August 2004


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Archive for August, 2004

Up on my soapbox

Posted in Politics on August 29th, 2004 reports that there is a PUBLIC school in Marshalltown, Iowa that is part of a ‘pilot program’ that teaches children in English for half the day and Spanish the other half. They recently rejected the application of a second-grade girl because she doesn’t speak any Spanish.

That’s right, boys and girls, this is a public school, supposed to be open to all citizens of the appropriate age.

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little tired of the way this country has been stomping all over itself in the mad rush to coddle immigrants. I’m tired of seeing official mail from my son’s school and government offices written in languages other than English.. I nearly blew my freaking top when I heard the government officially recognize “ebonics” as a language. (If you listen closely folks, it’s badly pronounced and mongrelized English. Mangled to hell, but English. Kinda like that crap they speak up in the Ozarks and New England.)

I’m tired of seeing skilled jobsets outsourced overseas because it’s cheaper. Like mine. I’m tired of going to the unemployment office because of this and seeing a line of folks who barely speak English collecting checks. And I am REALLY tired of listening to immigrants say how things were so much better in the Old Country. If it was so much better, then why are you still fucking here?

You know why it’s cheaper to outsource? Because the rest of the world doesn’t have to pay six times to print all of it’s documentation in six different languages. Because the rest of the world doesn’t fall all over itself to put immigrants on welfare within ten minutes of them crossing the border. Because the rest of the world requires their immigrants to actually work for a fucking living. And you can be damn sure that you will not find employment overseas unless you speak the fucking language – and I mean more than just “where’s the bathroom.” Yeah, many of them speak English as a second language, but you still won’t get a job unless you can speak their language like your first.

This Nation was built by people who couldn’t make it work wherever they came from. The walls at Ellis Island alone could tell stories for the next hundred years about folks who immigrated here with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and history shows us that they got off their asses and worked like hell to make it work – and they did. They built a helluva Nation.

Now, they don’t have to work for it. We put ’em on the dole. We hire bilingual people to teach their children for them. We give them discounts on their housing costs. We have entire sections of government and private sector in place to make America feel like home for them. Not a new home, rather they try to make it feel like the one they just left. One wonders how many billions of dollars in taxpayer money we could save if we simply said “you must speak English in America. If you don’t want to learn the language, hire your own fucking translator.”

My question is this: who turned off the burner under the melting pot? We’re not making stew here anymore, folks – we’re just washing vegetables.

…and I’ll ramble on…

Posted in Life on August 26th, 2004

So the job search continues on, with little sign of any interest on any of the thirteen-some-odd fronts I have been searching. There’s a job fair up at the zoo in a coupe weeks, maybe I can get a couple bites from that. The ideas keep churning though – the most recent being a shop in a recently vacated corner store down the street from me. A rather nice location for my computer business, if I could scrape together some 60 large in startup scratch.

The Ratboy is all registered for the upcoming school year, and I even managed to convince him to wear a nice shirt and the hint of a smile for pictures! This of course didn’t help any, since he neglected to bring a comb and the rain on the way to the school obliterated anything that might have resembled a hairstyle. Still, it beats the cold “I’m too cool for this shit” blah expression of last year. Of course, it might have helped that I gave all of last year’s pictures to his friends so they could give him shit about them.

The back to school season is always a bit of a trial for me, since I have this thing for office supplies. I have a helluva time getting out of the stores without an extra bag of goodies like pens, pencils and notebooks. Notebooks are the worst – at one point, I had 4 in my backpack. It got too hard to find which one I jotted stuff down in, so I had to limit myself to one. With sections, of course.

I am currently swimming in CD-R media. My best girl decided she wanted me to burn some compilation discs for her, so she thought to provide the media. As it happens, Office Max was having a 2-for-1 sale on 100 disk spindles. I guess she has some serious listening needs. Speaking of which, time for a little jazz. The “Ultra Lounge” series from Capitol Records, Volume 4: Bachellor Pad Royale. “Midnight Music for Cool Cats!” as they proclaim on the cover. Have I mentioned that my best girl works at the Library?

Ok, that’s enough documentation for one day. Time to screw off.


Posted in Geekery on August 22nd, 2004

I realized the other day that I have a number of Gmail accounts to give away – anyone wanting one should email me. We’re talking a whole gigabyte of storage and, best of all, an account with no SPAM coming into it. (At least, until you spread the addy around.)

If response is too great, I may hold an auction :)

A bit of shopping

Posted in Life on August 22nd, 2004

As you know, my backpack was stolen from my car a few weeks ago, and I’ve been travelling a bit light without it. Since the back-to-school sales are in full swing this week, I went down to get a replacement.

I wasn’t aware of this, but apparently there are two companies making “Official Swiss Army Knives” – Victorinox and Wenger. Both companies have also diversified, breaking into the general outdoor gear department. Why does this matter? Because the knife in my pocket is Victorinox, the pack I just bought is Wenger, and they both bear the Swiss Army logo. (Although Wenger is just a white cross on a red square, not the Victorinox ‘shield’ logo.)

The pack is the Soho model, and I chose it because of it’s internal laptop pocket. I don’t currently own a laptop, but I will in the future, so I figured I’d plan for the upgrade. It has quite a bit of room, with two main compartments and two smaller compartments, and all the little organizational doodads in between. Included is one of those cd pockets with a headphones pass-thru that seem to be all the rage in backpacks now, which really seems like it’s three years too late. Most of the folks I know who buy packs like this use mp3 players. (Hell, Duke University gave iPods to all the students this year.)

In any case, the pack has a nice formed and padded layer on the back, so it fits comfrtably – it even has a mesh cloth for ventilation. The straps are nicely padded, and look like they will keep it from giving me the bruises or aches I have received from lesser products. A nice touch on the straps is that the lower end of the strap connects to a sturdy panel, which then connects to the bag – this will reduce stress on the bag’s seams and prevent a tear. The zippers all have decent fobs on them for grabbing, and the zippers themselves appear to be pretty robust.

And of course, it’s all black :)

Here’s a wonderful idea

Posted in Geekery on August 19th, 2004

ISPs gang up on spammer-run websites | The Register

Here’s the short version: send out spam with a website link, and the ISP shuts down your website, thus removing the financial incentive to send more spam. Bye-bye, thanks for playing, now kindly piss off. I love it!

Soldier sues over extension of combat tour

Posted in Life on August 18th, 2004

The Oregonian has this story about what is being called by some a “back-door draft”. Here’s a snippet:

The soldier’s lawsuit contests an increasingly controversial tool used by the Army to bolster combat forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. What the military terms “stop loss” orders prevent soldiers from leaving the Army either at the end of their tour or in retirement if their unit is mobilized for Iraq or Afghanistan.

In Oregon and across the country, soldiers who thought they were about to finish their military careers find their tours overseas extended or they are dispatched with units mobilized from the United States.

I don’t know about you, but it sounds like fascism to me. As usual, write your elected officials and let them know how you feel.

The politics of Star Trek

Posted in Politics on August 18th, 2004

I was reading this over at Frizzen Sparks, and one of the comments got me to thinking. The commentor stated that ants, bees and the Borg are socialist, but this is wrong: they are hive minds with the queen as dictator. He wasn’t too far off the mark though, since in ST:TNG, they opennly proclaim that they have no need of money, that each individual’s needs are taken care of, freeing them all to work for the betterment of mankind.

Yup. Socialists.

Read the rest of this entry »


Posted in Media on August 16th, 2004

I have been doing some more writing lately, one of the reasons I haven’t been blathering on about other things.

I expanded the original story some, and have a cast of characters and their history for the most part pegged. There are also several pages of dialog written to explain that history, but it’s waaaaay to boring to feed you all at once – I need to throw some plot-building scenes in between segments.

You might even get an update soon, if yer lucky.

I hate Mondays

Posted in Life on August 16th, 2004

Well, I talked to the EMC’s husband today, and they are seriously considering moving out of the area soon, due to the rising cost of housing here in the Rose City. I can understand their point of view, but they’re thinking about Spokane, which is a six-hour drive. This means I would AT BEST be seeing my daughter every other weekend, and chances are that wouldn’t work out.

Now, many of you know my history and know how important it is to be a larger part of my daughter’s life than that. So, we’re looking for other options to keep them closer to me, since I’m not leaving Portland. I’ve lived in enough other places to know that PDX has the best combination of climate, opportunity and people. It is just an unfortunate coincidence that right now it has a lousy job market.


Unlucky 13?

Posted in Life on August 13th, 2004

Today happens to be Friday the 13th, what many people refer to as an unlucky day. This has rarely been the case in my family. Today, my son proved that a calmly presented and well-reasoned argument can be used to get your way, even in high school.

So, let’s hear from the rest of you – any odd occurances on a 13th? Good luck, bad luck or just outright weird, let’s hear it.