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Whatever happened to Benjamin Ragheb?

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Comics I Like
The Perry Bible Fellowship
Bands I Like
The Spaceshots
The Lowest of the Low
Stuff I Do
Fat Penguin
Vulva Van

April 4th, 2008

02:45 pm - Ego
Last night somebody in line for Cage Match recognized me as a member of Fat Penguin.

That was very cool, because usually people are already talking about Fat Penguin and I mention that I am in the group, and then they say, "Really?"

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February 27th, 2008

12:59 pm - Re: Tip: Prevent iPhoto from opening when you plug in your iPhone
A post by Sam on 37signals explains how to write a script so that iPhoto will automatically launch when you plug in your camera but not your iPhone. Sam's script checks the list of USB devices connected to the system and only launches iPhoto if your camera is connected. That method doesn't work so well if you use a USB card reader, since it appears in the list as "USB Storage Device", the same name given to any USB disk. Using Sam's method, iPhoto would open if I connected my iPhone while I had any USB disk connected to my computer.

To overcome this problem, I wrote a new script that finds the name of the last USB device connected, which presumably is the device that triggered the system to execute the script. The script launches iPhoto except when the last device connected is an iPhone. Here is the source:

on get_device_name()
    set list_devices to "ioreg -Src IOUSBDevice | grep '^\\+'"
    set get_name_of_last to "tail -n 1 | sed 's/^\\+-o \\(.*\\)@.*/\\1/'"
    set command to list_devices & " | " & get_name_of_last
    return (do shell script command)
end get_device_name

on run
    if get_device_name() is not equal to "iPhone" then
        tell application "iPhoto" to activate
    end if
end run

Paste that into Script Editor, save it as an application, then go to the Image Capture preferences and set the script application to be launched whenever a camera is connected. You don't need to do all the Terminal stuff that Sam requires in his post because we don't need to know your camera's USB name.

P.S. The comments on the original post make for a fascinating case study in people aggressively missing the point.

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February 19th, 2008

01:07 am - Motivation
I quit my job last week and I still feel like I'm too busy to write.

Wednesday was my last day of work. On Thursday I played dodgeball. On Friday Fat Penguin performed at Laila Lounge. On Saturday we shot another episode of the Vulva Van and attended the Thank You, Robot One Year Anniversary Show. Sunday was Fat Penguin practice followed by Presentational Group Games with Erik Tanouye.

In the free time around those appointments I purchased an outdoor television antenna from Radio Shack and installed it on the roof of my apartment building. Thanks to the Internet, I was able to convince some doubtful salespeople that they really did have one in stock and also learned which direction to point it in.

Whenever I mention the antenna, somebody points out that analog broadcasting will cease in about a year. In case you were about the join the chorus, the antenna won't become obsolete. My television can already decode the digital signals, and they are beautiful; it's the analog tuner in my aging tuner that will be the problem. (Oooh, maybe I can fix that with a coupon!)

The reason I started this post, however, was to make a record of a piece of wisdom that may be useful to me in the coming months. From Shawn Blanc's interview of John Gruber:

Ernest Hemingway said this:
You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again.
He was talking about writing books, but I find his advice perfectly apt for what I’m doing with Daring Fireball. Without having a boss or editor, I could do anything at the start of the day. Leaving off the day before with something specific in mind for what to do next is an enormous aid to getting going.

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February 5th, 2008

11:08 am - A Week of Contests
Sunday: The Superbowl
Giants vs. Patriots

Tuesday: Primary Elections in 22 U.S. States
Obama vs. Hillary

Thursday: UCB Cage Match
Fat Penguin vs. Derrick

Three monumental contests. So far, 1 out of 3 for the underdogs.

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January 21st, 2008

11:46 am - Shed a little light
Today is a holiday without very many songs, and perhaps that's a good thing, because the only one I know of serves its purpose well, reminding us of what we the people are capable of when we are our best.

Oh let us turn our thoughts today
to Martin Luther King
and recognize that there are ties between us
all men and women
living on the Earth
ties of hope and love
sister and brotherhood

That we are bound together
in our desire to see the world become
a place in which our children
can grow free and strong

We are bound together
by the task that stands before us
and the road that lies ahead
we are bound
and we are bound

Listen to the song

Hear Dr. King speak: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbUtL_0vAJk
Current Music: James Taylor - Shed A Little Light

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January 11th, 2008

03:17 am - What just happened here?
My brother's girlfriend gave me a copy of The Game for Christmas. I've been reading it self-consciously on the train, trying to obscure the cover and the spine so it looks like I'm reading any other leather-bound book, e.g. The Holy Bible.

On the way to dodgeball a guy recognized the book in my lap and started talking to me about it. He said he didn't like Neil Strauss's writing so much but preferred material by David DeAngelo, who is mentioned in the book. The guy kept talking to me, even though I didn't have much to say to him, and even when I began to return to the book a few times he would resume the conversation.

I just typed his name into Google and now I'm pretty sure the guy on the train was David DeAngelo himself.

This puts the moment when I told him it was surprising how all the pick-up artists in the book seemed like nerds and losers in a brand new light.

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03:13 am - If I posted more often this would all make more sense
On Monday I saw Steve Kornstein's one man show, In Search of Little Red Rosenberg. It was really, really good. Steve does a lot of crazy in his improv but his show was nothing like that. It was biographical and sweet, and performed very well.

Fat Penguin performed at the PIT on Tuesday with Border Patrol. We perform Friday night with Bombardo at Gotham City Improv.

On Wednesday I had a consult with Dr. Ngozi Etufugh about extracting my wisdom teeth. She made me feel comfortable, in spite of expressing disappointment that I did not have them removed ten years ago when recovery would have been easier. I almost did, but the doctor I met at the time only explained the risks (facial paralysis!) and refused to give an opinion on whether the teeth should be extracted or not.

Today I had my first dodgeball game with a Cornell alumni team. My only frame of reference going in was the movie Dodgeball. (Rent the DVD and watch the alternate ending; then come back here and discuss.) There were seven of us there, about half as many as the other teams. The game permits six players on the court, so we were in much heavier rotation than the others. About halfway through the evening I decided to play more aggressively, closer to the center line, as if I was good. Strangely enough, I had more fun and even hit a guy out. I wish somebody had explained that to me in middle school.

I'm pretty sure I passed John Stossel on the way to work this morning. I wanted to shout something to him cleverly insulting to a libertarian, but nothing came to mind.

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December 14th, 2007

02:09 am - I don't know what to make of this
I work for NYSE Euronext. On Thursday I attended a company "town meeting" which was really a presentation by our Chief Operating Officer, Larry Liebowitz. Afterward I was informed that his brother, Jon, hosts The Daily Show on Comedy Central.

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December 4th, 2007

10:13 am - Want to go with me to a concert on Thursday?
I love the radio show This American Life. A few weeks ago I became curious about a song that was used in the background of the "Mapping" episode; when I tried to find out the title, all I could find was a huge list of almost every song used on the show in the last ten years. I spent over a week working my way down the list, one 30-second sample at a time, slowly becoming obsessed, until eventually I found it: "Kyoko's House" from the soundtrack to "Mishima", composed by Philip Glass.

I was surprised that I liked it so much, because all I knew about Glass was that he did weird stuff like compose a song of nothing but four minutes and thirty three seconds of silence or dump scrap metal into a piano and play it in front of an audience. I later found out I was confusing Philip Glass and John Cage, but I don't feel too bad about that because somebody else I told this story to made the same mistake.

After a few days of listening to the soundtrack of a film I'd never heard of, I saw a flyer in the lobby of my building advertising a live concert by Glass at Carnegie Hall this Thursday. It will be the first live performance of Einstein on the Beach in 15 years. I couldn't ignore the synchronicity, so I bought a pair of tickets, thinking I could find a friend to go with me, since Carnegie Hall is not usually my scene.

So, that's how we got here. Would you like to get dressed up and go to the opera with me on Thursday? I'd hate to see a perfectly good ticket to go to waste.

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December 3rd, 2007

10:26 pm - A damn, dirty shame
I passed on Improdome tonight so that I could do my laundry and arrived home to discover the self-service laundromat around the corner was closed; the Internet hasn't been very helpful in indicating any 24-hour alternatives nearby. I haven't been to Improdome in weeks; I miss it a lot. I need to start going again, especially now that I'll be out of class for a while.

While I'm writing, I might as well mention:

-- I took a week off for Thanksgiving and traveled by plane, train, and automobile: Amtrak to Pittsburgh, roadtrip with my parents to Gainesville, and JetBlue back to New York.

-- I never even started the novel, which is a shame, because "nougat" was a fantastic suggestion.

-- On Saturday, I moved to a new apartment on the Upper West Side. I owe a Wookie Life Debt to my co-worker Peter and his car for helping me move.

-- A TiVo hooked up only to a weak antenna is kind of sad. In theory I could use it to download shows from Amazon Unbox, though.

-- Fat Penguin has a show on Friday at 10 o'clock at Under Saint Marks.

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