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Journal Journal: Largest Snake in the World? 9

The statistics: 49' long, and weiging in at 980 pounds.

I think it was found somewhere in Nepal, but I may be mistaken. Aparently some brave (for lack of a better word) villagers went out and captured this thing and since then the village has been keeping it in captivity. It now resides in a zoo.

All I know is that I would hate to be one of the caretakers for that thing. It might take too much of a liking to me and you wouldn't find me in the morning.

I also can't imagine having to clean out that things cage. *shudder* -- Yes. I used to have large issues with snakes. I still do, they've just shrank a bit since I've had actual experiences with them. My irrational fears are no longer irrational, they are quite rational based on personal experience. ;)

I saw a picture of the thing on the news. It's head is almost as big as mine.

Pardon me while I drink the memories of that thing out of my head, before I start having nightmares. Lucky for me it's New Years Eve.
Movies

Journal Journal: Who was the Best Bond Babe? 32

OK, so I have to admit, I've been watching the "007 Days of Christmas" on SpikeTV and watching these films (many of them much worse than I remember them) I am struck by the inconsistency of Bond's leading women. Some are strong, others are just there for the scenery. So I though I'd ask my JE circle (those interested, of course) who their favorite Bond Babe was.

I wanted to like Halle Barry from Die Another Day, but after a fairly strong start (her first 2 scenes) she went rather flat.

Now I'm watching Moonraker, and I'm struck with how capable "Dr. Goodhead" (*groan*) was in that film. She was smart, she was strong, she could even fly a space shuttle. I guess you could call her a "rocket scientist". And to top it off, she worked for the CIA.

Now for me, I'd have to go back and rewatch most of the films. I'd park my butt in front of SpikeTV for the rest of their marathon, but taking a 90 minute movie and inflating it to 3 hours of mostly-the-same-commercials over, and over, and over again is enough to turn my brain into watery tapioca (since right now, the holidays have turned it into molasses). I'll be tuning in for spots, but if I have to see another commercial for The John Henson Show, I'm going to blow a gasket. So for now, I leave you with this helpful, but incomplete reference.

So as a guess for "Favorite Bond Babe", I guess I'd have to go with Michelle Yeoh. She was a take-no-prisoner's type and kept her wits about her. And she also kept Pierce Brosnan on his toes.

As for SpikeTV? I wanted to like it, but once the Bond marathon is over, I'm removing it from the cable line up. For something touted as "The First Cable Network for Men", I'm woefully underwhelmed.

Maybe next JE I'll ask about Favorite (and least annoying) Doctor Who companion, but I'm giving you guys some time to talk me out of it...
CDA

Journal Journal: Oh Lord. It's That Time, Again... 3

It's that time, again. The time we Americans must, in 4 year cycles, deal with the endless dronings of politicians and their promises, the endless political commercials bombarding our minds, cajoling an upholding of values amidst the refrain of "for our freedom" or "for our children". In the end, it boils down to a choice that promises, at worst, to be one between the "lesser of two-evils".

Yep. It's time for the Presidential Campaign Train to roll through an American Neighborhood Near You, and this year promises to be like most recent years: dominated by talk from Democrats and Republicans. Two median parties that pretend to be extremes, but instead are becoming more, and more the same.

Now while I do feel that it would be nice to have a political candidate who did what I felt was important, in office, it has been shown that Technological issues don't matter as much as the Social, or the Economic (let's ignore the interdependency between such issues, and how they aren't really separate...for now, just hear me out).

This brings me to the actual point of this ramble of a JE. I've always wondered whether it would be right for techies to take political stands on issues, yes, even the Presidency. The DMCA, CDA, PATRIOT, and others came about because of the representation we elected as a people, and it's obvious to me that if we continue to follow the trend of electing that we have been, the internet as-we-now-know-it could be legislated out of existence by 2010.

However "techies", "geeks" and "nerds" do not a political group make, and "Slashdot" is even worse. One has to only look at the comments in the actual story to note that political leanings do not follow a particular technological bent. This is good, actually. It shows that we're a fairly diverse bunch. But it's a killer when it comes to political issues that affect us all, and if we don't have "friends" in the Presidential Administration, things like the DMCA are just the tip of the Iceburg.

Things can get a lot worse.

This question was posed to Slashdot over 3 years ago. I didn't realize it then, but I think we might do well to revisit it again, before we lose what voice we may have had, altogether.

[ Updated ]: Please, no more submissions on this topic. While I do believe it's a topic for discussion, I think Politics makes better JEs and crappy Slashdot Articles, especially when the politics come first, and the technology is relegated to an afterthought. So if you wish to talk about this topic, talk about it here, and in your own journals. It is through the interpersonal relationships that political movements are made. JEs are like that. Word of mouth compared to the mass market, tabloid like appeal of a Mainpage Slashdot article. Thusly they tend to have a higher signal-to-noise ratio.
News

Journal Journal: To Michael Vick: Get Well Soon! 2

For those who haven't heard, Michael Vick is now expected to be out for 6 weeks due to a fractured right fibula he received in this weekends pre-season game against the Baltimore Ravens.

This just kills me. It's not just the fact that the guy went to my college, nor for the fact that he was the most electrifying player this school has ever seen. No, what kills me is the fact that this was supposed to be his year. He and the Falcons were going to go far, and now this is all in doubt after a freak injury in the pre-season.

Thoughts of a Madden curse aside, here's hoping Michael Vick gets better, and out on the field, as soon as is humanly possible. It's not that I don't want him to get out on the field before he's healed properly, I just would hate for this injury to put the breaks on one of the most promising players to ever play the game.

So this is to Mike: Get well, soon! And this is the last time I'll ever say to someone "break a leg!" as some kind of perverse way of well wishing. You never know when they'll take you literally, and broken legs are not fun.
User Journal

Journal Journal: A Reading Recommendation: _Charisma_ by Stephen Barnes 2

Hello, again!

I've been failing to keep this thing up, but it seems that I only write in it when I have something to write about, and I've discovered that it doesn't have to be daily, or weekly, or even monthly, so these pages don't get much attention. It's not that I haven't been trying, it's just that the impulse to write just isn't there. So I've limited myself to writing only when I need to, and I think it's worked out for the best.

So what brings me out of my shell today? Well, if you read the title, you'll know the book I just finished reading (I just put it down, and then promptly typed in this entry). I'll repeat it again, for the title-impared =):

Charisma by Stephen Barnes

After a long and protracted break from recreational reading it's rare I read a book that affects me enough to write about it. Damn! I wish I could write like this man. It's not enough that he can spin a good yarn, but books like this are like crack (in a way)...you can't put them down, even when they get intense, and this one is no exception.

I don't want to summarize the plot, if you want spoilers, and other reviews, you can go here for them. Needless to say the one thing I find in this book that I rarely find in other books is the attention Barnes gives to his characters. None of the characters in this book fall into the category of "two dimensional cutouts". They all have backgrounds, emotions, dreams and trauma. When they speak they each have a voice and mannerisms. Maybe I'm just overly imaginative, but as I read this book, I saw the events in my head, like a movie.

I was blown away.

For those who are into philosophical discussions surrounding the age old argument on "nurture vs. nature", I encourage you to grab a copy of this book, either new or used, and give it a read.

This weekend I'm off in search of the remaining books in Jack L. Chalker's latest trilogy, if it's even half as good as Charisma or even one of Barnes' previous works. Blood Brothers, be sure you'll find me extolling its virtues, here.

Ah! It's good to be reading, again.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Anyone Playing Master of Orion 3? 1

I picked it up on opening day, and I must say after my initial flurry of excitement, my enthusiasm about this game is waning, and waning rapidly.

Now I've been playing this game on and off since I picked it up the day it came out and I still have yet to figure everything out. I even broke down and read thru (most of) the manual. While I appreciate all of the history and backstory they added into the game, I would have appreciated more, a better description of gameplay.

Maybe you all can help me out with figuring out what things mean or how to accomplish other things that I think should be easy to do (and I have yet to figure out):

  • How do you build planetary improvements like "Hydroponic Farms"? After researching this improvement, it seems that the AI just builds them itself, and I can't figure out how to apply such improvements manually. I open the Planetary Improvements section in the Budget area and it's always blank! Bug? Probably so. I'll be hoping on Infogrames website looking for a patch very soon. I hope there is one.
  • The AI is confusing. Well, that's putting it mildly. It's confusing bordering on braindead. Not to mention there are several problems with editing development plans. I keep changing an existing development plan, only to have it revert back to the old one in the same turn. Clearing the row and resetting the plan seems to fix the problem, but that's just another in several clunky interface decisions that take away from the gameplay for me.
  • The entire interface, while useable, is just strange to me. I guess I'll get used to things as time goes on, but having to make one adjustment on one screen, only to have to click to another screen to see the results of a change gets old after a while (try affecting the build times on DEAs and see how many times you have to bounce back and forth between that screen and the Economics panel in the Planet detail).
  • The technology sliders are a pain to use, I would have preferred a better interface for this. Having the "decrease" button unallocate to a "unassigned research pool" slider and the "increase" button remove from this slider would have been a better solution than what's currently available. As it is, I have to play with the sliders for minutes until I get them the way I want them, of course, adding insult to injury, the AI then changes them around the next turn anyways and I haven't figured out how to prevent this, either.
  • The game pacing seems slower than what I remember from MOO2. Of course, this could just be because I haven't played a Turn-Based game in a LONG time and I've just grown used to RTS pacing.
  • The manual glosses over a lot of detail that I would expect to be in there. I'll probably have to check the in-game encyclopedia, but there are several things that have gone unexplained to my satisfaction. The specific development plans (like "Infrastructure" and "Morale") I can only guess at what they encourage the AI to do. Also, certain icons on the economic panel are a mystery to me (ie the "!" and the "circle-cross" icon next to some of the sliders)

I'm not writing off the game yet, though. I'd be interested in seeing how many of you have noticed any of the problems I have, and would also be interested in any strategies you all have come up with for playing the game. Have any of you actually gotten the Economic AI to behave? What race do you like to play?

For those of you also playing this game, I'd be interested in hearing your experiences.

It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal Journal: But "War is good for the economy"...Right? 5

I was reading for fun today, when I ran into this quote and chuckled lightly. Um. No. Rather, I cackled hysterically, shook my head and then, with perverse glee, started writing this entry:

"Economies never run more efficiently than during a war."
Anji, Doctor Who: Anacrophobia"

Now, focusing on the humor behind this comment.

America has been in a war for how long and right now the economy is just utter crap. Between the "War on Terrorism" focusing primarily on the upcoming (ongoing?) "War on Iraq"; possible "War w/ N. Korea" (yeah...yeah....wait for it!), we all should be rolling in the dough! Everyone should be happy and comfortable because that old truism says that the economy should be the best it's been in ages!

REALITY CHECK: Look outside. Look on the news. Check your nearest stock report.

Looks like another old truism bites the dust. But wait, there's more!

I forgot to mention the trainwreck that is the "War on Drugs", and the fact that this so-called "war" has been going on for the last 20+ years, and the fact that we've gone through at least 2 stock market crashes and many market "readjustments" in that period, and I have to wonder if that "truism" has really been all that true or if it's just based on the experience people remember from the first two world wars.

Call me cynical, but the last several months (hell, the last several years) haven't done much to cure my lack of optimism.

"War is good for the economy" -- I wonder if this guy still believes this.

For those interested in other quotes that mix war an economics, try here. I find several quotes on this page to be quite prescient, particularly some of the ones by Lincoln. Also, this Economics essay, from a year ago seems to make my case rather nicely.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Even Professional Writers Mis-Spell 13

And I am hardly a professional writer. I've heard several Slashdot nay-sayers say that because I'm making a (meager) amount of money off of this job that I should be perfect.

Pah!

Editors (all editors...not just the Slashdot variety) are human, and thus, we make mistakes. We don't mean to make mistakes, but we do. Sometimes it's not catching a link to add to a particular story; in other cases it's editorializing when such editorializing is unnecessary, or unwanted; however this all is overlooked by one of the most popular "bones" that some Slashdot readers like to pick:

Spelling.

To those who think that spelling is everything in this day and age of (non-perfect) spell-checkers, I provide this example of why I will no longer feel like complete and utter shite when people catch my inevitable spelling errors. For those too lazy to click on the link (and for posterity), here's the piece in particular:

"The small Webcasters that we heard form in North Carolina did not feel like they had been part of discussions," said Joe Lanier, Helms's aide. "They were concerned that even under this bill they would not be able to survive."

Now remember, this is from Reuter's! Real professional writers! And I can entirely see how that could have happened and slipped thru the cracks there because I've committed some of the same errors as well! Time, sometimes, is everything, and when you are typing out copy at a fast rate to beat those deadlines, deadlines, DEADLINES! sometimes, these things happen.

Mind you, I'm not going to try any less harder in preventing them, I just won't feel so bad in the eventuality that I do, accepting the fair criticisms as just that.

As a general rule, as long as we learn from our mistakes, we will grow into better people.

User Journal

Journal Journal: X'd 13

So today at 11am, the Fed Ex delivery guy made me really happy: He delivered my new TiBook.

So I've been looking to get one of these things since a year ago. I'm pleased with the machine I got. 512M, 800Mhz, and 60Gigs at a reasonable price. My thanks to the folks at Apple for getting this thing to me quickly, even thru the faux pas of ordering with my Check Card (which has a preset spending limit of $2,500 which I CANNOT get increased... my TiBook cost more than that so I had to work out other payment arrangements...wheee!)

So this morning, I've installed Snak, Mozilla, Netscape, and Chimera (all beacause I can't stand it if all I have to work with is IE, even though it's tolerable on this machine). I've also run thru the Software Update and should have a relatively up-to-date box.

Just out of curiousity to all you Mac-heads out there: what other utilities should I throw on this thing?

Eventually I want to start using this machine for music creation: drum loops, synth washes and the like. I'll eventually put it all together at some point and put it on the internet where my (lack of) music creation skills can be ridiculed for all time (or until the heat death of the Internet, whichever comes first). Any software recommendations for such software that would work on OS X (or OS 9, which I haven't even booted into, yet).

For those who may be confused: this is not a "switch", just a new machine (my first Mac!). I have no plans on straying from Linux, I just want to learn Mac OS X as well. The OS-Game is not zero-sum.

Peace. Out.

Updated: Jan 4th, 2003 -- I've found this MacSlash story which contains some damned good recommendations for Mac OS X software, particularly this comment, from WCityMike. -- Thanks Mike!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Spring is in the Air and I'm Stuck Inside! :P

Yeah, but I'll get out soon enough.

It's been a long wait but the warm weather has returned, and I couldn't be happier. If I have to deal with one more drab cloudy day...well...I'd just have to get loud and you wouldn't want that.

I don't know why, but I'm just really excited about May. There are 2 movies released this month that I am just dying to see (SW: Episode II, Spiderman), I expect to be finally getting a new car, soon (as soon as I get insurance again), and hopefully will be getting out of town to see some friends near the end of the month.

April wasn't too bad, just grey. And not warm enough. And I had to deal with taxes. And I didn't get to go see Fishbone. Did I mention it was too grey? Well, the one good thing about April was that I picked up some decent music. Speaking of music, here's this month's acquisitions:

  • Lo Fidelity Allstars - Don't Be Afraid of Love (The first and last songs are awesome, and of course, this inspired another purchase...)
  • Lo Fidelity Allstars - How to Operate with a Blown Mind.
  • Dieselboy - projectHUMAN
  • Fabio Presents - Liquid * Funk (nice drum & bass double CD!)
  • Auntie Aubreu's Excursions Beyond the Call of Duty Set 1 of 2 (2 CDs in each set, wow! -- Odd however that I got Set 2 before Set 1 in the mail)
  • PFM - Producer 02 (Good Lookin' Records)
  • Blu Mar Ten - Producer 03 (Good Lookin' Records)
  • Nu De Lune (Chill, Deep, Sexy House)
  • Carte Blanche Volume 2 (More Sexy House)
  • James Hardway - Straight from the Fridge
  • James Hardway - Moors and Christians
  • Yes - Magnification (old skool tunes)
  • Ty Tabor - Safety

Pretty soon I'm going to have to start listing CDs I've already MP3d that I think you all might like. Maybe I'll just stick a database online eventually. I do have a lot of CDs.

User Journal

Journal Journal: One Last Song, Given to an Angel's Son...

Another month, another Journal update. A lot of things have happend since the last Journal, that I won't get into now, needless to say that I'm exhausted, tired, and really, really in the need for a nice long (we're talking measured in months here) vacation. A break from the run-ragged-12-hour-6-day work weeks that I've been pulling lately.

In that time, I sure have stocked up on the music, so I think what I'm going to do, kinda as a "feature" of this little journal, is to post my musical aquisitions since the last Journal. Some of you may like the choices, some of you may hate them, but the point is not to brag, but to offer alternatives for those looking for more music. I have a wide variety of genres that I like, and if I can turn someone on to something and they like it...even one person...then it's all good. On that note, here's this entries list:

  • Sevendust - Animosity
  • The Orb - Auntie Aubrey's Excursions Beyond the Call of Duty (Part 2 - 2CDs)
  • Anotherlatenight - Zero 7
  • The Acid Jazz test - Part 3
  • hanna - Scarlet Manifesto
  • Om Lounge 6
  • Blue Six - Beautiful Tomorrow
  • Photek - Form & Function
  • Good Looking Records, Producer 02 - PFM
  • Good Looking Records, Producer 03 - Blu Mar Ten

And a few live acquisitions I picked up when they played locally:

  • Lake Trout - Good stuff!
  • Japan Air
  • The Jazz Mandolin Project

If anything up there looks familiar, let me know what you think of it...good or bad. If not, and you are looking for new music, try one out and let me know if you like it. The above list crosses a whole lot of genre's from metal, to jazz, to drum and bass and house electronica. I'll probably start including the actual genre in the lists if you all think that will be helpful, but sometimes it's hard to classify the stuff I listen to. :D.

Thanks a lot for the suggestions on the Ask Slashdot design. I do agree that it's in long need of an update, and now I just need to find the time to advocate for it and get it done, and the way things are looking right now, it probably won't be done anytime soon.

Ah well. Back to the blankets and the tissues. I have to ditch this flu/cold thing before the weekend for our yearly banquet.

Peace.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Mmmm.... Apple 4

Wonder if I should do something like this with the Ask Slashdot pages. Well, not exactly like it, but spice up the pages a bit. I have to admit I've never been happy with the grey color scheme (I think Developers got the best of the lot with the Apache section on the other end of the spectum and Ask Slashdot grey right smack dab in the "bleah" spot). So what kind of design changes would you like to see on the Ask Slashdot pages?

I can't promise anything at this point (I'm currently working hard on another project right now), depending on the suggestion, I'm sure there is something that can be worked out.

User Journal

Journal Journal: OK, So I Haven't Been Keeping This Thing Up To Date

But I usually don't spend time writing lots about myself. I spend my time writing about things that interest me. Since doing Ask Slashdot, I've discovered that I've been spending less and less time doing even, that, and have been writing about things that interest other people.

Odd that.

At any rate, maybe it's time that changed. I'll let you know...

As soon as I find something to talk about.

Got an interesting topic you wanna talk about? Email me

PS - Cliff Lampe... thanks for the second UID.

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