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Movie Review: Syriana

Thursday, March 30, 2006
My brother and I just watched Syriana. While we saw it at The Mission, I'm not sure I'd recommend a couple of drinks with this film. It's an incredibly complex movie about the oil trade, national and corporate dependency on oil, and high-level strategic position for the oil-related future.

Some of the messages that I left the film with (and I don't think I'm spoiling anything by saying this) is a) it is in our strategic interests to maintain chaos in the Middle East, because b) multinational corporations will then basically be able to subdivide the region so that we can have cheaper and easier access to oil. I'll be honest, though... it helped that I listened to an interview with Robert Baer (the writer of the book on which the screenplay was based) on NPR a while ago. This is not a film you're going to walk away from feeling like a good person, though, especially as an American.

I'm going to go off topic for a moment, though, and complain about a new trend I'm seeing in movies. As I noted with Good Night, and Good Luck, there seems to be a new trend (much like during the late 60s/early 70s) where editing and camera shot selection just plain suck. I mean, showing someone's stomach while they start mumbling isn't much of an establishing shot. I first noticed this in Steven Soderbergh's Traffic, where the cinematography was distracting from the actual movie and just trying to make out what was happening on screen made it harder to make out what was happening in the film.

Anyway, that's just my rant. I don't like the new trend though, unfortunately, many of the movies that are using this new style tend to be great enough to still be good despite it. So, final word on Syriana: Rent it, it's worth seeing.

Walking distance

Wednesday, March 29, 2006
I enjoy walking. Often times at lunch I'll take a walk - partially for exercise, partially for the fresh air, and partially to get out of the office. Having grown up in Portland, though, the suburbs have always struck me as being particularly pedestrian-unfriendly. For instance: sidewalks. Are they that hard to put in?

It struck home yesterday when I walked over to the bank yesterday. The Google Maps pedometer shows it's about a mile away. As I was walking up I marveled at the drive-way that runs all the way around the building and the fact that the bank is on the corner of an acre of parking space (being next to a Fred Meyer.) It was then that I realized that the only ATM at this branch was a drive-up ATM; there was nothing I could actually (safely) walk up to and use. I asked the teller inside and her response was "people just use the drive-up one... just be careful." Riiiiight.

One day I'd like to live within walking distance of everything I need. I enjoy driving, but I'd like to not HAVE to drive everywhere I need to go. That's the upside of urban living; in many cases, due to the population density, stores and business crop up near living spaces. The disadvantage, of course, is the high cost associated with that. Oh well... one day.

Lady Liberty

Monday, March 27, 2006
In the news today is immigration reform, yet another (rare?) example of me agreeing with the President.

This debate makes me think of the Statue of Liberty, with those famous lines written on it:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
We are still a country of opportunity; we are still a country of freedom (in theory, at least.) The debate over illegial immigration is a tough one; we want people working here to pay taxes and, in a generaly sense, we want to know they're here. We are a country built on immigrants and I think it's important to not close our doors to them.

I believe each wave of immigrants brings new value to our national identity and, generally speaking, brings a hard work ethic that helps us all. I personally believe we need to find a way to allow the poeple that want to work here a way to do so legally. It makes economic sense and it makes good personal sense, too.

Unsportsmanlike conduct

Sunday, March 26, 2006
So there's a decent chance that today, while speeding around town, I got tagged finally by a photo radar van.

Let me back up and describe my day: I spent the night in Eugene for my brother's birthday. I leave for home around noon and encounter not one, but TWO accidents. (Trip Check actually said the second one had a 20 minute - 2 hour delay!). I don't get home until just after 2:30... which means I spent two and a half hours driving a straight line that normally takes me only 95 minutes or so. So my driving day didn't start out pleasantly, needless to say.

Anyway, I'm cruising from point A to point B today, accomplishing my list of "things to do". I'm not even really paying attention until a moment too late when I cruise past a sign that reads "photo radar in use" and then, after I finally figure out what I mean, I already passed the van sitting by the side of the road. Now, I was going anywhere from 39 to 43 miles per hour in a 35 zone. I suspect that if I was going 39 or even 40 I'm okay, but if I was going 41, 42, or 43 I'm pretty screwed. Damn, that sucks.

But let me explain why I really hate photo radar. I'm going to use a fishing analogy: Let's say you've got a really nice rod, reel, and lure and you're out in the stream waiting for a fish to nibble. That's great and some poeple consider that a sport. But let's say you stand out in the middle of a stream and string a net across the entire width of this body of water, catching every fish that passes by? Is that fun? No... it's UNSPORTING.

The thing is that when you have a human doing the job of traffic enforcement (how about getting the tailgators and people who don't use their turn signal!) out there you have a chance. There's a chance that the car next to you is a more attractive target. There's a chance that the cop has already pulled someone over. There's the chance that you're not even speeding (yeah, right.) When it's just you out there versus one cop (or even a couple) you have a chance of making it through safely. They can't pull EVERYone over, right? Well, with photo radar they can,and that's just... unsporting.


Saturday, March 25, 2006
I was listening to Beethoven's 9th Symphony today as I drove down to Eugene for my brother's birthday. It's a version performed by the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra. Not being a professional music critic, I am going to say that it's one of the worst interpetations I've heard.

The 9th Symphony is where Beethoven's ode to Joy comes from (the 4th movement, specifically. It's perhaps one of the most beautiful (if not the most famous) of any musical piece in history and the Sapporo Symphony, while playing all the music correctly, seems to have missed the raw passion and energy that the music holds.

Without trying to stereotype, the music seems to have been played perfectly, but without that particularly energetic and joyous element that makes the music so good. Like a Honda Accord the execution of this piece seems very left-brained, inasmuch as it's refined and perfected without being evokative in any way, shape, or form... and for a piece like this, it means it wasn't performed well.

So much of anything is not just good engineering, but it's also the human emotion that goes into it. A musical piece depends on the energies of the composer, the conductor, and the performers. A movie isn't just a script, it's the actors, director, and editers. A computer will always follow the rules (that's what they're good at.) But it takes a certain bit of soul to make it work well... and the Sapporo didn't have that.

A Happy Place

Tuesday, March 21, 2006
There is little in this world that is better than a fantastic sandwich at lunchtime. And a fantastic sandwich is, in fact, a BLT (that's "Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato", for the uninformed.)

Lately at work I've been taking a nice long walk over to Mac's Deli, where they make one of the best BLT sandwiches I've ever had. Another great BLT can be had at Big Town Hero... perhaps I'll have to walk over there to get one, too. I think that's just in walking distance as well. I used to love the ones at Billy Heartbeat's, but I don't work near Lloyd Center anymore.

The secret to a great BLT is, in my opinion, the bacon. Iceberg lettuce has little flavor and I don't actually like tomatoes that much. They put mayo on the sandwich which is all right, I suppose, but nothing makes it great like a nice thick layer of delicious bacon. (No, I'm not a vegetarian.) Mmm.... bacon.

Anyway, my point with this ramble is that there are good sandwiches to be found around these parts; I've found a few and I hope to keep finding them.

Magical Blogger Mood Ring

Current Mood: Light Grey

I'm tired. I'm very, very tired. It's been a long, long, long few weeks at work and I've not had a lot of "personal" time, nor have I had a lot of "sleep". Oh well... one day, I guess.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Wednesday, March 15, 2006
This is a stressful week at work because we're moving our headquarters and a job title of mine is, among other, "Network Administrator"... I think I'll talk about networking companies.

Let's go in reverse order. First I'm going to talk about Cisco (the ugly), a company whose products give me no end of headaches. As I've previously mentioned, their website is impossible to get actual information off of and they get by producing arcane products because they're Cisco and they control 50% of the market. (They claim they control about 70% or so, but the chart they showed me was in dollar sales and since their equipment is literally twice the prices of the competitions - at least according to the quotes we were looking at from them.)

Then there's the bad. Let me talk about SonicWall for a moment. I mention them because I spend over an hour on hold with them today and never had an issue resolved; I had to call back (from a different phone) and complain because I was on hold for so long (75+ minutes, in total) and never got support. The manual on their website contains incorrect terminology and - despite being the latest download - doesn't match up to the product we have at all. In fact, due to my experience I'd NEVER recommend a SonicWall product to anyone. Ever.

Finally, there's the good. That would be HP's Procurve Networking Division. I am more than impressed by them. My company purchased over $75K dollars worth of equipment from them (Cisco wanted over $180 for lesser equipment) and it's good stuff. But the kicker is the FREE 8-5 M-F support. I call their FREE support and press one for routing switches and I'm immediately transfered to a native English-speaking expert. It's a fantastic experience. They recommended that I make a change and I said "Just a minute" and the response was "Take all the time you need; I want to get this fixed." They offer incredible service and an equally incredible price. To all you networking people out there: HP's got the right stuff.

How much is my blog worth?

Monday, March 13, 2006
As Jake pointed out over on his site, apparently you can have a dollar figure put on your blog.

My perceived worth in the world appears to be dropping...

Put it in context

Sunday, March 12, 2006
If you take away nothing else from what you see here, dear readers, please remember this: "Facts without context are meaningless."

This is something I believe very strongly. I believe that without putting a fact or statistic in context, any meaning behind that fact is lost. Take for instance the Enron trial. In this article on msnbc the tone in which a comment is made (for instance sarcasm) has a strong influence on the actual meaning of the statement.

Another example in the meaninglessness of context-free facts is statistics. Citing population numbers - rather than ratios - is a common way to mangle the meaning of statistics. If I say "Over a thousand people in Oregon alone are suffering from the flu right now" it sounds bad, but if say, "Only 1 in 5,000 people in oregon are currently suffering from the flu" the statement is more meaningful (a context for the number) and more accurate.

Anyway, what I'm saying is that any facts must be considered in the light in which they're given. This revelation - mantra, if you will - is my contribution to modern knowledge and understanding. You can quote me on it.

Movie Review: Walk The Line

Saturday, March 11, 2006
We watched Walk The Line last night, which won Reese Witherspoon an Oscar for Best Actress and saw Joaquin Phoenix nominated as well.

Both stars give phenomenal performaces in the tale of Johnny Cash's drug-riddled rise to fame and (almost unhealthy) obsession with June Carter. Not only was the acting great but so was the singing; both stars sang their own parts and it's VERY good. Johnny Cash is represented as a man with a self-destructive streak as he tries to live up to the memory of his dead brother and June Carter as a woman who's open publicly but closed privately.

Watching the movie was hard as we see Johnny Cash spiral further and further downwards in a drug-induced hole as he obsesses more and more over June Carter. It tears his marriage apart, his life apart, and almost destroys his career. Finally, however, he hits bottom and through love and friendship cleans up and finds redemption.

Bottom line on Walk The Line: Rent it immediately; it's highly worth it.

I have to agree on this one

Friday, March 10, 2006
In a rare mooment, I'm going to agree with the president. Reading this article on the Dubai ports deal and having listened to the stories on NPR, I'm going to have to say that congress is just being stupid at this point. (I know, what a shock.) Basically, after a huge congressional mess the company DP World is backing out of a plan to take over management of some US ports... basically because we think they might be terrrorists.

The president said the following:
"In order to win the war on terror, we've got to strengthen our relationships and friendships with moderate Arab countries in the Middle East," Bush told a meeting of the National Newspaper Association in Washington.

Now, I'm not sure I agree about the "winning the war on terror[ism]", but I can say with absolute assurance that the key to fostering LESS anti-American sentiment and oiling, as the say, the gears for our plans for world domination is to find fewer ways for the countries in the Middle East to hate us. Racism only hurts us in the long run. I mean, many of our ports are managed by foreign countries... does the fact that Dubai is in the Middle East mean it's evil? It not like our ports are going to be run by "Al Qaeda Enterprises"!

The pace of technology

Thursday, March 09, 2006
Here I am, laying in bed feeling like crap for a variety of reasons (most, but not all, physical.) I'm playing on my laptop, surfing various websites, and it struck me how far we've come - computer-wise - in my lifetime.

The first computer my family owned was back in 1989 or so. It was a Compaq Deskpro 286e. It had a 12 Mhz 286 processor, 1 MB of memory, and a 40 megabyte hard drive. We had an 14" NEC Multisync 3d monitor and a 24-pin dot matrix printer. We ran MS-DOS 3.3 on it.

Later, we got an el-cheapo 386 computer. This had a 16 Mhz processor but only (initially) 1 MB of memory and a 40 MB hard drive. After a year or so we added another megabyte of memory and updated it to run MS-DOS 5.0. We also added our first modem, a 2400-baud speed-demon. Those people say I have no patience are right; I exhausted it all watching my computer download 1 megabyte files from the BBS I used. Then after a year or so I hit the reset button and it never resat.

After that I had a custom-built 486 computer. It sported an IBM 486SLC2-66 processor (no math co-processor), 4 megabytes of memory, and an 8 megabyte hard drive. Before the end of this computer's life I had upgraded it to 16 megabytes of memory, a 500 megabyte hard drive, and had a 14.4k modem installed. I had MS-DOS 6.0 running on this computer (I think) and also had Windows 3.1. It was on this computer that I first had an actual internet connection.

When at college I got rid of that computer (it was definitely showing its age) and got another custom-built Pentium 100. I don't really remember the specs for that one, but it was fun. I played endless hours of Diablo on this computer! The University of Oregon provided a fast internet connection in its dorm rooms - 10 megabit ethernet to my desk hooked up to an OC-3 connection, I believe. (I could be wrong about that.) By this time I was running Windows 95 and using Netscape's web browser to surf the web.

Next was a Pentium 233 w/MMX. A good computer that lasted my until my (first) senior year in college. I bought it off some guy down in Eugene and it worked pretty well. I think I ran Windows 98 on this computer and was surfing using Internet Explorer 4.0. I also had, at this time, a little laptop whose specs I can't remember.

After I moved into a University-owned aparment (which still had the fabulous internet connection!) I built my first computer where I actually ordered the parts and assembled it myself. I had put in an AMD K7-550 processor (one of the first Athlon processors!), 128 megabytes of memory, an 18 gigabyte hard drive, and a an awesome Geforce DDR video card. This computer ran Windows 2000... but crashed a lot until the first service pack came out.

Around this time I started having at least two computers. As a second computer I had an old, old HP Pavilion that ran Red Hat Linux, though I replaced that with another computer I built that had a Celeron 433 processor and ran FreeBSD and a Counter-Strike server. Later that was upgraded to a Pentium III 600E (courtesy of the players who loved my server but wanted it to be faster.)

This was also the point in my life where I became a Mac user. I purchased a brand-spanking-new Titanium PowerBook G4-400 and actually put 512 mb of memory in it... and my first wireless card. I had 802.11b ("Airport"), but, of course, no base station. Nonetheless I had wireless access at a few points at the university.

Fast foward a little... I graduated, got a cable modem (1.5 megabits downstream, 256k upstream), went through a couple more computers (an AMD Duron 900, an iBook 1 Ghz, several PowerMacs, etc.) Let's look at where I am today.

I have PC with an aging AMD Athlon 2100+ processor, 1 gigabyte of memory, a combined 80 gigabytes of hard drive space, and an ATI Radeon 9800 Pro video card, all tied together with Windows XP. Despite its age, though, this computer runs just fine! I also have a Mac Mini (which some of you may remember) with a gigabyte of memory and a combined 240 gigabytes of memory! (This is actually powering this website, at the moment!). My cable modem provides something like 5 megabits downstream, but only 384k upstream. I also have a Dell Lattitude D600 laptop with a 1.5 Ghz Pentium M processor, 768 megabytes of memory, and 802.11g wireless.

The purpose of this stroll down memory lane is to illustrate the pace at which computer technology has evolved. Look back at the top. My 286 had no ability to connect to other computers, really. We were advanced and had a 3.25" floppy drive! Now I connect to a billion other computers over an internet connection that's wired to my home and I have a DVD burner to transfer large files! In 17 years technology has certainly progressed...

Late snow

It's another snow day here in the Pacific Northwest, which means that once again the Subaru and SUV drivers of Portland (like 95% of the population) feels vindicated. However, driving my practical car I actually managed to climb out of the parking lot of the apartment complex I live in. You see, the apartment complex I'm in is actually built on a hill with the entrance at the TOP of the "mountainside living" that they advertise. I, however, live at the bottom of said mountainside. Do you see the problem when traction conditions are less than ideal?

Nonetheless, a brief snow experience is kind of fun and, despite the fact that I think I have the flu or something like that, it's quite beautiful. We just don't usually get snow around here this late in the year.

Refinancing the country

Tuesday, March 07, 2006
According to this article from the Associated Press, Treasury Secretary John Snow has told Congress that we've more or less reached the debt limit for the government ($8.2 trillion dollars) and he's encouraging them to raise the limit "to avoid the nation's first-ever default on its obligations."

Now fortunately, according to the CIA's World Factbook, our gross domestic product is somewhere in the range of $12.something trillion. This is great! I mean, all the money we spend as a country in a year and we make from exports and such is 150% of the debt of our country!

Wait a minute! Since this is money the government has borrowed on our behalf, let's examine how much it is in terms of the federal budget. According to this governement page which has pdf files showing the 2006 federal budget, the total income (receipts) that the government expects to get is somewhere around $2.8 trillion dollars. While that's a lot of money, that's only about a third of the debt. In essence the government is carrying a debt equal to three year's salary!

From an individual perspective, given the ~270 million people in the United States, the government owes on our behalf ~30,000 per man, woman, and child. This is just under a year's salary for the average citizen. Of course, we tragically can't put all the little children and elderly folks to work in our factories, so the actual amount owed per taxpayer is significantly higher.

Do you feel like buying the federal government a new Jaguar X-type? I sure don't. I have a lot of my expenses of my own. Running a deficit is all right to a degree, but I personally feel that the amount we owe is getting out of hand. Perhaps we need to find some spending restraint in our future politicians... just think what we could do if we weren't funding wars and rebuilding other countries!

The power of music

Monday, March 06, 2006
A while ago I wrote a post about great driving songs. Now I'm going to list some songs that are great to listen to and just wallow in misery and depression...

1) Nine Inch Nails - Hurt
2) Johnny Cash - Hurt
3) Gary Jules - Mad World
4) Estranged - Guns 'n Roses

Can anyone think of any more?

I'm at a loss

I have no idea what to make of this site: CowAbduction.com

The names, they are a-changin'

Sunday, March 05, 2006
One thing (of, I assure you, many) that has consistently annoyed me in the past in the habit legislators have of renaming things, or allowing things to be renamed. By "things", I mean streets, highways, parks, city buildings, stadiums, etc. This is generally a politically popular things to do, as I understand it, but it irritates me. Why change it?

I ran across this article while perusing fark.com which talks about the pros and cons of renaming the aforementioned places. Normally I don't link to articles I read which were linked to from someplace else, but this one was relevant to me. You see, here in my fair city, politicians are talking about renaming Portland Boulevard after Rosa Parks. Interestingly, I used to live near where Portland Boulevard intersected with Union Avenue - which was renamed in the 80s to "Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard".

I'm all for commemorating important people with statues in parks and stuff like that. But where does it stop? Portland renamed "Front Street" (everyone knows where THAT is) to "Naito Parkway" after its rich citizens a couple years ago, and I'm still upset about that. We renamed the Civic Auditorium to the "Keller Auditorium" in the last decade, too. Who the hell Ira Keller was I'll never know, but according to this website the fountain across the street is named after him, too. PGE Park used to have the nice, normal name of "Civic Stadium", but now it's named after Enron's puppet.

Do you see where I'm leading? I don't want Portland to become a city that changes its maps for political gain or profit. Commemorating Rosa Parks is important, for she played a huge role in the American Civil Rights Movement. However, with the huge amount of new constructions and just-add-water neigborhoods popping up in the suburbs, perhaps naming a NEW street after her would be just as meaningful and far less of a headache. Perhaps renaming landmarks in the city after people (many of whom, like Ira C. Keller, aren't known to most people) or corporations just isn't the answer we're looking for.

Me? I love a beautiful or descriptive name. I like our city arena, the "Rose Garden Arena". I approve of Pioneer Courthouse Square, which is conveniently located next to the Pioneer Courthouse. I liked Waterfront Park (guess where that was.) At least they kept the descriptive part of the name when it became the Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

If I were able to vote on renaming Portland Boulevard, I'd vote against it. Not for any other reason there are more appropriate (and certainly convenient) ways of honor an important historical figure. And that's all I have to say.

Another site feature

Saturday, March 04, 2006
Being the computer nerd that I am I realized one day that I had no way to search back through what I'd written. If I wanted to find a previous article, I'd have to go month by month trying to find it. Well, no more! While blogger.com provides a bar at the top where I could search my blog or look at other blogs, that's too generic for me. I decided to take advantage of Google's "free web and site search" tool. You'll find it on the right hand sidebar over there, underneath the archives list. Now both of my readers can enter a google web search there or search my site for something I've previously written. Cool, no?

Movie Review: The Peacemaker

It's movie night here in Casa De Burton and I popped in an old goodie: 1997's The Peacemaker. Starring George Clooney as an impulsive military man of action working counter-terrorism and Nicole Kidman as his intelligent, thoughtful boss, this movie has been part of my collection for a while.

Let's start with the good parts of this movie: Wonderful music, great acting, believable plot, non-stop action (but not mindless violence), and did I mention the music? But what makes this a great film is the depth that each of the main characters has, especially the bad guy. Every character has enough of a background that you sympathize with his or her cause, and every character is moving according to believable motivations. This is what seperates a good movie from a great one.

Now let's discuss the bad parts of this movie. I can only think of two: the first is some terrible product placement "I uploaded it to my AOL account" and the second was the running-and-jumping-to-escape-the-explosion scene, except they did that twice. But those are the only gripes I can come up with.

Final word on The Peacemaker: See it. It's exciting, well done, and underappreciated.

Uncle Burton

So a friend visited for the past two days, a friend who shall be given token anonymity. I haven't seen him in over a year... and neither have his parents or his kids. It was wonderful to have him around for a few brief days and we certainly had more than our fair share of fun but it caused me to do a lot of thinking about life, children, and families.

Let's start with a little bit of background on my relationship with this family - at least from my perspective. I've known this particular friend from since high school (that works out to over 10 years, now) and I've seen a lot of his life. I was the friend his parents (who are divorced) always seemed to think was a decent guy. I happened to be around the night he first kissed his now ex-wife. I was the best man in his wedding - although not entirely by design and I wasn't really aware of this until about a week or two before the event. I showed up at the hospital the night his first daughter was born. I helped them move - more than once. Shortly after the birth of their son I spent one late night counseling my friend after he found out his wife had had an affair. Later, when they got divorced (against every screaming fiber in my body) I advised him to give up on the custody battle when he saw how hopeless it was. In short, I've been around him, his kids, and his ex-wife a lot just by virtue of being around.

Anyway, last night I went over to my friend's dad's place to see the kids. His ex-wife and her new fiancee were there as well as another child she's had. I had a lovely time, since there existed no tension between anyone and me. I got to see the kids, I got fed (quite well!), I got greetings, hugs, stories, handshakes... in short, it was a great experience for me and - since everyone was civil and even friendly at times - it was a great experience for the kids. This morning, putting on the "Uncle Burton" hat, I was actually out of bed before 8:00 AM on a Saturday. I drove my friend to visit the kids for a couple hours at his dad's place and then went to go watch his daughter (who just turned seven a couple months ago) play in her basketball game. At this game there was a moment, fleeting and easy to miss, when my friend, his son, his ex-wife, and I were sitting on the bleachers in an elementary school and his daughter, while running from one end of the court to the other, looked over and saw that her dad was there. Seeing her face light up with love, validation, and the joy of his presence wrenched my heart. There's a bond there - though her father has been physically absent for quite a long time - that will always exist.

What about children? Viewed as a statistic, of course, they're lazy, smelly creatures who haven't a chance of survival on their own. Looking at an individual child, though, is a different story. I've traveled in and out of the lives of several children. Sometimes I'm influential, sometimes I've not. I've loved every one of them, though, because somehow every one I meet has their own simple hopes, dreams, pains, and joys. It makes me think about the possibility of ever having any of my own. Of course both my readers will immediately scream in protest, for I have none of the selfless qualities that it takes to be a parent. Perhaps no one does, until a child is born (or responsibility is assumed.)

Will I ever have or be responsible for children? Certainly not at the rate I'm going. But sometimes I wonder what it would be like to love a child and be loved back... just for being there.

Two-wheeled paradise

Friday, March 03, 2006
There's nothing that can cure the blues quite like a good commute on a motorcycle. This morning, about 30 seconds before I left, I decided that the weather was glorious enough for me to ride my motorcycle in to work! This was, in retrospect, one of the best decisions I've made in a while.

My bike, a Triumph

They say that a bad ride on a motorcycle is better than a good drive in a car... and they're correct. Cruising up Highway 217 - historically one of my favorite roads. Yet, on a motorcycle, landing at work means I have a smile in the morning, not my normal grimace. I can't wait for the weather to warm up!

A quick note: Despite the relative comfort of light hiking shoes, the fact that they're so well ventilated leads to some very cold toes when travelling 70 miles per hour in 28 degree weather. Consider this a lesson learned... again. :)

Provocative thought for the morning...

Thursday, March 02, 2006
"Donuts need to be good for you." - Me

My version of the universe has donuts as health food. Not that I want to change the fundamental nature of the donut, mind you... I like most of them how they are. I simply want the end result of consuming a fine donut to be changed from junk food to health food.

Is that so much to ask?

Magical Blogger Mood Ring

Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Current Mood: Grey

Low clouds hang over my heart and the future clouds my mind as I peer forward, trying to decide if some sacrifices will be worth it and if some things I've lost or given up I'll ever forget. What will tomorrow bring? Am I who I think I am, or is it all a facade and the only victim of the lie is me? Time, healer of all wounds, will tell. It's getting enough time that's the challenge.

The effective truth

Picture a pool table with balls scattered across it. Rolling the cue ball from one end to the other will most likely end up in it hitting one of the balls (which could cascade on to other reactions), thereby changing the layout of the pool table.

Now imagine a sphere the size of our planet, with billions - if not trillions - of moving balls (people and animals). It's very difficult to move one object from one place to another without interacting with any other ball. But what if it were possible? Then there was no effective difference between state A and state B, since all other trajectories will be the same. Therefore the two states are equal.

Think of it like having a hundred dollars in your pocket that you don't know about. Someone comes along and steals it from you, but you don't notice. Last time you checked your pocket, you don't remember having anything in there. Now when you check, you still have nothing in there. The effective state is that the hundred dollar bill never existed.


If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? If there's nothing there to hear it, then I say it doesn't. (No, I'm not crazy.) One further note, however, is that if EVERYONE forgets an event, it's like it never happened.



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