Fairly Symmetrical

May 2002 Archives

04:37 PM by Eric: AOTC and why's it always rainin on me? Culture

This review by Brunching is pretty good too.

Also, why is it that it stayed nice right up until 20 minutes before I'm leaving work, then started raining cats and dogs?

10:23 AM by Eric: The flip side of the war in Afghanistan, and other news bits. Politics

Stories like this should get more media attention than they do. I guess a bunch of Tennesseeans building a hospital in Afghanistan isn't quite as exciting as a special forces unit blowing up a cave -- or a barge ramming a bridge in OK.

In other news, Bush seems to be getting more comfortable with public speaking. I'm actually a little impressed with how he handled the reporter. According to Instapundit, the protests really are insignificant; while I don't doubt that many Europeans are anti-American, and that many of those fall into a particularly vocal percentage of the press, it's nice to know that very few of them really hate us.

Finally, this article about gun laws in England is rather interesting, in a scary sort of way. It's hard to imagine a society where they would seriously prosecute you for detaining two burglars using a toy gun. It seems unfair to put a man in jail for life because he shot a pair of burglars (killing one) when there was no police presence in his village.

09:35 AM by Eric: Attack of the Clowns, indeed. Culture

I went to see Attack of the Clones on Sunday. Aside from the idiot sitting immediately to my right, David Chess pretty much sums up my feelings.

Stop George Lucas before he writes again. Seriously, the man shouldn't be writing anything more complicated than a grocery list. He can write and direct action -- the various saber fights were very well choreographed (one thing I have always liked about star wars is the way that saber fights flow) -- but anything else is beyond the man's capability.

Things I did like:

  1. Jango Fett's death and Boba's reaction to it.
  2. Faceoff with Count Dooku at the end. Yoda is in fact a badass. I rather liked the calm, quiet dignity he maintained throughout. And after bouncing around like a mad fiend while fighting Dooku, pulling his stick to him and limping off again was just the right Yoda touch.
  3. The space battle in the asteroid field. Classic star wars, the seismic charges were neat, and Fett's ship is cool.
  4. The major assault. Actual tactics very nearly made an appearance here, with the use of gunships, missiles, etc. The gunships themselves: very cool. Oh, and those big guns that brought down the Trade Federation ship, did those distinctly remind anyone else of the Ion Cannons from Homeworld?
  5. Yoda as a teacher. Shades of Empire, there.

Most of the rest of the movie I rather disliked.

In other news, Jenny has returned from Philly. All is right with the world again. :) We both could have used another day or two of weekend, though.

08:50 PM by Eric: Of dogs and servers Personal

Today was supposed to be the day the Central West End Dog Association got together to put up the fence for the new dog park. I had of course promised Cara that as soon as we got the fence up she could "test it out". Turns out that the CWEDA didn't quite have enough money for all of the wood, and they just ordered it, so it wouldn't have been here in any case. So my promise turned out to be hollow. I hate that. Fortunately Cara's pretty forgiving; we took a long walk in Forest Park instead. I love living so close to such a huge expanse of open green space. It makes me happy. Even when the ragweed and trees are making me sniffly.

Also, I installed Movable Type on the server this weekend, and am now using it to blog. We'll see if Jenny sees the light or not, when she comes back from Philly.

12:50 PM by Eric: As Jenny and I grow Personal

As Jenny and I grow older and nearer to the point where we will be starting a family (not to worry, a few years yet), it occasionally occurs to me just how scary raising a child can be. Children, especially infants, are fragile, and there are so many things to keep track of -- this Salon article about breast-feeding vs. formula, for instance. The list of things infants and young children die from, even today and even in this country (a selection: diarrhea, lower respiratory infection, otitis media (ear infections), bacteremia, bacterial meningitis, botulism, urinary tract infection, and necrotizing enterocolitis), is frightening all by itself. The days that I end up thinking about things like this, and all the things that those thoughts imply, are the days when I feel paradoxically too old and too young at the same time. It's a very somber feeling, contemplating what it would (will) be like to be so immensely responsible for the very life and health of such a fragile little person. Awfully deep thoughts for an unpleasant Friday at work.

Speaking of work, this job has somehow made me dislike company holidays. How on earth could it do that, you ask? Well, my normal work week is 10 hours each day on Monday through Thursday, with Fridays entirely off. Working 8am to 6pm took some adjusting, but it's fairly normal now, and I definitely prefer it to working on Fridays. In any case, in order not to screw up the company payroll system, in any week in which I take a vacation day or which includes a paid holiday, I am forced to work a normal 5×8 schedule. This is because we are not allowed to take partial vacation days (a terrible crime IMO), among other things. So if there's a holiday on, say, Monday, then I end up working 4 8 hour days so that I can have that holiday off. Thus instead of 4 10 hour days and having an extra day off, I end up working 4 8 hour days and getting an extra day off. The difference between a 10 hour day and an 8 hour one is not even close to enough to make any real difference. So instead of lazing about this morning, I had to get up and come to work so that I could get paid for Monday's holiday. What I would like to do is work my normal schedule, and come in for 2 hours on Monday to bring the total (8 holiday hours + 2 normal hours) to my usual 10. Sadly, companies with over 200,000 employees aren't precisely flexible or responsive to individual employees' desires (well, at least those at the bottom of the food chain; I'll bet Phil Condit can take a half vacation day if he wants…), so I'm out of luck.

At least I get Monday off. :sigh:

I've also resolved to post longer posts; a link and a sentence probably isn't very interesting to the few regular readers I do have. This isn't instapundit, after all. :)

09:24 AM by Eric: An indirect Hamas fundraiser speaking Politics

An indirect Hamas fundraiser speaking at Harvard's commencement? What on earth are they thinking? Saw it on Instapundit.

11:32 PM by Eric: The sad thing is that Humor

The sad thing is that this is very, very close to not being satire at all.

05:25 PM by Eric: Hmmm… Interesting explanation of why Culture

Hmmm… Interesting explanation of why the last thing I linked to about Star Wars was wrong. Also an interesting explanation of just why Ep 1 sucked so badly. Worth a read in any case.

This blogspace thing is rather large and convoluted, isn't it? There's always something interesting going on.

09:54 AM by Eric: Andrew Sullivan has written a Politics

Andrew Sullivan has written a really interesting article on the growing distance between the super rich and everyone else -- and the growing resentment on the part of everyone else. He has some intriguing thoughts and figures on possible solutions, too.

10:18 PM by Eric: Ah ha! I found it! Culture

Ah ha! I found it! Now if only I had the cash to purchase it…

09:01 PM by Eric: I hate it when that Culture

I hate it when that happens. I read on some other blog the other day about a book comparing the results of the American and French Revolutions -- two similar revolts that inspired each other, grew out of similar circumstances, etc, but have had wildly differing results. Now, of course, I can't find the blog. I thought it was Instapundit, but it's not. I want to read this book. Following one's own trail in blogspace is frustrating.

12:35 AM by Eric: Is anyone else completely unsurprised by this? Personal
11:28 AM by Eric: Much as I love Star Culture

Much as I love Star Wars, it does have some pretty big problems, philosophically speaking. For instance, is the Empire really evil? And that's not even mentioning midichlorians (gag) or the Virgin Birth (sputter). Of course, the link above doesn't really address the harsh disciplinary measures routinely used by the upper echelons of the Imperial Command (screwed up a mission? Hope you have life insurance…), or the purge of the Jedi (initiated by Palpatine, and not defensible IMO), etc. But it's still interesting to consider.

05:07 PM by Eric: People who refer to their Personal

People who refer to their SO as "the boy" or "the girl"… they annoy me. I see this on a number of blogs, which makes me think it's reached some kind of critically massive blogger slang stage or something, but it feels so incredibly… detached. Like the SO in question is just J. Random Girlfriend, who could be replaced at any minute by any reasonably priced competing model (think dishwashers and refrigerators here) without a problem. Of course, for many of these people I suppose that might be true. But it still irritates me.

In other news, the drive back into town last night was horrific and impressive all in one. Illinois was one huge Severe Thunderstorm from Indiana to Missouri, and we drove smack through the middle of it. It was bad enough that at one point we actually pulled over and sat under an overpass for twenty minutes or so. There's something slightly nerve wracking about sitting under an overpass in the dark, with rain coming down so hard you can't see the street ten feet beyond the overpass edge, and having semis come roaring by at 60+ miles per hour. On the other hand some of the lightning was something to see… there would be cascades of lightning that would start at the edge of the southern horizon and ripple overhead all the way to the northern horizon, lighting everything up with pure white light, and then plunging you into darkness that seemed that much more dense by comparison. Of course, after 2 or 3 hours of that, my whole body was one tensed muscle group, and I'm a fair bit sore today because of it.

Finally, Morrowind seems like it's going to become an addiction, if I ever have time for it. Between the already huge world, millions of side quests, and complete non-linearity of the game, and its impressive flexibility (at one fan site I've already noticed a couple dozen user mods for the game, and it looks like it would be fairly easy to come up with more myself), this game could last years. Not that there aren't a few improvements I'd love, namely NPCs who actually seem to have lives and a multiplayer, persistent version, but this game is shockingly well done.

Okay, that wasn't finally, this is finally: It is occurring to me more and more often that in less than a month Jenny and I will have been married for a year. Life is an interesting thing.

11:10 PM by Eric: File this one under "disturbing things" Personal

File this one under "disturbing things": My web page comes up as the 6th result if you search MSN UK for "dead ferret pictures". See? Freaky. Jenny apparently came up under a search for "matchmaker Janeane Garofolo". Man, that HTTP-REFERER field is a freaky, freaky thing.

However, still scarier is the fact that I'm number 5 if you search HotBot for "free lesbian pissing pics", and 4th on MSN.co.uk for the same search. How I managed that I do not yet understand.

05:12 PM by Eric: Oh, yeah: Verisign sucks. Something Tech

Oh, yeah: Verisign sucks.

Something really needs to be done about the administration of the Net. We're at a point where an autocratic entity with no real right to the power it has levies unconscionable taxes and fines upon its "citizenry", said citizenry has no real say in what happens or even recourse after the fact, and the few powers-that-be who could effect change seem happier ignoring the problem. Well, fine. Speaking as an American, we've been here before. Those who cannot learn from the past are doomed to repeat it, after all; perhaps it's time the Net had a Tea Party.

02:48 PM by Eric: Two Matrix movies, three to Culture

Two Matrix movies, three to four months apart, next summer? I think I'm dreaming. :)

09:41 AM by Eric: Really interesting article over at Tech

Really interesting article over at O'Reilly Net about automatic backlinking in blogs. The example at Disenchanted is rather neat. I can't imagine what Google will make of this, but there's something fascinating about a medium which can make even blog conversations both transparent and traversable. Very cool stuff.

02:21 PM by Eric: We went to see Spider-man Culture

We went to see Spider-man last night with Mark, Sandy, and Christina. Talk about a movie designed to be campy. It was actually surprisingly good, in a lighthearted, self-aware cliched, fun sort of way. There were some lines that were real groaners, but there were some classic lines as well. Our favorite line came when the Green Goblin is standing on top of a bridge, holding a cable in one hand and Mary Jane in the other. The cable leads to a cable car packed with people, dangling precipitously over the river. (Jenny's comment: "There are just some things you don't do in a town with super-villains.") The setup is, of course, that the GG is going to drop both the cable and MJ, and Spider-man can only save one. GG's line (from memory, so probably not precise): "This is why being a hero is for suckers. There's always some lunatic who will come along and give you a horrible choice just like this." Self-referential, funny, and perfectly delivered. It made the movie.

All in all I give it a thumbs up, as long as you're not either going with an anal comic book fan or expecting some dark, serious movie.

In other news, I managed to shut my car door on my right index finger Friday night. Most of the nail has turned black, the fingertip is swollen like crazy, and any kind of pressure is painful. Word to the wise: Be sure all digits are clear of the vehicle before closing doors.

01:19 PM by Eric: And here I thought the Tech

And here I thought the idiotic debate about "deep linking" was over. Apparently The Dallas News feels otherwise. (Uh-oh, that's a deep link… hope Wired doesn't come after me… :rolls eyes:)

It's already been determined by a federal court that deep links do not violate copyright laws and are not deceitful (by their nature, anyway -- theoretically it's possible to create a situation in which this is not true). Therefore TDN's only real complaint is that it's costing them the ad revenue from people failing to hit their front page.

I have two responses to this: 1. So what? Do you expect other webmasters to do your webmasters' jobs for them? If your webmasters can't figure out a way to make ad revenue from actual article pages, then they ought to be fired on the spot. 2. Can you imagine a Web without deep linking? Where either every link has to be followed by a paragraph of explanation on how to get to the actual resource the writer wanted to reference (e.g. "Go to the Washington Post home page, click on Science, look for articles from 4/23/02, it's the one titled "Hamster writes sequel to War and Peace."), or else is completely useless (e.g. This article is really interesting. Which article??)? What kind of a worthless, unnavigable Web would that be?

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This page was last updated Sun 23 September 2007 at 08:46 AM CDT