Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holidays, a recap.

Well, I suppose I should give an overview of the last week since I've been putting it off (i.e. recovering) for the last few days. heh

I wrangled it so that I had a few days in a row that I could spend doing little or nothing on project work (mostly because everyone else is out of the office too) and spent a few days with Karyl.

The drive up, which normally takes an hour and a half or so took almost three due to freezing rain hitting when I was within 20 miles of her place. Thankfully I was driving through a suburb at the time and not on the outerbelt, so I didn't have to deal with idiots trying to drive at normal highway speeds in the ice. As an added plus, it was one of the nicer suburbs (one of the top 100 places to live in 2007), so the other drivers were all fairly great about letting each other change lanes, etc.

After I arrived, that evening and the next day were filled largely with catching up, watching movies, and generally enjoying each other's company. It was a nice change of pace from the insane stress we've both been dealing with over the last several months.

At some point during all of this, her DSL finally got hooked up, so I spent a little while getting that set up. We never did get Earthlink's email program to actually transfer out her messages through any sane means, though. I even tried to get it to use imap with a gmail account so the messages would replicate to the gmail's servers and we could just set up thunderbird to snag them all with pop3.

Earthlink's mail program just stuck its tongue out at me. It wasn't a huge deal; just frustrating.

Christmas morning saw us getting up at about 6am to get ready to go to her parents' house. This is, I think, a form of torture for me at the moment because I've been used to working until about 3am for the last couple of years, so I was sort of zombie-like until after breakfast.

According to her parents, it's nothing compared to what she and her sister used to do as kids - waking them up at 3am to open presents. Apparently they've been getting this as payback for years lol

Presents were opened (after hearing about mine and how much I like it, her mother got her father a gps), lunch was had, Christmas Vacation was watched, and we finally piled back into the car to return to her place where I helped put together her new office chair.

A few hours later, due to weather forecasts (the possibility of more freezing rain) and the knowledge that traffic on the 26th would be a nightmare, I started my drive back. Thankfully it only took about 1:45 this time, and traffic was light in the direction I was headed.

Totally exhausted from the trip (I only got about 6 hours sleep over the course of 3 days), I ended up crashing for 10-11 hours that night and still woke up tired lol

In fact, I think I'm still recovering...

All in all, it was a nice trip despite the weather. In addition, I have to say that I think I'm falling in love with my gps.

Current mood: tired
Current music: Ghost in the Shell SAC - Living Inside the Shell

Monday, December 22, 2008

I don't think you understand what that word means

It seems that Google is giving all of its employees an unlocked android phone as a year end bonus (along with the extra money to cover the taxes on said bonus).

Okay, so they're dogfooding their employees on this one. It's not as good as the cash they usually give, but it's still a $400 phone that can be used with any provider.

However, I have a problem with part of this. From the same article is a portion of an internal email from management to the employees which sort of gets me:

Q: Can I resell my phone?
Googlers should not resell any item given to them by Google. Please review our Personal Transactions policy [removed].

Sorry, folks, but it doesn't work that way. You gave them the phone as a taxable part of their salary (and to prove that, you are including enough money to cover the taxes for it in their check by your own admission). That means that you basically have zero say in what they do with it.

You transfered the property and the ownership of said property to someone else. You no longer have control over it. That would be like me selling someone a house and telling them that they couldn't put blue carpet in it.

Or, more to the point, paying someone for their work and then telling them what they have to use their paycheck on. Sorry, but that doesn't wash.

Yet another reason I'm glad I ended up telling the folks at Google I wasn't interested.

Current mood: cold (hey, it's freaking freezing here)
Current music: Shooter - Life's a Bitch

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This post brought to you by the letters W, T, and F.

The Republicans in this state are trying to push through a law that would shrink the early in-person voting period from 35 days before election day to 20 days. Their reasoning is that the week long period in which people can register to vote and actually vote in the same day invites fraud.

I can sort of agree with the thought that that might be a problem, but somehow I doubt that is the real reason they're doing it considering the turnout of new voters (most of which probably voted Democrat).

However, that isn't the point of this post. The point of this post is the reaction from one of the locals on the forums for this town's paper. The following is the full comment (user name withheld). It contains no editing for content, grammar, spelling, etc.

"Oh, now that the Democrats stole the election they can change the rules back. I see how it is. A Republican can't buy a break. I wish George W. Bush would declair that he can't step down as President and just keep going until his Brother wants to take over. This country was just getting over the economic mess the Clintons made of our Nation and now we are about to be sent back into it by another Tax and Spend Democrat. Maybe I should go back to school and learn how to give abortions since that is all the jobs that will be left."

First off, this person wants Bush, the man who has trashed civil rights left and right and run this country into the ground as a *dictator*??

Secondly "the economic mess the Clintons made of our Nation"? You mean that period of time when we had a budget surplus and low unemployment? If that's a mess, I'll take that any day of the week, thanks. He can have all the willing interns he likes as well as long as his wife is fine with it (the locals think that is worse than what Bush has done. Seriously).

To be honest, most of the presidents have probably had all of the willing interns that they've wanted anyway.

I'd recommend the poster go back to school, but more in the hopes that he might get some of that "liberal brainwashing" that they claim goes on at schools (and especially colleges).

I'm not even going to go into stolen elections where Bush is concerned.

Good grief.

Current mood: my head hurts
Current music: Machines of Loving Grace - Butterfly Wings

Just because I feel the need to say it.

I love you very much and I miss you.

Current mood: ...
Current music: Nickelback - If Everyone Cared

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dear Dr Dobb's…

Tis the season – the time for planning gatherings with family and friends, buying presents, and pondering the greater meaning of life.

It’s also the end of the fiscal year for some places I deal with which means in addition to planning a holiday with Karyl, I’m getting requests like “We’re over budget for the rest of the year. Can we bump the payment date a few weeks?” and “We need to use the rest of our budget before the end of the year so we don’t lose it next year. Can we start the billing cycle a little early?”

Neither of those are things I really have a problem with. Most of my clients have been really great about paying on time, so it’s not a big deal. It just makes life a little crazy for the last few weeks of the year.

Consequently, I just got to yesterday’s mail this evening. That’s right, everything that wasn’t either a bill, a check, or something immediately recognizable as having come from a friend was put into a pile on the side of my desk until I had time to give it a glance.

One of those things was the latest issue of Dr Dobb's.

The moment I looked at it, I had to suppress a giggle because there was a mistake on the front cover. In large, bold letters, in order to announce its feature article, it read:

“Functional Programming: Has It’s Ship Come In?”

That’s right. The editors at one of the best regarded programming magazines apparently don’t know the difference between “It’s” and “Its”.

So, if any of the staff of Dr Dobb's read this blog (unlikely, but weirder things have happened), drop me a line via email or give me a call at the number listed on my homepage should you like to hire a new editor.

After all, I have worked in the IT field for a number of years, have been the executive editor of a magazine read by 500,000+ people worldwide and, most importantly, I know the difference between “It’s” and “Its”. =]

Current mood: amused
Current music: Feeder - Shatter
Slice of Life.

Sometimes there are conversations that just have to be shared for the amusement factor. This is a snippet of one of those between my girlfriend, Karyl, and myself carried out via email while we were both taking a break from working.

Karyl: What kind of chocolate have YOU been eating? lol
Me: The chocolate of the innocent :P
Karyl: Who do you know that bleeds chocolate and where can I find them? :P
Me: They're really rare. They were especially prized by the Mayans and Aztecs, so they went into hiding...
Karyl: Find me a colony of them. I might just have to turn vampire. :P mmm chooocolate.

Monday, December 01, 2008

GPS Fun.

Over the last few days, I've been playing with my new GPS. Among other things, I've had great fun looking through the local points of interest.

It's taught me a few things. Among them:
  • There are 3 libraries in this town including the genealogy library (I already knew this, but I wasn't sure where the other two were).
  • There are 20 banks/atms within 6.1 miles of where I currently am.
  • There are 52 churches within 6.1 miles of my current location.
Think about that for a second. There are 3 libraries in the whole town, but within just 6.1 miles of where I am sitting right now, there are 52 churches. That says a lot about this area.

Then I started noticing the names of some of the churches.

The First Church of God - That's a little pretentious don't you think? I mean, honestly...

Chillicothe Bible Church
- I wasn't aware that this town had it's very own bible, but that might help to explain some of the really screwed up parts of the worldview around here. They probably took out all of the love thy neighbor stuff and added in more than a little extra fire and brimstone...

And my favorite of the ones I saw...

Deliverance Baptist Church - I kind of wonder if there's a kid playing banjo outside the door and if sermons start with "Boy, you've got a pertty mouth..."
(I can make those jokes. I grew up around an area that could have inspired that movie...)

Though I have to say that none of the names are as good as the one that has to be my favorite.

About 10 miles or so from where I grew up, sitting at the side of a road I used to drive to go to one of my favorite fishing spots, was a little church. It wasn't always a church. In fact, it started out its life as a one room schoolhouse, but it had been a church for quite some time by the time I was born.

But yes, it was a tiny little church with a hand painted sign - The Holy Ghost Filled Church of Jesus Christ.

The name has since changed, and I wish I had gotten a photo.

My second favorite church name had to be one in my hometown. It was called The Church on the Move. The only problem is that, as long as I knew it was there, it never seemed to go anywhere unless it was like Baba Yaga's hut and grew chicken legs to run around the town with while everyone was asleep...

I somehow doubt it, but you have to admit that a church running around town on a set of chicken legs is sort of a fun mental image. Especially if there were unsuspecting people inside at the time *giggles*

Current mood: Tired but ammused
Current music: New Order - Crystal

Thursday, November 27, 2008

New Toy.

I've been depending on Mapquest pretty heavily recently, so I figured it was time to break down and just get a GPS.

On the advice of a number of people I talk to, I ended up deciding on the Garmin Nuvi. It's small, has a decent battery life, does what I need without a serious case of feature creep, and the price is decent, so I picked one up.

It got here yesterday. The first surprise was that, instead of the unit I ordered, they sent me an upgraded model (no complaint here). I was, however, kind of annoyed that, while there was a car charger, there was no AC charger included. It's not a huge deal. I just have to get an adapter, but still.

So, in the meantime, I'm recharging it on my computer (it charges through its data port).

I spent part of the night playing around with it, adding favorite locations, etc.

After a while, I started looking at the built in points of interest, and ended up finding things I never knew were around here. One of them, however, made me do a double take:

DUI Limo Services.

Would you want to get a ride from a place called DUI Limo Services? I have to say that I'd be a little reluctant to use them for fear of truth in advertising...

Current music: Adam & The Ants - Stand And Deliver
Current mood: tired, but amused

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

No, I'm not dead. I've just been tied up with a lot of things.

It's sort of a busy time, as it is with a lot of people. Work, shopping, trying to find my sanity (not that that's likely), etc.

I thought I'd share a piece of conversation between Karyl and myself yesterday. It rather amused me.

Me: Chocolate, blood, what's the difference? :P
Karyl: What kind of chocolate have YOU been eating? lol
Me: The chocolate of the innocent :P
Karyl: Who do you know that bleeds chocolate and where can I find them? :P
Me: They're really rare. They were especially prized by the Mayans and Aztecs, so they went into hiding...
Karyl: Find me a colony of them, I might just have to turn vampire. :P mmm chooocolate.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

An Old Story.

For the last few days, an old Chinese story has been floating around inside my head.

Sometimes, the best way to get something like that off of your mind is to share it.

A man and his wife lived in their home on the outskirts of the city and every day, the man would tell his wife that he was leaving to have dinner with his important friends.

It pleased his wife to think that he was so well liked by so many important people and that they were so well off. However, as time went by, she became curious to know who his important friends were, so she secretly followed him one day.

What she found made her break down into tears and filled her with horror.

Her husband was indeed dining with important people. Every day, he went to the cemetery where he ate the grave offerings left by the families of dead officials for it turns out that, despite their appearance, the husband and wife were very poor and that even the wife was fooled.

Current mood: contemplative
Current music: Breaking Benjamin – Until The End

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I can haz new toy?

Anyone out there in internet land want to buy me one of these? It's even on sale :P

Monday, November 03, 2008

Time For A Change.

According to some traditions, a new year started a couple of days ago.

In that spirit, I've been meaning to make a resolution, and now, it seems, is as good a time as any to do so.

For the last year or so, I've been extremely busy. To be honest, I've been working on things pretty much 7 days a week for most of it. I really wasn't kidding when I said that taking the day and a half off was a rare chance.

Hopefully that will change for the better soon (and I'm working toward that end), but until then, I just have to deal with it.

That said, the schedule I've been running on (or being run over by depending on how you look at it) has left me with a problem - I haven't been as active as I should be.

To tell the truth, I feel slow and stiff lately. Granted, my "slow and stiff" is still faster and more graceful than most people on a good day, but by my standards, I've slipped more than a little.

In order to remedy this, I have decided to try to carve out some time to start training again. I'm going to have to ease back into it because I haven't for a while, but thankfully I know what I'm doing and how far/hard I can push myself (this is one of the things that having had a really good sifu will get you).

Talking with Karyl about this earlier today, we decided that I should at least try to get back to where I was when I was in college putting the fencing team through its paces and playing with the local black belts. Personally, I want to not only get back there but surpass it. It will take time and effort, but I think it will be worth it.

I made the comment that I want to be skinny, and it was pointed out that, by normal concepts of skinny, that's not going to happen and that "lean" would be a better word to use. She's right. Skinny really doesn't fit with the size of my frame and the amount of muscle that I have (even given my decreased activity of late).

Starting out, I think it's best that I work on strength, flexibility, and endurance. From there, I'll add targeting and fine motor control training.

In my opinion, the last two things on the list have slipped even though they're still better than most of the people I've gone up against. I used to target within 1/2" of a thumbtack sized target at full extension (using either a rapier or a hand and a half sword). Now it's within 1" of a 1" target. Both are, by most people's standards, quite good, but I dislike that I've let myself go a bit. I'm better than that, and I know it.

Now it's time to prove it, and get back on top of things again. By the end of this, I want to lose the tummy, regain my flexibility, and hopefully have my stamina back.

Current mood: pondering
Current music: Bodyrockers - Round & Round

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Basics.

When I was a child, my sifu used to tell me that while learning to fight properly was an important part of my training, the basics were far more useful.

Focus on your stance, posture, breathing, and small movements, because fighting can get you out of some bad situations, but the basics can help you with so much more.

The longer I travel on my path, the more I see that he was right.

The ability to fight has indeed gotten me out of some bad situations, and even helped save my life and the lives of a couple of other people. However, those basics help me focus and clear my mind when I get overwhelmed with things in my life.

Focus on stance, posture, breathing, and small movements.

With those four simple tools, I can work to pull myself together when I start to fall apart. That isn’t to say that they cure everything or make everything “all better”. Nothing will do that, and anyone who tells you differently is lying to you (and possibly to themselves).

For me, those four basic things help me regain enough mental and physical composure to attempt to keep going when things feel like they are going to become unbearable. They allow me to let the flood of problems wash over and around me without drowning me.

For that, I owe him a great deal.

Current mood: …
Current music: Breaking Benjamin – Here We Are

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Anniversary.

I love you very much, and I miss you every day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Political Spam.

I've been politically active since before I was 18.

Heck, I sort of grew up around politics. The mayor of my hometown when I was a kid was a friend of the family (he's a state legislator now). I've had the opportunity to meet, speak with and hang out with governors, congressmen, etc etc etc in both parties ever since I was a young teenager.

Part of it was family connections, part of it is because of the places where I've worked/people I've worked with, and part of it is because, well, to be honest, I have the tendency to meet interesting people (and the fact that I tend to be memorable for some odd reason =] ).

When it comes to politics, I tend to be a moderate. A lot of the people where I currently am would call me a "dirty liberal", but that's largely because they consider anything other than extremely hard right to be "dirty liberal" territory.

To put it into perspective, I had to register as a Republican in my hometown when I turned 18 for one very important reason - so I could actually vote in the local primaries. People would literally fight over who got to be the Republican candidate because *nobody* there would vote for anyone that actually ran as a Democrat. There were more Independent candidates than Democrat ones where I grew up. I kid you not.

I figured that I might as well register in a manner that would allow me to *actually* help decide who would get into office in my city and county.

It was crazy and rather surreal. The sad thing is that basically the whole geographic area was like that (and still is, really). We're talking about people who admit that they would gladly vote Bob Ney back into office if they could "because he isn't a Democrat"!

Me, I tend to vote on the issues and not on the party. I do my research and make my decision (despite what a certain commenter here seems to think because he doesn't agree with my conclusions). I don't care if you're a Republican, Democrat, or a member of the Bull Moose party as long as I think you will do your job well and faithfully for the benefit of your constituents.

That said, I have to admit that, if I didn't vote on the issues, the political spam I've gotten this election season would probably have me voting against every Republican on the ballot. I'm not talking phone calls or letters/fliers. Those I get from both sides. I'm talking actual email spam.

I've gotten hammered with spam from the Republican party for probably two months. I have yet to get a spam message from the Democrats (and yes, I've checked my spam filters).

I can't say that I haven't gotten emails from Democrat candidates for various offices, because I have, but those were actual emails and not spam (yes, I get emails from Republican politicians as well. I have friends on both sides). I don't hear from them as often lately, but then I've been kind of quiet for the last year or so myself due to some things that have been going on.

The point is that the Republicans are really abusing this "new" (to them, at least, it seems) technology to reach out to people. They seem to be spamming anything that moves, because I haven't used one of the addresses for *anything* of a political nature.

The greatest part is that they're spamming me, making twisted (and often false) statements, and then *asking me for money*. That's right. They're annoying the hell out of me with spam email and then expecting that I'll give them money.

Granted that's not quite as good as the spam that I've been getting from the "Bank of Nigeria" in Japanese, but it comes fairly close.

From an issues standpoint, there are almost no good Republican candidates here this time around, but the spamming tactics is just another nail in their coffin in my opinion.

Current mood: tired
Current music: Starship - We Built This City

Friday, October 24, 2008

James Takes A Day Off.

The world ended. I did, in fact, take an actual day off.

No email, no code, I didn't even take the laptop with me. The most complex piece of electronics that came with me (other than the car) was my phone, and it was only used once in order to co-ordinate the hotel stay.

Okay, twice if you count using it as an alarm clock...

I spent a day and a half completely unplugged. I think it was something I needed. I've just been really busy lately, and needed to force myself to stop with everything that was on my plate, even just for a day since I've been running basically 7 days a week for quite a while now.

Thursday was nice. Sunny; a little cool, but not too bad, and relaxed. There was much time spent just wandering around enjoying the day. Friday was a different story - mostly cold and rainy.

On the whole, it was rather relaxing, though I didn't sleep a whole lot. I never seem to under certain circumstances, but that wasn't such a big change since I haven't been sleeping a great deal lately anyway (life's like that sometimes).

At any rate, I'm back now, so the (somewhat ordered) chaos can resume =]

I was, admittedly, kind of surprised that I wasn't contacted by at least *someone* while I was out and that there weren't any major issues in my inbox when I got back. It was probably because I only took one day since the last time I took something that looked like a real vacation, I got about 3 steps inside the door upon my return before I was pounced by directors and upper management going "OMG! The world is ending!!" lol

The funny thing is that *they're* the ones who insisted that I should take some time off because I'd been working so much heh

Current mood: tired
Current music: Backyard Babies - Pet Semetary

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Day Off.

Just a notice that I will be taking a day and a half off during this coming week. It's not something that I get to do often, so I thought I'd take advantage of it. =]

On Thursday, October 23 and most of Friday, October 24 (probably until the evening), I will be unavailable by email, so don't worry if I don't respond right away.

Should you need to contact me and get a more immediate response, you can still reach me by phone (the number is on my website).

Here's to hoping that it goes well, and, of course, thank you for understanding =]

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My Love.

I don’t know if it’s prudent to put this here (in fact, it probably isn't), but the right thing to do is not always the prudent thing to do, and I really think I need to say this publicly. It has more meaning that way…

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to find my center again, and did a lot of things along the way in the hopes of reaching that point.

I trained until I collapsed practically every day for a year. That didn’t work. It just made me tired. Granted, it improved my stamina, but mostly it just made me tired.

I taught duello style fencing for several years. The workout at least got me out of the labs and let me sleep a little at night.

I spent some time learning blacksmithing. There was some quiet to be found there because of the focus required to create pieces and not hurt yourself in the process. In addition, it caused me to put on a little more muscle.

I played with the local black belts from various disciplines. They looked forward to it because of how much they learned. I looked forward to it because it gave me something to focus on.

I threw myself into my work. I regularly spent the night in the labs, frequently until 2 or 3 in the morning. Despite that, I still found it hard to concentrate.

I spent a lot of time at the lake, looking out over the water. It was quiet there. I think you would have liked it.

I took a lot of road trips. I learned that miles on the odometer can’t distance you from some problems.

I took a lot of walks. Some of them lasted multiple days.

I gave private kenjutsu lessons to a couple of people.

I’ve done many other things – too many to list here.

I’ve done, seen and learned many things – some of them good and some of them bad. I am, in many ways, a different person. In some ways I am stronger. In others, I am weaker. In yet others, I am simply changed. Yet, despite it all, I remain myself for that is all I can be, flaws and all.

The one thing that has never changed is my love for you.

On the path I’ve walked, I’ve never forgotten. In fact, you’ve never been far from my thoughts during the entire journey. I’ve learned that the only thing I can do is live my life day by day the best that I can and try to keep hope.

Every year, I celebrate this day as a reminder of you.

Happy birthday.

I love you very much and I miss you every day.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Email Issues.

I apologize if anyone tried to contact me from about 11:20am-12:40pm today. The mail server at my hosting provider took a dive and I didn't get any of your messages.

Please feel free to re-send anything that may not have gotten through and I will make an effort to ensure that I respond to all of you.

Thanks, and I'm sorry for any delays or problems this might have caused.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

I Was The Responsible One?

With some of the things that have been happening lately, I ended up talking to someone I used to be friends with in high school. We lost touch partway through college because of things that happened, but we occasionally get to talk now.

One of the things that came up was how bizarre it was that I was considered the responsible one by the parents of so many of my friends. Apparently any uneasiness was put aside if I was going to be involved. Don't ask me why, but it's true.

I find that especially weird considering some of the insane things *I* did even back then. However, I guess it was that I tried to keep everyone *else* from getting into too much trouble and that I could handle things if they got out of hand that made me the "safe" one to be with (I mean, who better to have your son/daughter out with than their friend that can smooth over problems and, if it comes down to it, help treat injuries or inflict them, right?)

Yeah, I was a regular snarky knight in shiny armor [/sarcasm].

The funny thing is that many activities were only approved *if* I'd be going (road trips, concerts, etc etc etc). If I wasn't going, my friends weren't allowed to go either. It was kind of surreal because I was considered a sort of surrogate adult.

Anyway, to get back on track, my friend and I were talking and that came up. He was as amazed at the whole thing as I was (in part, I think, because he knew some of the insanity that was my life). He ended up making fun of the whole situation himself during part of the conversation:

Friend's mom: Where are you going?
Friend: Um... to ritually sacrifice animals?
Friend's mom: Is James going??
Friend: Yes...
Friend's mom: Okay. Have fun.

(Please note that there was no animal sacrifice involved. I have too much respect for animals. Some people, on the other hand, are fair game in my book *smirk*)

Current mood: tired...
Current music: Sneaker Pimps - Kiss & Swallow

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


It seems like the world is being sympathetic tonight.

The weather matches my mood.

It's raining.

No thunder. No lightning. No high winds. Just a sort of sad, heavy rain.

Rain falls from the sky
landing sadly on the ground
angels with torn wings

Current mood: sad
Current music: Eureka Seven soundtrack - Rainbow

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I am sorry that I wasn't able to be there so very often when you needed me.

Current mood:
Current music: Collapsis - October

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Late night pondering.

You know, it's funny. I always seem to get the urge to train in the middle of the night.

It doesn't seem to matter how exhausting the day has been or if I should sleep. I just get the urge to practice - weapons forms, empty hand techniques, stances, striking... It doesn't seem to matter *what* I train in. I just want to train.

I'd ask why it happens in the middle of the night, but I already know the answer to that question.

It's the same reason I go walking through whatever town or city I happen to be in at 3 in the morning.

Night is when my mind starts to wander the most and the questions come. The training and walking seems to give me something else to focus on for a little while instead of spending that time thinking about things that will, in the end, frequently serve to cause me pain.

It's certainly better than laying restlessly in bed, beating myself up for things I can't change now.

Don't get me wrong. There are good things floating around in my head as well, but late night seems to be the domain of the ones that aren't that pleasant, and I've learned to at least try to work through them.

It's not like I sleep much anyway.

Current mood: tired
Current music: Puddle of Mud - Blurry

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New Math?

A few days ago, the local paper ran a notice that Palin would be here in Ohio doing fundraising.

This isn't particularly surprising. What caught my attention was the price for the meetup in Cincinnati.

$2,500 for a single person or $10,000 for a couple.

Interesting discount program the republicans are running - Bring your wife or husband along for just 4 times the price of a single ticket. This ticket price is to see the woman who was for the Bridge to Nowhere, then when the uproar over it started, she said "thanks but no thanks" (after the money was approved, mind you), and then kept the money to use for other things.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that sort of a no-no?

Somehow that makes perfect sense given the insanity of the Republican candidates...

Hey, McCain did say that he didn't know anything about economics. I think this just sort of proves it unless you think the photo you supposedly get to have taken with Palin should you buy the couples ticket is worth the extra 5 grand.

Of course, if you don't want the couples ticket, you could always opt for the $25,000 VIP reception tickets. (I believe that was per person, though I may be mistaken).

These are the people that so many of the residents in this area want leading the country? People who seem to think that 2*2500 = 10000? A supposed "maverick" that votes with Bush 90% of the time and the governor of a state with a population less than that of the capitol of this state who has, by the way, been immersed in scandal since she was allegedly vetted?

I think I'll pass.

Current mood: tired
Current music: none

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I seem to have had a little success in my quest to get back to something more like my old self since I made the post last month.

I certainly haven't totally become like I was before, and, honestly, I never will because I'm a different person now. However, I have begun to regain some of the positive aspects of the way I used to be.

I'm becoming more outgoing again and am more prone to dance and sing (I know that probably frightens some people who know me lol). The jokes are coming more easily lately (in fact, I nearly made someone nasally eject coffee today heh), and I actually laugh on occasion.

Granted, I still have my down days, but they don't seem to be as frequent. I view that as a good thing.

It does come with some downsides. For one, my bullshit threshold is a bit lower, but that may not be a completely bad thing either.

At least I am getting back to my old mindset of taking the world by the horns and ripping it's head off =]

I get this feeling that something interesting is coming around the corner, and, if not, I'll find it and drag its ass around the corner *grin*

Current mood: tired
Current music: Everclear - Santa Monica

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Going To Extremes

Given the hurricane that hit New Orleans, I made a call to a friend of mine today who lives there just to make sure that he, the wife, and the dog were okay.

"Yeah, we're in Alaska"

I'm sorry, but I thought you said something about the Great White North. I know they said to evacuate, but wasn't that a little extreme?

It turns out that they were on vacation and left home a few days early due to the evac order.

However, I am rather certain that my facial expression was pretty amusing, because when he said he was in Alaska, I just sort of stood there for a second. I think the next thing out of my mouth was "huh?" lol

I love my friends. If nothing else, they keep me on my toes... =]

Current mood: tired
Current music: The Bravery - Believe

Monday, August 18, 2008

Time For A Change.

A lot of things have happened lately that have caused me to do some soul searching. I'm not going into the incidents in question because they are rather personal and, for the people reading this, the result is the more important part.

Looking back, I've changed a lot over the last several years, and I don't like all of those changes. Granted, some of them are positive, but there are more than a few that, well, aren't.

Many of the people who have actually gotten to know me (as opposed to just being acquainted with me) after I turned 21 have known me as a somewhat philosophical swordsman and occasional teacher who, on the whole, walks on his paths alone and fairly quietly.

I wasn't always like that. I used to laugh a lot more often and I wasn't alone on my travels by any stretch.

There was actually a group of us, as frightening as that may be for some people who know me now. In fact, we were more like an odd extended family instead of a group of friends. =]

We were from all over the world - various parts of the US, Europe, Asia, etc.

Our faiths were as diverse as our countries of origin. There were members of Native American medicine societies, a couple of practitioners of Santeria, a Taoist or two, and a few others.

Not all of us trained in martial arts, but many of us did so quite seriously; there was often sparring of one type or another when any of us got together. My favorite practice sessions were probably on the beach, with the waves crashing in the background (or, against me when some of them tried to use the water to their advantage since, at the time, my water tactics *ahem* needed refining lol).

It wasn't all fighting and combat practice with us though. I will admit that that did bring us closer and we certainly had each other's backs when things went badly. However, there was much more to us than that.

We discussed philosophy, pondered the nature of things, shared the details of our lives (both the good and bad), and always tried to be there for each other if we were needed. Sometimes, that meant showing up in person, but frequently, it was done through other means (phone, etc) because of the geography issues.

Like a lot of extended families, it was a rare thing to get us all together in one place. In fact, I think it only happened a few times and one of those was a funeral. It was a lot more common for just a few of us to get together at a time.

It was probably a good thing for the sanity of the people around us that we didn't all get together often. Not to mention that strange things had the habit of happening around any of us, let alone all of us. =]

They had a lot of influence on me over the years. For one, they helped me tremendously in the self confidence department and got me to keep pushing forward no matter how strange things got in my life.

If it wasn't for them, I doubt that I'd be much like I am now (take that however you want heh).

Sadly, sometimes things end. We may not think too much of it at the time, but instead, find years later that we need those things we once had.

Some of them are dead now, and the rest I've fallen out of touch with for one reason or another. The big reason for losing touch with the last of them was when an important relationship ended for me in 2001 and I basically cut myself off from almost everyone that I knew so that I could find myself and start over.

Like most things in life, it was a trade off. I grew stronger on my own in some ways, and weaker in others. Even though I know that it was something I had to do, I regret it because I really do miss the fellowship and sometimes feel as though I lost some of the best parts of myself in the deal.

Having said all of that, I'll get to the results of my soul searching.

I miss my old friends, and while I'll probably never get to see them again, I have resolved to try and re-learn the things that they taught me. Though I'm not going to forget the things I've learned since then, I'm going to try to be more like my old self from now on and proceed with confidence.

It's time to step out of the shadows and actually get on with things instead of just going through the motions.

It will undoubtedly be an uphill struggle, but I think it will be well worth it.

My friends, wherever you are, I just want to say thank you.

Be well

Current mood: hopeful
Current music: Fall Out Boy - Sophomore Slump Or Comeback Of The Year

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I must be crazy...

Among all of the other things that I'm doing (and all the things that I need to do) is now something that I have previously jokingly dismissed.

I've started writing a book.

It's not my top priority, and it's certainly not going to be a full time thing, but it is, apparently, going to be a thing.

Knowing me, most of the progress I make on it will occur at 3am since that seems to be when I get philosophical about things if I'm alone.

Why am I doing this?

It's been nagging at me.

I suppose part of it is the fact that, while talking to people about the general subject of life, I keep getting told that I should.

I have no idea if it will ever be finished or, should I finish it, if it will ever be published, but it seems to be something I need to do in order to get it out of my system if nothing else.

I can't promise that it will be "Chicken Soup for the Soul" material, but hopefully someone will enjoy it. All I can promise is that it will be influenced by my, sometimes nonstandard, experiences.

For all I know, I may only write six pages and then forget all about it. Only time will tell.

Current mood: drained in far too many ways...
Current music: Gary Numan - Angel Wars

Thursday, July 10, 2008

New Toy

Yes, I'm going to do an entry about a programming topic. I know. I know. It's shocking. =]

As I've said before, I use Ruby on occasion. I honestly only use it for smaller scripting stuff - things that I used to use Perl for.

It's a handy language (not to mention a heck of a lot more readable than Perl). However, I've had a problem with it - the lack of a really good IDE.

Since I started using it, I've been using either a text editor or FreeRide, the IDE that comes with Ruby. Both of these things do the job, but they make my life harder than it should be in my opinion.

Of course, if you listen to some people, my life should be much much harder, but we try not to listen to them too often =]

Sorry. Where was I? Oh yes, IDEs.

Flipping through the latest Dr Dobb's, I see a mention that NetBeans 6 now has support for Ruby, and a standalone version for Ruby if you don't want the whole package, so I decided to give it a shot.

I like it. It doesn't have *everything* I'd like, but it does have a number of things that are nice and, let's face it, it's free (as in beer and as in speech for the rabid Stallman fans out there. Now go back to your basement where you belong =])

On the positive side:
  • Auto indent
  • Paren matching
  • Highlighting
  • Auto insertion of closing parens and, I believe, quotes
  • Debugging
  • It's fairly snappy
  • Compared to FreeRide, it's rather easy on the eyes

On the negative side:
  • No Intellisense-like completion (or if it has it, it's realllly slow. I'd wager it's the former).
  • Requires a JKD (not a huge deal. Just a bit of a headache when you find out during install)
I haven't played with it a *whole* lot, but what I see so far, I like. It's certainly better than the setup I had been using before, and it's a whole lot more aesthetically pleasing.

Honestly, I'd love to have something like Intellisense on it, but it's not a deal breaker, and, for a language like Ruby (where everything is an object of basically indeterminate type), I can see how it would be a bit of a pain in the butt to provide.

Current mood: decent
Current music: Fastball - Fire Escape

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I'd like to see Miracle Max now, please.

It seems like Murphy, my friend with his own Law, has been kicking my ass (and by extension, the asses of people I care for) for the last several weeks. In fact, I think I've become his personal hobby lately.

Either that. or someone is tugging at the strings of my fate in ways that I don't like (I hope not).

Every time I turn around, something else has happened. It's nothing that I feel like going into because I really don't feel like unburdening myself on here.

Suffice it to say that I'm honestly just hoping that it's the world's way of burning off a lot of bad karma for me all at once so something more positive can come through, because I don't know how many more hits from the Cosmic Sledgehammer I can take right now.

I am, to say the least, a little frazzled lately from everything that's been going on.

The latest one came a day (or, rather, two now) ago when I found out that a friend of mine has been having some heart problems and is being monitored for it. She and her husband both think it's stress related, and I can see why since she never seems to get a chance to stop and relax.

I wanted to smack her for not telling me sooner, but I didn't think that would do wonders for her stress levels =]

Hopefully things with her straighten out soon. She's decent people and, as selfish as it is to admit, I'm really tired of losing friends lately.

It's just been sort of the icing on the cake for the events of the last few weeks.

Here's to hoping that things get better before long.

In the meantime, I just have to do what everyone else does - work with the cards you have and keep trying to move forward.

Current mood: tired
Current music: The Devlins - Alone in the Dark

Friday, July 04, 2008

One whose passing I will *not* mourn.

I've never understood the whole "I don't want to speak ill of the dead" spiel. Just because someone dies does not give them a free pass against criticism that they deserve for their actions in life. My take on it is that, if you were a bastard in life, that doesn't magically change once you stop breathing.

That said, I have to note a death here that I, for one, will *not* mourn.

Jesse Helms, former Senator from North Carolina died today, July 4th, 2008.

He was a man opposed to civil rights for anyone who wasn't just like him and a shame to the human race.

In fact, he had the following to say of the 1963 civil rights protests: "The Negro cannot count forever on the kind of restraint that's thus far left him free to clog the streets, disrupt traffic, and interfere with other men's rights."

This is the sort of man we're dealing with here, and his legacy continues in a similar vein during his entire career as a public figure.

Among many other things, he opposed desegregation, gay rights of any sort, and a woman's right to chose what to do with her own body. He even opposed the creation of a holiday for Dr Martin Luther King Jr, a man which most of us will agree tried to do more than a little good during his all too short lifetime.

He was notorious for using race not only in his own campaigns, but also the campaign of United States Senate candidate Willis Smith.

From wikipedia:
While working on the primary campaign against Frank Porter Graham, Helms helped create an ad that read, "White people, wake up before it is too late. Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and your daughters, in your mills and factories? Frank Graham favors mingling of the races." Another ad featured photographs Helms doctored to illustrate the allegation that Graham's wife had danced with a black man.

In short, I think the man was a piece of scum that should never have bothered the world with his presence. However, I am not the only person with an opinion on the matter as he is being lauded by members of his party as a great leader. Apparently they don't know what a great leader really looks like (but then, considering the person in the White House, I am somehow not surprised).

Personally, I find it fitting that a man who worked so hard to keep rights away from others died on the anniversary of a group of rebels standing up and saying that THEY deserved many of those same rights. We can only hope that at least part of the hatred, bigotry, and ignorance that Senator Helms espoused dies with him today.

Jesse Helms, you will not be missed. I am tempted to say that I hope you come back as a minority and homosexual born into a non-Christian family so you could hate yourself as much as you hated others and be subject to persecution by idiots like yourself, but that would just be petty. =]

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Current mood: tired
Current music: Disturbed - Inside the Fire

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Computer Haiku

These were actually written right after I logged off the night I wrote the 3am Haiku entry, but I just haven't bothered to put them up here yet.

Enjoy (or cringe. Whichever you prefer.)

Program is not flawed
It's a feature not a bug
Users never learn

Microsoft asks us
Where we want to go today
Answer's not Vista

The program compiles
A pointer is left dangling
Seg fault, dumping core

Code is like Neo
It learns that there is no spoon
But there is a fork()

You wrote the program
Others much maintain your code
Leave comments, damnit

Current mood: tired
Current music - Vanessa Carlton - Paint it Black

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Pass by reference.

I got a call yesterday from a company that wanted to do a reference check on a friend of mine.

Of course I gave him a good reference. We've known each other and worked together for a number of years and he knows what he's doing (not to mention being a great guy).

After it was over, I called to let him know that I had been contacted and joked that I gave him a horrible review. =]

The thing that surprised us is that the company even *called* me. It's been our experience that almost nobody does reference checks anymore despite almost always asking for references.

Does that make sense to anyone else out there in Internet land, because it doesn't to me. Maybe there's someone reading this who works in HR that can tell me why so many companies ask for something they never check/use.

Oh well. That's life for you.

I'm just glad I could give a friend a hand.

Current mood: not bad
Current music: Rise Against - Paper Wings

More Proof That I'm Evil

I was sitting here a little while ago, taking care of one of my swords and looked over to where my gloves were laying.

As some of the people who have trained with me over the years can tell you, I tend to get attached to my gear. After a while, it sort of becomes a part of me. It's true of my swords, it's true of my armor, and it's true of my gloves (whose smell I admit that I find intoxicating and a powerful memory trigger. There's just something about well-worn leather).

Part of the reason I am so attached to a simple pair of gloves is the time that it takes to break them in. The current pair I use, I've had for almost 8 years now, and it took over a year to break them in.

That's right. It took a year of fighting 2-3 days a week for 2-3 hours per day to break in a simple pair of gloves. For that year, until the inside of the gloves were cured by my sweat, my hands would be blue at the end of the night from the dye leaching out of the leather.

This is where we get to proof that I'm evil.

Among other things, I was in charge of training the problem fighters - the ones with too much aggression, too little aggression, poor control, etc (this is what growing up training will get you: more responsibility). The result of this was that I dealt with a lot of slaps to the hand area. It's a good thing my gloves have padding across the back of the hand.

One of the problem fighters was Karyl.

Her problem was that she had too little aggression, so I pushed her. I made her hit me. I taunted her into it. I demanded it. I actually yelled at her to hit me harder because she wasn't even hitting hard enough to score a fatal hit (which doesn't take a whole lot of pressure). I even whacked myself in the mask repeatedly with my sword to make the point that she wasn't going to hurt me.

She finally started to hit harder. However, being a beginner, she was still a bit sloppy so there were more than a few slapping shots to my hands (I wasn't allowed to train them the way my sifu trained me. They should be glad for that, but their control would have been a whooooole lot better lol).

Now, remember what I said about the gloves? Well, they were still leaching.

At the end of the night, she's standing there when I pull off the gloves. Both of my hands are bruise blue from the black dye in the gloves.

I can NOT pass up a joke like this that falls into my lap.

I look down, pretending to notice my hands are covered in "bruises," and she follows my glance.


Karyl promptly freaks out, falling all over herself apologizing and looking like she's torn between running away and passing out while I nearly fall over on the floor laughing.

Hi. My name is James, and I'm an evil bastard. =]

At least she laughs about it now. lol

Current mood: amused yet frustrated
Current music: Billy Joel - I go to extremes

Thursday, June 26, 2008

That'll never be abused.

Apparently, ICANN is talking about the open creation of top level domains.

That's right. Anyone who wants will be able to create one.

I call dibs on .onmyface and .inbedwithachicken

I just think it has the potential for hilarity *giggles*

Current mood: amused
Current music: Basement Jaxx - Where's Your Head At

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Treating people like people is bad for business?

The local paper ran a story today about a proposal that would force employers to offer seven paid sick days a calendar year.

On the whole, I think this is a positive thing. Far too many people go to work sick, not taking any time to recover (and making other people sick in the process) because they can’t afford to take the necessary time off.

Tony Fiore, director of labor and human resources with The Ohio Chamber of Commerce, however, has a differing opinion. It seems that he is traveling around the state to talk to business owners in order to convince them to vote against it, and, from the looks of it, spreading quite a bit of FUD while he’s at it.

From the article:

"We're looking to make the state a competitive place to do business," Fiore said. "We've got a minimum wage and worker's compensation laws. How many regulations before people say, 'Ohio isn't the place I want to do business.'?"

Am I the only one who reads this and hears something more like “Don’t complain and get back to work, slave! You should be glad we don’t have you flogged!” going on in what passes for this man’s greedy little brain?

A minimum wage and worker’s compensation laws? You mean we actually comply with federal regulations!!?? HOW TERRIBLE!

It’s a great example of employers showing quite plainly that they want to own employees instead of pay them for their services and treat them as, you know, people.

Of course, the locals are against this measure. It never ceases to amaze me that they worship the people who want to screw them over. (My theory is that they secretly want to *be* those people and so have created a sort of cargo cult around it)

Is it possible that some people will abuse this? Sure, but you get that with *anything*. The thing is that they’re trying to turn it into a boogey man in order to scare people into thinking that they’ll all lose their jobs if this law passes (which just isn’t true).

Let’s face it – for a “first world” country, we treat our own people more like they would in a “third world” one. Take a look at Europe (or even Japan, where they actually have a word for “death from overwork”) and then look here. We’re behind in life expectancy, quality of life and a great deal of other things. We even work more, on average, than they do (even Japan).

Wake up and smell the coffee, folks. If you don’t take a stand, nobody will.

Current mood: pondering
Current music: Fall Out Boy – Thnks Fr Th Mmrs

Monday, June 23, 2008

Farewell, our acerbic friend.

At around 6pm PDT June 22, 2008, George Carlin died of heart failure at the age of 71.

If you know me, you know that I was influenced far too much by this man in the sense of humor department. (That hasn't gotten me in trouble before. noooooooooo lol)

Let's all say the seven words in his honor.

He will be missed.

and just remember - you can prick your finger, but don't finger your prick =]

Friday, June 20, 2008

3 a.m Haiku

The moon shines brightly
Light reflected from the sun
Not made of green cheese

Cat contemplates world
Leaves gift for us to step on
Hairball in the night

Ice is found on Mars
Intelligent life there too?
Certainly not here

Incoherent words
Drool pooled upon my keyboard
Typing while asleep

Writing bad haiku
Great distraction from boredom
Words torture reader

Don't read my haiku
Bad poems are much like yawns
They are contagious

I write bad poems
You shudder as you read them
I laugh at your pain

Hand reaches upward
Splitting wide the rich black earth
The zombies return

Zombie bites your head
Looking for a brain to eat
He dies of hunger

Can't breathe during night
Furry monster on my chest
It's only the cat

Scuffle at the door
Cat wishes to sleep with me
But he hogs the bed

I must get some sleep
But I can not quit writing
Make the poems stop

There is quite thin line
Between genius and crazy
I cross it daily

Why bad poetry
Comes so easily at 3
I have no idea

Compelled to write more
But I really need to sleep
This is the last one:

World is full of strife
To quote Edward R Murrow
Good night and good luck

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Help, we're being repressed!

As an example of what I was talking about with regard to trying to make policy and law based on religion being a problem here, there is a story in the local paper about a small town near here that received a letter from the ACLU to stop opening their council meetings with a sectarian prayer because it gives preference to one religion over others.

Personally, I agree with the ACLU on this one. The locals, however, have a different view. Apparently telling them that they can't put themselves before everyone else is somehow taking away their "rights" and that the separation of church and state shouldn't apply to them.

That's right. In their mind, they're being repressed because they're being stopped from discriminating on the basis of religion.

From the comments:

"Intervention by the ACLU only adds to the problems of our country. Statistically, there are more Christians in America and it is time we become more of a voice instead of just a number. We need to take back our liberties and stop letting these extremists continue to stick their noses in where it don't belong, never did. To start, just as the Council in Greenfield does, we need to go to the Lord in prayer and earnestly pray for the people and organizations who want to take God out of everything. And I agree Just Dale about what you said concerning the ultra liberal candidate for our president. Truthfully, I'm still hoping there's someone out there better qualified than all of our choices, that will throw their hat in the ring!"

  • EDIT: It seems that the paper has decided to pull the entire story. Before the change to the website, when the comments on an article made the city look bad, the editor would kill the comments on the story (He has a habit of pandering to the Chamber despite the fact that he denies it). Now, it appears that he simply un-makes the news, so I guess this particular event never happened now [/sarcasm]
  • EDIT 2: Okay, I finally found the story again. They not only removed all of the comments, but they *changed the URL*, *removed it from the day's news page*, and made it possible to find it only by doing a search of the archives. So, in essence, the first edit was correct; they killed the comments and tried to bury the story.
  • They're starting to comment again. I wonder how long until those are erased. One of my favorites - "One GOD one JESUS one HEAVEN one hell. I don't want to be in the aclu's position on the day of judgement. YOU WILL KNEEL BEFORE THE ONE GOD." You have to love the peace and tolerance. Personally, I think the ACLU would be viewed more positively than the people who are trying to force their faith on everyone else. =]

Current mood: frustrated
Current music: AFI - Love Like Winter

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Change? Who needs that!?
James Opens Another Can.

I've really cut back on the posts about the local political landscape, and I've done it on purpose. I find that it tends to make me more negative, and I'm trying to improve in that area.

However, this is about the presidential election, so I'll post for this one.

The post which follows is in response to a blog entry on the local paper's website. The person making the post claims to be a retired janitor with "100 hours of graduate study beyond an M.A. in U.S. history." (anyone else's bullshit alarm going off yet?)

I'm going to do this in a quote and response style. The blog entry is linked above, so feel free to read it if you like (some of his other posts are real winners too).

"Sen. Barack Obama's campaign slogan "Change We Can Believe In" is a nonsense phrase. It has no real meaning.

Am I the only one who thinks that it doesn't make any sense to believe in "change"? I can see believing in religion or love or maybe even music, but believing in "change" makes no sense."

While I don’t think it’s wise to seek change simply for the sake of change, after the last almost 8 years of Bush in office, you bet your ass I’m ready for change in a positive direction. We (at least the sane among us) don’t expect everything to happen overnight, but we do bloody well think it NEEDS to happen.

“Bill Clinton suggested "It's time to change America" when he ran in 1992. I don't recall him changing much of anything, although two years later voters changed Congress by replacing many Democrats with Republicans.”

For someone who claims to study US history, you don’t seem to know a whole lot about it. Under Clinton, we actually had a budget *surplus* which Bush decided to squander when he came into office.

That was quite a change from the previous administrations as well as the current one.

Then again, I’m responding to someone who thinks that Clinton got off from lying to a federal judge because he was the President when the truth is that he was found not guilty because the question had no bearing on the case he was testifying about and therefore had no place being asked.

And this guy claims to have a master’s degree in US history?

“The slogan "Change We Can Believe In" sounds like something a child might consider impressive, but it has no real meaing.”

No, the slogan is a rallying cry for everyone who is sick of a government that is of the Exxon, by the Halliburton, and for the Wal-mart. It is a blatant statement that things need to CHANGE and that if they don’t, the downward spiral we are currently in will only get WORSE.

“Not surprisingly, Obama has more appeal to inexperienced young voters than to wiser older voters who have seen a lot of fast talking phony politicians.”

You have to love how he defines wise people as people who think like him and are in his age group when he shows a decided lack of wisdom. Granted, I may be a wiseassed 20-something, but I’m a politically savvy one (and certainly not gullible) who realizes that THIS IS MY COUNTRY TOO AND *I* NEED TO HELP STEER IT BECAUSE IT IS PART OF *MY* DUTY AS A *CITIZEN*.

Sorry, kiddo, but I’ve been involved in politics since before I was 18 and did it using my own mind instead of making snap decisions.

Guess who I’m voting for. It certainly isn’t McCain, who, despite trying to look like a moderate, is a conservative in the shape of our current “leader”.

That’s something that laughing boy doesn’t seem to get. Then again, he’s also a member of the generation that has the funny habit of deciding that a program is no longer needed after they’re done using it (but that’s a whole other rant).

“Obama a few months ago commented about the psychological state of small town people who believed in religion, etc. What is the psychological state of people who believe in some vaguely defined "change"? “

Religion is a fine thing. However, it has no place in public policy. It is a private, personal matter and should be kept that way.

What Obama was talking about was the fact that people in the Midwest (especially in the rural areas) often try to get their elected officials to pass laws based on their religious convictions.

Try running as a person who is openly non-Christian around here even if you *are* the best person for the job and see if you get elected. In all honesty, you would not only have a huge smear campaign leveled at you but also possibly death threats, physical violence, your property defaced, etc.

As an example, our current governor was smeared for not being the right *kind* of Christian (he’s not Baptist, which seems to be the common denomination here).

Was it poorly worded? Sure. However, it was both sad and true. I should know. I grew up around it and continue to be surrounded by it. The sad fact is that a lot of people are trying to use religion as a political tool and that needs to STOP.

There are plenty of nice people around here, but there are far too many that want to make laws based on their religion, to the detriment of everyone else.

“Obama's supporters must have very empty lives to believe that some vague "change" is going to make their lives better. Do they expect the president to provide them some type of psychological satisfaction?”

No, we expect a change from the way things have been under Bush. Possibly back to something that actually looks and behaves as though it were at least sort of “Of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

However, that is going to require “change” and involvement – most notably from the younger generations which he derides as being naive.

“As an historian I am inherently suspicious of politicians who rely on oratorical ability to reach people on an emotional level.”

This is a good stance to take. However, *all* politicians rely on oratorical ability to reach people on an emotional level. The question is whether or not they can and will work to affect positive change.

“How can we be sure the that Barack Obama is not talking about a "change" designed to reduce the level of democracy in the United States?”

Apparently he really isn’t much of a student of US history. Despite the shenanigans of the current “president,” the answer to that question would be “separation of powers” (i.e. “checks and balances”) and THE CONSTITUTION.

I hate to tell him this, but this is our world as well and will be long after he and his kind are gone.

On second thought, I don’t hate to tell him that. I just wish I could do so to his face. Of course, I’d also be sorely tempted to tell him that he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about and that it really shows (not to mention doubting the degree that he claims to have).

Current mood: annoyed
Current music: Tonic - Open Up Your Eyes (it seemed appropriate)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Magnetic Poetry Sea

I'm a magnetic poetry addict. Have been since college. A certain someone got me into it, and, well, it went from there. The fact that I love word games and language probably doesn't help.

Recently, I got a few new ones. I found them on American Science & Surplus of all places. Since they were only $2 each, I splurged and got all four sets - Alien, Ghost, Therapy, and Gross & Weird.

This has lead to a number of weird and amusing, even by my standards, strings of words on my marker boards. Among them are the following:

"What would Jung do?"
"Vomit, by Freud"
"I possess repressed overbearing pathological sanity!"
"You can't destroy her invisible codependent goblin cloud"
"Smile you're having an anal probe!"
"They let me eat his eyes at the ritual"
"The stormy corpse flew on frightening Halloween instinct"
"Subconscious knife rain"
"Fantastic diagnosis or wicked extraterrestrial meds?"
and "Beta-powered sexual meteor!"

I have no idea where that last one came from. I basically just pulled words out of my tub and there it was. Go figure.

I refer to the collection as The Magnetic Poetry Sea because it's really starting to get fairly large. I wasn't kidding when I say there's a tub of it. If I get a house, I have a feeling that a wall of one of the rooms (or at least a significant portion of it) will be magnetic for the Mag Poetry Sea.

The Sea just keeps growing. Some companies even feed my addiction because they give sheets of the stuff as swag. =]

I really want a set with programming words, though. I may end up having to get a printable magnet sheet and making my own.

Current mood: amused
Current music: Backyard Babies - Pet Semetary