Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Went to see Blue Man Group at Lexington this weekend. Great show. These guys are always entertaining, a great blend of music and vaudeville performance. I've seen them three times so far and, though I prefer the original line-up of performers, the current set are still good in their own right.

The concert originally featured Venus Hum and Tracy Bonham. I strongly suggest picking up their original DVD, or catching it on PBS sometime, as both are stellar performers. Tracy really rocks out performing Baba O'Riley with her violin.

They've since changed out to a few new performers to fill those slots. The nice change is Mike Relm as opening act and providing some video work during the concert. Check out his YouTube page, or this performance to get an idea of what he does:

The Blue Men have always been good about using technology, and actively encourage people to use their cell phones during the concert. They've got an interactive text-message thing going on, and have people hold their cells up as lighters during certain songs. Plus, they encourage you to take pictures and post them on the BMG site (though most venues prevent you from taking "high quality" cameras inside).

So, short version: if you can see them, do it.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Out of town to visit with the folks and see a concert. Update later.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Well, the replacement DVR came in. Turns out, it's working fine. It's our Sony receiver that's on the blink. It works just fine with the input from our Xbox 360 and PS2. But nothin' from the DVR. Possibly a converter board burned out. For now, we've got audio running to the tuner and video straight to the TV over an S-Video cable.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lexmark gets the boot

I've had a love-hate relationship with inkjet printers for years. Coming from dot matrix printers, inkjet was a huge step forward. And no one but a business could afford those huge laser printers, so everyone was happy to see them come out.

Fast forward to 2008, and ink jets kinda suck. About the only thing they're good for now is low to mid-quality digital photo prints, and sucking up your money in ink refills. Cheap lasers easily outshine them for text printing, and color lasers are starting to catch up in quality and price.

So, when Best Buy decided to drop Lexmark injets from its stores, it got attention. Aside from Lexmark, Epson, HP and Canon are the only big names in inkjets. Yes, there are specialty photo printers and dirt-cheap (ie. disposable) printers, but those four are the names anyone who wants a decent printer looks for. Knocking Lexmark out of one of the major chain retailers across the USA is a big blow for them, and ink jet in general.

Of course, this may just be a marketing strategy gone bad. Lexmark announced higher-than-expected earnings for Q1 '08, but notes that part of that is due to intentionally under-selling its lower priced inkjet printers. The idea was to push consumers towards buying the (more profitable) higher-end printers and ink cartridges. Cutting back supply may have influenced Best Buy's decision to cut the brand entirely, which may come back to haunt Lexmark.

It's especially relevant to Kentucky, as Lexmark is based in Lexington. They're a major employer in the city, and something that affects their growth will also affect the local economy.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Well, crap

Not a good weekend for the Geek! My parents weren't able to make it out for Hillbilly Days, and it rained anyway, so that was shot. Luckily, I got some pictures and video on Friday. Unluckily, I had to offload them to my boyfriend's laptop, which he currently has at work. I'll try to get a hold of them tonight or tomorrow, so I should have some images up here and video up on Youtube by mid-week.

I work registration for the local hospital, and typically get stuck down in the emergency room. And this weekend was bad. The festival drew in a lot of people and we had quite a few minor accidents, and a few major medical problems, piling into the ER over the weekend. Scrambling to get someone into the computer so the doctor can order labs, while trying to get insurance info from others before they leave, while trying to keep up with paperwork, is a nightmare. I've been trying to convince management to computerize more of this paperwork, but they aren't technology-oriented and have been resisting.

To top it all off, our Dish DVR died last night. It still runs and outputs audio, but the video is screwed. I wouldn't mind terribly, except it had the new Doctor Who Christmas special on it (yeah, America is way behind), and I still hadn't watched the new episodes of Battlestar Galactica yet! At least I can watch BSG on Hulu. I'll probably have to hunt around Youtube for the Doctor Who special if it doesn't rerun later this week, when we get the new DVR.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hillbilly Days

Today is the start of our annual Hillbilly Days Festival.

Basically, it's an excuse to get out in the sun, eat good food, listen to bluegrass music and see people dressed up in silly outfits. Pike county is part of where the Hatfield-McCoy feud took place, and the Pikeville courthouse where the eventual trial occurred. That feud, and the media sensationalism over it, is part of what gives eastern Kentucky its hillbilly reputation.

After the two families publicly reconciled back in 2003, folks decided to take the publicity and make it a celebration of the lifestyle in this part of the country. Hillbilly Days is the result, and it's a hoot.

I'm gonna try to get some pictures this weekend, so folks can see what it's like.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Cute has reached critical mass…

Being a geek, I often run into silly things online. Often, this comes from another site that grew up here in Kentucky: FARK.

Other times, it's just random browsing. In this case, I just happened to run across a video on YouTube that is, perhaps, the most tooth-rottingly cute thing I've ever seen: The Snuggle Song. (Sorry, they've got embedding disabled, so you'll have to click the link to watch.)

After the sugar overload wore off, I went looking up more info. Apparently, it started out as a ringtone in Europe. It caught on and, like the Crazy Frog, spawned full-length songs and the (cheap) music video above. Turns out, you can buy the song on iTunes now, but surprisingly it doesn't include the option to use it as an iPhone ringtone.

I have a feeling we've got another meme on our hands…

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Time to blow shit up.

The second map pack for Halo 3 is out. 800 points, two remakes and one brand new map.

And don't forget that the first map pack is available for free on Xbox Live now!

Burn, baby, burn

Back on the 11th, there was a fire next door. As I left for work that day, I noticed a lot of smoke near our place. It's not unusual. People burn garbage, and sometimes the hills across the river catch fire, so I didn't think much about it. My boyfriend called me at work about 6 or so to tell me the abandoned flea market beside us was on fire and the fire department was working on it. I got home around midnight, and there were still bits burning lightly. We went out with a bucket and some jugs of water to douse the more active spots, so we didn't worry about it flaring up at night.

This lot has been abandoned since before we moved in. The flea market there failed, and several folks just left their stuff in the stalls/buildings to rot. One of the buildings burned down years ago, but most of it's just rotting away. We don't know how the fire started. Someone apparently saw a red car leave the lot a short time before the fire started. It could've been started by a carelessly tossed cigarette, or by someone destroying something. I see cars in there at night sometimes, and figure some folks use it for selling drugs. Or it could've been some kids just having fun burning crap that got out of control.

Regardless, it burned around the back and side of the lot very badly. The heat was so intense, and it got so close to our place, that the vinyl siding on the side of our building warped. That's too close for comfort.

I took some pictures and uploaded a gallery on Picasa.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Out of the Blue

Finally decided to start blogging on here, since I've already got the Google account and all. So, I suppose an introduction is in order.

I'm a 30-something geek trying to earn a living out here in Kentucky. Grew up just a bit north, on the southern tip of Ohio. Grew up in the Tri-State area which is made up of Ironton, OH, Ashland, KY and Huntington, WV. It's a fairly rural area in the Ohio River Valley.

I've lived in different parts of the country. Indiana (too damn flat), Alaska (beautiful!), Hawaii (nice weather)… but I keep coming back to Kentucky. Partly it's just my heritage, partly the environment, but a lot if it is just an unexplainable feeling for me. I like the mountains and the hills, the climate (mostly), and the people. It's not as developed as some parts of the country, which I like. I've never been comfortable in big cities, and don't care to go too far into the back woods for more than a vacation. Kentucky has a wonderful blend of rural comfort and urban conveniences you can't find in most parts of the country.

Most of my life has been floating from one place to another. I'm still looking for a career that suits me, which is slightly depressing, but not being tied down to a soul-crushing job has its benefits. Just need to find that job that "clicks"…

Enough rambling for now. This blog will mostly be about my life, and my experiences. Don't expect a solid focused blog like Pharyngula, or anything as fun as Erin O'brien's blog. Mostly, it'll be things I've seen here in Kentucky, past experiences, and random geeky stuff I like.

And in case you haven't noticed from all the earlier links, I like Wikipedia!