Thursday, December 29, 2011

monetizing, go screw

I've come to hate the word "monetize" when it comes to services, because more than half the time it's a euphemism for "ripping customers off".

Text messaging, for example: there's a technical reason that all the messages are 160 characters. The data channel used for SMS is the same one that reports reception strength, and some info on incoming calls. They get the stream "for free" and in fact were coerced into implementing it by the GSM. (1)
The fact that they charge $.10 a pop (or extort a monthly fee from your family, as in my case) is pretty grotesque.

The really abhorrent faux "monetization" to me is Sony's "Sony Plus" horseshit for the PS3. Basically, it gives you a bunch of free stuff and some utility. The free stuff I get - that's totally understandable that I'd pay a monthly/yearly fee and in exchange get access to a lot of games I normally wouldn't. It gets better if you've got a PSP too, so it encourages brand loyalty for different devices. These are totally cool things and I understand. They're also not for me.

The "utility" thing is for me, and it's a simple one - update my fucking games and system when I'm sleeping. I don't want to be in the PS3 Plus because I don't have time to play a PS3 game but twice a month. Every time I do, I have to factor in ten minutes of downtime (at least) where it attempts to download an update(manually) and then tells me I have to log in to the PS3 Network, which I can't do until I (manually) start another download, go run an errand or something while my PS3 downloads and installs that update, then restarts. But doesn't automatically install the game's update - I've got to be sitting at my PS3 to manually trigger that right after.

It's so onerous of a computing chore (and so common one) that a framework could apply to every single game ever made and make it better for the user. And in fact, it is a solved problem. It's offered as part of their Playstation Plus membership!

So now I can pay $6 a session to eliminate that 10-15 minutes up front spent updating.

Or, I can just not play my PS3, which is what usually happens. Because I'm not paying it, and the startup cost to even play it is a deterrent.
So now I don't buy PS3 games.

I mostly buy them on Steam.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Xmas from an atheist

I shouldn't even mention the "War on Christmas" as it's a chimera but there you go.

It's just funny to me; I'm having parents and family over for Christmas dinner.
I got multiple people presents.

I am also a complete and unapologetic atheist.
So I smirk a little bit when I hear about the war on Christmas. Where? You're a cultural pariah if you don't participate in the holiday.

I sound bitter, but I shouldn't. I'm really not; it will be great to see my family. They'll insist on praying, they might even attempt to throw the conversation at "The Birth Of Our Lord" but I'm hoping it's kept on the DL. Maybe the lack of a Christmas tree will help.

That'll change though. I don't know why, but I want to raise Lottie with the whole Santa myth. It's a great lesson: Adults Lie. Sometimes you want something to be true but it isn't. People will go along with your belief in order to manipulate you. ("So be good for goodness' sake!")

I figure we'll have Santa until she's adept at google; then I don't know what happens.
Shit, I don't know what happens next week, it's hilarious insanity to speculate on dissolving the belief system associated with Santa and when it will happen.
She still poops herself.

'Tis the season I suppose.
Happy Holidays to all of you; enjoy today because you'll be making a lot of bullshit promises to yourself in a couple of weeks.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

what's happening in this space?

I'll return eventually. Right now it's:
Laundry (just kidding, that's my wife in exchange for primary dish guy)
Learning more python to become scarier at work

So blogging is just right the fuck out these days.
When I tire of Skyrim or the baby begins to take less time, I'll be back here.
in the meantime, here's my wife, my baby and my cat

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I am staying up an hour past my bedtime tonight, maybe two so I can watch the Daily Show.
That's a fair snapshot of the massive life changes going on.

Lottie's sitting up these days; we just figured out she's wailing like a demon because she wants to be upright. Lay her on her stomach/back these days and she's going to wail. Wants to hold her head up and look around more than anything.

Parenthood's this massive trap - our baby's the prettiest, smartest, kindest little monster on the planet.
"Ohh she smiled! She's so advanced!" but it was a grimace, and the result was all over her ass and legs.

But I'm still convinced in my brain that she smiled WAY EARLY.
Stupid. But she is damned adorable:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

got a ticket for turning on red

Got sent a ticket in the mail for turning on red illegally. I remember when it happened, I saw the flash and thought, "what the fuck, there's no sign there"

And there isn't.

I'm contesting this in court.

Monday, October 24, 2011

dumb bliss

Lottie Diana Barry was born 6 days ago.
My heart's not big enough for all the love and it keeps leaking out my eyes.

Friday, October 7, 2011

wait, what?

You can talk into your phone and have it translate into a text message to send now?

If it's on a non-phone device, impressive.
But it's on your phone.

You can just call someone and say those words right into their ear, instead of AutoCorrect screwing up your world, saying you're at a harem with a camel or something.

I don't get technology sometimes.

Dances With Dragons

Succinct review - Martin is a monstrous bastard intent on destroying everything good in my life.

Longer review:
This book was hard to read. Some characters are incredibly cruel and I feel Martin gets too close to real evil - none of this Voldemort bullshit but shit that could happen here, with one man doing it to another and destroying both of them. .
I'm traumatized by the end of this one.
It's Martin's style, certainly - justice is done but it's capricious and almost incidental.
No shelter here. . . I was approaching the end and grew concerned that I'd seen little death - in fact characters have come back from the dead this book.
And then George stabbed me in the heart.
I finished it last night, and am still soaking it in.
I hate that there were warnings. I can see them now.
I hate that they couldn't.

I hate that there's three years, and the only justice I want is for a realm to perish.
Others take them all.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Occupy Everything

I'm a maudlin shitbag, but when I read about the arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge this past weekend, I got misty. I got all weepy about the protests rising up.

I'm not even sure why. I think it's because I've felt powerless - even when I felt like we were "winning" politically, they found a way to lose. This outpouring of frustration by thousands of others made me feel OK. I'm not crazy, this is absolute bullshit.

But if it doesn't translate into either working within the system or setting the whole fucking world on fire, then it's just half measures.
If they don't:
  1. Organize registration and Get Out The Vote efforts
  2. Primary complicit Democrats
  3. Put forward more candidates like Elizabeth Warren
  1. Burn mansions
  2. Behead/eviscerate the mouthpieces of the top 1% - the propagandists first.
  3. Set up a wall, determine who should be the first ones up against it
  4. Kick down the whole fucking barn
I don't think the second course is viable or sustainable, but if you're not working in the system, then commit, god-damnit.

I don't know, maybe I'm missing the point and the visibility of the protests is what inspires these voters/scares politicians enough so things actually change.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

no focus? No problem!

So here's something you don't think of with computer cases and kitties:
Power/reset buttons on the top are pushable by the dumb beasts.

And now my google chrome preferences file is corrupter.

Bright side: the BIOS takes longer to boot than the machine.

Now I just have to figure out Wake-On-LAN and my wife will be happy.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

.... Hello World

... Hello Michael.
Would you like to play a game?

I'm bathing in the glow of three monitors.
The bg spreads across three, in a way I've only dreamed of since I purchased a lifetime membership to Digital Blasphemy.

So: computer died.
Purchased all parts myself to build myself because:
Last Time someone built it, they built it wrong and it was never Quite Right; this was further reinforced by the fly-by-night fold of the company 2 years into my 3 year warranty.

So, fuck it, I can build my own. Or more accurately, Jeff Atwood can.
Stole his build. It's scary.

Solid state drives are incredibly fast and quiet. But so, so fast.
Bought a camera that will turn into a baby monitor and eventually a babysitter monitor. Tee to the hee hee.
Big brother ain't watching ya, Big Daddy is.

More importantly, any offspring of mine should be able to sneak past moderate security. . .I expect them to keep me sharp through terrible hindsight.

Hilarious tidbits for now that belong on
Current Firefox download on mozilla is corrupt.
In chrome. Like it, but need to find and install ScriptBlock.
Facebook is not allowed to execute code on my browser. Period.
They own my pictures? Fine. They're dead to me.

I'm back, for a short period of time before it gets weird.
The suspense is killing me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

down and out

comp crashed fairly hard last week. I'm rebuilding it from a Coding Horror article - a quiet, efficient pc is really needed. The power hogging gaming rig I've got right now is absurd. . . loud, hot, and probably heat dead.

Everything's here but the heat sink. I don't know how I did it, but I ordered it standard ground, while everything else was 2 day,

I just remembered I had a netbook upstairs, and that's what I'm writing this on. Keyboard's terrible , , , my old hands can't handle it for very long.
I also turned it into linux because it's faster and more sensible for a development/diagnostic machine.

This should be on tech.

I'll be back when the comp's up and running, probably next week.
I'll have stories, and not all about python or computer building!
Or baby stuff - but maybe one dumb navel gazing thing that ends up sitting in drafts and never gets published

Finally: The playstation 3 is a piece of shit media center that I must figure out a way to replace. More on this at a later time, but let's just say the upgrade process (and captive terms of service) are onerous and obnoxious.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Debates -wtf

During the debate, there was applause at the execution count.

234 executions.
He's a fucking slacker. There are SHITLOADS of people in Texas that deserve to die, and he hasn't even taken out 10% of a Dallas high school.

Too many regulations, America.

Though to be honest, Perry might not be a very good judge of who deserves to die in Texas.
After all, he's killed an innocent man.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

happy happy

It is my wife's birthday and anniversary (third) today.

There's nothing much more to say - I love her and it's been a fun ride so far, but we're about to enter some chop.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

your fiction defines your world

I find whatever I'm reading "leaks" into everyday life. When I was reading (and rereading) the Wheel of Time series, I thought a lot about the Aiel and Ji'e'Toh.
When I read Infinite Jest, I thought a lot about wheelchair assassins, addiction, and tennis.
And fame; and eschaton; and the PGOAT.
The Pale King is on my list this year - I will probably tackle it in the fall after I read Neal Stephenson's Reamde.

Series are the same way - when we were watching The Wire, I thought a lot about being a homicide detective or dealing heroin and how I could be totally great at either of them.
So I tend to think about what I'm reading/watching and it colors my world.

Lately I've been rereading the Game of Thrones and watching Dexter.
My thoughts have been blood red.
I recommend both activities.

Monday, August 29, 2011

that vile abyss

Title could refer to multiple things:
Cavern system I accidentally dug into last night in Dwarf Fortress, where the Forgotten Beast (which oozed an acidic miasma, no less) made a beeline for the newly revealed tunnel into the heart of my fortress.
No longer can hostile creatures find the main stairway in my fortress and run right to the work areas and dining hall, killing half of the fortress.
I built the second guard post BEFORE I started digging. The beast ran right into my army.
So that was a good night.

But that's not the abyss.

It could be the reflection of myself staring back at me in twitter - the choral voices rhapsodizing on whatever the trending topic is.
The crass (myself included) throwing destructive energy into the ether, demeaning both of us.

I don't know if I hate them because they're so different, or because we're so alike.

A little of both, I suppose.

I was walking through a revolving door this morning, and me and another guy approached on either side of it. I started pushing, and my comrade in arms wasn't even touching the door, just chatting on his cell phone. I stopped pushing halfway and gave him the finger. It felt a little meaningless; he knew he was a fucking asshole. Nobody thinks a revolving door is automatic; he expected someone else to bear his burden. He was well dressed, too; probably assumed he was nobility. I should have beheaded him.

My wife recounted her Tales of Horror in the Target checkout line.
Everyone around her was an idiot. Normally when I hear a tale like this, I think, "you're the common denominator here, not these people" but most of the people in her story worked at Target so I assume it checks out.
The story as follows:
Two lines, 8 people waiting in each. That sounds about right - Target is one of those perverse institutions with two dozen checkout counters that have never been turned on simultaneously in the history of the store.
15 checkout lanes that gather dust.

The woman in front of her drops her pasta sauce. She then proceeds to try cleaning it up, with my wife saying (in a voice that I'm sure was all sweetness and love and not the least bit impatient) "let someone else do that, finish checking out."
Her entreaty falls on deaf ears, so she says it a little louder.
The clumsy woman then does something very dangerous: "Mind your own business."

Which isn't something you should say to anyone waiting in line behind you. Your fucking business IS my fucking business if YOUR fucking business holds my ass up.
But I'm not 7 months pregnant, so I'm less rational.

My wife called her an unprintable name, with an unprintable adjective.
Someone told her to think of the children.

The most hilarious twist of irony is this: after it was sorted there, Andrea realized one of her bottles of window cleaner wasn't screwed on tightly, and she'd leaked it all over the store.
Which is pretty much all you can ask for from one of the box stores, and live to tell about it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

cats, mice

It's been a rough week in our home. Vlad brushed by something this weekend (probably Sunday) that was sharp enough to leave quite a gash along his side.
I discovered it when we arrived at home Sunday evening, and picked up Vlad to pet him. He laid on my chest for a while and I pet him, but when he got up, my shirt was covered in blood.
I found the offending wound, and determined we'd have to take him to the vet.

So now the poor guy's on antibiotics 2x a day and is wearing an Elizabethan collar:

He normally head butts me repeatedly in the morning when I'm preparing his food; I felt the collar hit my leg and he stopped, and sort of sat down, disoriented.

He'll be better soon, but it's a rough ride.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

politics is fun

Dems are apparently going to lobby for a payroll tax cut, and Republicans are (probably) going to vote against it.
So, Dems are shouting "Don't Raise Taxes!" and Republicans are shouting "We must raise taxes!"

See, they're not all ideologues! Sometimes Republicans find it practical to raise taxes.
Mostly when they're on the working poor.

Maybe all the poor Republicans will catch on.

Monday, August 22, 2011

never a good sign

A middle name that will be refused by everyone but rolls off the tongue: Nagasaki.
Terribly offensive? Sure.
Arya Nagasaki Barry.

Recorded for posterity, so our unnamed child can thank her mother for protecting her even before birth.

My wife and I did a trade show this weekend, driving for a good 7 hours there and back on Friday and Sunday.
So I'm basically on Day 8 of working, and the last 3 were 12 hour days.

In two months that will be the natural order, never a day off again.

Trade shows and my regular job are a little bit different.
I was pretty bad at this one I think; I sat and read Feast for Crows almost the entire time. I helped customers, and ran food, and lifted anything heavy.
My favorite moment was when a slightly overweight lady in her 50s approached our booth.
"How are you?" she asked.
I replied, "Only two more weeks till football!"
She exchanged looks with my wife.
"I wouldn't know," she replied tersely.
I smiled and went back to reading. I knew she wouldn't know. I watched maybe three football games last year. I don't even know if it starts in two weeks, but it sounded right.
I just wanted to be annoying to someone at the show but not look like I was being annoying, just socially weird.
It was satisfying.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

random shots

PEBKAC is an acronym I should use more often self-referentially.

Goblins are a fact of life, I guess. The last fortress was a doozy, situated right in the bend of a river that had carved its way deep into the stone. I thought to exploit the river, redirecting it through a channel (that cost 3 miners their lives building) , essentially rerouting the river around my mine entrance and protecting it with drawbridges.
I'm talking some relatively fancy shit.

BUT I didn't pay enough attention to the channel, and left a leak that proceeded to flood the whole valley when the spring rains came.

I was so distracted I forgot to build a barracks for the military to train at. But I had the moat, so it was all good.
Winter came. The river, lower than usual because half of it was in the valley drowning the elves, froze completely.
That's when the goblins arrived.
Twenty minutes later, and I click "Abandon Fort"

Damn damn damn a million times damn.

Post-script - does anyone else hate hate hate the new Compose window in Google Blogger? It's little things, like where the cursor appears and the half second delay between seeing the words and typing them - I don't know, it's terrible.
Bugs me a lot, and I'm not sure if it's firefox, google, or my dumb computer. Doesn't matter, that's what vim is for ;)

Post-Post-Script - Google changed my settings for Line breaks as well. So if it looks like I adopted Kerouac's writing style, I have not. I am too eager to tap "enter", if anything. NOT PEBKAC BUT PRETTY IRONIC

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

oops I did it again

About a month ago I jotted of a reply to an email that was. . . ill advised.
Downright fucking embarrassing really. I've talked to myself out loud on more than one occasion, rolling over my terrible choice of words in my head and exclaiming, "you're a fucking weirdo" at conversation level volume.  Which doesn't really help your case; self incrimination for weirdo-hood is always taken Very Seriously.

It was an email to a guy I know, and I used some terribly awkward phraseology that still makes me fucking cringe.
No, I won't repeat it.
It's mortifying enough in my head.

I thought terrible stuff like this was done after marriage; this is the sort of embarrassment I remember from college and my single years after college. I've got reams of memories etched into my brain; I shudder when I think of the no-game having younger me wrought upon the world.

But fuck, this was (A) an email to a male and (B) me begging for friendship like I used to beg for sex.

I don't even want to be friends anymore after that email.
This isn't sour grapes, either.
This is a guy who could weaponize my embarrassment.

Life doesn't really get any easier, it seems. Sometimes I know enough to avoid leading with my chin, but I still end up getting punched somewhere. I need to hold tight to this; I can't be lost in the woods in 6 months with a newborn wistfully recalling when I had my baby-free life all figured out - I don't, at all.
May as well throw some more of my DNA into this hurricane.

I'm sorry in advance, my little babushka.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Just Fridays now? wtf?!?

I threw away three posts this week as I didn't like them very much.
They never really got there for me. Tried too hard to sound wise or something. Not sure. Didn't like it, didn't post it.

Finished Dexter season 1 tonight. Quite a good show. . . perverse in its humor. I figured out the stuff just a little before the reveal, but I think that's the writers' intention. I like watching shows where I feel smart.

Job's good. I do have trouble understanding the point of an MBA - do they take the brains out when you get it, or do they tell dumb people "this is how to get ahead."?
I shouldn't say that, but everything I read from so-called "business analysts" is garbage.

On the bright side, I'm developing new ways to accumulate massive data sets and analyze them for patterns/specifics.
Lots of fun to watch the console window scrolls with notification of acquired objects, data exceptions, and completion times. . . it feels like you're doing something even when you're not doing anything.

My current Dwarf Fortress has been on pause since last night, when the game auto-paused for me, notifying me of an ambush. I have to figure out how to get my civilians inside before I unpause it this time, and let the gobbos come into the cleverly laid traps I have in store.
I am THROUGH losing to the first set of goblins to come waltzing into my fortress site.

Friday, August 5, 2011

I know it's cliche but

Whew Friday.
It's been a hell of a ride so far at work. Today's the first day I felt like I sputtered in to the finish line for a couple of days off.
The rest it's been bliss. Slamming away at the keyboard, no meetings thus far just exuberant programming.

Life at home is great too. The lawn needs work, heh.
Pretty boring but I think that's ok.
I'm going to the Ren Faire on the morrow to relive what it was to live without toilet paper, deodorant, or social mores of morning alcoholism.
I feel like going dressed in a toga.
Not dressing up is pretty much tolerated, but what would they do if you dress up intentionally anachronistically? It's online trolling in real life!

Product review: Da Bird.
It's a cat toy - a wand with a feather toy at the end. The trick is the attachment to the wand and the feather shape causes a spinning motion similar to a flapping bird.
The cats go apeshit. I've got to get some video. Vlad's 4 foot in the air, landing on Sylvester. Even Sylvester's catching air, and begging for play time every spare minute of the day. He's much better behaved these days, too. If I can I'll get some video - I've never seen Sylvester go after something like this before.

Good stuff. Like ten bucks or six bucks on Amazon. (the extra birds are the real killer - make sure you put this one away or they'll tear it apart)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I guess I took a vacation

Been a couple weeks. Whoops.
Dwarf Fortress sort of grabbed me in the pooper and didn't let go.

The gist is you're 7 dwarfs with a small bit of supplies and livestock, pick a site where there's minerals, and start a new dwarf enclave.

Half of the challenge is the UI; it's not even consistent internal to the game at times.
If you're accustomed to a text editor, or you've wrapped your head around nethack, chances are you won't have too much trouble.
OK, you're still going to have a pain in the ass.
It's soooo worth it.

It's a god game - you're not one of the dwarves, nor can you give them direct orders - "hey you dwarf here, go build something over there" - but you can order "hey somebody build X at Y location" and then a dwarf will eventually do it. Most of the time. Unless you don't have any architects, for example, or maybe no animal trainers if you were building a kennel.
There's kennels. They train dogs into war dogs or hunting dogs. I have a vague idea of the difference (hunting dogs are trained to hunt, war dogs are trained to hunt WAR) but haven't really seen a dog in battle enough to know ifthey're useful.
What I have seen in battle were dwarfs, and lots of them. And a couple goblins engaging all of these said dwarfses.
My first fortress made it two days; I learned how to dig out caverns, figured out going down is a good idea, and started realizing the game's got a lot going on. Some merchants visited me but due to the user interface I ended up giving away all of my trade goods for free.
On the bright side, the merchant was super excited to come back.
The game is deep and the whole point is that eventually your fortress is going to be consumed by some sort of terrible end - you'll flood it with magma, or water, or your dwarves will collapse emotionally and start in-fighting, or you'll run out of food or alcohol causing your dwarves to collapse emotionally and start in-fighting, or something along those lines.

Naturally goblins are your mortal enemies. I'd figured out I needed a military when the first goblin thief showed up, discovering my settlement. When he got away, I assumed (correctly) that more goblins would be coming. Indeed.
Four of them appeared to assault my colony of 45 dwarves.
I had two squads of 5 men each as military.
This is when I learned some very important things in the game.
First, if your dwarf says "WRESTLER" it means he's unarmed.
Second, unarmed anything dies horribly to armed anything.
Third, goblins gain levels and experience by killing things. Don't, for example, send 35 dwarfbags to their doom to the same hammer wielding goblin and THEN send your legendary miner with the pick-axe.
It ends poorly.

So I have a new fortress. This one was designed with ONE entrance. Smart. I also set up a guard station on the fourth level down to prevent incursions from going any further.
Or so I thought.
Problem was, I build a massive staircase from the first floor to the fifteeth, and the guard post was in it. So anybody could just walk right downstairs and the guards would be "hey where ya going?" and not actually, you know, stop them from going to, say, the dining hall and killing 15 dwarves before dying.
I was up to 45 dwarvlings or so again in this fortress and 4 goblins did me the favor of showing me my security deficiencies. It only cost me 20 dwarves or so. By the way, if you're finding this uninteresting, think of my poor wife who's had to hear about it almost first-hand.

I nearly starved half my dwarfs to death and ran out of booze after the attack. While I was fixing the security hole by moving a the down stairway in the guard hall, I accidentally sealed off half the fortress from the other. IN fact the ONLY reason I didn't end up much worse was a fluke - a dwarf got into a "strange mood" and became a legendary mason right when I needed one to build a staircase up to the next floor. (I was pretty screwed otherwise - you can't dig up, and all my picks were on the lower levels)

So that's basically where I'm at right now. I haven't found lava, and the elven merchants who keep showing up get really pissed at me for trying to sell them carved wood stuff. They are apparently eco-friendly.

I feel like I'm nowhere in this game in terms of the whole of the experience. For example, I've never smelted iron, nor figured out how to power a magma furnace; hell, I haven't even seen magma yet. But I'm going to.
At least until the baby's born, then who knows.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

should test this too I guess

There's soon to be Going Tharn and Technology Going Tharn. Make sure I didn't blow this site up building the other. (lol building)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

the most disappointing santa claus moment

There's a lot of Santa Claus moments in life - the myth-busting of things considered truisms. Santa's the first of many.
Other examples are the idea that your parents know everything, or the police are on your side*.
The one that I was happy to find out was that average penis size measurements you hear bandied about in your teens are erect sizes. It never felt so good to be average in my life. Junior year in high school, trigonometry class.
The Santa Claus moment that has hurt the most is the idea that older adults are smarter and know what they're doing. The first 20 years of my life this held true - older adults WERE smarter than I was. But that sort of plateaus as you reach adulthood.
Forty and fifty year olds have the potential to be wiser and more knowledgable than a thirty year old. But there is absolutely no guarantee. If you're a betting man, you're better off placing money that they aren't. The horrifying realization is not only is lack of learning the norm, most of the people in charge exhibit it because they were elected by the same idiots who don't think about anything for more than twenty minutes.
And they're steering the ship!

And wresting control from the idiots? Harder than it looks.
"When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him."
Jonathan Swift

* there are occasions where the police ARE on your side. But just because you're innocent doesn't mean you're not a suspect.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Not Wearing Pants

Because it's God Damn Hot.
Also because I'm on the internet, and that's what I do on the internet.
As an aside, work has taken away internet access.

I'm getting by, and trying to not take it personally even though they mentioned me by name in the update they pushed to only my computer.

It wouldn't have happened if they let me wear shorts and/or respected my new religious beliefs about the heat.

Religions get away with a lot of annoying bullshit that they will totally call YOU on if you attempt the same things they're doing.
That's unfair. You can't say "the Bible/Koran are real, but that Flying Spaghetti Monster is as much horseshit as was the Invisible Pink Unicorns."
Which is true, but they're just as valid as the old made up stuff written a thousand years ago.
Shit, it's better because it acknowledges the existence of atoms and pirates in the FSM texts*.

*shrug* the whole thing is stupid. Everybody's an atheist for one less god than an atheist. OK not the Hindus. They just incorporate the rest of the gods too. They're also believers in reincarnation so the most likely to be good stewards of the earth, instead of these horseshit martyr-happy Muslims or Armageddon-crazy Christians, neither of who give a fuck about the "temporary earth" that gives way to Heaven.

I'm not picking on the Scientologists because that's hilarious bullshit with an obvious con attached to it. Even the Catholics at their worst pre-reformation didn't try to take ALL your money.
(source, as if)

Jews probably bear some responsibility for being the spiritual fathers of both Islam and Christianity.

Buddhists I don't know about because I've never really met a jerk one. But the whole yin-yang seems like they're on to something. Because it's so pretty.

Think I got everyone that counts.
(somewhere in the distance, a lone tear falls down Mitt Romney's face. "You forgot the reason I'm unelectable in the general.")

* almost everything in that sentence is inaccurate, starting with the word atoms. Maybe with acknowledges. To play it safe, strike everything after because.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

remember when we called them benefits?

Now they're called entitlements.
Just like the estate tax is now the death tax.

When words change, they're about to fuck with whatever that word was.
Double plus ungood.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

still liking this living thing

second day in a row of knee deep immersion in the code-base I'm living in these days.
Figured out how to use 4 or 5 different widgets that should allow me to construct whatever I want.

The guys who built this out baked in support for the Visitor pattern and the Observer pattern.
I haven't had the need to use either yet but I swear to god it's like getting a new power drill.

(it's also model-view-controller based)

Sorry, they're probably all going to start a little technical these days. I just jumped from a job that was sucking the life out of me and had been doing so for the last decade.
I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong - the universal problem has been both me and the work.
I changed the work.
A huge sigh of relief when I found out I wasn't the problem.

I may recant, but right now I feel like saying Oracle Applications can go screw.
The rest of the stack I probably can't just shove in the toilet though. Java is one of my languages, after all ;)

I think it might just be the nerd in me, but Dragon's Milk is the best fucking beer ever.

Monday, July 18, 2011

something dumb where I'm from

This is a lake near where I grew up. I've caught fish on it (foot long pike!), I've stayed out all night on one of the islands, and waded through it when I was in junior high.

The article was kind of interesting to me because of my history.
It is almost certainly not interesting to you.


* composed in gVim

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Great Google+, now I have to worry about you

Quick hits today. Something longer than a tweet but not a fully formed essay should still go on the blog, but I'm tempted to put it on google plus.
It belongs here, and google plus should have visibility to here. That's the only acceptable answer, because otherwise they're just another captor service like Facebook and the rest of them.
They're trying to replace the little space you carve out on the web as "your own" and give you a service instead. It's easier, and it's free. Sort of.
It costs you, but most of us don't have to care.
(any comedians who do read this blog, take note: you're one of the people who need to care the most)
Services will come and go.

All of these guys will take the hard stuff away from you. But they'll also take away your ownership of what you're doing and anchor it to their service. All you really want these services to do is get more eyeballs on the work you're proud of. Which should be on YOUR website.

Because then all the drama and bullshit of the web services above closing or everyone abandoning them becomes merely inconvenient. Your body of work still exists somewhere, and the people who want to see it are out there too. You just have to figure out how to share your stuff on The Next Big Thing.

Music - Pitchfork Fest is this weekend. One of the reasons I didn't go was because I felt last year the sound wasn't so hot and the multiple stages didn't help. Fleet Foxes outside was like Yo La Tengo - one stiff breeze and the music is blown away. Worse yet was a band playing on the other side of the field at the same time - just seemed terrible.
I learned this morning that the fest has been on one stage all weekend.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Operation: Inoculation

Slayer cancelled their tour this year because their guitarist contracted a flesh eating bacteria. Everybody's talked about how metal that is, but nobody's talked about the groupie who gave it to him.
And I won't either because it's prurient, and invasive.
"She's got this zombie look going man, I've gotta nail her for the dark gods!"
Ok that's enough.

I fear flesh eating bacteria more than a lot of things. It sounds like something you'd have to be really dilligent about applying salves - I'm still living with athelete's foot I contracted in the tropics. In the 1980s. Flesh eating bacteria - man. Everyone would shake their heads around me. "This was totally preventable if he'd applied a salve and showered twice a day."

Ok enough of this nonsense, I have to mow the lawn.
I have a people powered rotary mower and if the grass gets too tall it becomes murderous, just rolling over the grass and not cutting it, so it stands back up an hour later. But it only happens for about a third of the blades so it looks like a terrible haircut . . . good times.
We're at that stage already, but the creeping charlie has taken over and choked out a lot of the grass, so it looks like it's well groomed.

I've become the guy who talks about his lawn.
I hope you're happy, life.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

blessed and cursed at once

Decoding the Stuxnet Virus on Wired. Saw it on slashdot first.

Great article, fascinating read on breaking down the virus and what it did. Really interesting to see the landscape of cyber-attacks manifest in the physical realm.
Wizardy, indeed.
It also explains our government's earlier statement regarding cyber attacks as "acts of war" a little bit hilarious. Slug-a-bug, no hit-backs!
Did we just go to war with Iran too?

So the formula's not constant war (cold/hot) with another large superpower, it's a million little wars with these shitty little countries on Israel's behalf?
Ok, very unfair. Libya's more about something else not exactly Israel, and Iraq was about oil. Iraq might play out (god forbid I say it) to be a strategically sound place for America to be if oil's way closer to running out than we know.This seems likely.

It would be hilarious if Bush is vindicated by history for invading Iraq. I'd eat my crow happily, I think.
Other than the whole we're fucked because we ran out of oil, we're guarding the last of it with our military while Iraq perfects its nuclear bomb, and Michelle Bachman decides that's just like that part in the bible and pressing the button will make the Rapture happen. . .

You're right, I should turn this into a horror blog.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Please win in Iowa, Michelle Bachman

Please win.
Please, please, please win.

I'm basing this on the premise that the public hasn't gone that stupid, and a candidate as scary as Michelle won't be accepted by the semi-rational (read: non-Christian Fundamentalist) Republicans who would either sit the presidential out or vote for Obama.

I don't think it gets that far though; I think her Chickens for Checkups moment will come prior to the general and she'll flame out spectacularly.

But who cares? How infuriated must Mitt be? She's an idiot. Mitt actually is a pretty decent representative of a rational conservative (these days, heh) and the best shot at actually governing. And he's used to the health care plan *winky face*.
This crazy comes along and will pummel him for not being conservative enough, force him to tack right into crazy town for his base, and eliminate any chance HE has in the general.

But the best part of Bachman winning, is what it'll do to Sara Palin.
They're the same people but one of them has the weight of office and a relevant(ish) political bid, and the other quit her first term as governor.
And it'll drive Palin (and Bachman) BONKERS.

Seemed appropriate.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

vlad the killer

"At least it's not birds," I thought when I brought the shovel down on the mouse's body once, twice, three times to make sure it was dead.
Second one in as many days I had to do that to. Not as bad as the baby rabbit he brought home, but still not great.

My worry is where the hell is he finding these mice? Are they in our compost? our neighbors' compost? One of the other houses on the block (I hope)?

The hilarious thing is I'm not sure if Vlad expects me to chase him away and then kill them. He's bringing them home, "look I found a new friend I'm going to love and squeeze and call him George."
And then I race in and smash them with a shovel.

Speaking of smashing them with a shovel - is there a better way to put these poor bastards out of their misery? I feel bad doing it the way I've been doing it, but it's a quicker death than exposure. And the mice just cannot get away, period. The bunny I'd probably turn my head and let run away if it was old enough, but the mice are dead men walking in my lawn. That's why I have cats.

Also, I like their dumb antics.

This is Sylvester the not so much killer.

And here's Vlad.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Wow. Google just changed blogger's interface pretty dramatically.
I had to switch to HTML to get a TEXTAREA html node. (this is important as the ItsAllText firefox extension keys off of those nodes and is what allows me to launch a vi window as my text editor.
Srsly. vi.
It's a little bit harder than programming which typically has line breaks around 80 characters. Writing paragraphs put multiple sentences on one "line". The J and K keys (which normally control up and down) become less useful, and using f and F on periods is more efficient. (allows you to jump from sentence to sentence) Mouse based editing might be better for this sort of writing, I'm unsure.

OK enough technical claptrap.

Did I lose everyone? Let's talk about marijuana!
Just kidding. Drugs are bad!
Even if they're less harmful than alcohol, decrimmed in certain states, and generally an easy thing to cultivate for yourself if the laws prohibiting it weren't so crazy harsh.
I would love to see a culture similar to craft beers come about for marijuana botany. That would be sweet.
But that won't happen for at least a decade or two, unless BP decides they want to sell dope.

So I guess our only choice is to write BP and ask them to consider lobbying congress to grow and distribute marijuana in the United States.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I sort of sympathize with that Casey Anthony lady

So my dumb nutshell opinion is Casey Anthony probably went out partying leaving her baby in the car, then the car got towed w/baby in it, and was dead when she got the car back. Nothing groundbreaking, I'm sure. Sad and stupid and senseless, really.

I have this technical website - it's not something I've been going to much because my last job had shifted non-technical and even when it was technical it was all proprietary extension design. There wasn't anything that was generic enough to write about in my mind.

Now that I'm solving a lot of technical tasks with python . . . there's lots to talk about. I'm doing hilariously bad things that wreak havoc with my whole day.

But they don't really belong here I think. Maybe they do. Fuck if I know.
I don't think they do. I don't want to point employers here. Interviewing and house staging are pretty similar; it's best if you're beige.

So I go to my old site, and it's overrun. 700 posts waiting comments. I moved the hosting to a ruby site some time ago when I was playing with RoR, and forgot about it and most of the details. I do know it's a bitch to update the blog software. And I don't know my login anymore because I'm awesome.

That website is my dead baby in the car. And I don't really want to deal with it either.
Am I one for analogies or what?

Monday, June 27, 2011

life is good

Writing a fair amount of python these days.
Today was the two noobs pair programming. I think we were half as productive as expected. Maybe less. I didn't get to anything I was supposed to look at, but I read through it for percolating this evening.
Lots of programming does well when it steeps in my head. Sort of. I don't know.
I do know if you take away Gmail and chat programs I do a fuckload more work, that's certain.

Holy cow. I'm not even unhappy about it; pair programming keeps you close to on task. There's never a "hey let's google lolcats" moment when you're working with somebody.

I don't know if I'd run up against that in this environment; there's a metric ton for me to learn about python and the financial services industry before I stand a chance at being bored.

Today this blew my mind in Python:
class CaseOfSpam():
    Case = []
    def spamYourKids(self, spam):

So that looked pretty innocuous to me, coming from Java.
but when you do something like this:
>>> a = CaseOfSpam()
>>> b = CaseOfSpam()
>>> a.Case
>>> b.Case
>>> a.spamYourKids('spamYourWife')
>>> b.Case
Quick, what do you think b.Case should be? Nothing, right? We didn't add anything to it. Ahh, but we did:
Oh no, they're everywhere!!
In fact, instantiating additional CaseOfSpam()s will give you prepacked Cases, with whatever you've appended.

This is actually totally OK, but I flipped out for about ten minutes, muttering "everything I know is wrong" over and over.
What I expected was an object field, not a class field.
Class Fields are global.
Object Fields behave as I'd want, where each object has its own stuff in it.
I'll add 2 functions and an object member to show this. (why two functions? I'm going to add an __init__ call to construct the object field we need)
class CaseOfSpam():
    Case = []
    def spamYourKids(self, spam ):

    def cuzEtc(self, spam ):
    def __init__(self):
        self.Box = []   

Now I can add stuff with the instance object -
>>> a = spam.CaseOfSpam()
>>> b = spam.CaseOfSpam()
>>> a.cuzEtc('Brian')
>>> b.cuzEtc('Filthy Lumberjacks')
>>> a.Box
>>> b.Box
['Filthy Lumberjacks']
>>> a.spamYourKids('I SAID EVERYBODY')
>>> b.Case

And that's how I play Crack The Whip with my readers.
Scott, are you still here? I expect you're the only one.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

too soon, sure but when isn't it?

John Barry the composer has been dead for ten months. I think I should get the domain name, as the next relevant living John Barry.
This doubly stings because there's a programmer that's done work at Wizards of the Coast who currently occupies the website.
He's being better at John Barry than me.


I've been programming in python at work for the last two weeks, so this seemed appropriate:

Bottoms up, philosophers!

Frozen Synapse is still great. Can't recommend it enough; it reminds me of chess and go, but with blood. So Battle Chess, sort of.
It's god mode first person team combat. Good times. Hard. Rewarding. (as far as video games can be considered "rewarding")

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day!
Don't worry, I'm not going to pontificate and blow hard about anything regarding the larval parasite stealing a third of my wife's nutrients.

I have a father.

There's a benefit to having a gigantic father - at no point did I ever think "I'm gonna just kick his ass".
My father is 6' 4". He fills doorways, and has ridiculous reach. He play fought one time against my brother and I. We never got nearer than his kneecap.
Kicking his ass was unthinkable.
Not that he didn't deserve it.
He told me Eddie Murphy died in a car accident one evening when I was in high school. No context on why, just came home and said, "Hey Eddie Murphy died in a car crash."
This didn't humiliate me the next day, but weeks later when someone mentioned him and I said, "isn't he dead?" like some sort of an idiot.
The internet would have been nice growing up with my father.
I would have verified that there wasn't an at-large axe murderer in the Rocky Mountains who liked to kill Boy Scouts. (an elaborate ploy to save money on boy scout uniforms, I suspect)
I wouldn't have thought lobster tastes terrible to kids. He told this whopper when I was 6 years old. Actually brilliant, in hindsight. Better than Santa. Will probably use on my daughter.

The most important lesson he taught me, however, was about parenting. It's 1988 - he is troubleshooting the computer for me. It was a 286 (maybe an 8088) with a 4 color monitor. It's not working. My dad, who works on computers all day, is now working on one for his oldest son. I'm watching, rapt. I love computers, and have since we got one when I was about 8. It's giving him real problems. He frowns, and looks at me grimly and says, "never do this," and raps the computer with his finger. It starts working again immediately.
For the next six months, whenever I ran into trouble with the computer, I would rap it right on the hard drive. Sometimes multiple times.
It died, of course. The initial symptom he was having trouble with was probably the first sign that the drive was going to fail. But maybe not. The technician said it looked like someone had been beating on it when it was trying to write data. I denied any involvement and fingered my brother Dan.

I learned two important lessons that day. The first was you shouldn't hit computers or they'll die horrible deaths.
The second lesson was that "don't ever do this" will never ever work if you then demonstrate something that fixes an apparent problem.

Happy Father's Day, Dad.
I owe you a new 300 megabyte hard drive.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

just for laughs bust

I went to the "Anti Social Network" show last night for the Just For Laughs festival. The show was good -Sean Flannery did a tight five at the top of the show. Jim Norton hosted, followed by Bill Burr, Jim Breuer, and Dave Attel. Bill Burr stole the show; he's my current favorite. He loves taking something difficult to get a laugh on and turning it into a phenomenal bit.
I missed ALL of Jim Breuer's set waiting in line at a bar. Almost twenty minutes went by, and they served four people. In the only bar in the entire Chicago Theater that was open. They closed all the bars after the first set, I guess; I wouldn't know because the lines were longer than twenty people when we walked in. They were closed when Brueuer came out. The floor the bar was open on actually had two bars - one was closed and counting down, and gave two shits about a line of thirty people.
I gave up when I was halfway there, pissed as hell. I not only miss one of the four acts, but can't even pay an overpriced amount for a lukewarm beer? And more importantly (MOST fucking importantly) not return with a water for my pregnant wife?

Chicago Theater sucks a dick, period.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


The new job's pretty great.

This is a pretty techie post; a couple of you might appreciate it but many won't. If you're not sure what the next sentence reads, you're going to get lost in the weeds so save yourself some frustration and punch out now.

So the new job has rolled their own IDE internally. This means nil support for gvim, my editor of choice. This has naturally frustrated me a bit; gVim is Simply Better than anything out there other than emacs. (I don't know if emacs or vim is better - I started with emacs in college but didn't learn it like I have vim - I'm sure it's a very powerful tool as well)

So, I wrote a quickie script today in autohotkey to grab the buffer I'm in in the IDE, copy it, open a vim window, and paste.
I've got the hotkeys set up for copy/paste; it works ok but it's wicked dangerous. (doesn't respect the fact if you've moved buffers in the original IDE right now)

It's a kludge but it will work until I can rip the guts out of their home-grown stuff. A few months off of that I'd imagine.

But man o man - I'm writing code again. Feels good.

pardon me while I whip this out

So let's see:
  • establish a policy to "end-around" the 8th amendment (no cruel and unusual punishment) so we can torture alleged terrorists
  • Subvert the fourth amendment by instituting a national wire-tapping service, undermining the people's rights for their papers to be private
  • Lie our way into a war that has cost over 5000 Americans and untold Iraqis
  • While in said war, "lose" $6.1 billion
  • Text your dick pic to some girls

Only one of these has caused a hue and cry in the media.
If it's gonna be that kind of party, I'm gonna stick my dick in the mashed potatoes.

Also, fuck you America.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

impending doom

New job starts tomorrow. Once again, quitting a job didn't mean quitting work. Curses.
What I really want to do is play some frozen synapse - this game is amazing. Imagine if you took your turns in chess at the same time, and there were rules of how pieces ate other pieces, and you get a rough idea of this game.
It's simultaneous turn based strategy - which is hard to parse without playing. Essentially, you have a squad of 2-4 guys with weapons. These can be the close range powerhouse shotguns, the assault rifle for classic area denial, or explosive units - rocket launchers and grenadiers. This is turn based, so you get to contemplate for as long as you want on what you think your guys should do. This includes stuff like ignoring enemies you spot to run for that prime piece of cover; storming a room and quick checking both entrances for hostiles; lobbing a grenade through a window and running like hell.
More importantly, you can predict what your enemies will do, and run simulations as often as you want. You don't have to. Or you can, and make terrible choices anyway. Here's an example of that (I'm green):

I've got a few of those face-palm videos.
But I've also got turns where my opponent says "man, tough break" and then we submit the turns, and he goes "Wait, what?" and he has three blood splatters where his guys used to be.

The mechanic is fascinating because you can play 6-10 games at once, and have turns you can play a lot. You typically sit down and play two turns in a row, but don't know the outcome of the second. Sometimes you play "live" but I normally don't count on it - if you turn his guys into paste he might rage-quit anyway. (You'll still get the win after a little while)

Anyhow, this game is FUN. I haven't looked up real world military tactics for a video game in probably 5 years, but I'm trying to perfect bounding overwatches like nobody's business these days.

Best of all, the business model gets you two copies so you can pull a friend into this mess. Great times. I just had a turn finish where I pasted a guy's two shotgunners and rocket launcher for my one machine gunner; it's all over but the crying unless I screw up. It happens, though; I just fought one guy to a draw after he pasted 3 of my guys. I stuck my head in the right windows at the right times, and shot grenadiers in the backs of their heads, and then hid for the tie.

I'm as noble in real life, too.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

when animal psychologists go bad

I think I'm destroying one of my cat's sanity. I'm not doing it on purpose.
I haven't figured out a way to get him to understand English, is all.
I've tried click training him, I've tried keywords, but the main issue is this: he doesn't want the treat as his reward, he wants to chase it down the hall, crashing into anything in his way.

He's started swatting it more, sometimes chasing it around corners and tokyo drifting his way around it.

There's no method to the madness, though.-It was easy for him to get where being picked up didn't mean punishment. Now we can pick him up without fear he turns into a lashing ball of teeth and claws - he had issues when we got him. I'd pick him up, he'd bristle into attack mode, his mouth would start working, and I'd pop a treat in there. He started to LOVE being picked up.

Then I threw one down the hall. Joyous ecstasy. He's no longer the same cat. He used to tolerate me and love Andrea. He still loves Andrea, but I've become his pusher man. I've associated "the flop" with triggering treats. But Sylvester's been busy creating his own triggers.
For some totally insane reason, me taking a dump in the bathroom downstairs is one of them. What follows is a series of pics of him hearing me in the bathroom, and his treat attempts.

That's him waiting patienly while I do the paperwork.
And again, this time making enough noise that I opened the door to see what was happening:

Sometimes if it takes a while (and lord knows sometimes it takes a while) he'll come in and pretend to pass out from the fumes:

Any way you look at it, it's not normal behavior. I've been rewarding him for not swatting our other cat, Lady. . . she's a bitch and likes to start fights, and he gets treats for not retaliating. I don't know if he's figured that out; he does know if he lays down near her, about 50% of the time he gets a treat.
That's opened up a whole new can of worms because of the hatred she has for him. He sidles up, lays down near her, then looks at me, expectantly.
I think I missed my calling in life.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My top rated post here

The big reason I'm linking to this is it's far and away the biggest hitter on the site. Any week's snapshot has my more current posts getting a moderate amount of hits, and this one doubles them. Many of them are from Russia.

I'm guessing it's the title - the phrase "shit on a shingle" is probably very confusing to a foreigner and warrants a google.
It's similar to the confusion foreigners feel about "Sometimes you eat the bar, sometimes the bar eats you."
OK My mind was just blown. I googled the Big Lebowski quote and got the Straight Dope page and discovered it really is bear in a Texas accent. I never knew that.

Anway this is the most popular post.
Kind of makes me wish I'd had something to say.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Valar Morghulis

I switched my Status on Microsoft Communicator at work to "Valar Morghulis" the day I gave notice. It's from Game of Thrones - "All Men Must Die".
I'm unbearably cute. I'm a little nauseated, too.

I thought I'd share it with the world.

It doesn't feel like I just quit the job.
I think that will sink in Monday morning, when I'm getting up to go to another job. Right now it's just a surreal 5 day weekend.

I keep thinking about frying pans and fires.
Anyhow, what's done is done.
Hopefully it's not like a breakup - maybe they could use me as a contractor in the future. Who knows. Life is long and I left the bridge intact.

I can't believe I'm acting like a grown up most of the time these days.
I still feel like being a big baby at least 85% of the time.

Ouch, I just hurt my shoulder patting myself on the back there.
Sorry about that.

Anyhow, Glenn Greenwald had something to say about the whole Anthony Weiner kerfuffle. He said what I blundered about with last night . Good reading.

Monday, June 6, 2011

omg weiners

Well. Anthony Weiner's in a fair bit of trouble it seems. The only thing about it that angers me is Breitbart gaining credibility. He's not a journalist, but a hatchet man, and it stinks when he catches true. He's batting pretty good for a major league hitter - only two out of every three stories are fabricated. Not good reporter numbers, though. Think you're shooting for closer to 100% true. (Did we learn nothing from Season Five of the Wire?)

But this is about Weiner's weiner. The big damage is with him and his wife's relationship, but that's his business in privacy, not the public's.
So where's our stake? Should he resign?
I've been reading "he's compromised! He should resign!" a lot. A bit hyperbolic, I think. When the fuck did our standards get so high? Clinton actually received oral sex, he didn't just tweet about it.

I do think that was a pretty funny moment in the karmic sense - the one where Weiner clicked "Tweet" instead of "Private Message". The instantaneous realization of "Oh my god, I just fucked up terribly" while he pushed delete as hard as he could.
The sweats he must have been in until the story broke. The careful prevarications and verbal contortions about whether or not that was his wang. I'm sorry, weiner.
Just knowing it was spinning out of control. And the media. My god, the media. They're motherfuckers who carry water for the elite, and Weiner was unfortunately speaking truth to power. This is blood frenzy for them. Not even Sarah Revere's Moronic Ride can stop this one.

Some politicans do terribly here. They just panic. The first instinct is to hide the bodies. But for god's sake, don't do it alone. At the very least, pull your chief of staff or attorney in on this to tell you what the hell you should say.
"I can't tell for certain if that is or isn't my weiner" isn't a good sound byte ever.
Total aside: I would have been wishy washy in my denial too, that thing was a hog. "Sure it's the right size, but is it mine? Who can tell."

I don't have too much of a political problem with what he did - yes, he's probably dug a real deep hole in his marriage that he's gotta dig out of. He's probably not allowed to tweet any more, for starters. I'd imagine he's getting a blackberry for his next phone instead of something with a camera as well.
But it's none of our business.

What IS our business: Is he fit to serve?
Sure. Why the fuck not?
Vitter was nailing prostitutes. Maybe still is. Receieved a standing ovation when he returned to Congress.
I already mentioned Clinton.
Newt Gingrich needs no introduction, but Very Serious People think he should run for President.
But let's ignore the "look these guys do it too" since it's a bullshit deflection.

It's actually a stretch to include him in the company of the people above - his was cybernetic; no fluids were actually exchanged. It's the modern day equivalent of phone sex - it's weird but I don't really think it's sex.
You wouldn't brag about it in high school, for example.

You could argue it falls under "emotional cheating" which can be a Very Big Deal but it's between two people specifically. And it's hard to get concerned over a politician doing it. If you're going to make a politician resign because they're fucking someone symbolically, we have to fill over 500 seats in special elections, stat.

I figure the main thing we need to know is if he was being blackmailed and voted under duress because of it. If that happened then hell yes throw the bum out.

Otherwise, I think we should let his constituents decide at the polls.
But it was profoundly stupid to be throwing your weiner around on twitter, in a private message or no. Use Facebook so you can tag it.

Bias alert: You're god damned right I don't want him to resign because he's fighting for the little guys. But I would say the same if it were Eric Cantor tweeting pics. There's Bigger Things at Stake than some politician's personal life not conforming to the Judeo-Christian norms of our society. Eric Cantor should resign because his policies either betray a fundamental misunderstanding of governance or are political in nature designed to advance the needs of party over nation. He should resign for THAT.

Conspiracy Theorist Alert:
Establishment Democrats, who bow to the same paymasters as the Republicans and Media, will crucify him and force resignation. Because the truth of the matter is the powerful people are ruthless and you'd better be unimpeachable in character to stand a chance if you plan to take them on.

Friday, June 3, 2011

You Gotta You Gotta You Gotta Be Fresh

You should be watching Workaholics. Well, I won't say you should be watching unless you have a Nielsen ratings box (then please please please watch it) but it is a very funny show.
Similar in nature to It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Workaholics centers around three guys that may or may not be likable. It's not Always Sunny's Chaotic Evil. It's more Chaotic Good. Well, neutral. Probably can't consider something Good after "To Friend A Predator". That episode and the latest, "Fully Torqued" with the bodybuilding wizards. . . Christ I laughed. The show's really hitting its stride. It's sophomoric - it is, after all, about some twenty somethings post college in their first jobs. Which is almost by definition sophomoric.
Hell, watch the first episode. They're likable in flashes - "hey I would like to hang out with these dudes" and they are incredible losers in others. But it's recognizable loserdom because it's reflections of my friends and me.
Here's the first episode's main plot point
There's misses, I think; the offices I've worked in didn't have dialogue like that but maybe telemarketing's different. Just doesn't sound like office banter with a boss.
But they are mining some very funny stuff and the writing's getting better.
Hoping we get season 2.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

streak - broken!!

I thought I was going to write a post every day there for about a minute.
Life intruded.
Trying to be a Good Doobie and not post at work as I'm trying to get accustomed to tighter security controls I suspect will be in place at the next gig.

But my wife left for Vegas last night for a week, which sort of makes me feel like this.

Monday, May 30, 2011

art imitates life

today's xkcd

done and done

phew. My knees hurt like the dickens right now. I crawled around on them all day yesterday drilling holes with the hole saw, running wire, looking underneath stuff to figure out why the hell the wires weren't working, yelling at my wife for things I did because I'm a fully actualized human being, that sort of thing.
"Where the hell is this part, and why did you move it?"
Andrea doesn't tell me to fuck off.
I find part in second place I look, a more logical place than the first place. I feel like a heel, say sorry.
Rinse-repeat for every component and wire in the house.

We did manage to destroy a vase, attempting to move furniture with it on top. As soon as it happened I just seethed in rage at our collective stupidity. There were two of us, and we both missed it. I fear for our unborn child's safety. Who moves furniture with fragile things delicately balanced on top? Two morons in a house armed with power tools.

So the hole drilling went according to plan thanks to the engineers who came before me. The hole saw was designed in such a manner that the bolt would come loose after some sawing and make a horrible sound. This horrible ound was the drill not destroying itself or my hand as it bound up on the hardwood floor. I would not have thought of something like that in my own hand saw invention and people would have died.

Fun things I got to do when moving an entertainment center 3 feet:
  • Evaluate all components. Do I really need a DVD player when I have a PS3 sitting in the entertainment center? A CD player? We don't even have CDs on the ground floor.
  • Finally get the PS3 to stream from my computer - that's one step closer to "cable? What cable?" (err, satellite but same difference)
  • Figure out why my subwoofer hasn't worked for a year - it's amped so needed to go into the Pre-Out plug on the back of my receiver. Also realized Surround Sound speakers shouldn't be plugged into "Rear Surround Sound" unless they're actually, you know, behind you.
  • Had my wife comment "wow it sounds like we're actually using that sound system now" - I'm going to play Mortal Kombat for 4 days showing her just how much we're using it.
  • Fatality.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rational Drill Holing

So I've figured out a way to drill holes all over my living room floor and still do it tastefully.
Behold, the grommet:
These are cord organizers for the desk, but a couple in the corners of a room will be welcome by any future home-owner. The best part about installing grommets is I get to use this:

I'm punching two holes in the floor, one near the edge of the wall by the fireplace, one near the other side of the room. I'll run the speaker wire under the floor, and pop it up through the grommets on the other side. I'm not sure if I'll have to glue the grommets into place or anything like that; we'll have to wait and see. Perhaps something heavier duty (metal instead of plastic) should be installed.
Who knows.
I went with 2" grommets with the assumption that someone may want to run cable, 4 speaker wires, and ethernet through the same hole at any point, so make the two big enough to accommodate that.

So here's to rational acts of destruction.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Eli Pariser: Beware online "filter bubbles"

Important enough to repost. H/T to my neighbor Ben who shared it on Google Reader

Eli Pariser: Beware online "filter bubbles": "

eight times over

For starters, we're having a girl. Our name debate is focused.
And, upon instructions from my wife, private. Sorry. :)

I want to be laying around on the couch all day today. Instead, I'm running wires, disconnecting and reconnecting stereo equipment, stuff I believe I should only do if we were (1) moving or (2) selling off everything for drug money.

But my wife is nesting, her mother is the crowbar with which to exert extra leverage, and I'm merely a hapless sod who doesn't have much of an opinion on the layout. Don't touch my office, don't disconnect the internet. Those are my rules for living.

So the entertainment center's being moved a total of 4 feet, on the other side of a wall. I ventured knocking the wall down, but counter arguments such as "resale value" and "load bearing" and "you're an idiot" all came up.

I remember the heady optimism when we first moved into the house. "This is our house! We don't have a security deposit! Drill baby drill!" I dropped holes all along the edges of our dining room, behind furniture I assumed would be there forever. Turns out, you eventually want to sell the house, and people greet swiss-cheese holed hardwood floors with skepticism. Gorram pharisees if you ask me.
(nobody does)
So run wire, no willy nilly drilly drilly, set up entertainment center in new room. That's all weekend I suspect.

Argh. I have so few days left without 24-7 vigilance protecting a child attempting to kill herself repeatedly with everything in our house.

It's just about enough to make a grown man cry.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

stay very calm

I returned from lunch today to find a missing iPod.
This has angered me greatly. I suppose it's my fault for leaving it out; I've done it every single day for the last year but yeah, I hadn't given notice.




Words don't describe the rage.
It's my birthday. So maybe this is someone's terrible idea: "hey, I'll load a couple of CDs on his iPod" or "haha it's hilarious if he thinks someone stole his iPod".

This could be a terrible misunderstanding.
Either way, I have a few days to consider my options.
I must remain very, very calm and not do anything rash or punitive.
I know nothing, and my rage has only a faceless target, so it must dissipate in healthy outlets.

But I smell blood in the water.


Happy birthday to me.
This was an eventful year. I got someone pregnant on purpose. It's almost like reverse suicide. Screw you universe, now there's more of me!
And at the same time, life as you knew it is over.

To reinforce this, we gave away my couch to my brother, and we got a dining room set.
We currently have no couch. It is terrible.
A new one is being delivered on Friday.

My problems are great.

Happy Birthday to me, indeed.
Next one's gonna be a bit different.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

everyone hates politics but me

One of the big fears I've had for a long time is the dystopian future of tyrannical oppression outlined in 1984 and Brave New World. Michigan State offered classes on the problems with dystopia actually - the teacher's name (shit you not) was Vince Lombardi. Maybe he still teaches, I'm not sure and I'm not doing the research. (that sounds so petty in the internet era; it's not like I'd hire a private dick to find the guy with only a last known whereabouts. I could probably just google his name and MSU to figure it out. This self-condemnation has actually taken longer to write than researching it, but at this point it's all about the lack of principle of the thing.)
Anyhow, dystopias worry me. We're primed for one too; we resemble a fascist democracy in a fair amount of ways. Jack booted thugs are everywhere, the goal is to keep them away from the levers of power. But we've got our jack-booted thugs installed in high places - General Hayden was a great example of one. (see the recent New Yorker piece about his time subverting the Constitution and the wireless wiretapping).
The big concern is how can the system be attacked. The founding fathers did a pretty good job of it, namely:
  • We're a republic, not a democracy, thus less vulnerable to mob rule
  • The three branches naturally offset each other with natural checks
  • There's some encapsulation of the federal and state governments(admittedly less post Civil War)
  • three different methods of election make it harder to "hack the system"
  • the Bill of Rights provides further protections and enumerations of the rights of citizens, making it more likely they can assert change if the system is compromised.
The biggest weakness to me is the judiciary. If you're thinking long term and playing for keeps, that's the lynchpin. If you look at it right now, it's broken. Clarence Thomas fails to recuse himself on numerous occasions, Scalia has begun overturning older Scalia decisions, and Roberts lied his way into the job and seems to be quite ideological in judgements thus far.
(I don't blame him so much for lying his way in; interviews are like that, Congress or no. "Of COURSE I work well with others, and can bounce back from distraction easily!" You never give them a real answer for "so what's your biggest weakness?" - why would you expect a judge to do differently?)
Whether it stays broken or not, they've done significant damage. Citizens United allows for unlimited corporate spending in campaigns, and it wreaked havoc in 2010.
I thought it might be over. . . the Forces Of Evil had triumphed. The corporatists had won. By extension, fascism had won. "Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." - Mussolini
And boy, did they try to finish the job.
Anti-union bills have popped up everywhere the corporatists won - Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, and more. The Republicans in the Senate voted TODAY to end Medicare as we know it. This is more hilarious because they've completely misdiagnosed the problem in a dazzling display of willful ignorance - health care costs are the issue, not medicare costs. Hence the Affordable Care Act that was fought over throughout 2009, which the CBO stated will save Medicare in excess of $400 trillion a year*.
The end result of all of this is pretty hilarious - Democrats are sweeping special elections (NY-26 the latest, Hochul winning in a R+6 congresisonal district) and recalls are moving forward in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio.
Most of the freshmen congressmen who voted to end Medicare are probably done for.
I'd like to say the Unless was a long shot.
I'd like to say "not even the DEMOCRATS can fuck this up."
But I don't believe in Santa Claus.
Steny Hoyer came out today to say "Sure, Medicare's on the table in the deficit talks."
Because, why not, right Steny? The first clear position where Democrats could define it as "Us vs Them", and you just give away the advantage. I want to come work for you, just so I can have salary negotiations with you. Finally break that six figure mark I lie so often about breaking.
Naturally, it's because he's not really One Of Us. The Democrats that represent the non-elite are not all of the democrats. Many of them are simply vampiric doppelgangers who take positions like a democrat to trick people into voting for them, but behave exactly as their corporatist masters tell them to. (Sen Landrieu is another example of this behavior)
It's god damned frustrating.
The stakes are HIGH these days. But the tide looks like it's turning, thanks to the activists. Freedom's a funny thing. The masters never want it, and grudgingly give it to survive the pitchfork wielding mobs. But as soon as you put the pitchforks down, they'll try and steal it away.
Don't put the pitchforks down, guys.

(also, pitchfork has a great lineup this year!)

*some numbers unverified because of my earlier stance on researching within this blog post)

Girl you've got hourglass eyes

I uttered the words, "I didn't know what I wanted to do in college" for probably the billionth time today. I totally knew what I wanted to do - party my balls off.
Embarrassingly Banal Mission Accomplished.

I read about a teacher today in LA who had 90 pages of her blog pulled out as proof she wasn't teaching X% of the time. What the fuck.
So let's get some stuff out of the way about me:
I don't trust the corporation to keep my best interests at heart.
Consequently, I am a better mercenary than equity holder.

This holds a raft of implications with it.
Mostly, I get to carry grenades.

I'm easily distracted by horizontal rules. Look, here's another!

My wife is 5 months pregnant. (this should have been my first item I bet) I'm currently in a death-struggle to name him Raistlin if he's a boy. I'm unsure if I'm winning, and if that means my unborn child is losing. Personally I'd like to think it means nerds all over are winning. I also suggested Oscar but my wife has something against the people of Mexico.

If it's a girl, it'll probably be Winnie. My wife floated it first; I'm of the opinion that if her father is going to call her Winnie the Pooh (and Fuck yes I would) she's just got no chance in this world. She's also suggested Lottie - I like that one a lot because we first met at a bar named Lottie's. It's romantic and shit.
Plus it's a rare name that you never hear anymore. (Audience Wag: there's a reason for that)

I'm turning 36 this weekend, and finding out the sex of my child at the same time. Great birthday present. My wife and I need it so we can cut our arguments in half.

I should have started with Pol Pot and other dictators "if it's a boy". By the time I got to Raistlin she would have been relieved.

Seriously, Raistlin.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

dead man walking

I gave my two week notice last week. It was unique circumstances - I actually like everyone in my group. I'm good at what I'm doing; I don't feel like I'm burying bodies as I go. That's normally how I feel when I'm leaving a job; some detective wants to ask me about suspicious items in my refrigerator. Not this time. Any bodies we ate, we ate as a team.
Good bosses, too. Not much to say about it, except the work wasn't what I should be doing. After I stopped doing stand-up and started thinking "hmm this should be something I like if I'm not planning to ditch it for LA", it started getting tough to stay. The problem is the software package - Oracle Configurator. This is the most un-user friendly piece of shit program I've ever had the displeasure of using. User interfaces become corrupt by an errant mouseclick. The Customer facing piece responds sluggishly to mouse clicks, and often "loses state" and takes you to an error page, making you start over. It plays poorly with the rest of Oracle Applications as well - sometimes you make some changes but you don't make ENOUGH changes and when you attempt to publish it, it doesn't do anything. That's not exactly true - it doesn't make a new publication, but it makes sure the old one isn't usable anymore.
In fact, let's talk about the UI for a minute. Through a series of mouse clicks, you add pieces of a user interface. It's fucking terrible. In order to create a table in this monstrosity, you'll click 45 times instead of rendering some HTML with a few typed commands. There are templates, that make life a little easier. You only have to do the 45 clicks once instead of once for every option in your model.
It's a good thing they make templates so easy, too. Remember when I said sometimes you click and it throws an error? A lot of times that piece of crap error will ruin the user interface you were working in and you'll have to rebuild it.
God, I hate that fucking program. It's not even sensible.
The rest of Oracle Applications isn't much better. I'm thoroughly convinced the reason Oracle Applications experts make so much money is because they have to put up with one of the worst ERPs ever created.
Try working with the forms implemented in the Defaulting Rules user interface, see how many errors you can raise in one session. Go ahead, it's easy - just click on the header when you're in a different page block.
(you can do that in Configurator too - try adding a second Configurator Extension with "Save And Add Another". That button should be labelled "Null Pointer Error" because that's what you're about to get)
Whew, glad I got that off my chest.
I'm probably just coming to the "getting old" realization that "90% of everything is crap".
But Oracle Applications has become too much to bear. I'd rather build my own, or try something completely different.

Yikes, massive rant that everyone hates. Back to work - I'm within my "notice period". I don't know why that needed quotes, but it feels like it does. The last two weeks are always tough. The job seems 1000 times better because a lot of the annoying distractions fade away. Nothing's THAT annoying when you think "I only have 8 more days of this crap." So then all that's left is the meat. The problem solving. The "I'm an expert". The "we're going to miss you!"

Hurts a bit.
And then I went and listened to "Helplessness Blues" from Fleet Foxes on the way in this morning and nearly fell apart at the seams.

Monday, May 23, 2011

conundrums (tech, freedom, etc)

So twitter's constrained their terms of service to not allow you to display tweets with their API if that's all you're doing.
I guess writing something to harvest them for spammers is ok, but listing them in a python interface window is too close to Twitter's Mission or some shit*.

I'm starting to sound like the old man on the porch, here.
"fuck facebook, maaaaaaaaan, it's the Prison Planet!!!"

Google Opt Out Feature Lets Users Protect Privacy By Moving To Remote Village

But I'm thinking I should be treating twitter with some of the same disdain reserved for Facebook. Build the network by offering a free an open API, when network is built start locking that shit down and shutting out the ones that brought you to the dance. . . . crap.

Maybe it's just a case where twitter just isn't my style so I'm poo pooing it easily. I'm a long winded fuck.
140 characters or less isn't my style, but it might be better for the world

* Many many terribly inaccurate things in my argument include, but are not limited to: assumption I'm using the API right; assumption I've correctly configured the firewall; assumption I've read the documentation and internet guides correctly; assumption I'm not terribly lazy and didn't skip most of these steps, but assume Twitter's forbidden the app; etc

brewery of note

I've really been loving all the offerings at New Holland brewery these days. The High Gravity series in particular is fantastic: Dragon's Milk and Mole Ocho are both great, and 4 Imperial Hatters are chilling in my fridge ready for consumption with dinner.
They have a fantastic oatmeat stout - The Poet, complete (compleat??) with raven sigil.
The only one I've had I'm not sold on is their Golden Cap Saison Ale; most of the "New Holland" flavor profile seems to clash with the lighter offerings. But maybe that's just my dumb palate.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

It's lonely on the internet

I quit facebook about a week ago. On Friday my account (and probably my fan page) will become defunct.
There's quite a few reasons why - the last straw wasn't so much a last straw as a reevaluation of the Case Against Facebook, namely:
  • Their privacy policies towards your data have changed without notice, and FB will change it again without telling you
  • They take licensing rights when you upload a picture - they can profit off of your party photos if they figure out how
  • Those party photos are ridiculously incriminating evidence, delete those tags! Too bad others can tag you without you opting in, huh?
  • That party you went to, you didn't get there through a FB invite. Jesus those things suck.
  • They're in a low-level ground war with their content providers like Twitter - the crappy implementation in Facebook is no accident. They're trying to squeeze out anyone that's not Facebook from grabbing eyes.
  • Why is FB free? They're compiling a dossier of data on you unparalleled in the internet era. Who your "friends" are - and it's not just dead data. It's who you actually interact with. What pages you visit. What photos you click on. What shows you Like. What articles you click through. What apps you play. It's comprehensive and a difficult data stream to poison with "fake facts" because all of your connections reinforce the story of You.
  • Who's the customer of that data? Marketing firms, sure. But it's the CIA's wet dream, that's certain.
  • They hired a PR firm to spread concerns about Google's privacy issues. That's like Ted Bundy hiring a PR firm to smear OJ Simpson. We're pretty sure Google's done it, but Facebook's buried bodies all over California and New England.
Ultimately, it came down to a few simple facts. Yes, Facebook is easy to use. Yes Facebook let's me maintain shallow relationships with a ton of people, and is an invaluable marketing tool (not really, we'll come to that). It is a lot more fun than twitter when it comes to posting quips and bon mots; you can interact with other people to a far greater degree.
But the cost is too high, and the "big idea" - a social gathering place online - existed before Facebook and will continue on past its demise. Ask MySpace.
So I quit. I can be found here from now on - I'm consolidating my technical page here as well. There's no reason to Super-Hero it up with a secret identity as a programmer. I'm a funny fucking programmer who swears too much. I'm also damned good at my job. The shit I write about shouldn't preclude me from work.

Because that "Facebook's a great marketing tool" is a fallacy. Your own website is a great marketing tool. Facebook could be a venue that you market it on, but it shouldn't be the source of your internet presence. Nor should twitter, nor MySpace, nor anywhere that's proprietary. The real beauty of the internet is that anyone can tend a garden here. All the tools are free, and the knowledge is out there for you to buy or learn.
And if you build it yourself - well, Facebook doesn't get to take it away for violating the terms of service.
The AppStore doesn't get to pull your site.
OK, Google can destroy your search indexing and completely obliterate your existence. But Google's OJ and we're pretty sure he was innocent of murder.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Tomorrow, tomorrow

It would be pretty hilarious if Rapture DID come tomorrow. I'd certainly say "holy shit!"
I'm not really sure how it works for me.
I was a pretty hard core believer through most of high school. I've read the The Late Great Planet Earth, Mere Christianity, a fair amount of THE BIBLE, and at least 1,000 pages of other religious works.
So I was Most Definitely Saved.
Then I got to college, read the first two creation stories in Genesis, realized there was a chronological order issue in creation. Which is created first, animals or Man? BZZT WRONG Man was intelligently designed from monkeys by the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Seriously, though, it's both.
Genesis 1:1-2:3, 2:4-25 contradict each other on when man is made, prior to or after the animals. I read that, and my world changed forever.
Atheist immediately.
Robert Heinlein helped; Jubal Harshaw points out II Kings(2 Kings 2:23-25) - Elisha and the bears, where God kills 43 kids for mocking a prophet's bald head (seriously, go ahead and read it) It never sat right with me.
But I was saved once, right? IT SHOULD STILL COUNT. ;)

One of the brilliant things zen buddhism got right was the koan - it's supposed to be inscrutable. Here's one I like: "A monk asked Ummon: `What is Buddha?' Ummon answered him: `Dried dung.'"

One final thing on the Rapture Hoo Hah - anyone who's telling you dates is utterly full of shit. Jesus himself says "I will come like a thief in the night" - the implication is nobody will know when.
Vainglorious priests seeking airtime ... how trite.