May 28, 2004
Finally! My motorcycle works. Apparantly, they don’t run without gas, which was exactly what mine was trying to do, but its not as bad as that sounds. When we re-installed the carbs, we replaced the fuel line from the tank, and it was too long and had kinked itself… Oh well, in troubleshooting I pulled the spark plugs, and they needed to be reset anyways, and alls well that ends well. I have my bike back. Also, I just got a nice helmet from the neighbors across the street who are having a yard sale. Huzzah!
May 27, 2004
Working from Home
Today, for the first time, I am working from home. I get to site in my chair, in my room, on my computer, and get payed to do my programming remotely.
Yeah, life is good.
Al Gore, what has happened to you?
I seem to remember an election in the not too distant past where we were given the choice between a “compassionate conservative” idiot who said things like subliminable, and an intelligent democrat who could have been mistaken for a wooden board who spoke similarly to Microsoft Sam (the default ‘voice’ in windows if you ever use text-to-speech. It sounds perticularly mechanical and boring). Well a lot has happened since that election. Our friend the compassionate conservative turned out to be a lot less compassionate than he wanted us to think, and I have serious doubts about his idiocy. If you ask me, it’s just a ploy. None of this, however, is terribly surprising.
What is surprising is that Al Gore, who once could have displaced Ben Stein in the “boring to listen to” category, has become a public speaker! Its more than just his voice, which finally contains more than a hint of passion, but his words! Just read the transcript of his recent speech! Its blazing political rhetoric! How could this be coming from Al Gore, inventor of the internet? (Here I assume you know this quote is unfair, as in context he was merely stating he pushed legislation backing the development of what has become the internet, which was a great move to which he deserves to be lauded for his foresight, not mocked for a misstatement as the conservatives would have you believe.) I’m not entirely sure what Gore has been up to for the last 3 years, but I wish he had been up to it a long time ago. If he had, we could have avoided the unnecessary wars, crumbling economy, and scorn of the world we’ve endured under Bush.
What about September 11? No way we could have avoided that right? Perhaps not, but its hard to say considering how many things the Bush administration did horribly wrong. Perhaps if George W. Bush would have listened to Richard Clarke or George Tenet? Clarke was the Whitehouse Terrorism Advisor, and George Tenet was the CIA Director. Both were holdovers from the Clinton administration. Perhaps they should have listened to Clarke’s insistance as early as April that American soldiers should set down in Afghanistan and put an end to Bin Laden and his terrorist training camps. Or perhaps they should have read the CIA report delivered to Bush on August 6th entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” which warns that al Qaeda might be planning to hijack airplanes. Or maybe their ears should have perked up when the INS arrested Zacharias Moussaoui on August 16, when he was a flight school studentand where the arresting agent wrote that Moussaoui seemed like “the type of person who could fly something into the World Trade Center.” Perhaps that was a good clue? Perhaps someone could have thought back to 1996, when Clinton’s administration thwarted an al Qaeda plot to hijack an American commercial plane and crash it into the CIA Headquarters? Naah, thats just silly. That would require initiative, intelligence, cross referencing, and any number of other skills Bush has proven he doesn’t have.
Ok, so many Al Gore isn’t quite as sarcastic and critical as I am, but I’ll take what I can get. Why the change? Well, myself, I’m not sure, but the conservatives would be happy to point out that its because he hates America, just like the rest of us liberals.
May 26, 2004
If you’re reading this, the blog has moved. It should be responding faster now. My host recently acquired a datacenter slightly closer to home, and was kind enough to move my site free of charge. Hooray for good service.
May 24, 2004
The Pursuit of Life
I’ve never been much of a fan of the death penalty. Partly because it costs more to go through the proceedings to carry it out than it does to keep a person imprisoned for the rest of his/her life (although those sentenced to death are disproportionately male), and partly because it just doesn’t seem right. I know I would never feel comfortable as a juror condemning a human being to death. That just doesn’t seem like something man is meant to do.
Anyways, death is sure in the news today. In a rather odd turn of events, David Larry Nelson, a convicted killer in the state of Alabama, has been succesfully granted an appeal on the basis that death by lethal injection would be cruel and unusual punishment, as he claims years of drug abuse has rendered his veins unusable for the procedure. He argues that to inject him as such, they would have to dig deep into his flesh, and that it would hence lead to any number of unpleasant complications.
Meanwhile, Michigan native, and everyone’s favorite accessory to mass-murder and terrorism, is being accused of no less than 161 counts of first degree murder in Oklahoma, for which he too could get the death penalty. Its hard to believe that this isn’t over with a full nine years since the bombing took place. Thats our justice system.
After tearing apart my motorcycle, working on the carburetors, and putting it back together, I have succesfully ended up with a motorcycle that still doesn’t work correctly. Much to my chagrin, after the whole debacle, after only a short ride, the bike began missing on one of its cylinders… Oi vay.
On a more pleasant note, Michael Moore has succesfully claimed the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival with the film I was lucky enough to preview. This was the first time in nearly 50 years that a documentary has won the prize. While I don’t find this altogether surprising, as it was an exceedingly well done film, I am glad to see the film get the press it now has, as it will make it very difficult to keep it out of American theaters, despite Disney’s attempts. We really need all the help we can get to extricate our current evil president, as has become exceedingly and abundantly clear as of late. If you ever find yourself confused on this point, pick up a copy of Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, and see for yourself what is done right under our noses. I’m ashamed for the intelligent people who share their political affiliation with such men.
Vive la R�volution!
May 19, 2004
Ridiculous amounts of space for all!
Not to be outdone by the likes of Spymac and Lycos, both of which offer, or soon will offer, free 1 Gig e-mail accounts, google has begun toying with the idea of 1 Terabyte free e-mail accounts. It could take weeks to let all the spam I get fill up that much space.
Update 19:09 - Too bad, it was a mistake. We can still hope though.
May 18, 2004
As long as they don’t make duct tape underwear
May 16, 2004
Demons have possessed my motorcycle
Apparantly my motorcycle hasn’t experienced enough downtime. This morning I was perturbed to find a nice puddle of gas forming under it, never a good sign. It appeared to be dripping out of the overflow for the carburetors. Well, I had left it on prime, so it wasn’t necessarily indicative of a serious problem. The bike even started right up. No problems there. So I took it out, it seemed to be running ok.
Alas, ok it was not. On the way to the gas station to fill up it was running decidedly rough. It felt like it was only hitting on three cylinders, so I hoped it would fix itself as it heated up. I got it to the gas station and filled it up. It didn’t want to start up again, which is never a good sign, but after a few tries, it caught. It made it about 15 feet out of the parking lot before dying for good. The engine and the carbs were flooded beyond help. Constant attempts at restarting it only managed to drain the battery, which was fully charged to begin with.
So in the end I had the pleasure of pushing my 22 year old cast iron ridiculously heavy motorcycle home, up two hills, one bridge, and numerous intersections with a motorcycle helmet, a heavy leather jacket, and a sweatshirt. Getting it home, I examined it further. There appeared to be more oil than there should be. How could that be? Well, I was wrong, there wasn’t too much oil, just too much gas in the oil. Another fine surprise!
On the brighter side, my computer is back up and running. The motherboard was indeed the culprit. The new a7v333 motherboard I have has a dead ide channel which isn’t nice, but I’d rather avoid the downtime and not send it back, as for the 6 IDE devices I use, it works just fine. If I need more, I’ll just turn the old HP pavilion I got from MDP into a file server. Its better not to tax the power supply and motherboard with more than 6 IDE devices anyways… they seem to die enough on me without the extra stress.
Between my computer and motorcycle troubles, its been a long transition from college to home. At least it can’t rain forever. Especially since I get payed tomorrow. Thank god for paychecks.
May 14, 2004
Unix should come packaged with Aspirin
I love Unix, but it sure can be frustrating.
Thanks to helter skelter code I’m working to transcribe, I’m finding myself constantly in positions where I have to think of clever ways to manipulate files, shell variables, and other things that were more directly accomplished on the operating system they were originally meant to be done on. Not that I’m complaining; its good experience learning to do tricky things in *nix, I’m just saying I should probably be payed more. Like, I don’t know, a few grand a line, something like that.
In an attempt to get my home PC up and running again, I tried my hand at E-bay, bidding on the same motherboard that appears to have died on me. No such luck there. E-bay is a ruthless market, and I’m a stingy jew. I’m not paying over 50 bucks for a 2 year old motherboard.
In the end, it turns out to have been a good decision, as yesterday, I ordered a new motherboard from a regular internet retailer, and today, the very next day, it came. Can’t beat service like that.
So if I correctly diagnosed that it was the motherboard that had reached the clearing at the end of the path, I should once again have my PC back up and running. Just in time to beat the inevitably boring South Haven weekend coming just around the corner.
May 12, 2004
It appears that my motherboard as given up the ghost after less than 2 years. Consumer electronics sure aren’t built to last anymore. I was up last night simply watching an episode of Firefly on my computer when it rebooted itself, appearingly never to run properly again… Great.
The truly sad thing is this is far from the time to be purchasing a new motherboard. With 939 pin Athlons and PCI-Express on the horizon, one would be crazy to buy now… Crazy… or desperate, as I’ll soon be. Now I have to figure out if I should attempt to upgrade, or buy the cheapest motherboard on the market to use until the next gen stuff is around… Oi what a way to have to spend my first paycheck!
On the brighter side, I was able to trade my abhorrently slow work computer for a 350mhz junkpile (aside from a ‘much’ faster processor, it has 384 megs of ram to my old computer’s 48!), so at least my only contact with computers for awhile won’t be with the dinosaur I had before. Thank goodness for small favors.
Finally, thanks to Muk Yan, I’ve got an Orkut account. So far he’s the only guy I know there, so if you have an account, or perhaps want an invitation to get one (for those who don’t know this is required for membership, even though its free), let me know.
May 11, 2004
I’ll elect the first politician that promises to end 2:45
Its amazing how a perfectly good day can be spoiled by the halt of all time passage at the insidious time of 2:45 pm. The considerable progress made earlier now seems distant. It couldn’t have possibly been done when time was moving this slowly. Not that I’m in a rush to get home. At home, driving around the 7 or so streets that actually count is often the most creative and exciting thing a group of educated people can think to do to get themselves out of the house and keep them from going stir crazy. Its still better than 2:45.
Evil evil 2:45.
How I hate thee.
May 10, 2004
Yeah that time in the middle of the day I was talking about where it seems like the day will never end? Yeah, I’m there.
The Darkness can consume all but my thoughts
My mind fights bitterly against sleep, and what a ruthless fighter it is.
It was a good Mother’s Day. For once I find myself not simply balking at the blatent commercialization that runs through it, but instead appreciating its ability to be an excuse to appreciate those in the world that keep life going. To the mothers of the world I salute thee.
Today, a girl who knew me, and yet whom I would have claimed I had never even seen before, deigned to show me a smile I won’t soon forget. Thanks to you, whoever you are.
On a very different note, I’ve begun and nearly finished Orson Scott Card’s novel Ender’s Game. It has invoked reflections on my own thoughts more than any book I have read in recent history. If you’re prone to over-introspection like me, I’m not even sure if I can recommend it, but it is surely a novel worth reading.
A fresh week of work awaits me in the morning. I dread the middle of the day where it seems like 5 pm will never come. I’m beginning to think that Heaven is place where we are finally able to attain some sort of revenge upon the universe for having situations such as these, where time stands still and our own modern sense of self preservation locks us into our positions drowning in a sea of monotony. Words do far too much justice to this in my case, but I think I get my point across. At least we can take comfort in the fact that Cthulhu Saves.
May 07, 2004
An experiment in hypersomnia…
Perhaps its the 6 or so hours of sleep a night, or the long drives, or my general aversion to coffee, but I have discovered that hypersomnia is not fun. It has been a long week. I have no one to blame but myself, as my lack of sleep is due entirely to my desire to stay up late, like I didn’t have to wake up at 7am and drive for an hour to work. Oh well, I’ll get through it.
On the positive side, despite my tiredness, I’m making a lot of headway at work. I’m catching on fast as I usually do when it comes to technology. Too bad what I’m learning is an ancient and obsolete scripting language on an ancient and obsolete platform. It doesn’t really matter though, as my job isn’t too hard, it pays the bills, and its enjoyable. Yeah, everything should be fine as long as there isn’t a fire, as thanks to a little kid pulling the fire alarm here this morning, we all found out our suite is apparantly soundproofed exclusively from the fire alarm (we can hear the offices around us just fine!).
May 05, 2004
Near the end of the last school year, I had the honor and luck to be a part of the first audience to see Michael Moore’s new movie Fahrenheit 9/11. Today, it was announced that Disney/Mirimax is refusing to distribute the movie!
Now I admit, its a pretty edgy (and extremely well done) movie, but I really have to say I’m losing a lot of respect for Miramax for their, in effect, censorship of this documentary. At the viewing I attended, Moore expressed fears that they might make just such a move, but I figured after such classics as Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, I would have figured they’d be up for about anything. I guess I was wrong. Moore did mention he had a contingency plan, as another group was willing to distribute the movie if Miramax backed out, but I got the distinct impression that he really did not want this, as it would mean a much smaller initial release… It will really be a shame if this movie doesn’t make it to the major theaters. Feel free to give Disney/Miramax a piece of your mind. I know I will.
STOP THE PRESSES!
The unthinkable has occured. I have finally decided to make public most of the content I’ve slowly (yeah, by seeing how little actual content is here you’ll understand just how slowly I mean) created and accumulated. Granted, its not much, but its a start. I’m also going to try to post a bit in here when I have the time.