Lesbian Spank Inferno, the Giggle Loop, and why I love Coupling!

Amanda, Matthew and I have recently watched the first season of the BBC comedy Coupling. Although most places online claim it is the British answer to Friends, I really don’t think so. I don’t appreciate Friends that much, and Friends seemed more to me like Mad About You with more people. Coupling is much more in your face about the sex and relationships than I remember Friends.

Coupling is about dating, relationships, and sex. There’s a character, Jeff Murdoch, who comes across as a Kramer type guy. He has an odd bit of wisdom every episode, some accurate, others not. One I’m particularily fond of, and afflicted with, is the Giggle Loop.

  • Patrick: What’s a giggle loop?
  • Jeff: Don’t ask. To know about the giggle loop is to become part of the giggle loop!
  • Steve: I think we can take it.
  • Jeff: You’re not ready for the giggle loop. Basically, it’s like a feedback loop, you’re somewhere quiet, there’s people– it’s a solemn occasion, a wedding! No, it’s a minute’s silence for someone who’s died!
  • Steve: Right?
  • Jeff: Minute’s silence, ticking away–the giggle loop begins! Suddenly, out of nowhere this thought comes into your head, the worst thing you could possibly do during a minute’s silence is laugh! As soon as you think that, you almost do laugh! Automatic reaction! But you don’t–you control yourself! You’re fine! But then you think how terrible it would have been if you’d laugh out loud in the middle of a minute’s silence and so you nearly do it again! But this time, it’s an even bigger laugh, then you think how awful this bigger laugh would have been, and so you nearly laugh again only this time, it’s a very big laugh, let this bastard out and you get whiplash! And suddenly, you’re in the middle of this completely silent room, and your shoulders are going like they’re drilling the road, and what do you think of this situation? Oh dear Christ–you think it’s funny!

After a disaster with “Lesbian Spank Inferno,” Steve has a monologue on porn that had me looking for a transcription online as soon as the episode finished.
Anyway, Coupling was “adapted” for NBC and flopped. There’s a line or two of dialogue every episode where I know I don’t know what they’re talking about, because I’m not British. But in order to increase my cultural diversity, I netflix’ed The Wicker Man so I can understand these Britt Ekland references.

The first season is only six episodes, and there were only 28 total. They’re only half hour long, so you could easily watch this show over a few weeks without overdoing it.

“Flickering Black Lines When You Press a Key or Type in Linux” Solution

If you read my posts for the last two months or so, you’ll notice I’ve had no end to the troubles given to me by my girlfriend’s computer. One day, it started having black flickering lines that occured when you typed, or sometimes moved the mouse. I ended up replacing all the hardware, and it still happened! It was better on the new hardware, so she continued to use it.

I even posted the question on Ask.Metafilter! No dice. A few days ago, however, someone online sent me an email via my contact form, and asked if I had solved it yet. I had not. He replied back today, saying he had solved the problem.

Are you ready? The problem was:

xscreensaver 4.23

After upgrading to the new xscreensaver, everything worked perfect. The black lines are gone.

More information is available at http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=336368.

The Legend of Zelda turns 20 today!

Happy Birthday Legend of Zelda!

I <3 Zelda. Legend of Zelda games is what makes me buy a console. I’m dying to play Twilight Princess, and I can see my grades next semester dropping because of it. I hope Amanda and I can play it together, otherwise I’ll have to cut a lot of my personal time down.

I’m wearing a Zelda shirt Amanda bought me in celebration of this joyous day.


I have memories of the original golden cartridge on the NES. I remember walking downstairs late at night when I couldn’t sleep, and watching my father play. I remember being stuck on level five for so long. I had found it before I should have, and had the hardest time. I remember sitting on the carpet in third grade, and while playing with my shoelaces, I rolled my shoelace into a circle, and remember thinking it looked like one of the monsters in the fifth dungeon. This was Digdogger. Zelda has influenced catchphrases. One night after my roommate was playing A Link to the Past on the arcade, as he was falling asleep he mentioned something about how cool it would be to have a “shield hat.” I mentioned it to him the next day, and he explained. This was the headpiece of the Helmasaur King. Whenever “shield hat” is mentioned, it now refers to a moment of sleepdrunkeness.
I hope there are many great Zelda games, and I hope to be fifty years and thirty four days old and write about the Legend of Zelda’s fiftieth birthday.

Please take some time to read the Wikipedia entry on The Legend of Zelda Series. There’s a lot of stuff linked from there.

Zelda Trivia: Miyamoto named Princess Zelda after hearing the name of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife, Zelda. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby, one of my favorite books of all time, and he lived in St. Paul, and I took a picture of a statue of him I found in St. Paul. img_1889

Computer Nerdery Imminent!

Saturday, I essentially spent the whole day with Alex. Today, I organized my computer stuff. I noticed a great deal on a Cruiser Micro at Office Depot, and went to buy that for Amanda. She needs a new one fairly badly. Her old one is stolen by the digital picture frame, and I sometimes need mine. What seems cool about the Cruiser Micro is that the whole case is the same piece as the plug. The plug shouldn’t get bent up and loose as they tend to do on normal usb drives. I can’t find a picture of this exact drive online, not even at the Sandisk site. I’ll take a picture of it sometime.

This next week is just going to be full of computer nerdery. I’m still trying to fix Amanda’s computer! I brought a spare machine from home, and bought a new heatsink for it, to make it quieter, and it doesn’t fit in the case along with the power supply. As I’m going to be swapping a bunch of motherboards around, I had Dad buy two of my favorite cases in the world, the Antec 1650, from RAM Technologies back in Eau Claire.

RAM seems to be much more reasonably priced compared to five years ago. I’m not quite sure if its the store that changed, taking lower margins on products so they’re closer to online prices, or if its me that changed, and I don’t quite pinch the pennies as hard as I used to when I was a paper boy.

Well anyway, Meg Mueller is bringing the cases back Tuesday, along with my thumbdrive I left in Betty’s car.

So today, before Matthew got back, I lost my keys, while I was in my room. He got back while I was still searching, and I ended up being at my wit’s end, and searching the garbage cans. They were definitely down in the bottom of one of our garbage cans. Sometimes I think there are little pixies that steal my stuff and move it around.

Last year, one day when Matthew was gone all morning at class, I locked the door and went to class as well. You have to realize, the doors in the dorms, to lock them and walk out, you need to lock them from the outside. You can’t “set them to lock” and then leave your keys in there. So as long as you don’t have your roommate lock you out, you’re set, because if your door is locked, it meant you were outside your door with them, to lock it. You can’t lock yourself out. To do that, you need a partner. Anyway, I locked the door, from the outside with my keys, and went to class. I came back, and I noticed I didn’t have my keys. I tried the door. Nope, locked. I went to the front desk, checked out a key, and opened the door. My keys are on my desk. This whole situation was impossible, but happened. Matthew didn’t come home the entire time, so he’s out of the picture. Dorm pixies, I tell you.

Anyway, later tonight, I’m installing OpenBSD on Amanda’s old hardware, as it seems to have display issues on the motherboard. I should install webDAV and LDAP on there, set them up for handling my Evolution stuff.

Hack Plan: DIY Word Processor

Imagine this. An ergonomic keyboard with a smallish LCD under the spacebar. It is powered by a few batteries, and has a backlight on/off switch, and a regular unit on/off switch. It has an SD slot, and a USB port.

You type, it shows up on the LCD. ? You can save to different files, having one for each class.? You can open other text files, edit them, and save them.? There may even be space for a game or two :-P.

It saves the data on the SD card, and you can download/upload data just like a thumbdrive.

Total cost for a single unit? Less than $50 dollars.

Wearable Requirements

Most people who know me know I’m absolutely in love with wearable computing. I’m in love with it to the point of wanting to go to grad school to work with them after I get my Electrical Engineering degree.

It recently came to my attention that I may have nearly everything needed for a good step in the right direction.

The ideal wearable is modular, as the equipment available changes all the time. When I’m sitting down at a trusted computer with my wearable, I don’t want to rely on a tiny display or auditory output. I want to be able to interact with my data on the dual 19 inch LCDs.

I need to be able to

  • send and receive email
  • browse the web
  • instant messaging
  • make and view appointments and other calendar-based information
  • make and view a contacts list
  • write and read basic text documents


Now, there are a lot of reasons why it’d be good to have a head-mounted display that lets me see some computer output as well as the real world. However, there are a lot of reasons why that isn’t going to happen in the next year or two for me. I don’t have over a thousand dollars to spend on a display. This limits my options a large amount. I also don’t have the knowledge of optics required to homebrew a solution based on a cheaper display.

Gargoyles represent the embarrassing side of the Central Intelligence Corporation. Instead of using laptops, they wear their computers on their bodies, broken up into separate modules that hang on the waist, on the back, on the headset. They serve as human surveillance devices, recording everything that happens around them. Nothing looks stupider; these getups are the modern-day equivalent of the slide-rule scabbard or the calculator pouch on the belt, marking the user as belonging to a class that is at once above and far below human society.

Neal Stephenson, “Snow Crash”
If I want these functions to be accessible on the go, I need both on-the-go input and on-the-go output. On-the-go input will be acheived with a homebrew bluetooth septambic keyer. This will be detailed in the future. On-the-go output is usually acheived with a head-mounted display. Now, there are a lot of reasons why it’d be good to have a head-mounted display that lets me see some computer output as well as the real world. However, there are a lot of reasons why that isn’t going to personally happen in the next year or two. I don’t have over a thousand dollars to spend on a display. This limits my options a large amount. I also don’t have the knowledge of optics required to homebrew a solution based on a cheaper display. The only head-mounted display options left to me are ones that would condemn me to the path of the gargoyle, something I’d really love to avoid.
An on-the-go output method that is often ignored is audio. Bluetooth headsets are not a rare sight these days. I could certainly find a fairly cheap, non-gargoyle bluetooth headset, and this would provide me with an auditory output.
Is this really possible? Could I actually interact with my computer in a usuable fashion without a DISPLAY? It looks like I can.
Enter BLINUX, a project in active development increasing the usability of Linux to the blind user.