Friday, September 28, 2007

the percy senility fund

I'm sorry to say that my faithful Dell Inspiron 600m laptop computer (aka Sir Percy, aka Ladislaw) has officially become senile.

I just had a new hard-drive installed last Christmas, which more than doubled my disk space. But ever since then, things have only been getting worse. The power cord has frayed right near where it plugs into the computer. Around May, near the end of the semester, I finally bit the bullet and bought a new cord, out of fear that I would lose all my data and have no way to retrieve it.

The universal power cord worked fine for a while, except for one thing: it couldn't charge my battery (which is, itself, a hand-me-down from my brother-in-law when he bought a new computer). That wasn't too awful, since I have become accustomed to not using my battery much. And I could still pull out the original power cord from Dell and plug it in for a while, just long enough to get the battery charged up. But it was still annoying.

Then the universal power cord started having trouble of its own. I'm not sure, but it seems that part of my laptop where the power cord plugs in has become loose, so that the cord doesn't fit it right. That was a very annoying problem all during the summer (mind, this started only about a month or two after I first bought the cord -- which was pretty pricey, too). Still, things worked all right.

In the meantime, besides all the power cord drama (which is by no means finished yet ... stay tuned), my computer has just plain been running slowly lately. Even when I clean up my files and de-frag the hard-drive, it doesn't help much. I've been thinking for a while now that I would like get more RAM, but that is both expensive and difficult. So I'm making due instead.

Now, to finish the power cord drama: It's recently been getting harder and harder to get either power cord (the original or the universal) to stay in the right position, so that they are actually providing power to the laptop. That means that, unless I either command the luck of the gods or decide to sit with my hand pressing the cord in just the right place, the battery runs down to critical levels. This has happened a number of times in the last few weeks, but today it's been worse than ever. I have sat all day long with my hand pushing the cord, and after leaving it for a mere hour and a half (while I ran Mom for an emergency chiropractic visit -- seriously), it had already run down the battery completley. As in, 0% battery remaining. Clearly the battery is getting old, too.

I'm not sure it's worth it at this point to upgrade everything. Actually, I've been thinking that for quite a while now, but I have been holding off on looking for a new computer because I didn't want to buy another until I could afford a MacBook Pro. And I was far from affording a MacBook Pro. Still am.

So, in hopes of raising awareness about Laptop Senility Dysfunction (LSD) -- and also some money -- I am establishing the Percy Senility Fund. Should you wish to contribute, please send me an email, and I will provide donation details. (If you don't know my email address, I don't know you well enough to trust an email from you, so ... I guess we'll have to figure out some other donation possibility. Maybe a PayPal account.)

Plain? It's as ugly as a parson's widow! (22 points)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

good news

the good news first
The internet is working again! We finally got the phone service switched back, so that we are now able to use both the internet and the phones at the same time. Life is very, very happy again!

ramblin muse
I also recently took the plunge and registered at, so that I'm able to (a) post on the discussion board (assuming I ever want to) and (b) edit my own content. It's really a pretty cool site, and I'm not just saying that because I happen to adore Muse. There is a media player embedded in the bottom right-hand corner, where you can listen to music and watch videos -- and it's the whole song, not just a 30- or 60-second clip like most artists give you. When you register you can also edit your own playlist, so that it plays exactly what music and videos you want, and it allows you to use any and every song from all of their five main albums, as well as every official music video they've done and even a couple of live gigs.

Didn't mean to go on about that so much. I promise I'll find a new interest soon so that I have more to talk about than just Muse. In the meantime, thanks for your patience!

back to the good news
So, to reiterate: the internet at our house is working once again. That means that you are sure to see more regular posts on my blog. Yay! And more points for all! And I don't have to stay up late to use the internet anymore (so that I can disconnect the phones when we don't expect to need them). And I can listen to podcasts regularly. And ... the list of goodness goes on and on!
Man 1: Well, throw him out in the street.

Man 2: Wait, wait! [name] is my best friend. We can't just throw him out like Grandma's ashes!

(38 points, plus 5 for each character you can name in that exchange)

Monday, September 24, 2007

musical monday: the used

I promise that I will post a real update soon and tell you all what's going on in my life. The trouble, you see, is that there's not much going on right now. But as soon as there's something to tell, you can be sure I will do so.

This week's Musical Monday is about The Used. I love their song "The Bird and the Worm," even though I've only heard it a few times. It's one of those rare (for me) songs that grabbed me the first time I ever heard it. The lyrics are fascinating -- I especially love the first line: "He wears his heart safety-pinned to his backpack" -- and the layers and varieties of sounds on the track create a real depth.

Enjoy the YouTube version I've embedded below -- and please don't forget to comment and let me know what you think, whether you hate it, love it, or don't think it's worth either of those extremes.

read the lyrics

some memes ...

... because I'm bored and not yet ready to go to sleep.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: Boston

You definitely have a Boston accent, even if you think you don't. Of course, that doesn't mean you are from the Boston area, you may also be from New Hampshire or Maine.

The West
The Midland
North Central
The Northeast
The Inland North
The South
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Here's the trouble: I grew up in the West, but I've also lived overseas a few times and have always been very conscious of how I speak. By the time I was 16, strangers told me I sounded European. So I think this quiz is just plain messed up for me. I'll tell you one thing: I for sure don't have a Boston accent.

What mental disorder do you have?
Your Result: OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

You have odd obsessions that you cannot seem to control. You may even perform rituals to make you feel better. Counting and continuously obsessing over things happens frequently.

ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)
GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)
Manic Depressive
What mental disorder do you have?

I've known this for a long time ... no big surprises.

How will I die?
Your Result: You will die while saving someone's life.

The most noble of all deaths. Your rewards will be great in the next life. You are most definitely a humanitarian. If not currently, you will be. To give one's life is a precious moment that will be remembered by friends and family for many decades.

You will die in a car accident.
You will die while having sex.
You will die in your sleep.
You will die from a terminal illness.
You will die of boredom.
You will die in a nuclear holocaust.
You will be murdered.
How will I die?
Create a Quiz

Cool! Sounds to me like a great way to go. Thing is, they don't have that classic method-of-death, "old age." I wonder how that would change the results.

Which God or Goddess are you like?
Your Result: Budha

You are Budha. You are a very peaceful person, you love all who love you. You are a cheerful personality, and you have a great sense of humor. Congratulations!! You are Budha!!

The Christian God
Goddess Bast
Goddess Sekhemet
God Zeus
You are your own God or Goddess
Which God or Goddess are you like?
Make Your Own Quiz

Buddha? Have to say, I'm surprised by this one. And a bit disappointed that I'm not Bast. :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

musical monday: eve 6

One of the great things about the free exchange of digital music is that I'm constantly re-discovering music I'm familiar with but didn't know especially well. During one recent exchange, I got a song from NM that I've always liked, but until the exchange took place I didn't know what the song was called, or who it was by. I now know that it's "Inside Out" by Eve 6, and since I can now listen to it any time I want, I'm more familiar with the lyrics. I've always loved the line, "Wanna put my tender heart in a blender, watch it spin round to a beautiful oblivion." How utterly expressive! And who would think to rhyme 'tender' with 'blender'?

It turns out there's some debate over a few of the words (e.g., 'rhines' versus 'rinds' in the second line). Regardless of this debate, though, I very much enjoy the rhymes in the song, as well as the subtle plays on words: 'doubt' played against 'faith,' 'spin' against 'rendezvous,' the connection of 'time,' 'stale,' 'tick-tock,' and 'clock,' and the opposition of 'sane and logical' with 'tear it off the wall' -- and that's only the first verse!

Compare lyrics: LyricsFreak ~ Seek Lyrics ~ Lyrics Depot

Check out Eve 6: Official Site ~ Google Music ~ Wikipedia ~ AllMusicGuide

Saturday, September 15, 2007

phd comics

Mega-thanks to Shallow Man for the link to PhD Comics. I find these really funny -- which I should, since I'm a grad student. This is my favorite so far -- it really hits home.

Also, thanks to both Shallow Man and Elliespen for letting me stay with for my Muse concert. :)

Friday, September 14, 2007

muse high

I'm in a weird place today -- I am still partly coming off my high from seeing Muse in concert on Wednesday, which makes me both elated and deeply depressed (something that sublimity always does to me), and in addition my body is dealing with the odd sleeping patterns of the last two nights, which makes me groggy, lethargic, and a tad grumpy.

See, I didn't end up going to bed on Wednesday until 3:00 am, since I decided to wait around in the cold after the show and see if I could catch the band. Happily, I did, and the three-hour wait was actually worth it. If anything, I am only the more besotted by the experience. I was really worried for a while that they weren't going to come out or come talk to us or anything, but they did, and they were extremely gracious about the whole thing. I, personally, act like a complete idiot in these situations -- what exactly do you say to people you've never met before but have such profound respect for because of their work (I fully believe that Matt, Chris, and Dom are musical geniuses, in the most literal sense of the word)? Anyway, I mostly stood there like an idiot, listening to them talk to the other fans. I was really impressed with Matt -- when my "friend," Julie (whom I met that night while waiting for the band) told him she had seen them perform in Tokyo, he asked, "Which venue? We played four there." She told him the venue, and he replied, "Oh yeah, that was a good show -- that's where we played the longest set out there." Honestly, I'm amazed that he would remember details like that, considering how many gigs they play in one year (let alone the 14 that they've been together as Muse). All three of them were wonderfully gracious, as I said, and they even signed my "Absolution" CD -- even though I was a complete dork and had to tell them, "I don't have a pen, but I was hoping I could get an autograph." I had to tell this to all three of them separately, as they moved among us, which only made me feel that much more dorky about it. I've learned my lesson, though: always take a Sharpie with you to a concert, just in case you decide to ask for autographs and the "talents" don't have any.

So, to sum up the whole evening: It was a great concert, my niece and her friend were great fun to hang out with, Juliette and the Licks (supporting band) were just plain goofy but did a great cover of "Hot Stuff", I was greatly upset that Cold War Kids didn't come as support, I just about lost my voice (from singing with Muse) and my hearing (from listening to Muse), I now have an autographed CD from the band -- and I even got to touch Matt Bellamy. (Marriage Plan A is SO still in play!)

P.S. Apologies to LS and K about where I got my autographs -- none for you, guys! :)

MuseWiki's page on the Orem concert -- complete with set list, but not much else at the moment.

Your dark shines, bringing me down -- making my heart feel sore, 'cause it's good. (12 points -- today's quote is fairly easy, but it's the best one for describing how I feel after seeing Muse)

The last quote (in the post runner's high) was from a Muse song, "Bliss." Shocker.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I'm off to Muse! See you on the other side.

Monday, September 10, 2007

musical monday: muse

In anticipation of my first ever Muse concert (have I mentioned how excited I am?), today's Musical Monday is a list of my top ten favorite lines from Muse songs, with occasional comments.

Back in May I created a post about things I love about Muse. That post was mostly about their attitude -- not totally out-of-bounds, but more than willing to toe the line and even take a few steps over it. I want to just add that one of my favorite things about Muse is their lyrics. While I realize that they don't quite rank with the likes of Kit Marlowe, George Herbert, or T. S. Eliot, I do think Matt Bellamy has a real genius for lyrics. They are sometimes surprisingly profound, sometimes goofy, and sometimes just so durned ambiguous -- it makes for great interpretation possibilities.

10. It's happening soon, it's happening soon -- its scent has been blowing in my directioon. ("Fillip" from Showbiz)

This makes the bottom of the list, because I don't care that much about the actual line -- mostly I just love how Matt alters the final vowel in "direction" so that it quasi-rhymes with "soon." Makes me smile every time.
9. You needed it when I was away, and no matter what I say, you'll never forget when I wasn't there -- so why should I care? ("Overdue" from Absolution)
8. I'm not breaking down, I'm breaking out. ("Hysteria" from Absolution)
7. You would do anything and you would say anything to escape your meaningless and your insignificance. ... Why can't you just love her? Why be such a monster? ("Escape" from Showbiz)

I love the use of "meaningless" as a noun in #7.
6. For one moment I wish you'd hold your stage with no feelings at all. ("Citizen Erased" from Origin of Symmetry)

I have no idea what this is supposed to mean, but I still think it's great.
5. I don't want you to adore me, don't want you to ignore me when it pleases you. ... I have played in every toilet, but you just want to spoil it to prove I've made a big mistake. ("Muscle Museum" from Showbiz)

I've felt this way so many times, and I always love finding my own feelings expressed in someone else's words -- makes me feel not so alone, I suppose.
4. Paradise comes at a price that I am not prepared to pay. ("Megalomania" from Showbiz)
3. Everything about you resonates happiness, now I won't settle for less. ("Bliss" from Origin of Symmetry)
2. This is the last time I'll abandon you, and this is the last time I'll forget you -- I wish I could. ("Stockholm Syndrome" from Absolution)
1. I've had recurring nightmares that I was loved for who I am and missed the opportunity to be a better man. ("Hoodoo" from Black Holes and Revelations)

I've honestly never cared much for the song "Hoodoo," so I didn't pay much attention to the words until I was getting this list ready. When I found this line, it immediately gained first place in my list of favorite Muse lines.

runner's high

I have recently taken up running. By "recently" I mean, about three weeks ago. I've never liked running before, but I rather suddenly decided I wanted to start it and keep on with it. It helped a lot that I found some great online resources (like The Complete Running Network), which have helped me learn how to choose the right shoes, how to push myself through the hard parts, how to improve my breathing, avoid injuries, and increase my endurance -- among other things. So, for once in my life, I'm actually enjoying running.

Tonight, though, was the best run I've had since I've been back in Idaho. I usually just run in the neighborhood so that I can get going straight out of my parents' door. But tonight I drove down to the greenbelt by the Snake River to run. Mom came with me and sat in the car reading and watching my things, which helped a lot. It was the first time since I've been here that I felt like running further or longer than I was strictly supposed to -- which, in my book, is a good sign.

Everything about you resonates happiness, now I won't settle for less. (12 points)

Friday, September 7, 2007

updated, plus my top twenty favorite lyrics (part two)

I have to explain what's been going first. My parents recently purchased and installed a new VoIP phone system, but once we got the phones working, then the internet wouldn't work. We've been trying for the last week to get the problem fixed so that both the phones and the internet work, which is partially obstructed by the fact that my mom can't seem to decide whether she wants to just cancel the service or not. In the meantime, I've been mostly living offline ... except for really big tasks (such as applying for jobs), for which I go over to my brother's house.

But for the evening, I have the phone line knocked out and the internet hooked up again while Mom and Dad are at the temple, so I'm taking advantage of the time to update my blog and write some emails.

I've decided I want to start doing a weekly music moment, where I can share my favorite lyrics, musicians, and songs. I plan to normally do this on Mondays (musical Mondays -- gotta love the alliteration!), but this week I'm pretty behind-hand, owing to the above-mentioned internet problems.

So, with apologies for its late-ness, here is the second half of my favorite lyrics list:

10. Do you have the time to listen to me whine about nothing and everything all at once? I am one of those melodramatic fools, neurotic to the bone, no doubt about it. (Green Day, "Basket Case")
9. Delilah, I can promise you that by the time that we get through, the world will never, ever be the same, and you're to blame. (Plain White T's, "Hey There Delilah")
8. Feels like lightning running through my veins, every time I look at you. (David Gray, "Please Forgive Me")
7. Couldn't take the blame, sick with shame; must be exhausting to lose your own game. Selfishly hated, no wonder you're jaded; you can't play the victim this time. (Evanescence, "Call Me When You're Sober")
6. I won't be seeing you for a long while, I hope it's not as long as these country miles. (Camera Obscura, "Country Mile")
5. Don't believe that the weather is perfect the day that you die. (Armor for Sleep, "The Truth About Heaven")
4. I should, I wish I could, maybe if you were I would -- a list of standard-issue regrets. (Ok Go, "A Million Ways")
3. I need your grace to remind me to find my own. (Snow Patrol, "Chasing Cars")
2. The beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair. (Relient k, "Be My Escape")
1. I am a writer, writer of fictions. I am the heart that you call home. And I've written pages upon pages trying to rid you from my bones. (The Decemberists, "Engine Driver")

So there you have it -- my favorite lyrics. As mentioned, this list is by no means complete, and you can be certain you'll be getting lots more of this in future weeks. And thanks, NM, for sharing some of yours!