Backgrounds at work and play.

So I've been customizing my desktops to optomize my productivity and my enjoyment of the computing experience.

This is valuable at home, because I want to feel like the computer is 'mine', and valuable at work, because a Patrick with eyecandy is a Patrick who is not as easily reminded that he sold out to the soul-sucking, money-wasting, all-forms-in-triplicate MAN.

With that in mind, I've acquired some backgrounds. The image above is my 'home' background. It's pretty, elegant, and simple, it draws your eye to all the right places without distracting when you need to get work done, and it stretches across my new 22" Acer LCD just fine.

At home I can indulge in a way I can't at work. However, work still smiles upon having a desktop with SOME personality, so I ran across an image the other day that suited itself well to my work desktop (two 19 inch monitors turned 'portrait' style side by side). I especially appreciate the Carrier in the background. It makes a nice finishing touch.

Note: I stumbled across that first image along with dozens of others, a couple of weeks ago during a search around the internet, and I've forgotten which background site it came from. If that is your image, and you'd like me to link to your web presence, I'd love to do so. If, on the other hand, you'd like the link removed altogether, I'll do that too, but sadly.

The second image came from the wikimedia commons, and is in the public domain.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dammit Redmond. . .

Just 'cause your shit don't work doesn't mean you gotta go around breaking other peoples!

So I installed Linux yesterday morning.

In particular, I installed Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Insect? Ibex? Something like that).

It does, of course, continue to kick ass and take names.

I intend for this new computer to be my gaming rig, so I also partitioned (using Ubuntu's oh-so-friendly graphical partioner) a section of space off for a windows XP install. Nobody does games like Microsoft, and I've been dying to play Bioshock since I first heard about it two years ago.

So, after spending the morning dicking around and getting Linux set up and Compiz running (leading to the holy-sh!t visual mapping of my virtual desktop that you will see below) I installed XP.

And of course, XP--in its infinite wisdom--assumes that because there isn't anything else in the empty PARTITION it's formatting, that it should overwrite the MASTER BOOT RECORD for the whole gorram machine.


So then I've got a totally functional Linux install that can no longer boot.

After monkeying around with Super Grub Disk for a few minutes (WTF guys? That's one of the most obfuscated and unhelpful interfaces I've ever touched, and I even tried Frontpage once) I was forced to give up and do a full reinstall of Ubuntu.

But in any case, both systems are up now, with Ubuntu politely installing Grub in the MBR, so now I can dual boot Windows XP and Linux (no thanks to XP!) with minimal effort.

I also decided on a name for the new machine, based on a French name derived from the greek word "Unconquered"

Behold Nikita!

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I'm Late, I'm Late!

2008 was tragic, frenetic, and exhausting.

I lost two beautiful friends to untimely deaths.  I spent the whole summer fighting to find a new place to live, and now I've got a to-do list as long as my arm that seems to get longer each day, no matter how many things I accomplish.  I shit you not (I would never shit you), it's the hydra of lists!

In short, 2008 was a rough year for me.  I'm hoping '09 will be better.

Statuses (Stati?)

Thankfully my truck is now mostly up to par, though I have to climb out of a bed that I expect will be very pleasant and inviting at 8AM on Saturday so I can go have my transmission fluid changed.

My gun collection is coming together, item by item.  I'll be a member of a gun club by the end of the month, hopefully.

My house is getting messy, so first order of business will be cleaning.  The leaf blower is here (hurrah!) so my treacherous-gateway-of-death-and-ankle-destruction will soon be safe for mortals to navigate once again.  In addition I've got to make a couple of tables and a hanging surface for my new (AWESOME) world map.  Exciting, but I actually asked for a gift that adds to my workload (maybe I wasn't thinking clearly?).

The bigger challenge comes in a couple of weeks though, when I have to figure out how to support the weight of the heavy bag. . .possibly from a tree?

something tells me this isn't going to go smooth.  Why can't things ever go smooth?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Lads from Top Gear. . .

So I ran across a reference today to the lads from Top Gear taking a trip through Alabama.

In particular, I heard that they were, at one point, under gunfire.

I thought to myself "damn, that's unfortunate." I like Top Gear, the boys are cheerful gearheads, with little respect for established conventions and an unmatched love for the automobile and the speed that each and every one represents.

They race things that should never be raced and the results are always awesome. Where else can you find a Lotus and a Combat Helicopter playing tag on a runway?

However, after doing some digging and finding the segment in question, I'd say that the lads went cracked, or ran out of ideas. First off, they made the transition from gearheads to imitators of the show Jackass. Then, when the shit that they had heaved towards the fan actually made contact, they became the biggest bunch of pussies ever.

They had rocks thrown at their cars, and it made them flee in a panic. The quotable quotes are worth isolating:

"They could have killed us!"

With a few rocks? Really? This isn't ancient Israel, it's not like they were trying to stone you to death. Exactly how thin is your skin? If you're that vulnerable to violence, why were you driving anywhere with your cars decked out to incite anger in the first place? Plus, just about every small town has a few high school baseball and football stars still sitting around--if they'd be aiming to hit you as opposed to your P.O.S. truck, you'd probably have fewer dents and a lot more broken windows and bruised heads.

And "I really think in certain parts of this country people have started to mate with vegetables."

Which I find fantastic. First off, the educated among us automatically assume he was trying to say "animals" and it was a simple malapropism. Surely no-one trying to assert their own intellectual superiority would do so by making a joke which has as a punchline a scientific impossibility? Secondly, I wonder at the reaction if they'd decided to paint their van with "Man-U sucks and their fans are all faggots!" and circled the stadium at the end of a game in their own backyard? Would they really see a more civilized response from their own countrymen?

People are people. Everyone has buttons that can be pressed. Shocking that at 40+, the Lads still find this a relatively interesting phenomenon. Growing up in a place where we were expected to gentleman up (and mind our Sirs and Ma'ams, even to those we disliked) my experience is that plenty of the south learned those lessons before we left high school. Sure, we've got our violent yokels just like everywhere else, but what is so special about that?

Here's hoping that in their future work they leave the passive-aggressive comedy and incitation to violence to Borat and Jackass, and stick to what they are good at: Cars.

Thursday, January 01, 2009