28 Aug 2003

Same old song

More procrastination. I'm telling you, this is the worst it's ever been. It's like Zeno's thesis---have I made this comparison before?---and the closer it gets to completion, the harder I find it to do work. It's so close (which is good, since I plan to turn it in tomorrow (today) at 3:30).

Perhaps relatedly, I'm astonished at the extent to which I just don't care about little things that a month or two ago I would've been totally perfectionist about. Ah well.

Unrelatedly, Rob has been playing with the coolest geek toy ever. His new cell phone, in addition to being a phone and a camera, is Bluetooth-enabled; and with a free client on his iBook and an $8 program on his phone, he can use the phone as a remote control for iTunes, iDVD, or anything else. He can press buttons from across the room to go to the next or previous song, or up the volume, or mute the thing, or turn on the visualiser, or anything you can write AppleScript for. You can also trigger stuff to happen when the phone moves into or out of range, and when the phone rings... so when you walk away from the computer, you can have it automagically turn off the music and activate the screensaver. And it'll come back on when you walk back in. And if the phone rings, you can have it mute the volume while you take the call.

It's geek heaven!

"Why are you so defensive about this? I like that you have neat cool impractical things." --Angela Feraco

Posted by blahedo at 12:33am | Comments (2)

27 Aug 2003

Scariest day of my life

Seriously. I'm fine now, but it was worrisome for a while there.

This morning, I initially got up around 8:30, chatted with Theresa on the phone for a few minutes and Sam in person for a few minutes; decided that despite plans to print out my thesis, I wanted the sleep more, and went back to bed. Felt totally fine, though, aside from being tired.

Got up again around 11:45. And... my chest felt tight when I breathed. Mild hypochondriac that I am, my first thought was "omg a heart attack!" before rational mind kicked in and said "no, 25-year-olds don't have heart attacks. Calm yourself. It's just some random thing, it'll go away." So I took my shower and, around 12:15, headed to the annual CS department picnic at Pembroke Field, a block away from the house I'm staying at.

On the way there, the chest pain was getting worse. It localised to the left side, and my inner hypochondriac was going nuts, but I told myself that not only was it probably nothing, if it were something, far better to be in a place with lots of people around. So I went on in.

As I got there, I talked briefly to Shriram and Kathi, leaning on a chair; I realised I was actually leaning on it for support, which was a little unnerving. After that I headed toward the food table and Jennet said hi, so I wandered over there, grabbed a soda, and sat down to talk, except that I didn't talk much and was kind of zoned out. This was when I broke out into a cold sweat all over; my autonomic nervous system was discovering that shallow breathing from the diaphragm hurt least, and was compensating accordingly. Genie picked up on my distraction, but I smiled and brushed it off. Maybe food would help.

I grabbed a cheeseburger and went and sat at yet another table to eat it. I didn't really want it, but I forced a bite, then another; the chest pain was getting slowly worse, and at some point I realised that even if this was not a heart attack, there was something desperately wrong and I needed some attention. I believe I said, "Something is wrong", while clutching my chest; Paul asked if I was nauseous, and I managed to say, "no, my chest hurts, and there's something really wrong." Speaking is hard when you can't breathe, y'see. Kevin Ingersoll was immediately on top of things, called over Mark Oribello who is an EMT (and volunteer fireman in Warren, RI). I guess this must have been about 12:45.

He started asking questions, like where it hurt, when it started, was I allergic to anything, and called Brown EMS right away. They arrived in maybe four or five minutes, and drove onto the field---my main thought at this point being, "how embarrassing", because a solid 80% of the students, faculty, and staff of the CS dept were there at this point. Someone at my table made a comment about it, wondering what it was there for; I said, "yeah, um, that's for me", eliciting an "OMG what's wrong???" But by this point Mark had relayed my condition in clipped medical terminology to the EMTs, who then got me on a gurney and rolled me into the back of the ambulance.

I was totally in serious pain at this point. Laying down, or even half-sitting up, was really not the optimal position for minimising the pain, not that I had other options, being belted onto the gurney. They did triage stuff for a few minutes, then carted me off to Miriam hospital. Among other things, they stuck an IV in me, which I was expecting---and I warned them I was desperately needlephobic, and that they should probably hold off on the IV until after they got my blood pressure---though not that it would take them three tries to get it in. Dammit. (They seemed impressed that I remained analytical enough to be making comments like that, though.) They also gave me three baby aspirin and a nitroglycerin pill---on this last, they were pretty sure it wasn't a heart attack, but if it were, that would have helped. (It didn't help.)

I got to the hospital and was checked in at 1:17 (that's what it said on the ER whiteboard that I could see from my room). A lot happened there, but most of it was me explaining about five different times what-all had happened; they gave me a dose of Toridol, which is a heavy-duty anti-inflammatory, and that seems to be the thing that really helped. After that I got an EKG and a chest X-ray, and by the time I was done with the X-ray it wasn't hurting at all.

The doctors (one a resident, one in charge) explained that honestly, they weren't sure exactly what it was---probably just an inflammation. My heart is fine and my lungs are fine. I'm on relatively high doses of ibuprofen for the next few days, but they both thought that even driving to Illinois on Friday shouldn't be a problem.

Since checking out of the hospital, I have walked around a little bit, and a two-block walk does bring the pain back (though on a smaller scale); resting and talking makes it go back down. When I walked back home, I took it really slow and it got only a tiny bit worse. The ibuprofen definitely makes a difference.

So in the end, I'm fine, though it was pretty scary. Calling the ambulance was definitely the right thing, and Kevin and Mark are definitely my heroes today for helping out.

The real moral of this story, though, is never let your health insurance lapse. Brown's health insurance ends on 15 August every year, and my insurance through Knox doesn't kick in until 1 September, so thank God I bought short-term coverage for this gap period I'm in right now. I took a $500 deductible, so it still won't be cheap, but it certainly won't break my bank, either. Whew.

"As a widespread phenomenon rather than a nuisance, piracy occurs when artificial restrictions in the market jack up prices beyond what people think are reasonable. The "regulation-enforcement-more regulation" strategy is a bottomless pit which continually recreates (on a larger scale) the problem it supposedly solves." --Eric Flint

Posted by blahedo at 7:54pm | Comments (3)

24 Aug 2003

When Nature Attacks!

I just saw the coolest thing. I was walking through campus, and I hear a piercing bird cry to my right; a small flock of perhaps a dozen birds exploded from a big shade tree to my left, and this falcon powerdives from the top of the building to my right, snags one of the flock out of the air with an audible snap, and carries it across the green and around a corner. I call it a falcon, though I have no clue actually---it was brown with snowy white speckles around its breast and back, if that helps. Anyway, the bird being carried away wasn't struggling at all (its wings were hanging behind) so I'm guessing it was killed, or at least stunned, instantly.

Never saw anything like it before.

"When religion and politics travel in the same cart, the riders believe nothing can stand in their way. Their movement becomes headlong---faster and faster and faster. They put aside all thought of obstacles and forget that a precipice does not show itself to a man in a blind rush until it's too late." --Bene Gesserit proverb

Posted by blahedo at 9:47am | Comments (1)

22 Aug 2003

Fiscal Irresponsibility Friday

Today is Fiscal Irresponsibility Friday. If you haven't already, write a letter to a local paper highlighting the fiscal issues the Bush administration has. Pointers can be found at the above link.

The text of my letter to the Galesburg Register-Mail:

Today's editorial ("State belt tightening on right track") hit a nerve: Illinois, like many other states, is finding it needs to tighten its belt. But what about the federal government?

In the last couple of years under George W. Bush, we have seen substantial surpluses turn into huge deficits, with no end in sight. We keep hearing about cutting our government's source of income---taxes---while trying to maintain or increase spending in many areas. His father, the first President George Bush, said that "there is no practice more dangerous than that of borrowing money"---evidently our current President wasn't paying attention. Because of the deficits, the fed is unable to lend any aid to the states; it has managed to set aside just $20 billion for all the states put together (and that only with a fight), which isn't going to go very far. As today's editorial reminds us, Illinois alone is suffering from a $5 billion deficit.

But Illinois is working to cut the deficit. We are trying to remove the extras---like cars for state employees---so that we can protect what is important---like education, and health care. Bush, to the extent he is cutting anything at all, is cutting funds to things like the Head Start program, Americorps, and health and hazard benefits for our military. All the while pushing more rounds of tax cuts for the rich.

That's not tightening our belts; it's cutting our legs off at the knee.

"Yet, as morally as you wage war you cannot wage a moral war." --Yishay Mor

Posted by blahedo at 9:00pm | Comments (0)

21 Aug 2003

Caps and gowns and hoods (oh my)

Apparently, Brown does not normally rent Brown masters regalia except for its own events. Meaning that the Brown regalia sits in a warehouse (in Chicago, of all places) most of the time. Anyway, the nice lady at the bookstore agreed that under the circumstances it was reasonable (since the next formal event after this convocation I'll have my PhD robes), and took my credit card number so she could charge me full price if I lost them or whatever; apparently the company normally prefers two weeks' notice, so it'll be tight (the convocation is three weeks hence), but should be possible.

So I'll get one more time to march in the masters robes. And this time I get to wear a hood---apparently Brown regalia does have hoods, it's just that they don't wear them in ceremony because one isn't entitled to wear them until the degree is conferred. (PhDs aren't even allowed to wear their hoods in advance---they carry them around until the ceremony, and then are hooded by a dean whent the degree is conferred.) And I'll have the only brown robes---Brown robes are brown instead of black, go figure---in the place! :)

"It is shocking to me how often I hear from people who think there are secret messages imbedded in otherwise straightforward and polite invitations. "No gifts, please" doesn't mean "The Luftwaffe strikes at dawn; please send some pretty candlesticks immediately."" --Amy Dickinson

Posted by blahedo at 4:37pm | Comments (1)

20 Aug 2003

And now...

I've gone through all my email, sequenced all my notesfiles, read all my webcomics, and gotten up-to-date on the news. I've even contacted all the people I promised I'd hang out with during this two-week period back in Providence.

I'm running out of ways to procrastinate. I may soon have to actually finish the thesis.

Maybe after a cup of tea....

"And I said on my program, if, if the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it's clean, he has nothing, I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush administration again." --Bill O'Reilly on Good Morning America, 18 Mar 2003

Posted by blahedo at 6:01pm | Comments (0)

19 Aug 2003

Back in Providence

I flew in yesterday, and stayed at Sam and Coree's (and Rob's, but he's chilling in LA this week) last night. Today I went in and got a marginal amount of thesis work done, and am now going to head over to hang out with Theresa and Seth.

Or at least, I was going to, but my car seems to be gone. Dave may not realise I'm back in Providence (seeing as I haven't told him), so he's probably taken it to go play golf. Hmm. Rather puts a crimp in my plans, but I expect I'll figure out something.

Anyway, I just posted three entries I made while in Galesburg when I didn't have net access, and backdated them to when I actually wrote them. Movable Type is so nice. :)

"It is essential to the free exercise of a religion, that its ordinances should be administered---that its ceremonies as well as its essentials should be protected.... The sinner will not confess, nor will the priest receive his confession, if the veil of secrecy is removed." --DeWitt Clinton

Posted by blahedo at 6:34pm | Comments (0)

18 Aug 2003

Toxic spell dumps

And in a break from unpacking, I just finished Harry Turtledove's The case of the toxic spell dump. Lee will be thrilled; she's been trying to get me to read it for years.

And it's great. Wickedly funny, and the puns are unbelievable---not prolific like in a Piers Anthony novel, but sprinkled throughout like really good seasoning. At least a few of them are guaranteed to totally blindside you.

Plotwise, it's a detective novel. Not Turtledove's main genre, but he gets around that---by casting it in one of his isomorphisms. It's the modern world, Los Angeles (excuse me, Angel City) in particular, largely as we know it, except that every modern convenience is achieved by magic rather than technology. Gods are real and have distinct powers, and the extent of those powers is directly related to the number of adherents they have. Some, such as the Hindu gods and the Christian God, are extremely powerful; others, such as some native American gods, are weak due to faded devotion. In a few cases, a cult can be artificially maintained in order to utilise that god's power, as with the cult of Mercury for purposes of high-security hermetic sealing....

Best phrase in the whole book: "running around like acephalous poultry". This phrase definitely needs to be worked into my active vocabulary.

Overall, it's a totally fun read. I highly recommend it.

"No, wait... I've confused semen with roundworms. Fucking Google. Sorry about that." --Gel Thelen

Posted by blahedo at 12:04am | Comments (0)

17 Aug 2003

More about the Dollar General

What a great place. They have a little bit of everything there, and it's all just so cheap. Even their book rack---they must get them as leftovers from somewhere, because the paperbacks are a buck each, and include some (unknown-author) fantasy, even. Did, anyway.

Also, I saw a little old lady with honest-to-God blue hair there.

"The problem is, Peil's guardian angle is obtuse." --Joe Shidle

Posted by blahedo at 6:46pm | Comments (0)


Hearty thanks to Lynne, John, David, and Karen for helping me move in! It went nearly as fast as moving out, taking only about an hour and a half, and David and Karen get extra points for managing to figure out how to get the couch in here. When I eventually move out of here, either I'm going to get pro movers (who I can remind that it got in here, so there must be a way to get it out!) or else sell it to my landlord or the next tenant.

My hero is a man in a red pickup truck, though. As I was driving the truck down here, there was a place where construction narrowed traffic to one lane for all of forty feet or so, but it was taking forever to get through there, in large part because of schmucks that were further back darting out into the left lane, up to the merge, and then trying to get back in---possibly a net win for them, but it was causing the rest of us endless difficulties. And this man, he was about twenty cars behind me, he'd gotten fed up and cut off a snappy little sportscar who'd darted into the left lane. And then the pickup truck guy stayed right where he was in the left lane, matching speed with the person who had until recently been in front of him, so that nobody could pass him; and the traffic was through inside of five minutes. I was far enough back that if it weren't for him, it would have taken twenty minutes easy. What a wonderful man.

My church here---Corpus Christi---is an interesting case, too. Really bizarre mix of pre-VII Catholicism and modern stuff. The priest wears vestments that are technically modern but have a lot of the gold thread patterning seen in the older style; but the altar servers were female. Communion was bread only, no wine, but we lined up for it. The altar servers held out the paten underneath the offered host, but we took the hosts in our hands. Weird. Also, I really need to ask where the priest came from; his accent sounded, if anything, Israeli, or maybe eastern European. In any case, it didn't sound like anyplace with a Roman Catholic majority (which might be why they sent him here, I suppose). Finally, tragically, they use Glory and Praise as their hymnal rather than Gather---but it seems to be an updated version with different numbering from the G&P I'm familiar with. And the organist/pianist sounds pretty good, so maybe she can be convinced to play the GIA accompaniments for the songs that are in both. We'll see. :)

Unpacking sucks, though not nearly as much as packing did. It'd be better if I could at least figure out how the big furniture pieces should be laid out....

The trains here in Galesburg are nearly constant, except during the night, when they are merely frequent. I expect I'll get used to it soon enough, just like I did for the Thayer St motorcycle gang and the CVS 4am truck unloading.

Anyway, off (back) to the Dollar General. That store is totally my new favourite---everything ranges from "cheap" to "very cheap", and is all denominated in multiples of $1---the price stickers don't even have a spot for cents. (Well, a couple of things are $1.50, but that's pretty rare.) Now, if only that included tax....

"Hey, if Purina made Bachelor Chow---I'd eat it." --Greg Seidman

Posted by blahedo at 5:10pm | Comments (3)

14 Aug 2003


The room formerly known as my room is now devoid of anything, including dust. Everything except the houseplants and my computer is now in the truck.

I may, and don't hold me to this, shout "woo".

But first, I will sleep. Ah, sleep.

(PS: Mars is *huge* right now. Make sure to see it sometime this month!)

"If games can't communicate ideas, then why does he care who buys them?" --Penny Arcade

Posted by blahedo at 2:51am | Comments (0)


Zeno was clearly inspired by the process of moving. I pack up all this stuff, and it's like I've done nothing! Arrrghhh.

On the up side, I do know I am closer. There really just isn't that much stuff left. (How can there be? I've already packed up six boxes labelled "misc".)

"Life and sleep are mutually exclusive, and I know which one I'd pick." --Kevin Colby

Posted by blahedo at 12:48am | Comments (0)

13 Aug 2003

Almost there

The truck is mostly loaded, a process that took just one hour due to the impressive amount of help I was able to summon up---a big shout out to Theresa, Sam, Rob, Will, Kim, Greg, and Greg for their assistance. Moving should always be this easy.

I still need to sift through the debris field that was my room---probably another two or three small boxes of stuff in there, plus oddments like the window and floor fans (you think I would pack those before I had to?).

First though, I think I need a nap. I'm definitely not at my cognitive best, here.

"Some things I do because I loathe the process but enjoy the outcome. I call these 'laundry.' Other things I do because I enjoy the process so much the outcome is secondary. These often have something to do with Will Wright." --Gel Thelen

Posted by blahedo at 4:06pm | Comments (0)

Driving a fifteen footer's not so bad...

...I cut my teeth on a full-size station wagon (may it rest in peace). Well, I've rented the truck, and it took only a very slight amount of getting used to. I was expecting it to be much worse---not knowing how wide I was and all---but it turns out that it's really not as wide as you think. (At least, if you've driven a station wagon and are expecting it to be significantly wider.)

Now to do some last minute packing before the, ah, guests arrive.

"This experiment isn't going to be valid, but then, I don't think any of them ever are." --Sharon Goldwater

Posted by blahedo at 9:57am | Comments (0)

It's the artwork

It's definitely the artwork that does it. I took down the artwork and now my room now looks less like "my room" and more like "room someone is moving out of". My back hurts and my feet hurt but I finally feel like I have a handle on the thing. We'll see.

"We arbitrarily named the three versions TOP, MIDDLE, and BOTTOM (the names reflect the order that we wrote them on a white board.)" --McNamara & Smaragdakis, "Functional Programming with the FC++ Library"

Posted by blahedo at 4:40am | Comments (0)

Packing sucks

Ugh, packing sucks so much. I've now packed pretty much every categorisable thing, and now I'm left with the fiddly little bits. Suck suck suck.

My housemate Matt knows me well---he looks askance at all the stuff left to pack in my room, and goes straight to: "Wait, are you driving out tomorrow?" skipping right over the more obvious "How are you going to pack all this?" Clearly, the answer to this last one is "Pull an all-nighter, duh." Which would make starting the drive tomorrow... hazardous at best.

The blog is temporarily renamed in protest to Fox's idiocy. Al Franken just released a book entitled Lies and the lying liars who tell them---a fair and balanced look at the right. The words "fair and balanced" in that title are of course meant to be a snipe at the Fox News slogan, which it turns out is trademarked (of course), so they're suing him. Atrios has gotten people to stick it in their blog taglines---see also Kimmitt and Blah3 (no relation).

Ah well, back to packing.

"If the Israelis build a wall and pull back the settlements, they will have peace. If the Israelis get UN peacekeeping forces to come in and help with security---and pull back the settlements---they will have peace. If the Israelis take off all their clothes and dance in the sweet Mediterranean rain---and pull back the settlements---they will have peace." --Michael Kimmitt

Posted by blahedo at 1:46am | Comments (0)

12 Aug 2003

Feeling advisorly

One of the things I've worried about a bit regarding my vocation in academia has been the task of advising. How could I advise people? What if they wanted to know about an area I wasn't really expert in? Would I be able to give them the right amount of direction? I mean, I'd chatted with undergrads before about various projects, but I still had doubts.

Chris came over today to show me his honors proposal and request comment. For all that I was barefoot, wearing yesterday's clothes and gross from packing all day in the heat and humidity, this clearly felt like A Meeting, and I was definitely Advising. I so picked the right job.

Side note: Why in God's name do none of the motel chains (1 2 3 4 5 6) have a freaking map? Motel 6 and Red Roof Inn (which have similar websites---same parent company?) get partial credit for having maps of each state that mark where their motels are, although these maps are not in obvious places. Super 8 seemed initially promising, but when you click on a given state, it just presents you with a list of town names. Comfort Inn seems to have no maps whatsoever. But seriously, wouldn't it be in their best interest to let me find a motel?

"You can certainly ask yourself "How are we different than the Nazis" and come up with plenty of good answers. But when I start asking, "How are we the same as the Nazis", the answers begin to chill the blood. We may not be genocidal, but we're doing plenty of harm, and our nazionaler rhetoric is doing a great job of hiding our misdeeds from most Americans." --Jonathan Prykop

Posted by blahedo at 2:40am | Comments (2)

11 Aug 2003


Just finished reading Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman. Outstanding. Mostly I tend to prefer high fantasy---takes place in a world that bears no relation to our own---but this is a juicy morsel of low fantasy that had me unable to put the book down after about halfway through. By low fantasy I mean the sort of magic-among-us tales that take place in cities that are more or less real, but involve some fantasy elements, like magic... in this case, an entire parallel city, London Below, inhabited by all those folks that are practically invisible to the more "respectable" nine-to-five crowd.

I can't really say much more about it without giving away plot elements. It's a really well-crafted story that keeps you guessing at all times---how does this other world work again? And who went where with the what now? Eh?

Fun book. Really should have been unloading my car and packing stuff, but it's been so long since I just kept reading a book til it was done, however late in the morning that was. It was nice. :)

"If you're learning about religion from books, you're probably missing the better parts, anyway." --Jonathan Prykop

Posted by blahedo at 2:00am | Comments (1)

6 Aug 2003


I passed.

Posted by blahedo at 3:38pm | Comments (4)

5 Aug 2003

The home stretch

Almost there; fifteen hours to go.

"I could answer that question, but then I would put it on the final." --Chris Sedlack

Posted by blahedo at 8:57pm | Comments (2)

Dammit, Israel

Look, I understand the importance of maintaining a Jewish state. And I'd been sort of kvetching about this wall Israel's building, thinking it was sort of unpleasant, but only mildy, since it seemed like a not totally unreasonable security thing to put up along the border with the West Bank.

This had a lot to do with never having seen a map of where the wall was going in. This link points to such a map. Go follow that link right now.

What the hell do they think they're pulling? That's not a security wall along the border, it's a naked land grab. How can Sharon claim with a straight face that it's anything else? I mean, I guess I always knew that the Israeli leadership didn't really want peace, but I didn't realise they'd be quite so obvious about it. (Note, of course, that I said "the Israeli leadership"---I think that what the Israeli people want is rather different.)

Thankfully, US foreign policy in this regard has at long last recovered a measure of sanity: we're discussing decreasing our aid to Israel by the amount they're spending on West Bank settlement.

"I'm always on solid ground. I tend to break unsolid ground." --Sam Walker

Posted by blahedo at 5:48am | Comments (0)

2 Aug 2003

Cold? In August?

It's 80 degrees outside, and I'm sitting here in socks, jeans, and a sweatshirt. Why? My officemate's back from SIGGRAPH. I suppose I can't really blame him for keeping the office cold when he's around; he grew up in a colder climate than I did. I just grew up in the Chicago suburbs, but he's from southern Florida.

Anyway, in between starting runs of experiments for my thesis, I've been fiddling with the site, and it should now render acceptably in all the major browsers, although each seems to have some little quirk. I've also activated the "recent comments" feature---the last five are in the sidebar, and the last 25 are listed on the recent comments index.

Hm, no wonder I'm hungry, it's already 8pm. The question is, should I go home and consume some of the food I need to get rid of before moving out---which means probably an hour at least---or should I get cheap pizza from Antonio's again? I've been eating there an awful lot... but then, getting a good, fast dinner for less than $4 is not to be underestimated....

I had some mint-scented odor eaters once. They gave me tic-tac toe. --Peter Morris

Posted by blahedo at 8:04pm | Comments (2)

More wonkiness

I finally found someone who has IE6 installed, so I can fix the CSS stuff to work on that as well. So there is to be a bit more wonky arrangement for a while as I try and sort out a layout that all the browsers like.

[under construction]Remember when every third site had an "under construction" sign on it? Well, this one won't stay under construction forever, but I was feeling nostalgic, so I put the sign up for old times' sake. :)

"Sure he was a total flake but he seemed like such a nice total flake." --Zach Miller

Posted by blahedo at 4:37pm | Comments (1)

1 Aug 2003

Music and fundies

First of all, how did it get to be this far through the day before I realised it was August? Sheesh.

I was just walking from my house to the CIT, when I heard a band playing on the porch of Atlas Bower books on Meeting St. They were playing country. I was shocked. I wandered over and listened for a while---they're pretty good, actually. Called the "Hillbilly Graham Crackers", they're local to Providence, and they do a bunch of different stuff. The country version of REM's "End of the world as we know it" was priceless (and very well executed).

As I was standing there listening, a guy walked up to me and tried to give me a flyer---looked like the sort of thing that the born-agains hand out from time to time on Thayer Street. I said I wasn't interested, but then he said it was for a concert... I was momentarily confused, and asked if it was for this band (since I would've been interested in that). But I'd given him his entré, and as he handed me the flyer: "have you accepted Jesus Christ into your life?" *sigh* I responded, "yes, I'm Catholic", which seemed to throw him for a loop, and I could tell he had a few scripts memorised and wasn't quite sure which one to go with. For what it's worth, the conversation was kind of interesting, if a little unfair; he said he'd been born again at the age of 22, and couldn't've been much older than that, and it's possible he'd never witnessed before. In any case, he really wasn't expecting anyone (except maybe other born-agains) to know what they were talking about. "You know, the Bible says that if you aren't born again you won't be saved." "Well, actually, we interpret that verse in the context of two millennia of tradition and community, and between being baptised and being confirmed, I'm covered." "Uh." I felt a little bad playing the Catholic card so much, but he was trying so hard to claim that this little gettogether that he was trying to recruit me for wasn't about different denominations and that it was inclusive of all Christians, while at the same time not really thinking Catholicism measured up.

Ah well.

"I'm from the country. New York takes one look at me and says, ah bet yew squeal REAL nice, only without the southern accent and in twelve different languages." --Matt Boyd, Mac Hall

Posted by blahedo at 11:45pm | Comments (1)

What a great idea

The $400 checks that the government is sending out to (some) taxpayers are bread and circuses, nothing else---an attempt to keep the people sated so that they don't pay attention to what the government is doing. It'd be one thing if we were running a surplus, but each one of those checks represents a little bit more that the government has gone into debt, for the express purpose of bribing you to be satisfied with the current administration.

But what do you do if you don't want one, but will get one anyway? Those of you who have gotten or will soon be getting the $400 check might follow the example of Erica Derr. Erica donated her thirty pieces of silver to the Dean campaign. What a fantastic idea. I highly recommend it. If you're interested, follow this URL, and make sure to note somewhere (iirc there is a "fundraiser code" in there somewhere) that this is your tax rebate check. (For those of you out there who (tragically!) still aren't Dean supporters, donate it to your Bush-opposing candidate or party of choice!)

"The basic problem with Perl 5's subroutines is that they're not crufty enough, so the cruft leaks out into user-defined code instead, by the Conservation of Cruft Principle." --Larry Wall, Apocalypse 6

Posted by blahedo at 1:22am | Comments (0)