|log (2003/07/11 to 2003/07/17)|
Thursday, July 17, 2003
Okay, we relent in the face of a deluge of reader demands of the form "July is for...":
posting pictures of the Haircut for those readers that are not from 'round here
Next exchange in the continuing story of the stones that are used to make computers: inspired by the Chief's suggestion that I might be Nigerian, I wrote:
Hello! How are you! I am fine!
That was fun to write, but perhaps a little over the top. Fortunately, it didn't put him off, although he didn't pick up on my story about having a brother working in 419 scams. Again, the entire note was in bold size-7, but I'll render only the first line that way here.
The "(OYA)"s and "IS SPRING ON YOUR LEG" are fascinating. I don't suppose there are any speaker of Yoruba among y'all readers?
I replied in a somewhat lower-key manner; as usual I'll let you know if anything further of interest occurs.
"Socializing is always an option, and as with other online RPGs, real life is certainly at its most rewarding when you manage to find and consort with other like-minded companions."
Playing on the iPod: Laurie Anderson, "United States Live".
More today on Nigeria's mineral wealth!
I replied to yesterday's note from the scammer, saying:
I am now in Arizona USA. I didn't know that computer systems are made from stones of any kind! What can you tell me?
And he replied most enlighteningly. He also replied in a size seven font and <strong> tags, but to save space and eyestrain I'll only render the first line that way; for full comic effect, though, you should imagine the entire thing that size. (Note that I replied to him from a pretend account with username "omisaku"; he seems to have jumped to the conclusion that this is my last name, or first name, or something.)
So there you are! Microsoft mother boards, which are called (IC), are made from CHEPS.
Given that he suspects me of being from Nigeria (which is odd, as Omisaku doesn't seem to be a common Nigerian name, and in fact amazingly enough doesn't occur anywhere on Google at all (although it will shortly)), I couldn't resist pulling his chain a little harder in my next reply; I'll continue to let you know if he replies in any interesting way.
Stop press: or rather, start press. Cafepress dot com is finally living up to their name and their potential, and fixing to reinvent the whole "book publishing" thing: read all about it.
I didn't know Cisco bought Linksys! Why doesn't anyone tell me anything?
Hm, now this is puzzling. Earlier today, this URL pointed to a story with the wonderful headline "Bush Defends War, Sidestepping Issue of Faulty Intelligence", and quoting good old Ari Fleischer as saying (and I'm not making this up) "I think the burden is on those people who think he didn't have weapons of mass destruction to tell the world where they are." But now it's just a redirect to an abstract of a fluffy story reporting that Bush is in Liberia saying stuff. Did the original story just expire back into the Times' pay-only archive? Or are Sinister Forces at Work?
(Here's the Fleischer quote, at least for the moment, from another paper.)
Speaking of the Bush administration, I've found myself in difficulties lately, when looking for good obscenities to shout at the radio while driving to work and hearing the NPR announcers describing the antics of various government officials.
I mean, shouting "that's because he's a fuckhead!" suggests that there's something wrong with fucking and/or heads, and that's silly. "Bastard" has the same problem (no shame in one's parents not being married), and even "asshole" seems to do an unfair disservice to a useful, and even erogenous, body part. "Shithead" is marginally more acceptable, but is even shit really so bad, compared to your average lying cheating stealing politico? I don't think so.
So I'm looking for something to scream at the radio that will appeal to my reason as well as my lungs. What do you scream?
BUENOS AIRES -- The city of Buenos Aires will make history Friday when it becomes the first city in South America to recognize civil union partnerships for gay and lesbian couples.
Whoa, next thing you know they'll be legalizing masturbation! Ha ha ha ha ha!
iPod oddity: I was driving along wearing my sunglasses with the iPod on the carseat beside me, and I glanced over and the display had this strange pattern of dark curves around the edges, and I was really worried: had I damaged it by leaving it in the sun on the car seat or something? So stopped at the next red light I pushed up my sunglasses and picked up the iPod for a closer look, and the patterns were gone. Heh, I thought, that's odd. Then the light changed and I put my sunglasses back on and started to drive, and looked over at the iPod and there were strange dark curves on the display again! Oh no, I thought, it must have -- oh, wait.
And indeed it turns out that if you look at the iPod through (at least this pair of BluBlocker) sunglasses, the polarization or whatever causes these odd dark arcs on the display. Odd, eh?
This being Apple, just opening the box involves a Designed User Experience. Inside the unremarkable shipping box is a shrinkwrapped black cube with polished product pictures around the outside. The shrinkwrap peeled off (thin and delicate, like the membrane of something oceanic), it turns out that the product pictures are on a thin cardboard sleeve around the actual box. The box itself is a two-part cube, black except for the white Apple logo on top. A seam runs around the middle.
The box splits open, into equal halves; the inner surfaces are white. On one side is a packet that says "enjoy" in small elegant letters. On the other side is a white page, and under the page is the iPod itself, lying in a ceremonial well, small and without sharp edges.
There's a clear plastic wrapper around the iPod, and there's writing on it. Some of the writing is right over the iPod's display; it says "Don't Steal Music".
I can't decide if this is () a sop to the RIAA, () an amusing irony, or () a comment on the difference between copyright violation and theft. Probably all three.
Which is to say, the iPod came! It currently has 1337 songs on it, and I figured that that was obviously a sign to stop ripping CDs for a bit and do weblog things. Here's the current list; apologies for the mostly useless artist-title formatting and the occasional character-set problems.
There are various things out there to convert iTunes library lists to HTML, but I'm too lazy (and/or busy) to explore them just now. Note also that there are quite a few places where the iTunes Music Store and/or CDDB have errors; artists and title reversed, or containing random junk, or whatever. Those are kinda fun (the famous piece titled "Bach", composed by "Air on A G String"). *8)
Having been playing the entire library on "shuffle" for some part of the day, I note that there are some things that are over-represented in the library. James Taylor, for instance; I'd like to be warned before "You've Got a Friend" plays. Some kind of siren, perhaps. (I don't know where I got that CD.) There's also too much post-Jagged Alanis.
So the iPod is very cool (I haven't even tried any Audible stuff in it yet). But it also points beyond itself. What I really want is...
Wireless. All these wires are so XXth Century. Especially the wires from pocket or belt to tiny on-wire control box to earbuds. That's just silly. BlueTooth is one option, but best I think if the entire unit could just nestle on my head. So build the iPod into the headset.
So I really didn't like that "just links and quotes" much yesterday. I miss my own voice. *8) But there's nothing wrong with the occasional link.
Medley points out what we can cross off John Kerry:
"Marriage is an institution between men and women for the purpose of having children and procreating."
Pity, really; I sorta liked him. Maybe he'll wake up.
Interview with Google News guy, from the Google Friends Newsletter; rather in the trademarked Google happy happy joy joy style, but mildly interesting.
A reader points us at the International 3-Day Novel Contest; sort of NaNoWriMo Extreme. (And with an entry fee.)
Here's a mostly run of the mill political Flash movie; the interesting bit being that it's an official product of the Democrats themselves, not just some random individual.
Did you know that computers are made from precious stones? Here's some slightly novel 419 spam I got recently, and that the Gang at Lunch said ought to be logged:
I thought this was interesting, so I wrote back, saying:
That's fascinating! What kind of stone or mineral are we talking about here?
But the reply was unfortunately less than enlightening:
I've written again asking for more details. If anything interesting happens before his email accounts are cancelled, I'll let you know.
Today we're gonna do quotations and links. Yowzer!
You need not be a conspiracy theorist, though, to be concerned about what lies behind Carlyle's success. Can a firm that is so deeply embedded in the iron triangle where industry, government and the military converge be good for democracy? Carlyle arguably takes to a new level the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower feared might "endanger our liberties or democratic process".
The former supervisor of a Newport Beach youth program was sentenced Friday to life in prison on 25 counts of lewd conduct and assault for sucking the toes of 20 boys.
Scott McCloud has released his new comic story The Right Number -- and it will only cost you 25¢ to read. That’s right, micropayments are now a reality! And this mere quarter will allow you to read it 32 times in the next six months if you so choose. (How sweet is that?)
So it is time for me to take a break from this space too. But I've arranged for a much more interesting guest blogger while I'm gone: former governor, and presidential candidate, Howard Dean.
"The only thing we've done is taken out the more controversial stunts, which mainly involved nudity or bad language or British celebrities," says Monaghan.
And the amusing Web tie-in:
Hey all. My name's Kyle Ford, and I'm the web producer for an upcoming FOX show called Banzai (of "kick to the balls" -- annoying floating ad fame). It starts on Sunday, July 13th after The Simpsons (8:30/7:30c).
So at the Cocoa House (enlightened version of "Coffee House") on Saturday (one of the many wonderful events of the Visit) some of the campers performed this song, and I was puzzled by all this apparently pointless talking between the lyrics. Why'd they do that, I wondered. Turns out those are the lyrics:
If you want to destroy my sweater
What do you do with a 200-gig disk drive? You treat a lot of it as tape. You use it for snapshots, write-anywhere file systems, log-structured file systems, or you just zone frequent stuff in one area and try to waste the other 190 GB in useful ways. Of course, we could put the Library of Congress holdings on it or 10,000 movies, or waste it in some other way.
Interesting essay on Lawrence v. Texas and the Constitution, and the notion of liberty:
If the Court is serious, the effect on other cases of this shift from "privacy" to "liberty," and away from the New Deal-induced tension between "the presumption of constitutionality" and "fundamental rights," could be profound.
So I finally ditched her, irritated. It just wasn't worth it, and anyway, she wouldn't let me touch her "there". She was waiting for marriage. And I wasn't going to fucking marry some stupid chick just in order to bed her. What am I? Male?
As a party to this lunch agreement, you forfeit the right to sue us based on any problems related to the consumption or digestion of the provided lunch, except in the event that you are fed the lunch involuntarily by a Microsoft employee.
Ed Yates, head teacher of the 900-pupil school, said trained technicians will be able to scan up to 12 students per minute during lunchtime.
Psychedelic drugs are not addictive. Even enthusiastic proponents of psychedelics take them infrequently due to the intensity of the "trip." Animal research indicates that Homo sapiens is the only species that will voluntarily take a psychedelic drug again after having experienced the effects. Although laboratory animals such as rats or monkeys will readily self-admininister most other drugs abused by humans, including cocaine, heroin, amphetamine, nicotine and alcohol, they find psychedelic drugs highly aversive (Yokel, 1987).
And finally we will revert to a bit of Authorial Voice for a moment to note a Boing Boing entry which points to some hypothetical movie posters. We (and quite likely you) have been wondering lately what the next Disney ride to get its own movie will be. At the moment, "space mountain movie dot com" is free (check it). And space mountain dot com is a rather unexpected redirect (popups).
And that's all. In future entries I'll probably go back to talking myself (to myself, about myself, around myself, with myself).
What I have to offer,
So we're just back from Visiting Day at Farm and Wilderness (a great place, a marvelous place, to which you should send your children if possible, and otherwise you should buy them some books), and it was as usual a heartening and amazing and uplifting experience of the handholding, tree hugging, everyone hugging, life affirming, body accepting, Goddess identifying, whale saving, peace symbol drawing, grace saying, bread baking, vegetarian, smiling, laughing, diversity embracing, lovey-dovey, cooperative communal barefoot whacko kind,
which television and popular culture have tried so hard to get us to look down on and laugh derisively at but which is I suspect
the world's only hope against the lying cheating stealing, document shredding, wilderness devouring, angry god fearing, naked statue draping, preemptive war starting, speech censoring, love forbidding, joylessly paranoid nonconsensually sadistic, xenophobic, power seeking, competitive market worshipping, seriously necktie wearing, fully clothed sneering, deeply resentful kind,
which would otherwise convert the world into an alternating series of strip mines and strip malls, where the only permitted activity is a soul-draining employment whose only purpose is to earn enough money to buy this week's must-have items and immediately toss them into the landfill, with seventy-seven percent of each transaction going to enrich the wealthiest one-tenth of one percent of the population, who already have so much money that their souls have shrunk to the size of raisins and all they can think of to do with it is engage in mutually destructive power plays and sit in the darkness glaring into video screens and bitterly feeling, knowing, even hoping that despite it all there is no way to get back to whatever there was before that day in third grade when everything went sour and no one has ever really loved them again since.
So that's one story (props and/or blame to Morford's Morning Fix for somehow inspiring the breathless style there above, although his are much funnier).
In response to my words about Lynch the other day, a number of readers have suggested the same thing:
[July is for] watching Lynch's "The Straight Story", which is an artistic, beautiful, dextrous film, completely devoid of blood, death and torture, and ending in hope. Trust me!
So that's something I should do.
Swinging for a final moment back to politics, we have "Nothing but lip service", an article on the topic of Supporting Our Troops from the Army Times. (These articles sometimes disappear; I've cached a copy of this one just in case.)
Oh, and the little daughter's been doing just fine in camp, thanks. *8) It was indescribably good to see her.