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Journal Journal: Well... where to begin! 1

Well... Things haven't improved much since my last posting I see!

North Korea tested a nuke...kinda. I guess it misfired or something. Good thing they don't have weapons of mass destruction and are hell bent on destroying the world like Iraq was... oh wait. Oh their country doesn't have a strategic commoditity on it. I wonder what'll happen with Kim Jong-il chokes on a bon-bon and slinks off this mortal coil. Hopefully cooler heads will pervail, though I highly doubht that.

I suppose I have to talk about Iraq. I'm not sure what else to really say about it. Our government and by extension, us fucked up. That's right, we're to blame. Luckily in the last election those of us who voted explained in clear language we thought that Congress rolling over and not providing any oversight and giving the president a blank check was a mistake that they should lose their jobs. I could go on about this, but so much has been said and written that I think my musing about it would merely be a full repeat. However, go read "Fiasco" by Thomas Hicks. It's horrifyingly educating, but like anything else, realize that your seeing one side of the argument and keep that in mind.

There's something that a good freind of mine said and I'll repeat it here because I think it's really intelligent point of view on the overarching "War on Terrorism". I'm at best paraphrasing, but you'll get the jist.

After September 11th, George Bush had an opportunity to take this country in a different direction. He in that single moment in history could have stood up at the podium and said "Listen the people of America. Those who just attacked us, were funded by us. Everytime you fill your tank, you're funding terrorism. America will no longer be beholden to the oil barrens of the middle east. I propose by the end of this decade that America will cure itself of it's oil addiction. I know that this will be hard and America will have to sacrfice, but I know that our tenacious spirit and unparalled wisdom will prevail." He could have then gone on to explain how we were going to build massive wind farms and decommission all of our oil fired power plants. How we were going to build massive Thermal depolymerization plants that would turn our organic waste into usable oil. He could have mandated that the big three and any auto maker that wanted to sell cars in America would have to meet super strict emission and fuel economy standards.

And you know what, we would have gone along with it. We as a nation would have looked at the craters in NY and the blacked facade at the pentagon and said "Your right, we need to change course". We all know that oil is a dead end enterprise. That at some point we're going to have to get off that bandwagon. However, the future argument is always made. The idea that over the horizon is some super techology that's going to fix everything. Well, unless we start working now, that super technology might never come.

Tragically, instead we went down this path instead. Five years later and we're arguably in a more precarious security situation. Our military is streched to the limit. We're using use more oil then we've ever used.
User Journal

Journal Journal: More stuff to chew on...

To continue the discussion about NK is to wonder what'll happen to the crumbling infrastructure and their ?nuclear? arsenal.

At a certain level, even though Kim's a wack job, you'd have to think that at some level there's a general who has the brains to go "Ya know, even if we had a dozen of these bombs, we're going to lose." Though if people weren't aware, NK has managed to drop missile parts on Alaska. So, if they wanted they could with drop a bomb on San Francisco. What's a more frightening prospect is NK starving would degenerate into a civil war and it's nuclear material would go to the strongest general or the highest bidder. (though the strongest general wouldn't be too bad provided they didn't have the intention to use it) So, in a nutshell, NK worries me.

The next area that frightens me in terms of future stability is China (and India). China has a couple of major problems that it doesn't like to talk about. I'll mention the first one and then talk about both of them when I talk about the second one. The first problem is AIDS. Right now China has an out of control AIDS epidemic that it isn't talking about or doing much about. The second and more serious problem is peasant unrest. The great divide between the peasants and "haves" in chinese society grows every bigger. These "haves" have the money to buy the medicines to stave off the effects of AIDS. The peasants who have little or no education about safe sex practices come to the cities (most of them male) come to the city to make money to bring home to their village. Once in the cities they engage in risky sexual behavior. In one region 11% of sex workers tested postive for HIV. They then go home to their village and well you get the idea. The thing that's dangerous is that this is directly effecting the cogs of chinese industrial might. What happens when large numbers of it's working age population can't work anymore, i.e. start dying in droves. Now the government has gotten off their asses on this, but so far it's been really slow to react. When the unrest bit comes in is that at a certain point the workers are going to realize that the government a) knew this was happening b) did nothing about it. That's when the shit will hit the fan. Though at that point it's a bit like beating up the captain after the ships already gone over the waterfall. China's social fabric will start to rip when there isn't enough food. Then international investors will start bailing out (though that will have happened earlier (probably right after the communiest party is dragged out in the street and dismembered by 100 million enraged peasants).

India frightens me for all the same reasons as China. Rampant poverty, population explosion combined with an explosive HIV situation.

If you've been following the news, you'll see that there are some major issues in the Ukraine right now. Basically, according to the exit polls the non russian backed canidate should have won, but the russian backed canidate won instead. To top it off, international monitors reported voting irregularities. Though they haven't said what those were. In any case, right now there are tens of thousands of Ukranians in the street demanding that the "winner" be redecided. This brings up the next question. What if russia has been trying to influence the election in Ukraine? It's not that inconcievable. Considering that 15 years ago, it was just a satelite state of the USSR. Everybody thought that Putin was pro-western president until he suddenly ignored all kinds of russian properly law and gutted russians largest oil company on grounds that people have argued are "flimsy" (such as the company suddenly having massive tax bills out of nowhere). Could we see a new soviet union reemerge? IF it did, what ramifications would that have on our current military strategies? We've moved away from fighting the monolythic enemy (USSR) to the current situation where we're basically the worlds targets... Though we do have to remember that alot of messes that we've made in the past were to harrass the USSR and now those messes have come back to haunt us. (i.e. Afghanistan)
User Journal

Journal Journal: The direction things are going. 1

Back in the day there was this doctrine about how the foreign policy of a country should be to promote stability in the world.

Looking at the existing situation the world is in, I see a couple of things happening the near to far future that I think will have a profound effect on the quality of life here in America.

1. Saudia Arabia. I see in the not to distant future the Saudi's losing control of Arabia. There are a number of factors to why this will happen, however the most profound are these. Firstly, the royal family skims something like 40% of it's countries wealth off for itself. This while people live in extreme poverty. Secondly, In order to keep the people from wanting to march into the palaces and string them up, they Saudi's have had a tactic of keeping the people pissed at some other group of people... you know... us. They've done this by allowing extreme forms of Islam to flourish in SA. So, now you've got a group of fantical people who believe that all their problems (both real (I'm not going to pretend that we haven't thrown some gas on the fire) and percieved) Though the problem with this strategy is that, the Saudi's are actually in bed with the current administration (Bush & Co.). So, now that the princes have cultivated this core group of religious zealots who believe that all things american are unholy, they're losing control of them. This is double bad. For one, because of our short sighted knuckleheaded policies, without the Saudi's oil, we've only got about 6 months before we start hearing this loud sucking sound out where our strategic oil reserves are. For two, the Saudi's need us just as bad. So, when the royal family's heads are living out in the sand cleanly removed from their bodies, the timer starts on our economy and it's already run out for theirs. Then the only export SA has is terrorists. Think about it. If you add up all th exports from the 22 oil producing countries in the middle east and then subtract oil from their exports, it's smaller than Finland. SA doesn't produce anything other than oil.

2. North Korea. I highly suspect that their's no clean rules for power transition in that country and I don't think Kim's getting any younger. The countries offical flower is the kimjongilia (I kid you not, I couldn't make this shit up if I tried!)
Thus I suspect that when the time comes it'll degenerate into a messy internal power struggle between the generals and their armies, etc.

This POST isn't finished, though feel free to comment...
User Journal

Journal Journal: Whoohoo, the big 28...

So, I went yet a whole other year without writing in my journal.

Well, I'm now 28. Since I was 27, my wife and I bought a house.

No promises, but I'll post more as things progress...
User Journal

Journal Journal: Whoohoo, the big 26!

So on the 11th I hit the big 26 mark. However, I'm still a kid at heart. I saw Harry Potter on the 15th and I liked it. I think they could have taken a bit more creative license, but at the same time, it's cool to see how my mental image of things matches up against the directors mental image of things. Some stuff was right on (like the chamber) other things (like what whamping willow) were completely different. Now I'm excited for the new Star Trek movie and the next LOTR flick.

I like the fact that alot of PS2 games are now 20 bucks! I picked up Tekken Tag Tournament on Sunday and played the hell out of it. Now I've just gotta remember all the cool moves. My wife's a buttom masher and she still manaages to pull off these sick combos that usually result in my characters body ending up in some pretzel like configuration on the ground...
User Journal

Journal Journal: Found a solution!!!

Personally, I think tivo is stupid. Mainly because you can't archive the video and the interface sucks ass...

I found a company that makes a product that runs for the PS2 that allows me to play any video file I've got on my PC on my PS2 and output it to my Television. My wife and I are huge invader zim fans , but sitting in front of the computer and attempting to watch invader zim can be a bit uncomfortable... now we can curl up in our comfy bed and watch invader zim instead!!! Once we get setup in our new place with cable and I get the video capture card installed, I'll be able to grab shows, save them on my PC and then watch them in the living room on the TV and get to take advantage of the whole "theater" experience! oh yeah...
User Journal

Journal Journal: The dentist, metroid and other things...

So I went and had my annual cleaning and I didn't have any cavities (horray!!!) My dental health is one of those things that really stresses me out. Currently I'm 25 and I've got as many fillings in my mouth... along with a root canal/crown. I have this nervous feeling that by the time I'm 50, I'll be all crowns. Which would't be that bad except for the whole root canal part. Now granted my first (and only) root canal didn't hurt that bad, (it was one of my quad-cuspid teeth (count 5 back from your two front teeth (the tooth before your first molar)) I still don't like the idea of spending may hours and moocho bucks in the "chair".

I went backpacking a couple of weeks ago and it was awesome. Ended up hiking around in the white moutains by Mt. Tripyramid. This trip with a buddy of mine (wpidalamar on slashdot) was to test our gear and see if we liked our new packs. Though I learned a couple really good things...
1. I packed way too much food!
2. I packed way too much other stuff...
Needless to say, if you've read my profile, my b-day is coming up and my wife has been asking me what I'd like, we'll now she knows... I really need a pack cover. I ended up jerryrigging a trashbag over my pack when it started to rain (more on that!) and I need a new poncho. So yeah, it rained... At first we were like "yeah, its just a sprinkle" but it kept getting harder... When we checked the weather on our way out the door it was "clear with scattered showers" by the time we arrived at the parking lot (unknown to us) it had turned into "showers, heavy at times" so we hiked around and intended on staying the night (we had stayed the night at a different place earlier) we started todo the fun vs. not-so-fun factoring into account and a few other things came into measure as well..
1. we couldn't find a campsite on level ground. We were either in the middle of the logging road, or in a rut.
2. all the level places weren't secluded enough that we felt comfortable dropping our packs and hiking anywhere.

So with that, we decided that it was probably best to call it a day and hike out. All told we did 13 miles (with 40 pound packs) and weren't sore for it. (all in about 6 hours while we took breaks and goofed off)

Totally different topic!!!!

I got my hands on a copy of metroid. I'm a big fan of classic NES games and Metroid tops the list as an all time favorite. I went by a yardsale a couple years ago and bought two top loading NES game machines and a pile of games for 10 bucks! After some cleaning and a bit of work, both of them are in tip top working order! If your like "what the fuck is a top loader" Nintendo actually made two versions of its 8bit nintendo system. The first one was that square box that the cartridge loaded in the front. We all know what a pain in the ass that thing was. Eventually the stupid connector wore out and the nintendo stopped working. The top loader was all the lessons learned from the front loader, plus a healthy dose of K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Stupid) thrown in for good measure. Imagine a Super Nintendo, only smaller but the same overall shape. Since were talking about nintendo here for a moment... Why didn't nintendo ever come out with a Super Nintend o cartridge that would allow you to play regular nintendo games in a super nintendo??? They had a cartridge that would let you play game boy games, but not NES cartridges... That's what kept me from buying a SNES... (plus I got a genesis for christmas the year the NES died...) More on metroid... One thing I find really amazing about that game is the music. I played about 10 minutes this morning before heading out the door and I've still got one of the particular tunes stuck in my head... Anyway, leave some comments on any games you personally like...
User Journal

Journal Journal: Insomnia!!!!

So I had insomnia the other night and it was fun. No seriously, it was. Yeah, I did have all the nasty after effects (driving like an old lady on heroine) mumbling, the usual, but it was still fun. You ask why? I'll tell you... Homeworld! A former co-worker friend of mine who my wife and I hang out with on a weekly basis showed me this game a while ago and while I was in Target (pronounced Tarjay ;-)) I picked it up, but my wifes computer wouldn't play it. We'll it would play it, but the zoom feature didn't work, which pretty much makes the game worthless. For those of you who actually read my journal (I know my multitude of fans grows larger by the moment...) Homeworld is a RTS (Real Time Strategy) Space conquest game. Very fun and very time consuming. Time being the operative word here. See, I don't have much of it, time that is. Things tend to be hectic. There are many factors to this, but working full time, plus going to school nights, plus some semblance of a social life does it to you... "it" being you go "shithouse". What precious time I do have, I want to spend it with my wife. So yeah, I sat up all night playing homeworld and it was fun. At one point, the computer had to turn back because it has lost 60% of its ships in my minefields alone, it hadn't even gotten to my Armada. What a great term. I had actually started calling it "Battle group alpha." We (the computer and I) over the course of several hours had several epic show downs, it won a few, but I won the most. Talking to my buddy, I have a couple of better strategies to try out the next time I had insomnia...
User Journal

Journal Journal: Hey! It's all about the buck

I find it utterly amazing how money plays into the decisions of everything. I try to pretend that I'm one of those high minded people who tries not to make decision purely on the basis of cost, but I find working in the tech world it goes that way. A year ago, if you even whispered the "L" word near my boss he'd give you that "Yeah Son, but see were an NT shop and that's the way it is" look. Today he pops into my office and is like, "You know those mail thingy-a-bobs we've got in the lab, what-da think about putting them on linux?" I'm not complaining I just think it's cool. I know that the thingy-a-bob reference just made him sound dumb, but he's not. He's one of those bosses that holds the reins enough that you stay on task, but not so tightly you feel like he's standing on your head or has a key logger attached to your machine. If you want my personal opinion, which your going to get anyway, but I think SUN is fucked like whore at a brothel frequented by the many members of the US Navy. Mainly I say this because my company's (which will remain nameless) IS department has set forth a policy of purging all of our SUN equipment. Now your probably saying, "Yeah So, just cause you are doesn't mean everybody else is" The problem is , well maybe I was a bit harsh on the whore comment, they'll still exist, but at a reduced size. In enviroments like mine I see two things happening, you either jump ship or stick with SUN. The problem I think is that we jumped ship (to HP) and are happier for it, so out goes SUN. So all those sun boxes that were doing unix type jobs (like our internal webserver) are now finding themselves collecting dust. The other problem is the expense of supporting sun hardware from a recuring maintance point of view. Some of the highend old sun hardware can run you into the thousands of dollars a month in maintaince cost. It's pretty hard to justify that when you can have a 4 way linux box do the same thing and the hardware is an 1/8 of the cost. It'a all about the buck...

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