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Wednesday February 28, 2007

Jackie Gomez took photos at the International Noise Confrence. Hey, I met Jackie at the Joan LaBarbara concert last night!

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Wednesday November 30, 2005

Whither the weather?

[Contributed by Steve Klotz]

Epsilon hasn’t a clue. The 26th named storm of the record 2005 season doesn’t realize that she (he? it??) is doomed to oblivion; a death sentence to be carried out on Thursday 12/1 at 12:01 am. When the dawn breaks, there will be no sign of the straggling storm. As everybody knows, Hurricane Season runs from June 1 through Nov 30. There are no exceptions. Rules are rules, and as Masters of the Universe, we need to enforce the rules we create.

As sure as there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; as certain as from her deathbed Terry Schiavo asked to live; as absolutely Bill Clinton did not have sex with that woman, this hurricane season will abruptly cease at midnight. These are the fundamental building blocks on which we Americans build our beliefs. The check is in the mail, I won’t cum in your mouth, and I’m from the government here to help you.

If there’s one lesson we South Floridians should learn from this season, it’s that when it comes to hurricanes, nobody out there has any idea what’s going on, what to do, or what to advise, not that it silences a single soul. Chief among the ignoramuses is FPL, of course, but only because of its rancid prominence and far-reaching capacity for ruin. We haven’t even started on FEMA. And those pathetic faux prophets at the Hurricane Center might as well be witches ‘round a bubbling cauldron. Category One my hairy yellow ass.

So we welcome the end of the season, whenever it arrives. But we’re keeping the candles and the cans of Dinty Moore Stew for a little while longer. You never know.

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Monday June 18, 2007

Clevelander renovations. Lovely wrap-around billboard that doesn’t promote anything other then general hedonism.

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Monday September 10, 2007

I hereby order you to love the Good News Social blog. Behind every good city there are good people, networking, and making things happen. This is their site.

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Saturday March 29, 2008

Updates

SO. Everything should be working much better now, and hopefully my web host will be happier, too. Please report anything unusual.

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Friday April 14, 2006

Oh, look: the Miami Performing Arts Center just announced its opening weekend. It’s in October, not August.

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Monday July 18, 2005

Irreducible

Oh geez, isn’t yet another video show just about the last thing Miami needs? MAM has one up right now (recently reviewed), MoCA had one within the past year, and the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood had one about a year and a half ago. With all this exposure, another video show at an upstart museum needs to do a lot to justify its existence. Let’s forgo the suspense, and say that Irreducible, Contemporary Short Form Video at Miami Arts Central does so very much. Lavish, beautiful, and deep, Irreducible is the sort of show that just might win over some staunch anti-conceptualists.

Whether by magic, craftiness, or sheer force of cash, MAC has the curatorial strength to get world-class work in apparently any genre they choose, and while this exhibition is less star-studded then their previous (The Last Picture Show: Artists Using Photography), it is no less dazzling. Their ability to get the good stuff is matched by the money to show it right: the work is displayed variously on over 40 different monitors, projections, and flat-screens, with sound variously provided by loudspeakers, headphones, and parabolic speakers. Four pieces have had special sound-insulated darkened rooms build for them. Classy.

One of the most stunning pieces in the show is also one of the last the visitor encounters. Eva Koch’s Approach features a voice-over reading a passage from Dante’s Comedy while fourteen people perform the text in sign language. Arranged in a tight group in the middle of a circular plaza, the signers, dressed in white, gray, and black, function as a group of synchronized dancers, an effect accentuated by the intricate camera-work. The sound of their hands working can be heard, mixed with the single voice to sublime effect. The visual and aural effect is strong enough that it is not overpowered by the beauty of the words, but rather engages with them to produce a third layer of poetry, which is neither visual nor verbal.

Right next door, The Game of Tag has a group of naked people of varying ages playing tag in a cave-like room. It’s primal and frightening at first glance, but one comes to realize that they’re having uninhibited fun—something to envy.

A couple of the works feature a single inspired act, sometimes verging on prank. For example, in Ptáci (Birds), Czech artist Jesper Alvaer opens a bag of popcorn in front of a video recorder placed on the ground. The resulting flurry of pigeons, just over a minute long, is so intense that the video ends with lens is pointing in a different direction then at the beginning.

The idea of a prank is taken to the Nth degree in John Wood and Paul Harrison’s Hundredweight. Six monitors each display the same room from overhead. The room has grey walls and a white floor, forming a static rectangle on each screen. A man in the room performs various prop-assisted activities, each of which transforms the apperance of the room for a brief period. In one sequence, the room begins with black plastic pipes standing on end, pointing up towards the camera. The man knocks one of them over, which in turn knocks over the rest of them; they come to rest in an geometric pattern of crossing black lines on the floor of the room. In another sequence, a pair of paint sprayers are turned on a chair, casting paint “shadows” on the floor behind. Other props include lighting, fabric and plastic sheets, balls, and rubber bands, but what impresses most about the piece is its visual relationship to painting, not just its inventiveness.

Pictured with this article is Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla’s Returning a Sound, in which a young man rides through a landscape on a moped with a trumpet attached to the muffler, improbably resulting in a strange, endless melody. No interpretation of this piece’s odd power feels satisfactory: it is not a joke, a narrative, or an experiment. There is no glee, celebration, or development. There is only the wordless fascination of looking.

To be sure, not everything in this exhibition is successful. A few pieces, such as Yael Bartana’s Kings of the Hill, seem a better it for documentary treatment then an artistic one, while Aernout Mik’s video of jumping people is boring to little effect.

In a show with so much excellent work, a few weak pieces can be overlooked. But when it comes to presenting work, the MAC’s reach sometimes exceeds its grasp (ironically, their failings often fall in the realm of technology). On the day we visited the exhibition, two pieces were down for technical reasons. If that can be forgiven, the following cannot: in the interest of slickness, a number of pieces in the show employ wireless headphones, which work much less often then not. During the opening reception, we experienced all sorts of interference on these sets. But on returning on a regular day, the problems were multiplied by sets with dead batteries, incorrectly set frequencies, and generally poor-to-nonexistent reception. At least one piece had had it’s wireless headphones replaced with (much less impressive) wired ones; the same needs to happen to the rest of the pieces in the show (perhaps the biggest name in the show, Gillian Wearing, had her piece rendered moot by malfunctioning wireless audio).

Sadly, these failings are consistent with the MAC’s short record of multimedia presentations. During the previously mentioned Last Picture Show, demigod Martha Rosler came to speak about her work. At a podium set up in the middle of the audience of over fifty, Rosler had to choose witch half of the group would hear any given sentence of hers, because the MAC apparently could find no PA for her to use! To add injury to insult, the attendees got to see Rosler’s slides, but not the new work she had on her iBook, because apparently the MAC doesn’t own a computer video cable. So please, guys, a little less razzle-dazzle in the future, and a little more functionality. But otherwise, we can hardly wait to see what the MAC has in store for us in the future.

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Thursday April 19, 2007

What's up with property taxes?

house

Thank you to Jim DeFede for saying what I’m been thinking: property taxes are a good thing. First of all, exchanging property taxes for a increase in sales tax is a horrible shift of the tax burden from the rich to the poor. “Under Rubio’s plan, you might save a couple of thousand dollars, but Rush Limbaugh for instance, will save almost a half million in taxes every year on his Palm Beach home.” That’s a half a million that either gets cut from city budgets (and “disproportionately” is the key word there), or gets paid by people buying diapers.

You know how you did your taxes on Tuesday evening (oh wait, that was me)? Well, remember when you got done with the federal income taxes and you went on to do your state income tax? No: you don’t. That’s because Florida is one of the seven (count ‘em) states without an income tax. “Thank you, Walt Disney World,” my old boss used to say. Thank you Limbaugh, too. Thanks to the homeowners. And don’t worry — us renters have seen our rates go up plenty over the last few years, so it’s not like we’re not paying our share.

You’re squeezed between rising insurance rates and increasing property taxes? Oh, I’m sorry (the latter is because the value of your property has skyrocketed over the last five years, by the way). It turns out that you live in a tropical paradise, to which 400,000 new people move every year. Oh, and we have hurricanes that come and wipe out a neighborhood or two every couple of years. That makes it expensive. You can’t stand the heat? Well, you should have sold your house at the beginning of last year like Critical Miami told you to do, and you’d be sitting on a big pile of cash right now waiting to buy again when prices bottom out (or maybe moving to a nice quiet little town in Colorado).

Or you can trade down from the huge house you can’t afford to a smaller one you can. Then the overall housing prices won’t effect you as much. Look: governments do things. They mostly do things that everyone benefits from, but which individuals would not independently want to spend money on (like educating our kids, for which Florida spends less per child then any other state). We can talk about re-calibrating the rates, but until everyone suddenly decides they want to live in a truly limited-government, libertarian society, I don’t want to hear any more whining. Get out there and mow your lawn.

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Thursday January 31, 2008

More on the Lyric Theater in this week’s Sun Post. Including this tidbit: the Miami CRA was going to donate a parcel of land to the Black Archives to complete the Theater’s expansion. The County is blocking the donation by laying claim to the land because of something to do with an adjacent housing development, so, I rest my case.

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Sunday March 19, 2006

More thoughts on so-called 'politeness'

My critique of a Herald article on rudeness in Miami resulted in some good comments, both here and on other blogs (I previously mentioned Robert’s thoughtful take ). I have a few more thoughts on the subject, though I don’t think they necessarily form a coherent perspective. Maybe Rick is right, and I’m sticking up for the rude people. So be it.

First of all, behavior needs to be broken down by situation before “rudeness” or “politeness” can have any meaning. For example, if I’m dealing with an employee of a business—someone who’s on the job—then their behavior has nothing to do with them, or with politeness; it’s a question of training, and of the priorities of the business owner. This may sound way off at first blush, but bear with me: When I go to Taco Bell, I’m there to get a 7-layer burrito for $1.79. The person taking my order is making shitty pay, working in a fairly demanding and unpleasant environment, and will be at that job a few months on average. The more polite the person, the sooner they’re likely to find a better job, the better the chance of a “rude” person taking my order the next time. Management could do one of two things if they wanted more polite workers: (1) hire only employees with a certain threshold of social skills, or (2) provide greater training in customer service. Either option increases the price of my 7-layer, and frankly, I’m not interested. I try to make the best of these interactions, and don’t expect too much. There are actually arguments for even budget-priced establishments to make the effort to ensure that their employees are always friendly and polite (because it increases business, see?). The point is, though, that it’s the management’s decision to make, and the individual’s role is secondary.

A second situation that needs to be looked separately is driving. In driving, there is a push and pull between getting somewhere fast and accommodating other drivers. This distinction becomes particularly present when one is faced with drivers who appear to be elsewhere, but it also factors into left lane hogs, people who won’t let you merge, folks who change lanes without signaling or even looking, I-95 drag-racing, and assholes in BMWs who tailgate and flash their high-beams at you when you’re in “their” lane. I’ve covered driving annoyances before, so let’s let this go for now.

That leaves everything else. We often hear impoliteness as being equated with a “sense of entitlement;” somehow, the impolite among us act as they do because they feel superior to everyone else. I simply find this difficult to swallow (so does Val, who thinks it comes down to being raised proper ). Perceptions of rudeness may result from a multicultural society such as Miami, but to suggest that it’s because there are “polite” cultures and “impolite” cultures mixing is to miss the point. Rather, the very concept of “politeness” is often arbitrary. The idea of “inconsiderateness” makes sense only when compared to “considerateness,” and much of that behavior, when examined, consists of doing what the observer would do. For example, if you assume the person in front of you will hold the door open for you, that is an expectation. If they don’t do so, we have a breakdown in expectations. Who’s fault is it?

The answer is nobody’s. Your expectation of having the door held is just as much a “sense of entitlement” as the supposed perception of the person in front of you that you’re not important enough to hold the door for. People bugging you at the movie theater? Join netflix: part of the fun of going out to the movies is to share the experience with your community. For every so-called rudeness, there is an unfulfilled demand that is at least worth examining. Oh, and what is the opposite of “inconsiderate?” Often, “considerate” behavior is simply that which meets our expectations. An “inconsiderate” person in my way is rarely actually less considerate then the person who gets out of my way. Is that person more considerate? Probably not – she’s just more like me, and in a hurry to get somewhere else.

If there’s good news at the end of this, it’s that the ‘lowest common denominator’ of all of this stuff is a beautiful place to be: it’s the place where you adopt a laid-back, everything’s-ok attitude, relax, and go with the grain of the situation you might otherwise feel stuck in. The beauty of this is that it it’s medically beneficial, and lets you experience more of what the here and now has to offer.

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Tuesday July 5, 2005

Patriot

Patriot Missile System See update, below! Well, we survived the 4th; no reports of people killed by stray bullets (the graphic plea has been pulled off the Miami-Dade web site). Yes, we got to see the fireworks. Big deal. Fireworks are not impressive, but then neither is the old saw about how blowing shit up is a piss-poor way to celebrate our national heritage.

You want patriotism? How about orphaned children from around the world becoming American citizens. Actually, there’s something sinister about this. These kids want a safe place to grow up, and we force them to pledge allegiance to our flag. While you’re at it, kid, you’d better pledge some allegiance to our massive national debt, which you’re going to be paying the interest on your whole life. And get to be drafted when you turn 18.

This so-called patriotism is sick. You want to be a patriot? We suggest making a distinction between our country (good), its people (a mixed bag), and our government (pretty ugly).

Update: This 13 year old girl was hit by a stray bullet shot into the air, Iraq style, in celebration.

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Thursday November 10, 2005

Out on the weekend

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Thursday February 8, 2007

Via the radio yesterday, one of the main complaints that out-of-towners had about Miami during Superbowl weekend was the overzealous and unreasonable measures taken by the Miami police. They specifically quoted someone with ESPN, though I’m not sure if he was specifically referring to Miami PD or the County department. Sort of related: Miami’s Operation Tornado results in 101 arrests.

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Monday August 7, 2006

Dixie Dingo Super-8 Film Festival

This is a project that Brook Dorsch and Julie Kahn cooked up last year. They somehow came into the possession of eight Super-8 cameras, and gave them to eight semi-randomly selected people along with a three-minute spool of film. One week later, everything gets returned, developed, and subsequently screened. The screening is the first time anyone gets to see the movies, including the organizers. Nice. I missed it last year, and I’m not missing it again.

Tomorrow Night! (Tuesday, 8 pm) From the website (which as far as I know has no permlinks:

Julie Lara Kahn & Brook Dorsch announce the second Dixie Dingo Super-8 Invitational Film Festival at the Dorsch Gallery on 8/8/06 at 8:00 pm. The DDS8IFF is a free one-night festival of Super-8 films by Miami strangers. The festival celebrates the 3rd birthday of a stray Dixie Dingo puppy named Logan who appeared on the steps of the Dorsch Gallery on 8/8/03. We adopted him and he changed our lives forever. The festival pays homage to the creative possibilities of such serendipitous meetings with strangers. The evening will benefit Faktura Pet Projekts—a non-profit organization run by artists Jacquelyn Johnston and Angela Roell dedicated to using the arts to enhance community by raising awareness, funds and support for the rescue of stray pets. This year”s 8 filmmakers are: Elizabeth Howard; Eduardo M. Lopez, a personal driver, sailor and diver from Argentina; Teresa Mears, an assistant features editor for the Miami Herald; Crispin Sylvester, a Rastafarian; Bethany Quinn, a UM hunger striker; Nastassja Schmidt, a high school actress, singer, model, dancer & aspiring filmmaker; Us Not Him, a local collaborative; Alon Siso, a hairdresser and modern artist who works with oil and canvas.

On a hot day earlier this year, Brook & Julie cruised through Miami neighborhoods handing out cameras & film to 8 random people. Each stranger was provided with a super-8 camera, a 3-minute film cartidge & 1 week to shoot. Their exposed film was then collected, processed and compiled onto a single reel without any editing beyond what was done in camera. The reel will be screened via old-fashioned projector with the help of Barron Sherer and Kevin Wynn of Cinema Vortex at the Dorsch Gallery on August 8th at 8 pm. No one will view the films before the festival, not even the organizers or the filmmakers, we will all be virgins together. In addition to the 8 virgin films, the organizers commissioned credit trailers by Miami-based art duo, the TM Sisters, best-known for their xerography, sewn collage, animation, and video game collaborations. After the films and trailers are screened, the audience will vote for an Audience Choice Award Winner. The evening will conclude with a dance party featuring DJ le Spam and an opportunity to mingle with the filmmakers and their guests.

Update: No AC yet, so dress light.

Update: Sweet Jesus, I didn’t even realize (but KH points out) that it’s 8 folks making Super 8 movies, shown on 8/8, at 8 pm. I’m about to have a seizure.

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Friday September 1, 2006

Sunshine State with overheard snippets of conversations at the S&S diner. With gorgeous photos. (Previously re. the S&S: 1, 2).

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Thursday January 3, 2008

BTW, we’re on a 1-week comment holiday here at CM — all old posts are open for commenting for the next week (ordinarily, comments close after 6 weeks).

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Monday May 12, 2008

“I do not believe that the effort required of my staff to gather and organize the information regarding job descriptions and cost of all board office renovations … is an effective use of their time.” — School Superintendent Rudy Crew, responding to a request for information from the School Board. From Michael Lewis’ column on how the School Board operates, which is a must-read. (Among info Crew is not interested in providing: where the overtime is going.)

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Wednesday January 3, 2007

Jessica Alba Bikini

Hide your kids, y’all: it’s Jessica Alba frolicking in the temperate waters of the South Beach Atlantic Ocean. More here and here. Apologies to those that thought I wasn’t going to go there. Update: Jorday sez, “I’m not sure who she is but(t) – ah, a woman’s ass! I’m such a heterosmacktual…”

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Wednesday May 21, 2008

Manola gets hassled and bullied at the Raleigh hotel. Idiots.

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Monday July 24, 2006

Hey kids, the Vamos a Miami writing contest. “Prose style must be naive, as if written for some young, impressionable pansy, but the underlying satire must be saw-toothed, with cojones.” Ha! Steve might have a head start.

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Tuesday May 6, 2008

Pepe's

Pepe's

So, as I was pulling into Key West a few weeks ago, I called up our friend, and Key West authority, Squathole to figure out where to have a big post-100-mile dinner. “Pepe’s,” he says, “hold on, let me see if their address is printed on the bottle of hot sauce I bought there.” Well, it was, but whether through my bad hearing or S’s bad vision, I ended up with the wrong address: 506 Caroline, right off Duval. After looking for it, giving up, looking for someplace else to eat, not finding anything promising, I ended up finding Pepe’s up the street at 806 Caroline.

From first glance you can tell it’s going to be perfect: Pepe’s opened in 1909 and looks it. It looks a little shacky from the outside, but inside is surprisingly cozy, blending indoor and outdoor spaces with equal parts Key West shamble and fine dining. It looks empty from the outside but is actually packed — mostly with locals as it turns out, this being one of the places on the island they cherish.

Pepe's

The parrot guy holds court, and expounds on the joy and life-long commitment that is parrot ownership (tip: never buy a parrot at a pet store). The parrot doesn’t talk, but instead likes to imitate other animals. He does a pretty good pig. I made pals with seasoned locals Ollie, his wife, and the parrot guy, who could totally get babes if he tried.

So the food. Well, first beer: there is exactly one beer on tap. It’s Yuengling, and it’s $1 per glass, and it tastes absolutely perfect when it’s on tap and you’ve got no choice. (I strongly advocate the 1-beer concept to other restaurants, btw. It’s got charm, and so long as it’s a half-way decent beer it will make people happy.) I think I drank about 6 over the next couple of hours. The food is surprisingly gourmet. Pepe’s style fish comes with melted cheese, but I opted for the blackened. It came prefectly cooked, generously portioned, and with fancy presentation, vegetable, and mashed potato. The rule of thumb in the Keys seems to be that the seafood is fresher and better, but not really any cheaper, than Miami, and so it was. Apparently Pepe’s has a master pie baker, so leaving without pie is considered self-in-foot-shooting. There’s a daily pie special(!), Ollie ordered a slice to go, and I followed suit, which meant killer macadamia nut and chocolate chip pie for breakfast next morning. Need I say more?

Pepe’s Cafe
806 Caroline Street, Key West, Fl.
(305) 294-7192

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Friday August 24, 2012

Floatopia weekend

float

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

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Wednesday May 30, 2007

Best Miami website, motherfuckers

I’m not quite sure I’m believing my eyes, but Miami New Times’ best of 2007 is out, and Critical Miami took ‘Best Website’. I guess w00t and thanks are in order. The operant link may be my rant from last year, wherein I embarrassingly whined about not winning the award then, and further complained about the lack of a ‘best blog’ category. But if 54 references aren’t enough, let me spell it out: I love you too, guys. (I’m also glad that NT noticed the commenters here, who’s contributions are just as important as mine for making the site worth visiting. Thanks.)

Update/PS: I’m sure the print version is perfect, but your online listing doesn’t technically include a hyperlink. And the Biscayne Times award doesn’t even include the name.

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Monday August 20, 2007

Carli Teproff on the little Chinese district along 167th Street. Very interesting, though I wish there were more photos. [Previously, here: Maggie’s Oriental Mart, China tag. ]

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Friday April 27, 2007

Silver Goose

The Silver Goose. Parked between Palm Island and the MacArthur for the last four days.

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Monday June 18, 2007

mosquito Seems like forever since you’ve seen a mosquito? Here’s why: Since mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, their populations drop during drought. The bad news: the eggs don’t die — they just accumulate, and wait for the water to come back, which in case you haven’t noticed, it has. Please to be expecting a major spike in the mosquito population, and mosquito-related illness. Yikes!

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Wednesday October 17, 2007

I’m now officially 3 for 3 of friends in China with blogs: Ariel, Ross, and Silvia (sad kitten story here). Good job, China team! (Anyone seeing a bunch of question marks just needs to install a Chinese language pack.)

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Wednesday February 6, 2008

BarCamp Miami 2, February 28th.

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Tuesday June 5, 2007

sand art

hay-zoos: Free Jams goofs around in the sand.

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Wednesday November 28, 2012

My Mac configuration

system preferences iconAbout a year a go I switched from Windows to Mac, and I haven’t looked back since. I started with a Mac Mini, switched to an Air when I moved into a house and didn’t want to be tied to a single desk spot with my computer, and upgraded again when I realized I needed 500 gigs on my machine so I could have my music and photo libraries onboard and a larger screen. My current machine is a 2010 15” MacBook Pro bought used on ebay. I upgraded it to 8 GB of memory and a 512 GB SSD from Crucial. I use this computer at home and as my main computer at work every day. Here’s how it’s configured (this is pretty much the order I’d re-install stuff if everything got wiped clean):

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