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September 30, 2003

Minor Update

I've posted some new artwork, please feel free to comment on it here. The goal is to eventually integrate an art blog into the structure here, so you can click on a picture from the main page and get to a larger version of that picture. Then you can comment on each picture individually as well. But until I get around to doing that, please feel free to comment on the pictures in this entry.

Also, I've tweaked some colors, especially for links, so that they are a little more prominent now in response to some requests. And I've added real banners to the comment and trackjack popup windows.

PGP Signed Entry

September 28, 2003

A Glimmer of Hope

Just caught word of Magnatune, a record label for the new reality. They are not affiliated with the evil RIAA, and they have what I believe is not only a good business model, but a fair deal for the artists and a respect for the consumer that is so blatently lacking in the greater music industry.

Basically, they operate on a "shareware" model, where you can download and try out the music for free. If you like it, you can buy an album for five bucks. The artists receive 50% of the price you pay, which is a fair deal to me when you consider the cost of marketing and logistics of producing the music. As they are so eager to express, they are "not evil."

Give them a look. Let's support these kinds of efforts as consumers and artists. Together, as I've said for a long time now, we can change the industry and the world. We have the power to remove tyrants and bring about a new order. This is one step in the right direction. Let's support it, and encourage others and take more steps.

PGP Signed Entry

September 27, 2003

Ads for Trailers

Okay, I just saw a television advertisement for not a movie, but indeed, a trailer for a movie. Sure, it was for Return of the King, attached to an ad for Secondhand Lions, but dude. What has the world come to when people actually will go to a movie that they had no intention of actually seeing except for the purpose of seeing a trailer for another movie!?!?

Let me remind the readership that trailers are, in fact, advertisements themselves.

"What's next? 'Catch the Pepsi commercial after the premiere of Miss Match!'?" says yukino.

I really don't know what's more sad: the fact that there are people who will go to this movie just to see the trailer, or the fact that the studio has recognized this fact and is advertising it.

PGP Signed Entry

September 26, 2003

Agreement on Innovation

Normally, I don't like just posting a link to a news article in my blog, but I'm going to make an exception for this article on innovation written by the former Microsoft CTO.

I've written a couple of entries about this topic in the past, and it makes me feel quite good that someone as accomplished as Nathan Myhrvold agrees with my opinion.

PGP Signed Entry

September 24, 2003

Cubs in the Lead

You know the world really is upside down. I'm really getting worried now. And it's not about nukes, or Iraq, or terrorists, or oil, or idiot Presidents, or asteroids slamming into the earth...

This is about something far more grave. The Chicago Cubs.

I mean, the Cubs are in first place with five games left. That means they might yet make the playoffs. Which means there's an outside chance that, yes, indeed, the world could end this October.

PGP Signed Entry

Close your eyes...

Just for a moment. Think of your favorite song. Your favorite place. A gentle breeze caresses you. Your favorite person smiles.


PGP Signed Entry

September 19, 2003

It's not the years, it's the mileage...

As it turns out, Secretary of State Madeline Albright claimed to have traveled just over a million miles during her tenure. Something like 1,036,000 over eight years of service.

This is pretty impressive, except that over the past five years, I've maintained a similar pace. I would have thought the top diplomat of the USA would have pretty much everyone outside of couriers and airline personnel outdone on flight miles...

But she's barely got schmucky ol' me beat! C'mon! And she actually traveled a lot for a Secretary of State, I seem to recall. There's no way Colin Powell is even close. Bah. What a jip...
PGP Signed Entry


So delicious. Sooooooooooo goooooood.

(Yes, I desperately needed a happy topic in a futile attempt to balance all the negativity I've been spouting lately.)

PGP Signed Entry

September 18, 2003


Let me ask you something.

When you're late making a payment to a bank, what happens? The fuck you up the ass, right?

Let's say you paid off your mortgage in June. That means they're supposed to send you the deed to your house, right? Well, let's say, then, that it's now been three months and you don't yet have a deed.

What should your legal right be at this point?

Yes, that's right. You should be legally allowed to rip their assholes open with an obelisk.

But you're not. This is why our laws are completely wrong. Why our society has allowed itself to be raped every day by entities totally unconcerned about individual rights and well-being, to say nothing of justice.

I can not emphasize enough how asymmetric our laws have become. Over and over again, corporations destroy people's lives for infractions that they themselves commit without fear of reprisal. Pathetic.

PGP Signed Entry


Apple announced the new lineup of PowerBooks yesterday, which was expected. The new 12" AlBook pretty much addresses the only major issue I had with mine. Specifically, it now sports a DVI output. While I'm a little jealous that I'll have to be on the sidelines as my newer brethren hook up their AlBooks to 23" Cinema Displays, it's a situation that I can deal with for the time being. Aside from a speed bump and some other, in my humble opinion, relatively minor refinements, there's not really anything that made my jaw drop or is really even making me drool in envy.

That doesn't mean I'm disappointed, mind you. It just means that Apple got things pretty darn close to right the first time around. I've been nothing but happy with my machine in the three months now that I've had it. I still have moments where I just sit back and revel in the graceful simplicity that is my computer. And I don't care that you think I'm a freaky geek now.

PGP Signed Entry

September 16, 2003

87 Bil

The big news lately has been the 87 billion dollars the Bush administration has requested for the ongoing involvement in Iraq.

I'm not even going to go into how staggering this number is. Nor am I going to give much mention to the fact that this is an amount higher than the federal government's education budget.

I do, however, want you to think about where this money is going. Is it going to Iraq? There are 24,683,313 people in Iraq, according to the last figures from the CIA World Fact Book. Are we giving each of them $3500? That figure, by the way, is $1100 more than the per capita GDP of Iraq, again according to the CIA World Fact Book. Are we going to be paying our soldiers $87 billion over the next several years? Hey, I totally support every single serviceman and servicewoman who is putting their life at risk in a foreign land right now. If it were up to me, they'd be getting a huge raise at the very least. But is that where the money is going to go?

No. Of course not. Let's not delude ourselves here. This money isn't for Iraq, or its people. It's not for our soldiers either. The largest portion of this incredible amount of our tax dollars is going to go directly into the pockets of the wealthy American businessmen who run the companies that the military-industrial contracts will go to.

If you are an American taxpayer and not a major shareholder or owner of a military-industrial contractor, you are being raped by your government. Wake up to this, please. And stop it. Remove these bigots from power. And if you are a major shareholder or owner of a military-industrial contractor, you should be ashamed of yourself. You war-mongering opportunists. You should all be tried for crimes against humanity.

PGP Signed Entry

September 15, 2003

Why this war sucks

I miss the days of the Cold War. Sure, I was younger and far more naive about things back then, but there were some key factors that made the Cold War relatively more benign than our current War on Terror.

For instance, take the space race. We probably wouldn't have bothered exploring space and developing the technologies that now make things like GPS, satellite TV, and telecommunications possible, if we hadn't gotten into a spitting contest with the Russkies over whose ballistic missiles could shoot higher.

If bin Laden would only start a space program...

I'm not saying that we didn't destroy many lives in the name of the Cold War, but at least some productive good did come out of those five decades of otherwise foolish stick-waving. I don't think we could say the same for the current conflict. All we're doing is destroying each other. The terrorists only know how to destroy, and we only know how to meet force with more force. It's a shame, but I have to say, it's a sad situation when one finds themselves looking back at the Cold War warmly.

Oh, and just to pre-empt any of you McCarthyism fans out there: I am not a communist. You friggin' idiots.

PGP Signed Entry

September 14, 2003

Goin'... Goin'... Grand Slam

Bottom of the eighth, two outs, bases loaded. First pitch. Crack!

That baby is gone. Grand slam.

I guess you do gotta love these guys.

PGP Signed Entry

September 10, 2003

4 Strings "Believe"

Recently picked up 4 Strings' album "Believe."

This is probably the most well rounded dance album I've heard in a long, long time. The vocals are beautiful, and the melodies are exciting and varied, built on top of a groovin' rhythm.

I happen to like floating vocals in my electronic/dance music, this album definitely has that. What do I mean by "floating?" Think "aria" on a dance beat.

It's music that feels good, and makes ya want to dance.

And, best of all, it's on Ultra, not an RIAA member label.

'nuff said.

PGP Signed Entry

September 5, 2003

Target Location

In many ways I don't conform to the "norms" of society. Most of the time I actually take pride in not being like everyone else, but there are times when my non-conformance presents special challenges.

The way our society's services are set up is to allow the service providers to handle the "norm" with greatest expediency. There are few instances where this is more obvious to me than in the expectation that you have a permanent address. In my ideal existence, I would not have a permanent address, ever. There are many reasons for this, but let's just sum it all up in one word: freedom.

But society is set up to expect you to have a permanent address. Take as an example the political system. You cast your votes based upon where you live. I consider this mode of determining voting parameters archaic. I understand that it was a convenient way to classify representation, but it's just as arbitrary as, say, using your occupation to determine representation. Who's to say that geographic representation is more valid than occupational representation? What would Congress be like if we had representatives for Engineers, Doctors, Construction Workers, Salesmen, etc.? I'm not saying that we should make a drastic change, but I want my readers to think about how arbitrary something like an address really is. Location is one of the most fluid concepts in my existence, and I resent our society expecting me to be a certain way just beause of where my "home" happens to be right now.

What about countries? From an individual's standpoint, the idea of borders is ludicrous. I may be proud to be an American, but to me being an American isn't about where I live. Being an American is a mindset, an ideal.

If I had a lot of money, I probably wouldn't spend it on a house. I'd just start a never-ending trip, staying in a different place every week. Truly leave behind the archaic concept of location being some part of identity.

PGP Signed Entry

September 4, 2003

On Time and Zones

Most of my clocks are set to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), including this blog. The main reason for this is that it's much easier to convert from UTC to local time when traveling. Especially when going through photo archives from my digital camera, it's much easier to figure out exact what date and time a photo was taken locally by simply making the adjustment to or from UTC for that particular locale on that particular date. For example, daylight savings time is different for different parts of the world. With my clock set to "home" time, I'd have to remember whether "home" was on DST or not, plus whether the location of the photo was on DST, plus the UTC offsets for both locations. With my clock set to UTC, I only have to know where the photo was taken, and on what date, to know what the local time was.

The two exceptions are my computer, which is currently set to US PDT, and my car, which doesn't move through as many time zones so I just leave it set to wherever I am.

So why the long entry about such a randomly boring topic? Well, because I want it all, remember. I want my digital camera to have a GPS unit, so that I can put not only a date and time stamp on it, but a location stamp. And based on that location, I'd be able to display the time locally or as UTC as I choose...
PGP Signed Entry

September 2, 2003

An Excerpt

During the past two weeks, I have been more productive in my creative endeavors than I've ever been in my entire life. I truly feel inspired lately. It's a great feeling. It's liberating.

I'd like to share just a bit of that inspiration with a short excerpt from one of the stories I'm working on. Enjoy...

"So did you like mellow him out or something?" Beth seemed eager to get back to the conversation.

"Not exactly," Jean replied. "Well, not just then anyhow. I mean, like I said, he was pretty much a scoundrel and even though he never you know, treated me badly, we weren't dating in the traditional sense of the word. It's strange, probably, to everyone else out there, because everyone has these notions of what love is supposed to be and how people are supposed to act in a relationship. But we were just mutually attracted to one another. And it wasn't just the physical attraction, there was something cerebral involved. We challenged each other's worldviews; we made each other reconsider our fundamental assumptions. That's not something you come across every day."

"It's really eerie to hear you talking about that because I feel the same way about him," Beth inserted. "I guess he's good at that, and always has been, huh? That's why he's the recruiter, so to speak?"

"Well, yeah," Jean replied, "that and he's so trustworthy. After fifteen minutes with him, I was ready to bare my soul to him, not to mention have his children. So even though he had a whole harem of women while he was in Paris that summer, I didn't really care. It wasn't like he was trying to hide anything from me, you know? We talked about it all the time, and maybe some of those flings found what he was doing offensive when they found out he was living with me while pursuing them, but I never did. Because he was honest, and he knew I could have asked him to leave at any time. I never did ask him to leave because, well, I guess I've got some pretty progressive views on relationships."

"Shit, you're kidding me!?" Beth exclaimed. "I mean, he was totally cheating on you, and you just let him? God, you must be like every man's fantasy girlfriend."

"Oh I doubt that. Most men wouldn't be able to keep up with me, and I think most men don't like feeling inferior. Which is not something that I have any qualms about doing. Frankly, I don't tolerate idiocy."

"But you're alright with infidelity?"

"Not exactly, but my definition of infidelity is probably quite different from most people's, just like what I expect and want from a relationship. We kind of struck it off, and I just offered him a place to stay while he was in Paris. I knew he wasn't ready to settle down or anything, and frankly, that's not what I was looking for either. I think most people get into relationships looking for some kind of stability, but we both knew that that wasn't what we were looking for in each other. What we gave each other was the chance to grow, and to leave society's burdens behind.

"I like to think that our relationship sparked something, or was at least the catalyst, that brought our organization into existence. Back then, we called it The Seventeen."

"So why aren't you One and Two? What's with Seven and Seven Teen?"

"There were others involved, mostly his friends from childhood, and when we all decided to make a go at this thing, it was decided that the first fifteen numbers would go to the 'founding members' a.k.a. all the buddies from childhood, and I chose Seven Teen because it's my favorite number. Yeah, Six Teen actually came after me."

"So... how are your views on relationships now?"

Jean laughed. "Just get to the point, right? Would I care if he slept with you?"

"Uh, well..."

"I have to admit, things are a tad different now," Jean replied, calmly, reassuringly, "We're older, we've been through a lot together. And I do mean, a lot. We've buried bodies, gone to the ends of the earth, made all sorts of plans, outwitted every international police and spy organization in the world, caught international criminals for those organizations, saved each other's lives, figuratively and literally, time and time again. We've kind of become, dare I say, comfortable. I mean, I would probably be devastated if something were to happen to him, you know what I mean?

"But that's not really answering your question," Jean admitted. "I'm still damn liberal about relationships, Beth. I love him, and I haven't been with anyone else since I met him. But I didn't, and don't, hold him to that. It just happens that I haven't had to in a long time. But I suppose I wouldn't mind him sleeping with you, so long as he still loved me. I mean, I think the two of us are, together, way more than we are individually, and I really enjoy pushing the barriers together that we couldn't have challenged alone. It would really hurt to lose that. So sex isn't everything in our relationship; it's not even the most important thing."

"That is so weird. You sure you're not like, Mormon or something? Resigning yourself to sharing your man with other women? I don't think I could ever..."

"Ah, but that's why you're here, Karen," Jean interrupted. "To think what you didn't think you could think before. We're like the Army, you know, be all you can be, only we let you keep your free will."

PGP Signed Entry

September 1, 2003

Wish List Entry

You know what I want to see in every international airline lounge?

A whirlpool and sauna.

I cannot think of a better way to spend a 2 hour layover after an 8-15 hour transoceanic flight.

Everyone who agrees, raise your hand.

PGP Signed Entry