Showing posts from October, 2014
I spent six whole hours of my life in Lowell this past weekend. Unless you have some sort of fetish for former industrial mill towns, I don't recommend you ever do this. It's a collection of old, rusted-out hulks being slowly overtaken by a collection of slightly-less-old hulks that haven't quite completely rusted out yet, broken up by a brief section of town that is being restored by a bunch of hipsters to a condition where it appears to be in the process of rusting out, but isn't. I understand there are people who enjoy this, in the same strictly-intellectual way I understand that there are people who enjoy living in the Sonoran desert. I am very much a city mouse, so mainly what it looks like to me is civilization giving up in its senescence, settling into a grayed-out state of minimal survival while it waits to eventually die.

The signs on the Commuter Rail fascinate me. They don't quite match the newer signs on the T. The typeface is subtly different than the …
Dear Facebook:

I do not think you are good at this computering thing.

I have a droidphone. Your app is on it. This is a native Android app whose purpose in life is to send and receive fairly small amounts of ASCII or Unicode text, plus sometimes some tiny-to-medium sized pictures.

I also have an app called SCUMMVM. This is a homebrew project. It purpose in life is to run games. The way it does this is by pretending to be an x86 architecture CPU (it isn't; it's a Qualcomm chip) running MS-DOS (it doesn't; Android has its own operating system) taking input from a PS/2 keyboard (no external keyboard; you can bring up the on-screen buttons if you need them) and a serial mouse (no mouse; it captures motion from the touchscreen and maps it onto a phantom 'touchpad'), and sending output via a set of DOS IRQs (that don't exist) to a SoundBlaster-compatible MIDI instruments table and FM sound chip (which is translated in software and passed to the speaker) and a 640x480…

State of Affairs, Part III

I've gotten back into performing again. I'm doing my second show with a troupe called the Post-Meridian Radio Players, who do this sort of hybrid of live theater and radio plays. The actors are in some kind of costume, and we have a live audience, but the only blocking is 'move from this mic to that mc', and the shows are written to be understandable to someone who hasn't got the visual cues. Much of the fun comes from watching the Foley people do their work live, at a table downstage left.
This year's Halloween show is built around the works of Edgar Allen Poe, which is convenient, as the city is unveiling a statue of Poe down by the Public Garden this weekend. I'm in a very loose adaptation of "Masque of the Red Death", not that there could really be any other kind -- if you've seen the original story, it reads like Poe was scrawling down a capsule summary for his editors, making sure to include the one really cool line of dialogue that popp…

State of Affairs, Part II

I'm also still working for Circlet. We did more mailing this week. You know, after the last time, when we stuffed envelopes and sent out seven hundred little 'order some paperback smut!' pamphlets to bookstores across the country. (A few went up into the Democratic Republic of Canuckistan.) Collecting that list was my job. Even a list of seven hundred sex shops gets really boring really quickly when you have them in a spreadsheet, and need to convert them into mailing addresses.

I left a 25lb box of meticulously-packed pornography sitting on Boss Lady's dining room table, waiting to be sent out to a burlesque troupe in Nashville, for their Halloween show. I was uncertain what reaction I'd get to the suggestion that we ship four dozen books to Tennessee gratis, but it turns out that this seems like a perfectly sensible idea when you bring it up after the Editor-in-Chief has herself devised a plan to clean out the basement stockroom into other people's swag bags.…

State of Affairs, Part I

My life has become a whirlwind of activity lately. I'm still working for Nokia, in a QA role that is rather akin to evaluating the sanity of something that is closely along the lines of Google Map's Search Nearby function, only it's specifically for Nokia phones, and occasionally the gaps in its reasoning systems are filled in with Insane Troll Logic. It is my job to review the queries people submit in juxtaposition with the answers our map search app gave, and then to explain, with citations and links where appropriate, why someone who is standing in Singapore and searching for "coffee" is not going to be happy with an answer pinpointing the town of Coffee, GA, USA.

When it's thoroughly confused, it tends to default to picking a nearby answer off of what I am beginning to believe is a list of every pharmacy and post office on the face of the Earth. Other times, it just jumps off into East Hyperspace. This occasionally involves a foray into Wikipedia articles…