Trygve.Com > Diary > JournalWeblogDiaryWhatsis - December, 2000
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December 2000
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yes, it's yet another pic

because ... well ... why the hell not ...?

it's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it.

Tuesday, December 26th


Unexpected checks and Satan's own Bath Toys:

Haven't finished repairs on my "new and improved" Evil Santa costume for the conclusion of the 2000 Independent Film Series [ ] but at least the "Devil Duckies" from Archie McPhee are here; if you haven't seen those before, they're really a lot like the usual kind of "rubber duckie" bathtub toy, except that they're red and have horns. I'm sure I'll get pictures up before long. They do include the words to the "Devil Duckie" theme song, but I haven't decided whether to record a live version at the concert or whether to come out with a music video. Either way, however, you can rest assured that they'll be on hand for the event....

I guess I should find out if the Satanic Bubble Machine is fixed yet....

One thing I hate about horoscopes is that so many of them say, "you'll receive an unexpected check in the mail"--which, of course, means that if you actually were foolish enough to read your horoscope for that day, then you'll be expecting it, which means it won't come after all.

So I deal with this simply by not reading my own horoscope. Sometimes I read other people's so I can tease them about it, but I skip my own. With the unexpected nature of any unexpected checks thus preserved, they are then free to show up in my mailbox.

And, in case you hadn't guessed by now, some did today. Got a small royalty check from some music association and the "class action suit that I didn't know I was involved in"-settlement-of-the-month check, this time for $49 (whee!). This one's got something to do with trading practices of "market-makers" on NASDAQ--and I'm not even heavily involved in public stock trading at the moment. (I scaled back my stock holdings back around mid-2000...shortly before the market started to tumble. I'm sure that this wasn't my fault; honest.)

I don't know what my horoscope actually did say today; I guess it would be safe now to take a peek....


Thursday, December 21st


Shall I Compare thee to a Summer Sausage?

Okay, so I should have known better. First, I started creating a "lunchmeat web background tile clipart" page [ ], and then I grab a few recent pics, some of which had endured of my playing around on with digital filters and the like, and put those up on [ ]

portrait of the artist as a variety of individually wrapped pre-sliced convenience foods

... and the first comment I get from one of my readers (viewers? what are us webibitionists supposed to call our audiences?) is that she's having trouble telling them apart. Grph. I may not be the greatest photographer in the world, but I'd have hoped that by now I was good enough that I could take a closeup snapshot of a slice of olive loaf and not have it come out looking like a self-portrait.

On the "ego-building compliment" scale, that's up there with the comment one listener made on a pre-release mix I'd been working on from my new album: "That was you? ...but it was really good!"

Maybe I should just accept it and try to capitalize on what I'd normally think of as a significant photographic shortcoming. Follow the old, "when life hands you a lemon, convince the global consumer market that lemon-based household cleaning products are superior to other flavors," adage. Maybe art galleries would go for a whole line of "portrait of the artist as a variety of individually wrapped pre-sliced convenience foods" artwork, especially if I could feed the titles through a post-modernizing-pretentifier language filter. There's probably one out there online somewhere.

It's either that or come out with an illustrated guidebook on how to tell your Trygves from your sandwiches.

Sunday, December 17th


New word for the day (er, okay, yesterday):

Yesterday morning, I finally thought of the buzzword I'd been racking my brans[1] over, which I am now documenting here just so you'll know it's yet another one of mine:

vCommerce or v-Commerce

lexicographers differ on whether the "v" really stands for "virtual" or "vapor," but either way, it refers to a business paradigm, usually but not necessarily, carried out online in which no products are ever actually shipped or orders fulfilled, but the most advanced interactive on-line shopping cart order forms are used to gather the personal details and email addresses of would-be customers.

The on-line order form may crash, lock up, or time out, or the products in question may simply remain on eternal backorder, but irrespective of the means used to avoid fulfilling actual orders, a fully functional vCommerce site will then use this information to send weekly or hourly updates on their specials and promotions which you, their eager would-be customer, could avail yourself of, if someday they ever do have them in stock and get their order processing system working.

[1] No, that isn't a typo. Many muffins died in horrible agony just so you could have a new buzzword.

As I make up new words, I'm collecting them in my online "Glossary of Lesser-Known Computer Terms" [ ] 'cause I know that if there's one thing the world really needs, it's yet more computer buzzwords and acronyms.

... your Proactive Partner Who's Fun to Buy From [tm] ...

That is, except for E2E; I don't know what that is, really, I just made it up at random so I'd have something to put on BlotCom [ ] other than an "under construction" sign.

Don't ask me to explain BlotCom--just one of those things I had this urge to create after trudging through company website after company website where their documentation and driver updates for their products aren't on-line yet (but are coming soon) but they've spared neither time nor expense in filling their websites with buzzwords and management-certified-powerfluff so you'll know that even if they don't actually support their products or, indeed, even respond to questions at all without a $25 minimum support charge, the XYZ company (under whatever name they've changed it to this week) is your Proactive Partner Who's Fun to Buy From[tm]

So, sit back and wait a little; let's see if E2E becomes the next big trend in meaningless management buzzwords.

Friday, December 14th


Mangrove Musings in the Morning:

Maybe the "World Wide Web" or "the Net" wasn't the most accurate metaphor; sometimes it seems more like an electronic "Global Mangrove Swamp," with the occasional live link sprouting out of the soup, amid the long-dead and decaying branches, sites that have sunk into the swamp, and more and more vigorous but loud and annoying pop-up windows that start buzzing around every time you click on something that disturbs their uneasy slumber.

Okay, "" wouldn't play; alliteration is almost as important as translucent jelly-like colors. "Massive Mangrove Marsh," it is, or "mmm" for the prefix.

BTW, how many domains have already been registered with your name in them? If you haven't used Netcraft's search, [ ] it's worth it at least for the amusement value.

From the July 2000 "Internet Index" [ ]:

  • Approximate percentage of words in Webster's English Dictionary that have been registered as domain names: 98
  • Percentage of web retailers who are profitable: 38


Thursday, December 14th


Just when you thought it was safe to go shopping:

Psycho Psyndi's Discount Gift Guide [ ]

(only ten shopping days left until Christmas, you know)

Wednesday, December 13th


Spam for the web (and olive loaf too):

Sometimes I tell people that just about anything you could think of is out there on the web somewhere. Of course, making any kind of statement like that merely means that whatever you think of next will be impossible to find. Like, for example, "lunchmeat background graphics" or "olive loaf clipart."

olive loaf clipart

That was what I tried yesterday and, let me tell you that I was shocked--shocked, I tell you--to discover...absolutely nothing. I couldn't believe it, but, right there before my eyes, it wasn't.

This sounds like a job for Digital Camera Man!

And the rest, as they say, is history: [ ]

(Stay tuned for further updates after the next time I make a grocery run. Expect that "cheesy web graphics" will take on a new meaning....)

Monday, December 11th


Archie McPhee, we hardly knew you:

Ever wonder just how useful a medium-sized rubber rat could be in digital photography? Me neither, but last night I was struggling again with the Nikon Coolpix 990 that I'd bought after doing the usual assortment of research, reading reviews, and all that sort of stuff--except, of course, once again, having been spoiled by the Kodak 260 and 290 cameras I've been using, I foolishly neglected to check whether it had many of the basic features that I use most of the time when taking digital pictures.

I really should know better by now.

The Kodak digital cameras are tremendously easy to use and flexible, have a rudimentary programming language, and lots of easy-to-figure out exposure and focus options that made it possible for me to pop them out of the box and start shooting away with reasonable results--at least I think so. 90% of the pics on the website were taken by setting the camera up beforehand and having it take the pics on automatic. Works great for everything from my weightlifting shots to the automated series I took of the lunar eclipse.

Ever wonder just how useful a medium-sized rubber rat could be in digital photography?

The downsides of those Kodak models are the limit of 100-ISO equivalence which is a problem for action shots and low-light shots (or even "low-light action shots"--but I have the Cannon XL-1 for those, if I don't need multi-megapixel resolution), poor support for additional lenses and filters, and limited macro capabilities.

So, Nikon's flagship consumer model does bunches better in all those departments, so I'd been pondering getting it for a while, and then on one of my periodic (and usually unsuccessful) attempts to buy stuff over the net the on-line order form did the almost standard thing of letting me type in an order, enter all my personal details and innermost thoughts and/or credit card numbers, and go through the obligatory "oh, you must sign up for an account and then check these ninety-seven boxes if you don't want special offers and new product information mailed to you every hour, on the hour" process before I get to the "click here to generate a personalized internal server error message" button.

Which it did.

Generate an "internal server error" message, that is.

... and that's the point where things really started to get weird. I poked around through their website until I found a contact number and then ...

[I don't have audio embedded on my webpages, so if it's not too much trouble, would you be a dear and start humming the Twilight Zone theme music through the next paragraph? Thanks ever so much.]

... I found myself talking to a salescritter who was actually reasonably knowlegeable, friendly, and was even trying (in a pleasant, professional, but quite sales-pitch-like manner) to sell me stuff, instead of sounding grumpy and put-out that I had intruded into his telephonic space with deliberate premeditated intent to purchase.

I'd actually been looking to get one of Sony's DCR-TRV20 cameras for Mark Grove so he'd have one on hand for some of the upcoming stunt and effect demonstrations (that's one of the models with the film-through clothing option ([ ] for details on how to use that option--not, of course, that this had anything to do with why Mark had picked out this particular model, oh no)), but, in a moment of weakness, faced with a salesperson who actually appeared to want to sell something, I impulsively got one of the Nikon 990s too and filter and lens kits for each. It wasn't until after I had the Nikon in hand that I discovered all the basic automation functions I keep assuming that any sane manufacturer would include in a digital camera. But, no, the Nikon just takes pictures when you push the button and doesn't do time-lapse or otherwise automatic photography. So that's how I ended up with the Nikon (Mark, BTW, is very happy with the DCR-TRV20, just in case you'd been wondering).

But not the rubber rat (remember him? this is all going to tie back together, you know; just trust me on this); that particular rodential replica was left over from a Halloween party some years past and had ended up in a drawer mixed in with some plastic ants and a small collection of eight-by-ten pictures of women in lingerie. (Ever notice that these things tend to come in clusters? I can go most of a year without anybody sending me their boudoir pictures and then all of a sudden a half-dozen random women will just spontaneously decide to liven up my mailbox. It's the same way with requests for autographed pictures and people I haven't heard from in ten years or more suddenly calling to say 'hi!' or popping up in my email inbox.)

Not that I mind any of these, BTW--even if I really should get quicker about mailing out responses, pics, and whatever other appropriate personal and/or promo stuff is called for.

But the rubber rat was what the doctor ordered this time; I needed to stabilize that pesky Nikon 990 camera on an uneven and slanted surface and, why, what better than a rubber rat for a non-slip, slightly soft "wedge" suitable for supporting a high-end digital camera?

... actually, now that I think about it, there are a lot of things that would have been better than a rubber rat, but none of those were in easy arm's reach. So, "rubber rat" it was.

And so, even though I am still frustrated by the Nikon's lack of automatic-picture-taking abilities, I did find a way to balance even as oddly-shaped a digital device as the 990 (if you saw that model, you'd know what I mean) using only ordinary household fake vermin. Just so you know, if you need a rubber rat for your own personal digital photography needs (or whatever other personal needs you might have that are presently deficient in this item), one of the best places to go is Archie McPhee's [ ]

I don't know whether they have them available with a standard threaded camera-mount though; that might be a nice option to consider for next year's model line.

If you don't need a rubber rat in a hurry, but are still looking for someplace interesting to go on the web, go to [ ] - I'd recommend the "Cartoons, where are they now?" section in particular.

[Okay, that's enough humming. You can cut it out now.]


Saturday, December 9th


Just a little update:

Gotta get back to work, but I thought I'd let you know I did put in a new page in the digital diary section [ ]

Oh, and if I ever do find out what happened to the giant chicken, I'll let you know.

Friday, December 8th


Character set of the Day:

With the fourth issue of Lazarus, the Many Reincarnations at the printers, the website's even more overdue for some updates (not just with all the new pics and promo stuff, but there's been a whole slew of great reviews that the comic has gotten).

Not that I've actually redone the front page or anything like that yet, but I did get the new character pages that Zak created up onto the Lazarus Lives site, [ ]

Stay tuned; a lot of the issues go directly to the distributors like Diamond and they get them onto the shelves of Fine Comic Book Stores Near You, but the rest get shipped right here to the treehouse before getting distributed to the other warehousing and distribution points in the area.

Thursday, December 7th


More gifts for that special someone in your life whose hands you'd rather were kept busy elsewhere:

  • The Tamagothi [ ]
    learn about all the fun and excitement of taking care of your own mopey little creature
  • The Dinkie Dorkie [ ]
    Congratulations! You are the proud owner of Dinkie Dorkie, the first Tamagotchi and cordless vibrator combo that ensures that not only will you need it, it will need you!
  • The Tamagotchi simulator [ ]
    Emulate the operations of a Tamagotchi with your 486/100 or faster computer.
    On an unrelated note, plans are underway to port Linux to the Tamagotchi, including support for your own all-Tamagotchi Beowulf Cluster and SETI-Keychain. Stay tuned for further reports as I make them up.
  • Godzilla Versus Tamagotchi [ ]
    You are Godzilla. Tokyo has hired you to wipe out the tamagotchi menace. You must kill three tamagotchi per level. For each tamagotchi you allow to escape, you will get in more trouble with the Tokyo city council. Get in trouble twelve times, and they'll replace you with King Kong.

  • And finally, there's the "digital pet funeral parlor" at [ ]
    for those poor little electronic pets that have shuffled off this mortal coil, whether due to nelect, worn-out batteries, or being smashed to pieces with a cinderblock

"Congratulations! You are the proud owner of Dinkie Dorkie, the first Tamagotchi and cordless vibrator combo that ensures that not only will you need it, it will need you!" - Warren Cheney

Monday, December 4th


How to Avoid those Thanksgiving Leftovers:

Okay, I've been running around like crazy for the last week or so and haven't been keeping you up-to-date on the little adventures out here at the treehouse; I guess that's one of the dangers of not being home, so when I am running around like crazy, I don't get much written and when I do get home (only to fall over and snooze for a couple of hours) I don't get much written either. matter how much of the time it seems like I do a lot of my writing while asleep.

But I'm not, honest. For one thing, I seem to have developed this dreadful habit of mentally wandering off into distant mental meadows of how to set any given subject of conversation to music when I'm getting tired. So count yourself extra-lucky that you've missed out on everything from traditional Christmas carols to Gilbert and Sullivan updated to cover the finer details of server administration, corporate buyouts, and that unruly sea we call the US Tax Code.

Or at least you've been lucky so far. When it came to the Christmas carols part, I took notes and may just have to write them up anyway. We'll see...

Oh, yeah, but back to the Thanksgiving part. I did the usual holiday tradition, in this case starting the day before, of going through my accumulations of computer hardware and spending some time getting computer systems put together for some of the people and organizations that have been waiting for them for a while. The biggest batch this time was thirty-two systems that went out to underprivileged Native American families, shelters, and rural school districts. I didn't really think about that first part until late in the day, after all those systems had been delived, but eventually it did cross my mind that there was something somehow appropriate about that.

A lot of people tell me that's not what I'm supposed to do for the holiday, but I like it. Not only is there a lot less cleaning and bagging-of-leftovers to be done afterwards in the kitchen, it even means that I get some more space cleared out in the warehouse.

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