Category Archives: Uncategorized

Icebear can’t handle caffeine

It’s been awhile since I had a coffee post, and the We Bare BearsCoffee Cave” episode had a scene too good to resist gififying:

Icebear coffee gif

“Icebear shouldn’t.”

Bike chain fidgets

Bike chain fidgets flickr photo by ted_major shared under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license
I was looking up some fidgets for my kid last night, and in addition to this bike chain bracelet, I came across a fidget that was just 3 links of a bike chain.
I had a few scraps of chain downstairs, so it was a simple matter of a couple of minutes with a chain tool to come up with these. The hardest part was cleaning them enough to not leave greasy marks on everything they touch. A couple of good rinses with some degreaser and a wash with dish detergent eventually got the first one clean, but using some citrus hand cleaner with pumice between the degreaser and the detergent worked even better.
The 3-link fidget works well around one finger, and the 5-link works better around 2 or 3 fingers, depending on how slim your fingers are. All in all, I think the 3-link is a little better, but as always, YMMV.


Christmas pup

flickr photo shared by ted_major under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

Because I am an idiot

flickr photo shared by ted_major under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

We’re just back from a quick overnight road trip to Athens, Ga, because I am an idiot.

Let me back up: in August we went to Asheville, NC, for a couple of days for Claire to give a talk at a conference. While she was giving her talk, Christopher asked me (AGAIN) if we could get a dog. I thought I was explaining to him why we couldn’t get another pet because I clean up all the shit I can deal with thanks to our cats. What came out was, “If you clean the litter box for a year, then we can get a dog.” I thought it was a safe bet (and so did Claire), because Christopher has always been really squeamish about any kinds of pet bodily fluids.

Boy, were we wrong. His reply was “OK!” and he’s been (mostly) cleaning the box since.

We decided he didn’t need to go the full year, since it would be better to get a new dog at the beginning of the summer rather than right as he goes back to school in the fall, and the next thing I know, we’re on the road to Georgia on the first day of Christmas break. Between mall traffic on the way out of town, road work in 459 south of Birmingham, more mall traffic and a lunch stop in Hoover, not one but two wrecks in Atlanta, and another for good measure on GA 316, our drive that should have been about 4½ hours took a little over 7.

The drive back was a little better, and well, here we are.

flickr photo shared by ted_major under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

Let sleeping dogs lie

Pup minus five days and counting.

Me and you and a dog named “Boo”

flickr photo ©Syrah Goldens 2016

So this started out innocently enough. I thought I was explaining to El Chico why we couldn’t get a dog, but what came out was “If you clean the litter box for a year, you can get a dog.” So he did. And we are.

This is an 8-week-old Golden Retriever pup, and we’ll pick her up next week after exams. Wish me luck.

The Naming of Clowns

flickr photo shared by Chris Blakeley under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-ND ) license

Inspired by Bryan Alexander’s recent Infocult posts on clown panic and an offhand email comment about the naming of clowns, I was reminded of TS Eliot, and, well, here’s the result:

The Naming of Clowns is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a clown must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there’s the name that the victims use daily,
Such as Flomo, Wasco Clown, Shoota or Gags,
Such as ClappyandSlappy, or Bingerman Clownferd
All of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a clown needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his hair perpendicular,
Or shine up his clown shoes, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Memento Maury, or Harbinger Down,
Such as Killer O’Squirrel, or else Mauler Abhorum—
Names that never belong to more than one clown.
But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover—
But THE CLOWN HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a clown in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

103 miles later

After the Hot Hundred:

After the Hot Hundred

shn>mp3 from the command line

flickr photo shared by sickmouthy under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license

YACLP—Yet Another Command-Line Post: this time, it’s how to convert Shorten files (an obsolete lossless audio codec) to mp3 for portable listening. Most of the time, I use SoundConverter to transcode from lossless formats to mp3 for portable listening. For some reason, however, SoundConverter can’t find Shorten, even though I have it installed. I suppose if I knew where it was looking, I could put in a symlink to where it really is. Or I can just dig up something that works from the command line. Thanks to this handy thread by shantiq from UbuntuForums, here’s one command that will convert a whole directory full of shn files. Just cd to the directory holding your shn files and do the following:
for f in *.shn; do ffmpeg -i "$f" -ab 320k "${f%.shn}.mp3"; done
If you really want to do it shipshape and Bristol-fashion, you could use shntool to convert to flac and tag the files with appropriate metadata and then use SoundConverter to go to mp3, preserving the tags from flac:
shntool conv -o flac *.shn
For tagging, renaming, and adding track numbers, I’m a big fan of Ex Falso, and for an audio player, I like DeadBeef for its simplicity.

OpenShot won’t export audio? We can fix that.

creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by geek_love13
Disclaimer: once again, command-line geekery follows. Disregard at your convenience.
I love OpenShot video editor for Linux (despite the occasional bugginess inherent in all things Linux) and desperately look forward to the release of the Windows port for my office PC.

In the meantime, I occasionally use OpenShot on my personal laptop to edit videos for class. This week, when I tried to export a video, a new one popped up: exporting video removes audio. After a little searching, I found that the problem is a bug in Ubuntu rather than OpenShot, and thanks to this post on Ubuntuforums, there’s an easy command-line fix. Open a terminal window (ctrl-alt-t) and enter the following commands:

  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:sunab/kdenlive-release
  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get install libmlt6
  • sudo apt-get install libmlt++3

Re-start OpenShot, and Bob’s yer uncle.