April 2008

I’ve been working all day on a perl script that will massage my “links of the day” postings in the same manner that I have been doing manually for some year(s). It fetches a post by ID#, de-bullets the del.icio.us links-of-the-day via painstaking regular expression transformations. It scrunches each link into a paragraph, and bolds my “title category”) (e.g. “ABUSE OF AUTHORITY:”, “TECHNOLOGY WAR:”, etc). It also sweeps these title categories up to create a posting title automatically (“LINKS: abuse of authority, religion, censorship”). It observes the del.icio.us tags used, and consults these against a table of “tag icon” images that I have (for example, the silhouette of an officer swinging a nightstick for abuse of authority stories), and automatically adds a related image next to those stories. Alignment alternates between right and left automatically.

It also assigns applicable WordPress tags automatically, based on the del.icio.us tags entered — with some special alias mapping. For example delicious’s “WarOnTerror” needs to become WordPress’s “The War On Terror“, because I chose to use a “the” on my blog) (and some sick things too, like if it is del.icio.us tagged “media” and “tv” and “shows” but not “cartoons” then it gets my wordpress “live-action shows” tag). Obviously, it only uses existing WordPress categories, rather than creating a bazillion new ones.

Suffice to say that now, instead of doing 10-15 minutes work, I just need to run the script with the 4 digit posting ID to have it fixed. Well, once I’m done. Right now, it simply re-writes the cleaned post to an old post that no one sees anymore ( https://clintjcl.wordpress.com/?p=5 ), because I didn’t want to destroy the original. I still have more to do on this tomorrow. (more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] Carolyn & I are both big Arrested Development fans, and love the character G.O.B., played by Will Arnett. When we saw Janeane Garofalo at the Arlington Drafthouse, she made sure to emphasize that she thought Will Arnett was one of the funniest people right now, and that he was responsible for her back injury — from falling over laughing. Thus, we decided to get some Will Arnett movies. This is movie 2 of 3 for our Will Arnett Theme Week, which consists of The Solomon Brothers, Let’s Go To Prison, and Blades Of Glory. We are watching them in order of IMDB rating (lowest-to-highest; this movie received 5.6/10 on IMDB.)

PEOPLE: Bob Odenkirk directed this, and we are big fans of his comic sensibility (Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!; Tom Goes To The Mayor; Mr. Show). This was an added bonus to the whole Will Arnett angle that got us here in the first place. The main 2 characters were Will Arnett and Dax Shepard, who we just became acquainted with when recently watching Without A Paddle.

BAD STUFF: All-male cast. Extremely painful plot, mostly in prison. Painful in the sense that we were in disblief and horror as to how unrealistically destructive certain characters were to themselves and others. But it was a black comedy, so it was a good hurt. Even the threat of prison rape is made to be funny … and I don’t like laughing at that! So the movie hurt, but in a good way, like watching Steve Carell be a total douchebag in The Office. (Tangent: Carell is going to play the lead role in the Get Smart movie? That might actually be good.)

CONCLUSION: Despite being rated 0.6 higher on IMDB, I thought The Brothers Solomon was a funnier movie. Both, however, are utterly unrealistic. And that’s good — comedy is about escapism, not realism. This was a dark, dark, dark comedy about a bad, bad, bad place. All I know is that I do not want to go to prison! Even in a comedy, it sucks!

MOVIE QUOTE: John Lyshitski: “Our justice system sucks. You know, there are over two million Americans behind bars. That’s a little larger than the population of Houston. Every year, there are enough children born in prison to fill 250 Little League teams, and enough people are raped in prison to fill a stadium more than three times. Can you picture that? Three stadiums full of people raping each other? I know I can.”

yard saleWe woke up around 11 and decided to go yardsaleing for the first time this year, because we need lamps. We haven’t been yardsaleing as much these recent years, as we have most of what we need. But with the addition to our house done, and the downstairs room coming together, we knew that we needed lamps. And paying full-price for lamps is for superficial people who care about “matching” their room more than their financial survival. Certain types of things are just always going to be cheaper at yard sales. Lamps, fans, candles, clothes — stuff people end up with extras of. Yard sales usually die down around noon, but we were still going around at 2-3PM and finding stragglers. The best part about going late (if you want the best stuff, you better be out by 7AM) is that you get leftovers, and people often will part for stuff for nothing, just because it’s a hot day and they don’t want to go back outside. We literally had a car-load of stuff, plus a 2nd trip for a bookshelf. We then used google product search to find some rough estimates for how much these things originally cost.

Total spent was $22, counting $2 of gas (~12 miles). Estimated value of our take is **$429**. $254 of that was free, $288 of it was stuff that was most definitely need, and $110 of it was stuff that we would have had to buy in the next 2-5 years. In total, we “made” $429 for $22, a profit of $407 for about 4 hours. That’s $50.87/hr per person, or $101.75/hr as a couple. Also keep in mind, that $407 profit is equivalent to earning $590 before taxes. Many people don’t make that much in a week, let alone 4 hours. Yardsaleing is also for the environment — to re-use stuff, rather than have it rot in a dump. And you often find unique things that can’t be bought, period. Many people need the same thing at different points in their life, and corporations make a lot of extra money banking on the fact that their items will go to a dump, rather than a potential future customer. Re-using is good. So here was our take:

  • FREE: full-size camping backpack. Not even a yard sale; someone just set it at a curb with some lumber and a huge pegboard. My current backpack ($3) has been repaired twice (once using from another $3 yards ale pack), so this will definitely come in handy. (EV:$70)
  • FREE: BIG RC-car/remote/charger – haven’t gotten it to work yet (Estimated Value:$85,though it might be broken.)
  • FREE: tall bookshelf — transported to our quite illegally by sticking out the side of our car with the door completely open and no red flag. Took back roads, pulled into the grass even if a car was coming the other direction, and generally were paranoid while doing this quite dangerous thing. (EV:$35)
  • FREE: lumber mentioned above, 5 boards — more attic floorspace, one free piece of wood at a time. Space costs $130/ft to build; free space is a damn good price. (EV:$28)
  • FREE: swimming pool wicker walkway rolls … We only took 6 out of the 20 or so there. We rolled them over the carpets walking up to our house. It’s both tacky and annoying and ridiculous at the same time, but it feels very “Hawaiian” walking up to our front door now. And it crunches under your feet. Change of pace from the carpets, and re-doing the walkway with concrete isn’t exactly high on our priority list when we have so many procrastination techniques at our disposal (EV:$20???)
  • FREE: large green glass ash tray – reminds me of my grandparents’ taste in ashtrays (EV:$5)
  • FREE: small clear glass ash tray – reminds me of my parents’ taste in ashtrays (EV:$3)
  • FREE: “DVD Bag”, but it’s really more of a generic carrying bag – anyone want it? He had 50. I told him I’d take one to try to find it a home. (EV:$8, guy said)
  • $0.25: Rehobeth Beach shotglass (EV:$3)
  • $0.25: box of 5 or so long candles – these are fire hazards, but we use these to light hard-to-reach wicks of real candles. There’s just no other way to get them lit. Guaranteed use. (EV:$1)
  • $0.50: 2 refill packs for edgers (weed whacker) – I don’t do yard work often, but I will definitely go through 2 packs in my life, so this will definitely save money. (EV:$3)
  • $1: purse for Carolyn (EV:$10)
  • $2: a gift which is something I gave a family member in the past, but in a different color – will give to same person (EV:$20 verified)
  • $2: clip lamp – these are versatile! (EV:$16)
  • $2: simmer pot – after Angel and various other party people having delicious hot melted cheese dip, and after throwing away the HUGE fondue pots we got out of our next door neighbor’s trash when she died/went to a home because our kitchen sink leaked grossness into them — we could probably use this. Literally 1/20th the size of these huge fondue pots. (EV:$14)
  • $2: 2 multi-picture picture frames – might play around with flickr and printing a few pics out (not for us) (EV:$40)
  • $2: shoes (EV:$8)
  • $4: 2 lampshades – can’t talk about them because they are gifts. But they are awesome. (EV:$40 verified)
  • $4: lamp – 2-ft wooden base (not as top-heavy as expected) generic lamp (EV:$20)


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