lundi, octobre 09, 2006

"He isn't that handsome,"

Okay, before I get to "what I did today," let me wrap up some unfinished business from Saturday.

While at the M_nus party, just as Richie Hawtin was getting ready to start his set, a guy dancing next to me turns to me and says "He's not that handsome, you know."

I tried to balance the confusion in my eyes with a friendly smile, and he tried to clarify: "Richie. I mean, he's got a good face on him, but he's not that hot."

I presumed that this was comment was in reference to the wild cheers from the crowd that greeted Richie's appearance onstage. I shrugged in as French a manner as I could manage, and said, "Well, I dunno. I didn't really come out tonight for his looks. I'm more here for the music."

As if I had just explained volumes, he smiled and nodded, "Oh, you're a fan."

And then with a smile that could have been either conspiratorial or patronizing, he returned to dancing.

Huh? Although I don't mind sexualizing DJs (I mean, sex permeates these events, so why should the DJs be asexual or chaste?) the attractiveness of DJs--especially male ones, especially in techno, especially among strangers--is a pretty unusual topic. Admittedly, ever since he moved to Berlin and got the "Berlin dandy" haircut and the ubercoolische t-shirts, he's been working his own androgynous form of sexual mojo. I can't say it's much my thing, but it certainly hasn't inspired me to spontaneously remark on it to a total stranger standing next to me. In fact, I'm pretty reluctant to make those sorts of observations about male DJs to anybody male that I don't know personally. Alas, clubs may be more "mixed" and queer-friendly these days, but it still isn't a good idea to risk having your actions misinterpreted as same-sex courtship.

Actually, I wondered afterwards if that guy made that comment as an "I'm gay, are you?" sort of gesture. But if he was, he should've taken my willingness to discuss male attractiveness as a hint and kept on chatting me up. To complicate matters further, I've noticed that straight men here are pretty comfortable discussing male attractiveness, so it's not inconcievable that the queer subtext of our conversation was not the point of the endeavor. Queer or not, none of this explains his last statement. Wha?

So, what I did today: I worked a LOT. For some reason, work was white-hot busy from the moment I got there. As I arrived, I had two possible hard-drive failures waiting for me (they had emailed me the night before) and an instructor waiting in the hallway as I arrived (DJ: you can guess who this is). From the moment I arrived to the moment I left, I didn't even have a chance to check my email. On the upside, I felt pretty productive and I managed to line things up in such a way that I was ready to leave by the end of my shift. No staying late this time, thank you.

After work, I decided to take care of some shopping. I still needed to buy an audio interface for my mac (and iMic will do fine, if I can find it), possibly a microphone (Mark Yeary: what were the makes and models you lent me?), an umbrella, and a list of food items. I headed over to République, where there was a mac-friendly audio store. It was closed. Of course; it's Monday. Monday is "the other Sunday" of France and most of Europe. For those stores that stay open on Sunday (a lot of bakeries, food vendors, restaurants), they often take Monday off instead. Apparently, this sometimes applies to retail stores. In fact, it applied to almost everything. I headed over to Darty to see if they might carry the tech-y stuff I needed (at least they were open). Then I headed over to the Télégraphe métro station, because I had heard of a good butcher just west of rue Pelleport on rue Ménilmontant. I wanted a decent hen for my ají de gallina. After a certain incident at my local grocery store, I had everything but the hen waiting in my pantry. After a not insignificant amount of walking, I discovered the butcher was closed. I walked down rue de Belleville for about 8 blocks to the area near the Jourdain métro stop, because I had seen some nice grocers and epiceries there. All of them were closed, except for a muslim butcher who looked at me in horror when I pointed at his lovely chickens and asked him if he also sold hens. It's like I asked him if he also sold human remains. Jeez.

In the end, I took the métro back to my place and just went to my usual freakin' grocery store (which was open, thank <deity>) which had ONE hen left sitting on its shelves. At least I got a lot of exercise.

When I got home, two of the WiFi+ADSL routers decided to go bonkers (repeatedly) so I lost a couple of hours trying to get those back online. Then I noticed that we were using bandwidth at nearly impossible rates, which may explain why the router was getting bumped off the grid. There are about 10 people connected to each WiFi router, and each router is on a 20Mbps line (that's the advertised rate, but it's probably lower). Considering that the internet activity lights on the routers are constantly flashing, night and day, at high rates, suggests that there is some serious file-sharing going on. Sigh. I'm reluctant to play internet-police with the students, but if somebody starts up a filesharing program and doesn't throttle their downloads, they can sometimes prevent others from getting onto the network, cause important packets to be lost or stalled, and get us periodically kicked off the grid.

For the moment, I sent out an email to the students telling them to slap a bandwidth limit on their filesharing programs and to minimize internet-heavy programs, but I suspect that this will just give more bandwidth to those who ignore my email, and I'll still be left with overloaded networks. My next step will be to get some sort of traffic monitoring program so that I can figure out who's the biggest bandwidth hog on these networks. Port-filtering may not work with newer file-sharing programs, but blocking MAC addresses is pretty effective.

Mac Geeks: any suggestions for traffic monitoring software that runs on OSX?

After spending an inordinate time on the web searching for such software (it's funny how being a network administrator is %50 knowledge and %50 paranoia), I gave up and got to writing up the Sunday post, which kept me up till 3am. Ouch.

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