Sun Dec 23 2018 16:59:26 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)
A couple of weeks ago the piston in my stupid home office chair gave out. It would still raise up, but it would slowly lose height after just a few sits... and before I knew it I'd be sitting at the computer typing with my hands up around my neck.
Sure enough, youtube gave some repair tips and I discovered that you could buy replacement cylinders online pretty inexpensively. As with every single repair video online -- it looks easy...right?
Well yeah, in concept, the repair is simple. Turn the chair over, knock the feet/base off the cylinder with a mallet and then wrench out the cylinder from the seat. Easy enough. Here in reality, though, it required pounding the living shit out of the cylinder bottom with a mini sledgehammer to free it from the bottom/feet. Once that as accomplished, the next step was to wrench the cylinder free from the chair seat. Most tutorials call for a pipe wrench, which I apparently do not own. Next up...the large channel locks.
I tried and tried and wrenched and pried. Nothing. Not a budge. It was made worse by the fact that the back of the chair (when laying flat on cement) has two curved supports that rock back and forth. I gave it my all, probably hurt myself in the process, but nothing worked.
It was almost 9pm, so very little chance of easily getting/borrowing a pipe wrench.
Time to get creative. Normally a plumber might use a cheater bar to add some length to the wrench handle to get some bonus leverage. In my case with the channel locks, though, I had two stupid handles to deal with. I searched through the shop and came up with two scrap pieces of steel electrical conduit, slid them over the grips of the channel locks, and made something that looked like this:
(each handle is about 4 feet long)
I had to steady the two curved chair supports, so I put a 2x4 across it, stood/balanced on it, and started cranking as hard as I possibly could on this stupid but maybe stupidly clever monstrosity that I had created. On the 3rd or 4th attempt it actually worked! Once the old cylinder budged a little, it was pretty easy to remove.
The new cylinder was pressure fit into place and the chair works almost like new.
I don't recommend this -- you should always try and use the right tool for the job. But if you don't have the tool or, in some cases, the tool doesn't exist yet...it helps to be creative. And stupid.
Sun Dec 09 2018 21:26:27 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)
So I took a staycation! And this time, it was voluntary!
People are often curious about staycations -- asking "What did you get up to? What did you get done?".
I'm not sure why -- maybe they're just nosy, but maybe it's because I always have so many projects in the air and I talk about my interests all the time? Maybe people just love the idea of a staycation. I dunno.
In any case...for my own fulfillment and sense of GSD, I decided to log some of the high points of my staycation. I feel pretty good about it overall. :)
In no real order:
I made pretty great bánh mì for my home team. We had some pork chops that needed to be utilized, so I ended up marinading them in a lemongrass/fish sauce potion and quick-pickled some carrots and radishes and made sandwiches with the usual bánh mì gear. They turned out super delicious and I think I will never not marinade pork chops.
Hung our xmas lights. Honestly, I probably only actually realize that it's winter and frigging cold when I have to take warm-up breaks during light hanging. Every. Single. Year.
Updated the DEQ/registration on the 20-year old car (and the only car I've owned). Another stupid-yet-necessary yearly ritual. In the interest of staying positive and constant learning, I chatted with the DEQ guy and learned that failing vehicles will emit a code(s?) that vehicle owners then take to mechanics to do adjustments. That sounded awful...and I started pondering this later as I caused our car to emit a squeely sound as I hit the gas hard. Hmmm. #thisisfine
Topped off the wiper fluid in the car. Yup. AMAZING! Not really, but since we park outside under a pine tree we end up using it a lot.
Spent most of Tuesday volunteering with Futel to finish
installing a public free payphone on NE Killingsworth (near 12th).
You should check it out and call your mom (or the operator) and leave voicemail and listen to LPC. It looks like this:
Made a pretty solid beef stew in the InstantPot. Isn't that like the first thing you're supposed to make? Well, meh, I finally did that...and I tossed in a ton of weird/variety mushrooms that I got in a pack. Between the thyme (maybe I used too much?) and the gross-ass-shrooms...I wasn't that into it...but it was hearty. Ok, it was pretty good.
My comic backlog is pretty out of control, so I took some time to get caught up on a few things. Like Prism Stalker (which is amazing and beautiful) and Plastic (which has been sitting waiting for over a year). I don't read that much...but when I do, there are pictures...which I can enjoy while....
LISTENING...to a backlog of sounds. So. Many. Podcasts (and radio shows). And sounds. And music. So much everything, always. After binging on Shit Town I also was stoked on this Negativland Vicki Bennett anniversay thing and some Institute of Spectra-Sonic Sound (which I wish was a snarfable podcast) and this recent :zoviet*france: live set and this radio show that LPC did with Negativland and the new Xiu Xiu video (I was stoked to learn that Thor drummed on the upcoming album) and probably several more things I'm forgetting...
I attended a parent meeting about middle school safety/climate/culture...and sent emails, and read emails, and planned meetings. We also volunteered to walk around the middle school for 20 minutes to serve as recess monitors. While being notably different from elementary school, wasn't too crazy...just more fuckwords and clandestine cellphones. #dadstuff
Got some sweet hot mud drywall repair done in our kitchen and stairs from Ruben Cortez Drywall, who was prompt, reasonable, and kinda excessively (funnily?) chatty.
Attended HH with some friends/colleagues who all got fired from Adidas with me a year ago. Great people, good times, harsh nostalgia. ///
Hung with my cousin and his partner in their new place which is only about 5 minutes by bike! We went late...and I have seriously not laughed that hard in so so many years. This.
We stalked/hunted a wild xmas tree from a parking lot, much like our ancestors. It's a real beauty! At least that's what Stacy's FB feed says.
After 10 years, I finally managed to stitch+sync audio with video for a show that I played on KBOO in May 2008. I got it uploaded to youtube and archive.org and maybe one day I'll finish reworking infiltrationlab.com and host it there too. Big thanks to earfeast (2) for getting a huge/rad 1080p recording before it was reasoanble. :)
It's the holiday season, so in keeping with tradition, I watched Jason Eisner's "Treevenge". Nothing else can ever get me in the xmas spirit like that brutal short film.
Went to a birthday party for my 1-year-old niece, who is frigging adorable. I got to rock her to sleep for a nap and watch her eat cheesecake. What a joy!
I hand-sewed 3 patches on my kitchen apron. It always takes longer than I estimate, and my fingers are always cramped and sore after. It kinda looks like this:
I definitely had a different view/perspective/appreciation of the staycation after being
laid off last year. I haven't been squarely project focused. I pace myself.
I think thoughts and carve a mild trajectory, knowing full well that it's all
subject to change at a moment's notice. I feel like a dad. I celebrate small
victories and enjoy the variety and base excitement where I can find it.
Sat Nov 17 2018 15:55:50 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)
TL;DR - I archived 78 episodes (~150 hours) of a radio show and you can listen to them here.
It was probably 19 years ago that I discovered the FM station WCSB streaming on the internet. It was a special time, those Napster days when the internet still felt like something new...and most people were still on dialup or at best a home DSL connection. 1999 held all kinds of new opportunity to discover exciting things in a newly connected world...like finding an mp3 of a rare/hard-to-find b-side or having your head melted by stumbling into entirely new genres of music.
For me, listening to audio streams on shoutcast/icecast and direct from a few misc sources was a crucial part of that exploration/growth/discovery.
The "Noise Rotation" (sometimes fondly called the "noise rot") on WCSB was a 2-hour block of specialty programming that rotated its DJ/host each week. I have no idea when it started or ended, but I can say that it was alive at least from May 2000 through May 2002. I enjoyed listening to it because I could catch bands that I was familiar with (like Negativland and Foetus, for example) followed by a 40 minute wall of droney noise and shit that I'd never heard of. The freeform nature of the programming was really inspiring, and completely different from the college station I volunteered with. It seemed like they could get away with anything!
These days, many radio stations keep archives of their shows, and you can listen to them on your own time. Hell, some shows are just podcasts now that happen to also be broadcast on the FM band and the internet at certain times. But back then, storing and indexing and making a nonstop rotating archive of material was rarely feasible. Also, storage was expensive (a 20GB hard drive might have set you back about $120). For me, I just wanted to listen to shows on my own schedule...so I began recording.
I'm sure that I had a cron job set up to just begin recording the cbr stream and dump the output to a file (probably using wget or curl). Due to the somewhat chaotic nature of college/community radio and computer time drift, I started recording a few minutes before and let it run a few minutes late. Even then, I'm sure that I missed content.
I blogged about the Noise Rotation back in early 2001 and hadn't thought much about it since. At that time, I was excited to have edited down 24 hours of material by trimming and removing ads/commercials. I'd listen to a show every few years, but mostly since access to everything is so plentiful and the quality is greater, I didn't revisit it much.
I'm pretty sure that I stopped recording the show in May 2002 when we moved back to Oregon and just never set it back up.
This year I found the recordings again and decided that enough time had passed that others might now find them useful/fun/important/historical. I spent many many nights trimming the rest of the episodes and normalizing/preparing them for upload. I decided that in the interest of historical preservation and to expedite editing, that I would not remove any host chatter and I would leave all the station IDs and event announcements and disclaimers in place. I removed dead air a few times though. :)
In the process of working the recordings, there were a few interesting times...like the time where the prior (blues?) show just continued because the Noise Rot person didn't ever show up. I'm pretty sure daylight savings bit me on a couple of the recordings, and one of the hosts just talked more than he played music. I think the station went off-air at least one time as well.
The final result wasn't that much data by today's standards (only about 1.6GB), but I couldn't imagine creating each item by hand using the web interface on archive.org. Luckily, tools exist to help with this stuff, so I hacked up a script to help automate things. The first attempt at upload/archive failed after about 3 or 4 files due to automated spam throtting...but a quick email to a support admin at archive.org fixed things up and I was able to complete the process the next day.
I ended up having 78 usable recordings, which comprise about 157 hours of noise. Click here to enjoy or just click the logo above.
Tue Oct 23 2018 18:56:44 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Fri Jul 13 2018 21:30:30 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
We've been back in pdx for about 16 years and I had not yet made it out to the Witch's Castle in Forest Park.
So I decided to do that on Monday.
I can't really say that I recommend it on a road bike, but it was mostly fine. I couldn't ride about half the trail, due to the rocky/steep/slippery/muddy nature of a trail in a park...but it was quite ok early on a Monday morning. Only passed about two other people on the trail (one hiker, one jogger).
The trail dumps you out on Cornell, and then you get to take the lane and bomb maybe 2 miles downhill, including 2 tunnels. I didn't know the area that well, so I was fully clenched and expecting to fall/die.
My device said I hit 40MPH. It was insane and also fun as hell...
Tue Jan 02 2018 09:45:00 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)
A new year, and a new incarnation of noisybox.net.
I've been wanting to do a rewrite for quite some time...probably over a year. The maintenance on the pyramid site was just crufty and I let it stagnate. I was also never happy with the custom css junk I hacked togehter, and the site was never very mobile friendly. Well, frankly, I think it looked terrible on mobile...and I wanted to change that.
After a couple of weeks of evaluating several popular static site generators, including jekyll, hexo, and hugo, I decided that none of them would work well for my needs. Granted, they are all fine projects and people have done and continue to do a stellar job of supporting and enhancing them...but in most cases they quickly began to feel limiting. In some cases, they feel frameworky and require the user to learn their internals in order to get nonstandard things accomplished. In other cases, the tools assume (or mandate) a specific way of working, likely based on assumptions.
In the case of jekyll, I think I added a paging blogs plugin and performance just absolutely cratered. Like by a factor of 10x or something. I dunno about you, but waiting 20+ seconds to verify a small content change sure isn't fun -- it's debilitating.
I had some high hopes for hugo. It was enjoyable to get started with and the performance definitely has that Go wow factor! I was a very bummed at how difficult it was to make small layout/theme changes...they have a ways to go there!
I really should have done a better job of documenting the pros and cons of each one, since I really did do a pretty in-depth evaluation of them...but alas, weeks have passed now and I didn't write things down and it's no longer fresh...and I no longer feel like revisiting them. So many other things to do.
As a result, I decided to write my own static site generator: prepply.
Maybe it's stupid to do such a thing, and perhaps nobody else will ever see value in it, since there are thriving communities around the existing tools. And I'm fine with that! But I also host it on github in case somebody else can learn from it or help to improve it or whatever.
Like so many personal projects, it's merely a first effort and is hacky and without tests. Shameful, I know. But I'm still pretty happy with how it turned out and remain excited about the idea of static site generation. You know...because everything old is new again. Or something. Maybe we didn't learn from the past. :)