[Musings] Mental Static.


To quote Arthur Dent, "I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle."

Wow this article says just like I feel...


[Musings] D'oh! I knew I forgot something...

Yeah I have been forgetting to update my blog. I hope I haven't lost too many readers. Things are starting to quiet down. New job and the holidays have kept me busy.

The holidays are mixed times for me. On the one hand I enjoy the holidays, the traditions, the trappings of the various spirits, etc. I don't like the commercialization, but that is part of living in a capitalist society, if someone can make a buck, they will. On the other hand I also dread the holidays. As I have grown up I have become more distant from my family as we have all gone our separate ways and lives. I do honestly make an effort to find common ground with my family, but as the years go by I find there is less and less we can talk about. I have become more urban and cosmopolitan, while my family remains more rural and down to earth. This isn't a bad thing, it is just different. Our daily experiences of life do not move in the same ways anymore. Common ground does exist (i.e. politics), but politics grow old after discussing it every holiday. Some of it is also that my mother, after almost 30 years is starting to learn that her son is no longer 11 and interested in dragons, castles and wizards (well I still am, but on a more intellectual level and not in the figurine way).

My friend (happy birthday Jer!) turned 30. We promptly sent him to carousel (or carrousal as the movie credits call it) and recycled him for his constituient nutrients. I turned 30 soon as well. Wow, what happened to my 20s!?!?! I don't think I would want to go back and re-live them, especially parts of my later 20s. But I wish I had the body I had when I was 20, the ability to stay up 36 hours straight and sleep 18 hours at a time. Now I find it hard to stay up past 11pm and sleep longer than 9 hours.

Ah well enough for now, I am just rambling anyways.


[Musings] The Distributed Life, FIN

After 4 months The Distributed Life (!tm) is over. I thank my employer (who I have now left) for allowing me to work from a virtual office, it helped us both get through a transition period. I really did expect to do this long term, but over the four months it slowly become more and more strained. When I was in Rochester my personal life was good (wife), but my professional life was bad (not in the office keeping up on gossip, goings-on, etc.). When I was in the Twin Cities my professional life was good, but my personal life was bad. Upon the sucessful search and acquisition of a job with all things *nix in Rochester, it meant that I could end the Distributed Life. It is so nice to live in one place again.


[Musings] Switching jobs

Well I go and it is done. I am happy and looking forward to switching jobs. The last month has been a time of reflection and a time of looking forward. I have spent my entire adult life here at this location (not with the same company as half-way through my career here I was moved over to the out-sourcer). Almost 10 years. I have bucked the trend of being an IT professional who switched jobs every 1.5-3 years. That is not for me. Part of my job satisfaction is know the people with which I work and developing those relationships. I have been lucky in that respect. Sadly American Capitalism does not reward people who stay at a job for any length of time. Which is truly sad. Someone who spends 20 years somewhere, knows the company, the job, the people and so much more inside and out gets paid less than someone they hire of the street. This isnt right. But I digress. I am leaving because I am moving to a new city to be with my wife who is going to graduate school. I am excited about the new job. I am looking forward to the new challenges and the chance to meet new people. It will fufill a goal of mine to be working for a non-profit as well as being able to walk to work (I need the exercise).

I am sad to be leaving the people I have worked with for almost 10 years, but I look forward to the new environment.


[Nerd] Live from LISA 2004 in Atlanta, GA...

Its GeistX!!!

Look me up if you are a fellow sys admin geek type. I won't tell you anymore, you will have to guess which one is me...


[Musings] Catch up...

I know I've been quiet for a bit. But you have to allow for the fact that the last two weeks have been unusual. From the elections (which was an emotional defeat for me) to the prospects of options that will change my future. I've been busy.

I've finished a couple of books:

Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn
Hard Contact by Karen Traviss (yeah I know I am on a Star Wars kick)

Still reading:
The Corporation
9/11 Commission Report (whew)
Globalization and its Discontents

My book reading has slowed down, but only because I have started reading more and more newspapers such as the City Pages, Star Tribune (online), NY Times (online), and Salon (online pdf daily download).

Now back to the election. I have nothing to say that probably hasn't been said by thousands of other bloggers or pundits. I am starting to come out of the shock of it and I am starting to come down from the anxiety I had. My wife and I were more politically active this year, than all the years of our lives combined. We volunteered, took part in the caucus, sent money, and became active in local DFL chapters. We met interesting people, got to know our local politicians and our candidates. I had experiences that have changed my life and I do not regret who I've helped campagin for, nor do I have regrets that I could have done more. I felt like I was part of something bigger. I do feel distraught that the second Presidential election that I took part in resulted in another Bush Presidenticy, which leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth and a bit of deja'vu. I pray the next four years are better than the last four and I really hope that the crazy economic and social policies I keep hearing about never come to pass.


[Politics] VOTE!

Here is what I posted on my Gaming Outfit's forums, I felt it apt to repost here, I tried very hard to be non-partisan because voting, for whomever is a right that was hard won in this country:

"Tuesday is Nov 2, why is this important (at least to the Americans)?


I don't give a rat's ass or two-shits (whichever you prefer) who you vote for, just GET YOUR ASS OUT AND VOTE!!!*

Some of you may ask, 'GeistX, what crawled up your ass and died?' or 'OMGGWTF dude?', well let me respond.

1) Part of being a citizen in a participatory democracy is voting (along with healthy dissent, intelligent debate, unbiased news, and informed decisions, which as you may guess we as a democracy need to work on a few of these items, I would assign them to Blackwater to research, but being a Canadian from Canadia, he of course cannot address these issues in the US). As with taxes, every citizen has not only the privilage, but also the right to vote in this country. We as a people have fought over way too many things, in way too many places, and with each other not to exercise these hard won rights.

2) The future of this country is tied not only to us as a people, but those who represent us, from the President to the lowly County Clerk. If you want to have a hand in building the future (whether for good or bad), you need to vote. Eventhough the Electoral College 'buffers' (I almost said buggers) the Presidential election, often there is more than just the President on an ballot (this is why non-Presidential election years it is vital that you also vote). Such issues ranging from local officials to levies for taxes, referendums for new schools, or even possible restrictions (such as smoking bans, emission standards, etc.).

3) I won't say voting isn't cool, but then again neither is responsibility. But if you vote I will think you are cool. You want me to think you are cool don't you?

4) We are at war, on many fronts and in many forms, leadership is vital for this country and for morale. When people vote, you are taking part in this leadership, you send a clear message that you care. When you vote you are electing leaders who will choose by proxy for us decisions that affect our course in these conflicts and these discourses.

Seriously voting may not seem like much, but know that you have something that not everyone in the world has. The right to choose, the ability to express yourself and affect the course of this country. These basic rights are often taken for granted, but when I vote, I feel like I am participating in something larger than me.

Sorry to get all political, but really take advantage of your right and privilage. For those of you who are not old enough to vote, you can still participate, in learning the issues, following the process, and most importantly in my opinion. Questioning everything and make your own decisions and conclusions.


* = assuming of course that you are not a felon, are old enough, and are a legal U.S. citizen, if you are not all of these, then try and vote anyways, it will be worth the excitement."


[Musings] The Distributed Life, part next

I've been doing The Distriubted Life (tm) as I call it now for about 2 months. It sucks on many levels, but it does have it's bright points. For example, I spend half of my time in the luxurious (compared to my cube) office, where I have easy access to coffee, a snack, a fish tank with entrancing tropical fish and most importantly, my office helpers, my cats. Not to sound like a crazy pet person, but I really love my cats. When I am having a tough day dealing with all things *nix, my cat will hop in my lap and start purring. Instant stress relief. I think what makes pets so theraputic is the fact that they are so interactive. You give them love or attention, and they give it back, instant satisfaction. They help remind you that there is more in life than work.

[DVD] Super Size Me

I will never go to McDonalds again.


[Books] Post your reading list!

My [Ramblings] of a little while ago where I posted my reading list, and recommendation from AC made me decide, please post your reading lists! It will be a great way to exchange reading ideas.

My list at the moment (note it is a little different as I have finished a few books):

The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Power and Profit by Joel Bakan
Manufacturing Consent by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman
Star Wars - Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn (4th rereading)
Imperial Hubris by Anonymous
The 9/11 Commision Report by the 9/11 Commission (very enlightening)


[Review] Star Wars Battlefront

Rating: T for Teen (which like PG-13, which is a red flag for me with movies, but games are different)

Synopsis: Battlefield 1942 with Wookies.

What worked/What I liked:

- you get to shoot gungans, a lot of gungans
- you get to shoot ewoks, a lot of ewoks
- the sounds was phenominal
- the graphics were liquid smooth on my computer
- you get to drive AT-ATs
- Wookie Smugglers + Ammo driod = teh win
- the republic gunship is the shit, a flying tank and one of the easier craft to fly

What didn't work/What I didn't like:

- maps were too small, especially the ones where you could fly stuff
- TIE Fighters and Xwings are not atmospheric ships in my book
- the bot AI while not impressive was better than bf1942's, but it was still limited
- historical campaigns didn't let you choose a side, while it was fun shooting gungans as part of the droid army, I would have preferred to play the Empire on the Endor mission
- bf1942 like mouse controlled flying

What I haven't tried yet:

- multiplayer online (just haven't had time), but I really hope it isn't like bf1942, where my online experience was ruined by people who were able to snipe me from across the far side of the map right as I spawned. Battlefront's sniper weapons aren't one-shot kill weapons so this may be better. Now I may just spawn in front of an AT-AT. :-)


[Politics] Educated Voters = good for democracy

Because informed voters are the backbone of a healthy democracy I felt I would post a few links from Wikipedia that I found to be helpful to understand the U.S. electoral process.

Description of the US Electoral College

Description of the two-party system

The Spoiler Effect


Instant run-off voting, an option against deadlocks or ties

Condorcet Voting, another good alternative

Duverger's Law, a discussion of how first-past-the-post fosters two-party systems

Factcheck.org, a non-partisan political fact-checking site

Yes my posting seems biased towards options to the two party system and they are. I feel that the two parties have become so monolithic it is hard for them to represent the ideaologies and feelings of all their members. I have spoken to many people who do not like the two options they are given as they are neither Republican or Democrat, yet share beliefs in common with elements of each party. Since the Democrat shunning of the Green Party in 2000, the two-party system has further widened the divisions and feelings, the only counter-balance this election, in my opinion, is the liberal fear of 4 more years of a Bush Administration. We, as a free peoples, with a high level of literacy and education should have more than two parties and we should be able to figure out a way to more effectively express everyone's beliefs and play nicely in the sandbox that is America's politics.


[Ramblings] Slow week

I know I have not posted much lately. Been busy with the 'Distributed Life (tm)' and the toil that I call work. So I guess I am just wasting everyone who bothers to read this time.

Last weekend my wife and I went to go see the movie 'Shaun of the Dead', I have to say best zombie movie I have seen in a while. Very cheeky and well done. I would rank my favorite zombie movies as:

1) Dawn of the Dead (original 1960s version)
2) Shaun of the Dead
3) Bad Taste
4) Dead Alive
5) Evil Dead series

People have told me I should see 'Bio Zombie' and a few have recommended 'Chopper Chicks from Zombietown'. My wife says I am obsessed with zombie movies. I just like them is all. I also like dystopia/alternate reality movies and my top 5 of them are:

1) Clockwork Orange
2) 1984
3) Brazil
4) Matrix (first movie)
5) THX-1138


[Multimedia] Star Wars Trilogy DVD / THX-1138 Director's Cut

I purchased the Star Wars Trilogy DVD and received THX-1138 DVD for cheap when buying they as a package deal. Here is my review:

THX-1138: I loved it. I enjoy dystopia movies and I felt this movie was adequately creepy, depressing and technically well done. Robert Duval did an excellent acting job.

Star Wars DVD: Eventhough I have accused Lucas of raping my childhood, in deep and serious reflections, Star Wars was a large part of my life since watching it for the first time at the Kanabec County Fair in the Mora fairgrounds back in 1981. I remember fondly when my Grandmother took me to see Return of the Jedi at Har Mar theaters in 1983. To the christmas of 1982 when I received the Millenium Falcon as a Xmas gift. I was an introverted child who lived in the middle of no where, my friends were often the action figures I played with. Star Wars is a deep part of my nerd-meme as much as Star Trek, Dr Who and Blake 7. I feel the DVDs were worth the purchase because they really have been redone with better effects, crisper images and improved sound. Some criticisms remain:

1) Han and Greedo shoot at the same time now. While not as cool as when he shoots first and in cold blood, it is better than Greedo shooting first.

2) The Jabba scene looks a little better than the 1997 version, but they should have done him as either a hologram or kept that scene out. He still looks CGI (as do the Gungans).

3) The 'Weeeesaaaa Freeeeee!' scene of Naboo during the celebration scene in Jedi wasn't really needed. Seriously, less Gungans = better.

4) The original theatrical movies with the set would have been nice. But after reflection I will give Lucas his dues, they are his intellectual property, he owns them, if this is really the penultimate of his artistic vision for Star Wars so be it. Just apologize for the damn Gungans and we can call it good.

What I liked:

1) The hours and hours of production footage, cut scenes and such in the documentaries. But I love this stuff, I watched the 12 hours of the LotR documentaries too. I wish they would have put in the Ice Creature in the Hoth base scene or the Anchorhead meeting of Luke and Biggs, that would have been cool.

2) Sound is much, much improved. And the digital clarity has allowed me to appreciate even more some of the minuatae to detail.

3) Episode 3 preview was interesting, even though short on details. I am waiting to see how he fixes (if he fixes) the continuity issues between EP 1-3 and 4-6.

Oh well. I know one person is chomping at the bit to flame me for having purchased this set.


[Politics] State Constitutional Amendment for private corporate funding?

MPR Coverage of the "Itasaca Project" which will raise the gas tax, create a metro sales tax, raise license tab fees, and setup toll roads to pay for the redesign of Twin Cities poorly designed roadway infrastructure. I am all for unknotting the roadways in the Twin Cities because the frequent 3 lanes to 1 lane interchanges are annoying and time consuming. But making a Constitutional Amendment to call for taxes to pay private coporations seems very wrong (even insidious). The constitutional amendment approach is allow Gov Pawlenty to save face with his 'no increase/no new taxes' promise which is costing this state dearly in terms of the standard of living, public services, and education.


[Esoterica] An observation on science

We percieve the world about us through its interaction with our nervous system. Every perception is defined by duration, intensity, frequency and modality (or quality). It's the modality of perception that I find most interesting- it's one of the most complex features of sensation. Our sensory modalities are the ones you learned in kindergarten- visual, olfactory, auditory, somatosensory (pain, touch and balance), and taste. These modalities are highly specific and somewhat narrow in nature, however. The range of visible light is only a small fraction of the spectrum; our chemical perceptions (such as smell and taste) are limited; we can only accurately sense changes in temperature from about 5-45°C, and so on.

Most, if not all, of science is devoted to development of new or extended perceptive modalities. For example, we use instruments to observe things too small or too far away for vision and to quantitate energy at a molecular level. We enlarge normal cellular processes to a size and scope perceptible by our eyes; we make computers to listen to the noise of stars; we measure the magnetic properties of molecules to determine their structure and interactions. We constantly desire to know what we do not, and cannot, determine directly- we seek a deeper level of interaction through perception of the world around us. This is the drive of science.

But what then? If every modality was within our grasp, how would we use it? Will the day come when we have observed all? This, I think, is the eternal conflict of scientists: you must have unerring faith in your ability to detect something novel, to invent a modality to make an observation no one else has been able to percieve; you must also have absolute confidence that tomorrow you will observe something anew, that the mystery is unending. We seek all perceptions, confident that we will not find the end.

[Newspaper] The Onion moves to the Twin Cities.

The Onion has moved its publishing to the Twin Cities! I am so happy. When they moved to New York in 2001 it became hard to find it here. I was surprised to start seeing it everywhere again and it makes me happy. Always a funny and often a witty read.

In the 12 years I have lived in the Twin Cities, I have found quite a few free publications that are good reads:

Twin Cities Reader (defunct, bought by a large media conglomerate and closed to reduce competition)

City Pages (hasn't been quite the same since being bought from an out of town large media conglomerate, but still decent)

The Pulse (a lot like the Twin Cities Reader, but on a smaller scale, still locally owned, politically active and has a good scope on music)

Citizen Herald (defunct, I haven't found a copy for years, was like the Onion, but locally published)

the Rake (a monthly magazine, very good)

MN Daily (U of MN newspaper, has suffered considerably from budget cuts, in 1993 it was declared one of the best college newspapers in the country, it is a shell of its former self)

Avenues (monthly newspaper of arts, food, etc. for the Twin Cities, I am not sure if it has a website)

Computer User (I do not see it around as much anymore, always a good read and a good place to find deals on hardware in the TC)

The big media newspapers in town such as the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune are almost unreadable anymore since they were each purchased by giant media conglomerates (all of the Twin Cities newspapers were purchased within a year or so of each other in the mid-90s shortly after the deregulation of media ownership by the FCC, Twin Cities' newspapers and publications have suffered considerably. While allowing them to survive, a lot of them have lost their edge because of distant corporate ownership) and now are inoffensive, homogenized, 8th grade reading level pieces of recycling. If I had to choose, I would pick the Star Tribune over the Pioneer Press since it is a bit better read than the PP.


[Url] memepool.com


I recommend it. I've been reading it since its start and you can usually find some very interesting things to read.


[Politics] Things that make you go, WTF?!?!

Rumsfeld recently confused Saddam for Bin Laden.

Wow, I mean wow. How do confuse a dictator of a oil-rich country who was your nemesis, whom you've captured. With the leader of a radical, well-organized, terrorist organization?

Did someone forget his medicine?

I dearly hope this is a case of senility and not a case of transference. The liberal media has been a buzz over the Bush administration's re-surfacing of the rumors about Iraq harboring/helping al-Qaeda. These rumors were proved false by the 9/11 Commission Report (section 10.3, page 334).

Yet another reason to have a regime change in November. Be sure to VOTE!!!


[Reflection] In Remembrance of Sept 11th, 2001

I won't forget where I was when I heard the first plane had crashed into the first tower of the WTC. I was driving into to work listening to NPR and it was a perfect fall day. Things became much worse quickly after that.

To those who died 3 years ago today, and to those who died in the fallout of the years following it: rest in peace and may we know peace soon.

Web Archive of 9/11
911 Report


[Sci-Fi] Let Star Trek die...please!

I was reading this nytimes article and it made me reflect that perhaps the Star Trek franchise should go the way of the Dodo.

I have loved Star Trek since my father first showed it to me when I was very young. I was/am a Sci-Fi geek who loves Dr Who (Tom Baker years mainly), Blake 7, Star Trek (TNG + DS9 over ToS and Voyager), and Star Wars (thank you for raping my childhood Lucas with ep1 and 2, but they are your films and it is your perogative). I have watched every Star Trek movie, but after such bombs as Nemesis and with Berman's dellusions of grandeur with 'Enterprise' I really think it is time to let things die off for 10-20 years if not for good.

Viacom has announced that a MMORPG is in the works, but I think my friend put it best:

(09:54:37) Kionel: Wee! I get to be a red shirt!
(09:55:02) Kionel: And I'm not taking orders from some 45 hour-per-week-player-loser.
(09:55:06) Kionel: Fuck that.
(09:55:11) Kionel: Fuck it right in the ear.

Power corrupts and 45-hours-per-week corrupts absolutely.


[blog] Call Center Purgatory (a shout out)


In my younger years before I became dedicated to all things that end in NIX, I spent 4 years as a Help Desk operator and it felt like purgatory.

Please read AC's site, for enlightenment regarding that which is known as, Call Center Purgatory.


[Random Spam] Improve Desire & Performance

"I've been using your product for 4 months now. I've increased my length
from 2" to nearly 6" . Your product has saved my sex life." -Matt, FL

"My girlfriend loves the results, but she doesn't know what I do. She
thinks it's natural" -Thomas, CA

Pleasure your partner every time with a bigger, longer, stronger Unit
Realistic gains quickly

to be a stud press here

Oranjestad, Aruba, po b 1200
Go and get my kitten, please, Jellia, and we'll hear what she has to say
about it Rob Loses His Treasures Our young adventurer had intended to
pass the night in the little bed at his hotel, but the atmosphere of
Paris proved so hot and disagreeable that he decided it would be more
enjoyable to sleep while journeying through the cooler air that lay far
above the earth's surface

[Politics] RNC

I don't really know what to say other than we as a people and the world can not have four more years of Bush and his administration. We need to fix taxation in this country, we need to fix the environmental regulations, we need to fix tolerance in this country or we will not have a country in the very near future. We need to break down the striations of the class structures so that we are all a bit closer. We need to do something about health care in this country (be it private or public, we all need it).

Geez why can't we all just get a long anymore?

Is this what the death of a Super Power looks like?


[Musings] Hello? Is this thing on?

Please tell me if my blog sucks.


[Musings] Cutting the cord, cancelling cable.

I just cancelled cable. Wow it felt good. But it didn't come without reservations. For the most part cable is a cesspool of poor programming. But I had the channels I liked (Science Channel, BBC America, Sci-Fi, Comedy Central, Bravo, Cartoon Network). However living the distributed lifestyle, we no longer have much time for TV. After a week without it, we realized that suddenly we had gaps in our day that felt empty. That is when we realized that this is where we would normally watch TV. When we tallied up the hours we found TV really took too much of our time. Since we would only be able to see cable 50% of the time or less, the $60/month expense is not worth it. Which was the other reason for the cancellation. We originally purchased cable when it was $40/month and the service was provided by AT&T. AT&T sold the service to Comcast and within six months our price went from $40/month to $58/month, and we received a letter from Comcast that said basically even though our municipality wasn't raising Francise Fees, the law says we can, so we will. That left a bad taste in my mouth. Plus Comcast's purchase of G4 and TechTV kind of ruined TechTV.

Cest'la Vie. I will miss Morgan Webb, South Park and the BBC, but not much else.

We will be better for having cut the cord with the TV. We read more, we walk more, I surf the internet more. In otherwords I feel like I am living better.

PS - Discovery and Learning Channels, how about putting science shows and educational stuff back on? I am tired of home improvements (aka house pr0n).

[Musings] Culture Jamming, shifting the paradigms

I became hooked on Ad Busters one day when I was waiting in line at my local Co-Op waiting to buy food. It immediately appealed to my repressed counter-culture side. What I love about it though is that it strives to work within the system, change from within. It strives to educate the masses on the power of advertising and it warns us how we need to be an informed consumer and that we need to break the power of the brand. I agree with a lot of what they say. Americans especially need to know the total cost of a product, know that everything we buy costs more than just what is listed on the price tag. Being one of the richest countries on the planet with one of the highest standards of living (which is changing, we are slowly losing it), we need to know how we impact the rest of the world, the environment, and each other.

I am not saying we need to stop buying now, just that we need to be smarter about it. Invest in America, invest in sustainable practices, invest in the now and the future.

PS - I plan to get a pair of blackspot sneakers as soon as they come out!


[Musings] The Distributed Life, part 1

This will be the first installment of hopefully many where I will share my experiences of living a distributed, colocated life. Here is the setup:

Subjects: husband (me) + wife
CoLocs: two cities 87 miles apart, two houses, we'll call them House A and House B
Her Job: Graduate Student
My Job: Nerd-related work in computers involing things that end in NIX.

The thought of finding a new job in this tight job market scared me. So I was able to swing a deal at work where I can work 50% of my work time in the office at location A and 50% of my time working from home B. My team lead and his boss are great, they are supportive and are helping to make it work. Human Resources however is a different story. They saddled me with a three page document about about what I owe the company and when. Guidelines and rules for me to track my time. Stipulations for my home office, how many phone-lines are required, and requirements to my voicemail so that I can be paged immediately when someone leaves a message. Of my team members, I am now the most available, the one who can be contacted anywhere in the US at any time. This was a compromise between me and my employer. I am grateful for it. We both gave a little, but HR made sure that I gave more, and not so subtly reminded me of who is the hand that feeds me. Vacation time cannot be take out of time I am to be in the office and the first complaint by the customer or a co-worker regarding my responsiveness and availability and this setup becomes null and void. Damn my HR sucks. But my lead and his boss are great, they understand the stress this lifestyle will put on me and they want to work with me to make it work and play it loose to see how it goes. If I can pull this off, others in my workplace will be able to benefit from my efforts and do the same.


[Politics] People who voted for Nader did NOT put Bush in the White House

Democrats get over it. People who voted for Nader did NOT put Bush in the White House. These accusation accomplish nothing and work against what the left is trying to accomplish. They also sound like an externalization and denial of failings that the party had in 2000 (read the book Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell for examples). Moreover thanks to scare tactics similar to what the Republicans employ, you have insured that no liberal in this country will ever support a third party. You've won. Stop bashing people who want to think for themselves or who feel the Democrats need to be reminded of their liberal roots. You should be attempting to lure the Nader people by convincing them your candidate(s) (like Kucinich) represent the values of liberalism that the Green Party supports, and that the Democrats are still liberal and still support their causes. You should NOT be shaming those who you need to enlist and wish to enlist to help defeat Bush. What some elements of the Democratic Party are pulling in regards to Green Party and Nader is unjust, unfair, immature, and very, very wrong.

I am a Democrat, for now, I like Kucinich and want to work to bring the Democrats back to being a bit more left. But I have to tell you, I voted for Nader in 2000 and I support the Green Party and you're pissing me off. If the bashing continues I will leave the Democrat Party (and so will my money and volunteer time). I don't support Nader for what he is doing this year, as I feel Kusinich is a better representation of my ideas, but he had valid issues in 2000 and the support of a viable Party. No one could predict the tyranny and darkness that befell this country when Bush stole office, but punishing people you need to help you (and who are on your side) is not the answer. You should be wooing these people and forming alliances, not shunning and condemning them.

Don't expect sympathy or support from these people if you continue to condemn them.

Grow up Democrats and act like the adults you are. You of all people should not be condemning others for their beliefs and ideologies. Did you miss the message of last night's speakers at the DNC? We are all in this together, we must be unified, not divided.


[Musings] The paradox of selling computers to everyone.

I will try to not make this a rant, as it is not my intention. I am the primary tech support for most of my family. I used to hate it, but now I don't really mind. I don't mind because I see the happiness it brings, and I know my family will get the help that they need. My opinion was changed when I was standing in line at a Computer Super store (I won't say which one, but it starts with a C and ends in ompUSA). An elderly lady who could have easily been my grandmother was consulting the 'sage' behind the counter about the difference between a printer port and a USB port. The 'sage' behind the counter told here there was none and then went on to spout a completely convoluted story about IRQs, interrupts and compatibilty. I was beside myself in shock that this 'sage' would tell a paying customer that incredible load of BS. As this nice lady left the counter shaken, confused, and saddened I stopped her and both told and showed her the difference between a printer (parallel) port and a USB port. She was grateful.

As the years progressed more and more of my family became wired. They discovered that the internet was an amazing place and they would be able to save a lot of money by using things such as email and instant messaging, instead of expensive long-distance phone calls (which was adding up in my gossipy and chatty family). My grandmother in fact was the first of my immediate family to go online. Her first computer was a Frankenstein's monster of second-hand parts, built by a friend of the family and used a questionable copy of WinXP Home. After the hard drive died, I built her a new computer, tuned it, installed a legal copy of WinXP and transferred her email and instant messaging accounts. I built the computer from scratch (both for cost and quality reasons) ensuring adequate power, a good stable motherboard (ASUS), a large hard drive, and new modem (and a geForce 3 Ti-200 video card). I wrote an easy-to-use manual for her to read with instructions on how to update her anti-virus software (McAffee, it is also the one with the built-in firewall), run windows update, and just general safety tips like 'don't open attachments from strangers.' She was happy with a computer that didn't crash. She has not had problems since, now instead of the computer house-calls twice per week, now I make social calls where we can just talk and share coffee, much more enjoyable. She really enjoyed the neon-blue light that came from the case, which was by accident since I just used a good, affordable case.

My mother was the next to go wired. She and my stepfather went to a large computer chain (again, I won't name names but it starts with B and ends in estBuy). They purchased a complete HP package: mini-tower, Pentium, 120GB IDE drive, printer, LCD monitor, the works. BB sold her the MS Office and WinXP Home pre-installed. As a bonus there was a lot of HP OEM stuff loaded, such as the HP recovery software. They sold her the replacement warranty (3 years, which to me seems almost like 'undercoating' for cars, but some swear by it). Annoyingly they also did not give her the CDs for WinXP, MS Office, and the various HP software. Mom did not go on the internet right away, but eventually did and within a week had 3 viruses. BB had not sold her AV software, nor did they tell her that she needed it when she asked what she needed to go online. Her computer started to do funny things and I was called. I purchased her a copy of Norton SystemWorks 2003 and Personal Firewall, re-installed her system (I asked her to call BB to get the disks, which they did provide), patched it and setup the Norton products to help protect her system. I then wrote a short manual for her with instructions on how to keep everything updated and what to do if she sees a virus. Her computer has been running smoothly since then (with the exception of a clogged inbox of spam).

I tell these stories because my grandmother and mother are two examples of everyday people who want to be connected to the internet and have a computer. The computer industry has come a long way to make computers easier to use, but there are still some things that may seem like voodoo to most people (like general system hygiene and security). These people will go to places like CompUSA and Best Buy and will rely on staff for expertise and advice. These companies need to quit hiring people who do not understand the nuances of helping the novice computer user own a computer. Give them their CDs when they purhcase a system and give them a handout at least with tips on keeping their system running well and to keep them safe on the internet. Suggest they purchase or download an AV product (not necessarily the most expensive you sell as there are free products like AntiVir and AVG that are great).

Please, think of your grandmother.


[Multimedia] Godzilla - 50th Anniversary Edition

Experience: Movie
Location: Oak St Cinema
Overall Rating: B+


This movie was a re-release of the original Godzilla movie that was released in Japan. It contains about 40 extra minutes of footage not included in the original American release of the film. This is a classic and must see for anyone who likes the sci-fi/horror genre. It was great seeing this movie on a relatively big screen instead of late-night on TV.

The Oak Street Cinema is a small theater near the University of Minnesota and is on my top 5 of movie theaters in the Twin Cities, my list being as follows:

1) Riverview Theater ($2 tickets, second-run movies, excellent popcorn, a restored 1950s theater)
2) Oak Street Cinema ($7 tickets, $4 if you are members, decent popcorn and RC Cola, shows mainly independant films, Kung-Fu, Anime, and fringe movies, near the University so it has the college energy and atmosphere)
3) Highland Theater ($8/ticket, a Mann Theater, but it is a beautiful theater with a unique screen setup, another restored theater from a previous time)
4) Uptown and Lagoon Theaters ($7.50/ticket, the independant movie theaters of the Twin Cities, they show independent and art house films, usually shows interesting movies at midnight on Saturdays)
5) Carmike Wynnsong ($8/ticket, Carmike theater, this is the mainstream theater that we go to when we must see a hollywood blockbuster)


[Multimedia] Chronicles of Riddick

I think I will start a new thread, where I will review movies, music, computer games, books and TV (while I still have cable).

Experience: Movie
Location: Carmike Wynnsong Theaters
Overall Rating: C


Compared to Van Helsig, this movie should win an academy award. Compared to anything else this movie was an example (to me) of the doldrums of that which is the Hollywood movie. They had a great idea, a continuation of where Pitch Black left off, with an interesting character Riddick, criminal scurge of the galaxy versus a religious cult bent on annihilation of the human race. I am usually a sucker for all types of sci-fi as it is my favorite genre. However I am sad that Hollywood can rarely get sci-fi right anymore concentrating on CGI effects instead of plot and developing characters to be about as deep as a mud puddle. I lament and complain like a fickle conaisseur of the genre, vowing after every bad movie that I will refuse to see another one, but as my friends know, I will be one of the first in line to the 3rd installment of Star Wars, where George Lucas will continue to break my heart and destroy my memories of childhood (Star Wars A New Hope was one of the first movies I remember seeing and it started my love of sci-fi, Attack of the Clones nearly destroyed it). I know Hollywood has changed, and so have I.


[Politics] Its the end of the Reagan as we know it...

...and I feel fine.

Though some view Ronald Reagan as a saint, let me remind you (in no specific order); Iran-Contra, Hostage Crisis, Beirut, Grenada, Libya, Reaganomics, Welfare Queen, record debt, Death Squads, Challenger and a draconian AIDS policy of denial and contempt. Don't counter with things like the end of the Cold War (would have happened without him) or any of that stuff. His minuses outnumber his pluses and results in an overall F- for President Reagan.

See http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=18874 for further information and gems about Reagan.

Burn in hell.


[Musings] Oh thats just wrong...

Recently we hosted some friends whom we have not seen in a while. My wife is in my opinion, one of the best culinary geniuses I've ever met. Our menu was was mutli-course starting with appetizers, the main course (fish curry), and desert. I was tasked with procuring some fish at the last minute as our food co-op was out. I decided to pick some up on my way home from work. I work out in the middle of the suburban sprawl and the closest thing to a grocery shop was Super Target. Super Target is a relatively new concept here in Minnesota, having only been around for a few years. For those who don't know, Super Target is a Target (retail store) + eye clinic + pharmacy + coffee shop + deli + bakery + full grocercy store. We needed a fish of the white and firm variety and a friend suggested using Tilapia, as it is cheap and would be perfect for a stew or curry. I doubted that Super Target would have fish, but as they were the most convient on the drive home, I stopped in to check. I was shocked to find that they did indeed have Tilapia (as well as Flounder, Hailibut, and various others). I was mildy shocked and somewhat disturbed. Something just seems wrong about buying relatively fresh (flash-frozen then thawed)fish when across the aisle were feminine hygenie products, diapers, shaving cream and shampoo. I understand the concept behind a Super Target, a one-stop mecca of shopping convience, for those short on time (and indeed it did save me a lot of time). But still, it feels like a boundary was crossed.


[Intro] is blog short for weblog or bitch-log?

So I have decided to delve into the world of blogging. Its strange and new and scary. So bear with me while I start out.