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Category Archives: Shoegazing

Ten Years a Scrubbling Fool


A milestone: this week marks the tenth anniversary that I’ve been doing this weblog. It’s hard to believe a whole decade has passed since setting up a Blogger account so I could have a more dynamic element on my little site — complete with impenetrable web address containing a tilde (the domain name would come a few months later). Although as of summer 2000 I had already been doing a monthly music review site (coded by hand!), this new venture opened up a completely new world. Before, the web felt one dimensional; after, it was a veritable lovefest of sharing, discussing, giving and receiving. All these years later, it still astonishes me that anyone would be interested in my ramblings on whatever crappy movie/book/album comes my way.

So, here’s to ten years of the bl*g! To celebrate, here are some links to other bloggers’ tenth birthday posts:

Related: Eight Years of (highlights reel); Seven Years of Unpigeonholable Tomfoolery (a look at the Scrubbles logos from 2000-07).

Living with the iPad


About a month ago, Christopher came to me with a surprise announcement: he was ordering a new Apple iPad. He was thinking about getting something similar to replace our old Dell laptop computer as a simple internet connection for us while going on long trips. As the Apple person in the family, I was delighted with this development — it certainly was going to get more use from me than that crappy Dell.

Now, I’m no early adopter when it comes to new technology, but the iPad really epitomizes what I’d want from a techno-gadget. When the iPhone first came out, I thought “this would be nice without the phone.” Then Apple released the iPod Touch, and I thought “this would be great if it was bigger, so you could read e-books and browse the internet.” Voilà, the iPad! The first generation iPad isn’t perfect; it’s still a bit bulky and the screen could use a few more square inches. However, even after a few weeks I can tell it will be a useful part of our household. We’ve already had a few times while watching a movie when C. will whip out the thing to check on an actor in the Internet Movie Database, a move that would have been not worth the extra work using the laptop.

The first thing I noticed on the iPad is how intuitive the interface is. You move around with the brush of a finger, like on the iPhone but more natural. Typing is accomplished with a small pop-up keyboard. Sure, typing with one hand takes getting used to, but I was able to adapt to it startlingly fast.

The first thing we did was to synched it up to my Mac’s iTunes. I downloaded several free apps, including some news feeds from NPR, the BBC and USA Today. While one could access all three via Safari, I kind of enjoy having them in their own uncluttered state. Browsing on Safari is nice, but the type is a bit too small and I had more than one instance of accidentally tapping the wrong link. As for the controversial lack of Flash, I’ve barely noticed it. Strangely enough, the best app I’ve seen has been MultiPong, a beautifully rendered simple pong game. Speaking of simplicity, there’s also a virtual koi pond app that Christopher immediately gravitated to. I bought SketchBook Pro, which packs an impressive array of features into a measly $7.99 app. At this point I’m just fooling around with it, somewhat frustrated at how I keep accidentally using my fingers to resize my sketches (hmm).

I’ve also explored e-books a little bit with Apple’s iBooks and Amazon’s Kindle app. First off, I think it’s totally cool that Amazon even has a Kindle iPad app. With it, you can see books in color and set the type at a comfortable size, even having pages displayed in brown on sepia (my favorite). I downloaded a cheap copy of Treasure Island with nice color illustrations by N.C. Wyeth; hopefully it’s a sign of things to come that more illustrated ebooks will come along. Although I haven’t explored Apple’s reader, I can already tell that the Kindle has an edge for being able to bookmark pages (if iBooks have bookmarks, I haven’t seen it (note: iBooks does have a bookmark, I now see)). One enormous downside of both is that the type is completely forced justified and not ragged right like in most paper books (remember those?). The font choices aren’t too thrilling, either. Hopefully future updates will remedy that.

Perhaps the most ringing endorsement I have for the iPad is that writing about it here makes me want to fire the thing up and explore more — off I go!

My First Modem

I recently came across a true artifact of its time while cleaning out the garage. This Hayes Accura 1140 modem was purchased after I moved into my first apartment in 1994. Armed with it, a Macintosh IIci, and a new America Online membership, I was ready to blaze the Information Superhighway — at 56K per second! Listen, I even had my place equipped with a separate phone line to enable websurfing and talking on the phone simultaneously (considering my pathetic social life at the time, not really necessary). I’m also not afraid to admit that the AOL membership was mostly used to find dates and look at porn. This was back when it took 15-20 minutes to download one photo, mind you. Thank our lucky stars that the internet has grown up since then, and so have I.


Dig this early AOL commercial from 1995. “A friend of mine told me ‘Try America Online.’ I said ‘Why? I’ve got a computer.'” That line always seemed so bizarre to me, even back then. What, were they selling to complete idiots?

Sunflower Saturday

Every Spring in our backyard, we get a lot of plants randomly growing here and there from the birdseed we throw out every weekend — milo, millet and beautiful sunflowers. I don’t know how it happens (from undigested seeds in bird poo, perhaps?), but we enjoy it a lot. Heavy rains this year have produced a bumper crop of sunflowers, including a couple of massive seven foot tall plants sprouting atop our compost heap. I took some photos last weekend when they were attracting plenty of bees and other flying insects (one of which was caught midflight in the pic below).


In other backyard news, our victory garden is coming along well. We’ve already gotten lots of lettuce which I never anticipated would grow so well in our soil. Carrots and green onions are growing nicely as well. Time to make carrot cookies! We also grew a half row of tomatoes from seeds. I wasn’t expecting much (again, desert ≠ verdant gardening), but the tomato plants have gotten so huge that they’re taking over neighboring crops. Having the garden located in a space that doesn’t get our killer afternoon sun might be helping. At any rate, I’m looking forward to having bunches of tomatoes to go with our lettuce, carrots and onions.

In the Garage

Last week, I went into the little studio we’ve set up for printing LitKids and took some photos to share. I have a nifty little corner of the garage set up with an old drafting table and a few inspirational things hung up on the walls. Things have been moving along okay, if a bit slowly for my tastes. There is so much trial and error involved in home screen printing, especially the method I’m using with photo sensitive goo and light exposures. I won’t bore you by going into too much detail; just want to mention that last Thursday I made the most perfect screen yet — a five minute sunlight exposure with four sharply defined images ready for printing.

Anyway, the photos below show some of the stuff I’ve been working on lately — a screen stretched with a cherished old silk shirt with a comic book pattern (which didn’t stretch right, soaked up too much liquid, and eventually got ripped), a piece with pages from a circa 1900 copy of Treasure Island pasted on, inks, papers, and all that good stuff. Enjoy!








The Cable/Satellite Trap

This New York Post story on how supposedly millions of Americans are giving up their cable and satellite services struck a chord with me. The article mentions that the average cable/satellite customer spends $70 a month on services, about the same as our DirecTV bill here at Chez Scrubbles. With every month that I must fork over that sum, I question why we’re paying so much when we can get the same programs on DVD or online. Do we really use it that much? I still love to watch Turner Classic Movies, but I only record about five or six movies a month on that. We also watch the occasional Modern Marvels or Project Runway, but it seems like everything on cable is about haunted houses, Nostradamus/Bible prophesies, macho men on the job, people with eighteen children, people with physical deformities, people who are grossly overweight, etc. etc. I’m paying for that?

By contrast, our monthly Netflix bill is less than a third of DirecTV’s — and we get so much more entertainment value out of that. Netflix probably hates the way we burn through dozens of movies every month. Now that we have our Wii and wi-fi set up with them, we can watch streamed content on the TV through them as well. I really want to try paring down the satellite to just the local network affiliates for a few months to see if we feel deprived in any way. What do you think?