February 23, 2006

Oh noes!

12 News on the multiple murder in Mesa:

The house contained gargoyles, black lights, and at least three guns.


...

Holy crap, not gargoyles, black lights, and guns! Nobody with guns, UV lights, or funky decorations is ever anything but a psychotic drug running puppy-kicking serial rapist!

Come on now. If you're going to say something, it should probably be relevant.

Posted by Colin at 11:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 22, 2006

Curse you, 20D.

Today while at Best Buy looking for something completely unrelated, I took the opportunity to pick up their display model Canon 20D DSLR.

I've had my Digital Rebel since late 2004, and never been of the opinion that it felt cheap and plastic. It's not indestructible, but it's always felt sufficiently sturdy and massive in my hands.

Or at least, it had until today. Once you pick up that big beefy magnesium alloy body... Oh holy mother of camera gear. How am I surviving with my undeniably plastic 300D? That's just... yum. Impressive camera. I picked one up at CompUSA this weekend too, but didn't get any impression of its sturdiness as I put it right back down: like everything else that's on display at CompUSA's PDA and camera kiosk, it didn't have power so there was no toying with the interface.

There are only three things keeping me from trading up to buy a 20D: the 30D was just announced, the rear command dial seems to be way too stiff when new, and the mirror slap could wake the dead.

Poor Digital Rebel. I feel like I'm cheating on you with a cheap whore.

Posted by Colin at 9:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Getting in (a) Shape

So my crazed quest for a slightly improved (I can't really complain about my current one) body has begun in earnest.

I did a bunch of non-cardio stuff yesterday, and my abs are deliciously sore this morning. Not the painful kind of sore, either, but the kind where you stretch to do something and that little twinge is terribly satisfying. (Either that, or I'm getting a jolt of dopamine every time I stretch... can't complain there either.)

I hit the streets today to get some cardio and work my legs.

It felt damn good. The beautiful weather didn't hurt either.

According to my friendly little bike computer, my neighborhood circuit got me 0.8 miles in 5 minutes, averaging 8mph and topping out at 10mph. It's nothing astounding, but it got me started, and it did its job of elevating my heart rate.

Posted by Colin at 11:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 20, 2006

Rest in Pieces

Corporate radio has claimed another victim.

Rest in peace, KZON 101.5 FM, The Zone. CBS has finally gone and killed you once and for all.

The call sign's still in use, as is the frequency, but now it's "FREE FM," a completely soulless and ClearChannel-esque "edgy" talk radio station. Seriously. And yet somehow CBS still has the cajones to sponsor concerts in the station's name.

By ClearChannel-esque, I of course mean there are effectively no DJs or local programming left. It's all ye olde uplink from corporate HQ now. Here's the line-up posted to their site for weekdays:

0500-1100: Syndicated talk radio.
1100-1600: Syndicated talk radio.
1600-2000: Syndicated talk radio.
2000-2300: Syndicated talk radio.

Interesting programming for a station still purporting to be "Arizona's rock alternative" in some of their bumpers. Don't get me wrong, the AutoDJ does play music that resembles alternative when FREE isn't crapping out unoriginal talk programming designed to do nothing but bring CBS higher Nielsens in the Phoenix market; it just also happens to be off the "oldest and most overplayed alternative hits of ten years ago" compilation.

In CBS' defense, they do "support local bands" with a whole two hours on Sunday. As opposed to the locally owned, locally operated independent alternative station which (a) actually plays music and (b) plays good local artists throughout the day instead of sticking them in the 7-9pm ghetto.

So, to the Zone as a nebulous object: Rest in peace. I'll keep my good memories of you.

And to all the former Zone jocks and engineers from the good old days, especially the string of shafted morning show hosts: Thank you. Thank you for the good times, the great music, and all the work you put into making the Zone the best damn station in the Valley. It's a shame Infinity/CBS couldn't appreciate your talent, repeatedly sending scads of you on "vacation" and altering the format into blasť crap.

Johnny Cash had it right.

Posted by Colin at 1:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 17, 2006

Reptile Brain

I've had a single neon tetra for probably four months now.

Tonight I finally popped down to the store and picked up three more, so they could have a nice small school again.

I was worried he might have developed into a territorial sucker in his time alone, but darned if they all didn't just form up into a happy little school and swim around the tank in circles. Excellent, both because it looks cool and because nobody's attacking each other.

Posted by Colin at 9:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 16, 2006

Reparar

Also, I really need to get my Jeep in for a multitude of services.

I've got a bunch of places I want to head (in-state and out), but given I refuse to take the vehicle on the freeway due to the way it talks to me... Looking at this blog really reminds me I need to get back to Wupatki, too.

Right now, before it gets miserably hot.

Nothing says "freeway-worthy vehicle" like horrible vibration and a sound not unlike a big hairy biker is riding in your rear quarter panel.

Wild guess: $1200 plus tax by the time all is said and done.

Posted by Colin at 10:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Up Canon's Sleeve

There's a lot of speculation about what's up Canon's sleeve as far as digital cameras to be announced at the PMA expo.

I did have a good laugh at the people suggesting Canon will introduce a super-low-end SLR. Not because it's a stupid idea (it would even out Canon's line compared to Nikon's), but because the "pictures" of the rumored 3000D are poor Photoshop hack jobs on Canon's Rebel T2/EOS 300X film camera. Come on people; if you're going to take the time to clone in another "0" and add a "D," at least move the cable release jack and add some rubber flaps for the interface ports.

Not that this has stopped numerous people from going ga-ga over the "leaked" photos...

What I'm more interested in myself is the replacement for the 20D. What will Canonclaus bring us? Could it possibly be a weather-sealed midrange body which will woo me away from Nikon? (Please please pretty please?)

Whatever is announced, I hope it ends up better than the 20D. I've been hearing from a lot of people lately who have seen their camera launch off into oblivion with the shutter release either ceasing to work or the shutter developing a mind of its own and snapping madly away until the batteries are removed. Makes me glad I sat on an upgrade in spite of tempting rebates.

Only 10 more days until we know what's lurking in the wings...

Posted by Colin at 10:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 10, 2006

pornoPod

So I was scrolling through my iPod when I rather unexpectedly came across Britney Spears. How embarrassing. But at least it's from a more recent release, so it's realistically more a porno soundtrack than bubblegum pop. Oh Britney, how you have fallen from your virginal cute girl image.

Madonna can make musical smut and still remain some semblance of attractiveness. I don't find Madonna particularly attractive, but at least she doesn't go out looking like a Methadone-addicted trailer park princess a la Ms. Spears-Federline. Ugh.

Now if you don't mind, I'll go back to imagining a big sweaty gay night club grind orgy as I listen to "Breathe On Me."

Posted by Colin at 9:08 AM | Comments (0)

February 7, 2006

Aha!

I've been trying to figure out for the longest time why I always zoom the wrong direction on my Canon lenses. I would have sworn Minolta lenses zoomed in the same direction—it was just so natural I never even thought about direction. I pulled the Maxxum down this morning and lo, the lenses zoom the opposite way Canon's do (i.e., like Nikon's do). Apparently 8 years of habit is hard to break, as I still rotate the zoom rings in the wrong direction every time I shoot. Perhaps I should have spent the extra money on a Nikon D70 when I went digital. Although I think their command dials go the wrong way, so I'd just be screwed up there instead. You know, I wouldn't complain if Nikon and Canon had some bastard offspring with: * Canon's sensors and software package, * Nikon's bodies (and weather sealing!), * zooms that operate clockwise, * command dials that get smaller clockwise, * and the best lenses of both brands. Maybe I'll send them on a blind date with each other and hope for babies...
Posted by Colin at 8:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 6, 2006

Attacked

Just in case anyone was wondering, cats are not pleasant when they've been mauled by another cat, and have gaping holes filled with necrotic tissue that are pumping infected pus out at will.

Not only does the infection and decomposition smell absolutely rank, but it's really depressing to watch them lying there so listlessly.

So off to the vet went my backyard visitor, who is now living in a dog crate with me and is on the mend quite well. Granted, I have no idea how I'm going to keep drugging and cleaning her now that she's feeling better, but I'm glad she is.

Posted by Colin at 9:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 4, 2006

Heads at opposite ends, of course...

SNL: "You could sleep with me in my feather bed, heads at opposite ends, of course..."

Ah, the memories that dredges up.

When I was but a wee Colin, I went to the babysitter's house instead of a babysitter coming to our house. My parents were working nights at that point, so most of the time I'd end up sleeping at her house until 5am when my dad got off his shift and picked me up.

Upon occasion, the babysitter would take on more than one kid at a time. It was always the same other boy; his mom worked the night desk at the Doubletree (oh, what worthless, worthless details to remember!). At any rate, she only had one double bed for the both of us. So when she had both of us for the night, we had to share it.

Which is where it gets really bizarre and obsessive: we were expressly forbidden to sleep facing the same direction. We had to sleep with heads at opposite ends of the bed, and preferably facing away from each other, lest we do something untoward. As if kids our age had any grip on sexuality.

Two boys sleeping in the same bed was just not right in her world, and apparently we were sure to turn out gay were we allowed to sleep like normal human beings.

It was far from her only idiosyncrasy, mind you, but it is the one that always sticks in my brain.

The babysitters my brother and I were subjected to... And half of them from reliable agencies! Oh, the stories, the stories...

Posted by Colin at 11:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Blood in the water

Among the stores I don't intend to ever return to is now Nordstrom.

Not only are their prices outrageous, but their salespeople are more rabid than most car salesmen I've had the misfortune of meeting. They were like circling sharks, waiting for a new seal to wander bloodied and helpless into their department.

In the course of two minutes, four different sales associates came over to "help" me. Including an older woman who was a walking fashion disaster, wearing some sort of shawl that appeared to be fashioned from a dead dalmatian and reeking of too much perfume. In short, exactly the person I'd seek out when shopping for cologne or an attractive ensemble.

Total time in Nordstrom: four minutes. One to find my department, two to reach critical annoyance level, one to find the exit and leave.

Posted by Colin at 7:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 1, 2006

Internet Explorer 7

Well, Microsoft has been improving the quality of their software for several years now.

And the features added in the current Internet Explorer beta are long-needed and welcome additions.

The user interface, on the other hand, continues the modern Microsoft transition of ungodly fugliness and inconsistency. IE 7 looks like nothing else in Windows. The entire interface is competing for your attention with oversaturated, attention-getting colors, drawing your eye away from what's actually important: web content.

It even takes inconsistency one further: the menu bar, which is always the topmost window element, is in the middle of my toolbar stack after installing IE7.

ClearType is also enabled in IE7 by default, regardless of your system ClearType setting, making it look utterly bizarre by comparison.

And the sound played to indicate IE has discovered an RSS feed is too similar to the "I stopped evil from happening!" information bar in IE6.

All that criticism out of the way, the improved standards compliance of IE 7 is welcomed. The built-in feed reeder is nice. The Phishing Filter is a great idea. Good work on the back end, guys, now just polish up the front end so it's less garish (e.g., so it doesn't resemble Mimi from the Drew Carey Show nearly so much), and you've got a keeper.

Posted by Colin at 11:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack