October 24th, 2003


Stoop and Purr

"He trusts you. He'll even let you hurt him, because he loves youso much". So it was said, about my cat Wally. He seems to reallyenjoy scooting up to me while I read or program, and stretch hisneck over my wrist, and fall asleep like that. It's kind of nice.Although he doesn't tend to stay there, I like putting him on myback while I program.

Politics..The senate appears not to be dancing along to BushJr's Goose-Step.The whiny ex-Cubans, who most politicians are eager to court, at least on anational level, are naturally much less powerful outside of the nationalarena and florida, and the rest of the country is actually taking steps toput an end to the blockade, moving in the completely opposite directionof BushJr (pretzels be unto him). On that front, I need to start reading afew more online non-american newspapers -- I'm curious as to what exactlyis going on WRT Castro. I read the Moscow Times to track russia (although it's westerner-run..), which isalways interesting, and Al Jazeera, to get another interesting viewpointon the world. The UN News Service is another good source of info that'sfairly non-America centric. I probably should read BBCNews.. and althoughI occasionally read the People's Daily (China's national newspaper), Idon't do it as often as I might. Actually, I tend to get pretty dirty looks,reading some of these at the Coffeeshop -- Taiwanese and South Korean peopletend to not like seeing the People's Daily on my screen, Hebrews tend todislike seeing Al Jazeera (no surprise -- there's a form of mild racism that'saccepted in both communities), and random americans tend to dislike seeing theMoscow Times. I occasionally read the Jerusalem Post, but it very much is Al Jazeera's counterpart.. For a brief time, I was reading the Le .. no, the *sigh*St Petersberg Times, but I get irritated enough at the name change thatI don't really visit there anymore.. While finding the URL to it again though,I found this funny story about Gorby.Anyhow, I wish I knew more languages so I could read the non-english papers..I can kind of read the Frankfurter Allgemeine, butit doesn't give me much additional stuff beyond the BBC News..

The Labour Party in Britain continues to have problems holding together.Galloway, who represented Glasgow in Parliament, got the boot fromBlair. However, this might end up hurting Labour more than expected --Galloway is popular, and will likely run as independant. At a time whenleftists inside the Labour party (which is pretty fat, when it comes to thespan of opinions it covers) are already dissatisfied with Blair, it mightactual lead to a split of the party, or at least destabilize Blair, whichwould be a good thing (in my eyes). One of the more interesting reasonsBlair put for kicking out Galloway is suggesting that foreigners resist theAmerican/British invasion, with an interesting quote:

George Galloway incited foreign forces to rise up against British troopsat a time when they were risking their lives

I find this interesting to chew on -- it's an interesting point on the issueof treason and national loyalty. Of course, the opposing forces were riskingtheir lives, but from the stated viewpoint, when one's country's lives are onthe line, one has the duty to cease to act as an independant moral agent and,if not rallying the forces that happen to be of the country one is in, thento be silent. Or am I missing the point somehow? If I felt strongly enoughthat the United States were acting villainously, I would be happy to do whatI could to sabotage the American efforts. It is better to be a good personthan a patriot. I'll go further, and say that there's nothing particularlygood about being a patriot in the first place.

The press is making a big deal over the Florida euthanasia case, but I findit profoundly uninteresting (but I'm still writing about it in my BLOG,make of that what you will) -- although I'd like the doctors involved to havecomplete discretion when the person does not provide adequate statement oftheir wishes in terminal cases, I don't really feel very strongly about thedefaults there, so long as they can be overridden with a "living will" orsomething similar. In my opinion, if you haven't gone through the trouble tofill in a form to decide these things, it leaves you with not that muchstanding to complain about how things should be for everyone.

I'll be debating some people from Cross-Seekers at some point, I think. I don't know much moreyet, but it'll be fun. If I wern't opposed to their ends, I'd offer to helpthem redesign their website :) It needs some work...

Irritating -- ogg123 on linux will play multiple listed files, but NOT IN THEORDER YOU PROVIDE IT. More incentive for me to keep improving my mpg123/ogg123wrapper scripts...



I have a very nasty migraine today. It feels like someone is squeezing mybrain while mixing in shards of glass, or something. Ouch. Every few weeks,I have a day where I wake up with one of these, and it generally hangs aroundfor the entire day. Surprisingly, the sensations disappear almost completelywhen I close my eyes.

Some reflections on OpenOffice 1.1. For those ofyou who don't know of it, it's a free office suite for Windows and Linux(there's also a MacOSX version that's a bit behind, versionwise). I used 1.0some time back, and found it to be completely horrible -- 1.0 was really slow,had inconsistant menus, and always felt like it was going to crash, with oddpauses in the interface all the time.. Actually, that's the primary factor,I think, behind a 'sixth sense' geeks get about computers -- when a piece ofsoftware has its pauses in certain patterns, it's a good sign that it's aboutto SYS3175, or dump core, or BSOD, or summon Dr Watson, or bomb, or whateveris appropriate for the OS at hand. Hmm... it's funny though, since Apple's goneto OSX, I haven't seen anything similar to the old bombs and stuff that MacOSused to get. But I digress.. doubly... OpenOffice 1.1 is much improved. It nolonger is slow (although it's by no means fast), and it has some really neatnew features (save to PDF is my favourite). It's rare that I need office tools,but for a paper, someone wanted it in a particular font with particular layoutrules, and so writing it in HTML wasn't really an option. In those circumstances,I tend to use AbiWord, a much smaller opensource word processor, but in thiscase, I was curious about the new openoffice...

There was what promised to be a really interesting talk yesterday on howGoogle lays out its shared filesystem..I missed it to go to class. So much cool stuff on campus, so little time.And it all does seem to conflict with either classes (which I take care notto miss too much of) or work (which is generally more flexible).

Ugh, stupid migraine. I should probably be at home, in bed, with an ice packon my head (for comfort, mainly). Oh well.


The heavens are leaking

A fine summer day, people are laying out, enjoying the sun...we sit at our picnic, enjoying sandwiches... talking about theweather, about places to go. Your eyes are half closed, as youlaugh at a quip in the conversation. I lean back, chewing on mysalad sandwich, other couples sitting just out of earshot. I thinkyou're making a jest as you turn your face skyward, a look of horroron your face... and then I'm immersed. a rubbery slime, somehow moving,surrounds me. I jump up, roll, and spin around, flinging the stuff offof me. Jello with huge white worms, or so it looks. I shudder, and scrapemore of it off, and look at you. You're horrified, and I can't see anythingbut that in your face. The mess is slowly digesting the ground behind me,and because we're far enough away and you've made no sound, noone elseseems to be aware. Looking up at the sky... something is wrong. Bright,sunny, peaceful... but somehow it looks less real, a fascade. I squint atthe sky ... and I can see that a portion of it looks ... stained somehow.Not something in the sky, but an actual faint difference in colour in thetotal sky there itself. A distortion, suddenly I see it. It looks likethe air itself is drooping, perhaps it's not the sky at all, nothing sodistant. Twenty? One Hundred? It's hard to tell... above us, we can seethat it is as if the air is bearing some weight... the sky above it issimply more distant. You have no idea, but I shudder, I know what's goingon. I pat your arm, tell you to run, and pull from my self a device that'sbeen unused for millenia. Yes, sometimes nature is strange. I knew they'dbe back, and I've claimed this place as mine, for my wards. You have tastedtoo many worlds, have closed too many eyes. Not here.

That basically is a narration of a theme in a dream I commonly have.I'm reminded of it by something funny I found here.

An interesting reflection on this.I again will tell you -- I'm a Stallmanist, with some reservations.

Here's an interesting analysis on Rumsfeld's comments.For some reason, I almost find myself beginning to respect the guy, in someaspect. Unlike BushJr, and contrary to the tone of the article, it's clearthe guy has some doubts, and some brains. So he's quite distinct from BushJr,who I wouldn't trust to sell me a stamp.. instead, my lack of trust forRumsfeld is in a completely orthoganal direction -- I wouldn't trust any stampsfrom him not to have cyanide on the side one licks.

Random music lyrics, to complete the night, and serenade the moon..I'm in the same state, quoth Abdul the great, twas foolish of we two to fightMy favorite is Beef Jerky... I'm vagabond.. I'm vagabondYou're sleepin' underneath yesterday's paper, pretending the tsunami hasn't hit..

It seems to me that, if this is tetris, I've stepped up to the next level again.Tightropes are tougher, but more fun, when one is only allowed one foot at atime.