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Archive for the 'Personal Projects' Category

2005.01.24 choose your path:

i just uploaded a bunch of new images to the gallery, some old stuff (like brian's and my trip to Chicago in 2000, pictures i only recently unearthed when trying out Picasa), and a lot of new stuff from recent trips to visit family, and from other various things (like my self portraits from my portfolio and "matt reads his favorites" sessions).

also, i presented the list of potential names to the guys, and, aside from Rob's abstention because he didn't like any of the names, we narrowed it down a bit. here's the revised list, with explanations of what the names mean (where necessary):

votes name meaning
2 constructdestruct
1 obfuscate to make obscure or unclear
here, and here
2 criduchat means "cry of the cat" a syndrome where abnormal larynx development causes children's cries to sound like that of a cat
here, some reference to a label
3 cotard's syndrome  this is a condition where a person believes that their friends, family, money, the whole world, or even parts of their body do not exist or are about to not exist
2 catarrhal inflammation of a mucous membrane, especially of the air passages of the head and throat, with a free discharge
1 epitaxis nose bleed
2 gleet urethral catarrh – see: catarrhal
nothing extant
1 worm fit convulsions associated with teething, worms, elevated temperature or diarrhea
1 scrivener's palsy writer's cramp

i'll give 'em this list next time, and we'll see if rob, brax, or jim comes up with any alternatives, then we'll cull the list again.

- 01:41 am - PL :: 2 Comments
categories ::  Bipolar: News - Cool Links - Family - Friends - Mammon - Music - Personal Projects


2005.01.23 cold moon risen:

jesus, it's been a long day. (see technically, this is still the 22nd for me, so this is Saturday's post).

i finally decided (thursday) to take Sara up on her suggestion, and join her running team. now, mind you, i have no intention of running any races, or doing any of that really crazy stuff. if it's raining or snowing, my ass will be sleeping. but nevertheless, i got up at 8 am, donned my newly purchased running apparel (with that fancy "water-wicking" fabric, bought on sale at Tar-jay), got my ass down to the track at Seneca park, and proceeded to run/walk 3.something miles. ouch. my thighs still hurt.

afterwards, we went out for a celebratory breakfast at Bob Evans–her celebrating that i finally got off my ass and exercised, me celebrating that i did so and didn't keel over from a heart attack. then we went home for about… oh, five seconds… then ran out to meet our realtor to look at a condo and a house we were interested in getting second opinions on. her dad joined us, to help give us advice. turns out, both places were really not great, so we're now moving on to other possibilities. with each additional "unnacceptable," we're moving farther out from the epicenter of our target area, but y'know, there's not much we can do about that without winning the lottery or something. next step, a place sort-of out by bowman field.

i also finally got my papers from the military, and it looks like i'll not be eligible for the VA loan i was kind of holding out a dim flicker of hope for. so, now we gotta find out what exactly we qualify for. then, the "real" search begins.

after that, we chilled at my place for about… 15 minutes, then headed out to a birthday party for her little five-year-old niece. food, family, and er… fun-ish.

the last stop of the night was a birthday gathering for the inimitable puffin, at ZA's. we hung out until the early-to-bedder's (including my lovely fiance) had to beat a retreat, then proceeded to make fun of the ska and rap bands that set up to play a show. we were all getting pretty soused and having a good time, none moreso than neil.

a highlight of the evening was getting to hang out with brian for the first time in god-knows-how-long. but really, the whole evening was great, and i think the puffin could hardly have asked for a better birthday celebration. good food, good drink, good friends, and bad bands.


oh, and my thighs are still sore.

- 02:40 am - PL :: 2 Comments
categories ::  Birthday - Drinking - Family - Friends - Happy/Love - Music - Personal Projects - Wedding - Wife


2005.01.19 and you will know us by… er… what exactly?

i don't remember if i've mentioned it here yet or not, but my band Lucifigous Prick–which was a three-piece, then a four-piece–is now a three-piece again. we realized that the addition of the drums was taking the band's sound in a direction that we didn't want Lucifigous Prick to go… which is not to say that we didn't like the new sound, but it just wasn't what we wanted to do with LP. we toyed with the idea of breaking up or going back to a three-piece, until we realized that we could have the best of all worlds if we just split stuff into two separate projects. So now, we've got the original Lucifigous Prick line-up, and… the new band, which, after 4 months or so, still is unnamed.

still unnamed, and "in the studio" nevertheless. we're currently recording our 10(ish) songs under the able guidance of Jason Loewenstein, and have, in fact, gotten them mostly in the can already. pretty much just vox & mixing left, then we'll be ready to put out whatever it is we end up putting out under whatever name it is we end up stumbling upon.

in that vein, i thought i'd bounce a few ideas off of you guys. i had a previous list that i seem to have misplaced, but i was just thinking of some new ones last night, perhaps you all can pitch in and give us some more idee-s. oh, and the band's sound is still dark (not goth, not death metal, but dark) but more heavily rock centric than the Prick.

some possibilities:
Emergent Intelligence
Emerging Intelligence


Study of Human Behavior
Studies in Human Behavior



Go the Spoils

By the Victors


(from Medical terminology/disease names)
Vestibular Schwannoma
Otitis Externa
Acoustic Neuroma
Cotard's Syndrome
Scrivener's palsy
Worm Fit

(general rules for suggestions, no numbers, no use of the words "black" or "red", no use of "day" or variations thereof. phrases/cliches should be obfuscated or subtle)

well, that ended up being longer than i thought, especially once i started looking up disease names… still, i invite you to weigh in, perhaps make some other suggestions.

- 05:07 pm - PL :: 6 Comments
categories ::  Calls to Action - Lucifigous Prick - Mammon - Music - Personal Projects - Pleased/Like


2005.01.18 where you do want to go today:

sara & i have finally really started the ball rolling on this whole buying-a-house thing we've been talking about. we're talking to real-estate and mortgage agents, and we've been to our first open house this past weekend. what fun. and so many questions to ask & answer… do we top-end it, or bottom-line it? do we get a fixer-upper, or something we'll not need to do much work on? where exactly in the hell are we willing to live? obviously we can't afford much in the highlands, so how much are we willing to compromise on location? (in case you're curious) if anyone sees or knows of any decent houses in the 100k – 115k range in that general area, feel free to let me know. we are on the hunt in a big way at this point.

in other news, sara, in her constant struggles to get me off my lazy ass and exercise for a change, has now resorted to bribery. she's now offered to get me "whatever MP3 player" i want, if i'll join the running team she's on and at least walk with the walking contingent. it is a tempting offer. so far, i've narrowed down my choices to either: the iRiver H340, or the (no surprise here) iPod.

Here's how it breaks down for me so far:



  • not as much 3rd party support
  • not as pretty
  • i've "heard" the ui isn't as elegant, and borders on counter-intuitive
  • i've "heard" you have to create playlists on the PC, you can't create them on the fly on the player
  • heavier, bulkier
  • the company isn't unstable, but it's still not apple
  • not your standard "hip" apple mp3 player
  • direct LineIn jack
  • built-in microphone w/ voice record function
  • mounts as standard USB removable storage device (acts like a hard-drive)
  • don't have to use proprietary software to access/manage songs
  • not your standard "hip" apple mp3 player


  • no voice record feature/built-in microphone
  • no direct line-in jack
  • must use iTunes?
  • mounts as USB storage device, but only for non-music/media files?
  • it's "hip"

  • it's apple!
  • lots of 3rd party accessories & stuff
  • it's cute
  • it's hip
  • it's userfriendly?

if anyone can think of any pros or cons i missed for either of these two, or has any specific thoughts/suggestions either way, please post a comment and help me make up my mind.

- 01:52 am - PL :: 10 Comments
categories ::  Calls to Action - Computers/Tech - Cool Links - Love Life - Music - Personal Projects - Pop Culture - Wedding - Wife


2005.01.11 creeps in this petty pace from day to day

the time rapidly approaches wherein my bachelorhood will find it's end. as i've mentioned before, the planning process is progressing, and gathering in force. my lovely bride-to-be, being in med school, has (however tentatively) handed over the reigns of this process to yours truly (and her mother), so i'm going to be hip deep in it for a while. my other projects will have to take an increasingly distant back-seat to the three big uber-projects that i have to undertake–1) planning the wedding (obviously), 2) planning the honeymoon, and 3) finding a place for us to live.

if any of you here in the 'ville have lines on a good, relatively cheap DJ who'll do a wedding reception without prattling on incessantly and trying to be funny, let me know about 'em.

a sub-project that's moving closer to completion is the website i'm designing to house relevant information and meaningful stuff–something to kind of mark the occasion for us and provide all the answers for the curious. i'm trying to do it without going off the deep-end of cheesiness, though i imagine that with a sentimental site of this nature it's probably almost impossible to avoid. nevertheless, the main point is to have fun creating something honoring our relationship. it's still far from complete, but i've posted some mockups, and i thought you might enjoy them.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

those are real low-quality JPEGs to save on bandwidth–the actual site won't look so blurry.

comments on the design are welcomed.

- 05:28 pm - PL :: 4 Comments
categories ::  Calls to Action - Happy/Love - Love Life - Personal Projects - Wedding - Wife


2004.12.15 eventful:

this'll just be a quick entry to point out a couple things…

1) in light of the "IE gets blowed up real good" bug apparently triggered by the recent bipolar revamp, i've unflipped the switch and gone back to the crappy frames version. if anyone knows why a little CSSP/DHTML might be causing IE to hack up a lung, i implore you to please come forward. for testing purposes, the XHTML valid revamp version is still available.

**update**: well, it looks like i've nearly licked the kick'sploding IE thing. apparently, i didn't do too much testing in IE 6 during initial development, probably thinking that IE5 and 6 rendered more similarly than they do. i still need to do a little layout clean-up work (especially on 1.5) for IE6, but otherwise things appear solid once again.

the culprit? stupid proprietary DOM stuff in IE. document.body.clientHeight was causing IE6 to puke, so i just amped up my browser detect, and called document.documentElement.clientHeight for IE6 only. seems to have done the trick.

those of you IE6'ers out there, please pound on one or all of these (jhb15sporg) and let me know if you're still seeing crashes. i'd be much obliged. ** end update**

2) in other news, the "latest images" functionality of the gallery scripts is coming along nicely, though it seems with each new feature i complete, i think of five more things that could make them even better. what this means is that, eventually, i'm pretty much going to have to do a ground-up rewrite of the scripts. yippee.

in honor of the new functionality (as partially implemented) check out the pictures i took over this past weekend, when i went home to p'town to visit the fam and see my sis and my awesome little niece. be sure to check out the rasnake/old_homestead gallery, as there are several kick ass shots of stuff in and around my parents house. (sometimes, i actually think i'm a good photographer)

anyway, hit that link quick, as it's only good for 10 days–one of the limitations of the latest images feature (as it stands now) is that the number of days images are counted as new is set globally. i'm planning on adding a bit where you can specify a date, a range of dates, or your own number of days for which to show images. should be fun.

**update 12/21/2004** more fixin's have been added to the gallery scripts, adding some of the stuff i mentioned above, and that gallery link above now targets a specific date (rather than xx days ago). still no UI for all the new gizmos, but i'll get to that soon-ish.** end update**

- 01:49 am - PL ::
categories ::  Bipolar: News - Calls to Action - Computers/Tech - Cool Links - Family - Personal Projects - Pleased/Like - Upset/Dislike


2004.12.06 actual improvements:

i'm sure this will elicit a grimace of some sort out of brian, but i've been puttering around the back office here at bipolar the last few days. My most recent accomplishment follows on the heels of a post (or two) i read earlier today about the "spread of weighted lists" or some-such nonsense. anyway, i saw it and immediately wondered if i could wrangle a quick thing together for the categories index of ye olde bipolar to implement the concept. it only took me about 5 minutes to get the basic code worked up in the movable type template for the category index, but it then took me about three hours to figure out the formula to properly weight the percentages so that the lowest-post-count categories would actually be readable. check it out, or wait 'til you get to the end of the post and click the "categories" link. obviously, the more posts in a category, the larger that category appears. pretty simple and visually intuitive (if visually chaotic) method of displaying more complex data than a simple list.

and i figured out the other day a quick painless workaround for that annoying non-scrolling div firefox bug: just click in the area to scroll, hit the tab key (to put focus on the next link), and scroll away! if you mouse while leaving one hand on the keyboard (as i usually do) then you can do this almost without thinking about it. of course, yes, it is a kluge and suboptimal behavior, but i think you can hack it. besides, not everyone has a scroll button on their mouse anyway, and a fix is on the way (an *no* i don't expect people to go out and download a nightly build *just* so they can use their scroll wheel on bipolar… i just offered that as an option for those inclined to it)

finally, i've been working for the last several days on some more improvements and additional functionality for the bipolar gallery, and you can get a glimpse of the work in progress (if all you wanna do is browse thumbnails at this point). the improvements were just in the "multiple subdirectory 'folding'" code (if you really care, ask and i'll explain), and the added functionality is something brian's asked for for quite a while–a "latest images" option. the page i linked to shows a main index of just the latest photos (currently set to show pics uploaded/changed within the last 10 days). eventually i'll make a seperate function that will take this and spit it out in a limited single set of thumbnails (so that i can, for example, have the 4 latest images in my gallery automatically show up on the most recent post). as i said, very beta work in progress at this point. but progress nonetheless.

- 08:44 pm - PL :: 7 Comments
categories ::  Bipolar: News - Computers/Tech - Cool Links - Personal Projects


2004.11.24 I want my un-TV:

I got this swanky new laptop, which you may or may not recall, and it counts among its nicer features a DVD+/-RW drive. which means i can create DVDs. which is nice.

since time immemorial, i've captured my favorite TV shows (read: Star Trek) to tape, and always dreamed of a time when i could have them in some more high-quality (and physically easier to manage) format. to this end, i've dreamt often of a massive home media server to which i can record and store every TV show or movie i'd ever want to re-watch.

in lieu of multiple terabytes of network attached storage, the writable DVD thing might be a good way to begin building the collection. but how to capture the TV shows onto my computer for writing? i don't have a TV Tuner card, nor will i be getting one any time soon (see: "pending marriage"), so i had to figure out a reliable method of getting stuff i wanted onto my hard drive. enter pealco [via boing boing] (for me), and engadget (for you). the engadget piece is a bit more involved and hand-holding like with the whole setup, not that you need that, but just in case. it's mainly just because the engadget how-to is new, so it's the one that prompted this post. but, i've been using this setup for two weeks, and it's pretty swank i must say.

now i've just gotta design some DVD packaging material for my Enterprise DVDs, and i'll be all set. someone else has already designed seasons 2 & 3 so i just need to knock out 1 & 4. i doubt i'll get as detailed as that guy did, but who knows. depends on how the creative juices flow. i also figure i'll start with the most recent episodes and work my way back, since Paramount's talking about releasing official DVD season one box set sometime late next year.

i don't watch much TV, but what i do watch, i'm serious about.

- 12:13 pm - PL :: 1 Comment
categories ::  Computers/Tech - Cool Links - Personal Projects - Pleased/Like - Pop Culture - TV


2004.11.23 tell me, what is funny?

first off, before i get into the boring bipolar related stuff, let me point you in the direction of ghost town studio, the most recent issue of which features an article and images i put together. it's a very interesting little news piece about the Sears/Kmart merger.

in other news, and to the matter at hand, i've just discovered (inadvertently, i might add) that that annoying little firefox bug where scrollable DIV elements, or rather, DIV elements with their overflow properties set to allow scrolling, wouldn't scroll with a mousewheel (or equivalent widget). the scrollbars would work fine, of course, but it would be heresy to knowingly release something that refuses to work with the one really major improvement in HID design to come along in the last 10 years.

anyway, that nasty little bugger is fixed, at least in the latest trunk builds of firefox, and so should be fixed forthwith in the upcoming minor point releases of firefox 1.x of course, if you go to download the stock ff1.0 today, you'll still get the non-scrolly divs, but in a few weeks or a month's time, it'll all be history.

so, i told you that to tell you this: sometime soon, tonight, tomorrow, sometime this weekend, or maybe even next week, i'm going to flip the switch* on those "major improvements" i talked about way back when. so now's definitely the time to go back to that post and knock the crap out of those pages to see if they fall apart too badly. MC Seth-yo did some extensive cross-browser testing, and aside from some completely understandable though thankfully infrequent failings, the designs really held up pretty well. (of course, that may be selective memory talking, and when i go back to look at those screenshots he did, if they're still up, i may be in for a shock or something.) anyway, soon these changes will go live, the world will rejoice, and you, if you're really really annoyed by not being able to scroll with Mr. Mousewheel, should be encouraged to get thyself to's firefox ftp download area and download a copy of the latest trunk build. right now, the latest trunk still reports as being 0.9.1+, so be warned. latest trunk builds can be squirrelly, not as stable as the normal release builds.

also, i'll very very shortly (tonight) be installed an MT plugin to close old comments (we've been getting bombarded by comment spam for a while, but i've been to lazy to install additional protections on top of MT-Blacklist), so if you've been itching to comment on a post from 3 years ago, you better get on it.

**UPDATE**: the switch has officially been flipped, f'real.

- 10:00 pm - PL ::
categories ::  Bipolar: News - Calls to Action - Cool Links - Friends - Personal Projects - Pleased/Like - Pop Culture


2004.11.03 can't win for losing:

needless to say, i've been more depressed today than any day in the last ten years. i'm flabbergasted, completely dumbfounded. everything i thought i knew leading up to this, has been thrown to the ground and stomped on.

ok, hold on. yes, i expected it to be close. yes, i expected the unwashed masses to vote against equal rights. i even expected, on some level, for Mongiardo to lose, though i was hopeful 'til the end (not that i agree with his social conservatism, but he'd've been better than that old coot who won). i expected these things, but i also expected the throngs of liberal voters we were promised, and i expected the reports of skewed poll numbers leading up to the election to have been more accurate. i expected more people to have woken the fuck up during the last four years and to have seen the horror this administration has wrought. i expected quite a bit, and i was sorely disappointed.

as andrew sullivan pointed out, it wasn't the war on terror that was the pivotal issue of the campaign, it was the fear of homosexuals. it was "moral values" that drove the conservative voters to the polls, and it was precisely those "moral values" that Kerry and the other Democratic candidates hadn't campaigned to win.

and the thing that gets me is, how can you claim superior "moral values" when you're preaching discrimination, hatred, misunderstanding, ignorance, denying families the right to exist, stealing money from our children and grand-children (and now, most likely, our great-grandchildren), sending our youth to die for a war based on lies and faulty information, and the economic subjugation of the "lower" classes by the already wealthy? how are those "moral values?"

as you might've read in my last post, that email discussion with my dad, those aren't anything like the "moral values" i was raised to believe in. i was raised to believe that if you treat others with love and respect, that you'll build a better world. unfortunately the policies of those in power operate on a completely different tack. and even worse, the party in power has managed to befuddle the masses to the point where they actually believe they are supporting their values and ideals.

what we need now is to not give up. don't give ground. i dont' know if we need to go as far as Rich Malley suggests, but we certainly need to keep the screws tightening.

more importantly than that, we need to truly educate ourselves and become the shining font of education and information in order to re-establish our reality-based community (sic)
and spread truth.

as i said to my co-worker earlier today, we certainly can't be expected to be imminently knowledgeable about every issue, but we can certainly pick a topic or two to be "experts" on. find something that interests you, study it, learn it inside & out, and anytime you get an opportunity to talk to someone who's uneducated or misinformed about that subject, don't hesitate to shower them with the facts. don't hedge, don't qualify, don't apologize or state your "opinion"—assault them with facts. know both sides of the issue, know what the results of different policies would be, and make sure they understand when they're supporting the wrong ones.

form a network of knowledgeable friends. find out what your buddies know, where their areas of "expertise" lie. when you get in a conversation with someone who's talking wrongly about something your buddy knows inside & out, give him or her a call, or suggest that the person you're talking to seek that person out. or get their email address, and have your buddy contact them. somehow close the gap of knowledge and education.

it is imminently possible to eradicate the republican standard operating procedures of misinformation and miseducation, it's imminently possible to take back the "high ground" on morality and family values, but we can only do it if we can educate ourselves first, and present our personal knowledge in ways that can't be misconstrued. don't leave room for doubt, don't leave room for interpretation. cite fact.

we can take this country back, but we will have to work for it.

- 08:30 pm - PL :: 24 Comments
categories ::  Calls to Action - Friends - Personal Projects - Politics - Rants - Society - Upset/Dislike