No audio on my laptop with Linux Mint / Ubuntu : The Solution

I’ve been searching the net trying to figure out why I wasn’t getting audio of any kind on my laptop after installing Linux Mint. For future reference (and for anyone else who stumbles upon this) here’s what fixed it:

  1. Open Volume Control (Double click on icon in menu bar)
  2. Click ‘Preferences’
  3. Check “External Amplifier”
  4. Go to the newly visible “Switches” tab
  5. Uncheck “External Amplifier” there.
  6. Crank some music.

A Three Hour Tour / I’ve Been Slimed

For some reason Wonderland was closed Sunday so instead of eating at their self-serve waffle bar, Gerry and I went for breakfast at The Original Pancake House in Tyson’s Corner. Afterward, we spent most of the day driving around aimlessly; he showed me around Falls Church, Vienna and Springfield. Most notably was the first part of the tour when he showed me buildings of interest like the hospital where he was born, the city’s first “sky scraper” — all of 13 floors and incidentally where his mother worked when he was a wee Gerry — and this building, not-so-affectionately nicknamed the Toilet Bowl Building:


I thought it looked more like the StarGate.

We walked around the mall, people-mocking watching. We went to two malls actually but the one in Springfield reminded me of a pre-Katrina Oakwood — complete with randomly placed fast food joints, thugs, recent abductions and a Spencer Gifts.

Really, where else can you eat Subway in an abandoned section of a shopping center, buy a dildo and then get kidnapped and killed? Springfield Mall has it all!

Avoiding abduction, we each got different yet similarly insane variations of peanut putter and ice cream sundaes at Baskin Robbins, dug through a used record store (CD Cellar) where I purchased a pretty kick ass album by The Ting Tings and two DVDs: Butch Walker in Budokan and Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show. The day wound down while looking at Volkswagens with Gerry’s friend Justin and all of us grabbing some Thai. It was a really nice end to an enjoyable Christmas week.

Then this morning came and shat all over me.

It felt like I woke up with a mouthful of ectoplasm. I’m not sure what’s going on, but lately when I first wake up, especially after sleeping with the fan on, my mouth is coated with slime, my throat is irritated and my sinuses feel like they’re going to collapse in on themselves at any moment like a dying star; not star that’s a mass of incandescent gas but rather a colossal wad of snot. As an added bonus for most of today I’ve also had a headache this big that just wont quit pounding. I’m hoping to take advantage of the slow holiday season and get out of here a little early and go home and nap a bit — far away from a ceiling fan, if I can.

Between projects at work I’ve been catching up on a few new blogs I’m following — Regulus (a friend of Gerry who reminds me a little of my friend Lloyd back home) and my friend urbanbohemian. I’m also doing some more research on Linux Mint (for work) and Android Phones (for myself.)

Also, my bicycle has been standing around the livingroom, mocking me:


In completely unrelated news, Bill Cosby is no longer the only person who is on the “List of People Who Eat For Free” at Ben’s Chili Bowl:


Linux Mint up and running just dandy.

OK, I had a couple snags, but they were my own fault rather than anything I can blame on the OS. So far, it’s pretty awesome. Wifi and video working right out the box, which is impressive since I had a load of trouble when I tried to switch to Ubuntu last year. I’m really considering running it on the TV’s computer, but I have some issues to work out with streaming Netflix. I haven’t done any research on the topic, but I’m hoping someone has worked out a way to view the movies on a non-IE browser. I could probably run a virtual machine with XP, but I’d rather not.

So anyway, so far so good.

Holiday Ramblings

To be completely honest, I was really dreading xmas this year. I’m not religious and I don’t buy into the whole commercial aspect of the holiday season. Behind closed doors I’m probably known as the big scrooge that doesn’t give gifts, etc. I don’t know, I just don’t get excited by the whole thing. The only part of the holiday season I do like is that it’s a chance to get together with friends all at once and do something together. Post Katrina this was very important to me since my schedule was flipped so topsy-turvey I rarely got to see my friends.

I moved to DC around this time last year and although xmas 2007 was definitely odd being away from everyone, being new to the city was a distraction and I didn’t notice it much. Plus, most of my newly-made friends were in town so it wasn’t as depressing as it could have been. This year was a whole other animal though. I don’t think anyone I know in DC was in town this week and I was prepared to spend xmas day reading tweets about everyone’s fabulous holiday dinners and fantastic parties while the cats stared at me all disapproving-like as I watched x-tube and ate from a jar of peanut butter on the cold floor of the bathroom.

Luckily, it didn’t end up being that way.

Wednesday night I went with Gerry to support his friend Richard on his excursion to St. Matthew’s Midnight Mass. I didn’t quite get the full story why any of us were there though, but I imagine it revolved around repressed Catholic guilt of some kind (but doesn’t everything?). Now, I was fully expecting to burst into a flaming pillar of salt upon walking into the church, but not much happened other than some catty remarks and a couple rounds of “peace be with you” with Gerry and his friends and the couple behind us. Other than that, i tried to think of reasons why the people in line should be allowed to participate in the pseudo-cannibalistic blood ritual and not me, just cause I like to, um, you know, every now and then.. I felt left out. I wanted to pretend like I was drinking blood too.

Gerry came over on Thursday and we spent the day watching bad TV on the sofa, drinking bad wine, napping and trying to forage for food at a restaurant that was A) Actually open and B) NOT over-priced Chinese. (A C)Chinese buffet would have ruled though.) It was a very laid back day and other than being with my friends back home as well, I couldn’t have asked for a better time.

Then, this afternoon my friend James called and said he wanted to go walk around and play with his G1’s GPS Tracking Program. We were looking for a cupcake place in Georgetown, but since they were closed when we found them we settled for coffee and a slice of ginormous chocolate cake at SoHo Coffee and Tea. You can see some pictures from our walk on his blog.

So, now I’m sitting at home with the kitties doing laundry and wishing Christmas wasn’t over so soon.

Yeah, me. Weird, eh?