Thursday, January 29, 2004

The Plot Thickens

Spike: "She's one of us now. A monster."
Angel: "She's an innocent victim."
Spike: "So were we, once upon a time."
Angel, almost whispered: "Once upon a time..."

This season is getting better and better. The return of Andrew last night was a lot of fun, excellent comedic relief for the rest of the episode, which was notably dark, even for Angel. The shock value of what Dana did to Spike...

If you aren't watching this series because you think you're too cool for it, you should be and you're not.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004


My lips blow forth steam,
Nose hairs freeze, I shiver much;
Speed through slush to warmth!

Ad Nauseum

I keep hearing the same cycle of arguments over and over and over from political pundits and government types and it's driving me insane. It sounds like this:

Liberal: Bush Lied!
NeoCon: The World is Better Without Saddam!
Liberal: We Went There For the Oil!
NeoCon: We went there to Stop Terrorism!
Liberal: Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11!
NeoCon: You are a Traitor!

The bottom line is that to conservatives, the ends almost always justify the means. To liberals, they almost never do. The conservatives cannot distinguish between an accusation that Bush, his administration, the upper echelons of the intelligence community, or some confluence thereof conspired to misrepresent the intelligence and sell a war on false pretences, and an implication that the result of the war is terrible. To them they are one and the same - without deceiving the sheep-like masses the war could never have happened. Well, no. Bush could have appealed on humanitarian grounds then (instead of backtracking now in a patently false and unbelievable way) and he could have told us Saddam had torture chambers and death camps and I bet you most of the college students who were protesting against the war would have been protesting against Saddam and cheering on our boys Over There.

The liberals, on the other hand, seem to think that no war would have been better despite the freedom from oppression, torture, and death we have given the Iraqi people. To all these hardcore party politickers I say pull your heads out of your asses and come to some sensible common ground. Obviously massive tax cuts and increased spending are the opposite of fiscal responsibility, but so is taxing the bejesus out of the wealthy to fund research into the emotional state of wolves during mating in northern Canada and throwing money at welfare and healthcare without revising those systems from the ground up.

America is rapidly declining into a bitter contest of political and corporate one-upsmanship which will result, if we aren't careful, in America going the way of the Roman empire in the next 100 years; the excess and debauchery of the mega-rich and mega-corrupt will turn this country into a mockery and a sham if we aren't careful. And part of being careful is listening to the most reasonable parts of the other guy's point of view.

Conservatives - Bush Lied! It doesn't matter that it turned out ok. He still lied, and that's not what American Presidents are supposed to do.

Liberals - Wake up! We set an example with Iraq that gave pause to those who support terrorism from the Middle East, and at the same time deposed a brutal dictator who was murdering millions of his people.

France - You better hope and pray nobody starts a war with you in the next 10 years because Americans are going to say 'fuck those french bastards'. Sorry, I couldn't help taking a shot at France. Their politicians are such dicks. Most of 'em, anyway.

Get over yourselves, People Running The Country, stop sniping and mudslinging, and start getting back to the process of running our country with some measure of efficiency and decorum. Getting re-elected is NOT more important than doing what is absolutely best for the country. If you truly subscribe to that philosophy you will get more done in your first term than most do across their whole careful career. Oh yes, one more thing; please explain what "decorum" is to the President, just in case.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Kitty Update 2.0

Casper just got his second set of vaccinations and a feline leukemia test (negative :) and was weighed at 4lb 2oz. Here are some pics I took over the last month:"

Casper & I palling around:

Little bastard ate my tuna sandwich and then had the cojones to fall asleep in my arms.

Curious little guy. Have to keep pulling him away from behind the computer so he doesn't chew on the wires.

He sits like this all the time. He's always waiting right on the back of the couch when I get home from work.

Drowsy because of my noxious foot odor, no doubt.

Damn he is a cute kitten.

More next month!

No, Really...

I watched the second installment of "My Big Fat Obnoxious fiancee" yesterday and it continues to entertain. The Fiancee, Steve, reminds me a bit of Stu playing Richard; the vicious glee with which he manipulates this poor girl (call me Randy, I'm the most self-less boyfriend in the world, just ask Jules!) into nigh-dementia is breathtaking. My only fear is that America will be turned off because he's really making her hurt quite a bit, and if the ratings drop because they don't feel like watching psychological torture the show will be canceled.

Which raises an interesting question; how far can they go before that threshold of distaste is reached? Further, how much does the $1,000,000 prize justify what they are doing to her? I get a guilty kick out of watching the show but when she goes from bemused to miserable it makes me a little uncomfortable. Do the executive producers feel the same way or are they amoral hyenas jockeying for ratings sans concern for their pretty subject?

And perhaps the most disturbing question, would I even care enough about the moral implications to write a post like this if she wasn't stunningly beautiful?

Breakin' it Down for PJPII

Obviously Deuce watches the Daily Show, as evidenced in this ToTC post.

Seriously foks, if you want to see something truly mindboggling, it's the footage Jon Stewart played last night of breakdancers spinning on their heads for the Pope, who applauded.

Saturday, January 24, 2004


I just saw Good Charlotte's video for "Hold On" on MTV. It hit me pretty hard.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Walking In a Winter Wonderland

It is another nut-frostingly cold day in downtown Milwaukee. Walking 5 blocks to work at 8am sucks, because my eyes tear up in the wind and snot dribbles down my nose (lovely, huh?). I hate you StuLee. Still, it could be worse.

Anyway there are at least 3 inches of snow outside and I am in a particularly bloggity mood today for some reason, so there's a few things on my mind.

First, I watched the premier of "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancee" yesterday. Hoo, boy!! What a train-wreck of morality that show is! The premise is that Randy (who is extremely pretty, reminiscent of Sarah Michelle Gellar in her good years) thinks she and another contestant Steve must convince their families they are engaged to be married in 12 days. If they pull it off they win 1000000 dollars. However, Steve is actually an actor hired to be as obnoxious, dumb, and irritating as possible. The result, while a complete vacuum of anything remotely resembling intelligence or value to the culture, is absolutely hysterical. It taps into something deeply American - a mean-spirited voyeurism, the same trait that causes a three-mile backup on a major highway when there's a jack-knifed tractor trailer hanging off the edge of a cliff; there's no obstruction but everyone slows down to get a good, long look. I think it will hold my interest for at least 4 or 5 episodes, and I'll probably tune in for the finale. Sometimes vacuous entertainment isn't the end of the world.

I picked up the new Arthur C. Clarke / Stephen Baxter "Time's Eye" today. Clarke, obviously, is the living legend and grandmaster who wrote 2001:Space Odyssey and helped Stanley Kubric bring the book to life on screen. Critics are hailing Baxter as his heir. The premise is that uber-beings from a distant galaxy have carved up Earth in the 4th dimension like a jigsaw puzzle, putting a chunk of 1700 New Jersey next to a chunk of 1990's New York City, and a swath of 1,000,000 B.C. African planes directly underneath a 2037 Space Station. Then they sit back and watch; it's kind of like reality television for aliens. I'll let you know how it goes :)

Platinum Blond Champion

I forgot to mention that Angel continues to amuse the fuck out of me. Wednesday's episode was odd, another Boreanaz directed episode where the timing between shots was just a little bit slow for me. The payoff was Spike playing the role of champion, saving some bint from getting eaten and finishing off by telling her what a stupid cow she was for walking home in high heels alone at 2am through back alleys. Priceless.

Also fun was the return of Christian Kane as Lindsey McDonald, a character I have always liked. I really enjoy the way the writers have made him such a sympathetic villain - especially during the Darla saga I just felt for him.


Crap. This post is totally gay. Go ahead people, make your comments. I stand by my vampires / evil lawyers.

Orange Juice

Tropicana has a new ad campaign wherein computer animated oranges and OJ bottles dance around to the "I Dream of Jeani" theme song. Every time I see one, I get a demented grin on my face and do a little dance.

Thought you'd like to know.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

State of the Yoonyun

Maybe this is intellectual snobbery on my part but I wish my president knew the difference between Nuclear Weapons, which actually do exist, and Nukular Weapons, which in fact do not. Especially since his finger is on the button.

And what the hell was with the baby? Since when is the State of the Union a campaign stop?

Tuesday, January 20, 2004


I am currently reading Yann Martel's "Life of Pi", a fascinating tale rich with insight into the nature of man and beast. The book is about a young indian boy who is stranded on a lifeboat in the middle of the Pacific with a Royal Bengal Tiger, and the lengths he goes to in order to survive his ordeal. I will not ruin the plot further, but so far as I have read I may say that no punches are pulled, no niceties are pulled over the reader's eye to abstract the absolutely raw animal nature of man. At the same time the author exalts the nobility and spirituality of man such that I wish I were more religeous and could experience the kind of theophanistic high the main character Pi undergoes after emerging from the depths of despair and which the author has obviously felt himself.

If you read "Hatchet" in the fourth grade and liked it, read this - it's smarter, better-written, more authentic and more thought-provoking.

Also, I will be in Boston from about 4pm Friday February 27 through 4pm Sunday February 29, so get ready for some drunk Jordi.

You might even say I'm preparing to be Reckless.

Friday, January 16, 2004

The World Is Ending

Mikey Walsh picked HaloScan for his commenting system.

I picked BlogSpeak.

Now BlogSpeak is dead, and HaloScan has absorbed their userbase.

*sigh* I'm never gonna live this down.

P.S. If anyone needs help with the transition, let me know.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

For Stu, With Love

Q. What do you call 53 guys sitting around watching the Super Bowl?
A. The Buffalo Bills!

Q. How do you keep a Buffalo Bill out of your yard?
A. Put up goal posts!

Q. Where do you go in Buffalo in case of a tornado?
A. To Rich Stadium - they never get a touchdown there!

Q. Why doesn't Lackawana have a professional football team?
A. Becasue then Buffalo would want one.

Q. Why was Grey Williams upset when the Bills play book was stolen?
A. Because he hadn't finished coloring it.

Q. What's the difference between the Buffalo Bills and a dollar bill?
A. You can still get four quarters out a dollar.

Q. What do the Bills and possums have in common?
A. Both play dead at home and get killed on the road!

A guys walks into a bar to watch the football game with a dachshund under his arm. The dog is wearing a Buffalo Bills jersey and helmet, and is festooned with Bills pom-poms. The big game begins with the Bills receiving the kickoff. They march down field, get stopped at the 30yrd line, and kick a field goal. Suddenly, the dog jumps up on the bar and begins walking up and down the bar giving high-fives to everyone. The bartender says, "Wow, that is the most amazing thing I've seen! What does the dog do if they score a touchdown?" The owner replies, "I don't know, I''ve only had him for three years."

Tuesday, January 13, 2004


Nasa's Spirit Rover severed the last umbilical cord connecting it to the landing platform and executed a 45 degree turn last night. This means the little rover is autonomous and all of its actuators are working - it will be able to rove the surface of Mars! If you haven't been following the little guy's progress, go here.

It's a very exciting time to be a space enthusiast!

Comments Down

If you, like me, use blogspeak to host your comments, you were probably wondering why they were down. If, unlike me (and the rest of the internet population) you have never heard of google, you probably still don't know the reason.

From the blogspeak domain website:

"BlogSpeak is currently down because the bastards that host it decided to suspend my account. I do not know as of yet when this situation will be resolved. If you don't want any JavaScript errors on your pages, take the code off for the time being. Thanks for your patience."

He really ought to get speakeasy. If the problem persists I may take a few months to switch providers, register a domain name, and provide you (my friends) with a better, free comment system. And if it turns out really well, I suppose I could even charge other people some exorbitant fee in the name of enterprise.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

< geek on >

I'm reading a book called "The Wiz Biz" by Rick Cook. I'm also reading Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" as part of my ongoing attempt to read something other than fantasy/sci-fi pulp, but that's a separate review. The concept of "The Wiz Biz" is that a computer programmer gets summoned into this other world by a great wizard and is drafted into a war against the Bad Guys. He then uses his knowlege of programming to write a magic compiler which he programs "spells" into.

The concept is really cool but I'm stuck with a dilemma. Cook sprinkles the story with bits and pieces of jargon and the occasional insider joke. At one point the main character creates an interpreter demon that pops into existence looking like Gerald Sussman, and he wonders to himself if the little demon speaks with a lisp (haha)[1]. Unfortunately, the author never goes into the depths of detail I would require to get truly involved in the concept.

For a self-taught programmer or someone in their first year of comp-sci education, the book would be wonderful. But Cook relegates all the internal workings of the magical compiler to one or two sentences - "Wiz slaved over the compiler and debugger, working out the kludgy hacks until his spell functions began to work properly" sort of thing. Beginners tend to treat compilers the same way - plug in source code, and magically, voila! A program appears. But for someone who has actually written a compiler, I want to know what the hell he is tokenizing[2]. What are the basic assembler-style magical commands? Are they atomic or is there a base unit of magical information like a bit?

It's very frustrating to have such a promising concept with so little followthrough. At the same time I realize if the book was as geeky as I want it to be it would never sell. You can't write a fantasy novel about frame allocation and type-hierarchies and expect it to sell well to the general pulp audience. I just wish you could, cause I would love a book like that.

[1] Gerald Sussman is a famous computer scientist who wrote one of the quintessential books about the structure of programming languages. The book uses a language called Lisp for its examples.

[2] Or would that be tolkienizing?

< / geek off >

Friday, January 02, 2004

For Those Of You Familiar With My Repertoir...

It occured to me this morning that it might have been amusing to you all had I named my kitten "Othello".