Thursday, September 14, 2006

Artie Lange on NPR's "Fresh Air"

Artie was interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air this morning. Interestingly, Gross said she and the producers of her show are Howard Stern listeners and think Stern uses the radio medium in an innovative way. She could have said "genius," but I'll have to listen back once the mp3 is posted on NPR's site at 3p eastern today.

The cool thing about this interview is that Gross asks mostly about Artie, his life and progression as a comic and actor. She took the interview seriously, unlike most mainstream media figures who treat anything related to Stern as mere "entertainment," purely "offensive" or a circus freakshow that only appeals to the most crude and base listener. The local NPR affiliate host announced this interview at 7:30 this morning and said that while she "would never listen to Stern," NPR would play an interview Artie Lange, a member of Stern's show. Typical.

They talked about how Artie came to be a part of Stern's show, what he does to prep for the show and the fact that the show acts as a kind of therapy for Artie. They talked a bit about Artie's beginnings on Mad TV, mentioned his movies such as Dirty Work, Lost & Found, The Bachelor, Old School, Elf, and now Beer League.

Artie talked about his desire to only "do the funny stuff" in movies but that with movies like The Bachelor and his most recent movie Beer League he realized that doing other non-funny parts (like creating a believable romantic interest) help develop the characters and allow the funny stuff to work better for the audience.

Gross asked about the death of Artie's father and Artie's response gave tremendous insight into his motivations and addictive behavior. Artie even discussed things I hadn't heard him say on Stern, like bombing at his first try at standup comedy and then not trying again until four years later after his father had died. There was also some discussion of Artie's "waaaah" bit on the show and Artie said the death of his father "was his waaaah."

It was refreshing (hello, Fresh Air) to hear Lange being taken seriously in a major media interview, and the approximately 30 minute piece is well worth listening to.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Why Howard Stern's interviews rule

Howard -- "What do you do?"

Guest Jessica in studio -- "I'm an independent contractor, a courier."

Howard -- "What's that, like, a pigeon?"

-From 9/13/06 show

Friday, September 08, 2006

Feedburner initiated

Thanks to an entry on the McWilliams' World blog I am trying feedburner to manage my RSS feed. I'm not sure whether those of you who subscribe and use feed aggregators will have to resubscribe, but I think Blogger still sends out the standard RSS and Atom feeds. I'll be experimenting with the feedburner syndication "chicklets" as it calls them (the little graphics one clicks on to subscribe to a feed) so some things in the right margin may be reordered or changed, but that's it.

Feedburner allows its members to monitor how many people are subscribers to their feeds, among other things. I love tracking my visitor stats, so these additional numbers will feed my hunger for more data.

Linux distro suggestions request

I know a number of you out there use some distribution of Linux, so I need some advice and information. I'm a big fan of open source software and the general idea and ethic behind it, so I am finally going to make the jump and do an installation to see if I can accomodate all of my computing needs with a fully open source Microsoft-independent PC. Just using Firefox isn't cutting it anymore, and my hard drive with Win2000 is nearing death, so I figure now is a good time for a new hard drive and new OS.

My question is which Linux distribution would you recommend for a first-time Linux user? I know there are legion, but based on your experience what do you think?

There are a myriad of questions you will want to know about my PC hardware and computing preferences before advising me, so I'll try to list below all of the relevant information.

Computing preferences:
Software: Fairly basic needs including word processing, spreadsheet, web browsing, email, mp3, video, pdf, photo editing. Ability to interoperate with MS Office may be a necessity for work.

Hardware: Wireless, wireless, wireless.

Me: I'm an intermediate computer user, able to build a PC and troubleshoot most hardware and software problems. I'm not a coder, but I am familiar with programming structure and logic and take technical issues as a fun challenge.

PC hardware:
  • MSI motherboard, K7T Turbo Limited Edition w/RAID (using onboard sound)
  • AMD Athlon 1133 MHz
  • 512 MB RAM
  • ATI Radeon 7500 AGP, 64 MB, AGP
  • Intel Pro/100S PCI network adapter
  • D-Link AirPlus G DWL-G510 wireless PCI network adapter
  • EIDE hard drives
  • Philips PCRW404 CD-RW400
  • Generic EIDE CD drive, 48x
  • Generic 3.5" floppy drive
I also may try to make an older PC more useful with Linux:
  • ASUS motherboard, VX97
  • Intel 200 MHz MMX
  • 48 MB RAM (non-matching SIMM modules)
  • SoundBlaster AWE 32 (?) sound card
  • ELSA Victory Erazor, 4MB, PCI (thanks, Mish! that was a killer upgrade.)
  • Hauppauge! WinTV card (not a deal-killer if this is not Linux-compatible -- does the "Win" in the name automatically disqualify it? :-P)
  • Kingston PCI network adapter
  • EIDE hard drive
  • Generic EIDE CD drive, 4x (?)
  • Generic 3.5" floppy drive
If I can resurrect my laptop with a new hard drive I will also convert it to Linux:
  • IBM i1452; (Lenovo link)
  • Celeron 366 MHz
  • 64 MB RAM
  • 56K Lucent onboard winmodem, but two PCMCIA slots available for a network card
  • CD/DVD drive, 2x
What I have found so far:
Reading up on the subject, I have found Eric S. Raymond's web page to be inspiring generally about the open source movement, and he made the suggestion of finding a local Linux user group to help with a first-time installation by a Linux newbie. The nearest active one to me is the Linux User Group of Davis and wouldn't you know it, they have Linux installfests.

On distros in particular, SUSE was recommended to me long ago (pre-Novell) by a techie whose opinion I respect, but things may have changed since SUSE was bought out. I've also thought about Fedora Core since it was developed by the ubiquitous Red Hat which I assume makes it more likely to have wide hardware support and consistent technical support. Lastly I've considered Ubuntu, mainly because one of my friends has installed it, it seems to have a small footprint and is pretty much the hot new thing right now.

I haven't decided on a desktop environment yet. The general consensus seems to be "try them and use whatever you like best," so based on what I've read I'll start with KDE.

Ok, go!