Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Touch of the Plague

This week I've had to work from home, leave work early, and call in sick all-together, thanks to this nasty fever/head-cold combo bug. In retrospect, trying to work from home the first ill day instead of just resting while cartoons on the television invaded my dreams, as well as going to work the next day, and going to the gym afterwards, and going to the gym the following morning, all while I wasn't "all better," but instead, "definitely feeling better so what's a little exercise going to harm me," were all bad ideas. Leaving work early was the start of a bout of fatigue and dizziness that developed in to one of the most hellish nights of sleepless fatigue, fever-dream-logic (both waking and non-waking), and dry mouth I can ever remember. I think I need to learn to take care of my body more because, ironically, it's my compulsive nature to want to take care of my body in one respect that has me completely failing in another.

I've been spending my time trying to do things that aren't physically assertive: reading, playing video games, watching Lilo and Stitch. Today I paused to wonder why my villagers in the town of Kasandora would build their homes so close to the very same evil pyramid that they were asking me to vanquish in their prayers not two burnt sacrifices ago. On that note, I beat the game in one sitting, though still with not enough world population to reach the maximum level.

The image I posted is, again, of the town of Kasandora, which is the city that is stricken by plague...and here I am myself, plague-stricken...hmmmm

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

On Being A HiFi Consumer Whore

I think I'm done throwing money at my ears at this point. After grabbing a pair of Etymotic Research ER-4P in-ear headphones (or IEM's [yes, I know that the 'M' does not stand for "headphones"]), even though they sounded fantastic, I had let a friend of mine talk me in to investing in a portable headphone amplifier. The one I ended up choosing after some research on the fantastic head-fi.com forums, was the Minibox-e+. This was because I liked the look of the build, it had great reviews from the community, but mostly because I couldn't ignore the fact that a feature on the amp, "PtoS," was stuck there specifically for my model headphones. Etymotic makes two versions of my headphones, the ER-4P and the ER-4S, the only difference between the two being the amount of impedance. Etymotic made the ER-4P with less impedance so that it could be driven by relatively weak amplifiers in devices like iPods, though what you gain from that in bass and volume you loose in detail, and so the "PtoS" switch adds that exact amount of missing impudence back to the headphones, which can now be properly driven.

What's cool about the headphone amplifier scene is that, with few exceptions like headroom.com, they're nearly all hand-made by individuals, not larger companies. The community on head-fi.com likewise is very personal with people giving frank and detailed reviews of the products, and where the amplifier manufacturers also interact with people and seem to respond to questions and feedback.

I have to concede though...the one thing that really sucks about having a hi-fi setup is you really start to notice songs that were recorded poorly or with low bit rate. Still, though I know I have friends that call my excessive or throw around nasty names like "audiophile," listening to the albums from my favorite ambiance/trance label, Sending Orbs, encoded in lossless format sound...wonderful.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I Hope Aspen's Not Reading This; Strategies Of The Frustrated

I really hope not...though I know the odds are against me (read: function of 1 out of total number of people who read this {read: small}, multiplied by some co-efficient {things usually are}). So, the usual theme of "woe is me"-related-conversation between my friends and I is that I feel like I'm suffocating in Santa Barbara. The gay community here is small, closeted, and frustrated from virtually zero grounds for social interaction (read: gay bars or some other form of social scene where being gay is, at most, assumed). Because of this, I find that it's impossible for me to date people, and it doesn't help that I'm finding out that I'm actually kind of picky. I think I average about 2 dates a year, and frankly, it's driving me mad and making me more than a slightly bit depressed. The part where this becomes shameful is that I...joined an online dating service.

...yeah.

On a whim on a monday (the day when this problem is on my mind the most), I checked out Chemistry.com, took the personality test and created a profile, and was shown 3 of my "matches." It should have been a strong foreshadowing of just how worthless a service this would be when I only received 3 matches, considering that before becoming a paying subscriber, you're allowed up to 5. Now..."free matches" doesn't mean the ability to interact with those matches, it's just sort of a tantalizing sales strategy. You can see your matches, people can see you and, if they're subscribers, express interest in you through the site's infrastructure (which is very strict about leaving no hint of alternate means of contact in your profile, which might threaten their business model). Aside from it being stupid of me to think that a website dedicated specifically to matchmaking would somehow magically make more gay people appear in this town, my dissatisfaction with this...scam, is the way they lure people in. The problem is that upon becoming a paying subscriber ($50 moneys for one month), there is absolutely no guarantee that these people who show up in my matches are, themselves, paying subscribers.

I've "shown interest" in 5 people now, the last 3 merely to test my theory, with no response, and that means neither a "yes" or a "no thanks, not interested." I'm thoroughly convinced at this point that I'm one of very few actual active, paying profiles in the tri-county's presence on chemistry.com. I'm looking at this on the bright-side and figuring that my $50 was well spent on being able to contact a friend from my past, circa 10-12 years ago, who ended up being one of my first 3 matches, and with whom I had a fun time hanging out and catching up. Of course, being a non-paying user himself, he wasn't able to use the site to respond to me, however knowing my last name, google was able to accomplish the rest. So...in a sense, given that this is, I'm pretty sure, the only good thing that will come out of this shitty service for the remainder of the month I bought, what I payed for was a $50 bit on information sent to an old friend. A very expensive ping.

I have a coworker who tried to cheer me up by telling me about a website he had seen on digg called lovetastic.com. When he asked me how I liked it I responded by showing what turned up after searching for my zipcode with a 50 mile radius: 3 people. He took it that I was not amused. However...I still made a profile. Ha.