Archive of October, 2001
October 31, 2001:
Today's award goes out to the author of the Foxtrot comic strip, Bill Amend. Be warned, this comic will not be the slightest bit funny if you're not a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
October 30, 2001:
More sports-related rambling. I won't be offended if you're a non-fan and skip this one.
I'm cheering on the Diamondbacks in the World Series. I think that Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson are two very good pitchers, and they complement each other well as a one-two punch. There's another reason: their opponents. Fuck the Yankees.
I've been an anti-fan of the New York Yankees for a long time now, and I've rooted for everyone they've played against in the postseason. As you've noticed, I've been very disappointed the last few years. The D-Backs, currently ahead two games to none, have a very good chance of changing that.
And tonight the Diamondbacks fans gave me another reason. As Johnson batted in the bottom of the eighth inning, meaning he would pitch the ninth to try for a complete game, some fans in the outfield stands held up a sign: "You Can't Yank R Johnson!"
They're sickos and I love 'em for it :)
October 29, 2001:
Since the company I work for is expanding, it'll be moving into a new office space starting in mid-December. Wednesday we went over after work to poke around for a while. It'll take a little getting used to: The designers got the good views, production and programming kinda got shafted; and I'm way too close to John's office for my taste.
All in all, though, it's pretty nice. I'll have about one and a half times as much space as I do now, and people won't be practically stacked on top of each other like they are now. (I've lucked out at the old place -- I went from having a small area to a large one as existing spaces were subdivided.)
What I want to know is why our HR and admin staff don't have offices (by "office" I mean "door," really). After all, HR stuff is sensitive information and really ought to be locked up. I know it'll be in locked file cabinets, but that doesn't really seem like enough to me.
Of course, that's just my opinion; I could be wrong.
October 27, 2001:
Just saw a commercial for Levi's low-cut jeans. There were singing bellybuttons. I'm a little creeped out right now.
October 26, 2001:
The rabid sports fan in me has been satiated. The Browns beat the Ravens at home. Convincingly; 24-14 at home. And the anchors on the sports shows seemed to enjoy it more than they're supposed to. Especially Terry Bradshaw on Fox.
It was kinda like one big FYM for Art Modell. Nice to get some vindication on that one.
October 25, 2001:
No comment necessary for this one. But if you can't read the comic (I had to scale it down to fit the page), view the larger version.
October 24, 2001:
Just saw a State Farm commercial about how they make car-safety videos for teenage drivers. To help them understand the physics of a car wreck, they tell them that a 40-mph collision is like dropping a car off a four-story building. And it is. So they drop a car off a four-story building.
The kids in the commerical are thinking, "There's no way I could come out of this unharmed." I'm thinking, "How do I get to be the guy to shove that car off the edge?"
October 23, 2001:
As of 6:57 AM EDT, I am 25 years old. No point here, just keepin' ya current.
October 22, 2001:
OK, I've got this Webcam. I took a few pictures of the living room to put online. Now I can't figure out what the hell to do with it.
October 20, 2001:
In addition to my reformulated-for-style-sheets Web site, I'm also making a PHP project for work. One of the sillier things we do is to log in to the statistics server (which the clients have access to, and have received training on) and compile the information. Then we punch it into Excel to make a couple pretty charts. Then we cut and paste those charts into a Word file, resize them as necessary, and e-mail them to the clients.
Takes about 12 hours altogether for me, and they're due the fifth working day of the month. Now I'll be the first to admit that I have long periods when I'm not doing much. (In fact, now's one of those times) but it's a giant pain in my ass to have to do this much thinking for people.
So during my current bout of downtime I'm writing a series of PHP scripts to automate this a little bit and maybe save me some time and annoyance down the road. And when I do I'll post a login/password for people to view a genericized version.
October 19, 2001:
Just got a letter from my insurance agent today. Since I turn 25 this month (next Tuesday, if anyone cares) my rates are going down. It doesn't mean much, since I have the minimum coverage, but it'll buy me a few beers a month.
October 18, 2001:
Well, Cal Ripken finished his career over the weekend. And all I'll say about it is this: I'm glad he went oh-for-the night. Not because of any hostility toward Cal or the Orioles, but because it points out a simple truth. The other team didn't give him anything.
Nobody took a little too long to throw the ball to first, no pitcher threw a meatball across the heart of the plate. They played it like it was another ballgame. And I think that shows some respect for Cal -- you don't give a man who's made a career for playing hurt and never giving in a pity-play in his last game.
October 17, 2001:
I'm putting together a presentation for work on why we're not doing a very good job of Web design. It's gotten me thinking: I should be able to pretty effectively recreate the look and feel of this site using nothing but positioned elements instead of a layout table. I'll announce when it's done, and it may not be supported in browsers like IE4, but it'll be here sooner than later.
October 16, 2001:
Or, I'm pretty sure that's the quote. Gets the idea across, even if I didn't get it exactly. I think you know what's bringing this one up.
We're making a lot of changes. Well, not "we" but "the government." But we were dumb enough to elect them, so "we."
· We're not allowed to take pocketknives on flights any more. Of course, there's evidence that a lot of the hijackers also had hand-to-hand combat training of some kind. The only purpose the box cutters served was to be a highly visible means of huting people. Banning plastic butter knives isn't going to prevent hijackings. But this is just an inconvenience; and I'm just getting started.
· On the same token, a proven method isn't being explored that I know of. Bulletproof, locked doors on the cockpit? Nowhere on the horizon. You'd think a hijacking would be made difficult if the hijackers can't get to the pilot, but that's expensive. So it isn't getting done.
· Ashcroft's trying to get some legislation puxhed through the Congress that'll let them tap just about anybody's phone without getting a warrant. Oops, guess the Bill of Rights no longer applies, when Osama Bin-Laden's out there.
· The FBI is going to start going to ISPs and installing Carnivore machines to monitor traffic. Thing is, Carnivore monitors all traffic -- the subject of the tap and everyone else on the ISP. The FBI promises they won't use any more of the information than they're allowed to get. Forgive me if I'm skeptical.
There's more, but I'm running long already. And you can see where this is going. America has a long and distinguished history of persecuting people for the "common good." Goes all the way back to the witch-hunt in Salem in the 1600s. Runs right up through the interrment of Japanese people during World War II and the House Unamerican Activities Committee in the 1950s -- that would be how McCarthyism started. Never thought we'd be going through the same thing in the 21st century, did ya?
October 15, 2001:
During Iron Chef this afternoon, there was a commercial for some singing chick. Just your basic cable ad that might, if the advertisers are lucky, sell three CDs.
But anyway, I'm watching the commercial, and I realize: This chick's pretty hot. I watch the rest of the commercial, and I confirm my decision. Yep, she's hot. Then the voice-over says, "already a world singing sensation at age 15 ...." Fifteen. Not even legal in Alabama. I'm going to hell.
October 13, 2001:
Finally got the apartment page up. Have a look at my little corner of the world.
October 12, 2001:
As part of my general Stop Being a Fat-Ass plan, I've started eating cereal that's a little more healthful than Honey Nut Cheerios. The most recent one I tried was Raisin Nut Bran. Not a big fan of the bran flakes, but the almond pieces and nut-covered raisins were good. In fact, I'd definitely prefer a cereal that's just the raisins and the nuts. But maybe that's just me.
October 11, 2001:
Just saw a commercial for Dunkin' Donuts. They have value combos now. Just what America's fat-asses need.
October 10, 2001:
Just got done watching the first game of the National League Division Series between the Diamondbacks and the Cardinals. And saw a great example of why -- even though my home team plays in it -- the American League isn't real baseball.
The D-Backs are the home team, so they're batting in the bottom of the inning. It's the eigth, and the Diamondbacks are up 1-0. Therefore, the Cardinals have the three outs they get in the top of the ninth to tie the game. And the heart of their order -- their three best hitters -- are going to come to bat next inning.
There are two men on with two out, and the eigth batter in the lineup is at the plate. They intentionally walk him to bring up the number-nine hitter -- the pitcher, Curt Schilling. Schilling's been pitching a shutout for eight innings, and has only given up three hits so far. Dilemma: Do you pinch-hit for the pitcher to drive in a couple insurance runs, taking him out of the game; or do you leave him in to pitch the ninth and get the (hopefully) victory?
The Diamnodbacks manager went with Schilling, who bounced a one-hopper to second for an easy force-out at first; no more runs scored. Then the Cards came up in the ninth to face Schilling, who was nearing the 100-pitch mark.
Schilling struck out the first guy with a 97-mph fastball. Then he got the second guy to pop up to the catcher. The third guy grounded out. A 1-2-3 inning, and the D-Backs win the game. Schilling gets a three-hit shutout in one of the most dominating pitching performances I've seen this year.
And if you don't see why this is important (in the sense of a baseball game, anyway) just admit you'll never be a baseball fan.
October 09, 2001:
I was watching the first Star Trek movie this afternoon. (Hey, I'd just gotten cable and was willing to watch anything that wasn't on ABC.) Anyway, they had little interview-lets with some of the Next Generation actors.
The most amusing one was Wil Wheaton -- "sometimes a girl would look at me and I'd think, is she looking at me 'cause I'm a cute guy? No, 'cause I'm on Star Trek -- goddamnit!"
Gee, having women recognize you because you're on TV -- I don't know if I could handle it.
October 08, 2001:
Now that I have cable, I'm watching Food Network. Emeril Live, specifically. I know Emeril always makes very fatty (and fattening) foods that I should really never even think about eating. But if I wanted to, I could justify eating the stuff he makes, if I ever had a chance.
Except today. Today, he's making donuts. Emeril Lagasse, world-famous chef, making donuts.
That's it; I don't stand a chance. When even the cooking shows are pushing junk food, I need to just give it up.
October 06, 2001:
Last week, ABC was running a promo for a story to air on 20/20 -- why Christian missionaries are unpopular in Muslim countries.
Hmm. Let's think about this.
Every religion that I know of welcomes newcomers and converts. Holy people of any religion -- rabbis in Judaism, for example -- will speak with anyone who asks about their faith. But most religions don't actively recruit.
Christianity does. Since before the Crusades, Christians have felt it their place to Save the World's Soul. In the old days, they'd go in, followed by soldiers from whatever government was backing them (Spanish conquistadors got a good workout in Latin America in the 16th and 17th centuries) and wiped out any indiginous culture that wasn't their specific flavor of Christian. Wiped out the people, too, if they didn't find the faith quickly enough.
Even now, missionaries tend to be arrogant. You'd have to be, to go halfway around the world and spout your faith to a bunch of people who aren't interested. And these people, in addition to the local media, shape the locals' view of the West in general and America in particular.
Wanna ask again why so many people in the Middle East and southern Asia hate America and Chsritianity? 'Cause it seems like kind of a no-brainer to me.
October 05, 2001:
With the addition of the Link Toolbar to the Mozilla browser, I can add some useful meta-information for people to use. If you're using a build from after October 3, 2001, open up your Links Toolbar and check it out.
October 04, 2001:
It's hockey season again -- and it's about damn time! I've become a big hockey fan since I moved to Pittsburgh; and with Lemieux back for the whole season, it's not a matter of if I go to a game, but when.
I had the game on the radio as I was working on some stuff for the site (I'll talk about that tomorrow) since I don't get cable yet. Unfortunately I didn't have many reasons to stand up and shout -- the Pens lost to the Avalanche.
But it's hockey season again. Yeah.
October 03, 2001:
Went out over the weekend and bought a new pair of jeans -- the old pair had finally self-destructed after years of loyal service. Saw that the section I was looking at, with the 38-inch waistband and 30-inch inseams, was labeled "Relaxed Fit" with "fuller seat and thigh."
Guess they're afraid of insulting their potential customers by just coming out and calling them "Fat-Ass Pants."
October 02, 2001:
Back in college I was in Naval ROTC for a couple years. Each semester all of us midshipmen had to take a "Naval Education" course: Stuff like naval history, navigation, anything else that was sufficiently boring. My sophomore year, I took Naval History.
Even though it was for the NROTC kids, the classes were technically open to everyone, and a senior looking for some easy credits was taking the class. We were discussing the Marines taking Tripoli, in which a handful of Marines overpowered the entire town.
The jarhead wannabes were sufficiently impressed, but I personally thought that it was a bit far-fetched. The non-ROTC senior raised his hand; I assumed he was going to ask the same question I had in mind. Not quite: "Uh, Lieutenant, do we have any information on the sobriety of those Marines?"
The jarheads glared at him, the rest of the middies snickered, and the submariner lieutenant teaching the class almost had to call off the day's lesson early. I'd like to think the guy got an A.
October 01, 2001:
Never underestimate America's ability to behave in an extremely childish manner in the face of tragedy. Cap Osama Bin-Laden frequently and repeatedly here.