Thursday, December 28, 2006

The China stuff is going well over Xmas (except for the whole earthquake breaking the fiber optic lines thing), i'm in the process of moving a large sum of mice out of my house and into the forest (15 as of this morning), bought some new clothes (gotta keep the economy on the move... though i note every shirt i bought was made overseas), was informed the ex is remarrying (keep the rude commentary to yourself - i know its there, just dont share), dodged family effectively, got a chance to eat real food rather than the diet of subway and dominoes i've been living on in montreal, had to fix the pond since it was in bad shape when i returned (lost most of the fish too i think).

But best of all - it's quiet. No street cleaners at 4 am... no screaming brits piling out of Hurleys at 2 am... the sound of a mouse in a tiptrap is loud enough to wake me halfway across the house... i miss that.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

skeeterhawk Being back in TX - i finally got the pictures I took in my yard when borrowing Mel's old Digital SLR (click on the skeeterhawk to see em). Honestly - the image quality is good - but not as good as I'd want when it comes to spending serious money on a camera. The autofocus funcitonality is silly - it's never as good at it as i am - and the damned thing spins up and down all the time - and when you're shooting moving things that's a pain (oh look, tracking that bird the tree suddenly became important enough to take the bird out of focus... great...). The lenses were ok - but they still feel cheap compared to my old SLR film gear (even if they're not). I got ok with it - learned to cheat depth of field out of it too, which unfortunately ends up costing you in graininess. Just going to end up needing a bigger (and thus more expensive) camera i suppose.

I do think a good camera is something I'd like. I'm a fair shot with one still (i did spend years getting paid to take pictures afterall) - probably something of a 'when i actually spend money on myself that's something i'll probably do' - but not today. Maybe next year though.

Merry Xmas

ooops... hope i didn't ruin it for ya...

Friday, December 22, 2006

oh for the love of god

last night was the company xmas party... and other than falling in love with the poolhall waitress Katia after hours - the only substantive development is that i'm still alive.

god but that was ugly...

but katia wasnt... i dont think... though, i'd had rather a lot to drink by then...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

You know... back in the day there were lots of old examples of using griefing to mess with those who take their 'virtual lives' a bit too seriously - whether we're talking about the Lambdamoo rape case at xeroxparc, or the I Killed Lord British during the Ultima Online beta... we've never found a good way to control this sort of behavior.

Then again... if jackasses didnt take this crap so seriously maybe it wouldnt spawn the sort of response it does...

Whereas I dont generally appreciate griefing in a 'i'm bigger than you, i'm going to ruin your day because i can' way - i honestly love the use of it as protest.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Ahhh... the smell of the season....

Retailers are now engaging in a war of the senses to encourage folks to spend more money - they're pumping scents into the air conditioning etc to encourage shopping.

Two weeks ago in San Francisco, the California Milk Processor Board had to
take down ads in bus shelters that gave off the scent of chocolate chip
cookies. Spokeswoman Molly Ireland said she had received complaints from
several groups, including an anti-obesity organization and people with
diabetes. Taunting them with the smell of off-limits cookies was just cruel,
they said.

The milk board took down the ads a day after putting them up.

One day we can look forward to more of this... they'll paint visitor's locker rooms a soothing pink with the smell of lavender... or operatives will release methane at opposing political rallies... and as far as I'm concerned that day will be a glorious one. Freedom of speech? how about Freedom of stench?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Is it time to get out yet?

How about now?

I said it a year ago... there's no way to win this. We lost. Get over it.

Somedays... this pretty much sums it up...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Henry at it again...

"If they come for your freedom, you must not only resist - you must strike back with a vengeance that will stun them"... that or grab a soy gingerbread latte, a good book, and fiddle while it burns...

Things are way too busy here. Stress levels are high... just too much going on - but it's all very good. I'll be back in Tx temporarily on the 22nd - then off to Beijing soon after (the guys in china are off till the 3rd - so i'll probably fly on the first or somesuch... have to get the details ironed out next week).

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Downballot Disaster

I like Hillary Clinton. I like Barack Obama. I like Dennis Kucinich.

But Hillary will set the Democratic party back a decade in the south.
Barack 'maybe a little blow' Obama is a powerful speaker - but America is a racist country.
Kucinich is a dreamer - god bless him...

The pubs will field McCain - because we're going to be in a war in 2008 and he's going to continue to make the 'we need to do more on the ground not less' argument... and by 08 things will be flat out awful.

We need someone who wont destroy the party down ballot. Gore. Clark. Someone centrist who can play McCain off as a rightwing nutjob.

But we're idiots. We always pick the Kerrys and Deans instead. Yeeeeaargh.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A New Way Forward

Ok. Saw the sunday morning talk this morning... havent really posted on this in a while so...

Saw Congresscritters Shays(R) and Harmon(D) and found myself agreeing more with Shays. Harmon was talking about solutions saying Yugoslavia was a good model... ummm... Yugoslavia? WTF are you smoking bitch!!!! God damn she's stupid. Then I read about the incomming House Intel cmte chair's lack of understanding that Al Qaeda was an extremely Sunni entity... idiots.
The pubs are doing a good job loading the exit strategy onto the dems in the press - which is sad because there's NO exit strategy that works. They might've gotten away with it too if it weren't for W at the rudder. He and his 'new way forward' are such an abomination... the guy's sense of driving the ship of state is to simply run before the wind and hope that the swell carries us all over the reefs. It'll be Bush's insistence on being right that clutches this colossal failure to his chest right to the end.
Fine - you want my 'solution'? Pull everything out of the cities and announce we're not getting involved. When it tips over into 'failed state' (give it, oh, 2 weeks) come out and 'fix' it... flatten Sadr city... KEEP the army this time... impose some seriously draconian curfews on people - and call for new elections. If they elect these crazy secularist bastards again - then give every man woman and child a grenade and pull the hell out. God will sort it out - promise. Oh sure - it throws $350b down the toilet - but we've pretty much done that already.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Another one for Simon...

Personally - i think she's funny - and i wish there were a lot more like her out there... but hey, that's probably just me being an asshole.

Saturdays in a walking city... wandering the streets filled with families out en masse - profoundly ethnically and culturally mixed families (montreal is fairly special that way)... everyone wrapped up in colorful winterwear. I love being surrounded by people when i'm alone - everyone is running around with some intent... a goal... but they all look lost at some fundamental level - and that always makes me grin.

Snatches of conversations... a PETA christmas display - pictures of carcases and a blaring audio tape of an animal being tortured. I saw one 5 yr old boy crying - terror on his face - after seeing it... heard another blocks later asking his father 'they use lipstick on animals? lipstick comes from animals? is lipstick made from blood?' PETA crossed the line here... There's no reason to expose a 5 yr old to that... there has to be a better way...

Then there's the new Sea Shepherd boat - an ex USCG ship that the Shepherds plan to sail into international waters and enforce the UN charter re whaling (by ramming Japanese 'research' vessels). Oh sure, there's an argument to be made that they're being terrorists etc... but i'm not buying. IMO - this is the only way this battle can be fought... Sink em all captain... fair winds...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Terrorist Powerball

Yesterday Robert Gates flew through confirmation hearings in the senate. I, for one, welcome our new ex-cia overlords... and hope he's not the same as the old boss... but we shall see. I'm glad the hearings were short - the grandstanding potential was so noxious that escaping after a mere 8 hours feels like we dodged a bullet. Once he came clean with the idea that yes, america is losing in Iraq (which is rather painful for some to hear, i know, but better that than W's continued bizarro world approach to the conflict) there was almost nothing of substance to the affair. Bird was an embarrassment with his 'say it for the record - Osama = bad' spew... Ben Nelson's 'weekly bounty increase' idea was worse... god help us if these are the ideas the dems bring to the table in a democratically controlled senate. But of them all, one series stood out. Hillary Clinton took the cake.

SEN. CLINTON: Based on your experience, which goes back quite a ways in this
town -- do you believe the president, the vice president, and the existing
secretary of Defense are intelligent men?
MR. GATES: Yes, ma’am.
SEN. CLINTON: Are they patriotic?
MR. GATES: Absolutely.
SEN. CLINTON: Do they care about our men and women in uniform?
MR. GATES: Absolutely.
SEN. CLINTON: Do they believe the decisions they have made for the last five
years have been in America’s best interests?
MR. GATES: I have not had that discussion with any of them, Senator.
That was the soundbite... which totally missed the POINT of her jab - which was the follow up:
SEN. CLINTON: So therefore, we have this conundrum. We have a president and a
vice president who will ultimately decide -- as the president is fond of saying
he is the decider -- about the direction to pursue going forward in Iraq, and it
is quite frustrating to many of us to see the mistakes that have been made, some
of which you have enumerated, and to wonder whether there is any change that
will be pursued by the president.

See... Clinton has to be smarter than this... she came off as a total bitch. All the clips showed her being a total prick to Gates... made her look nasty. She's demonstrating the reason Obama will look so good in about a year (and Edwards looked so good 3 years ago) - that the more you open your mouth as a Senator, the more crap gets shoveled into it. She's going to have too much baggage to win in the current political environment - even if it's because of media miscues.

Monday, December 04, 2006


I mean really. Who needs this? Who sees this ad and makes a beeline for the phone? Can I get that list of people? and can we all agree to devise some torment to inflict upon them?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Its been snowing for 2 days... there's about 6 inches of it in the courtyard outside my flat now. It's not pretty... it's cold and wet and slippery and annoying. After tonight - everything will be icy tomorrow morning - and they'll coat the streets in salt - which will begin the seasonal 'ruining of the pants'... Once you've been through a miserable montreal winter - you really never miss snow ever again. The heater in the flat doesnt seem to actually do anything other than make noise - so i've turned it off... the halogen lighting seems to have more impact on the ambient temperature - so i just leave all the lights on.
On weekends I try to do things that feel like home... i watch the nfl... giggle at wolf blitzer... and find myself enjoying CMT (yeah, odd, but for some reason i only seem to like country music when i'm not in it). No time for making friends or doing social things - yet - but that's pretty normal for me on these projects. I like my coworkers - just too much work to do to hang out with them - though we have lots of holiday events in the queue. Some of em will turn into long term friends I think. Good people.
My world always gets 'work focused' at times like these. That's ok by me - i'm having fun.