Saturday, April 30, 2005

The trouble with attempting to blog daily... that sometimes you get back home for the night already a few beers in, and can't really provide much meaning to what you have to say. After Anna and I finished up our file server (and somehow managed not to kill each other), she took me to her favorite dive Cecil's. It was a pretty uneventful night, other than I won a beer playing darts. I walked up to chat with a friend of mine by the dartboards, and this other guy Andy introduces himself, hands me three darts, and says he'll buy me a drink if I hit a bullseye in three tries. I'm not sure how but somehow I hit the outer cork on the third try -- especially amazing considering I suck at darts. He bought me a beer but he wouldn't let me live it down for the rest of the night.

Tomorrow, it's on to parallel computations and "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." Monotony followed by hilarity. Excellent.

Song lyric of the day:
"If you're drinking, well you know that you're my friend
And I think I'll have myself a beer"
- Reel Big Fish, Beer

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Daily blogging recommences, an apology, and Big Brother

An old friend from high school, Bob Amar, has started up his own blog. (His second such attempt, but he made a point to expunge the first from existence, and I don't blame him.) His stated intent in giving it another go is that he wants to force himself to write every day. Which made me think, "Dammit, I should write in mine every day, even if what I write is utter shite." So, henceforth: check back frequently, because I will try to write new posts on a daily or at least semi-daily basis.

I know I've made such claims before, but I'm serious this time. Really.

In other news, many of you might be wondering why I've been out of touch recently. Well, first of all, I've been busy with projects and other non-school related stuff (the year so far has been pretty rough). When I do find the time, in many cases, I often double-click on IM names before closing them, or scroll to names in my cell phone before exiting, saying to myself, "Eh, it'll probably be a bad time". I know in my case it's almost never a bad time to hear from my friends, but somehow it doesn't feel like the reverse is true. Oh well, I'll get over it eventually. Suffice to say, I'm sorry I haven't been the friend I want to be. The song quote for today sums this paragraph up better than I can.

Today, in two separate classes, we talked about computer security. In my Operating Systems class, Dave Johnson gave us a brief history lesson about a worm that managed to infect 10% of computers on the internet back in 1988 (about 6000 computers). The way it did it was interesting in and of itself, but what was also interesting was, two of the three glitches the worm took advantage of still haven't been taken care of. Does this scare anyone else?

I dunno, I love the internet, but sometimes I worry that it's just me willingly letting Big Brother in.

Song lyric of the day:
"I've been one poor correspondent
I've been too too hard to find
But it doesn't mean you ain't been on my mind"
- America, Sister Golden Hair

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

No Justice Sunday

Well, "Justice Sunday: Stop the Filibuster Against People of Faith" has come and gone (with me laughing so hard at the notion that it hurt). I used to have respect for Bill Frist. What the hell happened?

Answer: the religious right.

I find it extremely amusing (and fitting) that Zhubin, the atheist, and Ben, the evangelical Christian (email posted on Jeff's blog), have in the past week presented me with almost identical arguments about the religious right and their blatant disregard for, well, religion.

The religious right has been fooling otherwise decent people of faith for years by convincing them that liberals (read: Democrats) are attacking their faith. Liberal Christians (e.g. Ben, among others) recognize that the greatest affront to faith is precisely the invocation of it in a manner that seeks to control and manipulate. "No Justice Sunday" (as I like to call it) is the most recent example. The Terri Schiavo fiasco (which was a mere family dispute, and should have been left that way) is another. And on and on.

I must admit, the religious right has it down to an art: pick a hot-button issue that is explicitly condemned by the church (abortion, homosexual sex, euthanasia, etc.) Scare the living shit out of the religious by claiming that liberals (read: people ho believe there are more important issues) are attempting to subvert their faith. Convince them of your claims by using a ludicrous example (e.g. filibustering wacko judges who think things like the Civil Rights Act but also happen to oppose Roe v. Wade and gay marriage). Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

I personally believe that moderate Americans are very slowly beginning to recognize what the right is doing, and I think the post-election cockiness of the religious right will ultimately be their undoing. Because of No Justice Sunday, I don't believe Frist will ever get elected, for example. This is uplifting to me: 4 more years (actually, 3 years, 8 months, and 26 days, if I were counting) of one religious right-winger in the White House is bad enough. Admittedly, he hasn't managed to actually pass much to impose the will of the religious right too badly. I've even been pleased that he has more-or-less dropped the Federal Marriage Amendment issue, though this proves the point I made above.

And as usual, I'm rambling. I'll stop now. I need to do work anyway. Go on with your daily lives. Oh, incidentally, for one of the most reasonable and moving analyses of the Christian attitude toward homosexuals, read Ben's Hustler article from 2003, "Why Christians should support gay rights".

Song lyric of the day:
"Your insecurity pollutes your path to purity
But I don't know if you feel this way all the time
Hear me: I don't think you're right"
- Caroline's Spine, Nothing to Prove

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Meme merde, jour different*

Just when I thought I could get away with never posting again, Jacob passed me this Caesar's Bath Meme deal. What a surprise as I went through my daily web-browsing routine to discover I had been called out. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this practice (a group which included me until about 10 minutes ago), here's the jist of it:

Behold, the Caesar's Bath meme! List five things that people in your circle of friends or peer group are wild about, but you can?t really understand the fuss over. To use the words of Caesar (from History of the World Part I), "Nice. Nice. Not thrilling . . . but nice."

So, alright then...

  • Anime: From Aaron to Albert, it seems I've always had friends who liked anime. I can occasionally enjoy most of an episode, but I've never been able to be drawn into the plotlines the way a lot of people are.
  • Computer gaming: I'll always be the black sheep in the computer science community because I'm not much of a gamer. I find them interesting sometimes, but I usually lack the dexterity or dedication to really get into them.
  • NBA Basketball: Maybe it's a short man's burden, but I don't really follow basketball the way many do. Passing glances at the standings are enough to keep me sated.
  • "Finding Neverland": So many people have told me how great they thought this movie was. I enjoyed it as a film, and thought Johnny Depp was brilliant as always, but I did not think it was best picture caliber. It wasn't even the best film Kate Winslet was in last year!
  • Beer Bike: Yes, I understand it's a Rice tradition. I can see a certain appeal, but given that most people are all about the beer and not the bike, why can't it just be any other Saturday when everyone gets wasted?

Onward and upward! I pass the meme to Jeff, Collazzi, Bradley, and Meredith, on the off-chance any of them ever actually read this poor excuse for a blog.

Song lyric of the day:
"Do not listen to my song
Don't remember it, don't sing along
Let's pretend it's a work of art
Let's pretend it's not my heart"
- Magnetic Fields, I'm Sorry I Love You

(Today's song lyric is dedicated to Jacob. Because of what he said about Magnetic Fields, not because I'm sorry I love him. I'm not sorry at all.)

* Same shit, different day.