Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fall From Greatness

I came into work a bit early today, and I caught a bit of a radio show I don't hear much anymore -- Walt Bodine's "The Walt Bodine Show". If you're not from around here, you'll not likely recognize his name or his show, but to us, he's been a radio broadcast icon for decades. I've lived my entire life (as have my parents) with his gravely voice always nearby, beckoning from the airwaves. We've loved him.

In recent years, though, listening to his show has been only a hair short of painful. When I last listened regularly, several years ago, Mr. Bodine had started to slip with age -- his voice quavered, he'd become noticeably annoyed with callers, and he had some trouble staying on topic. He rambled, snipped, and sometimes drifted off into old man's land. A blogger at Gone Mild (not a regular read; I found this by a Google search) put it a bit more harshly, but his point in 2005 was valid. Walt Bodine, to the dismay of all of us, is just not the innovator he used to be.

Today, I noticed a significant change in format. In the intervening time, Kelley Weiss (bio available on the KCUR web site) has gone from the girl who told us what's coming up next week to the show's full-time host. While she's listed as co-host on the show's web page, the "host", Mr. Bodine, is reduced to grunts of assent in the background while Ms. Weiss interviews guests and takes listener calls.

It pains me to admit it, but because of this change, the show is bearable again. Walt Bodine was undoubtedly a great man, but his time for radio has passed.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Contact

Once a month, I "run errands," during which time I hand-carry my bills to their appropriate destinations and visit the bank to make a deposit and withdrawal. I'm old-fashioned, I guess, but I really do treasure this small bit of human interaction. Such behavior is right in line with my tendency to frequent the same coffee house several times per week, and to build a rapport with the nice lady behind the counter at Panda Express. During this time, I get my monthly fix of external human contact, and enjoy some fresh air in the process. I look forward to it.

This month, I realized the times really are changing, and I don't like it one bit. My first stop is to the credit card bank to pay what I owe them. I stand in line (actually, there's seldom a line inside), speak face-to-face with a teller, and thank them with a smile when the thirty-second transaction is complete. This month was no different. The lady even made sure I got my new card in the mail, explained the change in the credit card number, and reminded me to call the line to activate it. Bank of America gets an 'A' for customer service.

Next, I drive a bit further down the road to Cap Fed, my trustworthy savings and loan. This month, I was running a bit late. It seems their office closes at 4:30, so even though they had multiple tellers working, we were separated by two panes of glass and a speaker system in the drive-through. I sit, idling my car, while a teller fifty yards away takes my money for safe keeping. I'm not so fond of that, especially since he could just as easily have been in the other building, but I can make do. At least it's a human. After a perfectly sanitary "Thank you" from the teller, I drove on, not even knowing the man's name. Cap Fed gets a 'C' -- human is indeed preferable, but you could remove the glass and electronics and achieve just the same productivity.

My final stop is to the Sprint store to pay my cell phone bill. They've got lots of folks working in that building -- three girls greet customers as they come in, and half a dozen sales representatives (wireless specialists?) help customers buy products. Customers mill around ogling ridiculously expensive devices, rounding out the atmosphere of hubbub. The first time I visited the store to pay my bill, a sales representative happily took me to his station, processed my check, and explained the electronic processing when I met his return of my check with a confused look. Recently, however, they seem to always be too busy for something as mundane as taking a monthly payment from an existing subscriber. Despite the customer service vibe I pick up in that place, the fifty dollars I owe them is not worth a human's time. No, I'm shuffled off to the corner of the room, where a lifeless, money-eating kiosk waits for dinner. I always have trouble with that thing (because I "forgot" to give Sprint permission to deduct money directly from my checking account), and the grumblings of a service representative troubled to take my money make the experience still lovelier. Sprint's customer service, at least at the store in my neighborhood, is about enough to drive me away.

Technology is great for a lot of things, but for human contact, it hurts significantly. I realize it takes some effort to actually speak with a customer face-to-face, but the customer needs that sometimes. He's not just a revenue source, after all. He's a man.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Winter!

We've finally gotten our first significant (read: sticky) snow of the year. I took a photograph.

Winter is finally here. Let's celebrate :-)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Wordpress!

For the sake of experimentation, I've installed WordPress on my machine at home. The install process was easier than a clumsy fall, and importing my Blogger posts (and comments!) was a matter of only a couple mouse clicks, too. I haven't decided whether to use this as my primary blogposting spot or not, but I can think of several benefits. Most importantly, I've got full control over EVERYTHING, since it runs on my own server. The access logs are also as thorough as it gets: No longer will I have to rely on Sitemeter to give me incomplete and unreliable information about my visitors.

The posting and editing interface has more features than Blogger (including the ability to perma-link certain posts, if you want, for search engine friendliness), and, so far, it doesn't have any of the annoying formatting bugs Blogger seems to breed.

The only drawback I can see to this style of blogging will be my limited bandwidth -- my own server has a pitiful 512kbps upload capacity, and if the site grows much more at all, I'll either need to upgrade my internet account or seek professional hosting services. Thankfully, the theme I've chosen is mostly text, so it doesn't seem to take much bandwidth to navigate.

I'll cross-post for now, since I haven't decided which to keep, but in the meantime, check out the awesomeness. I'm psyched enough to have archived my homepage (the code for which I slaved upon for many hours) and moved the Wordpress blog to take its place. Thank the heavens for FOSS :-)

Monday, November 26, 2007

On Content

Sorry, folks, but I've failed. I hadn't actually announced participation in NaBloPoMo (preparing for inevitable failure, I was), but I sure wanted to participate. I did pretty well there, until life caught up with me. Some things make blogging seem awfully unimportant.

I do have some personal insight to share, though. It's mostly to do with this happiness we seem so obsessed in finding. It's popular nowadays, at least in our culture, to seek gratification for oneself, often regardless of the cost. The only thing that matters, we say, is one's own happiness. While that's true when all is said and done, a person should think a bit about what happiness is before holding this mantra up as a catch-all hedonist's license.

Have you found lasting happiness in heroin when the people you care about (and who care about you!) weep in private over your self-destruction? A glazed cruller tastes very good, but if you swipe it off your beloved grandmother's plate, does it give you as much pleasure? Acceptance-seeking behavior sometimes makes a person behave ridiculously, but there's a certain amount of peer approval that's required for happiness. Seek pleasure, but don't let it come at the cost of somebody you owe loyalty to. Happiness thus obtained is bittersweet and empty. The real happiness, the contented, full-bellied feeling of being in the right place at the right time, depends on the approval of the folks you share your life with. Don't let them dictate, but it's foolish to brush off the opinion of a person who knows you well.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

END

Well, I finished Xenocide. A spectacular book, but I was severely let down once again by my new and awesome idea being already thought of by somebody else.

The characters had discovered a sort of extra dimension near the end of the novel, and with that discovery came talk about the origin of the universe. The author described my brilliant idea about each universe eventually developing something that can create more universes (and on and on...) perfectly, except the elements in his example were different.

Bah to my creativity already having been created. Bah, I say!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Lovely link

My aunt has introduced me to FOUND Magazine. It's light, funny, and better for all of it because it's so... real. Enjoy it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

How Inconvenient

Here come the holidays. The next few days will be full of family togetherness, and while I hate to admit it, the frequent blogging thing is going to become a bit of a distraction. Normally, I've got nothing better to do, but with a sister I haven't seen in forever (months, but quite long enough to be forever) and a grandmother I haven't seen in years, I haven't much motivation to tear myself away from happiness to blog stuffs. If I'm certainly going to try, but it's quite possible I'll be back to two-line entries just to post something more than nothing.

In other news, Mozilla has finally released Firefox 3 Beta. A more detailed article over at ars technica outlines some impressive new features, including full-page zoom capability, rendering with a vector graphics engine (with support for hardware acceleration), and a completely overhauled bookmarks system. At the same time, the article at ars claims improvements to the software will decrease system load, but that, of course, remains to be seen. Once I get my new machine (hopefully tomorrow), I'll put it to the test and get some stats put up here, if I can motivate myself to do so :p

Monday, November 19, 2007

Wheee

Prices sure have come down. Since my sandbox (a 430Mhz PIII with a 6GB hard drive) died, I'm in the market for a new toy. I did some price work today and came up with a decent machine (an absolute powerhouse compared to the last, with a Sempron 3000+, 512MB RAM and a 160GB drive) for $175, including a $15 rebate on the board/processor thing. Lovely, eh? Bear in mind, this doesn't come with an operating system -- that's what the experiments are all about. To add Windows to the price of this computer would cost an additional $200-$400. That's right: The computer costs less than the operating system nowadays. In my own terribly humble opinion, free is a much better price. I've decided to give Fedora a try and see if it's all it's cracked up to be. It's about time I tried something user-friendly.

Egads

I lack inspiration or something. I'm also a little late (but again, it's still my Sunday).

You want lulz? Check it.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hiya

Xenocide is good. I'm rushing off to party like a monster, but if I think about it, I'll write up a review sometime later on.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Man On Fire

I'm not motivated to go into detail in regards to my animosity toward the mainstream music industry (this post links to a good article on the subject, if you really want to read that much), but to sum it up, I pirate RIAA-affiliated music with the voracity of a T-Rex on a chicken range (seriously, I don't need near this much crap), while I buy albums by artists who're not affiliated with the RIAA, and I enjoy them a great deal more than my vast pirated music collection.

Anyway, sometimes, the best way to stiffen one's resolve is to take a good, hard look into the eye of the enemy.

Over at the RIAA web site, their front page boasts control over "90% of all legitimate sound recordings," a possible Freudian indication of their eventual goal. Beyond that, the first link in the middle of the page is to "How much money we're making" (actually entitled "Unit shipment and dollar value charts"), and appears, beneath the surface, to indicate a significant drop in profits during the last five or ten years.

Here's the problem I run into -- why is that information displayed so prominently on their web site, right below their claim to 90% market share? It's certainly not an advertisement for label-seeking artists; who'd want to join up with such a loser?

I've developed two conclusions from the above questions. First, in regards to motive, the record industry's major lament these days is a sharp drop in record sales, reportedly due to rampant online piracy. Whether or not the piracy is a debatable point, their motive is clear: "Here's the proof! See? We weren't lying!"

My second conclusion is a bit of a stretch. Displaying reports like this that reflect negatively on the growth of your company is, needless to say, a poor business strategy. There's no sane reason for it, and it's a great way to steer investors away from your company. Advertising them in the middle of the front page on your web site, then, is tantamount to setting yourself on fire in the public theater that is the capitalist marketplace.

What kind of man sets fire to himself with the intent not to die, but to show everyone how much he's suffering and expect to reap the benefits of pity? Such a man is wholly self-centered, apparently a bit desperate, and must deem himself invincible. Such a man also, however, is nice and crispy before too long.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I'm picky, but...

Sometimes, the beat is just too much to resist. Between the dark ghetto beats (and the dark ghetto voice), the idea of a beverage made of "Hypno and Hennessy" (uh, yuck?), and a barrage of images from the Incredible Hulk (ah, childhood), this video gave me a nice, wide smile. Check it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Reader?

I'm not so sure about this Google Reader thingymabob. In a nutshell, it aggregates all your RSS feeds into an easy-to-navigate interface, including article previews (actually, the full articles) in a sort of pop-up bubble thing.

While it's great for users, site administrators might find the thing a bane, since you can't tell who's reading, or where they came from. Granted, if the reader clicks the link to "View original content," a hit will be recorded, but the article in pop-up form on your Google homepage doesn't generate any record at all on the target site. For bloggers just starting out, at least, it's nice to know what people are reading, when they're reading, and where they come from. Not only that, but some bloggers (not me, admittedly, but some) surely use their site's layout to create an atmosphere for their writing.

I'm not so fond of this thing. For now, I'm making a point to "view original content" and experience the articles in the way they were originally intended. You should, too.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

2 Below

If you have access to New Belgium beers in your area, you really ought to pick up their 2 Below Winter Ale and give it a try. It's their winter seasonal, and despite the ratings on ratebeer, it's one of the best I've tried this year. The 74th percentile is no good indication as to the deliciousness of this brew.

The beer pours a lovely reddish-amber color, with a thin, but resinous lingering head. Nose is of pine hops, earth, and mild fruit. The first sip is bright, juicy, and full of pine-needle hops. This stuff tastes very much like a freshly cut Christmas tree would smell -- sweet, light, and rich piney goodness. The carbonation here is just right, with tiny, abundant, sharp bubbles, just shy of the "explode in your mouth" variety. The finish is dry, but by no means bitter. I'm always amazed at beers that can incorporate so much juicy hop flavor (Goose Island's IIPA is the quintessential example) without making the beer uncomfortably bitter, and this one pulls it off spectacularly. The aftertaste is clean, although sips do leave the mouth a bit sticky for awhile after the beer is gone.

I'm a little surprised this falls into the "ESB" category on ratebeer's site. I realize the categories aren't a perfect system, but this reminds me much more of an imperial IPA (minus the alcohol content, although this one is at a respectable 6.6% ABV) than any ESB I've tasted. In any case, it's hard to go wrong with this choice. It's got a delicious, full-bodied flavor, and at less than $8 per sixer, even if you don't like it, it won't be much of a sacrifice to hand it over to me for... disposal :p

Monday, November 12, 2007

I would, but...

I was going to post a lovely song for you this evening, but my singer just isn't cooperating with me this evening. I'm no vocalist, so to actually get something that sounds decent takes quite a good number of tries. I've got to give up this evening. Perhaps tomorrow.

In the meantime, check this guy out. The tune I wanted to sing is "Clean Elvis," which so happens to be on that very page. Fair warning -- the link goes to a Myspace page, so if you've sworn of the cesspool, you may not want to click.

WHUPS

My days are so wonky... to me, it's still Sunday until about 3am. Perhaps this counts? In any case, a decision to choose blog over adventure would be folly. It held no ghosts, but a burned-out building in the middle of the woods was cool enough in itself. Please enjoy the multimedia.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bleh

Saturdays leave me drained. I don't have the energy to post, so until tomorrow, share my love for Fox Television. I especially love the exploding van with the "Demonstration" disclaimer: "Yes, we're trying to scare you. Here, watch this van blow up."

Friday, November 9, 2007

Supreme Commander

I finally tried Supreme Commander yesterday evening. Real-time strategy is, by far, my favorite genre, so I'm a bit biased, but I can say with confidence this is quite a good game.

Primarily, economic development is a lot more active a process than in other RTS games. The two economic units, Energy and Mass, exist in a sort of "pool." Creating buildings and units drains energy and/or mass, and when the pool is empty, building slows to a near halt, and the economy stalls. When you're generating a surplus of energy and mass, the pool fills back up to the maximum level. Resource management in this game is an interesting balancing act, and it's unique (at least, in my own experience) to this game.

The tech tree is also pretty deep, allowing for a "Tech 1" rush of a large number of weak units (similar to the Zerg in Starcraft) early in the game, followed up by more and more powerful units (including a virtually unstoppable giant spider thing) as the player makes his way down the tech tree. The base defense installations allow for long games, epic sieges, and plenty of time to develop your technology to the point at which you're comfortable breaking out of your shell (with much fire, we hope).

As icing on the cake, the game has built-in support for dual displays, allowing the player to have a world-sized strategic map on one display and the familiar RTS-style interface on the other. I must say, however, at high settings with two monitors running, the game did stutter some during the most graphically intense (read: just when the battle started to heat up) moments.

To summarize, I am not looking forward to waking up at 7:30am tomorrow. I've decided to just bugger all and be tired. I can't quit this darned game.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Tee Vee

Today, I spoke with a customer who made up my mind. I will not subscribe to any sort of pay-for television service for the foreseeable future.

I've spoken to plenty of angry customers without internet service, and plenty of angry customers without TV service, and I've become aware of a significant difference between the two groups. The latter, without TV, is nothing short of desperate. I'll admit, I find myself a little lost if our internet service drops for awhile, but I always find something to do. On the internet, after all, I have to actively find things with which to entertain myself. Even if it's just wandering around in the yard with a knife in an "I wonder if I can cut this" and "I can tie these things together and make string" sort of mood, I make do.

Life is more than glowing boxes and pre-programmed entertainment regimens. It's so full of exploration and adventure. The problem is once we get accustomed to letting the TV (or anything, for that matter) entertain us, we lose some of our ability to actually, actively live. There are no discoveries to be had on the Discovery channel, I'm afraid -- everything you see there was made for you to watch, by people who have already discovered what you're learning about. You're not learning anything useful, anyway. At least with the internet, we're capable of stimulating something and getting a response. Hacking with computers is a great way to explore, and if you're smart enough (I've yet to reach that level, admittedly), you can make entirely new discoveries within that tiny little world. The TV, on the other hand, is completely passive, and exists for nothing more than to allow us to switch off and become vegetables for awhile.

There's nothing wrong with vegetating -- our lifestyle does seem to generate an urge to drop everything and drool at times -- but if letting the tube carry your brain for awhile is the only thing you learn to do to sort out your thoughts, you'll be very unhappy without that "quick fix" if it's unavailable. TV is as addicting as anything they warned us about in grade school's DARE program, in that sense; the familiar image of the beer-bellied man in an easy chair with a remote is as sad a picture of abuse as any of the scary drug videos (we're even forgetting how to teach...) they showed us in school.

Challenge yourself. Don't watch the TV on for two days, and don't channel surf for a week after that. I haven't done that in months, and I live with no sense at all of an unsatisfied urge to immerse myself in the glowy world of the tee vee. Would you feel the same after a few days?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

How Many Fingers?

Sources indicate this man is about to go to trial on charges of terrorism. The trial, in itself, is a pretty big deal, as it's been six years since Khadr was captured and imprisoned in Guantanamo, but that's not quite the point. I hadn't heard this story until today, and the trial isn't foremost on my mind.

Khadr was fifteen when he was taken. He's spent the last six years (about a quarter of his life) in a military prison camp, infamous for stories of the torture of its inmates. Now, at twenty-one years, they're wondering if he should stand trial and spend the rest of his life in jail. The alternative is anyone's guess.

I can say with some confidence we wouldn't just let this guy go. First, he did lob a grenade at our soldiers, and if he didn't hate us then, he sure as heck isn't a fan of us now. There's a real risk he'd "reoffend," to use civilian terminology, so it'd be folly to set him loose without some sort of...

"Psychiatric help," the radio said. They're considering giving him psychiatric help, since he's probably gonna be pretty messed up after spending so long, at so impressionable an age, in such an awful place, especially after being brainwashed into the enemy's army. It's ridiculous to imagine this man sitting on a couch in a head shrink's plush office talking about his past. No, help is a misnomer. They're gonna somehow need to convince him we're not as evil as everybody thinks we are, since he's had such a bad first impression with us. He's been brainwashed, by our standards (no normal fifteen-year-old kid would join the military... pfft), so we're gonna try and un-brainwash him. We'll rehabilitate him, Orwell style. How many fingers, kid? We're the freest nation on earth.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Hang it up.

At Wendy's today, a man and his two sons shared a table. They didn't share a meal or an hour -- they shared just a table.

The man, you see, yammered on his cell phone the entire time about collegiate football. The younger boy told the older about his day at school while Dad talked about the ins and outs of retiring numbers to whoever was more important than his boys on the other end of the line. When they finally ended up leaving, it was one of the boys who said, "Dad, we have to go. It's 5:45, and we need to be there by six." Still yakking, the man stood up and hurried out, the boys following only by their own accord. If the boys had stayed, I wonder how far he'd have gotten before he realized they weren't behind him. Five, ten minutes on the road, maybe?

I've heard somebody say (or write, more likely) that kids raise their parents, in a sense, but I'm pretty sure this isn't the picture they had in mind.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Revelation (and a tune)

I've discovered, by posting frequently, I've got to either let my life into the blog, or let the blog intrude on what I'd normally be doing. I'd much prefer the former, so without further ado, I present a goofy Willie Nelson song I love to sing. I don't claim to be any good; that's not the point of singing.





I hope you giggle. Songs are joy.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Linky

If you're up for a bit of a read, I found a terrific rant on the music industry in response to Oink's death. He makes a lot of good points, and while he shouts his cries for revolution against the currently impenetrable padded walls of the status quo, he's got some good ideas for personal protest. Good stuff.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Truth About Geekery

Imagine a geek at play, if you will, in front of a computer terminal working on a project. Let's pretend he's putting together a mail server so he can send email using his own computer instead of relying on a third party, like Google or his ISP. Cool, right? Oh. I see. Just bear with me, then.

He's hunched in front of his machine, now, trying to configure this mail server properly. Chances are it came with a bunch of messy configuration files, and to set this mail server up, he needs to edit those so the server will know how to behave.

He's not editing any files, though. Heck, he doesn't even have anything but Firefox open. What on earth is he-- he's... reading?

Fast forward thirty minutes or so. There's the geek, with twice as many Firefox tabs open, another empty Dr. Pepper can on his desk, and one tiny window with some black and white text in it. Still, he's paying most of his attention to his web browser (maybe he even has a paper book open at this point, if he's of the money-having variety). Once in awhile, he'll flip back to the config file to check something, but within a minute, he's right back to the internet, buried in pages of documentation.

The scene could go on for hours, depending on his luck, but from start to finish, he spends at least 90% of his time researching. All those hacker movies are a tad dishonest. Computery bliss isn't usually had typing miles per minute in green text on a black background (although it does look pretty sweet) -- most of the work is in the reading. It's satisfying, enriching, wholesome play, but it's time consuming, and it takes more l33t research skills than anything else. Eventually, this particular tinkerer may become proficient enough to configure a mail server without reading a word of documentation, but until then, it's to the books, with him.

I've been inspired this evening by FreeBSD's unbelievably thorough (and easily readable) documentation, and I'm filled with ideas from several hours spent this afternoon flipping through it, wondering if I should take on another project.

Friday, November 2, 2007

"News for Hippies"

Slashdot's subtitle, "News for nerds", is showing its age. Perhaps I've only started to notice, but it seems some completely off-topic stories have been making it frequently to the front page. Their story about FEMA's fake news briefing, while timely, is not of interest to me at all. Besides, I read it in the "real" news. The fact they'd include this story on their front page is evidence of their left-leaning slant. Heck, somehow an editorial piece with an opening statement of "If you act different, you might find yourself investigated, questioned, and even arrested" ended up in the "Your rights online" category, once again on the front page of my favorite geekzine. Most of the linked stories are topical and interesting, but sometimes I wonder about the selection process; even though the article contains the word database, a link to a story about protestors on a terrorist watch list does not belong on Slashdot.

I realize Slashdot is just another blog, but they're going to start turning their readers off with this awful political bias. They lose a bit of credibility by including these stories, as far as I'm concerned, and while they're entitled to post whatever on earth they want, they've also made a name for themselves that'd be a shame to destroy. I propose a new category for all these articles misplaced under "Your rights online": "Hippies delight".

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Overdose

I decided to be emo yesterday. Complete with black eyeliner, a Deftones t-shirt, trendy accessories, and (extraordinarily uncomfortable) faux-leather pants, I fit the part well -- a bit too well, in fact. My dark clothes made me mildly broody by themselves, even after I'd stopped pretending to be in eternal torment. I seem to have taken in a bit too much of the trendiness (nobody told me to pace myself...), and it messed up my brain. I've fully recovered, of course, but I'm now quite aware of the possibility of a cool overdose. It's certainly been awhile. Back in the day, I could handle that with no problem. I didn't realize I'd built up such a tolerance.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween already?

Halloween, at least for the younger crowd (read: mine), is a handy excuse to party it up for a night. The costumes make folks less inclined to hold themselves back (you can be anything!), and as a result, revelry, consumption, and irresponsible decisions are the order of the evening. I'd sure like to be young forever, but I'd grow awfully tired of the lifestyle I'm expected to lead. I just want to be a crotchety old man already and sit on my regular stool at my regular haunt and enjoy a night just like any other. Dressing up is fun -- there's no doubt about that -- but who says you have to have a wild time to enjoy it?

On a night most folks are looking for a party, I'm hoping my haunt will be deserted, abandoned by... by those same folks who're out looking for a party.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Just for Fun



How can beauty so perfect be? My mind tangled, just now, halted by the appearance of a tangible impossibility, right here, making the air bend around you like it bends around every other real person here. There's no word, no image-- there's no way to even understand what these eyes behold in you. You glow. You're not-- you can't be-- people don't glow.

Why would God be cruel enough to send you here? He's put you here so I can see in you what I am not. She sees in you what she will never be, and he sees what he'll never hope to have. We turn our gaze, not in respect, but so we'll not be blinded by your grace. Already, like the sun, your image will linger when I close my eyes.

An orchid shares your simple, infinitely profound perfection, but it has no idea. You do. You toss your head and laugh, and you hang it in dark hours of sorrow. You walk from here to there, the entire way knowing what you hold, but missing not a step. The orchid hangs, as perfect as you, but I wonder if it would hold its beauty as well with the knowledge of the power it holds. You can't be, but somehow, you are. Impossibly human.

Fun, indeed! I needed a bit of romance. Dumping an imaginary love letter to the blog did the trick quite nicely :-)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Random Drivel

I've finally taken the plunge and subscribed to Giganews after Time Warner appears to have gradually throttled their news servers down to an abysmal 300kbps. I should have done this a long time ago. For the same price as the FFXI subscription I just canceled, I've got 25GB of downloady goodness per month. Right now, I'm leeching the juiciest bits of alt.binaries.boneless (read: Buffy) at speeds I'm concerned will make my cable modem burst into flame.

In the spirit of Blog Action Day (and in my usual behind-the-times fashion), I present a mildly thoughtful note. Between the grating whineathons of public radio's biannual pledge drive, I heard a strange story today about the surrogate breeding of endangered fish. To sum it up, researchers have figured out how to hack the hardware (pardon the geeky metaphor) in common fish to make them produce both sperm and eggs of endangered fish. This goes well beyond surrogate parenting -- the fish are actually making babies of a different species by mating with each other. Creepy stuff. I wonder how necessary this is, though. Instead of compensating by making more of the fish we're wiping out, wouldn't it be simpler to just stop killing so many of them? Even apart from that, it seems a bit off to be mucking around in ecosystems like that. Improving an existing species is one thing, but this? This is pretty wild.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Capitalist Healthcare

Once again, I should remind you I don't do politics very well. My commentary is short and obvious, and often seems like it shouldn't need to be stated. It does, though, because through all the fancy wordplay and analyzing pundits' games, we seem to lose sight of the fundamental flaws inherent in our system.

We've discovered a flaw to the free market economy model in the health care industry. Generally, the "supply and demand" rules work quite well to keep prices in line with consumer demand. What happens, though, when demand approaches infinite? Is there a limit to the price we'll pay for life itself?

There's not. And, currently, there's virtually no limit to the price we do pay. Socialized healthcare is a scary though, and while it's probably not the most desirable solution, we've got to take a look at how terribly we're failing right now. I don't have solutions. I don't claim to. Questions are so much more interesting than answers, anyway :-)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

We're all druggies

I heard a story on the radio today about a recall of OTC cold medicines for children. Apparently, the active ingredient, Phenylephrine, has killed some kids.

If you're not in the loop (I'm surprised at how many people are oblivious), this stuff only appeared in cold medicines about a year ago as a replacement for Pseudoephedrine, a time-tested decongestant. Among its many awful side effects (so hard to write sarcasm into text...), Pseudoephedrine caused a bit of jitteriness. Phenylephrine, on the other hand, in addition to being wholly ineffective -- at least, in my own congested nose -- was developed as a treatment for hypotension. It raises blood pressure. That's why they invented it. Any decongestant properties were an unintended side-effect.

In our overzealous obsession with domestic drug enforcement, we've replaced a widely-used, effective, and relatively safe medication to a largely ineffective one that has potentially (now, proven) deadly side-effects. I'm surprised and rather disappointed the story said nary a word about the recent switch to Phenylephrine. I'm afraid they missed the point.

LAMP Setup Notes

To make this easier for myself the next time around (I'll forget again within a couple days, I'm sure), I'm posting notes from a successful LAMP installation here. Again, if you're using this for anything but a very general outline, I laugh at the mess you'll be in shortly.

I also have a few thoughts on the last set of notes. First, archives are the way to go for migrating data. Transfer them by FTP, or SCP if you're not planning on offering FTP services. I ran into a number of unanticipated permissions problems using the NFS method. Make sure to use the --same-permissions flag when extracting.

The server migration is complete! ZIM is back, this time in some shiny new threads. My first migration (to a backup server) took about twenty hours, and it consisted of a good deal of research, getting lost in the woods several times, and generally bumbling my way through foreign territory. The second migration (back to the main box) took less than four, including a break to play some blues on the guitar and poking around for new music on Oink. Learning rocks.

/////////////////////////////

NOTES ON LAMP INSTALLATION -- Gentoo

-- Install Apache, PHP, MySQL --

1) Add the following USE flags to /etc/make.conf:
apache2 php mysql xml xmlreader xmlwriter simplexml xsl

2) # emerge apache

3) # emerge php

4) # emerge mysql


-- Set Apache and MySQL to run at boot --

5) # rc-update add apache2 default

6) # rc-update add mysql default


-- Configure Apache --

7) Open /etc/conf.d/apache2 and modify APACHE2_OPTS to the following:
APACHE2_OPTS="-D DEFAULT_VHOST -D PHP5 -D USERDIR"

8) Optionally change the DocumentRoot directive in /etc/apache2/vhosts.d/default_vhost.include.

9) You may need to add an entry to /etc/hosts as follows:
[your IP address] [your hostname]

-- Configure MySQL --

10) Use http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/mysql-howto.xml for a step-by-step, starting with "Code Listing 1.3: MySQL configuration"

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Server Migration Notes

Keeping in mind my terrible forgetfulness, I'm posting my notes from a server migration here. I'm putting this in a public place hoping they may serve as a rough guideline for somebody else, but I highly recommend doing your own thinking, since everybody's needs are different (i.e. if you're running a mail server and use my notes exclusively, you'll be hosed). That, and I'm not exactly a pro at this :p

I'm migrating from Ubuntu (tried and trusted, n00bish as it may be) to a clean Gentoo installation. I've grown to loathe Ubuntu's lack of up-to-date repositories, as well as its overall bloat factor, and while it's served as an excellent learning tool, I'm ready to move on to something a bit more streamlined.

*** Old Machine ***

1) If you have both machines on the same network and running at the same time, NFS makes life a lot easier. Set up NFS and configure it to share / with the target machine ONLY. I used options ro,sync,squash_root.

2) Export users. I used a tutorial at nixCraft to export /etc/shadow, /etc/passwd, and /etc/group to shadow.mig, passwd.mig, and group.mig, respectively.

3) Export entire MySQL database. Had some trouble finding information on the web, but I eventually stumbled upon a quick and easy method. This time, I did archive everything in /var/lib/mysql to mysql_bak.tar.gz.

*** On the new system ***

1) Install OS

2) Install and configure sshd.

3) Set up NFS client to transfer data, if the situation permits. Once again, it's a lot easier that way. Mount / on the remote system to /mnt/old_root on the local system.

4) Transfer user information and MySQL backup to the local system using NFS.

5) Import user information, again using the nixCraft tutorial.

6) Install and configure LAMP (three days compacted into four words... hopefully it'll go more smoothly the next time around)

7) Install FTP server. Don't forget the "DefaultRoot ~" directive.

8) Wipe contents of /var/lib/mysql, then import MySQL backup by moving mysql_bak.tar.gz to / and extracting. Clean up after yourself when you're done.

9) TEST THE CONFIGURATION before reformatting the old machine like an idiot.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Analysis and Defense of Position

When you mention Buffy, uneducated men tend to say "OMG Hott!", and similarly uneducated women frinkle an eyebrow and write it off as quirkiness at best, and perversion at worst. Neither are correct -- if you mention Buffy to a watcher (spectacular pun only considered after the fact), you're in for an hour-long analysis of character development and writing style. Buffy is golden, you see. Only those who've actually given the show a chance are permitted to express opinion. The rest? Watch it at least once, from beginning to end, then we'll talk about it.

Take, for example, a situation presented in the sixth episode of season six, "All The Way". Tara and Willow have a significant squabble over Willow's excessive use of magic for personal gain. Willow, arguably at the cusp of "out of control" (wonderfully portrayed, since it's clear she doesn't intend any harm at all by her actions), casts a spell on Tara to make her forget their disagreement. Fast forward, now, to Tara's aria in "Once More, With Feeling" -- episode seven. The song is a description of Tara's love for Willow, but the double-meaning in the second chorus is beyond delicious.

I'm under your spell
Nothing I can do
You just took my soul with you
You worked your charm so well
Finally, I knew
Everything I dreamed was true
You make me believe...



I don't remember the name of the literary element that consists of the audience knowing something a character doesn't, but this is a wonderful example of it. This snippet is only a tiny portion of the episode's significance. "That one musical episode" aside, everybody spilled secrets in song that had been building since the beginning of the season. I'll not spoil anything, but there are at least two good reasons to make this episode a favorite.

As an aside, I've found the soundtrack album for this episode, along with an album released by Anthony Stewart Head, on Oink. I declare, that site has everything.

Update: I never imagined Anthony Stewart Head would make this kind of music. Downtempo electronic honey makes me feel safe and warm. Giles makes me feel safe and warm. Emotional response aside, even, this is actually quite good...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Screen

I've been playing with these things for years, and I only discovered screen a couple days ago. I have no idea how I survived without it.

The man page has a good description of what the program does:

When screen is called, it creates a single window with a shell in it (or the specified command) and then gets out of your way so that you can use the program as you normally would. Then, at any time, you can create new (full-screen) windows with other programs in them (including more shells), kill existing windows, view a list of windows, turn output logging on and off, copy-and-paste text between windows, view the scrollback history, switch between windows in whatever manner you wish, etc.


In other words, from one shell, you can have multiple virtual "windows," allowing for easy multitasking. In addition, when you normally disconnect from a shell, it closes your session, ending whatever program may be running. Using screen, however, you can "detach" from the virtual shell world, leaving everything you had open running in the background. Later, you can reattach to screen and pick up where you left off.

To begin, type screen at the terminal. Once you're past the welcome message, you'll return to a normal-looking shell, but this time, you're in the virtual world of screen. To control screen, use Ctrl+A followed by a command key. Use the following for basic navigation:

c -- Create a new virtual window.
0-9 -- Switch between windows 0 through 9.
w -- Show open windows.
k -- Close a window.

To detach from screen, use Ctrl+A followed by d. You'll return to the "real" shell. Everything's still running, though. Check the status of screen:


ryan@frizzzzle:~$ screen -ls
There is a screen on:
        17842.pts-7.frizzzzle (Detached)
1 Socket in /var/run/screen/S-ryan.


To reattach:

ryan@frizzzzle:~$ screen -r

Everything is just as you left it.

You can also run multiple instances of screen if you run out of windows in one, or want to keep separate tasks isolated and organized. Just type screen again at your regular prompt (doesn't look like it does anything if you do it when attached) to open a new instance.

ryan@frizzzzle:~$ screen -ls
There are screens on:
        23116.pts-7.frizzzzle (Detached)
        21101.pts-7.frizzzzle (Detached)
        17842.pts-7.frizzzzle (Detached)
3 Sockets in /var/run/screen/S-ryan.


Each instance is designated by [PID].[TTY].[host]. To reattach in this case, use: screen -r [PID]. Naturally, if you're doing this for the sake of organization, you'll want to use something a little more descriptive. You can label an instance with screen -S [label].

ryan@frizzzzle:~$ screen -S namethething
[detached]
ryan@frizzzzle:~$ screen -ls
There are screens on:
        25514.namethething (Detached)
        23116.pts-7.frizzzzle (Detached)
        21101.pts-7.frizzzzle (Detached)
        17842.pts-7.frizzzzle (Detached)


Neat, huh? This program has a lot more features than what I've outlined here. If you want more, follow the links.

Screen Wiki -- many more links here.
Manpage -- Everything explained.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Remember Where We're Going

Today's the anniversary, you know, of those awful attacks we still use as our rallying cry. "Remember 9/11," we say, and we do. We do. We remember the awful vision of the towers collapsing in upon themselves, and we remember that sinking, helpless feeling we had watching it on TV.

While it's important to remember where we came from, we seem to have a tendency to forget just where we're going. We're angry, for sure, and we've got guns, and by golly, we're shooting people with them, but it seems we're just sort of wandering about looking for targets.


AccusedExecuted




I don't do politics very well, since it just seems so silly to me. It's like watching a really fat man eat a hamburger. You don't tell people he's going to die of a heart attack -- they can already tell he's fat. So, then, here's to stating the obvious. Cheers.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

RIP, Big Guy

Here's to remembering. He's squeezed tears from me more than once.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Story of Adventure

I did end up adventuring yesterday. Wandered around downtown, backpack strapped, just like I fancied. On the way back to the car, I crossed a field laden with doves hiding in the grass. I couldn't see them until I stepped out into the field, when they took flight in a flurry of wings and a hundred "cloocloocloos" they made as they flew wildly about. I hadn't meant to cause such chaos, but standing there surrounded by a panic-stricken swarm of birds made me feel powerful, like a magical villain in a dark fantasy story. They settled down immediately after I'd embraced that idea, like I'd somehow fallen into sync with the birds -- with the groove God had fashioned just for that moment -- balancing that tiny corner of reality. The rest of my crossing met with little ado from the birds, and once the field was behind me, I returned to the physical realm for the rest of my journey.

I do like being a spiritual animal. I'm pretty sure God is the force that defines everything, but to actually understand God is far beyond me. I sorta like the idea of a universal equation. One day, when we are actually able to define God, we will, as a result, be able to define everything. We'll be God, ourselves.

Adventures, they're good for the spirit :-)

Friday, August 31, 2007

Fancy

I can't do this. I come here with the intent of reading, writing, and generally educating myself, but when I end up sitting quietly with a book, my mind wanders off to what else I could be doing. I don't know why I can't seem to concentrate. As interesting as this subject is, I just can't focus on any one thing for more than five or ten minutes. I could, on the other hand, sit in quiet contemplation for hours.

Right now, I'm a bit hungry. From the stepping-off place of the coffee shop, I imagine myself wandering around downtown, backpack strapped, looking for a place to stop and eat. I love the idea of a solitary adventure enough that I come back to this theme frequently -- dreams of a month-long trek in the Canadian wilderness and the more realistic fancy of a walk downtown are of the same heart. Why do I so crave solitude? I'm alone a great deal of my time already. I guess, all things considered, adventures alone are so much more... fulfilling.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

"Genuine Advantage"

Huhuh. Check it out. Microsoft's WGA server crashed yesterday, calling everybody in the world who tried to install or update Windows a pirate, and with the "new and improved" WGA packaged in Vista, effectively shut down a good many machines.

While I wasn't affected [insert elitist snort here], I took the afternoon today to install a fresh copy of Ubuntu in protest. It's been awhile since I've done that, and hot diggity, they've made some terrific improvements. Wireless support works out of the box, and they've eased up the "only free software" attitude quite a bit to make installing Flash and the like as easy as it is on any other platform. Not only was it a breeze to install (20 minutes total, tops), it's shiny like new nickels after I spent 10 or 15 minutes making it pretty. Check it.


I'm not so good at Tetris... You should see the rest of the stuff that comes installed, though. I've got GIMP for image editing, Evolution for mail, a dozen or so games, the complete OpenOffice suite, GAIM for my IMs, a CD player/burner/ripper... I'm set!

--And now, for something completely different--

I've gotten a great kick this week from reading the archives over at Other People's Emergencies. The one entitled "Unconscious Calls" is great. My RSS bookmark list is growing steadily :-)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Love Blogs

I've discovered I'm not very good at writing my own, but what the heck does it matter? Reading blogs is the fun part.

I been reading the rants and musings of AD for quite awhile, now, but I have never read anything as absolutely perfect as his post yesterday evening. The flirting has apparently led up to a wonderful beginning. I've admired that man for his heart. Now, he gives me hope, too!

Monday, August 20, 2007

My Life, Rated

Nabbed this from Cranky Epistles, but after I posted mine, I noticed AD has one up, too. It is can be cool club time now plz?

This Is My Life, Rated
Life:
6.7
Mind:
6.5
Body:
7.3
Spirit:
7.7
Friends/Family:
4.7
Love:
0.8
Finance:
7.4
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

I've got a better life than it looks on a graph... My non-sociability seems to have skewed my results.

It's pretty clear I have nothing to write about. Bear with me. Muse has shut herself in the bathroom, the crazy witch.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

My Dog Uses Windows

She loves the darned things. I don't blame her, really -- she's an indoor-type pup, so an open window must be pretty exciting. If the front door is open, she'll just sit there, on alert, watching over the front yard through the storm door until we close the big door on her, slowly enough so she's got time to get out of the way. Sometimes, I sit on the floor behind her, and we watch together.

If we're all sitting around in the den, she usually joins us, but before long, she's invariably sitting in front of a shuttered window, staring at it. She has us trained well, see. I see her sitting there staring at the shutters, so I instinctively lean over and open one for her. She hurries to prop herself up and take watch out the window, her eyes bright, her ears perked, and her tail raised with confidence. After awhile, she'll move over to the ottoman and laze upon it, watching still -- albeit between deep, comfortable breaths at this point -- out that darned window, soaking up the sliver of sunlight that shines through it.

I could close with the "It'd be nice to have the life of a dog" cliché, but in truth, I needn't wish for that. No, the thoughts on my mind in those wonderful moments are perfectly plain. I think, "How warm, the sun is," and, "I saw a bee just now," and, "I like this place."

Saturday, August 11, 2007

HA!

It might be exhaustion speaking, but I laughed like a fool at this.



G'nite.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Geek Squad Training

I've discovered why grandma always calls us after Geek Squad makes a mess of her machine.


Top secret training footage, direct from an inside source. That's a lie, actually. I'm not sure who or what this picture represents, except a young man who'll hopefully learn not to play with the pins on a CPU or use a motherboard for a hand rest.

Surprisingly Genuine

I'm a creature of habit. I'll follow the same routine day after day without getting bored. I do like things to be familiar, and if I'm familiar enough in a place myself, I can squeeze out limited bits of social interaction I'd otherwise be completely lonesome without.

Today, I ran into somebody I thought was gone forever. I'd accepted her disappearance with grace, knowing folks don't usually remain employed in fast food very long, and in several visits over the last couple weeks (I took about six months off from that place -- one can only eat so many sub sandwiches), I hadn't seen her around. Today, though, there she was, just like always. I broke into an idiotic grin before I could stop myself. She smiled right back, and we exchanged a few meaningless words before it was business as usual.

I was so happy to see this familiar stranger today. How often, in reality, are people truly glad to see somebody else standing before them? When's the last time you greeted a real friend with a genuine display of joy? Perhaps I'm just a loner, but that hasn't happened in long enough to surprise me when it did today.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Music Fills Me

I learned today. I discovered, after playing alone for so long, that I'm a better musician than I'd previously thought.

I picked up my dad's acoustic guitar the other day and played my heart out, basking in the strange feeling of those rich harmonics resonating against me. I dropped the low E to a D for some bass, and immersed myself in a delicate, Fauré-meets-jazz solo improv session for about 30 minutes straight. I hadn't played on an acoustic like that before -- I don't have an acoustic, myself. Ruby will always be my one and only, and her tone is just right for that style, but I could feel the notes on this acoustic. I decided, at that point, it wouldn't be cheating to get one for myself. Ruby is my one and only, and she knows that'll never change.

I went out to the music store today, then, in search of a loved (read: used) acoustic guitar. "Mountain Music Music Shoppe," the place is called, and the instruments they carry sure do reflect their name. They have a spectacular section of banjos (fun, but I'm certainly not ready to drop $1k on an expensive one), mandolins (one day I might try the mandolin...), autoharps, strange hand drum things, wooden flutes... the variety and selection of non-standard instruments in this place is enough to make any music nut's heart flutter. They had a couple racks of acoustic guitars, but they were either $80 and cheapy or, as my favorite turned out to be, a 50-year-old, heavily loved archtop for $1,100. Needless to say, I had to put both back. The first would frustrate me, and I couldn't afford the second or bring home such a serious threat to Ruby. No, these weren't what I came to find. I spent the next half hour or so just browsing around, picking up this or that, plucking on one and strumming on another. I thumbed a couple notes on an acoustic bass at one point, and-- hey, wait a sec. *Thumbs again* ooooh. That feels nice! I'm not sure how to play the bass, but-- *Thumbs a simple guitar riff* ahh! I'm playing the bass! Handily enough, this one is electric, too. I plugged it in, and I fell in love at the first resonating note. Forget the guitar; I've got Ruby, besides. I've needed a bass for a long time, too. In no time, I was carrying out a lovely acoustic bass guitar.

I got home, and I set about straight away learning how to play the thing. After a few plunkings around, a good top-to-bottom inspection, and a sniff inside, I've determined this one's male, despite the hideous bright pink case he came with. I'm calling him Fish, for lack of inspiration and a love for double-meanings.

My dad was awfully excited -- he, too, has a love for musical instruments. I played the 12-bar on his guitar (always safe when you're not sure about the other half of your duet), and he played a fancy blues riff on the bass. We switched instruments after that, and he started playing some jazzy something-or-other on the guitar. With nothing else left to do with a bass than play, I played. I realized a couple things, over the next five or ten minutes. First, I learned there's not much more to playing the bass than any other instrument -- it comes down to playing the right role. With the bass, I am rhythm and style. I found out by changing my style, even though he was just playing away, it completely changed the style of the music we were playing. Different scales changed the same tune from jazz to blues, then to latin and back again. Different rhythms made it funky or happy or soothing. Second, and more important in a general sense, I discovered that following another musician, even if they haven't told you where they're going, isn't as hard as I'd always thought. The bass is massive, compared to the guitar, and it made me slow down. Playing slow, it's not hard at all to follow. It seems slowing down was all it took to reach this epiphany. The feeling of a bass resonating everything around you is second only to the wonderful feeling of a key lesson learned.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

An analysis of species Useris Callingus

Useris Callingus is a strange creature, most often found on the other end of the phones in technical support callcenters. After studying these critters for so long, I've discovered several different breeds, each with distinct qualities. They're not hard to find; they do come to us, after all. If a tech has a phone to his ear, we can be sure it's Useris Callingus on the other end. The fun comes in identifying the rarest breeds.


Lonely old man
He talks. And talks. This reclusive variant is often heard from on holidays, drunk as a skunk, but he's also somehow managed to call 128 times in the last six months.

Handling Recommendation: Repeat, "Is there anything else we can help you with?" over and over until he hangs up.


Idiot
They're surprisingly rare, but it's a good thing! Speaking with just one can scar a tech for life. This guy just doesn't get it, where "it" could be anything. Instructions must be repeated multiple times, and the task at hand is usually botched anyway.

Handling Recommendation: Ask coworkers in neighboring cubicles to loan you some padding for your desk so you don't end up with head injuries. You'll be stuck here for awhile, so a makeshift pillow might come in handy anyway.


"IT guy"

If he tells you more than once he's an "IT Guy" or a "Network Admin" or, heavens forbid, "works for Geek Squad," you're in for a doozy. He says he knows what he's doing (over and over, often calling into question your own skills), but you've got to spell "ping" for him. The more they claim to know, the less they actually do, and despite having called the help desk in the first place, they're loath to ask for instructions.

Handling Recommendation: Treat him how he expects to be treated. Ask him the questions you need answered, and let him figure out how to do it on his own. He'll fail miserably, but he won't ask for help, ever. Bask in his humiliation, but don't forget to mute the phone before you titter.


Anger Problem
Despite having such a cruddy life (only the most awful life could cause such uncontrollable anger), these folks are often the most well-connected. They know my boss, his boss, the President, and the CEO, and by golly, they've got enough influence to cost me my job. Not only that, but they're going to contact their lawyer and, to quote one, "Do what needs to be done."

Handling Recommendation: Let her blather until she gets bored. These types love to corner a technician, so if he's not responding, they run out of steam quickly. If she says something she's proud of (you can always tell when they like their own words), respond, "Mmm?" like you've just woken up from a nap.


The Entitled One
"I pay $19.95/mo for this service, and that means if I want one, you'll roll a truck within fifteen minutes. Hey, I run a business on this connection!" Their self-importance is similar to the Anger Problem, but they seem to take themselves more seriously. When they're told we treat all residential connections with the same priority (but I can get you in touch with our Customer Service department for an upgrade!), they're often shocked speechless.

Handling Recommendation: Be honest. Delusions of importance are best dashed by the cold truth: You've never been special. Your mother was lying.


I have nothing against most Useris Callingus. The breeds above are quite rare in reality; most users are relatively fun to deal with. They're polite, they follow instructions well (often catching on quicker than some techs), and they thank the technician when he's done helping them. Naturally, though, the ones that stand out are brightly colored, make especially loud vocalizations, and look absolutely ridiculous strutting around like kings. For your own sake, don't be one of the breeds I've mentioned here. There's nothing at all wrong with being the run-of-the-mill "End User" variety of Useris Callingus. You're actually a great deal more desirable without those outrageous colored feathers in your cap.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Good Evening

I can't seem to post real thoughts in Myspace. It feels like throwing away perfectly good words or, at least, storing them in a pile of rather smelly old socks. Maybe, with the anonymity (until Google catches up with me, at least), I'll be able to be a bit more introspective without worrying about sounding too angsty. I need someplace to put these thoughts, anyway.

I watch. It's not creepy, really, except for the tendency to adore personalities I'm sure are mostly imagined. I revel in a crowd, as long as it bustles around me and leaves me out of the fray. If I'm undisturbed, I'll thoroughly enjoy watching the party in silence. Once in awhile, though, I want to just stand up, step over, and sweep the lovely one off in a flurry of romance, just like in the movies that play on the imperfections of real life. This is all metaphorically speaking, of course, and heaven knows I'd never have the courage. Most of the "lovely ones" are just annoying, and they seem to only fit their role because men don't often appear to be able to see past large breasts. The truly lovely ones, though, are incredibly rare, unspeakably beautiful, and unbelievably terrifying.

I saw a strange future for myself tonight. I've fallen hard, see, and in my blindness, I've embraced a frightening idea of domestic life. Beyond the booze ("... drunk when he comes home, but the dinner's done."), the drug habit to eventually be outgrown, and the extrapolation to a tendency to fly off the handle occasionally, I see a completely irrational solitude in groping wildly about for something stable to hold onto. What's frightens me the most is the happiness I imagine myself getting from that. I'm not the most exciting guy (I party hard at the coffee shop, for crying out loud), so maybe I'm subconsciously looking for someone to stir up my insides. I also have an odd fascination with massive disconnects between perfect exteriors and inner chaos. Imperfection has always been mandatory. The problem is, it has to be just right. My standards are nearly impossible to meet, and whether that fact is a handy excuse or not, I can't deny when I'm licked. I've been forced to act.