Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Pain and Pleasure
Posted by Sam at 9:02 PM

Today is a very special day. Very special indeed. On this very special day, I brought something very special into my home. And, I've been feeling very... what's the word... special, ever since. (Do you hate me yet?)

At Cutler's Records in New Haven, Connecticut, I picked up my very own copy of Opeth's latest masterpiece, Ghost Reveries.

My fingers trembled as I held it in my hands. How long have I been waiting for this? It feels like years... but it's only been a matter of months. With the outer plastic removed the only thing keeping me from heaven on earth is my own masochistic need to savor every last moment of excruciating pain. It will all be over soon. Pleasure cannot be understood unless one knows pain. And then, as the pressure mounts, I guide the CD into the side of my Powerbook. iTunes launches. It takes hours. Looking up track names? No... just... play...

And then it plays.

And I swear it was god herself, speaking to me from the heavens. But it was not god. No. It was better. It was Opeth.

More to follow...

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Sunday, August 28, 2005

Axe-Wielding Leprechaun
Posted by Sam at 5:16 PM

Early this morning, in the pouring rain, I left my cozy domicile and ventured north. Through unspeakable peril, I fought my way past the state's capitol and toward a land of horrific danger and untold adventure. Despite the risk, I journeyed forth. The gold at the end of this particular rainbow was simply too shiny to pass up... and no axe-wielding leprechaun was going to stand betwixt me and my glorious treasure. (What? Leprechauns are known to wield axes... from time to time... right?)

My destination was scenic Bloomfield Connecticut, where I would find this state's most prized annual event: The Northeast Bicycle Swap Meet. This was not just any old bicycle swap though. No, it was a vintage Muscle Bike swap.

The bike swap was held at the New England Muscle Bicycle Museum. Yeah... I had no idea that this place existed either. But now that I do, my life is bound to change. Ok... not really, but it is a very cool place (try not to let their shoddy website scare you away).

I went with eight dollars... which was a big mistake because there was at least twelve dollars worth of stuff that I would have liked to have purchased.

Actually, I found an old Schwinn track frame in excellent condition for $75 and a stylish leather seat for $15. The $8 that I had with me wouldn't cover the cost... even after offering up my yodeling and tap dancing skills as trade... maybe especially after that. So off I went, 15 miles down the road to find the nearest ATM. When I returned to the bike swap, both items where gone. Sniff sniff, sob sob...

It's for the best really. Money is a bit tight right now and who knows how the Streetfighter would react if I were to bring home another bike. Anyway, the swap was not entirely a wash. When I realized the likelihood of finding any other treasures at this event were slim, I plunged my fist into the nearest one dollar parts bin and purchased the first thing that I pulled out: a BMX seat and seat post... which was obviously a great investment seeing as I haven't ridden BMX since high school. It was a good time though... and I did make a new friend.

Check out my flickr photoset of the bike swap here!

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Smells Like School Spirit
Posted by Sam at 12:35 AM

I'm officially a grad student. School started last Wednesday... well, I had graduate orientation and the first meeting of one class, anyway. I'm already swamped, but I don't mind. This is going to be an amazing experience.

I've spent the last few days sort of getting aquatinted with my new campus. This place is incredible. The lobby of the library looks like a hotel. The architecture is very impressive too (inside and out). And the campus is so green and lush! Ponds, mountains across the street, a pine forest... sure beats the trash heap that was UMass, the concrete wasteland that was HCC, and the flat brick rectanguloids that made up WSC.

In addition to being visually impressive, my new campus is technologically mind-blowing. The campus is wired from head to toe, and wireless almost everywhere... the wifi even extends into the quad.

And now as I explore the campus and talk with my fellow classmates, I find myself experiencing something that I've only ever felt on a marginal level: school pride.

Yep. I like it here. I think that I'll go buy something with my school's logo emblazoned on it. Go Bobcats!

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Monday, August 22, 2005

Meet My Little Sister
Posted by Sam at 1:45 PM

Today is my last day here in Georgia, visiting with my little sister, her fiance, and their adorable menace of a dog. Soon, this little family of hers is off to Seattle (a city I've never been to and am eagerly looking forward to exploring). Before they leave for their new Pacific Northwest residence, and before I start school, I thought that I'd visit them one last time in the very surreal South.

I've had a fantastic time here with my sister. She's the greatest! But, in order to really know my sister, you need to meet her. So blog-o-sphere, I'd like you to meet my little sister.

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Open Wounds and Dog Saliva
Posted by Sam at 12:25 AM

Didn't I read somewhere that dog saliva is like the super-healing miracle salve? Well, I goddamn hope so... 'cause I'm covered in open wounds and dog saliva. Interestingly enough, they're both from the same source.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Don't Forget Your Riot Gear
Posted by Sam at 9:59 PM

Surprisingly, I have very little to say about the iBook stampede... except maybe, "Ha ha."

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The Peter Parker Scenerio
Posted by Sam at 11:03 AM

Moments ago, as I returned from the local caffeine pusher... coffee in hand, heart beginning to race from the anticipation of the morning's first hot caffeine injection... and sat down to read my news, check the ol' email, and gather my thoughts for the day... all while cradling that blissful, steaming cup of enlightenment... I found a curious email in my inbox from my pal Mike (who resides in the deepest and darkest depths of the most lukewarm and tepid of infernos). His email pointed to a study done by NASA, where spiders were dosed with various chemicals and let loose to [attempt to] build their webs.

The chemicals included in the experiment were marijuana, LSD, a few others that I can't remember, and caffeine. What you'll notice when observing the resulting webs, is that each drugged spider produced a failed web structure characteristic of their drug's specific effects. "The spider on marijuana drifted off before finishing the job. The spider on benzedrine, an upper, worked energetically but without much planning. The spider dosed with chloral hydrate, a sedative, soon fell asleep. But the spider dosed with caffeine was by far the most disoriented and proved incapable of creating even a single organized cell."

I find it hard to believe that a spider's reaction to a chemical substance is equivalent to that of a human (especially considering that coffee is the only thing keeping me from being "disoriented" and "incapable of creating even a single organized cell..." well, maybe the cell part doesn't really apply to my particular situation, but you get the point). Now, I'm not a NASA Scientist, so I can't say for certain. But if there's one thing I did learn in graphic design college, it was that spiders are not people (we had a very weird curriculum).

The point of this post however, is not to prove how much smarter I am than NASA. No, I'm saving that one for a rainy day. The point of this post is to bring light to the fact that NASA has made a huge oversight within their research. NASA has completely omitted any related studies on, what I'd like to call, the Peter Parker Scenerio.

Peter Parker, a teenage science nerd whose skills with the ladies rival that of my own, was bitten by a radioactive spider which mutated the very fibers that make him human and turned him into a super-human with spider-like abilities... a "Spiderman," if you will. The question that I'd like to pose at this juncture is: If the result of being bitten by a radioactive spider is super-human strength and spider-like abilities, what would be the mutation resulting from a hyper-caffeinated spider bite? Sticking to the walls and talking really fast? Well, there's only one way to find out. To NASA, ho!

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Sunday, August 14, 2005

A Secret Pleasure
Posted by Sam at 11:13 PM

Driving alone, at night, on the highway, in the pouring rain, listening to something dark.

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Friday, August 12, 2005

Well, That Didn't Take Long
Posted by Sam at 9:25 PM

It's all over the internet. Mac OS X, the version that ships with the Developer's Kit for making the transition from PowerPC to x86, has been hacked and cracked and is now running on a PeeCee. There's a few videos floating around showing the boot process. There's even a couple of how-to guides.

I'm not going to say, "I told you so." Well, I guess that I just did.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Not That I Would Know
Posted by Sam at 2:22 PM

I haven't heard the as of yet unreleased Opeth album "Ghost Reveries." However, if I had heard it, I might tell you how incredibly spectacular it is. I might tell you how fantastic the vocals are, and how the clean vocals are more refined and precise yet portray raw emotion like no other Opeth CD. I might also tell you that you can hear a lot of classic rock influence in this album from the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Doors, etc. I might even tell you that track two, "The Baying of the Hounds," is ten minutes and forty-one seconds of pure bliss. I might tell you these things... but I won't because the album will not be released until August 30th, 2005. Until then, you'll just have to take my word for it... er, not that I would know... because I definitely haven't heard the album yet. Ummm... I gotta go.

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Friday, August 05, 2005

Yes, Another Post About the Shoes
Posted by Sam at 10:32 PM

Watching a motorcyclist interact with other motorcyclists is an odd phenomenon. Without even knowing one another, they share an instant kinship with their fellow bikers... regardless of whether they are riding a Fatboy, a crotch rocket, or a moped... well, maybe not a moped. When they pass each other on street they give the I'm too cool for a car wave. It's like they know something that we don't. It's as if they belong to an exclusive club, where the entrance fee is simply motorcycle ownership.

I've never belonged to the exclusive motorcycle club. Come to think of it, I've never belonged to any club... let alone an exclusive one. Until now, that is.

Recently, I've found myself exchanging nods of recognition with other owners of the now legendary sandals. Yep... owners of the Keen Newport H2 tend to react to each other in the same way that motorcyclists do. We Nod. We Wave. We smile. We comment: "How you like those Keens?" or "Looking good in those Keens!" We know something that the general populous of inferior sandal wearing chumps just wouldn't understand. It's exclusive, a little bit elitist, totally nerdy, yet somehow, enormously satisfying.

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Thursday, August 04, 2005

I Fought the Law and the Law Won
Posted by Sam at 7:37 PM

Who would have thought that google, a multi-million dollar corporation, builder of brilliant web technology, and an all around nice company, is smarter than me? Clearly, I didn't.

Remember how jazzed up I was about the whole advertising on sambot thingy? Well, as you may or may not have noticed, there's a gaping hole in my design where there should be ads for "Sexy Girls and Sexy Guys," "Baking Supplies," and "Glenn Danzig Endorsing Viagra." I received an email from google last night, informing me that "invalid clicks have been generated on the Google ads on your site(s). We have therefore disabled your Google AdSense account."

Invalid clicks? Huh? Oh... you must mean all of the clicking of my own ads that I was doing. Yeah... I'm not really s'posed to do that, am I?

I'll be ok. Thanks for your concern. There are other ad services out there. Maybe I can re-apply to google? Maybe this is a sign that I should stop being such a whiny sell-out (what would my pretend punk rock girlfriend think about ads on sambot anyway?). It was no real loss though. I mean, that $11.40 would have been nice. In fact, I already had it spent in my mind. But, I'm not going to cry over it... not anymore, anyway. I will however, leave the gaping void in my sidebar there for a while. No, not because I'm lazy. But, to remind us all that crime doesn't pay or some other equally as lame cliche about cutting corners or hard work or blah bliggety blah blah blah...

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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I Never Thought I'd See the Day...
Posted by Sam at 3:20 PM

Today, Apple Computer released a multi-button mouse. Never in a bizillion years did I think that I would be alive to see a multi-button mouse from Apple. Never.

News of this sort is not revolutionary in any way - there's got to be thousands of multi-button mice on the market today, all purporting to be better and more innovative than the next - news like this is however, the stuff of legends. Historically, Apple has maintained (vehemently) that a single-button mouse is the best, most efficient, and most Mac-like option. One of Apple's main arguments in this matter was that it forces the software to be more intuitive. If the user has less clicking options, the software is forced to be smarter, forced to understand the user's input better, and forced to be more efficient in design. While this is all well and good, Apple's reluctance to stay current in this type of computing standard is not necessarily unexpected, but definitely stubborn... almost to such an extent that it seemed to have become a point of pride.

The mouse itself, questionably named "Mighty Mouse," has a whole slew of new/different/innovative technology stuffed underneath it's glossy white shell. As near as I can figure, there are no buttons (in the traditional sense) on this mouse. It would appear that the clickable "button" area has been replaced with more of a touch sensitive surface. Only time will tell if this will be effective and comfortable.

Instead of a linear, up/down scroll wheel, Apple has introduced a clickable 360 degree scroll ball. The usefulness of this feature is immediately apparent. So often, scrolling up and down is simply not enough. Again however, this is not a brand new notion. I've seen similar devices in mice for years. Although, to my immediate recollection, I have never seen a trackball/mouse combination.

The final notable nuance of this pointing device is the inclusion of "force-sensing buttons" on the sides of the mouse. Out of all the new features of the Mighty Mouse, these seem to be the most ambiguously described. (Force-sensing buttons? I can't help but feel that Lucas had a hand in naming this feature. Or, maybe that's what those blinking nubbins on Darth Vader's chest plate are: Force-sensing buttons. Anyway...) It seems that these two buttons act only as one singular button. The mouse is squeezed together in the middle in order to activate this button. Simultaneous pressure against both surfaces will trip the button's function. Again, we'll have to wait and see as to whether this proves to be comfortable and effective.

In addition to this surprise release, it's equally as surprising that none of the Mac rumor mills picked up on this before the official announcement. Maybe the idea of Apple and the multi-button mouse controversy was a lost cause and tired subject. I know when I read rumors of Apple releasing a multi-button mouse, I dismiss them almost instantly as being nothing more than wishful thinking. This morning was no different. I had to go to Apple's home page to validate the news. Another surprise: No bluetooth? Come on... where's the bluetooth version?

The Mighty Mouse is listed on the Apple Store for the modest price of $49.00. That's not bad. In fact, it's quite tempting. I think I'll hold out for the inevitable release of the bluetooth version though. However, if the local Apple store has them in stock, it might be worth a road-trip in that direction. Not to mention, my coffee flavored, punk rock, belle works in that area. Sigh...

UPDATE: The Mighty Mouse does actually click. The touch sensitive area on the button surface simply tells the mouse which button you're clicking... which is good. I was a little frightened by the idea of a click-less mouse. Anyway, c0nsumer managed to get her/his hands on one today. Check out the mini-review. I'm sure more will follow.

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Monday, August 01, 2005

Today, I Find Myself $8,820 Poorer
Posted by Sam at 11:36 PM

This morning, I registered my courses for the upcoming term. One semester's worth of classes costs a grand total of $8,820.

Ok, it is now time to check in on the ol' google AdSense. Now, I'm no fancy-shmancy scientician, but if I've done the math correctly, google's AdSense has made me rich beyond my wildest dreams. We'll see how much grad school actually costs after I deduct the gobs of cash that I made with advertising. Ready?

For the month of July 2005, I made a whopping $11.40.

Let's see...

-  11.40

So, in short, I'm screwed (literally). If you need me, I'll be out on the street corner... selling my body for tuition.

Really though, who am I to put a price on a quality education?

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Sam Who!?
Sam is an amazing and humble guy. Once, he rushed into a burning building, up six flights of stairs to save a kitten from certain death. He speaks eight languages, has mastered three varieties of martial arts, is a wine expert, and is a pulitzer prize winning author. Sam is an international heart-throb who prefers a quiet evening at home knitting afghans for the homeless, to the go-go, glitz and glamor of the party scene. I think the day he won the silver medal for ballroom dancing at the 98 olympics was the happiest of his life. Pretty impressive for a guy who never finished the 8th grade. - Carrie, 04
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