How to kick your own ass

So last night I was let­ting my mind wan­der while sit­ting around play­ing some Cave Story,1 try­ing to de­cide whether I should blog the sto­ry of how I learned the word “res­i­dence” (yes, these are the things you think about when you are me), when I had a fun­ny thought. Yes, a sec­ond one.

It went a bit like “Everett, you could share bits like that on your blog, but you do re­al­ize that in do­ing so, you’re can­ni­bal­iz­ing con­tent that you could be sav­ing up for the mem­oir you may one day write, right?”

I chuck­led at the thought and con­clud­ed that the sto­ry of how I learned the word “res­i­dence” may not, af­ter all, make for that great a blog post. But in an­oth­er mo­ment of in­sight, I took my sec­ondary thought to its log­i­cal con­clu­sion: if I were se­ri­ous about con­sid­er­ing writ­ing a mem­oir (and I wasn’t), per­haps at this point in my life I should wor­ry more about who would even want to read such a book.

That’s not to put down my life and those who have played a role in shap­ing it, but… sor­ry you guys, I just don’t think it would make a com­pelling book. And a life spent sit­ting around won­der­ing if I should write a book about my life seems even fur­ther away from a life worth writ­ing about.

I won­dered if maybe this prin­ci­ple (one wor­ry­ing more about some po­ten­tial fu­ture, at the ex­pense of the present, which could be bet­ter used to get one to their de­sired fu­ture) is some­thing that a lot of peo­ple do, some­thing that has broad­er im­pli­ca­tions than some hy­po­thet­i­cal, self-indulgent tome. Consider the ex­am­ple of rel­a­tive­ly not-well-off peo­ple who op­pose that which would be ben­e­fi­cial to them, by, say, hav­ing po­lit­i­cal lean­ings that do more for those who are much bet­ter off than they are. Why would they do this? Do they ac­tu­al­ly think they’re like­ly to be in that oth­er class some­day? Planning on win­ning the lot­tery, much?

It’s one thing to plan for the fu­ture. But it’s an­oth­er to fetishize some out­come that, be re­al with your­self, is un­like­ly to hap­pen… and is all the less like­ly, yet, if you sit around day­dream­ing about it.

  1. Awesome, awe­some game. Free down­load here for Windows/Mac/Linux/etc. or buy it for $12 on WiiWare.

“Real artists ship”

I’m by no means an Apple fan, and don’t own any Apple prod­ucts (though I’ve al­ways want­ed to play with a Newton!), but to a geek, it’s pret­ty hard to ig­nore the ef­fects that Apple has had on the world around us.

This prob­a­bly wouldn’t make it to the av­er­age list of Apple’s con­tri­bu­tions, but my per­son­al fa­vorite is a Steve Jobs saying:

Real artists ship.”

I take this to mean that you can keep pol­ish­ing the prod­uct un­til it’s per­fect, but it doesn’t mat­ter how great it is un­less it makes it out the door while it’s still rel­e­vant. (No, it didn’t take a lot of read­ing deeply in­to the phrase for me to come up with that, Mr. Hypothetical Snarky Commenter. An al­ter­nate mean­ing could be an ex­pla­na­tion for push­ing a prod­uct out the door when it con­tains bugs that may give oth­ers pause.)

I some­times find my­self spend­ing more time than I should on some­thing, in pur­suit of get­ting it unim­peach­ably per­fect. It’s a flaw of mine. I need to do some­thing about that, but I’m not sure what… and giv­ing up on qual­i­ty isn’t an op­tion. Consider this bug #1 in my pub­lic bug track­er, pow­ered by WordPress. ;-)

Now, if you’ll ex­cuse me, I’m go­ing to ship this post so I can go ship that e-mail I’ve been craft­ing so I can fi­nal­ly ship my­self some Zs.

New Orleans and the graffiticular stylings of Banksy

Now, I’m not here to ar­gue graf­fi­ti as a le­git­i­mate art form (which it is), or say that its pres­ence is a net pos­i­tive for so­ci­ety  (which it’s not). I’d rather sim­ply point out that dur­ing our re­cent trip to New Orleans, my sis­ter and I twice stum­bled up­on works of per­haps the best-known graf­fi­ti artist in the world: Banksy.

I re­mem­bered read­ing about Banksy’s pieces in New Orleans, but couldn’t re­mem­ber at what point, post-Katrina, they ap­peared. It was nice to know that at least a cou­ple of them are still in­tact to­day, even if more (rel­a­tive­ly) tal­ent­less stuff has gone up near­by in the year-and-a-half since Lincoln. Nice, though, that the new ad­di­tions re­spect­ed Abe’s space!

The first time we saw one, we were ex­it­ing I-10 at Canal Street, on our way to the Algiers Ferry, when some­thing caught my eye… some­thing from the Internet! I knew right away that I need­ed a pho­to of it, but couldn’t find a place to park just then, so we found our­selves stuck in Claiborne Street traf­fic for a while un­til we could make it back to Tulane Ave, the first street point­ing in the right di­rec­tion (af­ter two inward-facing one-ways!). We made it back and found a place to park so I could get out and took a few photos.

The sec­ond (and sad­ly, fi­nal) Banksy art sight­ing of our trip hap­pened on our last night in town, on our way to an ill-fated trip to Yo Mama’s. We no­ticed the girl, missed the turn, and had to loop around a few blocks, but ul­ti­mate­ly man­aged to cap­ture the sec­ond piece you see above. It was right across Kerlerec Street from the Rampart Food Store.

Cool art, but what of the rights of the prop­er­ty own­ers? Yes, there is that… but Banksy can come ‘tag up’ on my car when­ev­er s/he wants!

New Orleans, in food

To say that my sister and I enjoyed the food during our trip to New Orleans would be an understatement. Anticipating a blog post like this (and for posterity), I took photos of nearly everything we ate, and checked in at each restaurant using Foursquare.

Foursquare normally annoys me, but in this case, was very helpful in logging all the places we went, on which days we went, and so on.

(Unless otherwise noted, my meal is in the foreground.)

Tuesday, March 9

Dinner: Parasol’s Restaurant & Bar

Me: Hot Sausage Po Boy. Despite being a lifelong disliker of pickles, I decided to try my sandwich with them anyway, having ordering it “dressed.” While I’m not sure they added much, it was not bad with pickles. Mine was also a little light on meat, at least compared to Allison’s.

Allison: Roast Beef Po Boy.

Wednesday, March 10

Lunch: Gumbo Shop

Me: Red Beans & Rice with Smoked Sausage Gumbo. Gumbo was yumbo.

Allison: Chicken Andouille Gumbo.

Dinner: Port of Call

Both: Burgers (mine with cheese, hers with mushrooms) with baked potato. While I was a little surprised at the lack of fries as an option, I didn’t mind at all. The baked potato was amazing. Also, I wasn’t going to break out the flash, but yeah, the lighting was a little on the low side.

Thursday, March 11

Brunch: Slim Goodies Diner

Me: Robert Johnson Burger

Allison: Havana Omelet. Came with tortillas!

Snack: Creole Creamery

Me: Black & Gold Crunch Ice Cream

Allison: Oatmeal Cookie Ice Cream

Dinner: Verti Marte

Verti Marte, a convenience store with sandwich counter in the back, had no seating, so we ate this meal in the car. Sorry, no photo; we were hungry.

Me: Muffaletta, something I had never tried. My reaction was along the lines of: “I’m pretty sure I’d list half of the ingredients on my do-not-like list, but boy are they good together!” Quite possibly my food highlight of the trip.

Allison: BBQ Po Boy

Friday, March 12

Lunch: Willie Mae’s Scotch House

Me: Chicken Fried Pork Chop. Mine was good, but I was jealous of her chicken.

Allison: Fried chicken. Quite possibly the best I’ve ever tried.

Dinner: Slice

Allison: (From left) Bacon, Basil, and Garlic; Pineapple; Fresh

Me: (From left) Jalapeño and Andouille Sausage; Greek; Fresh

New Orleans: A++++ Would nom again~~~

…but my new camera sucks a little too much

[If you’re just join­ing us, see part one.]

I re­cent­ly felt like I need­ed a new crap­py cam­era in my life. I found my­self in a drug­store yes­ter­day, where I pur­chased one of those minia­ture ones, a Vivitar Clipshot (née Sakar 11693). At $10, the price was right but it’s a lit­tle too cheap to have a screen built-in, and the “viewfind­er” is a laugh­ably in­ac­cu­rate hole in the body. Even more ex­cit­ing, I thought! It’ll be like tak­ing pho­tos with film and wait­ing to see what develops!

I couldn’t find ref­er­ence to the cam­era work­ing in Ubuntu with a quick Web search, but the specs on the pack­age claimed that it works in OS X with­out dri­vers. This seemed to im­ply that it was a stan­dard USB Mass Storage de­vice, the kind you plug in and have just work, as it ap­pears to the com­put­er as a re­mov­able drive.

So I ex­pect­ed quick and easy ac­cess to my pho­tos. I was wrong.

The OS de­tects the de­vice, but not as a nor­mal cam­era de­vice, nor a Mass Storage de­vice. This is what lsusb had to say about it:

Bus 007 Device 008: ID 0979:0371 Jeilin Technology Corp., Ltd

Searching for that lead me to a num­ber of blog and fo­rum posts where peo­ple dis­cussed ways to pos­si­bly get the cam­era work­ing, but to no avail. This post re­ceived a num­ber of replies, with this re­ply be­ing the most help­ful: (em­pha­sis mine)

Professor Theodore Kilgore from Alabama has been work­ing on a dri­ver for this cam­era. As of about 6 months ago, the Professor had me down­load his dri­ver for the cam­era, and the dri­ver lets down­load files from the cam­era. But since the pic­tures are stored in an en­crypt­ed for­mat on the stor­age me­dia of the cam­era, there is still work to be done to de­crypt the pic­ture files in­to a view­able for­mat (this is the last I heard anyway).

The pho­tos are stored en­crypt­ed on the cam­era, so you have to use the in­clud­ed Windows soft­ware to down­load them. Glad to know they’re be­ing pro­tect­ed… from me. This crap­py cam­era is a lit­tle too crap­py for me. I haven’t tried it on a Mac yet, but I can’t imag­ine how this could pos­si­bly work with­out drivers.

There will be more crap­py dig­i­tal cam­eras in my life, but one can on­ly hope that the next one sucks in the way it should.

Breaking news: This piece of garbage does not work in OS X either.

Lo-fi cameras are awesome…

I loves me some crap­py dig­i­tal cameras.

Ten years on, my first is still my fa­vorite, my Game Boy Camera. Thank you Diego, for per­haps the great­est birth­day gift ever. Sure, I had crap­py film cam­eras be­fore, but that didn’t stop me from lov­ing my GBC like any­one does their first. Using film meant that I couldn’t go wild and ex­per­i­ment, take tons of pic­tures of stu­pid stuff like any kid with a cam­era does, and any self-respecting adult with one con­tin­ues to do.

That wouldn’t ex­act­ly work with my Game Boy Camera, which on­ly held 30 snap­shots and didn’t come with any way to, you know, trans­fer them to a computer.

Details. To make do, I would delete all but my ab­solute fa­vorites, the true ‘keep­ers.’ That awk­ward red car­tridge still has pho­tos from walk­ing home on the day in 2000 I got the cam­era, of good high school friends, of a duck from Kendale Lakes, and self-portraits tak­en every few months as I grew my hair to a re­spectable shoul­der length in college.

Last year, re­al­iz­ing that I was far from done tak­ing tiny, grainy, black-and-white pho­tos, I bought a sec­ond Game Boy Camera, and a cou­ple of Mad Catz PC link ca­bles, so I could fi­nal­ly trans­fer the pho­tos. They’re cheap and plen­ti­ful on Amazon and eBay these days (the cam­eras, at least; the link ca­bles are hard to find).

There was a time when mo­bile phones could be count­ed on to take pho­tos of this sort. Sure it might be frus­trat­ing when you ac­tu­al­ly want­ed to take a good pho­to, but think of the washed-out col­ors! The poor light­ing! The blur­ry faces! Alright, maybe it wasn’t so great if that was the on­ly cam­era you had at a mem­o­rable event, but if that’s the sort of cam­era you go out of your way to use for art­sy, leisure­ly pho­tog­ra­phy, I re­spect that.

My first mo­bile phone with a cam­era was a Sidekick, and its pho­tos are by far my favorite:

I could add these ef­fects with soft­ware, but what fun is that?

Then came my Treo, which was, un­for­tu­nate­ly, a lit­tle bit bet­ter at tak­ing photos:

I won’t even men­tion my G1, which takes prac­ti­cal­ly per­fect pho­tos. How sad.

I’m glad I’ve been able to shoot with so many crap­py cam­eras, be­cause I know one I won’t be us­ing any­time soon. Sigh.

To be continued…