Thursday, October 05, 2006

My Kung Fu is strong but my Rig is weak

It's been a while since I did any upgrades on my home built system. And there's a good reason for that. Because any attempt to update or overhaul this system will likely result in the delicate magic holding said system together to be dispelled leaving nothing but a pile of raw silicone and a weeping corset saleman. I simply cannot afford to have my computer down for any length of time. I rely on it, as does my business and those of my website clients. So I've let it slide. But its annoyances have grown. Plug and play is spotty, the video card whines, hard drive performance seems very slow. Etc etc.

Since taking this system apart is out of the question I need a new rig. This is where you folks come in. If you yourself, or someone you know, is a clever tool-using monkey, I gots a job for ya.

What I want:

Fast components. Not THE latest, as these are very spensive, just one step behind.
Video: I need to be able to kick my friend Jackals ass in BF2. Plan accordingly.
Lots o RAM. I deal with large photoshop files. 2 gig.
Dual layer DVD burning= Good.
Media card reader.
Legit copy of XP: OEM or boxed makes no difference. I can't have Microsoft giving me shit just to save a few bucks.
Dual Boot? Hey, I've heard good things about Ubuntu. I'd love to have that option.
Hard drive: Huge SATA is best. I also need to be able to hook up my current ATA drive to transfer over huge numbers of files.
Sound Card: Need not be fancy. I typically use headphones.
Lights, bells, whistles, windows and spinner need not apply.
Sound: Quiet. Fanless power supply would be nice.
No monitor needed.

Price: Under 1 grand if at all possible.

If you're interrested in the job please email me. I'd like to get this process rolling next week. Although I am by no means a huge blog I'd be very happy to plug you or your company or run your banner ad.

Thanks for your help.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A tale of two Couches

There comes a time in a relationship when things get serious. The first serious step is cohabitation. At least it was for me. But an even greater commitment occurs when your relationship goes to the next lever. No, not marriage or kids. I'm talking about buying furniture.

When Rossana and I moved into the big farmhouse years ago, we arrived with a large sectional sofa that I'd bought from some cousins. It had seem many better days. Its appearance was not improved by my friend Ander sat down on the couch back after finishing the move and "Anderizing" it.

It was clear that furniture was needed. We shopped around and eventually went to Value City (because we were, basically, poor) and bought a sofa and loveseat. It is here that I will stop our tale and give a mea culpa. Those of you who know me know that I posses a fairly good sense of decorating style. It's been said that if only I had been born gay I would have had a very successful career as an interior designer. This great style sense led me to push for a lovely couch with turned wooden feet and brass nails in tan with tapestry accent pillows. We bought it and hauled it home and the second we set it in place and I laid my ass upon it I realized I had made a terrible mistake. This was the most uncomfortable couch in the history of furniture. Torquemada could have used this furniture to extract confessions of blasphemy. It literally tried to force me out of it every time I sat down. It's material felt like sandpaper to me. Rossana was, of course, oblivious. But she has always led a Spartan existence. But I hated this couch, with a passion that burns like Latin love. And it hated me.

Years pass. We move again. The couched look fine in our home. But things start to slip. One day Rossana mentions that the couch 'isn't as comfy as it could be'.

"Oh really?" I respond demurely, as if I'd never really noticed.

Quickly I put a plan into action. While down in southern Ohio we went to a Big Lots (cheapo closeout store) and I had her sit down with me on a nice, ugly modern sofa while I 'rested my back' for a few moments. Slowly it dawned on my beloved wide. Her eyes begand to slowly close and she smiled slightly.

"What is it dearest?" I asked.

"This couch is soooo comfy."

"Is it? I suppose it is. Much better than our couches at home. And look, they're on sale!" I pushed the price display over to her with my toe.

She looked at the price, it was actually very reasonable. We'd shopped for furniture before, browsing Arhouse Furniture and other trendy couchetoriums. But those were mere flights of fancy. Two years ago we could have bought our house, or a lamp and an end table from one of these places. This was Big Lots.

We went home and I called the local stores. The nearest one had a set in stock. I laid out my case;

"Dear, when we last bought furniture I chose style over comfort and I was frankly dead wrong. We sit on these couches, nap on them, have guests sleep on them, shouldn't they at least not cause rashes and bleeding, if not be somewhat comfy?"

In the end, she kindly agreed. We looked over our finances and agreed we could do it. Of course, nothing can go without incident. The local Big Lots had the couch, but it was the wrong material. We had to drive out to Norwalk Ohio but we got 'em. After much grunting and heaving they are now safely installed in our living room and they are sooooooo nice. I mean it's reeeeeally nice. I may just sleep on it tonight. The Old loveseat is in the Moroccan room, where it replaced an even more uncomfortable futon. The couch? Its on our porch now and we're trying to sell it off. If you're a massochist and have a few bucks to spend or you want to torture a friend with a +4 Couch of Discomfort drop me a line.


This is a pretty good short video about why athiests care about religion.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Assorted stuff and various things...

Haven't posted in a while. This can be traced to an insideous enemy called 'work'. This work must be stopped at all costs.

Most of the week was spent on the road. Ohio Ren has 2 kids days where I basically sit and watch the next generation dissapoint me. It is beyond pathetic. The younger ones seem to have some hope, but once they get into high school they appear vapid, or just stupid. I am sure that all previous generations have looked at their successors in this way. Spent friday on the road and then finished up the Michigan show. It was yet another rainy weekend, perhaps the wettest season on record. But they numbers were there. The place was packed to the gills. I didn't do gangbusters but there were extenuating circumstances. Heather (one of my sales minions) arrived Saturday with a toe she believed to be broken. This was confirmed after a trip to he ER. On her return the pain meds and a spike in blood sugar meant she was flying and was good only for entertainment value. Once she was pretty straight we sent her home. I also spent some time trying to help my friends Alex and Elizabeth try and find a booth to buy. The biggest deal was that I sold complete, custom made Demonatrix outfit. If you've seem me at any shows over the last year you may have notices an outstanding leather outfit with wet molded leather demon wings and hands that look like they are grabbing the wearer. I've been bummed that I have not yet found a buyer for this piece. Of course, the fact that it's $1800 may have something to do with it. But on Saturday a young woman returned and stated she wanted to order her own personalized Demonatrix at a cost of $2500. Yes, I did in fact do the 'Happy Dance' after she left. But I'm holding off on breaking open the bottle of Asti I have been keeping for this occasion until after I get the 50% deposit later this week. All indications are good. Keep your fingers crossed.

And then it was all over. Being a merchant (or boother) isn't the same as being on cast or being a patron. For them the end of the show can be a tearful and emotional affair. There are hugs and toasts, songs and exchanged phone numbers or email addresses. There have been breakups and marriage proposals. But the boother has work to do and it starts the moment the show ends. Tear down, clean up and load out. Thankfully my shop isn't filled with thousands of things. But the booth still needs to be cleaned up and winterised. It's been my home away from home for two months. Lots of 'bits' collect in that time. Then I need to tear down my camping tent. It can't be rushed. You work through each task methodically. You can't just throw all your shit in a van and drive off. It will only make your life worse on the next show.

Those on the security staff who handn't already packed up last night gathered for the best tortia soup I have ever had. This is a very cool group of people. Friendly beyond words and helpful beyond measure. They are truly a tight knit family.

It was a good year, and I'm not talking monetarily. I haven't even looked at the books. It was just a great, crazy season filled with a lot of laughter, some mild frustrations, new friends and lots of stange stories ("Ma'am, would you mind hitching your gimp to the fencepost?") I can't wait till next year.