Archive for the technology Category

And Then I Returned It.

Posted in colorado, how to, review, technology, work with tags , , , , , on July 14, 2011 by tymora42

The STIHL 171 was too heavy and did not have much in the way of vibration control so I returned it and put in the order for the 192 CE. This is not to be confused with the 192T CE. The T is an arborist’s saw designed to cut limbs from treetops and in confined spaces. It has a top handle trigger for you to operate it with one hand, but in the carving world it is less wieldly than a two handed rear trigger. They are basically the same saw with different trigger controls. One site said the T is the worst saw to loan out because people are always trying to use it one handed without much experience and end up losing arms and legs in the process. The 192 model is lightweight with intense vibration control. It was always my first choice but because most dealers do not carry it – I went with the 171. Stupid mistake. Go with your gut. It will take a little while to get it in the store for me. Of course, I have waited 3 years thus far, I can wait a week or two longer.

So, I Bought a Chainsaw Today

Posted in adventure, colorado, how to, technology, Uncategorized, work with tags , , , , , , on July 13, 2011 by tymora42

This was not an impulse decision. I have been working with an 18″ Echo for the past 5 years chopping logs into firewood, cutting down dead trees, and clearing slash from the fallen. 3 of those I have been interested in the prospect of chainsaw carving. Still a bit timid toward the monetary embarkment of a new artistic skill, I researched the topic to death until I finally said, “This summer I am going to get me one.”

Normally saws come with a 3/8 chain on a regular bar that looks like a fish. Detailed carvings require a 1/4 chain on a bar that tapers almost to a point. To change that bar and chain requires a sprocket with a 1/4″ pitch. Not all chainsaws can be modified in that way. Eventually I decided on a STIHL model 171 because there is a STIHL certified shop in Durango and it was the least expensive for what I was doing. Originally I wanted the 192 CE arborist saw simply for the weight of it, but the top handle trigger made it difficult to maneuver. You can get them in the rear trigger for about fifty bucks more. This made the 171 over a hundred dollars cheaper for the sacrifice of a little more than 3 pounds.

Now I have two saws. Three if you count the outdated Craftsman with the equally outdated and broken oil pump. Outdated in this realm means finding a replacement part is next to impossible even with the vast resources of the all powerful internet. The Craftsman is still usable. You just have to keep manually lubing up the bar and chain after every few cuts or so.

The first two recommended projects are an eagle and a mushroom. The eagle allegedly teaches you every basic cut you would do with a carving saw. The mushroom is designed to be easy, quick, and repetitive practice without a schematic. Everyone knows what a mushroom looks like, right? There are a lot of stumps leftover from thinning the forest this summer. I have a feeling they will all become mushrooms.

Well, gotta go. I got logs to cut.

Past, Present, and Speculation of the Future of Writing Technologies

Posted in blog, books, essay, technology, work, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2011 by tymora42

Writers Block by miss pupik

Standing outside for a breath before testing a writing program I am not familiar with recalls those writers who have come before with their limited technologies. I take a moment to daydream on the process of constructing novels, plays, screenplays, and even short stories in the time previous to the word processor. How easy it is for us in this new century? How easy will it become? It is no wonder why the once elite market has exploded in a variety of those dedicating their life to the craft of being a writer.

My first retrospective goes to the typewriter, the tapping out of solid words onto the page. The immediate editing process of Microsoft Word, simply hitting the delete key over the highlighted section and reconstructing the previous thought to closer perfection as the writer intends it, could not even be considered to such technology. Even when the liquid papering function was installed in the machine, it could only perform menially, a letter at a time, a punctuation mark, at most a whole word at a time, never a full sentence. Only years before this they would have to spool up the page, apply the whitener, and let it dry before they could continue the thought. Before this they would have to key the whole page over and over. Once the first draft of those thoughts were finally smashed onto paper, the real editing began. Sentences and sometimes whole paragraphs, cut and pasted into different locations of the document, are circled and arrowed with pen knowing that the entire piece must be retyped again and again until it is correct. Obsessive Compulsive editors like myself would never have made it without superior discipline. This is where the admiration of greats like Thomas Pynchon, where every word and placement has significance, must be recognized. And those like Stephen King creating volumes of work with such immensity. It is no wonder he hates the abridgment of them when every revision of a thousand page volume needs retyping after each editing. I can see the dry portion of those novels being the result of the editor self proclaiming pages as worthy for the sole reason of decreasing the workload. Did Steinbeck own a typewriter in the early years? Could he afford new ribbons and paper? This must be why Of Mice and Men is so short. What of Mellville? Jane Austen? Did they pen their works initially before consigning them to typed manuscripts? Were the walls of their rooms covered in index cards with brief character biographies, plot devices, scenery descriptions pinned into the drywall with threads of yarn connecting them to black and white photographs and illustrations like a detective movie?

Shakespeare did not have a typewriter. He jumps further backward in time to the days of quills on parchment. Notes of scratches and older versions of Midsummer Night Dream have yet to be recovered by English archaeologists. Like the zen quote about the river, one can never see the same play twice. It is constantly being rewritten as it is being performed. Lines drop. Actors ad lib. Blocking and scenery is constantly in flux to the whim of the players on stage. Surely their was a stable copy at the start and a final after the run. And I have to picture them learning their lines. Did Willie stand before them in the empty Globe Theatre running through his mix and garble of word from memory expecting them to regurgitate it after a single once over? I would like to have seen his one man show describing the first act with all of the characters and blocking and details of the scenery and pit it against the closing night for consistency. No, to construct a single line with a quill would take considerable thought before the ink every touched the surface. Taking in the scenario of a poet lingering over the page for hours on end before scribbling out a word or two gives credence to the thought that writers were lazy.

Before Email by vas0707

Now, the future is here and their will be more future tomorrow. We print one copy and xerox the rest of our novels in multiples for out writing groups to peruse. We edit. We print more. Ink is cheap and paper grows on trees. We post them on Trigger Street and The Red Room and Smashwords for user to (hopefully) read and comment. We post blogs. We podcast. We delete whole sentences at a time. We reorder paragraphs. The tacks have been removed from the walls of our study. The index cards are filed away in drawers where we can wonder what they were ever used for in the first place. Final Draft and Scrivener and Celtx organize the bodies onto virtual corkboards and sticky notes. Characters have tabs for their biographies with images and research encompassed in quick click of a button reference. We hardly even have to type anymore if we do not want. We can tell the story into a microphone and DragonNaturallySpeaking (dragonspeak) will convert the dialogue into text. Windows Journal and similar programs type out scanned handwritten documents for you.

The next great leap in writer evolution that will flood the market over the walls of the dam will be the invention of thought to text. From there it will be a short stroll into the conversion of dreams into movies. Pioneers will consume hallucinogenic drugs to record their experiences. A new Hunter Thompson will arise. Loving or being hated by a writer, if we can still call them writers, will have further consequences than they already have when they are hooked up to these experiential machines transcribing their emotions into novels.

Whole stories will be constructed in the blink of an eye, as fast as one can think them up. Is this what they thought about the video camera? We have come so far from the day when the Guttenberg Press made the scribe monk obsolete. From the days when the ancients chiseled letters into stones. Imagine the editing process of that form. We stepped over the home typesetting invention of the QWERTY keyboard, designed to be less functional than the Dvorak because the speedy keys kept sticking, to the digital manifestation of the word processor. We are now in the age of the work specific visual writing program. As much as the imaginative can prophesize, only the future can tell where we will go next. Who knows? Maybe there will be someone in the distance looking back at you for your contribution to the world and he will say, “And they had to actually write it all by hand.”

remembering southmorehouse

Posted in band, bar, beer, blog, family, houston, life, love, music, passage, performance, review, southmorehouse, technology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2010 by tymora42

southmorehouse logo

Tooling around on the social networks that will remain nameless I saw a post onto a friend, the poet / musician Aaron Trumm’s wall (this may be a better link to him) from a guy I knew back in the southmorehouse days, Alex Wukman, another poet that frequented the community. He commented from his mobile on watching Marie Brown, a Houston slam poet, performing at Inprint! , probably for slam nationals, and remarked how great she was. “When Ruby do hair, Ruby do hair right!” I can remember her starting the rhythm. Alex said he almost forgot how good it was. So did I.

southmorehouse was an avante garde art space, sometimes called a venue, sometimes a gallery, sometimes a commune. Overall it was a loose knit community of outsider artists in many genres. As quoted from a lighter bearing the logo that I pocketed one night, it was a “home for the functionally insane.” The best summary of its existence from beginning to end was written by Buffalo Sean’s Art Blog. Sean would know. In the early days he would pass out drunk on the sidewalk and we would spray paint a chalk outline around him. In the later days he would pass out drunk and we would spray paint a chalk outline around him. Although the location changed, the outlines remained. After 7 years Sean had spray paint outlines of his body all over the city.

I snooped around Alex’s profile not sure if I should send him a friend request. We knew each other. I remembered him. Self doubt crept in and asked if I really thought he remembered me when I saw a link on his favorite movies, “Southmore House: the Rise and Fall.” Edd McCoy, president of the community in the last of its days and art coordinator for the three years prior, told me of a rumor he heard that this was being created. We both thought it was pretty bold for any movie to be made about the venue without consulting either of us. Now that I saw the title “Rise and Fall” it was downright shocking.

After I got over the elation of somebody actually wanting to make a movie about this piece of time that played a major part in my life, I began to notice discrepancies that unsettled me. The first was the separation of “southmore” and “house.” The second was that they capitalized it. Not being much for capitals I tried my hardest to make the lower case clear to the people who made the flyers, but they were making flyers so i was happy enough about that. One thing that did come across eventually was the lack of separations. Evidently not to these guys.

The next, and the biggest, was the lack of the logo anywhere on the page. That logo was a branded symbol encompassing the spirit of the (dis)organization. One part anarchist’s circled A, another part the chaotic randomness within the order of pi, a house with a swooping roof and arched doorway like the original when it was on Southmore street, simple enough to be drawn quickly with a paint can, encouraged to be done on as many occasions as would arise, yet flamboyant enough to be penciled with care and stenciled over with a sharpie there was never a set graphic style to the logo. It was made for everyone to use. It was trademarked and copyright free. But I still never saw it anywhere on their profile page.

So, I looked harder and realized from the photos and videos and comments posted that these were all the kids from the post founder days. These were the attendees that took it over after 2005 when it turned its focus to the hardcore scene. One friend that I do keep in touch with must have seen the “Tyson Moore likes Southmore House: the Rise and Fall” post on my page and went to check it out while I was still perusing for the logo. He seconded the comment Alex made about not focusing just on the music. Alex mentioned the poets. Doug Shields, an event coordinator at southmore, really jump started the slam scene in Houston at the space. Another guy brought up the theatrical production of “The High Elves Christmas Play” hinting at the other stage presentation offered in the pre mid decade years. Rob, the aforementioned friend, said he had the best birthday of his life there. He had pictures to prove it. Was that the night when Organ Failure from Super Happy Funland played Robot Parade and Muff of Amish Acid Dealer knocked over the cabinet? We could not get the smell of vinegar and mustard out of the floors no matter how much Terry, Wendell, and Guido tried. Yes, in case you were wondering, that is what that smell was. Armpits, ass, and vinegar. Maybe a little corn syrup dried up and leftover from the Halloween Blood Bath party. The good ole days.

These memories made me seek out pictures, videos, blogs, whatever would show up in the first couple of google pages. This was problematic. The version of the house that will be remembered by people who do not read will be the latter years when it ended. In 2000 when it started we were on the edge of social technology. Digital camera were astronomically expensive. You can imagine how much streaming web cams cost. You were lucky if your cell phone had color much less the ability to take images or, god forbid, video. Facebook had not even been invented yet. The documentary had 400 friends. I can only imagine how many friends the actual place would have had. For better or worse we touched many lives. If you go to the place our website used to be, southmorehouse.com, somebody bought it up and is selling painting on it.

My next favorite summary was from Loop Scoop in a nostalgic look back on Houston in honor of their 200th post. “#83: the southmorehouse for being whatever it wanted it to be.”

So, I ask you who find this to tell me in the comments about your favorite show at southmorehouse. Make it as long as you want. Put it on your blog and provide a link for us. If you were involved in any way, put a link to yourself. Tell us what you did. Tell us what you are doing. Post those rare pictures and video. Especially the pre 2005 days.

Thanks to everyone who made up southmorehouse. You were the best.

The Whole Picture

Posted in computer, death, life, photography, technology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2010 by tymora42

Funny thing about working with digital media compared to tactile media (is that the name for it?) is the ability for it to be irretrievably lost to the binary gods as opposed to simply plucking it from the waste paper basket, smoothing out the crumples, and recopying the important bits with a physical reference right at your side. The delete option only goes so far as to send it into oblivion. It is like scratching it out, drawing a single line through a bit of text, or smudging the pencil lines around with a rubber eraser. There is enough of a remnant still there to bring it back whole or in part with the undo function. Even sending it to the trash is completely salvageable unless you are an anal recycler like myself. It is soooo easy, though. Too easy. Even easier once you learn all the quick keys instead of dragging and dropping like the predigitites.

A laptop is like a portable desk hence, the name “desktop.” File folders are like the drawers with little subfolders inside of each. A computer is a well oiled machine in the department of organization. So, I was cleaning out my drawers the other day. they had become cluttered as they tend to do. I was going to clear the surfaces and give the silver mahogany surface of my Mac Powerbook a good shine. Somewhere along the way I would have probably found a new placemat backdrop for the screen from my photo albums. With 30 gig worth of photoshops and vacations and walking around town with my Christmas special Olympus Toughshots and whatnot from the last two or three years, I figured they were the first drawer to start the weeding out process. My music drawer was done at the end of spring after a hundred gig trade with a buddy down the street. My documents are regular enough given the tiny size needed for storing predominately text based items. The website content was not really anything I wished to tackle at that particular moment. The iPhoto library it was to be.

First, I scanned the contents and felt assured that a portion of those files were already stored in the closet. After plugging in my photo/music closet (external hard drive) I briefly looked at the shelves of years past, taking mental note what was and was not included among them. Remembering a mishap that always occurs during severe cleaning, all of my photos were duplicated and triplicated from the initial transfer to the external because of that rascally “import to iPhoto” command. Of course I hit “import the whole damn friggin library” and it took it as literal as computers will, importing everything from “originals” to “modified” to the thumbnail data. I was not about to do that all over again. I learned how to control+select and “open package contents” and pick and choose what should stay and what should go. Then it is all a matter of option+deleting from the iPhoto window.

In my finder window under the Pictures drawer I had a series of years from 2000-2007 above the iPhoto Library icon. They were of Disneyland, The Alice in Wonderland Frye’s in CA, the trip Zombie Spiderman took to Universal Studios, all stuff I had brought copies out of the closet and worked on previously, but never removed. One by one I previewed and compared to those stored in the closet. All there. All accounted for. All the same version. Option+Delete. Option+Delete. Straight to the trash. Well, I option+deleted one too many times. I might have even used the select then shift+select to grab a whole bunch to option+delete in one big go. Whatever it was I did not notice until holding the select button over the trashcan in my dock until the command window popped up and telling it to empty, which is the same as recycling to all of you PC users.

The little box that tells you what’s going on started configuring. It said 124, then 256, then 592, which is about where I thought it should have stopped but it didn’t. It doubled. I figured these were the thumbnails. It tripled. The modified versions. When it hit 10, 000 I started to get really worried. It was too late.

After realizing my mistake I did what any 21st century man would do. I shouted a string of obscenities, threw around no-tech objects that could take a good pummeling, beat my sticks and clubs against the cave wall, slept on it, played a violent video game, then posted my woes on Facebook and Twitter. The responses for recovery programs flooded in from friends and spammers. I decided to check a few of them out. Maybe there was a chance. Not having another computer hooked online nor a hundred bucks to spend after the free trial, this process for free software ate away at the memory used to store these recycled documents in digital limbo. When I found what I was looking for it took two or three trial runs with it to come up with more useless crap to further disintegrate the photos into uselessness.

Finally, I was on my way. It took a day and a half for the program to sift through my garbage and find every .jpg and .psd still available among the coffee grinds and tomatoe sauce. Yes, I think someone made spaghetti, ate only a bite, and threw the rest away on top of my Hawaii trip. The most successful recoveries were from Moab, which Blake 182 had all of on his Borg Drive, and the two years I spent in Massachusetts from 2005 – 2007, all of which were already saved in their current form in the closet.

I wiped away the noodles from everything else for the next two days, which in the digital sense means getting rid of every website image visited, countless profile pictures stored for easy reference, and trace particle from a disc your buddy might have burned for you that you downloaded. It also means being satisfied with 300×500 pixilation. Only the iPhone camera gave me 1,000. Again though, all of those were already stored on an alternate device. Calling Robert was no help. He had lost the camera containing our adventures. I said my goodbyes to the bulk of Guadalupe, to Galveston, to Engineer mountain, to Boulder Creek Festival, to Zombie Jesus Day, to Christmas in Durango, to Copper Mountain were the South and the East collided, to Glass Beach on Kauai, and whatever else I committed to photographic memory and so consequently forgot. I would name them, but they are already gone like a dream from one wakes and has already had their coffee.

LOST: end found

Posted in blog, technology, television with tags , , , , , , on May 24, 2010 by tymora42

Did all of my questions get answered? No. Is the concept of explaining it all with an afterlife-god-excuse hokey? Yes. But was I satisfied with the end? Yes. For six long years (actually 5 since I came in at the beginning of S2) I have toiled with the rest of the fans waxing and waning philosophically about the island, influencing my friends to watch with the availability of previously on LOST DVDs, been happy about things, disappointed, congregated in silence with a community until the commercial breaks, shushed those few non-addicts that found their way into our living rooms with their questions that would take a hundred episodes to explain if there was any explanation at all, found good conversations at bars and work about it that had nothing to do with sports, and thought on more than one occasion “That episode did not tell me anything,” until four episodes later when I realized the subtle nuances had serious impacts upon the plot. Overall I was completely satisfied with the finale despite the hokiness of the concept. The pure science types are going to hate it. Those who appreciate the archetypical journey of a hero in a spiritual walkabout will be content.

In our current group I could tell who was going to hate it as soon as Christian Shepherd asked why his son was there. No sooner than Jack closed his eyes did the two scientists shout, “That was crap!” It was almost in unison. One is a physicist at NIST. The other is a research biologist. One of these two are the reason I had to stop watching Fringe. The boyfriend of the other said he was not happy about it either, but I know the truth. He has to agree with her for the sake of the relationship. He gave me a knuckle bump of proof to confirm this supposition when I quietly confronted the allegation of his dislike in a whispered corner of the room during a chaos of everybody leaving commotion. He builds scientific equipment with huge machines. Everyone else appreciated it in direct correlation to their ability to suspend disbelief. Mine is very high. I am just glad the girl who kept asking why they all looked like they stepped off a runway (of the model sort not the flying contraption) left early. If she could not get past that, I do not know how she would have ever handled the end.

As much as we liked the other characters more than Jack, the central story does revolve around him. It is his journey. The only conclusion we needed was his redemption. Locke says it best when he says, “You were the obvious choice.” He was. He is. He did, redeem himself that is. I guess Kate did also, my least favorite, and the immediate support role for the hero. Now, about that ‘heaven’ bit. What? I wanted the alternate reality to be real. I am okay with alternate realities as long as they do not become the main timeline that the audience has been following for the bulk of the series. This is the problem I had with the new Star Trek remake. I absolutely hate the waking up from a dream scenario. It worked for Newhart only because it did not matter. Those bug the hell out of me. They are copouts. When the first episode of the last season aired I almost turned it off at the onset of the first commercial break, sold all of my LOST merchandise, found a soapbox, and stood on it in the middle of the city proselytizing my feeling of being ripped off by the networks. Thankfully, I sat under the glow of my television in shock through the product advertisements for cars or whatever, unthinkingly absorbing them subliminally and projecting a negative appetite towards specific types of dishwashing fluid forever without really ever knowing why, until they return with the castaways still on the island. This is when I said, “Thank God.” Little did I know how correct this was for the current direction of the show.

So the bomb never went off? Or it did, but it did not destroy the island? Then, what did Juliette mean when she said it worked? What worked? I still have questions. I expected this. Anyone who did not expect this fooled themselves. Anyone who did not expect a supernatural, larger than life, beyond death, divine intervention ending fooled himself or herself also. Quantum Leap had to do it and you liked that. When they make the spinoff of Hurley and Ben chumming it around in the jungle protecting the light with trusty advisors like Michael and the other dead people cameos brought to you by Hugo’s special gift, I will watch. I will even watch if Hurley pulls a true Jacob style gathering of candidates to keep the series going when he goes, meanwhile crossing paths with the returned survivors so we can see where their life has gone before the big death and constructed afterlife. What if my important moments in life have nothing to do with yours? Do you still get to be in it? Do I get to be in yours? Is my mom in yours if you are in mine? Next on LOST.

One Step Over the Line

Posted in beer, blog, computer, life, technology with tags , , , , , , , on July 26, 2009 by tymora42

I talked about bringing a book to the bar. That was okay. Enjoyable, even. Non threatening. Antisocial? Yes. But not over the top. Now, I am sitting in Bayfield’s Steamworks Brewery with a computer. Too much? Yes. Why? Because there are no coffee shops open after 2pm on a Saturday and this is where I came instead of Durango. A couple friends are driving up from Houston with my canoe. I came into town early to meet up with them and bring them the rest of the way home. What was I supposed to do while waiting? Well, I figured, I will just bring my computer to finish tapping out the 3rd part  to the Daudi Travels series. They have a really nice place in town called the Mill Street Brew, coffee brew not beer. They serve beer also, but it is safe for the electronics because they serve a nice hot cup of java too. Not today, though. They close early on the weekends. They close early every night except Thursday and Tuesday.

The good news is that it is pouring down rain. That will fill up the rivers.