Archive for 2004

depressing picture of the day

November 20th, 2004

Waking up, the first thing I see is the amount on snow on the balcony railing.. :(

  • can't play soccer, pitch covered in snow :lazy:
  • walking is about 2/3 normal speed thanks to the lameass friction of snow :rolleyes:
  • biking is out, lock frozen, no friction, snow way too soft :wallbang:
  • driving is stoopid, snow way too soft and slippery :mad:
  • can't wait till my driving exam next week, no doubt on snowey/icey roads :wth:

And the dumbass award of the day goes to yours truly for trying to debug a dvd drive that wouldn't burn dvd-rw media for 2 hours only to realize that it's a dvd+rw drive that only accepts dvd+rw media... :wallbang:

introducing people

November 16th, 2004

Disclaimer: First off I gotta say I know this applies to American/English culture but I don't know what the equivalent is elsewhere.

You've seen the introduction, you know it so well. It happens all the time, two people are walking down the street, they bump into someone one of them knows.
"Karen, this is Suzie"
"Suzie, this is Karen"
Is it just me or is there something funny about the sequence? Watch it in slow motion.
"Karen, hello, are you paying attention? Meet my friend Suzie."
"Hey, earth to Suzie. Can you please stop day dreaming for one goddamn minute? I'd like to introduce you to my friend Karen."

Clearer now? Why on earth would you need to call out the people's names when making introductions? There are only 3 people involved, the person making the introduction is obviously not talking about themself so the only possibility the two people have when they hear a name that isn't their own is that the name belongs to the other person. Now, how much focus and vigilance really is required to understand this turn of events? Is it really that difficult to follow this sequence below?
(turns to Karen) "This is Suzie"
(turns to Suzie) "This is Karen"
Or better yet..
(turns to Karen, gestures at Suzie) "Suzie"
(turns to Suzie, gestures at Karen) "Karen"

Less is more.

confronting fear

November 10th, 2004

Is confronting fear a good thing? Rarely do you get a better chance at
that than in a bad dream. Cause in a dream the stage is set, your
emotional state is defined a certain way, all is clear for you to
live the feelings that you're so afraid of. And it feels like you
have a choice, doesn't it? I always choose to go all out, somehow it
feels exciting enough to quench my fear. So then it comes, you find
yourself in that situation you fear so much, this is your moment. And
then you react more truthfully, more honestly than you would in real
life. In a dream there is nothing holding you back, the feeling of
shame towards the people that are there isn't there. Whatever other
factors exist that would hold you back from expressing exactly how
you feel, in a dream they don't seem to matter. I think it's fair to
say that a bad dream is like a trial run of a situation you fear, in
the specific setting you act out that scene as you would in real
life, only more candidly.

But is it a good thing? Now you know what it would be like, you know how
you would feel every step of the way, you would know everything. But
is that helpful? That you already go through this once (or so it
feels), you feel all the pain you expected and you wake up crying,
does that enable you to handle it better when it actually happens? I
suppose there's something to doing things that scare you over and
over, because with each iteration you get a little more used to it.
But is it helpful?

book list part 2

November 8th, 2004

Once before I did a listing of books I recently read, here's the sequel. Decided it would be more interesting to include short descriptions this time. Oddly enough, I seem to have read all of these but the first this year, a rather prolific year compared to past years.

Al Franken :: Lies and the lying liars who tell them
Al Franken is a comedian, right? He's not funny, that much is clear. The book gives a tireless account of what is according to Franken a long list of lies and misrepresentations in the media courtesy of the right. But unless one is incredibly interested in the people he talks about, it's fairly dull material. I also don't think much of Franken's self rigteousness, which I find in bad taste. His supposedly humorous exaggerations are far too obvious to be funny. That's not to say the man doesn't know what he's talking about, just not my cup of tea..

Jon Stewart :: America, a citizen's guide to democracy inaction

In familiar style to the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, this piece includes contributions from some of his tv cast members. It takes a humorous look at American history from day zero up until today, starting with how America invented democracy to a complete breakdown of the fine institutions then conceived, still in function. Get the back story on the presidential office, on the Senate, on the Supreme Court. Quite entertaining, also gives detailed instructions on how to become president.

Noam Chomsky :: Hegemony or survival (review)

A thorough account of American foreign policy since the 2nd World War, describing US ambitions for dominating the world by controlling strategic areas like the Middle East. In style, rather academic and "dry", certainly not a book for amusement. Should definitely provide several interesting revelations about recent events on the world political stage.

Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution (online version)

Deals with a broad set of subjects within open source history and practice, lots of interesting case studies. Features a range of authoritarian authors like Linux Torvalds, Bruce Perens, RMS, Eric Raymond and Larry Wall. Each chapter is completely autonomous, so they have no correlation and can be read selectively.

H. H. Dalai Lama & Howard C. Cutler :: The Art of Happiness

As one would expect, a spiritually enlightening book. Written by a psychiatrist studying the mental paradigms of Buddhist practices as applied to everyday life. I find the focus to be decidedly on basic human qualities and the significance they carry throughout life. Concepts of compassion, warmth and suffering are central. Gives a gentle introduction into practices centered around the individual and what can be done to achieve happiness.

Salam Pax :: Baghdad blog (online version)
The famous blogger from Baghdad. This is a rather interesting back
story on the events presented in the media. Salam tells the world about
his life in Baghdad during the buildup to the war, as well as during
the war. The story told is a captivating one, in stark contrast to what
the western media was selling at the time. Even daily events like
shopping, going to work, driving etc are set in a new light in a
country ravaged by war.

EDIT: the one that got away, added to the list

Albert Camus :: The plague

High school flashback but despite years having passed I seemingly have not made much headway in terms of maturity. Found the book reasonably dull from start to finish, very much lacked some kind of climax in my unrefined view.

Umberto Eco :: The island of the day before

Could not get past page 70, incredibly slow start to the story, bored me to death.

Michael Moore :: Dude where's my country?

Reasonably interesting but always true to Moore's sensationalist style. An interesting take on US domestic and foreign policy but hard to discount the fact that this book really sells by being controversial. Humorous on occasion, but Moore's self righteousness shines through.

different standards for men and women

November 5th, 2004

Okay, think about it. How many guys do you know or have you known that you would call "a jerk", "an asshole", "a jackass" or any similar quantity? Quite a few, right? Now how many girls would fit the same description? It's my feeling that the balance between men and women on that level is pretty skewed, and yet we don't consider men scum and women great, do we? Sure every side has bad apples, but we just seem to have a lot more of them, don't you think?

I just think men get away with more. When I see someone being a jackass, I say he's a jackass. But it doesn't really bother me, it's a normal thing, right? So to some extent it's expected behavior. But when I see a stuck up, pretentious, arrogant, slutty woman, I get annoyed and I might say she should not have her own tv show. It can be very annoying at times, with these horrible women in high places. Now I'm not saying women shouldn't have those opportunities, I think equality is the ideal. But it bugs me all the same. But with men? Used to it.

So I think more is expected of women, they're supposed to be better than us. Now it's not that I used that as an excuse for myself, I've actually never tried that. But I wonder if I did, would I be treated less harshly?

Ps. Before you say the obvious, I realize this theory badly needs convincing examples. The only one I can think of is Bill O'Reilly, a class a jackass. And when I watch his show on occasion, I always think that but if he were a woman it would be much worse.