Bookshelf Porn

I enjoy those shelf porn posts that pop up from time to time (“Ooo! Books! Comics! Avarice!”) so I thought I’d do one, too, since I just got this fabulous bookcase and is just about finished sorting stuff out to put in it.

But first I had to rip out the baseboard so that the shelf could fit neatly to the wall. Look at this awesome wallpaper design I found behind it:

So awesome.

Wall ready.

Shelf installed!

Yes, it’s the same colour as that car down there.

Most of these comics have been living in shortboxes in a cupboard for the last few years, and the problem is, of course, how to select the stuff I want to stare at in the living room. You have to have some kind of system, don’t you? Yes. So I went for…

Japanese comics.

Raw and Raw-associated stuff.

Alternative weeklies.

Pap-pap comics.

And Drawn & Quarterly, Uncivilized, Picturebox and stuff like that. Leaving most Fantagraphics stuff to languish in the bookcase in the office.

And while rooting and sorting, I inevitably found an entire stack of comics that I’ve bought twice (or more). Does everybody do this? I think I’ll drag them over to the used bookstore.

Since I’m re-buying (and the re-reading without knowing) so many comics, perhaps I should just consciously re-read comics more. And since they’re now prominently displayed within arms reach (I have long arms), perhaps that’s going to happen.

Sure.

Compact Video Data

I’m thinking about watching a buttload of older films… perhaps all from the 40s? I’m not sure. In any case, I’ve started poking around to see what’s available, and I stumbled onto a 50 musicals box set for $7 (used), which made me so curious I just had to get it.

And it arrived today:

It’s about as thick as two normal DVD covers…

Inside are 12 cardboard envelopes that have two DVDs each.

And these DVDs are of the seldom-seen double-sided type: You play one side, then flip them over and then play the other side. I don’t think the concept proved very popular, because I think this is like the second time in my life I’ve seen disks like this.

So what’s the content like? These are single layer DVDs, so there’s only 4.7GB available on each side. Since there are two to three films on each side, they’ve compressed each film down to under 2GB, which means that they’re sometimes a bit on the artifacty side.

And the transfers they’ve sourced these DVDs from? Oy vey. A couple look like they’ve been imported via VHS, but most of the ones I’ve sampled look better than that.  However, they are completely unrestored. Very scratchy and noisy and sometimes blurry.

Oh well. What can you expect from something this cheap? The films themselves are mostly very obscure, which makes me excited to watch them at some point…

Blacker than Black? A Small Monitor Review

I’ve been using an Emacs-based alarm clock for almost a decade through various hardware incarnations.

The main issue is the screen: It’s difficult to find a small screen that has a good black level. The last version used this USB IPS screen from MIMO, and it’s just about as good as you can get with IPS.

It’s difficult to illustrate just how it looks since the camera helpfully adjusts everything, but with the camera on manual, I think this is just about right when it’s darkish in the bedroom. When it’s completely dark, its glare is rather annoying.

So! I got an OLED screen today, because OLED has perfectly black blackness, right?

Quotes like “Produces True Blacks” and “Because OLED displays are not backlit like LCDs but rather lit by each individual pixel, black means black. This yields a contrast ratio of infinity to one.” can’t lie, can they?

And everybody knows that an OLED pixel that’s off doesn’t emit any light, right?

That is, indeed, quite black. But is it completely black?

No. If you look closely, it’s trivial to see where the black bezel ends and where the screen, filled with black pixels, starts. (The picture above exaggerates the issue a bit, depending on your monitor.)

But here we compare the IPS screen (to the right) with the OLED screen (to the left) in a completely dark room. The difference is huge. YUGE! But it’s not perfect!

The myth of total blackness in black OLED pixels: Busted.

SO DISAPPOINT!

Oh, well. This is approximately what this screen looks like from my vantage point in the bed when I’ll be waking up in the middle of the night and wondering what time it is before going back to sleep again, cursing the monitor gods and waiting for the next hardware revolution.

Sad!

Bordering on Insanity

I use Borderlinx to bounce packages via when I buy stuff from ebay, since so many American ebay sellers don’t want to ship cheap items abroad. And it gives me greater control on when packages arrive, and it’s cheaper.

pornoSo everything went well for months, and then two packages were stopped because they apparently contained contents that can’t be shipped to Norway.

Whaa?

I mean… I could understand it if they were antsy about shipping edgy stuff to Saudi Arabia, but Norway?  That’s like…  whaa?

These are comics I’ve been buying for my Fantagraphics project, and are just normal indie comics, I would have thought.  Nothing to get riled up about.  Why are they opening the packages in the first place?  “Pornographic cartoon”?  Really?  Which one?  And what’s the other package about?

The Borderlinx depot is in Dayton, Ohio.  Is that part of the bible belt or something?  Why are these people sitting there reading my comics?  WHAT”S GOING ON!!!1

I got in touch with customer support, and five days later I got this response:

stop2OK, it’s…  pornographic…  It still doesn’t say what it is, but by using triangulation between dates and tracking IDs, I think it’s probably an issue of Pressed Tongue by Dave Cooper.  Well, OK, I can see how that might be…  er…  challenging.  He’s very squishy.  Let me show you a random page from another one of his series, Weasel:

_1320021See?  Squishy and somewhat icky: Cooper deals a lot with body horror.  I don’t think that this would be masturbatory material for most people, though.

stop1Adventures on the Fringe!?  But that’s a comic book in this style:

_1320022It’s a humorous comic book!  In old-timey underground stylee!  Cocaine usage and nudity!?  Whaa!?

Well, the cost of these comics are like $2 each, and if I want them to ship it somewhere else in the US, they want $35. Borderlinx is remarkably cheap: Is this how they make money?

I guess I’ll just have to ask them to destroy these dangerous comics and buy them from somebody else.  And ship them through Shipito instead.

Norway will be safe from moral turpitude for a couple weeks more, and I have to decide whether to continue to use Borderlinx or not.  I certainly can’t ship more expensive items through them if they are destroyed at random. Perhaps there’s cocaine use in that next comic book?  The horror.

Useful Consumer Review

WIFI doesn’t work, but some wireless solutions work less than others.  After years of searching, I’ve been using an ASUS AC87 wireless access point (what other people for inexplicable reasons call “a router”, even if you’re just running it as a bridge), and it’s almost worked, most of the time.

That is, even with a WIFI repeater, I’ve never been able to watch video over sshfs in the kitchen.

But behold!

_1320015See?!  Star Trek: The Next Generation!  From Bluray!  Over sshfs!  Over WIFI!  In the kitchen!

And while I could occasionally watch video in the kitchen on that small laptop (while doing the dishes), the bandwidth was never sufficient for Blueray, and often would just drop completely on lower bandwidth items, too.

_1320016Because I’ve got a new WIFI access point.  It’s a (as you can see in this blur-o-vision) Linksys EA9500, and has something that seems like a sarcastic amount of antennas.  The amount and size both seem humorous, but if it works, it works…

_1320018

Just look at that downtrodden ASUS access point, with only four (only 4!) puny (tiny!) antennas!  No wonder I couldn’t watch Bluray over sshfs over WIFI in the kitchen!

Useful Consumer Review

What with all these cocktails, I was getting tired of carrying bags of ice cubes from the store.  So I bought an ice cube machine today:  Logik L12IM14E.

It’s not connected to the water mains, so it can be placed anywhere, but it’s on the kitchen counter for now.  And it’s kinda noisy.  I guess it’s a compressor and a fan in there, so the noise is quite nice and steady, but it’s still more than what you’d want to have around you in the kitchen for hours.

I think it took about an hour and a half to fill the basket with frozen…  shapes. The ice cubes, as you can see, aren’t very cubic.

_1310601And as you can see from the milky look, they’re full of air bubbles.

_1310605

I popped the finished basket of ice…  bullets…  into the freezer, which made them even cloudier.  And they froze into a solid block.

_1310606

I put the block into a plastic bag and bashed it against the cutting board a few (OK, many) times, and they came unstuck, and you can see the final result above.

Not very impressive, but they taste OK.  The amount of air bubbles means that they’ll melt faster, and break up more when shaking.

Rating: Perhaps usable.

Useful Consumer Review

I got some of these Duralex Provence glasses last year because they’re the prettiest glasses ever:

_1310594But I was putting some of them away just now, and I er dropped one of them onto another a stack of them:

_1310593_1310592The glass broke and totally disintegrated!  Into a gazillion teensy bits!

I’ve never seen a glass break like that.  Half of the … glass dust ended up in the bottom glass, but the rest is all over the floor and the work areas.

I’ll have to vacuum the entire kitchen when I wake up tomorrow.

But they’re still very pretty.  And are supposed to last forever if they don’t explode.