I’ve been working on my Mp3 collection for way longer than I expected. In a somewhat entertaining exchange, my friend Ben and I were comparing collections (make as many jokes as you’d like). We had each been trying to catch up with the other and were somewhat surprised at how close we both were to each other. It was within a few hundred songs.

I’ve been working over the last 2 years on tagging (ID3v2) and sorting my collection. During that time I’ve made an effort not to accumulate more music. Sometimes I failed, but I ran into a physical limit on my hard drive which has allowed me to focus more on the task. I’ve now completed as much as I can manage and I’m backing up to a FW HD (thanks Phi) and reformatting my HD to make more space. No more partitions.

Today, right before backing up, I went through and deleted a rather large selection of items that didn’t fit into full albums or sounded like crap. Which brings me to my main point.

PC users are idiots. Who else encodes mp3s with the wrong names, at crappy bit-rates, and adds comments about “encoded by -=dipshipt=-“? PC users. That’s who. Now, I may have been guilty of some mp3 faux pas in the past, but I’ve easily made up for my initial errors. Besides, we’re talking about 1998, not 2002 or anything. And to those of you using a Xing or RealJukebox to encode, do us all a favor and destroy your computer. It sounds like crap.

Back in the day I used SoundEdit 16 to encode SWA files directly from CD. It took forever. But you’ve probably come across some of the tracks I encoded. Seriously. Ever come across Soul to Squeeze? The splash symbols and high-hat may have a slight wash, but that was in 1997.

Regardless, I want to thank all those who shared their favorites with me. My life has been enriched by the variety of music I’ve been exposed to. And to the artists, I’m still buying music and even going to some shows when I can afford it. I’m heading your call KRS, and if you come to Portland, I’ll be there.

Netscape 7.2?

AOL/Netscape has said that they will release a version 7.2 of the Netscape browser based on the release of Mozilla 1.7 (supposedly a long-life release). I’m an advocate of Mozilla and have been pleased that Netscape 7.x has been available as an alternative to IE. Netscape at least gets some name recognition when you tell people that their computer is hopelessly mired in spyware and crap and they’re better off using a different browser.

Mozilla, despite being a better product, and the real software behind Netscape, doesn’t seem to register on most people’s “Legitimate Software Meter.” This is problematic in a situation when Netscape is viewed as a dying company/browser (it is). I was relieved at first to hear the news of the 7.2 release, but then realized its just extending the slow death of Netscape, hindering the option for Mozilla to go mainstream. All the Netscape/Moz-haters may recognize 7.2, but it’ll be the last time they’re so generous.

Is Mozilla ready for the mainstream? Yes, it has been for some time. It does everything that most people need (except windows update), blocks pop-ups, has a built in html editor, javascript debugger, mail client, tabbed browsing, great CSS/XSLT support, and its not susceptible to the same exploits that IE is and will be for some time.

So, what is wrong with Netscape? Well, being an AOL property, it installs with all the AOL crap you’d expect from another dying company. Netscape 7.x does include a popup blocker, but by default, it allows pop-ups from Wal-mart/Netscape/AOL/Time-Warner/etc. What a crock.

From the support standpoint, I understand that it would be easier to just support one browser. But with IE, that means supporting their Zone Alarm Firewall, spyware, toolbars and pop-up blockers, all which often negatively effect the browser or the Internet experience in some way.

I suppose this all gets back to the support for standards versus the support an application discussion. I think you’ll be able to figure out which side I take.

Cruelest of jokes

Last night we said goodbyes to some of the other students Michelle’s been cloistered with over the last 3 years. We laughed about the absurdity of life, moving with cats, and how cruel law school is. Cruel? How? Well, before you start, everyone who has been there assures you that the first year is the worst. It harder than anything you’ve done before, but the second year is harder by far, and you know that you can “do law school”, so the sobbing outbursts are fewer. The third year is just as hard, even harder if you’re writing papers, and then you finish.

But that’s when one of the biggest lies is revealed. You’ve just graduated from some of the most intensive work you’d hope to ever do, get your diploma, then start bar review the next Monday. And the review is 10 weeks of very intense studies; typically a subject a day. And you’re supposed to outline and write sample essays after classes in the afternoon/evening.

Luckily I see all this from the sidelines. I never had any interest in going to law school before, but now I know not to. Ah… Geography. But best of luck to all of you suckers. You were duped 3 times.

Michelle’s Graduation, etc.

This weekend was a blur of family, friends, and celebration. Family came down from Yakima and beyond for the graduation party on Friday and the commencement on Saturday. All in all, the weekend was a blast, and now I’m married to a J.D.

Friday’s party was nearly a bust because it had been raining most of the day. Fortunately the 2 months of yard work paid off because the clouds parted and we were able to play croquet and enjoy the yard and deck to their fullest. Chandra and Michelle – the hostesses – spent much of the day frantically preparing food, and I helped by grilling tortillas, zucchini and squash, and a flank steak. Both of our parents helped here and there by cleaning or cutting, which made it more enjoyable for us. It was quite a bit of fun, and good to see these hectic students happy.

The commencement was pretty cool, though took a while with all the graduates that walked. The guest speaker was New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid, who eloquently warned of the challenges that modern life is having on civil rights, environmental protection, and generally on the future of democracy. It might have been a shocking speech at other schools, but was both time and place appropriate.

But now its Monday and she’s started her bar prep courses, and is sporting an upgraded iBook and a new gmail account.

Michelle the JD

Bermuda – Day 6/7

I’m combining day 6 and 7 because they were fairly uneventful. Plus, no one really cares anyway.

Saturday morning we woke to complete darkness. When your state room is in the middle of the ship, there’s never any clues as to what its like outside. There’s a channel on TV that shows the view from the bridge, but its annoying to look at. When we eventually did make it up to breakfast, we were surprised by the surrounding fog that had enveloped the boat. While reading in of of the comfortable chairs by the coffee bar, I heard some Boston natives lamenting about the weather. It was the comment that one of them made that captivated me the most:

“Those Bermutian bastards don’t know how good they got it.”

I barely stifled my laughter. Bermutian? like Martian? He was right though. It was raining and cold when we left Boston, and rainy and cold when we returned. But I think the Bermudians understand just how well they have it. I think that’s quite well reflected everywhere in the island.

We finally ended up eating with other people on the last morning. We’d managed to sit alone for meals until then, and liked it quite a bit. I’ve enjoyed sitting with others on cruises in the past, but they included my mom and grandpa, who are both very outgoing and could strike up conversation with Attila the Hun. Regardless, it wasn’t too bad, and we were able to talk dogs. That filled up almost 70% of the conversation, and the rest was either filled with us watching two of the older women at the table make confusing requests of the wait staff, or explaining that we were from Portland Oregon, not Portland Maine. They were surprised that we came all the way from Portland for the cruise, and I was surprised that 80+ percent of the people lived within an hour of the port.

All in all, the trip was amazing, and as I’ve typed this I’ve become eager for the next trip. Maybe we can try diving this next time.

Bermuda – Day 6

Knowing it was our last day, we got up early, grabbed some food from the breakfast buffet and headed back to Tobacco Bay for a last bit of snorkeling. The beach was empty at 8am, but the sun was out, the water was calm, and the water wasn’t that cold once you got acclimated.

Michelle’s snorkel was acting up again so she returned to the beach and her book. I venture further and discovered a number of sea slugs, brilliant cobalt blue and yellow fish, and even some crabs. The fish were much more plentiful than before, so I waved Michelle back in. She wasn’t to happy having just dried off and settled in, but she came back out and swam around with just her mask on. After a while she headed back in and I ventured further down the coast. I found several golf balls since we were near a course. I kept an faded orange one because it had Japanese characters on it. I swallowed a few mouthfuls of sea water (accidentily) and decided to head back in. We relaxed on the beach for a while before strolling back into town and on to the boat. We boarded around 11:00am, showered and found some good spots topside for watching the departure.

Departure was a little after noon, and we soaked up some sun until heading through “The Cut” and back towards Boston. Leaving the island was kind of sad. Its such a gorgeous place, and the white roofed houses (they collect rainwater for drinking water) were visible as we sailed away.

Back at sea (and Michelle’s birthday – I didn’t remember until mid-afternoon), we read a bit, played some cards, and relaxed. After beating her badly at two games, she returned to beat me at two. Dinner was horrible, service wise. There was at least a 30 minute delay between courses, and my meal was improperly prepared. We left without desert. I didn’t dare point out that it was Michelle’s birthday. She’s got some being-sung-to-in-public-phobia. I think I do too.

Fortunately, there was a midnight chocolate bar, so we ventured up and feasted on fruits dipped in chocolate, cakes of chocolate, and even my leftover dinner dipped in chocolate. We ate quickly because the two couples we were seated at weren’t happy people.

Bermuda – Day 5

Today we had big plans to it the western parishes again for some snorkeling and pick up some gifts. We caught the #10 to Hamilton earlier than usual but were unaware that it was on a school run. This means that it winded its way through several small neighborhoods we’d not seen yet. It extended the ride by at least 20 minutes, but I’m really glad we happened upon the bus. The interaction between the pedestrians and the bus drivers, and even the interaction between all motorists is very friendly. There seems to be a custom where you honk at people you know, and they honk back. All the car horns are the “meep” type found on Japanese cars. Even the busses had benign horns.

Most of the honking was a single sounding, though sometimes people would honk twice, or even three times on a rare occasion. I never figured out what the differences were. The seemed to relate to traffic issues like right of way and such, but I’m not sure. The honking was both annoying and cute at the same time.

Anyway, we got to Hamilton, and then took the Ferry across the great sound to the Dockyard again, did some shopping, then took the #7 down to Somerset Village. There’s not much there, but we were looking for snorkeling. We ended up doing some walking to get to the Somerset Long Beach, which turned out to be a lame snorkeling site. However, the walk, like the bus ride, was very enjoyable. We got to see some out of the way houses and the “impoverished” part of the island. Considering the mean per capita income is $68k, (among the highest in the world) poverty has a very different face in Bermuda than in less fortunate countries like the Bahamas, Jamaica, Haiti, and the United States.

The two places we had looked at snorkeling were a bust, so we headed back to grab some lunch then try some spots on St. David’s Island (including a shipwreck). Sadly, while we were on the boat for lunch, it had to change its mooring, which took nearly 2 hours, and we missed our bus rides to St. Davids. We watched some shore hands struggle with the lines for so long that it was painful. They appeared so inept that it really made us wonder where the extra $200 in port fees that every cruise ship docking in Bermuda was going.

We looked around St. George for a while, winded through some alleyways, and spent some time at Tobacco Bay. While there, we watched an entourage of around 60 cars and scooters packed with teens tooled around looking for a party.

Since the boat was leaving Bermuda in the morning, we went to bed a little early so we could fit some more snorkeling in before leaving.

Bermuda – Day 4

Today we hit up Hamilton, the largest city and capitol of Bermuda. Getting there from St. George required us to once again hop on the #10. After 40 minutes, we were on Front Street. After a quick stop at Albuoy’s Point (see panorama), we did a walking tour that mixed points of interest with shopping. Hamilton is where you’ll find high fashion, cheap gemstones, and criminal corporations avoiding taxes (see Tyco).

We included several gardens, like Par La Ville Park, the city hall/art gallery, Anglican and Catholic churches, state houses, and other small attractions. The parks are well kept, and are the very same that Mark Twain visited while he was enjoying Bermuda. St. Theresa’s Catholic Church was an impressive building, as was the Anglican cathedral. These two were among the dozen or so religious offices within a few blocks. St. Theresa’s was on a corner by with a mosque, a bahai temple, and First Church of Christ, Scientist. I guess harmony is in the air.

After catching the bus (yup, the #10) back to St. George, and grabbing some lunch, we walked over the island to Tobacco Bay for some snorkeling. It was crawling with cruisers and locals, and the small bay was cloudy and barren. So many feet created very turbid water that was bad for animals and visibility. However, just outside the small bay was some great snorkeling. Plenty of reefs and interesting rocks, as well as a good variety of fish. I even encountered a gang of 8 spiny lobsters.

Michelle’s snorkel tube crapped out, so she enjoyed the sun and a book while I ventured up the coast. I probably went further than was wise, but it was gorgeous, the water was calm, and I wanted to see some fish.

We took our time at the beach then meandered back to town through small alleyways. St. George is a beautiful town whose charm only increases with the setting sun. Even into darkness, the streets are welcoming. We walked for a while after dinner then enjoyed some Guinness Foreign Exports on the top deck, overlooking the city. We tried to find a good tap in town, but didn’t have much luck.

Bermuda – Day 3

This morning we woke up early (7am), ate breakfast, and went to the deck to watch our arrival to Bermuda. We stopped briefly to allow a local pilot on board to assist us into port. The massive ship passed easily through The Cut into St. George’s Harbour, and docked in the town of St. George.

Michelle and I were some of the first off the boat and quickly hopped the #10 to Hamilton, then the #7 to Warwick Long Bay. We had a couple snorkel sites lined up along the southern end of the island. Warick Long Bay was dismal snorkeling, and as we were leaving for the next site, we noticed a sign explaining that it was an Unsafe Area.

Church Bay was much better snorkeling, and we saw a variety of corals, fish, and I even got inked by an unknown animal. (I’ve added a panorama too) There was a german couple on the beech too who pointed out a Portuguese Man-of-war that had washed up. We swapped snorkeling stories and tried to distance ourselves from the other cruisers once we saw the crestfallen look they gave us when we told them where we were staying. The were nice to us anyway, but we moved on because it was cloudy and the water was rough. Plus, we were hungry.

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