Tag: home

Meet My Media Center: XBMC

So you’ve got a decent machine and you’re wanting to try out this crazy Linux thing to build a home media center. I previously posted a quick cheat sheet for installing the Ubuntu Desktop 64-bit Edition 12.04, and will be using that as my base OS for this post, however most is very comparable if not identical to the other linux variations.

XBMC Media Center is an award-winning free and open source cross-platform entertainment hub software for HTPCs (Home theater PCs). It uses a 10-foot user interface designed to be a media player for the living-room TV using a remote control as the primary input device. Its graphical user interface (GUI) allows the user to easily browse and view videos, photos, podcasts, and music from a harddrive, optical disc, local network, and the internet using only a few buttons.

–quoted from http://​xbmc​.org/

Let’s discuss installation. The XBMC installation is a piece of cake (or pie if you prefer) and we’ll take it one step at a time.

  • Make sure that you have installed Ubuntu Desktop 64-bit Edition 12.04 for an exact duplication of my media center setup. That said, older versions of Ubuntu (both 32-bit and 64-bit) and its derivatives will most likely work as well.
  • Add the PPA for Team XBMC by typing this (minus the quotes) into a terminal prompt:
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc
    (if prompted for your password, enter it)
  • Now you need to update your repos by typing this (minus the quotes) into a terminal prompt:
    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
  • Now let’s install XBMC by typing this (minus the quotes) into a terminal prompt:
    sudo apt-get install xbmc

Now you have it installed, and you can run this from your local machine without doing one thing more. From here on, it’s all about customization, which is completely specific to your own personal taste. There are so many things to customize within XBMC that I could never cover them all here, however I will leave you with a link to some of the options you’ll have going forward. Whether you want to play video games, watch live TV, setup remote controls, sync any of this media across your house, or just customize the look with skins, this Wiki page has it all.

Team XBMC Wiki

There you have it! This should give you a fully functional XBMC to rule them all.

Enjoy!

…and if you don’t, please write me to tell me how horrible it is and what parts you merely dislike as well as the parts that you utterly despise.

~ matt

Meet My Media Center: SABnzbd

So you’ve got a decent machine and you’re wanting to try out this crazy Linux thing to build a home media center. I previously posted a quick cheat sheet for installing the Ubuntu Desktop 64-bit Edition 12.04, and will be using that as my base OS for this post, however most is very comparable if not identical to the other linux variations.

SABnzbd is an Open Source Binary Newsreader written in Python. SABnzbd makes Usenet as simple and streamlined as possible by automating everything we can. All you have to do is add an .nzb. SABnzbd takes over from there, where it will be automatically downloaded, verified, repaired, extracted and filed away with zero human interaction.

–quoted from http://​sabnzbd​.org/

SABnzbd is basically, a Usenet client. Meaning that it is to the Usenet (an old school pre-www BBS-like worldwide distributed Internet discussion system), what Chromium/Chrome/Firefox are to the web.

Let’s discuss installation. The SABnzbd installation is a piece of cake (or pie if you prefer) and we’ll take it one step at a time.

  • Make sure that you have installed Ubuntu Desktop 64-bit Edition 12.04 for an exact duplication of my media center setup. That said, older versions of Ubuntu (both 32-bit and 64-bit) and its derivatives will most likely work as well.
  • Add the PPA for jcfp by typing this (minus the quotes) into a terminal prompt:
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:jcfp/ppa
    (if prompted for your password, enter it)
  • Now you need to update your repos by typing this (minus the quotes) into a terminal prompt:
    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
  • Now let’s install SABnzbd+ by typing this (minus the quotes) into a terminal prompt:
    sudo apt-get install sabnzbdplus
  • You have it installed, but let’s make it automatic by typing this (minus the quotes) into a terminal prompt:
    sudo gedit /etc/default/sabnzbdplus
    this will launch a text editor displaying a configuration file
    DON’T PANIC!!
    just look for a portion that reads:
    USER=username (replace “username” with your Ubuntu user name)
    click “Save” and close the text editor
  • Reboot the machine
  • Once the system has rebooted, open a browser and go to http://127.0.0.1:8080
  • This will display the SABnzbd Quick-Start Wizard. This should be self explanatory, pick your language, etc.
  • You will come to “Server Details” which will be specific to your Usenet service provider. If you don’t have one, just Google “Usenet Provider” and pick the one that fits your situation best. In general “Host” should be something like “news​.usenetprovider​.com,” the “Port” should be “563” (this will allow you to use 256-bit encryption for your connection). The “Connections” will be specific to your provider. Make sure you check the SSL box to enable it.
    Make sure to use the “Test Connection” button to test your connection to your provider and make sure that it’s kosher.
  • Next will be a question about whether or not you want it to be accessible from just your machine or all the devices on your network. This is personal preference. Pick one. Move on. Oh, un-check the thing about launching the browser, otherwise you’ll hate yourself every time your machine boots.
  • Now a page to add your details for Newzbin and NZBMatrix. You can fill these out if you subscribe to them, or skip it if you haven’t yet.
  • You may want to bookmark the “Home” screen when it comes up.
  • The rest of the setup is quite specific and tedious so rather than make you read 18 pages of commentary, I’ll just list images of the configuration pages.

There you have it! This should give you a fully functional SABnzbd setup, and the groundwork for other fine products like Sick Beard (TV), CouchPotato (Movies), Headphones (Music), and finally XBMC (Media Center) to rule them all.

Enjoy!

…and if you don’t, please write me to tell me how horrible it is and what parts you merely dislike as well as the parts that you utterly despise.

~ matt

Meet My Media Center: Ubuntu 12.04 64-bit

So you’ve got a decent machine and you’re wanting to try out this crazy Linux thing to build a home media center. I’ve used various Linux distributions for various projects, and they all have their strengths. If you’re a noob to the wonderful world of Linux, I’d recommend you start out with one of the many Ubuntu varieties. They have multiple versions for whatever environment and look you prefer. If you’re the type who likes things to ‘just work,’ aka the Mac type, Ubuntu (Gnome) is for you. Love getting buried in the details and customizing every nook and cranny of your workspace, Kubuntu (KDE) is your new best friend. Linux built for the classroom computer lab is dubbed Edubuntu (Gnome). Wanting to test Linux on an old machine before replacing the OS on your main box isn’t a crime, but you may want to choose Xubuntu (XFCE) or Lubuntu (LXDE). You can even run this stuff on your Android phone or TV.They also have derivatives for multimedia production, Ubuntu Studio (Gnome), and even Mythbuntu for building that home theater MythTV PC you’ve always wanted. Last but definitely not least, if you’ve got a rack that needs new life breathed into it, try the Ubuntu Server Edition.

We’ll be discussing the Ubuntu Desktop 64-bit Edition 12.04 primarily using the Gnome Desktop Environment in the post, however most is very comparable if not identical to the other variations.

Let’s discuss installation. The Ubuntu installation is a piece of cake (or pie if you prefer) and only a couple areas foul folks up.

  • You’ll need to get your hands on an Ubuntu install image. You can download one directly, via torrent, or if you have a spare USB thumb drive and a buddy who already has Ubuntu installed, have them make you a USB install stick.
  • Insert the install disc/usb stick and boot up the machine.
  • Select ‘Install Ubuntu’ and hit the ‘enter’ key.
  • Select Language for Ubuntu.
  • Where are you? Pick the Region and the closest City in your time zone, and click ‘Forward’
  • Keyboard Layout. The ‘Suggested option’ is generally perfect, click ‘Forward’
  • Select ‘Specify partitions manually’ and click ‘Forward’
  • HEAD’S UP!! Okay, this can totally hose your machine if you don’t pay attention and know what you’re doing. Make sure you know which hard drive you want to use for your Linux installation, otherwise you’re going to wipe out your music/movie/photo/game collection, your Windows partitions, etc. If you’re wanting to toss Windows out the, uh, window, this will overwrite those partitions if you choose. Just make sure you backup anything you want to keep on another drive, disc, server, etc.
  • That said, pick the drive/partition you want to install Ubuntu on and ‘Delete partition.’ To scrap the whole drive and use the whole drive for Ubuntu, choose ‘New partition table’ and click ‘Forward’
  • Now you have ‘free space’ on that particular drive/partition. Select the ‘free space’ and click ‘New partition’
  • Create a new partition.
    For the first new partition (swap), you’ll want to make sure that the ‘Type for the new partition’ is set as ‘Primary’
    ‘New partition size in megabytes’ as a general rule, needs to equal twice the amount of RAM on your machine. If you have 2GB of RAM, you’ll want 4GB of swap space. (1GB = 1024MB)
    ‘Location for the new partition’ should be set to ‘Beginning’
    ‘Use as’ needs to be ‘swap area’ and click ‘OK
    You’ll notice that your swap space partition now appears on your partition table screen.
  • Select the remaining ‘free space’ and click ‘New partition’
  • Create a new partition.
  • For this partition (root or /), you’ll want to make sure that the ‘Type for the new partition’ is set as ‘Logical’
    To use all the remaining space, leave the ‘New partition size…’ as it is. If you plan to have separate partitions for your settings (/home) or the like, choose the size to fit your preference.
    ‘Location for the new partition’ should be set to ‘Beginning’
    ‘Use as’ should be set to either Btrfs or EXT4, I prefer the latter
    ‘Mount point’ should be set to ‘/’ unless you’re planning to have separate partitions for your settings etc. If you choose the latter select the mount point to preference. Click ‘OK
    You’ll now notice that ‘free space’ is all gone and we’re ready to click ‘Forward’
  • You’ll see the last Warning about the partitions and a general summary of your install options selected thus far. Take this time to check again to make sure you haven’t selected the wrong drive/partition etc. Once you’re sure that all is well, click on ‘Install’
  • Now you get to tell Ubuntu what to name everything. When you’ve got that all filled out, click ‘Forward’
  • Now is a great time to go grab your beverage of choice and relax for a bit. Don’t get too comfortable though, this won’t take long.
  • Installation Complete! Yee-Haw! Click on ‘Restart Now’
  • Remove the CD/USB installer and hit the ‘enter’ key like it says

As always, feel free to comment or ask questions about any of the ideas shared in this post.

~matt

Blessed

God truly does move in mysterious ways. Just a few months ago I began these rambling writings as a means of cathartic expression of my growing frustration and dissatisfaction with what I called my life. Yet in a matter of weeks, my world has changed, my outlook changed, my desires changed, my eyes opened, my heart healed, my mind expanded, and my soul saved.

The more I read back over the past several chapters, the more I realize how close to the edge I was. Sometimes it takes drastic measures to wake us from the unreality of our reality. Our eyes have been blinded to the blessing all around us. Our hearts hardened to the love and joy that encompass us. Our minds distracted from the truth of who we are, what we are, why we are, how we are, and where we are to be. Sometimes we grow so comfortable in the lies and deceit that the world feeds us morning, noon, and night, that we fail to be aware of the reality of our existence. Sometimes it takes an outside party to wake us from this false nightmare of a life we have grown so accustomed to. In the same manner that people who are born and raised within a cult can grow accustomed to lies, deceit, and theft of their worth, character, and humanity, so can we become brainwashed by the lies, deceit, and theft perpetrated on us by our culture, society, media, even friends and family. Likewise, we often need someone outside our circle of experience, to point out the truth of our situation. We are not built for this place, this world, this circumstance, this life. We are truly aliens in a foreign land. My residence in this country does not make it my home. My residence in this life does not make it my home.

Am I now void of the disappointment, confusion, anger, and fear that started me on this journey? Not at all. However they have all been redirected. I’ve learned that this universe, this dimension, this life that we currently occupy is one of balance, of harmony, of equilibrium. Negative emotions, thoughts, feelings, ideas, situations, and circumstances are not bad, but rather simply one side of the equation. They are just as valid, important, necessary, and useful as their positive counterparts. For every up there is a down, for every in there is an out, for every left there is a right, for every plus there is a minus. You can’t have black without white, on without off, song without silence, light without dark, sweet without sour, hard without soft. Until this place is no more, until the rule book is thrown out, until this existence is changed, these truths will continue forward.

Use everything, leave nothing. Rather than feel disappointed at work, at home, outside and inside, I am finding myself disappointed with my inability to balance the equation. For every problem there is a solution. I remain confused by why we allow ourselves to be sold a bill of goods that we don’t want, didn’t order, and then suffer the effects of misplaced loyalty. I will never lose the anger that I feel when I see princes and princesses treated like slaves and objects, sometimes of their own free will. I still fear that if we don’t wake up soon from this illusion, that we’ll become so indoctrinated into its lies and misinformation, that we will find ourselves farther down the wrong path, and so lost that we fail to notice how many are following us in the wrong direction.

Despite what you may believe about yourself or those around you, we are all who we are for a reason. Get out and find your reason for being. Take no hostages, accept no substitutes. Sometimes we are unhappy with our lives, because we’re trying to be something that we are not. Don’t give in to the pressure from all the elements around you to be someone that you are not, but rather embrace the reality and truth of who you are and be proud of who you are, what you are. Whatever you learn about yourself on your journey, don’t discount its significance. Even a negative truth is a truth. Use it to find the positive truth that is longing to balance the problem you face.

I was slowly learning and following a false impression of who I was, and thus becoming less satisfied with the life that I was creating for myself. I was on a goat path to nowhere, and at a fairly significant clip. It took me losing a wife, son, sister, and grandfather in a matter of weeks to gain clarity, truth, patience, and strength. Hopefully your journey won’t require such a high price tag. Learn from my mistakes, take my example, accept yourself, find your place, become the you that you are built to be.

I have been blessed at every turn throughout my journey, in spite of myself. The past few months have been exceptionally transformational for me. More balance than I was ready for. On one side of the equation is the disappointment, confusion, anger, and fear of losing four close family members. On the other is the pride, clarity, joy, and comfort of gaining my truly heaven sent soul mate. Balance has been achieved in my life, for the first time. There is no replacement for the people that I have lost along this journey, nor the roles they played in my life. This is also a blessing. Those roles have been permanently retired. The blessing is in the creation of a completely new and different role into my experience. A role that never existed before, and could not have been written into my story until this very moment. Deanna has become the mother of all plot twists in my tale. Just when you think your story is resolving, is nearing its end, new life is breathed into the old tired story. A complete and miraculous twist of fate. God has a story written for each of us before we ever begin. He knows me so well that He built this most wonderful, beautiful, powerful catalyst of change just for me.

In the process of moving and processing my way through all the stuff that I have accumulated on my journey, I was reminded of a project that I had in school years ago. I found a folded and well aged piece of paper with three lists contained on its college ruled face. The first list was of must have qualities and traits in a woman, needed to get and keep my attention. This was a fairly short list of basics like, don’t lie to me, don’t cheat on me, and don’t cheat on me and then lie to me about it. Second was a list of preferred qualities and traits. This was a fairly longer and more specific list, including superficial items like dark hair coupled with light eyes, along with other less appropriate definitions of the perfect shapes and sizes of certain body parts, of which I’ll omit here. Also were items like 40+ age bracket, shorter height than my own, shared core religious and philosophical beliefs, and the like. Finally a third, more extreme list of traits and qualities. This list was the ‘anything goes’ list. If you could hand sculpt, hand write, the perfect, fantasy woman for yourself, what would it look like, walk like, talk like. This was of course the most specific, and utterly ridiculous list of traits one could imagine and cram into one shell of female perfection. Items on this list include a specific level and type of superhuman intelligence, purity of voice, musical talent to rival my own, way of carrying oneself that makes one envious of the air that envelops the body as it performs each tiny movement, the texture of hair and skin, shape of fingernails and toenails, length of earlobes, unfathomable love and compassion for animals, a precise brand of vocabulary, tough and firm personality, and strength of will and character that surpasses human understanding. There are obviously items on each list that have been omitted from this writing out of respect for the delicate sensibilities of the readers.

I have to admit being a bit taken aback with my blunt and honest depiction of my wildest fantasy girl, come true, listed on this page. I was also shocked to find that these elements had remained intact within me over the years. The more blatant and obviously glaring reality that hit me square between the eyes was the number of girls that I had accompanied over the years that were nowhere near this image of perfection laid before me. Surely this couldn’t be a contributing factor in the overwhelming success of my past relationships to date. Never.

Although I’m still coping with the implications of the gift that so suddenly got laid out beautifully in my lap, it seems that no list is too long, too specific, or too extreme for God. I have come to find in measuring Deanna against this list of qualities and traits that not only does she possess each item from all three levels of female perfection, but has expanded my list beyond what the page can contain to include things I never knew that I wanted, or needed. I am finding that I am capable of unconditional love, and that it comes quite easy. It amazes me what things you can accomplish with the right inspiration and motivation.

Never before has more creativity flowed through me. If you have learned nothing else from reading my ramblings to this point, you understand that logic is my comfort zone, and artistic creativity is not. I am inspired each new day with a song to sing, words to say, actions to take, that are beyond my own ability. God has truly placed this woman in my life for a reason. She inspires me to give things that I don’t have to give, and then God uses me to deliver those things to her despite my own personal inability to do it on my own. In this way, Deanna becomes a blessing as well as being blessed as a byproduct of her inspiration. Who could ask for a more perfect system of being? I know that I never thought such an arrangement was possible, much less probable for someone like me. Her simple existence is an inspiration to me. In turn that inspiration leads me to be more than I can be on my own. Perspectives I have never known are becoming clearer to me with each new day.

I cannot contribute more to this story as my story has become new. This chapter, this book, must close here so that a new story can begin. Change has come to my world, and I plan on sharing that change with the world around me.

By God, through Deanna, I am, and will always be, blessed.

Block 3 of 48 Clue

Home is where the heart is, is what they all say
As you brush your teeth you can find the way
You may need to look a little bit lower
In a little place that one might shower
The answer may not be completely reflected
You may even need to have a tiny step erected

Good Luck Gorgeous!

~matt

Block 2 of 48 Clue

You don’t need to leave home to find block number two
But you may need to know a Beatles song to get this clue
Look to the land whose leader’s picture you may not want to carry
At least according to a verse from the Fab Four who were Revolutionary
They say if you do, You ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow
His top center location ended the year life began for the one whom is writing now

Good Luck Gorgeous!

~matt

Ubuntu 9.10 (Install)

I’ve had several folks send emails asking about what parts that I’d build into a machine, what themes are in use in my screenshots, and what programs I’d recommend for a new Linux user. As one who favors the ‘work smarter’ over the ‘work harder’ method, I thought I’d post this info over the next few posts, rather than sending a 32 page email to them all.

So you’ve got a decent machine and you’re wanting to try out this crazy new Linux thing. I’ve used various Linux distributions for various projects, and they all have their strengths. If you’re a noob to the wonderful world of Linux, I’d recommend you start out with one of the many Ubuntu varieties. They have multiple versions for whatever environment and look you prefer. If you’re the type who likes things to ‘just work,’ aka the Mac type, Ubuntu (Gnome) is for you. Love getting buried in the details and customizing every nook and cranny of your workspace, Kubuntu (KDE) is your new best friend. Linux built for the classroom computer lab is dubbed Edubuntu (Gnome). Wanting to test Linux on an old machine before replacing the OS on your main box isn’t a crime, but you may want to choose Xubuntu (XFCE). You can even run this stuff on your phone/PDA/netbook with the Ubuntu Netbook edition. They also have derivatives for multimedia production, Ubuntu Studio (Gnome), and even Mythbuntu for building that home theater MythTV PC you’ve always wanted. Last but definitely not least, if you’ve got a rack that needs new life breathed into it, try the Ubuntu Server Edition.

We’ll be discussing primarily the Ubuntu Desktop Edition primarily using the Gnome Desktop Environment in the post, however most is very comparable if not identical to the other variations.

Let’s discuss installation. The Ubuntu installation is a piece of cake (or pie if you prefer) and only a couple areas foul folks up.

  • You’ll need to get your hands on an Ubuntu install image. You can download one directly, via torrent, via wubi, or if you have a spare USB thumb drive and a buddy who already has Ubuntu installed, have them make you a USB install stick.
  • Insert the install disc/usb stick and boot up the machine.
  • Select Language for Installer. If you want to read everything in English, like I do, just hit the ‘enter’ key.
  • Select ‘Install Ubuntu’ and hit the ‘enter’ key.
  • Select Language for Ubuntu. Again, I read English, just click ‘Forward’
  • Where are you? Pick the Region and the closest City in your time zone, and click ‘Forward’
  • Keyboard Layout. The ‘Suggested option’ is generally perfect, click ‘Forward’
  • Select ‘Specify partitions manually’ and click ‘Forward’
  • HEAD’S UP!! Okay, this can totally hose your machine if you don’t pay attention and know what you’re doing. Make sure you know which hard drive you want to use for your Linux installation, otherwise you’re going to wipe out your music/movie/photo/game collection, your Windows partitions, etc. If you’re wanting to toss Windows out the, uh, window, this will overwrite those partitions if you choose. Just make sure you backup anything you want to keep on another drive, disc, server, etc.
  • That said, pick the drive/partition you want to install Ubuntu on and ‘Delete partition.’ To scrap the whole drive and use the whole drive for Ubuntu, choose ‘New partition table’ and click ‘Forward’
  • Now you have ‘free space’ on that particular drive/partition. Select the ‘free space’ and click ‘New partition’
  • Create a new partition.
    For the first new partition (swap), you’ll want to make sure that the ‘Type for the new partition’ is set as ‘Primary’
    ‘New partition size in megabytes’ as a general rule, needs to equal twice the amount of RAM on your machine. If you have 2GB of RAM, you’ll want 4GB of swap space. (1GB = 1024MB)
    ‘Location for the new partition’ should be set to ‘Beginning’
    ‘Use as’ needs to be ‘swap area’ and click ‘OK
    You’ll notice that your swap space partition now appears on your partition table screen.
  • Select the remaining ‘free space’ and click ‘New partition’
  • Create a new partition.
  • For this partition (root or /), you’ll want to make sure that the ‘Type for the new partition’ is set as ‘Logical’
    To use all the remaining space, leave the ‘New partition size…’ as it is. If you plan to have separate partitions for your settings (/home) or the like, choose the size to fit your preference.
    ‘Location for the new partition’ should be set to ‘Beginning’
    ‘Use as’ should be set to either Ext4 or ReiserFS, I prefer the latter
    ‘Mount point’ should be set to ‘/’ unless you’re planning to have separate partitions for your settings etc. If you choose the latter select the mount point to preference. Click ‘OK
    You’ll now notice that ‘free space’ is all gone and we’re ready to click ‘Forward’
  • Now you get to tell Ubuntu what to name everything. When you’ve got that all filled out, click ‘Forward’
  • You’ll see the last Warning about the partitions and a general summary of your install options selected thus far. Take this time to check again to make sure you haven’t selected the wrong drive/partition etc. Once you’re sure that all is well, click on ‘Install’
  • Now is a great time to go grab your beverage of choice and relax for a bit. Don’t get too comfortable though, this won’t take long.
  • Installation Complete! Yee-Haw! Click on ‘Restart Now’
  • Remove the CD/USB installer and hit the ‘enter’ key like it says

As always, feel free to comment or ask questions about any of the ideas shared in this post.

Faved Flicks (The Rocky Horror Picture Show)

This is the longest running theatrical release in film history.  It is still in limited release over 30 years after its initial release in 1975.  This parody of science fiction and horror films was adapted from the British stage production, The Rocky Horror Show.  I had seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show when I was younger and quite honestly didn’t get what all the hype was about.  I didn’t gain a full understanding or respect for this piece until I attended my first RHPS party in high school.  Watching the movie at home is one thing, but watching in in a theater with a bunch of other people, and in most cases a live cast as well, that my friends, is an experience that you’ll never forget.  It’s the only way to truly understand and appreciate this film.

Rocky Horror Picture Show

Rocky Horror Picture Show

Without spoiling the experience for all those video virgins out there, let me give a brief overview of what to expect at a RHPS party.  Not every Rocky Party is the same, but there are generally accepted standards.  You can even check with the host of the party for a list of house rules and expectations before you go. If you are a RHPS virgin, be warned, you may be picked for the traditional virgin rituals, of which also vary by venue.  The audience is expected to participate fully in the viewing experience of the film.  This means the audience is almost expected to wear costumes of their favorite character from the film.  Props are also expected, we’ll talk more about this in a second.  There are also long pauses between the spoken lines in the film, pauses that need to be filled with comments shouted by the audience.  It’s a beautiful thing.

Ok, so you’ve been warned about the virgin rituals (they are harmless), the costumes, live cast, audience participation lines to be shouted between bits of dialog.  Let’s talk props real quick, as this is the most standard form of participation.  Check with your host before you attend, some venues provide a prop pack with the cost of admission, others expect you to bring your own.  Here is the short list and a brief explanation of each prop’s use.

  • Rice
    When the newlyweds leave the church, at the beginning of the film, you should throw the rice along with the on-screen wedding guests.
  • Newspaper
    When Brad and Janet are caught in the storm, Janet covers her head with a newspaper.  At this point, you should do likewise.
  • Water pistol
    Everyone in the audience uses these to simulate the rainstorm that Brad and Janet are caught in, hence the need of the aforementioned newspaper.
  • Candle, lighter, or flashlight
    When you hear the “There’s a light” verse in the “Over at the Frankenstein Place” number, everyone will light up the venue with their candles, lighters, and flashlights.  A side note, be careful with fire, you are, after all, wearing a newspaper on your head.
  • Rubber gloves
    These are used during and after the creation speech.  Frank snaps his rubber gloves three times.  Snap your gloves along with him.  You will also do this later in the film when Magenta pulls the gloves off his hands.
  • Noisemaker
    Also after the creation speech, mentioned above, the Transylvanians applaud and make a racket with noisemakers. Join in.
  • Confetti
    At the end of the reprise of the “Charles Atlas Song,” as Frank and Rocky head toward the bedroom, the Transylvanians throw confetti.  Follow suite.
  • Scott brand toilet paper roll
    When Dr. Scott enters the lab, Brad hollers “Great Scott!”  That’s your cue to hurl the roll into the air, covering the venue.
  • Plain toast
    When Frank proposes a toast at dinner, everyone will toss their toast into the air.
  • Party hat
    When Frank puts on a party hat, namely at the table, do the same.
  • Bell or Keys
    During the song “Planet Schmanet Janet,” ring the bell or jingle your keys when Frank sings “Did you hear a bell ring?”
  • Playing cards
    During the song “I’m Going Home,” Frank sings “Cards for sorrow, cards for pain.” That’s right, cover the place in cards.

So as my grandpappy used to say, “Get out and get the stink blown off ya!”  Check local college campus boards, movie theaters, and other venues for information on a local RHPS experience near you.  And don’t come home until you can do the Time Warp!

If you haven’t been to a RHPS party, let me implore you to do so.  If you must watch it at home, because you’re too chicken, or agoraphobic, I’ll even go so far as to provide a hid​.im below.

RHPS

RHPS

As always, feel free to comment or ask questions about any of the ideas shared in this post, and your experiences at a Rocky Party!

Whatcha Runnin’ Man? (New to Linux)

I’ve had several folks send emails asking about what parts that I’d build into a machine, what themes are in use in my screenshots, and what programs I’d recommend for a new Linux user. As one who favors the ‘work smarter’ over the ‘work harder’ method, I thought I’d post this info over the next few posts, rather than sending a 32 page email to them all.

So you’ve got a decent machine and you’re wanting to try out this crazy new Linux thing. I’ve used various Linux distributions for various projects, and they all have their strengths. If you’re a noob to the wonderful world of Linux, I’d recommend you start out with one of the many Ubuntu varieties. They have multiple versions for whatever environment and look you prefer. If you’re the type who likes things to ‘just work,’ aka the Mac type, Ubuntu (Gnome) is for you. Love getting buried in the details and customizing every nook and cranny of your workspace, Kubuntu (KDE) is your new best friend. Linux built for the classroom computer lab is dubbed Edubuntu (Gnome). Wanting to test Linux on an old machine before replacing the OS on your main box isn’t a crime, but you may want to choose Xubuntu (XFCE). You can even run this stuff on your phone/PDA/netbook with the Ubuntu Netbook edition. They also have derivatives for multimedia production, Ubuntu Studio (Gnome), and even Mythbuntu for building that home theater MythTV PC you’ve always wanted. Last but definitely not least, if you’ve got a rack that needs new life breathed into it, try the Ubuntu Server Edition.

We’ll be discussing primarily the Ubuntu Desktop Edition primarily using the Gnome Desktop Environment in the post, however most is very comparable if not identical to the other variations.

Let’s discuss installation. The Ubuntu installation is a piece of cake (or pie if you prefer) and only a couple areas foul folks up.

  • You’ll need to get your hands on an Ubuntu install image. You can download one directly, via torrent, via wubi, or if you have a spare USB thumb drive and a buddy who already has Ubuntu installed, have them make you a USB install stick.
  • Insert the install disc/usb stick and boot up the machine.
  • Select Language for Installer. If you want to read everything in English, like I do, just hit the ‘enter’ key.
  • Select ‘Install Ubuntu’ and hit the ‘enter’ key.
  • Select Language for Ubuntu. Again, I read English, just click ‘Forward’
  • Where are you? Pick the Region and the closest City in your time zone, and click ‘Forward’
  • Keyboard Layout. The ‘Suggested option’ is generally perfect, click ‘Forward’
  • Select ‘Specify partitions manually’ and click ‘Forward’
  • HEAD’S UP!! Okay, this can totally hose your machine if you don’t pay attention and know what you’re doing. Make sure you know which hard drive you want to use for your Linux installation, otherwise you’re going to wipe out your music/movie/photo/game collection, your Windows partitions, etc. If you’re wanting to toss Windows out the, uh, window, this will overwrite those partitions if you choose. Just make sure you backup anything you want to keep on another drive, disc, server, etc.
  • That said, pick the drive/partition you want to install Ubuntu on and ‘Delete partition.’ To scrap the whole drive and use the whole drive for Ubuntu, choose ‘New partition table’ and click ‘Forward’
  • Now you have ‘free space’ on that particular drive/partition. Select the ‘free space’ and click ‘New partition’
  • Create a new partition.
    For the first new partition (swap), you’ll want to make sure that the ‘Type for the new partition’ is set as ‘Primary’
    ‘New partition size in megabytes’ as a general rule, needs to equal twice the amount of RAM on your machine. If you have 2GB of RAM, you’ll want 4GB of swap space. (1GB = 1024MB)
    ‘Location for the new partition’ should be set to ‘Beginning’
    ‘Use as’ needs to be ‘swap area’ and click ‘OK
    You’ll notice that your swap space partition now appears on your partition table screen.
  • Select the remaining ‘free space’ and click ‘New partition’
  • Create a new partition.
  • For this partition (root or /), you’ll want to make sure that the ‘Type for the new partition’ is set as ‘Logical’
    To use all the remaining space, leave the ‘New partition size…’ as it is. If you plan to have separate partitions for your settings (/home) or the like, choose the size to fit your preference.
    ‘Location for the new partition’ should be set to ‘Beginning’
    ‘Use as’ should be set to either Ext3 or ReiserFS, I prefer the latter
    ‘Mount point’ should be set to ‘/’ unless you’re planning to have separate partitions for your settings etc. If you choose the latter select the mount point to preference. Click ‘OK
    You’ll now notice that ‘free space’ is all gone and we’re ready to click ‘Forward’
  • Now you get to tell Ubuntu what to name everything. When you’ve got that all filled out, click ‘Forward’
  • You’ll see the last Warning about the partitions and a general summary of your install options selected thus far. Take this time to check again to make sure you haven’t selected the wrong drive/partition etc. Once you’re sure that all is well, click on ‘Install’
  • Now is a great time to go grab your beverage of choice and relax for a bit. Don’t get too comfortable though, this won’t take long.
  • Installation Complete! Yee-Haw! Click on ‘Restart Now’
  • Remove the CD/USB installer and hit the ‘enter’ key like it says

As always, feel free to comment or ask questions about any of the ideas shared in this post.

Culto

So what about this Jesus character? Well, back to explaining the unlimited with limited terms again. I’d have to use two words, Superman and baseball. I’m not going to delve into the intricate details of Superman lore on this one, just the basic mythology. So you have this guy, who is very ordinary in his native environment, who gets dumped into a foreign environment in which he becomes extraordinary. Superman would be ordinary on Krypton, but on Earth he has powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. I think of Jesus in this way. At home as an equal part of the Trinity, He fits in nicely, but dump Him on Earth, and He sticks out like a sore thumb. Jesus is what happens when you take something unlimited, and put it in a limited environment. This is why people don’t know how to handle this concept of Jesus. It messes with the rules that we’ve learned. How can something unlimited, fit into a limited place? If you’ve read the Bible, you come to the conclusion that it doesn’t fit well at all. The beauty is, because of that unlimited part, it doesn’t have to fit. Before Jesus, there was a pretty good list of stuff you had to do a certain way to get a ticket to Heaven. So far, man had managed to achieve two strikes at bat. Garden of Eden, strike one. Strike two involved a lot of water and a rainbow ending. God seemed to be done playing this game and wanted give man one last chance to knock one out of the park. The way I figure it, God thinks, “These guys are doing such a bang up job of dealing with the basic limits of this world from the first part of the manual that I gave them, maybe I should knock the level of difficulty down a notch. I’ll send a visual aide and loop hole all in one. Somebody who will walk the walk, and talk the talk.” Enter Jesus. Had he not been unlimited in a limited environment, he wouldn’t have been qualified to also become a loop hole. Now we just try to do what Jesus did. Sure, we won’t all hit home runs, but at least if we fess up to being a wuss at this game, ask for more practice, and at least get on base (even if only by being “walked”), we have the blessed hope of getting brought home when the ultimate clean up batter steps up to the plate.

So what about this “miracle” issue I mentioned earlier? Let’s recap a few things. First, God is unlimited, and everything else is limited. Second, I’m extremely comfortable around all things limited. Third, skeptical of all things appearing to be unlimited. That said, I consider it a “miracle” when anything “limited” is encountered by the only thing “unlimited” (aka God), in such a way that it is granted an exemption from at least one of its limits. I do believe that this has, does, and can again happen. However, this is not to say that I am in any way comfortable with it. There are numerous accounts of such craziness in the Bible, however I have also personally witnessed some of this as well. It’s not at all easy for me to accept it when it does happen. When a person’s deformed-from-birth leg grows about a foot in length in a matter of minutes, I classify that a “miracle.” I personally witnessed this occurrence, and quite frankly, it freaked me out a bit. I have also witnessed things that I would classify as “spiritual phenomenon,” with a similar feeling of discomfort. However, despite any discomfort that these situations cause within me, I can’t deny the fact of their occurrence.

What need does the unlimited have for the limited? I say, “None.” For whatever reason God saw fit to create man in the first place, we are here because He “wanted” us here, not because He “needed” us here. Why is there a seemingly growing list of folks trying to turn that concept on its head? If I’m allowed to live another day, it’s because God “wants” it that way. If I were to wake up healed of my less-than-perfect vision, it’s because God “wants” it that way. That said, I don’t believe God “needs” anything. So forgive me when I summarily dismiss the statements of folks that state the opposite. When I hear someone say that I need to sell all my earthly possessions to fund their “ministry,” I tend to laugh out loud. Especially when they seem to lose track of how many mansions, vehicles, jets, suits, gold chains and rings, and extramarital affairs they have. I don’t believe God requires heavy financial funding. I think things like honesty, integrity, self control, and obedience, might work out better for any real “ministry.” You haven’t been physically healed, or escaped poverty, or found that special someone yet because your faith isn’t strong enough, or perhaps you haven’t chanted the right phrase the right number of times or in the right order, etc. What a bunch of bunk! The bottom line is, God “wants” you this way. The very instant He doesn’t, you won’t be, period. Oh, but God wants us all to live free from handicap in any form. So we should therefore all be perfect, right? Whoops, not perfect, just free from the limits we don’t like. That doesn’t track either. How about this, God wants us to be what He wants us to be.

What if I were God? First, let’s all be grateful this is not, nor will it ever become anywhere near the truth. I have no difficulty recognizing that I am not God. Coming from a completely “limited” experience of existence, my first hurdle is figuring out what to do with the utter lack of limits. I have a hard enough time when one thing in one situation in one point in time doesn’t play by one of the existing limits. I would take joy in knowing the answers to several questions that I, as a previously limited person, have struggled with for years. That said, the answering of this question by anyone other than God, is where things go horribly awry. This is where my definition of “religion” stems from. It comes from regular old cats like me. This is scary and pompous, yet also usually humorous and entertaining. The results of this action are fun to discuss, think about, play with, etc. However, when we start to take these musings of man as “truth,” we lose our only hope of finding it. God gave us Himself, not religion. We (to the exclusion of the Rastafari) like to pick people, or things, or places, or processes, and add the suffix “ism.” We then structure a way of being around this term we’ve made up. We create rituals and rules for ourselves to follow. No religion, philosophy, or belief system is beyond this failure. More of the same, trying to make the “unlimited” understandable, or even controllable by the “limited.” People tend to go one of two directions on this. They either right down only the rules that they won’t have any trouble following, or inversely, only the rules they could never follow. When you have one of these systems that becomes very popular as measured by a number of adherents, you call it a religion. When your ideas get a little too restrictive, or perhaps not restrictive enough, leading to a lower number of adherents, you have a cult. Sometimes a cult can, change its rules to better suit its adherents, and then with this newly gained popularity, become a religion.

I have come to the conclusion that I would make a horrible deity. The closest I will ever get is being a father. At first, the rules start out short and sweet, like the Ten Commandments. However when these fail to adequately explain your expectations, you tend to create a striking amount of somewhat arbitrary rules. Although these rules are created for the intended benefit of the child, they sometimes get ridiculous. I tend to follow the protocol set forth in the Ten Commandments. Thou shalt try to figure crap out thyself before thou cometh asking for mine help. Thou shalt learneth and useth logic. Thou shalt embraceth technology. Thou shalt gaineth appreciation for all form of music and art. Thou shalt haveth a dog. Thou shalt learneth from thine own mistakes as well as the mistakes of thine brethren. Thou shalt acteth thine age, until thou learnest comic timing. Thou shalt not be a poor loser. Thou shalt cleaneth up thine own mess. Thou shalt hitteth the hole whenest thou goeth pee. Thou shalt eateth and liketh whatsoever thou shalt findeth on thine own plate. Just to nameth a few.