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December 14th, 2006


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12:09 pm - Nice Things Thursday "with my new best friend and roommate, Zach Braff!"
Say hey, it's Nice Things Thursday! After such negativity and spleen-venting last night over the many faults of certain journal editor interfaces with difficult proportional fonts, I have decided to veer off into the positive today and say Nice Things. It's always nice to hear nice things.

For instance, after staring at the old MBTA "spider" map in the Davis station today, I realized that the new anatomically-almost-correct system map is much, much better at denoting which subway stations have commuter rail connections! They're much easier to spot now, and that's nice.

The free Metro paper, too, is nice because I can start reading it in Davis and finish it by the time we pull out of Porter, one stop away. There's no long-term committment, no heavy reading. I suppose if I did the sudoku puzzle as well I could stretch my enjoyment out all the way to Central Square, but that'd require a writing utensil.

Speaking of writing utensils, my favorite pen ever is the Pilot Precise V5 rolling ball pen. I can write very quickly with such a free-flowing pen, the 0.5mm tip is good for writing teeny small and the little ink reservoir thingy looks futuristic. Plus there's those two little round divots in the pen cap, which make for dandy cap-chewing if you're a cap-chewer like me. Pilot makes a bunch of nice rolling ball pens, but if they were ever to discontinue the Precise series, I'd probably hoard up a few cases like the Blackwing 602 pencil fans have done.

I saw last week's episode of 30 Rock last night and by gum, in the past few episodes it has turned from a kinda "meh" backstage comedy into an absolutely hilarious backstage comedy of the absurd. The episode featured Tracy Morgan's character wigging out on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and threatening Conan (a la Crispin Glover and Andy Kaufman on Letterman), Tina Fey frantically running around with low blood sugar levels, Rachel Dratch as one of Tracy's hallucinations (she plays a different role every time she's on the show; it's a great way for a sketch comedy veteran to be involved in a regular sitcom series) and a final scene of the endearingly earnest but just slightly off-center NBC page, Kenneth Ellen, interviewing himself on the empty Late Night set. ("Oh no, that question! How did you know?! Well, yes, I was a clogger back home, but I don't think anybody in the audience would want to see me... oh, you would?! Well, I guess I could do just a little...") I can't remember the last time I laughed as hard at a first-run network television show as I did at this episode.

Do you know what I like? Tortellini. My gosh, but do I like tortellini.

I also like writing in the style of Larry King. Give it a shot, it's fun!

Everybody who's read for our upcoming Post-Meridian Radio Players show at Arisia did an awesome job. Tuesday's reading session was full of energy and hilarity and different takes on characters I'd never even considered before. It was a loose, fun read There were also some very strong reads last night at Diesel (and I can only wonder what the folks sitting around us made of it) so now I get to spend a lot of time noodling around with my casting matrix -- which I hand-drew with a Pilot Precise V5, I'll have you know. Casting can be difficult; trying to place people in roles that would work well off other people and gauging availability and preference and whatnot is like filling out one of those Fun Times Logic Puzzles you buy at CVS to do on a long trip. You know, the ones where you have to figure out who's wearing the red hat if Bob is sitting next to Claire but Agnes is wearing the green dress, only in this case I can't turn to the back for the answer key because there is no back...

...uh, and that's good. I, uh, like having to write the answer key myself. (Sure, I can delude myself a little bit, since today is Nice Things Thursday!)

So, uh, have they let us use the old LiveJournal editor again yet?

(21 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:December 14th, 2006 06:33 pm (UTC)
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You're doing another PM Radio show? Will this be the same show I saw last month, or a new one?
[User Picture]
From:tcb
Date:December 14th, 2006 06:41 pm (UTC)
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I've loved Pilot pens for years. However, the pen I carry with me at all times in my pocket for those handy Sudoku puzzles and taking notes is a space pen. It rattles around with my change, isn't too big, never leaks, and has a good feel.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:December 14th, 2006 07:56 pm (UTC)
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Ooh, that is indeed a fine-looking pen. Unfortunately, I couldn't bring myself to purchase a $20.00 pen what with my tendency to misplace things. It would be the costliest pen I ever left on the table at a restaurant, f'rinstance, or dropped out of my pocket.
[User Picture]
From:tcb
Date:December 14th, 2006 08:12 pm (UTC)
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sadly, I have a propensity for losing stuff too, but in this regard I determined that having a pen always handy was worth the occasional replacement. in the 4 years that I've been actively carrying one, I've lost 3 and am on my fourth.

knowing my tendency, I tend to buy 2-3 at a time, and keep replacements in reserve. I also find places that sell them at a bit of a discount for about $15, which at about one a year apparently, isn't that bad imho to have a useful tool always at hand, and they really do fit in a pants pocket well.

try here
or here
[User Picture]
From:minkrose
Date:December 14th, 2006 08:39 pm (UTC)
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I've given those as end-of-year gifts to nearly all of my high school teachers (I haven't done gifties for my college profs but maybe I should this year).
[User Picture]
From:jadasc
Date:December 14th, 2006 06:42 pm (UTC)
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So, uh, have they let us use the old LiveJournal editor again yet?


http://www.livejournal.com/portal seems to be unadorned in the way you like. Would that do?
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:December 14th, 2006 06:55 pm (UTC)
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By J. Cheever Loophole, I do believe you've discovered a tasty kludge!
[User Picture]
From:minkrose
Date:December 14th, 2006 06:56 pm (UTC)
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I love the V5! We may have had this conversation before. I've recently found a deep love for the Pilot VBall Extra Fine because the body is clear (and I also like how it writes). I rotate colors so that each consecutive day of notes in a class is a different colour. Usually a class lecture has one main topic and if I'm using notes to write a paper, I want to be sure I have everything from one day. And I like using all the colours.
(my mechanical pencil is the Zebra M-301, for anyone curious).

Also, tortellini is awesome. The restaurant down the street has a tortellini & broccoli in alfredo sauce with peppercorns dish. My fave.

As for the old LJ editor... at least we aren't alone in our hatred. Also, they've added a list to the post of "things to fix":
What we've heard so far:

* Not enough contrast
* Entry body can get too wide
* Unnecessary subject text
* Positioning of certain elements (userpic, post to)

Thanks for the feedback! We'll look into these right away!


So, I guess they might actually do SOMETHING about these things. If you have anything else specific, I'd say it's worth telling them. For me, I care most about the entry body being too wide (I like my bookmarks sidebar!!) and I agree that the placement options aren't really better.

I also agree STRONGLY with the users who are complaining that there was no beta for this - we just had it sprung on us. I'm a PERMANENT USER. I can't undo the money I've paid and it would be stupid to delete my LJ for the same reason. But that also means YOU SHOULDN'T FUCK WITH ME. Not cool.

For what it's worth, I'm still browsing LJ in The Original Dystopia. I LIKE having a list of ALL the links on the side of the page - and half of those aren't even available in their new layouts. I'm sure you can get to them somehow but I couldn't figure it out on a quick go-through. I use the Firefox feature that Finds when I start typing, and if it's a link, I can hit Enter and it opens. This works excellently in Dystopia but not in anything else.
I wish they did more to make browsing in Dystopia comfortable. My f-list has a higher likelihood of being fucked by html.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:December 14th, 2006 07:06 pm (UTC)
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I posted in the middle of that design thread. The "list of things we've heard" was already up when I got there. At least they're getting the impression that it's not as popular as they thought it would be.

I typically don't try to get into the "I'm a paying customer" rhetorical angle when complaining about services, but that just stems from the rampant self-entitlement on many MMORPG message boards. You know the type; the people who think that A. their paying $14.95 a month to play a game makes them a shareholder in company stock and/or that B. the loss of their personal $14.95 a month, should they choose to cancel, will permanently cripple the company and drive it into bankruptcy. However, the LJ users making this argument have more of a valid point, especially those who have paid for permanent accounts or paid up a subscription for a lot of time in advance. The fact that little to no QA seems to have gone into this sudden change also twists the knife a bit deeper, doesn't it?

And I browse in Dystopia, too, for exactly those same reasons! I'm used to having those sidebar links right where I like them, and am too lazy to either cobble up a style that did all that, or just use the new "floating" top nav bar.
[User Picture]
From:minkrose
Date:December 14th, 2006 07:17 pm (UTC)
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At least they're getting the impression that it's not as popular as they thought it would be.

haha, I certainly hope so! The first 3 comments are positive and after that it just spirals sharply down until page 7 where you have "I HATE YOU I HATE YOU!!!"

I've never played games where you pay, but certainly if EVERYONE has to pay to use the service, then it's different from LJ. I started paying because I felt a loyalty and respect to the company. I felt that if I was going to use their service every day, I should pay for it. And when perm accounts were offered, I asked myself, am I going to be using my LJ for 5+ years? Probably. Thus, I still feel like I should use it for at least the 5 years since I got the perm account (and I've HAD an account for 5 years).
Still, I did this out of loyalty and respect to the company - at the time, I felt full confidence that I could expect that in return.

The fact that little to no QA seems to have gone into this sudden change also twists the knife a bit deeper, doesn't it?

It definitely makes me concerned for the future of LJ.

And I browse in Dystopia, too, for exactly those same reasons!

I've actually found that a lot of my f-list does. Maybe I should make a poll.
[User Picture]
From:luckimunki
Date:December 14th, 2006 07:46 pm (UTC)
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Zach Braff is my imaginary best friend and roommate! You can't have him!
[User Picture]
From:samethreechords
Date:December 14th, 2006 07:51 pm (UTC)
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I liked 30 Rock since the beginning, mostly because of my unhealthy Tina Fey obsession, but I agree that it's just gotten really, really good lately. The sketch comedy is more or less an afterthought at this point. And Alec Baldwin is about as funny as he's ever been.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:December 14th, 2006 08:11 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad they don't really show much of The Girlie Show sketches, because one of the things that weighed Studio 60 down in the beginning were the abysmal attempts at sketch comedy. (Thankfully, however, now that some higher-up at NBC sat Aaron Sorkin down and said "Listen, get over Kristen Chenoweth, stop using your show for your break-up therapy, and write like we hired you to write," things have begun to improve.)

Although I really loved the bit where Tina Fey tells the writer he can only use one bear in a sketch instead of four, because it's just not feasible to budget four actors in bear suits who'd only be on-screen for "thirty seconds." (Behind her are four actors in bear suits rehearsing the scene in question, and they're only on screen for, yes, thirty seconds.) That was some brilliant meta comedy right there.

And Alec Baldwin is indeed one of the highlights of the show. In fact, I think I first realized the show was going to turn into something good when Jack went up against Kenneth in the poker game. "You are a puzzle, Kenneth Ellen... and I'm going to solve you. Yes, I am."
[User Picture]
From:samethreechords
Date:December 14th, 2006 08:25 pm (UTC)
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The sketches on 30 Rock work because the humor is about the sketches, not the sketches themselves. Like the great four bears bit, for instance, and if you listen really closely you'll hear the stage manager over the PA calling the actors for some absolutely ridiculous and terrible-sounding sketch titles which unfortunately I can't remember right now and can't look up since I'm at work.

Oh, and the Snapple thing in one of the other episodes killed me.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:December 14th, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC)
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"Jenna, Ghostface Killah and Yo-Yo Ma to the stage for Muffin Top..."

I can't remember how that particular running joke started in the episode, but it paid off well.
[User Picture]
From:kyree
Date:December 14th, 2006 08:24 pm (UTC)
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I've been totally hooked on it since the fifth episode. Alec Baldwin's repeated takes on the promotional video and the Snapple endorsements integrated into a conversation about artistic integrity keep being hilarious no matter how many times I watch them. Also, the "Muffin Top" music video is pretty entertaining.
[User Picture]
From:spritelord
Date:December 14th, 2006 10:57 pm (UTC)
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No amount of Tina Fey obsession can be unhealthy. Dangerous? Sure. Illegal? Absolutely possible. But unhealthy? Un-uh!
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:December 14th, 2006 11:02 pm (UTC)
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There's a limit to everything, you know. Once you've given Tina Fey's scar a pet name, I would say you've officially Gone Too Far.
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:December 14th, 2006 09:02 pm (UTC)
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what's the problem with the LJ posting editor? Other than having the "post to which journal?" menu at the top instead of at the bottom, it seems to work the same as it always has.
[User Picture]
From:brak55
Date:December 14th, 2006 10:26 pm (UTC)
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I can write like Larry King!

For my money, the best movie ever made is Dreamgirls.

[Then next week, I'll write]

You ask anybody. As far as I'm concerned Babel is the best film ever made.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:December 14th, 2006 10:28 pm (UTC)
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And soon:

Can anyone name a better film than Rocky Balboa? I didn't think so!

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