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May 25th, 2011

The cycles of my life...

Yesterday, on Tuesday, Hunter moved out. He's probably sleeping somewhere in Salina, KS right about now on his way out to Denver.

Coming home tonight was really tough.

See, what most folks don't realize is that, May 23rd, is 14 years to the day of when we met.

We met on the Friday night of Bear Pride in 1997. Crammed into the Hotel Intercontinental with its crappy elevators which could only carry three bears at a time. And the balcony that could only handle a few hundred of the 1500+ people in attendance.

And so, my life came full circle 14 years later when he and I parted ways permanently.

So tonight, wandering through the house and seeing an entire decade of our shared life missing, I cried. What else can you do in a situation like that...?

It's hard to explain how bad it made me feel because I'm the one who stayed. Survivor's Guilt, or whatever version this is, is pretty darn sadistic.

So yeah, here I am at 2AM trying to figure out myself.

I try to avoid cycles because my life seems to always end up right back in them... even when I try to avoid them.

I tried to find a way to get away from the house for the weekend, but each possibility has problems, some financial, some social, some time. So instead, I'll feel the brunt of the emotions this weekend head on. Not the way I wanted to, but probably the way I should...

I've marked this post as "no comment" because it doesn't really need any. I'm not wanting sympathy. The choice was mine. And I'll be fine in time. But in the short term, I'm feeling completely emotional and in a dozen ways when I rarely have one. I had hoped putting it out there would make me feel a little better... Sadly it really hasn't.

April 26th, 2011

My Weekend to Chicago

My weekend in Chicago was absolutely amazing. I wasn't sure what it would be like going up. Was having some drama before going up which spilled into the first night. Had some interesting news about JP and I happen after the first night. And then got some major percussive therapy. And a tour.

I can sum up my feelings in two words:


'nuff said!

April 22nd, 2011

The End of Gaystl

I've said it before but this time it is different.

I've been running Gaystlouis.com for 13 years now. In that time, I've seen the community organize and splinter a dozen times.

The recent changes in town has given me pause. I spent some time last night when I was unable to sleep thinking about my part in the community.

I have spent thousands of hours over the years running the website and have only a lot of debt to show for it. Few people know me but yet those people who enjoy tooting their own horns have far more recognition.

But this time... This time I have a distraction. In the past I wanted to leave but had nothing to fill it's place. I now do.

There is a new man in my life and I plan to focus on him so we're "solid" (*giggle*) and then we'll go from there.

As such, the website will close. If I gets serious monetary offer for the website, I'll sell the domain name off. But otherwise, this is the last week.

It is time for Tony to stop trying to guide and help foster a community and losing himself.

It is time for Tony to focus on his new relationship and let the community figure itself out.

In closing, So long and thanks for all the fish!

March 5th, 2011

Virus Followup

For those wondering what all was going on with the viruses I was talking about... Here's the details from McAfee.

The first one I submitted back in January (can't remember exactly) turned out to be: FakeAlert-SecurityTool.w!CB50826709CD (That's a mouthful!) This one took two days for McAfee to update its anti-virus/spyware defs to remove it.

Then the one on this past Monday turned out to be: FakeAlert-SecurityTool.ao (a variant of one from December.) This one they "knew" about but they hadn't pushed out the latest defs yet which could remove it.

Then finally, the one on Wednesday, turned out to be: Generic FakeAlert!nk!2E381386C4FF And this one, they updated their defs after two days.

My work is getting slammed with FakeAlert's because we are running IE7, unpatched Flash 10.0, old Acrobat versions from 3.0 through X.0 (few patched), and McAfee on minimal scanning settings (on WRITES only, not reads, and it does not do any scanning otherwise). The *ONLY* saving grace is that most users are users only, not Power Users or Administrators.

Why is our setup this way? Because "management" feels that the machines run too slow otherwise. The users can't be allowed to "feel" the machines are slower, even for security.

So in their infinite wisdom, I spent four to five hours two days a week now, delousing machines because someone did a Bing search on 'How to tie a scarf' and caught a bug.

And folks wonder why I bitch about my work...

Here I am, I worked my ass off, got an MCITP:EA, and I'm babysitting web browsers. *cries* Not eligible for a raise and yet there's a half dozen programmers making DOUBLE my salary. *cries more*

March 3rd, 2011

More viruses

I think I need a new title... "Anti-Trojan Man" is what came to mind, but that has other connotations. :p

Regardless, yesterday I got to spend some deep quality time with another Trojan.

This one, like my previous encounter, was again VM-aware. Try to run in a VM environment and it'll give a pop-up that says "software installed" but there is none. Though it didn't auto-delete itself.

But boot the same thing on a machine without net access and POOF, machine is infected.

So, what's interesting is that this one was undetectable by McAfee. Even 24-hours later and their virus submission system still has not updated on any progress.

This makes it the second 0-day Trojan I've tracked down and submitted. And one 1-day as well.

Again, having access to SysInternals helped immensely. But I'm also getting better on tracking down the culprit.

The problem this time was a user who searched on bing for "how to tie scarves" and went to a third party site running a CMS which appears to another third party site's advertising engine and it was the source.

Why this user is surfing for scarf tying techniques at work, who knows. Thankfully it was a woman who caught the spyware, otherwise it would be an awkward conversation.

So once McAfee can recognize these new beasties, I'll followup here.

I plan on booting up a VirtualPC box and see if it too is detected as a virtual environment by this nasty.

February 28th, 2011

The Virus Tango...

At work, I've become the go-to person for recovering from viruses (virii?) and so today, I got to practice some.

Had McAfee up to date with the latest definitions, installed Malwarebytes with the latest definitions, neither could find whatever it was.

Watched as the user logged in and the virus/trojan took over the system.

The user doesn't have admin rights, so how something got installed is interesting, but under the local administrator account, whatever it was, was not active.

So clearly it was just a process at this point.

Went back up to my desk and remoted to his machine, logged in, let the trojan take over... It blocked all Task Manager access, so I ran SysInternals' PSEXEC and found the process in question, remotely killed it off, using PSKILL, and then I could bring up Regedit to find what called that process...

It was a "Run Once" setting for the Local User (neat trick since the User shouldn't have rights to change the "Run Once" setting as himself), so removed it from there.

Then it gets more fun.

Located the EXE in question, copied it off to a thumb drive, then mounted said thumb drive in a virtual machine (VMware Workstation). Then tried to run said EXE... and it deleted itself. No abnormal processes in memory.


So went back, made another copy, reverted the VM back but gave it net access this time (fixed IP, no domain access), ran the EXE... deleted itself again. No remaining processes in memory.

This is getting interesting...

So went to a physical machine, yanked the network cable, ran the EXE. Nothing. It deleted the file again, but this time, the process was still running in memory. Gave it network access and... nothing. The process apparently had already tried to get out and was just sitting there.

That's odd. So then killed the process off, then logged back out and in (to guaranteed I cleared the process out), left the network connected (fixed IP, no domain access) and launched the EXE again. BOOM! Instant trojan.

Then I submitted the EXE to McAfee. Within a minute I got an email back... the definitions coming out later that day would fix it. (Trojan.SafeAlert.ao) Downloaded the SuperDat manually onto user's machine and ran a scan. Sure enough, it found it this time.

So... the end result?

The trojan noticed it was in a VM environment and killed itself to prevent forensics from taking place. Sneaky little bastards!

So much for VM's being "undetectable". Can't wait for the first widespread hypervisor virus to hit. :( Sorry Ours.

January 1st, 2011

Ever had one of those minor annoyances that once you fixed suddenly made life so much easier?

For years, I'm been whining that my Server 2000 system has been unable to talk to my Mac. I knew Macs had troubles with the old security tech of 2000, but never really though much of it.

Well, with the recent move of our main computers from XP to Windows 7, the issue has shown up again. And now I had multiple computers that couldn't talk to the server.

This was causing me to have to figure out how to replace the server with a new server running Server 2008, for just file sharing. (Needs to be a Windows server as my RAID cards have very spotty linux support. And a Server 2008 license is cheaper than two new RAID cards.)

Today I got pissed off at it and searched the net and found the two steps I needed to make to both my server and then to subsequent machines.

And with that... My Mac now has no problems accessing the server.

Egads. That took WAY too long for me to resolve. On the plus side, I can save a little bit of money for a server upgrade for now.

(Yes, I geeked out. I'm sorry, there's no way to de-geek what I said.)

Technet actually pulled the answer for me: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/w7itpronetworking/thread/c196c366-bf95-4bdf-8832-62ea2e9bf0ae
The third response is the correct one with instructions.

December 21st, 2010

Today was one of those days.

Went to the local LGBT Center and took time out to start installing the PCs that I donated to them. Not bad machines. P4 2.8Ghz, 2G, 80G HD. Better than the 1Ghz, 512M monstrosities they had.

Anyway, while I was inside, someone sideswiped my car. :(

So... no good deed gone unpunished. *sigh*

Got a call into the insurance company already.

December 18th, 2010

2011... The year of Tony.

I'm kind of looking forward to the end of the year.

I've decided that next year is MY year.

For years, really, for decades, I've spent all my time helping other people out. Financially, emotionally, spiritually, voluntarily, etc. To the point now where I struggle to keep up with my own bills. My own house is a mess. My own emotional state is drained. Etc.

2011 will be the year to rebuild myself.

Over the past few months, I've started making changes. Some of which are major life changes. Some of which are minor personal decisions. But all of which will affect my future.

It isn't that I'm ignoring anyone or find anyone less important, but I've decided that for this year... *I* am the most important person to myself.

I want one year to focus on myself. To find myself. To rebuild myself. And *THEN* I'll see what the future holds.

If things work, the future will be very different than I can even imagine right now.

September 3rd, 2010

I did it!

Short post here...

I passed my final exam today. My hands were shaking as I clicked "End Review" and awaited my score, but I did passed.

I finished my last test nearly 40 hours before the deadline. (Noon on Sunday is the last exam time. I took it at 3PM on Friday.)

*happy dance*

I do *NOT* want to get anywhere near a book or a study manual for at least a week or two.

But I am now a certified MCITP.

Will it change anything? Probably not. I'll still have to keep hacking my way out of the hotel wireless. *grumble*
(They keep blocking my MAC address because of my SSH tunnel. So I keep manually resetting my MAC so I can reconnect and get out.)

On the other hand... several of my classmates are going to have a VERY tough next two days and I suspect a few will not finish in time. :( (So I will be having a subdued celebration for now.)

August 29th, 2010

Can you spot the geek?

I'm going to go ahead and attach the picture of my desk setup here at the hotel. As I have a little spare time tonight before bed.

For those wondering, yes, I brought a second monitor with me. I also brought all my iDevices. I did NOT bring the AppleTV but instead brought my WD TV Live HD which has worked fairly well.

The laptop was hacked a while back to go from a single core to a dual core and hacked from 1G to 2G then to 4G running Windows 7 with Virtual PC so I can do my labs on the various server OSes. There's actually a cooling pad under the laptop.

The iMac Keyboard was the sturdiest keyboard I could throw in my luggage which I didn't care if it got destroyed. :P Works fairly well.

I had to bring a fan because it was supposed to be fairly warm here this week.

And then I hooked up the webcam because I could...

The wireless mouse was like $14 from Monoprice, but it is actually fairly nice. Though I prefer my trackball.

There is a 7-port USB hub behind the monitor and the big gray square over the 2nd Monitor is the privacy filter for the main laptop. (Too dark to use inside.)

Just thought I'd share the picture.

Picture BelowCollapse )

Yes, I am a geek. :P I don't travel light when it comes to tech. But I am getting better!

June 19th, 2010

Been meaning to ask Tekzilla a question recently, so today I was able to figure out the question.

I know they need enough space for an answer without too much editing, so I had to give as much detail as possible and I think I succeeded.

"@tekzilla On SSDs: Replacing Bigfoot 5.25 drive on W2K3 Srvr. Which better: SSD or IDE->CF converter? Speed & cap not issues."

Now to elaborate for those non-techs who have no clue what any of that means.

I'm replacing a "Bigfoot" drive in my server. It is a 5.25" 3200rpm (2400?) drive which only has 2.5G of space. The server is currently Windows 2000, but I plan to upgrade to a Windows 2003 server soon.

So I'm asking which is better, spending money on a quality SSD drive or should I just get a cheap IDE interface to CompactFlash converter? Should I spend $150 on a 32G or 64G SSD drive, or spend $50 on a cheap 32G CompactFlash card and $10 on an adapter.

And speed and capacity aren't an issue for me, as my current drive is neither. :P And if I can survive on a Bigfoot drive, ANYTHING is an improvement. I think it'd boot faster from floppy honestly. ;)

Anyone out there have any thoughts?

I tried using an IDE->SD adapter, but the motherboard didn't like it as it wasn't bootable. But since CF cards are technically just IDE, that shouldn't be an issue... Or would it?

April 24th, 2010


I'm finally caught up on my social media...


Apologies to everyone who is wondering why I'm responding to three week old posts on LJ. I finally got to it...

And I should be cleaning my desk. :P

April 19th, 2010

Was at lunch today, and four bicycle cops come in and are seated at the table next to me. Sadly, none of them flip any triggers for me.

But then their supervisor shows up and as they discuss their lunch choices, one comments that he has his cholestorol testlater today so he can't have anything. His boss then starts taking about Lipitor.

A moment later, the officer fasting asks if anyone needs some Cialas. Apparently, he gave his last batch of samples to another officer not present...

And then they start sharing hard on stories.

One talks about how after he takes it, he just seems to stick out all the time. Another talks about how whenever he takes it, he doesn't get any so then next morning he's rock hard watching baseball.

Another chimes in that it just hurts when he has one for a few hours. And then as a side story, another story about one of their nephew's come up. Apparently he plays baseball and his dad bought him a boy's cup in like third grade and now is in high school. They all laugh at the image.

That is how my lunch went. Cops, in a bar, talking about hard-ons and exchanging prescription drugs.

I don't understand my life sometimes!

April 14th, 2010

We're walking down a halfway in highschool, Life is the jock walking down the hall while I carry the dozen textbooks I need for class... when life decides to give a "gentle" shove and the books fly everywhere.

That's been the last few weeks.

I won't go into specifics, but here's the keywords: Weight, Stress, Pagers, Death & Taxes.

So I'm trying to find ways to reorganize my life.

And one that'll appear shortly is that I'm going to create a bunch of blogs. One for tech work, one for hacking, one for nostalgia, one for myself, one for gear, one for the bears and one to replace gaystlouis.

One of the goals is to move segments of life into discrete containers, instead of one big jumble like it has been.

An advantage of this is that I can do use some of my ongoing projects for this. For example, the nostalgia stuff typically is involved with my retro-C64-ness. I have no real place to post about the geeky CBM-serial-to-PC-Parallel adapter I use, at least that isn't overrun with gay rants, gear pics, and general venting about work. And as a result, I don't tend to progress on those projects. "I'll get to it when I have more time..." is my ongoing mantra...

So the reorg'll take me a while, but it'll get started shortly.

I'm back to the position where I need to migrate Gaystlouis.com and frankly, I'm just going to start over. While I'd love to keep the site the way it is, it just doesn't work. The forums are useless now and get about two posts a month besides myself. No one uses the calendar. They still just email their events and then whine when I haven't gotten it posted by the end of an hour. So I've got a massive server to manage what? :P Time to rebuild.

And I hope to still post here from time to time. More to update friends than to post anything mind blowing. The days of LJ's prominence has pretty much faded. Twitter and Facebook, albeit limited, have stolen most of the users, and while I'd prefer to not be sharing gear pics or personal exploit stories with my FB friends (including my mother and Hunter's mom), some people don't seem to mind. *shrug* To each their own.

But I'm not lost... I'm still just trying to collect the books that the asshole "Life" caused. It'll take me a few more weeks I suspect.

March 3rd, 2010

Rotten Apples...

Read two articles today.

Apple has sued HTC for infringing on 20 patents. Most of these patents are focusing on the Android OS, but rather than Apple go after Google for making the OS, they are instead going after the handset makers, HTC being the largest of the Android phones.

Another article pointed out that Apple has been pressuring music studios to not publish deals over on Amazon. Because Amazon's 8 percent market share has been growing and clearly threatens the 69 percent stake that iTunes has in the online music purchase category....

For these reason, I'm seriously considering my next phone to *NOT* be an iPhone.

Why? Because I am *still* waiting for tethering to be an option with the iPhone. I'm probably going to go buy a non-contract USB drive from Cricket Wireless at $40/month. (Yes, I can hack the iPhone, but the iPhone has tethering built in. It works. AT&T just hasn't allowed it on.)

So... when the contract comes due in August... I may bolt.

At the moment, the HTC phones are VERY slick. The Droid by Motorola is nice. And while they don't have the ease of use of my iPhone (with the apps, etc.) I can't help but wonder if Apple has decided to stop innovating and just push everyone out of the market.

Look back at CES. Lots and lots of tablet announcements. A week later, Apple has announced theirs and poof, all the tablets shown are vanishing. A few will still come out, but not much until after the iPad hits.

Apple is the new Microsoft. Apple is using FUD and the threat of lawsuits to keep innovations down now.

So... I'm not happy about Apple.

It went from enabling new technologies, like Google is doing, to fighting over what is "theirs".

I suspect Google giving away the software for the Android probably is making them a hard target. (Sure, we'll give you a percentage of our profits. How much of that $0 would you like?)

But today, I realized that while I love my iPhone... it isn't enough anymore. I need to have my tethering that has been promised for over a year. I need to have better battery life. I need a lot of functionality which I can't have on a stock phone.

I hate to say it, but... I'm souring over Apple.

February 22nd, 2010

Wow, I'm behind...

Yesterday, I had a lazy Sunday. I made a (horrid) breakfast (burnt the potatoes) and then we hit the gym for an hour. Then I decided to catchup on Livejournal and Facebook.

Never made it to Facebook.

Apparently I hadn't logged into LJ for at least three weeks. :(

But in an interesting twist, my history went back almost two full weeks so I was able to catch up. Sorry for those folks who got a deluge of comments as I caught up.

I do find it interesting to see the places folks have gone. Some have moved to their own Wordpress setups. Some have moved to Blogger. Some have moved over to Facebook. Others to Twitter. And some even have left LJ and then come back.

Personally, I think all the different sites have different functions, which is why I still am here on LJ. The problem is, being so stressed at work lately, I have had little positive to post about. And nothing is worse than a journal bitching about your job every day. (While great for the personal soul, it comes off wrong IMHO.) So I've instead opted to not post, which of course, has kept me away from reading.

Long story short, I'm going to try and stay on top of my LJ reading within the week. Reading 900+ messages takes way too long (over 4 hours). Facebook I can skim through, considering most of the messages are fluff (come see my Farm!) and easily removed with an "Hide this application" double click.

So, apologies to everyone who received a bunch of comments from me yesterday.

February 4th, 2010

Facebook Freakout

For those people paranoid about privacy on Facebook...

I'm starting to agree!

Recently, I told my iPhone to go ahead and sync up my contacts. I had a bunch of obscure contacts where I had, for example, "Brian" and an email address only.

Imagine my shock today when I found a baby pic of my DAD online on his entry. My *DAD* has a facebook page? WTF?

So I went scrolling and the aforementioned "Brian" had not only grabbed a current pic of him, but also made a link to his Facebook profile. I didn't even have a last name!

I checked his profile and it is definitely him (and I immediately recognize the last name) but... his profile is completely private.

*WHERE* did Apple/Facebook sync this information from?

This is frightening.

And note... This isn't just ONE contact. I have dozens that are like this. And while not every one is right, probably 90% of them are. WTF!?!?

December 11th, 2009

Measured in inches


I've been losing weight all year.

I'm basically the same waist size though. Granted, I'm on the fourth notch in my belt and my size 48 pants won't stay up on their own anymore.

Most of my loss has been my belly 'hump'. The spot above the belly button which protruded out. I always hated that and since I never measured it, I could only assume it was going down based on how my shirts were getting more loose.

But yesterday and moreso today, I realized just how much.

I have had the same sweaters for years. The last two years, they didn't stay down. I was doing the 'Riker Pull' on my sweater everytime I shifted.

Today I noticed that I keep doing that... But my sweater is covering me. It used to pull up so my belly showed but not this year.

And yet, I am still pullin it down constantly.

This'll be a very good Christmas and New Year. It is the first holiday season where I'm down for the whole year. I still will hate my pics. But instead of hating that the picture is a reminder of my worst, I can point to it as part of my ongoing challenge and as a beginning...

For those unaware, I'm down 7 pounds since Thanksgiving. I'm under 360 now.

My 'official' one year is on the 14th but I'm very encouraged!

December 5th, 2009

I've been reading the posts here and my response is... Meh.

Fact is, folks on the BML for years have been arguing over who is and who isn't a bear. Just as even more people debate about what being "gay" means. (Liza fan? Madonna fan? What about Metallica and Stones?)

Truth is... porn is dying a very fast death.

If you thought the music industry couldn't see the signs... porn can't either.

Digital distribution of porn is not only the way porn will come, but just like Blogs have become the new frontier for news, so will amateur porn. Most people already prefer to hop over to xtube.com than run down to the local adult bookstore to see a film.

And furthermore, magazines are even closer to the grave. It is not possible in this economy to make a profitable business of a magazine...

UNLESS you segregate and build a niche audience.

And that's what they are doing here. Trying to find an audience for their publications.

You can't compete if you cover everything. So instead they are becoming specialized.

What I *DO* dislike though is that they are deemed themselves the "authority" and pointing fingers at other publishers. And that... is wrong.

If they switched their magazine to MuscleBear, I doubt anyone would bat an eye. But because they refuse to change names, but are changing their focus, they are creating controversy.

And this is what they do to build up a subscriber base.

They will lose some subscribers, but probably not many. They will however gain a lot of subscribers who are now curious about the new focus.

And all the while, websites and Xtube will generate a billion times more traffic than they will.

They just want the last few drops from the stone while they can.

So yeah... Meh. They're doomed regardless. It's only a matter of time.

December 3rd, 2009

The good feeling from the funeral ended when I got home though...

Here in St. Louis, the local archdiocese was caught donating $10,000 to the anti-gay marriage amendment in Maine.

And as such, it is getting a lot of press (as religious tax-exempt organizations aren't supposed to get involved in political issues, particularly ones 10+ states away) and I had an email from a husband and wife who decided that gay people are doomed, the devil is punishing society for us and that gay marriage will never happen.

Normally, I'd ignore those emails... but after having just come from a funeral of a loved one, I decided to respond.

Not in an angry way, but in a very methodical and honest way about why we don't give a crap what they think and why they shouldn't be judging us in the first place.

I posted it all up at Gaystlouis.com if anyone is curious. I get these emails about once every other week, but I suspect they'll pick up soon enough with the protests taking place every Sunday.

December 1st, 2009

Distracted... *cries*

The past few days have been very distracting.

One of my mind-numbing tasks this past weekend was creating a whole new front page for Gaystlouis.com focusing on HIV & AIDS newsfeeds instead of my usual local-based news.

And so I was all set a few days in advance.

And then I forgot to enable it this morning. *faceplant*

I was running late for work. Been trying to keep everyone there happy since I am getting to take two days off to go up to Chicago on Wed & Thurs for the funeral that I completely spaced it.

If anyone is interested: http://gaystlouis.com/aids.php

November 27th, 2009

Just spreading the word: Marc/Bootglove's Funeral Service - 7PM Dec 2nd. RSVP and other information at: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=186899511722

Thanks to mcfires for setting up the Facebook page for us all. He is collecting pictures of Marc for a display. See the webpage for more details.

Please pass this information to others whom he or I may not know. (But be sure to point them to the webpage which has address information and any updates.)

November 26th, 2009

I've avoided making a post because I couldn't really add anything to what was posted already.

But it is time.

Yesterday, Marc (aka bootglove) passed away.

At work, I don't have access to LJ, so I received a phone call from xanaducub who had read mcfires's post. He texted me first with "Call me." and unfortunately, right then, I knew there was only two things he'd be calling about. Either how to fix a macro in Office, or with bad news about Marc. I had hoped it was the first. It wasn't.

My work for the day was wrapping up so I didn't really have a chance to deal with the news while I was at work. I know I cried a bit. Remembering the good times, the bad times, and wishing there'd been more times in general. But trying to get things shut down and get out of there. I shipped off a note to both of my bosses telling them that whenever services are held, I'm going to be there. Driving for 8 hours to see him seems minor now, yet I wish I'd done it more.

You see, Marc was one of two people that I would call Sir "full time". For a period of time, I enjoyed being his boy, granted fairly remotely. I took a trip up to visit him, he took a trip down to visit me, I'd see him at Hibearnation, and that's how it went. A few years back, I stopped being his boy. Looking back, it was the right thing to do, but I regret how I did it. I think we'd patched things over over the past year and I was looking forward to seeing him again this HBN. I can still laugh that he was convinced I'd found another Sir, and I couldn't convince him otherwise.

He was one of the "Superfriends" here on LJ. Folks who know the extreme upsides and downsides of my life. My failures and triumphs. And he was supportive through it all.

When he received the diagnosis about his liver and he told me, I didn't think much of it. Keep in mind, my partner had a flesh-eating bacterium, and Marc had been in an out of the hospital times before, so it didn't worry me. Looking back, I can see it greatly worried him. I wish I'd noticed it then.

During HBN, when news of his hospitalization got to me, I again shrugged it off. It seemed inline with what had happened before. He'd be out within a few days and everything would be fine. But he didn't.

As a result, he was away from chatting and everything from him became second hand. I didn't call because I didn't want to be a burden by calling when he was asleep or whatever. I wish I had. I always assumed I had another shot to talk to him. You know what they say about assumptions...

Anyway, once I got home yesterday, I went through my pictures folders. Sadly, I didn't have a lot of him for a few years. I also couldn't find any of he and I. I know they exist. I know of one in particular of me at the bar in a collar and leash with him. He was proud of me that night, I was self conscious but went along. I wish I'd gotten copies of that picture, or had taken my camera then. (The one I had taken wasn't working properly.)

I found pictures he'd sent me when we first started talking 10 years ago. Somewhere I have a canceled plane ticket when I was to go up and visit him and Steve, which happened to be about the same time they broke up. He and I talked a lot... not enough.

Anyway, now I'm rambling. Among all those pictures, I did find one picture he posted on his LJ and I de/colorized for him to make it artsy which I know he liked, so I'm posting it here.

Sir Marc

He will be deeply missed, probably by more people than he even realizes. I was telling friends here in St. Louis about his passing, folks I assumed didn't know him, and they commented that they knew him every year from HBN, and that they knew others who knew him, and so forth and so on.

Goodbye Sir. There's so much to say... and there was so much we didn't need to say. You are missed. And you will never be forgotten.

This weekend I'll dig out the boots you gave me, the gloves you gave me, the Harley shirt you gave me, and toss on my camo pants and leather vest and have a toast to you, Sir!

Thank you.

November 20th, 2009

For the want of a nail...

Cubziz At Desk
I started writing a long LONG dissertation about my current Gaystlouis.com website... and then deleted it all.

So, let me instead start with a question and then a statement and then a clarification.

What can I do to make the website better?

Note: The Guide and Personals modules cost money. I can't afford it yet. But they are planned for.

I ask because very soon... my website is about to get a *LOT* of pressure to get the community involved and connected. I can't give details without going into the whole background of why I know this will happen, but in short, I'm about to inherit a shit-storm whether I want it or not. Ask Hunter, I'm good at predicting these and I can already see the iceberg approaching.

So I want to prepare... NOW.

I'm marking all of the comments as hidden. Tell me if you want them public or not. Likewise, feel free to email me: webmaster@gaystlouis.com or contact me however you want (see the Contact page for the multiple ways).

I just need feedback unlike I've ever needed it before.

A couple other notes:

  • The logo was chosen because it can be resized, reprinted, and used in various ways easily and yet was unique.

  • Also, the advertising does not bring in enough for me to keep it, so I am considering dumping it entirely. I'd like SOMETHING for advertising events, but details are very flexible.

  • Lastly, the Calendar, Gallery and eventually Guide and Personals, all use phpBB3's (Forums) users' database for authenticating users so switching to other modules is possible, but they either need to tie into phpBB3 or vice versa, I need to be able to tie all these modules into them.

November 2nd, 2009

Just once...

Just once... I'd like things to go my way.

It feels like I'm the support for everyone else. Just once I'd like feel like I'm breaking even.

(Note: I deleted the previous post. Was far too wordy.)

October 31st, 2009

iTunes non-randomness

I know I have a fair amount of non-iTunes using folks on my friends' list, but for those who are using it, I have a question.

Is your random really random?

In my case, not at all. For example, my "Workout" playlist has 260 songs, but very commonly I'll have five Prodigy songs in a row. Or four Shamen songs.

Going through my current list right now, I have two sets of two Info Society songs back to back, two Prodigy songs back to back, two Green Day.

I know that purely statistically speaking, this is common, but I've found that in larger lists, the number of repeats gets even worse. The other day I had five Shamen songs in a row on my iPod... in "Shuffle" mode.

My iPhone tends to love doing back to back Info Society songs. My iPod Shuffle seems to *love* Green Day and Good Charlotte marathons.

Anyone else noticed this with their devices?

It isn't that I mind, but it seems like a flawed algorithm somewhere when there's five or six songs in a row from the same artist.

I've also noticed it can be the same album as well. The "Brother Bear" soundtrack tends to be consecutive frequently as well. I like the soundtrack but after the third rendition of Tina Turner's song, I'm ready to chuck the damn device.

October 30th, 2009

I admit, I despise Myspace to this day. Though I do have an account... I think. I haven't logged in for months.

But Facebook has been fairly decent to me.

Until today.

I decided to try and bring Gaystlouis.com onto Facebook. Wow. That was far more complicated than it should've been!

First, their website walks you through how to do it, but things like "Webmaster" are not allowed in email addresses. So I ended up having to create a new User Account to register the website's page. And then, I can't use Webmaster in the "Full Name", it needs to be a full name. Even initials aren't enough. The problem is that there's then two of me out there if I list my full name. :P

So after a bit of searching, there's a much simpler way to set it up from within my current FB account, so I did that.

But... now I'm not sure of what to do with it.

I created it as just another vector for people to reach me. But it doesn't seem to work that way...

Anyone out there supporting an org on Facebook?

I won't spend too much time on this, but would love to figure it out. Just for me own curiosity.

October 24th, 2009

This Damned Cold/Flu

Tuesday I caught something.

It's now Saturday and I'm STILL coughing up a storm.

It fits the pattern of my normal cold/flu's where I spend the first two days actually sick, and the next week trying desperately to prevent whatever from lodging into my lungs and giving me walking pneumonia. :(

But as a result, it's derailed by pattern of trying to workout. (As it's really hard to do 10 miles on the bike when you can barely breathe.) I did sneak in some exercise bike time on Thursday night, but Friday morning I could feel it.

I called in on Wednesday and Thursday and actually went in for about four hours on Friday, but I was getting overwhelmed (from work and from the cough) so I came home early.

Last night (Friday night/Saturday morning), I was unable to sleep well as I spent a good deal of it coughing.

I want this thing to be gone. :(

October 15th, 2009

The 'Ouch' Photo of the Day

Here I am with the sports photos again.

This time, I like the phrasing that SI uses "tries to escape the grip"... *snicker*

Rolando McClain of Alabama

September 27th, 2009

How wrong they were...

Just converting some more video and found an old Episode of "NextStep" from 1996.

In it, they interview Scott Adams, but also they talk about how media density is getting too high and how we'll be running out of hard drive space capacity soon and will need to switch to Magneto Optical discs to store data.

How wrong could we be...

I have a few Mo's around here and my god were they slow.

But there was talk also about how "lasers" were going to be able to record in three dimensions on surfaces (sort of true), but then they diverged into discussing a Holographic storage system, which has never worked right. :P

Just amazing to see how tech has changed so much in 13 years that they were completely wrong in their future predictions.

Nothing changed... except the expectations.

September 22nd, 2009

Woke up a few hours early this morning and couldn't get back to bed, so decided to do a little music surfing...

And I came across this: Information Society - 300bps N, 8, I (Terminal Mode Or Ascii Download)

For those unaware, this is a 300bps hidden track (well, not really hidden as it IS on the liner notes) that gives a text story when played into an acoustic modem.

Really? Amazon is selling this?

It's just like this track: The Benzedrine Monks of Santo Domonica - The Monks' Vow of Silence (Album Version)

1:12 seconds of... nothing. At least it's only priced at $0.69.

That's got to hurt!

This message brought to you by the makers of Shock Doctor Athletic Supporters and Protection.

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September 21st, 2009

One Word Shows

Tonight I flipped on the DVR only to be greeted by one word TV shows:


So... five nouns and one exclamation.


And people say that there's no new ideas. *snicker*

September 19th, 2009

One of my projects for a while has been converting some adult videos over from VHS to computer files.

I got a bit of a shock yesterday.

I started consolidating all of it onto one drive (in an attempt to actually make backups) and so far, what I've converted is just under 400GB.

I probably still have another 400GB of tapes here and I suspect I have at least that many more tapes to convert from yet another new source.

And that's not even the "regular" (non-adult) movies I've recorded via our Replay DVR which are another terabyte by themselves.

I know I'm on the bleeding edge of going all-digital, but still... two terabytes of video? Eeesh...

I really hope iTunes can handle that much. ;)

(Side note: Semagic apparently doesn't know the word "terabyte" and suggested instead "gigabytes"... um. Off by a few powers of ten.)

September 5th, 2009

Football pics

Got a few more pics for folks.

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September 1st, 2009

Strange mixes...

I mentioned over on Facebook about some CCCP that I was listening to, and decided to look through some of my old music that I'd converted years ago (which I need to redo) and came across:

Duran Duran - Fame (Yes, the Bowie one.)
The Knuckleheads - Havin' a Party
Anything KLF...
Soul City Orchestra - It's Jurassic (Yes, a dance Jurassic Park theme)
Hi-Power - Cult of Snap (which later became know as just Snap!)
Real Life - Send Me An Angel (the original one from 87)
Depeche Mode - Strangelove (Midi-Mix) (yes, as in MIDI... I love it!)
Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Rage Hard/Suffragette City
The Weather Girls - Dear Santa (Bring Me A Man This Christmas)
Pood, Bhud N Pflug - Duelling Techno
TeeVee Toons - Jane, Get Me Off This Crazy Thing (yes, the Jetsons)
Clockdiva - The Hacker / The Connection Machine (later used by the Prodigy as the "Intro" to "Music for the Jilted Generation")
12 Gauge - The Hustle
Julie Brown - Girl Fight Tonight (Extended)
Josie Cotton - Johnny Are You Queer?
Billy Ocean - European Queen (not Caribbean)
Ultimix - 1993 Flashback Medley
Utah Saints - Something Good
Andy Summers - 2010 (think a dance version of the 2010 theme)
Betty Boo - Doin' The Do

Yes, I have some bizarre musical tastes. ;)

(Added: Just found the Tammy Wynette & KLF's "Justified and Ancient". *giddy*)
Figured I'd throw out my experience upgrading to Snow Leopard.

I have a Mac Mini (1.83Ghz Core Duo, not the Core 2) which I've upgraded to 2 Gigs of memory booted off of an external USB 1Gig Western Digital hard drive.

Frankly, the upgrade took nearly 75 minutes, but was painless...

Upon reboot, Mail reconfigured itself. iTunes reset everything. And it just seems to, well, work... Slower.

It's not a fast machine to start with, but sadly, Snow Leopard shows the age of this system moreso.

I didn't expect to really gain much with this upgrade. I was hoping for some slightly new features. (I despise how Notes are now built into Mail.)

For $29, I am not too worried about the upgrade.

But it worked perfectly fine on my main Mac.

All my other Macs are G4-based and thus will never step beyond (plain) Leopard.

I Miss Mark!

Was surfing around the CNN website yesterday and saw this:

Photo Show: Tim Mantoani - Mark McGwire

Oh... I *LOVE* this picture of McGwire.

The smirk on his face. The piercing eyes. The impression from the compression shorts. The bulge on his... arms.

It's true...

I Miss Mark!

August 29th, 2009

Cassette followup...

I wrote about how I was going through my old cassettes.

For years I'd held onto the cassettes as they represented my teenage years (mostly) and there was lots of music on there that I had nowhere else. However, over the past few years, I doubted that there was anything important on them, but because I'm thorough, I wanted to check...

Wow. I didn't believe it, but I really didn't have a lot of these songs.

I've been using Midomi on my iPhone to keep a list of all the missing songs. Why? Because it's convenient and most of the tapes aren't labeled.

So here's a list of songs from today alone that I didn't have anywhere... and these are just from four or five tapes.
  • Pray - MC Hammer

  • Pour Some Sugar On Me - Def Leppard

  • Nobody's Fool - Kenny Loggins

  • Staying Together - Debbie Gibson

  • Simply Irresistible - Robert Palmer

  • Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car - Billy Ocean

  • 1999 - Prince</i>
  • Only In My Dreams - Debbie Gibson

  • The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades - Timbuk 3

  • The Heart of Rock and Roll - Huey Lewis & The News

  • Say It Isn't So - Hall & Oates

  • Infatuation - Rod Stewart

  • Shake It Up - The Cars

  • Magic - The Cars

  • Tall Cool One - Robert Plant

Yet somehow, I have "Turtle Power" (Partners in Kryme), "Kokomo" (Beach Boys), "Me So Horny" (2 Live Crew) and "Nightmare on My Street" (DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince) in my collection. WTF?

Almost every one of those songs I have the 12" version of, but I don't have them on ANY of my CDs. (And for the record, my MP3 collection is around 160G at this point. That's something like 24,000 songs.)

It's like my CD collection has a big hole from the 80s where I have every other song.

I'm resisting the urge to buy anything until I get to the end and can compile an album list (as it may be cheaper to hit the record store and buy them en masse)... (hopefully when I have money).

(Addendum: I don't feel so bad now. I did NOT have "A Fly Girl" by the Boogie Boys in my collection... *snicker*)

Old Media...

I'm slowly getting rid of all the old media in the house.

The video tapes are almost all gone.

The home-burnt DVDs have almost all been converted.

So I started up on my old cassettes. The first six tapes I pulled, I found seven songs I needed to track down, and two full tapes I had to save.

I'm actually a little more afraid of going through these tapes than I was the videotapes. Far more of my old memories here.

But this song just reminded me that, well, not all the memories are that good. ;)

I just found some old Commodore 64 "covers". In particular "You Might Think" by the Cars in SIDPlayer format. Followed by "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker, Jr.

Yeah... a lot of memories I should forget.

August 22nd, 2009

Happy Birthday to mynchyld, first and foremost. Hope you have a good day today!

But I also received a very interesting spam message this morning. (Behind the cut.)

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In short, the spammers are trying to find new ways to spam. And I admit, this method is a bit of an interesting puzzle.

How can you protect against puzzles? Human nature is the "decode" these things instantly upon seeing them.

Years ago, there was a study done and it was determined that road signs work well because driving adults are taught to read all street signs. And so on the highway, we naturally read EVERY sign. We may not remember them, but because we've been trained to not ignore signs when driving, we do not. (Think about that the next time you read a bumper sticker... can you remember the color of the car? Or the model? Or just the text you read?)

I don't know a good way to stop this type of spam, but I do believe that email, in its current form, is doomed.

It is destined to become like Usenet, where people avoid it BECAUSE of the spam. And I believe that's why places like Twitter and Facebook have such a following. For the most part, you can communicate on there without the spam (unless you count the billions of "play my game" messages.) Consequently, this is why MySpace is dying. They have been unable/unwilling to combat the spam-bots.

What are your thoughts?

August 21st, 2009

Today has been a down day for me.

Normally everyone has upward and downward feelings, but today, it was entirely downward.

I won't go into specifics, both to protect the innocent and guilty, but also because it isn't necessary. It just turns into more words that clutter the point of the message as I ramble on.

Simply put, right now, I'm feeling really vulnerable on multiple fronts. And I am wishing I had a thicker skin to handle these things.

I realize to get the thicker skin, I need to start looking out for my best interests, which sadly conflict with my interests for others.

But maybe I need to change... obviously my old ways aren't working for me.

August 19th, 2009

Wait... What?

Two web items for your amusement today.

First up... Rachael Ray Cookware at Cooking.com

Obviously this is not for fans of Rachael... even minor fans would recognize that she over and over stresses that she can't bake! She refuses to bake anything because she burns it.

Not sure that buying Bakeware from her is a good idea...

Next up... Four links of SI Covers:
Sports Illustrated College Football Preview: Ole Miss
Sports Illustrated College Football Preview: Oklahoma State
Sports Illustrated College Football Preview: Oregon
Sports Illustrated College Football Preview: Penn State

Damn! I admit, I wouldn't mind a poster of any of the four.

But where are the other 16? *whimper*

I want to see Texas, NC, and USC's players too!

August 16th, 2009

Shredding my past...

I spent most of the day going through old journal entries and clearing out old ones.

I kept only two posts from before my announcement of restarting my journal. The one from the LAST time I restarted the journal, when I switched to the Cubziz name. And the notice of Hunter's layoff. (As that seemed important to keep up for reference.)

Otherwise, the journal has essentially been restarted.

I saved each old entry off as a PDF, as the various LJ archive programs failed (And, no LJArchive crashed too.) Probably because my account has been under two IDs and has flipped back and forth from paid to unpaid every other year. At one point my journal went day-by-day instead of via groups (Next 50).

But they are archived, more for my reading them in another 10 years or 20 years.

I found some interesting history in them.
  • Converting porn for the iPod Video, later for the iPhone, then the AppleTV

  • Back in 2006, I swore to lose weight and predicted I'd be done by June of 2007. Guess what? Didn't even get close...

  • My Aunt Ann died, as did Rage Player Barry Brueggemann, a friend Aric and later Cubia.

  • Vented about the Rage switching from NIFL to UIF and they switched again from UIF to IFL... and who knows where they will be next year.

  • Replaced both my computer and Hunter's in November 2006... we're both still using them.

  • Got my Septum piercing in November 2007. Started at a 10g. I'm up to a 4g now, debating a 2g.

  • Every year I've vowed to lose weight as my New Year's Resolution. 2009 has been the only one where I actually pulled it off for the long term... thus far.

  • I first started talking about the sagging economy in November of 2007... Little did I know how it would ultimately affect me... Though I had an inkling of what was to come.

  • My Month of Open Source never made it past 17 days.

  • My "Picture Of The Day" resolution in 2008 only made it 16 days.

  • Favorite quote: "Damn. No sexual encounter is worth underarmour. ;)"

  • Lastly, it was a shame to see responses from people who have passed on, either in life or from LJ. They are both missed.

So, the journal starts anew. I've switched the "Adult" rating off as I have nothing questionable at this point. (Nothing beyond a "Teen Beat" magazine article.)

August 15th, 2009

For months, I have been predicting that various credit cards would start raising rates.

A week ago, I got a letter from AmEx deciding to raise my rates from a 10.9% fixed, to a 12.9% variable, which means 12.9% + whatever the "interest rate" is. Course, their letter indicated that the current interest rate (variable one) is about 3.0%. The letter makes it clear that it could go down... (Yeah, with the gov't having interest rates below 0.25%? I don't think so...)

So in other words, two years ago this card was at 3.9%. Early last year it went to 7.9%. Earlier this year it went to 10.9% and now they want to take it to 15+%? Um. No.

And by the way, this is on all purchases PAST OR FUTURE! So this is now retroactive.

For more details on how sinister AmEx's policy is (you can't opt out... not even by closing your card) check out the Consumerist article which came out yesterday.

AMEX Blue Raises Rates, Also on Past Balances, And Won't Let You Opt-Out

So I've started talking to one of the consumer credit counseling groups to see what is possible because AmEx is one act is going to destroy my credit rating. And I need to position myself as best as I can.

Just watch out. I suspect this will become a common policy with all the cards soon. I mean if AmEx can do it, the others will just to get their "share" before the new credit card policies take effect next June.

[Note: Fixed URL]

August 12th, 2009

Restarting the journal...

This weekend I'm going to go ahead and restart my journal here.

I used to do this every year, but I'm been holding onto this stuff for almost three years now, and feeling it's about time to clear out the overgrowth.

I tried some of the "archive" programs out there but none of them seem to work properly and crash at one particular point in my journal, so it'll be gone at that point. (No real other alternatives.)

Anyway, just wanted to give a heads up before it all vanished and folks wondered what happened?

I'll just be starting over anew.

March 10th, 2009

The day has arrived...

Last night, I was tempted to make a post to LJ talking about a new worst case scenario that appeared yesterday and, well, it happened.

My job is intact.

Hunter was laid off.

Why was this a worst case scenario?

All along, we assumed that his seniority of 12 years at the company would've kept him somewhat safe, while my under 2 years, made me a moving target. And so, the assumption was that the worst scenario was that we both got laid off.

But yesterday, I realized that while I was completely prepared mentally, financially and physically to be laid off... Hunter was not.

He was given his papers this morning and walked out the door.

I drove him home and we've talked, but I know there's no way to convey my preparation to him, without coming across as condescending, which is not at all what I want to do. As I told him, it's like the scene in Real Genius where Laslow tells the student that he "dug into the computer and pulled out every question Dr. Hathaway has ever asked" and then proceeds to tell them that he memorized them. Which of course, did the other students no good.

My preparation can't help Hunter and thus, my new worst case scenario came true today. :(

So, for those of you out there with words of advice, please let him know. Either over at his journal: javabear or webmaster@dailywav.com.

I admit, I'm dreading my days at work. It's hard to feel dedicated to a place of employment which just made the life of a loved one a complete mess. And yet... it's our only income right now, so I have to push forward.

August 29th, 2006

Yes, things change.

And yet, some stay the same.

Welcome to the new home.
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