Month: February 2013

Today's Barrier to Productivity

Stomach starts gurgling. Make quick PB&J. (For future reference: peanut butter makes for a quick meal but is probably not ideal for recording; mouth gets all sticky.)

Voice starts getting hoarse.

Home stretch. Then every damn-fool dog on the block starts blocking its damn-fool dog head off.

Fortunately, I was in the home stretch, because on the third or fourth take I managed to time it just right, in-between canine outbursts, and finish it with no barking on the track.

Still, would have liked to do one more quick track. But the dogs would not shut up. So I biked downtown and back -- and the fuckers were still barking when I got home. I think they barked for two hours straight. Never did figure out what the hell pissed them off. If anything.

Important thing was I got two auditions done. Not as many as I'd have liked, but tomorrow's another day, hopefully without interruptions.

I still love dogs. But man they sure do cramp my style some days.


Two recordings combined by zappovednik: Oddients, performed in Montreal, and Trudgin' Across The Tundra, performed in DC, both in 1972. Not sure what the dirtbikes have to do with any of it but those are some pretty cool (if decidely not tundra) landscapes.

Slow Day

Fiancée stayed home sick today, so I didn't get a chance to record anything.

Dizziness not as bad today; cough/breathing a little worse than when I was taking the full dose of the inhaler, but I'm much more functional so I think I'll probably keep it at a half-dose for now.

Puttered around today. Applied for a few jobs, took care of my lady, worked out, read a bit of Little Brother since Doctorow's signing Homeland at Changing Hands on Sunday and I'm thinking about going. Worked on my Wii homebrew configuration a bit; I haven't gotten my replacement lens in yet but now I've set it up so I can play backups from an external hard drive or SDHC card. (Speaking of, it looks like Sony's trying to get rid of a bunch of inventory; the local Fry's has 16GB cards for $9 and I've seen similar deals online, too.) Seemed like an appropriately Little Brother-y thing to do, though I'm still hoping I can get my Wii fixed up to just play my discs.

It's the Law/Bacon Fat

Lead vocals are pretty muffled, unfortunately, but still interesting for a listen.

Fullerton, 1968. Uploaded by johnny576375.


I mentioned recently that I've got COBRA coverage sort-of worked out and took a trip to the pulmonologist last week so I could renew some prescriptions.

I went back on an inhaler, a nasal spray, and a pill that I'd gone off a couple of years ago.

The relief was immediate. What took a couple days was the reminder of why I'd gone off them.

Some combination of my meds makes me dizzy. It's a sort of constant, mild-to-moderate discomfort. It affects my balance and coordination; I bump into doorways. And it makes it hard for me to concentrate. I feel slow and sluggish -- like I'm, well, drugged.

I'm not sure if it's the inhaler, the spray, or both. (It's not the pill because I forgot to take it a couple times and still got the symptoms.) But the dizziness came back.

Today I cut the dosage of my inhaler by half. The dizziness still came, but it didn't seem to last as long. I managed to do 45 minutes on the elliptical machine, though it wasn't entirely comfortable. At least I've got handles to grip to steady myself -- don't know how I'd do on a bike right now.

So I'm not sure if cutting the dosage really helped with the dizziness or not. But my wheezing and coughing seem worse.

Would sure be nice if I could work it out so I don't have to choose between one kind of discomfort and another.

I'll experiment (experiment with drugs!) over the next few days -- try the dosage I've got right now for a couple days and see if there's any cumulative effect; if not, maybe try increasing the inhaler again while halving or stopping the spray. Because I sure do enjoy being able to breathe comfortably, but I'd like to be able to move and think coherently while breathing comfortably.

On the plus side, I got four auditions recorded before my stomach started gurgling too much for me to continue. That's a productive day. Next up: dinner.

Night Flight: Limited Visual Vocabulary

I've noted, on multiple occasions, that Zappa wasn't opposed to music videos in principle, but found them to be a corrosive influence in practice. This clip is a nice, succinct explanation of why: the clichés of MTV are about as far from the surreal madness of 200 Motels as you're going to find.

Seriousness Itself is Something That's to be Laughed At

This is an odd one. Half of it's in Dutch, and Zappa shares a bizarre theory about beer leading to militaristic behavior through yeast growth.

The interview was recorded in 1991 but not broadcast until right before Zappa's death in December 1993. The interviewer is Ivo Niehe and the network is TROS.

Your Average Ordinary Alien: My Second Audiobook

My latest audiobook: Your Average Ordinary Alien, written by Adam Graham. Available from Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

The description, in the author's words:

Kirk Picard Skywalker is an unemployed sci-fi fanatic who dreams of being abducted by aliens from outer space. One day his dreams come through and he's horrified to learn that the aliens are all too ordinary.

It's the story of an unemployed computer scientist and his long-suffering girlfriend -- can't imagine what drew me to it -- and gave me the opportunity to flex some comedy muscles and play three characters plus narrator. It's a fun read, a bit of good-natured but ultimately sympathetic skewering of fanboys, and it made me smile. It's also got a Christian message -- a bit outside my usual, more cynical milieu, I suppose, but "Work hard and be kind to people" is, I think, a sentiment most everybody can get behind.

Be sure and read my previous audiobook post for some notes on Audible DRM. And you can discuss my audiobooks at Brontoforumus.

Crossfire 1989

It's not the epic, classic performance of his 1986 "Fascist Theocracy" interview, but it's a pretty damn great conversation nonetheless: the government shouldn't get to decide what is and isn't art and determine funding based on politicians' personal tastes, and at any rate it's a pretty ridiculous sideshow given what an insignificant portion of the budget funding for the arts actually is.

RAID Project

My grandmother makes home movies on her MacBook Pro.

About three years back she was low on space and got a stack of 500GB LaCie drives. I wanted to arrange them as a software RAID 10 array for a bit of redundancy, but I realized that 4 500GB drives arranged in RAID 10 comes out to only 1TB -- not that much in the scheme of things.

So we ordered 4 2TB drives to swap out.

About this time, I read about software in development by an organization called Ten's Complement. See, Apple had been planning to switch to ZFS as its primary filesystem a few OS releases ago, but the project fell through; its former FS head left and started his own company and was still working on bringing ZFS to Mac. So I figured I'd wait for the imminent release of the product so I could use RAIDZ instead of RAID 10, and not have to give up so much space.

There was delay after delay. Finally the software was released as ZEVO Silver Edition; Gold and Platinum releases were slated for the future. (I guess calling your software Silver, Gold, Platinum is kinda like those pizza places that have Medium, Large, and Extra Large pies.)

But the forecast release dates came and went, with no Gold or Platinum and no word from Ten's Complement.

Months later, there was finally an explanation -- ZEVO had been bought out by Greenbytes -- but still no Gold or Platinum (or even Silver anymore). There was a free-as-in-beer command-line-only Community Edition, and...that was it.

Now, I don't want my grandmother stuck using the command line, but I figured I could use the Community Edition to set up the array on my computer and after that it should run fine on hers.

The problem? The documentation says ZEVO only runs on Macs with 64-bit kernels.

Now, I've got a Mac Pro 1,1. It has 32-bit EFI. To run a 64-bit kernel requires a third-party bootloader.

And I've chronicled my experience with 64-bit OSX already, in October and again a couple weeks ago. tl;dr it boots but it's so unstable as to be useless.

Only this week did it occur to me to check whether my grandmother's computer can run a 64-bit kernel.

It doesn't. So ZEVO looks like a moot point anyway, because God knows I'm not going to subject her to the kind of hoops I've had to jump through to try to get 64-bit Darwin working.

I figure I'll still try it, just in case it works despite being unsupported -- but I'm not holding my breath. Guess it's back to RAID 10 after all. I guess on the plus side, 2TB hard drives haven't gotten any cheaper in the 2 or 3 years these have been sitting unopened waiting for use.

So I went to take a crack at setting up RAID 10 today, and it looks like one of the LaCie power supplies has gone and died on me -- this is not the first time this has happened. So, one more setback while I order a replacement and wait for it to come in.

Too bad the RAIDZ thing hasn't panned out so well. And of course it's a double-edged sword that Apple's as aggressive as it is in discontinuing support for old hardware.

But hopefully I'll finally be able to wrap this thing up sometime next week.