Eat Your Heart Out, Jonathan Swift

This is one of the funniest damn things I’ve read in a while. Funny because it’s so true.

By C. B. Shapiro

I feel bad for the Red States.

Yes, they won the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court and most of the state houses.  But they still can’t have the country they really want because the last few Blue States won’t roll over.  So I am making a simple proposal:

Secession.  Divorce.  Splitsville.

Personally, I think we made a huge mistake not letting them go when we had the chance back in 1862.  Well, no time like the present to correct an old mistake.

Then, they would finally be free to have the kind of society they’ve always wanted; church and state can be fused so they build the kind of theocracy they’ve dreamt of, with Jesus at the helm.  Then the new USAR (United States of America Red) can ban books, repeal civil rights, persecute gays and have all the wars they like. They want prayer in schools?   More power to them.  They can ban abortion and post the Ten Commandments in every federal building in their country.  Bring back slavery, if they want.  We’ll be free to live with our like-minded countrymen who believe in science, modernism, tolerance, religion as a personal choice, and truly want limited government intrusion in our personal lives.  Why should each side be driven mad by the other any more, decade after decade?

Call the Culture War a tie and everyone go home.

Of course, we in the U.S.A.B. get the Gross Domestic Product, businesses and universities of California, New York, Massachussetts — basically the whole Northeast and Northwest (plus Illinois and Michigan if they want to come along).  They get Wal-Mart and Duke and most of the Nascar tracks.  But they can feel free to import movies, TV shows, financial services, and defense technology.  We’ll import country music, bibles and Confederate flags.

The two countries will by necessity have open immigration policy: anyone who feels they are living in the wrong country can just move across the border, no questions asked.

Ultimately, why should I have to convince my fellow countrymen that Darwin may have had a point and that the word “liberal” is not equivalent to “godless communist?”  And why should they be forced to live in a country with morally corrupt non-believers?  I’ll stay in the messy, free-thinking U.S.A.B.  And to the U.S.A.R. I say…

God bless you all, and see you at the U.N

I Woke Up Early The Day I Died

You know that part in horror movies where the hero is chased by some crazy murderer and attacked with a knife or an axe or some other implement of death and just before the killing blow lands, the hero wakes up screaming? And just as relief starts flooding through the hero’s body the crazy murderer comes crashing through the door or the window or the wall and you realize that the nightmare isn’t over? It’s just beginning.

I woke up this morning and walked into my own horror movie when I saw the electoral votes on the TV.

Dealing With -37 Errors In Pro Tools

Pro Tools 6.4.1 is the pinnacle of achievement on the Mix|24 hardware and you’ve just finished cutting the most amazing piece of sound effects work in your life. Now it’s time to layback your session to another drive for dubbing. So you select “Save Session Copy In” from the File menu, choose the other hard drive, check the box to copy audio files and your cranking away. The only problem is that part way through, the copy craps out with a -37 error. WTF?

A -37 error usually happens when you try to copy two or more pieces of media with the exact same name into one folder. You’ve got duplicated audio. Two files have the exact same name sitting in two different places on your master cutting drive(s). They are both referenced in your editing tracks in the Pro Tools session. When you try to combine everything under one Audio Files folder with a “Save Session Copy In” the copy quits when it tries to copy the duplicate file and returns the -37 error. Those two files might be identical in every that counts for Pro Tools—name, Unique ID, length—but they don’t have to be. They could be completely different sounds but have the same name. Look back over all the shows you’ve cut. How many “Applause 1” or “Footstep 27” do you have in you library?

Thankfully there’s a pretty quick fix.

  1. Open the master session. This will set things like timecode and I/O’s to the settings you’re looking for. It’s also your chance to double-check that all your fades are created and that you’re not missing any audio files.
  2. Save and close the session.
  3. Create a new session on the layback drive using whatever settings you need—16 bit or 24 bit, 44.1KHz or 48KHz, etc. Make sure that “Last Used” is selected for the I/O.
  4. Select “Import Session Data” from the File menu.
  5. Choose your master session from the other hard drive.
  6. Make sure to choose “Copy media” from the audio pull-down menu.
  7. Highlight all tracks for import (or at least all tracks that you want to layback—you might have more in your master session). Make sure that you’re importing “All” data and that it’s from the master playlist.
  8. Click the “Import” button.
  9. Wait while all your tracks and media are copied to the new drive. You can watch the process in your Task Window. Any duplicates will show up as -37 errors at the bottom of the Task Window. The regions will still show up in your tracks but they will be blue because there is no online media associated with them. Everything else will be copied to the new drive.
  10. Save and close the layback Pro Tools session.
  11. In the Finder, open the layback hard drive and open the folder of the layback session you just closed.
  12. Rename the “Audio Files” folder to something else like “Audio Files 2”.
  13. Reopen your layback session in Pro Tools.
  14. Pro Tools will warn you that there is missing audio. These are just the files that are now in the “Audio Files 2” folder. Select “Manually Find” and check “Rebuild Fades” if necessary.
  15. The duplicated media that didn’t copy the first time will be found on your master drive. A new “Audio Files” folder will be created and the duplicates will be copied into it.
  16. In the Relink Window, only check your layback drive. Even better, only check the layback session folder in the layback drive. Highlight all missing audio files and click the “Fink Links” button. Click “Commit Links” when all files are found.
  17. When all the copying and relinking is done in your Task Window, save and close your session.
  18. Reopen it to make sure that everything was copied. Be sure to choose “Select -> Offline Regions” from the Audio menu above the Region List to make sure that you’re not missing any files.
  19. You might have to repeat at step 10 if there are 3 or more files with the same name in the session. Go ahead and repeat as many times as it takes to get all files copied to your layback drive.
  20. Your “Audio Files” folder will probably only have a few files in it while “Audio Files 2” might have hundreds. This doesn’t really matter, but for the look of things, you might want to rename “Audio Files” to “Audio Files dupes” and “Audio Files 2” to “Audio Files”. It’s all up to you. If you rename any folders, you should probably reopen the session one last time and “Manually Find” any files that are now “lost”.

Yes, it’s a lot of steps to describe, but I think you’ll agree that it’s not very hard. This definitely works with Pro Tools 6.4.1. I would imagine that it’s the same under 6.4 with HD hardware but since I don’t have that, I’m not 100% positive. If I remember correctly 6.2.x and lower always asked you where to save audio and fade files on import. In that case you could just create a new folder in the Save Window and save things there.

A Reflection On The Little Things In Life While Picking A Lock

Pants? Check.

Wallet? Check.

iPod? Check.

Cellphone? Check.

Keys? Oh crap.

Every two or three years something happens and I manage to step outside my apartment, close the door and almost immediately discover that my keys are now on the otherside of 2 inches of wood and a Schlage lock.

I guess I was due because that was the situation I found myself in this morning just before 8am. My internal clock had me up early since we just had our time change. I was doing a little cleaning around me apartment. When I went to take the trash out, I immediately discovered that although I had managed to have nearly every other technological gadget about my person, the necessary keys were sitting on the counter.

Thankfully since I had my cellphone I was in touch with a locksmith within minutes and a half-hour later he was crouched at my door jiggling his tools in the handle.

This was obviously the first call of the day for him and he had that rumpled “I just got out of bed” look about him. But he was a friendly fellow and proceeded to wax rather philosphic while I stood around impatiently waiting for him to let me in.

“Wow! Look at that tree! It’s beautiful! You know you have quite a view up here.”

I guess he was working on the lock by touch and sound because he was looking past me down the hill and over the morning rooftops of Burbank.

“I bet you could just sit and stare out the window on the other side of your place looking at the mountains all day long.”

“Actually that window just looks into an alley.”

“Still, you know a tree like that takes a lot of work to get it to look that beautiful.”

“Yeah. Probably.”

“You know, you have to trim it once a year. You have to make sure all the branches are pointing up or they’ll just end up breaking off.”


“You know how much it costs to trim a tree that size.”

“I have no idea.”

“Five thousand bucks.’


“Yeah. Hey! Check out that hummingbird! You know a tree like that supports an incredible amount of life.”

“Uh huh.”

“All kinds of different things live in a tree like that. Imagine if all of us could live in a tree like that. The number of people it could support. That would be incredible. You know my neighbor this old guy doesn’t trim his tree. The branches don’t point up. They’re all going ‘zoom’ like this and back like that. Ok, let’s try this lock the other way.”

“Actually it opens clockwise like how you were first going.”

“I know. I’ll reset it if I get it open.”


He went on and on like that for the twenty minutes it took him to get the door open. After suggesting that I hang a shower curtain in front of my balcony to get more privacy and informing me that my neighbor’s wooden shingle roof was a huge fire hazard, the lock finally popped and my cat Max who was really curious about all the racket that was going on at the door stuck his head out through the crack in the doorway.

I managed to get Max back inside before he escaped, thanked the locksmith for coming to my aid, and went on with my life with a whole new outlook.

Ok. Maybe not.

The End Is Nigh

From the AP:

Billboard to Rank Cell Phone Ringtones

… The music market tracker Billboard will begin ranking the customized mobile phone sound snippets beginning next week….

As it does with other music sales data, Billboard will publish the top 20 ringtones purchased for each week.

Is it just me or is this totally lame? I have never had much use for the Billboard charts. They certainly don’t reflect the music that I’m interested in and that I buy. Of course I’m also not a 12-year-old girl. But it seems to me that this is the final nail in the coffin of Billboard’s relevancy. Are the record labels so anxious to justify themselves that they have to bolster their self-esteem by keeping track of which 15 second music-bytes are the most popular on telephones? Does this mean that there is going to be a surge in the “Macarena” on the charts again? How about “Hava Nagila”?

I’ve got an idea. My current ringtone is the theme to “The A-Team”. I think those crack commandos from the 80’s deserve to be on the charts. If everyone called me my cellphone maybe we could make it to number one. The number is 818-555… oh nevermind.

A Genius Named Jon

Not me.

Jon Stewart and “The Daily Show” has been very political since the 2000 election and seems to have gotten even more so with the current election. Recently though, Jon has started to take on news organizations for being puppets of the politicians, for not calling them out when they get caught in a lie.

If you’ve missed any of these confrontations, you really should set aside a few minutes to take a look. Jon went on CNN’s “Crossfire” pleaded with them to “Stop… hurting… America.” The following Monday he talked about the encounter on his own show. “Here’s the thing about confronting someone on their show. They’re there…. Uncomfortable!” He also spoke with a gathering a journalists for an hour about his thoughts on journalistic integrity on an episode of “American Perspectives” which aired on CSPAN. He expressed similar views on “60 Minutes”.

Henchman Inventory and Battle AI v1.04

The Macintosh installer for the newest version of Tony K’s smarter henchmen, tougher monsters, and better inventory add-on to Neverwinter Nights is now online. You can download the Mac version from here, the Windows version from here, and a Linux installer script from here.

Here’s some additional info:

This highly configurable modification of NWN improves the intelligence of friends and foes, both inside and outside battle. Since its original release in July 2002, it has been tested by hundreds of people in the BioWare community. The mod works with or without the expansions. You can use it to play the Official, SoU, and HotU campaigns, as well as compatible fan-made modules. Prominent features are: 1) Improved battle tactics for all NPCs, especially with regard to weapon switching and spell casting; 2) Random roaming capability for monsters in the module; 3) Access to the inventory of familiars and animal companions; 4) Improved yet still legal feats and spell selection for the six standard OC henchmen; 5) More useful behavior (buffing, item-gathering) for henchmen outside battle. Most features can be turned on or off during installation.

New for v1.04: The mod now requires NWN v1.64 or later for all installs. Added support for parry. Smaller compiled scripts from updated NWN includes and using Torlack’s compilier. Enable healing of bleeding PC’s. Creatures will still use ranged weapons when nearby target is above or below them. Location of summoning spell will be as close to known enemy location as possible. Remove duplicate disarm trap attempts (problem started with NWN 1.64). Monsters can optionally summon animal companions and familiars if they have the feats. Scouting will not jump to target location and now has a shorter range. Scouting can now be done with all associate types. Associate settings are stored on the PC and restored when associate is summoned again. Familiars updated with changes in HoTU and feat and skill selection changed in some cases. DEVELOPERS: Get the ERF source code for the mod here:

There have been a lot of cool NWN-related goings on since the last version of this mod. NWN 1.64 was released with new skies, two new creatures—the Troglodyte and Bulette—and a bunch of bug fixes. The Community Expansion Pack version 1.5 was released with NWN 1.64 compatibility. And three new Bioware-developed modules will be available for purchase and download for a modest price on November 10.

Goodbye To Peel

This just in from Reuters:

Veteran British disc jockey John Peel, who championed new music trends like punk on mainstream radio, has died of a heart attack on holiday in Peru.

Basically every band on the planet has played on John Peel’s show at one time or another. Obviously anytime you see an album that is called “The Peel Sessions” it was recorded by him. Also many that just say “Live At The BBC”.

I’m very saddened to hear of his passing.