Happy New Year all. Don't have much time, so the disturbed link kinda sucks. Or maybe not... But first, 101 ways to fix the 'net. And now, the endcap, because I am running a bit late to get somewhere.
Disturbed Links of the Day: Woman Ticketed for Indecent Exposure (clean)
Days Until I See Anna: 7
Days Since I Saw Anna: 15
So yeah, I went to a funeral visitation for my high school youth pastor's mom. It was mostly just to support him as I never had even met his mom, but I guess that visitation just prompted me to do a lot of thinking about life in general. Namely, how much time are we wasting in life, throwing it away on stuff that doesn't matter at all? I would assert that we need to spend more time putting life into perspective so that we don't waste time on the stuff that doesn't matter.
Books are expensive. I read books fast. Thus, reading is an exceptionally expensive hobby for me. And thusly, I hit used book stores and sales when I can. Not to mention libraries. So, today I hit Half-Price Books and I hope to be hitting ebay tonight to pick up some more books. Fortunately, it looks like I'll have enough books to take me, assuming I try to avoid reading too many more of them.
These days have been fairly rough as far as coming to grips with my relation with God. It would seem like He is really trying to leverage me into a position where I'm listening and I have a hard time being in that position for any length of time. That said, I am working and praying that I will come to learn what He would teach me and, in time, come to be a better student.
Days Until I See Anna: 8
Days Since I Saw Anna: 14
I've never been a person with a lot of faith. I guess it comes from the fact that I'm a very analytical, logical and straightforward person who has a hard time with what he can't see. Combine this with the fact that I am a cynic, any you come up with a real issue.
As much trouble as I have with general faith, it doesn't hold a candle to the problems I have in trusting in God's goodness. God works for our overall good... and that's fine, except that for all I know, that means another bullet in the ass tomorrow and the day after, and the day after, and so on. And when that bullet in the ass really takes the wind out of you, you have a hard time asking for God to bless you, knowing how well the last "blessing" went.
I guess, in the end it comes down to this: life sucks right now. And I keep praying that it'll get better sooner than later. But right now, it just keeps getting worse. And I guess I just have to have faith that in the end, this misery and despair won't break me. Let's hope that it doesn't...
Commenting is down... again. Between Blogger and Enetation, it's a miracle that I manage to get this thing to work at all. I guess it goes without saying that I need to get real hosting and MT.
Yet again I am reminded of just what a bizarre and eclectic fellow I really am.
Thoughts for today:
You know, the restaurant industry in general is very poorly run and since my mind is on coffee shops of late, we will focus there. You need to understand your target demographic. If you are looking for teens and yuppies who want to feel a bit snobby, the best way to do this is NOT to monopolize half of your store with gaudy-looking crap for sale with your logo on it. The key here is a layed-back atmoshpere: mellow and subdued are the key. Kill the lighting, figure out a way to get rid of that menu monstrousity on the wall behind you, and get rid of the metallic art-deco furniture in favor of padded chairs and wooden tables. Also try to find some classy people to work at your store. If you're going to charge $5 for coffee, make it look like the place is worth it. Another thing, get some wireless internet and some subtle power outlets by the tables for laptops. Maybe even a terminal or two in an out-of-the-way spot. Don't charge for the internet (maybe charge for use of the computer) and watch the nerds flock. And they'll be much more likely to buy more coffee if you keep them sticking around.
Why is it so hard to find the places that need workers? I was out helping my little brother find a job today and we drove by all manner of stores and restaurants, grabbing applications. And literally 95% of the places that were hiring had no indicator of it. There has to be a better way for this. It's not like the companies don't want employees and it's not like the people who are in need of work don't want to get a job... but there is really no better way of a teenager finding a job then walking into a place cold and asking for an application. What gives with that?
Now that I'm home and away from the people I want to be around and the mental engagement of school, I finally get my head to clear and start thinking straight again. I mean, I haven't had this much spare mental energy since about week 2 of the semester. Why is it that we never have the time or resources to get things done when we're all at school together and it's only all by ourselves that we start getting really creative? And why is it that I forget all of the truly interesting thoughts somewhere between the car and the computer? I need to get something to record my brain waves, because I even have thoughts slip my mind in the several seconds it takes to fish the notepad and pen out of my pocket. Sad, isn't it?
I am very bad at trying to resist reading the books that I buy. Granted, I also borrow a lot of books from my friends to keep me in the money, but since I've been home I've read: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragons of Winter Night, Dragons of Spring Dawning, The Case for Israel, The DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons, Slander, Treason, Bias, Why I am not a Muslim, Unveiling Islam. I'm currently working my way through the Space Trilogy and then I'll
probably read some other stuff. Bear in mind that I've read a lot of these
before, but one makes due with what one must.
Wow... a very long day with a lot of thinking. Not a lot of conclusions yet, give me some time for that.
Disturbed Link of the Day: Freaking Canadians!
Days Until I See Anna: 10
Days Since I Saw Anna: 12
Well, that was an interesting day. Nice and uneventful.
You will note that I am now posting the estimated number of days until I see the Wench. Granted, it's not a precise estimate yet (still doesn't account for several favors, but it's good enough for now.)
And now I'm tired and shall go to sleep...
Disturbed Link of the Day: The Chuck E. Cheese To Keep Your Kids Away From
Days Until I See Anna: 11
Days Since I Saw Anna: 11
Rather interesting article about Dr. James Fowler's Stages of Faith that I found as I was browsing around today. It discusses the psychology of human development as it relates to growth of religious faith.
I found this particular paragraph very fascinating:
The fourth stage is known as Individuative-Reflective. This is primarily a stage of angst and struggle, in which one must face difficult questions regarding identity and belief. Those that pass into stage four usually do so in their mid-thirties to early forties. At this time, the personality gradually detaches from the defining group from which it formerly drew its identity. The person is aware of him or herself as an individual and must--perhaps for the first time--take personal responsibility for his/her beliefs and feelings. This is a stage of de-mythologizing, where what was once unquestioned is now subjected to critical scrutiny. Stage four is heavily existential, where nothing is certain but one's own existence, and disillusionment reigns. This stage is not a comfortable place to be and, although it can last for a long time, those who stay in it do so in danger of becoming bitter, suspicious characters who trust nothing and no one. But most, after entering this stage, sense that not only is the world far more complex than his or her stage three mentality would allow for, it is still more complex and numinous than the agnostic rationality of stage four allows.
It's one of those things that a lot of people who have moved around will tell you. You very quickly come to terms with who you are and what you believe, because you can't be identified by your surroundings, your church or your friends. And quite frankly, when you're moving, you tend to get into a hell of a lot of fights with your family (at least mine always did) under the pressure of all of that stress.
Tim and I were talking yesterday, about when I moved back to the Cincinnati area. You see, Tim and I have known each other since I was in 3rd grade. But in the middle of my 4th-grade year, I moved away to New York. Now, for whatever reason (probably that our parents were also good friends) we stayed in touch and talked once every week or so for most of the next 4 years or so and we went on vacation together twice and we visited each other over summers and stuff.
So, my family moved back to the area my freshman year in high school. But Tim noticed something about his best friend - his attitude had changed from a generally genial and up-for-anything kind of guy to a fairly dark, cynical and pessimistic fellow. Granted, these attributes hadn't set in instantly, but they had been there and this move probably acted as an intensifying factor. Tim was really kind of shocked about this and wondered what had happened to me. It was one of those things that I had moved on a bit, and the place I had moved on to was not a very inviting one. Granted, over time I mellowed out quite a bit and retreated back from the edge of this abyss of unbridled negativity... but the mellowing has been a long, slow process.
So I guess the moral of the story is that moving is rough and it does trippy things to people and also that even though this dark night of the soul seems to be an unending pit of despair, it isn't the end. The trick is to get through this part and emerge into the Conjuctive stage.
You know how some days things are going well and you can do nothing wrong? Today was one of those days that nothing that I did went right. Well... not everything, just anything related to fixing this one computer.
So Tim's dad has a computer that he uses for work. Thusly, when he got it, he wanted to buy it OEM and thus have a warantee and the whole mess (he owns his own business.) So this is about the summer before my Senior year in HS. Now, 3 years later, it sucks. He tries to play newer games, and the on-board video overheats and kills itself. So he comes to us, complaining about his computer restarting itself and making funny noises (way too much dust in there, starts to make bearings in fans creak.)
This was several days ago... we took things apart, used compressed air to dust them, and went and bought a new PCI video card (no AGP port, onboard video) - an ATI 9000 PCI. That, along with a fresh format/reinstall for the first time in 3 years seemed to fix things. But apparently, there were issues (it's a 3-year-old computer, what do you expect?) So, today we were going to transplant a motherboard, processor and RAM to fix things.
Tim just "happens" (as many good nerds do) to have an Intel board and a corresponding Celeron 2.2 Ghz sitting around for a rainy day overclocking project. And since Tim's dad is willing to buy them off of him, we go off and get a 256 stick of PC2100 RAM to get the stupid thing up and running and decide to wait and see if it needs anything more for the tasks it handles. Bear in mind that up until this point the project has gone fairly well and taken only a moderate amount of time considering the tasks undertaken.
After a bit of other token shopping, Tim and I rolled back to his house and got started on the whole business of rectifying matters. We got about 3 minutes of deconstruction in when I noted, "Tim, you didn't tell me this IBM was an Athlon!" "So?" "It's OEM Tim, $10 says this power supply hasn't got Intel P4 support." What? And thus, after being at Tim's for about 5 minutes, we recessed to go get a new power supply of the modern variety. Closest place was CompUSA, so we ran there and back.
Now, we take old power supply out. It is at this point that I note that the new power supply is about 2 inches longer than the old. My rapid-fire and increasingly-creative cursing soon drew Tim's attention and he joined in with a few choice epithets. Fortunately, Tim had another computer that he had bought off of a friend's family for $20 a month or 6 back that he hadn't bothered to strip down for parts yet. So he ran to get this and I spent the next 10 minutes trying to figure out this particular variety of Compaq OEM case. After opening this case we noted another essential thing: this case had at least .25 inches of dust on everything. If not more. And we had just used the last can of compressed air up on Craig's (tim's dad hates being referred to by "mister") computer...
So off to RadioShack, which is only 5 minutes versus 15 but has compressed air for $6 a can. Tightwad, overpriced bastards and their $6 can of compressed air... But we were now 20 minutes from CompUSA and wanted to get back, so we bought their compressed air and went back. We then dragged the case outside and blasted all of the dust off of it (used up the entire can) and went back in to strip the thing. But when the dust settled, we found another interesting dilemma: this power supply had been special-made for Compaq and was a mirror image of every other power supply, thus the case's rear cut-out had the plug on the wrong side, and it even lined up wrong flipped.
However, at this point rage set in and it was time to stop buying new shit and start making things happen. First up: saber-saw the hole to the size we need it. And finding said saw takes us up to the Finding Nemo interlude with Tim's family, complete with steak dinner. After dinner, we located said saw and carved the hole. After some filing and the arrival of our buddy Dan, it was time to finally start mounting components. So with a bit of coaxing, the power supply went into it's newly-carved position and all was well. Now time to mount the motherboard. Oops, the little aluminum cover won't fit on quite. Just a tad too snug a fit. Not really worth mentioning except that Tim managed to slice his finger open in this process and while he was gone, Dan and I filed the opening a bit and got things working right.
So Tim returns to the motherboard snugly in place, shielding installed, and the power supply still looing pretty. Next goes the RAM and then the video card (note, this mobo has an AGP slot, rendering the special hunt for the good PCI video card that took the most time on the first run a general waste.) Now to power up... ooops. OEM case with special power button wiring. "Damnit, let's test POST anyways..." I exlaimed, grabbing the front of the old case, dragging it over and connecting the power button to get it to go. Well, POST is fine... but it's beginning to look like time for a new case. More cursing ensued from the 3 of us, while I sat and wracked the brain for a solution. And then Dan found it... because this OEM button rack actually just had a power button and two LED's, all on one strip.
And it just so happened that the power switch was the last two pins on one end
of this little connector and we could connect it to the mobo if we did it right. And thus, Dan saved the case.
After that, I finally got things back in order and started bossing people around, espcially after one of my two flunkies tried to tell me that jumpers and master/slave don't matter and they could just connect things up. Prompt smacks and beatings removed their insolence mostly, but it wasn't until I allowed them to see what would happen their way that they listened. And thusly, at 10:30 PM EST, we finally started the installation of WinXP. At this point I am noting 2 things: 1) I am sick and I am getting tired... I should go home 2) if I go home, I can talk to Anna on IM. Thus, I was driven home by the crew (the new machine is good, but the cd drive for the moment is a 4x burner b/c tim is too lazy to pull a good optical drive from his computer for the job) while they waited for the install to finish. Oh, it is now nearly 3AM EST and word has it that things still aren't done.
The sad thing is usually things go much better than this. Granted, I am the resident software specialist (if you can make cracked copies of shit work, you can make just about anything work) and not there for the software... but this day has just been cursed. Little to nothing went right, from the beginning of physical installation through to the end of software install. It was just amazing. I
guess everyone has one of those days sooner or later.
Morals of the story:
1) Avoid factory-built systems
2) Custom-built OEM shit sucks
3) Know what you're getting into at the start and research this
4) Saber saws fix a lot
Disturbed Link of the Day: Online Cemetary
Days Since I Saw Anna: 10
What movie Do you Belong in?(many different outcomes!)
brought to you by Quizilla
Freakishly close on some points... way out there on others. All in all, a good quiz.
Well, Christmas was something of a day in that I was very sick for most of it. But I got a movie and some books and some clothes and some money... so life is good. Time to go shopping tomorrow to spend a lot of that stuff. Let's just hope that my health mends enough to allow for that.
Disturbed Link of the Day: Escape from Neverland
Days Since I Saw Anna: 9
And a wonderful IM conversation on stabbing that I had with Anna yesterday:
Anna: yes dear, stabbing is always the answer
Cynic: yes... stab even
Cynic: *can't type today*
Anna: ya know, if you stabbed everyone you have issues with, that takes a lot of the enjoyment you get out of arguments with them
Cynic: oh, I wouldn't kill them
Cynic: just stab them
Cynic: classic conditioning
Cynic: "being stupid gets you stabbed"
Anna: i think ignoring people works just as well.
Cynic: stabbing is so much more effective because it improves peoples' lives
Cynic: they learn to be smarter
Cynic: and all it costs is a pint or two of blood
Cynic: is that such a high price to pay?
And before things here roll over midnight and it is officially Christmas, let me link you to this wonderful eye candy.
Disturbed Link of the Day: The Best Page in the Universe
Days Since I Saw Anna: 8
Well, it's Christmas Eve Day in these parts and I'm figuring that since I probably won't be up tonight managing my usual 10pm-2am EST shift online, I will post now and then if I get a bit of time, I might post a little blurb later.
Things that I still have to do:
Wrap presents (alright, so I bought them all with time to spare, now they just need to be wrapped)
Go to Christmas Eve Service (6 PM I think)
Go to party at friends' house afterwards (probably stay there until 10 or 11)
Hmmm... that's a short list for today. Kind of simple really.
Things that I ought to deal with before I go back to Longview:
See friends from high school
Pirate software for Geoff's computer (so he doesn't have to shell out $1000 for software for school next semester)
Put in some work on the local effort to get a new tax increase to fund the local school district
Spend more time with my family
Enjoy the snow (that is falling as we speak)
Fix the family computer (I fixed it when I got back... it will probably need help before I leave)
Be a bum
Yeah... that should about round things out...
Disturbed Link: The New Bachelor Candidate
Well... I lasted 2 weeks or so of exposure to Anna's mono and I've lasted a week here in Cincinnati... and it looks like I've finally fallen sick.
*knocks on wood*
It looks like I'm not too terribly sick and this illness should stick to the Cynic's tradition of not being sick for a long period of time and not getting too beat down for a while. Sure... I'll feel like shit for a couple of days, but I should be back up in action before the week is out. And now, I shall watch Letterman, because it entertains me much.
I love watching David Letterman after a long day of being a bum.
Some wonderful Dave quotes:
"Word has it that Saddam is now despondent... they say all he does all day is sit in his cell staring longingly at a picture of George Bush. This sounds a lot like Al Gore."
And of course there's the top 10...
Top 10 Things that Department Store Santa Doesn't Want to Hear from the Kids:
10) Remember me? I'm the kid with the week bladder
09) You smell like supermarket gin.
08) The real Miracle on 34th St. would be if they accepted my mom's Mastercard.
07) I want a 2004 Pontiac Aztek.
06) If i don't get an X-box, I'm gonna hunt you down old man.
05) I'm Jewish.
04) I love you Kenny Rogers.
03) Frankly, I'm just here to please my parents.
02) While Im talking to you, my mom is shoplifting blouses.
01) Mom says you're my real daddy.
Well... I promised myself that I wouldn't start tracking this until I couldn't help it. So hear's the end trailer of the posts for the remainder of my stay here:
Disturbed Link of the Day: The Destruction of a Toyota Truck
Days Since I Saw Anna: 7
Well, I've seen my beautiful girlfriend off to bed. Now I must just briefly brag that my mother is one of the most open-minded and thoughtful conservative parents I know. I am very blessed to have her with a liberal arts background and a Houghton education.
I would also like to note that I have really missed my church here for these past however many months. The sermons preached are just so good that I can't believe I have been making due with less.
Lastly, I guess I'm probably either a lich or a half-fiend.
*is laughing so hard he's crying*
I'm listening to Jim Rome and here are some things that happened in this last year:
WNBA is the most betted-upon professional sports league of its kind (Jim Rome suggests this is due to OTB.)
A kid got arrested for calling a hooker to his hospital room.
Apparently 8 games in the season, Detroit was 7.5 games out of first.
A sports writer got fired for quoting Haywood Jablome in a piece.
Some writer wants to turn the life of Evil Kenieval into a musical.
Brian Anderson thwarted a mugging in SF by running down a mugger.
JV Basketball coach in Arizona arrested for bringing strippers on school trips.
Aaron Ralston got lost hiking and chopped off his own arm with a pocket knife to get loose.
A bowling coach in Iowa was busted for kiddie-porn charges.
A German man was arrested for walking down a street with a severed head in one hand and a knife in the other.
15 players and 2 coaches in a New York school got arrested for going to a strip club.
A little-league mother told her son to attack another child during a game.
A fitness center in Denver stayed open while there was a dead body was on an
exercise bike... they just moved him to the side and covered him with some
Oh... and check this:
And life wouldn't be complete without a warped link...
Disturbed Link of the Day: Odd Feminine Products Hit New Lows
So now most of my Christmas shopping is done. I did it all in one fell swoop today as I went to visit the overcrowded and poorly-designed mall with my little brother and friend Tim. After taking half an hour to get to open parking, I spent the next hour or so finding the stuff that I'd catalogued in my head over the year that I needed to get. After that, we trekked over to Tim's house where we watched the UC basketball game, had dinner, watched some of The Mummy and fiddled with his dad's computer. Now, I'm back at home, being a bum and watching TV with mom and brothers.
While I've been sitting here, I've been talking to a friend from school, and it has been decided that we can categorize everyone in the immediate SC into D&D races:
I am clearly a large dwarf Wilson is probably Elven (for the unitiated, note that Elves only trance 4 hours a night as opposed to sleeping 8 and are typically frailer)
Anna is either Human or Half-Elven, probably Human given the proclivity for math and teaching...
Ardith is clearly a gnome
Wheeler is probably an over-large halfling
Martinez is probably a human (especially with all of that obsession over knowledge(engineering) and knowledge(math))
Moore is a half-orc with an addiction to food (granted, he's an endurance man... but the one-track mind for food says half-orc)
(the gallery will get their treatment soon enough)
And just on the note of the bizarre, check this guy out. I will never be nearly as cool as he is.
And on that note, I think I'm off to go make a quiz about D&D races or something. Yes, I'm a nerd... and spending a whole day with Tim didn't help that.
In case you'd been missing out on the disturbed linkage: What Many Girls Want For Christmas (allegedly)
Note, I claim no responsibility for the views espoused or endorsed in the link. If you followed it, that's your problem.
Damnable enetation is down again and thus I don't know if my newfound time and proliferance is a good or bad thing. Failing any feedback, I will continue to post as I have inspiration and time:
Well, after the Christmas tree fun I went to go Christmas shopping at the local mall. That was all sorts of entertaining... I guess it's been a while since I've been people-watching in the mecca of teenage culture. I am here to report that while styles have changed, the mentality of the late 90's is still alive and well. It's so funny watching everyone in the mall fit into whatever cultural stereotype they aspire to. And one other note: Hot Topic is the Abercrombie & Fitch of teeny-bopper "goths."
After this wonderful experience wherein I explored the local stores and came up with gift ideas, I returned home to eat a home-cooked meal (ahh... real food) and then went to my little brother's concert. There were three band groups playing:
1) Chamber Winds (the band for people who the director can't turn down)
2) Jazz Band (for hardcore band nerds who do band 2 periods out of 4 per day)
3) Wind Ensemble (the band for people who are too good for #1)
As expected, the first group sucked... I mean they were awful. But I was close enough that I got to observe Jonny's law of saxophones in action. That being, "Saxophones are typically quiet, unless they don't know the piece in which case you can't hear them at all except when they get to the part tht they know, which they play really loudly to make up for the rest. And God forbid the saxes like the song, because then you can't hear anyone else at all."
Oh... and yes Jon is in Wind Ensemble but not Jazz Band (when you can take 4 classes/semester each year and you already take band both semesters, taking Jazz Band on top of that for a total of 50% of your education being band is a bit much.) And they were very good. Not as impressive as the Jazz Band, but I enjoyed the performance very much. Oh, and I'm now inspired to go to the high school tomorrow.
And as a non-sequitur for the last note of the evening:
If you had half an hour to prepare for an hour-long presentation on
anything, what would it be and what visual aides (if any) would you use? (My answer comes tomorrow.)
Amazingly enough, I am much more prolific when I have time on my hands with which to write. Isn't that just shocking?
Today my dad and I went and got a Christmas Tree. Apparently things have been fairly busy around here and when you combine that with the fact that my father isn't really all that into Christmas, you get to be about a week before Christmas and without a tree. My mom and I are quite into Christmas, but up until Tuesday I was in Texas and she is doing ESL tutoring and thus isn't available during the day. So, all that to say is the Christmasy types were busy, and the Grinch wasn't inclined to get one. My brothers? Lazy and too busy doing other things.
The whole Christmas season just gets me sentimental. Don't ask why, I don't know. It's just been that way since I was little. I like doing the whole traditional stuff and getting ready for Christmas and decorating and opening up another door on the advent calendar every day and lighting advent candles and the whole nine yards. I guess it's just that my family (dad especially) doesn't really get into that sort of thing. And when you get into a habit of not liking to do much in the way of Christmas, you just don't.
I guess that's just my whining about wanting to enjoy Christmas more than anyone else around me here. And of course, it doesn't make things better that the Christmas season at LeTourneau sets in right at the most hellacious part of the year and thus I really don't have time to enjoy it there. Christmas decorations? Yeah right. Note to self: enjoy Christmas more when you're off on your own.
I went and saw Return of the King. It was epic. I am going to have to go see it again very shortly. I could nit-pick all of the parts I didn't like or how the plot was improperly followed and details were left out, added and rearranged, but everyone will do that and it isn't necessary. Suffice that I will say that I agreed with Wilson on the sheer patheticness of the light-beam effects in RotK: Gandalf's staff driving back the Nazgul should have looked more impressive than a flashlight and the same goes for Sauron's red-hued flashlight.
On movie adaptations of books as a whole I will say this. A director is much more talented if he can use his limited resources and budget along with the limitations of physics and acting to stick to the plot of an adapted writing than if said director changes things to make it easier to film. What's worse is if a director changes things merely because he dislikes a particular part of a story and wants to make it go another way.
As much as I have loved Jackson's Lord of the Rings, the simple fact of the matter is that Tolkien was a masterful writer and developed a much better story than anything Jackson could do by altering the original. Jackson is less guilty than most directors in that his film sticks closer to the original than is status quo. That said, just about any major change Jackson has made either takes away from the plot continuity or just has a lesser effect than what Tolkien had written. I will grant that Jackson has done marvels with Gollum and also has done marvels with screenplay, but I am not willing to say that merely because Jackson has done well, we shouldn't beg for him to do better.
In any event, that's my bit of whining on that... and I will make one final note that seeing movies in Cincinnati is just so much better than seeing them in Longview because the prices aren't that much higher and the theaters are SO much better. If you ever have occasion to come by, ask me to take you to see a movie at The Rave and you'll see what I mean.
For better or worse, I am in Ohio. And today, in about 3 hours, I get to go see Return of the King. And now I shall laugh at all of you who cannot see it today.
In other news, Cincinnati is a great place to go do things late night if you want to go downtown. My brother has been going to University of Cincinnati all semester and knows all of the great places that are open until 4 or 5 am or open 24 hours. I wish Longview was cool like that.
I renewed my driver's license today and now the picture on it transformed from a young-looking teenager to a stoned-looking college student. It's pretty crazy-looking.
Nothing else happening around these parts thus far. Sooner or later, the famed Perkins run will go down again, and I will be relaying stories of goodness and entertainment to all. Until then, feel free to IM me when I get on and I will talk to you as much as I can.
And now, we are finally at the end of the semester. In fact, we're at the holding period wherein I wish I could just be going home and everything would be right... but it's not.
In the end I really try to believe that God is working this all out for good, but it's so damned hard to see that from in the trenches. Nearly, all of my friends have gone home, leaving me nearly alone in this dorm. I stayed over because I went to a wedding with Anna today that was supposed to have signalled the real beginning of my break and the start of a nice and enjoyable 4-week break together. Sadly, this is not how things are working out.
Said aforementioned girlfriend has fallen victim to mono. As such, it has necessitated a change of plans and is sending her home to Colorado whereas I am still going home to Ohio. So, instead of the nice, enjoyable 3 weeks at Christmas with Anna... I have 3 weeks of wishing I could be with my sick girlfriend who will be 1000 miles away. I'm trying to put a positive spin on this, but it sound hollow and trite.
The fact of the matter is that I've always seen people who try and see the silver lining on the stormclouds as morons. Can't you see that things suck? What's the point in contenting yourself with the paltry pittance that is all you have to be happy about?
But in the midst of all of this, I have to admit that there just really isn't much point obsessing over the abysmal facts of reality. Yes, it really sucks... I know it, you know it, we all know it. But in the end there are only two real options, get over it or don't. And since I plan on getting over it sooner or later, I might as well just get over it now. Granted, the next 3 weeks are going to be misery, but I'm going to make the most of the time I have left here in Longview and I'm going to try and enjoy the company of my friends as much as is possible.
That said, I'm having a really hard time getting over it and moving on. I can stop obsessing... but I'm having a really hard time trying to stop feeling like crap. And this, ladies and gents, is why I had exiled my emotions to Tahiti. They bothered me a hell of a lot less there.
One of the better quotes I've run across of late:
Justice Curtis on the Dred Scott case in 1858
"When a strict interpretation of the Constitution according to the fixed rules which govern interpretation of laws is abandoned and the theoretical opinions of individuals allowed to control its meaning, we have no longer a Constitution. We're under a government of individual men who for the time being have the power to declare what the Constitution is, according to their own views of what they think it ought to be."
So yeah... a couple of goofballs from Washington convinced me to join this other guy's forum (note: he is related to the goofballs and lives in the same house with them.) Don't go spamming the thing or anything or I will have to authorize him to hunt you down and kill you. But if you like a good and honest discussion with a very friendly atmosphere, this is a good place.
That said, there was a wonderful thread about this forum called ClayShaker which, from what I understand, is intended to be a fairly positive Christian forum where people can fellowship and enjoy each others' company. Unfortunately, the admin of this forum is a 19-year-old college student with some interesting takes on leadership (read: he would make a good LU admin) which include: deleting posts which upset him and/or challenge the way he administers the board, banning people for doing such things, and construing disagreement about the two aforementioned policies as running afoul of them and thus cause for deleting disagreeing posts and banning users. Granted, from what I understand, policy is not concrete on this and in fact part of the problem is there really is no clear and defined policy and thus the only certainty is uncertain ambiguity.
Now, I normally would stay about as far away from something I know this little about except that the admin is being a power-thirsty moron and people are so fed up with it that they feel the need to discuss it somewhere, just to purge it. So, they went over to this other forum and proceeded to do so, and things were going well and I made one or two posts to try and help clarify what was going on and channel things in a good direction.
Well, as can be expected and even predicted, last night the admin of ClayShaker caught wind of this outpouring and was not happy. He rolled in and linked up this board on ClayShaker to encourage his people to come over and "fight the good fight." To be fair he brought one intelligent person with him whom I was happy to talk with. However, he also brought two morons and he himself was acting the part of a complete and total ass.
So I responded in about the nicest and most contrite way you will ever see the Cynic roll with, and the idiocy just kept on flinging. Now, as predicted, said admin is going to ban all offending parties from his board unless they come back on their knees and kiss up and try to resolve their differences in the dark, in secret. Does this sound to you guys like something LU admin would pull? All I can say is that we need to hire this guy, because he's got all the makings of a successful LeTourneau administrator and he's only 19: wants to resolve all problems in secret, is unbiblical, responds very poorly to admonishment, and just acts like a jackass... oh yeah, and there's no way on earth that he could be
All of that said, Cory (the guy whose forum this is) has called a moratorium on this thread for a while to cool it down and hopefully shed the light of reason rather than rampant emotion on it (from the perspective of the reasonable crowd)... so if you go over and read, don't respond to this pile of idiocy. Yes, we know it's there... we're just trying to give it some time so we don't have to drag it out and shoot it like the rabid dog it is.
All of the warped links fit to print:
Crazy! Apparently, elephants are hijacking sugar trucks in Bangkok.
Speaking of odd sexuality, a transsexual in Taipei is confusing its jailors.
In other bad news, crazy adherants of bizarre sects of Christianity who hail from Michigan are wandering about my fine home state of Ohio and breaking traffic laws. In better news, they're endangering their offspring.
And finally, face scanners are being implemented in schools in Phoenix, AZ in an attempt to find missing students and pick up sex offenders in schools. Invasion of privacy, anyone? Not to mention a shaky history of facial recognition.... Can we say, "Law suit?"
I finally got around to taking that Brain Test. I was fairly impressed by the accuracy of 25 or so questions.
Visual : 46%
Left : 72%
Right : 27%
Cynic, you are mildly left-hemisphere dominant while showing a slight preference for auditory processing. This overall combination seems to indicate a well-working blend of logic and judgment and organization, with sufficient intuition, perception and creativity to balance that dominance.
You will at times experience conflict between how you feel and what you think which will generally be resolved in favor of what you think. You will find yourself interested in the practical applications of whatever material you have learned or whatever situation you face and will retain the ability to refine whatever knowledge you possess or aspects of whatever position you are in.
By and large, you will orient yourself toward intellectual activities and structure. Though not rigid, you will schedule yourself, plan, and focus on routine and continuity of operations, rather than on changes and disruptions
When changes or disruptions occur, you are likely to consider first how to ensure that such disruptions do The same balance is reflected in your sensory preference. You will tend to be reflective and measured in your interaction style. For the most part, you will be considered objective without being cold and goal-oriented while retaining the capacity to listen to others.
Preferentially you learn by listening and maintaining significant internal dialogues with yourself. Nevertheless, you have sufficient visualization capabilities to benefit from using graphs, charts, doodles, or even body movement to enhance your comprehension and memory.
To the extent that you are even implicitly aware of your hemispheric dominance and sensory style, you will feel most comfortable in those arenas which emphasize verbal skills and logic. Teaching, law, and science are those that stand out among the professions, along with technical sales and management.
Congratulations! You're Merry!
brought to you by Quizilla
Due to a sleep deprivation and a need to amuse myself and others, I proffer this story pulled from my files:
Now sit back and let me tell you the tale of the Idiot Boy. Long ago (something like 3.5 years ago to be exact) I was a Junior in high school and it was the second semester. Due to the extreme grief and aggravation that Spanish had caused me during the angst-ridden 3 semesters of it that I was forced to take, I decided upon taking a new language to fill the void in my schedule. And so it was that Latin entered my high school experience. And I did take Latin and lo, it made sense. This was not vile Spanish where laws of spelling, pronunciation, and verb conjugation varied like the winter winds on the high seas, but where peace, tranquility, and a general holding to the rules was king. And it was good and there was happiness. But to my dismay, this class was riddled with fools.
At every side, there were morons whom the other languages had rejected and foisted off on poor Magistra. Among the ranks of the morons were Davus - the wrestler who had taken far too many hits to the head, Michaelus - to whom the secrets of passing high school in less than 6 years had not been imparted but who was not quite foolish enough to drop out, Dustinius - the compulsive skipper of school (he regularly missed 2 days a week) and least likely to pass a drug test, and last and most foolish Robertus, commonly referred to as "Idiot Boy".
Now Idiot Boy was a particularly dislikeable breed of moron. For you see, though he was chief among the morons and even the other fools disdained him as an idiot, he did not realize that he was a fool. Instead, Robertus would play Gameboy during class and scuttle all hopes of possibly learning the material. Worse, he would not do his homework (a similar practice to myself, but the homework was so easy that by the time she got to my spot in the room to check mine it was done) and would whine endlessly about how hard it was. Bear in mind people, we're talking translating simple sentences here and declining such nouns as canis and pater. But worst of all was his simple absence of mind. Class would go something like this:
Magistra: Robertus, what is the Latin word for dog?
Robertus: uh... uh... wait... I know I have this one.... just one second
Magistra: Robertus, at least look it up for us, it's not that hard
Iosius (unable to take it any more): whispers canis, you moron, canis
Robertus: uh.... can is (pronounced like can and iz)
Magistra: Iosius, stop helping him out, Robertus it's canis.
And thus idiot boy's reputation did plummet. For you see, Robertus would ask the same question every day for a week sometimes and even after Magistra had answered it 6 or 7 times he would still be horribly confused. But he refused to work and refused to study and continued to fail even the easiest vocabulary test (10 words a week, you just had to spell the Latin when she gave the English equivalent, not that hard)
But then, it would seem, Robertus struck upon a plan: he would cheat and get a 100 on his next vocabulary test. So Robertus craftily wrote down his words and definitions on a cheat sheet and dropped it on the floor next to his foot when test time came. But about three words in something went horribly, horribly wrong for Robertus.... Magistra spied his cheat sheet... for even in cheating he lived up to his nickname. Robertus had used bright pink paper to write his cheat sheet on. It was hard to miss. And upon closer inspection, Magistra did see Idiot Boy's deceit and treachery. And Idiot Boy did receive a 0 on the test. Through incidents like these (he got caught cheating again later in the semester when he wrote the answers on his desk in permanent ink and failed to wash them off in time) he became one of the 2 people out of 75 to fail Latin I that entire year... the other being Dustinius, who failed not on lack of merit, but because if you miss more than 8 days in a semester without a good reason you can't get credit for a class and Dustinius missed 30 without much of a reason.
Now... to more recent events.
I had found myself working with Robertus (Idiot Boy) at Kroger over Christmas break last year. This was not a happy development, but I tried to grin and bear it. But Idiot Boy did recognize me and remembered my disdain for him and did tell one of our co-workers the following: "Cynic always treated me like I was some sort of moron in our Latin class. But really I'm not stupid, I just act stupid a whole lot."
Just when I thought that humanity couldn't get any dumber... this moron proves me wrong.
And apparently foreign hookers are now informing science. Quite something...
This is quite possibly the best disturbed link of the semester. Same Jack Chick style, different author.
And here's a wonderful little page about the "evil" white man. Quite entertaining. Racist ignorance is universal.
Metallica - No Leaf Clover
My lazy self is just getting around to posting my finals schedule:
12:45 PM - 02:45 PM Digital Electronics
08:00 PM - 10:00 PM Only Inklings
09:45 AM - 11:45 AM Software Systems
09:45 AM - 11:45 AM Numerical Analysis
Other Assignments Due:
Tuesday - 12:00 AM Learning from Leaders (paper)
Thursday - 9:45 AM Numerical Analysis (extra credit program)
Add in that wonderful work shift from 2:30 (or whenever I get out of Digital) until 6 and that will be a ball-breaker of a Monday.
Here's a funny little story if you've been following the SCO vs. Linux debacle. If you haven't it's funny anyways. Not really warped but my mind is too scrambled for warped right now.
Third Eye Blind - Narcolepsy
As I sit here thinking that I should REALLY go to bed, I need to put up a quasi-happy post and just say the following: I have the best girlfriend and the best friends ever. I was truly awed by the amount of effort taken on my behalf to take me out to dinner on Friday night and give me a good evening out.
Even in the midst of finals, sickness, projects and the like my friends took me out to dinner in some little town (Jefferson I think) in this nifty little Italian Restaurant with a hotel upstairs. We then proceeded to wander around town for a bit and then drive to Marshall and go to a coffee house where I was treated to coffee and cheesecake (it was good Moore, too bad you couldn't make it) and a rousing game of Scrabble. And as all good Friday nights go, it was finished off by Honors Bible Study.
Thanks to all of you who could come and thanks to those who wanted to and couldn't... I am just honored to have such great people around. You bastards are the reason that I can't just be a cold callous cynic all of the time... :). Now, especially to Wheeler... get better, NOW!
Trapt - Headstrong
More reading back through this old forum has brought to mind some old stories from back in the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in college.
Back then I worked a temp job through Office Team at Miami University in Middletown as a telephone survey facilitator at the Applied Research Center. I worked for Dr. Seufert making phone calls and fixing all technology that broke. When I wasn't actually fixing things or making fruitless calls, I administered surveys (hopefully I managed 1/hour, but frequently I got much less than that.)
(It has been noted that I have a somewhat dark view of humanity and have been known to posit that people are stupid on a fairly regular basis. Reading on should give you some indicator as to why I feel as I do.)
Here are some of the fun things I came up with while surveying (all true stories, I wrote them down as I surveyed):
Cynic (on the phone): "Hello sir, my name is Cynic and I'm calling from...."
Man on the other end: "Y'all need to stop sendin' me stuff"
Cynic: "Uh, sir, I haven't even told you who I was calling from, and we don't send out any "stuff"
Man: "I'm sure y'all have been sending me somethin, and I ain't got time for this crap"
Cynic: "Sir, could I at least tell you whom I'm calling with so that you could make a more iinformed judgement"
Man: "No, just quit sending me stuff and leave me alone"
Cynic(muttering to himself): "I guess I mark that as a hung up and he gets called back until he politely refuses or completes the survey"
Cynic (on the phone): Now I'm going to read a series of statements and you need to tell me 'yes' or 'no' to each of them.
Cynic: I will encourage my child to say 'no' to sex
Man: Is that until they're married or altogether, because while I want my kids to abstain until they're married, they're not like my neighbor's kids. I don't want THEM to EVER reproduce.
Cynic: Well, I'd assume it's just until married, but the question doesn't say. Oddly enough, nobody's ever picked up on that before....
Cynic: I'm going to read some income catagories and I want you to stop me when I reach the one that includes the approximate total annual income of your household.
Crazy Lady: I don't have any income.
Cynic: I mean for your entire household... everyone who has income in your household.
C L: We have no income
Cynic: ok..... [marks the less than $10,000 a year bracket]
Cynic: Now how many kids do you have?
C L: 4
Cynic: And how old are they?
C L: 17, 14, 12, 9
Cynic: And how old are you?
C L: 28
<Cynic is now on the phone with Crazy Lady's son>
Cynic: Do you feel it's wise or foolish to attend parties where alcohol...
Crazy Son: [interrupting] I'm not allowed to go to parties
Cynic: Ok.... And how do your friends feel about attending....
C S: [interrupts again] I'm not allowed to have friends
Cynic: Uh... ok, well.....
C S: I'm not allowed to go out of the house without my cousin or my mother
[towards the end of giving the survey to Crazy Son]
Cynic: How old were you on your last birthday?
C S: I'm not allowed to celebrate my birthday
Cynic: Ok, how old are you?
C S: 17
Cynic: [ends the survey and cowers in fear that people like this exist]
And my personal favorite...
Cynic: "Our information says that Jimmy has asthma"
Sadistic Lady: "He got cured"
S L: "Yeah, we got a surgery for him.... we drilled 2 holes in his sinuses and broke off some bones"
S L "Yeah, they was gettin the the way of his his breathin'"
Cynic: "Uh.... ok..... I think you're ineligible for the survey ma'am"
Linkin Park - From the Inside
I was trolling through an old thread on a forum that a friend of mine runs. I found this wonderful comment that I made about 2 years ago:
"Indeed? Are you so arrogant as to presume that your individual ability supersedes the inherent weakness of your gender? Is it possible that even one could escape the vacuous wasteland that is the sum of all female intelligence? Perish the thought. There is no such thing as female intelligence, only the modicum of perceived thought that is the imitation of male ingenuity. There is nothing more, anything that could presumed otherwise is only a clever charade or the plagiarism of an idea that originated from some poor man."
I need to go find some more of my old Chauvinist writings to properly re-inspire myself.
Evanescence - Where Will You Go?
Is there any real suprise here?
Godsmack - Voodoo
Well, Wilson and I are picking fights with people over the whole Iraq debacle. I posted this in the comments in response to some rather interesting reasoning posted by a reader who was in turn responding to this post on Wilson's blog (blue is me, italics is a guy named Shrode:
I believe Saddam was a threat. But not for the reasons you mentioned. He was the backbone of an attitude in the region that supported terrorism.
I would really like some justification for this line of reason. Bluster aside, Saddam was a cowed dictator who played silly cat-and-mouse games from within his borders and talked a big fight. How was he more of a backbone than any other leader in the region?
You see supporting terrorism at ANY level must be seen as a threat to us by us. That is why he had to be taken out. To set an example and change the region. Other countries with similar mindsets must learn that even flirting with terrorists is a risk to their very existence. He gave rewards to PLO and Hamas families of suicide bombers. We must destroy all terrorists and all supporters of terrorists.
So on what level do we draw the line? Idealogical? So are we now going to invade North Korea? How about communist China? What about Colombia? Why don't we attack Saudi Arabia? By all indications, they have many more citizens who support terrorists on an individual scale than anything Iraq could do? What about Syria and Yemen? I would argue the inaction of these governments in some way indicates a support of terrorism and probably does more harm than Iraq has in the last 10 years.
And it is a just war to do so because it is self defense. Where our government has been inconsistent, and where Bush dissapoints me, is in not giving Israel full support in its war on terrorism. We have also not helped the UK in its fight against the IRA enough. We must wipe out all terrorists everywhere. I kill all scorpions on my property whether they are in my house or not. Because I know that if my child happened to get near one it would get stung. We must hunt down and destroy all terrorists period. And that I believe is a consistent conservative (and Biblical) position.
So now all pre-emptive strikes against prospective terrorists and supporters of terrorists are now justified by self-defense? Who decides what is a terrorist problem and if we get to strike them? And are we still advocating that Bush make unilateral strikes like he has thus far?
As far as UK and IRA goes, this is a non-issue anymore. And as for Israel, is not the Israeli government equally culpable for a war of terror against the Palestinians? Justifying huge collateral damage in the name of "National Security". Wow... that sounds awfully familiar *cough* Ashcroft *cough*... but I digress.
I find your casual assertion that the U.S. should strike out against anyone who
would possibly support terror worldwide to be at least mildly distasteful. On what grounds do we invade sovereign nations? Pre-emptive self defense? Being idealogically anti-American? And I'm really questioning where on earth you're getting a Biblical support for all of this.
Cake - Italian Leather Sofa
Well, I guess most of the hell week is over. And all of a sudden everyone is getting sick. Stop getting sick you fools...
In order to facilitate the willpower necessary, I come bearing two warped links.
Goo Goo Dolls - Imaginary Friend
Today I went out and bought a new set of speakers to replace my old, jacked-up set that had served faithfully for 2 years. In the end, a power pin sheared off and brought an end to an otherwise-great run.
And then I went from July to December without music or sound. At first it wasn't so bad... I really don't need sound for most of what I do and considering that for the first 2 months after this I was in an apartment with a group of guys who had music to run, I didn't mind. But slowly throughout the semester, I have grown to miss my music. And it has grown into insanity. I have come to miss my music to the point that I listen to music nonstop in the labs (where I have working speakers) and one day last week, I just grabbed my discman and put on the headphones so I could hear music.
In the end I did what I had to do, I took the remainder of my birthday money plus some of my own and went and bought speakers. Italian Leather Sofa never sounded so good...
Third Day - These Thousand Hills
All time new lows for screwed up are upon us!
Disturbed Link of the Day: Fox News story on German court proceedings
Matchbox 20 - Long Day
Happy Birthday to me... I think. I'm another year older... and I have the worst week ever to have a birthday. It's always right during hell week/finals. I REALLY need a drink... (of water, Doug.)