New Laptop

I forgot to mention that this weekend I also got a new laptop. We found an Acer Aspire 5600 on a pretty good discount at Circuit City. Not a place I normally shop, but this time the experience was actually pretty good. Not that they had the laptop on display anywhere, nor did anyone attempt to help us, but the check out guy was really friendly. I realize I have set the lowest possible bar for that store, but I was still pleasantly surprised when they managed to meet it.

It’s a 1.6Ghz Core 2 Duo with 2GB of ram. The main reason I went with Acer is that all the parts are fairly generic intel parts and so they should in theory work well with linux. Shockingly enough when I installed Ubuntu (Gutsy Gibbon) everything came up properly. I was able to scan wireless networks and connect to my father’s WPA encrypted one without editing a single configuration file. Everything came up perfectly with no futzing with the exception of the multimedia hotkeys and the built in webcam.

The webcam was just a matter of finding the right driver (uvcdriver) and software (luvcview). I did have to build a kernel module and setup some options for it, but c’mon that’s small potatoes. Oh, and I had to turn off 3d effects temporarily or the program would crash. But let’s be honest, I was just being obsessive. The chance of me actually using a webcam frequently is pretty slim.

The hotkeys required a separate kernel module acerhk. I ran it with the options ‘force_series=6000 probe=0 verbose=4’ and everything worked great.

While that might seem like a lot of work in 2 days I’ve managed to get a linux laptop fully functioning. I had my last one for 3 years and it often wouldn’t let me connect to wireless networks which I think is a major problem. I could never use a GUI with my networking, I was constantly editing files and bringing up and down services. No more. It’s wonderful. I feel like I could actually hand this laptop to a non-technical user and they’d have no trouble with it. Plus it has cool 3d effects when I shuffle windows around.

All in all, I’m really happy with it. It’s speedy, has a wide screen and I LOVE not having to muck around with wireless.

Tonight I go to help Ashly and Tarv install fans. Julie and Stella are coming along so it promises to be exciting. Wish me luck.

Update All At Once


I have when I haven’t written in a while and I have to catchup. It makes me not want to write until I can address everything adequately, which is ridiculous and quite frankly simply a way to procrastinate. In any case, let’s just start:


My parent’s neighborhood is riddled with wildlife. I’m loving it. My first day running on the trail in their neighborhood I ran into a doe and a fawn hanging out by the side of the trail. The next day I ran into them again, and two more deer by the retaining pond. Yesterday I ran into a full blown convocation of deer. I split up their meeting and they took off running. I’ve seen deer run before, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen how fast they move when being chased. I was essentially chasing one of them (as she was running the same way I was), and it was like lightening, easily twice as fast as I normally see them running, and I thought that was plenty fast.

Last week Julie and I went on a walk and counted 15 frogs. Nothing important there. I just like frogs. I like to look at them. I like the fact they eat bugs.


We went to Houston this weekend. It was fun. We stayed with Julie’s parent’s and got to see her brother and friend Sarah. Unfortunately, I managed to develop some fairly severe lower back pain on Saturday morning. I’ve been really careful to lift Stella with my knees so I really haven’t had any issues with her, but I bent over to pickup a shoe and my back just started screaming with pain. I’d forgotten that I used to have a lot of back pain before we got our Sleep Number bed (you’d sound like a walking advertisement too if you hadn’t had any back pain at all since you bought a product). I guess too many strange beds finally took it out on my back. I was on my back for Saturday morning, and I was able to wander around by the afternoon, and mostly better by evening. I’m not a good patient. As of today it’s mostly gone away, but lifting Stella to change her diaper yesterday morning had me almost screaming in pain. Unfortunately, when she’s completely out sleeping there’s no way to get her our of her crib other than lifting with my back.

Saturday night we got out and saw Stardust, which I really enjoyed. Really imaginative. I’ve been in a fantasy frame of mind lately so this was nice to see. Makes me want to go to the library and get more Neil Gamin books. Beowolf looks ridiculous though. I had no clue why anyone would want to make a movie out of that story, and the trailer makes it look worse than possible. Speaking of trailers we saw the one for “The Dark is Rising”. Oh, I’m sorry, “The Seer – The Dark is Rising”. They look to have horribly destroyed one of my favorite books. The main character is an American kid, and the whole tone is wrong. The book took place in the dead of winter, and all events seem to occur at dusk or during the night. The preview looked like some sort of European travelogue. It’s pretty obvious that Hollywood is going to turn off the American public to fantasy movies again by doing poor adaptations that rely on even worse special effects. Seriously, this was even a problem with Stardust. They kept having the camera fly around poorly rendered scenery that looked like something out of a video game circa 1999. Hopefully they’ll get a few more like Stardust made before they stop making fantasy movies for another 20 years.

We had lunch with my family on Sunday.

The House

We signed our paperwork to sell the house on Friday, but it still hasn’t funded. We make $45 every day they don’t fund, so it’s not a horrible problem, other than being terribly inconvenient. We think they’ll get it by the end of the day today. At one point today they had sent us about $2k. Because you can buy a house for that.


Is there anything else I’m forgetting? I don’t think much. Stella’s really become a little girl. She runs everywhere now. No more walking. She’s always ahead of me waiting for me to catchup. We had a lot of fun alone last night (Granddaddy and Baba at Church, Julie at ACOT meeting). She did slip and fall in the bathtub though. Because those sort of things only happen when you’re alone. Nothing bad happened, and she didn’t even really cry, just sat there looking stunned. Then she immediately tried to stand up in the bathtub again. Strong willed that girl.

The Bus

These people are back on my bus, but they really don’t look well and aren’t moving well.


Ok that’s it. Not literary, but up to date, and I can go back to writing single topic blog posts.

Stella Dancing

This was on Julie’s blog too, but I thought I’d post it over here for people who don’t read her blog:

She was having so much fun dancing. She also seems to understand the concept of a set break, because she threw a fit when we took her away in between acts. She seemed to intrinsically know that there was more music coming up that we were taking her away from. Baby loves to dance!

I need Ikea Catalog!

So, I’m all like IMing the J-dog and stuff, and she’s like – Ashley said that the Ikea catalog came free in the paper, and she didn’t tell us. And I’m all like, “oh no she didn’t!”, and j-dog’s like, “Yeah. Yeah she did.” And, I’m all like, “If that stinky uncreative bitch thinks she’s somehow going to out decorate us, just ’cause she got the ikea catalog early then she doesn’t know her HGTV from her DIY network. We are the conquerors of compressed particle board! The lords of Lack! The bards of Billy! We are the modern furniture masters!” And j-dog’s like, “Yeah.” Bring your best designs Ashley. We can take totally take your ass!

Jens Lekman

Ian’s radio station(a damn fine radio station btw, boy has taste in music) on turned me onto Jens Lekman. It kind of reminds me of a cross between Morrissey and Stephen Merritt with the questionable language skills of a Scandinavian. I especially like this song.

You Are The Light (by which I travel into this and that)

Also this one for reasons of my wifes name:


Speaking of Stephen Merritt. Did you hear he’s writing a musical based on Coraline?

The People in my Neighborhood

I ride the bus with a couple every morning. The both appear to be in their fifties or sixties. The man is tall and reedy. He is mostly vacant when he enters the bus. He often leaves with a long string of spittle hanging from his lips. His wife (I assume) follows him. She looks healthier, but with a short cut afro. She looks as though the idea of thinking about her hair is more than she can take. And she helps her husband on the bus every day, and they get off at the same stop every day.

Today they had to lower the bus for her to get on (we have “kneeling” buses with hydrolics, so the bus can get closer to the curb, and thus be easier to enter).She walked up the aisle slowly. Her husband helping her along. They got off the bus slower, and I saw my fellow bus riders faces as we rode away. Every face was drawn. Had a look of concern. How will they get along if one of them gets sick?

While we may not know them they are our neighbors. They are part of our everyday routine. Their presence enriches our day, and if they weren’t on our bus anymore they would be sorely missed. This is what I don’t miss about commuting. I have no community with the drivers on the road. I may not know the people on the bus, but they are part of my day, and I part of theirs. And I think we’re all the better for it.

You’re Guilty (but you’re also the solution)

I was reading Kelli’s post on her new food blog. One thing that struck out at me is when she says:

I feel guilty when I read about people who do more than I do

But ultimately you can only do what you can do. I find there are so many people who especially when it comes to nutrition or the environment will have someone point out how much more they could be doing, and it just knocks the wind out of their sails and they stop doing anything at all. I feel like this has become a powerful tactic that originated in our political discourse and is now used constantly. We feel if we can knock out one pillar of a persons argument then there is no value to the entire argument, and they give up completely.

Recently a bunch of Global Warming deniers got very excited because they found a lot of errors in NASA’s climate change data. And those errors when corrected did change the overall picture a little bit. The problem is that a lot of people heard, “NASA’s made mistakes so there’s really no global warming”. Which wasn’t the case. It made a difference in overall severity, but not whether the problem existed in the first place. And I feel like our culture has become like that. Anyone trying to do good is a large inflatable balloon just waiting for someone to walk by with a pin.

And so I try to keep plugging along and not get discouraged. And I try to keep an open mind to change. There might not be global warming. It’s certainly possible. But that won’t change the fact that using reusable shopping bags is good whether there’s global warming, cooling, or we get invaded by green men from mars. And sometimes we get discouraged because we forget the bags. And sometimes we use disposable diapers with Stella. But you have to take the long view, and realize that every plastic bag taken is one less plastic bag, and every disposable diaper not used is one less disposable diaper. And just because we haven’t become saints, doesn’t mean we’re no good.

Links and Calories

You know, I’m always dismayed by the quality of my blog posts. With my plays I generally am quite happy with what I write, but I know my blog posts aren’t the most interesting thing on the planet, and that makes me think that perhaps I’m a bad writer.

But I take heart from Neil Gamin’s blog. He’s an exceptional writer, but he doesn’t write Oscar Wilde-esque posts. I’m envious of people who can do that. Who can write succinctly and wow you day after day with their humor, warmth and profundity (Dutch, I’m looking at you). Maybe being a good writer doesn’t mean that I have to be good at writing everything.


I think I might have gotten comments working so that you guys having problems can actual hit the submit button. Feel free to email me if it still doesn’t work.