Thursday, September 25, 2003

goats: strip from September / 15 / 2003

C'mon, who else has done something like this to a less than gifted member of society?

I don't feel guilty about it neither. She deserved it. If god didn't want me making obscure private jokes at the expense of others, he shouldn't have made me so smart and mean.

hmm, wait......

Sunday, September 21, 2003

i'm offline for a few days to do some work. be good kids.
oh, and people who have played white wolf's Werewolf: the Apocalypse will wince at a weapon idea in this movie, liquid silver bullets. ouch! imagine the damage a thimbleful of liquid silver running through your veins and wound cavities would cause. The ag! the Ag!

okay, nerd rpg moment over.

I saw this movie today. It's legal issues aside,(they're being sued by White Wolf Publishing for copyright infringement), it's an okay action movie. It features, as per usual, a hard to swallow instant romance. But that's okay, we don't pay for emotional development in our characters, do we?

Sadly, most of what this movie inspired in me was a little introspection, and the thought that most of our entertainment is just enumeration of inter-tribal and intra-tribal conflicts. This movie is a particularly bad example with warring 'species' which consist of basically small, tribe size groups trying to exterminate each other over percieved slights, and mutual claimed territory. It gets worse when the story starts to 'justify' the conflicts between them, with one side (invariably the one the heroes are on) turning out to be 'in the right' and the other side being revealed as unspeakably evil.

On the other hand, this movie has some really interesting plot choices, that, sadly aren't executed particularly well. But the storyline and background world are kind of interesting.

Oh, and this post has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with my last post. nope nope, nothing at all.

Saturday, September 20, 2003


So, Kill Bill is looking a little bit better now, with this new trailer. I have to admit I was apprehensive about this one, but it's starting to look like less of a mistake to have cast Uma Thurman in an action role. I still have no real explanation for the preponderance of skinny starved chicks in action movies, or even movies in general.

I blame the fashion industry. My theory is that gay male fashion designers pick models without blatant feminine features (ie, the skinny, breast/hipless, heroin chic girls like kate moss), and also pick bland, uninteresting poles to focus attention on their clothing styles. These two dynamics combine with the image driven and derivative nature of entertainment industries to support themselves, and spawn to different contexts, like TV and movies.

this is of course, a profoundly flawed theory that has little to do with reality, but it makes me feel better to think there is a reason all these unattractive and ineffectual girls get parts in movies that should know better.

That being said, Kill Bill seems a little better than most. But that's not saying much. Someday a successful action movie from hollywood will feature a big strong girl, with big hands, calluses, and a steely glare, and on that day I'll be a happy man.

Until then we'll watch bony chicks be pulled around on wires and smash trick objects with lightened prop weapons. Ah well.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

1 "What's the word for when you embarass yourself in front of someone, and you know that the relationship will never exactly be equal again, but you still want to be friends?"

2 "There isn't one."

1 "Oh. I thought there might be."

1 "what about, that word that means that you know for sure that something has just happened and you will try the rest of your life to forget it, despite the fact that it changes a lot of things you should probably try to keep track of?"

2 "Theres no word for that either"

1 "what about the word that means you've just realized that you'll never kiss someone because they know how you feel about them, and while they're not opposed to the idea, the fact that you liked them before they liked you will always poison any feelings that might arise?"

2 "there isn't a single word for that moment"

1 "what about, when you know that something will never ever ever happen again?"

2 "that's 'over'"

1 "Yeah, I was afraid that might be it."

apologies to Sandman

Monday, September 15, 2003

The Principia Discordia:
"An Erisian Hymn
by Rev. Dr. Mungojerry Grindlebone, KOB

Onwards Christian Soldiers,
Onwards Buddhist Priests.
Onward, Fruits of Islam,
Fight till you're deceased.
Fight your little battles.
Join in thickest fray;
For the Greater Glory,
of Dis-cord-i-a.
Yah, yah, yah,
Yah, yah, yah, yah.

Sunday, September 14, 2003 -> Hey Mom, I'm an Immortalist.

Here's an interesting thread on talking to people. It focuses overly much on religion. And i'll state again, for anybody who hasn't heard it yet:

I have no religious opinion. I have learned that talking about something that you have no evidence about is a bad idea, and religion is too general a topic with too little to grab on to. Once, I was pretty sure, but I've since moved on.

But let me make clear, whenever I have something specific to discuss, I'm ripready to go. And almost every person I've ever met has a God that doesn't work out. People hold beliefs that are glaringly inconsistent, illfounded, or nonsensical. I have no issues and little difficulty saying to these people, your god does not exist, and you are an idiot. Specific instances don't prove the general rule, but I can work with what I have.

So I'll continue on my way, and when things come up, I'll examine them as carefully as I can. All I want is the truth.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

The Dying of Ember

this is really amusing, as much as I usually dont' like paradies. Note, you must have read the Amber novels for this to be funny. But if you have, it's really freaking amusing.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

The above post may be unclear, I don't hate microsoft, and in some cases appreciate their initiatives, but I don't use or buy their products, nor do I endorse their use. Windows is a silly, unstable and static operating system that gives me data loss and headaches. I can't see reciprocating for that by giving them money. For people still addicted to their inertia OS choices, I recommend redhat or SUSE linux for ease of use. They both have integrated CD installation, and are more useful than windows right out of the box.

Not to mention they both react much faster to new hardware, new security issues, and new software availability. About the only issue is games. Some people love their games, some of which are windows-only. For these people, I recommend Tribes 2, and the upcoming Doom3, both of which are released natively for linux. And if you absolutely must have all mainstream games, buy a Macintosh. At least they have a reliable software platform.
I, Cringely | The Pulpit

A great deal of backbiting has always plagued the world striding colossus that is Microsoft. From the very beginning, people have disliked MS' approach, from their purchasing of MSDOS to their blatant Macintosh emulation. And as the internet changes and surges into new areas, Microsoft seems determined to grasp it's mode of operation and force the internet into it.

The internet and it's quick market reaction may be the only reason Microsoft is still around. The sensitive barometer of software development builds tools for what people use, because otherwise software initiatives die. Even the strange and unique world of open-source development builds windows binaries often as not. This continuiing reaction to the user base has giving microsoft a continuing validation by forces that might rather it die a quick death.

And this is a good thing. Regardless of philosophical differences, I believe that total progress is the goal. And Microsoft still has something to offer us. It's massive budget and scare-mongering tactics may earn it the ire of many, but it also spends money like a wino on french holiday trying to grow the computer market. And the computer market should be grown. It's too useful of a tool to remain the province of the rich and geeky. So it helps us. But it's also a huge corporation that in the end has only legal and pricing considerations. So it doesn't act in what we can call a moral manner. But neither does any other large corporation. They can't afford to, and it's not their job. Accountants aren't paid to be moral, lawyers aren't paid to be moral, and all the others in MS are simply there to do a job. They do their job, and the end result is immoral behavior. Where does the buck stop? Arguably the owners of microsoft are not doing a job, and can be expected to support moral behavior. But the simple fact is that corporate ownership is seen as a form of investment, so it is in fact a special kind of job. another one whose only requirement is return on said investment.

So perhaps expecting moral behavior is too much from a large corporation. There is, as we have found, no single agent that can impart a moral sense to their actions. This is not a very good state of events, but it's what we have. I would hope that Microsoft either acknowledges this fact, or rectifies it. Or dies a quick death. It's not to my advantage to have immoral actors around.
Haystack Home

It is an occasionally useful maxim of mine that standardization cuts two ways. It decreases variety and increases volume, almost without exception. The sometimes counter-intuitive result of standardization is an increase in human variety. The development of TCP/IP vastly reduced the kinds of interaction between computers while simultaneously multiplying the amount of information exchanged. Humans used this new volume for a dizzing array of webpages, services, games and most importantly organization of these kinds of information. Search engines are webpages, but in certain ways, they are above them. You go to webpages for specific content, even if of a dynamic kind. Search engines are fundamentally different, and belong in a different kind of category. services like finger and ssh are similar. They provide information about other services, or provide increased levels of interopability. They transcend simple transaction, but operate on the same mechanical level.

These specialized kinds of variety all operate on a single level from the standpoint of the computer, packets of information with particular addressing and content. This similarity allows the computer to transmit with impunity the great array of ideosyncratic creations that we call the internet. The key is that the standardization exists on a transparent level to the computer. If the english language or picture color balance were standardized, little increased volume would result. Because a computer lacks the ability to take advantage of the regularities in such standardization. Without extra potential volume, little new variety would result, and the standardization process would be a useless venture, from the standpoint of computers. Teaching english and photography may be easier in that hypothetical case.

If software was several orders of magnitude smarter, regularities in english and picture color balance, might be tractable to increased natural language parsing, and intelligent search of photos. But I digress.

The key is to provide increased potential usable volume by reducing underlying complexity up to the point of transparency. the encroaching standardization can never get in the way of human variety. This key point explains why standards that work with TCP/IP work up to a point. html, XML, dynamic content, standard port addresses, IPv6, these are all good things and useful to many people. But technologies like OS specific net connectivity, social exchange technologies, and even tiny simple things like standard quoting rules in forums and email lists fail miserably or just lead to balkinization.

But standards on the edge of human variety and machine parsibility is where the exciting ideas are. The question of which side of the line a technology falls under is an open question that often depends on effort, cleverness and popular interest. A wonderful example is the above 'success story' of XML. XML is another child of a larger technology called SGML. This miserably complex, highly disordered description framework had hundreds of interpretations which were almost entirely opaque to one another. But the central concept was such a good one that clever folks were compelled to snip usable portions of it into nice sub technologies that enjoyed much more success, like html, certain vector graphics formats, and document description frameworks. Enter some years later, faster computers, more complex software environment. XML, a specification that's nearly as powerful as SGML, and in many ways just as opaque is a runaway success. The line of machine-useful information is higher, and the human variety imparted to XML applications is truly stunning. Almost all SGML applications are now ported to XML(affirming their equivalency, though XML has a much greater ease-of use and cleverness factor). The difference is very slight, but enough for the differential of widely used and deprecated.

The moving line of standardization vs. human variety has reached new heights with the advent of complex software and UIs that reach into complimentary arenas and make available the unions to their users. The above link is a software project that may or may not succeed, but shows the approximate position of what kinds of information may be succeptable to machine organization for human benefit.

I was surprised by the possiblities and the sheer pleasure of interacting with a UI like this. It's pleasant surprises and steady advances that make me hopeful for informational technology like this. None of the underlying technologies are new. IMs, Emails, websites, text searching. But treating these superficially different services as a standardized commodity brings new potential USABLE volume to the table. It's theoretically possible to have infinite webpages, but only a small finite amount are useful. technologies like google and haystack bring that usable amount much higher, and haystack links that usable volume to other usable volumes, like private correspondence and personal data. The resulting human variety from this standardization may be used for... well, whatever you want to use it for :-)