Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Saving the world: You're doing it wrong

[rant mode ON]

In my internetular travels, I happened upon Mother Bear Project.
The Mother Bear Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing comfort and hope to children, primarily those affected by HIV/AIDS in emerging nations, by giving them a gift of love in the form of hand-knit and crocheted bears.

The simple gift of a hand-knit bear with a tag signed by the knitter has touched children who have nearly nothing in the world with the message that they are loved by someone halfway around the world.

Certain they couldn't actually be so callous as to honestly believe that what kids in these nations needed most was teddy bears and love, I searched the site to see if they provided any other services.

They do not.

Listen carefully, because I'm only going to say this once...

These people need clean water, food, freedom, and opportunity.
In that order.


They don't need those things like we need fast food, they need those things like we need to breathe.

Offering mere tokens to these people, who are in life-threatening need, is so elitist as to be morally repugnant.

Much like the people who chastise Nike for employing child labor. Once their country has a basic economy, and people are not walking miles for fresh water to survive, we can start talking about child labor. Until then, companies like Nike are providing opportunity, and money to these people. Think Nike is horrible for employing all those poor, unfortunate people? Why don't you make Nike close their doors, take those paychecks away from those needy people, and force them into unemployment with no money or other opportunity. Who's the dick now?
"Those poor children making shoes! Those poor children with their money, vaccinations, and food in their stomachs."

Can it.

Get your heads out of your asses, and get fucking real. These people are dying of real needs. Don't make them fucking teddy bears. Go sing "All you need is love" to the children dying of malaria.

Progress your gun rights meme

Lately there are a lot of gunnies telling other gunnies that the way they're fighting is wrong. (don't get butthurt, it comes from every corner)
So how about a little hypothetical?

You buy an old gun from a widow for a great price. You take it home and as you begin cleaning it, smoke pours from the barrel, and forms into a genie! The genie speaks, "I am the gun genie! I shall grant you one gun-related wish!" You think about that sweet 700 Nitro express, and then realize this is bigger than just one gun. You speak, "I want to organize my fellow gunnies of all colors, creeds, and levels of pragmatism for one event!"

With a puff of smoke, you are given a psychic broadcast to every gun owner in America. At your command, they will preform one act in perfect unity, exactly as you specify.


What is your one act? A flood legislators with letters or calls? A march on Washington? Nationwide civil disobedience? Love and peace? Or shoot the bastards? Why do you think it would be the best course of action? Why will it be more successful than other possibilities? Explain what you expect the results of your act to be, and why it will have a lasting effect on continued gun rights in America. Finally, what would happen if you organized this event without the genie, and without 100% unity from the participants? Would it still work, or would it end badly?

If you're reading this, and you have an opinion, consider yourself tagged!

Quit yer bitchin', and be constructive!

My single act would be a march on Washington. No one would be armed, but everyone would carry on a sling or in their hands, an empty gun stock. Just the piece of wood without the action or barrel. We'd march to the mall, and hold a rally there asking not to be treated like second-class citizens, and asking for freedom from fear of becoming criminals overnight because a new law was passed. We are law abiding citizens, and we just want to enjoy our sport, and keep our loved ones, and ourselves safe. Speakers would include people who research gun violence, and people like Suzanna Hupp, and law enforcement officers who support a citizen's right to carry and own guns. There will be no threat of violence, overt or veiled. The whole event would be covered by regular folks with microphones and cameras so we can blanket youtube with videos if the media refuses to cover it, or cover it fairly.

I think this will be effective because we will show the media, and non-gun-owning Americans that we are not crazies who need to be marginalized and regulated. We will build respect for our cause. An unintentional, but happy, side-effect will be the pants-shitters in every branch of government will look out across a sea of gun owners, see a piece of wood sticking up from every shoulder, and proceed to shit their pants. Without any threats, a message will be sent. Respect from those who are capable of it, and fear from those who aren't, with little overlap.

I still think we can accomplish things without violence. I don't think it's time to shoot the bastards. We can still move things forward. We can still win. We're just going to have to be united, and be creative.

Now for the reality... There's no way someone wouldn't bring a gun, and threaten someone, or attempt to attack the cops that will definitely be out in force at an event of this size. But I don't think word will come to break up the protest, since if it's really every gun owner, the entirety of Washington DC would be standing room only. Then again, maybe I'm just not giving gunnies enough credit.

So, what's your bright idea?

SSL broken! Hackers create rogue CA certificate using MD5 collisions

SSL broken! Hackers create rogue CA certificate using MD5 collisions

You're likely asking yourself how the FUCK they managed to process all these MD5 collisions, they used the processing power of 200 PS3s. That's right; two hundred.

Just make sure you watch for spoofing guys. Don't trust that little lock icon any more. Trust that you browse directly to your banking/credit card site.

And now, the above post repackaged for the more visually minded;





Monday, December 29, 2008

Apparent deliciousness of pecan pie, by time/interaction

The new food pyramid is a FAILmid

We're all familiar with the food pyramid, right? If not, it looks like this.

The primary characteristic of the food pyramid was that it made use of the shape of the pyramid to make it memorable, and get the point across. Pyramids are big at the bottom, and small at the top, so you eat more of the foods at the bottom, and less of the foods at the top.

Simple and effective, right?

Apparently not.

I was eating at subway this weekend, and saw this on the wrapper.


Why is the pyramid divided vertically? Why wouldn't you make use of the pyramid's shape like the first food pyramid?

This told me three things.
1. Someone in some branch of government thought it would be a good idea to "modernize" the food pyramid.
2. Someone in some branch of government doesn't understand how a triangle works.
3. My tax dollars were funding the entire farce.


If you're going to divide a pyramid like that, why are you even using a pyramid? Why not just use a box, and run vertical lines through it?

If this makes sense to you, then I've got a suggestion for an even more modern food pyramid.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lets play House

Not that kind of house, the Gregory House kind.

User calls, says she can't log into the ftp server.

User logs in weekly to do her report, there were some server changes two weeks ago, but she says she logged in last week with no problem. Basic questioning follows; it's a weekend so we can't confirm more people are affected, she can't try from another computer or user, so answers were somewhat limited. Standard server troubleshooting, reviewing out-of-date info, and find I can't log in either. Create a new user, and still can't log in. Log into the box, and still can't log in to the ftp server. wtf? Troubleshoot, troubleshoot, troubleshoot.

Finally think I've done enough, call engineer, he says that since the changeover two weeks ago, you need to use username@servername instead of just username.

I test, it works, call user, tell her what to do, it works.

Called the engineer again, who confirmed there's no way she would have been able to log in last week without the "@server" after the username.

She lied.

If she had only told me the truth, I would have been able to figure out the problem, correct her, and send her on her way. Instead, she wasted my time, and hers.

But why?

Why would you go into work on a Saturday, run your urgent report that has to go out before Sunday, call a tech support person, and lie to them about being able to work just fine last week.

I really don't know, but speculation is always fun.

Maybe she didn't do her work last week, and it was not common knowledge. But her report needed to go out, presumably to people who were going to read it. The engineer said there were a bunch of e-mails that went out after the change over to make sure everyone knew how to log in so they wouldn't call up and waste our time. How did she miss those e-mails? If people would have noticed the report was missing last week, then it must have been sent. Obviously, it wasn't sent by her. Who sent the report for her and let others think she did, why was she unavailable to send the report herself, and why did she miss all the e-mails?

Perhaps she took a little off-the-books vacation, and got someone to cover for her?

Who knows? But it's a fun little game.

Fantasia 2000 - Rhapsody in Blue

For the folks who need more visual stimulation to listen to Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue (certainly no shame in that), Disney did an exceptional job animating to the music.



Friday, December 26, 2008

Some stuff from the IRC channel

ET: I'm listening to amy winehouse right now, also quite jazzy
Yuri_Orlov: yeah. i have to confess to only hearing that one song of hers.
ET: and she sings like two hot naked angels wrestling in chocolate syrup

--------------------

ET: as soon as the harpsicord starts up, my rage-o-meter pegs at rosie o'donnell.

Rhapsody in Blue - Gershwin





I was listening to the classical radio station when this came on, and as I listened it just got more and more awesome, so I decided to listen for the name, and write it in the notepad I have ready for music I like.

When they finally said the name, I opened the notepad, moved to the bottom of the first page, and wrote it in. I then glanced at the top of the page where "Rhapsody in blue" was already written.

At least I know it wasn't a passing fancy.

I hate harpsicords

Happy Christmas! Merry things!

Presninents are as follows!

Animusic 2!
Happy Birthday!
Wakizashi from China!
Chopsticks from China!
Metal chopsticks from Korea! (hint: don't eat hot ramen with them)
Swiss candy cane! (I fucking love candy canes)
Awesome Firefly posters!
Tub-o-Jack and a flask!
Feeling like family!
Finally feeling normal! (non-sick)

Also, I work today! (fail!) But I'm on call, (also fail!) so I can leave early! (slightly less fail!)

Woot! Cookies!

'Do not look through'

Vanilanila - A daily web comic. Funny, humorous, excitement.

Huntington Beach; sometimes it's like that.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Josh

Don't tread on him.

Quite possibly the most awesome tattoo ever created by man.

Important information for future reference



(a tip to those "playful" douchebags who try to get a rise out of someone by annoying them until they get a reaction so they can laugh about it)

No one ever said...

...it would be easy.

At this rate I'll be hoping for a restraining order for Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Hundparken Bitpop



And, just because what the fuck;

c64 Messiah - Ballblazer "Dirty South" Remix Video


Don't ask me what's happening in either of these videos. I have no idea. That's the way I like it.

More elegance deconstructing the system

I've always found it to be elegant to misuse a system you disagree with to point out how easy it is to misuse it, and remove it from common use.

Like calling an anonymous tip line with tips against random people or elected officials, or getting a bunch of sober friends together to repeatedly drive through a DUI checkpoint, absorbing most of random checks.

One such system is red light cameras.

Local teens claim pranks on county's Speed Cams
students duplicate the license plates by printing plate numbers on glossy photo paper, using fonts from certain websites that "mimic" those on Maryland license plates. They tape the duplicate plate over the existing plate on the back of their car and purposefully speed through a speed camera, the parent said. The victim then receives a citation in the mail days later.

How'd you like to be the first person to get targeted like this? Before they figured out it was just some kids outsmarting their infallible system, of course.
"Looks like your car. Looks like your plate. Pay up."
"But I didn't--" JAIL!

The parent said that "our civil rights are exploited," and the entire premise behind the Speed Camera Program is called into question as a result of the growing this fad among students.

"Why; it's almost as if still images that appear to be certain cars that appear to be driven by certain people, leading to legal action against the person has some kind of flaw?!"
No fucking shit.

We need to look at these systems not by how much good they can do, but how much bad they can do in the wrong hands.

Just because people haven't been caught framing others, or creating probable cause out of thin air, doesn't mean it isn't happening.

Hat tip to Uncle

Spyderco Native II vs Native III

UPDATE: pictures and comparison here! (natives near the end)

A while ago I said,

Looking at their line I see little variety, and extremely limited evolution. In fact, the only evolution I can see is the initial implementation of the choil (which I really like, by the way). Then I see a more innovative grip design in the Manix. Then I see a stronger blade design, and a more accentuated grip in the Native. Then I see the Native III with a strong blade attached to a grip that looks like it was made to actually fit a human hand. The Native III is a very functional utility blade, high-quality materials, a properly fitting grip, and a choil feature for added control. But it seems to have something that the other models don't. Is it heart? Is it creativity? Is it a flair for utility? I don't know, but they've made a good knife. It's different from what they've done before. And they know it.


I should have listened to myself.

I love everything about the Native III except the steel. The Native III is anomalous in the Spyderco line, and I like it. I picked up my Native III with partial serrations, and after regular use, the serrations got dull, chipped, and worthless. It couldn't even cut through cardboard. So the Native III sat unused. Which is a shame, because I love almost everything about it.

I decided to pick up a Native II in plain blade because it was the predecessor to the III, and it used my favorite steel. Sure it's a previous evolution of a knife I like, and it's still Spyderco, but it can't be that bad! Well, I got it this weekend. It's that bad.

The handle is too smooth, too skinny, and too cheap. It feels like it might shatter if I dropped it, and fails to offer the assurance of a positive grip. The choil exists, though slightly less pronounced, but the steel on the blade side is not rounded, and scrapes the skin off your finger in a forward grip. The grip side of the choil is flat, and gives nothing for your mid-digit to wrap around, introducing the exact opposite of the choil's intention; uncertainty with your blade. The blade and body is not tall enough to fit my hand like the Native III did.

In short, it felt like I was holding a Spyderco knife.

Thin, light, plastic-y grip, unfinished edges, and just a bad feeling from my hand. The only reference I have for that feeling is when I picked up a cheap Chinese reproduction of a CRKT M16. My hand immediately felt the bad balance, burrs, and hard edges pressing into my hand. It just felt wrong. The first thought in my head was, "This knife is fucking my hand." It was like I was holding a splintery piece of wood. The Native II gives my hand a similar feeling, (but nowhere near as terrible). It just feels wrong.

All weekend I was opening both of them, and holding each one right after the other to get a sense for what it was that made the II so completely different from the III. It's Monday, and I still have no complete answer. It's perplexing because they seem so much alike. It seems like the II shouldn't be as bad as it is, but there is simply no comparison between the two.

I had some faint hopes of swapping grips to get the Native II blade on the Native III grip. But since the blades are riveted in place, there's no chance of even trying.

I want a plain blade Native III, but after talking to Josh, and some recent comments, I want to get a simple serration sharpener and work the Native III over to see how it sharpens, and get a better feel for the steel.

Range fail

After I confirmed my S&W 442 was getting weak hammer strikes, I've been dry-firing it in an effort to smooth out the action. I took it to the range last night and found the weak hammer strikes to be more pronounced instead of less... That just about does it. Getting one dud, and pulling the trigger again to another shot is tolerable. Getting two weak hammer strikes in a row every other cylinder is unacceptable. I'm going to have to send it in, and give my 1911 a little more love.

While the 442's performance was disappointing, I apparently wanted to make it feel better by shooting poorly. After having difficulty keeping on the paper plate at 7 yards, I switched to the GP100, which is always a joy to shoot because I shoot it so well.

More shitty shooting. Tolerable for self defense, but going from cloverleafs at 45 feet to 5 inch groups at 21 feet? I'm fucked up.

I don't know if it was me still being sick, but I was flinching, and shaking, and generally failing at shooting.

Bah. Some days you just can't seem to hit any-damn-thing.

You're doing it wrong!

Driving in today I saw one of those electronic highway signs lit up with the following message;

DON'T TEXT AND DRIVE
JAN 1ST


There are several things wrong with this message.

1. The way it reads, you have been asked not to text and drive on January first. What about all the other days?

2. It is a recommendation. It should read something more forceful; "Texting and driving is illegal" or "No texting and driving." Or at least something more obvious. "Text and drive/ $50 fine."

3. Texting while driving is already illegal, and can get you a fine based on an existing vehicle code violation. Same with cell phones, eating while driving, or having your dog on your lap while driving. It's called driving while distracted.

4. The legislature is fiddling while Rome burns. They're making redundant, unnecessary, do-nothing, feel-good policy while the state's budget plunges past the point of no return.

Friday, December 19, 2008

PS: Look up


New from Lego Robot Comics; The art of countercruelty

Ayn Rand interview

From Shrugged at Bear on a Bicycle comes an Ayn Rand interview.

Jesus. Is this was Television was like before it became teevee???

QFFT

Quoted for fucking truth.



What are we supposed to learn in school again?

Do me good - Amy Winehouse

Blame Liberty for getting me listening to her stuff.



Pretty fucking impressive, plus I'm a sucker for the jazzy sound.

Thanks Liberty!

UPDATE: Shit, this is good too!

Amy, Amy, Amy

Something I love about real gunnies

When they say they're going to do something, you better fucking believe they're going to do it.

Such simple honesty is becoming rarer.

Shiny.

Lets be bad guys.

Quote of the things you don't do

You don't piss of people that ain't got nothing better to do than think up this shit! Go piss off someone with a life; we'll fuck your shit up!
~Coworker

Another

Another day.

Nothing particularly interesting about today apart from the particularly acute anxiousness created by a Friday. The air is newly cold, and the slight wind chills just enough to remind southern California of its long forgotten season; winter.

Another week.

The only thing particular about this week is the push in the air. Meetings rescheduled. Projects delayed. E-mails unsent. Words unspoken. Eyes glancing clockward involuntarily. Furtively. Everyone is trying to push this week to its close, consciencely or not. Eager to end the purgatory of this week, and begin the celebration of the next.

Another me.

Nothing particular about me. We're supposed to become a different person every day. New experiences, new ideas, new occurrences keep who we are in a state of flux. We may change violently, or imperceptibly. But it feels like I'm the same person I've been for months. I don't feel new anymore. I feel like I'm stuck. The dangerous new ideas of change have been carefully cultivated in my head, and lie ready to spring forth! Yet there they lie. Waiting for a cue that doesn't yet exist. Will I succeed? Will I fail? Does it even matter when the alternative is sameness?

Another opportunity.

Life is particular when we make it particular. Every day, week, and you offers infinite possibilities. Fly to visit far away friends today? Take a week off to go on a deep-sea fishing trip? Take a class in something you've always wanted to learn? Or, perhaps... Count down the hours until the weekend today? Procrastinate this week? Do nothing new with yourself?

Another decision to make.

Be particular.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

LOLSACK

YOU ARE NOW ULTRA BROWSACKING!!!


YOU ARE STILL ULTRA BROWSACKING!!!

Choosing an EDC knife - More Thoughts

My Choosing an EDC knife post is probably the most consistent hit I get from search results on this blog. I was recently reminded of it, and reread it. I realized I had a few opinions I had changed, and a few revelations I felt like sharing, so without further ado; more thoughts on Choosing an EDC knife.

(and since I did it before...)
Should you wish to bypass all my conclusions, you can skip to the bottom of this post where I make a recommendation for an EDC knife that will probably fit most people and their uses.

Expensive knives and Inexpensive knives

While I try not to spend time on knife forums, one comment seems to pop up there, and all over; "I love my high dollar Benchmade, but I'm afraid I'll lose it, so I always just carry my $35 delica." This seems silly to me because it's an admission that this person has spent money on a quality tool, and won't use it. I like knives too, but I don't have any "display pieces." Everything I have has utility. I certainly wouldn't buy an awesome cordless drill, and only use my old cheap one for fear I might break or damage the expensive one. These people usually use their delica until it gets intolerably dull (why pay $10 to sharpen a $35 knife?), and just buy another one. This means they've got a perfectly good knife, but are opting for a dull knife. A dull knife is an unsafe knife. That isn't to say someone couldn't just sharpen the knife themselves, and keep it in good working condition, it's just that, in most cases, they don't.

A while ago, I was struck by an odd knife fancy (as most blade-o-philes are) in the form of a $30 compact CRKT M16, and carried it primarily for about a month. In this time, it suffered a chronically dull-but-tolerable blade, a gummed-up action, and a bent pocket clip. It worked, just not well. With the proper tools, and a good sharpener, I was able to spend 30 minutes sharpening it, pulling it apart for cleaning, and re-bending the pocket clip. After that time, it was back in working condition, and ready to go again. I opted not to carry it again, but it remains ready in another capacity.

I bought my first 940 when they were still new and expensive. It was a lot of money for a teenager, but it was still mistreated, used for almost every task I could come up with, and asked only that I give it a few passes over the sharpener every now and then. I carried that knife every day I could, in every place I was allowed, for almost 9 years. That knife was expensive, but I got every penny worth (maybe more). In fact, the only reason I'm not carrying it right now, is that Benchmade updated the model with my favorite steel and a slight blade remodel, and Turners was selling the new model at a discontinued price that was a fraction of what I paid for the my first 940. For about a year, the new model has been riding in my pocket, wearing in nicely, satisfyingly sharp, and I look forward to carrying it for even longer than the first.

Inexpensive knives are fine as long as they can function reliably with minor maintenance, and you actually do the maintenance. I'd rather spend more for reliability, but some people prefer to work with their knives, or simply can't afford the more expensive knives. Just don't fool yourself into believing that expensive knives are for suckers.

Note that the word "inexpensive" starts at $30. Any less, and you're getting less "inexpensive," and more "cheap." The cheapest off-brand Chinese-made piece of junk can be factory sharpened to a razor edge. Note, however, that it will become uselessly dull almost instantly, and refuse to be resharpened. Don't waste your money.


Serrations


Serrations have become a sticking point for me. They're the most effective way to cut through some materials, but they wear down so quickly, chip so easily, and are impossible to resharpen without special tools, practice, and patience. There are different kinds of serrations, and without a doubt some are better than others, considering the different types of serrations and the different steels they come in, there must be some combination of the two that lasts longer and is easier to sharpen, but I haven't found it yet. Until then, the only solution seems to be to get partial serrations, and only use them when necessary.

The advantage of serrations was always having an extremely sharp portion of blade for cutting through especially tough materials, but considering the difficulty keeping them sharp, I've become of the mind that I'd rather have a plain blade that's easy to keep sharp, and actually take the time to keep it very sharp.

So if you have the ability to sharpen plain blades, I'd recommend keeping a plain blade nice and sharp. If not, I'd recommend getting a combo blade, and using the serrations sparingly.


Leatherman Skeletool Cx

I found out about Leatherman's Skeletool by accident. Normally, I wouldn't look to Leatherman, since I already had my Surge, and honestly didn't expect much innovation from them. It was originally purchased as a "oh cool" item to fill out the $200 required to get 20% off my purchase.

It's pliers. Small pliers.

Small, funny-shaped pliers.

It has large and small philips and flat-head screwdriver bits, which is pretty cool, but nothing amazing or new.

It has a small, sharp knife with partial serrations, thumbhole opening, and a pretty good liner lock.


It has a belt-loop clip/bottle opener (insert rolled eyes here).


And it's final, and most impressive feature;

It folds up really tiny.

Pretty meh, huh? I mean; I've been talking about serious tools, perfectly machined and expertly tuned for one specific purpose; and now I'm telling you all about some funny looking pliers with a bottle opener on the back?

The individual parts are not very impressive, but when combined as skillfully as this, they create a very versatile tool, worthy of your every day carry.

The blade is made of a good quality steel, and comes from the factory extremely sharp on the blade, and retardedly sharp on the serrations. The thumbhole makes the blade quick to open, the location makes it usable when the tool is completely folded, and ergonomics make it surprisingly confident in your hand. Leatherman redesigned way back with the Wave to make their blades accessible while the tool was completely folded, but the thumbholes thumbslats were slow and difficult to open one handed.

This blade is perfectly designed to be easy to open and close one handed, and remains available when the tool is completely folded.

The other impressive design is the multiple carry options. The silly bottle opener clips to the belt loops on whichever pants you happen to be wearing, and carries comfortably, keeping a factory sharp knife, pliers, and four screwdrivers ready.

If dangling from your waist is not your style, the Skeletool comes with a pocket clip in the perfect spot for quick knife access, and easy pocket carry.


The versatility of carry keeps it ready for those odd times when you might be inclined to skip your EDC knife (Blasphemy! But it happens), and since you don't have to carry it in your pocket, you have the ability to carry it in addition to your EDC knife. The Skeletool is a good balance between EDC knife and multi-tool, since not everyone is comfortable carrying (or even able to carry) a single function knife.

This is a winner no matter which side of the fence you're on.


Knives with purpose

There are really two kinds of knives, knives that try to be everything, and knives that try to be one thing. Buying a reliable blade of a standard design will likely be capable of serving many functions; from opening envelopes to defending yourself. But there are situations where you would like something a little more specific.

If I have a job where I cut cardboard boxes apart all day, and can foresee an emergency situation where I would have to cut through nylon, you better fucking believe I'd have a separate knife for such an emergency situation. Relying on a knife you know might not be up to the task is always a bad idea. If you can conceive of a situation where there is doubt of your knife's capabilities, test it out! Get those old jeans and try to cut through them with the knife you carry and use every day. Buy a seatbelt on ebay, and try cutting through it. If your knife fails to preform, try different knives until you find one that can satisfy both needs. If that knife doesn't exist, carry two. There is such a variety of knife sizes, it should be easy to find one that's small enough not to get in the way, but big enough to get the job done when called upon.

If you do decide to carry a specialized knife, for heaven's sake, don't use it for anything other than its intended purpose. Test it out, and let it sit at the ready. Just as sharp and reliable as the first day, every day.


tl;dr
Buy a $120 Benchmade 940 with a plain blade, and this inexpensive, easy-to-use sharpener. If that's too much, get a $45 Spyderco Native II in plain blade, and the sharpener.
Keep your plain blade EDC knife sharp enough to cut paper cleanly!

There will probably be more later, but it won't be for a while. Thanks for reading.

One more awesome thing

  • Animusic One and Two


It's awesome enough for its own post

UPDATE: ok, here's a vid.

This is pipe dream from Animusic 1. My copy of which seems to be dying of excessively excessive use.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sonic Unleashed has at least 8 new assholes after this

Yahtzee reviews Sonic Unleashed.

It ain't pretty.

Even by his standards.

Seriously, it's pretty fucking bad.

But--! Entertaining as always!

YOU ARE STILL BROWSACKING

Sick day and nyquil nonsense

Sick days are great when you're not sick.

I bundled up like I usually do when I'm sick, and hobbled through the rain to CVS. We need more Nyquil.

I spotted something a little different. Nyquil with an extra consonant. "D."

It was more expensive so, I just figured the "D" meant delicious or something, and went for it. Nyquil is so important, there's no sense in skimping.

Cashier: Hi, do you have a cvs card with-- Where did you get this? On the shelf?
Me: On the shelf.
CS: Oh. This isn't supposed to be out there. I need your ID.
Me: ... You need to be 21 to buy Nyquil?
I open my wallet to him so he can check my ID for some fucking reason.
CS: No, I need your ID. Can you take it out please?
I remove my ID, and hand it to him. He checks the information and seems to be entering it into the computer.
CS: I gotta do it because this has sudafedrine.
Fucking retarded.
Me: I need Nyquil more than I need meth.
CS: It's fine, I just need to put you into the system.
System???
Me: Forget it. I'll get the regular kind.
CS: No, you're already in here. I just swipe it, and it comes up.
Me: I'm already in there?
wtf?
CS: Yeah.
Me: Fine. Go ahead.
CS: Don't worry, this is better than the regular kind.
Me: I don't care about better. I care about being preemptively tracked just in case I decide to do something bad. I care about my information being all over the place.
CS: Don't worry, our computer system is secure.
Me: Wrong. That's what I test for a living. I don't even know if your system is insecure, and I already know your system is insecure.
CS: ... Have a nice day.

Can't even buy some fucking Nyquil without submitting to a search, and having your purchases tracked by the state.

Good fucking luck to all of us. We're going to need it.

...sooner than later.

It's raining in Huntington Beach

It also dipped below 50 degrees.

HELLISH

The rain reminds me of El Nino, and reminds me of how anomalous weeks of rain was for socal.

Fond memories of walking home in the rain.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"Thanks for the moral support, bud."

The title of this post was the honest statement of a coworker who had to deal with a tough job while I was in the room.

I didn't help him in any way other than listening to him quietly, looking him in the eye when he spoke, and offering empathetic nods and nonverbal sounds of agreement.

I remain amazed how people trust, like, and feel comradery with me for just doing the above.

I don't want to believe these simple actions are so anomalous that people universally respond so positively to them. Maybe there's something else I'm missing.

Music of the day

Que Sera Sera - Asuka Sakai, Charlie Kosei

Monday, December 15, 2008

Do not meddle in the affairs of hackers

... for you use technology far too much.

I've been receiving unsolicited SMS messages on my cell phone lately, from the same sender.
The first one, I let pass, thinking it was just a random blast.
The second one, I replied to the SMS asking that I be removed.
The THIRD one, I called the number I was supposed to call, and told whoever answered that I wanted off his list. He told me to reply with an "X." I did.
The FOURTH one, I called the number directly, and got a voice mail. I left a message making myself very clear that if I was not removed from his list, I would pursue more official channels.

He mentioned his name on the voice mail, so I did a quick google search followed by a few more pointed searches. I quickly found his picture, his address, his (insecure) website hosted with a service I know to have insecurities, his myspace and facebook accounts, and where he seems to be currently employed (along with sites for rdp and mail for this company).

With just this information, I could childishly annoy him, cramp his business to the point that it would no longer be profitable, or put him under serious scrutiny of several three letter acronym government agencies, and everything in between.

With a little more effort, and a little more information, I'd be able to do a lot worse.
A lot worse.

Spammers piss me off.

Awesome things that are still Awesome

Due to the lull in posting, I feel compelled to go over the previously awesome things that have yet to lose awesom-itude.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Overheard at work - pointless dinosaur edition

Troubleshooting an issue, I get an idea of what the problem might be, and promptly change it.

I then undergo an internal dialogue, wherein I repremand myself for not following proper troubleshooting procedure. (Test it, change one thing, test it, change one thing test it, etc.) Since I hadn't even gotten it to disconnect yet, changing something would leave a question as to the root cause of the issue.

I decided that what I did was a bad idea, and I was foolish for making such a mistake, and for some reason, verbalized my disapproval.

Also, for some reason, I verbalized it as if I were a dinosaur.


Me: Rawwrrr! That was a bad idea! I should really change that back!
An awkward silence permeates the room.
Coworker: What the fuck?
Me: Uh... Nothing.

And it's not even Friday, yet.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Quote of the milling machine

You never abandon a story with a hot girl for a story about a milling machine
~bhwhite (via IRC)

Mr. Pants from Home Movies

Bowl of Oranges - Bright Eyes

I found the video distracting from the lyrics. Both are good, but the lyrics are better.

I recommend listening without watching the video first.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A new addition to the non-blogroll blogroll

Double Plus Undead.

The combination of authors delivers on so many levels. Definitely worth your time.

I have received a few questions about what the criteria is for getting on the "Blogs I frequent" list. The list is my attempt to avoid the standard "everyone and their grandmother" blogroll that everyone just ignores. Instead, I've only added blogs that I read regularly, and enjoy, and I feel are worth your time. When a blog gets my attention, it goes in my "blogsies" bookmark folder, and gets read with all the other blogs or whenever I damn well feel like it. If the blog impresses me consistently, or bears some other merit, it gets added to the blogroll. The end.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Quote of the white people

As for "scaring the white people", well... sometimes that is the only way to get their attention.
~JR

The pre-human condition

In this collection the people represent the human condition, the mammoth represents the burden of sentience, and the T-Rex represents HOLY SHIT DINOSAURS ARE BACK.

Awkward Zombie Comics turns 100!

Somewhat tangentially, but 100 nonetheless.

Envy

Envy is an emotion you'll almost never see from me. I'm a very content guy.

But when people get deals on hardware like this, it's pretty hard for me not to turn a deep shade of green.

Looks like a beauty, JR!

Make 150% on your investments!

Josh makes 150% on his investment in a few short weeks!

What did he invest in?

You'll have to read to find out!

La-laaaaa! Lalalalala-la-la lala-la lala-laaaa!

Bought, played, and beat Katamari Damacy on Saturday. Damnit that game is fun. My first moon was 790m, and qualified for WTFAWESOME status.

After the game was beaten, I saw that you could listen to the soundtrack, so I did that excessively.

Download the soundtrack here.

ET opens gtkpod...

"It's the magazine, stupid!"

My 1911 is reliable, but it's not GLOCK reliable. One to three out of 100 rounds would fail to feed (nose up, partial feed). It always seemed to be the last round in the magazine, but occasionally, it was not. I chalked the problem up to the carbon buildup on my factory-rough feedramp.

Everywhere I went with questions, I was met with the answer that is the title of this post.

Me: I'm having some odd problems with my 1911.
Some guy: Are you using the Ultra combat II elite tactical $50 magazines?
Me: No, just some Chip McCormick 8 rounders. But even when I download them--
Some guy: It's the magazine, stupid!
Me: But people say the CMC mags are just--
Some guy: It's the magazine, stupid!

Douchebaggery aside, some people whos' opinions I respected were saying the same thing, so I figured before I concluded anything was wrong with my 1911, I would need an uber mag.

$35 and one week later, I was at the range this weekend with 200 rounds, trying to get a failure with the new mag. I put the full mag in with one in the chamber, fired one round to make sure it would feed reliably off recoil when fully loaded, and loaded one more into the mag and repeated repeatedly. No failures. I put two rounds in the mag, loaded, fired one shot, and loaded one more into the mag and repeated repeatedly to test feeding the last one. No failures. I depressed the slide release on a full mag, unloaded, topped the mag, and repeated repeatedly. No failures. I filled the mag, and the chamber, and fired 9 rounds to slide lock, and repeated repeatedly.
Not. One. Failure.

It was the magazine, stupid.

...Stupid magazines...

I'll be shooting with this magazine exclusively for a while to be absolutely sure it functions flawlessly, but things look good.

While I was there, I managed to do the best 1911 shooting I've done yet. I fired three shots at 50 feet, and made a (slightly malformed) clover leaf for the first time with my 1911. I was so proud of myself, I snapped a picture!


Then I wanted to keep my luck going, so I took my time with the next shot, which looked just barely like I hit right in the middle of the previous group! I pulled it back to be sure, and saw I was right! Four shots touching at 50'! And to think I was considering buying a new barrel. Not wanting to jinx myself, I didn't take a picture, and decided to fire off the rest. By now, there were a lot of people shooting around me, and I was afraid of flinching a shot when someone else shot. I did. Next shot went off right as the guy two lanes over shot his 357. I pulled it back in and took another picture.


I then finished off the remaining 4 shots, and wound up with an average sized group for me. Not too special, unless you look closely and see the 4 shots touching.

Now I know what I'm capable of! I love my GI .45!

Silikon - Modeselektor (Siriusmo Remix)

Wow, a remix that wasn't just someone yelling over the previous track!

OMG CREATIVITY!

All OMGery aside, this is quite good.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Daughters

What the fuck just happened? I need to buy this now.

Labrat mentioned Katamari in another post, and I vaguely recalled something about that game, so I put it in youtube, and clicked the first link.

This is what I saw.



I have no idea what just happened.

All I know is, I need this game right now.

UPDATE: OH GOD I CAN'T STOP WATCHING IT! SEND HELP!

Frogmen and You

It appears someone did a rather creative video based on Mr. Scruff's song, Fish.

Fuck you Mario Kart. Fuck you so much.

I was driving in to work on the freeway, and the car ahead of me and to the right opened its window. A slightly odd occurrence considering the car was expensive enough to have air conditioning, and we were traveling on the freeway at about 90mph. Out the window came an object, flung carelessly into my lane.

The object was a banana peel.

My immediate reaction was to regard the banana peel as one would an oil slick. I knew if I hit it, I was going to spin sideways, catch the pavement, and tumble end over end to my most assured death.

My brain instantly pegged at 100%, and calculated my avenues of escape with mere fractions of a second to execute them. I knew there was a car to my right, but I didn't know what cars were in the carpool lane to the left, and was afraid that if I swerved into the lane I could hit someone, but I had no time to turn my head.

As I flipped between swerve into the lane of unknown capacity, and do nothing, some part of my brain screamed at me to do nothing.

Fortunately the "do nothing" part of my brain prevailed. I sailed over the banana peel quite harmlessly.

Of course I didn't know I wasn't going to die until I actually passed over the banana peel.

Fuck you Mario Kart.

Fuck you so much.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Dividing ourselves in the foot

David at War on Guns has a post up about the fight for open carry in Texas.

He quotes the article, then comments;
Y'know, if everybody just did it, what could they do about it?

Our problem is that nobody will--because they know they'd stand alone--and even be condemned by the majority of their fellow gun owners for making "us" all look bad.

This strikes a chord with me, because it touches on a divide in the gun rights community that irks me.

Gun owners who open carry are not doing anything wrong. They have the right to do it, and choose to do so. The only thing that's wrong with it, is the group of gun rights pragmatists who argue it is destructive to the effort.

I'm something of a pragmatist too, you won't see me talking about the violent overthrow of the government with a someone who asked me to teach them to shoot. It would be truthful, and correct, but it alienate the potential gun owner. I would not open carry because open carry does not fit into my reasoning for carrying a firearm. But some gun rights supporters call them extremists, and detrimental to the cause, and attack them. These people are the gun rights pragmatists. The ones who argue that we not bite off more than we can chew, and talk endlessly about the political will for this fight or that fight.

I'm going to lump all the non-pragmatists (Non-prags) together; extremists, non-political believers, illegally packing grannies, and all. This may seem odd, but since pragmatists have become so vocal, sensitive, and protective of the issue, they've fortified their position against all others, and determined the division.

The pragmatists (Prags), erect barriers to form a circle around themselves, and attack everything that isn't within their boarder. They pontificate, and weigh, and determine the course of action with the most likely chance of success. They then accuse the Non-prags of pounding the table, and shouting "Shall not be infringed!" instead of coming to grips with the political reality of the gun rights fight. (In case you were wondering, they're talking about the political reality they've agreed upon.)

But are the gun rights pragmatists right?

I guess.

Technically.

The Prags stick their finger in the wind, determine the current socio-political landscape, and figure out the best way to fight today. Playing the game, making concessions, and moving the football one yard at a time seems to be the way to progress in this political machine, and the political repercussions of pushing too hard should be obvious to all.

But does that mean the Non-prags are wrong? Or at least, hurting the effort?

While it's not immediately clear if they're hurting the overall effort, but it's clear that the Prags perceive them to be hurting their effort. For this, the pragmatists make sport of shouting down and deriding those who fight for their rights in ways they don't agree.

This is bullshit.

We can argue till we're blue in the face about the specifics, but at the core of the argument is the Prags saying;

It's not that simple! You can't just exercise your right! What you're doing is stupid and destructive, because I say so. Step away from the effort, and just go stand in the corner while we do it the right way. Oh yeah, don't forget to keep sending checks to our legal funds.

The argument is between one side trying to impose its will on the other; and the other side simply exercising its rights.

If you can't see why this is wrong, I can't help you.

Exacerbating the problem is the holier-than-thou subtext that permeates the writing of some Prags. They do not claim to be our betters, but they imply it by claiming the burden of determining the proper direction for the gun rights movement, and tearing down all who disagree.

Yet for all the vitriol they absorb, all the Non-prags have to say is, "when you compromise on principal, you can only lose," and "A right unexercised is a right lost." They're simple statements. They lack the sophistication of a properly tuned political conscience; but they're still hard to disagree with.


I guess the point here is that disagreement is fine, and open debate is even better. But instigating divisiveness by deriding and talking down to the other side is wrong and childish.


On to open carry specifically; much to my surprise, there are people open carrying in Orange County, California. They open carry, and blog or post about it on their forum, and talk about how nothing happened to them. No SWAT teams descended on them, nobody got trampled to death as everyone fled the building, and no criminal grabbed the gun and went on a shooting spree. There is the occasional instance of police interaction that ends without incident, but where are the dire predictions? Most people are conditioned to think of a gun as a shooting spree waiting to happen, so what happens when they see a gun, and a shooting spree doesn't happen? They progress our cause.

So, lets get back to David's question. What if everybody just did it?

There would probably be some people freaking out, but the police are becoming increasingly aware of the legality of open carry, and do you really think they're going to roll code three to the 98th "man with a gun" call of the day? Hell no. They're going to ask; "Is he shooting anybody? No? Then what he's doing is legal." Then after people are done freaking out, it would become normal. Regular people are going to realize that seeing a gun doesn't instantly mean death and destruction.

Isn't this the exact message the Prags want to get across by bringing one person to the range at a time?


We're all on the same side here.

Lets try not to forget that.

And you're not on the IRC Channel, why? Part 2

Stingray: Hey, a nuclear reactor will power one hell of a still.
dixie: nuclear powered alcohol!
Unix-Jedi: think about the steam pipes that could get repurposed
Atomic_Fungus: no no, nuclear-powered STILL. The alcohol should remain non-radioactive for great justice.
ET: http://www.meatsandfishes.com/apology/index.php?date=2008-12-02
Unix-Jedi: and the guy named.. atomic.. fungus.. is telling us this
* ET 's eyes water up at the idea of a nuclear-powered still
ET: it's.... beautiful...
pdb: I'm still waiting for an engineering diagram of the nuclear trebuchet
Atomic_Fungus: Look, if YOU want to drink radioactive whiskey, YOU go right ahead.
ET: hmmm... hydrolic-assisted trebuchet?
* ET sketches furiously
Unix-Jedi: NUCLEAR TREBUCHET
Unix-Jedi: Dude, if you can't see how that would go together...
bhwhite: oh. my. god.
bhwhite: i just tuned back in.
bhwhite: i can see i have been missing something WONDERFUL

Join in on the fun!

It's a Sacred Cow cook off!

Marko spares none with his funny-yet-discomfort-inducing commentary on the Sacred Cows of the gun industry!

Awesome read!

Don't get bent out of shape; it's all in good fun.

*ET pats his M39 affectionately

Greed with John Stossel

Incredible.

I wonder if he's hiring...











Monday, December 01, 2008

PC vs Console Gaming

The lack of a mouse is an acceptable trade-off when compared to the arms race of PC upgrading.

You have no idea how much I love not worrying about having to save up $500 for the new Xeon Mega-12 ultra double AGP ATI 1GB video card so I can play the latest 5 hour long polygon eyefuck and realize that it still sucks.

Hell, the only thing I'd do with a top of the line PC is play Dwarf Fortress at a tolerable frame rate.

A Kiss to Build a Dream On - Louis Armstrong



Just to mix it up.

Quote of the regret

Carry your gun - it's a lighter burden than regret.


I'm going to write that again;

Carry your gun - it's a lighter burden than regret.

From Breda

This means something...

Ten shots at 50 feet.



It looks like a constellation or something.

D├ęboutonner - Modeselektor

Overheard at work

Coworker 1: No, Bush was just an idiot.
Coworker 2: Yeah, that's why Obama is surrounding himself with smart people.
Me: So, Bush is an idiot because he surrounds himself with smart people, but Obama's inexperienced, so it's good he's surrounding himself with smart people.
CW 2: No, Obama's experienced. That's why he won. We're not going to elect someone who's inexperienced.
Me: John McCain, as much as I hate him, spent more time in a Vietnamese prison than Obama spent in the Senate!
CW 1: No, he's surrounding himself with smart people so he has a wealth of knowledge.
Me: Right.
CW 1: At least we can agree that Bush is a moron.
Me: Yeah, he's pretty dumb. I'll bet Obama got way better grades than Bush.
CW 1: Yeah, way better.
Me: Of course, we may never know, because Obama refused to release any of his grades.
CW 2: Yeah he did.
CW 1: Of course he did.
Me: No, he most certainly did not. Look it up. I'm sure you'd be ripping Bush a new one if he didn't release HIS grades.
CW 1: Well, Bush bought his grades.
CW 2: Yeah, no arguin' that.
Me: Should I even ask for evidence?
CW 2: They don't leave evidence!
CW 1: Yeah.

Yikes. Just yikes. You think they know how bad they've got it? Lets hope not.

Edgar - Modeselektor

I love gun people

Ladies and gentlemen; care of the gun show this weekend...

I give you...

The ammo play-pen.

Sold my first gun this weekend

Good night sweet prince...




more here

I wont say that I collect guns, but I do have quite a few. More like, I find niches and I fill them. My G22 was filling its niche fine until my 10/22 blew it out of the spot. I can honestly say I'm not a collector because I won't have redundancy in my firearms*. The m44 was filling its niche admirably, but it needed to lose the bayonet to fit in perfectly. Since the screw was irreversibly staked, and I would never take a hacksaw to a piece of history; I decided an m38 would be a better choice and made up my mind to try to sell the m44. When the opportunity came up to sell it to someone I knew would give it a good home, I was still a little reluctant, but the sell made sense.

I know it has a good home now, but seeing the enfield it usually leans against gave me the feeling that it was a bit lonely. Maybe I'll put the 10/22 next to it.

*Except maybe milsurp, or in the case of multiple firearms for multiple people.