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New Site Features

Wednesday, November 30, 2005
In a move that will either depress me or interest me, I've decided to keep track of site statistics. I'm using a program called The Webalizer that I've set to run twice a day to examine the logs and see what kind of folks are visiting my humble corner of the web. Of course, I've also changed the logging format so we can see what kinds of browsers are out there, too, so I've actually had to discard any previous logs. Bummer.

Anyways, the link is over in the sidebar under "Site Usage & Statistics", in case anyone's interested. Of course, it keeps track of THAT usage, too. :)

Statistics are updated four times a day: 1 AM, 8 AM, 1 PM, and 5 PM. (Hours that shouldn't interfere with anything, in case you were wondering.)

War: what is it good for?

The President gave a speech this morning at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland on the topic of the Iraq war. (IS there a more receptive audience?) In response to increasing political pressure and plummeting approval ratings, he outlined more clearly his thinking and plan for this war.

I'm glad the president could finally be bothered to talk to us little people about his "thinking" on this whole war thing. I'm personally scared of the government, no matter what the majority. I acknowledge the need for it, but I want it to be as transparent as possible. Power corrupts, it's been said, and our government has becoming an institution that is a self-serving, protectionist creature.

But wait, there's more. I heard those most interesting quote on the radio this morning from a political analyst who was talking about the mid-term elections coming up next year. He mentioned that many Republicans are trying to distance themselves from the President a little in order not to ride on the increasing dissatisfaction with his handling of the war in Iraq. The analyst said of the Republicans "They need to make this war popular again."

I'll leave you with that thought.

Movie Review: The 40 Year Old Virgin

Monday, November 28, 2005
I also saw The 40 Year Old Virgin this weekend. There is a classification of moves that I can't stand: the stupid-funny movies. I can't stand movies like Dumb and Dumber or anything like that because the characters are stupid and the humor is stupid. Such is not the case, however, with The 40 Year Old Virgin. I laughed, I cried, I liked it better than Cats.

The story centers around a guy named Andy (played by Steve Carrell, who also wrote the movie). Andy happens to have made it to the tender age of 40 without... you know. His younger buddies at work find out and embark on a quest to help him "lose it" while still dealing with the problems in their own relationships. Much hilarity ensues.

The bottom line: Funny movie. If you can't see it in the theaters, rent it.

Movie Review: The Aristocrats

This weekend I had the opportunity to see The Aristocrats, a movie billed with the tagline "No Nudity No Violence Unspeakable Obscenity".

At the end I felt like less of a human being for laughing as hard as I did.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The premise of the movie revolves around one joke - I won't repeat it here, but the details of the joke are in the Wikipedia. The joke, in and of itself, isn't that funny. It's the TELLING of the joke that's the humor (combined with the irony of the punchline.)

Listening to a hundred different comedians tell this joke and watching them laugh is what's funny. Learning that this joke can be told with a deck of cards almost made my side split. Learning that Bob Saget (I hated Full House) is not only really funny, but possibly the dirtiest, filthiest man alive was hysterical. Watching Drew Carey and Robin Williams give the same punchline with the same timing was a rare moment. And watching Carrie Fisher tell a dirty joke ruined my childhood - but it was worth it.

Anyway, this movie is not for the faint of heart. But the final word is: If you have the chance to see it, take it. If you don't have the chance... make one.

They'd have to pay ME!

Friday, November 25, 2005
Apparently in Britain you have to have a license to watch TV. And some people, amazingly enough, aren't paying it. A bit of research shows that the average household's colo(u)r TV cost them just over £10 a month last year. While this may go to support things like the BBC (yay BBC!), it still strikes me as odd to have to PAY to watch TELEVISION. Admittedly my broadcast/cable television consumption (at home) is less than about 10 minutes a month. It would be EVEN LESS if I had to pay a fee to do so. (According to the TV Licensing Authority, you don't have to pay if you just watch movies. )

How do they check this?

Diminishing Returns

Thursday, November 24, 2005
I had a wonderful dinner at my parents' house tonight, filled with family and friends. As is any party at my parents' house, this one was filled with wonderful wine. My brother and I were drinking, of course, and my dad pulled out a bottle he'd opened earlier and said (because he's INTO wine), "This bottle cost about a hundred dollars." This was said, of course, to help us appreciate the quality of the wine.

I drank it. It was good. But I said to my brother, "This is good, but is it twice as good as a $50 bottle of wine? I don't think I'd know the difference." I am NOT a wine connoisseur, but I have had enough wine to start knowing what I like.

This led me to speculate on the diminishing returns of wine pricing. Generally speaking, spending twice as much for a good bottle of wine does not return to you a bottle of wine that is twice as good.

You can quote me on that.

Graciousness

Wednesday, November 23, 2005
One of my personal flaws is that I try to practice graciousness (see definitions 1 & 2) when being let down. Instead of puting up a huge fight or making a big scene, I accept what happens and try to let the other person feel okay about themselves. People hurt me and I take it and try to be polite and compassionate about it. Yet, this favor is not returned to me. Essentially I take what I'm given (more or less) politely, yet others down always don't do the same to me.

What's wrong with me?

The Technological Achillies Heel

Power.

In working with technology there is a single thing that I find frustratingly limiting: available power. And by that I actually mean available power outlets. My office at home has a bunch of power outlets, and off each one is a power strip. And I'm out of available power outlets. This is part of what I have plugged in to the power strips:
2 monitors
1 PC
1 Mac mini
1 Cisco NAS
1 external hard drive (for the mini)
1 wireless keyboard/mouse
1 cable modem
1 wireless router
1 hub
1 laser printer (I should hook that up some day)
1 desk lamp
... the list goes on. Do you want to know how many of those have those irritating transformer blocks RIGHT ON THE END????

That's my rant for right now, inspired in part because I'm having the same problem at work.

Magical Blogger Mood Ring

Current Color: Deep Red

Smoldering anger, resentment, and frustration on my part. But hey, it's Thanksgiving. Have a great holiday, everyone.

Who's the man?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005
I took a class from Red Hat last week called the RH300, which is a rapid-track week-long intense course with the goal of earning the RHCE certification from the test at the end. The test was one of the hardest things I've done in a long time - mentally challenging and physically exhausting.

But I passed. I'm the man.

Two and a half months...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005
New Orleans was hit by its first post-Katrina homicide today when a woman was found stabbed to death. I'm really glad that we as a civilization could manage to hold off killing each other in this devastated town for two and a half months after a huge national disaster. However, something's wrong because (according to the article) they're only 20 murders shy of where they were last year. Sounds like they've got some catch-up to do to get life back to normal.

What's a little car fire between friends?

I'm sure this isn't funny if it happens to you but is sure IS funny if you read about it on the news. I hate it when I'm driving along and my gas tank falls off.

Yay Microsoft?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005
In a rare moment, software megacompany Microsoft is standing up for the little guy (that's us) against music and entertainment megacompany Sony. As has been previously reported elsewhere, Sony decided that in the interest of securing its intellectual property (that's the artists' music, of course) they had the right to install a root kit on the Windows machines of anybody who inserted a Sony-produced CD in the CD-ROM drive.

This is a Bad Thing(tm).

What gives them the right? This is MY computer. I purchased the CD (or at least, technically, the rights to listen to it.) I did NOT in any way, shape, or form give you the right to install your malicious software on my PC, thankyouverymuch.

This message brought to you by my Macintosh and the letters "f" and "u".

Truman would be rolling in his grave

In times past we had a president who had, on his desk, a sign that said "The Buck Stops Here." That president recognized that he was the ultimate governmental authority but he also ultimately bore the responsiblity.

Now, however, we have a different story. In this story, El Presidente is quoted as saying, "Some Democrats who voted to authorize the use of force are now rewriting the past." Party politics aside, there's one person in this country that authorized the use of force. There's one person that could have absolutely stopped this. That's the President of the United States. The buck, Mr. President, stops there.

Magical Blogger Mood Ring

Thursday, November 10, 2005
Current Color: Grey

I'm just feeling empty, used up, and beaten down. I'm sure it'll pass, with time. I hope.

Moving Saturday Market?

Moving Saturday Market? Terrible idea. Lots of reasons, but my main feelings are a) we don't need new development in old town, b) the location is great where it is because it affords easy mass transit access and easy pedestrian access, and c) it's easy to find. A new spot for a cultural fair isn't the message Portland should send. We've made a national name for ourselves in preserving the history of our city and we should make an effort to keep it that way.

"My fellow Americans, I am not a crook."

Monday, November 07, 2005
"We do not torture", said our Fearless Leader today in a press conference. This is, of course, in the same breath that he defended exempting the CIA from proposed "anti-torture" legislation. I don't care if the CIA's going to beat the tar out of somebody to find the information they need. That's fine by me; sometimes harsh language just isn't effective. But at least be up front and honest about it. This Orwellian double-speak is just getting tiring.

In unrelated news (but related because I heard it on the radio at the same time: It's pronounced NEW-CLEAR. Nuclear. Not nukular. For the love of Christ get it right already.

These guys know how to party!

It's day 11 of the French National Riots and violence may have even spread as far as Berlin. Why don't we do this? Why don't we fight injustice (real or perceived) with a good, old-fashioned riot where we all get together and destroy shit that other people have worked a lifetime to build?

In all seriousness, Riots Aren't Good. (You can quote me on that.) Nonetheless, how else does a disenfranchised generation make itself heard?

Magical Blogger Mood Ring

Sunday, November 06, 2005
Current Color: Fiery Red

I'm pretty pissed off. And it's for a pretty good reason, too.

Phoenix, AZ

Wednesday, November 02, 2005
I'm in Phoenix, AZ right now. It's sunny. That's nice.

I miss Portland. It was raining like a bastard when I left. But you know what? It smelled good and the tap water was drinkable. That's the first thing I notice whenever I travel somewhere... the smell. Most places people travel are hot. They don't have a lot of rain, so there's not much that cleans the particulates out of the air. Then there's the tap water. Portland has great tap water. The water in Phoenix sucks a lot.

Then, need I mention the fact that Phoenix is a sprawling metropolis in the middle of the FUCKING DESERT? Who comes along and says, "My, this is a nice desert. Let's build a city of millions here." I need to know!

Shell Game

I love politics sometimes. I just wished that whatever happened in the political arena had no actual bearing on real life. I particularly enjoy watchcing our presidential administration do its best to play political offense. Let's follow the chain, shall we? First, we have a wave of indictments. That's bad. However, who's going to notice when we then are given a controversial Supereme Court nominee? Then, just in case, we've got a flu pandemic plan announced, just to remind us all of how vulnerable and reliant on the government we are. If that doesn't work, I suppose we'll just have to invade somebody.

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