g r o t t o 1 1

Peeve Farm
Breeding peeves for show, not just to keep as pets
Brian Tiemann
Silicon ValleyNew York-based purveyor of a confusing mixture of Apple punditry, political bile, and sports car rentals.

btman at grotto11 dot com

Read These Too:

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James Lileks
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As the Apple Turns
Entropicana
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Capitalist Lion
Red Letter Day
Eric S. Raymond
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Aziz Poonawalla
Corsair the Rational Pirate
.clue
Ravishing Light
Rosenblog
Cartago Delenda Est



Cars without compromise.





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 3/28/2005 -   4/3/2005
 3/21/2005 -  3/27/2005
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 2/21/2005 -  2/27/2005
 2/14/2005 -  2/20/2005
  2/7/2005 -  2/13/2005
 1/31/2005 -   2/6/2005
 1/24/2005 -  1/30/2005
 1/17/2005 -  1/23/2005
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  1/3/2005 -   1/9/2005
12/27/2004 -   1/2/2004
12/20/2004 - 12/26/2004
12/13/2004 - 12/19/2004
 12/6/2004 - 12/12/2004
11/29/2004 -  12/5/2004
11/22/2004 - 11/28/2004
11/15/2004 - 11/21/2004
 11/8/2004 - 11/14/2004
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10/25/2004 - 10/31/2004
10/18/2004 - 10/24/2004
10/11/2004 - 10/17/2004
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  8/2/2004 -   8/8/2004
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 6/14/2004 -  6/20/2004
  6/7/2004 -  6/13/2004
 5/31/2004 -   6/6/2004
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 5/17/2004 -  5/23/2004
 5/10/2004 -  5/16/2004
  5/3/2004 -   5/9/2004
 4/26/2004 -   5/2/2004
 4/19/2004 -  4/25/2004
 4/12/2004 -  4/18/2004
  4/5/2004 -  4/11/2004
 3/29/2004 -   4/4/2004
 3/22/2004 -  3/28/2004
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  3/8/2004 -  3/14/2004
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  2/9/2004 -  2/15/2004
  2/2/2004 -   2/8/2004
 1/26/2004 -   2/1/2004
 1/19/2004 -  1/25/2004
 1/12/2004 -  1/18/2004
  1/5/2004 -  1/11/2004
12/29/2003 -   1/4/2004
12/22/2003 - 12/28/2003
12/15/2003 - 12/21/2003
 12/8/2003 - 12/14/2003
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11/24/2003 - 11/30/2003
11/17/2003 - 11/23/2003
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10/27/2003 -  11/2/2003
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10/13/2003 - 10/19/2003
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  6/9/2003 -  6/15/2003
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  3/3/2003 -   3/9/2003
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  2/3/2003 -   2/9/2003
 1/27/2003 -   2/2/2003
 1/20/2003 -  1/26/2003
 1/13/2003 -  1/19/2003
  1/6/2003 -  1/12/2003
12/30/2002 -   1/5/2003
12/23/2002 - 12/29/2002
12/16/2002 - 12/22/2002
 12/9/2002 - 12/15/2002
 12/2/2002 -  12/8/2002
11/25/2002 -  12/1/2002
11/18/2002 - 11/24/2002
11/11/2002 - 11/17/2002
 11/4/2002 - 11/10/2002
10/28/2002 -  11/3/2002
10/21/2002 - 10/27/2002
10/14/2002 - 10/20/2002
 10/7/2002 - 10/13/2002
 9/30/2002 -  10/6/2002
 9/23/2002 -  9/29/2002
 9/16/2002 -  9/22/2002
  9/9/2002 -  9/15/2002
  9/2/2002 -   9/8/2002
 8/26/2002 -   9/1/2002
 8/19/2002 -  8/25/2002
 8/12/2002 -  8/18/2002
  8/5/2002 -  8/11/2002
 7/29/2002 -   8/4/2002
 7/22/2002 -  7/28/2002
 7/15/2002 -  7/21/2002
  7/8/2002 -  7/14/2002
  7/1/2002 -   7/7/2002
 6/24/2002 -  6/30/2002
 6/17/2002 -  6/23/2002
 6/10/2002 -  6/16/2002
  6/3/2002 -   6/9/2002
 5/27/2002 -   6/2/2002
 5/20/2002 -  5/26/2002
 5/13/2002 -  5/19/2002
  5/6/2002 -  5/12/2002
 4/29/2002 -   5/5/2002
 4/22/2002 -  4/28/2002
 4/15/2002 -  4/21/2002
  4/8/2002 -  4/14/2002
  4/1/2002 -   4/7/2002
 3/25/2002 -  3/31/2002
 3/18/2002 -  3/24/2002
 3/11/2002 -  3/17/2002
  3/4/2002 -  3/10/2002
 2/25/2002 -   3/3/2002
 2/18/2002 -  2/24/2002
 2/11/2002 -  2/17/2002
  2/4/2002 -  2/10/2002
 1/28/2002 -   2/3/2002
 1/21/2002 -  1/27/2002
 1/14/2002 -  1/20/2002
  1/7/2002 -  1/13/2002
12/31/2001 -   1/6/2002
12/24/2001 - 12/30/2001
12/17/2001 - 12/23/2001
Sunday, February 15, 2009
20:37 - Mystery Solved
http://adobegripes.tumblr.com/post/78580872/illustrator-could-they-have-chosen-a-mor

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GAAAHHH!

Illustrator: Could they have chosen a more obscure, confusing or ridiculous command to stick on the system default key for “Hide Application”

I think the first time I accidently pressed this I came close to reinstalling Illustrator, I thought my config had become corrupt somehow because I couldn’t understand why my fucking paths no longer showed up.


So that's what keeps happening to my damn paths!


Thank you, Adobe UI Gripes! I've been tearing my hair out for years in dread of the inevitable Moment of Mysterious Inexplicable Path Disappearance, upon which I would be forced to create a new document and paste everything from the previous one into it, because nothing else including wheedling and shouting made them come back. For God's sake! That's all it ever was?!

Do you know what it's like to try to manipulate paths and control points when you can't see them even when they're activated?

I'm finding this guy's blog oh so cathartic.


10:48 - HDTV IS WORTH EVERY CENT
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZGz1Ajg7QU

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And so is CG multiplaning, apparently. They redid the Simpsons opening for HD.



I'm amused, I suppose, though I hope it isn't this long every time, and just cuts after a reasonably normal couch gag. I applaud them on working in every cliché they could get their hands on, from the sawing-off of the head of the statue (temporarily, apparently) to the crow that always accompanies the establishing shot of the SNPP right on up through Apu's octuplets and beyond.

It's funny how the Simpsons has become a universe unto itself, so dense in its gravitational pull that to remain true to its original vision means to play endlessly in a sandbox of well-worn classic gags. They all feel right, it must be said. Yet I can't help but think the main reason why the early years are so much more closely identified with the show than the latter ones are—and indeed the reason why I don't know anything that's gone on in the last six years or so—is that it was more fun when we didn't know everything about everybody. Remember when Homer tried to impersonate Mr. Burns?

"Hello... my name is Mister Burns. I believe you have a letter for me."
"Okay, Mr. Burns. Um, what's your first name?"
".... I don't know."

Couldn't get away with that now, could they? And therein may lie the problem. There aren't any mysteries anymore. Nobody has to wonder about Smithers' love life or Apu's citizenship status or Flanders' age; it's all been laid bare, like Flanders' 60-year-old washboard abs, and found to be less than enthralling from a narrative standpoint after all. It was more fun to wonder.

I don't know if they're still able to wring stories out of this tired threadbare washrag; I haven't bothered to go see for myself, so maybe I'm talking completely out of turn here. But it would surprise me a great deal. Last I saw, they were filling time by shaking interstitial walk-ons by everyone from Duffman to Bee Guy to Kent Brockman into the crevices between plot points, becoming more a parody of Family Guy than the latter ever was of the Simpsons. It's a long way from the days when stories revolved around Homer's table dance with a bachelor-party stripper having to do with petty interoffice politics that rang all too true and depended on well-written dialogue to be told. Granted, those crudely-drawn first-year stories predated the seasons when the show really got into our psyches with their one-liners and running jokes—years 3-7 or so—but they overshot that sweet spot a long time ago, and by now a first-season episode looks like a transmission from a possibly hostile alien planet.

That's got to be it. I blame Kang and Kodos.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009
19:56 - I have free will, honest

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Just finished watching the entirety of The Royle Family, after a recommendation that is impossible to resist. James says he hasn't seen the third season (er, series, as they say across the pond), and I would venture that that's a crying shame. Definitely worth the seeking out, especially the epic "Queen of Sheba" episode that caps off the whole remarkable effort.

I don't know what it is about this show that makes it so enthralling; on the one hand, you completely loathe each and every one of the characters and can't bear to listen to another second of any of their rote mechanical stimulus-response utterances, whether Barbara's meaningless and relentlessly enraptured cooing or Denise's grating lazy squawking and squeaking or Jim's sullen outbursts of bile and grim laughter. You wonder how any of them put up with living in a world where trading in fenced knockoff jeans and gasping for joy at the thought of a bacon sandwich is just how things are done; and you wonder why on earth you keep watching.

But James is right, in that it's the little unexpected moments that sneak up on you. When Jim and Twiggy protractedly dance to "Mambo No. 5", it more than makes up for three hours of accumulated gritted-tooth shavings, as does his rare and hard-fought-for grudging encouragement of Antony on his way to London. And though the comedic stinger that ends each episode is tame by the standards we've become accustomed to, coming after 29 minutes of tapioca-textured living-room banter, having the tension broken by Jim imitating dead Elsie over the baby monitor and smashing through Norma's carefully constructed emotional wall such that she collapses in helpless laughter means the audience does too.

It was only toward the end that I realized what the writing was doing: it was ensuring that there was not one member of the whole cast I didn't despise listening to. Running clichés of thick-accented delivery tics—Denise constantly forgetting that she's recently given birth ("I just put him down." "Who?" "Baaaby Daaavid!")—are carefully balanced by tics you hate just as much in the next character down the couch (Dave dully reciting a list of what forms he likes is bacon to take; Nana repeating the same story to everybody in turn, whether one or two feet away; Cheryl obscenely smacking her lips and moaning over a cheap chocolate bar). There's nobody there you can root for. You want to smack each and every one of them. And yet you can't; you're trapped, without a protagonist to fall back on, just like they're trapped in their dreary world of TV and tea and ill-disguised bitterness. They're all dumb, lazy, and beaten down by life—and even Antony can't escape it, as his long-term success only ever means he now has to lend his dad beer money and absorb the same old abuse for it—and yet the little flecks of gold in the dialogue are what, somehow, makes it all worthwhile in the end. There's no better illustration of that than the Norma's-eye view of Jim standing over her hospital bed in the final episode: it's the same effect you get in the redeeming scene James cites, only a lot more so.

Definitely worth seeking out and getting to. By hook or digital crook.

Anyway. Back to my better-late-than-never Battlestar Galactica marathon. I understand the Cylons look like us now.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009
12:05 - Behold, I shall now jinx it

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This is the third day in a row of decidedly non-freezing daytime weather. Hell, on Sunday it was in the 54-degree range—I didn't even need a jacket. And the piled snow screamed as it melted. I swear I heard it.

It's going to keep on like this for a few more days yet at least. I'm hoping like hell that that darn groundhog wasn't scared back into his hole, he was just going back for his sunglasses.

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© Brian Tiemann