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…