Friday, August 31, 2007

(Potentially relevant link)

Photograph of Greece burning on 2007-08-25. Photo by NASA. A guy on a website I frequent just stated:

I will be away for some days...My country is burned to the ground...

A bit dramatic, perhaps, but sadly not a bit overdramatic.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The good thing about cats is that they come in various sizes of litters. If it was one cat each time, you'd have no basis for the naming system, but when it's a litter of six, well, there aren't many choices:
Six simple machines (Good names, I must say.)
Six regular convex polychora (This is what I used. They can be long, though.)
The Big Six (I should re-read those books sometime.)

You can't name a litter of six cats Alpha, Beta, Delta, Tux, Tumbleweed, and Velcro, after all. They need to be consistent.

Similarly, if there's a small kitten named Qilin who vanishes, and later a very similar one is born to the same mother, but you're sure it's not the same one because it should be older by now, right? you can't just name it 'Bob'. It has to be Sabitun Sabintu.

So that's what I did. Shame everyone else refuses to call him that.

Friday, August 24, 2007

When I was three, perhaps, my brother went to Montessori school. Since my mother sometimes helped out there, so too did I at times.

For those not in the know:
Montessori school is a very 'laissez faire' type of school. They had various 'stations' the kids would visit of their own accord, visiting them all, but perhaps focusing on those they found most interesting. Something like that. I don't remember what all the stations were, but I know two of them:
* The painting station, where you'd get your brushes and paints, paint a picture, and then when you were done wash off your brushes.
* The snack station where you'd get peanut butter crackers.

Visiting all the different stations, of course, as delightful as it sounds, was not what I did. I'd go to the painting station, get my brushes and paints, paint a picture, wash off my brushes, and then head over to the snack station for peanut butter crackers. When I was done eating, I'd go back to the painting station, get my brushes and paints, paint a picture, wash off my brushes, and then head over to the snack station for peanut butter crackers. When I was done eating, I'd go back to the painting station, get my brushes and paints, paint a picture, wash off my brushes, and then head over to the snack station for peanut butter crackers. When I was done eating, I'd go back to the painting station, get my brushes and paints, paint a picture, wash off my brushes, and then head over to the snack station for peanut butter crackers. When I was done eating, I'd go back to the painting station, get my brushes and paints, paint a picture, wash off my brushes, and then head over to the snack station for peanut butter crackers. When I was done eating, I'd go back to the painting station, get my brushes and paints, paint a picture, wash off my brushes, and then head over to the snack station for peanut butter crackers.

You get the picture.

My mom ended up homeschooling us.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Yesterday the power company had curtailable customers cut power usage by 2.5%, and expect that later this week they'll have to go to the next level, 5%.

The step after that is 'rotating feeder and substation blackouts'. They don't think that'll happen.

Anyway, I turned off my fan. It's possible the air conditioner is downstairs, so I may go sit in that room and read.

(My laptop suddenly turned off earlier this week. I suspect it was overheated. I turned it back on immediately, though We've been getting over 100f, and over 110 with the heat index.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

'Every time you smoke a cigarette, there goes another breath of your life.' -- Stupid advert everyone in NC has seen a million times.

Seems like every time you breathe, there goes another breath of your life.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I usually over-pay my credit card bill slightly. Having a slight credit doesn't hurt anything, right? Well, a few months ago two of them sent me checks. End of the fiscal year, I guess. The first one didn't say a thing about why they sent it. I didn't know what was going on until the second one came.

Just now I got a third one. This may be the last; I only have three or four credit cards. Anyway, this last one--from Washington Mutual--is for $0.01. They sent me a check for ONE CENT. La-di-FRICKIN-da! I'ma drive down to the bank right now and cash this baby!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Someone I didn't recognise from their YIM name IM'd me and said ''Ello.'
So, of course I replied with 'Did you say "hello"?'

And she knew the proper response! I was all, 'This isn't my sister, is it? No, she doesn't use YIM, and wouldn't have that username, and so on. There must be a third person in this world who has this level of coolness.' And there is.

'No, I said "'ello", but that's close enough.'

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I really don't think it's fair for me to be just using a simple script as I always do and it to suddenly not be able to call methods it's been using the whole time. I've changed nothing, but suddenly the each method is being called from an undefined iterator in's fetch method.

It's also lame that I can't use CGI in mod_perl. I don't know why, but in CGI, it's fine, but under mod_perl, it isn't, except for when it is, which isn't often. And sometimes it doesn't work in CGI--I thing it was when I also had it trying to work in mod_perl; that is, loading Apache when mod_perl is trying to use CGI means I can't use CGI anywhere at all, and it sucks, because it's pretty darn tricky to handle stuff properly. My Apache::Request wrapper doesn't handle multiple values properly, and I'm too lazy to fix it.

Monday, August 13, 2007

People say between the ages of 18 and 25, but they don't mean 'between'. It's inclusive. Damn.

But let's see them come and get me. You really want to take away my freedom and arm me at the same time? Bad move, that.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The French Resistance did a decent job in France, though they needed a lot of help.

A few years ago, I wasn't so hopeful for us. Military has improved, I said. At this point, the argument that we need guns in case the government gets oppressive is bogus. They have tanks and missiles and intensive training.

Then we went to Iraq, and it became apparent that the US military, for all it's sophistication, still couldn't crush a few thousand guys with guns and limited training or experience.

Maybe Iraq will teach them how, but our leaders seem adamantly opposed to learning anything from their mistakes. Really, I think the only thing possible in the near future that would be sufficient would be increased big brotherhood: if you can track individuals well enough, you can crush an insurgency. Guns rights are only of penultimate importance in being able to overthrow the government. Privacy is number one. If they take your guns so you can't shoot them, you can instead build bombs with which to blow thy enemy into tiny bits, in thy mercy. If they're watching us, though, you can't do either.

ACLU trumps NRA.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I could easily do a dozen posts on gun rights. Maybe I will. But right now, I'm just focusing on one thing:

Guns are considered the last resort against an oppressive government. Does anyone else find it troubling that the citizens with guns (and who support gun rights) tend to be the same ones who support the growing oppressiveness of our government?

With the liberals refusing to arm themselves and the conservatives supporting Bush, the Libertarians will be our rebel leaders if push comes to shove. I hope they brought enough for the rest of us.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Recently Greenville decided to rename Martin Luther King Jr. Street to 5th Street, since it actually is 5th Street for the part they didn't back in the day rename to Martin Luther King Jr. Street.

I was asked to sign a petition telling them NO, don't rename it back to something simple and consistent. Said the petition, Greenville's five(?) WHITE board members made the decision for the PREDOMINANTLY BLACK community at MKLJr.St. WE WILL NOT GO BACK!

I declined to sign. Because:
1. Simple is good.
2. Consistent is good.
3. The street name is not what's preventing segregation and the lot. That's not what street names are for. Street names are to help people find their way around. Therefore, see 1. and 2.

Not one of my reasons, but something to consider:
4. In one of the early Boondocks cartoon episodes (the only one I saw--they posted it free on Google Video. Yay!) MKL Jr. came back from the dead and saw that streets named MLK Jr. St. are not (generally) nice neighbourhoods. This, among a lot of other things displeased him greatly, and he called a crowd of blacks 'a bunch of ignorant niggers'. This displeased them.

What was formerly MLK Jr. St. in Greenville wasn't the worst neighbourhood in the city, but it wasn't exactly MLK's vision for the future. Maybe it's fitting because they still have the struggle he had (though it seems to be a largely different struggle these days). But, again, who cares? That's not what street names are for.

(Notice how I have not much to say in this post. I'm supposed to post on Mondays, so you get this dreck.)

Friday, August 03, 2007

I am governed by tens of thousands of pages of laws at three1 (four?2 five?3) levels of government. These laws have been interpreted and reinterpreted many times by tens of thousands of court cases. I am legally obligated to follow every one of these laws.

Actually, I don't need to follow these law and their most recent court interpretations. I need to follow whatever future interpretation is made by a prosecutor and accepted as correct by the presiding judge when my case is being argued. (And they say no post ex facto laws.)

I've broken several today. I'll probably break more by day's end.

1 Federal, State, and County.

2 Federal, State, County, and Town. I'm not in the town limits, but they have some territorial jurisdiction, preventing--for example--us from building a new shed.

3 Federal, State, County, Town, and International. Maybe I'm only under international law because I'm under the Federal law that inherits international law.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

If I was a contestant on Iron Chef, I'd be in trouble. Firstly because they all speak Japanese. Let's say this is actually Iron Chef America, just so we don't have to worry about that.

More importantly, however, because they'd whip the veil off a vat of live tuna and expect me to prepare a five course meal using them as the central ingredient. In one hour. Without a cookbook.

My strategy would be this: 'Sous chefs GO!' Then I'd watch them do their thing.

My cooking skills are inadequate to be competing on Iron Chef. I don't even have a pair of orange Crocs.

But I would never say 'I can't cook'. The people who say that are saying something far, far more serious. They're saying that if you give them simple, straightforward, unambiguous directions, all the basic tools, and all the ingredients, they cannot bake a cake.

And that's scary. When someone makes such a ridiculous claim, your first thought should probably be 'Can you read?' If you can read and you're not a paraplegic, how can you possibly not be able to bake a cake? The book says '1 cup milk'. How do you mess that up? Grab an empty 7-11 SuperGulp cup and fill it with milk? Or maybe upon seeing the clear, simple instruction to add a cup of milk they proclaim 'No stupid book is going to tell me what to do!' and put in two cups just to show it who's boss.

These are the skills required for cooking:
* Measuring
* Mixing
* Pouring
* Reading simple instructions
* Following simple instructions

I'm going to hazard a guess and say it's the last item that gives them difficulties. This means not just that they can't cook, however. It means they can't drive ('speed limit 35? That means 35km/s, right?'), they can't go shopping ('the label says $3.99, but I'm going to pay $1.27 instead'), they can't do anything. No one is that stupid.1

You can cook.

1 I have said this a hundred times and every time I have been wrong. People are so stupid--and wilfully so, in most cases--that no matter how far I lower my expectations, someone will still manage to blow my mind.