October 19th, 2006

Semiformalishmaybe

Frozen Leaf

It was an awkward moment. He over stood seven feet tall, looming over the podium as if it were a urinal, his soft words a diabetic rain upon all of them. Every metaphor a saccharine absurdity, this cumbersome body reciting phrases about truth and beauty. After he finished, eyes glanced at each other, forming a laser show that excluded him, his searching face lost what light it had and turned downward. A voice from one side, the only other excluded from the light show (on account of blindness) let loose a "Bravo! That was quite good". The laser show continued, the colours changing, and the applause grew. Afterwards, a conversation: "I was beginning to wonder why we invited him, the words were right, but he was the wrong person to speak them". "But they were his words!" "Even so..."

My little leaf has grown up, or at least mostly dried out. The lustre is diminished, although its pattern is still beautiful. The end of fall will no doubt afford me more pretty leaves..

I am pleased to report that, after upgrading last night to GAIM 2.0.0beta4, I find that it is awesome. The GUI is improved (it's more readable and has a few more knobs), it integrates into gnome-panel (which is primarily useful in that I know if gaim needs my attention and I'm in another workspace), and it has another curses-based frontend called gaim-text that is the first text IM client I've ever actually liked. The only downside is that I had to read the manpage to figure out how to move between "windows". I look forward to using this inside screen so I'll always be on IM and never miss messages. Hopefully at some point they'll let the gaim graphical client connect to gaim-text as a client -- that would be 90% awesome.

I had an interesting conversation this morning about difficulties in managing things that are both a circle of (busy) friends and a group that's trying to get something done. Failing at either is not desirable, and navigating the possibilities (or separating the two roles) can be quite tricky.

  • I am considering dropping VISA.
  • It looks like I'm greyhounding it to visit my mom. As a plus, the schedule works out better, and it is even cheaper ($53). As a minus, I can't bring a bottle of wine as a gift to family because of their baggage restrictions (Amtrak and Airlines are nicer about this). Oh well.
  • I have nothing against people who are polyamourous (as friends/acquaintences). I semi-secretly hope that it's not something sustainable as people age, because I know I would not work in or with a poly-web-of-people, and it is even more disappointing when I'm attracted to people who are poly than when I'm attracted to people who are taken (maybe because they're taken and taken and taken, or maybe because even if they were ever utterly single, I would still be unlikely to ever establish compatible parameters for a relationship). I am sometimes surprised how many poly folk there are, and how many completely separate poly-webs there are. I will note that I know that this hope is rather selfish.
  • Fedora6 was pushed back again.. into next week. Sigh.

Some things I'm angry about and some possibly bad but cathartic solutions:

  • Time to change schools? It's a sign of fscked-up legal fears when schools ban unsupervised games for fear of lawsuits. Someone needs to beat the crap out of people who file such lawsuits. This is part of why we have horrifically fat people around. People should not live life like they're on a tour, always looking for the guide to ask questions and being told to stay on the bloody path. There are reasonable limits, but they do not look like this.
  • Iraq, the U.S. Military, and justice? Someone should .. hmm.. I can't even offer a bad solution here. Help?
  • Iceland restarts commercial whaling of endangered species. Solution: I hope environmental activists sink their boats and destroy the factories that are being set up to process the stuff.
  • Bush's aides mock evangelicals? The rest of us do, but we don't give them power. Bad solutions aside, Turkey used to have the right idea - when politicians threatened the secular nature of the republic, they disappeared. Sigh.
Back to other stuff:
  • Reuters opened up a branch in Second Life. Just as in Second Life, people choose their first name, and their last name is something different. Unlike most folk, this person's last name is Reuters, a Jennifer Government-esque twist on things (if you've never read Jennifer Government, like cyberpunk, and are in Pgh, ask to borrow it)
  • China is likely to have problems in the way it takes care of its elderly. Other countries will face this too, in times to come
  • More details about the veil-wearing-teacher controversy in Britain. I wonder where things are in the United States on this issue... can teachers in public schools generally wear veils? If they can, can they wear anything they like? If yes and no, what's the difference?
Semiformalishmaybe

Excessive Rainy Days

Hmm. I don't talk much about money anymore because I'm doing comfortably well and now have reasonable amounts of fluid savings. One of the things that's surprised me recently, on doing my rare looking-at-money things, is that the things that were supposed to be semi-fluid moderate/long-term savings utterly sucked, and that the things that were supposed to be only slightly less fluid than bank accounts ended up being, in terms of return, the best of all. I wish there were a nice way to partition my funds in these accounts (without any fees/other losses) so they have labels and intended purposes, e.g. this is a fund for the next time I need a new computer or maintenance issues, this is a fund for saving for a house if I ever get one, this is a fund for paying tuition for any kids I might have, etc. National City's online service, which will get my balances from all participating places, is really useful, but I'd love to have it be even more powerful, for these kinds of purposes. Hmm.

Update: National City is turning the service off. Very very disappointing. I wonder if there are any other account aggregation services I should look into.

I'm finally implementing some features in POUND that I've been meaning to for awhile -- things like letting users set journal preferences and stuff. Some of these are not quite done yet, but they're on their way.