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May 29, 2006

desktop debt replacement

i started looking online at desktop replacement computers. i really wanted to compare apples to apples with the macbook pro, and found that pc magazine had a pretty straightforward comparison. and their top rated was the acer travelmate 8204WLMi, against the macbook pro 17". sure, it has a smaller screen, but overall, it's also several hundred dollars cheaper, and comes standard with a 256M Graphics card and 2G RAM standard.

why is it easier for me to decide which laptop to buy vs. which camera to buy? the cameras are so much cheaper, and yet, i struggle every time i go in the store. i still like the nikons, but i need to spend about 8 hours in the damn store again playing to make sure. and then writing down the results.

my credit cards are almost paid off, and they raised my credit limit by 300%. scary. with fewer comics and fewer figures to pick up, and it being time to sell some off, maybe i can raise a couple hundred dollars to put down towards both?

kc said she might stop by today, so i've cleaned up the house minimally. nala's working in the basement, and i have a virtual ton of web work to get done by morning.

no stress... new site goes live wednesday and i have to redo the template by morning to get the background to work! ACK!

May 27, 2006

small world, but totally fun

yeah, so my friends had a party tonight celebrating their wedding. great jazz, good food, and booze. but then, as i was sitting with nala and the happy couple, i look over nala's shoulder and see another familiar face! someone from my hometown. someone who, never in a million years, would i think of bumping into. world traveller and local reporter (and former Old University student), KC. Stunned, at first I was thinking, "maybe it isnt her", but mrs. s confirmed it, and we ended up talking most of the night.

very very cool.

and then, of course, we found out there are actually 2 more folks from my hometown who live across my street. how messed up is that?

will do more catching up later -- now, need sleep.

May 24, 2006

stunning lack of organization

now, on a larger university campus, it would be logical to assume that during new student (and transfer student) orientation in the summer, you would have some sort of "organization fair" to get word out about different programs and activities at the university, to energize and inform students about the myriad of possibilities for participation on campus.

you might also assume that there would be some sort of first-week-back activities/fairs for students during the first few days of fall quarter, featuring those same programs, activities, and organizations.

you would be wrong about my old university. sayeth one of the staff of the university: "we just arent that organized."

add this to my "cons" list if i ever declare i'm going back there to grad school. (and remind me i still need to talk about the crazy lack of foresight on some of their web projects.)

jack. (turn it) off.

i knew there were stations going to the "jack" format, which SUCKS ASS, by the way, but you've GOT to be kidding me. one of the most iconic stations in the wheeling/steubenville area, WOMP-FM (yes, that's pronounced "womp", like "I'm gonna womp on ya!") is now JACK! No dj's. Just music in crazy combinations + commercials and promos.

I wanted to shoot my radio. Seriously.

My choices are now 1) country, 2) easy listening, 3) classic rock, or 4) jack?

I really need to get another mp3 player discman. Now that I should be traveling to that area a lot, I can justify the cost.

I've heard bad radio, and it was Jack. (Shit).

regarding last thursday

so, it was a great weekend away, but, as usual, simply not long enough.

thursday afternoon, i spent time with the current execs of my old radio station hanging out, taking action-photos of their promotion (buy or break old vinyl for $1 -- if breaking, you got to swing at an album with a wiffleball bat!) and drying off from the downpours. then, after checking into the hotel and getting some dinner (consisting of potato wedges and onion rings and deep fried breaded shrimp) i headed to my old haunt, thanks to one of the execs telling me about a huge billing with 4 acts for no cover, and one was an alumnus.

the 4 bands were good, and came across even better thanks to the venue's sound guy (at least i assume he was the sound guy for the venue), who knew how to keep it rockin without overpowering the small space. i know some might disagree, but truthfully, it was the best time i've seen a local band since 199-ever, outside of Comfest. The last band to play was Scott Free and the Getaways, whose name made me smile. (Granny Goodness would be proud?)

the other great thing about that particular venue was that it's now non-smoking! so crazy! unfortunately, i was told their brewmaster died, and so the local brews aren't flowing these days. i think someone also said they want to rearrange the place and move the bar to the side and the stage to the back, but in my thinking, that would destroy the brewery atmosphere because the stage would be in front of two of the brew tanks.

May 22, 2006

er. it's been over a week?

i have much to talk about, but no time at the moment.

i've been out of town for 4 days. working vacation.

things of note:
1) athens is still a great place to be
2) you will ALWAYS find connections in Ohio, even in a small group of 30
3) ohooley's sound guy knows how to compensate for the small space
4) some things never change
5) student government will haunt you forever
6) nerds in barfights and with broken jaws and getting mugged trump any passing-out story
7) alumni get better with age
8) acreage is at a premium in my hometown
9) my mom is a crazy woman, in so many ways (cabinets, floor, general insanity)
10) my dad is a crazy man, perfect for my mom
11) it's still amazing to see how cheap it is to live in my hometown (or athens, for that matter.)
12) even a $3 donation makes people happy

that's the short list. more to come.

May 14, 2006

thoughts on laptops, cameras, and other tech

so, i've been testing out the new Bonobo Tablet. super portable, slightly larger than my 12" ibook, but the keyboard and screen are really nice. the things that i dont like are:

1) no optical drive.
2) speed - only slightly faster than my 700MHz ibook.
3) need WinXP Tablet Edition to access full tablet functionality
4) battery life kinda sucks
5) 1" hinge on the screen worries me re: long term durability

Handwriting recognition and ultraportability are the strong points.

All in all, not for me. At least not for the price.

I've been comparing the Dell XPS and the MacBook pro's now. Not seeing much of a price difference, but a big difference in graphics cards, which is odd to me that Mac would fall behind in that category. pound for pound they dont look much different at first glance. I'm sad, though, that they're still so damn expensive.

the microphone i got from a friend of mine seems to have died. although, it takes a battery, so maybe the battery died. i was looking at replacements at Microcenter yesterday... and found quite a few decent ones. mostly over $30. i ended up buying an OEM Microsoft optical wireless notebook mouse. (nice, although small for my hand), and the Griffin iMic so I can get audio into my mac. I'll review that whenever I get a working mic.

And then -- i can digitally encode my aircheck tapes from my radio days. fun.

the end of the "best animated show on television"

y'all know i loved Justice League/Unlimited. But, with last week's nothing-but-setup episode leaving less than one half hour to wrap up an entire series, I was feeling worse than slighted.

leaving that behind me, i watched this week's series finale. i already knew the day would be saved. everything would be back to normal. that's a given -- nobody would end a kids show on a sour note.

the first 20 minutes were pure action bliss. (ok, maybe the first 15 -- truthfully, some of the commercial breaks seemed shorter, so maybe the episode was longer than the standard 22 minutes, but i'm not taking the time to look that up.)

there were some great moments of dialogue, and some real cheesy feel-good crap. the ending was feel-good crap, mostly, and for that i was sad.

also, the ending was ... crap. i won't say more, because i'm not spoiling it here. i just felt so let down by the simplicity, as i suspected i would. BIG COSMIC ALL-ENCOMPASSING WAR! see this rug and this broom? sweep it all under there. good. war over!

unfortunately, it mimics comics today. enormous crossovers affecting the entire universe! poof! gone.

perhaps the wet blanket is rubbing off on me, but i'm desiring a more deep, meaningful, long term relationship when it comes to comics. let something stick, please. let there be repercussions. let ralph dinby kill himself and not come back from the dead. let guy gardner crush the new blue beetle wannabe under a giant green tennis shoe. if you're going to shit on the characters and legacy of DC Comics, let's do it for real. for keeps.

as my high school English teacher used to say, "if you're going to be an asshole, be the best asshole you can be."

DC, take that advice. If you're going to shake up your universe, let's do it right. have a plan, make it stick. you might even gain readers' overall respect again.

May 12, 2006


yesterday sorta sucked. between 3:55 and 5:45 were the daykillers in that regard. first, the software we need to have installed by Monday wasnt working, and secondly, my rationale and courselist got shot down.

i'm ok with that, for now, since perhaps the rationale wasnt conveyed as clearly as it should've been. i'm doing a rewrite and changing things to less of a computer science focus and more to a process focus, and also going into further detail in the rationale itself with more of a "this is why computer science doesnt fill my needs" focus.

breakfast (and lunch) of champions

today, we had our annual breakfast fundraiser for charity. there were pancakes, eggs, sausages, and hash browns, along with coffee and juice. all you can eat, $5. the best thing was making biscuits this morning and getting to work to find out my coworker had made her famous cheesy biscuits, too.

"dammit," i thought, "mine suck compared to hers". but no, folks just eat more of hers because they're saltier. mine are much less salty, and twice as big, so there's no comparison. both went fast... and only 6 of my 40 or so were left.

i found out more of her secrets today. next time, i'm gonna do better. it (apparently) is all about the salted butter (i use unsalted) and garlic salt (i dont use it).

we shall see next year, whose biscuits reign supreme!

biscuits 2


There's a thread on the message boards I run about nicknames, and how each of us acquired ours. mine was easy -- someone decided I "looked like a Matrix" -- and then it stuck from 1994 thru 1998 or so. The folks I went to college with know that name, and even today, call me that at gatherings. It's sometimes odd, being called by an old name, especially since it's been years, but I've been told that I'm just famous (within our group), and I'll have to deal with it.

And, of course, other nicknames like "JJ" and "JJ Junior" and "Three J" -- those just make me cringe when I hear them. CRINGE! Although, I'm thinking "3J" woulda been a better airname than Matrix. Maybe if I ever end up in radio again.

And now, of course, some folks know me as Giga. Which is ok. But I'd rather be just plain Matt.

May 11, 2006

friday, come quickly

between sewer gas in our building and bad coffee -- and meetings -- i can't wait till the weekend.


still no news from the faculty advisor guy. i'm still hopeful, and if he hasn't responded one way or the other by Monday, I'll give him a call or try to make an appointment. so, classes still in limbo.

i also need to contact whoever's teaching my design class this summer to make sure I am still in. For whatever reason, the registration system let me in, although the catalog lists a pre-requisite of another course "or permission." So, better to talk to the prof now and explain everything in hopes of getting in. If I don't get in, I just reshuffle my classes, but keep the same graduation date. Not really a big deal, but I have my heart set on a certain path to graduation.

the design at work is coming along thru meetings and fires i've had to put out. it keeps changing, and I'm ok with that. there needs to be some fluidity, anyway, to accomodate changes and regulations. certain ways of coding and display break those regulations, and I want more than a boxy grid.

the layout in photoshop is almost done. hooray. now i can start building in code again.

2 more meetings this morning. *sigh*

May 10, 2006

ooh, seven.

the guest stars just keep coming. JTT, 7of9, and #2? (and, Alex P. Keaton is back -- and so is Johnny Fever.)

thats all i'm sayin.

May 9, 2006

that sinking feeling

hooray! it's tuesday! yep. i'm in the middle of finishing crap at work for tomorrow. and, my parents came to visit me after their trip to the cardiologist. they brought soda (dad got a free pack of something caffeinated). woohoo! caffeine!

my mom is skinnier than ever, which i'd say isn't good. and, she is having random palpitations. she's strapped to a heart monitor for a month. they didn't tell me about it until today, but apparently she's had the monitor for a week.

apparently this has been going on and getting worse for quite a while. they say it's no big deal, but she's not sleeping because the palpitations wake her up, and dad's kinda worried, even though he didnt say so. i can see it in his eyes. it's always the "oh well, could be worse" while i see the worry behind it. mom didnt want to look me in the eye.

the doc says it's gotta be completely unrelated to dad's... it's just an odd coincidence. and not something i want to think about.

rat on ale

today, i submitted my rationale and list of courses to the faculty member recommended by my advisor and my coworker. my hope is that he sees the rationale, approves it, and signs without question.

my fear is, he rejects it without giving reason and then i'm stuck with a rewrite with no guidance.

oh how i want this stress to be over. i want to be able to KNOW that I will graduate next year. it would be nice to finally have a date set and to be on track to graduate before age 40.

it's time.

May 8, 2006


This morning, I put together my first draft of a rationale for my specialized studies degree. I forwarded it off for some proofreading, and put out a message on the alumni boards to see if anyone else had done one before, so I might get some guidance.

My coworker's was pretty empty, and yet got approved. Mine is more detailed, but still sticks to the point.

I dont know what happens if courses get ommitted from the schedule... can I still graduate, or do I have to revise and go through the process all over again? I've asked for the details from my advisor, but I have the feeling she won't know the answer. At my old college, you wrote up a list of required (core) classes and a list of approved classes towards the major that you could also choose from. That's not the case here -- you get one list. I have no documentation on what happens if you complete an adequate amount of credits in courses from your list, but not EVERYTHING on the list.

so I'm waiting. hopefully, i'll get some feedback (and answers) today, and submit the list to my coworker's faculty advisor tomorrow. I so so so so so want this done.

still gotta talk to my boss re: work schedule for summer. Update: Boss approved Summer and Autumn schedules, and I have signatures to prove it. Woohoo.

Update #2: got some quick feedback re: structure, and forwarded the revised rationale to my advisor. Now I wait for her notes. Still no feedback from other students who have done these...

Update #3 approved by my advisor. now must email the faculty member for his signoff. there is one class which may not be offered again (which i'm worried about), but is a strong course toward a more rounded curriculum. according to the advisor, i can make a substitution and note it in the list, and have it approved now, or wait and resubmit a new list of courses if it isnt offered in the spring. or i could leave it off altogether, and just take it for kicks if it's offered. that last option may be my best option for graduation. yeah, that's probably what i'll do. Now I just need to write up a nice text email to the faculty member explaining everything, and mail him the documents to sign.

Keep your fingers crossed.

May 6, 2006

congratulations and best wishes

congratulations and best wishes to the robot and her minion on their marriage today: may it be a long and happy one!

(and thanks for the invite -- it was a great party!)

May 5, 2006

pretty stripey today

trying to take a self pic with the cheap-ass camera ended up with a whole lotta glare. oh well, at least i'm not scowling like usual.

and yes, in case you're curious, that is "Fake Thugs Dedication" over my right shoulder.

May 4, 2006

too early for rewards, but...

after i graduate, i think it would be high time to take a fucking kick ass vacation like the many-week-long trip to Europe I wanted to take.

of course, that requires a) money, b) passport, and c) that the US still has mediocre or better relations with the rest of the world.

continuing saga of my edumacation

i'm registered for summer classes (world history to 1500, and multimedia design) and autumn classes (web design for accessibility, and nordic myth and culture.)

winter looks like "interactive arts media 1" and "writing for the web".
spring looks like "interactive arts media 2" and world history 1500 - present

next summer would then be the last one to two courses, "issues of contemp world" and, if it's offered again, "electronic marketing".

this, of course, is assuming the courses are offered. you know what this means? if all goes well, i could (hypothetically speaking, of course) have my bachelors by the end of next summer!

and then, of course, begin the search for a grad program.

May 3, 2006

is it just me

or are Mark Valley and Julie Bowen the hottest couple on TV?

I'm just sayin. Better than Tom Selleck and Candice Bergen.

Ok ok -- David Tennant and Billie Piper are pretty hot, too.

AND anybody who is/was/will be anybody seems to be guesting on Boston Legal, btw. Next week? Freddie Prinze Jr. returns as William Shatner's son, and Parker Posey as "the squid" (the only thing that can kill a shark). Adam Arkin has a recurring role as a DA, Comedian Shelley Berman, who you wouldn't know his name but definitely his face...Larry Miller (the same)...Peter MacNicol, Howard Hesseman (Dr. Johnny Fever, WKRP), just to name a few more.

Everybody. Seriously. If you were on TV in the last 40 years and arent currently in a show... you are destined to be on this show. When do we get Donna Mills?

killing my processes, one at a time


so, my advisor hadnt looked at my proposed list of courses until when i called her 5 minutes ago and she printed them out. and then, she couldnt remember what the limit on transfer credit was and had to look it up in an email. and then, when i asked who i should talk to as far as faculty for approval, she had no idea. so i had her look up my coworker's faculty approver.

she's out the rest of the week, so getting her to review my rationale before submitting it to the faculty member won't happen till next week. of course, i need to think about scheduling ASAP for summer.

but, of course, nothing is ever simple. i now have to contact each dept regarding each of the classes I will need to graduate, (of course), because none of them seem to be offered on a regular basis. this was one of the problems i faced at my old college -- they didnt offer the courses I needed unless they a) felt like teaching that qtr, or b) could get more than 9 people enrolled, or else they wouldnt teach it because they wouldnt get paid.

i need to KNOW that they will teach the class, or else, I'm stuck in limbo again.


ok, so I submitted that list of classes yesterday morning so that my advisor could approve them and then get me the name of a faculty member who could approve my course list. not even a peep from her in 24 hours. this isn't cool.

today, if i dont hear from her by noon, I'll contact my coworker's advisor and try to work a different angle. I have to submit an approval form to my boss this week to be eligible to register for summer classes. And registration for summer and fall starts this week, too.

May 2, 2006

10 classes left

Ok, I submitted a preliminary list of courses I would be using to complete my degree to my adviser. Her response will hopefully be a good one. I also hope she'll even tell me to slim it down a little more, because as it is now, I'm seeing about 2 classes I can cut and still have enough to graduate.

Either way, I've got 10 classes or less left to graduate under my plan.
2 history classes (a series) (East Asian, Latin American, African, or "World": take your pick)
1 literature class (single): probably retake Scandanavian 222- I think I still have the books.
1 "Issues of the Contemporary World" -- this is the scary one, since none of the courses look even remotely interesting or related to my major.

After that, all that are left are the major classes... like "web design for accessibility", "writing for the web", "principles of electronic marketing", and "fundamentals of multimedia design".

May 1, 2006

academic advice

i also met with my academic advisor today... tomorrow i'll be drafting my rationale for my bachelors degree, and hopefully be on my way to my bachelors by the end of the week. of course, that also all depends on my finding a prof who will sign off on my degree program.

yeah. i know. it looks kinda bleak, but i have a theory that if i word this rationale correctly, a prof will sign, no problem. we shall see. i can't get discouraged before i even start.

graduation, sorta


9 years ago, I rented an apartment and moved here. i ran outta options at Old University, needed a job, and money, and couldnt keep pouring money into college where (at least seemingly) I was never going to finish.

well, i took steps today.

first, i called the registrar's office there and said "can I get my associates? i completed the coursework years ago, and would just like to get it. i cant use the online system, because my id got cancelled years ago."

the registrar's office there transferred me to the Arts and Sciences dept, where the nice lady changed my contact info, added in the "assoc degree program" and transferred me back to the registrar. then, the nice ladies there took care of making it official, taking my cash, and asking if i'd like to "walk."

i laughed. 12 years after i finished the coursework. do i wanna walk? no thanks.

so, i'll graduate june 10 from 12 years of not caring. and in August, I'll get the piece of paper with my name on it.

down down down

ok, it's monday. it's sunny. i'm tired and hungry and just want to generally crawl into bed and sleep. i tried unsuccessfully to get myself out of bed at 4:30. i tried unsuccessfully to reschedule my doctor's appt; they havent called me back. i had my meeting re: my project, which both went well and sucked... the mktg director having picked the design i liked least. plenty of time to make it work, though.

my appt this afternoon remains on schedule. however, after seeing my coworker's plan for graduation, i'm probably stuck taking a handful of classes I dont want or need. ever. again. math classes. we'll see once i talk to the advisor.

still nothing from my old college re: my associates. i'm kinda miffed, actually. and, of course, i cant try to fill out their online form because i no longer have an id for their system. actually, i'm gonna call them now. at least maybe then I'll have an answer.