Showing posts from November, 2004
I'm rarely shaken by a movie, but Requiem for a Dream was unforgettable. A window into the life of four junkies, it gave me a new appreciation for how much Hell can exist on earth.
Quote for the day:

"Nothing beats my S-10. It's been to hell and back so many times it gets Christmas cards from Satan."

Taken from a thread about cars that won't die.
Random thought about Dwight's sermon today:

As he discussed Ephesian's 3:25-32, Dwight interjected something interesting. It seems Europe is being overrun by Muslims.

This brings-up the defining conflict of the early 21st century: Fundamentalist Islam versus the Secularist Europe and America.

What is the endgame here? Western civilization wants to assimilate the rest of the world (minus the Chinese/S.E. Asian block), but what's the Muslim game here? Western (especially European) thought is secular, and so can co-exist with Muslim nations. Muslim thought is more fundamentalist, so co-existence seems impossible.
I'm reminded of Frank Herbert's book, Dune, where the fundamentalist Fremen can overtake the empire because they control the essential resource--the Spice. This situation seems similar

I suppose the greatest juxaposition here is the Muslims, who refuse to assimilate, versus the Secularist Europeans, who stand for precisely nothing. Christianity has meant…
I'm struggling with this latest technical book I'm reading, J2EE Development without EJB

Basically, it's hard to digest, with lots of high-level enterprise construction pieces, but not much to hang it on. I've never built applications the way the author has for the past 5 years, so things he finds as a matter of course, I don't intuitively understand.

I'm blogging about it, basically so I can try to synthesize what I've read in the book so far.

Enterprise applications usually have three layers (or "tiers"):

At the bottom, there's the data, usually stored in high-performance relational databases like Oracle, SQL Server, or several open-source alternatives. More often than not, these systems can be legacy datastores that the business has used for years or decades. For instance, imagine the reservation system for an airline
At the top level, there's the interface to the user. Often, this is a website accessed via a regular web-browser. A g…
I love coffee, football, and having a lazy Sunday :-)

And naps.
Without fail, this is always the time of year when I go:

"Why isn't the girl-next-door Donna Reid?"

Yup...I'm watching It's a Wonderful Life
Josh, take note: I finished a Dave Barry book, Boogers are my Beat

It's a bit of fluff, but militantly so: Barry sets us straight at the beginning that he sometimes does journalism, sometimes does reality, but most often prefers the hilariously mundane. His columns about his Miami-fried hide landing in Grank Lakes, North Dakota during January had me laughing for minutes at a time.

Still he can be serious: His essay about Flight 93 was worth the price of the book alone.

Looks like a long string of technical books for me from now on. :-(
Pretty decent discussion on Slashdot today about metaphors for software development. One of the more cogent posts:

Frankly, I always hated the whole cathedral vs bazaar metaphor. I don't think it portrays well the virtues and faults of open source and proprietary software. I use proprietary software (MacOS + some closed apps) for the same reason I prefer to "dine out" rather than cook my own meals. I just want to choose something delicious from the restaurant's menu - and I don't care that my choices are limited. Yes, if you cook in your own kitchen, you can customize you meal the way you like it - as it is with open source software. But this will consume you a lot of time and effort, so most people would rather avoid it - unless they really enjoy cooking, have really to much spare time or are really short on cash. It's similar with Free Software - you use it if you really like to 'tinker' with everything or are really short on cash. But if you don&#…
Useless, yet fun quiz that probably has spyware attached (Firefox users should be fine):

Do I have a clothing personality?

This is the question I asked myself at 10:30 last night after reading another chapter in my Organization For Dummies book, this one about closets + wardrobe. Granted, most of the stuff was over my head: "For all your ready to wear clothes, don't wash them too often, and avoid leaving clothes in the dryer, as they will wrinkle". Okay, but what's all this "ready to wear" stuff. Who has clothes that you CAN'T WEAR?

The kicker for me was this phrase: "Go through your closet and ask yourself 'Does this piece really fit my clothing personality'?"

Now, I'm a big fan of jargon and neologisms, but 'clothing personality'? Is my clothing personality an introvert? Extroverted? Psychopathic? Fond of plaid? Squeamish around children and the stains they cause? (Probably)

[end bad Dave Barry-esque riffing]

As my darling said (translating the obvious womanspeak of it all), it means "Will this l…
I've changed my opinion on the type-A, feminazi organization-or-die book I bought last weekend. In addition to a few gems of organization Zen ("Get a morning routine. That way, you won't be doing things willy-nilly". Thanks!), it's providing many useful Blog topics.

Such as: Why I'm glad I don't wear makeup. Or why I'm glad I'm a man, in general.

There's a chapter in the book about organizing your bathroom. There's another chapter about organizing your purse. Most of the former and all of the latter deal with one subject--makeup.

Here's my requirements for a good morning experience:

Brush teeth
Put contacts in

A woman, to all the above, must add some Picasso-like adornment of their face with foundation, mascara, lipstick, lipgloss, powder, eyeliner, lipliner, concealer, and God knows what else. Is this a one time deal? NO! The woman must somehow carry a miniture stockpile of all the above WITH HER throughou…
Random thought I had while walking to the coffemaker: Socialism and American Capitalism are converging.

Think about it: The central tenet of Socialism is public ownership of the Means of Production. In modern America, most workers own stock in companies (via their 401(k), etc.), so in essence, the workers (the public) do own the means of production.

Now, granted, in our system, the top 1% of the bougeoisie never have to work a day in their lives (Paris Hilton?), but yet own most of the means of production by way of their influence on corporations as shareholders.

Still yet, in a roundabout way, we the workers in this capitalist paradise make it more indirectly socialist every time we contribute to our 401(k), Roth IRA, or individual investments.

Irony. :-)
Coupla pics from my birthday two weekends ago:

The cake (Icing and decoration courtesy of my Darling)

The really awesome quilt hanger that Whitney got for me:
Well, crap. There goes Colin Powell

I have no way of knowing, of course, but I believe C.P. hs been the only one preventing massinve "group think" inside the Whitehouse. He was a voice of dissent on the invasion of Iraq, and he's the only one in the Bush high command with real international and military experience (Dubya's non-appearance at Nat'l Guard training notwithstanding).

He'll be missed.
Gadgets, gadgets, gadgets...

Well, I made it a whole two hours before going and buying myself that Zire 21 at Staples. I've liked PalmPilots since '99, and I think I'll like this latest incarnation very much. It's extremely basic, but that's fine with me. It imported all my information from my powerbook tonight with only a little tweaking. employer is now installing Spyware to track people's printing. Yikes.
A Weekend Retrospective.

I walked in this morning, roughly on time for my 7:30 video conference with India only to recall...there IS NO video conference with India. Que sera sera...they're having their Diwali Festival, and are out of the office until tomorrow.

Anyway, my weekend:

Friday night, I got the Pup out of the garage after its two week repose for my trip to Louisville to see Whitney and Joey. After driving the truck for so long, it took a few minutes to adjust to the size, power (or lack therof), and nimbleness of my MINI, though I did notice on the trip up there that it had developed a pull to the right.

Someone trashed Whitney's car, so on Saturday morning, I did livery duty, shuttling them to the Pediatrician's office. We had lunch with Whitney's sister, whose made a miraculous recovery, and then dinner at her place--delicious chicken soup.

Sunday was church, lunch, a nap, and a drive home for me. Finally got to talk to Joe, which was awesome. No "D…
Got back on the Book-reading bandwagon the past few days, this time with a technical slant:

Pattern Hatching: Design Patterns Applied

This book is sort of a meta-meta-patterns book, that is it's a book about a book about patterns. You see, computer software is a science of building abstractions; at the lowest level, computers execute a series of instructions, one after another, at blazing speed. If you group these instructions together from start to finish with one purpose, you have an algorithm. If you factor-out common parts of several agorithms, you have subroutines, functions, or procedures. At this point, you're two "levels of abstraction" away from the way the computer actually works.

The human brain can only hold so much information, and for a programmer to write a program, he needs to keep a significant amount of the program in his head at one time. So, like physicists or cosmologists trying to understand the universe, we must develop more and more elab…
On Having Unscheduled Time

Today, I had no schedule. That is, I discarded all things I had scheduled (Autocross, etc.) and just existed. I slept-in. I ate cake for breakfast. I wished my lovely a good trip back to Louisville, then I embarked on a little TLC for Big Red, my Chevy Silverado.

Big Red has 113,000 miles, and hadn't had an oil change since its mid-life overhaul in May. It takes 6 quarts of 5w-30 to fill the crankcase of the 4.8L V-8, and I purchased a case of Valvoline yesterday, resolving that I wasn't going to pay $48 for an oil change at the speedy-change place. I have the tools; why not do it myself?

*** Random thought: Given that this truck has a 25 gallon gas tank, it costs less to change the oil at Valvoline Instant Oil change than it does to fill the tank with 87 Octane. Go figure ***

Well, after a useless trip to Walmart, a run to Advance auto parts (needed an oil filter cap wrench...), and a return trip to Advance to dump the oil and buy some Turt…
Why Bush Won

Say what you like—that at least Bush finally got elected, that the Red Sox swept the World Series because Kerry had to borrow the curse, that America deserves what it gets—but, in my humble opinion, this perceived American crisis of masculinity is the real cause of what happened November 2. Like watching action movies or professional sports, participating in the Bush victory was a psychic restorative, giving back some semblance of a sense of manly honor that has been stolen away by time clocks, Dr. Phil, and Zoloft. Bush's message speaks directly to the heart of the emasculated modern man: stick with me, and we'll stand tall, provide for our families, and kick terrorist ass.

Random, utterly useless tidbit: After trying this past season every weekend to find the perfect tire pressure combination for autocross bliss in a MINI, I found it in my last 4 events, pretty much by accident.

IF you have a MINI Cooper, Sports Suspension, and 15" tires running 205/50R15 Kumho Victoracers, run the rear tires 4psi HIGHER than the fronts, and the car will turn-in marvelously.

If the event is warm to hot (that is, above 50 degrees), run the tires at 44f/47r, adjusting the rears up or down in increments to increase or decrease rotation.

That's pretty much it. There's nothing quite like barrelling towards a hairpin, easing off the throttle in your MINI and feeling the front end tuck-in and the rear take a set that scoots your right around it. Good stuff!
No joke...recent headlines from Slate

Why Kerry Lost
How to move to Canada
Democratic Values: how to Win in the Red Statesli>
Blame it on the Guardian: The international press contemplates 4 more years of Bush

they seem just a little distraught.
The debate du jour on Slashdot: Creationism versus Evolution

Interesting quote:

There's protestant theology in a nutshell. Now, here's where creationism comes in (again, so the argument goes):

If there was no literal first man and woman, then there was no talking snake to tempt them into eating an apple. If that didn't happen, there was no literal fall (the fall had to be by CHOICE, protestants don't accept that God just made humans imperfect from the start). If there was no literal fall, then mankind is not in need of redemption. If there is no need for redemption, there is no need for Christ. This would basically invalidate protestant Christianity.

Never really thought about it this way: Unless there's Original Sin, Jesus was Buddah, basically.

Lively debate, if nothing else.
Ah, I finally have an excuse for having no color distinction compared to women: Some woman have tetrachromatic vision

That's addition to the regular Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) vision that men have, some women with a mutuant gene can perceive 4 channels of color.