White trash neighbors

Living in South San Jose is pretty great, for the most part. Great house, mostly great neighbors, and amazing weather are all positives.

But the negatives come out twice a year. There are several rental properties in our neighborhood, and they are often rented by giant wads of fuck.

Case in point: Last night, New Year’s Eve, we knew there would be fireworks. There are always fireworks here, even though they are banned, especially on NYE and the Fourth of July.

It sucks for our dogs. They freak out, and no amount of sedation or other home remedies help. And that is with “normal” fireworks.

But last night, at 10:30, there was a very loud explosion. Apparently, our dirtbag neighbors have a source for professional fireworks. You know, the ones that are used by professional pyrotechnicians to put on the larger displays.

We often have fireworks, including the smaller mortars (the ones that lead to star bursts) that you can buy if you go to states that have loose fireworks policies.

The one last night was not one of these. It was the real deal. Its lifter charge (typically a black powder charge to boost it out of the launch tube until the main charge explodes and the visible star burst happens. This one was so powerful that it caused every car alarm on the block go off.

Joy, two freaked out dogs (Cerberus is usually unflappable, but even he came to hide with me in the dark.) What a great way to ring in the new year…

I have to admit that I was saying a prayer that the morons would blow their hands off.

I hope these assholes move out soon.

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Things I don’t ‘get’ – Reality TV

The stubby fingered Cheeto colored, ferret wearin’ shit-gibbon aside, one thing that I just don’t get is Reality TV. My understanding is that the genre, while there are earlier instances, really got a jumpstart during a writer’s strike in Hollywood. The network execs just started producing unscripted “reality” shows, and they took off.

The formula was cemented with Survivor, and now you can hardly watch broadcast TV without having one of these trite shows in your face. Continue reading →

Things I don’t ‘get’ – Daytime TV

Perhaps it’s my age, or my introversion, or … whatever, there are many things that I just don’t understand.

Today, I will riff on television. being later-middle age, having grown up on a steady diet of television, I will admit to watching a reasonable amount of it. However, even with television being part of my life almost forever (to me at least), there are some things that are broadcast that I just don’t understand. Continue reading →

Shopping Cart Douchiness

Some things just piss me off. One of them is assholes who don’t know how to put their shopping carts in the corral area, and just leave them willy-nilly wherever they want to.

Lazy fucks.

I am sure you have seen this behavior before. It crosses class, and state boundaries. From the bargain grocers like Lucky, or Safeway, to the boutique like Trader Joes, or Nob Hill, and even to the swanky, over-priced realm of Whole Foods.

I see abandoned, or poorly placed carts, awaiting for the poor bagger who has to collect them. I know how hard it is to walk the 20 to 150 feet to drop the cart in one of the clearly marked collection points. You are worried that your frozen foods will melt, or that your lettuce will wilt, so you justify that you really can’t afford to delay your departure long enough to walk your fucking cart to the collection area. Continue reading →

Waking up at 3AM is getting old

Ok, this is getting old. Waking up at 3:00 AM and not going back to sleep. Argh.

The reason: Tate, one of our Greyhounds, goes out to relieve himself. He has been doing it at 5-ish, but lately that has become 3:00 AM. Alas, since he has a fecophilia vibe, he generally will turn around after defecating and wolf his own feces right down.


So, when I hear the swish/swish of the doggie door, I start monitoring him. When I see him pacing, I know it is time to get the sweats on, and be ready to scoop up the tootsie-rolls of poop before he munches them down.

But then I am awake. Sure, I try to return to sleep, but that is a fruitless endeavor. Then I will go snuggle with Tate on the couch, and try to read. Sometimes I can put a few pages on my Kindle behind me, and I doze off. But, after 6 hours of sleep (9 – 3), it is almost impossible to nod off.

Sigh. Finally about 4:30, I give in, get up, make a pot of coffee, and start reading the Times.

Suckage. About 3:00 in the afternoon, I get a bit of tiredness, and fade. If I am lucky, I can take a short cat-nap, but not always.

Yep, this shit sucks.

The Skype Virus

Whenever someone wants to talk to me and they say that they want to use Skype, I cringe. For a long time, I was unsure of why I cringed, I just did. Until recently when I installed the latest Skype client on my work PC.

Sigh, there are plenty of things to hate about Skype. It is owned by Microsoft. It has occasional audio drop outs. But some things are truly pernicious:

  • It really really doesn’t want you to quit it. In the menu, you can log out, but the “close” option really just minimizes it. It is as if they know that you really don’t want to quit the program (to exit it, you must right click on the tray icon, and select “exit”).
  • Spurious contact requests. Every day I get two or three contact requests. Often for ridiculous named contacts. Often with naked avatar images. And often with pitches to ask me what I am doing (like phone sex). No, I do not want to video chat to “watch U cum”. This is one reason why I stopped using Yahoo Messenger.
  • Advertisements. I guess it is the bane of the modern tech world, but advertisements are everywhere. Some tools make them unobtrusive. Not Skype. Front and center. While messaging, or while calling. Groan.
  • Hijacking anything that looks like a phone number in the browser. Be damned careful in what you agree to when installing, as it will try to install a browser plugin that will “Skype-ize” anything remotely resembling a phone number in your web browsing. Really fucking annoying.

Sadly, I install Skype, use it, and now uninstall that pig as soon as I am done.

I should add that it is far less annoying on the Mac, as cmd-Q will quit it.  Still hate using it though.

Not too happy with WordPress right now…

Nothing like getting an out of the blue “Abuse Notification” from you webhost provider. Sigh.

About 9:00PM last night I got the warning that there was malware on my wife’s WordPress site. Scripts in three unrelated files, and who knows what else damaged.

Earlier, doing my normal maintenance, I found that the plugins and theme updates would fail. This was the first hint that something was amiss. (for the record, the three other WP blogs on the same VPS were and are fine).

I manually changed the permissions, and forcibly re-installed these plugins, and thought all was well.

Then the Abuse message. Shit.

The hosting company quarantied the affected files, and they all were in a plugin that was part of the theme. Revolution Slider. We weren’t really using it, so I removed it (forcefully), yet there is still something hinky going on.

This weekend, I will do a deep clean, and fix it all up. Alas, I really didn’t want to blow a bunch of hours on this. I will also look at a malware monitoring tool for my VPS.

Apple Disappointment – Photos

Being a long time Apple fan, I have often sung their praises. Products that work, fit in with my natural workflow, and in general delight. That said, a recent experience has tarnished the gleam.

About 6 years ago, I realized that the built in photo management tool, iPhoto, was completely unsuitable for the task. I had graduated to a decent DSLR, and started shooting in RAW format. iPhoto did read the files, but the size of the files, and the huge quantity of files brought it to its knees. It really was painful.

I jumped to Aperture, a "Pro" application that had a decent workflow. It was that or the Adobe product, Lightroom.

Aperture worked well for a long time, but about Mavericks timeframe, it was reworked to add in the photostream, and the quality of the experience was diminished. I had made the decision to bolt to Lightroom, knowing the end was in sight.

Recently, Apple deprecated iPhoto, replacing it with "photos" that more closely works like the photos application on the iPhone. Meh, but whatever. However, the path was to migrate from iPhoto or Aperture to Photos, a one way migration.

It went OK for my aperture library, but the wonkiness was helping a friend migrate her iPhoto library.

She had a well aged (but quite serviceable) MacBook Pro. It was bought in 2009, and works. She had about 38Gigs of photos from her digital camera, in iPhoto. the '09 version that came with the computer.

A hard disk failure, and the genius bar upgraded her to 10.10.3 when they replaced it. iPhoto is not supported so she must go to Photos.

But it hung up at 24% in migrating. She brought it to me, and I tried all my magic.

  • Used an external drive and a clean copy of the iphoto library – no dice
  • repaired the library with my wife's computer – still running the same version of iPhoto (the advice from the support forums). No dice.
  • Disk warrior – rebuilt and optimized the directory structure – no dice
  • Repaired permissions – No dice.

After about 10 hours of fiddling, nothing would get past the 24% hump. I had to admit defeat, and advise her to make a Genius bar appointment.

Yesterday, I heard that after 4 hours, the genius bar tech was importing a year at a time. Painfully slow.

From reading the forums on apple.com, it is clear this is not an uncommon problem.

My suspicions: Apple didn't test enough variants of iPhoto, assuming that people upgraded as it was available (a faulty assumption), that minor glitches in iPhotos databases can fatally halt the migration.

There really needs to be a built in database check/rebuild that eases the migration.

In the mean time? I am moving all my photos to Lightroom. At least Adobe just uses flat file system folders for storage, so future migrations will be simple tasks.