Monday, December 31, 2007

From the Everett Washington Herald...

Witnesses told police the man was northbound on Wenatchee Avenue and drifted into a southbound lane for less than a block. Oncoming traffic stopped and waited for the man to pass, Smith said.
He then totaled his car on a light pole, Smith said.
When police asked the man what caused the accident, his one-word answer was "pterodactyl," Smith said.
A breathalyzer test showed "a minimal amount of alcohol," said Wenatchee police Sgt. Cherie Smith. I wonder if State Farm will cover it - or are prehistoric reptiles like flood water in a hurricane...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

i love this (settle in for a read - i wonder what Henry Jenkins over at MIT would say about this one.

This is a long coffee conversation - and considering my penchant for rattling off odd commentary about the Volin reforms in late czarist russia over coffee - i figure everyone is better off if i just leave it at the article itself ;)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

When the US kills someone it doesnt like, like David Kelly (found with a 'letter opener he used to do the deed - which had been wiped clean of fingerprints...) we tend to leave it open to the 'tinfoil hat' defense. Putin pulled that with Litvinenko using Polonium - they got sloppy in the sense that no one looks much under the surface in Russia - so they just didnt expect anyone to dispute their denial. Today I see Musharraf has tried to learn from his masters - only in this case i really think there'll be more blowback. It's easy to whine about a prominent suicide - witness Vince Foster - but an act like this is somewhat harder to excuse. If they cant protect one of the 2 biggest political leaders in their country from a man oozing nitrates and carrying a gun getting close enough to put 2 into her head - can they protect their nuclear stockpile?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Here's to hoping everyone had a great Xmas.... and that everyone got everything they wanted (well, except for magic wands - i dont think it matters how much glitter you put in the reindeer oatmeal as a bribe, santa really cant go around handing those things out). Lot of people had tight belts this xmas - but remember that for some it's been tighter... hopefully everyone has a happy and healthy end and start to the new year - and for those struggling with frustrations of all kinds remember to enjoy your days no matter what they bring.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

21 million...

Once again - the US plays games with international trade agreements... I hope China and Russia are watching this carefully - because this is clear evidence that the WTO is rigged in the west's favor. Not only that - but if I were a nation like Costa Rica who has lost so very much money as a result of this action - I'd withdraw from international copyright treaties altogether - why bother trying to play by the rules at all when you get screwed in a way you cant appeal. I'd say the European countries would be a bit more aggressive in their own defense - since they've had billions in market capitalization wiped off the books - but it's not happening. This doesn't just smell of corruption - it reeks of it.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

There was really only one response to this...

Happy Holidays... (man, i'm gonna be hummin that song all afternoon)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

--> insert ex-wife joke here <--

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

So... am i the only one who finds the the buyer of this object ironic? (for those of you not playing along... here's a nudge)

I wonder if Dick will wipe his ass with it too...

Monday, December 17, 2007

The FISA debate... Reid buckled.
The text of the debate on this bill should be required reading for every civics classroom in America. Dodd absolutely railed against his opponents - and the idiots that are the Republicans in the senate managed some unbelievable commentary. My favorite though...

“The civil libertarians among us would rather defend the constitution than protect our nation’s security.” -- Sen Sessions from Alabama.
Let me make something perfectly clear to you asshole... if that 'g-d piece of paper' fails - then so does our nation. When you look at that 'goddamned piece of paper' - look at those three words written larger than all the rest, and with special pride never written before or since -- tall words, proudly saying "We the people"... It is the holiest of holies - and it DEFINES this country. If this nation falls - but fails true to the convictions of THAT document - then it cannot be accounted a complete loss. That 'piece of paper' will ALWAYS be greater than some dickhead all-hat-one-cow rancher from Connecticut - or another fatassed moron from Alabama who wants a bunch of jerkoffs at AT&T to get away with illegally letting you read my email and listen to my phonecalls. Jeff Sessions can go fuck a goat.

(dont ask me how i really feel)

(or something like that)

So the senate invoked cloture to limit debate on the FISA bill before Dodd had a chance to lock everything up. He can do no more than 30 hours of damage.

If this bill passes
The democratic party will never see a dime of my money. No Democratic candidate - not even the son of god his-holy-self - will ever see my vote - and i will do all i can, both personally and professionally, to make sure any company I build will be built overseas and support the US government fiscally as little as possible. I've said it before - this is my personal line in the sand. Senator Dodd, upon taking the floor, said "I rarely come to the floor with this much anger. I've never seen contempt of the rule of law such as this." I am at least as incensed (and there, on CSPAN, is John Fucking Cornyn talking about how Islamofascist Terrorists are using PHONES to plan terrorist attacks... well no shit sherlock... they use WORDS too... why not cut out everyone's tongue or cut off their fingers and feed them finger sushi like machine girl. Or are we to the point where we pay people to inform on crazy people - supply them with money so they can purchase 'terrorist uniforms' - and then fail miserably to prosecute them when it turns out they're just a bunch of morons instead of a group 'as dangerous as al qaeda determined to blow up the sears tower' - and call that vigilance.

I am *this* close to giving up. Senator Reid - you are an abomination.

UPDATE: Reid buckled. They put it off till January... these guys need to figure out if they want to be the guys in the white hats or not.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lets see...
Celine Dion takes final bow in Vegas
Football Legend Joe Namath Graduates
Tats, Baggy Pants Out - Gangs get makeover
Sonny Bono's Widow Remarries

These were the big stories on CNN this afternoon

On the BBC? They were all variations on this

There's a reason we elect morons.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sure, they start out cute... but the next thing you know Dick Van Patten is getting shot. Still - give it 5 or 10 years and these could be a lot of fun.

Friday, December 14, 2007

There are days when i lob a lot of bottles off into the ether... emails... text messages... phone calls to voice mail... and being out here in bumfuck, well, a lot of times that's really my only connection to the reality of human contact (at least until something that smells like work kicks in)... So when i send a note to a friend and it goes unanswered, or people tell me to clear a day so we can get together - only to find the day come and go without so much as a whisper... well - lets just say that's a bit more annoying for some of us than others. Still - its normal... people have lots of their own life crap to sort through - no guarantees there's time to burn entertaining me...

but with the holidays in full swing - and with many doing family things (i know how it is) - it's just a matter of how very quiet it gets. This is probably why i hear the complex subtext in the loaded 'what are you doing for xmas' question. Truth be told - i'm happy doing what i'm doing - i've always been comfortable by myself (else i couldnt do jobs involving me in foreign countries for months alone), even when i was immersed in the whole 'keep sherry happy' game. Still - if the few times i bother to try to do something with or contact people they blow me off - i'm going to be in the corner making wooden starfish.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Today Jake did a record review...
my turn...

Well - it's not for everyone... but with the tony-james-esque space-guitar and the heavy base riff, the classic punk drum riff (drummed by a guy wearing melon-bread-launching shoulder cannons no less) and... ok... yeah... you're right.

As I wandered India, one of the things that caused a good deal of amusement to me was that i would hear a mumbling 'baba' - or 'holy man' - as i walked. It was a hair thing... longhairs are revered in India (as they should be). Still - just in case anyone was wondering - i'm not holy - and for the record none of my bodyparts have healing powers.
I'd like to keep them if that's ok with you...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It's that happy time of year...
for holiday joy and holiday cheer...
when people go from house to house and block to block...
singing Christmas carols and beating the crap out of jews

wait... what?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Finally knocked off 2 books that had been on my list. First, Peter Watts' Blindsight. A very tight story filled with an interesting technical approach towards first contact. The trick in all of these sorts of stories is that the effort to find out more about the aliens reveals more about humanity... and this one is no different. Some good ideas - some better explored than others - but the pacing of this one keeps the tangential opportunities tied to advancing the characters or the plot. There's a 'Pitch Black' feel to it... like a story out of someone's nightmares... and it never loses the creepy looking over your shoulder feel. It didnt really hold me hostage like so many books do - but then i'm a little distracted these days, so that's probably not the book.

"As long as you pull your hand away from an open flame, who cares whether you do it because it hurts or because some feedback algorithm says Withdraw if heat flux exceeds critical T? Natural selection doesnt care about motives. If impersonating something increases fitness, then nature will select good impersonators over bad ones. Keep it up long enough and no conscious being would be able to pick your zombie out of a crowd." Another silence; I could hear him chewing through it. "It'll even be able to participate in a conversation like this one. It could write letters home, impersonate real human feelings, without having the slightest awareness of its own existence."
"I dunno, Rob. It just seems --"
"Oh, it might not be perfect. It might be a bit redundant, or resort to the occasional expository infodump. But even real people do that, dont they?"
"And eventually, there arent any real people left. Just robots pretending to give a shit."
(note... maybe that passage stood out for a reason for me... you think? I know all about Chinese Rooms too Watts, in most ways I married one...)

Second was The Android's Dream by John Scalzi. Now I liked Scalzi's Old Man's War stuff but this one had me a little worried. I shouldn't have been. It's funny, filled with anecdotes that have very little to do with the plot but everything to do with setting the tone. For some reason I misunderstood the premise when I bought the book - and thus imagine a Dirk Gently as Slammer's non-com space opera scenario set in a comedic version of Brin's Uplift universe... It never goes for the easiest jokes either. This was one of the best reads of the year.
The next hour was the most fun Moeller could remember having just about ever. He taunted Lars-win-Getag mercilessly, safe in his own appearance of bland disinterest in the minutae of the negotiations, the visible absence of a scent-emitting object anywhere in the room, and the Nidu assumption that humans, with their primitive sense of smell, could not possibly be intentionally goading them. Except for Lars-win-Getag, the Nidu were of the wrong caste to know anything more than the basics of the scent language and so could not share their boss's outrage. Except for Moeller, the human delegation was utterly ignorant of the cause of Lars-win-Getag's behavior. They could tell something was making the Nidu twitchy, but had no idea what it could be. The only person who noticed anything unusual was Alan, who by sheer proximity could tell his boss was gassy. But Moeller knew that the ambitious little squirt wouldn't dream of saying anything about it.
In this garden of ignorance, Moeller savaged Lars-win-Getag with intolerable insults about his sexual performance, his personal grooming, and his family, often in combination of all three. Fixer's apparatus was filled with enough of the trace chemical compounds needed to combine with Moeller's own tract eminations that he could theoretically emit coherent gaseous statements for days. Moeller experimented to discover which statements enraged Lars-win-Getag the most; as expecte, insults about job competence barely caused a rise in respiratory rates, but suggestions of sexual inadequacy really seemed to get him hot. Moeller thought Lars-win-Getag was going to pop when Your mates laugh at your lack of seed wafted over to him, but he managed to hold it in, primarily by gripping the table hard enough that Moeller thought he might break part of it off.
Moeller had just released You feast on shit and just punched in Your mother fucks algae for processing, when Lars-win-Getag finally lost it, and gave himself to the negotiation-halting rage that Moeller was hoping for. "That is enough!" he bellowed, and lunged across the table at Alan, who, for his part, was shocked into immobility at a large, sentient lizardlike creature launching itself at him.

Monday, December 10, 2007

You know...
When i think of movies about 'machine girls' coming out of japan...
I hope for more of this than that... but i'd probably see both (remember, i've enjoyed some stupid movies over the years)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Was my ex-wife's birthday today...
saw her for coffee (she was in town)... felt like talking to a ghost in some ways... and for the first time i actually felt uncomfortable telling her things about myself.

I could have cooked her the carrot cake i just made - but i made it for someone else i like a lot more.

Lets see... 2 cups of brown sugar, 5 eggs, 1 1/2 cups of self-rising flour, 1 1/4 cups of butter (thats a LOT of butter), juice of an orange, tsp of baking powder, 3/4 tsp of ground ginger, 12 oz of organic carrots (damn grating that many carrots is annoying), tbsp of cinnamon (fyi - do not eat), 1 cup of almonds destroyed with a hammer, 4 oz of walnut pieces, 4 oz of pecan pieces, dash of nutmeg and cloves... 350 for 55 minutes in a 9x9x2 pan... then 4 oz of marscapone, 8 oz of cream cheese, a cup of powdered sugar, and the juice of 4 squeezed limes - whipped and smeared about on top - then another 2 or 3 oz of pecan bits liberally smashed into the rather substantial depth of icing on top.

Dinner will be a pecan wild rice pilaf with a sweet onion cut into long sections, softened in oil, and scattered across the top of the rice - the entirety then baked... and a 20 oz grassfed no-hormone tenderloin roast from central market, covered in a breaded exterior consisting of dijon, butter, a tangy citrus marmelade, and pecan crumbles - and set off by a sectioned mandarin orange.

There's a baby green salad for the leaf-eater too (because, you know, you kinda haveta offer plants to people when you serve them dinner)

I'm going to screw up the timing on the pilaf - i know this now - because i've never done it before and i'm guessing how long the elements will need to cook. The tenderloin is going 350 for 25 minutes... the rice will take something like 40...

The wine pairing is a 2006 Schug Pinot Noir... with something like tenderloin and with the citrusy nature of the theme, the Pinot Noir seemed right. I'll let her tell me if it was a bad call.

The carrot cake is done already... and damn if it doesnt look good. Not sure when dinner is served... maybe monday... soon i hope, i'm getting hungry.

In other news... hmmm.... i dont have any other news... i seldom do

Friday, December 07, 2007

Just a reminder...

Sometimes being in Texas for the winter (as opposed to Quebec) is a good thing. Not that I'm prone to being here, or that it'll last... but I'm making an effort to enjoy it while it does.
Finished a good book, working on another. Will post about those when I'm in a better mood - maybe next week.

This post is going to be vulgar...

very vulgar...

This sub-prime mortgage bailout thing really fucking pisses me off. What the fuck... a bunch of fucking morons buy houses they cant fucking afford with teaser interest rates that are less than the cost of money the banks borrow from the fed - and now the banks make noises that 'if the govt doesnt come in and rescue us from our unsound business practices we'll declare bankruptcy' and the government buckles. So the banks get a pile of MY tax money... and the morons that live in $600,000 houses get a pile of MY tax money... and what does joe-sixpack who fucking pays his taxes and lives within his meager means get? Outsourced... afterall, companies have to follow the invisible hand and do what's best for their stockholders (which apparently includes making predatory loans to bad customers and then lining up at the public trough with Raytheon and KB&R)

This is total fucking bullshit. If I were one of the banks who DIDNT make these predatory bullshit loans - i'd be suing the govt for MY fucking check... and all those corpsefuckers who thought housing prices doubling in 6 years was GOOD for the economy or had any likelyhood of sustainability - yeah - FUCK them. WHY THE FUCK do I have to pay for this shit (and we ALL do). I'm sick of the unbelievable sense of fucking entitlement in this country - that the PUBLIC should bail my ass out for being a fucking idiot... that the PUBLIC should pay those people who get tazed for being deaf in their bathtubs when the cops break down the wrong door (why cant the fucking COPS be forced to be bonded for that shit - doctors are)... that the PUBLIC should pay for a fucking hoverround and a lapband because i (like 30% of my neighbors) am morbidly obese and cant stop eating so god damned much. When the fuck did we forget there's a god damned BILL at the end of the night (or isnt everyone on the list to go to Scores for free)... if you go lease a car for $200 a month, with a $60,000 balloon payment due in 7 years, and you roll that debt into the next $200 lease, and then into the NEXT $200 lease... eventually you owe $500,000 on a fucking Saturn - and one day someone is going to run the fucking numbers and realize that GM has fuckpile of DEBT on its books that, in all likelyhood, its NEVER GOING TO FUCKING COLLECT. So do they get a govt bailout too? Where do you think the money comes from - cause i'll tell you... it comes from people who pay their fucking taxes, who live within their means, and who dont try to take advantage of the system -- you know... It turns out that in THIS america fiscal irresponsibility is a positive selection criteria for breeding - and though we can have a few Donald Trumps, we cant afford the whole fucking country going batshit crazy.

NONE of the fucking presidential candidates is out there screaming this - hell John Edwards, mr 2 americas, wants ALL these morons to get 7 years of low interest... WHAT THE FUCK. There's only ONE who's saying anything close to this... Ron Fucking Paul... God Fucking Damn it - how come the craziest motherfucker in the bunch is the only one who's willing to make sense... In the mean time, Austin has the gall to consider requiring licenses for the homeless?!? I hope they remember that when it's all those assholes in pflugerville who're livin in their HUMMERs in the wallyworld parkinglot at Ben White and I-35.

I swear to god this sort of blind-eye to the future shit is going to sink this fucking country (and this planet) in such record time we're all going to be around to see it - and then god help us all. In the mean time i wonder - why the fuck do i try? I should go do amazingly stupid shit, never work again, collect my check, and make microwave popcorn and enjoy the fucking show. This fucker is going to hell - and no one gives enough of a shit that its going to make a whit of difference.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

"One source, who has close links to US intelligence, said that members of Vice President Dick Cheney's staff continued to call for military strikes against Iran "on a daily basis"."

They don't call him DICK for nothing.

A timeline that no one is really mentioning...

  1. Building from 2002 to March 2003 - US kicks off invasion of Iraq
  2. 2003 - Iran stops working on anything resembling nuclear weapon program
  3. Late 2003 - no WMD found in Iraq
  4. Summer 2005 - US announces support for Rafsanjani in Iranian election
  5. August 2005 - Ahmadinejad wins election with 62% of vote - many pointing out that American noises before the election played to his anti-american stance.
  6. December 2007 - President forced to admit Iran does not have an active nuclear weapons program, which he's known for quite some time but refuses to admit to (that or the NIE is filled with words bigger than 'my pet goat')
There were people in this administration who were looking for the NEXT target way back in 2003... this is why we told Iran to screw off when they offered to roll over on Israel when we were gearing up to hit Iraq. There were people who thought Iraq would become a land of milk and honey - and a permanent base for US interests from which we could project power and remake the region. When that failed - we had to make up some crap about that next target. We didnt want someone reasonable in Iran... we wanted a bogeyman and bringing back the old playbook of 'they gots dangerous weapons' seemed to work pretty well. So we made a bunch of noises that quite obviously would have the opposite impact on the Iranian election. That all worked out just fine - the only problem being that the new anti-american iranian president never rebuilt the nuclear weapons program - apparently smart enough to realize he'd be handing washington a pretext for war (sure, they'll build em eventually - because hell, without em you get invaded...) People in the administration just didnt believe it though...
I think the game is up though. As the election begins in earnest in less than a month, i dont think cheney and his minions are going to have much luck with another big lie (though i dont suppose we should misunderestimate them)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Relationships can be hard...
There are no roadmaps - no matter what Dr Phil might want you to believe - and the pressures that the world puts on an individual are bad enough without the added pressure of having to take some things through the filter that is a significant other. Every relationship ends... it's just a matter of time and circumstance... and people who let the relationship dominate who they are have lost what it was that got them into said relationship to begin with. The world goes on when Britney leaves K-Fed... it goes on when a parent dies... it goes on after we elect Mitt Romney and he decides man-made global pandemics are the way to solve our political differences with everyone else (ok, so maybe it doesnt go on quite so well, but you get the idea)

There are so many ways to do it wrong - and people's radars flat out suck when it comes to making good decisions here - that you really have to expect people to make some colossal mistakes when it comes to who they choose to become involved with. The hope is that you learn from them... and if you find that dating the dumb blonde, or the crazy girl, or the fratboy, or the workaholic, or the narcissist &c &c doesnt work - then for gods sake STOP DOING IT.

Early on - people have to LEARN those lessons. It's why I have such a low opinion of so many younger relationships. Still - they dont want to listen when you tell them 'you really shouldnt date so and so... that whole crackwhore thing is a bad idea...' - they have to suffer through it, and then you get to be there, as a friend, to pick up the pieces.

So say you have 2 people who love each other but cant seem to figure out what it is that was keeping them together (other than good sex... that seems capable of holding lots of total crap relationships together - been there). In the end - it's about those people being willing to figure it out - amidst all the emotional turmoil of a struggling relationship - and asking all the hard questions... was this something that never worked? is this going into 'destructive' territory, where 2 people can love each other but there's something twisted under the surface (been there too, though no one ever threw a bowling ball at me)... these are all normal things to go through in the early phases of a relationship - and hopefully people are smart enough and self-aware enough that they see bad situations for what they are earlier and earlier and act to resolve them.

Now if you get 2 people who've been at it for a while - a couple years - and in the breakup process they're at the point where they're willing to say 'look, there are things about this that arent working, and even though it's hard i recognize that i want this - and i want to make this work - so what the hell is going on here that we can fix' - then ganbare!! - but you dont get years into a relationship and not be able to say 'i want this'. Sure, people go years into a serious relationship and say 'nope... i dont like it' - and that's ok (not my thing, but then you cant expect people to know themselves and what they want quite that well) - but you dont go years and question the basic premises of why you got into it in the first place. My ex does that - and there's a reason she should be on Wellbutrin and has a tendency to some extremely ugly and unhappy cycles in her life.

IF 2 people choose to try - then NO one should be upset over it. In the end - it's their call - it takes 2 people to try to work things out... and even if people feel protective about one or the other in the equation - the principals must be given every opportunity and encouragement to make the damned thing actually work. Hell - the world isnt such a serious place that 2 people who fit shouldnt be able to attack their issues (given a lack of foundational cracks). But the real advice is - dont freaking let something that works get to that state -- focus on the damned thing. Treat it like another person - give it a vote... if X wants to see a movie, and the relationship wants to see a movie, and you'd rather sit on your sorry ass and farm gold in Netherstorm then you lose. If your attention to the relationship wanes due to work - then stop treating work like it's so damned important. Communicating is all we have - and if you find someone you can share a complete conversation with across a crowded room with no more than a subtle glance... well... i went from meeting her to engaged in 6 weeks. Dont mess around with it.

Today's Lesson in Drinking Responsibly brought to you by Moyhashimon

... hold on... that's not right... this post was supposed to discourage drinking irresponsibly. Oh. I know... My idiot high school children were back saturday night, until 3:30am... and had a couple young very slurred almost incomprehensible 'i'm so drunk' girls out there with em. One guy was so violently sick i could hear him puking over sound of music - which, of course, didnt stop him from showing his ladyfriend a good time (for what sounded like 30 or 40 seconds). There ya go... so girls - if 30 seconds of sex with a guy who smells (and tastes) like beer puke in the back of his truck sounds like fun - then drink more.