Whip it! Whip it good! – A Nerdy Post

Sorry for the eighties flashback (which are, apparently, considered bad by some… I love the music, personally), but I just whipped Gnus into shape. It is now reading and posting mail on the Rose IMAP server, and playing along well with my dummy POP3 account. I’ve been working on this damn thing for two days, and finally got it working fully (minus scoring) about an hour ago.

Why Gnus? I don’t like the Webmail solution used by Rose–it’s slow. I also don’t like Outlook, because it’s even slower (that slowness was what prompted me to switch to Webmail a few months back). I had fun with Gnus in my previous experience with it, and the challenge of setting it up was all a part of the fun.

I had a bit of trouble finding the relevant Windows version of XEmacs–I finally got lucky, it seems, with one particular FTP server I surfed. Installation of that went smoothly, and I found myself immersed in the world of meta keys (Alt) and nested parentheses, for the first time since I gave up my old laptop running Mandrake. I immediately set about making a config file.

Getting the Rose IMAP server to cooperate was sheer hell, simply because of my own stupidity. Silly me for thinking that a lack of “file not found” error didn’t mean that the file trying to be executed (OpenSSL – needed to simply login to the server) wasn’t there. In other words, I really should have obeyed the first USENET post I found and installed Cygwin, with installs not only OpenSSL, but a bash shell, and my “favoritest” command-line, um, command of all: ls. I don’t know how many times I’ve typed “ls -al” when I needed to type “dir”… At any rate, once I got the PATH straightened out, all was peachy keen on logging in, although I still can’t get Gnus won’t pull my Kerberos password from .authinfo (but it will get my username). But that’s relatively important.

So, with a connection to Rose created, I quickly changed the format of the Group (where the IMAP folder or newsgroup names are shown) and Summary (where the articles or e-mails are threaded for your perusal) buffers to be more informative and readable, then began to setup outgoing mail.

I had a ridiculous fucking time setting up SMTP. Good goddamn. That was the bulk of the past two days. I made sure the smtpmail package was installed, copied it to about five different places, just in case Gnus couldn’t find it with all the other packages, and tried about four different ways of calling it. It kept repeating that it couldn’t find “fakemail”, and none of the USENET posts found were useful, except to inform me that I shouldn’t bother hunting down the file (and I shouldn’t need to) because it wouldn’t work in Windows any-damn-way. The “fakemail” requests meant (I believe), that the mail sending method wasn’t setting correctly, despite all my attempts. I finally had to give up the ghost and use the graphical customization of Gnus, because I couldn’t find the right combination of varibles to execute what I wanted. So that’s sitting in my global custom.el file; I haven’t tried moving the command over yet. Thank goodness Rose doesn’t actually require SSL for SMTP access like their “help” site suggests.

After that beast worked, I was left with the setup of group-specific settings–namely “identities”. When I’m in a Rose IMAP folder, send mail from this address, to this SMTP server, using that signature, etc. Had a bit of fun there, too, given that my posting-styles nested inside of the gnus-group-customize didn’t want to work. Fixed that shit with gnus-posting-styles and some fun regular expressions.

Finally, I had to do something about the handling of HTML messages–Gnus wasn’t rendering the messy shit that Rose administrators spam the campus with in any readable form, and wading though Microsoft-esque HTML (that shit is bad) to extract the content from the styles is nearly impossible. Gnus was supposed to load w3, a pretty nifty little (X?)Emacs browser, but didn’t, and, quite frankly, I didn’t feel like fucking with it. So I found this here USENET post, fixed the paths for Windows, and dropped it in. It works nicely.

A view of the Groups Buffer

A screenshot of the Groups buffer (there aren’t really over 400 e-mails in my Inbox, trust me)

My Gnus configuration file.

I bitch, but I love it to death, and wouldn’t give it up for anything. Even sex.

Hello, Mr. Penis. My name is Lissa. – A random conversation

Bridget and I were getting ready for bed a couple of nights ago, oddly enough, at the same time, and Bridget began to tell me about this “weird” sex advice show on late-night Oxygen. Apparently, some poor guy had called in, expressing surprise at the idea that uncircumsized men (which he was) have to do extra, ah, cleaning. Now Bridget, being a good little Catholic girl, was expressing disgust with the show in general, which is (according to her) presided over by an elderly lady that liked to give odd advice.

My response? “You know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an uncircumsized penis. Well, I’ve never seen a penis of any kind in person, not on a computer screen or something, but I don’t get an immediate mental picture of what an uncircumsized penis looks like.”

Bridget, bless her blonde soul, says, “You know, I’ve never met one either–“

“Wait. Never met one? Is that like, ‘Hello, Mr. Penis, my name is Bridget’? Oh, dear. Does that come accompanied with a handshake, or what?” Insert mad giggling. Hey, it was way after my bedtime.

Since then, I have plagued her with “Mr. Penis” jokes on her dry-erase messageboard, which usually remain there long enough without her erasing them for someone to stop by and be like, “Geez, Bridget. I didn’t think you were that kind of girl!” She gives me the evil eye if I even look like I’m going to giggle, because it’s usually about my latest message.

Despite this, Bridget has agreed to room with me, Kitty Cat, and another cool, studious friend of ours in the sophomore residence hall next year. We’re probably four of the most studious/somber (yet oh-so-fun-loving) girls on the floor, so that should work out well.

[Listening to “Holding Back the Years” [Randy Crawford / Naked and True]]

Violins, pretty voices, and nice beats

Last night, I watched the first couple of hours of Mohabbatein, a Hindi love story, and oh-my-damn I must acquire that soundtrack. The movie is very… Grease-esque (actually, that’s a bit harsh), with lots of sappiness and singing and dancing and macho-tough-looking guys and beautiful girls whose personalities match perfectly the guys that want them, but it really is rather… sweet. Besides, I’m a complete sucker for some violin, and Shahrukh Kahn’s character was putting a killing on it. Based on a simple Google/Amazon search, though, that soundtrack is going to be ridiculously hard to find. A., the chick who brought the movie over for us to watch, suggested going to an Indian music store in Indianapolis or Chicago. I’ll be dragging her along if I go, that’s for certain–I’m not even sure I know how to correctly pronounce the name of the movie, and walking into a store and saying, “I’m looking for the soundtrack to this,” while holding up a slip of paper with the title of the movie on it just sounds silly.

[Listening to “Holding Back the Years” [Randy Crawford / Naked and True]]

A couple more tidbits

Cuz I’m an idjit that forgot some stuff in the last one, although some are today news. Nothing so funny as the “sausagefest” bit, I’m afraid. I do wish I had a video to post of the Thorn guys separating at my sausagefest suggestion–I’ve never seen guys move so damn fast.

An e-mail to the Old Man
Dear Dr. Car Guy,

A trip to Wal-Mart this morning brought to my attention the rather rough idle of my babydaddy, Johhny. Even after about an hour of driving, the idle was rough (although it settled down immediately if I put the car in neutral, of course), and, in fact, the idle seemed to get slightly rougher the longer I drove. It didn’t stall (nor did that seem much of a threat–the idle wasn’t that rough), but it was definitely not smooth. It was also, however, 16 degrees Fahrenheit outside, although the car did eventually warm up (but the windshield washer fluid never un-froze :-P). Gas was good, brakes were good, and there were no odd sounds while driving. Was this just the cold weather, maybe the way I was driving (got up to 50 mi/h before the engine was really warm), or is my babydaddy just showing his age?

Ruff Idler of The Big Haute

Return advice included a suggestion for getting a tune-up at a trusted place. Why “a trusted place”? An oil change in my mother’s car before the trip led us to drive 450 miles before pulling over due to the smell of something burning, only to find the fuckers had left the oil cap off and oil had sprayed all over the engine; luckily, the cap was left right under the hood, at the front, and only about a half-quart of oil was lost. Also suggested was acquiring pre-mixed anti-freeze (I might have heard that wrong) for the windshield washer fluid, and (long-term) having some sort of overhaul to Johnny’s carburetor. I don’t remember which of those solutions is supposed to fix the dieseling, but I think it was the tune-up. It was great to get to cruise at 45 mi/h and sing “Holding Back the Years” and “All the King’s Horses” at the top of my lungs, though.

I recently bought the SoundFeeder Powered Audio Adapter, an FM transmitter, powered through the cigarette lighter, for Johnny and my listening pleasure. However, the sound has a low volume, and the sound is rather… muffled, just like something was covering the speakers (compared to the normal radio).

Now, I can’t tell if FM transmitters are supposed to sound like that, by virtue of them being (relatively) itty-bitty transmitters (low-power and all that), or if it’s just this brand (their battery-powered model sounds the same) and I need to take it back. This would indicate the former, while this would indicate the latter (although that transmitter, as well as the C-Crane model I’ve been eying, are well over $60, and I’m not inclined to spend that much, and I insist on cigarette-lighter powering). Don’t know anyone on my floor with radio expertise, and, of course, Johnny has no tape deck.

Chez Miscarriage. Anything I say about this site, her writing, or her style simply won’t do her justice. Go forth and read.

I love my chemistry professor. She reminds me a lot of the teacher I had for tenth grade chemistry. Now, despite her guffaw (in my mind) of attempting to teach us an entire lesson (the only one we will have) on Reduction-Oxidation reactions in the fucking pre-lab this Thursday (while butchering the examples), she wins for making atomic orbitals this much fun. Addictive and educational.

Speaking of chemistry lab, I had another good one this past Thursday. I did the more complicated half of the experiment (it was more fun anyway), and let Yoo-Hoo?, my bright light of a lab partner, handle the second half, although I had to tell him what to do. It was a qualitative lab on redox reactions, in which we mixed oxalic acid and potassium permanganate with three chemicals, one acidic, one basic, and one neutral (sulfuric acid, sodium hydroxide, and water); the color changes should indicate what the products are. During clean-up, we were supposed to pour this “Magic Cleaner” (acidic H2O2) into the solutions we made, then dispose of the chemicals in this jug with a ridiculously difficult-to-open top. Well, dees shit was highly reactive, and one of the mixtures (I believe the peroxide/sulfuric acid/oxalic acid/potassium permanganate) overflowed out of the test tube and onto my hands. Now, Yoo-hoo? just stood there and said “Oh, shit,” blocking my access to sinks, soap, paper towels, anything to get the stuff offa me (although the new mixture was probably harmless, hence the point of pouring the hydrogen peroxide into the old solution, I still wanted it gone). Le sigh. After I gave him a hard look, he finally moved his slack-jawed ass out the way. My prof wasn’t concerned or excited–she just said to wash my hands for thirty seconds with soap and warm water–so I figured I wouldn’t die. And my fingers haven’t turned green and fallen off, so I think I’m good.

I’m sure I’m forgetting something… Oh well. Time for my run.

[Listening to “All the King’s Horses” [Randy Crawford / Naked and True]]

Bursts of Life

I don’t feel like expounding on anything at length, but didn’t want to make 15 short little entries for links, etc., so in little bursts:

Process of the Creation of a 1200-Word English Essay, particularly for Dr. Foofoo McKnuckleberry

  1. T minus 10 hours: think of a couple of ideas for a thesis. It doesn’t need to be at all original. This should take about 2 minutes. Recommence previous activities.
  2. T minus 5 hours: start writing the intro paragraph. Get good thesis sentences down, all the while marking up poem/book with (hopefully) relevant examples thought up without extensive research/thought. Unless already hit with inspiration (un-fucking-likely) don’t worry about significance of argument yet.
  3. T minus 4 hours: form a nebuluous idea of essay structure. How much post-intro information will there be before heading into the actual points to be proven, and what format will be taken for the actual argument? Continue marking up any brainstormed examples.
  4. T minus 3.75 hours: write post-intro information–explain briefly what is really almost being taken as given, and make sure too many assumptions aren’t being made.
  5. T minus 3.25 hours: head into actual essay, having already killed over 300 words. Oh, yeah.
  6. T minus 1 hour: probably about 400 words left. Write the conclusion. There’s 100 gone. Break time. Read through what’s written and check for wording problems, spelling problems, unclarity. Further analyze an example–beat the shit out of it. Even out length of analysis all-around. Remember, paragraphs probably shouldn’t just end with a quote, no matter how hard-hitting–profs like it better if you quote, then explain, instead of presenting the idea, then quoting.
  7. T minus 0.5 hours: probably about 200 words left. Skim the examples from the book/poem in context, and… blam. A lucky-as-hell bit of inspiration that never fails and adds a connection not seen during class discussion, and will nudge the grade above 90%. Make this the thread that weaves the whole essay together, linking arguments/examples/paragraphs. All grade problems now will be due to presentation, not argument.
  8. T minus 0.25 hours: update thesis declaration to reflect the newfound actual importance of the original argument. Skim again for errors. Submit.

Today’s lesson? When it becomes formulaic, try something new or get another prof.

Intellectual Whore: a guy who gets classified as “one of the girls”, and thereby never gets any capital P. What’s the chica equivalent?

Jay Allen’s resolution to believe in himself struck a bit of a chord with me. That whole Imposter Syndrome? I gots it kinda bad, I think, based on this. I can also immediately think of two good friends of mine who have expressed similar sentiments. Geez. How many times have I labored over physics or math homework, working alone so no one would find out how much trouble I was having, and how many times have I stepped away from the plate when challenges came my way. Jeebus. More than I thought, looking back on it now…

A girl from the other freshman chick floor just visited us wearing inside-out jeans, a red feather boa, pearls around her waist, and a t-shirt that reads, “Shittles: Taste the Asshole”.

Vertical centering with CSS. Just in case you didn’t know.

There is no better way to break up an all-male (all-hetero) tickling session than to walk in the room and say, “Hey! It’s a sausagefest!”

Some things Prime can do without in 2004–a ridiculously funny read. I particularly appreciated the ones about unsupervised children and Viagra. Clickity-click.

I will admit that I had never heard of Tavis Smiley before reading thebrotherlove’s post mentioning he would be moving to PBS from BET. What do you expect? I don’t watch television. So that night, I tuned in (we get two PBS’s here, ‘cuz we’re near the Illinois border–double the fun) to see Newt Gringrich (didn’t he co-author a sci-fi book published by Baen?) and Wren T. Brown. Brown just killed me. People that talk very very proper English, enunciating every syllable… that fucking rocks. It’s not particularly sexy or anything, it’s just really cool and great to listen to. It makes me jealous, because I used to talk like that, but my parents picked on me so much I set out to let my language become more… vernacular. I was quite the little grammarian, too. Le sigh.

Randy Crawford’s voice is simply the definition of a beautiful female voice. (Let it be known…?) I just recently discovered that I have the “Naked and True” CD (my father played the hell out of “Cajun Moon” when he bought the CD, and I’m still not tired of it), and I’m lovin’ it to death. And she sings “Holding Back the Years”. I think I’m going to cry…

[Listening to “Holding Back the Years” [Randy Crawford / Naked and True]]