24 November, 2007

Merry Goofballs Christmas

I know its a little early, but apparently department stores were open since 4am yesterday until midnight last night, so fuck it.

17 November, 2007

Go Go Gadget Kucinich, Planespotting

Looks like Dennis the Menace managed to Ron-paul the Kos post-debate poll:


And now for something slightly substantive. I'm sitting between gates 29 and 30 of terminal 1 of KSFO, San Francisco International Airport. The airport in general and this terminal in particular seem to have been designed by someone with a real love of flying: directly in front of me is the Bravo-Hotel taxiway, followed by 1L/19R and 1R/19L, and a view of approaches, plus the end of 10R/28L, approaches from the southeast. In the distance, the San Mateo Bridge, any frequent fliers favorite approach landmark coming out of 4000 feet. A Quantas B74 just taxied by on followed by a CO B73 and an AA B76.

That I can't, whenever I want to, take the train in from the city into the BART station located just South of United International in terminal 3, walk through security and spend an afternoon watching planes is probably the most annoying feature of our new security apparatus post 9/11, more annoying that the degrading shoe ritual, or not being able to smuggle booze on-board (I used to put Jim Beam in a ginger ale bottle). Okay, the booze thing is the most annoying part.

A JAL B74, JA8076, taxis by followed by a Ted Airbus, then an AA B71, N964TW(?). Ted is now on his take-off roll, as a two-engine wide-body floats down onto 28L, probably a B77.

It's 10:34, I'm listening to Norcal approach on iTunes and looking at my battery I know I'll have to plug in and charge soon, which I dread, since that will take me away from my view of the runways; despite the fact that I am baking in the sun.

I board at 11:55, an Airbus 319. I don't have a tail number just yet because my equipment is not arrived at the gate yet. She's going to PHX and then on to EWR, but I will part company with her in Arizona for another A319 destined for beautiful Cleveland, Ohio -- the Forrest City -- home of one Dennis Kucinich, the next President of the United States, and one Michael Symon, the next Iron Chef America.

When Kucinich wins, I'll write him a letter and ask him if there is anything he can do about opening up our airports for observation again.

ETA - 11/18/2007

Tail numbers were N833AW and N828AW respectively.

While whoever designed KSFO has a real love of air travel, the designers of KPHX do not. In fact, it is possible that they hate humanity itself. It felt like the airport was intended to be a giant particle accelerator with evenly placed spokes as terminals. At least, that is what it felt like for the 1/2 mile hike from the A terminal to the C terminal, where, mind you, jets of the same carrier and same type were "docking" (Phoenix Airport -- the "Sky Harbor", as they fashion themselves).

As you can see from this link, its really a series of different length particle accelerators. Regardless, its ugly. And "Harbor" is not the first thing that comes to mind when I walk around in the airport, nor is it the first thing that comes to mind when I am in Phoenix, smack in the middle of a dessert. In fact, if I think of harbors at all, it is that I would much rather be at one as opposed to being in the middle of a fucking desert.

I do not see the appeal of Arizona, but I am not a well-to-do baby boomer with burgeoning interests in sepia and sienna toned faux-Native spiritual "connectedness with the land." If you really felt connected to the land, perhaps you wouldn't choose to live somewhere without an abundant nearby source of fresh water.

Being there made me think of a Coen Brother's film, title slightly misspelled. I will leave it as an exercise to the reader to dwell on what I mean by that.

ETA - 11/19/2007

Dennis the Menace does it again: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/11/15/politics/main3508272.shtml

13 November, 2007

Ringing Endorsement

Wait, I'm confused.. a Republican.. with nice things to say about.. a.. liberal.. Democrat.. does not compute.. head.. exploding..

10 November, 2007

Just say "no" to Newt Gingrich

Here is my response to a recent article and interview with Newt Gingrich over at Salon.com:
How about "no."

How about "no" to sky-god worshipping white-male imperialists who want to turn the clock back to 1830 and the empire back to 1948.

How about "no" to people who feel neither guilt nor shame at the systematic, institutionalized racism applied to our continent's first settlers and African slaves, and their decendants?

How about "no" to old, white men who spend so much time and energy trying to figure out how to control a woman's uterus (especially now that the hysterectomy has gone out of fashion). Why? Is it out of jealousy?

No. How about a "no" to those dirty, nasty men who will not let two people who are in love have the same rights as any other couple in love because they had the misfortune of being born with the same sex organs. These same dirty nasty men who seek illicit and unsafe trysts in public restrooms or prey on young gay men or use gay male prostitutes, paying extra for the privilege of going without a condom -- as if the threat of HIV is as unreal to them as their own homosexual urges.

A thousand times no!

Surely, polite society will take up the mantle of green policy, slowly, ineffectively, deliberately, as long as it pleases the shareholders.

But I'll be damned if that means I have to cast a vote in favor of the enemy of humanity and progress and liberty, these white men and their angry, racist, sociopathic, narcissistic sky god: truly, they created him in their image, and continue to fashion his countenance to fit their insatiable needs.

Two words: fuck Gingrich!


07 November, 2007

Datacenter Confidential #11

Shotgun Re-org

A shotgun re-org is my own term for what happens when a business runs out of operating funds and immediately shuts down operations, or worse, posts a message like this:

Feedster is Changing...
We'll be back up soon with exciting news!
I am citing this particular (and very recent) example by name because they failed to notify my company, their paying client, of their feed shutdown.

As a result, my pager would go off twice every six hours: first, when my cronjob would complain that no new feeds were coming in and second, when our offshore "noc" would ditto the page (I swear, I think they just exist to infuriate me).

Last night, as I was going to bed, I had the amusing thought that "wouldn't it be funny if they had gone tits up?" This morning, that intuition was confirmed when my co-worker IMed me to tell me that they had, indeed, gone tits up. I literally LOLed, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

I worked for a marketing firm in 1997 that had a version of a shotgun re-org. What had happened is that they bounced a couple of payroll checks, and after that I left. Not long after that, a similar "Coming soon!.." not appeared on their main page, I can only assume there was a mass quit or mass firing. Amazingly, years later I checked their web page -- somehow they got additional funding and actually pulled themselves out of the weeds long enough to be acquired by a larger firm.

Conversely, I have been on the ass-end of shotgun re-orgs as an employee of an acquisition-oriented company that grabs a company only to have all of its employees quit en-masse. In one case, myself and ravinald worked practically around the clock for three or four days to integrate user shells, dialup accounts, DNS, dedicated customers and mail from an acquisition into my network.

Regarding the latter service, mail, when you consider that in 1998 one couldn't simply turn to Google to solve all your problems, it is nothing short of miraculous that we were able to convert and import this companies qmail/maildir spools into a Berkeley mail spool format under sendmail replete with aliases and virtual domains, given the extreme conditions: neither myself nor ravi had barely heard of qmail and maildir, much less used it; the large number of users; the, for the time, size of the dataset (we enforced mail quotas, they did not), number of files, NIC wire speeds (we ended up moving their mail server onto the same switch as ours to speed up xfers) and the method we used to concat the files together (formail and procmail).

This was, of course, back when you actually had to read man files. I oftentimes miss those days.

Coming soon.. trading porn with Cisco support at 4am!

Your Tax Dollars At Work

Wow, is our government really this stupid?

Like Hansel and Gretel hoping to follow their bread crumbs out of the forest, the FBI sifted through customer data collected by San Francisco-area grocery stores in 2005 and 2006, hoping that sales records of Middle Eastern food would lead to Iranian terrorists.

The idea was that a spike in, say, falafel sales, combined with other data, would lead to Iranian secret agents in the south San Francisco-San Jose area.
Watch out, Rainbow Coop! Big brother is watching what you eat!

Stupid, stupid, stupid..

06 November, 2007

Meta- and Pro-Blogging: Ron Paul Edition

Meta-blogging is a term of my own invention about bloggers who blog about blogging (which, unless you are a moron, I bet you could have figured out yourself).

I developed an aversion to meta-blogging, and its kissing cousin pro-blogging, out of a disdain for the types of blogs which are written centered around the idea that the object of blogging is to (a) attract readers and (b) create revenue.

Certainly, it would be wrong of me to suggest that no one should blog for profit, to wit, pro-blogging; however, I can find nothing less interesting in than bloggers talking to other bloggers about the best way to snare readers and the best way to place ads or exploit patronage. That is my personal opinion on the matter. I have drawn criticism on places like stumbleupon for thumbing down meta- and pro-blogging related sites and articles. Incidentally, I've also been called everything from a fascist to a liberal to a racist and everything else, and I suppose I deserve it, since I am opinionated and not very tactful (fuck you if you can't take a joke).

Anyway, in the interest of levity and a little light-hearted hypocrisy I offer you this tip, Bloggers of the World:
If you want to attract attention to your blog, simply mention Ron Paul. -me
Far be it for me to break my own rules and not back it up with some content, I offer you this irc snippit for your arguing pleasure:
<chris> damn dude, youre guy is blowing up
<ian_:#channel> ?
<bruce:#channel> yeah, he is eating all the shrimps
<ian_:#channel> that makes me hungry
* ian_:#channel admits that i'm really just a 12yr old iranian hacker stealing ppl's paypal accounts to vote for ron paul so that we can take over the great satan while they sleep
<bruce:#channel> chris still need to explain what the hell he meant
<chris> what?
<chris> your candidate, he is blowing up
<bruce> yer dood is blowing up
<ian_> 4.2 million in one day
<bruce> yeah, what does that mean
<bruce> that means like 50 things
<chris> ticker tape parade,
<chris> it means what it means in current american urban slang, you idiot
<bruce> chris, when all those republicans were in texas a while back he made more money than all of them put together
<chris> what is it about you kool aid drinkers that makes you so sensitive
<chris> i was paying a compliment, you douche
<bruce> i am a facist, i dont like ron paul :)
<chris> but you're going to vote for him
<chris> i'm still voting for kucinich
<bruce> yeah.
<ian_> people need to be angry about the media's treatment of him regardless of their voting intentions
<ian_> it is an insult to the underlying idea of journalism
<bruce> if it is denise -vs- ron i have to take ron based on gun control
<chris> although, i think its great, great that he's drawing attention to this stuff
<bruce> well ron paul needs to start paying for ads on national tv
<chris> and i'll vote for kucinich because of abortion
<tim> Sweet, so you can buy your way into the house.
<chris> neither candidate is going to win the primary
<bruce> i'm not a chick.
<bruce> i could care less about abortion atm
<bruce> women will go back to what they used to do, pills, hangers, and kicks in the stomach
<bruce> there are greater issues at stake
<chris> well, i'm particularly sensitive to the abortion issue right now, and gun control is a non-starter
<ian_> i'm sick of ppl saying so-and-so can't win.. regarless of the person; it is that faulty logic that perpetuates self-fulfilling defeat
<bruce> bush won, anything is possible
<chris> there will be and never has been any serious gun prohibition in the united states
<ian_> im fine with paul being against abortion because i agree with him that it is not a federal issue
<chris> that is not his position
<bruce> well, i think it is a federal issue.
<ian_> the more important the controversy, the more local the laws should be.
<ian_> Yes, it is.
<bruce> no, that is his position chris
<chris> he is for a federal ban on abortion
<ian_> No, he has stated MANY times that it is not a federal issue
<bruce> he is against it but he does not believe it is up to the federal gobberment to decide that
<ian_> he wants to remove roe.v.wade and make it a state-based deal
<bruce> he has stated very clearly that it is up for the states to decide
<chris> until and unless he says otherwise, i refuse to believe it when his "supports" dismiss that they heard from someone else that he is against a federal abortion ban. if he is against it, get on tv and say it
<bruce> i feel that is incorrect myself, but it lends itself to stronger states rights
<ian_> i dont speak from other ppl, i speak only from what i hear from him... dont act you know where i get my info.
<bruce> please show me something he has said that gave you this confusion
<bruce> i've not seen him back pedal on anything he has said thus far
<chris> well, nevertheless, i havev my criticisms of the guy, i will not vote for him, but i appreciate what he brings to the political discourse or lack thereof in this country
<bruce> i have also not seen denis back pedal
<chris> you guys are free to vote for and support whomever you want to, and may the best candidate win
<bruce> well, we know yer vote is to the obama or the woman
<ian_> do whatever you wish but don't bring up points that arent correct then give them as reasons not to vote for the guy
<bruce> chris, remember when you called kevin all those names because he voted for bush?
<chris> i'll take the obama over the woman any day
<chris> obamas have more soul
<bruce> recall how you felt about him?
<ali> sofrito
<chris> yeah, i felt he was an idiot
<bruce> you have 2 choices, denis or ron, if you vote for anyone else you are the same idiot
<chris> but he has a right to vote for whomever he wants to
<chris> i still think kevin is a moron
<chris> ;)
<bruce> yeah, ppl have a right to be as dumb as they want
<chris> and i'll be happy to remind him if he wants a refresher course
<bruce> so, you can vote for hilary, and i will love you but realize you are a fucken tool.
<chris> well, we do live in the world greatest dumbocrasy
<chris> trust me, i am never, ever voting for hilary
<bruce> i like denis and my views are in line with his except one issue
<chris> unless we are talking about REDACTED
<ian_> mike gravel rocks too
<bruce> a vote for the obama is the same
<ian_> he gets no respect
<bruce> the only acceptable ppl you can vote for and not look like a tool are denis and ron
<chris> gun control is a non-starter, and i will develop a position so that i can make that clearer to you in person
<chris> yeah i like gravel too, and i kinda wished he'd be the left's ron paul
<chris> well, chris dodd scores points for standing up against telco amnesty
<ian_> you must clarify this non-starter idea...
<ian_> gravel is the number one reason why we finally left viet nam
<chris> the kind of gun control that dennis kucinich may advocate, whatever it is, cannot be legislated, enforced or enacted
<ian_> that isnt the point.... someone who--in most ways--points at the constitution should have a better knowledge of taking arms from the people.
<chris> congress makes the laws concerning gun control, and as long as americans love owning guns, and american gun makers love giving money to candidates, there never will be a meaningful ban on guns. however, and i want to make this very clear, guns are easier to get than a driver's license
<ian_> the whole point of us being able to arm our selves is to protect us from our government not foreign.
<chris> and, i think that there are pro and con anguments about the ease with which either should be available, and they should be, as they are, left up to the state
<ian_> guns are not a state issue
<ian_> its a constitutional issue
<chris> in fact, governmental control of driving regulations (seat belts, license requirements and ages, drinking ages) are more stringent than gun control on all cases
<chris> ian, it is, in fact, both a state and a consititutional issue
<bruce> chris, denis is not a protector of the constitution, he is a facist who just happens to support many of our social views
<bruce> he is you or me as president
<chris> and that is what would make kucinich's ideas of federal gun bans impossible
<ian_> i'm against off of it... fokways, mores, and normative community control has--in all human history--been far better at controlling
<bruce> he is for more federal mucking about in our lives
<ian_> off=all
<chris> i would vote for ron paul if he advocated a people's constitutional convention convened to give each american the right to health care and education
<chris> i will vote for kucinich because he is for those things, even if they are extra-constitutional
<tim> chris: You're asking a lot there..
<bruce> the reality is denis doesnt have a chance.
<bruce> ppl laugh at him for seeing ufos
<chris> i haven't seen anything that suggests that ron paul is against the idea of health care, other than the fact that it is not provided for by the constitution
<tim> We'll be living in a marshal-law world soon. So it won't matter.
<bruce> no one is giving him money either
<ian_> health care and education need to be a cultural achievement, not an enforcement.
<chris> in fact, his position on that is very very clear
<tim> You won't be able to fart because it contributes to global warming.
<bruce> so, if it is anyone -vs- ron paul, you need to vote ron paul
<bruce> period
<tim> You'll need a permit to watch TV.
<ian_> he has stated that he'd much rather be spending trillions of dollars on education and welfare rather than war
<tim> and you know, watchign TV is a privledge, not a right.
<ian_> in a lesser of two evils sense
<chris> but as much as he is against the federalized education system as it stands today, he is also against the unconstitutional national security state that has been in existence since 1947 and had its beginnings in 1898
<tim> You'll have no privacy. Your RFID will log you into the internet.
<bruce> which has helped the 5 jew bankers keep the black man down
<ian_> his primary argument against federal level education is that fed level education sucks at doing its job
<chris> spending trillions on healthcase and education is exactly what we *should* be doing
<tim> Sounds a lot like Cyberpunk:2020
<chris> school teachers should mnake as much as plastic surgeons
<ian_> well, chris, no you are going to vote for ron paul :)
<ian_> his stance is to turn all of our war funding into those until we can change our dependence on it.
<chris> if its giuliani versus clinton, i'll think about it
<tim> chris: I think you solved the root of the stupid american problem :)
<chris> but i'm more likely to write in joe walsh
<ian_> yea, stupid americans.
<tim> ian_: It's true, most are fat and lazy.
<tim> and dumb.
<chris> our public education system is third-rate, third world
<ian_> i'm aware ... i'm allergic to stupid
<tim> Kids in other countries know more about the US than our own kids.
<ian_> i agree.. and even on that i agree with you more than i do with ron paul BUT my choice to vote for him is all about methods of argument over issues more than the issues themselves.
<tim> oh, I don't do politics. I just state the obvious.
<chris> we have an ever growing class of restless, jobless and stupid people, mostly inner city and rural, and they think they have nothing in common but when they realize that the toothless rednecks are the same as the yo's on the corner slinging rocks, we're going to have a big problem on our hands
<tim> chris: You're scaring me.
<ian_> cuz he's right
<tim> chris: Since when did you start making sense?
<chris> however, ron paul is correct, good or bad, public education is extra-constitutional and should be federally defunded
<bruce> yes, and if we are lucky the mexican will come in and get good educations and those rednecks will die off
<chris> these are beliefs i have pretty much always held
<chris> but the poilitical dialog is usually so vapid in this country its hard to get these ideas out
<chris> so, hats off to roin paul
<chris> anyway, back to work
<ian_> word
<chris> ron paul even
<ian_> groin paul!
<bruce> chris is gonna vote for hilary.
<tim> chris: I dunno man, you've always just talked in circles and sounded like a babbling idiot. :P OK, more like everything you said had about 30 gallons of sarcasm on it.
<bruce> he still sounds like an idiot here
<tim> GROIN!
<chris> bruce: only if steve jobs is her running mate.. smell ya later!
Also, for your amusement: http://letters.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2007/11/06/paul/view/index.html

[ ETA - 6th Nov, 2007, 19:12 PDT: ]

Ron Paul is interviewed over at PBS.ORG here, explains his position regarding abortion (follow the link to read the whole interview, which is excellent):

JUDY WOODRUFF: Abortion, you've said you'd like to make it impossible for the federal government to regulate abortion, which would, in effect, I guess, negate Roe v. Wade.

REP. RON PAUL: Yes, it would, because I think that's a state issue.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And then the states would be able to do away with abortion.

REP. RON PAUL: That's right.

JUDY WOODRUFF: I mean, in effect, would you like to see abortion banned everywhere? Or what's your position on that?

REP. RON PAUL: I'd like to ban the federal government intervention in abortion. So since I've only been a federal official -- a congressman and then running for the presidency -- I say that we should keep our hands out of it.

And there are some extreme circumstances that I may not even endorse but I recognize that we're always arguing about it. The states, they should deal with it, because they're difficult. The more difficult an issue is, the more local the solution ought to be.

Once you get into a difficult problem, and then you have one monolithic answer, like Roe v. Wade, then you come up with a solution where the courts legislate and allow abortion to be done a minute before birth, and I can get paid for doing one of those, yet a girl, because she throws her baby away, we arrest her for murder. There's something awfully inconsistent about that.

And I have so much legal responsibility as a physician, if I do harm to the fetus, I can be sued. So the fetus has legal rights, but we should figure that out at the state level on the extreme circumstances and not legalize abortion at any time during pregnancy, which is essentially what the Supreme Court did.

[ ETA - 7th Nov, 2007, 22:19PDT ]
It is difficult to summarize the raging debate that ensued on Salon.com after Greenwald's post about the meaning and impact of Ron Paul's candidacy, however this letter stood out to me, making a point about the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution that I have often had trouble putting into words (except):>
there was a draft during the Revolution? How does THAT square with the 2nd Amendment types that separate well regulated militia and the right to keep and bear arms (for the militia)? Not very libertarian is it? A draft? But there it was, right in the middle of the Founding BY the Founders themselves!

The well regulated militia being a necessity (according to the Constitution), citizens who can be CALLED INTO THE MILITIA have a right to have arms for the purpose of serving in said militia. Of course, that is bad policy in the modern world. Require your soldiers to pay for and keep their weapons? Ever check out the price of a good military weapon these days? I have one...they are pricey. The militia is for the rich then under the R Paul system. Same with edumacation.
I have often said that the 2nd Amendment doesn't guarantee the right for the average citizen to carry an Uzi, or even own one, nor does it say that there cannot be limits on the wait time for getting a fire arm such that you cannot simply walk into your local WalMart and walk out 5 minutes later with a shotgun and shells. I have used guns, and I like them. I have friends who own guns, and are gun enthusiasts. I have friends and relatives for whom owning a firearm is a necessity (for fending off foxes, bears or other predators). I am not for banning guns, but I do not think a gun should be an easy thing to acquire, and I do not think guns should ever be regarded casually.

Most everyone I know who use firearms with any regularity that I have spoken to agree that guns are to be taken seriously. I have never heard any of them ever advocate immediate access to any and all weapons. I think this resistance to waiting periods is driven by the manufacturers. Anyone who "needs" a gun "right away" probably really doesn't need a gun, especially right away(*).

(*) The only exception to this rule I can think of is the coming Zombie Apocalypse. In that case, the laws and bureaucracy will very quickly be superseded by mayhem and bedlam. I'll be going for the liquor and the pills, I'm a terrible shot and wouldn't be much help.

01 November, 2007

Wait, what?

The piece of tooth fell out after game 1, where I after who knows how many agonizing moves finally checkmated my roommate(*).

On Halloween.

I was literally on the third pack of Smarties when I felt something weird.


I thought to myself,

"The factory must have fucked up, because one of these Smarties has a crunchy part."

I pulled the candy and everything else out of my mouth, and looked at the offending chunk of hardness. That's right around the same time my tongue found the gaping hole in the interior side of one of my right molars.


My roommate went to bed, but I'm loosing as white: I have her queen, one rook, one bishop, one knight and two pawns but she has my queen, one rook, one knight and four pawns, and a positional advantage.

The point is, (1) Happy Halloween and (2) brush AND FLOSS..