Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Think I’ve Lost It.

Ever have one of those dreams that cause you to wake up and wonder what the heck the sandman was smoking when he dropped off your nightly shipment of pixie dust?

Yesterday was one of those, and I have to say that he must have some really good stuff in his private stash.

I can just picture it. A very high sandman staggers into my bedroom with bloodshot eyes, smelling of herb, and says, in a bad Jamaican accent, “hey, mon, you’ll never believe what I got for you tonight. *giggle and coughing fit*. By the way, got any Doritos? I’m hungry.”

It involved zombies. Lots and lots of zombies coming out of some cave, and I was fighting them along with a bunch of other people, some of which I know in reality, some of which I don’t (seemingly generic people).

And then there was… Mr. T.

You heard me. I was fighting zombies with Mr. T.

Don’t blame me. It wasn’t my dream. It was the fault of the stoner sandman. Honest.

Unfortunately, Mr. T was not as tough in my dream as he is on TV and did not fare well against the zombies. His age must be catching up with him because they ended up bringing him back to the base with half his butt missing (don’t ask me. That’s just how it ended up, no pun intended.)

That’s when I woke up – from a zombie dream featuring a half-assed Mr. T.

I was afraid to even try to go back to sleep because I knew if I did, the dream would just resume.

All I can say is “I’m Mr. T, and I’m a Night Elf Mohawk! (but I suck at fighting zombies)”

Current mood: I don’t even know where to start
Current music: Curve – Crystal

I Don’t Play Favorites.

I often catch flack from some of the “Free” software people over saying things like the fact that Microsoft actually makes some good products and seems to have a nice, positive environment for their employees (going by what I’ve heard from people who have worked there).

One thing about me that a lot of people don’t seem to understand is that I have a perspective on things that seems to be different than most.

I don’t care if you’re my best friend or someone I can’t stand. If you do something well, or do something to help people, you will get respect from me. You could be, in my opinion, a real jerk whom I have no desire to socialize with, but if you do good work, I have absolutely no problem telling anyone who asks.

If you do charity or the like for ulterior motives, that respect may be lessened (if it is, it’s generally only a little) and I may point out those motives, but you still get the respect you are due because you’re out there doing it.

Heck, you even get the respect from me if you honestly try and fail, because you deserve it. Sometimes things just don’t work out.

In a similar fashion, it doesn’t matter how I feel about you, if you do something bad or do something poorly, I will take a critical view of it.

I won’t be a jerk about it. In fact, I’m actually quite tactful and even generally nice (as a result, I have, on several occasions, been called on to be the moderator in a group), but my opinion of you may slip a bit (again, I realize that sometimes things happen). Make it a habit, and it certainly will.

I will agree with people that I agree with on a subject and disagree with people that I disagree with. This is not based on the person, but the facts in question. In that regard, I honestly don’t play favorites, and that drives some people up the wall.

That’s something that a lot of people seem to have a problem grasping when it comes to me. This, I think, is largely because most people are used to traveling in their little group, agreeing with them for fear of being ousted if they don’t and disagreeing with the people that group hates, no matter what, for the same reason.

I just can’t do that. It makes no sense to me. As a result, I tend to get along with a lot of different groups, and I tend to get respect from a lot of people that I don’t get along with.

Current mood: I’m really not sure
Current music: AFI – Love Like Winter

Friday, December 14, 2007

Rights? What Are Those?

I did something today that I haven’t done in quite a long time. I wrote an actual, on paper, in an envelope with a stamp letter to a politician.

Our governor, whom I generally support, has well and truly screwed up. Nativity scenes were removed from two state parks here and he later ordered them to be replaced because they were “proper and traditional.”

Before you look at me like that, let me say that I don’t have a problem with them being there provided a couple of things are true –

1) They aren’t being provided using public funds (as in some private org is putting them there with a permit)

2) Every religion that wants to can put up a display.

He killed #2.

In a display of a complete lack of regard for the first amendment, he has decided that he should be able to decide which religions get to be represented and which don’t (and already said no to one).

I’m not happy.

The letter, which is to be mailed today, follows.

Governor Strickland,

I have been a long time supporter of yours. In fact my family and I actually knew you at one time. Personally, I think that, on most things, you have looked out for the best interest of your people. You’re not perfect, but then nobody is.

However, you have recently done something which I consider unconscionable.

If the Nativity scene is provided or maintained by using public funds, it should not be in the public parks, tradition or not. If it was provided for by a private group and allowed to be there, that would be different provided that ALL other faiths were allowed to put up displays of their own.

However, the statement by your spokesperson, Keith Dailey, that you would decide which religious symbols to allow on the park grounds was so far past the boundaries of good taste and legality that it’s not even funny.

It is a statement that your administration is going to pick and chose which religions to represent and which ones to repress, and that is not only against the Constitution, it is morally repugnant in a nation that was built on no religion being higher than any other.

In a few short days, I have lost a great deal of respect for you – not that I think my opinion will have any real affect on you as you seem to be set on doing what you are doing despite the law.

In addition, I think that you need to send word to Whitehall City Council member Chris Rodriguez that we take our rights quite seriously and his statement that “people should get over it and stop being so smug about their rights.” is a sign that he has no regard for those he serves.

Part of the responsibility of all politicians in this country, including both of you, is to protect the rights of the people. Suggesting otherwise should constitute breaking your oath of office.

I mention him only because you are currently in the same boat and you both need to re-think your stances and make formal apologies to the people which you serve (and you do serve us. Never forget that.)

I’ve done my part as a citizen by voicing my concerns. It is now your turn to do your part by following the law and acting in a reasonable manner.


James Hollingshead

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I admit it. I occasionally look at Slashdot during the course of the day. It will generally have something interesting at some point during the day. However, some of the people that comment there make my head hurt.

Granted, you have sane people, and they’re probably in the majority, but then you have the rabid [insert non-MS operating system] fans who can agree on one thing – that Microsoft sucks and needs to die.

This is not a view I share. Granted, that could be because I’m not a fanatic or it could be because, like a large portion of the business world, I do most of my work in a Microsoft environment, but the fact stands that I don’t think their products are horrible (despite my dislike of Vista based on the limited experience I currently have with it) and actually like more than a few of them.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think they’re a big fluffy bunny of a company. In fact, I think they have a number of problems that they need to resolve (as do a lot of tech-related companies), but I don’t go around decrying them as the great evil which Linux must vanquish (which is a rant for another time. I like and use Linux too. I just don’t like the fanboys).

Earlier today, I saw on a different site I keep on my RSS reader that MS was giving away copies of various pieces of software in exchange for running a usability monitor. They were even up front about it. The page at Microsoft basically said “let us see how you use Windows and Office for three months, and we’ll send you the software of your choice when it’s over”

It’s closed now. They ran out of the software they allocated earlier today, so I’m not going to bother linking to it.

I passed on it for two reasons – I didn’t need any of the software they were offering and I didn’t feel like being monitored though I can see where it would be a good deal for some people.

Slashdot got wind of this and the anti-MS crowd came out in droves. You got comments from them running the gamut from “spyware!!!!” to “free? How *dare* they call their software free!!??” (also another rant for another time) to “I’d get it just to smash it”

In other words, they showed more than a couple of reasons why so many businesses and people refuse to take open source, or technical people for that matter, seriously. Whether they realize it or not or like it or not, they are part of the problem. Technology is meant to solve problems, not be a religion.

That’s right. Microsoft is evil because they’re offering to give people software for no greater cost than monitoring their PC usage for a few months. Sounds well and truly evil to me alright. (Please note the sarcasm)

Then again, they’d probably think that my only having to pay $10 for Visual Studio 2005 was evil as well. After all, it means I’m not using Linux or Mac exclusively and that I might actually be doing something productive besides saying how MS needs to die.

(Say what you want. I *LIKE* Visual Studio. It’s a very full featured, responsive IDE and I love having the ability to graphically lay out my user interfaces. It saves so much time.)

Part of me says “I’d say the technical community needs to grow up, but I realize most of the people on there aren’t actually in the IT field” but then the other part of me reminds myself how many people like that I’ve met who *are* in the field.

Current mood: amazed
Current music: Killing Heidi - Mascara

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Pardon the following outburst, but I have to say the following:


They're in the process of making a 5th Phantasm movie. It's currently in pre-production.

It's been a point of speculation for a number of years, and now it looks like it's actually going to happen. *grin*

Hey, give me a break. I'm a fan of cheesy horror movies, and am especially fond of this series of movies.

Now if they'd just release the 2nd one on DVD (1, 3, and 4 are out, but not 2)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Bad Santa.

Apparently Billy Bob Thornton broke into the Microsoft codebase sometime between last Christmas and now.

Once again, Microsoft made their Santa AI agent (based on one of the many classic AI bots that so many of us know so well), only to pull it recently.

It seems that, when repeatedly asked about eating pizza by an underage girl, Santa responded “You want me to eat what?!? It’s fun to talk about oral sex, but I want to chat about something else.”

Microsoft said they don’t suspect a prank on the part of one of their developers and have since repaired the offending code, but are not going to bring Santa back online at the current time.

I wonder if Santa made his own naughty list this year. =]

Current mood: amused
Current music: Lit – My Own Worst Enemy