Archive for October, 2004

2004.10.31

Muertos

Muertos, by artist Pico

Happy Day of the Dead and Happy All Hallows Eve!

(picture of a small section of a painting by Pico)

Comments Off on Muertos | Catergorized: life  photos

2004.10.29

Endorsement for President, 2004

I believe that George Bush winning the White House in 2004 will be worse for America than if we lost the Cold War.I hate giving my endorsement to anyone unless I really respect the person and expect he will do the job I hope to elect him to. I am about to endorse John Kerry despite the fact that I don’t think he’s the best man for the job; he’s just the best candidate we are offered for the job.

Keeping that in mind, I do want to explain my thinking. I want the few rational people out there to understand my (hopefully) rational conclusion. You must also realize that I am not a member of any political party. This does not make me unbiased because I have definate opinions on how things should be done.

A couple days ago I wrote an entry on what the real job of the President is. I’ll be answering my own questions below.

Read the rest of this entry…

1 Comment | Catergorized: political

2004.10.28

Red Red Moon Rising

I hope everyone enjoyed the total lunar eclipse tonight. In the back of my head i was humming this little mash up. While you’re at it pick up the whole album.

Comments Off on Red Red Moon Rising | Catergorized: audio  science

2004.10.27

Opener: MacOS X Malware

There is a recently discovered script that affects MacOS X called opener. At present there is no need to worry about it getting on to your Mac since it is not a virus. In other words it cannot get on your machine unless you put it there. Alot of information regarding this script can be found in a special Macintouch Report, including a link to the forum that apparently developed the script, the Macintosh Undergroung. I used to visit Freak’s Macintosh Archive regularly, and seem to recall he’s involved in the Macintosh Security Site, which seems woefully out of date now.

It’s important to remember that this is not like the Windows viruses that are rampant in the world. This script cannot get onto your computer without you putting it there. That being said, you might be tricked into putting it on your computer through a process of Social Engineering; you may be deceived to install opener as some useful application or utility. Seemingly innocent files from forums, newsgroups, email lists, and P2P networks are likely sources. It’s always important to only install software from sources you trust. It is also useful to run a virus scanner before installation. There isn’t a reason to be paranoid yet, but best prevention is caution.

Before any Windows users start gloating, I’d just like to point out that you will always have more viruses, spyware, trojans, and other malware then Macintosh users ever will have. Having said that, enjoy your next twenty minutes of gloating…

Comments Off on Opener: MacOS X Malware | Catergorized: apple

2004.10.26

NaNoWriMo

Anyone who thought my October Blogging Challenge was, well, challenging…

Or thought that Jason Clark’s upped ante (fifth item) for blogging the rest of the month was nigh impossible…

You should check out the National Novel Writing Month, where entrants are asked to write an entire novel in the month of November. Talk about a challenge! The folks as Blogger are also wondering if anyone wants to blog out their novel (using their service, of course). If you are blogging your novel let everyone know by signing up here. I wish I were up to the challenge this year, but I’m not. 175 pages (apprx. 50,000 words) is just unfathomable to me right now.

However, next year, barring severe and legitimate excuses, I will do it.

UPDATE

For those of you interested, Wizards of the Coast is having an open call for proposals for novels. The details are here and the deadline is March, 2005. Maybe it’ll be enough time for the NaNoWriMo participants to do a few rewrites.

2 Comments | Catergorized: writing

2004.10.25

The Job of the President

With the election at full tilt and “battleground” states up in rhetorical flames we have to endure endless BS from both parties. I’ve had individuals on street corners asking me to support Kerry, propoganda from the local Bush/Cheney HQ warning me that America will be attacked by terrorists if Bush isn’t elected, and even more crap in the mail from both parties.

It’s all bunk. It’s all just a ploy at their own grab for power. What is the last thing a President has done for me? It’s not the President’s job to do anything for me that the individuals on street corners and on the telephone are claiming. It’s his job to defend our country. It’s his job to create treaties with other countries. It’s his job to fill certain vacancies in the government, like the Supreme Court. Read the Constitution. It’s laid out in plain English.

There are a lot of things people think are the Presidents job and both parties love to tell you about them and where their candidate stands on a particular issue. Here is the Democrat’s list, and here’s the Republican’s. However:

It is not his job to figure out how to fix the economy.
It’s not his job to talk about religion.
It’s not his job to tell people they can or can’t have assault rifles.
It’s not his job to tell people they can or can’t have abortions.
It’s not his job to reform health care.
It’s not his job to get involved in Education.
It’s not his job to be worried about the environment.
It’s not his job to fix the problems with Social Security.
It’s not his job to get involved in Energy issues.

It’s *not* his job to do alot of the things people think it’s his job to do. These are, all of them, the job of Congress. The President can, of course, recommend to Congress issues that might be a good idea to work on (that’s in the Constitution, too), but fixing these things isn’t the job of the President, unless somehow it involves security, military, or treaties.

The President often gets involved in these issues, and sometimes will use his priviledge of Executive Order, but these things are not his job.

I’m tired of the propoganda machines churning out stinking tripe about “the issues” when there are just a few questions you need to ask yourself when choosing the President.

Who is more qualified to lead the military?
Who is more qualified to interact with the world at large and create treaties in our favor?
Who is going to appoint better judges and ambassadors?

If you were to consider the “issues” at all, you might want to ask yourself who has better ideas they might recommend to Congress, understanding that Congress has no obligation to implement those recommendations and may, in fact, oppose the President on the issues.

I’m sure many of you are going to think I’m naive with my point of view. However, I am not wrong. The President may seem to have alot of power and control, but he does not. He does have a lot of influence, and that has translated to perceived power, especially since the days of President FDR. Presidents Kennedy and Johnson spearheaded Civil Rights which might not have happened with the Congress at the time, but it was not in their job description.

So in a few weeks I’ll be voting for who I think will make a better President based on the criteria I’ve outlined above. If you’ve read my blog at all you know who that is and why, and I’ll thread that into a new single entry… another day.

Comments Off on The Job of the President | Catergorized: political  thoughts

2004.10.24

Am I a Citizen?

Yesterday while paying the monthly loan and insurance payments for the car, I was asked a peculiar and disturbing question.

“By a provision in the USA Patriot Act, I must ask you if you are a United States citizen.”

“What? Are you kidding?”

The woman sounded apologetic. “No, and I hate asking.”

Of course I’m a US Citizen but why the government is using private agencies, such as insurance companies, to verify my allegiance is an insult. A while back I read the USA Patriot Act and commented on it here. I must have missed the part where they say private institutions were supposed to help the current Regime. Regime; yes, I’m pissed off and calling this Presidency a Regime. It was bad enough they were going to have private citizens do their spy work.

Why doesn’t the Republican party split in two. One part would be the decent, reasonable Republicans who can see both sides of an argument, can agree to disagree, and who even know sometimes when they just might be wrong (and, God forbid, admit it).

The other part could call themselves the FNR. The Facist Nazi Republicans where after a few months the “Republican” label is dropped in favor of Reichstadt. These are the ones who try to pass laws that limit our freedoms, who lead people blindly to unprovoked war and use that war to persecute even their own citizens, whose party faithful burn minority churches, blow up medical facilities (and murder their proprietors), and pray nightly for hell to come to those who disagree with them.

One reason why I hate Republicans isn’t because Republicans are bad, but because some Republicans are bad and they give the whole party a very bad stink of filth and stupidity. The Democrats suffer the same disease from their fringe. However if I had to choose Facists or Hippies I would choose the Hippies (as much as I loathe them) simply because they might physically stink and make me ill with thier hippiness, but at least they aren’t Evil

And somehow the FNR fringe of the Republican party is in charge, and they are Evil. And I’ve been asked if I was an American citizen by an insurance agency. Goodbye privacy, goodbye freedom, goodbye goodbye goodbye.

6 Comments | Catergorized: political  rights  thoughts

2004.10.22

AltHistory of AltHistory

I am liking some of the alternate history sites I’ve found online like Today in Alternate History. I found this interesting twist on the genre on Will Shetterly’s blog. Mr. Shetterly speculates from an alternate history where Al Gore won the 2000 election what it might have been like if George Bush had actually won. The results are interesting.

[Patrick, who the blog entry is addressed to] imagines a Bush who reverses Clinton’s record and creates the greatest deficit in history, whose wars in Afghanistan and Iraq result in two unstable countries, who adds a million people to the unemployment rolls and millions more to the number without health care, and with all this, the election between Bush and his Democratic opponent is up for grabs?

Patrick, I love you, man, but you’ve been reading too much science fiction.

Yes, it would have been very difficult to predict we’d be where we are today if Gore had won. Certainly no one would have ever thought Bush would do such a great job of fscking things up.

Comments Off on AltHistory of AltHistory | Catergorized: geek  political

2004.10.21

Van Helsing

Van HelsingVan Helsing was a movie with amazing visuals, a good story, and poor execution. As it is the execution of a story that most people are going to remember, it must be said that the movie is rather pathetic. It’s as if some witches were at a cauldron chanting, “A bit of Dracula and the brides he kissed, a pinch of Hyde and Frankenstein’s fist.” Mix in a load of film references to Blade, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Hong Kong Action Films, and stir until nice and thick with bad dialogue. A potpourri of things that really don’t smell well together.

The lesson to the film studios should be that just because a director, Stephen Sommers in this case, put out a few good films don’t let him go and do anything he wants with an unlimited budget. Make him fight for every opportunity and penny until he’s so successful that you can’t control him anymore. If you don’t, the movie is going to suck, I promise.

As dismal as that sounds, I still found the movie entertaining. Dracula was one of the queeniest vampires I’ve seen in a long time, everyone had cringingly bad accents (to the point where I actually enjoyed them!), and the action scenes and effects were spectacular. The two characters I really liked were Hyde, done almost completely digitally, and the Friar (Van Helsing’s sidekick). Kate Beckinsale is always a pleasure, and Hugh Jackman plays the role of Van Helsing in the only way possible: over the top. I also loved seeing parts of Prague floating about in the background. *sigh*

It’s not a movie I’d recommend you buying, but it is worth renting on a night when you don’t know what else to watch but are determined not to go home empty handed. The bloopers on the DVD alone are worth the cost of a rental.

Comments Off on Van Helsing | Catergorized: movies

2004.10.21

I Am a Sciolist

I was delighted and consternated to learn a new word recently, sciolous, because it describes me all too well. A Sciolist is someone who knows a little about a lot, but not a lot about anything. This description fits me perfectly. I know a little about science, literature, geography, politics, economics, computers, civil rights, law, web development, writing, linguistics, music, history, culture, etc… but I don’t know enough to claim any sort of proficiency at any of them.

I could never be an authority on any of those subjects (and more) because I was never bothered to learn them to any great detail. It’s not that I’m not interested, but by the time I reach the point where I’m required to put some serious effort into researching, studying, and memorizing to really get my facts down and develop deep understandings. I learned the general theories and some essential facts, maybe a bit more, and then my interest moved on to other things.

This is a big problem in our modern world, which prides itself on what you know, how well you know it, and practically requires you to be a specialist to get ahead. Who would take you seriously as a professional if you admit you don’t know almost everything in your field? The likely answer is: Not many. Even our “modern” liberal arts schools are becoming more and more specialized; your major is really all anyone seems to care about.

Despite this, I like knowing a little about everything. It allows me to make connections others would completely miss. It allows me to draw on a range of possibilities that many others can’t have because it’s not a part of their specialized knowledge base. It allows me to follow any conversation even if I can’t make specific contributions, and ask intelligent questions without seeming like an idiot.

Who knows, there might even be a career out there where being a sciolist is a good thing. I haven’t found it yet, but I’m hopeful. In the meantime, I’ve learned a new word I’d never heard and I can say with some authority that I’m not about to change what I am, even if I could.

5 Comments | Catergorized: geek
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