April 2003 Archives

April 29, 2003

Swimming with the Fishies

Officially bonded with 1000 miles of middle-American river sludge last night, a dip in the Mississippi did the trick. A bar bet, the catalyst, not to mention newly acquired blonde maiden friends and the need to display a little machismo.

Actually the river was very nice, I quite enjoyed the swim, but how on earth did Tj sink the 8-ball on the break in the only game where my dignity was on the line? In fact there were no bets the entire evening until I insisted we "make it interesting" for that one game. In 2 years of league play in Brooklyn I have never witnessed an 8-ball break, and let me just add that this was perhaps the 4th or 5th time Tj had ever picked up a cue stick. The luck.

Breakfast at Cafe du Monde this morning. Sleep schedule way off at this point, average bedtime currently 4am.

Mmm, nappy time. 4 days of late nights has me looking over my shoulder for more responsible endeavors, like I should really be at work or am neglecting some important bills/dinner dates/phone calls. But hell with that, we haven't even been out to the festival grounds yet, or seen the zoo or garden district or Avery Island.

Pop left this morning, we all had dinner at Mona's Egyptian last night.

April 26, 2003

Requisite Debauchery

Truesdell James arrived from Minnesota yesterday, and I already suffer the hangover to prove it. About 2am this morning we made the decision to hit Bourbon street "just one more time," and I think that may've been the last straw (a straw sticking out of one of those big fat Hurricane(tm) slushy beverages, if you know what I am talking about).

Anyways, I have lots of nice pictures of the occasion which I can't wait to share, once they're developed and the little black bars are properly arranged to block various identities and such. I can't wait to see the one with me, Tj and the amusing little harlequin clown lady at that one bar.

In all seriousness, things are as swell as I thought they might be- we are even running into some of our trademark good luck, just minutes ago scoring a pair of 4th row center Dylan tickets for tonight.

Writing from the same internet cafe as last year. I think this time last year I was responding to email from Apenhorse from Nerve personals, ultimately sparking one of those go-nowhere internet dating exchanges. My fault, that one, I just chickened out before we actually went out. She seemed very nice, a high-level executive, older, looking for a "boy" with the looks of Dave Foley from News Radio. How charmingly odd that was.

April 25, 2003

Cat

There is a cat living outside this Creole Cottage, in the courtyard. Hello cat. Eat that lizard. Also eat that slug and eat that waterbug. Sit in a sunny spot, cat, and roll around. Be a lazy furball.

Donald Rumsfeld says "...we're going to do what we're going to do, and we're going to do it well, and then we'll leave." So we watch Star Trek instead.

May see Bob Dylan today, although the fairgrounds will be horrifically crowded by the time Tj gets to town and we find transportation out there.

Cat

There is a cat living outside this Creole Cottage, in the courtyard. Hello cat. Eat that lizard. Also eat that slug and eat that waterbug. Sit in a sunny spot, cat, and roll around. Be a lazy furball.

Donald Rumsfeld says "...we're going to do what we're going to do, and we're going to do it well, and then we'll leave." So we watch Star Trek instead.

May see Bob Dylan today, although the fairgrounds will be horrifically crowded by the time Tj gets to town and we find transportation out there.

April 24, 2003

Quicker Travel Update

Sam Slept.

Quick Travel Update

Arrived in New Orleans okay.

Staying in French Quarter cottage with Dad and his friend, world famous jazz musician Sammy Remington. Sammy talks alot. Nice accomodations and a pool in the back yard.

Beignets for breakfast.

Going out for Pakistani food in about 4 minutes.

April 22, 2003

New Attractive Names for Cat

Not Worth the Fur You're Printed On
Anxious Jones
Furlong Furlong
Lardito
Don't Believe the Hype
Hyper-fur
Hyped-up-on-catnip
Cat-Nipsy Russell
Vogon Constructor Fleet
Vogon Constructor Butt
Vogon Breath
Ouch! Ouch! Claws on my face! Ouch!
Destroyer of the Origami Craft Projects Menace
Destroyer of the Headphone Cord Menace
Destroyer of the Sam's Perfectly Nice Dinner Menace
Jose Furrier
You Would Make An Interesting Ceiling Fan Attachment
Needy Furry Greedy Bite-y
Weapon of Sam's Apartment Destruction
Harold
Wink

April 21, 2003

Where is the egg!?!?!?

I am still looking for a Tinkle Easter-egg. Brian found one on the highway, 3 states away, so the chances are pretty good one will turn up in my neck of the woods, or maybe even New Orleans where I will be as of Wednesday.

Confused? Look here.

April 18, 2003

Passover

It was fun reading the Haggadah last night at the Dobkin family Passover feast- the first time I have done that. A raucous good time was had by all during the event, read the Gothamist coverage for all the juicy details.

April 17, 2003

Fascinating Names for Cat

Butterfluff
Anipoop
AAPD (Automated Anti-Pigeon Device)
Cranberry
Mandible Jones
Dr. Poopsalot
Sir Poopsalot
Elvis
Danforth Quayle
Queasy-fleas
Smelly
Statistical Anomaly
Anomalous Statist
Master of Disaster
"You chewed through my headphone cords AGAIN!?!?!?!?"
LRV (Low Resale Value)
Lardina McFee
Daisy

April 14, 2003

Why I Still Have An IT Job

HomeView Demographics.bmpCheck it out; see that screen on the right? It's a screenshot from the PDA (Palm/PocketPC/Symbian OS) application I am writing at work.

Let's say you are an Intake Nurse at a major NY area hospital filling out this information on a handheld unit for a new patient. I bet you REEEEEEEALLY want to spend an hour Graffiti-ing/mini-keyboard-ing that information in there just for one lousy patient, right?

Wrong.

Enter InvisiKey(tm) by SamCorp(tm), conceived and designed by me.

If you are filling in the name, just tap the Nm next to the box and...

HomeView InvisiKey.bmpVOILA!!! Up pops the handiest possible keyboard. Tap the name in using the nice big keys, then tap the Nm again and FWIP, you are back to the first screen above.

The best part is the name field didn't move at all, so YOUR EYE NATURALLY MOVES DOWN TO THE NEXT FIELD (address)! This means your brain does not have to do that extra step of relocating where you are in the form and trying to decide what data is needed next.

"But what happens when the field is in the middle of the screen?"

Simple. To see what happens, tap Cty and...

HomeView InvisiKey 2.bmpVoila again.

Now we are down to the "City" field. The input field maintains its exact position and size; the keyboard moves around it to accomodate.

My opinion is that this is the best way yet conceived anywhere for entering free text into a handheld device, particularly if you are standing or otherwise mobile and can't use one of those full-size keyboard attachments. The letters just fly by, you don't even have to think about it.

I will now accept your questions, comments and patent license requests...

P.S.; I am a perfectionist- it is a bit of a flaw.

April 13, 2003

Phone Tag

I want I want I want I want I want I want I want;

Samsung i330 - for the Palm goodness

Samsung a500 - for the smallness

Samsung v205 - for the camera

But I can't have any, because I am trying to save dough for New Orleans later this month. They are all sooper-cheap on Amazon, though. Sigh.

Wow, look at the emotional depth and social relevance of this post.

Update:
Apparently Samsung phones are "for causal users" only...

Further Update:
Couldn't resist the a500, should arrive by the end of the week...

April 11, 2003

eToys

Korg MS2000I consider my recently acquired Korg MS2000 keyboard a toy more than anything else, since I purchased it blindly a few months ago on the recommendation of Graham of Arctic Square. It is what you call an "analog modeling synthesizer," but instead of actually being analog it is all based on digital circuitry and stuff. Notice I say "and stuff," indicating I have no idea what I am talking about.

Analog Synthesizer Lesson;
Basically you have 2 "oscillators" which you can set to make different kinds of very simple noises each. The simple sounds come in varieties such as "sine," "square," and there is one other which I forget. A typical "sine" wave sounds like the high-pitched whine coming from your television set during those national emergency broadcast systems tests late at night. A square wave might be more like a cicada.

The fun part comes when you *combine* the simple wave sounds from the two oscillators. By varying the frequency (length between waves) and other qualities of each of the 2 oscillators, you get all kinds of crazy interaction between the sounds, producing very complex waves that sound nothing like sines or squares.

Theoretically, any sound you hear can be described in this manner, combining two or more simple waves. A skilled technician can create waveforms that sound like a flute, piano, harp, drumbeat, cymbal or other traditional instruments, but sometimes the fun part is coming up with wild "patches" that don't sound like any instrument you've heard before.

My preference lately during practice sessions with Arctic Square is to use what I call a "singing" sine wave (actually a high-pitched "Lead" in the industry terminology) with a flute-y kind of undercurrent to it. The singing, sine-y lead part stands out favorably but not obtrusively in a crowd of guitars, and works really well with the vibrato wheel when I feel like emphasizing a particular note with a little quavering action. The flute-y undercurrent helps to keep the notes sounding more mellow during quieter sections.

Caveat;
It is apparent I will offer lessons in disciplines about which I know nothing. Sounded pretty convincing for a while though, huh?

April 9, 2003

Health Update

Unfortunately I have been diagnosed* with the SARS ailment.

This is worrying me less than you might think, since I overheard someone the other day saying how hundreds of thousands of people die of the plain old flu every year, so what is the big fat hairy deal with the SARS thing?

Anyways, an earlier entry has me staying home from work with a supposed hangover, now DO YOU THINK IT WAS A GOOD IDEA FOR ME TO SHARE MY BLOG ADDRESS WITH WORKMATES???

No, it was not a good idea, because now I am getting eyes rolling because I am actually sick and had to go home early today.

Anyways, what am I supposed to do, go to work and give everybody the SARS thing now?

Next week I am giving a substantial presentation to the Vice President of Information Systems of my glorious workplace, hopefully this will clear up by then.

Fortunately this illness is really giving me a chance to sharpen up my nose-blowing skills, so that is something good to come of it.

On a related note, the top of this can of Bush's Baked Beans is imprinted with the slogan, "Thick & Rich." How comforting.

Thank you, goodnight.

*Maybe it is just a bad cold, I should probably leave the diagnosing to people with the necessary tools and not my imaginary friend, Alf.

April 7, 2003

Casing The Big Easy

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival 2003Legend has it I will be in New Orleans for the annual Jazz festival later this month, joining the Father Figure for the second year in a row.

Also on hand will be Mr. Truesdell J Young, esteemed Nephew of world-class smoke-ring blower, magician and generally swell gent Harry Garrison. TJ is a dear friend, and also co-inventor of the "Electrocube 6000(tm)" children's toy which will be hitting the shelves around the year 2014, by current estimates.

Give me a holler if you are going to be in the Nawlins area around the end of April, we will hang out and maybe even get some tattoos.

P.S.: It is all about a visit to the McIlhenny Tabasco plant! I want to see the big vats where they dissolve the fish bones...

April 4, 2003

Obligatory Video Game Post

I often find myself trying to hide my enjoyment of video-games, sensing a certain stigma towards anyone over the age of 13 who still plays them regularly. I also often find myself hiding the fact I am over the age of 13, but that is kind of a separate issue...

Anyhoo, If the folks doing the "stigma-ing" would take a second to hear me out, I could relate a few points which I think prove there is a higher concept at work here:

-Tecchie Appreciation

Quake III ArenaThis means I am a geek. There is a whole genre of game out there I will play just to see the next piece of technological wizardry. The last good example was Quake III with its "curved surfaces." It is very hard to draw actual "curves" on your computer screen, since everything is all 1's and 0's and tends more to be square. But with some interesting math (probably involving Calculus, or one of those disciplines where numbers are not really numbers an' stuff) you can approximate curves, even in a 3-dimensional game environment.

Personally, I don't care for any other aspect of Quake III Arena, but it is fun to look at and that's enough to get me playing it once in a while.

-Design Genius

Yoshi's Island GBAA great game is planned and designed down to the last pixel. If "Sporty, The Flying Cheeto(tm)" can jump exactly 2 inches off the ground and run at exactly 2 meters per second, then ideally his environment will reflect and capitalize perfectly on these traits. His opponents will be perfectly "jump-overable" (not too tall to jump over, but tall enough to raise the question), and various other key aspects of the game will revolve tightly around Sporty's abilities and limitations.

Unquestionably the master of such game design is Shigeru Miyamoto, aka "the main reason Nintendo still makes a game system." Yoshi's Island and Super Mario 64 are the tightest designed games in existence, and will likely never be surpassed. The trend nowadays is to throw a bunch of dough at a developer and yell "gimme the Olsen Twins on surfboards, we're gonna cash in." Such competition is just too fast and furry to allow serious designers the years of development it takes to create greatness.

-Nostalgia

Star Wars original arcade gameWith the help of MAME*, I am currently working my way through 546 arcade "shooters" (my favorite game genre) circa 1979 through 2002. My favorites are always the ones I stumble across and say "Oh yeah! I remember playing this in an arcade one time down in like Florida or something, I forgot all about it!"

I just have to throw this video-game nostalgia moment in here; Zwackery, now that was a weird game.

*P.S. To The Various Authorities; Yes, of course I legally own each of the 546 games I am playing with that software, so you probably don't even have to check it out...

April 3, 2003

Fun with Food

Eat Those Peeps!A while ago I had this conversation with a coworker;

Me: "You know, I bet there's more sugar in one can of Pepsi than there is in an entire box of Easter Peeps."

Coworker: "No way."

Me: "Okay, I bet you a dollar."

Coworker: "You're on."

The end result? Read 'em and weep (or peep);

Regular Pepsi (12 fl oz):
Calories 150
Total Fat (g) 0
Sodium (mg) 37.5
Total Carbohydrates (g) 40.5
Sugars (g) 40.5

One Peep:
Calories 32
Total Fat (g) 0
Sodium (mg) 3
Total Carbohydrates (g) 8
Sugars (g) 7.2

Box of 5 Peeps:
Calories 160
Total Fat (g) 0
Sodium (mg) 15
Total Carbohydrates (g) 40
Sugars (g) 36

There you have it; a box of 5 peeps is better for you in nearly every way (except for those 10 calories which you can omit by leaving a head behind) than a single can of Pepsi. Better for you, assuming you are not relying on the Pepsi to sustain you in any meaningful way throughout the day... And if you are, then you probably have greater problems to focus on before you start in on the All Peeps Diet (tm).

Don't Eat Those Sun Chips!Other Fun Food Facts by Sam:

If you are going to have that diminutive little bag of Sun Chips for your afternoon snack, you may as well wolf down half a Big Mac;

Big Mac:
Calories 590
Total Fat (g) 34
Sodium (mg) 1070
Total Carbohydrates (g) 47
Sugars (g) 8

Sun Chips (1 3/4 Oz):
Calories 250
Total Fat (g) 10
Sodium (mg) 280
Total Carbohydrates (g) 31
Sugars (g) 5g

This is what I do with my spare time, folks...

April 1, 2003

The Janeane Thing...

JOkay, first let me say, J is a totally cool chick whom I respect as a friend and collaborator, and that will never change. We decided we would try this "dating" thing on for size, to see if it fit. It didn't, and that's where it lays, and we're both fine with that. Contrary to what has been in the press the last couple of days we were never engaged, neither of us is looking to have kids any time soon, and the Benz was a rental I borrowed for a few hours from a friend, not some kind of extravagant dowry.

So my agent Jerry warns me this morning, "I've already prepared a statement, it should be in circulation with the press by this afternoon, don't go and post some diatribe on your website- don't go all Mariah Carey on me, Sam. I've handled it, this will all just be good publicity in the end."

"Good publicity," that's what I hate about this business. I was having brunch with Gwyneth over at SL the other day (LOVE the "bar monkeys" btw!) and she was saying the exact same thing. It's all about just getting through the day without some ***hole reporter sticking a camera in your face and pelting you with personal questions and calling it "good publicity";

"NO, I HAVEN'T had a bowel movement today. It's all backed up in there, do you want to SEE!?!?!" And usually the answer is yes.

It's okay, though, Gwynny and one of the Wilson boys (Luke or Owen? I can't recall, they're so interchangeable these days!) and the rest of the usual gang and me are taking a major hiatus to this weekend at our favorite Cambodian spa...

Oop! Almost gave away our little hiding place- guess you were right, Jerry, it's easy to forget this is slightly less private than "real life"!

Anyways, J, I got off the topic but if you're reading this; best of luck to you in love and in life, you know I will always be there for you as a friend,

Peace, outtie.