Die A Hero Or Something

You know, I was writing a huge rant about how Apple has lived long enough to become the enemy 1 but fuck it. There’s plenty of reasons to steer clear of Apple these days so I decided to delete the whole thing and just post a couple of pics of one of the PC’s I built at the end of last year.

1: Yes, I’m referring to the petty bullshit Apple is pulling with the recent EU decision. While Apple has done me dirty over the past few years, this new shit makes me glad I’ve stepped away They’re now showing themselves to be the petulant, greedy fucks that they are.

2023 Books, Part 2 And An End Of Year Update

Back in June, I wrote:

At the end of last year I decided to post about the books I’d read in 2022. In that post I said: “… for 2023, I plan to read even more.” Six months in and I’ve already surpassed last years count, so why not do two entries for 2023?

I didn’t get lazy with my reading in the second half of the year I just got busy and only managed to finish four books (compared to the sixteen I read from January to June).

Shit got real in the second half of 2023. We had major issues with a family member and that led to the issues with the condo (which we’re still dealing with). That whole scenario sucked the goodwill right out of us and left us feeling angry, hurt, and used.  Mrs. Tucker broke her foot which halted our plans of backyard hangouts (which we were looking forward to because we were not travelling this year). She also had two surgeries; one in the late summer and one in the fall. My job became increasingly… weird. I’m not sure how I feel about how things are unfolding on that front. Time was in short supply.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom though. We moved one of the kids downstairs to the space that I was using as an office/recording room and turned it into a kick ass bedroom for her. I then moved the office upstairs which I now share with Mrs. Tucker. I built her and I gaming computers 1. She’s finished the first Witcher game, is about to start the second instalment, and I’ve been taking some time exploring Night City in Cyberpunk 2077.

I’ve also downsized. A lot. After moving the office up here, I realized I had way too much shit that I just don’t use or just don’t need. I sold my beloved Tascam audio interface. Without the drums, I had no real need for something that size. I did some research and picked up a second hand Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Gen3. I also sold off my bass amp and cab, some mics, the big Ikea desk, and other random doo-dads.

Hovever, The BIGGEST and BESTEST news of 2023 was that we paid off our house. Yes, you read that right. At the end of July, I walked into the bank with a cheque in my hand and asked them to dissolve the mortgage.

We did it. With a little luck, and some belt tightening here and there, we now own our house.

So as all of the exciting, fantastic, difficult, maddening, frustrating, emotional shit happened in the second half of the year, I was not really focused on reading. The fact I managed to get through the four books below is a miracle.

That being said, all but one of the books I read were fan-fucking-tastic.

Rememberings: Sinead O’Connor (10/10)
Oh, Sinead. You kept it real. You put up with so much bullshit and just kept going. You chose to burn everything down and not back off. You were right all along. A lot of us knew it but the voices of the ones out for blood were louder. You were unapologetically you. This was a hard read as she passed away before I read it. As far as music autobios go, this is one of the best I’ve read.

French Exit – Patrick DeWitt (9/10)
As I’d read The Sisters Brothers last year, I knew I would like this. It was fabulous and Patrick DeWitt has proven himself to be a writer I will read every time they publish. This book was surprisingly weird in a way that would normally turn me off (the reveal of Small Frank), yet DeWitt pulled it off. French Exit didn’t captivate me as much as The Sisters Brothers, but it is quirky, funny, and very well written.

Undermajordomo Minor – Patrick DeWitt (10/10)
This was a fantastic book! I had no idea where it was going or why but I didn’t care. It just kept getting weirder and weirder and I just got more wrapped up in the story. I really don’t know what else to say about Undermajordomo Minor because while it’s a very easy read, it really defies explanation 2.

Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir – Matthew Perry (DNF)
Did not like this. At all. I didn’t even get a quarter of the way through it and just gave up. I’ve become tired of reading about the rich and famous addicts of the world and Matthew Perry is just… sigh. I don’t know. Underneath the humour, he’s just not a very likeable person. Sorry, but I can’t feel sorry for him.

The Mansion on the Hill: Dylan, Young, Geffen, Springsteen, and the Head-on Collision of Rock and Commerce – Fred Goodman (Re-read)
I’ve read this before. It’s one of my favourites when it comes to non fiction. It’s the book that solidified my loathing of the music industry. I see it as a companion piece to  Steve Albini’s The Problem With Music and Courtney Love Does The Math. A must read for anyone thinking about getting involved in any way with the music industry.

1: I’m writing a post on this. Building computers from scratch in 2023 was educational on a number of fronts.

2:There were movies made of The Sisters Brothers and French Exit. I’ve made a note to watch them at some point. I can’t see how they’d make Undermajordomo Minor into a film – although apparently Kelly Reichardt had started production on a movie based on it but it was put on hold in 2018.

And That’s That.

Fedora was was real fun but, in the end, after a year, I gave up and moved on.

A couple of things happened:

A few weeks ago, I was installing Linux updates on this here laptop and on a restart things started acting weird. My audio interface was nowhere to be found. My mouse started acting real janky. And apps (mostly DAW) were just crashing randomly.

I didn’t have time to dive in and look so I booted over to my Windows partition and made a note to look into whatever was going on sometime later.

This week, I had decided to trade laptops with my eldest as hers was just not handling the workload anymore. It’s an old, refurbished Dell Latitude that was purchased just before the shutdown in 2020. With it’s fifth gen i5 CPU and 4GB of memory, it was simply no longer up for the tasks she needs it for. I’d backup all the stuff off the HP laptop, (at this point only used as a Plex server) format it, install Windows 10 and then she would have something very workable. Then I’d install Fedora on her old laptop and use it to run Plex.

Getting her setup was a breeze. There were zero hiccups getting the HP back to factory and getting Win10 running and she’s now happily doing schoolwork, playing games, and chatting with friends.

As for the Latitude, Fedora installed easily. Past that, I wouldn’t do the one single thing I wanted it to: run a Plex server.

I simply do not understand why. Plex installed. The Plex service was running. But Plex would not see the mounted external drive nor did it see any folder on the local drive. All the permissions were correct. Everything was showing up in the file manager. I spent hours searching the net for solutions. I tired every command line “fix” that was posted, and there were a lot of potential fixes. I even tried starting fresh by reinstalling Fedora only to wind up in the exact same spot.

I finally just said, “fuck it”.

I formatted that little laptop back to factory (Windows 10). Then I installed Plex, pointed it to a folder and …

It worked.

I went upstairs and tested it on the TV and …

It worked.

So yesterday I said, “fuck it”. I made the decision to flatten this computer back to factory and just move on with Windows.

I just don’t want to fight to use a computer anymore. Windows 11 is actually, surprisingly, really good. It’s stable and you can uninstall and disable all the bloatware and advertising bullshit with a few clicks and it just hums along doing its thing.

I still support Open Source and Independents. While I’m running Windows now, I still run and fully support the applications listed on my “Things I Use” sidebar.

Sadly, Linux just turned out to be a no go for me. I will say that it is absolutely better than it was even a decade ago and I was able to use it as a my primary desktop for nearly a year (and I got to start and finish a song in it!). For me though,  it’s still not 100%. So here we are.


Learning New Skills, Part One: The Backstory

I started this as a single entry, but it became so long that I decided to tackle it in a multiple parts.

While I’m not going to go over the complete backstory, this abridged version does help set the stage of what we were dealing with that led to the decision to just DYI things.

Ms. Tucker owns a small condo. By small, I mean small: 530-ish square feet.

While tiny, it’s a cute, modern, open space layout, with 10 foot ceilings and huge windows that is located in the heart of downtown. It’s also very nostalgic for both of us as that’s where we started to build our life together nearly twenty years ago.

As time went on and we decided to have kids, we moved out of the condo and a relative moved in.

This relative lived there from 2008 to 2017 – and when they moved out they left the place practically destroyed. Between the water damage that completely ruined the pine hardwood floors (which was caused by a broken washer/dryer unit that they never bothered to have fixed, or even tell us about)  to the unbelievable smoke damage (they chain smoked and basically hot boxed this small space for nine years), we didn’t know where to start.  It took nearly two months of evenings and weekends, some elbow grease, a couple of favours, and a pile of money to make it livable so a new tenant could move in… who also happened to be a relative and, at the time seemed pretty responsible.

Fast forward to this summer, nearly five years later, where we asked said relative to vacate (for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, non-payment of the already heavily subsidized rent).

After they left, we walked in and. it was like deja-fucking-vu.

The appliances were all but destroyed. The kitchen counter was warped and peeling. The kitchen faucet was broken. A sizable area of the floors are damaged and popping out. The bathroom counter has some kind of permanent, white burn mark on it. The bathroom shower curtain rod and shower head were completely rusted. The whole place smells like cigarette smoke and the custom blinds were so smoke stained and stinky we ended up having to throw them out.

At this point, Ms. Tucker was done. “Let’s get it renovated and get it on the market,” she said. No more renting.

Nostalgia or not, the condo had become a money eating albatross and she wanted it gone. Quickly.

Since this particular late Summer/early Fall happened to be super busy for us and we were starved for time, we figured it would be best to get someone else to take care of it all for us.

Enter contractors.

Continue reading “Learning New Skills, Part One: The Backstory”