Monday, November 14, 2005

Latino Heat - Rest In Peace

Yesterday, Eddie Guerrero passed away. For those that don't know the name, he was an elite professional wrestler and his loss is the equivalent of a shot to the testiculars, with brass knuckles. For what it's worth, my thoughts are with his family.

Eddie belonged to a very rarified group of wrestlers. He wasn't the largest, he wasn't the quickest and he wasn't the best-connected when it comes to the politics of the business. Eddie had the thing that most wrestlers will never get, the total respect of the fans. The kind of respect that can only be earned by complete dedication to the fans. You get that respect not be being the next big thing, not by being the biggest guy in the company, you don't even get that respect by being the most charismatic and certainly not by being the bosses son (or son-in-law). You get that kind of respect by going out every day and throwing yourself into your role with abandon. By giving everything you've got every night, sometimes twice a night. You earn that respect by giving the best performance of your life every night, regardless of that nagging pain in your knee, regardless of that cold, regardless of the fact that you haven't seen your kids in two weeks, regardless of the fact that the booking committee is trying to bury you. You get that respect by never phoning it in. By giving the same performance whether your opponent is Bret Hart or Doink the Clown.

Eddie Guerrero was a master of his craft who gave everything to the fans every night of his too short life and the fans loved him for it, even when they hated him.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Large and in charge

Not dead.
More to follow, sometime.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Awww, fuck it.

Jesus fuck all, I'm tired lately.

I need to lay down and read a book. After I finish the laundry.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Java vs. C++: Computer Science Death Match

In my Computer Organization course the Java and C++ people are thrown together in the same classroom leading to an interesting dynamic.

Have you ever observed car people? Not race car drivers or generic commuters. The people who have invested a disturbing amount of their identity in the brand of car they drive. The ones who identify themselves as a [insert brand] men and women. These are the people who have the Calvin pissing on the [insert car brand] logo on their rear window. They form little clubs where they presumably talk about how great their chosen brand is. They make up clever anagrams of their anti-brand (i.e. Fucked-Over Rebuilt Dodge or Found On the Road Dead. The Chevy anagrams escape me right now.) Never mind any objective measure of how well these brands do their basic job, getting a person or group of persons from point A to point B. They have their favorite brand and they will spend their life pissing on the brands that aren't.

The same kind of behavior has emerged among my CS compatriots. Keep in mind that we are all first year CS students. At best, there are some of us who could qualify as garage inventors, self-taught programmers who have written code that works without any of the intricacies involved in the discipline. Programmers writing code that cracks walnuts with a sledgehammer, so to speak. So the whole discussion is laughable because none of us really know what we're talking about. But this is my blog, so I'll offer my opinion because I can.

First, the overarching opinion is that it's a useless debate. We don't know a fraction of the programming languages that are available and widely used. While the Chevy and Ford people are pissing on each other, the rest of the world is driving Honda and Toyota. One glance at will show you that most employers want people who program in languages that are !Java && !C++.

Being a Java programmer only by virtue of the Java section fitting into my schedule, I don't have much of a horse running in this debate. I know that I'm going to end up learning a broad range of programming languages and will probably not be working in Java or C++ in the job world.

That being said, from a market perspective, Java is beating the crap out of C++. Go to and search jobs. On any given day Java will show up at least twice as much as C++ in job requirements. While the nascent game programmer dreams of writing the next big hit for the X-Box/Playstation, the lion's share of work in the field is in maintaining code for insurance companies. Of course as I stated earlier, job requirements for languages that are !Java && !C++ are greater than both put together.

While Java and C++ are slap-fighting in Computer Science classrooms all over the country, the rest of the world is driving Honda and Toyota.

Monday, April 04, 2005

The first pill costs 400 million. Every pill after that costs 20 cents.

When I switched my major from Public Administration to Computer Science last summer, I had a sneaking suspicion that my natural tendencies would ultimately work against me. I could have called in a public administration degree, but part of the problem was that it was so un-challenging that I COULD call it in.

So, on the advice of my SO, I made what I hope is the final switch of my 15 year (on again-off again) romance with college life. Now I'm a computer science major (BA) and I'll be taking my last core class next semester.

I must say that the major to this point has engaged me like nothing else I've tried in college. I have always thouroughly enjoyed solving problems (but not math) and even when I sit and stare at a screen for five hours mulling over a project, I can maintain focus and sit for five hours to think about a single problem.

But then my natural tendencies kick in. I am a procrastinator and a bit of a message board addict. As a result, I don't always start my projects in a timely fashion. There always seems to be one more freeper to slay at the message boards. There is always one more board to check. So I find myself doing something like this, rather than writing the frames and panels for a simple notebook.

Then you throw in a good amount of stubborness and I'm not very good at asking questions when I'm stuck. I prefer to just sit there and think about the problem. This bit me in the ass last week, when I had to change a whole bunch of code to get my project to work right. Then ten pm the day before it was due, I saw the solution and had to restore it all back. (I'm not yet in the habit of version control.)

My natural tendencies cost me a letter grade last semester when I didn't get a project turned in. It killed my almost perfect homework score and I ended up with a B that should have been an A. Anyway, that's enough procrastination for now. The SO is coming home and I need to get on this.

I just have to make a run through the boards/blogs one more time. :)


Saturday, April 02, 2005

What pisses me off about the True Believers (tm)

I'm sitting here trying to articulate what irritates me so much about the True Believers ™. I don't think it's because they're inherently bad people. I'm confident that if we sat down and avoided religion entirely we could have many hours of constructive discussion on just about any other topic. But every time they bring up religion, it just rubs me a little bit raw.

I thought it was the inherent arrogance (or smugness, if you will) that comes part and parcel with religious thinking. But that's not really it. Because I'm equally as arrogant and I don't annoy myself that often or that consistently. It's the insistence of the theist to piss on my shoe and tell me it's raining. That's what pisses me off the most about theists (but especially christians.)

Especially the so-called liberal ones. They are the most intellectually dishonest people that you're likely to meet because they hide their arrogance behind the idea of religious pluralism, all the while sniggering behind your back that they feel sorry for you not being a card-carrying member of their cult (or sub-cult). At least the Robertson's and the Falwell's have the balls to tell you to your face that they think they are better than you (even if they don't buy the bullshit they sell.) They may be dishonest about other things, but at least they're upfront about what they think of you.

Listening to a christian bitch about being oppressed is like listening to a white male complain about reverse-discrimination. If they didn't act like such bastards all the time, maybe the minority groups wouldn't need special protection from them.

So knock off this "pluralism - up with people" crap because I don't buy it and neither do you. If you really thought that all religions were of equal weight, you wouldn't cling to the christian god so tightly. Gilded bullshit smells just as bad as the plain bullshit.

Johnny Cochrane, Terri Schiavo, Karol Wojtyla: They always come in three's

So what does a high powered criminal attorney, a living mummy and the most powerful religious figure in the world have in common?

They are now all wormfood. As of about ten minutes ago, I suppose.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Any Similarity Between My Values and Christianity is Purely Coincidental

I had an encounter with a religio-goober recently that reminded me of something I was told years ago. When I was seventeen, I worked as a telemarketer. One of my co-workers was a Baptist deacon and was an all around nice guy. One day he told me that I live by the word of god and I didn't even know it.

At the time I wasn't as acutely aware of my identity in religious matters, so I just went along with it.

Now I'm here more than a decade later and I'm thinking about values and religion. As I've said before, outside of some isolated reading assignments, I wouldn't know the bible from the satanic bible. I've never been compelled to read the bible and I certainly can't conjure up any coherent memories of my "church years". I know about Jesus Christ in the same way that a 65 year old farmer in Montana would know about Darth Vader.

I'm not a criminal. I don't kill, rape, or steal. I do my best to not annoy the people around me or cause troubles. I don't even go out of my way to kill bugs. I just try to be a decent guy.

When I hear some evangelical nutbag talk about the only thing keeping humanity from a display in hedonism and other forms of anti-social behavior is the fear of god, I have to shake my head and give a chuckle. First, the claim isn't even true. Humanity has managed to engage in those behaviors regardless of whether a mystical threat of whatever the hell it is is hanging over their head or not. Hedonism and anti-social behavior has been a staple of human society since there was a human society. It doesn't matter what the superstition dujour is. As a matter of fact, religion has aided and abetted this kind of stuff since it's inception. Do you really think that Pat "Blood Diamond" Robertson really believes the shit that he sells to the rubes every Sunday morning? Are those predatory pedophile priests that get bounced around from church to church, committing their crimes over and over again really afraid of hell? Apparently the threat of hell isn't quite the deterrent that we've been told it is.

Secondly, why does there have to be a god involved at all? It seems to me that empathy is a much stronger value than fear will ever be. Why let my decisions be guided about whether I'll get to go to heaven, when just helping people out in a tough situation because you feel for them is a far more nobler cause? We can all be good human beings and make the world we live in NOW a better place if we stop worrying about a pretend stick and carrot and just try to have empathy and compassion for the people we share the planet with? Who knows, maybe the only thing preventing us from making a real heaven on Earth is religion.

I Love You, But We Only Have Fourteen Hours to Save the Earth

You know what the world doesn't have enough of? Bad sci-fi with bombastic soundtracks. True, this trend pretty much died with Freddie Mercury, but isn't there some big-voiced distinctive singer out there that can lend their talents to the new generation of Flash Gordon clones?

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Contented Atheist

This afternoon I was walking between buildings on campus and I saw a sign up for a "talk". The headline reading "There Are No Happy Atheists".

That got me thinking. Am I happy? I realized that in general I'm not really happy. I have the capacity for happiness. From time to time I am afflicted with a case of happy. But happy is not my baseline state. Hell, I wouldn't want to be happy ALL the time. Sounds like way too much work.

If I had to pick an emotional state as my baseline, it would have to be content. Some times I'm more content than other times. If I'm reading a good book before bed, I'm content. If I'm scrambling to finish a homework assignment at two in the morning, I'm less content. And all the times that I have been happy or sad, sky-poppa had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Happy, Sad, these are emotions that I suspect are not designed to be experienced perpetually. I'd say that anyone who does is likely the victim of some mental disease.

To answer the question, at any particular moment there are at least a high a percentage of happy atheists in the atheist demographic as there are happy theists in their demographic.

As always, I don't care what superstition you want to entertain. All I ask is for you to leave me out of it.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Democratic Leadership Council (aka Democratic Failure Junkies)

I imagine we'll not see the likes of a Bill Clinton again in my lifetime. A man who could sell you a shit sandwich and have you ask for seconds. The kind of politician who can't help to succeed just by the sheer force of his personality. Whether you love him, hate him or have no emotional response whatsoever, you can't deny that the man was nearly a force of nature.

Which makes the flailings of the terminally ill Democratic Leadership Council all the sadder. They've managed to convince themselves that the formula that worked for Bill Clinton can work for anybody. In their sad little minds, Bill Clinton won because of THEM, not him. Poor bastards.

Don't believe me? How successful has anyone BUT Bill Clinton been employing the "triangulation" strategy? Since the ascendency of the DLC, the Democratic Party has lost the House and Senate. They've abandoned countless races on all levels in favor of electing national candidates. They've adopted a "defensive" strategy in their own strongholds, taking serious challenges in places where they should be winning easily.

And what has it gotten them? Not much. Nearly nothing since Bill left the stage. Sure, Hillary made a decent showing in the Senate, but how far would she have gotten if she wasn't attached to Bill?

So now the DNC is being forced to evaluate themselves. At first it looked like it would be a case of more of the same. The DLC wonks insisting that the party had to move a little farther to the right to compete. Of course that's the fatal flaw in the "triangulation" strategy. When faced with opponents that take two steps back every time you take one step forward, you eventually find yourself completely away from your principals. But then a curious thing happened.

As a phoenix rising from the ashes, Howard Dean has emerged as the grassroots favorite to take over Terry McAulliff's job. A candidate that the DLC can't stand, mostly because he's proven the DLC wrong on a lot of fronts. He proved that Dems don't need to pander to the same special interests that give more money to Republicans anyway. He proved that Dems can win even in deep red districts. One of his Dean Dozens gave Tom DeLay his first serious challenge EVER. Most of all he's proven that the grassroots can and will do wondrous things for anyone that will respect them enough to listen to them. Unlike the other candidates, he refused to disappear (Hell, John Edwards was gone almost immediately after being named Kerry's VP choice.) and he worked his ass off to do more for Kerry than the other seven candidates combined. Sure, he didn't win the primaries, but before all is said and done, he may be the one that emerges to "turn the worm" for the Democratic Party.

And the funny thing is that the DLC doesn't seem to be able to do anything about it. They can't find ANYONE who even wants to give him a serious challenge. They tried to rewrite the rules to force Dean into the back room while a DLC crony remained the public face (until they found out they didn't have the votes.) The DLC, through their utter incompetence has made themselves near-irrelevant. They piss and moan about what needs to happen and everyone else just kind of looks at them like you'd look at a dog who just farted.

Of course, Howard Dean has been the frontrunner before and lost it at the last minute. So anything can still happen. But I think that the rank and file, the folks who write the small checks and walk the neighborhoods and work the phone banks know what's up and they have a pretty good idea that the DLC doesn't necessarily have their best interests at heart.

It will come to a head February 12th, so stay tuned faithful readers.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Extreme Testing and Bad Memory

So I'm taking an intermediate programming class and my professor has decided that this semester we'll be trying something called "test driven design". Basically, you write the tests for your program before you actually write the program.

I have to admit that it does help me find the problems in my programs much easier and I can tweak it bit by bit to get the results I need. The problem is that I have one of the worst memories you're likely to encounter. So it's even more confusing to keep track of what the hell I'm doing.

I didn't know there was a Happy Days reunion.

I wonder how much value TDD will ultimately have. It doesn't seem to be the kind of thing that will help you develop large programs, but what the fuck do I know?

Later, Bastiches.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Piss, Shit, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker AND Tits

I had an interesting conversation with someone over the holidays. We were talking about comedy and the topic of George Carlin came up. I admit that the guy has definitely lost a step or two and is really just going through the motions at this point. He's not had anything particularly brilliant in the past few years. But I like the old fart anyway.

But that's not why my fellow converser didn't like Carlin. He didn't like Carlin because he swore too much. Of course he liked him when he wasn't swearing, but that was a LOOOOOONG time ago. The whole conversation got me thinking, though. In the hands of a skilled orator, profanity is nothing more than an exclamation point. It's a lagniappe, an afterthought.

I love comedy albums. I will listen to comedy and spoken word stuff over music any old day of the week. I don't care if it's blue or not, just that it's funny and/or relevant. I understand that that you may not like a comedian because he's not funny. Lord knows there's plenty of those out there. But if you are just going to disregard EVERYTHING a person says because he/she likes to pepper their monologues with profanity, maybe you should re-evaluate how you think about some things. Judging a comedian based on the amount of profanity in his routine is silly. Judge them on how funny they are. Stop fixating on the occassional four letter word and listen to what the person is saying.