csberry: (pumaman)
Just realized this morning that I hadn't posted in LJ since February.

Most of that is due to my putting the Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums thing on hold for a bit. I had been using Rhapsody to listen to the various albums on the list. Well, early in March JD and I were frustrated that only one of us could listen to Rhapsody at a time on mobile devices. I decided to go to the site and see if that was a feature I wasn't paying for or if there was an issue with my subscription. While there, I discovered that I was paying the higher of the two packages. I checked out the features for the one listed for $5 less each month and it seemed to have the same features I was paying for. So, I decided to look at the features for the Premium Plus program I was paying for. There was nothing - NOTHING - on Rhapsody's site about Premier Plus. I then started this horrific dance with support via phone, email, and FB trying to find out what the deal was. Essentially, they had to make a change to compete with the price/features offered by the competition. So, several months ago, they changed the $10 plan to be exactly like the competition...and they eliminated my $15 plan from new signups. Alas, the change in features offered meant the $10 plan and $15 plan had ONE difference - on the $15 plan, you could have more than one mp3 player (unlimited phones and tablets). In my case, that difference meant squat because I didn't use an mp3 for Rhapsody, let alone need to pay an additional $5 for more than one mp3 player. Through the entire process, the customer service folks were unsympathetic asses that attempted to avoid clearly stating the differences between the $10 and $15 plans and they scoffed at my concerns about how subscribers were not notified of the changes in subscriptions. I am no longer giving Rhapsody any of my money. They lost me for life.

I have been very lazy about searching for an alternate source of the Rolling Stone albums. I decided to go with Spotify, but never have my wallet around when I think about signing up. Along with that, I started using TuneIn Radio a lot on my phone. I've been listening a lot to Lightning 100 in Nashville; Mesquite, TX's school system's own KEOM (great playlist of 1970s pop...DJed by teenagers); B'ham-based Substrate Radio (in particular, Blood on the Knobs on Tuesday nights); 'HFS in Baltimore; and various chill/acidjazz/ambient stations that come up in searches.


In other news...

* For the first time in my life, I essentially broke even on taxes this year. I have mixed emotions about this. Glad I got all my money with paychecks, but that burst of cash early in the year has been a blessing in the past.

* The top reason why I am writing this post is because I'm dodging work. I built several pages with information about a service a business partner is rolling out soon. I did the construction on the development site several months ago. Long enough ago, that I forgot I had work in progress on the development site and had the db wiped for the sake of having a more current backup of the production site. Yesterday evening when I went to check the info on the pages I had previous constructed, I discovered my flub. This morning I verified that there was no way to recover what had been lost. I'm pissed about my being forgetful about that progress sitting on the site. I've made some attempt to rebuild those pages today, but I've wasted time staring at the screen each time I try to think of what to write there. I finished some work, looked it over, and decided that I need to go back "later" to look at it. Will "later" be in an hour or so? Will "later" be pushed until tomorrow and I get a day away for more emotional recovery?

* Calvin has been seeing an occupational therapist for his Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) this year. Liz Hamm, who I've known since high school, is his therapist. She and I got together for lunch during the holiday season last year because we hadn't seen each other in a while. When I talked about Calvin's condition and quirks, Liz chimed in to explain some of those as being his SPD and things that Calvin could do to deal with it. I called her later to get the ball rolling to have Calvin see her for therapy. The boy loves it so much and it has been making a fantastic difference in his attitude and stress levels. He is understanding his body more and learning how to cope with situations that would previously devastate him and require much emotional support from JD and/or myself. The fact we drive 45 minutes to Guntersville and then back each Tuesday is well worth the progress Calvin has seen.

* Harper's imagination runs away with her quite a bit. One day I'll be very grateful if this feeds her creative juices for writing, drawing, or whatever. At this time, however, much of her imagination manifests itself in fear. Her mind takes what people say too literally. When a friend of hers makes a hyperbolic verbal threat such as "I'll beat/kill/stab/punch you" or play acts some villainous role, her brain is visualizing all of it. To her, those threats have just happened, for real, in her mind. I was reminded of this the other day when I was talking to her about preparing my dinner and she asked what meat was. My explanation had her imagining her own skin getting peeled and someone pulling her muscles/meat off of her bones. The rest of that car ride was really sad and emotional.

* Nigel would eat gummies for 2 of his three meals of the day, if he could (flatbread and curry ketchup with a bowl of homemade beef jerky would be the third meal). At this time, his primary focus is on online gaming and trying to meet up in person with the people he's met online. He has a friend in Washington state that he is dying to hang out with. Every time there is a Minecraft convention in the world, he lets us know. He loves to travel and is pushing for us to work on a vacation late this summer to either the family house in Panama City Beach or attend the Rethinking Everything conference in Little Rock. At this time, we are also toying around with the idea of going to either PAXSouth in Texas in January2015 or PAXEast in Boston in April2015. This has prompted Nigel spending some time plotting out the cost of air, train, or car travel to those locations and what stops we might make to or from those conventions.

* Jennifer's interest in aromatherapy has been invigorated again. Yes, this time it escalated to numerous textbooks...that she then took copious notes from and drew up posters and diagrams to help her learn the material. She has also spent the past couple of months looking into certifications - what kind to get or even if any of the certifications are really meaningful or required for what she would like to do. Because of the Attachment Parenting, the natural child-birthing, and the general granola social circles she's come in contact with in Huntsville, she's finding an interested market in the items she has an interest in mixing and making. She made some items for Christmas gifts and proceeded to have those people or their friends offer money for Jen to make more.
csberry: (pumaman)

You may have seen the story of Pastor Jeremiah Steepek on Facebook lately. The above image and below story are circulating Facebook:

Pastor pretends to be homeless and shames his new congregation. )

First of all, the image IS NOT Pastor Jeremiah Steepek (despite the story saying it is). That picture is of a homeless man in Richmond, Surrey (near London's Heathrow Airport) taken and posted to Flickr a couple of years ago - http://www.flickr.com/photos/bradgerrard/6181194702/. So, the story gets off on a bad foot for me by the fake picture and the text stating it is real.

Secondly, there is NO Pastor Jeremiah Steepek. This morning after I saw the story for the third time, I was curious if he was real and, if so, how was his ministry received from his church(es). I Googled "Jeremiah Steepek" and had two pages of results - all of the results were reprintings of the story and all but one were published in the past week or so. There is no way that a minister of a 10,000 member church would have no internet presence at all; whether through the church's website, denominational website and/or newsletters, local news that surely would have made some sort of mention of his arrival (you think local media would ignore this story of a local megachurch having this happen?).

So, we must accept that this is a fictitious story. Come closer my writer and creative friends...if this story is fictional, then all aspects of it are the creation of the writer and subject to editing. Why construct the story this way? Why not just retell the Bible passage instead of constructing this "gotcha" moment. Why does the homeless guy in the church have to be the new pastor? Had a homeless person done this, does the lesson mean less than the pastor-in-homeless-clothing version? I feel that this story urges us to act because God may bust us for not being charitable and not that doing charitable work is our mission from God. The ONLY point for the homeless guy being the new pastor is to shame the congregation.

I assert that the writer didn't create this story to build up people, but to tear them down. Would it not have been just as effective of a story had it been an actual homeless man and the Bible passage read from the lectern caused people to realize how they treated that man and offered him help? When the reader reaches the part where the congregation reacts to the situation, it seems to rejoice in the shaming of the congregation rather than showing a change of heart. The pastor basically went to the pulpit and said, "You failed being a Christian," and walked away after pulling his "gotcha" stunt.

I don't think Jesus practices "gotcha" salvation where Christians are expected to behave a certain way because that person we neglect, the person we cuss at...just might be Jesus or some other person of authority. That would indicate the root of a person's caring for others is their own fear of getting busted by God. We should care for others because of love, not fear of punishment or shaming! Again, it is possible for the congregation to be made aware of their reluctance to reach out to the homeless man without the pastor and the reader shaming them.

Finally, I feel that this story fosters inter-church, intra-Christianity strife and finger pointing. Obviously, it targets 10,000 member megachurches as huge arenas of people claiming to be Christian without living out Christ's lessons for us. As I've perused the comments of the many postings of this story, I've seen the usual fights break out of political parties being like the shamed congregation and people rising in anger to express why their political party is more Christian than the other. Along with those were assertions on what denomination this congregation likely was (does it matter, even if it was true?). Most of the comments I see are "I like and am sharing this story because my church would NEVER be guilty of this!" Are we all so sure of ourselves and how our church really would react to feel comfortable ridiculing the congregation in this story?

While I can respect that the author may have had good intentions on trying to recreate the story from the Bible in a modern context, I fear that it does so in a way that is more divisive, shaming, and manipulative than Jesus would want the message of loving others to be spread.
csberry: (giveblood)
Pish-posh with that whole Google Wave thing...I'm still enjoying Google Reader. Anyone else use Google Reader and would like to share with me? You can see the items I mark to Share at:

Will you share with me?
csberry: (cocktails)
After unearthing the Transformer collection, I've been able to figure out how to transform most of the Transformers. My big stumbling block? The Constructicons.

I think we've figured out how to transform them from man/robot to construction vehicle mode, but I haven't the foggiest idea on how to put the six of them together to form Devastator. These were Mike's toys that I never cared to play with when they were new. I've told Nigel and assumed that I could find someplace on the web that would have instructions or some hints on how to do that. Ever since telling Nigel that, a day hasn't gone by that he hasn't asked when I was going to get the instructions and begged that I do it ASAP. After he did it again this afternoon, I had to stop what I was working on to find what I could.

I haven't had luck with my Google-Fu on this search. I now know that they are referred to as "Constructicans" in France, only one of the purple and green toys actually uses purple plastic (the others use green plastic which is painted purple, where needed), and that there are three seeming contradictions to their origin in the animated series.

((Cory then goes to YouTube to listen to music, but gets an idea))

However, I have had luck when I gave up on Google and went to YouTube:

YAY!!! I've used the video to create Devastator. Before leaving for Scouts, I put Devastator on the laundry table for the boys to LOOK at and added the above video to their Favorites on YouTube. JD just told me that Nigel watched the video about 5 times before going to bed tonight.
csberry: (angrybum)
I've been paying more bills over the internet the past year or so. Each month there are certain payments that annoy me...not because of how much they cost but because of the confirmation number provided after I make the payment. More businesses need to find out what American Express does so all my confirmation numbers are as simple as "W4528." Now...compare that with the cluster-fuck number provided by GE Credit (payin' off kid dentist) - "5642336803211-786566." Yeah, a nearly 20 digit number won't cause any problems if I ever had to call up customer support with a payment issue.
csberry: (DW-Please)
I have a former boss of mine that does PR work. She has a plastic surgeon client that needs a website. It will be a 6-8 page site promoting the plastic surgery business. There will also be some need for help maintaining the site afterward (for either you or someone you recommend to do the maintenance). If anyone is interested, let me know what contact info you'd like for me to pass along for her to contact you/your friend or SO.
csberry: (angrybum)
fail owned pwned pictures
see more Fail Blog

I'm getting really annoyed with what I'm perceiving as an increase of Fail Blog posts that are Photoshopped. Hello, look at the bolts that hold the signs to the post. The Except Sunday sign shows the bolts crisply while the bolts in the domestic violence sign are VERY blurry. With a church sign viewable just past this sign, it is obvious to me that this is actually a no parking sign (except Sundays so the overflowing crowd of the church can park on the street, if needed) with the domestic violence sign digitally pasted over it.
csberry: (cocktails)
I've read enough praises that I'm finally willing to give Greasemonkey a shot. Number one script on my list is one to hide the freakin' quizzes on FB. Anyone have a favorite Greasemonkey script you would recommend I look at?
csberry: (cocktails)
I would spend about a quarter of the time I do on FB if I wasn't into playing Mafia Wars. I have such lovely fun as having $16.4 billion but I'm at the mercy of finding "untraceable cell phones" which I might find randomly during a fight or is one of the possible loot items I get when I do the "Rob an Electronics Store" job. But I love the game so much, that when the MW:Cuba beta opened up, I jumped right in.

In time, this addiction will pass. It's gotta!
csberry: (Default)
I was turned on to this video by [livejournal.com profile] wc_helmets. I like what the makers have done with the speech. Considering some of the other stuff I saw on YouTube, I think this was treated in a respectful enough way that I would half expect to hear a snippet of this in a single by will.i.am or someone.

"I Have a Dream" Speech Autotuned Remix

Oh, and this whole autotune thing should have stopped with Cher's "Believe."
csberry: (Default)
This damned game has been dominating my brain's free time for over a week now. My impulsive peeking at email between tasks has been replaced by quick visits to the game and making all the moves/purchases I can with the energy/money/etc status I have at the time. Yeah, [livejournal.com profile] fettman, I should have joined up in this game earlier.
csberry: (KimDeal)
Nashville's Lightning 100 is playing nothing but woman artists or female-fronted bands today until 6pm. I have been very pleased with the selections: Tori Amos, The Sundays, Ani Difranco, The Pretenders, Paula Cole, Sarah McLaughlin ("Into the Fire" nonetheless), Jefferson Airplane, etc.

The first music programming lesson I was given when I started interning at WSIX-FM (country) was that you never put two female artists back to back. The guys will change stations if you give them two in a row. Sheesh!
csberry: (cocktails)
The boys have a new shuttle box. This morning, I installed XP on it. It took a better part of the day getting everything operating correctly (networked, printer connection, audio problem troubleshooting, configuring desktops and settings for Calvin). I still need to find some good nanny software to help restrict some of the boys' movement on the web. They stay on their websites well. The two areas of concern are when they are tempted by the recommendations on YouTube and when Calvin wants to look at pictures on Google Images. As Calvin gets more adept, I will want some restrictions on which websites he can reach so I'm just kinda shopping around and comparing what stuff I can sample on CNET.

I read in the HSV Times today that WLRH has a new local show on Friday evenings before World Cafe that is definitely in the adult alternative realm. This isn't enough reason for me to reinstall my RadioShark on my PC. The fundamental problem is that I'm rarely on the Winders PC nowadays, so shows I've recorded sit there all lonely on the hard drive. I found a page online about setting up stuff in ubuntu to record streaming audio. I plan on setting up JD's ubuntu PC (which she keeps on all the time) to record the new show and World Cafe, Car Talk, and probably some shows on Lightning 100. I'll then transfer them over to my laptop to listen to while working.

CSS Tips?

Aug. 26th, 2008 10:08 am
csberry: (DW-Please)
I've been working on new custom themes for the FanMail website based on color schemes of various schools and organizations that share names with our first domains we are testing (Chargers and Mountaineers). For the most part, I've been changing colors on the templates I have already. At the end of the week, I was able to determine some things in CSS other than just the colors and started playing around with other variables. I've now done a couple dozen themes and my creativity is now encouraged enough that I'm getting frustrated with my incomplete knowledge of What the Hell I'm Doing.

I had Andy bring over his The Missing Manual for CSS, but didn't know if anyone else on the lovely flist might have any other suggestion for a CSS newb.
csberry: (cocktails)
I packed up my things from the in-laws' and told Calvin we were headed home as soon as I received the call from the AT&T guy on route to my abode. When I arrive, the AT&T guy had already replaced the plug in the NID and decreed the problem fixed since he could now get a dial tone from the NID. He offers to wait until I could check the internet connection since that problem is what started the drama. The modem takes a while but finally goes solid on the DSL light, while it takes FOREVER for my PC to boot up. Once everything is up and running, we discover -despite the solid DSL light- that nothing can actually access the internet. FF, IM, and a terminal trying to ping some of our servers came up fruitless. While I'm checking stuff out w/ the computers, the AT&T guy starts to exit since he had already confirmed that what is AT&T's responsibility works. With one hand holding the cellphone that I'm using to brainstorm ways to check the internet connection with Andy, I grab the cordless home phone to confirm for myself that I have a dial tone.

No, I don't!

I quickly run out the door. The van is pulling out of my driveway and starts down my street. I go running after it, waving my arms as if trying to take flight. I deliver the news to the AT&T guy that I didn't get a dial tone. He pulls over and heads to the NID. I come to the NID after testing the corded phone in three sockets with no luck on all. The AT&T guy has reopened the NID and says something to the effect of, "Okay, let me show you what I did. I just..." and at this point one of his fingers touches the red wire. The wire immediately snaps from the point in the network cable where the insulation was cut. He gives me a sheepish grin and says he'll fix that splice.

He came to the door a couple of minutes later. There was a dial tone when I picked up the phone and the internet was running faster than I can recall seeing previously. *knocks on wood and crosses fingers*
csberry: (May not get to death)
AT&T told me when I called back at 4:30pm yesterday that my ticket has now been "escalated" and I should hear back from them by Thursday. The CSR wouldn't expound on the problem being fixed by then or if someone would schedule an appointment by then, or they are putting my "escalated" ticket on the backburner for a couple of days and will get back to me on Thursday.

Thank goodness America has the fortitude to promote competition and deny monopolies...Uh, wait a GOP admin allowed the monopoly? Huh. Well, I guess it makes things easier when it is just one corporate entity screwing us over as opposed to a industry-wide conspiracy of many collaborators against us. Right? Merging is all about increasing efficiency, right?


Currently, I'm at the in-law's house catching up on email and slipping in this post between work tasks.
csberry: (Oscar Wilde)
Click on the following link NOW! http://www.drhorrible.com/

Take the time to watch this superb super-villain musical by Joss Whedon starring Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion!

You have until midnight Sunday (hell if I know what time zone, so DO IT NOW!) to see it for free. Take the time and do it now. If you are bored after the first act, you are free to skip the rest...but I think most of the folks on my flist will find Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog to be a delicious combination of wit, camp, song, tragedy, and love.

"Penny's giving it up. She's giving it up hard. Cause she's with Captain Hammer, and these, are not the hammer...(walks off, then back on screen, and says sheepishly)... The hammer is my penis." - Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion)
csberry: (Default)
For a month or so now, the internet connection at the house has been a bit sluggish. The past few days I've been measuring the speed via CNET and bandwithplace.com with consistent results of 338kbps. I'm signed up for the 1.5Mbps package, so I decided to spend this morning getting the bandwidth I should.

I disconnected EVERYTHING plugged into the phone jacks (all computers, both DVRs, phones, and even cut off the power to the Wii since it has wireless). I did a test and got the same 338kbps. I call up the ISP and they get 330kbps to my LAN connection. I then grab my garden extension cord, walk to the network connection on the side of my house, and hook up the modem directly to the NID. The ISP guy is getting 1.4Mbps to the modem. There is something between the NID and inside affecting this. FUCK!

For sake of comparison, I then grab my laptop and plug it into the modem. I do some base bandwidth tests and see about 1.1Mbps. I then go into the pantry where there is a phone jack on the opposite side of the wall as the NID. I get 1.1 there. I go to the phone jack in the kitchen near the b'fast nook - 1.1. I go to the jack in the living room - 1.1. I go to the outlet to which the modem is usually connected and work my way out (into wall, from phone line out of wall, from the Back-UPS, from the phone line out of the backups) and continue to see 1.1.

I then go around the house, plug one thing back into the wall, test (see 1.1 again), plug in another thing, test, etc. Even with everything plugged back into the wall and modem/router, I am getting 1.1 where I was getting 338k just an hour or two before. The only thing that affected the test result was when I turned on the Wii - it dropped from 1.1 to 900k.

My best guess right now is that something was corroded in the NID, the connection needed to be wiggled, or something that was solved by my poking around. *shrugs* While the internet is much better (it's nice not having to pause a video on YouTube to allow enough of the file to download so I can watch a video w/o stalls), it feels like an empty productivity with the two or so hours I spent on this issue today.
csberry: (cocktails)
I'm coming to believe that while God might have created the universe...computers came from a blueprint provided by Satan. There doesn't seem to be any Grand Plan that is being maintained when weird things happen on a computer. Sometimes there is no better diagnosis to a problem than "A gremlin got into the system." :)

I had unplugged and rebooted the modem several times on Saturday. Andy calls up later and offers to bring his modem over, hook it up to my connection, and see if we can determine if I have a modem problem or pipe problem since HiWAAY is confident that their customers don't need help on the weekends. When he arrives, I pull the power plug and start removing other cables. Andy stops me and suggests that we see if we can just swap the AC plugs because that has sometimes been a problem for HiWAAY (he used to work for them before retiring...18ish months ago). I plug everything back in and notice that the ADSL light comes on and stays lit. I pop on FF and can surf. Either the modem needed the phone line physically disconnected and reconnnected...or THERE BE GREMLINS!

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Cory Berry

June 2016

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