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Tamashi no Rufuran

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1st December 2009

6:35pm: It took me a while to track down the exact 10 point checklist the RNC has drafted. I had to have a look at it, just for the laughs, you see. And, it is quite the read, I have to say. It's quite striking. Seven of the points say "oppose" or a form of it. So, seven of the points are straight out anti- statements. One of the remaining ones could just be worded "we oppose gay marriage," but they probably thought it would sound bad. The remaining two are basically "we support war." So, yeah.

When you define yourself by what you're against, it doesn't say much about who you are.

Maybe that's the problem with the republicans. They're defined too much by what they're against (which mostly are gays, minorities, and the poor). They're against taxes. I guess they're for raising the national debt by lowering taxes and borrowing from China. That's something right? But, I think this list does a lot to emphasize just how badly they are doing, and how little they really are. I mean, they keep mentioning Reagan in the preamble.

Reagan?

Yeah, because they have had nobody since! Bush Sr? Bush Jr? McCain? Palin??? Please. And, who do they have now? A black man wannabe (who happens to be African American), so they can look "hip" or some other such uselessness.

Of course, this will never be used. It's just some grandstanding about "core values" nonsense. If they did pass it, they'd probably lose tons of Republicans. It's just that strict. Then where are they? By becoming more and more inbred, they're only hurting themselves. Not that I'm upset to see them hurt themselves, but in the meantime, this circus is hurting the American people. Sheesh

20th November 2009

3:27pm: So, the KKK is doing a rally at Ole Miss. Yay for freedom of speech? I mean, what a horrible thing for the school not to want to endorse or associate itself with racist overtones? Mostly, its probably just the KKK looking to get attention for itself. Which, I've seen before. They had a rally at my high school once. Really, they just wanted to start a stir, because the principle was black and they thought (hoped) he would oppose it so that they could yell "Oh, look at us, being discriminated against! This is public property, and we can use it as long as we have a permit!" or somesuch other thing. Of course, he just let them have their little party and nobody remembered them again the next week. Ha! Better luck next time! Or, actually, no.

I have all kinds of stories about racism. Wish I didn't. It's insidious, buried just beneath the surface waiting to jump out. And, if it isn't directed at you, then you may never know about it. That restaurant you go to? Maybe they don't serve black people. Those people you occasionally hang out with? Maybe they think black people are all stupid. Happened and happened. And sometimes I've known people who said racist things, hated that they said it, but couldn't stop. Or, said racist things without realizing it was racist. Not misunderstanding of the word "gypped" but actually said things in front of people that could be hurtful without understanding the things they were saying were, frankly, infuriating.

And, when somebody comes along and says something like racism is dying out or that people aren't racist anymore and its just a thing of the past, I have to wonder what kind of sheltered life they have or if they have ever had any kind of relationship with a non-white person. It's like somebody saying sexism is dying out. Yeah, sure. You say that as a middle class white man. Maybe that's a clue in to why you've never seen it.

Oops, looks like I ranted. Ah well.

4th November 2009

1:35pm: This article about the FCC and the US DOT got my attention, because solving non-technical problems with technical solutions is something I'm expected to do on a daily basis here at work. I admit that sometimes that's a good idea. But, sometimes its a very bad idea, and in this case I'm thinking that people driving while distracted is a social problem and not something that can be solved through technology. I remember my band director in High School was pulled over once for driving while playing his trumpet while driving, for crying out loud.

I mean, the technology is already in place to help alleviate this issue. It's in headsets and speakers being hawked by the recently-deceased and all kinds of other things. But, people still choose to just talk on their cell phones while they drive. I'm a firm believer that once the technology exists to solve a problem, if people aren't interested in using it, then you aren't dealing with a problem that can be solved via technology. And, this is coming from a guy whose entire job is technology! Or perhaps that's why I feel the way I do. You can only be asked so many times to try and prevent people from doing something before you start to wonder why they aren't just trying to get people to stop doing the stupid stuff you're trying to prevent!

23rd October 2009

4:12pm: I find it funny that Shinedown's "Sound of Madness" can be summed up as "Less QQ, More Pew Pew."

19th October 2009

4:21pm: It's that time of year again.

And, by "that time of year" I mean the part of the year where I start electrocuting myself constantly on even non-conductive material. The cold is setting in.

In October? I know know about where you're from, but it doesn't get cold here in October. But, yet, today it was 35 degrees F when I left for work. That is cold enough to possibly turn precipitation into some kind of frozen mush as it falls from the sky. Which is basically unheard of here, even in January, much less now. I'm not saying its going to stay cold. It almost certainly won't. But, why oh why must it get so cold so early in the year? Halloween isn't even upon us yet, and I'm pulling out the Coat.

Don't get me wrong - I love my Coat. But, it isn't supposed to be used until late December. That's just the way of things. Last year was freakin' short sleeves on Christmas Eve, and I loved it. This had better not be a taste of things to come.

17th October 2009

10:30am: Workin' on Saturday.

I'm getting some of the main functionality on my latest application finished up today. In other words, making buttons do stuff and lights light up.
Read more...Collapse )

That about does it for my break. I actually enjoy this kind of thing. Maybe not being in on a Saturday (but I am getting an extra vacation day which is why I'm here), but this part of my job, I love.

16th October 2009

2:32pm: Further proof that being female sucks.

Of course, there's abuse of copyright law thrown in as well, showing that, yes, you can try to use the law to stifle free speech, but, no, it will just get you in deeper than you were.

I thought it was pretty bad that they photoshopped her like that, but chalked it up to bad a bad photoshopper. Now that I know they fired a 5'10" 120 lb model who looks like this because she was "overweight" it just looks beyond demented.

Of course, if they never sent the DMCA takedown, I would never have heard of the story in the first place. Thanks, Ralph Lauren, for alerting me to your stupidity! I never would have known without you!

13th October 2009

4:21pm: If you don't check the Astronomy Picture of the Day, you should. Every day. I made this awesome picture my desktop. Some of my favorites are Hubble's shots of galaxies. The amount of galaxies out there boggles the mind. And, there are so many amazing pictures in the archives, with new ones every day. The Universe really is spectacular.

1st October 2009

9:22am: Whoa! I'm posting on LiveJournal!

I've been gone a while. It's a confluence of being busy along with not being a prolific journal-er. I never know what to write, and composing these things can get awfully rambly if I don't go back and edit. Yes, I tend to edit, format, and rewrite these things. I'm OCD like that. I'm not really one for stream of thought writing. Well, I do it, but I go back and edit it. What you're seeing now is a carefully constructed post formatted as concisely as possible. Possible being my overly bearing writing style with flourishes akin to those of a slightly drunk fencer who is down on his luck doing moves in the street hoping someone will toss a few coins into his most excellent top hat.

So picture that while you read what I write.
Continue On BravelyCollapse )

13th November 2008

7:59am:

Oh, Sinfest. Are there any current events you can't fit into in four panels?

6th November 2008

4:18pm: The goal I'm dreaming of.
I got a mail!

Specifically, I got a birthday card in the mail at my place from my Grandparents! I wonder if this means that they acknowledge me as an adult. That would be crazy! Right now, I'm not sure if I have any relatives who acknowledge me as an adult besides my parents. To whit: I still sit at the kid's table at family gatherings, such as Thanksgiving or Christmas. Not that we've had a real family gathering in some time, so perhaps the new found income I receive has awarded me adult stature. Or maybe girlfriend status. Although to be a full fledged adult in this family, I think you have to wait for two generations above you to die out.

2nd November 2008

11:15am: Had a great Saturday yesterday! Me and the girlfriend and two good friends of mine went up to my parents' house then all headed to Ellijay up in the north Georgia mountains for the day. Fall means apples! And apple products! They sell all kinds of very fresh stuff up there at this time of year as well as apples. We bought apples, fried apple pies, apple cider, and so forth. All delicious. We did not get any boiled peanuts, which are a traditional food of north Georgia, and which I do not really like. Ah well, maybe next year.

Then we packed up and went to Amicalola Falls, which was fun. We did the short uphill (heavy incline!) to see the falls, and then to the gift shop. I bought the girlfriend a frog puppet. It's very cute - it has Velcro in its mouth so that it can eat these little bugs it came with.

Then we all went to Dahlonega and walked about shopping a bit. We got some delicious (and overpriced) honey mustard raspberry dip and sweet red pepper dip. There were some interesting shops about, for example a far too expensive hole in the wall toy store.

Then we went to a restaurant, which I have forgotten the name of. You sit down and they bring out food for the whole table, no ordering involved. Then you pass the food around and grab what you want, all typical Southern cuisine. Fried chicken, roast, ham, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green beans, fried okra, collard greens, and so on. It was really really good!

Very full (oh very very full) we headed back to my parents' house. We played with the dogs a bit, my mom had made a cake for my upcoming birthday which I was far too full to partake of, and sat around talking for a while. Then we packed up and headed back home.

28th October 2008

8:17am: A wax mustache and a beaver coat
It seems to me that lying on the campaign trail should be somehow illegal. You know? Palin saying things like Obama is a socialist or that she was found to have no unethical activities in Troopergate or that Biden agreed more with McCain on military matters than Obama. But, she can say these things, and if people don't hunt down the truth for themselves, then that's what people believe. In an overly partisan country, this is dangerous... very dangerous. Confirmation bias is something that is hard to get around - and I'm including myself in that. I fall into that trap more than I'd like to admit.

And, Obama has told some tales, too, but it seems like the McCain campaign is really ramping up their lies, seeing as how they're down in the polls and they need to pull ahead if they want to win. And, as we all know, McCain is willing to bend ethics to win, and Palin is willing to lie cheat and steal her way into the White House. God, I hate that woman.

There should just be something to discourage this kind of behavior. Because, what if it works? Now that's a scary thought, there.

10th October 2008

9:34am: Politick
I found this to be extremely funny. Warning: Political satire ahead.

6th October 2008

8:40am: Circles
Well, they didn't change the royalty rate. And, I was all ready to see this comedy play out. Ah well.

I could use this opportunity to say how stupid a compulsory rate for ringtones is when you can easily (oh so easily) put ringtones on cell phones yourself for free. But, I'll let it go.
8:36am: Stellar
I keep getting spam from the Obama campaign. It's starting to annoy me. And, I'm all for Obama. Actually, I already voted for Obama a week or two ago! Don't need to court my vote. Really! I already voted for you! Where did they get my email address? I have no idea! Grrr...

Also: vote early! You can probably go vote today! It would suck for something to happen on the 4th or the days beforehand that keeps you from voting, so might as well go and do it now, right? Yesireebobbo!

3rd October 2008

3:28pm: It's a busy life in Camelot.
It's been pointed out to me that my bunny user pic might not be immediately recognizable to everyone. It's the Monty Python rabbit who bites heads off. If you don't know what I'm referring to, then... well... there isn't a whole lot I can do for you in that case.

2nd October 2008

10:00am: We hear the playback and it seems so long ago
This whole music royalty thing is crazy. The first thing that pops into my head is, why is the Librarian of Congress in charge of deciding how much money one business pays another business? Shouldn't these things be done with... oh I don't know... contracts decided between the companies involved? And, its the freaking Librarian of Congress appointing shadow government agencies to do this stuff? That's simply insane. I've tried to find out just how this works, but I turn up nothing.

Okay, but onto other matters. Apple closing iTunes. Now, the RIAA has had a spotty history with iTunes. They don't like a lot of things about it. The pricing structure for one, that people don't have to buy entire albums for another. They've tried all kinds of things. They tried selling music on iTunes for a few weeks then yanking it, hoping people would buy CDs. It didn't work, people bought covers on iTunes or just downloaded illegally. NBC, I think, pulled its stuff from there, but quickly reinstated it, because they make a ton of money off of iTunes.

And, this is what really confuses me. iTunes is popular! Apple has the largest market share of music sales, period. Apple, as of January of this year, had 19% of all music sales. The next highest was Wal-Mart with 15%, followed by Best Buy with 13%, then Amazon with 6% (although I'm sure Amazon has risen in the ranks since January with its DRM-free music). Oh, and by the way, Amazon is allowed to sell DRM-free music because the RIAA wants to take away market share from Apple. Slime balls to the last.

Anyway, iTunes closing would be a huge kick in the nuts to the recording industry. But, nothing they do actually makes sense, so maybe I shouldn't be so surprised that they're pushing Apple hard. They're like school bullies who don't want other people to play with their ball. So much the RIAA does now is out of spite and bile instead of business sense that it looks like they just want to bring everyone else down with them if they're going to fail. And fail they will. It might take several years, but if they keep up as they are now, they're going to start dying off at (forgive the pun) record pace.

A part of me would love to see this thing pass, iTunes shut down, and the record labels lose tons of money that they were making through iTunes. But, I know Apple is probably bluffing. iTunes is one big reason people buy iPods, and even if they lose money on iTunes, they'd probably recoup more of it through iPod sales than if they shut down iTunes itself. Still... it would be nice to see the RIAA shoot itself in the face some more. That never gets old.

12th September 2008

10:46am: Where your horses run free
A 22 year old is auctioning her virginity. I mention this only because the article in question seems to be quoting random bloggers online about their thoughts on the matter. Perhaps by mentioning it here, I can get quoted in an article somewhere. After all, I am a random blogger. So, I'll say something sensationalistic that would make a good quote.

"As someone who is planning to study family therapy, she should know that she is destroying American family values and the American family lifestyle in doing this."

Of course, they probably have many options to choose from on that side of the debate, so I offer this statement for the other side of the debate that they can use as well, just to cover my bases.

"She isn't embracing capitalism enough. Where's the merchandising? Where's the broadcast? She is wasting the true potential here, which is embracing the secondary markets tangentially related to the main product: her virginity."

I think I've covered all the bases here. And, don't worry about the differing viewpoints expressed a mere paragraph from each other, nor should you worry about the fact that I blatantly explained that I'm doing this only to be quoted. Apparently quoting blogs in a web-based article doesn't mean you should link to them. So, just quote me as "Internet Blogger Chas" and we're all good.

8th September 2008

1:15pm: Turning Japanese
Last night I went to a Japanese hibachi restaurant with Koreans and was served by a Mexican cook. Also, the chopsticks were made in China. Isn't America great?

5th September 2008

10:52am: The Frayed Ends of Sanity
I saw this yesterday on The Daily Show, and its just amazing. Kind of depressing, though.

7:32am: Rockin' like Janet Reno
It's Friday, and I still haven't said anything about Dragon*Con last weekend!

I've got some pictures, which can be found here.

It was a lot of fun. There's a huge variety of stuff to do there, probably one of the few places where you can fan over Adam West, then go learn about neandertals, then go to a talk on creationism vs. evolution, then go watch some cartoons. Saw a lot of people I knew as well. Candis, Adam, Angela, Kevin, Steph, Gabe, Natasha, and Justin. Hope I didn't forget anyone. Met a lot of people as well, in fact on Saturday I had dinner with a group of total strangers!

Overall, great experience. I can't believe I didn't start going to Dragon*Con until last year. I was missing out. Next year I have to stay in a Hotel. Commuting just makes me miss out, always having to leave at night and then get up early.

4th September 2008

12:11pm: Give me real don't give me fake
In a way, it's like we aren't actually seeing a reporting of the election season. We're actually seeing a theater performance being narrated that is based on reality, but isn't actually what is going on. The media doesn't actually "create" news, they just selectively decide what is going to be shown to us. And what is shown to us doesn't actually have a to scale relation to what is actually happening out there. However, at the same time, this theatrical performance we all see going on influences what we know about the proceedings and ultimately biases our feelings on the matters at hand.

The problem I have is that the production of this narrative largely inflates matters of little importance and deflates matters that are actually important, and by doing so it has a way of making actual, real, changes to the nature of the beast itself. It would be like if exaggerating the size of a skyscraper on the news actually made it taller. Because, now people watching actually think these stupid things the media talks about matter! They don't. I wish the media would just give this narrative thing a rest and report on real issues.

I can't be sure anything I see or read is true. This is really depressing. We're not watching an episode of Friends here. There should be some kind of integrity. But, I don't think there is any...
9:43am: uh di lon ga geu luh kae heul luh ga ji
My programs are my babies.

I don't think people realize that about most programmers. I remember back when I was taking Software Engineering I in school back in the day, one of my favorite classes, and the professor asked what goes into our code. Jason answered "Our heart and soul." There were some chuckles, but Prof. Lloyd responded, "Exactly!"

In a way, we're artists, writers, creators. We mold the application to do what we want it to do, and we take pride in our creations. Writing a program can be described as akin to writing a poetry in a way. There is much of ourselves in our code - it isn't a straightforward process. There are many ways to do the same thing, and each individual will find their own voice that they use when writing.

It makes my job somewhat difficult sometimes. I work directly with the end users. Anything they have against what I've done, anything that they don't like about it, think isn't good enough, or what have you, I can't help but take somewhat personally. When I write an application, its out there, with the people, often before I have a real chance to do proper testing myself. It can be akin to an artist showing his or her unfinished work.

Of course, I don't always have the luxury of being creativity when writing an application. Half to two thirds of the applications I write are mostly copy/paste jobs from previous copy/paste jobs. It's the programmer's creed: "Steal if you can." Just because somebody else makes your paint doesn't mean that the painting isn't yours, though. So, unless the stealing is huge it doesn't take away from the accomplishment.

The thing that brought on this thought process is that, of course, training didn't convey the actual purpose of the program I wrote, so nobody likes it. The people who use it don't realize what it's for, the people who trained it don't know how to teach people to use it, and I'm stuck in the middle as the guy who was given a task - not the one who decided the process.

To most people, these programs just pop up one day and now they have to use them. They don't think about the person behind them. Most people don't even know what I do. That means they don't hold back in front of me about my work. I guess it means I'm getting real feedback, but it could be nice to be filtered every once in a while.

And don't get me started on reports! Thank goodness I'm not in charge of those disasters any more!
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