Friday, February 27, 2009

My Loss Of Connectivity

I broke my cell phone recently. Here are my thoughts on my temporary loss of connectivity, presented to you in glorious widescreen format.

In other news, here's what has been recently added to my iPod:
  • The Wonder Stuff: The BBC Sessions
  • David Lee Roth: Skyscraper
  • Steve Miller Band: Abracadabra
  • Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder
  • Star Trek: The City On The Edge Of Forever

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I Swear, I Was Not Picking My Nose!

I was deep into avoiding my paperwork when I felt a distinct "crack" sound in my nose. Either the weather was changing, or my MySQL Server had just crashed. I had little time to think about it, for I soon felt a huge rush of blood pouring out of my left nostril. I sat there for a moment, not knowing what to do. My first instinct was to click Edit and Undo, but my mouse hand was busily covering my blood-spattered snout.

There's a certain stigma attached to having a bloody nose. You can offer up any excuse you want to your friends, and even if you raise your hand to God while swearing on a stack of Bibles, they are still going to think in the back of their minds that you were picking your nose and hit a gusher. Or worse, they'll think that you're a cocaine addict. So, it was with great trepidation that I got up from my desk with my hand still over my nose and headed towards the Men's room. I must have looked like a parody of Marsha Brady as I made my way down one flight of stairs, up another, across the hallway, then through a swinging door that fed into the restroom.

I looked at myself in the mirror, wondering what removing my hands from my nose would reveal. Slowly, and with the utmost care I removed them and stared at the image looking back at me. I needed a shave. And the blood looked as if it had dwindled down to a trickle. Thank God. I grabbed a paper towel and cleaned up the red residue from my face and hands. And since I felt some snot-like substance in my nostril, I decided that this was indeed an opportune time to blow my nose. Upon doing just that, I had a simple, two word thought: Oh Shit!

Blood gushed again from my nostril as if it had just been behind a great dam. A quick inspection of the paper towel revealed deep red stains along with bloody snot and possibly blood clots. The red liquid was flowing off of my face and into the sink. I started to panic. A quick thought to shove leeches up my nose was summarily rejected. Then, I began to think about those health-segments that they used to show during the Saturday Morning Cartoons in the early 80's. I seemed to recall it advising nosebleeders to pinch their nostrils while leaning their head back. Putting all of my faith in TV, I pinched my nostrils, leaned my head back, and hoped that this problem would begin to take care of itself.

For a few moments I stood perplexed. Was it working? Was I going to pass out? Do I look as nerdy as I feel? As my mind mulled these and other questions, I noticed a slight ferrous taste developing in my mouth. This wasn't my Carnation Instant Breakfast coming back to haunt me. I lunged towards the sink as I realized that TV had betrayed me! Blood had been dripping down my throat. I leaned forward in full defiance of what television had taught me and held my nostrils tight for dear life.

It wasn't too much longer before the bleeding stopped. I cleaned up my mess of bloody paper towels and headed back up to my office. Thankfully, everybody was at lunch so nobody noticed my little mishap. With great relief, I sat down at my desk and began once again to procrastinate the day away. However, the Nose Of Doom obviously had other plans, for not 20 minutes later, I felt the familiar feeling of blood rushing out of my nose. I was caught unprepared again! I grabbed the first thing that was handy, a napkin from Subway, and held it to my nose. The remnants of the previous day’s Cold Cut Trio lunch would prove to be ineffective at keeping the blood at bay.

People had started coming back from lunch. I was going to have to face the music. With my blood soaked Subway napkin shoved firmly up my nose, I went off in search of Kleenex. Two matronly co-workers ushered me into their office where I was told to sit down and lean my head forward. Kleenex was found and put beside me. "Oh, Thomas, it must be this dry heat!", one said. "It could be high blood pressure. Do you have high blood pressure?", remarked the other.

I indicated that, no, I did not have high blood pressure and began to believe that the dry heat rather than a cruel joke from God was responsible for my embarrassing predicament. "Changes in the weather do this to my daughter all the time", the first office lady told me. "Oh, yes, in fact, I used to get them all the time myself. You just need to sit tight and apply pressure. This darn heat can be terrible on the lining of the nose", said the other. I sat and listened to tales from their own bloody nosed past. I was put at ease. There would be no judging. My reputation was safe.

With my spontaneous nasal bloodletting at an end, I thanked the ladies for helping me out. I rose from my chair and started off to the washroom so that I might clean up. The ladies smiled at me and told me to watch out for that dry air. I assured them I would and soon I was off. As I turned the corner, I heard one remark to the other "I bet he was picking his nose!".

Saturday, February 21, 2009

iHave The Touch

I broke down and bought an iPod touch recently. I convinced myself that I was doing my patriotic duty by stimulating the economy and contributing to Steve Jobs' medical relief fund. The problem with buying the iPod is that the expense doesn't stop with the device itself. I haven't had this device for more than a few days and I have already spent a fair amount of money on accessories.

Among the things I have already doled out money for includes:

- A radio transmitter thingy so that I can listen to music in the car.

- A protective case

- A transparent screen thingy to prevent scratches.

I haven't spent any money on apps yet, but, suffice it to say, if Mr. Jobs ends up needing a liver transplant, it will be easily financed. I'm already dangerously close to paying for the full version of this iPod blogging tool I am currently using.

Shake those hands.

Friday, February 20, 2009

We Have Lift Off!

I'm happy to announce that, as of tonight, The Virtual Sink has been officially re-launched. A lot of work has been going on over the past ten days, culminating in the purchase of the domain name and the web hosting service from tonight. It may not have been my best move with regards to the other options in hosting and domain purchasing I had. The price was certainly reasonable, but I felt as if I was dealing with the registrant equivalent of a used car salesman. The emphasis on up-selling is huge. I would think that, if I had not known exactly what I was hoping to buy, I would have easily fallen prey to these shysters and would have ended up with tons of services I did not need, such as domain verification, extra domain names and excessive opt-out e-mail advertisement.

After the fact, I had thought that I should have documented the entire process so that you could all see for yourself the heinous process a registrant needs to go through in order to accomplish the task of setting up a website through GoDaddy. Thankfully, this is the Internet, where you can always rest assured that someone has already done the work for you. It's a little bit out of date, but the folks over at have done a great job showing you exactly what you'll have to deal with if you decide to purchase through

That being said, once everything was finally set up, things ran smoothly. The administrative interface is a bit bloated and hard to navigate, but a help guide is provided and it actually HELPS. From registration to file upload, it took about two hours to get the site going. That's not too bad. And I'm happy with the result.

Long Live The Virtual Sink!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Rising From The Ashes

The phoenix has it easy. In order to rise up from the ashes, all it has to do is call on a little magic. Even Britney Spears has it easy. In order to make another comeback, she simply called up some producers and songwriters, threw some money at them, and warbled on command into a microphone. Perhaps the "on command" part took some modicum of effort, but she certainly didn't have to strain her brain in order to achieve her goal.

For The Virtual Sink, a more deliberate effort has been required in order to bring it back. First off, I had to decide on a design. I would normally defer design elements to former Virtual Sink co-host Ward. Ward handled the The Virutal Sink redesign back in 2003 and did an amazing job. Over the years, we had some brainstorms regarding a more minimalist design. They were more like brain farts, really. For the re-launch I wanted to go with something that exemplified that feeling I had when I first signed on to WXAV. Something a little darker. Something that made me want to wash my hands before returning to work.

Once the design was in place, I needed a staging area to put it in so that I could run some navigation and programmatic tests. I scoured Google for free web hosts and settled upon one. In the past, I had developed my own blogging engine based upon PHP and MySQL. Instead of re-creating that, I went with the easier option and tied the posts to Blogger. I still had to create a template version of the site in order submit posts within the site format.

There is still much to do. I'm currently looking at methods to create a photo gallery so that I can feature old pictures from both The Kitchen Sink and The Virtual Sink. In the meantime, I am evaluating a more permanent, paid web host and am trying to decide on a final domain name.

Friday, February 6, 2009

We're Back! Did You Miss Us?

Just when you thought it was safe to let your Net Nanny subsciption lapse, The Virtual Sink has returned to help suck up your valuable time and network capacity. It has been nearly five years since The Virtual Sink deleted itself from the Internet, and although the vast majority of that time has been spent armchair quarterbacking the state of pop culture in our socitey, part of that time was dedicated to formulating a new philosophy on the purpose of the Internet.

When I created my first web page back in 1993, it was little more than a tribute to The Lemonheads who had blown me away with their albums “It’s A Shame About Ray” and “Come On Feel The Lemonheads”. Flimsy as it may have been, it served a purpose: to display articles, pictures and media related to the band. Not long after the concept of copyright compelled me to kill the Lemonheads material, I re-engineered the site into something that would showcase my brother’s radio show, The Kitchen Sink. I wrote my own articles, published their newsletter, and hosted their audio clips. Their small group of fans were given a place to go to that would add to their enjoyment of the show. Again, a purpose was being served. For a number of years, I ran a website called The Virtual Sink which initially hosted streamed content from my Internet radio show. Once the show died, it became a daily pop-culture blog featuring my snarky comments on the Hollywood microcosm. I like to think that people came there to have a few laughs, stir up some discussion or otherwise add to their knowledge of something. Here again , a purpose was served.

I have spent the past year thinking about how I might re-establish my web presence. In my private life, I am what more forgiving people would call a techie. Most just refer to me as a computer-nerd. As such, I am often met with exasperated disbelif when I am asked to provide the url to my home page and all I can give them is a MySpace address. Although it has been a source of minor embarassment, I haven't thought much about it because the interest in TommyMac the person doesn't justify the personal and financial expense of creating and maintaing a site dedicated to it.

What I’m trying to get at here is that I don’t see the point of your average citizen having a home page on the web. It’s just another fly in the air tight jar of shit that we call the World Wide Web. What purpose would a revitalized Virtual Sink serve? Is The Virtual Sink simply a vehicle of expression of TommyMac's pontifications? If it is, then that vehicle has no wheels. The percentage of internet users searching for information about me is slightly lower than the percentage of the world’s population that actually knows me. Does anybody really need to know what my favorite color is (it’s blue)? Does anybody care that I’m fanatical about Dr. Pepper? Would it serve a purpose for anyone to know that the album “The Eight Legged Groove Machine” from The WonderStuff changed my life (for the better)? If you know me personally, you already know those kinds of things. If you don’t know me, it’s all extraneous. I don’t need to have a home page on the World Wide Web. I don’t really want to, either.

However, as an amateur videographer, writer, photographer and ex radio DJ, I create and have created content. This content can serve no purpose if it just sits on a CD or on an old hard drive some where. The content has to be experienced in order for there to be any chance of someone getting some enjoyment out of it. And it cannot be experienced if I don’t share it. And perhaps, in sharing old content and creating new content, I can encourage some likeminded former Sink staffers to join in fun. So, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m opening up the flood gates in the hopes that someone might come across it and have some kind of reaction. Love it, hate it, be indifferent to it and forget about it 30 seconds after you click off of it, it’s all going to be there for you to experience.