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Pip R. Lagenta
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in pip_r_lagenta's LiveJournal:

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Friday, November 8th, 2013
10:13 am
Pip and the Fake Cop
I was pulled over by a fake cop while on my way to work Wednesday night (Nov. 6, 2013).  It was, in retrospect, a profoundly weird experience.  Let me tell you about it.

It was about 11pm when I came to the attention of a gentleman who had, apparently, installed bright red, police style lights behind the grill-work of his black SUV.  I was driving north on Highway 101 near SFO airport when I merged right, onto the onramp for 380 Highway.  According to what the nefarious gentleman in the black SUV later told me, he took umbrage at the manner of my merge.  He followed me from SFO onto Highway 380, over onto Highway 280, and then into San Francisco, where he pulled me over on Junipero Serra Blvd. (at Brotherhood Way).  Google Maps tells me that that is a distance of eight miles.

I first became aware of our nefarious gentleman when I saw his bright red, police style lights blinding me in my rear-view mirror, just after entering the city/county of San Francisco at the off-ramp for Brotherhood Way.  I could see nothing of the vehicle behind me except the bright red lights.  Believing this to be actual police, I immediately pulled my car over to the right.  I was then in the lane for the Brotherhood Way off-ramp, blocking the lane.  I turned my car off, removed the keys and activated my emergency blinkers.

Cars began to honk at us, as we were blocking the off-ramp lane.  This was strange.  People don't normally honk at police cars engaged in police activity, no matter what they are blocking.  Of course, our nefarious gentleman did not have police lights in the back of his SUV.  So, to passers-by, it just looked like two idiots blocking the off-ramp lane.  Our nefarious gentleman had turned off his red lights, but he had his high beams on (and possibly white spot-lights on me).  So I still could not see his vehicle.

Our nefarious gentleman did not have a loud speaker or public address system on his SUV, so he shouted at me to pull my car forward.  I put my keys back in my car, restarted the engine, and slowly drove forward on Junipero Serra Blvd. to just past the Brotherhood Way off-ramp.  I turned off my car, removed the keys and put the keys on the passenger seat.  I rolled down my window.

Our nefarious gentleman then exited his SUV and approached my car.  I could see that he was dressed in a police uniform.  It was a blue uniform of the San Mateo or San Francisco police departments.  It was definitely NOT the tan uniform of the California Highway Patrol.  Due to the bright white lights from his SUV, I could not see if he had a badge.  He did have a police crest on his sleeve, but I could not see if it was the San Mateo or San Francisco police departments.

He asked me to turn off my engine.  This was strange.  My engine was off, and the car keys removed.  I told him so.

He asked for my driver's license, and I gave it him.  He then revealed the reason for all this.  He expressed his displeasure for the manner in which I entered the Highway 101 to Highway 380 crossover.  In other words, he said that I cut him off.  I did not remember cutting anybody off.  I certainly did not remember cutting off a police vehicle.  But then, it wasn't a police vehicle, was it.

He sniffed in my car as if to try to detect the odor of drugs or alcohol.  He seemed to not like what he smelled.  He asked me if I had been drinking.  I answered with a clear and emphatic "no".

He asked me where I was coming from.  I answered "San Mateo".  He had my driver's license.  He could see my address.  He asked me where I was going.  Now, there is a question that always pisses me off.  It is nobody's business where I go.  I do not need the permission or approval of police officers to travel anywhere I damn well please.  So, I answered "to my employment".

Our nefarious gentleman then asked me who my employer is.  I answered with "I discuss my employment only with people who need that information."  I was sure the shit was going to hit the fan now.  "Oh, it's going to be that way, is it?" he said, and walked back to his vehicle.

I was certain that I could not escape a ticket.  You can't be that kind of rude to the police without getting a ticket at the very least, or arrested, or shot, depending on the temperament of the police officer involved.  And it was clear to me that this guy was a hot-head.  But when he came back, all he did was ask for car registration and proof of insurance.  That was odd.

I rifled through my glove compartment for the documents requested.  The proof of insurance was the easy one.  It is in a clear plastic slip.  The car registration was a bit more tricky.  The first one I came up with was last year's registration, not the current one.  I gave our nefarious gentleman those, and continued looking for the current document.  I found it, but he didn't want it.  "I have what I need" he said.  That was odd.  He didn't need the current registration?

I was sure that I would get the ticket now.  But, no.  What I got was a stern talking to.  "You're in San Francisco now" he began.  What did that mean?  He had followed me for eight miles, and pulled me over 300 feet across the county line into San Francisco.  "You have to drive safely now" he said.  Well, duh.

I tried again to see what jurisdiction he was with.  But I still could not make out what the police crest on his shirt sleeve said.
"I am giving you a warning.  I've entered your name in the police records that I have given you this warning" he said.  "If you are pulled over again, no more warnings will be given.  You will be given a citation."  I have heard that claptrap before.  I consider it a joke.  "Thank you, sir" I dutifully replied.  He gave me back my documents, and returned to his vehicle.

I set about putting my documents away.  Our nefarious gentleman started to pull away, but stopped.  He yelled for me to move on.  That was odd.  Why can't I just put my stuff away?  But then I saw why.  I saw his vehicle at last: a black, unmarked, civilian, SUV.  The jig was up.  He was not a cop.  Or at least not an on-duty cop.

It seems clear to me now.  He did not write me a citation because he could not write me a citation.  He was not a cop.  He did not pull out in front of me because he did not want me to see his civilian car or license plate.  He had followed me for eight miles until I got 300 feet into San Francisco to use jurisdiction as an excuse for not writing a citation.  That would only work if he were a San Mateo police officer.  Yes, I think that he was an off-duty San Mateo police officer who had tricked-out his private, personal SUV specifically so that he can make these false traffic stops.  At some point, I bet, you will be reading about this guy in the newspapers.  Is he planning rapes?  Murders?  Time will tell.  I think I got off lucky.

In the end, though, I got my small revenge.  You see, that evening I was having problems with gas.  That is to say, I was farting up a storm.  By the time I got to San Francisco, my car was an explosive, stinky mess.  So when our nefarious gentleman leaned in to smell whether I was using drugs or alcohol, what he got was a lung full of my noxious output.  It was the least that he deserved, I'm sure.

The end of this encounter is marked by me seeing the fake cop’s civilian vehicle for the first time.  Only then, as I was pulling out from the curb to continue on my way to work, did I realize that the traffic stop had been a fake.  It was too late to get a better look at the fake cop or his car.  As I was turning from Junipero Serra Blvd. onto 19th Ave., I looked back to see if he was following me.  But no, he was gone.  In the whole encounter, I never got a good look at the guy.  As I think back over the complete incident, my not getting a good look at the fake cop was probably purposefully arranged by the fake cop.  By the time I knew that I would need to take special action to identify this guy, the whole thing was over and he was gone.  Does it worry me that this crazy man has my address?  Yes, it does.
    --Pip R. Lagenta

Friday, April 22nd, 2011
10:33 am
New LASFS location
The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society is considering moving to a new location.  The location of the new LASFS property was not being written anywhere that I could find.  I asked about this "secrecy".  But Karl Lembke, Chairman of the LASFS Board of Directors, was kind enough to tell me that the manifestation of apparent secrecy was nothing more than an illusion caused by people simply being too lazy to actually type the address in anyplace where it could be seen.  Well, let me fix that:  The location of the proposed new LASFS property is the corner of Aetna St. and Tyrone Ave. in Van Nuys, California.  Building access would be possible from 14268 Aetna St. Van Nuys, and additional addresses around the corner on Tyrone Ave.  The buildings are one block east of Van Nuys Blvd, one block west of Hazeltine Ave., and one block north of Oxnard St. with very nice proximity to the Orange line.  [The prospect that the address was to be SECRET was upsetting to me.  I am glad that I was wrong.]
Wednesday, April 13th, 2011
9:27 pm
Jon Kyl
The United States Senator from Arizona, Jon Kyl, single-handedly created the genre of literature called "Farm Fiction" ("Far-fi") when he wrote the classic agrarian novel "Marish, And the Wrath of the Injured Maggot".  

-Pip R. Lagenta
Saturday, February 27th, 2010
9:42 am
Today is not a normal Saturday
On a normal Saturday morning, I would get off of work at 7:30am in San Francisco and wander over to Berkeley.  I would park near the UC Berkeley campus and read until the restaurants open.  Then I would go to Café Colucci (6427 Telegraph Ave.) for a very nice "Mediterranean Breakfast" (a spicy vegetarian lentil dish).  I would then head over to The Nabolom bakery (2708 Russell Street, Berkeley) for a chocolate croissant and live music provided by Steven Strauss and the Friends of Old Puppy (10am to 1pm).  But last night my car caught on fire.  It was a small electrical fire that went out by itself.  I had to borrow a car to get to work last night.  Now I am home, arranging for a rental car to use until my car is repaired.  All in all, I’d rather be in Berkeley!

 --Pip R. Lagenta

Current Mood: annoyed
Wednesday, September 9th, 2009
9:48 pm
All the wrongest people...

Pip's new shirt:
"AronRa" t-shirt at ZAZZLE

"All the wrongest people in the world claim God is their teacher" is a quote from YouTube luminary, AronRa.

 -Pip R. Lagenta

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009
9:49 pm
Tuesday, August 18th, 2009
9:29 am
There was every possibility that I would post this here

You did not watch this... somewhere.

  --Pip R. Lagenta

Monday, August 3rd, 2009
4:21 pm
Found by Frederik Pohl

Gym Class

    One two three four
    Clap your hands and prance
    In stinky shirt and stinky shoes
    And stinky little pants.

Cyril M. Kornbluth

The Poetry Corner 2
Friday, July 31st, 2009
9:25 pm
The Whys of Wheels

Take a look at the video in yesterday's post.  You'll need to know what I am talking about. (This is it, here!)

Not long ago, I had a great deal of fun making the collection of videos that can be seen at

I had made those videos (except for the one video that I linked to in yesterday's post) while experiencing multitasking problems on my computer.  In the last month, I have blogged here, on LiveJournal, extensively (and ad nauseam: "Multitasking: It Seems That I Can't Blame Vista For This [2009-07-13 11:06:00]" and "Not Blaming Vista, While At The Same Time Blaming Vista [2009-07-21 17:14:00]") upon the nature of this technical difficulty.  Suffice to say here that I needed to test my computer to see if the remedies implemented were effective.

As long planned, I filmed a set of "Friends of Old Puppy" music performed at the Nabolom Bakery gig in Berkeley on June 27, 2009.  I filmed whatever the musicians chose to play.  The Nabolom Bakery venue is very noisy.  My previous attempts to video the "Friends of Old Puppy" performances at Nablolm were hobbled by bad sound.  To get better sound this time, I used sound recording equipment separate from, and of better quality than, the video camera's built-in sound recording system.

There was more footage videoed than used.  A videoed performance was not used mostly because the musicians felt that their performance on a particular song was not up to par.  After completing the YouTube videos of the best preformed songs, I looked a second time at that video from "the cutting-room floor".  There was one thing.

The musicians had gone into their first song ("Wheels" written by Norman Petty, Richard Stevens, and James Torres) while I was still setting up my equipment.  Now here is the deal: I had turned on the sound equipment just before the first song started.  So, I had the complete sound for the first song.  There are several points early in the video where you can hear me say things like "the sound's very good" as I was adjusting the sound levels.  It was an excellent performance.  The problem was that I did not start the video camera until about half way through the song.  Then, once I got the camera running, I moved it all around to test camera angles and practice camera movement.  The end result for the first song was "sound good, video bad".  I wanted to use the sound, but what to do about the visuals?  I decided to make an art film.  Into this comes my need to test my newly repaired computer.

I use the "Windows Movie Maker" film editing program.  It is a free, low grade, simple, crude Microsoft product.  Additionally, it is a program that uses excessive amounts of CPU and motherboard resources.  As I use "Windows Movie Maker", I learn more and more about its capabilities and its limitations.  The minimalist, single-shot videos that I normally make do not push the capacities of the "Windows Movie Maker" program.  Nor, to any reasonable degree, do they add to my skill set.  Clearly, I needed to push the envelope and try new stuff.  And, by the way, I needed to test my newly repaired computer.

I suck at Photoshop.  But far be it from me to let that stop me.  I have a lot of photos that I took of the "Friends of Old Puppy" band.  I could do Photoshop things to those photos.  Photoshop is a program that uses excessive amounts of CPU and motherboard resources.  I could use Photoshopped photos in my movie.  I could do it all at once and test my newly repaired computer.

I opened Photoshop, the video editing program, the sound editing program, and I started "Windows Media Player" to play music as I worked.  I picked ten "Friends of Old Puppy" photos from my files and loaded them all into active Photoshop jobs.  I made three different versions of each one of the ten photos.  The plan was to blend the three versions into a kind of morphing effect in the movie.  The take-away lesson here was that "Windows Movie Maker" has a passable blend/fade effect.  I did not need to artificially build the effect in Photoshop.  I made similar effects among the three versions in Photoshop, when I should have made them radically different and let the video editing program blend them.

As an afterthought, I tossed into the mix a short video snippet that I had of Steven Strauss standing in the bakery.

Leaving Photoshop open, I edited the sound down to a workable size.  Leaving Photoshop and the sound editing program open, I imported all sound, stills, and video into the "Windows Movie Maker" video editing program.  Then I really went to town.

I filled the first half of the movie (where I had not yet turned on the camera) with the snippet of Steven, and the thirty stills that I had made in Photoshop.  The second half of the movie had the jerky-ass video that I shot just after I turned on the camera.

I very carefully synchronized the video to the sound.  If I cut the video in any way, I would have to re-synchronize the video to the sound.  Therefore, I made no cuts to the video in the second half of the movie.  I understand that it appears as if there are cuts in that video, but let me assure you, there are none.  I synchronized the sound only once.

I did, however, "split" the video into bits.  "Splitting" is an important addition to my skill set.  "Splitting" does not necessitate re-synchronization.  "Splitting" cuts the video into parts that can then have effects applied to them.

The raw video had a lot of movement in it.  There was no way I could remove the movement from the video.  So, in for a penny, in for a pound: I added movement.  The "Windows Movie Maker" video editing program has a small selection of built-in effects.  I slammed in as many as I thought were ever-so-slightly-beyond-reasonable.  Where the camera moved, I added more movement-style effects.  Where the camera did not move, I added slow moving effects.  I would leave the camera from time to time to go re-check sound levels.  At these points, I walked in front of the camera.  I added extra heavy effects at these points, to hide the fact that I was on-freeking-camera.  And here and there, I just added EFFECTS.

Between the "splitting" and the effects, it looks as if there are cuts in the video portion of the movie.  Let me confirm once again, there are no cuts.  Cuts CAN be done; it is just a lot of work, a lot of re-syncing work.  However, as I become better, and more confident, at using my cheap-ass film editing program, I think that I may be able to start putting cuts and edits into the videos.

I added to my skill set.  It is experiments such as the making of this one video that do, in fact, make me better, and more confident, at using my cheap-ass film editing program.

I also tested my newly repaired computer.  Works fine.

 --Pip R. Lagenta

Thursday, July 30th, 2009
6:10 pm
The Wheels Of The Hullabaloo

Take a look at this video:

My friend, Steven Strauss, brought the above video to the attention of his FaceBook friends.  He wanted some honest feedback regarding the direction to take these music videos.  His friends were not impressed; horrified would be more like it.  Steven was afraid that I would be hurt by the unrelenting disparagement.  I, on the other hand, was pleased as Punch.  I found the whole thing fascinating.  You see, I know why the video looks the way it does.  I shall share that information with you... real soon now.

 --Pip R. Lagenta

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009
5:14 pm
Not Blaming Vista, While At The Same Time Blaming Vista
This last week has been a profoundly weird week for me in a widely divergent number of ways.  Weird things happened around the house, weird things happened with family interactions, weird things happened at work, with both immediate and other more far reaching things going on, at work, and then un-happened.  Some of this is too boring (boring for you, an outsider) for me to write about, some of it is too "Family" to write about.  And this last week is the week that I chose to try to get my computer fixed.

All the weirdness, this week, came out of the blue, but the computer problem has been frustrating me for a freeking year.  I wrote extensively about my computer problems in my last blog (Multitasking: It Seems That I Can't Blame Vista For This; 2009-07-13 11:06:00).  I will try to keep repetition to a minimum.

The support tech at Puget Custom Computers solved the problem.  The problem was not what I thought it was going to be.  The real problem was an issue that I thought I had addressed.  The problem was a driver problem.  I had, nearly a year ago, systematically gone through the every device listed in the Device Manager and searched for, and installed, any new driver located by Vista.  ...and there is the problem: I trusted Vista to actually locate vital drivers.

Why was I concerned about drivers at all?  My Hard drive had failed, and I had replaced it with a new, blank, hard drive.  I then had to install the Vista operating system.  Much about Vista did not work, but that slowly improved as I installed the better drivers that I located using Vista’s Device Manager.  I went right down the list and checked every device listed... checked them twice, then I moved on to other things.  This week I learned that that was not good enough.

For the last year, my computer would not multitask (as written about in my last blog).  For too long, I laid the blame on Vista.  Then other people convinced me that Vista would not do that, stop a computer from multitasking.  I went into BIOS to confirm that both CPU cores were enabled.  The CPU cores were enabled, but while I was in BIOS I looked around for settings that might enable multitasking.  I had some luck with changing a setting which produced a very small, but demonstrable, improvement in CPU performance.  This lead me to think that if I found the correct setting in BIOS, I could fix the multitask problem.

BIOS is a complete freeking nerdfest.  BIOS settings represent the epitome of obfuscation.  Each setting could have utterly benign or wildly disastrous results.  The descriptions of the settings within BIOS are piss-poor at best.  There was not available to me any documentation indicating correct BIOS settings.  This has always pissed me off about computers: the lack of documentation.  Textbooks on computer repair always suggest checking the documentation.  To which I always respond "There is no freeking documentation, goddamnit!But the textbooks never reply.

So, seeking information on BIOS settings, I contacted my computer’s assembler, Puget Custom Computers, of Kent, Washington.  The Puget service tech had me check, in BIOS, to see if both CPU cores were enabled, which was the first thing that I had checked back when I first started suspecting the BIOS settings as the possible culprit.  Where I had thought "If it is not the duel CPU core settings in BIOS, then it might be another more obscure BIOS setting that is the problem", the Puget service tech behaved as if he thought "If it is not the duel CPU core settings in BIOS, then we should look at things other than BIOS settings".  This we did.

Via the magic of remote control, the Puget service tech (in the Seattle area) got inside my computer for a look-around.  He found some puzzling things in the Start-up menu.  But that came to naught.  The tech found that two of the drivers were a bit out of date.  One was the video driver.  I did not think that my problems were video problems.  I updated the video driver, nonetheless.  But the other... oh the other driver!

According to Vista, all of the drivers are up to date, with no newer drivers available.  Fool that I am, I believed Vista.  But what choice did I have, really?  The only way to find out if a driver is the newest driver available is to check the driver itself.  And to do that, you have to use the Operating System, Vista.  Vista is adamant the all of the drivers (checked individually, you can’t check drivers in a group) are up to date.  But the Puget service tech brings up the subject of this second driver.

The Puget service tech says that this second driver, the mainboard driver, is out of date.  "Mainboard"?  Does he mean "Motherboard"?  I go to "Device Manager".  There is no "mainboard", and there is no "motherboard" in "Device Manager".  What would Vista call the motherboard if not "Motherboard" or "Mainboard"?  It wouldn’t be an "Ethernet" driver: that would make no sense at all!  My systematic updating of drivers missed the motherboard driver because there is no "motherboard" listed in "Device Manager".  But wait, there’s more.  The motherboard manufacturer, XFX, tightly holds their drivers, and only releases them to registered motherboard owners.  Vista could not have updated the driver if it wanted to.

After registering as the motherboard owner with XFX, I find that they call their motherboard driver an "Ethernet driver".  And that, my dear friends, is just plain nuts.  But wait, there’s more.  The XFX motherboard driver comes as part of a suite of drivers that includes a variety of crap along with, among other things, a RAID driver.  Man, talk about over-kill.

At the same place that I get the motherboard driver, I also find a download for a manual to the motherboard.  In a word, documentation!  I grab that the second that I see it.  Guess what are in the manual to the motherboard... the recommended BIOS settings!  Hot Dog.

After I loaded the new video and mainbord drivers, my computer seems to be able to multitask.  The next day, I set to, giving my computer as tough a multitasking test as I can think up.  I put on some music, open Photoshop, open the film editing program, and I pile on open photo files in Photoshop and load an hour’s worth of video into the film editing program.  The music never skips a beat, and the moving picture in the film editing program never turns into a slide show.  I call it fixed.

I should have called on the Puget people sooner.  But I was so beaten down by Microsoft Vista that I had given up any hope that a computer with the Microsoft Vista operating system could work in anything close to a reasonable fashion.  Vista has destroyed my productivity utterly.  I will never be able to do those things that I so loved doing with XP.  I produced things in those days that made me happy.  But now, thanks to Vista, I will never come close to being that productive ever again.  I am struggling to build a new skill set.  I am years away from producing things like those that I used to produce on the computer.  The new skill set that I am building is a different skill set.  When I do, at last achieve my new skill set, I will produce things different than those that I produced in the past.  I will try my damndest to make that into a good thing.

 --Pip R. Lagenta

Monday, July 13th, 2009
11:06 am
Multitasking: It Seems That I Can't Blame Vista For This
I got a new computer a little over a year ago, and it has not been a pleasant experience. The new computer has the Microsoft Vista Operating System on it. Vista is far more vile than anyone can possibly express. You may think that you know that Vista is bad, but let me tell you, you have no fucking clue.

To get the computer that I wanted, I got too clever by half. I went to Puget Systems Custom Computers and had them build a system for me. Mistake! I cannot recommend Puget to anyone. Right out of the box, there were problems with the Puget computer. Certain peripherals failed to work because they were not plugged in to the motherboard properly. A minor problem.

But soon, I was tricked by the Vista Operating System into destroying the main, one-terabyte, hard drive. "Tricked?" you say. "Aren’t you just blaming your own stupidity on Vista?" Well, I certainly was stupid to trust Vista to put the "Off symbol" on a function that would actually turn the computer off. When I first got the Vista machine, I had not yet learned that I could not trust Vista to do even the simplest of things. I trusted "off" to mean "off", and in that, I was very, very stupid.

When I first got the Vista computer, to shut it off, I would click on the button on which Vista put the "Off Symbol". The computer would then appear to shut down. I would then shut the power off to the computer. That destroyed the hard drive. You see, MICROSOFT’S VISTA HAS THE OFF SYMBOL ON A COMMAND THAT PUTS THE COMPUTER INTO A LOW POWER STATE, BUT DOES NOT, IN FACT, SHUT DOWN THE COMPUTER. When you cut off the power to a computer that has not been properly shut down, the platter inside the hard drive stops rotating, and the actuator arm inside the hard drive slams down onto the platter causing damage to both the platter and the actuator arm. If you do that enough, the hard drive is destroyed.

Quickly, my Samsung SpinPoint 1TB SATA II hard drive failed. Diagnosing the difficulty, with the help of Puget Systems technicians, was arduous, time consuming and labor intensive. In the end, we replaced the hard drive. Then I had to reload the Vista operating system, and all the software.

The Puget Systems computer has never run well. Vista shut out ("is not compatible with") the key programs that I require. Vista also shut out ("is not compatible with") the key peripherals (hardware) that I require. Vista also put draconian limits on the use of the few peripherals (hardware) that Vista is compatible with. For example, I used to be able to link other computers in my home network through my main computer to the printer, so that the other computers on my home network could use the printer. This system was trivial to set up in XP. Vista, on the other hand, won’t allow it. Vista demands a password to access the printer from outside. There are no passwords. I do not use passwords in my home network. I have not set up any passwords. But Vista will not let any other computer use the printer without entering the password that Vista, alone, knows. This bizarre draconian requirement means that my other computers are shut out of printer access. (Vista is so loathsome!)

Vista has a nasty habit of cluttering up key (heavily used) directories with random, useless crap. My main directory that has vital, or important, subdirectories such as "Desktop", "Documents", "Downloads", "Music" and "Videos" has been polluted by worthless subdirectories such as ".housecall", ".java" (an empty directory), ".javaws", ".nbi", "amaya", and (my favorite), "{edb2e081-a6f0-4605-b8b5-992e7e31e07e}". Additionally, Vista dumps files into this directory that should have nothing but subdirectories in it. These mystery files have names like "plugin131_02.trace". Other than to be annoying, there is no reason for Vista to abandon these things in my main directory. Vista is just foul.

The XP operating system had a useful little item called "My Recent Documents". The Vista version of the same thing is called "Recent Items", and, as you might suspect, it is worthless. It does not seem to have anything really recent in it. In the XP version, you could find the file that you were working on an hour ago or a day ago. But Vista’s "Recent Items" contains things that are more like a week or two old. That thing you just closed, or used yesterday just won’t be there. Vista’s "Recent Items" tends to contain the names of files that have been deleted. If you try to open one of those, you get an error message saying that Vista can’t find the file. Well, of course not! It has been deleted! And Vista’s "Recent Items" does not contain the name of every file that you used a week or two ago, just a random selection. There is no way to predict what it will have, and what it won’t. This "not quite recent" aspect, along with the randomness of the files included, renders Vista’s "Recent Items" ineffectual, at best. Vista really is rubbish.

But never mind these minor annoyances, Vista’s main characteristics are that 1) Vista does not work with software required for the user to be productive; and 2) Vista does not work with hardware required for the user to be productive. However, my new computer has a third crippling problem. It has had this third problem as long as the computer has had Vista as an operating system. In other words, it has always had this problem:
My Puget Systems custom computer has never been able to multitask. That is to say, most of the complex programs on this computer have always degenerated into uselessness if something is running in the background. I had originally thought that this was a Vista problem, and therefore, there was nothing that I could do about it. Vista has destroyed my productivity in a variety of ways. Vista does not work with the hardware that I need to use to be productive. Vista does not work with the software that I need to use to be productive. The fact that Vista did not work at all when something is going on in the background just seemed to be another characteristic of the vile Vista operating system. A clue to me that this was, indeed, a Vista problem comes when I use "Photoshop". When I open the Photoshop application "Adobe Bridge", I ALWAYS get a message that says "This application requires an Intel Pentium 4, Intel Celeron, Intel Core Duo or Intel Core 2 compatible processor. (0/6/5894) The application may perform poorly. Are you sure you want to continue?" My Puget Custom Computer HAS an Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 (3.16GHz, FSB1333, 6MB of L2 cache). It seemed clear to me that Vista was keeping programs from using, or even knowing about, the full power of the CPU. Being a Vista problem, there could be no solution.

I keep my computer well protected from viruses and spyware. I run a variety of scans regularly. (I ran one today, I ran one yesterday. I run them four or five times a week.) I keep the virus protection software and the operating system fully updated at all times. This is not a virus or spyware problem. The inability to multitask has been unchanged since the day that I got this computer. Multitasking has never worked.

Even something as simple as listening to music becomes a static-filled nightmare when Vista kicks in some background operation. I have gone into "task Manager" to try to track down whatever is dominating the CPU. (I note that the duel cores are NOT equally sharing the work load.) Vista does not allow a method by which these background operations can be traced down and shut off. They just suck up the CPU runtime, and allow no productive work to be done. Since "no productive work" is my total experience with Vista, I assumed that Vista did not allow for multitasking. I now suspect that I am wrong on this issue. I have people assuring me that Vista does not kill multitasking. So, what is the problem?

I can use Photoshop, Windows Movie Maker, a Nero sound editing program, or other complex programs (or games) only so long as Vista does not have anything running in the background. I try to reroute all resources to the program. I go into Vista’s "performance options", and under the "visual effects" tab, I set the button to "adjust for best performance". I try to shut off all applications that can be shut off. This does work to some small degree, but only so long as Vista does not have anything running in the background. Then, everything grinds to a halt: the programs become extremely slow to respond and tend to freeze, the sound becomes full of static, moving pictures become slide shows. Even the mouse pointer’s movements become jerky. Doing something as simple as watching a YouTube video becomes (for all intents and purposes) impossible. Never mind trying to edit a movie.

I now suspect a BIOS setting problem. Is there a way for me to find out what the correct (optimal) BIOS settings for my Puget Custom Computer are? Hell, even if it isn’t a BIOS setting problem, I still want the correct (optimal) BIOS settings for my Computer! I have an email in with Puget on this issue. I do not expect that they will be able to help me.

 --Pip R. Lagenta

Thursday, July 9th, 2009
12:14 am
I have been making obscure references to this bit for over forty years.  Nobody ever gets what I am talking about.  It is time to remedy that! 

Now, when I make references to this, everybody laughs.  We straight?

 --Pip R. Lagenta
Tuesday, July 7th, 2009
5:34 pm
Get on the FoOP bandwagon!
To get on the Friends of Old Puppy bandwagon, just buy this poster:

Buy now to avoid the rush!

--Pip R. Lagenta

Monday, July 6th, 2009
6:18 pm
FoOP in Berkeley, the videos
How I have spent my time, recently:

I have gotten a great deal of enjoyment out of editing these videos.  While it is too bad that my film editing program is cheap and low quality (i.e. a microsoft program), it was, barely, enough to get the job done.  I recorded the sound on separate  equipment from the video.  This produced a much higher quality sound for the videos.  But it also meant that the sound had to be synchronized to the video.  The microsoft move editing program allowed for that, but did not make it easy.  (Microsoft NEVER makes things easy.)  The sound synchronization process required the use of the classic "clapper", or "Slate", in a comically cliched, but utterly necessary, way.  During the filming, people were amused to see the clapper used with a standard home video camera.  I am sure that they thought that I was just being goofy, but no.  I had to do it.  These videos were filmed at the regular "Friends of Old Puppy" gig that happens every Saturday morning at 10am in the
Nabolom Bakery
2708 Russell St.
Berkeley, CA 94705

Please come by any Saturday morning!

It was fun.  I am hot to move on to the next project.

 --Pip R. Lagenta

Friday, June 19th, 2009
8:35 pm
Pip's "Director's Cut"

 --Pip R. Lagenta
Friday, June 12th, 2009
1:40 pm
The Story So Far
Why did I start blogging?  Why did I stop blogging?

My first blog on "LiveJournal" was an ironic observation that I get board too easily to be a regular blogger.  And that proved to be too true in the long run.

But I began regular blogging to complain about Comcast.

Comcast had promised to enlarge my personal web site space, but they kept not doing it.  At that time I was maxed-out of space.  I had used the full 25Mb that was then available to me for free.  Comcast said that they would "soon" allow me up to 5Gb of space for use on my web site, a 40 times increase.  I had so many plans for that extra space!

My plans died not with a bang, but a whimper.  Comcast did indeed, eventually, give me the extra space.  But Comcast fucked me over in a more subtle way.  Comcast changed the way that you make updates, or additions, to your web site.  Comcast decided to make their users use non-standard methods to change or update files on their customer’s personal web sites.  These non-standard methods are so complex, repetitive and time consuming, that even the smallest and simplest changes take a huge amount of time and effort.  My big plans for my web site died in Comcast’s wildly complex (and repetitive) interface.

Meanwhile, blogging had become a habit.  I had some few stories that I wanted to tell.  Writing has never been easy for me.  But if I kept the blogs short, it worked well.  I told my stories.  I had fun telling my stories.

Some weird things happened as a result of the stories that I told.  For example, I became unexpectedly linked to a kidnap case in Boston.  Just today, a reporter called me because the kidnapper in the case was convicted this morning.

Another thing that resulted from my blog (and its related photo on Flickr) was my connection to a popular actor from the TV show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".

As I continued to blog, I eventually ran out of stories to tell.  I began to write opinion pieces, instead.  Well, it turns out that different people have different opinions.  When I state my opinion I find that other people feel inclined to tell me their differing opinions.  And now, suddenly, I’m "Mr. Controversial".  Well, arguing takes a lot of energy, and it is not fun for me.

So, blogging is not fun.  Why am I doing it?  I am doing it out of habit.  It turns out that "Habit" is not reason enough to do something that is not fun.  I have other fun things to do.  These fun things take up my time and I let blogging go.

Fun things that I have been doing include taking a night class at the local junior college, making films for YouTube, spending time with friends at a regular live music event, tutoring a student regarding computer subjects, and playing with my cats.

Will I be able to get back to regular blogging?  That depends on whether or not I can come up with stories to tell.

Watch this space.

Pip R. Lagenta

Friday, May 1st, 2009
6:17 pm
Sing that funky tune, white boy!

This is music from "The Mikado" by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert.

Steven Strauss on Ukulele!

The name of the song is "The Sun Whose Rays Are All Ablaze",  but you knew that.

Thursday, April 16th, 2009
4:02 pm
Malvina Reynolds

Malvina Reynolds


12:04 pm
Pip Can Haz Raccoon Mooviez!!!

I made this film TODAY!
Pip R. Lagenta

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