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      CommentAuthortallman
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2009
     
    Hello? Helloooo? This thing on? Huh, almost surprised this place still works. That is, of course, entirely my fault. I shall have to post here more often, if only to get the creative juices flowing. I feel I've been in something of a rut recently, so I'm changing some things up.

    Firstly, I believe I shall start my annual exercise kick sometime this week (preferably tomorrow). I seem to do this every year near the start of summer. Usually earlier, but what can I say? I've been lazy this year. But I'm definitely out of shape and would like to correct that. In general, I'm hoping to just do 20 minutes on the elliptical machine per day, though I may add in some Wii fit Yoga stuff as a warmup (and also use Wii fit as a way to track progress).

    Also, need to start eating better. I've noticed lately that I've been getting more heartburn than I'm generally accustomed to. Generally, it's just when I eat specific types of food, like pepperoni or tomato sauce (making pepperoni pizza a double whammy), but I probably eat too much spicy food anyway. Also when I eat too much. So I need to tone things down. Perhaps eat more veggies.

    I found a site recently called Infinite Summer, which is dedicated to encouraging people to read David Foster Wallace's huge novel Infinite Jest over the course of this summer. The novel (with endnotes, which are apparently substantial) clocks in at over 1000 pages, and they estimate that reading around 75 pages a week should do the trick (starting this past Sunday and ending in late September - i.e. the official summer months). This sounds doable, but that will probably mean curtailing movie/TV and video games as well. Or maybe screwing around on the internet. I suppse we'll see what happens. The novel has been sitting on my shelf (unread) for at least 5-7 years, if not significantly longer. I'm having a hard time placing when I bought it. Actually, it was a birthday gift. I remember that much. I got The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay that same birthday (read that a few years ago). I may have also gotten House of Leaves around that time, though I don't remember. I think what happend was that I finished Gravity's Rainbow, which was this hugely complex and impenetrable post-modern literary novel, and while I liked it a lot for what it was, it also totally wore me out. The thought ot tacking IJ was a bit too much at the time. A little while later, I read House of Leaves, which was another sorta post-modern epic, and while I enjoyed that quite a bit (much more accessible than Rainbow), it also made me sort of dread picking up IJ. But it's been a while since some sorta post-modern epic has knocked me on my arse, and the poor author died last year, so I figure I should at least give it a shot. I'm still a little wary of it though, so I guess we'll see. Hopefully, I'll get some blog posts out of it.

    Anywho, I hope everyone else's summer is looking up as well! I'm also planning on posting more in the forum, since I've neglected it for so long lately. This place used to be pretty interesting, but now not much happens. I figure if I force myself to post here to give updates on the above projects, maybe I'll have an easier time sticking to them.

    Ahhh, speaking of projects, I came up with an idea for something completely new. New for me, at least. During some recent time off, I was straightening up my house and found a cache of CDs previously thought lost. One of said CDs was called The Director's Cut, by a band named Fantomas (there's some weird character that fits into the bands name somewhere, but I'm too lazy right now to look it up). I picked up the album in my post-Faith-No-More-breakup malaise (Fantomas featured FNM front-man Mike Patton). The concept of the album was to take themes from movies and make rock/metal versions of them. I remember being mildly disappointed by the album when I bought it, but upon rediscovering it, I can't stop listening to it. I'm still not sure it's a great album, but I did have an idea. I realized that I had not seen the grand majority of the movies on the album and there seemed to be an interesting cross section of old and new movies in genres (mostly horror, though some are less horrorey than others) that I enjoy, and wouldn't it be cool to watch each one, in order, and review it in conjunction with the song? At first I thought it would be a perfect long-term blog post series, but the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like I should start a podcast. The audio nature of the series makes it a pretty obvious option.

    I've been a somewhat avid listener to various movie podcasts over the years (notably Filmspotting (previously known as Cinecast)) and have recently toyed with the notion of creating one. The big issue, of course, is that it seems like a lot of work, but mixing The Director's Cut with a podcast might be a lot of fun. Still, this seems like a longer term project, as a lot of stuff would have to be accomplished before I even put up the first episode (I had a list here, but apparently broke the forum in that it says my comments were 1000 characters or so too long! I'll put it in the next post...)

    ~tallman
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      CommentAuthortallman
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2009
     
    So to do the podcast, I need to consider the following:


    • There would probably be costs involved. I might be able to host the podcast on kaedrin.com, but that doesn't seem wise. I doubt I'll have a huge audience (especially given the movies on the list), but you never know, and the thought of paying for bandwidth overcharges seems rough. Who knows, maybe there's someplace free I can host the thing...

    • There are a number of other technical components that would need to be set up (i.e. a blog/RSS, etc...), but that should be pretty easy with my current setup...

    • I'd need some recording equipment (more costs). I'm pretty sure there's decent free recording and mixing software, but I'd definitely have to invest in some sort of microphone (I have an old one around here somewhere, but I know it's quality is very poor).

    • I need to figure out the legalities of using copyrighted material, though I'm positive this fits the nature of Fair Use. I'd need to look into this more and see if perhaps contacting the record label would be a viable option (on the one hand, it would be great if they allowed it - on the other hand, it would suck if they forbid me to do anything with it - again, I'm pretty sure I can rely on Fair Use, but still).

    • I need a co-host. This may be the most difficult part. I hate the way single-person podcasts sound - it's so much better when a host has someone to play off of. Also, I'm not the most talkative guy in the world, so it might help to have someone else fill the voids when I'm trying to articulate something:p I have a couple of ideas for who to ask on certain movies (I mean, everyone's seen The Godfather, so that would be an easy one), but I can't really think of any one person who would want to do this for all 15 songs/movies, especially given the obscure nature of some of the films (the second film on the list is called Der Golem, and it's a silent film from 1920 or so, and there are several other movies I never heard of too). I suppose some of my online friends (i.e. You!) might fit the bill, but then we'll need to figure out a way to record long-distance (I'm pretty sure that would work with Skype, which I think is relatively cheap, but you know, not free). And that introduces a whole new set of challenges to overcome (you can often tell when a podcast is being done long distance, as the people have trouble deciding who will talk next, etc... it can be awkward).

    • I'd need a name for the podcast (director's cut is actually already taken) and I'd actually need to decide if this was something I wanted to do long-term or just short term... In other words, would I just do a 15 episode run, or would I want to continue indefinitely? Would I want to feature other stuff on the show, or just a review of the Directors Cut movie? And so on... I suppose that bridge could be crossed when I get there, but still, something I need to think about.



    Whew, that's a lot. I doubt I'll get very far on this, but long term, it might be feasible:p If you have any ideas/comments, feel free to share!

    ~tallman
    •  
      CommentAuthorSpencer
    • CommentTimeJun 23rd 2009
     
    DOOOOOO EEEEEEEETTTTTT

    Do. it. all. Even if the podcast doesn't turn out like you hope, I see mostly positive results. You'd learn something at least right? I'd hate to see you spend so much money on an unsuccessful venture, but it's a hobby either way right?


    I HATE heartburn so much. This on-off fructose sensitivity thing I have? My #1 symptom is heartburn. It's so painful - to the point that I had to go home early from work at least once a couple of years ago. Sometimes I will get severely painful hiccups; they're like concentrated bursts of heartburn-like fire.
    I have a wee bit of heartburn right this moment actually. (I accidentally only had tons of chocolate for dinner. Truly, it was an accident, I do not know how that happened. But I do not want to blame my precious chocolate.) My dad gets heartburn too, so I wonder how much genetics is a factor, but I don't know if there's a specific food that's a trigger for him.

    I haven't been exercising, not even my back exercises. I am so horrible at keeping it up. I'm starting to think I'm a lost cause. I only work part-time, and yet I still can't even remember to think of exercising - for even just 15 minutes - as something to do with my extra time.
    • CommentAuthorSovawanea
    • CommentTimeJun 23rd 2009
     
    I like the podcast idea. I have no idea about the technical aspects and can't help you there. I would like it if we maybe know ahead of time on the forum or your blog what's coming up. I might try to watch the movies first, if I can find them or haven't seen them. I will let you know if I think of a name that might fit. I'm usually good at naming things as long as they aren't my own.

    If you have had a sudden increase in heartburn like never before in your life, you might want to go in for a check up with your doctor. And if you change your diet and it doesn't help, then you really need to go. Trust me, I got my first Nexium prescription at age 17.

    I had a lapse in my workout routine for a couple of weeks, but I am back on track with a vengeance as there is little more than a month before I need to be an attendant at a big fancy wedding and I'd like to look my best, as formal dresses aren't often exceedingly flattering. I use My Fitness Coach on the Wii to track progress and for most of my work outs during the week. I might pick up Wii fit after my birthday.

    I'll check out the book and if it sounds interesting, try to read it as fast as possible and then lord it over all of you slow readers out there. Ok, not really, but I read at least 350-500 pages a week on average and so this idea of struggling through a book based only on the length seems odd. I've made it through 12 Valdemar books since January working on my New Year's resolution, while reading other things. They are easy books, though, and you didn't say anything about the content of the book, so maybe it isn't just the length that makes this a challenge?

    Summer is looking very busy for me. International wedding travel and with the implementation of "cost saving days" (like a furlough) one or two people will be out in my unit every week until September, so lots of desk coverage at a time when we have huge numbers of people applying and a back load of claims in the thousands. However, I'm looking forward to my favorite summer tradition, Comfest. Short for Community Festival, it's a local music festival with no big corporate sponsors. A big party in a park with music, food, all kinds of people in varying states of dress, undress and sobriety...good times. It's this weekend and other than being bummed about some friends missing this year, I think it will be great. And 4th of July will be in Cleveland for the first time, so that should be nice and relaxing, too.
    •  
      CommentAuthortallman
    • CommentTimeJun 23rd 2009
     
    Ok, some good news on the podcasting front. I found a place that provides free hosting and bandwidth (ourmedia.org), which cuts down on one of the major costs I was assuming. At this point, the major cost would be a microphone, which is a one-time cost (assuming I don't break the thing) and relatively cheap at that. The other major cost could end up being Skype, depending on if I find someone to co-host and where they are. If the cohost is in the US, it's only $2.95 a month for unlimited calling (there are some other catches there though, so I'm not positive how much it would cost, but still, seems reasonable). There's an open source Audio Editor that seems decent (called Audacity), but there's another program available (Mixcraft) which seems better but costs like $60. All in all, this seems more affordable in price than I expected.

    The two big issues are, of course, time and finding a cohost. Again, the movies in this series are somewhat obscure, so I'm pretty sure most of my friends wouldn't particularly care, except for some of the more famous ones. In terms of time, this summer is starting to look like it might be a bit rough, so I'm probably going to take it slow for now. Hopefully, I can find someone else to chat with (or maybe I can have a series of guest hosts or something) during that time...

    Sov, The first few movies are The Godfather, Der Golem (which is a silent film that is lost forever, but a sequel -Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam - appears to be available on DVD at Netflix), and Experiment in Terror. For a full list, just look up The Director's Cut at Wikipedia. Some of the movies/TV shows might be a bit difficult to find, but a cursory glance indicates that there's only 1 that looks like it's not on Netflix. The movies are mostly in the horror or thriller vein, though the last movie is Charade (which, IIRC, is a sorta romantic heist thriller).

    Regarding Infinite Jest, I have no idea what it's about (near as I can tell from reading about it, a lot of people who read it can't really tell you), but it's size alone is not what's intimidating. I haven't read it, but I'm expecting it to be quite dense and requiring of full attention to read. Also, the 75 page per week quota does not include the endnotes, which are well over 100 pages in themselves (and apparently integral to the story (also, there are apparently several endnotes within endnotes)). Long books don't scare me - my favorite author is Neal Stephenson, and he hasn't written a book shorter than 900 pages since the mid 90s. I'm expecting this book to be tougher to read than Cryptonomicon, but not quite as much of a mindfuck as Gravity's Rainbow (which, at times, took me a half hour to read a single page (due to looking stuff up, etc...)) The people at the website warn that it's not the sort of book you read at the beach or an airport or really anywhere with a lot of distractions, so make of that what you will:P In any case, I'm sure you'll blow me out of the water with your reading rate. I'm set to start tonight...

    I'm actually getting a physical workup next week, and will probably follow that up with semi-regular doctor appointments (new health insurance program at work). I'll ask them about the heartburn, though changing up my diet seems to have helped. Really, I think I just ate too shitty and too much for too long and my body started getting pissed. But we'll see, I guess. I've been using my antacid consumption as a barrometer for how good or bad I'm doing, and I haven't needed to take any for a few days (and that time it was because I ate dinner at my parents and they served pasta with sauce, a known bad combo for me). Tonight I did my first official workout of the summer. About 30 minutes on Wii Fit and 25 minutes on the elliptical, along with some stretches and pushups.

    Anywho, now I'm off to start IJ. Wish me luck.

    ~tallman
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      CommentAuthorSpencer
    • CommentTimeJun 24th 2009
     
    I like the idea of having a series of guest hosts. That puts less pressure on one person to deliver a great performance again and again (well, except for you, if you choose to co-host each time). I can only speak for myself, but I'm not expecting the podcast to blow my socks off right out of the gate. I think it will be good fun.

    But don't expect me as a guest host. =P Seriously, I wouldn't know what I'm talking about and my voice is annoying.


    I have not been reading much this year. I've probably been reading more online than last year. But the reason I haven't been reading as much hard copy? Partly because I do not have a good reading chair. I hope to rectify this in the near future. But also partly because I have a hard time deciding what to read. I think I'm too picky. I've tried forcing myself to continue reading stuff I'd otherwise quickly toss aside, and it's no fun. I'll check out the info on Infinite Jest, and I'll try it if it sounds at all interesting. The length doesn't scare me, but knowing that it could be hard to get through, on an intellectual level, makes it a bit less appealing. Not because I'm incapable of reading hard stuff, but I often find I'm too tired to stay awake through that sort of endeavor.


    I'm typing on my new wireless keyboard. I also have a wireless laser mouse. They come as a package by Logitech - the Cordless Desktop Wave Pro. I really like them so far. They were super easy to install (just plug in the USB stick thing). The options for customization are a bit overwhelming to me since the only stuff I've had so far has been the standard plain, cheap peripherals. I hope I can remember what I programmed all these buttons to do (like open CompuPic, my music folder, etc).

    I'm super-excited that I can do side-scrolling with this mouse's scroll wheel. Even the rest pad where the thumb sits while holding the mouse is clickable - right now it's set to open Document Flip (a list of all open programs). The keyboard is ergonomic and very quiet; yet, the left and right buttons on the mouse produce loud click noises. It won't be a problem for me because I don't do a lot of successive clicking like Charles (when he's playing a game). The one thing I have to get used to is how Logitech has changed around one grouping of keys: Home, End, Page Up, Page Down, and Delete. They have this layout on most of their new keyboards from what I saw. So far it's not been too inconvenient; if I accidentally push End instead of Page Up, I can easily go back to where I intended.

    My allergies have returned today and are making my nose burn with unfulfilled sneezes. From a CNN article the other day, I learned that there's an actual medical diagnosis for my persistent cough this time of year. It used to be called postnasal drip but is now termed "chronic upper airway cough syndrome." Basically I have a little bit of mucus constantly making its way down my nasal passages and into my throat. I already knew that, but I didn't realize it was so common. People are often offering cough drops and whatnot to me, but I know they can't help with an overabundance of mucus. I usually just have coughing spells, and the coughs are more of the clearing-the-throat kind.


    Exciting huh? In more interesting news, we might be signing a contract on the house this week. The renovations inside the house have started, and once they are complete, we can get an inspector and appraiser in there. We're shooting for a closing date of mid July still, but it all depends on the speed of the renovations. I'm still very excited about this house. We've been over there 3 times now, to finalize paint choices and see the projector in action, and each time I felt reassured in our decision.
    Everyday as I'm doing stuff in our apartment, I think about all the little ways things will be better or more efficient in the house. We'll have single stream recycling, which accepts a wider range of materials, plus right now we're lucky if there's room in the apartment recycling bins for our stuff. The cats will have much more room to run and hide out. Better closet space and organization for everything, especially foodstuffs. I hate our current pantry with a passion.

    Keep us updated on the podcast tallman, and let us know if you need help of any kind.
    • CommentAuthorSovawanea
    • CommentTimeJun 24th 2009
     
    Speaking of Stephenson, I got my dad the Baroque Cycle for his birthday/father's day. So, I must thank you for your devotion and constant mentions of his work, because I was really stuck trying to think of a good present and I haven't gotten him books in years. He buys the new releases from his favorite authors right away, but it was a safe bet he had not read them yet.

    And Spencer, keep us posted about the house! I want to see a picture preview before I come to Austin. And if you ever think about doing a blog, I think it should be about your cats. Everyone can use more adorable cat pictures.
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      CommentAuthorSpencer
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2009
     
    Sov, have you seen the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee blog? The blogger is a cat fosterer, and I don't think I could compete with her. Not that it's a competition. But she takes many pictures of her kitty litters, and he photos are always beautiful.

    I'm still thinking about buying some equipment to attach to my camera to make my photos turn out more like I want.
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      CommentAuthortallman
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2009
     
    At work, we have these big conference rooms with computers and projectors. It's really convenient, and they all have wireless keyboards and mice. Usually they work fine, but often enough, they don't and it takes like 5 minutes to get the computer to recognize them. I think a big part of this is that they're shared equipment and so people are always turning them off or forgetting to put them on the charger, etc... so it causes problems:p

    Good luck with the house!

    Sov, has your father read Cryptonomicon? If he hasn't and ends up liking the Baroque Cycle, that's definitely a good follow up (it was written before the Baroque cycle, but it takes place during WWII and present day and features the same families as the Baroque Cycle). Personally, Cryptonomicon is one of my favorite books of all time. The Baroque Cycle was a bit more of a challenge to get through, but I really liked the characters and Stephenson just fits my geeky nature just right.

    ~tallman
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      CommentAuthorSpencer
    • CommentTimeJun 26th 2009
     
    I took Cryptonomicon off the shelf at the local used book store today. I tried reading the first page and was not hooked at all. I was going to buy it anyway, but then I saw a book on cartography that I couldn't pass up. Besides, it was the short paperback version, and I didn't like the typeface or size at all.
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      CommentAuthortallman
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2009
     
    I must admit that Cryptonomicon probably has a relatively slow start. At least, I read that part a little slow the first time and wasn't immediately grabbed by it. But once I got into it, I flew flew the remaining 700-800 pages. But then, from what I've gathered, the book is exactly my type of nerdery. It hits geeky subjects I'm interested in and it's written in a style I like. The overarching story seems to put a lot of people off, mainly because it's not quite obvious, but after reading it 3 times, I think it works well:p But again, I'm apparently the right type of odd for this. In any case, it's not a book that will hook you on the first page or even maybe the first 100 pages. It's not stylistically difficult or anything, but it is apparently somewhat odd, and that seems to put some people off.

    ~tallman