Because I Simply Don’t Talk Enough.

So here’s the thing:

I’m turning this blog into a podcast. I bought the domain over at http://www.ClaireDeLunacy.com and I’ve migrated this blog over there.

In addition to the occasional scribblings you get from me here (or, er, there, in the future at least), there will be (God help us all) the Claire De Lunacy podcast. That’s right, a whole hour, every week, of yours truly, with call-in guests (it’s true!), some commentary, and a few new surprises (e.g., every tenth caller is randomly either hugged by a stripper,  hit in the stomach by a large, angry Hungarian, or given the power of flight*).

Every week starting NEXT SUNDAY, MAY 2nd, 2010, I’ll be hosting an hour-long free-for-all discussion covering topics (in no particular order) that I’ve posted here on Claire De Lunacy.

I already have the call-in set up, I’ll be posting the info as we get closer to the big day. In the interim, my dear, sweet friends, ruminate on these topics:

1) The hubbub surrounding Israel Luna’s odious “transploitation” film “Ticked Off Trannies with Knives.”

2) Clash of the Smitin’s: Unnecessary Remakes and Why They Suck.

3) And speaking of Things That Should Not Be™, a whole new slew of, er, Things That Should Not Be™ (got a nomination? SEND IT TO ME…NAO!)

4) LGBTidbits™ (Those of you familiar with my Twitter feed will recognize this topic. Everyone else, just be prepared to discuss the week’s LGBT news. Well, I mean, not SUPER prepared. There won’t be a quiz or anything.)

5) The Super-Fun Book Club of Fun-ness™ returns! Our book for the month of May is “American Lion,” a very compelling biography of Andrew Jackson by Jon Meachem (you don’t have to read the entire book for the first podcast, we’ll be discussing it in general and also you get to sit and listen to me explain how the SFBCOF™ works…I know, I know – does the fun ever START?)

6) Random Review: NetFlix for the Wii Or, as I like to call it, “My television’s desperate final ploy to remain relevant to my existence.” (as ploys go, it’s surprisingly effective)

7) SPECIAL BONUS TOPIC!  CASTING: UR DOIN IT WRONG We’ll be discussing how remakes SHOULD be cast, as well as remakes we’d like to see, and a whole bunch of other nerdy stuff that will make the non-nerdy among you (should you exist) throw up your hands and say “But I LIKE Matthew McCan’tActy as Dirk Pitt!

Eventually, I’ll be taking these podcasts into Audacity to strip out all the “erms,” and “uhhhs” and “Doyyyy” sounds. But for the first month or so, it’s the Wild effing West, baby! (something tells me that we’ll earn our “Explicit” rating within the first ten minutes. I know how you think, Hordelings!)

Each week’s info will also be posted to the web site, so don’t get your collective panties in a bunch if there’s something we natter on about that catches your…ear(?) and you don’t have a pencil handy.

I hope to hear from you, friends. It’s sure to be a fun time, or at least more entertaining than having your pinkie torn off by an iPad thief.**

*No, not really.
** OK, to be fair, some people might get off on that, so I will say it’s LIKELY to be more fun. You sick bastards.

Buzz Watch: Apple’s new iThingy

A gracious good day to you, readers.

If you’re like me, you’ll have noted with a queasiness-inducing blend of anticipation and trepidation the shift in media attention away from the plight of Haiti and toward the latest beeping gadget. That’s right, Apple has unleashed its latest Hipster Douchebag accessory: The iPad.

Or possibly the iTablet.

Or even, God help us all, the iCan.

Whatever it’s called, its potential capabilities have been the subject of endless speculation (or in my case, limited, off-the-cuff speculation for the purposes of comedic exploitation). To wit:

Features of the new iPad/iTablet/iCan/iCan’tBelieveISpent1,000DollarsOnThis

1) Recharges if you hold it aloft & shout “BY THE POWER OF CUPERTINO!” Also: your cat morphs into a badass tiger.

2) Will only open if you recite “Klaatu barada nikto” first. Otherwise, you might want to call Bruce Campbell.

3) Will come in 3 exciting colors: Chill Cherry, Awesome Orange and Bewildered Buyer’s Remorse Blueberry.

4) Will be engraved with the missing Five Commandments (e.g. “Thou Shalt Not Totally Destroy Thy Planet”).

5) Creates holographic friends to replace those you lose because you spend all your time on your damned iTablet.

6) Glows an ethereal blue whenever orcs are nearby.

7) Will not transform into a creepy robot and steal your identity and girlfriend while you sleep. Probably.

8 ) Makes that cool Star Trek “whistle-whoosh” noise whenever any nearby door opens.

9) Will obey Asimov’s three laws, unless you piss it off, buster.

10) Sifts through your address book and deletes all the people with whom you are now too cool to be seen.

11) Will love you and hug you and name you George.

12) Grants you a permanent +5 to your Hipster Cred stat, plus a free small latte at paticipating Starbucks™.

13) Opens a portal to an alternate universe where the State of the Union Address ISN’T depressing as hell.

14) Will be sun-powered. Not solar powered – there will be an actual tiny sun inside. So, y’know, get a mitt.

15) Will sing you softly to sleep & will happily open the podbay doors – as long as you don’t betray it, Dave.

16) Boasts an all-celebrity cast for its reader. First up: Keanu reads “Moby Dick” “Duude…call me, like, Ishmael.”

17) Grants you access to the tiny door that leads to the inside of Steve Jobs’ head.

18) Gives you a fuller, shinier coat, and protects you from heartworm.

19) Has an Oppenheimer app that will allow you to become Shiva, Destroyer of Worlds. Plus, Sudoku!

20) Will grant you immortality and transform your enemies into fresh-baked blueberry muffins.

[Originally posted by yours truly as part of a Twitter trend tag, #iTabletMyths]

You can’t spell “Personal Identity Theft” without “iPod.”

So here’s the thing:

My mother is eternally at war with any technology more advanced than an 8-track. We bought her an iPod for her last birthday, an act akin to giving a nitrogen-cooled-Cray to someone looking to play Internet cribbage. Ever since then, the calls have been pretty steady:

<RING, RING> (because I apparently have a Bakelite phone, circa 1954)

Yours Truly: “Hello?”

Ma: “Hi, honey. I think someone is trying to steal my identity.”

YT: “Why?”

Ma: “Well, I had to put my credit card in for that eTunes Podstore thing, and now there’s a dollar charge on my statement.”

YT: “Ma, they just do that to verify that your account is valid. The charge won’t be processed, they just want to make sure it works for when you DO purchase something.”

Ma: “Well, nobody’s stealing MY identity. I saw it on the news. Those hackers can get in and steal anything they want! I took that credit card right out of there!”

YT: “OK, Ma, that’s fine. You’ll just have to re-enter it before you can buy anything.”

Ma: “Well, they’d better not try to do anything fishy with my card! I know my rights! What if they try to buy a bunch of drugs?”

YT: “I’m pretty sure that drug dealers stick to cash, Ma, but if you see a charge for “Cucuy’s Cocaine Cartel” on your statement, we’ll talk to the bank.”

My mother views the Internet with suspicion and dread. This is not necessarily a bad thing –  she has a point about identity theft – but her terror is such that the slightest interaction with it becomes a trial. Over a year after receiving her laptop, my mother uses it for exactly two things: playing Mr. Do, a circa-1982 video game most vibrantly remembered from the ColecoVision, and making snowflakes on the Internet.

Snowflakes.

And, the thing is, she’s REALLY into it. She’s apparently the best of the bunch in her little gaggle of Snowflake Friends…everyone compliments her on her structure and symmetry. She’s the glittering silver queen of the (ahem) flakes.

The scary thing is, I see in her the same rabid enthusiasm I have for, say, Guild Wars, and I am forced to ask myself, “am I really conquering evil here, or am I just one more flake in the storm? Am I really more advanced than my technophobe mother, or am I just making fancier snowflakes?”

These are questions destined to remain unanswered, at least if I want to keep my therapy visits to once every two weeks.

Tech Tip #2: Let’s Make A Custom Toolbar

Given the enthusiastic response to my last Tech Tip, I thought I’d trot out another one periodically to address issues I see frequently in my line of work as IT Wonk/Paper Shuffler.

Today’s tip is for those of you who aren’t content with a single toolbar for your shortcut needs. Maybe you’re a clean desktop freak. Perhaps you feel a burning desire to use a shortcut bar rather than favorites. Whatever the burr that resides under your particular saddle, you’re probably in the market for an additional toolbar.

So, let’s get to it, shall we?

STEP ONE: Open up your “My Documents” folder. Right-click and make a new folder, naming it whatever you like (in the example below, I’ve cleverly named mine “CLAIRE STUFF”).

You can name your folder whatever you want. "Leroy," maybe, or "Boudicca." Go nuts.

You can name your folder whatever you want. "Leroy," maybe, or "Boudicca." Go nuts.

STEP TWO: Open the folder you just created. Drag shortcuts (or create them) to the programs you want to access in the folder. As you can see, I have a significant number of frequently-used apps and documents. Once you’ve copied or created all your shortcuts, move on to step three.

Yes, I really do use most of these every day. Isn't that sad?

Yes, I really do use most of these every day. Isn't that sad?

STEP THREE: OK, kids, here’s where things get tricky. Go back to My Documents by clicking the “Back” button (or the “Up One Level” button)  in the toolbar at the top of the window. You should see your new folder amongst the clutter of your My Documents Folder. Click and drag your new folder to the edge of the screen, and release (I’ve dragged mine to the bottom, but you can choose the top or either side if you have your Start Menu at the bottom).

Click and drag, then release. Aspirin for any headaches, Dramamine for any nausea.

Click and drag, then release. Aspirin for any headaches, Dramamine for any nausea.

STEP FOUR: The bar should appear wherever you dragged it. Note that it will be rather untidy looking, as Microsoft leaves all the labels and such turned on for maximum inefficiency and annoyance to the user. We’ll fix that in Step Five.

Not too tidy, is it? Don't worry, it's only temporary, Padawan.

Not too tidy, is it? Don't worry, it's only temporary, Padawan.

STEP FIVE: Right-clck on the toolbar (not on an icon, but on the empty space in the toolbar itself) and UN-CHECK the “Show Text” and “Show Title” items. (If you’d like, you can set your toolbar to Auto-Hide and remain Always on Top by checking those items now.)

I set mine to "Always on Top" with "Auto-Hide," but you can do whatever you want. Nobody's judging. Well, not much.

I set mine to "Always on Top" with "Auto-Hide," but you can do whatever you want. Nobody's judging. Well, not much.

STEP SIX: This is the last step. If you have a lot of items like I do, your toolbar will remain sized the way it was when you initially created it. To fix this, just grab the edge of your new toolbar and drag it toward the edge of the screen. When it’s the size you like, release.

In toolbars, as in life, less is more.

In toolbars, as in life, less is more.

That’s it! You’re finished. Your new toolbar will remain where it is until you either delete the folder it represents or you accidentally turn it off (if you do, you can restore it by following these steps again). Here’s my shiny new toolbar, which should bear close resemblance to yours:

Bask in its toolbary glory! Hey - are you basking? I said bask! BASK, CURSE YOU!

Bask in its toolbary glory! Hey - are you basking? I said bask! BASK, CURSE YOU!

Do you have an issue or question you’d like answered as a Tech Tip? Send it to me at La_Barceloneta@yahoo.com, or post a comment here.

Coming up next time: Tech Tip #3 – iTunes Stutter, or Why Johnny Can’t Sing

Claire De Lunacy™: Resident(ial) Evil

Claire De Lunacy™: Residential Evil

It looks like the Andromeda Spam is on the loose! Who can save us from its deadly assault? More importantly, who will save us without busting a cap in our collective ass?!?

Claire De Lunacy™ – Back to, ahem, “Normal.”

Claire De Lunacy™ - Back to, ahem, "Normal."

Aaaand…we’re back! Claire’s got the PC repaired, and Tom’s feeling a lot better…but there seems to be trouble ahead.

Claire De Lunacy™: Going Meta

Claire De Lunacy™: Going Meta

Yeah, yeah, I know, I suck. The computer I use to create this strip is currently on the fritz. In order to get today’s strip posted, I was forced to apply some sort of black stick to a strange white substance the locals call “paper.” Also, there was no Ctrl+Z (I checked), no cut, no paste…just me, swearing and scribbling over my lunch break. Our story will resume when my PC is fixed, and this feature will be restored to its former, er, glory.