Archives » April, 2006

April 28, 2006

Firefox: Warning: Unresponsive Script

One problem I’ve been running into with the new Firefox 1.5 version is this annoying popup box that says “Warning: Unresponsive script. A script on this page may be busy, or it may have stopped responding.” There are two buttons, Continue and Stop Script. The thing with this box is that it comes up whenever you’re doing a file upload, like the ones I use in the Photos From Around Carson or on Flickr. So if you’re uploading a picture, and it ends up taking a little longer than Firefox likes, it stops the upload and flashes this box. You click on Continue, then after a little while Firefox flashes the box again. While I’m sure there are legitimate uses for this, like if a script gets caught in a perpetual loop or something like that, it comes up far too long during normal, day-to-day use.

So I found out from LifeHacker how to get rid of it.

  1. Type about:config in Firefox’s address bar.
  2. Filter down to the value for dom.max_script_run_time.
  3. Change the value to something higher than the default (which is 5.) I set mine to 20. [I did 100 –Scott]
  4. Bask in interruptionless browsing!

This should have been set higher by default, but what are you going to do? Maybe in Firefox 2.

Step Up

I watch the TV show The Apprentice every week. I love it, but not as much as some other shows. The thing is that I’m too embarrassed to blog about the TV shows I watch here, and so I never do it. Don’t know why, but that’s got to stop. Most of you probably watch the same shows.

I don’t love the show because of Donald Trump. Well, let me retract that. I love the show partially because of Donald Trump, but not because I love Donald Trump himself. I think he’s right up there on the list of celebrities that I would not want to ever meet, just like how Tom Cruise topped that list of celebrities that you wouldn’t want to have dinner with. (Oh, believe me, Tom Cruise is on my list too. My list is one of those lists that doesn’t have a #1, because everybody is #1.)

But the reason I love the show because of Donald Trump is because he’s so funny. And I go back and forth all the time about whether he’s intentionally funny, or if he’s completely oblivious that the viewers are laughing at him. It’s funny that he won’t change his hairstyle even though all of America hates it and makes jokes about it. It’s funny the gross level of conspicuous consumption he’s able to acheive, like the gold-leafed apartment, and the time a couple of weeks ago when he rolled up in this six-digit-price-tag sports car and all the contestants were trying really hard not to laugh at him. It’s funny the way he speaks in ALL CAPS, like he doesn’t know about microphones and thinks he really has to talk loud enough for all of America to hear him. It’s funny the way he says everything of his is “HUGE”, or excuse me, “YOOGE”, except for when a company is sponsoring the show that week, and then they are “YOOGE”, unless they’re in competition with him, then he’s still “YOOGE” and the sponsor is a close #2. It’s funny the way he says all of his companies are doing so well when half of them are on the brink of collapse. But I don’t know if this is all an act, or if he’s really serious about it all. And I don’t know which scenario would be funnier. After all, which makes you laugh more, watching a clown stumble around on purpose, or watching a complete boob stumble around because that’s just who he is and doesn’t realize it?

Okay, I think I’ve figured out which is funnier.

But it’s not just Donald Trump that make this show a hoot. If that’s all there was, it wouldn’t be much fun because he only gets about 15 minutes of screen time. The Candidates themselves are also hilarious, and I think that reality shows have a way of casting not the best in America, but people who seem like the best on the surface but it’s all just a sham. Because how else can you explain gathering together sixteen different people from all over the country who are all exactly the same amount of incompetent? How else do you explain Brent? This is not someone who the producers thought would win.

But the reason I’m writing all of this is because of this video I found this week. One of the characteristics of the incompetents they get on this show is their ample use of every business cliche available. It’s like they are given the Business Cliche Almanac when they are cast, and have to study it every night. Actually, they don’t even study the whole thing, because they really only use a limited set of the business cliches out there. And they use them over and over and over again. And the most endemic, I think, is the phrase “Step up to the plate”, and it’s shorter derivative, “Step up”. If you know what I am talking about, if you’re nodding your head right now, click here and watch this video.


The Roof, Day 2

So the first wave of roofers yesterday, the ones I was so excited about, were just the delivery guys. They dropped off the bundles of shingles and then left, leaving me wondering if anybody was going to come back and actually get started on the roof. It wasn’t until 1:30 in the afternoon that the installers finally showed up, and of course they quit right at 5:00, so they got a grand total of three and a half hours of work in. The first half hour of which they spent farting around on the ground, so they didn’t actually go up on the roof until 2:00.

The old shingles littering the backyard.

That’s why they only finished about a quarter of the job yesterday. They stripped the old shingles off the back side of the house, and put down the new tar paper. Then they left. They didn’t put any new shingles in the back, and they didn’t even touch the front half of the house. Just a little bit of tar paper, then they were gone. At this rate, it seemed like it would take an entire week for them to finish the job.

New tar paper on the back half of the house.

But this morning they showed up at 9:00 am, so I guess if they get a solid 8 hours of work in today they’ll actually have it finished before the weekend starts. Which is good, because we’ve got thunderstorms forecasted for tomorrow, and the last time we had a “thunderstorm” here, just last week, it ended up raining all night and into the next morning. I definitely don’t want to go through that without a roof.

The front of the house was untouched.

So let’s hope the finish today, eh?

Hard at work.

April 27, 2006

The Roof

The dumpster in the driveway.

I can’t believe it’s finally happening! A full four months after calling them and getting the job set up, the roofers have finally shown up to work on our house. We were hoping to get the new roof put on before winter hit, because our yard is littered with the old shingles that have blown off. But we didn’t have the money until December, and by then winter had started, and there was no break in the weather for them to come and do the job. But now, finally we have a couple of sunny days back to back, and their schedule miraculously matched up with Mother Nature’s. So they’re here unloading their truck right now.

Loading a bundle of shingles onto the conveyer belt.

Of course it’s a little unnerving to be sitting here and hear all the banging, pounding and scraping going on up above. Those bundles are heavy, and when they drop one along the crest of the roof the whole house shakes. You’re trained to treat any noises coming from your roof as a bad thing. And footsteps on the roof? That’s either burgulars, terrorists, or Santa Claus. And in April, I don’t want any of those trying to sneak into my house. So now that it sounds like there’s a sumo wrestling competition happening up there, my instincts are all out of whack.

Bundles along the roof line. You can also see the old roof and its missing shingles.

I’m just hoping, that with how bad the current roof is, they don’t find any bad sheathing that needs to be replaced. Or worse, there isn’t a rotten piece up there, and I end up with a roofer sitting in my lap unexpectedly!

April 23, 2006


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I guess I kind of gave up on the whole posting while on vacation thing. It’s just that sleep and spending time with the family are so much more fun than sitting on the computer, and putting up pictures, even if you’re just putting them on Flickr, takes a lot of time. So I saved it all until I got home. And now I’m at home, and it’s late, so I’m putting it off for another day.

April 18, 2006

Day 5

No time to write tonight. I have to get up in 4(!) hours to take a shower and get ready for Disneyland. But since we’re back in a cheap motel, that means we have free wireless again, and I don’t have to sit on the balcony! Hooray!

Here are some pictures from today. See the whole set.

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April 17, 2006

Unwired in Woodland Hills

We’ve been here in Woodland Hills, in the San Fernando Valley, for a while now. Haven’t been able to post much because we’re staying in a nice hotel, which means they have the balls to screw you over every chance they get. Here at the Marriott there are nice fluffy beds, and polite doormen, and friendly valet parkers, but there is no complimentary internet access. In fact, there’s no wireless access at all. To get online here you have to run a wire across the room and give them $10 for the privelege. The only reason I’m able to post at all is because if I go out on the balcony, and point the laptop in just the right direction, I can pick up a wireless signal from the office building next door. So I’ve got high speed, but only outside, and only in the corner on the hard concrete (because the balcony is too small for a chair). Thanks, Marriott!

The $50 Good Nite Inn we’re staying at tomorrow night? Free wireless. Something’s a little topsy-turvy here.

Here are some more pictures. See one set here, and the other one here.

Bixby Bridge

Horseshoe Curve


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April 14, 2006

Vacation Day 1

Well, we started our big trip yesterday. Ten days in L.A. to visit family and have some fun. And we decided to take the scenic route to get from Carson City to LA, so that meant turning our backs on the normal Hwy 395 route, and instead driving over first to San Francisco, and then down the coast. This turned it into a two-day trip, instead of eight hours, and it meant that we have to stay the night here at Salinas.

Viola said she’ll be blogging about the trip itself, so keep an eye on her site. But I’ll be putting up pictures as I get the chance, so keep an eye on my Flickr page. Here’s a set from the first day, and here are a few shots to get you started.

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April 11, 2006

The Oak Island Money Pit

James Lileks today made a throwaway reference to the Oak Island Money Pit, and I followed his link, thinking I would find an amusing digression where I could spend thirty seconds and then move on with my life. What I found instead was a mystery that had me coming back all day, trying to dig deeper and find out more. I don’t know what it is, but this Money Pit has turned into one of those fascinating stories that grabs onto me every so often and won’t let go. So I thought I’d share the mystery with all of you, and get you hooked too. You’re welcome.

It seems that in 1795 a few teenagers were exploring a deserted island off the coast of Nova Scotia. There was nothing remarkable about it, just one of a hundred tiny islands that dot the shore of the Altantic. This particular one was known as “Oak Island”, because of the thick forest of oak trees that covered it, and local legends spoke of spooky lights that would flicker through the branches on moonless nights. The boys had gone out on a fishing trip, and had found themselves putting ashore and walking inland to see what secrets this place might hold. And in the center of the island they came across a clearing, about 15 feet across, with an old scarred oak tree looming over it. The tree looked like some kind of pulley had been attached to it, and when they examined the dirt in the middle of the clearing they found it to be loose. They had all read books about pirates and buried treasure, so they felt sure that something had to be buried here.

They returned with picks and shovels and set to digging. A few feet down they found a layer of flagstone that had been buried, and a few feet beneath that a layer of logs, seemingly laid down to prevent anyone from going any further. They definitely knew they were onto something now, and kept digging until they reached 30 feet and had uncovered two more layers of logs. By now the pit had gotten too deep for them to keep going by themselves, so they promised to keep the site a secret and come back when they were able to dig deeper.

It was about eight or nine years, according to the story, before they were able to return. Now in their 20s, they had secured financial backing and let a few local laborers in on the secret in exchange for a share of the treasure. This time they were able to dig much deeper, still running into layers of logs at regular intervals. Some of them seem to have been sealed with charcoal and putty, but each time the crew was able to break through and keep digging into the soft sand beneath. Finally, at 90 feet, the mystery deepened. At that level the diggers unearthed a large stone tablet with strange writing on it. They couldn’t dechiper what the stone said, but there was another layer of logs underneath it. And it was getting dark anyway, so everyone went home for the night. The next day, when they came back, the pit was filled with water. They tried to pump the water out, but the pit would just fill up again. They tried to dig a second shaft for drainage, but it collapsed. Frustrated, they gave up. After getting past every other obstacle the pit had to throw at them, they finally met one they couldn’t overcome. Their efforts wasted, they finally conceded defeat and left Oak Island and the mysterious hole behind.

That’s not the end of the story, though. In the mid 19th century, diggers returned to Oak Island with new technology to once again try to uncover the hidden treasure. And ever since then there have been dozens of expeditions, each one with larger and more advanced tools, trying to find out what is really buried under the surface. They haven’t found any treasure, but they have claimed to find an elaborate drain that pulls water from the ocean, which would explain the flooding. Was the pit boobytrapped to stop anyone from digging it up? They have drilled into the earth and hit alternating layers of cement, iron, wood, clay, and some kind of “loose metal”. Could that be a buried crypt containing a treasure chest full of gold coins? They have pulled up a piece of parchment with the letters “VI” on it, and some other shiny object that one of the workmen immediately pocketed and denied taking. And in recent years they’ve brought in modern-day drilling and excavacting equipment and torn up the landscape so much that no one knows exactly where the original pit was anymore. And through all of this they have found nothing. No treasure, no chests, and no hard evidence that they can point to that any of the artifacts that did come out, like the stone tablet or the parchment, really existed.

So what are we left with? Not much, but a bunch of legends. Some folks say that the Money Pit was definitely man made, with something buried at its center and a lot of carefully crafted booby traps laid to stop anyone from getting to it. Maybe it was a pirate’s stash of gold, or an ancient treasure brought over from Europe. Others say it’s all hokum and mish mash, and the boys probably just found some natural phenomena and let their imaginations run away with them. Everyone since then has just been chasing those old ghosts.

And the Money Pit is certainly not without its victims. Millions of dollars of investor’s money has gone into the fruitless search for the treasure, leading some to financial ruin. And six men have given their lives in its pursuit, four of them on the same day when carbon monoxide gathered in one of the shafts. But for all the effort that has been put into solving it, the mystery has only grown bigger over the years. And who knows? Maybe the lost treasure of Captain Kidd really is underneath that little island, kept safe for all these centuries just as its concealers intended.

Or maybe there are just a lot of fools in the world.

April 8, 2006

Two Weeks In Review

Having writer’s block in private is one thing. If you’re working on a book, and you haven’t written any pages in a few days, nobody knows about it. But if you’re writing in public, like on a blog, and you go for a few days, people start to notice your absence. So then you feel like there’s even more pressure to write, and a few more days go by. At this point the anxiety has become like a snowball. You can’t just write any old thing, your first post back has got to be something big, something worth the wait. So then a few more days go by, and now the pressure is unbearable. And before you know it, 12 days have gone by since you’ve posted anything, and then you’re really in a dep hole because you feel like you owe your regulars an explanation.

Maybe I’m not much of a blogger, because things are happening in my daily life, but my first impulse isn’t to say, “Oh! I should blog that!” And even if I had the impulse, I couldn’t pull it off. James Lileks can write fourteen paragraphs about a trip to Target, and make it seem effortless. I can’t.

So what has been going on lately?

* We were finally able to bring home our puppy Baxter. We weren’t sure if we should or not, because we’re leaving on a big trip next week and we didn’t want him to stay home alone at such a young age. But the lady we’re adopting him from said we could take him for now, and then bring him back right before our trip. She’ll watch him for free while we’re gone, then we pick him up for good after we get home. Now, how could we pass up an offer like that? So Baxter is home now and already trying to throne himself as the king of the place.

* We are counting down the days until our vacation. First will be a two-day drive down the California coast, then we’ll spend three days in the San Fernando Valley where Viola grew up, then we’ll spend six days in Anaheim where my family is. Two days at Disneyland, a movie in Hollywood, a trip to the beach, and a Wiggles show all await us. It’s gonna be some week.

* Been watching a lot of TV, something I’m always embarrassed to write about on this site, even though I spend hours each week watching it and then even more hours reading Television Without Pity. This week the self-named geeks were eliminated from The Amazing Race. They were one of the more likable teams, and also the only one with their own theme song. Every time they came on the screen the music editors started playing The Plucky Strings Geek Love Theme. You can always tell the producers like a team when they have their own music.

* And then on American Idol Mandisa got kicked off, which was nobody’s fault but her own. She had been building up a nice gay fanbase, on her way to becoming another icon like Cher and Liza Minelli. All she had to do was wait until disco night and belt out “It’s Raining Men,” and she would have had a career for decades. But instead what she did was come out on stage praising God and saying He was bigger than any “lifestyle”. And if there’s one thing the gay community knows, even if Mandisa didn’t, is that “lifestyle” is another word for “homosexual”. So right there she was branded as a gay basher, and over the next 48 hours the fan base that had so solidly supported her kind of slipped away into the night. Now, it doesn’t matter what she really meant when she said that; we’re talking about the court of public opinion here. Reason and logic do not apply, just perception and gut feelings. By the time she took the stage again the following week, she was toast. Her performance that night was irrelevant; she was already going home.

What, you are still under the delusion that American Idol is a singing competition? Silly, silly people.