This Space for Rent

Mar 30, 2007

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Teenage Mutant Ninja Dust Mite??

Mar 28, 2007


  • hung upside-down and slapped until they lost consciousness? IOKIYAR!
  • stabbed with knives? IOKIYAR!
  • subjected to electric shocks? IOKIYAR!
  • deprived of sleep by loud noises and bright lights? IOKIYAR!
  • grabbed by aggressive dogs? IOKIYAR!

You'd think these would be war crimes. You'd think that the scum that authorized this treatment would be on the express bus to a maximum security prison or worse. And you've be wrong, because this is the United States of America and if we stand for anything, it's the divine right of the king to do anything he wants to do.


Mar 27, 2007

How to destroy customer loyalty in one easy step

Many many years ago, I finally snapped and switched from a (very slow) dial-up network connection to a isdn (excuse me; "isdl") line from Northpoint, with the network connectivity provided by a local company which shall, at least for the present, remain unnamed. The service from Northpoint was about what you'd expect from a dotcom; they ate through their venture capitol, then just shut down one afternoon without warning. The unnamed local company, on the other hand, worked very hard to get around the dotcom collapse, and lined up alternative service (which, since it was also a dotcom, ate through its venture capitol, then shut down without warning) a couple of times before all the broadband providers within range died and I had to reluctantly revert to dialup until @Home finally wired my neighborhood and I could get broadband connectivity again.

After seven or eight years on cablemodem (@home, then attbi, and finally comcast; each vendor doing nothing to improve the service, but each of them raising the price by US$10.00/month), I got fed up with comcast after the volume of spam zombie traffic on the local network segment reached a point where I was seeing periodic multi-hour outages, at the same time that comcast "technical support" was saying "oh, there's something wrong with your computer, so you need to (reinstall windows|change your network cables|take your modem into our service center for replacement) and went out to see if the unnamed local company had gotten broadband access into my neighborhood again.

They had, and for US$40/month, so I decided it was time to replace the increasingly unreliable comcast service with a slower, but more technically adept, local service. And I did, and it worked, and the days of the comcast outages were gone, and I rejoiced.

For about two months, until I got my US Worst Qwest phone bill on saturday, which included a US$28 charge for "high speed internet." Hmm, that's funny, because I was getting my high speed internet™ from the unnamed local company. So, off went some mail to the support desk at the local company, saying "am I supposed to be getting phone bills for this service, because I didn't when I last used your services?"

Yesterday, I got a reply of, yes, the phone company charges for the line and the unnamed local company charges an additional US$18/month for network access. Oooo-kay, this didn't add up. US$28 + US$18 != US$40, unless you include a qwest for-one-year-only US$6.00 discount. So off went some more mail saying "um, there's something wrong with the billing here because it's not US$40/month."

This morning, I got back a reply that said, oh no, the billing numbers are correct, and the network connection will cost US$46/month with US$6/month off for the first year of service. And they invited me to look at the prices listed on their website.

Which, for the type of service I signed up for, was US$40/month. Not US$46/month, with a 1-year discount rate, but US$40/month for telco+network charges.

So that would make the advertised prices just what? I'm sure that the marketing people have lots of smooth sounding phrases to describe it, but I prefer a shorter description: the price was a lie.

US$46.00/month is not that much more expensive than the US$45.00 month that Qwest charges for their nasty MSN service (it is much more expensive than the US$32.00 that Qwest charges if you sign a 2 year contract, but that's a different story), so I would have not been too unhappy with it in the first place (sure, it's slower than the cablemodem, but the periodic network outages sort of take the thrill out of a 6mbit cable connection.) But being lied to about the prices? I expect that the phone company will lie to me; it's a big telco, so of course it will lie. But I chose a local company because I was under the illusion that they'd be, well, honest, instead of treating me like just another little money tree.

Imagine my joy to discover that I'm paying extra money for letting the unnamed local company piss all over my formerly high opinion of them. It certainly helps me renew my faith in American capitalism as a machine that creates souless monsters.

Mar 26, 2007

Ecologically sound? Sure, and while we’re dreaming I’d like a pony (pt 2)

If you had a fuel source that caused 33 tons of co2 emissions per ton, you'd think it wasn't particularly good for the environment, particularly when a commonly used alternative causes 3.3 tons of co2 emissions per ton. But, no, the commonly used alternative is petroleum, and the not particularly good for the environment one is biodiesel, so all the so-called carbon-sensitive governments are crawling over each other to promote the super-polluting "natural" choice.

Destroying tropical habitat? Oh, that's just a bonus, because thanks to the wonders of the free market it just doesn't count if the co2 fountain is in a third world country. And all those starving peasants? Yup, you guessed it; third world country, so it doesn't count.

It may count if this extra co2 can cause the apocolyptic holy grail (runaway global warming, death of 90% of the species on this planet, and, possibly, some intelligent species evolving a hundred million years down the line,) but that's not much of a sense of accomplishment for people like me who would like to see the family DNA survive without such a ridiculous future.

But, hey, I don't drive a fucking hummer, so I don't count. After all, it's selfish to want humanity to survive if it means that people in the so-called "first world" have to tweak their lifestyles to be more efficient.

(fun facts about biofuels courtesy of George Monbiot)

Mar 25, 2007

Ecologically sound? Sure, and while we’re dreaming I’d like a pony.

Ah, biofuels. Not only do they end up costing more energy than they produce, but they're also driving the orangutang to extinction. But, hey, who cares about extinction when you can pretend to be earthy-crunchy without actually changing your habits at all?

1 comment

My, my, my, what have we here?

Nuclear power is *good* if you're a US client state

Remember, the "problem" with Iran wanting nuclear power isn't that Iran wants to build nuclear devices, but that Iran doesn't have a compliant puppet like the (now thankfully ex-)Shah. The B*sdh junta has absolutely no problems with brutal islamic dictatorships (how can they? The Saud family are close personal friends, and the Wahhabi fundamentalists are about as barking mad as the organized christopaths in the USA,) but they can't stand the thought that some state might stand up and defy them, even if that state started out by making a deal to help the Evil Party win the 1980 presidential election.

Cernig claims that Darth Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were involved in arranging to sell the nuclear plants to Iran...

Saddam Hussein and Donald Rumsfeld make a bet about which one can butcher more Iraqi citizens.  Rumsfeld won that bet.
... and this does not sound at all unlikely to me. Honour among thieves, doncha know.

(from Deficient Brain, via News Hog)


Taking the piss out of the FOOB trainwreck
Lio takes aim at the FOOBiverse

(via cheshyre, on James Nicoll's weblog)

Let’s not pave it over and put in a parking lot

We have a two car garage, which, thanks to some hamfisted home "improvements" by a previous owner, is never used to store automobiles. We also have, thanks to a previous owner, a chunk of our tiny backyard removed and replaced with a thick slab of concrete. We couldn't actually use this part of the backyard for anything, so it ended up just being a large ugly wasteland that I used as a yard for yard debris and other junk that was on its way out to the dump but wasn't yet a big enough pile to warrant hiring a dumpster.

It wasn't very attractive, particularly in the height of summer when the huge concrete slab soaked up heat, then radiated it out to make those hot summer days even hotter. It certainly didn't make me want to go and spend any time in the backyard, so the backyard suffered (it suffered more when yellowjackets started to colonize the area, and we retreated at a dead run from the summertime swarms of yellow and black stinging monsters.) Eventually we decided it had to go, so for a good part of last year we hunted around for a contractor who would cut the slab up into smaller pieces, but were unable to find one.

Finally, two weeks ago, I snapped and grabbed mallets, cold chisels, and shovels and started to break the stupid thing up in the traditional old fashioned way (by undercutting the slab, then hurling 40-pound boulders at the overhang.) It's not a particularly fast way to remove concrete, but it's a wonderful way to work out my frustrations with my rapidly deteriorating work environment.

In two weeks, the bears and I have managed to remove about 9 square yards of concrete (which is now piled up in a 12 foot long stone wall), dig out around a cubic yard of topsoil which has washed down from the property behind us (a narrow walkway behind a commercial building,) mix that topsoil with leafmold from a wormpile (a wormpile that was heaped on the now-removed chunk of concrete), and dump the resulting soil into the excavation left after removing the concrete slabs.

It's, even if we go out and buy a palletload of sod, cheaper than hiring someone else to do the work, and it's intensely gratifying to be able to do the work myself. And when I get a little bit farther into this, I'll feel more confident that I can start upgrading the garage without making everyone else in the family think I'm merely committing a particularly spectacular hacker's suicide.

Mar 24, 2007

A cherry blossom festival writ (very) small

A tiny cherry tree

When we moved into Chateau Chaos, there were two huge old cherry trees sitting at the back of our lot. One was as dead as a doornail, and the other was clinging grimly to life and producing buckets of cherries from the sole remaining living branch (a branch that was about 20 feet above the ground. We could have reached it from the garage, if not for the teeny detail that the garage looks like it would crumple of someone stepped on top of the roof.) Most of these cherries ended up being carried away by birds and squirrels, but a few of them hit dirt and started growing little cherry trees (and all, or so we thought, of them died soon after encountering a single waterless summer.)

We also had a huge caster bean bush planted at the side of the house in the approximately 30 inches between the driveway and the house. Eventually, the idea of having our own little ricin factory became unacceptable (to say nothing of having the driveway vanish under the tentacles of this broadleaved monstrosity, so we hacked it down and carted it away, leaving nothing but a couple of scraggly little tree or bush shoots and a small pit where the caster bean bush was rooted.) We didn't pay much attention to this particular tree, except for a couple of "oh, I guess we'll have to pull this down before it breaks up the foundation" comments, and left it to fend for itself while some of our super-aggressive grass leapt in and started to colonise the verge.

This year I've been working away at the driveway, breaking up the concrete slabs and replacing them with topsoil (and possibly some purchased grass, instead of waiting 5 years for the existing grass to colonise the area.) Today, I wanted to take a picture of the excavations (it's either work on the driveway or do a native Windows port of rsync, and, even with the help of mingw, it's more appealing to break up and move several tons of concrete) and I noticed that, for the first time, the little weed tree was blossoming.

So I guess we'll be transplanting it instead of cutting it down. Maybe I'll plant it at the head of Suzzy's grave.

1 comment

Mar 23, 2007

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

When dinosaurs go shopping.

New Code! (I’m an idiot edition)

When I added immediate mail delivery to postoffice last month, I thought I'd tested the silly thing on a variety of machines. But, no, I didn't. I tested it on pell, which runs (as all good Linux boxes should) more-or-less SLS linux with a pure a.out userland (dunno what I'm going to do if I ever migrate the machine to a x86_64 platform, because at least as of Linux 2.6.9 a.out support has been broken there (with the traditional Linux "oh, nobody even uses a.out anyway" excuse that I've heard before) and I'm not planning to climb onto the Elf-style "we don't need backwards compatability! We're Open Source®™© and it's trivial™ to update 1500 software packages to the bleeding edge every time you turn around" until it's much closer to the time_t apocolypse.) and completely forgot to test it on newer systems that have a working flock() system call.

Valkai Elod, from, sent me a patch today saying "um, this is where you broke postoffice in 1.3.8a" and I took a brief look only to discover that, yes, I hadn't tested 1.3.8a on any of my FreeBSD machines, because if I had I would have noticed that it was completely and utterly broken for lack of a two character prefix on a string.

So I put in a quick two-line fix and New Code! is available for people who like to have their MTA actually deliver mail.

Mar 22, 2007

The problem with recovery

Is that, at least in the land with the worst healthcare system in the first world, is that when you're recovered you fall off corporate healthcare and have to hunt for individual insurance.

Which is, um, impossible if you've had anything go wrong with you. Ever. Sure, you can get into "high-risk" pools, which means that if you pay US$20,000/yr you can get an insurance plan that kicks in after a US$ridiculous deductable.

Mind you, this tiny detail isn't going to stop me from giving notice, but after I do that I'm going to have to upgrade my resume and start writing compelling cover letters like a madman before the magic 12-month COBRA (where I'll pay US$20,000 for the regular old sucky health insurance I got with my current job) disappears and plunges the family into bankruptcy. Having my health insurance on a short timer might suck, but it's better than having my blood pressure crank up to the point of projectile bleedout again.

Time to get a list of Canadian software houses that are begging to get a Linux kernel programmer working for them, and then hit them with a full-court whineathon.

Life on the River(#14)

A Ross Island Sand & Gravel tugboat pushes a load of crane north towards the Ross Island Bridge.

Mar 21, 2007

The dark curse known as meetings

At work I'm sort of the Linux kernel go-to guy, which might be all fine and good except for one teeny little problem. And that problem is that since I'm the Linux kernel guy, that means that basically everything that's not the Linux kernel is being handed to other people, and so if I do anything that's not just tweaking the kernel I have to wait for those other people to decide what they're going to do, then have a meeting and tell me what I can do.

So, such things as, oh, checking my changes into version control? Oh, no, you've got to have a meeting with the person who has just this last week been assigned the job of setting up where to put things into version control. Okay, so that won't be happening for a while, because even though it's important to tell me to not check code in, it's not important to actually save six weeks of work I've done to build an automated 2.4 to 2.6 upgrade process. So, okay, I'll just not work on that until my corporate masters finish the important meetings and give me imperial approval to, um, save all these changes. But that's okay, because I need to add a new device driver to the build, then make a bunch of changes so we can use it in userland. Well, it's actually a device driver that's already in the 2.4 build and I've already prototyped a round of changes. But, no, I can't actually make any of these changes because, yes, I don't have any authority to do anything in this part of userland and I'll have to have another goddamn meeting to plead my case with my bedazzled with (bad) technology (and the Gallop Q12 scam! Can't forget the Gallop Q12 scam!) corporate masters before I can actually do anything.

So I can't actually do anything.

What a waste of my time. It's clear and sunny outside most days, but there I sit in my stupid cube, trying to do make-work until the clock strikes 5:00pm and I can bolt out of the office like a racehorse out of the gate, while half a dozen software projects sit at home rotting away (and by the time I get home I'm so burned out so all I can do is read weblogs until I fall asleep (only to wake up the next morning to do the whole stupid thing again.)

I know there are some people who love the whole "go into work and stare at the wall for eight hours" routine, but it's driving me *nuts* and depressing me to the point where the effort of updating and sending out my resume seems too hard to even consider doing. Perhaps I'm not suited for the corporate life. Perhaps I'm not suited for this corporate life. Maybe it's time, at age 47, to throw it all over and become an artist.

1 comment

Aerial tramway photo of the day

US$55 million in flight
South flies overhead.

Mar 18, 2007

Cute baby pictures of the day

Russell with a work of art­ Silas with a work of art

It was about 5:30pm when we left the Grease Ball, so we were fairly hungry. Fortunately for us, the Wonder Ballroom is just down the street from the restaurant where diets go to die, so we went there for supper. While waiting for the food to arrive, the bears did some drawings, which they wanted to show me when they realized I was sneakily taking pictures of them.

Captain Bogg & Salty, et al, at the Grease Ball

This afternoon, we went to the Grease Ball at the Wonder Ballroom because it gave us another chance to see Captain Bogg & Salty in concert again. Being able to see the Sprockettes again was a bonus, since we'd not seen them since they played at Iron Artist a couple of years ago.

The Wonder Ballroom is a nice place, but it's not quite the same as the Moreland Theatre (no seats, for one, and the best wasn't the producer of this show, so I couldn't get out of my seat and scamper up and down the aisles to take pictures at better angles) is for taking pictures. But be that as it may, it was worth bringing the camera along.

­ ­

When we got into the ballroom, there was an area roped off in front of the stage, so, of course, the Sprockettes were the first group to perform. Since it was such a tiny space, they didn't have room to fit all of the Sprockettes in, but instead did a micro-Sprockette performance with five people. And, since it was such a tiny space, the performance was more dance and less bicycle than the previous time I'd seen them (which was also at the Wonder Ballroom, but out on the street instead of inside the ballroom.)

One solitary Jellydot

The second group was Doug Snyder from the Austin band The Jellydots, plus, eventually, a drummer and base player from another band that I didn't catch the name of. Mr. Snyder is a fairly restrained performer, and it was hard to actually get a lively picture out of him, but eventually he played a song about multiplying by three which pulled him out from behind the microphone for long enough to get a couple of pictures.

­ ­ ­

Go Bobcats!

Buckle wasn't in this performance, but the rest of the group was. Two unfortunate features about a regular stage and melee seating on the floor are (a) you can't move around to get better camera angles without blocking everyone's view and (b) you can't see the drummer. I managed to get a few pictures of Ramshackle, but none were very, um, revealing.

Captain Bogg & Salty played a collection of mainly songs from their first two albums, but with one from their third album and two (three?) still unpublished works; one about the hazards of drinking seawater and a sequel to Sea Monster.

Mar 16, 2007

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

back on the chain gang

Dust Mite poses on the pile of rubble left after I demolished part of the driveway today. I'm not sure just what I'm going to do with 3-4 tons of concrete rubble, but Dust Mite and the bears are perfectly happy to use it as a giant mountain to climb.

Mar 15, 2007

How I spent my day off

I took the day off work today, allegedly to start ripping up parts of the concrete driveway (our house has had a chequered past; one previous owner thought it would be just grand to put in a deck, another one thought that structural integrity was overrated, so they cut the front out of the garage so they could have room to fit a tall truck in (the garage had a truss running across the front so it could fit two vehicle doors and a regular door into an ~7 meter wide building. This meant you couldn't fit cars taller than 2.5 meters into the garage. This, apparently, wasn't enough, and look! if you bundled three 2x4s together and wedged them between the two vehicle doors you could cut out the truss and fit your 3 meter high TRUCK into the now scarily sagging building. When we moved in, I was thinking of closing off the garage and making it into a workshop, but after I saw the, um, enhancements I retreated at a dead run from the poor building), and one (probably the one who modified the garage) decided that it would be grand to replace 3 square meters of our pathetic little backyard with a concrete slab.)

At least that was the plan, and I did get started. But the bears had different ideas for how to spend my time:

a bunch of lego mechs

Sometime last fall we were in Finnegans looking for a present for one of Russell's friends, and I spotted one forlorn little Exo-force Uplink kit sitting tucked into a shelf among a pile of (horrid) Bionicle dolls. Now, I read too much manga (and I watch too much anime,) so the thought of rescuing this little mech and a lego guy with anime hair™ was too much to pass by, so I forked out the US$5.00 and took it home.

At which point the bears fell absolutely in love with anime hair guys and mechs (almost as much as the lego Star™ Wars© guys) and went into an (ongoing) obsession with mechs, killer robots, and trying to acquire as many lego mechs as possible (there are 3-4 of the anime hair guys that they really love, but the others, eh, they don't really care, and I keep tripping over loose pieces of anime hair scattered around the house.) But eventually they decided that they didn't like the stock mechs, so they started to customise them, and the day came when Russell dismantled his Go Big Red Mech and wanted me to build him one from scratch. Okay, no problem there (front row left; the one with the blue leggings and the radar dish.) I built it, he loved it (as klunky as it was), and he used it to kill Evil Robots™, Clone Troopers™, Anakin Skywalker, and the occasional skeleton guy with great glee (Silas was still happy with his *his* Go Big Red Mech, and didn't want me to build him one from scratch.)

Sometime last week, Russell decided he wanted me to build him another mech. I put it off, and he kept asking, until I finally snapped last night and built him a second one (front row center; the one with the Ghost of Tom standing in front of it) which I finished this morning.

Well, when Silas caught wind of this and realized that Russell had two big mechs while he only had one, there was wailing and rending of garments in Chateau Chaos until I promised to build him one as well. So, after demolishing half a square meter of concrete (and catching up on breadmaking), we proceeded into the library and spent about 4 hours building another mech (front row right.)

It's not what I'd call a particularly productive use of time, except that not having fighting children is generally a Good Thing here in Chateau Chaos, but it's kind of fun trying to fit something together and make it look interesting but not so laughably unrealistic that even the bears would notice.

If I'm lucky, I'll be able to remove the remaining chunk of concrete tomorrow.

Mar 14, 2007

trolley picture of the (yester)day

Two Inekon Trio's at Gibbs St

(much editing: I thought that one of these cars was a Trio, but I'm no longer certain. In any case, one is sitting at Gibbs St. while another approaches along the single-track line that's laid on the roadbed of the old SP Red Electric.)

cat picture of the day

cat in dresser

Mavis gives a demonstration of why you should never leave a dresser drawer open in a cat-filled house.

Um, hello, is this supposed to make any sense?

Top House Democrats retreated Monday from an attempt to limit President Bush's authority for taking military action against Iran as the leadership concentrated on a looming confrontation with the White House over the Iraq war.

(--AP article via Yahoo)

So let's get this right. It's important to tell the drunk driver that he did a bad thing when he drove the family car into a tree, but it's not important enough to take the goddamn keys when he asks if he can take the other car out for a spin?

Oy. I'm so glad to see that winning a majority in the House and Senate didn't change the pathetic incompetence that I've come to expect from the Democratic Party.




Mar 13, 2007

What he said

We the undersigned call on each and every United States Senator to participate in a filibuster to end the war in Iraq. It only takes 41 votes to sustain a filibuster and prevent funding requests from the Bush administration from coming to debate or a vote. The Bush administration would then have to return with a funding request that is satisfactory to the 41. That bill should include funds to bring all U.S. forces home quickly and safely but no money to prosecute the war in Iraq. Pro-war Senators used this tactic twice in February to stop non-binding resolutions condemning the so-called "surge." If pro-war Senators can use this tactic, then anti-war Senators should use it also. Right now the filibuster is the only way to end the war in a veto-proof fashion. We call upon each and every Senator to join a filibuster effort to end the loss of life and save our country.

I just signed this new petition. No matter how small, each individual action can combine with many similar actions. They could add up significantly. (And John Kerry might recall his statement from 1971 that appears on that page: "We should start now to talk about filibustering for the saving of lives and of our country.")

Do it -- to stop an immoral and criminal war that kills and horribly wounds more and more people each day that it continues. It only takes a minute.

(--Arthur Silber)

Even if you're totally on board with having the USA do a preemptive attack on, well, anyone that the B*sh junta and AIPAC (a dual-purpose advocacy group: they mean to destroy both Israel and the United States!) gets a "bad feeling" about, consider that the United States didn't have the leadership needed to defeat a country that was about as effectively armed as Sandy, Oregon, and that our armed forces are right now being destroyed in the hell that Maximum Leader Genius has made out of Iraq. All another war will do (well, aside from enrich the Coward in Chief's friends and family) is hasten the utter destruction of the US military.

I'd think that the utter immorality of unprovoked aggressive warfare (and, please, spare me the bullshit about "poor little Israel" -- a country that has 200+ nuclear devices is more than capable of doing it's own unprovoked aggressive warfare, thankyouverymuch) would be enough to have anyone leaping for the OFF switch. But if not, consider that it will wreck this country even more than it's being wrecked right now.

Mar 12, 2007

More like this, please

I had researched our statutes and provided seven pages, single spaced, of statute cites (statute number with a few words of description) noting where marriage was tied to civil rights of couples.

Those statutes, if gay couples married out of the state were to move to Wyoming, would deny them their civil rights under the proposed law. Our definition of marriage has been in place since the late 1800’s and does define it as a civil contract between a man and a woman.

It does not make it right with the understanding of human makeup as known today.

(--Wyoming state Rep. Pat Childers)

Under a democracy the civil rights struggle continues today, where we have one segment of our society trying to restrict rights and privelges from another segment of our society. My parents raised me to know that this is wrong.

It is wrong for one segment of society to restrict rights and freedoms from another segment of society. I believe many of you have had this conversation with your children.

(--Wyoming state Rep. Dan Zwonitzer)

These weren't just speeches. These two representatives voted against a proposed Hate Law in Wyoming and helped kill it dead before it even got out of committee.

I echo Representative Childers concerns, that testifying against this bill may cost me my seat. I have two of my precinct committee persons behind me today who are in favor of this bill, as I stand here opposed, and I understand that I may very well lose my election. It cost 4 moderate Republican Senators in Kansas their election last year for standing up on this same issue. But I tell myself that there are some issues that are greater than me, and I believe this is one of them. And if standing up for equal rights costs me my seat so be it. I will let history be my judge, and I can go back to my constituents and say I stood up for basic rights. I will tell my children that when this debate went on, I stood up for basic rights for people.

(--Dan Zwomiter)

Here's the interesting thing about it: Mr. Childers and Mr. Zwonitzer are Republicans, and they spoke out and voted against that Hate Law even though they knew that they might lose their seats in the state Legislature because they did the decent and moral thing by voting against the Hate Law.

I hold the bar very high when it comes to members of the Evil Party, but in this case I can only say thank you for doing the right and decent thing.

(from Pam's House Blend & Pandagon, via Bouphonia)

Mar 11, 2007


I guess that the Snakes on a Plane movie was actually a gauntlet to be flung down before the ranked masses of horror movie producers, daring them to beat the absolutely ridiculous idea of, well, snakes on a plane.

It looks like someone has accepted that challenge. Either that or they watched too many Babe/Monty Python marathons at an impressionable age. If I had the desire to watch goreathons, the tagline "There are 40 million sheep in New Zealand and they're pissed off!" would be like a bowlful of sugar to a flock of ants.

(link via the mighty god king)


Mar 09, 2007

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

One of the problems of having a Dust Mite in a house that also contains bears is that occasionally Dust Mite will just *vanish* on a Friday afternoon, only to reappear after Friday Dust Mite Blogging has come and gone. This week is one of those occasionally; after a week of having Dust Mite underfoot, here it is friday and *poof* there's nothing here but us humans.

If I did catblogging, I could always fall back on a picture of the three cats launching themselves at their foodbowls, but for some odd reason it's hard to lure a stuffed Dust Mite toy out from hiding by opening a can of catfood.

Mar 08, 2007

Benefits of a sensible diet

On December 23rd, I weighed ~225 pounds when I went to the doctor's office and discovered that my blood pressure was somewhere in the ballpark of "if your heart doesn't explode, you're likely to have a projectile bleedout if you cut yourself." The doctor suggested dangerous drugs, and when I expressed my extreme reluctance to fix a new problem by the application of a drug that cost US$70/month after my pitiful excuse for insurance kicked in, said that I could try to tweak my diet instead. Mind you, tweaking my diet isn't much cheaper than drugs (the best thinks that "tweak" is a bit of an understatement, and I do suppose that eating US$15 worth of apples a week is a bit of a dietary change), but at least it keeps the drugs as a good last line of defence if the sky falls and I have to reduce my blood pressure ASAP.

Today, I went back to the doctor's office for a routine physical (provoked by the december visit) and weighed in at 194.3 pounds. I knew that my weight was going down, but I didn't know it would be dropping two stone and change (another stone and a half and I'll be down to what a lot of people think is the appropriate weight for a 6'1" man) by simply tweaking my diet.


Mar 07, 2007

It gets even better.

You'd think that if a country has a citizen kidnapped and imprisoned in a neighboring country that the first thing they'd do is start to raise an indignant diplomatic fuss to get that prisoner released. Particularly when they've complained about it before. But, no, not this time. Because this time it wasn't a bounty hunter doing the kidnapping, it was the American Imperium, and if there's anything that Stephen Harper believes in, it's sucking up to the Coward in Chief.

Rights of Canadian citizens? Piffle. It's more important to be a close personal friend of the B*sh junta, because (aside from Conrad Black, and he's already in the dock) there just aren't that many Canadians who can get you into the refined circles (mass murderers, embezzlers, torturers, and all of them with a fully stocked wine cellar and luxurious chateaux in prestigious vacation spots. And you don't get into those circles by waving money around. The currency they desire is *power*, and having your country swear fealty to them is about the only way you'll get invited in.)

Canada isn't "in a position to dictate what happens in other jurisdictions". Yeah, right. Whatever happened to "When a Canadian citizen is taken from a third country and imprisoned [...], this is a serious concern to this country" ? Doesn't the Chinese government engage in theft in a big enough scale for you, or do you only cozy up to despotic countries ruled by white people?

And a large subset of the Canadian electorate actually likes this guy? Sheesh, this really makes me wonder if humanity even has the sense to breathe when it's raining.

(update via pretty shaved ape @ Canadian Cynic)

Mar 06, 2007

Sucks to be me

I've been figuring that the US economy is overdue for a fairly spectacular bellyflop onto the rocks of a free™ market© for quite some time now, so I haven't paying much attention to the erratic lurching of the US markets recently. Perhaps I should have been a little more attentive, because even though I'm fairly paranoid about my savings, I'm still twined too deeply into the massive game of two-card monte that is the US stock market.

One of the class benefits I've got is access to some of the lower-hanging fruit from the "make the rich even richer" orchard. In particular, the company I work for has provided me with a large wad of stock options, which were worth about US$5000 about two weeks ago. But today, well, it's not quite the same. Lenin's Tomb had an article (cheerfully titled CRASH) about how the markets were, um, not doing very well, so I decided to go and see how my upper class work benefits were doing. That US$5000 in potential money? No more! It's worth US$3000 today, and the American Imperium hasn't even attacked Iran yet.

I'd imagine that my other stock holdings would not look particularly good right around now. And the annoying thing is that when I was at the peak of my income (at the beginning of the .com boom, before I got cautious and wrote off my opportunities to make multiple millions working for startup companies of dubious merit) I put a large wad of money into stock funds, which immediately became the monetary equivalent of lead balloons, and didn't come back up to what I'd put in until, ahem, November. So if the economy crashes again (and why the hell shouldn't it? You can't base a superpower economy on a real-estate bubble and treasury looting, at least not for very long) I'd fully expect that the value of that stock will go heavily negative again.

Never mind that even if this potential money wasn't evaporating all it would be used for would be to pay for participating in the gougingly expensive American "health care" system (another American system which is being subverted into being a machine to create monsters. I don't blame doctors that much, because If *I* went a quarter million into debt to get trained, I'd lunge after those US$200,000 job offers like a starving bass at a fly (and after you've been paid too damn much money for a while it becomes routine.) No, the monsters being created here are insurance and pharmecutical industry executives, who are perfectly happy to pauperize American citizens so they can get a second or third gold-filled swimming pool, and their pawns in the US government who are perfectly happy to watch the economy sink just as long as they keep getting their payola "campaign contributions",) but it would still be nice to be able to delay the "oh, you've got cancer but you don't have a million dollars for treatment? Sucks to be you!" moment until a couple of years after I retire.

The bus drove by, so I had to take a picture

North heads up towards OMSI at about 5:10pm tonight.

1 comment

Mar 05, 2007

Trolley photo of the day (not dead yet version)

Red-Blue sneaks up on our Prius

It's been a busy few days, so I haven't had a chance to actually say anything (and what free time I've had has been taken up by the lego vacuum, which is now in the stage of "oh, lord, I never want to look at another automatic binding brick in my life" as I start running out of legos left, right, and center,) but when we were downtown looking for a birthday present for one of Russell's friends (a present which was -- yup, you guessed it! -- MORE LEGOS) we found ourselves playing leapfrog with a Skoda Astra. I had my camera, the Astra was following us, and our car has side mirrors.

I'm sure that nobody has ever thought of taking a picture of something reflected in a car mirror before.

Mar 02, 2007

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

too healthy
Carrots are all fine and good, but Dust Mite would rather have something more intoxicating.

Dumber than a sack of kittens

U.S. House Democrats seek more war funds than Bush

U.S. House of Representatives Democrats will more than fully fund President George W. Bush's request for money to fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this year, but are still debating conditions that could be attached, senior lawmakers said on Thursday.

(Reuters, via Lenin's Tomb)

It's noble and good that some of this extra money is supposed to be for "fully funding" the war we seem to be losing in Afghanistan and that some more of the extra money is supposed to be for medical care for wounded soldiers, but be real, please; unless there are restrictions along the line of "you divert this money and we will impeach your sorry ass" (and even then there's no guarantee it would work, because the Evil Party has more than 35 seats in the Senate and they wouldn't impeach the Coward in Chief even if he made a habit of butchering and eating babies on prime time television), all this extra money will be diverted into the pocketbooks of those good friends of the B*sh junta who helped us lose Afghanistan and converted Iraq into hell on earth.

"Republicans and many conservative Democrats have expressed opposition to adding such conditions. That has forced House Democratic leaders to try to find a compromise that allows them to say they are working to phase out the war while also fully funding troops already in Iraq." Great! So, tell me, why should I be supporting the Stupid Party? It's all fine and dandy that the house has passed a bunch of doomed "in the first 100 hours" bills, but it seems like it would be a complete no-brainer to (a) not lard up a bill with money to support a war that a large majority of the US electorate doesn't want to be in, and (b) pass that bill without trying to weaken it to gain the support of a minority party that has reliably seen the war as nothing more than an opportunity to line their own pockets with money from the government purse.

You'd think that winning the 2006 elections would have been enough of a clue, but, no, it's more important to shovel even more good money after bad because otherwise the chattering morons on the right (all cowards, btw) will accuse them of being "soft on defense." Sheesh.


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