September 2005


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Archive for September, 2005

The search for a ring

Posted in Geekery on September 29th, 2005

Apparently I, Asshole is having the same problem I am lately: I can’t find a ringtone I like.

I had my phone replaced a week or so ago due to the fact it was dropping incoming calls like hot potatoes, and I lost my previous ringtone in the process. (“Tom Sawyer” by Rush). Not wanting to pay another $1.99 to download it again, I have been on the lookout for something new, and I have become stumped. Why are none of the really obvious songs made into ringtones? Consider these:

“Who are you?” By The Who. Currently the theme song from C.S.I., and a damn good song in general. Seems an obvious choice. Or “Mother” by The Police. C’mon, the opening lines are “Well, the telephone is ringing / Is that my mother on the phone?”

I did manage to find Men Without Hats’ “Who can it be now?”, but it was a bad cut and didn’t sound right. The Clash’s “London Calling” was another atrocious midi ringer you could barely recognize, but crap by any number of flash-in-the-pan pop artists sounded perfect.

Back to the original, when there are multiple ringtones featuring Ozzy, Iron Maiden or Quiet Riot, why is there only one Rush? These guys nailed many Grammy awards, and we are left with “Metal Health”?


Go Potty First…….No, I mean it, Potty First, Then Read (Ball And Chain)

Posted in Humor on September 29th, 2005

Go Potty First…….No, I mean it, Potty First, Then Read (Ball And Chain)


Spare some change?

Posted in Life on September 26th, 2005

There was a bit of a shocker in the Oregonian today: they are laying down the paperwork for an expansion of the 217, the highway that connects I-5 to Highway 26. This stretch of road is horribly overused, and an expansion lane would be a wonderful thing. The shocker part is that they are considering putting in toll booths, and this may not be a bad idea.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Whoa there! Toll booths? Oregonians hate toll booths!” Just hear me out on this, ok?

Now, they are not planning toll booths for all lanes. There are two possibilities on the table, and neither one of these has been finalized yet. Bear in mind that these construction plans won’t even begin until 2007 at the earliest. Also bear in mind that “toll booth” should be read as “sensor that reads the transmitter fob on your dashboard.” We’re talking automated RF systems, not a funnel into which you throw quarters.

Read on to see the plans Read the rest of this entry »

(singing:) …and I’ll Ramble On…

Posted in Life on September 24th, 2005

I had an interview Friday that I thought went very well – I have the skills that they are looking for, and my history makes me an almost perfect match for the position. I seemed to get along well with the interviewer, and could understand their position and offered a couple quick ideas as to how they could make their business better, in an effort to show what I have to offer them.

It wasn’t until we got down to the brass tacks of the package that I realized they really don’t have much to offer me. It’s a small comapany (only 5 people), I would still be a field tech using my own vehicle, there is no benefit package, and to top it all off, the wage offered is salary only, and works out to a best-case of just a two-dollar raise. Considering that I took a long lunch to go to the interview, I basically paid about $20 bucks to find this out.

To all recruiters and HR management: post the fucking salary specs in the damn ad and save me the trouble. It’s like going through the effort of wooing a beautiful girl only to get her home and find out she was wearing a minimizer and a padded bra.

Today is my daughter Pookie’s 6th birthday, and she opted for a costume party. Hmm…costume for a kid’s party – you can guess that I trotted out the SCA garb and threw on a do-rag for piratical effect. It turned out to be an excellent choice, for as I was wandering the local supermarket in search of craft glue, I ran into me ol’ pal Vlad whom I haven’t seen for almost two years. He may be joining the Game-Night crew.

If you haven’t guessed it, I’m bored and blogging for something to do.

There’s an article in the Wall Street Journal that goes on about how Microsoft had to rally and radically re-design their coding habits to re-write the Longhorn (now Vista) codebase to get an actual functional product. The whole piece touts the innovation and determination of the engineers and administration to get good quality software to the public.

The truth, however, is that they have used a sloppy coding scheme for decades, and with every iteration their software has become more and more bloated than the last. This time, they got a product that would not function, and it finally bit them in the ass. The whole article sounds like it was commissioned by Gates to offer a plausible excuse to the world for the delays in the Longhorn project.

Makes me wonder who else the WSJ could be taking bribes from.

Review: Constantine

Posted in Media on September 22nd, 2005

Anyone who knows anything about my movie tastes and pet peeves knows I simply cannot stand Keanu Reeves. I have always maintained that he is not an actor, he just has a knack for getting roles written for him.

I’ve read other reviews lambasting the special effects, but I thought they went rather well. Their depiction of hell was a nice break from the traditional mountains of tormented souls burning in Hellfire.

In several places during the movie, I had the distinct impression that the director has watched alot of Sam Raimi’s films, most notably Evil Dead – the scene where Constantine is in hell and leaps up to grab the medical wrist tag of Isabela’s and just barely escapes the grabbing hands of the demons seemed almost familiar.

Hmm…would this have been better had it starred Bruce Campbel? I could almost see him doing it :)

Keanu Reeves once again has the amazing luck of landing a role written for him, so he doesn’t completely fail as an actor. It does, however, add another “I am…” line to his repertoire. (I’m Ted (Theodore) Logan…I am an FBI agent!…I’m John Constantine, asshole…etc.) Still, I don’t hate him more after this one, which is the big surprise.

Rachel Weisz is an infinitely better actor, and did very well with the lousy lines she had. I particularly liked her “baptismal” scene, where she’s there under water, waiting for something to happen, and gives that little flick of the wrist that says “Well? What the fuck am I waiting for?”

A small surprise was the casting of Tilda Swinton as the Archangel Gabriel; but looking back I suppose it wasn’t. The only other movie I have seen her in was Orlando, a movie in which she plays a mostly androgenous lesbian who dressed as a man. Here she is again, playing what many think of as a male role, but in an androgenous manner. Fitting, since angels are androgenous. In any case, she pulls it off very well. I particularly liked how she summed up Constantine’s life: “You’re fucked.”

Final thought: worth the rental.

But it’s such a lovely bandwagon

Posted in Humor on September 19th, 2005

Go on, read this and join the Pastafarians! You know you want to! Here’s an excerpt:

Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.


Here’s the Wikipedia article on Flying Spaghetti Monsterism.

Don’t forget the breadsticks :P

Fear the Furry Ninja!

Posted in Life on September 16th, 2005

When faced with boredom, take a quiz!

The Cowboy-Ninja-Pirate-Knight Test

a Ninja
You scored 10 Honor, 3 Justice, 6 Adventure, and 4 Individuality!
You are a soldier of the night. You rely on no more than your cunning
and your repuation to strike fear in the hearts of lord and peasant
alike. You’ve a sense of honor, but one that comes from within, not
imposed from outside.

Black clothes and shuriken for you. You’re gonna do just fine.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

You scored higher than 80% on Ninjinuity
You scored higher than 15% on Knightlyness
You scored higher than 37% on Cowboiosity
You scored higher than 31% on Piratical Bent

It looks like me and the Roomie will be the Geek-Fu Ninjas stalking the night :)

Oh, and another ‘hell yeah!’ for the “Sword in one hand, pistol in the other, cannon behind me for backup.” answer!

Will it never end?

Posted in Media on September 14th, 2005

One fine summer day, a young man was visiting a friend’s house and spotted an interesting book on the friend’s shelf. For a paperback, it was frelling huge – over 800 pages. Being the voracious reader the young man was, he figured this would keep him busy for a few days and borrowed the book.

Three days later, he borrowed the second book. Hooked! Equally huge, the books kept him happily reading for almost a solid week. He eagerly awaited the third book in what he assumed was a trilogy.

The third came and went, with the plot still unresolved. “Excellent! A five-book cycle!” he thought. The years rolled by, and at unequal intervals, books kept coming. After book 5, the series almost ground to a complete halt. New characters were added that did nothing for the story except strain the reader’s memory trying to keep them all straight. Each new book would drag on endlessly until the last 50 pages, which would suddenly rock into action – “could he finally be ending it?”

But no, the book would cliffhanger every time. Book 6. Book 7. Book 8. Book 9. All in excess of 600 pages, and the author can’t get anywhere with the plot. The young man’s shelves groaned from the weight of the hardcover editions. Book 10. Surely, this is the last one! He can’t drag it out any more!…

Yes, he can.

Then the bastard goes and spends over a year writing a ‘prequel’ book instead of the next installment. Plans are hatched to hunt the author down and go ‘Misery’ on his ass.

15 fine summers later, I got an email today from Amazon: “Pre-order the 11th book in Robert Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’ series – “Knife of Dreams” On sale today!”

From Publishers Weekly

…While more recent entries have maintained that beauty and scope, the pace has slowed to a crawl as the central characters dispersed in six directions. In contrast, the latest explodes with motion, as multiple plot lines either conclude or advance, and the march to Tarmon Gai’don—the climactic last battle between the Dragon Reborn and the Dark One—begins in earnest…

And thus we are faced with the question: Go we once more into the breach? Do we read it now, or wait until he finishes the blasted thing so we can get it all over in one marathon session?

One thing is certain: I’m going to beat Pax the next time I see him for loaning me those first two books.

A Public Service and other Announcements

Posted in Geekery, Life on September 13th, 2005


Just a quick heads-up for those of you out there who own a domain name that is due to expire anywhere within the next decade: you will be receiving a letter in the mail from a new Registrar trying to get you to switch over. There is no requirement to do so, and it is not a bill. If you’re happy with your current Registrar, throw away the letter.


I received another letter today, this one from my stepsister. I’ve never talked about her before because I don’t talk to her, and feel no need to talk about her. See, when The Old F.a.r.t. married the MallHag, he got stuck with her daughter as well. The both of them are the worst sort of mall-bunnies a man could run afoul of. I admit that The Old Man was never a good father, but it got worse after he married MH. This was back when my brother and I were both fighting tooth-and-nail to get by, and would every now and then get stuck in a “crap they’re gonna evict me!” or similar problem. Dad, however, was never in a position to help because the Hag had already spent all of the money – on the daughter.

They are currently long-haul truckers who spend a fair amount of their time on the West coast and could conceivably drop by to see us sometime, but they only ever see my bro, because her parents live in the same town. The last time, they spent the weekend with the in-laws, and saw my brother for an hour. I’ve been here for 4 years, right on I-5, and they’ve stopped to see me once.

Of course, this is the same man who bragged to me about how much money he was saving on his new house because the builder was using illegals to build it – at a time when I had been unemployed for 6 months and was signing up for food stamps because thousands of tech jobs had been outsourced to India.

Bitter? Moi?

In the eight years I lived in ‘Vegas, the stepsister lived there for I think 7, and the only communication I received from her at all was via her mother – something about having met an old girlfriend of mine and wanting to know if she could give out my phone number. Never heard from her again, and this was sometime before I got married, which means pre-1995. (The return address on the letter was First-initial.Last-name, and I couldn’t remember what the initial stood for. That’s how long it’s been.)

Well, she is finally worth something to me: she’s blogfodder.

Today’s letter was a teaser invitation about her upcoming wedding. Not a full invitation mind you, but a teaser invite with the pertinent names, date and location with a “More info coming soon!” tacked on the end.

Worse than that, the thing is printed on a fridge magnet, with a quote from Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”. Ok, if you just look at the lyrics, it can me thought of as a love song – but it never struck me as one. More like a man reminiscing about a love that burned him, but he can kinda look back on it as a lesson learned.

The kind of song a divorced guy would sing.

On a wedding invite.

The Six Dumbest Ideas in Computer Security

Posted in Geekery on September 11th, 2005

This article needs to be required reading for every programmer and developer in the world. It is a bit long winded, but I think I can actually combine two things into one. Here’s a shorter version:

#1 Default Permit and #2) Enumerating Badness really point in the same direction.

The idea here is that computers today either do everything unless told not to or let everything in unless told not to. This means you have to spend your time looking for all the things in the world they shouldn’t be playing with. Exhausting to even think about!

What they should be doing is only what we tell them to and allowing in the same. Brilliant concept, no? Here’s an example: a Blacklist vs. a Whitelist.

A blacklist is, of course, a list of all the things you shouldn’t do or people you shouldn’t talk to. Your Anti-virus client has a list over 75,000 items long of things not to do, that has to be updated weekly, if not daily.

A whitelist, on the other hand, is a list of things you should do or people you should talk to. How many programs do you use daily? Three? Maybe up to seven? That list just got orders of magnitude shorter. And how often do you install something new? Maybe once a month?

Obviously, implementing a whitelist-type security policy would benefit a corporate environment the most, where computers are used more as tools rather than entertainment consoles, but the home user would still see some benefits – like an end to spyware.

Here’s something that made his list only peripherally: Ease-Of-Use. In the early days, computers could only be used by people who had specific training. To generate a greater demand for computers and thus bolster the profit margin, they had to make them easier to use so more people could do so and grow dependant on them in their daily lives.

This has unfortunately led us to a situation where the average computer user knows nothing about how the computer actually works – which in turn means that to get anything done, the software needs to be designed to function on a single click of a mouse. That one click can now have the effect of executing millions of lines of malicious code, with the user none the wiser.

Me, I think we should ease up on the user-friendly bit and force the user to gain a little education and think about what they are doing. Yes, I realize that this would end up alienating a chunk of the userbase, but the ones who don’t want to learn are the ones that make it bad for everyone.

-Begin Rant- Read the rest of this entry »