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Tonight I attended a party on a pirate ship. Actually, it was a rowhouse. But it was much better than a proper pirate ship, because it had both a jolly roger and a stunning view of Center City.

I met a time traveler. She is seeking her father, who precedes her in her journey through time. She deserved to win the costume contest, for her steam-powered watch if nothing else, and she did. But I couldn't resist asking how many times she replayed the evening before the prize was hers. Only twice, she insisted.

The conversation turned to physics, as it so often does among time travelers, and she asked if I were enjoying the new Cosmos, having also grown up on Carl Sagan's original in the seventies. Not yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

How many times will Saturn return in my lifetime? How many retro-retro-retro arcades, how many dance crazes, how many 25-year-olds singing Black Sabbath at the Adobe Cafe will I enjoy?

Tough to say. But I sail the narrow strait between the rocks, and go jogging every morning, and wear my earplugs at the club. Because I love this long moment.

We wish we could be teenagers again, knowing what we know now. But we are.
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macbook

My daughter's black Macbook has died. Sort of.

Normally I don't get sentimental about computers, but it had a long life with three owners, all of whom were thrilled when they initially received it and for a long time thereafter.

This thing is most likely the 2006 model, purchased for Rick, the lead designer at P'unk Avenue at the time. It was a robust Photoshop machine then.

When I first came to work at P'unk Avenue I was still rocking the flaming, half-charred remains of a Dell Latitude D520, the model that always ran hot once they decided to push out a firmware "update" that overclocked it at all times. Basically as if Honda said, "every time somebody gets an oil change we chuck in a nitrous oxide injection system. No ifs ands or buts." I ran Linux on it, figuring if you've got to drive an alcohol-fueled funnycar you may as well drive stick.

After less than a year of this the team decided it was time for Rick to get a new Mac, because Photoshop (a very good reason), and for me to get a nearly-new one.

I was resistant to the idea, for about 30 seconds. And then I was a Mac person. Yes, you too can have things that aren't broken and feel good to use! And you'll only pay a $500 premium for the privilege. Sometimes it's worth it.

In 2010 I got a 15" Macbook Pro. I was resistant, again, because I had the best man-bag ever, and I didn't want to switch. Yes, this is the same bag that led me to resist upgrading from a crappy Nokia to an iPhone for a year and a half. Wouldn't fit in the phone compartment, y'know. I got over it.

I was kindly permitted to take the by-now-seemingly-ancient black macbook home for to my daughter, who until then was on a Dell cheapo desktop special of the year. The macbook was a major upgrade.

Come the end of 2012, performance was really getting to be a problem. The machine had "only" 2 gigabytes of RAM and a small, spinning hard drive and operating system and browser upgrades had brought us to a place where just browsing the tumblrwebs was a hassle.

Fortunately 2012 was also the year SSDs (Solid State Drives) came down to a reasonable price. The upgrade to a solid state drive is a night-and-day difference for old laptops; they actually run faster than new laptops that don't have one. We upgraded all of our machines at work, then I popped a 256GB Crucial SSD in the black Macbook, along with 3GB of RAM, the absolute theoretical maximum.

My daughter got another solid year out of the machine, apart from some issues with lazy-ass game vendors who can't be bothered to support more than one Mac. The keyboard's wearing out, the trackpad's wearing out, but it works y'know.

But then the serious complaint arrived: dad, the screen goes black at random when I power it up.

OK, OK, it's time.

So I bought her a Dell Inspiron 15z, reckoning it'll keep her at least until freshman year of college and maybe beyond. (The Ultrabook spec has made it a lot easier to buy a non-Mac laptop that isn't garbage.) And then I sat down to try to repair the Black Macbook.

As it turns out, a number of people have experienced this "flash at power up, then black screen" thing. And I went through all of their suggestions. None of them work. There is no faint picture. Resetting the PRAM does no good. Resetting the SMC does no good. Removing the battery does no good. Counting to ten with my underwear on backwards does no good.

But the machine seems to be working, there in the dark. And I bet you, when I hook it up to an external monitor, I'm gonna see a picture.

And that means I can wipe the hard drive, reinstall MacOS, and put this sucker up on eBay for the highest bidder as the cheapest media server ever.

Here we are in year eight, paging happy owner number four!
boutell: (shave)
I pick up my wife tomorrow. 4pm and 10pm at the Stardust Ballroom.

I am preparing with a strict regimen of eating ginger candy and blowing up n00bz.
boutell: (shave)
This is it: your best chance to see me pick up my wife!



WHAT: Tom and Roberta perform in a student showcase of Estilo Dance Studio. This is an amazing, twice-a-year show that always sells out the Stardust Ballroom.

We'll be dancing bachata. Bachata is salsa's sexier sister. The show includes salsa, bachata and other styles at levels ranging from beginner to pro-am and semi-pro.

WHEN:

March 22nd

4 PM Performance (Doors Open 3:30 PM) 
Admission: $15 Adults ($7 Kids Under 12)

10 PM Performance (Doors Open 8:00 PM)
Includes Lesson & Dancing Until 3 AM 
Admission: $20 Adults ($10 Kids Under 12)

WHERE:

Stardust Ballroom
363 W Browning Rd
Bellmawr, NJ

THOUGHTS:

The social dancing after the evening show is always completely off. the. hook.

We strongly recommend the 4pm show for people who don't own dance shoes, and the 10pm show for people who do!
boutell: (shave)
I am terrible at doin' nothin', hangin' out, not seeking any self-improvement for an hour or two. Unless you count bouncing distractedly between Facebook and Twitter and email, ugh; I'm trying to cut back on that. It's not real relaxation, not if you're doing too much of it.

There are lots of activities I can do in alternation with my day job that are somewhat relaxing and shift me into a different place, but I need some true downtime as well, not just sneaky self-improvement.

PG-rated activities that do function as relaxation for me and are not sneaky self-improvement (For the most part):

• Salsa dancing (*)
• Reading science fiction
• Truly silly programming projects like the snowcam
• Playing Starcraft 2.

I still remember discovering the original Starcraft: I was visiting my sister and brother-in-law. Jason had a dedicated office-slash-gaming-room. He didn't have a PC, he had a rig, you know what I'm saying? It was a good cave in which to discover a game.

Speaking of caves, though, I love how you can fall into Starcraft and then come out again. Each match is self-limiting in duration. Nobody's trying to force you to "farm" all fricking day to get anywhere in the game.

Because it's a GAME. It's not a REPLACEMENT FOR YOUR LIFE. I like that.

After a concerted attempt to get good at playing the Terrans, I have rediscovered the joy of playing the Protoss... the one species in all of known space that can set up a decent static defense and build a slow, inexorable, overwhelming offense.

All of those things are good if you have never had the fastest reflexes in the world.

Plus, they have voidrays, which are terribly satisfying and strike more terror in one's opponents than their actual stats deserve.

And a decent build seems to come naturally to me, while I find the Terrans much fussier to play. I'm still not, y'know, GOOD. But I'm hardly ever that guy all the thirteen-year-olds are making fun of at the end of the game anymore. So... I win?

(*) OK, salsa can be sneaky self-improvement, especially in the early days of the learning curve. But at my level of experience going out to the club and spinning the ladies for a couple hours is strictly recreation.
boutell: (shave)
I refuse to call this "mac and cheese," because it's not. It's its own tasty thing. But... it's a lot more mac and cheesy than a lot of substitutes that dare go by that name. It's vegan; it can be gluten free if you use a gluten-free pasta.

Cooked pasta shells
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 of an onion, chopped
1/8 cup tahini
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup cooked squash, mashed
1 cup green peas
1 teaspoon Spanish paprika

Sautee onion. Separately, mix some of the water with the tahini until it pours easily. Add tahini to pot; it'll take on a roasted flavor if you give it some heat while stirring to avoid burning. Add squash, paprika, green peas and remainder of water gradually. Simmer for 5 minutes. Mix with pasta and serve.
boutell: (shave)
Improvised this curry a couple nights back, still devouring leftovers. It's straight up tasty. It also happens to be vegan and IBS friendly at the same time, which is pretty unusual.

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cloves garlic
1 small onion
2 large carrots, chopped coarsely
2 large stalks celery, chopped coarsely
1 bell pepper, chopped coarsely
1 cup green beans, chopped coarsely
1 cup cooked squash
1/2 cup cashews
1 can (10 oz?) light coconut milk
1 can water
1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice
1 teaspoon Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon pink peppercorns, crushed with the flat of a knife
1/8 cup freshly grated ginger
Basil for garnish

Sautee the onion in the oil. Add the garlic. Reduce heat. Add 1/4 of the coconut milk, paprika, peppercorns, 5-spice and ginger and return to simmer. Add the rest of the coconut milk and water, gradually adding the rest of the ingredients as you go, beginning with the carrots and moving to the more delicate vegetables. Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve over rice.
boutell: (shave)
Yesterday's itinerary:

6am: UP

7am: OUT

7:40am: Broad and Vine. Load our bikes into the bay under a #401 New Jersey Transit bus.

9:22am: arrive in Salem, NJ, roughly the southwest corner of New Jersey, not far from the point where the Delaware River empties into the Delaware Bay.

9:30am: stop in at the Salem Oak Diner. Appreciate the glory of an original Silk City diner. Roberta ate cherry pie, of course, for maximum Twin Peaks cred. (Actually she just likes cherry pie.) Admire the old-growth oak tree across the street in the Quaker cemetery.

10am: enough dilly-dallying! Time to start pedaling! Roll off to the northwest toward Fort Mott State Park.

10am-2pm: work our way up the Delaware coast. Stopping at Fort Mott, admiring wetlands, passing through Riverview Beach Park with its canoodle-friendly swing benches, waving to the Delaware Memorial Bridge with its memories of college journeys past. So many miles of industrial parks alternating with wildlife preserves. We stick to former main roads with vintage signs calling out the mileage to Camden, Trenton and New York.

2:30pm: arrive at Red Bank Battlefield in National Park, New Jersey (I kid you not). Devour artificial red-flavor water ice as if it were gelato. Realize we've just missed our best transit option for bypassing Camden until four-thirty. Seek advice from a grizzled veteran of the area on the best route for returning directly to Philly via Camden.

2:30-3:30pm: turns out there's a good option. We approach from the south, following Broadway, then head straight for the waterfront on Ferry Avenue. The biggest problem with this leg of the trip is actually the lack of shoulders along Broadway; unlike most of our route this is not the most bike-friendly area. It's okay on a Saturday but I wouldn't try it in traffic.

Along the way we pass a bar in Gloucester City claiming to be the birthplace of rock and roll.

Once we hit Ferry Avenue everything is smooth as glass.

3:30pm: just barely make the River Link ferry. Hey George Washington, we crossed the Delaware River too and it was kind of not a big deal, you know? Admire all that stuff on delawareriverwaterfront.com.

4pm: pedal home.

4:30pm-7pm: eat everything in the universe.

7pm-8pm: make an appearance at coworker's live band karaoke thing, which turns out to be a good time. Roberta sensibly opts to soak in the tub instead.

8pm: excuse myself, head home, daydream about going out salsa dancing.

8:30pm: eat everything in the parallel universe.

9:30pm: ZZzzZZzZZzZzzzzzzzzzZzzz
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I came across a bit on Facebook today about being a "70's baby" and part of "the last generation to play in the street" and "walk over a mile without worrying about being taken." And what a swell time we all had without the Internet.

Here's the piece I'm talking about:



Of course I enjoyed some of the things on that laundry list too (*), as anyone who grew up then would. But I have mixed feelings about it.

Kids still play in the street on my block. Kids are still at very little risk of being taken, although today there's a lot more fearmongering about it. Child abuse was harder to prosecute in the past (to say nothing of what priests got up to). And if you were the closest thing to a gay kid your town had to offer, you could count on being randomly punched from a moving car at some point. Which is one of the reasons I have always backed up queer folks and always will.

I had no peers I could talk to daily who shared my interests until high school, and being a part of the evolution of the Internet was part of my solution to that problem. My daughter faces a different set of challenges. But feeling alone in the universe is not one of them.

The future, and the positive attitude toward all things nerdy that came with it, really couldn't arrive soon enough for me. Along with the love and support of my parents, the future saved my life and gave it meaning and purpose.

(*) Atari 2600 represent
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I've been thinking about death. And, on the opposite extreme, about downloading.

Death isn't normally something I spend much time thinking about, except in the aftermath of someone else's passing. I am in good health and leading a vital life, physically and intellectually and emotionally. As a general rule, it doesn't come up.

This Christmas, though, I got well and truly sick. And while I was in no real danger of dying thanks to modern medicine, I was a great deal sicker than I realized at the time.

That's because my illness didn't hurt, much, and didn't pass my "time to go to the hospital now" litmus test. It was bad enough that I saw the doctor, partly hoping to save my family holiday plans (no such luck), and he gave me a prescription for antibiotics and a choice whether to fill it or not, because it was anybody's guess whether I had "just a virus." Like, say, the influenza virus.

I did fill that prescription. Then, having seen the doctor like a good boy, I stopped worrying.

My rule of thumb is pretty simple: if I'm eating and drinking and I can keep my fever below 102F or so without doing anything stupid and dangerous, I should just chill out and get better. Actually, my usual habit is to just keep trucking, and this winter that got me in trouble, as the moment my fever broke and I felt a little better I tried to jump up and have a normal day. Which was a big mistake and led straight to a relapse of the flu.

So anyway, there I am with a moderately impressive fever and, as it turned out later, a lovely bout of asthma developing. So I'm short of oxygen and I'm hallucinating a bit. In low light, every corner of the room is inhabited by fairies and all manner of creatures. I am a community, not a person. It's all very interesting but I have no energy to do more than gabble at Roberta about it. Time is passing quickly and I am well out of it.

Eventually my fever breaks again and I still feel lousy. Walking up the stairs is a serious challenge; I'm short of breath. I remember reading somewhere that shortness of breath turns out to be the most important telltale that you should go to the damn hospital, or at least the doctor.

So I go back to my painstakingly noninvasive doc, an osteopath. I like osteopaths because they don't think medical technology is the solution to everything but they still have to pass their damn boards and recognize the symptoms of gonnakillyouifwedon'ttreatititis, which I feel is quite important.

He listens to my lungs and surprises me by saying that no, they don't sound good at all. I have asthma. With one possible exception, I haven't experienced asthma since I was about ten years old.

He gives me prescriptions for two different inhalers, one chronic, the other acute. I stick to the chronic inhaler, and also go back on claritin. After a few weeks I feel much better and taper off and start spending serious time jogging and cycling. Before long I'm back in rude health. Downright inconsiderate health, even. But something about the experience stays with me.

Here is that thing: death doesn't suck. But don't get me wrong: many significant things closely associated with death suck a whole lot.

Selfish things: you will never see Thailand, you will never dance again, you will never marry the lady or see your child graduate. Unselfish things: you will not be there for your child! You will not be there for your family and your community! Spiritual things: you're worried sick about what comes next. These are big problems and they are no good at all.

Pain, also, sucks really quite a lot, and is unfortunately often riding shotgun with death, making the whole thing especially terrifying and unpleasant and hard to disentangle from its circumstances.

But death itself is not so bad. When you start dying, just a little bit– and I am talking about the really important bit, where your brain begins to shut down, not the painful and undignified business of the body falling apart– when you start to die a little, this is what happens: things get a little surreal, and your thoughts slow down, and your personality starts to unravel a little. None of these things are terrible. People often risk arrest to experience them.

And if I had been much, much sicker– if instead of a wee problem with my oxygen supply, my lungs had stopped filling altogether– what would that have been like? It doesn't feel like a big existential mystery anymore. It frankly seems pretty obvious. It would be more, or rather less, of the same. My thoughts would slow down more. Things would get weirder. And I would thoroughly unravel, like a man giving in to sleep.

None of that is so terrible. As long as you're not consumed with regret, or pain, or guilt, all of which are commonplace but not intrinsic to death. Not if you've lived a long and full life.

Being a lot sicker than I realized at the time (*) gave me a chance to experience what the end of life might feel like, if I weren't consumed with worry and regret and pain and fear. It was just another new experience, welcome in its own way. Had I really been dying, or thought myself in any serious danger of dying, I would have been deeply concerned about my family and a hundred other things for excellent reasons. But as it was, I just got a tiny peek through the fence without paying admission. And having watched someone close to me die, it's a comfort to have a better idea what they experienced.

On the opposite extreme, I never used to think about the notion of "downloading" into an artificial intelligence. Not from a personal standpoint. When I was young I secretly assumed I would simply live forever, as most people do. Later I figured I was going to die in a birthday dance circle surrounded by distraught salseras at the age of 97 (which is still fairly likely). Giving up my body never seemed even remotely appealing.

But let's say I've lived that long and full life, and pretty much experienced what homo sapiens sapiens has to offer, body-wise. By then there are nine, maybe ten billion people clamoring for their turn on this planet. And there are other kinds of experience.

Let's say there are three or four billion of us by then in the over-ninety crowd, and the planet doesn't have room for us all to run around in vat-grown 18 year old bodies (if it had the technology, which I suspect it won't for quite a while longer, assuming things go well enough that such things happen at all). Well, what might the alternative be? How about downloading your personality into the cloud?

We might have to timeshare limited resources; we might have to slow our perceptions quite a bit. Okay.

This is subjective time we're talking about; experiencing entire art movements in a week from my perspective might be nice for a change. To say nothing of getting to see the planets of Alpha Centauri.

It doesn't make sense to send pretty bags of mostly water through a death-dealing sea of cosmic radiation for thousands of years. So send me. I don't mind; I can pace myself. (**)

(*) I should reassure you: I am one seriously healthy 41-year-old. It was just a seriously shitty case of the flu with a perfectly timed bout of asthma attached. Which is to say, pretty darn bad, but when you're over it you're over it.

(**) Mark-Jason Dominus points out that downloading doesn't save you, it copies you, and then your copy has more fun than you. More charitably put, it's a form of reproduction. But downloading at the end of human life feels like something closer to a transition, if you feel (as I do) that the death of the brain and body is final. Knowing that "I" will pass on momentarily but that "I" am also continuing in a very real sense is not much different from knowing that "I" feel like pure bloody hell today because I'm having my appendix out, but "I" will feel ever so much better in a week. It's not like I get to be me-next-week right this instant; I still have to believe in continuity with that later self to overcome my present pain. Still, I might feel differently about this if the downloading were performed early enough to be socially awkward in the way MJD describes.
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PHILADELPHIANDIA (2011): Tom is on the couch recovering from the flu after 24 successful hours of "love the fever, hate the dream" therapy. Warning Tom to rest, Roberta and Eleanor leave to see Tintin in 3D although Roberta isn't sure it's fair to the nonunion third-dimensional extras. Realizing he has made a vague promise to put the iguana in her bathtub, Tom visualizes the pros and cons of iguana poop (organic, compatible with the worm bin, but a pain to scrape) versus hauling a jug of hot water down the stairs in a physically wrecked state. Tom opts to fill the tub for himself as part of the process and spends his time in the bath reading a New Yorker article about India while fretting that Roberta will come home to discover that Iggy's lamps were never turned off. Close to falling asleep in the tub, Tom is saved by his iguana anxieties in the nick of time. Unable to fathom Iggy's lighting timers, Tom makes sure nobody is looking before saying a little prayer for "good karma in the morning" and pulls a plug, then collapses onto the couch. An hour later a rehydrated Tom writes a self-satirizing Facebook post in the manner of Portlandia, all the while lamenting his complete neglect of his blog.
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Who stomps on all the roofs of the city?
Who tramples everybody she sees?
Who is the menace?
Who is so pretty?
Everyone knows it's Ig-gy!
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About 1,000 people have watched Foggy Bottom Woowoo. Far more than have watched almost any of my other original YouTube videos (I'm, uh, not counting my remake of Charlie the Unicorn). Considerably more than the number who watched the 48-hour films I made with other people more talented than myself.

So why do people watch this film, more than any other "weekend movie" I was involved with?

Sometimes there's a coincidence that leads people to watch something— 1,000 people have also watched a music video of mine titled "Rise to the Occasion." There's pretty good evidence they were looking for other songs by that name.

But in this case, not so much. The best explanation seems to be that people just like this doofy little film.

I could be grumpy because people didn't like my later movies as much. But honestly I'm not. I wrote (*), acted (in three roles) and directed, and while the end result is very slackly edited in the beginning, it builds up momentum and goes somewhere. And there's a rant about socialized candy. Which is more than you'll get from a lot of 150-minute Hollywood clunkers.

The lack of tight editing in the first half stems from the fact that this was my 48-hour practice film and I held myself to the deadline... learning Windows Movie Maker (O the sophistication!) as I went along. But setting low expectations and then exceeding them has always been a good trick, right?

One of the fun things about the film is the unusual feel of the video itself. People who actually know something about film have asked me about that. The super-narrow aspect ratios, the sort-of-analog-ish sound, the lack of any telltale "this was shot in NTSC / consumer-grade mini-DV / something crappy" feeling even though the actual specs are very low... there's a certain charm to it.

This was purely the product of circumstances— I owned a digital handheld camera of a certain early generation, I hadn't bought the "better" mini-DV camera I would use for my first 48-hour film yet, and my bedroom wasn't deep enough to set up a wide shot. Also... I didn't have time to clean off two bookshelves. So the set got narrower and narrower. Which turned out awesome. Constraints can be powerful aids to creativity.

I often wish I had the original video files kicking around to reedit them, but there's no point. They don't have enough resolution to do much more than improve the timing. I could shoot the whole thing again, but making another solo film would be a better way of channeling that urge.

I may never get around to it though, and that's fine. Foggy Bottom Woowoo is a snapshot of where I was in my life at the time: a continuing education student recently re-enrolled at the school of creative hard knocks. In the wake of two personal disasters, I felt a powerful need to experience joy, to make good trouble, to make art whether anybody saw it or not.

This particular weekend, I was a filmmaker.

Geography

Aug. 16th, 2010 09:22 pm
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I moved to Philly. I went back to Seattle twice. Then I started to build a life as a newly single person and flying to Seattle became increasingly impractical.

I decided this was okay because, much as I love people and places and things there, they are there and I am here. Why wring everybody out?

It was time for me to lead a Philly-based life and respond to Philly-oriented stimuli.

To a lesser degree, this is also why I don't spend a lot of time struggling to get out to the burbs for every little thing. I love my suburban friends dearly but I do not own a car, and there are many uh-mazing places I can readily get to without driving. New York City is substantially easier for me to visit than much of the Greater Philadelazone. Some shore towns have daily express buses to Philly; some do not. The former exist for me, the latter do not. Embrace urbanity and you'll enjoy life as an urbanite.

It's not a given that the things you love will be easy to find in the place where you are. But you can do something about that if you apply your talents to the problem.

And when I do get to see friends from the Old Countries (plural), I have somewhere to take them.

It hasn't always been easy. But I live where I live, and I love it here. That's a good place to come to.
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I've been dragging around Stuff (tm) dating back to my Seattle household for years. I got rid of a little before my first move to a house of my own, but not enough. At 10pm on moving day, the movers told me flat out that I ought to get rid of some crap. They were right about that, although it would have been a better idea to look at my basement before giving me an estimate.

Over the past five years I've definitely made progress unloading Stuff (tm), giving away most of the pile of old computer hardware as it became progressively less likely to be useful / as I let go of the idea that I would do those things again / as I got a life.

But today was epic. I made more than half a dozen separate posts to the craigslist free section, arranging to give away the dinner table (Roberta has a great one that doesn't wobble), the folding table and chairs, the box fans (central air baby)...

And a gigantic box of miscellaneous homeowner hardware, pretty much all good stuff, but no I will NOT break it up for you and two big boxes of computer hardware, same catch.

Some things were harder to let go of than others. That damn table? Take it, please. The Grolsch bottles? I will homebrew again but I can collect bottles at any time, and I refuse to look at the pained expression of a mover asked to shift empty beer bottles again. The bins of hardware? You have no idea how ready I am to let those things go.

Eleanor's baby sling... that was hard. But if I keep hanging on to the thing, another parent will never have a potentially life-changing option. I could carry the thing around with me forever. I wrote a sonnet about it instead.

The blaupunkt stereo cabinet I've been using as a sideboard... this was a curb find, and I always intended to fix it up and make it light up all pretty and hook up an MP3 player to it, turn it into an awesome media player. In the meantime I used it as a sideboard, which purpose it served very well.

But I've done nothing interesting with it, I don't want to pay movers to move a curb find... and through craigslist I found a couple who have plausible and very cool plans for it.

So okay... we move on.

When these boxes of hardware leave the premises tomorrow, my house will contain hardly any junk. For the first time I'll be completely free of Stuff I Haven't Had Time To Go Through. I can't tell you how good that feels.
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Hi folks,

I've provided web hosting for some of you over the years.

As I notified everyone in an email a few minutes ago, I am exiting the web hosting business effective March 1st.

I've enjoyed providing web hosting, but it doesn't make economic sense for me anymore, nor do I have the time to provide the high quality hosting I think everyone deserves.

Of course boutell.com (and Boutell.Com, Inc.) aren't going anywhere, but the site will be migrating to a managed virtual private server provider, and it will not be hosting other people's pages, email, or websites.

I recommend ServerGrove to anyone who is looking for hosting, whether you are moving from boutell.com or not. They provide VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting for $19/month, and their VPSes come preconfigured for seriously great PHP work. You really can't beat that price in combination with professional support. I'll likely be moving www.boutell.com to one of their bigger VPS packages.

If you know someone who uses my hosting service, please do us both a favor by tapping them on the shoulder and saying "hey did you read Tom's email? You know you need to move your website by March 1st or else, right?"

It's been a blast, and I'll miss playing host and sysadmin for many. But I've moved on to other challenges and, well, it's time. Many thanks to the hosting customers who have stood by me through the years!
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Baillala: dile que no, tap your left on eight, her right in your left. Give her a free spin inside turn. Chill out and wait for her to finish. Dile que no.

Baillala dos: dile que no, tap your left on eight. Give her a free spin inside turn. Turn left yourself.

Adios medio: like a regular adios, then step into the middle of the circle, then step out five-six seven. Repeat that bit.

Siete coca-cola: dile que no, tap your left on eight. Roll her in, push her out again, continue into a 360. Don't let her get away from you, keep her close, keep it tight and continuous, don't let her step back and away.

We spent a lot of time on the setenta complicado again, which is good because, we'll, it's complicado but it's nice to have it falling into place and not completely beyond me anymore. Rock.

We need more people in the rueda! Philly has a zillion salsa dancers, we need more rueda visibility. Any salsa dancer can pick it up quickly...
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Bed is for two things. If I'm not doing one of those two things, I will not hang out in bed.

I'm not an insomniac as a general rule but I've flirted with it lately, and I think good sleep hygiene will help. My body needs to know what's supposed to happen next when my head hits the pillow.

September 2014

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