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Muxtape 2

"When New York Was New York"

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A random selection from my archive:



Roberto Bolaño, The Savage Detectives


My Wishlist

Moment of Zen


Moment of Zen (inspired by Tim's Koans)

Courtesy of Timmay

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    Saturday, July 31, 2004

    A secure Saturday

    See? Today's collection is worlds dumber. I battled a computer virus recently, and lost. Never again, my friend. Next time I'll be prepared with the help from some of my M.U.S.C.L.E. friends. Would you mess with my computer after seeing an army this vicious? I didn't think so.

    M.U.S.C.L.E. - Keeping the streets safe for the kids.

    M.U.S.C.L.E. - Keeping the streets safe for the kids.

    Friday, July 30, 2004

    A fiery Friday

    Our week-long vacation starts here. We both took next week off and plan to lay low. We'll hit the beach, take a couple day trips (Mystic?), and generally relax. Kicked things off with some light cleaning and organizing. Of course keeping the hot sauce collection in line is most important. So here you go: lots and lots of fiery sauces that probably should be illegalized.

    Fire in the cabinet!

    You think this is a dumb collection? Wait 'til tomorrow. Oh boy.

    Democrats and their web browsers

    An ambitious soul is working on his own version of Internet Explorer 7. His project is "an attempt to make Microsoft Internet Explorer more compliant when it comes to web standards." Good stuff! But can we get the folks in Redmond working on this too? The IE7 Project is being tracked by SourceForge, and things are still in alpha these days.

    Anyway, what I want to say is that I was thoroughly confused this morning when I stumbled upon this news. With the name (and web domain) "Dean Edwards" attached to this project, I thought it was something related to Howard Dean and John Edwards. Kinda like how Al Gore says he invented the Internet.

    My initial reaction was what?! What's with the!? Is Kerry out? Is Edwards now running alongside Dean?? What!? Did I miss some big surprise announcement at last night's finale of the DNC?? Nope. Turns out, I'm just an idiot in need of some coffee.

    Thursday, July 29, 2004

    Whoops! Nothing here by that name.

    We've all made acquaintances with the lovely 404 File Not Found error at one time or another. You click on an outdated link, or mis-type a web address, and suddenly you're face-to-face with a cranky page telling you that nothing exists there.

    There are, of course, many ways to customize a 404 page if you're involved with building websites. For instance, you can gracefully greet visitors with an apology and some helpful tips to get them back on their feet again. More on that shortly.

    I'm at the point in my website project that I'm crossing the i's and dotting the t's -- wait -- strike that, reverse it. The web copy and imagery are still in the works, but for the most part every web page (30 in all) of the new site has been authored, links have been tested, broswer compatibility has been checked, and code has been commented.

    Asterisk*, a blog I frequent weekly, posted a helpful checklist of "The Big Web Design Details" yesterday. It's a helpful list of bullets that makes my life easier when it comes to, y'know, crossing t's and dotting i's. I missed an important detail though: Do you have a custom 404 page? These can be a real help. No doubt.

    So after giving 404s some thought, I created my own within the design of the site which states: "Sorry, but the page you're looking for isn't at this location. You may have followed a bad link or mis-typed a URL. To get back on track, please visit our Site Map, or simply return to the Homepage. Thank you."

    No frills. Just a simple (and I'd like to think, helpful) message to assist a derailed visitor. You can get as fancy as you want though. Check out the 404 Research Lab for a variety of error examples -- riveting stuff, eh? But don't knock it just yet -- Yikes! 404! is a great tutorial for persistent people who refuse to turn their back on a site after one measly "page not found" experience.

    Wednesday, July 28, 2004

    Is this blog sponsored by IKEA?

    Today's the day that the New Haven IKEA opens. You'd think with all the recent comments about IKEA here, they'd be paying me for the updates. As I type this they're handing out free Poang chairs to some lucky (crazy) folks that camped out overnight at the store's front doors.

    Yes, you read that correctly: They camped out overnight. Driving home from work yesterday around 5:30pm, the front sidewalk was littered with tents and sleeping bags. That must have been a fun night, what with the torrential downpours and all.

    This morning, when I drove by around 8:00am, the soggy tents were being packed up and TV news crews were preparing for the grand opening. All this, while others stayed at home catching some zzz's and avoiding the big rush.

    Mind if I make myself comfortable?

    Tuesday, July 27, 2004

    A man? A prisoner! A cage? Iron! Did Noriega care? No, sir -- Panama!

    I love palindromes. And I just stumbled upon the mother of all palindrome lists at The site has the first palindrome I ever learned -- "Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas." I learned this gem from my senior year high school English teacher, Mr. Gardner. He was always at the top of my list as far as favorite high school teachers go, but learning about palindromes cemented him at #1.

    So look to palindromes the next time you're blanking on a good way to finish a formal letter or work e-mail. Instead of the vanilla "Best Regards" go with something like:

    "Red?" "No." "Who is it?" "'Tis I." "Oh, wonder!",

    Sunday, July 25, 2004

    Noteworthy notes from a Sunday evening

    We rounded out a busy weekend in a very relaxing way. Spent an hour or so catching up on some reading at the Book Trader's Cafe in New Haven. Enjoyed some coffee while browsing the aisles of used books. Stumbled upon Ralph Leighton's "Tuva or Bust!" which I bought for $6.95. It chronicles the last journey of Richard Feynman as he attempts to visit Tuva -- the northwest area of Mongolia -- home of the famed Tuvan throat-singing.

    Feynman was a physics professor at Caltech for over 30 years, a contributor to the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, and the individual who uncovered the reason for the space shuttle Challenger disaster (a faulty rubber material that did not hold up under extreme temperatures). He was also pretty crazy. He was a geography nut and decided he wanted to visit Tuva because "Its capital is Kyzyl. A place that's spelled K-Y-Z-Y-L has just got to be interesting." You think?

    Anyway, the book looks cool and it comes with some Tuvan throat-singing samples by way of a bright red flexi record adhered to the inside front cover. Hmm. I wonder how I'll get to hear that? The cashier asked if I was a Feynman fan. I said I'm just a fan of Tuvan music, and he laughed me out of the store.

    Dinner was up next and we had another excellent sushi experience at Miya's. I was adventurous with my two choices: "Water Pig Roll" (tempura curried cooked tuna, goat cheese, and cranberries) and "Kiss of the Smiling Pig Roll" (sweet potato, slivered almonds, and ginger-tangerine marmalade).

    *oink* *oink* A pig motif without a pig in sight.

    A collection of nervous music

    If I wasn't wasting my time collecting black & white stock photography, I'd probably be wasting my time collecting mp3s documenting off-the-wall electronic music. I don't get the sense that these music files are particularly legal, but it's an interesting display of electronic genres including turntablism, electronic, free improv, and tape music/musique concrète. There's an interesting article by the site owner explaining the idiosyncracies of glitch-based music.

    Saturday, July 24, 2004

    Photo opps

    I've mentioned before that Tim and I occasionally play a fun lil' search engine game pulling up images as a result of goofy search queries (like "figure 1b" and "exhibit 10c"). Some of our results have ended up in the Moment of Zen section.

    Now I'm on to something else. For no good reason, I'm collecting stock photography. No particular themes, but all are photographs (not cartoons, clipart, etc) and all are black & white. When I think of it, I jump on to the various stock image sites like Corbis, Veer, iStockPhoto, and so forth. I'll plug in random search words like "marzipan," "irreverent," and "galvanized" to see what happens. That's not normal, is it?

    Anyway, I do this thinking I'll eventually find good use for some of these great photos -- like fun web design projects down the road. Right now, though, I have no particular use except to share some with you.

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    Are you still mousing over these photos? This kid is a boxing fighter in Thailand.

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    Friday, July 23, 2004

    From the "hey! it's still here!" dept.

    I left behind my combination lock at the gym the other day. I packed up my things too quickly in the locker room and took off, leaving my lock swinging on the handle latch.

    Today I took advantage of a free 1-hour consultation with a personal trainer (just to find out how out of shape I am), and whatdoyouknow! Hey! It's still here! My lock was hanging from the locker just as I left it. Good times.

    Thursday, July 22, 2004

    Ohh man... I can see!

    Stand-up comic Brian Regan has a great bit about putting off a trip to the eye doctor. It's not that he's procrastinating for any reason, he just always has something else to do -- even if it's not as important as a check-up. Finally, when he goes and gets new contacts, he says:

    I'm wearing new contact lenses, I just had my prescription changed after 6 years. Ya ever wait that long? And then you're like Man I can see! How can 'Instantly Improve Vision' not be at the top of your 'To Do' list? Ehh, I'll see tomorrow - I got a sock drawer I gotta sort out.

    I had a very similar experience last night with our air conditioner. Our huge A/C has been buried in basement storage since we moved here. Several times over the last couple weeks, I got very close to digging it out, but there was always something else that came up (like the need to organize a sock drawer).

    Finally, last night, I pulled it out and installed it, which surprisingly took very little time. Moments later, it was crankin' out a trillion BTUs and cooled down the bedroom in 10 minutes. Why did I wait this long? How can 'Instantly Improve Sleep' not be at the top of my 'To Do' list?

    Man alive. At least we have some cool air now. As the hipsters would say, our bedroom is nice and deck.

    Wednesday, July 21, 2004

    Goodbye Flix! Hello Flex!

    Since my move to Connecticut, I've been eating healthier than I ever have in my life. However, I haven't worked out since last September when I gave up my gym membership in Cambridge. That's now changed. I've decided to forgo the $22/month Netflix fee for the $34/month LA Fitness membership fee.

    Actually, now that I see "LA Fitness" in print, it seems awfully non-macho for a gym. But really it's an awesome place for a workout. They opened a few months ago, and it's a massive location. All new Life Fitness equipment, a 4-lane pool, saunas, a hot tub (gonna make you sweat!), a basketball court, raquetball courts, and more free weights than you'd ever need.

    I think I'll spend most of my time at the entrance of the locker room, though, where there are plush couches and a huge flatscreen TV playing movies (Sunday's feature was "Back To The Future"). Wait a minute. That doesn't sound good. On second thought, I won't be loitering around the locker room. Yeesh.

    In any case, I've opted for fewer movies and more exercise in the future. I guess, for now, it's my density... I mean, my destiny.

    Tuesday, July 20, 2004

    Note to self:

    Don't use windshield washer fluid while driving with the moonroof open.

    Monday, July 19, 2004

    Viva Karateka!

    Somewhat by coincidence, a couple friends simultaneously dropped me a note today to share the fake Peasant's Quest video game trailer available on A spoof on King's Quest and 80s video games, the trailer's very funny and definitely worth checking out. By the way, thanks Eric for the easter egg tip at the end of the trailer: "Once you're done click on the upper right hand corner of the black screen for an easter egg."

    Peasant's Quest reminded me of the hours of fun I had with my first computer, an Apple IIe. Thanks to emulators, I quickly found a bunch of my old favorite games available for download. Actually playing any of these games would be a massive waste of time and I'm not going to be sucked in. However I did try Karateka. Woo! Karateka! I loved that game! I never beat it, but I got to the final bad guy a hundred times. He was like Mike Tyson -- unless you knew the exact moves (which I didn't) there was no way of rescuing the girl.

    The Apple Emulator website also has Conan, Captain Goodnight, Castle Wolfenstein (no hacked Smurfenstein though), Lode Runner, and Prince of Persia. I loved all these, especially once we got a double disk drive so I wasn't constantly flipping over and inserting new floppy disks to continue each game. Instead I could enjoy the sublime back and forth hum of the drives as they served up the next level of 8-bit challenges.

    What I'm most excited about, though, is Swashbuckler. I absolutely loved this game but the version I had was... *ahem*... pirated and it wasn't a clean copy. Near the end of the 2nd level, the game would always freeze and I'd have to reboot. But it was sooo worth the frustration. I loved my pirated pirate game. AAAAARRRRRR.

    Sunday, July 18, 2004

    The artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known As

    Prince is back. I think you hear him knocking, and I think he's coming in, and he's got a 3-hour live show, lots of purple-clad fans, a free CD at the door, umpteen costume changes, a really silly looking guitar, the New Power Generation backing band (with an outstanding drummer), a microphone shaped like a pistol, a mortarboard-wearing Maceo Parker, some crazy dance moves, and a boatload of his classic hits.

    The sold-out show last night at the Hartford Civic Center was fantastic. I mean, it's Prince. How could it not be fantastic? He's an icon -- and he had an icon for a name for a little while. I haven't been to a concert that size in a long time. The Civic Center was packed and the audience was a motley crew of fans ranging from early teens to early 60s.

    At times, the band was so musically tight and explosive, I thought I was watching James Brown's band on stage. At other times, Prince connected with the audience with a single purple guitar and a set of acoutic blues-funk covering his old hits in a strange, almost-stream-of-consciousness medley.

    The 46-year old can still jump around on stage like he's 20 and put on an action-packed entertaining show. He's a silly, silly man.

    Saturday, July 17, 2004

    Puzzle purr-fection

    We did it! After a long hiatus from working on this puzzle, we finally picked up the pieces and finished it off this week. See what perseverance can get you? Apparently it can get you a 500-piece puzzle of a bunch of cats riding a stagecoach. Yee haw!

    ...and not a piece missing.

    Now we're ready for a real challenge. Do puzzles of Rothko paintings exist?

    Friday, July 16, 2004

    It's time for the Swedish fanfare

    We now know that the IKEA in New Haven will be opening on Wednesday, July 28. That's less than two weeks away! The first 200 people in line for the Grand Opening at 9am will receive a free Poang chair -- whatever that might be. I think it's a bouncy chair that goes *poang* *poang* when you sit on it.

    I know some of you will be very excited about this update, while others of you... mmm... not so much.

    Leave me alone!

    Thursday, July 15, 2004

    Meal deals for a po' boy

    A small network of restaurants in the Hartford area take advantage of the Repeat Rewards program so customers can collect points with each visit. One of these establishments is The Cookhouse in East Hartford which I gave two thumbs up a couple months ago.

    Not only is the BBQ good, but they're relentless with their marketing promotions. During my first visit, I signed up for their points program and was given a $3 coupon to use on my next meal. So I returned and had a pulled pork sandwich (the waitstaff is so friendly!). A few days later, I received the restaurant network's newsletter in the mail. *BooM* Another coupon to use -- this time for $5 off the next purchase.

    I've since used that coupon, and today I returned with postcard in hand to receive double points for my catfish po' boy. They just keep reeling me in! By the way, I'd be dumping these promotions if it weren't for those sweet potato fries that are just so darn good.

    I wonder what I'll get next? Maybe another coupon? Just call me BBQ Boy!

    Bless Bless

    If you're looking for the perfect soundtrack to accompany your carefree tumbles down a grassy knoll this summer, I've got just the thing. The Icelandic music group Múm have a DJ set available online from a BBC Radio 1 session recorded in April 2002. Almost an hour long, the set is in mp3 format and includes great tracks by Múm, Augustus Pablo, Manual, and Sigridur Nielsdottir otherwise known as the "charming casio lady."

    In 2001, soon after Múm's release of their first album Yesterday Was Dramatic - Today Is OK, I dropped them an email to say hello. They responded cordially:

    Hallo Sean.

    Thanks for writing us, we are happy you like our musik. Are you from the United Stadt? Sorry we did not write sooner, we have been in isolation, recording a new one. Hope you will like it.

    bless bless,

    das múm

    By the way, we must thank Chris for discovering the DJ set I mentioned above. So, Chris: Thank you, and bless bless.

    Tuesday, July 13, 2004

    (Another) rant on web standards

    I know I've blabbered on about "web standards" in the past. I don't have to explain why I'm a proponent at this point. Adopting web standards just makes sense. (But if you want supporting arguments, look no further than the Web Standards Project).

    The last 12 months have seen some significant support for web standards.'s re-design is web standards friendly, as well as the New York Public Library's new site. Countless other websites have taken the plunge too. As a result, they've provided faster rendering times for their users, more flexibility for updates, and, most importantly, better cross-browser compatibility.

    Enter I love this site. I have always loved this site -- certainly more for its content than its design. It's a wealth of information about music. Arguably the most exhaustive online resource for artist and album information, including bios, discographies, and reviews.

    I wouldn't be able to guess the number of visitors they receive each day, but I bet it's a heavily trafficked site. You could easily make the statement that AllMusic is a very popular, very visible site, and it's one of the few authorities on music available at our fingertips. And, there's no doubt it's been around the block.

    So for the love of all that's relaunched, why did AllMusic re-design their site to accomodate only one type of browser?!? I knew they were in the process of cleaning up their look, so I was expecting a slicker appearance paired with a better navigational scheme. Unfortunately I can't comment on either of these potential improvements because I receive this alert when I try to access the homepage:

    Notice: You are accessing with a browser that is not currently supported. The appearance and functionality of the site could be impacted. is optimized for Internet Explorer 5.5 and above for Windows.

    Good stuff, huh? All I wanted to do was look up information on the lounge legend Arthur Lyman. But whamo! No dice. Some of the homepage appears, but it's rendered incorrectly with margins overlapping margins, text floating off the page, and critical features simply not working (including the search button).

    I'm not about to stop using the Firefox browser because of these problems. But it really is a shame that a site as *important* as AllMusic didn't factor cross-browser compatibility into their re-design. I know you're thinking, so what, 95% of internet users rely on Microsoft's Internet Explorer and they'll never encounter any problems with AllMusic. True, but as a result, the web designers and developers that cater to Internet Explorer are also catering to the lowest common denominator. Despite what some believe, you can create a website that works on all browsers, including Internet Explorer. The ironic thing is that taking this route (and adopting web standards) means lighter pages, better code, more flexibility, and *ahem* cross-browser compatibility.

    So, my response to AllMusic's new digs is simply: "C'mon guys, you're a big-time veteran site. You should know better." Maybe I'll take my Dad's advice, and write a letter. It won't force them to change their site, but at the very least, I hope to get an explanation as to why they chose the path they did.

    [EDIT: Oh goody. It seems that I'm not the only one who's having problems with the AllMusic relaunch. Here's a more in-depth look at the re-design, and the problems therein.]

    Monday, July 12, 2004

    Are you surfing without surf music?

    Don't get caught surfing this summer without the necessary tunes. If you're looking to expand your collection of exotica music, look no further than The Islanders. Their 195? record The Enchanted Sound of The Islanders is an intoxicating mix of surf rock and lounge. Best of all, this out-of-print gem is available for free legal download (cover art and all) at BellyBongo's Sharity site. Surf's up!

    Sunday, July 11, 2004

    A summer afternoon in SoNo

    One of Connecticut's best examples of city renewal and revitalization is South Norwalk. 30 miles down the coast from us, SoNo (the historic district) is home to lots of little shops and some fantastic restaurants. Washington Street cuts through the heart of SoNo and is usually hopping à la Newbury Street.

    Washington St in SoNo

    If you ever find yourself here, definitely check out Caffeine at the marina end of Washington Street. Caffeine is a coffee and chocolate lounge with an incredibly relaxing, eclectic atmosphere.

    I wish I was listening to Yo La Tengo's The Sounds of the Sounds of Science while visiting the Maritime Aquarium. The instrumental score that Yo La Tengo created for French filmmaker Jean Painleve's underwater documentaries would've been a great soundtrack to making friends with the sea lions, sharks, sea turtles, seahorses, and *yowsers!* jellyfish.

    Friday, July 09, 2004

    Simone! Quit playing with your Dingy!

    I had a correspondence last week with the creator of my all-time favorite comic strip, Zippy the Pinhead. The artist Bill Griffith has been including a finicky cat named Dingy in his cartoons lately. Dingy has an uncanny resemblance to our cat, Simone -- in both appearance and personality. One of the Dingy strips from last week came eerily close to Simone. I figured Bill Griffith was peering into our windows at night (after all, Mr. Griffith does live in CT these days).

    I had to let him know, so he got an email from me with an explanation of Simone and some PG-13 images including this one:

    Not very lady-like

    Within minutes, Mr. Griffith replied:

    Glad to hear Dingy made your day (most of his predelictions are based on my spoiled cat, Licky) ---and say hi to Simone. From me, anyway. Dingy thinks she's invading his territory.
    -Bill G.

    Now I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this correspondence has weaved its way deep into Mr. Griffith's creative mind. I'm hoping we'll soon see a new character in the strip, a female doppelgänger (or love interest?) of Dingy, named Simone.

    Thursday, July 08, 2004

    Jump on the blogwagon

    The best part about Blog In A Box is the image of the product. It looks like there's a small businessman trapped in the box, peeking out, saying, "Hey guy. Can you help me out of this box?"

    By the way, *ugh* -- what an awful product.

    Wednesday, July 07, 2004

    Three unrelated observations for the day

    1. Today is most certainly a "non-weather" day in Connecticut. A rare phenomenon, a non-weather day graces us in the Northeast only 2-3 times a year. It's one of those days when you step outside and it feels like indoors. The temperature and humidity are just right and they create the illusion of absence of weather. It's like the climate of your body perfectly matches the climate of your surroundings. In short, it's a really nice day out there.

    2. I tried the Burger King salad for lunch. The verdict is in: It's just as disgusting, and unhealthy, as the McDonald's salads.

    3. The advertisements served up by the commenting service I use (HaloScan) are often odd. But I think today's takes the cake.

    Thanks for that

    See, I don't know what that means.

    Tuesday, July 06, 2004

    They come out in the heat

    If this guy was on the same side of the screen as me, you wouldn't be reading this right now. You wouldn't be seeing this photo. Nope. Instead, you'd be hearing me run away from my house as fast as I could... screaming like a little schoolgirl the whole way. *shiver*


    Monday, July 05, 2004

    *BooM* fireworks go *BooM*

    This weekend we didn't catch a full fireworks display. Instead, we saw bits and pieces of fireworks shows out of the corners of our eyes: Down the road from our home near Savin Rock, over the trees in Alyssa's parents' backyard, off in the distance while driving on Route 2, across the lake in Rindge, New Hampshire, and through the WBZ newscast on TV.

    Aww shucks. Maybe next time we'll motivate to attend a full show somewhere. There'll be plenty more legal impromptu ka-booms in this state, especially if they continue running billboards like these.

    Fireworks go *BooM*

    Saturday, July 03, 2004


    We found ourselves spending most of the afternoon sprawled on the beach at Hammonassett State Park. Both the East Beach and West Beach were packed, but with 2 miles of sands, there was plenty of room to enjoy our own space.

    Hammonassett Beach

    Hammonassett Beach

    Once we felt comfortably sun soaked and salted, we shopped the Clinton outlets. Visitors were walking away with bagloads of goodies. We were less successful: Alyssa found a nice pair of summer shoes, and I found a bottle of peppercorns. Woo! Peppercorns!

    One for the win column

    My week was clouded with losses: A broken toe - check! A sinus cold - check! A wiped out hard drive - check! But every so often, a win comes along that makes the losses fade to the background for a while. I heard back from the management team of the Business Intelligence firm whose website relaunch project is resting squarely on my shoulders. They took a few days to review my web design prototypes (i.e., webpage mock-ups of a new homepage and a deeper content page). When they got back to me, they gave my work a thumbs up. Of course, they had feedback and they're requesting some tweaks. But the changes that need to be made are cosmetic and minor.

    Bottom line: I can begin to move ahead on all the new webpage authoring work. This is a big one for the win column because: 1) they liked my ideas (always a good place to start) including my meager graphic design abilities, 2) their green light means that I have a clearly agreed-upon project secured for the next 3 months, 3) the bulk of my time for the next 3 months will be dedicated to work I really enjoy, and 4) this will be my first soup-to-nuts web project to add to my experience where I have full responsibility over all aspects of the site.

    OK. Maybe I'm a little too excited, sorry. I'm just happy I've got a win on the board to offset the computerless, sneezy, limping losses from earlier this week.

    Friday, July 02, 2004

    Friday's Monkey

    See. I wouldn't let you down. Friday's Monkey is my favorite new friend. The king of the primates. The monkey who puts the Mystics to shame.

    Friday's Monkey

    Special bonus: If you like this meditative mammal, then celebrate The Week of the Monkey year-round with commemorative desktop wallpaper (1024x768).

    As for next year, 2005 will be The Year of the Rooster. Maybe I'll take my camera and go farm-hopping...

    Thursday, July 01, 2004

    Thursday's Monkey

    Today's monkey isn't a monkey at all. I cheated. This little guy is actually a red panda. But for the record, he was acting like a monkey. I promise that you'll see a bona fide monkey tomorrow -- the final day of The Week of the Monkey. I've saved the best for last. Promise.

    Thursday's Non-Monkey

    A lesson learned

    I know it's The Week of the Monkey, but I'd just like to interject here for a moment. I learned a horrible lesson yesterday. What do you do when a terrible virus sweeps through your computer and you don't know how to stop it? How do you react? I don't even know the name of the virus that hit my PC, but I know the damage it caused. It wiped out my hard drive -- completely reformatted it and I was helpless trying to stop its progress.

    I learned a horrible lesson about backing up files, or in my case the failure to back up files. I lost basically everything. My resumé, job leads, all my contacts, emails, hundreds of digital photos including our Hawaii vacation (aside from what's left here on this site), my music, my freelance work, my website development for a client (actually all my work for the client), and a development environment that was built for a subcontracting project, not to mention various settings I created and software I installed since buying the computer. You know, all those little tweaks you do to make your computer your own, the way you want it.

    I can salvage a few scattered files from my work computer and servers. But, for the most part, I'm starting from scratch. In short, I lost my digital life from the last nine months. There must have been a way I could've avoided this calamity. Sure: Perform frequent back-ups. I guess I never thought losing everything was a possibility. Well, now I've learned my lesson. I'll begin burning files to CDs to keep in safe storage; and I'll even look into external hard drives. It'll be a busy (and likely frustrating) holiday weekend to get things off the ground again.

    My advice to you: Stop reading this post, and start backing up your files. Even if you did it last week, the extra effort it takes to perform the back-up will be nothing compared to the work you'll need to do if tragedy strikes. Don't make the same error I made. Happy saving.