In the Flat Field

Woke up early yesterday, anxious to get out on the trail . . . and immediately went back to sleep. Heavy fog and ominous rain clouds forced us to change our plans. Though I love hiking in the mist, we didn’t want to take a chance on being caught in the rain, and we didn’t want the kids to miss out on the amazing view.
So we went to the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History instead.
It was a great way to spend a few hours, and it was the first time I’d been there since I was in elementary school. Did you know that Cacao trees produce fruit all year round, and can’t be harvested by machine? I didn’t know that until yesterday.
Ah, sweet, sweet knowledge, how I love to dine at your all-you-can-eat buffet.
I finished Vice City last night. Haven’t 100%-ed it, yet, but I beat the mob. I won’t let the kids watch me play it, or play it themselves, but I did allow them to hang with me while we did the asset missions for the car dealership, and some unique jumps. Funtimes.
Anne is taking a little two-day getaway with her best friend, and she asked me if I could help her burn a bunch of 80s music for the drive. While I was digging through my CDs, finding all my compilations and stuff, I also dug out some things I haven’t listened to in ages, but still love.
Here are some CDs that I pulled out of the closet last night. Each one of them has been, at one time or another, “The Greatest @#$%^&ing Record EVER!”:

  • Love at Fist Sting – Scorpions
  • World Clique – Deelite
  • The Sickness – Disturbed
  • The Bends – Radiohead
  • Greatest Hits – Steve Miller Band
  • This is the Modern World: UK Punk 2 (1977-78) – Various
  • Rushmore Soundtrack – Various
  • Slingblade Soundtrack – Various
  • Boot Heel Drag: The MGM Years – Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys (playing now!)
  • When I Woke – Rusted Root
  • dubnobasswithmyheadman – Underworld

Music isn’t something that I just put on in the backgroud. It is always the soundtrack to my life.
I spoke WAY too soon about KDE 3.1 I broke Kmail, and maybe even some Qt libraries. Luckily, the insanely cool guys at my local LUG have offered lots of help on their mailing list . . . but I think I’m going to go back to 3.0 for the time being. I’ve been using Gnome, which isn’t my favorite desktop . . . and playing with Windowmaker, which I haven’t used since RH 5.2. I’d forgotten just how great Windowmaker is. Since I pretty much only use the computer for writing, browsing, and e-mail, I can easily use Windowmaker, or even IceWM. OH! I managed to teach myself enough to get around in vim! I issue a personal challenge to myself: write some sort of cool php script in vim before the end of May.
I really want a dev box!
Sorry, geeked out there a bit.

103 thoughts on “In the Flat Field”

  1. Hey Wil, love museums and learning as well. Ever been to the British Natural History Museum? If not, it’s a must see.
    So much to know, so few years to learn it all in.

  2. Wow, CRAZY fog over here in Jersey yesterday as well. They closed the Turnpike for the first time in 20 years.
    I know that it’s cheesey, but you have to burn some Bon Jovi if you want to make an authentic 80’s music CD.
    Shot Through the…OW! I just hurt my neck from banking my head.

  3. hey, we all learn something new everyday. i know i do! i love geeking out, and especially geeking out in museums! how cool is that!
    I love your taste in music, in fact just last night was (re)listening to The Bends…GREAT F*@$ING ALBUM!!!
    love Rach

  4. Vim is Zen and the Art of Editing Text. It’s way worth it to learn although it can be very frustrating when just starting out.
    A few months ago I switched over from my IDE to just using straight Vim for all my Java coding needs. It’s lovely :)
    Here’s a few links that might help:
    The Best of Vim Tips (/very/ good stuff here)
    Linux Productivity Magazine article about VI and Vim with lots of good info
    The Vim Cookbook with some neet stuff to do
    Plus the scripts and tips sections of are awesome as well.
    One of the most useful scripts I use every day is the BufExplorer:
    It’s great for editing multiple files at the same time.

  5. Definitely HAVE to burn some Bon Jovi.
    What about early eighties dance hits? Poison Arrow, Tainted Love, You Spin Me Right Round…
    Ah, takes you back doesn’t it? Man I must be getting past it ;]
    I know this is possibly the geekiest I could be, but ‘Your the One the I Want’ always worked for me too.
    Ooh ooh ooh honey…

  6. You finished Vice City! WOOT! I’m still working on it myself. Damn mob keeps huntin’ me down and it ain’t pretty. And it’s nice to know there are parents out there who actually “do” there job!

  7. hiya Wil,
    Gnome isn’t my favorite desktop either, and I stopped messing with KDE once I really got into WindowMaker.
    And once I got rid of the dockapps, life with WindowMaker was even sweeter.
    Try it with ‘gkrellm’ some time .. very cool.

  8. so, what’s up with two consecutive posts with Bauhaus references and no mention of Peter Murphy and Co. in your Best @#$%^&ing Record EVER! list?

  9. I am really diggin the Bauhaus references in the last couple of entries. Mask & The Sky’s Gone Out are definitely Two of Greatest @#$%^&ing Records EVER!
    “I do get bored, I get bored
    In the flat field.”

  10. Wil Wheaton uses vim! That’s the best endorsement yet! When I started coding, vi was the single most frustrating part. Once I got a bead on it and started using vim, the clouds cleared and the light came down from heaven. If you do nothing else, buy the O’reilly book on vi ( It’s #2 on my “I wish I’d bought this book on my first day coding” list. It’ll help you through that painful DWIM phase, and teach you about syntax coloring (vim’s coolest feature).

  11. Sorry that you didn’t get to go hiking but at least you had a productive and educational day. Hope Anne has a great time on her two day getaway (I think we all need that every once in a while). 80’s music for the drive…a woman after my own heart. Take Care,

  12. Sorry about your Linux troubles. Might I use this opportunity to plug Mac OS X (again)? Seriously, as a Windows 98/SE refugee, I take particular delight in turning on my iMac, only to discover that everything – EVERYTHING – still works, even after a year of adding on crap and customizing the living hell out of it.
    Museums rock.

  13. I mean i know it’s just a typo, but wow:
    “Love at Fist Sting – Scorpions”
    For the record, it should be corrected as:
    “Love at Fisting – Scorpions”

  14. W00!!
    Fantastic Post in the vein of the olden times of WWDN.
    Not that i critique your posts. :-)
    I love Natural History museums.
    I once spent two hours at the one in London staring at a full size fibreglass killer whale.
    One of the happiest times of my life.
    Which bring me neatly on to Vice City. One of the best purchases of my life…..
    I have no link to Linux.
    Me speaka de Ingerlish. No speaka da LinuxLang.
    I’m looking into it for the CD run version…
    That sounds so pathetic.
    I will be unpicking the stitching on my computer geek badge…

  15. Now here’s a weird list, but they’re some of my faves from olden times.
    Dan Hartman – Streets of Fire
    Fabulous Thunderbirds – Wrap It Up
    Snif ‘n The Tears – Driver’s Seat
    The Smiths – Big Mouth Strikes Again
    Blue Oyster Cult – Don’t Fear the Reaper

  16. Oooh… I saw Deee-lite once. Bootsy Collins, in his diaper and furry bass, totally rocked the house.
    I have three volumes of self-compiled 80s stuff. We’re talking stuff like Missing Persons, Squeeze, Animotion, Scritti Politti, Boomtown Rats, FGTH, Madness, and the Jam, among many others. Oh, and “New Girl Now” by Honeymoon Suite. That’s the best.
    Have you ever heard J Church’s version of “Creep” by Radiohead? It’s to die for.
    You need some Soundtrack Of Our Lives on that soundtrack to your life.
    I like hearing about yr kids, and yr blended-familyness. We’re in a similar situation… The Hub married me and the two kids. I’m the hottie that embraces his inner geek. Oh, and totally vice-versa… 😉

  17. Wil,
    If you write me a half-way decent PHP photo album script (that doesn’t require me to make my OWN thumbnails) I’ll….I don’t know. Be realllllly happy

  18. Also, large amounts of cacao is harvested by children working in near-slavery, particularly in the Ivory Coast. Please buy Fair Trade certified chocolate. Equal Exchange has hot cocoa mix that is better than anything else I’ve ever tasted. And of course, there’s plenty of places out there that sell fair trade candy bars.

  19. Oh and also, on the geek thing: the beta for what will probably be Red Hat Linux 8.1 looks really nice, and includes KDE 3.1. It *doesn’t* include Window Maker, unfortunately, but by the time of the release there will be nice third-party RPMs (from me, if no one else).

  20. hey man…
    great 80’s list…
    some personal favs of mine too would be..
    Killing Joke ‘A love like blood’
    LIndsay Buckingham ‘think i’m in trouble’
    When in rome’s ‘the promise’
    the cure ‘anything by the cure, is good with me’
    Pink Floyd ‘on the turning away’, and ‘a terminal frost’
    ahhhh i could go on for ever…
    the 80s had some great tunes …
    funny the time, i thought a lot of it was crap…
    nostalgia can play some funny tricks on ya as ya get older..
    i used to not like the cure very much when i was in my early – mid teens…and it wasn’t till i was working at a software company some years ago, that i finally got turned on to them…
    as the kids of south park shouted, so truthfully..
    ‘Disintegration is the greatest album ever made!!!!!’

  21. I would so totally not put Pink Floyd in the same ‘nostalgia kick’ with the Cure and Killing Joke. (I once threw a game a pool just so I could get rid of a Killing Joke CD).
    Although Pink Floyd sold out by the 80’s with the Delicate Sound of Thunder (or was that Momentary Lapse of Reason?) they’re still head and shoulders above other ‘pop’ music.
    Now, Wil, where’s that file you’re writing for me?

  22. If you haven’t already (which I doubt) check out Bauhaus’ “Burning from the Inside”. It, along with Ministry’s The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste”, was my 11th grade theme album. (10th grade was Nine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine.) Hehe.

  23. vi? VI?!?! Emacs is the way to go! :)
    But seriously wil, being an emacs guy, I’m impressed when anyone learns enough about vi to use it. And as far as your desktop troubles go, have you ever looked at enlightenment? Very slick window manager, extremely configurable and fairly small:

  24. Cute ‘geek-out’… Your blog is an inspiration to those of us who don’t have quite the sense of humor you do… Congratulations, Wil on the awesome site and keep up the *snorting* :o)

  25. If you’re ever up in the Bay Area on a visit, go to the California Academy of Sciences. It was worth every day trip we took when I was a kid.
    Or you can go to the Exploratorium. Or the Lawrence Hall of Science, though that doesn’t bear closely spaced repeat visits as well as the other two.
    Natural History museums are the BEST!

  26. Geeked out? I’m amazed you finished Vice City. For some reason I start playing it and just want to drive around to the 80’s music *shrugs*

  27. Scorpions, Radiohead, Steve Miller.
    It’s all good, but let’s not forget the Joshua Tree. Without it, the Eighties would have been a catastrophic musical failure.

  28. Talk about bringing back memories, I own half the albums Wil mentioned. Anyone interested in some GREAT music, check out the Ansley Court MP3’s at they’re totally free, share ’em with your friends. Peace fellow WWDN’ers.

  29. Wil, don’t forget to throw some Dire Straits in there too. Especailly songs like Walk of Life, Money for Nothing, and Brothers in Arms on that CD.

  30. Few points of clarification:
    This isn’t a list of “the greatest albums of all time.” It’s just a few that I took off the shelf last night. I’ve loved all of them at one time or another.
    The other albums mentioned here are all amazing, and Joshua Tree is in my top five of all time.
    I forgot about E. I’ll apt that right now.

  31. Awww yeah! Rusted Root! Being originally from Pittsburgh and always thinking of the Root as a local band, it is just so cool to me to see that other people have, at one time or another, actually heard of them! :)

  32. I’m glad to hear that there are adults who play Vice City. I’m working on 100% right now (just a few things left to do). I’m also wondering if there’s a correlation to the mention of old ’80s songs and Vice City, seeing as it’s got all kinds of great stuff from that decade.

  33. The Bends has never been the best album ever for me. I think just about every other Radiohead album has, at one point or another, fulfilled that role in my life. The Bends has Fake Plastic Trees though, and I have never liked that song.

  34. Thanks, Wil. You’re like the geeky little brother that knows more than me that I never had!
    (And I mean that in a good way!)

  35. Haha, that’s what you get using Windows for Linux :-p
    At any rate, if you want lite weight niceness for WM, check out XFCE.
    As for vi/vim, I recommend grabbing the vi pocket reference from o’reilly. I really helped me get started using vi, and now I am a vim addict! :-)
    ooo, and the vim book by Steve Oualline is good if you want to reach guruhood. (New Riders is publisher)

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