Posts

Showing posts from September, 2004
viciously stolen from Fark:


Alabama: Yes, We Have Electricity

Alaska: 11,623 Eskimos Can't Be Wrong!

Arizona: But It's A Dry Heat

Arkansas: Literacy Ain't Everything

California: By 30, Our Women Have More Plastic Than Your Honda

Colorado: If You Don't Ski, Don't Bother

Connecticut: Like Massachusetts, Only The Kennedys Don't Own It Yet

Delaware: We Really Do Like The Chemicals In Our Water

Florida: Ask Us About Our Grandkids

Georgia: We Put The "Fun" In Fundamentalist Extremism

Hawaii: Haka Tiki Mou Sha'ami Leeki Toru (Death To Mainland Scum, But Leave Your Money)

Idaho: More Than Just Potatoes. Well Okay, Not Really, But The Potatoes Sure Are Real Good

Illinois: Please Don't Pronounce the "S"

Indiana: 2 Billion Years Tidal Wave Free

Iowa: We Do Amazing Things With Corn

Kansas: First Of The Rectangle States

Kentucky: Five Million People; Fifteen Last Names

Louisiana: We're Not ALL Drunk Cajun Wackos, But That's Our Tourism Ca…
Image
Moved to wretch about the latest TV disaster, LAX



It's AWFUL!

It'd be one thing if they played it kitschy like they do on "Las Vegas" (Baywatch in a Casino, table for one?), but they're playing this "drama" like it's CSI or something...

Okay, let's look at the facts:

- Heather Locklear is past her prime, and couldn't act when she was in her prime. And this material is just a bit heavier than "Melrose Place"

- The cool thing about shows like this (CSI, ER, etc.) is they take a naturally interesting situation and reward you with exquisite attention to detail. I know very little about planes, but most of what I've seen on LAX seems ridiculous.

Example: 757 is losing electrical systems one by one, including its radio. They can't land it visually because of a cloud layer at 200 feet. So they send up a 1935-vintage DC-3 WITHOUT IFR INSTRUMENTS to 'guide them in'. Gaa!

* * *

Actually, most of this year's shows seem…
Quote of the YEAR from the past weekend's autocross:

Since when do they invite 15 year old hookers to our events?


Andrew Buck...the man, the myth, the legend.

Incriminating video of Mr. Coleman with said trollops

* * *

This actually reminds me of something I wanted to Blog on: The differences between the three regions of SCCA I attend. Don't worry, this will be to the point, I promise.


Lexington (CKR): A bunch of overgrown frat boys who are out for a good time. Mostly guys fleeing from their wives, jobs, and all responsibility to let it all hang out in their miatas. Laid-back, in general. Wives and gf's only...no groupies.
Louisville (KYR): Fast 'n' the Furious, Kentucky-style. Groupies. An innner circle in the club keeps everyone straight about not acting like idiots around the site.
Cincinnati (CincySCCA): take lexington, add 20 years to average age, subtract the miatas and add high dollar, high power cars galore: Corvettes , Loti, Porsches. Too laid-back:…
Finally watched Tennessee Williams's opus A Streetcar Named Desire. Highly affecting film. I'm calloused to drama these days: It takes an amazing story and great acting to hold my interest for long, because dramas are so darn depressing. I can make an exception.

"Streetcar" was spellbinding. Brando is sheer masculinity, and Vivien Leigh embodies insanity. The movie's not easy to watch, dealing as it does with rough people, obsession, prostitution, insanity, and rape, but it did hold me locked in place, awaiting Blanche's next broken soliloquy and fearing Stanley's next violent act.

There's no one here to root for, except possibly the concept of love itself: Stanley is an ape. He's every legers, brawn-over-brains stereotype of man. Stella is held in his thrall, weak and fleeting. Blanche is a deplorable person--liar, parasite, prostitute--but her wistful paeans to love still pluck that human string that resonates in us all. Still, her ma…
You know what's depressing? Working at something you have no control over whatsoever, really, and realizing part of the way through it, it's not going to work and you should've known better to begin with.

Image
Drew won...

Dear goodness...make sure this is not the next MINI:

Jennifer / Nakomis shirt on the Jury:

"What happens in Kentucky stays in Kentucky"

:-)

My money's on Cowboy.
Okay, it's a Swedish movie (with subtitles) that describes a budding romance between two lesbian teenagers, but for some reason I love Show Me Love

The film's a grainy wisp of a story, shot hand-held with no budget, but I find both the main characters captivating in their own way: Agnes, the misfit who's a hopeless romantic, and the instensely beautiful, utterly bored Elin.

I guess the film hits home with me because of the way I fell in love with my darling, on a long cold night nearly 5 years ago. We were from two intensely different worlds, destined for two different (yet reconvergent) paths, but I can still remember the shockwave that went through me when she told me she loved me.

No woman before or since ever had a key to my heart the way she did (and still does).

See this movie, even if you hate Sweden, lesbians, and adolescents in general.
Image
Ahh...the weekend that was:



Saturday had me, Bella, and Mini-man headed down to sunny (VERY sunny) Bardstown ("Barsh-town" in Joey-speak) to the Kentucky bourbon festival. Yup...a whole festival dedicated to the distillation of that nectar known as 'bourbon'.

There were some genuinely cool moments: Sampling the bourbon, enjoying bourbon-marinated pork tenderloin sandwiches for lunch, watching the barrel-rolling contest,



, and watching Joey on his first puke-inducing ride.

more pics

* * *

Sunday meant an early start and a trip down Dixie Highway to Ft. Knox and the autocross.



Autocross was wonderful, and I won!
Me paying the Stupid Tax:

While taking my contacts out last night, I lost the right contact down the drain. Yup, had the water running for no good reason. I figured I'd do this at some point this year...I'm a klutz. Didn't think it'd be this soon, though.

That leaves me with 3 spares for my left eye, but only 1 for my right.

:-) Fun times.

Two Old Folks' Sausage buscuits and two cups of Sumatran later, I'm awake.

My object of lust du jour: The new John Cooper Works Suspension kit, available from MINI USA

Basically, it's a set of coil-over-shock units (springs and shocks in a single package), combined with heightened swaybars. Installing it would may my MINI handle even better than it does now, as well as lowering it the car 1 inch all around.

:-) Only $1100, plus labor at a MINI dealer to install. Yikes.

Image
This has been probably the best literary week of my life, at least since I left college: I've read two software books and one pure pleasure book, a light football-theme paperback called The Way We Played the Game.



The book describes football in a small Michigan town in 1903, when it really was a deadly game: No pads, no face guards, no hard helmets, no neutral zone, no forward pass. It was a pure running sport, with a few lateral passes thrown-in. People died all the time from internal injuries, concussions, and the game itself was probably the most violent 'sport' since the ancient Greek pankration.

Still, little seems to have changed in the intervening years: High school boys straining to be men, communities that value bloodsport over education or even health, graft, gambling, cheating--all were and still are part of football. The game is simple too violent, intense, and visceral to not have all those parts.

It was a quick, breezy read, based on true events, with d…
Ahh...the weekend.

First, a hand-clap of praise. Bella's sister is better, but by no means is she certainly going to make it. As ever, it's in God's hands.

Lots of driving this weekend, over 500 miles' worth. Moved Bella's parents temporarily into a tenement over in Ashland. Place reeks of cheap cigars and the scuz of years of neglect. It's not in an awful neighborhood, but i still feel for them. Still, as a place to crash, it's okay.

Wish they had a scuzzy car to drive to match the place, though...that gleaming Mazda MPV that's clean sticks out like a sore thumb.

* * *

Had a pretty awesome day today: Got to go horseback riding with Bella, who's a hippophobe in the extreme. Still, she did well, even though her horse didn't always follow the leader so well.

Inside joke: I had a horse named "Lips"!?

Watched a thoroughly depressing martial arts film called Hero



I really wanted to like the movie, but I found it too depressing. …
WOOHOO, I'm published!

Actually, I just contributed some technical feasibility to this; none of the words there are mine.

Still, good to see one's name in lights, even if it is one the Evil Empire's website.
Spent some time reading my private blog this morning, just to review how profane and yet oddly funny I can be when I'm frustrated.

I started blogging during Christmas of 2002-2003, and that blog became my private blog. I cuss a good deal in there, because it's my "vent" place, kinda like my diary. Whereas this blog has my thoughts and dreams, that one has my nightmares--petty jealousies, vitriolic complaints about work and all those there (okay, more vitriolic than the ones in this blog), and me generally shaking my fist at the heavens screaming 'WHY?!'

Reading over there reminded me of just how low I've been at times throughout the past year. Life's never very bland for me--it's either great or awful. Bipolar? Maybe.

* * *

Random: There's ONE comment that the Kerry campaign has made that's struck home with me:


John Kerry can rebuild alliances to help America defeat terrorists across the world with other countries' co-operation. …
"Damn you Hal Mumme!"

This is the attack I caught as moving through my presets on the AM band on the way home tonight. The cause? Kentucky's catastrophic loss last weekend to Louisville in the "Battle for the Governor's Cup", 28-0.

28-nothing

28-ZIP.

Basically, the announcer's assertion after his tirade was that Hal Mumme made the Kentucky fanbase believe that anything that was problematic needed a microwavable, need-it-yesterday solution.

Kentucky's fanbase is fickle and pompus, with a superiority complex that needn't be bothered by 5 losses in the last 6 to the Louisville Cardinals.

Whatever, it'll be a tough year to be a Kentucky fan, at least in football.
Image
All the nerds (or former nerds) out there read this by Paul Graham, nerd and tech evangelist. (No, it's not programming gobblydygook...READ it!)

I don't particularly like his writing style, nor his edification of the 'nerd' as the proto-adult who misunderstands the endgame known as 'popularity', but his quotable quotes are amazing:


Another reason kids persecute nerds is to make themselves feel better. When you tread water, you lift yourself up by pushing water down. Likewise, in any social hierarchy, people unsure of their own position will try to emphasize it by maltreating those they think rank below. I've read that this is why poor whites in the United States are the group most hostile to blacks.


Very true: White trash *is* the most racist group, because if there's no one below them, what do they have?


Unpopularity is a communicable disease; kids too nice to pick on nerds will still ostracize them in self-defense.

True also. People of uncertain soci…
Brilliant Dilbert-ness:

PHB: "My keyboard is broken. It only types asterisks for passwords."

Dogbert's tech support: "Try changing your password to five asterisks."

(As an aside, I'm impressed our beloved PHB knew that those starry things were 'asterisks'.)

I so don't enjoy coming-in to work these days...same old problems, never fixed, same annoying people I'm forced to deal with. Same team lead who couldn't lead his way out of a bag, but who's emasculated enough by managment just to make sure he can't. Same development processes spread across 10 timezones. Same lousy product with quality that only get worse.

Same office with too much fluorescent light, too much chatter, too many people who ENJOY staying until 10 pm, so that they feel it's necessary to spend three hours a day jawing.

It's a good job, but I'm not doing anything I believe in, I honestly feel management is clueless, and the general worthlessness of it all is killing me. At the base of it, I'm paid an obscene about of money (thank you, Norman Wirzba!) to program a product nobody uses. Well, at least, that nobody LIKES using.

To beat it all, I'm going to have to work very hard 'til at least February just to try to heave the…
Image
Labor Day:

I'm celebrating Labor Day by doing absolutely no labor. Today or yesterday:



"I did nothing..and it was everything I thought it could be"

Well, nothing is a bit of exaggeration. I've:


Read Joel Spolsky's latest tome on the ins and outs of software development. It's hugely common-sense work written by a gay former Israel paratrooper who moved to this country, graduated from Yale, worked on Microsoft Excel for 3 years, and now runs his own for-profit, closed-source (GASP!) software company in New York.
Played roughly 10 hours of Grand Turismo 3. I used to be addicted to this game and its predecessors, before I acquired a taste for autocross and other non-virtual forms of racing. Still, you can't fault Gt3: It's safe, it's cheap, and it's thrilling, if a huge time vacuum. I started playing yesterday at 7, stopping around 1 am, then playing another 4 hours today. Yikes.
Bought myself some new hiking boots to replace those that crack…
I'm well and truly stuck on this problem, so might as well blog for a sec...

My MINI stinks as a long-distance cruiser (something I do more and more these days, it seems), so I'm coming-up with requirements for an interstate demon:

Must haves:
* Room for 4 adults, plus baggage for two + kids
* Deep overdrive. I don't want to be turning 4k rpm @ 80mph.
* Resonably good handling
* over 25 mpg on REGULAR gas (over 30 would be preferable)
* low insurance costs
* good safety record
* cloth seats

Nice-to-haves:
* manual transmission
* tires that are over 60 in aspect ratio
* color that's easy to keep clean

Yeah, it's an old-man's car. Sue me.
Stuck at work tonight until at least 6:30, so why not blog a bit?

Reality has hit me pretty hard since returning from my vacation...work has been a succession of 10 hour days followed by exhaustion.

Yeah, I know...wah, wah, wah...everyone has to work. I accept that.

Here's the thing: The one thing you fight a losing battle against in software development is entropy. No matter how brilliant the inital design, if you keep adding things to a given system, eventually you must throw the whole thing out. It's sheer thermodynamics--systems tend to move from order to disorder. As you get further and further down that slide, it requires more and more effort to maintain the status quo.

So, that's where I'm stuck. We've change a few small things in our software concerning how it's built, moving from the older nmake utility, which is better suited to compiling C and C++, to the snazzy new Ant tool, which is better for Java projects. It's been a very positive com…