Shovelled Out

Right around sundown.

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Morning after Nemo

Still snowing. Couple feet, drifts much higher. Some pre-snowblowing pics:

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Blizzard of ’13

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Piling up. Not quite a blizzard yet.

Winter 2013 AM Nemo pics

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John Lennon

Forty years old forever…

Google Chromium builds for Linux

And they call it Chrome…

Just trying a post from within Google’s Linux Chromium. Installed it on a few machines running Ubuntu 9.04 so far. I’ll be trying out the I18n and M18n features and compatibility with various Linux distros as the alphas progress. I have the Chromium development repository in my sources.list and have been following updates. Fun to see how it goes.

I feel naked cruising the Yomiuri Shimbun without my rikaichan firefox extension. Gotta get back to my Heisig. New edition came out a while ago!!!

Strawberry Fields Forever

He was a seeker, a thought-provoking Shaman Troubadour.


From this piece on John Lennon.  A little shmaltzy but 100 per cent true. I know, rational people don’t get all choked up over asshole millionaire rock stars and baseball players. But I will never forget the shock of hearing the news of Lennon’s death on the radio. Then I saw the bold headlines on the morning paper: LENNON MURDERED, and the accompanying photograph of that now famous scene of the blood soaked ground outside the Dakota. It blew a ten-year old’s mind to read Lennon’s last words to Yoko, through the doorway intercom, “Yoko, I’m shot”.

We had a class trip to Boston that day. Whether it was The Museum of Science, The New England Aquarium, or some old historic building where patriots and Minute Men planned the Revolution, has since faded from my memory. But I remember the bus ride back, sitting in a seat by myself, singing along to all the Beatles and Lennon songs that were playing seemingly non-stop on every radio station.

I sometimes look back on that morning as the end of my childhood, the first time I realized the finality of death. This man had written most of the songs I studied and played over and over on my mother’s scratchy old mono lp’s. I knew trivial details of the sessions where they had composed the White Album, Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sergeant Peppers, Magical Mystery Tour and on and on. I knew all the lore around “I buried Paul/Cranberry Sauce” and the controversy over who could be considered a fifth Beatle: Billy Preston or George Martin. I even vaguely remember the week John hosted the Mike Douglass show with Yoko. It seemed like a joke, but it was real. It happened. They were on all week. And now he was suddenly just gone.

Music hasn’t sucked for the last twenty-eight years. In fact, it seems like all one has to do is poke around the web or look through college buddies’ last.fm lists to find some new, authentic, indy voice, cranking out great music. Most of these groups nowadays are treading along, doing live shows, building their base, hoping to get a snippet of song on the latest iphone ad, or maybe have a tune featured as the wrap-up-loose-plot-ends-rock-video track at the end of some hot one hour television drama. The music is out there, plenty of it mediocre, much of it great. Some of the up and comers recognize their debt to the Beatles, some don’t. But the influence on all music, particularly pop, is undeniable. The world has only been improved for having John Lennon in it even for his brief forty years.

And there was his activism. He came as close to “the real thing” as I’ve seen someone of his immense fame be. I hear “War is over if you want it. War is over now” , and I believe it. I jumped in the car and headed down to New York City and walked the route of the antiwar protests on a freezing cold day in February of 2003 with several hundred thousand others, believing it.

I watched the goings on that day, the ineffective, marginal ex-hipppies, old socialists, anti-imperialists railing on against corrupt governments and fat-cats, but not so much about Iraq or lying Presidents. Just the same old tired, one dimensional rhetoric I’d heard a thousand times before. It just seemed like these speakers were not capturing the spirit of the day, NO WAR!!! NO BLOOD FOR OIL!!!STOP IT NOW, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!!!

The demonstrations were joined by people from every walk of life; old ladies, couples with kids in strollers, everyday people who did not want a war. Many of those people were herded by the police away from the demonstration site at the end of the march route, so they never even heard the aforementioned uninspiring speeches.

I lost faith in demonstrations that day. I lost faith in people power. It dawned on me standing there in the crowd, that there would indeed be a war. The only thing about the whole day’s events I heard on the radio were reports about inconvenienced commuters, over-crowded public transportation, closed streets, and the millions of dollars of overtime required by the evil unions to pay the police for maintaining order with all those fascists and anarchists running around. How depressing, My bitterness remains.

However, around this time of year, I look forward to hearing those little children singing along with John and Yoko (yes, Yoko too.) :

War is over if you want it. War is over now! Merry Christmas, everybody!

Gets me every time. Makes me think, “What the hell?! Yeah! Right on!” He believed it then, is it somehow less true now?

Thanks, John.

Pidgin meets Microsoft IME Japanese: a few tips

I’ll be doing some posts for those of you who haven’t moved over completely to Linux or BSD. Or for those who are used to the free software applications available on the typical Linux box, but find themselves stuck with Windows for some reason.

Just a quick walk-through setting up the Japanese environment on WinXP and friends, for a starting point. I’m using the standard install of WinXP Home that came with my laptop, which I’ve been playing with lately, having just restored the original o.s to a new drive. Nothing special, just a few clicks:

Control Panel >> Regional and Language Options >> Languages

And click the box for “Install files for Asian language support”.

Simple! I leave the various logout/login/reboot cycles up to the reader. To get Japanese input, go back to Languages and click the “details” button under “Text services and input languages”, to add the input methods you want for the various CJK languages. Then some more logout/login/reboot as necessary. It really does use the two-hundred-thirty megabytes of disk space, as promised.

Now I have the MS IME with “EN” (for English) showing in my taskbar. I click it to see my input options. When I need Japanese, I choose “show language bar”. I have my input mode set to hiragana, and I can flip between romaji and kana input with left-alt-shift on my US keyboard.

This setup can be used with firefox 3 and pidgin im, among others.

Now on to some Free and Open Source Software.

Pidgin im works fine with this system, with a few config setting changes. For input, right-click in the message area and select Windows IME under the ‘input methods’ menu. That allows you to write and see kanji. I don’t know if you need to change your default font to a Japanese one like MS Mincho or MS Gothic. It works for me with or without changing the font in Pidgin preferences.

There’s a slight glitch in displaying Japanese from others using legacy operating systems (like Windows 98 Japanese edition) and im clients. The easy way to deal with that is to go to:

Tools >> Preferences >> Conversations

and uncheck ‘show formatting on incoming messages’ to fix displaying kanji on incoming messages. You might need to also change your font for conversations in pidgin preferences. It depends how broken your buddy’s software is (does it use Unicode fonts and proper encoding?), and probably also on the chat protocol. I’ve been chatting on msn this way with friends on Win98 Japanese Edition and an ancient msn client.

This is just a rough run through, of course. Feel free to leave comments here relating your own experience with pidgin. I should mention I found  the ‘disable formating’ tip here and on another guy’s blog post about using Chinese with pidgin and MS IME, which I can’t seem to find at the moment.

Next Time:  Firefox with MS IME (Hint: it will be short, unless, perhaps we get into some mojibake issues with Web 2.0 type annoyances).

And now for something completely different…

I’ve been off the grid a bit these last few momentous days. After detoxing from a steady stream of CSPAN, MSNBC, FOXNEWS, and all the rest for a while, I’m back to my usual level of procrastination. Now we’re all speculating about who this new president will bring with him, and whether or not the political climate will be different enough to have any tangible effect beyond the oohs and ahs of this honeymoon period. The optimist in me wants to say something will change, has changed already, just to get the new guy in there.

It was great to hear the UFO conspiracy crowd going manic explaining to George Noory the implications of having a new president for finally getting the truth out on the government UFO cover up. Hilarious. I can’t wait. As soon as he gets us out of two wars, defeats terrorism while restoring respect for The Constitution and international law, solves the credit crisis, revives the economy…THEN maybe we’ll get to the bottom of this flying saucer business. I hope the kids get to adopt their puppy first.

Next time: My Windows IME explorations with free software.

Election Day

Ok, been a while since I’ve posted. Getting mentally prepared for any result Tuesday night. In other news, I’ve signed up for National Novel Writing Month. There, I said it! Feel free to harass/cajole me to keep at it.  I’m way behind already, of course.