The Velocity of Stuff Stuff and Nonsense


Hack Attack

Literally a couple of hours after I wrote the last post, WordPress issued another upgrade. \"Screw it,\" said I!

Then last night the site got hacked, so upgrade I did, if only to tell the mewling f#%ks that they didn\'t get me. In fact they did me a favor.

Bring it, script kiddies. I backup regularly so erasing your oh so clever handiwork takes a couple of keystrokes and a drag and drop. Less effort, I believe, than it took you to do the damage.

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Upgrade Insanity

Little drives me more nuts than when the WordPress dashboard informs me of a new version. I find the automatic updates rarely works, so it becomes a game of the manual update. Permissions must be changed, files overwritten and databases backed up. I\'ve just upgraded two of my sites, and, after some frustrations, strangely, different ones for each site, it\'s done...

Until the next version hits!

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The Sounds of Axe Murder

So, I was watching So I Married an Axe Murderer the other night. This, in and of itself, is not uncommon. It’s a favourite film for me, and definitely my favourite Mike Myers movie. As I was watching it, I was thinking about how great the soundtrack is. I checked the credits, and, sure enough, I had the reason why. Danny Bramson was the music supervisor.

Danny Bramson, in case you’re not aware, is responsible for some truly unforgettable soundtracks. He’s perhaps best known for his work with Cameron Crowe. He worked on every Cameron Crowe movie from Say Anything up to Vanilla Sky. I often think that at least a part of my ambivalence toward Elizabethtown (aside from the fact that it’s just such a relentlessly dark film) is the fact that Danny wasn’t part of the soundtrack. His work on Jerry Maguire was incredible. He didn’t just use album cuts. He had to find the perfect version of a song like The Who’s Magic Bus, and it was the Live At Leeds version he put in. He makes that opening scene work so much more poignantly just by choosing the right song.

The So I Married an Axe Murderer soundtrack is as good as it gets. Both the original version of There She Goes, by The La’s, as well as a great cover by The Boo Radleys. Add to that Ned’s Atomic Dustbin singing the Bay City Rollers’ Saturday Night, and I’m in some sort of Music Nerd Heaven.

As for the movie itself, like I said, it’s my favourite Mike Myers movie. It’s one that I would love hearing more about. I’d love to learn more about the development process, what went on behind the scenes, etc. I always hold out hope for a Special Edition DVD (they released a Special Edition a few years back, but it’s a bare bones release. Just the movie. Not even a trailer so that they could say that there was A special feature), but it’s just not going to happen.

The making of that movie was a very difficult time for Myers. He and a friend did extensive rewriting of the original script, but the WGA arbitration process denied them any credit for doing so. Worse, Myers was making a movie in which he also played his character’s father, in a performance very much based on his real-life dad, not long after his father had passed away, an event from which he had not fully recovered. Between fighting for credit, trying to make the movie a better one, and then, to add insult to injury, having the movie flop, Myers looks at this as being a particularly dark time of his life, and has no interest in revisiting it.

The soundtrack though... it’s a beautiful thing! You can hear it here!

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No One Knows Anything

No one knows anything.  It\'s a phrase familiar to many who read this blog, as William Goldman\'s description of Hollywood.  The thing is, and it\'s a sad thing, at that, is that it\'s true of most of the world.  People tend to be headline skimmers.  They see the headline, they hear the quick soundbite on CNN, and then act as though they know the whole story.
Talk to anyone about politics, and they\'ll regurgitate a few talking points, and something they heard in an attack ad, and they think it\'s the whole story. You can immediately figure out which party they vote for, because they always vote for the same party.  Rather than pay attention to stances on issues that are important to them, they look at soundbites on the news, or what they saw on the headline of the paper the guy across from them on the subway was reading. They pick sides based on this and this alone, because the other guy can\'t possibly have any good ideas, because he\'s on the wrong side.  It\'s like the tax thing, and I heard somebody talking about this recently.  Nobody wants to pay taxes.  Hey, you look at your paycheque and you see how much comes off.  Nobody likes that.  Then, if you\'re a homeowner, you get your quarterly tax bill, and you start looking at what they\'re doing at City Hall a lot closer.
We had a friend staying with us over the summer, one who works for the federal government.  I mentioned to him that I imagine he\'d had a really busy time at work, as they\'d been extending the infrastructure spending to the beginning of the fourth quarter.  He was surprised.  What surprised him is the fact that I was aware that the deadline had been extended.  What surprised me is when he said that most people were completely unaware of this.  Not just that the deadline had been extended, or the mammoth amount of work that goes along with that, but the fact that the money was even being used.  He asked how I knew.  I told him, we work hard for that money, and we like to keep an eye on how it\'s used.  Not just federally, but also municipally (and, to be fair, I\'m probably more scrutinizing of what\'s going on at the municipal level, because that\'s what feels like the over and above money to me, and perhaps the money on which I can have a more immediate impact).  His answer was that most people don\'t.  He\'s right, and that\'s probably what concerns me most.  Not the fact that he\'s right.  He\'s a really smart guy, and he\'s right about a lot of things.  No, it\'s more that about which he was right.  People don\'t know.  Moreover, they don\'t care.
People say that they hate paying taxes.  I can\'t say that I\'m crazy about it, but the thing is that the same people who say they hate paying taxes sure like driving on those roads.  They like it when they don\'t have to take the trash down to the dump themselves.  I mean, who doesn\'t hate garbage day, right?  You\'ve got to get all the bags and bins together and drag them down to the curb.  imagine if your weekly routine was loading everything into the trunk and lining up at the dump to get rid of it?  Think you hate it when that bag splits down at the bottom of the driveway?  Imagine if it was in your trunk at the time.  Is there a lot of waste at all levels of government?  Absolutely.  This is the reason why we need to be more aware.  We need to be more involved.  We need to pay attention to the things that are important to us.  It\'s a responsibility that we have to ourselves.  Everyone says that it\'s all about making a better world for your kids and all that, but at the end of the day, you\'re always trying to make that world better based on the things that are important to you.
And that\'s as good a place as any to start.

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You Must Remember This

Memory is a funny thing. All my life, I\'ve been blessed with a pretty good memory. In school, I was able to read something once and retain it. In fact, in high school, I didn\'t even do that much. If it got mentioned in the class at some point, that was good enough. I remember events in such detail that it once became a game to my friends to see what associations I would make to remember where we were at a certain point. 
The most fun part of it to them, was that I was pretty much always right. Not that they were fact checking. They just wanted to know where the hell we were, and they knew that this would be a fun way to find out. I mean, what are you going to do, look through your old receipts, or ask Rainman what time Wapner is on?  
They say as you get older, your memory gets worse. Sometimes that\'s just an unavoidable fact of aging, and the fact that the ol\' CPU just fires up a little differently. I think that another part of it is that there\'s just that much more crap bogging your mind down. It\'s one thing for me to remember my high school locker combination in my twenties (12-46-23) but holding onto it, along with the phone number we had when I was a little kid (519-271-1392). As more decades pass, there are numbers that continue to accumulate, and at some point you think \"I\'d like to reclaim some of that disc space, thank you very much!\"
So today, a guy my wife works with just had a baby, and apparently swiped one of the names that she had been keeping on the short list for the future (not the immediate future. Believe me, when the time comes, I\'ll actually write a post). She said I\'d met the guy at a work event a few years back. I remember...Nothing.I don\'t remember it at all. I vaguely remember the work event, but not meeting this guy. I can tell you where I parked that day, but I don\'t specifically remember meeting this guy. It\'s tough to meet defeat on something this simple, but there it is. 
Now, if he had been trapped in my locker back in high school, I could get him out, no problem!

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So, it\'s been a week of vacation. Well, that\'s what they call it in the payroll office at work. Around here, it\'s been a busy time of finishing up some tasks we\'ve been holding off on since we moved in back in March.

We started off by digging up some of the side garden. The previous owner had allowed this garden to run rampant, and it had done so, well over the property line. We dug that up and built a retaining wall to keep it under control. We figured that it was going to be a huge job and likely take a couple of days. Instead, we managed to knock it out in one. Then, the hard work started. The garage seemed like a great place to put all of the stuff that we didn\'t have a place for, or that we didn\'t want to deal with. Now, with the winter feeling ever closer, we realized it\'s time. Thus far, and with a couple of days to go, I\'ve taken 8 boxes of books to be donated to the local library. I know I\'m not going to be reading that novelization of 12 Monkeys anytime soon. Two van loads of junk (much of which was left here by the previous owner) have been taken to the dump. All that, and I\'ve still got 2 more days of work to do!

The saving grace though, is that one of us takes Ella somewhere in the morning, so that the other has some time to get work done without interruption (while I\'ve been working on the garage, Jan has finished painting the bathroom and has painted our bedroom and the guest room). Today, I took Ella to the Y, which is her favourite place on Earth, it would appear. We had a great morning, and Jan got a ton of work done.

All of that work came to an abrupt end when we realized that Charlie had laid down on a paint can lid. Puppy bath and adult exhaustion ensued.

It\'s been a productive vacation, but, it pales next to Vegas last year!

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Truly a favourite topic of mine. I learned to read from comic books. In university, I even audited a closed Theoretical Physics class. The prof didn\'t want to let me in, but he had me talk to him about my knowledge of the subject matter, and we discussed Schrodinger\'s Cat and Everett\'s Many Worlds Theory in such detail that he allowed me in. Everything I said to him came from Peter Milligan\'s run on Animal Man. He had a hard gig, following Grant Morrison on that book, but he got me into a cool class!

In addition to all of this, I do a podcast called The Legion of Substitute Podcasters every week with my buddies Darren, Matt and Scott, focusing on the Legion of Super Heroes. Check it out here.

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Music has been an important part of my life for a number of years. I try to play as much as I can, no matter how busy life gets. Influences include, but are not limited to, The Beatles, Frank Zappa, The Smithereens, Elvis Costello, Queen, The Cars, Brian Wilson, Mike Kennealy, Dweezil Zappa, Steve Vai, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Rush, The Alarm, Adrian Belew, The Bears, Psychodots, The Ramones... well, you get the point.

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