from the 50s and 60s that my grandparents shot and having them professionally transferred to DVD. Later, I’ll do the same with the movies from my dad’s side of the family. I’ve been feeling this need to archive the family’s history as much as possible, trying not to lose anything important to time and fading memories.

Update, a correction from my mom:

A correction to your entry — The house was built probably in the 50’s (not by Grandpop) Grandpop put on the addition in the back when I was a Freshman in college. That would have been in 1964-65. He remodeled the kitchen after Dad and I were married. That would have been sometime in the 70’s. The house was not in front of our motel. It was in front of a motel in North Wildwood that Grandpop was going to add on to. The addition was going to be where the house was. Since we were without a permanent residence at the time (we had sold the motel a couple of years before) Grandpop and Grandmom bought it, and the lot, and had it moved to it’s present location.

Unions in Tech

The NPR story aired on Saturday when I was out of town. They used one of my quotes and I don’t think I sounded too terribly bad (the stuff involving me starts at about 2:22).