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Journal: Hating the holidays

Journal by d.valued

It's the most nerve-wracking time of the year.

Hands down, the pressure put on you by society is highest this time of year, what with such nuggets as "X days 'til Christmas!" and "'Tis better to give than receive."

Thanks, Charles Dickens. He wrote more Christmas books than anyone else. Of course, there's the classic "A Christmas Carol" which has been bastardized into more works than anything else I can think of, and only concerns the material side.

If we were honest about it, we'd just do like the ancients and have solstice parties, unless we're really lucky and have a Saturnalia (though I think only 1% of the male /. population would be able to pull it off).

And the worst part is getting broke now. It's been six months since I've had steady work, and I had to quit that because, well, I couldn't afford to keep doing what I was doing.

Winter's hitting hard, and I don't know what in the hell I'm going to be doing tomorrow.

User Journal

Journal: Twenty-four hours: An eternity

Journal by d.valued

I'm waiting for a phone call that will successfully conclude a month plus of waiting.

Due to certain contractual obligations, I can't talk about what until either a) I'm rejected, in which case I'll gladly relate the info, or b) I'm accepted, in which case there will be more waiting whilst I giddily salute.

It's been driving me nuts, the waiting. It seems that waiting for Something To Happen That You Have No Control Over is the worst thing. (This particular observation is one reason I'm opposed to the death penalty; I find it crueler to know death stalks you and you will not know when it comes rather than the knowledge of a date and time and manner which will cause you to cease to be.)

Before they were invited to be part of the process, expectant fathers probably had this kind of anticipation. Family members of a surgical patient experience this. The defendant probably experiences this during deliberations....

Sorry. Friday I'll follow up.

User Journal

Journal: Man.. it's been a f***ing year?

Journal by d.valued

Unbe-fucking-lievable.

I didn't even realise I was this lazy until I looked at the Fatwa post.

There she is: 19 Nov 04, and it's 18 Nov 05 now.

364 days.

Wow.

What's changed in that year?

My age, and that's it.

I've been told to get my life in gear, and I have. It's in Neutral. I'm not going anywhere. My resumes and applications are received into virtual black holes, since I don't even get the courtesy of a "f*** you" phone call. I'm still waiting for my f***ing school to deign a diploma uponst me.

I've converted my core system to Gentoo. Not a painless process, and there are still some hiccups (in particular with DVD burning), but it's OK for now. I've still got my domains, and God willing I'll actually do something with them besides give GoDaddy my eight bucks per annum.

I'm trying my hand at NaNoWriMo, and what's driving me batty is stringing the cogent scenes in my head into a nice, deep story. Not deep as in spiritual or meaningful, deep as in.. to analogize, I want my plot threads woven as well as a hand-knotted Persian rug.

It's kicking my ass, as is my patent insomnia and my anticipation of certain things, like HOPE 2006 and.. well, leave the rest for later.

User Journal

Journal: A /fatwa/ against intolerance

Journal by d.valued

I'm in shock over the slaying of Theo van Gogh by "Mohammed B", as he is called by the Dutch police.

I'm in fear over the call to kill Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born, Muslim-reared, Dutch MP who wrote the screenplay.

I'm in mourning over the Dutch reaction, turning from one of the most tolerant societies to another America, in the intolerance given to those whose faith is different. (Legacies of Calvin in action.)

Here's a link to a torrent of the film.
http://godfather.qtm.com.ar/Submission%20(Part%20I)-%20Theo%20van%20Gogh%20-%20Ayaan%20Hirshi%20Ali%20-%20MPEG2-mpg.torrent

The copyright issue is less important to me than making sure people see the film, and understand what the **** pissed these people off:

1. The woman is wearing a sheer abaya (robe). Her form is fully visible below her head which is covered by an opaque hijab (head-scarf) and niqab (veil).
2. Qur'anic verse is written upon her form, and lash marks slash through certain passages.
3. Her frank descriptions of domestic and sexual abuse, and her state of repression.

Share and enjoy.

User Journal

Journal: Poker sites!

Journal by d.valued

Since I figure people may read this...

I play a LOT of poker online as well as in brick-and-mortar casinos.

My personal, all-time favorite online poker room is UltimateBet. The interface is the cleanest and most intuitive, and they reward you even for free play. Clients for Windows and Mac are available.
http://www.ultimatebet.com (Let them know I sent you.)

As far as non-gaming sites.. Poki is great practice. It is an AI that plays limit hold'em, and it is amongst the hardest programs out there to play against.
http://games.cs.ualberta.ca/webgames/poker/

Cardplayer.com and pokerpages.com are decent article sites. And of course there's rec.gambling.poker (RGP).

cya, gl

It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal: drunken interlude

Journal by d.valued

note to self: ten drinks in two hours yields unfortunate consequences.

the hangover that lasts forever is barely the beginning.

User Journal

Journal: Alternating pains: Choosing a new laptop

Journal by d.valued
My current laptop, though venerable and durable, is definately on the road to immolation. (I'm writing on it now, and I can feel it get angry at me for typing such things, and the fact that its next incarnation will be as a server will annoy it no end.) It's a Compaq Armada M500, which I bought used and should've gotten repaired, because it had a few months of warranty left, but I snoozed and I losed, as the expression goes.

The onboard keyboard is hosed. Let me put it this way: abcdefijklnopqrstuwxyz is what I get pounding out an alphabet on it (I'm using a sleek IBM USB keyboard, which works fabulously and has a small enough form factor to fit in my backpack.) The HD sleeve is warped, so I can't replace it with a higher-capacity model. The locking latches, well.. don't. The keyboard hits the screen, a noted model defect. And the screen is slightly curved, due to a few drops. And the battery life is precisely zero, despite what the battery's diagnostics tell me. While this machine has survived at least three drops (to my knowledge) and several dissassemblies (bored), I need a newer machine in any event.

I want a machine that is top of the line, and for once, NEW. This was aquired used, and the previous laptop I had, a Toshiba Satellite with a P100 and 40 MB of RAM, were used. I want something that's going to blow my current hardware away. I use my machines for utility, but I want to be able to do 3D work, and play Tux Racer. I want to master and burn DVD's.

I also want a machine that has beautiful aesthetics. You can get a tricked out minitower that's been modded to the gills, but laptops seem to be black and gray. Some are starting to turn blue, but I want something that will stand out. I seriously looked at the Ferrari laptop that was being ballyhooed for that reason: it stands out from the crowd.

To short-list what I would like: High end processor, great graphics, DVD burner, Wi-Fi or better wireless, great appearance, and Linux compatibility.

Oh, and keeping it under about $2,000.

So far, a sampling of the rigs I've looked at:

Apple Powerbook G4: The 12" TiBook, with a SuperDrive, 256 MB RAM and 40 GB HD, runs about USD 1600 for students. (A note or so discount helps.) I upped the HD to a 60 GB, added an AirPort card, and Keynote software (I've seen it in action; it's pretty damn good.) In this config, it's $1800.

Upside is, I know it's very Linux friendly, and it's also super-lightweight. Downside is the screen size; for this outlay I would prefer a larger screen. Yes, I want my cake. I would gladly get the 15", but for some reason they charge $500 extra (above the price of the DVD-ROM/CDRW model) for the DVD burner, rather than the $200 extra they charge for the 12". FYI, base 15" with DVD burner and academic discount is $2300.)

Acer Ferrari: This caught my eye. Yeah, I got wind through a buy dot com email advert, but I looked at the specs, and at first glance they looked pretty damned good. On a by-the-numbers comparison with my enhanced baseline TiBook mentioned above, this has the numbers. 512 MB RAM, 60 GiB HD, 15" TFT display, DVD +/- RW drive, 802.11g, ATI RADEON 9200 GPU with 128 MB video RAM. This also has the dead-sexy Ferrari red shell.

The lambasting on /. notwithstanding, I started to have some doubts on the laptop. I found only two sites with information on conversion, and based on the hardware pains I'm seeing, Linux will be difficult, more than I would like. (I may enjoy using Linux, but I HATE spending more time than I need to on configging my localhosts. )

Alienware laptops (in general): They make me drool.

I can't help it.

They make me drool. Both the sentia (Centrino) models and the Area 51m's (Pentium 4) make me convulse. I am getting ready to hunt for a sponsored LAN party so I can get my hands on some significant rebates (they offer $100 rebates through sponsored LAN parties, as well as through purchases of certain games).

Save for the cost element. These are, so far, the most expensive I've seen and would consider. And yes, I would like to play a few more computer games, a few FPSs like Q3A, Counterstrike, AA.

eMachines : Worth a mention because of the M6807. This is the only mass-market laptop I know of with a 64-bit processor. This means that Linux is the only OS to take full advanatage. It runs comparable to a P4 3.0 GHz, from what I've read. It's a nice machine, ugly, but also on the cheaper side (website suggests $1650!), and that's potentially a big advantage. If someone can refinish the laptop, make it look better for a couple of bills, I'd dive into this rig.

I also like the Voodoo rigs, but I don't want to plunk down an extra thou for the priviledge of a pretty case. They have AMD Mobile64 processors, and are loaded to the gills as well, but again, the BASE price is nearly three grand, and that's WAY too much.

I don't think anyone else has them. If you can correct me, please do.

These are just the tip of the iceberg. I would like to know what sorts of custom makers are out there, and I would like to know more about the Linux compatibility.

User Journal

Journal: pain and suffering: transferring a windows system

Journal by d.valued

Last night I spent seven hours on transferring data from one computer to another the hard way, aka through physical medium transfer.

Eww.

I had to reboot his 2000 box twice to get it to copy files, and it even missed his bookmarks in Mozilla.

Eww eww eww.

The hard part, though, was moving a laptop hard drive in there. For those of you who don't know, laptop hard drives typically have a mini IDE connection which needs a small dongle to connect to a standard bus. Problem with it is, it doesn't stay there. No plastic housing. So I had to reseat the drive three, four times.

I hate Windows. I hate moving data to and from it more.

Now I'm getting complaints about his old software not working. I try to explain the Registry, but the idea is so alien to me, a hardcore *nixer, that I can't swallow it.

--

A little about me: I've a knack for languages. And I don't mean Perl, Python, or C++, which I have a handle on. I mean human ones.

I'm studying Arabic, and I would recommend the language be studied by anyone who wants a grip of what the hell is going on in the Middle East. That, and Hebrew, which honestly is damn near the same language.

At least the Standard Arabic is. Arabic is so fragmented it's obscene. It makes the diff between British and American look like the result of a lisp. An Iraqi and a Libyan have zero chance of understanding each other using local dialects.

And this makes the language more fun: there are no written vowels. The beautiful scripts you see are all consonants, since someone bright thought that the only people intelligent enough to read would know how to pronounce the word. Then again, Hebrew was like that too. (OT Hebrew is all consonents.)

Once I get the hang of this, I'll try an easier tongue, like Japanese or maybe Mayan.

salaam

User Journal

Journal: recovery, lactic acid, and baking soda

Journal by d.valued

It's been a while since I've written here.

I am about to go in my now-annual rant about 11 Sep.

Even on the day it happened, I took Bear's advice, and didn't call it Islamists. (For reference, Bear caled Oklahoma City (20 Apr, iirc) an act of a discgruntled postal worker. In fact, I spent the day the way I had originally planned, at a casino. Experiencing one of the best runs I ever had in my life. The roads were clear, there were no commercials on my radio or TV set, and everyone else was panicking. I went to the Aldi (they are a very cut-rate market specializing in self-labelled, ultra-low-price staples and junk food) and got some canned soups, some pastas, various carbonated and caffeinated beverages, tea bags, instant coffee, and some other detrius at my mom's request. (Besides, I needed to go shopping.)

I hate all the commemoration, the mourning, the horsecrap. This country seems to be based on fear and loathing, which explains Microsoft so well.

Consider Vietnam: 'They are little Asian commie sunabitches who want to take over the goddamned world.' Truth? We're little controlling sunabitches that want to take over the world.

Do you realize that for our 55,000+ dead soldiers, there were over 5,000,000 Vietnamese died, and most were civilians?

How about WW II? "Them Japs ain't human, so let's just make 'em sumabitches burn." Hiroshima, Nagasaki.

I don't doubt the philosophers and sci-fi wrters who say that man will be the salvation or destruction of man. God may be watching, but doesn't get too involved.

--

On a lighter note, any ideas on how to convince spiders to weave more?

And does anyone know anything about large wasps? I saw one, about three inches long with orange stripes, and it killed a cricket. They duked it out for three minutes, the wasp kept stinging, and the cricket let off a death rattle. Scared the hell out of me, something that big.

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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