Archive of November, 2004
November 30, 2004:
Looks like I wasn't being paranoid after all: The position I interviewed for won't actually exist, so come the end of December I'm out of a job. I've already got the Tek people up to date, and my boss here at Equitable will give me a reference, so I'm not totally screwed. It just means that my timetable for getting out of town has changed a bit, and may not be quite as comfortable monetarily as I'd like. But dem's da breaks.
November 29, 2004:
Well, I for one am glad that the TSA is keeping Wile E. Coyote from getting on an airplane.
November 26, 2004:
Then I could sit on my ass collecting people's money all day, getting paid $18.50 an hour, and go on strike when I don't get a 40¢ per hour raise every year. And here I thought the turnpike was expensive because of road repairs and upgrades.
November 25, 2004:
I'll have a normal entry in place tomorrow, probably another one from my camera-phone (I usually forget to offload pictures for a while, so they all show up here at once). But for now just enjoy whatever it is you're doing today, whether it's stuffing your face, watching football, spending time with your family, or spending time avoiding your family.
So just take a few minutes, take a deep breath and enjoy your four-day weekend.
November 23, 2004:
Maybe I should buy some dryer sheets. Loose threads aren't supposed to stand straight up in the air, if I remember correctly.
November 22, 2004:
I was parked on the street not too long ago, and came out to my car to see a piece of paper stuck to my windshield by the rain. I was kind of pissed off for a second, until I remembered that I wouldn't get a ticket for parking there. I would've rather had the ticket.
Well, at least this one isn't possibly my fault; I wasn't even there!
There's the damage. Took my front left turn signal clean off.
I circled the little clip that helps hold the signal to the body of the car. It looks like it snapped when the signal came off.
Nice little scuff-mark on the bumper. Good thing it's made of plastic.
A better look at the clip, or what's left of it.
The connecter for the light itself. Looks like that plastic got broken too. Hopefully that's just a matter of splicing on a new one.
A better look at the connecter. The streak down the side of the car is just a reflection of the wire. You can also see where the bumper's a little deformed.
Well, this is an annoyance, to be sure. But the guy who got me (he was parking in the next space up and thought he had more clearance than he did) is being stand-up about it, so it's not nearly as bad as it could be. I'm going to see if this is within Walters's capabilities, since I've decided they can be trusted. After all, this guy could've just hauled ass out of there, so I don't want to soak him.
At least the headlight still works, so it's safe to drive at night. When I signal a left turn, though, the "clicker" spazzes out to let me know there's something wrong. Thanks, but I'm well-aware of that.
November 19, 2004:
... LET'S NAME A BRIDGE AFTER SOMEBODY!
Well, I was originally going to find a picture of the 6th, 7th and 9th Street Bridges, and Photoshop it to look like a Warhol painting since the bridges are triplets. Then I realized that it was a lot of work for minimal payoff.
So just imagine I wrote a nice rant about how the City Council is pissing away its time on nonsense like this instead of trying to keep the city functional.
November 18, 2004:
My boss gave me an update about my employment here yesterday. His superiors are still wrangling over the budget, so there's nothing definitive yet. But he knows that, come January 1st, they'll either hire me or end my contract. Apparently, if he's not allowed to fill the vacancy I applied for, he's also not allowed to keep me as a contractor.
So, my Washington plans just got a bit of a kick-start.
November 16, 2004:
I just won the week out of my group of friends at UC. For once, I managed to pick the winners of more than a handful of the weekend's football games. Lest you think I'm on some kind of a tear and am going to win the bragging rights for the season, my victory will, in all likelihood, vault me into 5th place overall.
November 15, 2004:
Drove to Cleveland Saturday afternoon for a little bit of partying before the Steelers game on Sunday. Grabbed dinner and a few beers at the Gridiron Grille then headed over to Panini's on West 6th for a few more beers and... another dinner. (Yeah, there's a reason I'm a fatass.)
Sunday morning was good too; I woke up early(-ish) and headed down to the tailgate a little before 10:00 and knocked back a few Budweisers before making my way to the stadium. A few nitwits didn't grasp the fact that heavy coats and large containers will be searched (is al-Qaida a bunch of Steelers fans?) so it took a while to get through the gate, but I got to my seat in time for the game to start.
And what a start it was: The opening kickoff was run back to the Steelers' 15-yard line, setting up an easy score. Except, this is the Browns, and no touchdown comes easy. A quick three-and-out later (why are you running around end against Pittsburgh?) they kicked a field goal for their only three points. I don't think they got back to the red zone before the end of the game, and I'm pretty sure they never strung more than two first downs together at all.
In other words, your average high-school team would've been embarassed to turn in that kind of performance. But that's what happens when you've got the Browns' coaching staff.
So yeah, lots of fun in Cleveland. Except for the actual game.
Edit: Forgot about the TD the Steelers gave up after Holcombe came in late in the fourth. See? Even the Steelers can get scored on when they play the Prevent. Anyway, the game wasn't even as close as 24-10 would imply.
November 12, 2004:
I enjoyed the drive home from work on Veterans Day; most everybody didn't work that day (I get a floating holiday that I'll probably cash in around Christmas). I figured I'd have a few extra minutes to unwind before I started on my freelance work. Then I got home and saw that all the lights in the building were off.
Turns out the trash truck nailed the transformer while they were emptying the dumpster. Duquense Light had to come out and replace it. Well, after sitting in the dark for a couple hours (with no computer, no TV, no stove and no heat) I decided to head over to Mineo's for a couple slices of pizza. I really shouldn't eat out given that I'm going to be spending Saturday and Sunday in Cleveland for the Browns-Steelers game, but it's not like I had a choice in the matter -- all I had that didn't require cooking or opening the fridge were potato chips and peanut butter sandwiches.
When I got home, it turned out that the power had come back on less than five minutes after I left. D'oh.
November 11, 2004:
News flash: One less terrorist in the world.
Not Quite a News Flash: Francisco Franco still dead. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.
A few maps for your viewing enjoyment.
Electoral votes by state. Only three states (New Hampshire, Iowa and New Mexico) voted for a different party than they did in 2000. From CNN wihout permission.
Percentage of votes by state. Full red is Bush, full blue is Kerry. Note that most of the country is basically medium purple. From Boing Boing without permission.
Blue vs. red by county. Note how much of the country is actually red in this map; essentially the only place Kerry enjoyed widespread support was in the Northeast and in cities. From USA Today without permission.
Counties, colored by percentage each candidate received, with a 3-D effect to show population. This shows a little more effectively how Kerry made it close by appealing to populous areas. From Princeton without permission.
And finally, a look on the lighter side:
The United State of Texas. No word yet on whether the inhabitants of New America or Baja Canada would have to watch hockey or end sentences with "eh." But we would get slightly improved beer. From Not a Dollar Short without permission.
November 09, 2004:
Y'know, I was going to add some comments of my own to this, but I'll just say that it's the single most fucked-up thing I've seen in quite a while.
November 08, 2004:
As long as I can remember, I've had a couple of odd tastes -- I don't like ketchup and I don't like coffee. Aside from a taste every few years to make sure, I never eat these things.
Then a month or two ago I discovered that I like cappuchino, and I've since added mochas to the list. A few weeks ago at the Oregon I decided to try ketchup on my fries. Instead of finding it disgustingly vinegary, now I like the stuff.
Now, I realize that both of these foods are "acquired tastes." But I always thought you had to taste the food to acquire the taste.
November 05, 2004:
Well, they're moving stuff around here at work again. A few weeks ago they moved all the Audit people out of here and turned that part of the cube-farm into meeting room with several rows of chairs. Then they moved another person over to ACM and took down a couple more cubes -- that gave us a table to use for meetings or delivered pizzas.
Now they've taken down the last of the empty cubes, including the one behind mine, and built a small training room. Which means that my cube is no longer "protected" from the door, which means that anyone who comes in can see me slacking off if the timing's wrong. The facilities guy said he'd move my "door" around, though, after he finishes the training area, so I may be safe again soon.
November 04, 2004:
Warning: Geek-stuff in this one.
I learned something recently. When you're putting together a SQL statement using more than one table, and you don't tie the tables together, it causes problems. Let's say I'm building a statement and conditionally calling stuff in from another table. To simplify my code somewhat, I might do something like this:
$sql = 'SELECT a.* FROM TableA a, TableB b';
if ($something) $sql .= ' WHERE b.SomeID=a.SomeID AND b.SomeID=' . $someVar;
Now, to me that looks like if $something is false, that TableB doesn't get used at all and would be ignored.
That would be wrong. Apparently, in situations like that the database will match every row of TableA with every row of TableB, creating a huge number of duplicates -- if there are 10 rows in TableB each row from TableA will be used 10 times. With my small test database this wasn't a problem: 10 rows by 20 rows just uses 200 records, and MySQL can handle that easily.
The production database, however, has a lot more stuff in it. So much that MySQL couldn't assemble the data before the connection timed out. Took me a while to figure that out. But I did, and now everything's working just fine.
I'm sure that's in the documentation somewhere, or maybe even in one of the SQL specs, but it's not like anybody ever reads those things. RTFM makes things easy, after all.
November 02, 2004:
Yeah, I guess it's time for my craptastic little spiel about who I'm voting for. I'm hoping that by not writing this until I'm at work, you'll hit the polls before you read it instead of being convinced by my horrible prose to vote for the guy I don't want winning.
This is the third election I've been eligible to vote in, and I have yet to participate in one that didn't require at least some nose-holding. I don't think it's a terribly difficult choice though. I'm voting for Kerry.
Not for any of his policies, really, just because I'm tired of Bush and he needs to get canned. I'm sick of the lies, I'm sick of the misdirections, I'm sick of the assaults on basic civil liberties, I'm sick of the refusal to adapt to mistakes. In 2000 I thought the guy was a better choice than Gore: I didn't really want an environmentalist nutjob running the White House. I still agree with that sentiment, but I wish I'd had someone else to vote for. Maybe I should've just voted for Larry Brown and admitted that my vote didn't count for anything anyway.
But back to the matter at hand. We're dealing with someone here who (from what I can tell; I wasn't alive at the time) is more dishonest than Nixon. At least when Clinton told whoppers it was about not inhaling and getting hummers from a fat chick. Presenting shaky evidence as irrefutable so he could beat up the guy who embarrassed his daddy. Covering for the reporter who outed Plame (everyone else is getting hit with contempt-of-court charges for not revealing sources except the guy who the story was leaked to?) Those are pretty big right there.
On the basis of that shaky evidence Bush went to war in Iraq. Given what was coming out of Washington at the time I supported it. If I'd known then what I know now that would be different. But let's ignore that I got taken on that; more than half the country did, along with most of Congress. Let's look at the war effort. The disappearing explosives are just the latest poke in the eye for this botched operation. Time and again we've seen the results of having too few men in-country at the start -- insurgents holed up, looters raided anything and everything. We went from "liberators" to "destroyers" overnight as the Iraqis who should have been on our side saw us stand and watch while their countrymen wrecked the cities. Now they use the weapons we let slip out from under our noses against our soldiers.
I doubt I even need to mention Ashcroft and USA PATRIOT, or the TSA and Department of Homeland Security, or this nation's descent into attempted theocracy. We've descended so far in the last few years that people now think that being an Arab or a Muslim or just looking out of place means that due process is a privelege and not a right. We think that hassling old ladies will stop a terrorist from taking over a jetliner, or flying a Cessna into something important.
So I'm going to vote for Kerry. Let's look at some of what he has to offer:
- Tax-cut rollbacks for people making $200,000+. The libertarian in me disagrees, but the money's got to come from somewhere and I'd rather it not be me.
- Socialized health care. Because what we need in this country is even more brain-drain. Doctors are already closing their doors due to malpractice insurance going through the roof. Limiting what they can charge isn't going to help matters any. Remember, while we're going to Canada for penecillin Canadians are coming down here for surgery so they don't have to wait in line. I comfort myself by saying that since at least one house of Congress will stay Republican, this will never pass.
- Rebuilding alliances. Not terribly likely, given how badly we've fouled the nest over Iraq, but getting more people in there, even if it's just as support, would help. I doubt anyone would go for it, or would accept what little we'd offer in return.
- Three Purple Hearts!!!!one!! Shut the fuck up about Vietnam already. It was 30 years ago. I wasn't born until a year after it ended. Sure, the Swifties are full of it. I don't care.
There you go, the lesser of two evils. Go out and vote. Unless you're voting for Bush. In which case I invite you to stay home and consume the adult beverage of your choice, until you can't remember where the polling station is.
Edit, 5:10PM: So much for record turnouts and long lines; I was the only person there aside from the volunteers and the people handing out pamphlets. Go, apathy.
Edit, Wednesday 8:17AM: Congratualtions, Ohio: You're this year's Florida. Looks like the vote's close enough that they have to wait for absentee and provisional ballots to be counted. So, we wait a little while.
Edit, Wednesday 12:25PM: Well, this is interesting: Kerry's apparently conceded the race already. Now, it's extremely likely that he'd've lost anyway, but what happens if the planets align and the absentee ballots actually do give him Ohio?
November 01, 2004:
Took a quiz to see who my ideal candidate for president would be. Got some interesting results:
- Michael Badnarik - Libertarian (61%)
- Gov. Howard Dean, VT - Democrat (56%)
- Sen. John Kerry, MA - Democrat (54%)
- Sen. John Edwards, NC - Democrat (53%)
- Rev. Al Sharpton - Democrat (50%)
- David Cobb - Green Party (49%)
- Ralph Nader - Independent (49%)
- Rep. Dick Gephardt, MO - Democrat (48%)
- Ret. Gen. Wesley K. Clark, AR - Democrat (48%)
- Rep. Dennis Kucinich, OH - Democrat (44%)
- President George W. Bush - Republican (43%)
- Sen. Joe Lieberman, CT - Democrat (41%)
- Michael Peroutka - Constitution Party (40%)
- Former Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun, IL - Democrat (39%)
- Walt Brown - Socialist Party (37%)
- Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. - Democrat (30%)
Aside from the fact that a couple of the candidates don't warrant their own sheets, I find the ordering a bit odd.
I have no doubt in my mind that I'd favor some Democrats over Bush. I'm not even terribly surprised that Dean was at the top of the list, though I've heard he isn't all that great of a governor. What gets me is that Al Sharpton is so high on the list. I'm pretty sure that if I sat down for lunch with Sharpton I wouldn't even agree on my portion of the check.
Update, Sunday evening: Well, the Pack won Sunday afternoon, so it looks like it'll be Kerry getting elected tomorrow.
Note, Monday 8:38 AM: Hm. Forgot something in the redesign. These text boxes are tiny.
Edit, Monday 6:30 PM: Got those CSS fixes done. Much easier to type when you can see more than a dozen characters at a time.