Christmas Cheer

Tis the Season to Spam

Why is it that over christmas, the spam has to increase so much? Why is it that every website that I have ever submitted my email to, along with dozens of others that I didn't, feels the need to send me email with a URL to a warm holiday greeting. And why is it that this holiday greeting is almost without fail coupled with a suggestion that I buy a gift certificate for a friend, or a couple of banner ads? Why is it that Christmas seems to be the season of Spam? During the christmas shopping season the television commercials get cheesier as lame gifts are repeatedly advertised down our throats. But the telemarketers don't seem to get in on the gig (thank god!). Telemarketers are the only class of human beings lower than pedophiles and spammers, and even they don't feel the need to call me to spread their christmas cheer.

Now I accept spam. I hate it. But if I chose I could procmail a lot of it out. But why is it that every year companies that normally have a policy of treating my INBOX with respect feel the urge to flood me with their yule tide joy (and reminders that I can buy-buy-buy whatever it is they are moving). It just makes me sad.



I got a shredder. Not the armor clad ninja guy who was always trying to mess up the teenage mutant ninja turtles, but the kind that takes a single sheet of paper, and turns into a big mess. I'm not super paranoid about stuff in general, but credit card companies and banks send to send you enough paper each month that it could have been used to print several Tom Clancy novels (I'm not sure that would be better mind you). THe irritating part is that my account information is printed all over these things like a big arrow saying "ROB ROB". So I opted to get the "Confetti-Shred" so as to insure maximum security when I destroy these things. The irony is that once I purchased this beast, I immediately sat down and shreaded a stockpile of the last few months of sensitive material. Now each morning, as I tear off my Far-Side-of-the-Day and my Dave-Barry-Of-The-Day calanders, I immediately can shred the previous days comedy. If someone is rummaging through my trash they don't deserve to laugh.

Cutting Back Blows Goats

I'm drinking "Hawaiian Punch". I've already had 2 cups of coffee and a can of mountain dew, and I decided that I would try to have something non-carbonated and caffeinne free for lunch. Its all part of my master plan to better myself without actually learning anything, or doing any excersise. This can proudly proclaims that it is "Flavored Enriched Fruit Punch", and just in case you forgot, a half inch later it states in an equally sized font "Artificially Flavored". It does contain 5% fruit juice tho... I guess the other 95% is the "Flavored Enriched" part. It does go pretty good with a trio of microwavable waffles and lite syrup. But the little punch guy kinda freaks me out. He's way to excited about his little red juice glass. I miss my mountain dew.

The Corporate Burrito

Today I ate a corporate burrito. Two actually. They taste like a normal, personal microwavable burrito. They look like a normal "for individual use only" microwavable burritos. But these were most definitely corporate burritos. They were purchased with the Blockstackers American Express card, a case of mountain dew, and approximitely 18 more microwavable burritos in a gigantic "Economy Valu-Save Mega Pack". This sort of decedance could only be funded by a corporation like BSI, because lord knows no rational individual woul go to the store and become inspired to purchase an economy valu-save mega pack of burritos. Maybe a dozen microwavable stoffers lasagna or 50 Ham 'n Cheeze or Philidalphia Cheese Steak Hot Pockets, but twenty microwavable burritos is just to many for any individual man to own. Well, unless of course he fears that come January 1, the apocolypse will cause a massive microwavable burrito shortage, and now is the time to stockpile. Mind you anyone that is relying on microwavable food for their post-apocolyptic lunches is obviously seven cans short of a six pack. No sir: Only a corporation would buy microwavable burritos in this quantity. But they're tasty.

15 Days of Bond My Ass

I've been jipped! TBS proclaims 15 days of bond, and I'm pleased as punch. Already watched Diamonds are Forever, Licensed to Kill, Octopussy (skipped Goldfinger since I have the DVD and somehow watching it pan & scan with commercials doesn't seem so cool). I love Bond (The World is Not Enough is a decent bond flick. It ain't no Moonraker tho *cough* cough).

Anyway, the point of this rambling. Tongiht I'm all happy 'cuz I'll get to watch some JB action. I've had a few stressful days, and I'm looking forward to a few relaxing ones before things get super hectic again, and watching Girls, Guns, and Spies seemed perfect. So I check TBSs website. First off their schedule is screwed up (404, file not found) second their 'James Bond' Movie page turns out to be blank. Very ameteurish. That bums me out. But then I notice in huge glaring letters 'Tonight on TBS' where they proclaim that tonight's James Bond movie is... Houston @ Phoenix!

Basketball! Its friggin 15 days of Bond and they're showing me basketball? What kind of conspiracy is this? I demand a refund for 1 of my days of Bond. I want to watch Dr. No or something on day 16 as a refund for them showing a freakin' basketball game during quality time that by all rights I should have spent with Sean Connery. Or at least Roger Moore.

Its a conspiracy I tell ya.


The Hat Trap

With winter rolling in here in michigan, it has become once again time for me to concern myself with avoiding frostbyte. For the most part this is accomplished by simply not going outside. This works for about 99% of my life... but unfortuantely there is at least a few hours during each witner when I'm forced out into the cruel elements to deal with the outdoors.

So what this really means is I need a new hat. I own a few hats, but I've realized that at age 23, the hats that I own fall into 3 catagories:

  1. Baseball hats loudly proclaiming tacky corporate logos. I have no problem with hats of this nature, but they tend to function more in the "Keep Sun out of Eyes" capacity then in the "Prevent Wind from Ripping large chunks of ear cartilidge off while temperature is antarctic".
  2. A red fedora. Ok, its a cool hat. It has significance. And I wear it during christmas. BUt if you wear a red hat at any other place besides a Linux convention or a christmas party, people think you're a fruit loop.
  3. Wool hats that feature convenient eye holes. This is of course the best winter hat of all time, however it bears with it the stigma of also making anyone within a 30 foot radius brace themselves for a "Stickup". Besides that, I don't ski. I don't engage in snow fights. And quite frankly it looks dumb.

So I do what I always do when it comes time for me to buy something: I turn to the internet. I shop. And shop. And after a pretty solid amount of time, I realize that I want a black leather fedora, but the statistical probability of me guessing the correct size of my own head. Hemos would say I have a big head, but I'm not sure that constitutes an accurate measurement for hat size. And I guess this is where the eCommerce buzzword collapses. I don't know how to measure my head any better than I know how to measure my own bra size. There are many variables: Head Shape (Oval? Circle? Wide?) and the actual circumfrence (measured in hecthairs of course).

I'm a college graduate, but I am positive that I am incapable of getting this right without help

At a store, I could either ask the surly teenage staffer manning the register to assist me and measure my head, or I could brute force the task by merely trying on hats until I find something that neither slides off during a light breeze, or sits so high on my head that people think it has religious significance.


Part of this nutrit... awh nevermind

It's official. I have no health consciousness whatsoever. Today my lunch was an Eggo and a can of coke classic. At least I used "Lite" syrup. 2 nights ago my dinner was a granola bar and a couple miniature raviolis. Oh, and some scotch. My body has informed me that I have 3 hours to live unless I feed it something healthy. Ooh! We have some "Baked" bugles in the kitchen! 50% less fat! Baked not fried! Maybe I can find some diet coke...

Great way to start a day...

So I wake up with a headache. I rollover and decide to nap for an extra hour. I wake up with a worse headache. Stumble downstairs and check my email and check up on the servers. Stumble to work. Coffee pot is empty. Make new coffee. Load dishwasher. Coffee is ready. Poor scalding cup of coffee into oversized Loony Toons mug. Stumble upstairs. Collapse into my chair. Grab a couple of advil in a feeble attempt to combat the thumping sensation that is currently rendering all higher brain functions useless, and making most of the lower brain functions pretty shaky too. I throw the advil in the mouth and wash it down... with a big gulp of scalding, hotter than the surface of the sun coffee.

Its gonna be a great day.


Commercials Suck

So ya know that annoying ad with the damn taco bell dog and the cops that keep saying 'Drop the Chalupa' over and over again? I hate that ad. It was obviously designed to get the word 'Chalupa' into our collective conscious. I know I had never heard of a damn chalupa before that ad began being played like 3 times during every Simpsons Rerun.

So the ad annoys me. But i understand and accept advertising as a necessary part of the television entertainment machine. Fine. I'm glad that advertising exists so I can get TV and not have to pay per show. I'm willing to have advertising appearing on my screen: just not annoying advertising. So here is my solution: rather than displaying 30 seconds of some retarted commercial, allow viewers optionally to simply get 30 seconds of quiet, and the company's logo. They get their publicity. We don't get annoyed. Everyone is happy.

I don't know if it will take internet TV, or a cool cable company, or an act of god to make this feasible, but lord it would be great. I wouldn't have to see the stupid Orange Juice "Pure Energy" ad, or anything advertising any sort of female hygiene product or anything. It would be great.

Bah who am I kidding. The television industry hates us. That would just be to nice.


That 70s Show's New Theme Song Sucks

Ok I've been enjoying That 70s Show for some time now. Good show. Funny. Well written. Except that this season some dumbass decided to replace the themesong with some lame-o Quiet Riot song destined for the 'That 70s Show Soundtrack CD' or something. Now I gotta change the channel when the theme song comes on. I guess it'll let me guess a piece of Buffy. Why is it that 2 of the 4 shows on TV that don't suck are on against each other? Grr.


So with the rise of Karma, now suddenly I have a whole new class of Bitch mail in my box to be treated to each and every mornign: "My Karma is Low". They bitch. They moan. Over Karma. Over a few bits a thousand miles away. Bits that only control wether or not they can moderate a website.

Sometimes I look at the comments when they complain, but they're almost always stupid comments. And now they're angry because they wrote something stupid and lost some karma because of it. And its my fault someone didn't like it. And dammit, I better fix it right now!

Time to add a new filter into ye old procmail script: any message containing the word 'karma' should be forwarded to /dev/null. I have actual work to do sometimes. Or else I need a 'Karma Department' where burly men named 'Herb' can print out karma complaints and urinate on them for me. It wouldn't help anything, but it would make me feel better.

Maybe I'm just cranky. Maybe I need a day off. Karma is cool.



I've been a They Might Be Giants [?] fan for years: some of my fondest memories from High School are ramming around with my best friend with 'Flood' on tape cranked up to ungodly volumes singing along at the top of my lungs. Lincoln and Apollo were great too. Sure, Factory Showroom blew, but recently on a whim I bought 'Then' and finally heard their first real album. All I can say is 'wow'. I've listened to it like 30 times in the last couple weeks (Its disc 2 in my car's CD changer, and its the current album running in xmms). Its simply amazing. My life has been pretty stressful for the last few weeks (with the server move, new code, and assorted business related responsibilities) and this album came along at the right time. Energy. Insight. And those catchy melodies. God what an amazing album. I think I'll go listen to it again.

I Hate When That Happens

So this is a great way to wreck your day: You're sitting in your office hacking away (it seems that holiday weekends are really the only time to get anything done) and the phone rings. A mans voice on the other picks up and says "May I speak with Rob Malda". I tell him that's who's talking and he says that he needs my address, I ask him 'What' and he says "You're being served with papers and I guess I have what I need." And then hangs up the phone. Suddenly my heart stops beating. I'm gonna get sued. So I call the number that showed up on the caller ID. After a lengthy delay a different voice answers and when I ask, he was mowing his lawn.

So I'm being sued by someone, but I don't know over "what". And their lawyer's caller ID lies. This is not a good day. Remind me never to work on a holiday.


One of those days

Yesterday I went kneeboarding. This morning I woke up with every muscle and bone hurting. Plus I woke up with an INBOX full of angry email about a few DoS trollers in a discussion. So I set out to fix it. Unfortunately it took longer than I had expected so I had to cancel my plans with my gf today. I'm really bummed now. Now I'm trapped in my house on a holiday weekend, without the gf, trying to debug code made necessary because of some little prick decided to make a pain of himself on my website. Plus all my bones hurt. This sucks.

Paper Paper Everywhere

So over the last few years I've noticed a distinct increase in the amount of paper required in my life. Originally it was pretty easy: just a credit card bill and a few receipts and some paystubs each month. Then the student loans started piling up. Then I started renting a house. Getting Insurance. Getting Jobs. The net result was a folder (labeled 1998) that could make god cry. It truly was a glorious achievement (and one that took Kurt days to sort through when my taxes got all screwed up by certain anonymous cretin)

1999 was looking to be even better: with the end of school, I now have student loan payments, crap from E*Trade, more insurance, Older family members wills, jobs with benefits, a few credit cards... and suddenly its august and the '1999' folder is twice as big as 1998 was at the end of its lifespan.

What this means is of course the dreaded "F" word: Filing. I've divided up my gigantic folder "1999" into a dozen nicely labeled folders with titles like "Checking Account" and "Credit Cards" and "Inusurance". For those who know me, this isn't that surprising: I'm fairly anal, but I think that my rats nest of personal documents was kinda my hold-out against the grown-up world.

I'm 23 now, and now my documents are pretty well organized. In fact, I'm considering moving them into a safe: Hemos's house burned down once: I know what a hassle losing all your shit can be. But the now I have this box that pretty much contains the paper trail of my existance in a dozen green hanging file folders.



So what do you do when the odds are insurmountable? You save, try something, probably die, reload, and then try again. What video games need to compete with that is the ability for the computer to do the same thing. So you're cruising along, doing pretty well, and then suddenly a message pops up and warns you that the computer has restored from a saved game: You go back a few turns to when the computer was at an advantage. It seems only fair when we use it as a strategic decision that the computer gets to also. Jeff says "I'd be a great general if I had a save button".

Holy Shit! I'm not Y2K Compliant!

I've just discovered that I'm actually not Y2k compliant. Come the turn of the year, I will be stricken with fear. I will sit huddled in the corner screaching about all of these things that are new and strange to my primitive 19th century mind. Cars, Planes, Indoor Plumbing, The Super Bowl, The Internet, E-Mail, Women's Lib, Space Exploration, Television, Genetically Engineered Dinosaurs that run amock and kill everyone but the children on an island run by a mad man, Perl, Fast Food, Drive in Movie Theaters, Elvis Presley, The Spice Girls, The Beatles, Backmasking, Uninteruptable Power Supplies, Civ:CTP, Star Wars, Those Zero G pens that are supposed to work in space, chicken McNuggets, the assembly line, "Made in Taiwan", Simon and/or Garfunkle, The World Wide Web, hackers, crackers, slackers, Howard Stern, Indiana Jones, Citizen Kane, Psycho, Austin Powers, South Park, Disneyland, Disneyworld, Disney Inc. World War I and its less popular sequel: II, Ghostbusters and its less popular sequel: II, George Bush and his less popular sequel "Moron". The shock will likely kill me. I'm gonna have to seek out therapy, and fast because the days are ticking.

State of the Taco

Why is it that my personal value as a human being is always tied 100% to the status of my server. Since last week the box has been cranky (a blown power supply, resulted in the harddrive being happily moved to a machine with 128 megs less RAM, which means the whole thing is just sluggish as hell today. And suddenly I feel like shit. I feel tired unhealthy, and burnt out. A few weeks ago, I was on top of the world: the machine was stable, kicking out 640,000 pages in one day, and performing snappy for everyone. And I was cheerful. Its really strange that a chunk of steel and silicon 3 time zones away defines my mood.

Damn Rugrats

We live in a sort of cul de sac of duplexes. We have 3 of the 8 (and actually CowboyNeal is moving into another one that will hopefully be in range of the wireless LAN). But it turns out that there are small children living on the opposite side of the dead end. Several of them. A herd, or a gaggle, or whatever term you use to refer to a clump of the little monsters.

When I walk out of my front door to go to the office, they are there yelling "Bang Bang Bang" and pointing invisible guns at me. We rushed them once, and now they've taken to playing ding-dong-digit every 5 minutes, and pressing their faces against the window on the front door every 10 minutes. Its a little bit disturbing. I think they're just jealous because we have more legos then they do.


x10 Foo

So like so many Slashdot readers, I got one of those x10 starter kits that allow remote controlling your lights. Who knew that this was addictive? Since installing the starter kit, I learned that magnavox makes clones of the lamp modules. So I bought a motion detector, a pack of those, and an x10 capable light switch. Now my bathroom detects when I enter and turns the lights on (this is great because I'm almost blind without my glasses, and the morons who designed the duplex decided that a light switch isn't necessary anywhere near the door between my room and the bathroom) plus my Lava Lamps are now controllable via remote controls.

The next step is of course computer access. Maybe a gnome panel applet. Or a CGI application (Control-Taco' It's really all down hill from here. I mean, they sell security cameras. My receiver has a spare RCA video input just waiting. Soon I'll never need to leave my couch- I'll just sit in all my paranoid splendor in complete control of my environment eating corn chips [?] , drinking beer [?] and hacking perl [?] . Probably ought to wait until I get better bandwidth than 56k before I go ahead and donate my legs to science.

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