Mondo 2000 is back.

Sep 24, 2017

If you've been around for a while you may remember a certain magazine called Mondo 2000 from the 90's.  It was a time when using the prefix cyber- wasn't done in irony and computers were still weird and edgy and nobody actually knew what the hell they were doing.  Psychedelic explorers like Timothy Leary and Terence McKenna were still alive (though Leary died in '96 and McKenna four years later), raves required you to go on quests to find map points so you could get your wristband to get in, and we all knew - we just knew - that the Net would usher in an age of understanding because people from vastly different kinds of lives could communicate openly with each other and learn to see eye to eye.

Go ahead and laugh, get it out of your system.

If you've never run across it before, a fair amount of M2k as well as the 'zines that eventually lead to its creation have been uploaded to the Internet Archive so you can read them for free.  Unfortunately, Mondo 2000 ceased publication late in the 90's after a perfect storm of multiple things going sideways within a fairly short period of time.  Frontbeing R.U. Sirius has been around the entire time, working on multiple publishing projects at the same time and keeping his neurons in the game.  I would like to announce that his latest project is the return of Mondo 2000 as a blog featuring articles from many of the original contributors, some classic articles with commentary for the twenty-first century, and insights from some new minds from the other side of the millennium rollover.

Take a look at it and see what you think.  If you like it, please circulate the URL to get more eyes on it.

Can you please help someone in dire straights?

Sep 18, 2017

Reece Markowsky is a friend and colleague of mine from work who lives and works in British Columbia.  Late last week he received word that his brother passed away after a protracted period of hospitalization.  As one might imagine he's devastated by this.  Unfortunately his sister-in-law Shari is now a single mother of two young boys who is now on a single income, trying to pay for the funeral, and trying to get by until she can find a job.  Reece has started a crowdfunding campaign on her behalf.

If you can spare it, would you please donate to their Gofundme campaign to help the family get back on their feet?  If not, could you please spread the word?

Thank you in advance.

Alphaville - 11 August 2017

Sep 10, 2017

I've been a fan of the band Alphaville since I was quite small.  They seem to have a knack for catch hooks and lyrics that never fail to make you think about when and why they were written.  If you're not familiar with them, you've probably heard Big In Japan and Sounds Like A Melody, so that should job your memory.  So, when I heard that they'd be coming to the States to tour for the first time in eleven years I bought a ticket immediately.  It caught my attention that Christopher Anton (former frontman for InSoc) had assembled a band and would be opening for them.  I'm sorry to say that Anton did not put on a show of the caliber I've come to expect; they did four covers of classic InSoc songs... they did pretty much all covers, really, and not particularly inspired ones.  It was plain to see that Anton and his band were trying to ride on the notoriety of InSoc, even jibbing at them on their t-shirts.  On the other hand, Alphaville killed it.  They played a wide selection of songs throughout their entire stage career and threw in some new tracks from their latest album, entitled Strange Attractor.  It was like a walk down memory lane for me, finally getting to hear all the songs I heard in the car as a child driving around with my grandparents.  Another concert has been knocked off my bucket list.

Anyway, here are my pictures, taken from halfway back in the crowd and here's their setlist if you're curious.  I'm sorry that they're not the greatest quality, I couldn't afford front row seats (which were sold out, anyway).

iVardensphere and VNV Nation at the Bottom of the Hill - 18 August 2017

Sep 10, 2017

Because I don't have it in me right now to do a full writeup, here are some pictures from the iVardensphere and VNV Nation concert on 18 August 2017.  They were taken at the San Francisco show of the Automatic Empire tour, in which VNV played both the Automatic and Empires albums back to back.  iVardenSphere was a solo act this time around, and performed an all-improvisational set on his equipment, something that one person carefully characterized as an industrial algorave.  VNV Nation took the stage with their usual aplomb and Ronan spent an unusual amount of time talking with the crowd.  He explained that earlier this year VNV Nation had been invited to play a concert to raise money for a German youthclub the night before playing a sold out show in an abandoned factory in Munich.  The youthclub didn't have much in the way of a PA system or lighting but was packed just the same, and it reminded him of how the band got it start in the late 1990's.  This is why many of the shows on this tour are being played in little hole-in-the-wall clubs instead of the usual larger venues.

Neologism: Quantum budget superposition

Sep 10, 2017

quantum budget superposition - noun - A bank account's state of existence during the time in which you're waiting for your landlord to cash the rent cheque so you don't actually know how much money you have at a given time t.  Spend too much and your rent cheque bounces.  Spend too little and you put off important bills for too long.

Cleaning up Firefox... somewhat.

Sep 04, 2017

Chances are you're running one of two major web browsers on the desktop to read my website - Firefox or Google's Chrome.

Chrome isn't bad; I have to use it at work (it's the only browser we're allowed to have, enforced centrally).  In point of fact, I'd have switched to it a long time ago if it wasn't for one thing.  I make heavy use of a plugin for Firefox called Scrapbook Plus, which make it possible to take a full snapshot of a web page and store it locally so that it can be read offline, annotated, and full-text searched.  I never count on having connectivity (I live in the United States, after all, and right now my home connection is running quite poorly and has been for several days due to an ongoing situation at my local CO) so I try to keep both essential documentation and reading material in general stored locally for those dry periods.  However, there is no port of Scrapbook Plus for Chrome, nor is there a workable equivalent addon for same (I think I've tried them all).  I'm not about to do without my traveling hoard of information (which at this time numbers around 10,000 unique web pages and 15 gigabytes of disk space).  Out of desperation last night I did some research into how I might be able to speed up Firefox just a little and get more use out of it until I figure out what to do.  Here's what I found:

Click for the rest of the article...

Neologism: Gitmnesia

Sep 02, 2017

gitmnesia - noun - That feeling when you receive an update email about some ticket on Github from a project that you haven't looked at in so long that you don't recognize its name.  Generally a sign that you follow too many projects on Github.

Neologism: Icon blindness

Aug 14, 2017

icon blindness - noun phrase - The state of mind in which you search your desktop for minutes on end for one particular application's icon but don't find it.  You give up and open it from the application menu, whereupon you have no trouble remembering which category it's in or what the name (in text) of the application is.

Keybase, font sizes, and screen resolution.

Aug 12, 2017

Some time ago I wrote an article about what Keybase is and what it's good for.  I also mentioned one of my pet peeves, which is that, by default the fonts used by the Keybase desktop client are way, way too small to see easily on Windbringer.  A couple of days ago somebody finally figured out how to blow up the fonts on the desktop, so I can finally see what's going on without putting my nose on the display (and making the mouse cursor jump around because Windbringer has a touchscreen).  While I wish that this would be a configuration option in the GUI (or, hell, even a config file) I'll take what I can get.  First, some background so everything makes sense...

Click for the rest of the article...

One again operating at diminished capacity.

Aug 07, 2017

This week, it was my turn to suffer a somewhat debilitaring kitchen accident.

Last week, Lyssa nearly took the tip of her thumb off with a chef's knife while helping to make pizza for dinner, an accident which resulted in several stitches to reattach the flap of skin that ordinarily formed the end of her left thumb.

Last night, while helping to make dinner I accidentally grabbed the handle of a skillet that had spent the previous half-hour in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven.  With my entire hand.  There are (still closed) blisters on four of the five digits on that hand (the irregular whitish oval patches), the web of the thumb (not shown), and parts of the palm (barely visible in that image) (my hand's wet-looking appearance was due to soaking my hand in ice water for about half an hour to stop it cooking).  Dinner was spent with my hand submerged in ice water, but the rest of last night was spent in the emergency room when the blistering became readily apparent.

Diagnosis: Second degree burns on... let's say 45% of my hand, lacking a scientifc metric.  The pain was somewhere around a 6 on the numeric scale; I'd carefully say that it was as uncomfortable as having one or two broken ribs due to how difficult the gnawing pain made to concentrate.

I've got a pile of prescriptions that I need to get filled today, and I most certainly should probably not be typing right now because it'll aggravate the discomfort (though it'll probably keep the damaged skin from shrinking and seizing up).  All I can really do is manage pain and prevent infection until the skin regenerates.

Looks like I'm on the shelf for the next couple of days.