Today’s “Fuck You” round-up!

Fuck you, Robert Mugabe.  If you have to put your opposition in prison and threaten everyone in your country with violence in order to win an election, then there’s no point in having a fucking election at all.  Just call yourself a dictator and be done with it.  Asshat.

Fuck you, Republicans who were eager to question John Kerry’s service in Vietnam, producing smear after execrable smear of his record, but are now more than happy to bitch about General Wes Clark questioning whether McCain’s graduating in the bottom 1% of his class (no, seriously! 894th out of 899!) then proceeding to get shot down in your fighter jet (after having crashed four other planes, by the way) qualifies you for being president.

And a big old, bold-faced, FUCK YOU to Future Ex-President Bush for finally seeing the light with regard to using diplomacy with one of the members of his supposed “Axis of Evil“, not one month after giving a speech before the Knesset (text) in which he called Barack Obama’s policy of diplomacy a “delusion” and akin to Nazi appeasement (and this in front of the legislative assembly of Jerusalem!  Subtle, real subtle!).  Yes, diplomacy is the right way of dealing with the assholes that occasionally occupy world stage positions, and force only comes as a last resort, so Bush should be applauded for managing an actual diplomatic win (maybe the first of his presidency!), but the hypocriticality of the whole situation just makes my blood boil.

It also bothers me that if Bush manages to get his war on Iran begun before he leaves office, then his ditto-heads will have another talking point — that Bush dealt with the Axis of Evil.  Forget the fact that North Korea now has the bomb, and under Bush’s watch.  Forget the fact that Iraq is a quagmire.  Forget that he’ll be dumping THREE wars on Obama’s lap.  (I refuse to even entertain the idea of a McCain presidency.  And you can’t make me.)  Edit: Oh yeah.  And forget that the REAL war he’s supposed to be engaging in, the “War on Terror”, has a real organization involved, Al Qaeda, which is headed by Bin Laden, who is in Pakistan, and the Bush administration is FUCKING PREVENTING A SPECIAL FORCES PLAN TO GO KILL HIM!

So to you douchebags, I say, FUCK YOU.

Heh.  That’s a good one.  I’m going to use that image again in the future, I’m sure.

Tunguska, 100 years later

On June 30th, 1908, witnesses described a fireball in the sky over Siberia, resulting in a column of fire moments later that split the sky and threw some observers to the ground.  The area impacted, near the Podkammenaya Tungus river in an unpopulated, swampy part of northern Siberia, was levelled for hundreds of kilometers around, with all the trees flattened, but no crater in its epicenter.  This was thereafter known as the Tunguska Event, and its circumstances remain shrouded in mystery and have since become a staple of fictional conjecture.

I can’t adequately convey the grandeur of the damage done, at least not in comparison with some other, more eloquent astral observers.  I just thought it was noteworthy enough to merit a blog post and a number of links where you can read more about the event and the speculation that scientists may have recently proven that a nearby lake is the actual impact point, where the remains of the meteor may be at its bottom.

Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy has a brilliant write-up on the event, as does the BBC News service.

Edit: Holy crap, sorry Mr. Plait.  My error in your site name is unforgivable, especially given that it created a pingback in the comments thread.  My shame knows no bounds.

George Carlin, RIP

Be aware that below the fold, there’s a ton of videos embedded directly from Youtube.  I expect anyone who plans on reading this post, devote at least an hour so you can watch every one of them.  You are not paying George Carlin’s memory any honour otherwise.

The media has been rife these past few days with tributes to a personal hero of mine.  One would think that’s a good thing — it’s vindicating to have a personal hero lauded in the media, right?  So why is it I’m left with a bitter taste in my mouth, every single time someone on television or in the papers gushes about what an avant-garde, counterculture, brilliant comedian he was?

It probably has something to do with the fact that I don’t consider him a comedian.  He was a truth-teller.  And that’s why I, alongside the rest of the world, mourn his death.

[Read more…]

Excellent.

We went over the numbers again, checking out different scenarios and taking into account some expenditures and incomes we hadn’t considered in our original budget for trying to scrape together the down payment on the house.  As it stands, we will have all but $500 on the 3rd of August, meaning we could move the closing date back a week (to the 18th) without taking a hit.  So, we’re going to be depending on selling one of the computers.  My father actually volunteered to give me $500 from his vacation pay when I spoke to him last month — bless his heart — but I refused then.  I’m considering borrowing it from him until one of the computers goes, or, if they don’t, then paying it back over time.  That $500 is the last piece of the puzzle, barring any unforeseen costs over the next month.

In short… excellent.  Everything’s working out perfectly.

As for this blog, I hope to put a bit more effort into the Computer and Games sections relatively soon, hopefully once I get most of the house-related business squared away — I especially want to talk about Sam and Max at some point.  I’ve been intending to put up a tribute to George Carlin since his death, especially regarding how the media has completely ignored most of his actual oeuvre, mentioning only his pushing the boundaries of profanity in this love-fest they’ve been giving him.  I also have a few introspection posts planned, including some of my history, and my thoughts on creation, evolution, existence, and other big scientific questions that for some reason I think I’m an authority on despite millenia of intelligent people failing utterly at answering them.  This is all assuming I can get my thoughts together coherently enough to bother publishing them.

Then again, if you want eloquence, you’re looking in the wrong place.  I never finished my English degree.

Busy life!

This is just going to be a quick what’s-going-on post, as I have to be at work for 10 tomorrow and I was planning on biking in.  Over the next several days, we have to find a lawyer to put together the official offer papers, as next week the seller will be meeting with her lawyer to draw up her side of things.

I’ve unwittingly volunteered to take part in a Heart and Stroke Foundation “Big Bike” event, meaning I have to somehow fund-raise $50 and will have to join in on the 30-person bike action.  In my defense, I thought it was just a bike riding challenge, and figured that as I’ve been biking quite a bit lately, I might as well put my newfound skills to good use.  Too bad all I’ll be doing is embarassing myself.  For a good cause, of course.

Jodi found a petition form regarding Nova Scotia’s power costs on the NS NDP website that I happen to agree with, so we’ve decided we’re going to take it around to my neighbors, probably at the same time as I’m fund-raising for the Big Bike event.  Frankly, I’d really rather NS not rely on coal for 90% of its power generation, but there’s precious little I can do about it short of taking my house off the grid ASAP.  (Assuming I get the house of course.)

Next week, Abby will be done her thesis, and I’ll be joining her and some friends for a spot of food at Smitty’s… really looking forward to it!  We always go far too long between seeing one another.  Or e-mailing one another, at that.

I still haven’t brought myself to actually sell my comics collection.  I know, the sooner the better.  But the comic shop is quite far away, and with gas prices what they are, I can hardly bring myself to drive to work, much less three towns over.  Which is also mostly why I’ve been avoiding going to Halifax… Sorry Miranda!  I really do owe you a visit at some point!

And on the topic of selling things, Jodi’s selling her Acer Aspire 1641WLMi, with upgraded RAM (replaced a 256meg stick with a 1024meg one, so now it has 1.2 gigs).  She’s asking $500 firm, which is good considering laptops don’t depreciate all that much and she paid $1500 just two years ago.  Her mother is also selling a desktop, LCD, corner desk, wireless keyboard and mouse for $500; she wants to get rid of it to get a laptop, and if the desktop goes but the laptop doesn’t, she’s likely to buy Jodi’s.  This means as long as one of them goes, we get the $500 straight toward the down payment.  Still going to be tight… we’re clawing and scraping for the payment as it is now, the money from the laptop will put us within striking range.

Speaking of laptops, I have my new power supply now.  What a relief it is to have my laptop back!

With that, good night.

Gravatars

I’m in the process of getting “globally recognized avatars” set up, a service provided by Gravatar (the same folks that created WordPress and the Akismet plugin).  This way, if you register for this blog using an e-mail address that is registered with Gravatar, a picture of your choosing will show up next to your name in your comments.  A number of other blogs use this service already, so you may already have an account.  If not, go ahead, sign up and upload a picture — far as I can tell, this service is totally safe.  I’m sure it’ll start working in the comments shortly, as soon as I figure out why it’s showing everyone as anonymous, myself included, presently.

Update: Working now.  Had to modify the theme I’m using to use the proper image links.  So go sign up for a Gravatar of your own.  I added a permanent example of it to my About box on the left, as well.  I really like the idea of being able to change your profile picture across dozens of sites at the same time.  I also managed to get a gallery-like WordPress plugin going, so as soon as I sort through some pictures I’ll post them up here.

“… but let’s not actually GIVE this stuff away, even if we got it for free!”

I tried to take the remains of my yard sale to the Salvation Army today. I was turned down. There’s something a bit odd about being told that they can’t take your donations because they don’t have room, considering that the idea is less about keeping it in storage until someone can pay for it, than it is about getting stuff to people who CAN’T afford it. Evidently the Salvation Army is a for-profit organization that has its roots in religion (thus the “salvation” part… and maybe also the “army” part). So people donate to it out of the goodness in their hearts, and they then turn around and sell all these items to others. I’m sure they make more than enough to cover their storage fees, but given how many keep cropping up everywhere, I almost get the feeling it’s some sort of scam or something.

So I thought about it for a while, and then donated it to a girl at work who had recently had her house burned down when I recalled that she was still in need of some stuff despite some extensive fund-raising at work. All told, there was two boxes of dishes, some books, some board games, a few small kitchen appliances, and various cables and bits that I otherwise had duplicates for. She was grateful, as evidently pretty well all of it was useful to her. Plus I got rid of about five boxes of stuff we would never use, and wouldn’t want to move anyway. Win-win all around!

I also tried to install a Motorola SM56 Softmodem into a Windows Vista machine for a yard-sale-goer I met on Sunday. The computer was relatively decent in the specifications, a 3.06GHz Intel chip with 512 megs RAM, which ran dog-slow under Vista Home Basic. Strike two against Vista for this case, came in the fact that the softmodem is totally incompatible. I tried several different drivers from XP, but most of them wouldn’t even install, and the ones that did wouldn’t recognize the PCI card. The funny thing is, when I installed it, Vista recognized it and even tried to find the drivers, but when it failed it told me exactly what model of card it was and that it was incompatible. That same computer could run both the dial-up modem and Windows XP with absolutely no problems whatsoever, I’m sure of it. It’s sad. We all know Vista’s designed from the ground up to be as resource-intensive as possible, even on the most basic model with the lowest settings you can set, so it’s an obvious bit of money-grab when they do things to attempt to force you to upgrade to Vista such as tying DirectX 10 into it, trying to force people to upgrade both their computers and their operating systems despite XP finally making it through its extensive breaking-in period and achieving some modicum of stability and security.

Needless to say, it was a failed exercise. A bit of a down note on an otherwise up day.

I need a weekend.

Saturday and Sunday we had a huge yard sale, and got rid of tons of stuff that we’ve both been carrying around for a very long time.  Saturday afternoon, my laptop’s power adapter decided to stop providing power to my laptop, and it’s making a weird ticking noise if you put it up to your ear, like a relay being flicked rapidly.  And Sunday night, we went to take a second look at our potential house, and we officially put in a bid on it.

I’m at work right now, but without my calendar, notes, documents, to-do list and old mail (I have webmail I can work off of, but it’s certainly not the same), I’m feeling pretty hobbled.  So this morning I’m taking the time to set a desktop up so that I can actually function on it, even if I don’t have all my accoutrements that I’m used to having available on my laptop.  Oh well, this’ll do for now.  I’ll have to get a ticket in with my laptop’s provider, as it’s still under warranty.  Next day on-site warranty, as a matter of fact.

The house situation is a bit weird.  Both Jodi and I get a sense of the seller being pretty off-putting.  I know, we as the buyers should be driving the sale, but she seems to almost take offense at the idea that we’d be asking all sorts of questions about “her” house.  Either she doesn’t particularly like that *we* are buying it (e.g. she doesn’t think a young couple would be capable of getting it), she doesn’t like someone questioning what she put down on her advertisements and verifying everything she claims about the warranties et cetera, or she is specifically hiding something about the house.  All these misgivings aside, maybe it’s just her nature.  Jodi’s mother apparently knows the woman, and she’s supposedly a neat freak of some sort.  So it could just be a point of pride that we’re daring to question the condition of the house.   Or it could also have been that we scheduled that second viewing for the day after graduation, and she had acted as a chaperone for her daughter’s safe-grad the night before, and there were half a dozen newly graduated teens crashing out in her living room.

Also, Jodi just messaged to tell me that we can’t force the other bidders’ hand on their offer, because our offer wasn’t an “official offer”, e.g. legally binding, e.g. done by lawyers or realtors, and because we don’t have a lawyer presently and the seller can’t get to talk to her lawyer until at least the end of the week.  As it stands, the other offer she had on the house was conditional on the bidders having sold their house.  Their bid expires July 1st (they put it in last December), and evidently the house they have to sell is in terrible condition and isn’t likely to sell any time soon.  So, we can’t force their hand and give them the 48 hours to put-up-or-shut-up, so we may have to just wait until July 1st.  One good thing though — apparently this conversation she just had with the seller went better than yesterday, and she was much less off-putting.

Anyway.  Here’s hoping.