acroyear: (hick)
I've kinda been busy, first with the SubFire player, then with prepping for a vacation, then finally taking said vacation in Orange County, CA (incl Discovery Cube, Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire, Disneyland and DCA, Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, a Signing Time concert for my kid and a friend, and walking through Crystal Cove State Park (incl a Beach with interesting tide pools we don't get on the east coast).

So, watch the photo blog, 'cause lots of pics are coming in the next few weeks.

Plus here I may recap my thoughts on Disneyland.
About JWS :: Been Busy Doing...Nothing Much?
acroyear: (geek2)

A 40-something geek (and husband and father), typical of many though I'm not much of a gamer. Professional software developer for 21 years, specializing in library design and user interfaces. Current focus is on html5 technologies. Past experience includes Java/J2EE and PHP/MySQL.

Hobbies include landscape and event photography (no, I'm not for hire - support your local professionals), morris and scottish dance, celtic music, renaissance faires, contemporary classical (anything Debussy and beyond), progressive rock, some (not all) sci-fi/fantasy genre works, and classic and (some) modern PBS kids shows. In a retro mood, I do still listen to classic 80s and acoustic new age guitar.

About JWS :: Home

Yeah, I think the personal home page is finally done. 'Bout time...

acroyear: (bad day coyote)
Left this on a comment at another blog, but it basically repeats something I wrote on FB when it happened:

I’ve got all of the Looney Tunes golden collections (then hunted on youtube the rest until they get officially released), though from there I ripped them all into individual ones I can shuffle so it is more like what Saturday Morning (when the BB-RR Show was 90 minutes long) was like when I was a kid. Thus, I’m already selective of which ones I’ll include, leaving most of the black-and-whites and some of the Tex Avery’s and Bob Clampett’s out.

One thing that bothered me is their repeat of gags that really just weren’t funny. It isn’t just that they were wrong (though they were), it is that they weren’t funny. Especially when they were totally out of theme of the rest of the material.

Case in point, a bit totally not in the original book of Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hatches the Egg, that Clampett added to the 1942 cartoon – at one point as the boat crosses the ocean to take him to the circus, a fish sees it, goes “now I’ve seen everything”, and quickly pulls out a revolver from nowhere and blows his head off. I’d forgotten it was there, as it had been cut from syndicated versions since the late 80s so Cartoon Network’s broadcasts never had it.

And it all happened faster than I could react to stopping it before my 3 year old daughter basically saw her first on-screen suicide (her first on-screen death was the dinosaurs in Fantasia, but I was there to talk her through that *before* it happened, making it clear that not all dinosaurs are nice like Buddy and Mr. Conductor ;-) ). The most I could do was repeat “it’s not funny” a few times and then start talking about the plot as it took over from there, because it’s true. It isn’t funny.

It is a gag that the Termite Terrace used at least a dozen times in those early years, and it has never been funny. I honestly have no idea why they thought it was funny enough to keep repeating over and over, and worse still, stick it into a Dr. Seuss work where it absolutely didn’t belong.

No wonder (besides the war and a few other projects) it would be more than two decades before Seuss was willing to let someone animate his work again.

In any case, not every aspect of the Termite Terrace years is bad because of stereotyped racism, or overt sexuality. Silly gun violence is one thing, but un-funny suicides are something different and deserve just as much a warning as the rest.
acroyear: (goof)
So what did I do at Dragon*Con 2014? hmm...

lets see what I remember... )

so, 3 panels, 1 photoshoot, about 3 hours just costume-watching in the marriott, 2 hours costume-watching in the Americas Mart 1, 1 hour in line at starbucks (spread over 2 days), and 7 autographs plus 2 pictures. less than some do, more than others. for having to watch a 3 year old in all that, not too bad. Everything on my "checklist" was achieved (except perhaps meeting Koenig, but he had a long line when he was in the Walk), and that is enough.
acroyear: (geek2)
What Is Real, Anyways?

An essay I just wrote complaining about the constant barrage of 'is it photoshopped?' that still persists in spite of years of photographers trying to explain it.  I probably won't change any of the nay-sayer's minds either, but I at least wanted to say something, and along the way, show off the different ways a single image might be seen.
acroyear: (don't let the)
A touch over a year ago I ranted about how prismnet had sold off the domain 'io.com' (my original isp) and wouldn't say who they sold it to, having me worried about the idea that spammers had bought it in order to re-open customers email accounts (like my acroyear at io.com) in order to collect personal information and create either unwanted direct marketing spam or worse, identity theft.

It turns out all is well.  io.com is owned by I/O Data Centers LLC (official domain, http://www.iodatacenters.com/ ), and they're legit.  
acroyear: (number 2 judge)
I just fired the following off to the North Carolina DoJ:
There is a scam originating from this phone number. You are called (in this case, my wife was but they were asking for me) and informed you have been sued and must call this number 704-464-1068 (a Charlotte number, hence my reporting it to North Carolina). When you call, you are told about some credit card debt, usually a negligible amount (in this case, about $668) and that they have been trying to reach you for years (in this case, since 2009 going to 2011).

They may have some personal information on you but in my case it was almost 20 years out of date.

They also claim the client* is Wachovia, but Wachovia has been Wells Fargo for several years now**.

The main part of the scam is that they are willing to settle 'pennies on the dollar' (typical scam catch phrase) provided you give them your financial data. I of course did not. If I was really being sued, the settlement would still go through a proper collections agency that's BBB certified or directly through the bank itself.

After failing enough 'sniff tests', I googled and found others harassed by the same operation: http://800notes.com/Phone.aspx/1-704-464-0168/1 . At no point did I give them any new personal information other than the city I live in.  As I did not lose any money, I have no need of 'resolution' - I just think this likely illegal operation should be stopped.
Subsequent googling finds they may be associated with an Atlanta company, "Velocity Payment Solutions".

* in spite of being a lawsuit, they did not use the word Plaintiff

** most of their credit card accounts were sold off to Chase or BoA in order to make the deal get past the FTC and SEC.

The other 'sniff test' failure that I caught was that, in trying to figure out if this was a case of identity theft, I kept trying to pry out of them the date the account was allegedly created. They couldn't give me that. Thing is, that's trivially found because all of that type of data (company, start, end, credit, and debt) is on every credit report around, which would include up to date addresses (especially for someone who has owned a home and refi'ed several times in the last decade). If Wachovia really wanted to find me, it would have been trivial to do so, and if I had a debt of this age and nature (granted, peanuts to my current income), I sure as hell wouldn't have the credit rating to get the refi rates I got).

tempting...

Mar. 5th, 2012 01:47 pm
acroyear: (decisions...)
after way the hell too many years, the account name I originally wanted (just acroyear, no 70) has finally been purged as having 0 friends, 0 posts, 0 watchers, 0 user pics, and 0 interest from whomever had it for so long.

now, with the great drop in LJ usage thanks to FB (and life in general), i'm not even sure I want it anymore...
acroyear: (claws for alarm)
You should, as soon as possible, go to the registrar service for that domain and verify that your email address on file is up to date and correct (and for that matter, verify that you can log into their service at all).  If you can, get a generic never-expires gmail (or yahoo or hotmail or whatever) account that's not in any way attached to a domain that could expire if you or someone forgets to renew it or the service it is on (since gmail is free, it'll live as long as google does).

I had 2 expire today because while drak did transfer 2 domains to asmallorange, 2 others that were done through "domains by proxy" in order to have their whois information kept more private (these were to have been my more significant front domains, aboutjws.info and javaclientcookbook.net, so i wanted anti-spam safeties on them) were transferred to domainspricedright.com as the registrar (fortunately, domains by proxy at least could tell me THAT much - they couldn't tell me much more because they wanted the credit card number (last 4 digits) that was on file and damned if I knew what it was).

I got lucky.  REAL lucky.

I had to go to the closet, pull out my old desktop, open the case and yank out the hard drive, get an old IDE-> enclosure, plug it in, go hunting for my Local Folders cache of all of my email from 2005-2008 (fortunately it was all still there), copy that and tweak the file folder structure so thunderbird would recognize and import it, then I was able to search to find the drak account # at the time.

the lucky bit?  that same account number transferred to domainspricedright as-is, so i was able to get in with one of my "traditional" obscure passwords.  pay the renewal, update the contact info, update the dns, and we're mostly all better now.

all this hassle because the only email address that transferred to anybody was the ancient long-dead acroyear@io.com.

grr...

also, can someone tell me why my fingers absolutely refuse to type the second 'r' in transfered?  I've typed that word about 20 times today (on different keyboards) and my brain just refuses to think it needs 2 'r's in it.
acroyear: (foxtrot snowball)
1. Eggnog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot Chocolate, or better still, Tea.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Hides them behind the bar, tosses them in a magnetic box or a gift-bag w/ tissue-paper, and loads the car to take them along 'cause we rarely do stuff in the house right now.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
white, built-in to the tree.  we have some externals but they got so tangled up taking them down from our first one at the house (heck, they didn't even come down 'til April!) that they'e never been out since, other than some were used as decorations for an MSFB.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No, excepting occasional plastic stuff.  Having pets usually meant no real plants in the house.

5. When do you put up your decorations?
About once every 3 or 4 years.  Knowing we're not going to be home kinda puts a damper on it, and usually the performance season after fest is so busy (3 weddings, 2 out of town, plus business trip, plus revels) that faire itself hasn't been put away by the time the holiday arrives.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
Christmas ales.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
When the holiday is on a saturday, having 90 minutes of only snow and christmas related Looney Tunes cartoons on TV while we opened the stockings and waited for the 'rents to get up for breakfast.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
Never really a definitive time.  I just sort of eased out of caring about "the truth", as I went from waiting for santa to "being" santa.  I still use "Santa" and "Rudolf" as a "from" person for the lesser gifts that are to the house as a whole (e.g., DVDs and the like).

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Not really, but that's 'cause we usually went to late services.  The rule was stockings opened immediately upon waking up, then wake the parents (at a reasonable time) to show off, and after breakfast gather for the tree.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
A combo of stuff of mine that used to be on my parents' tree, and stuff of Cyd's that used to be on her parents', and a few odds n sods...though I just got a GREAT idea for an ornament, but I'm not going to say so here.  Watch this space after the holidays.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Love Love Love, even the crazy like last year.  I make it a point of making sure "work from home" is an option so I can park with the computer, the coffee, and some music, and just hack away in sweats. I *REALLY* hate years without snow, particularly a few years back where the entirety of Feburary was below freezing (for HIGH temps) but not a single snow flake the entire time.  Suffering without any rewards, in my opinion.

Our first Christmas in the house (and the only one we hosted for both families at once) was 2002.  It was also my first "white" Christmas ever. :)

12. Can you ice skate?
Not at all.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
I couldn't say what a fav was anymore.  After 40, they start to fade a little...

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
General atmosphere.  Nothing specific, though I'll notice if something's missing.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Christmas ales.  Didn't we ask this already?

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Based on the past few years, "driving" would be it if someone were to objectively look at it, as we spend time at both 'rents.  Maybe someday we'll have the time to host our own again.  MUST catch A Christmas Story during the 24 Hours marathon at least once.

17. What tops your tree?
A star of some type.  Haven't pulled the tree out in a few years to know (see point above).

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?
Both. :)

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.  "Skating" from A Charlie Brown Christmas.  "Snow" by Lorenna McKennitt.  Several tracks from the out-of-print Celtic Heartbeat Christmas.  My most recent rediscovery is George Winston's Holly and the Ivy.

On the other hand, any song I hear more than 3 times in a single day while shopping or sitting in a restaurant has simply got to go.  "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" has made the "I hate you this year" list several times running (including this year).  The "White Christmas" movie version of White Christmas I can do without - I prefer the version from Holiday Inn.

20. Candy Canes?
Not really.

21. Do you feel Christmas is too commercialized?
No more than anything else in this society.

22. Real tree or artificial?
Artificial, and pre-wired.  Allegies, the overwhelming smell, needles everywhere, the need to water, the need to keep cats OUT of the water, all add up to "no thank you" for real trees.

23. Do you put lights up on the outside of your house?
We did our first year.  See above (they didn't come down 'til April or May, and they're still tangled up)

24. Do you do a Christmas Dinner or Supper and who cooks?
Usually our mom's cook at each of their respective houses.  I cook any time we host.

25. Is your family the everyone unwraps gifts at once sort or do you do it one gift at a time as the others watch?
Everybody is handed out one, we all open at the same time, show everybody, and repeat.  Nobody opens another 'til everybody's opened the current set.

26. Do your pets share in the festivities?
Max did.  Viv kept her distance.  The rabbits stayed in their cages, usually.

Adding a question:

27. What's your fav holiday movie?
An American Christmas Carol, starring Henry Winkler.  Transposes the story from industrial revolution Britain to early depression Concord, MA, and emphasizes the "dying unloved and unremembered" better than the original book (and most of the films) did, though the Patrick Stewart comes close.  A Christmas Story is a darn close second, of course.
acroyear: (lion rest)
just the battery.  electrics are all just fine.
acroyear: (each must dance)
Archbishop Bans Pop Music at Funerals - NYTimes.com:
On Thursday in Australia, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne announced a ban on the playing of pop music at funerals, which, he said, are not to be described as “a celebration of the life of” the deceased.

According to the new guidelines published on Archbishop Denis Hart’s Web site:

Secular items are never to be sung or played at a Catholic funeral, such as romantic ballads, pop or rock music, political songs, football club songs.

Melbourne’s Herald Sun reported that the theme songs of sporting teams are among the most popular requests fielded by Australian funeral directors. The newspaper added:

Other popular songs included, “My Way” by Frank Sinatra, “Time to Say Goodbye” by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman and Bette Midler’s version of “The Wind Beneath My Wings.”

A list of more unusual songs played at Australian funerals, according to a cemetery contacted by The Herald Sun, includes: “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” by Monty Python, “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen, “Highway to Hel,” by AC/DC and “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” from “The Wizard of Oz.”

The guidelines also address secular readings, which are allowed, within certain limits: “an appropriate poem or reflection may be read after the eulogy, provided it is in accord with the Christian hope of eternal life.”

A spokesman for the Catholic Church said the ban has received a mixed reaction in Melbourne, the BBC reported.
Dear Mr. The Archbishop.

What you want, or don't want, played at *your* funeral is your own damn business.

What is appropriate for anybody else's really is not, regardless of what building it is happening in. 

That a funeral isn't, in your eyes, a "celebration of the life" merely means we need fewer funerals and far more celebrations.

Trust me, when you go, we will be having a "celebration".  'Til then, go back to your rock and hide under it.

For myself, I want my wake to be held where most of my friends' have been these past few years: in a pub.

updated...

Jun. 6th, 2010 06:24 pm
acroyear: (this is news)
...with 2 more (Utah, Nevada) that had previously only been visited through airports (and I tend not to count those).

Visited US States
My Visited US States


Get your own Visited US States Map from Travel Blog
acroyear: (tea rutles)
having put my hands on my keyboard at the wrong place, my attempt to type out the "Cumbria Rock Festival" started out as "Bumbria".

I immediately said to myself, "what a silly bunt".
acroyear: (don't go there)
I have a recurring nightmare.  I wrote about this on a "25 things" meme a while back:
20. I am never ever ever going back to school, and I decided this 14 years ago. Up until about 3 years ago, I was still having regular nightmares of walking into a class I'd been skipping out on (since I kinda knew the subject already) and then having the mid-term plopped in front of me, 2 days after it was too late to drop the course. The dreams have finally stopped, but I'm never going to put myself through that crap again. Ever.
It came back last night, with a variant: I actually missed the mid-term itself, and was trying to figure out how to talk to the teacher about it without seeing the returned test with answers on it that everybody else in the class had in front of them.

Never going back, ever ever ever ever ever.

sigh...

Feb. 10th, 2010 01:57 pm
acroyear: (what a day)
2nd shovel so far, and i now have a pedestrian-width path to what had been cleared of the culdesac from the previous storm so one can walk out.  not quite drivable yet.

slowly doing a dr who "snow" marathon of Tomb of the Cybermen (2), Attack of the Cybermen (6), Ribos Operation (4), and Planet of the Ood (10) - yeah, pretty even numbers, that.

as posted on FB: From the "crap you can't make up" department: i took my 80s-workout mp3player on my last shovel round, and first random song it comes up with: Freeze Frame (J. Giels Band). This was followed by *3* "time" songs in a row: Forgotten Years, Time (Clock of the Heart), and Don't You Forget About Me. (and even the next song... was time related: Method of Modern Love)

back to (virtual) work...
acroyear: (Coff E)
are on facebook as many have already seen.  for those that don't have it, they're open to the world and you find them
  • here for the storm
  • here for the aftermath
highlights behind the cut )
acroyear: (fof oooh perty...)
1999->2000 was probably the busiest NYE I'd ever had.

The morning was simple enough, morning tea (I hadn't started the coffee addiction yet), watching the PBS coverage of each time zone's NY moment (at that point, things were already starting in China and SE Asia, and I'd missed New Zealand and Japan already).  I can't remember exactly when [livejournal.com profile] faireraven arrived, if she'd been around for a while or arrived that day. Things do blur as a result of the rest of the night...

Most of the afternoon was also a blur, as it was mostly prepping for the night.

430-530pm, faireraven and I have dinner (and I have a beer) in Old Town Alexandria at Virginia Beverage (now long gone :( ), watching the midnight events of Jerusalem, Finland, Cairo, Moscow, and South Africa.

For all of the fireworks and music and dancing, South Africa's New Year was probably the most stirring: President Nelson Mandela led a candlelight vigil through the prison he's spend most of the last 30 years in.

Unfortunately, I missed seeing GMT's change (London, Paris, Mike Oldfield in Berlin) due to having to be at a coffee shop closer to the King Street Metro, as a courtyard on King Street was the location Foggy Bottom Morris had been assigned to entertain audiences at First Night Alexandria.  We did one stand, then a beer or two in Hard Times, then another stand, freezing, but the audiences seemed amused.  First time I'd played "Devil Doubt" in the mummers play, 'cause Bill had to leave early for events in Maryland.  Fortunately, I didn't have to freeze anymore as I wasn't among the two picked to dance Lord of the Dance with Revels' performance at First Night Alexandria over at the courthouse square.

We leave Old Town Alexandria and head up Braddock Road to the Clan McArgh dinner party, which was amusing as always.  As that faded, we head to my office. 

Yes, my office.

No, I didn't have to work.

At the time, my office building was the triangle-shaped SRA building by the Courthouse in Arlington.  My window had THE VIEW - I could see unblocked from the Cathedral all the way to the Pentagon.  It was an annual tradition to gather up there, 11th floor, to see the fireworks on July 4th.  So knowing this, we came up to watch the fireworks on the mall for the New Year.

It was a bit of a mess, really, as they had the fireworks in two waves - the first wave was small one that happened right at 12, and then a subsequent wave happened at about 12:45, coordinated with the show actually happening on the mall (a show running horribly behind schedule, as usual - DC's gotten better since then).  We were listening to the radio broadcast of WTOP through the 'net to find out what was going on, as even they didn't know.  We also flipped through and saw the grainy video of Philadelphia's party as well.  Nobody reported any major Y2K bluffs at all...

Come 1pm, show's over, we head home, forgetting that like July 4, most of the Potomac roads I know are closed.  Oops.  Takes about 45 minutes to get back to Burke.  Zonk and good night.

Next day was (I *think*) our first visit to the [livejournal.com profile] queenmaggie First Day party in Frederick, a tradition that sadly is no more (but we'll still see her tomorrow!).

So that was our day, 10 years ago.  What was yours?

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