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. Ahh, you beat the mob before me Wil =) Im still stuck on the last mission… Perhaps you could give me some pointers? ([email protected]). Anyway, it sucks that you couldnt go on that hike, maybe tomorrow the weather will be better.

  2. OK, had to chime in about KDE 3.1 (or at least KDE in general). KDE is a great GUI, but on Linux it can be, let’s say… a bit sluggish at times. I recently (scratch that… two years ago… damn time flies!) installed KDE on a FreeBSD box. FreeBSD ( is another Unix like operating system developed in a similar style to Linux. I was blown away as to how responsive the UI was compared to Linux on the exact same machine. I now use it quite often and haven’t looked back, though I do still use Linux from time to time. FreeBSD is so much more organized and well layed out compared to Linux. If you’re bored some weekend, I’d urge you to try it out, not just because of KDE, but also cause it’s a great OS (it’s port system ROX!) True geeks have at least tried FreeBSD once 😉 Drop me a line if you need any help…
    – Eddy

  3. Oh thanks a lot Wil! Just as I was finally catching back up to the present time after your last post, you go an talk about the music of the 80’s. LOL Now I’m stuck in the 80’s again!!! Sheesh! :}

  4. WindowMaker is the end-all be-all of GUI’s.
    KDE 3.1 sucks arse. And so does Mandrake 9.1b3. Completely torqued my settings. Blech!

  5. The soundtrack of my personal life has varied through the years. From the 80’s, bands that would figure prominently include the Pogues, Iron Maiden, the Specials, Rush, English Beat, Fishbone, and various older acts that I discovered in the 80’s like CCR, Louis Armstrong, Al Hirt.
    Music is of great importance to me, though I’ve dissappointed in it recently. I find myself buying older CD’s and avoiding new releases simply because so little that I hear new is worthwhile. Sad.
    I also echo an earlier poster that mentioned the funny tricks that nostalgia plays. I can think of a number of acts and songs that I utterly DESPISED when they were a going concer, and that I dig now. Wierd.

  6. Wouldn’t it be so much more satisfying to write some sort of cool perl script in vim (or even vi? ;D) before the end of May? Or perhaps I have a very bad attitude to change…

  7. I just have to comment wow on rusted root! I love them and I’m always in shock when the alternative station here plays them once in a while and i never find very many fans but I love them! :)

  8. I have just put my two cents in here… Check out emacs, you’ll be glad you did! It does the whole font locking thing and programming just seems simpler.
    Fly Like an Eagle what a great tune… Sometimes it’s just good to go back to your roots. It’s amazing when a certain song can transport you instantly back to a moment in your life. The experience can be visceral.

  9. Smokin’ in the boys room.
    Smokin’ in the boys room.
    Teacher don’t you fill me up with your rules.
    Everybody knows that smokin’ ain’t allowed in school.

  10. …and…
    Pour some sugar on me
    Ooh, in the name of love
    Pour some sugar on me
    C’mon fire me up
    Pour your sugar on me
    Oh, I can’t get enough
    I’m hot, sticky sweet
    From my head to my feet

  11. …and…
    Pour some sugar on me
    Ooh, in the name of love
    Pour some sugar on me
    C’mon fire me up
    Pour your sugar on me
    Oh, I can’t get enough
    I’m hot, sticky sweet
    From my head to my feet

  12. Man, speaking of geeking out… I’m reading a book Saturday night whilst my geeky husband watches The first 20 million … every 2-3 mins I put my book down because I can hear funny/cheesy dialogue and check out what’s going on in the movie. 20 minutes into the movie, the book has been put away and we’re both chuckling away to ourselves! A recommended movie for the geeks out there if you feel the need to laugh at others more unfortunate than yourself 😀 It’s one of those C, possibly D, class movies.

  13. I’m only 29…But when i start thinking about the 80s, I start feeling old! I wonder if this is how my parents used to feel when talking about the 50s?
    Anyway Wil, since you and I (and a lot of others around here) are children of the 80s, I thought you might enjoy the reasons for Children of the 80s to feel old…

  14. You’re probably tired of people making music suggestions, so I’m gonna make a few. A person can never go wrong with the Beastie Boys, Prince, or Queen. Yeah, you know what songs I’m talking about. Oh, and you should put some cheesey chick songs on the disc too. I mean what totally rad Betty didn’t like Cyndi Lauper, Belinda C., or Debbie Harry?
    Girls Just Wanna Have Fun—#1 80’s road trip song.

  15. Besides Steve Miller Band I haven’t listened to any of those albums. My favorite 80’s bands: Violent Femmes, The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen and The Smiths, The Smiths, The Smiths. Did I mention The Smiths?!
    Your geek rants remind me of my husband’s work parties. He is a big time geek working for a Silicon Valley start-up. He starts talking with his co-workers and I stand there stunned. Geek-speak is Greek to me but it amazes me nonetheless! I love geeks. They are so COOL.

  16. Thanks for being a responsible parent that realizes that adult games are for *adults*. It bothers me so much when people criticize the game (or movie, or TV, or etc.) industry for making violent games, when parents really need to just pay more attention to what their kids are playing (watching, reading, etc.)
    Sorry, just one of my erks.

  17. Ahh, window managers…
    Some to check out in all your <sarcasm>copious</sarcasm> leisure time:
    KDE: well, you have your own experiences to pull from.
    XFCE: (mentioned above by Grimicus) I don’t like it only because it reminds me too much of CDE, but it may work well for you, especially if you don’t harbor traumatic memories of GUI software written for Solaris. (
    WindowMaker: eh.. doesn’t excite me, but you seem to like it. :) (
    GNOME: seems to work pretty well (just installed recently), but I think the acronymn should be BLOAT (resource usage only, M$ still has the market cornered on disk space bloat). (
    AfterStep: Maybe I’m showing some age, but I remember when the first version rolled out, and I’m amazed nobody seems to use this one anymore… including me.. I think I’ll be installing it on the laptop tomorrow… (
    FVWM: The venerable standby.. stopped using this a long time ago, but subsequent development over the past five or six years (most notably the ability to actually run programs other than xterm and xclock without the equivalent of a masters degree) makes it worthy of another look. (
    As to the suggestion by Eddy that you check out FreeBSD, it is worth the time, but I would also take a good hard look at OpenBSD if you’re going to go the berkeley route. OpenBSD is based on the same kind of a system as FreeBSD, but is designed from start to finish to be as secure as possible, which is a good thing, since people on the ‘net don’t seem to play nice anymore.
    Good luck, and, despite appearances, the e-mail address works if you (or your other loyal readers) want to give me a hard time about my comment being almost as long as your original post. :)

  18. Hey Wil,
    Very cool that you ended up at the Natural History Museum. They have an extremely interesting collection… you should also take the kids to the wonderful artistic things this city has to offer… especially the great places near your home (like the Norton Simon or the Pacific Asia Museum)… I am in awe of your geek-out. :)

  19. I just dug up some Scorpions a week or so ago, and I was shocked at how well their music had stood the test of time, but even more so by my immediate Jr. High/High School rock-out reaction to a genre of music that I thought I had outgrown way, waaaaay back when I became a Depeche Mode convert. My wife, who is a couple of years younger than I, just didn’t get it. 30 years old and I find the most juvenile music can still move me!

  20. After you’ve had your heart’s fill of vim, get back to me and I’ll tell you of the wonders of emacs. =D

  21. Ahh… Museums. I love museums. For a while, I went to at least one a week in London. The Natural History Museum’s cool, but a little depressing if you’re an animal lover (the zoo’s real live purrring tiger’s better than a dead stuffed one any day!) The Science Musuem in London also rawks, but we went in half-term, on the weekend, so were mobbed by small kids… Not good, since *I* want to play with all the neat stuff! The Imperial War Musuem’s also fascinating, as is the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green — think toys. Lots of toys. The cool toys you played with as a kid. They’re there. :) Although my all-time fav is the Old Operating Theatre in St. Thomas’ Street — it used to be the Women’s OR for St. Thomas’s back in the days before asepsis; so, so scary-but cool! They have a demo of Victorian surgery minus anasthesia next Sunday… Wow.

  22. The only problem with OpenBSD is that it is superb for the server, but not all there for the desktop. Been there, done that. (Almost bought the T-shirt even!)
    Currently, I’m using Openbox. It’s another blackbox clone, and all my old themes that I published on (anyone remember that site?) work quite nicely with it. Windowmaker is a good one. I used it for quite some time before switching to Blackbox back when I was working at Linuxcare. Shortly after I started at Transmeta I started using PWM, which is still my favorite. (And if I knew how to code, I’d code snap-to-windows into it and switch back in a heartbeat!) PWM is a fairly minimalistic WM and doesn’t have any fancy theming support, but it works very well, is VERY lightweight and VERY fast.
    Although I must say, Wil, that you have to use what works best for YOU. That’s the only way to go. 😀
    One more thing though – you may want to check out Sylpheed for your mail needs. It’s GTK+ based, but it doesn’t rely on GNOME or KDE and it’s VERY fast. I recently switched from Ximian Evolution to it.

  23. I forgot what I was going to say, dammit!
    Oh, yeah, a dev box.
    As cheap as decent PC’s are these days, get one if you can afford it and have the space for it.
    I mean, I just bought a 2.0 GHz Celeron, 128 MB RAM, 40 GB HDD, Ethernet port, modem, 17″ CRT, Lexmark X75 multifunction printer, etc…, for less than $700.00. Not the best or the fastest system by any means, but it works for me!
    Or, jeez, sells PC’s for less than $200.00! Granted, they are only 1.1 GHz Durons w/ 10 GB HDDs, but what the heck!
    Or I’m sure you could have one built for you pretty cheaply.

  24. Taking the kids to a museum is ALWAYS a good idea… one cold day a month ago we hit the MN Historical Soc….good place. Have you taken the Family Unit over to the La Brea Tar pits lately? It’s been a while since I’ve been out in LA, but I always try to hit that place. Where else can you see geology “in action” so well? (Well, Hawaii…but that’s a bit far for a day’s jaunt, eh?). Heck, it’s just like poor old Tasha (sp?) getting gooped by the nasty in that STNG episode…only for real.
    Of course, hiking up into the foothills and mountains is always grand.

  25. I just stumbled on your site and WOW! I love it. Not to mention you are a cutie petootie Wil! People like you are what makes Blogging a nice experience. Other blog sites are not so entertaining or nice. I was reading and they actually had a blog on how to cheat and get away with it. People shouldn’t be allowed to write that stuff.
    Keep up the great work Wil! I anxiously await reading your site everyday!
    Jess :)

  26. Yay! A fellow Rusted Root fan! “Send Me On My Way” is the ultimate wake-me-up-and-get-me-going-in-the-morning song. : )
    Also, your taste for Radiohead and Deelite is praiseworthy.
    Another band you may not have heard of (but oh my, they are so worth your time) is Southern Culture on the Skids. They have an album called “Ditch Diggin'” that cracks me up every time I listen to it, especially the songs “My House Has Wheels” and “The Great Atomic Power.” If you’re interested, check it out here:
    Anyway, there’s my two cents. I’ll go back to quietly lurking now.
    Love ya!

  27. Hey Wil!
    Well done for going on an anti-war march. I was one of the 2 million that marched in London a couple of weeks ago. Anyway, just read about your choice of music and wondered if you’d ever had a chance to listen to a band called “Lemon Jelly”. They’re a British duo who have produced two albums of excellent chill-out music. If you can, check out their albums “KY” and “Lost Horzons”. Trust me – you’ll love them!
    Take care and thankyou for your performances on Star Trek.
    love Fiona.

  28. YES Radiohead- The Bends is life in CD form. And I definitely agree with you on music. It can never be background for me I always have to really listen to it and feel it and sing along. Aw, so cheesy, but true.

  29. Be one with your inner geek.
    Let your inner geek enter your life and infuse your soul.
    And don’t forget to put a cool Vim button on your webpage now that you know the utter power that is Vim!
    The great thing about linux is that you can use whatever floats your boat. I installed KDE 3.1 over the weekend. It worked fine, but it just wasn’t doing it to me. I went back to Gnome 2 and got lighthouseblue for my GTK theme and Aqua-Metal for a metacity theme, rethemed Nautilus with something cool looking and switched the login to gdm with yet another cool eyecandy pic and just reveled in the coolness.
    I never got into Windowmaker. Best I could say was it was fast. If I need blazing speed though, Blackbox is there (don’t care for fluxbox though I understand that’s even faster).

  30. Cocao pods are usually harvested by children. Some peopel are asking you buy “fairly traded” cocoa to help stop child labour in developing nations, and to let these nations trade at a fair price for what is basically a luxury item for us equatorially-challenged folks.

  31. Hi Wil,
    I can’t quite get your line about needing a dev box out of my head. I have a lot of extra hardware lying around, so maybe I could piece something together for you. I have a couple of cases that used to be servers for Hotmail’s live site, and being as they have a certain sentimental value, I’d like to see them go to a good home. Whaddaya need?

  32. Don’t forget that :help is your friend.. and if you ever get in a *lot* of trouble.. try :help!

  33. Wil,
    1. KDE 3.1 is nice stuff. It’s wicked prettier than 3.0 (and especially than 2.x), and eye candy == good WM (or something ;–)
    2. Holy friggin’ crap, Strong Bad is awesome.
    3. Have you ever had a similar dream, but instead of at the bottom, you’re at the top, wearing these sun god robes, and a thousand naked women are throwing pickles at you and chanting in tongues? Why am I the only one who ever seems to have that one?
    Keep on rockin,

  34. i couldn’t help but notice the two entry titles in a row – “telegram sam” and “in the flat field”
    have you been listening to bauhaus?

Comments are closed.