Thursday, October 28, 2004

End of an Empire...

That maybe a bit of an over-dramatization but it was still really depressing none the less. This article from made me want to cry. A school principal threatened (explicitly or implied, its still a threat) two students wearing Kerry shirts to a Bush rally with expulsion. It amazes me that educators are sinking that low and taking such almost criminal like partisan sides.

In general this election has become so fierce and fanatical that each side (Kerry too) is becoming blind. People are getting caught up in the “just because I hate Bush” or “just because I hate Kerry” sentiment that they aren’t thinking. This blind faith (or hate) is just not healthy, and is seriously corrupting the democratic process.

When I was in high school I had two (what I thought to be) extraordinary teachers… the rest were much less memorable. One of them was Mr. Aldridge (sp? Its been about 15 years, give me a break), I am not a history buff but his history classes were phenomenal. I have never, before or after, attended a class where the teacher so fervently loved his subject and conveyed it with the same passion. When we got to the part about WWII he would ask questions like “how can an entire country commit such atrocities, be so fanatical”, many people blow the Germans off as being almost insane then but I think that is totally unfair, it can happen to anyone. Mr. Aldridge showed us a film called "The Wave", once it was finished the whole class just sat in their chairs a bit dazed, even though the bell had rung. It has its goofy 60s (I think that is when it was done) elements to it but the message is pretty intense, made even more intense because it was based on a true story. Visit the link to get a better idea about it, it kinda reminds me of the mindless political faith/fanaticism that I see and hear (even being an ocean away) at home.

Flash Animations

I have been accused of having a fairly twisted sense of humour, other times I just get the silent “OHG did he really say that?!” treatment; to all you total stiffs, get a life. Flash animations have really let lots of people come up with the funniest things, stuff you wish you had seen earlier but would never make it into mainstream humour media (TV/movies/etc). Here are a few favourites, all in good taste (except maybe for the last one). If you are a late 20 something guy you will have to appreciate this, Remember “Sound Wave” the Decepticon transformer? Megatron’s right hand man? Well if so check this out.

And for those a bit older (early 30s), that remember tape loading computers, you will love this (catchy tune as well!)

And finally this one, it’s a bit bizarre, if you don’t know what bukkake (sp?) is then *don’t* bother looking it up… but its not as obscene as the name implies (actually its totally random, I like the song though, kinda indy-ish)

PS You might want to check out if you find the above stuff amusing, its a blog with tons of links to weird sh*t like the above.

Google Stuff

They have come out with Gmail, Google Desktop and are rumoured to be coming out with a browser.

They also have some sort of partnership with Picasa that lets you view photos but also lets you post photos onto your blogger/blogspot account. I also find linking to pages cached in Google as a nice way of ensuring a questionable link/page doesn’t disappear.

Google worship can be bad; worship of anything can be bad. While I can’t find the exact quote I seem to remember Linus Torvalds saying something like “the worship of anything can cultivate a closed mind”; very true very true.

And then there is the ever present Privacy Issue. Valid yes, but he seems to gloss over the fact that at least for the Google desktop, web/anonymous information options can be turned off (perhaps he glossed over it because it wasn’t the core issue).

And lastly lets revisit all the applications made to work with google stuff like the gmail pop access stuff. I finally gave them a try, the only one I really liked was the FreePops program. I tried it, worked quite nicely... until gmail started sending me warning emails saying my account would locked for 24hrs. Yikes! Well, needless to say I stopped pretty quickly but my account hasn’t been locked that I know of (I was logged in and haven’t logged out yet, that was yesterday). So kiddies, lesson learned (crap), the interesting news is that lesson wasn’t totally learned, this program also works for a ton of other freemail accounts like yahoo mail, tried it there, worked like a charm!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


A quote from Bill Maher really got me to thinking about the Nader factor. I was irritated by Nader’s self-righteous entry into the election before but this time it is infuriating. There is a lot to loose this time, and the argument that “there was hardly any difference” between Bush and Gore can now probably be dismissed. Maher said “Michael Moore and I, for example, two people who voted for him (Nader) last time. This time, you know, I have to say, I feel like a spoiled brat with that vote last time. It just showed me, people do not have the indulgence in most places in the world to vote for the lesser of two evils.” He couldn’t be more right (now).

Two Treo650 Posts in One! (Who says I am not a giver?)

Treo650 bandwagon
Ya know the PDA Treo650, I might have mentioned it a few (20?) times before, well Gizmodo now has a page that has links to all their articles covering the Treo650 thusfar.

More treo650
Tons of quick details on the new Treo650. yeah yeah yeah, the lack of real camera and miniscul amounts of memory are disappointing (the lack of Wi-Fi is puzzling at best) but in truth, unless it was going to go the route of the Samsung Phone/Camera and have serious memory (512+) those things don't concern me so much. For memory I would buy a SD card (a GB card can be gotten for around $70 now) since if I use extra memory I would use a lot of it (wikipedia, games, translation dicioanries, mp3s, videos etc). The Wi-Fi part is really disappointing though, not sure what they were thinking.

You can find a more in depth review here.

Debating the Electoral College

I was listening to an NPR show that looks at both sides of
keeping the Electorial College
, it was quite interesting. Seems to me that it was created in a time when the little people (farmers and such) weren’t trusted to be able to take care of themselves through voting so the Electoral College was created to “help” the little guy (people and little states). The problem is that “Many times, though, the electors are simply important persons whose wisdom, it is hoped, would provide a better choice than a larger body”, a PC way of saying they try to make up our minds for us… I know I know, it is not that blank and white, but it is frustrating to me that when you boil it down, the person that gets the most total votes (from the people) won’t necessarily win (of course more frustrating because it put Gee Dubbya in office). Some more information on this can be found at Wikipedia and

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Finally “Smart” Cars in the US of A!!!

If you are a European (or Mexican) you will probably yawn at this but for us hapless Americans it should be interesting. Smart (A swatch Mercedes joint venture I belive) will release its little cars in the US. They are pretty cool, small enough to be “cute” (if you are of that persuasion), but definitely cool at 70mpg, 8ft long, and having the crash test ratings of a Ford Expedition. I have lusted over these since visiting my friend (who got one) in Germany. He is at least 180cm but still fits no problem in the car, and now I hear they have an SUV! (to sucker us Mad-About-SUVs-For-No-Good-Reason Americans into buying even more Smart vehicles... but GOD I’d love to see pix of it).

Personal Discipline

For my Blog, I tend to have thoughts and, having a memory that fades every few seconds, and then write them down on my PDA to elaborate on later in my Blog. Its funny but I didn’t have to “train” myself it just happens, kind of like my memory and music, I tend to remember songs, or useless facts with no book beating memorization involved. I am sure there are things we just remember and don’t even have to try… why can’t we do that with things we *need* to remember? I try to make myself use the dinky little expense program on my palm (which if I can get myself in the habit of using I can then justify buying quicken for the palm which would be even more useful) but alas, I keep forgetting to put in expenses; same goes with memorizing words, learning Italian is moving at a glacial pace and one of the big problems is memorization.

What is it in our heads that cause us to remember some things and totally forget other things? Having an interest in the subject helps, I tend to remember agricultural and computer things (though not so much the details) better than say stuff about fashion or cars… go figure.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Jon Stewart taking "Crossfire" guys to task

Jon Stewart was recently on the “CrossFire” TV show and pretty much held those guy’s feet to the fire kind of the same idea as the second half of my Hell Yeah Kerry! posting.

Reading that made me think. I had a deep respect for those like Jon Stewart, Denis Miller, and Bill Maher; and now I respect them even more. They are people who aren’t just funny guys (plenty of those), but have conviction (plenty of those too) and can make compelling, intelligent, political arguments.

Yeah Yeah, Bluuuuu-RAY!

Oh my god its Christmas already!!! Gizmodo just did a breakdown of Sony’s Blu-Ray disks, it made me all tingly just thinking about it. The disks are already a reality in Japan (albeit and expensive one) it has more/bigger backers, will be the Playstation3 media, and Sony just bought MGM (and presumably their archive of movies) so they will have plenty of stuff to publish. Not only that, there was an article floating out there about Blu-Ray disks that are partially composed of consumer-waste paper, and cheap to make... and for all those hard-up-for-storage types out there, Sony has already demonstrated that there could 200GB disks?!?!? Ohhhh, I need a cigarette... reality is getting sweeter and closer every second! Ever want something so bad that you’d be willing to sell your m… ahem. Its just that sweet.

More Gee Dubbya slamming (its not that hard)

I am not the savvy political type but I am constantly annoyed by Bush’s assertions that Kerry flip flops, for one I really don’t think that is such a huge huge issue, so Kerry is a political opportunist, show me a politician that isn’t and I will show you are shocked bush-hater.

But seriously he constantly slams Kerry for changing his views but bush has been doing the same thing about gays, economy, and of course the war. I haven’t wasted my time *trying* to find something to point this out but I saw the mention of it in my trusty Kinja news feed so I thought I would put it up, see how Kerry isn’t the only one that changes his mind and re-characterizes stuff.

Walking in Rome bad for you?

My friend was talking to someone (mind you this was from Belarusians I believe) and was told that walking in Rome is like smoking 6 cigarettes. That was a bit disconcerting if not vague. I don’t know where his buddy got this info-bit, or how long one must walk around, nevertheless it doesn’t make me feel particularly good about romping around this town. I can say that when I have to walk down Via Tiburtina (arguably *one*of* the biggest/busiest streets in town) my throat gets uncomfortably dry, very much like sitting in a small smoky bar… not fun.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Irony of some institutions

I am working in the FAO at the moment; it’s temporary but long enough for me to notice a few ironies. One of them, that also happen to be a personal pet peeve, is recycling. I am a firm believer in first reducing, then reusing, and *then* recycling... they do almost none of that here.

While in some schools and institutions in the US (Though I feel the US is really bad about it as well) we at least have recycling bins by the photocopiers... here, nada. I have yet to be able to find a place to recycle though everyone says places exists (they just shrug and throw it away).

It is a real shame, especially for an organization that is supposed to deal so closely with natural resources.


I watched "Apocalypse Now" something like 2 times in the last 15 years, it was a seriously disturbing film (though a masterpiece). So when I read Kevin Sites Blog (courtesy of and saw the “Apocolypse Now” reference it made me hate this war (And my president) even more.

Noooooooooo!!!!! (Sharp PDA)

Sharp joins the other Japanese wusses and pulls its sweet little Linux PDA off the American market. That was one of the first PDAs (the only big named one) to have Linux installed on it. It was powerful with all the gizmos a technophile could want and now they take it away from us... Those selfish Japanese, in truth I think it is an ongoing Japanese conspiracy to deprive American technophiles of their cool gizmos just so they can have the pleasure of saying “ha ha, I gots it and you don’t”, ARRRGH!

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Trick out ANYTHING

I am not sure where I found this link (maybe, am too lazy to go look) but this site Trick Anything is really over the top.
I read (and occasionally lust after) various computer mods (modifications) but this site puts all those other things to total shame (you *must* check out the "super toilet").

Fiscal responsibility (or the lack thereof)

I was browsing through my news feed and came across this Washington Post article that said “Campaign aides of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John F. Kerry (news, bio, voting record) (D-Mass.) noted that Bush's 2001 budget anticipated the debt ceiling would not have to be raised until 2008. And, they said, the government has run up more debt in the past 17 months than was amassed under all the presidents from George Washington to Ronald Reagan". Alittle biased? Of course! But just think, if it is *half* that that it is still mind boggling.

That is amazing to me. Someone that talks so much about saving the American People money could help accrue such an unimaginably huge debt, wasn’t it just about 5-6 years ago we had a surplus?!

Now I am not the economics guru but I understand how alittle debt can be good in the grand scheme of things, giving out alittle interest and keeping money circulating through the world economy... but is it really worth the price (literally and figuratively) that we are paying?

With any debt comes interest, the bigger the debt the more interest is paid... who do you think is paying the interest?!?!? I can tell you that thanks to Gee Dubya’s tax plan he certainly isn’t paying his fair share. This monkey is helping (lets face it, its not all him, congress has been helping dig our fiscal grave and then piling the dirt back on top) sink us further and further into debt. Now, for your Bushies out there, saying Kerry won’t help (though I didn’t say he would), I have no idea. I can say I don’t think Kerry would do any worse.


My brother has pointed out that I forgot a few games while talking about my 286 AT days and word processing (which he was a part of). Games like RoboCop, Gauntlet, Space Invaders (though I don’t remember us having that one), and of course Pirates (how did I forget that one?).

Things Google Didn't See Coming?

Its interesting, all the Google/Gmail applications that aren’t made by Google that are coming out. Like the Google News search to RSS, gmail pop3 apps, or the Gmail storage drive application.

They are all pretty cool, I have tried and actively use the “GNews 2 RSS” site, I hear the others work pretty well too. Actually I am surprised (and thankful) Google hasn’t been more aggressive in getting rid of such things since they take away from their services without allowing them to get any revenue. Oh well, a new age of tolerance? doubtful

You’ve got to be kidding me?!

I just heard, again, a story about how computers with Linux pre-installed promotes windows piracy in that people buy the computers, erase Linux, and install pirated versions of Windows.

What the hell?!

I can (and have) bought computers with blank drives and installed my old copy of windows on there. To insinuate that Linux boxes shouldn’t be sold because they promote piracy is analogous to saying we shouldn’t sell cars because they aid in bank robberies. Its just absurd. It really makes me wonder what exactly the people at Garter research are doing with their time. Anyway, Newsforge has another article that kind of reviews some points that Garter neglected to mention.

They hate us (well Bush)

A yahoo story shows that Bush is making the US more and more hated all over the world... except by Israel (surprised? He is about the only one that supports them) and Russia... probably because he seems to be like Vladamir Putin (whose ideology and legislation I also disapprove of).

I don`t understand, I hear again and again that, personally, Bush is a nice guy, I suppose I could see that in the dopey good ole’ boy kinda way but how could someone that is reputed to be so nice (again I feel the need to insert “personally”) make so many enemies all over the world?

It was encouraging to hear that the world doesn’t hate us (Americans in general) but I do wonder. A friend of mine working in Germany had some German spit on his buddy and start a brawl; I, when in Morocco had a bunch of old ladies tell me (thinking I was Romanian) tell me they didn’t like Americans. I sincerely hope that people outside of the US can see that Bush only represents half of the US (which is still contested by some) though that is still a whole half that still supports him (which I am openly ashamed of).

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Invisible Cursor Test

Ok, now you *really* know I am not doing much at work... can't remember where I came across this but I had bookmarked it and just got around to trying it out. Pretty nifty. Its not one of those try-to-click-here-but-you-can’t gags in case you were wondering. Anywho, if you like your mouse (Chad, if you are reading this I hope you are nodding your head) and think you are good with a mouse then give these invisible mouse tests a try.

Depressing yet inspiring...

This is an email sent to me by a friend of mine, To some it might sound "Anti-American” but in truth Chad is one of the Most American people I know. He had a flag up (while in Moldova) *before* 911 and after, he is an aggie (upatriotic farmer is almost an oxymoron), did his reserve time (but is totally upfront about what he did there, unlike a certain elected official), and I think he more than most people loves his country. That is why it is sad when government becomes so defunct that even people as loyal to the US as he is start to become embittered. He attached a bit that he felt very strongly about and I felt just as strongly so I decided to post it.

--> SNIP <--

Dear Friends and Loved Ones,

My mother-in-law Susan sent me message which begins in the next paragraph. As I believe it is the patriotic duty of every American to question the motives of their government (thinking outside of your TV)always: this is one of the most inspiring e-mails I have come across in months. It most perfectly summarizes the current state of freedom of speech in much of our country today. I commend the guts it took, for these women in Kansas, to stand up for what they believe in; and if you didn't already know it by now...I don't agree with the current state of our government. Yes...that's right...I don't support our president. Of course I support our troops, seriously...who doesn't? I'm not against our troops in Iraq, but I do believe it is wrong to go to war over oil, to blow up poor people by the thousands, and make the extremely rich...infinitely richer! This e-mail is for all of you freedom loving Republicans out there who forwarded me all of your BULLSHIT over the last 4 years. If you just can't handle the me and well "chat" about it. JUST DON'T FORWARD ME ANYMORE BUSH/CHENEY PROPAGANDA!!! I AM SICK OF READING YOUR BORING, STALE, RIDICULOUSLY LAME COMMENTARY ON POLITICS!!! FUCK IT...THINK!!!

I am involved with a group in Lawrence, Kansas called "Women in Black." Weekly, we have stood silently as a group wearing black clothing and veils, holding signs with the current death toll of both Iraqis and American service people in the Iraq war.

Last Saturday we wanted to put our message out to a larger group of people. We decided that tailgate parties before football games would provide the best bang for the buck. Held in the parking lot before games, they can attract thousands of people.

Wearing our black garb and carrying our "Bush lies, 1000's Die" and "1157 US dead, 15,000+ Iraqi Dead" signs, we slowly and silently walked through the crowd. It was the most frightening experience of my life. Screaming angry people yelled obscenities at us and called us traitors.

For 40 minutes we walked through the most hostile environment I have ever been in. I actually feared for my life at times. I thought to myself, "if just one person throws something at us, a riot would ensue and we would be killed." Was this what it was like for the children trying to go to school in Little Rock, Arkansas in the late 50's?

I had to wonder if those silent watchers had doubts about the crowd they were with... seeing these big bulky men yelling at these eight small women walking silently through a jeering crowd, whose side did they really want to be on?

Out of thousands of people, only three offered encouragement. One women walked beside me and said, "you're so brave, thanks for doing this." I didn't feel brave. An African-American man took his hat off as we walked past, and said, "thank you ladies for doing this." Then another many screamed obscenities at us. The kind black man held him back and said something like, "I'm a Veteran. You don't know about war, man. These people are trying to help us." He continued to talk the guy down as we walked on. He was my hero.

We got through it, though it took several hours to get my heart to stop racing.

One of the most shocking things about this incident was the hostility shown toward us as women - countless sexual threats, and vulgar references to our anatomy. There were even some women out there yelling out at us, although most just watched. One elderly blue haired lady give me the finger.

Looking back, I can't help but think that if this is George Bush's America, he can have it. I'm going to keep working on my own America.

Women In Black


--> SNIP <--

Pursuit of the Perfect PDA

A sad bit of news, my handy, durable little Treo90 just lost its flip-style lid. In truth I am amazed it didn’t break sooner with all the times I have dropped it (chronic butterfingers). As a result though I noticed that the lid made my PDA a bit heavier and fatter, I actually notice the difference. Its amazing how much a little bit of plastic can make a difference. Makes me wish I had an even thinner one… but then again I would gladly settle for the (thicker) Treo650

Monday, October 18, 2004

Gmail Wishlist

Not that they aren't already doing a pretty d*mn good job but these are more like suggestions:

  • POP3/IMAP/Exchange access for starters; I would probably be willing to pay for something like that but oh well.
  • To set defaults like expanded options (without having to click on “more options” and “show all”)
  • A delete “hot key” (would have thought that would be the first thing they put in)
  • Ability to synchronize with PDAs


I miss the old CD caddies, kinda. I let a friend borrow a DVD+R of movies (in case you are wondering they are copies of DVDs I have, being the travelling pragmatist I am I don’t carry around originals when I can fit 6 copies on a DVD+R, plus if it gets ruined I just re-copy them when I get home), when he returned it I couldn’t play it. I noticed a big scratch on it that wasn’t there before… sigh. I have met very few people that are as anal about “disk handling” as I am, it is unfortunate since I like to spread movie-watching-happiness but not at the price of my backups (I won’t be back home for at least another 5 months).

So, remember the good ole’ days where CDs had their own cases? I thought it was superfluous at the time, made the CDs a lot bigger and bulkier than they needed to be but now, especially with DVDs, I miss them. At the moment I would love to have caddies that were as thin as the new slim CD jewel cases, and a DL DVD burner then I could chop the number of disks down and also have them come with extra protection… oh well, I doubt we will be seeing them anytime soon.

NOTE: I did see in Wikipedia that TDK has come out with some sort of hard-coating technology to make it so the blueray disks could be cleaned with regular tissues… if that happens then fugetabout the caddies!


Whats up with Edwards?!?! Calling it a Draw?! Geeze I really expected him to cream Cheney but no. I conceded before that Cheney is not stupid (or at least smarter than his boss) but if Edwards has been able to swing multi-million dollar cases I would expect him to do better. I suppose that there is some consolation that Cheney didn’t do any better but the whole tie thing doesn’t help the Kerry team much.

Oh well, if you need some sort of anxiety release here is some Anti-bush memorabilia that a friend pointed me to.

My life with MS Word; a love/passionately hate relationship

My first recollection of using computers at all was the apple IIe and Oregon trail, that was cool but not enough to get me into them, that was elementary school. Years later, my uncle got a “portable” computer (Have no idea what brand model) that was about twice the size of many desktops today (think dell optiplex tower) and it had a more primitive but just as fun donkey kong type game on it (hey it was an early PC, macs still had an advantage), that was late elementary school early high school. Then my parents got an AT 16 Mhz and I had to type papers in WordPerfect 5.1 and we could run Test Drive, Rampage, and Rockford (Boulder dash clone) and in color!!! That was the shit! … but still not enough to get me into computers. Then came my own computer, a 386 DX40, the fastest MoFo in the dorm (for a semester). A buddy of mine taught me some nifty commands like CD, DIR, COPY, and HELP in the OS thing called “DOS” oh and I could run DOOM! Ok now computers were sweet and I could start to dink around with them. I still had WP5.1 but my aunt brought a copy of MS Word (3x?) and said it was great… I tried it… and disagreed. I kept with WP, tried a windows incarnation of it but was not impressed… kept with it for about 3 years then switched to the windows version around version 8, still liked it still hated MS Word. About that time Corel was having problems etc and it seemed like WP development came to a halt.

I was out of school for awhile and didn’t pay much mind to word processing and then got to graduate school and pecked away at papers using WP10 I think… but as usual everyone else was using Word, the ignorant masses I thought. Well I was watching one of my fellow students using the newer version of word and saw them using nice features that weren’t in WP so I tried it… it was a sad day, I realized that MS had finally trumped WP. I now use Word grudgingly, I am not a fan of the vanilla one flavour/size for all that MS seems to cultivate but here they do indeed have a better word processor. For all my grudges I am not going to not use something that is genuinely better based on distaste. So now MS has a better word processor (well office suite in general); now they only have to win me over on the browser (I hate IE compared to the likes of Opera, which kicks ass) and OS (Still a un*x fan, and will continue to be so until advanced under-the-hood features show up in windows [like it did for Mac OSX], and actually becomes stable) fronts.

There is hope, the likes of Open Office as a free alternative, WP as a cheaper word processor for the word processor generalist, and a few others. If they came out with something like a hybrid of Vim and MS Word I would *so* buy it!

Thursday, October 07, 2004

More food...

To read all the food related junk I have been writing one might think I am a 400lb hippo... well not yet but I do love food. I am kinda hungry right now and chocolate popped into my chubby little cranium which made me think of some of the best tiramisu I have ever had (well here and a quaint little place in the south western tip of Virginia, the “Swiss Inn” I think). An Italian friend of mine took another friend, his girl friend, and myself to this little “steak house”. I can’t remember the name etc but I think I could find it again (somewhere to the right off of Via Nomentana close to the center) but it is a place to remember, not for its meat selection but its Tiramisu. In truth most of the meat there was a bit tougher than it should have been and was reminiscent of German weiner snitzels, problem was the Germans do that better and I was in Italy. Anyway, the meal was ok, not phenomenal but afterwards I thought “why not?” so my friend and I ordered some. They served it in a cup, like a pudding, hadn’t seen that before but the taste, divine, forget that ambrosia crap. His girlfriend didn’t want any but after she tried she couldn’t stay away from it (his comment “I know my chicken” was quite amusing, something lost in the translation perhaps?). Anyway, this is a place I would pay for again, just to have some of their homemade (oops forgot to mention that part) tiramisu.

Too much information... I love it!

Let me profess my love for news feeds yet again, god bless em’! I have managed to come up with a problem though. When I skim over the latest feeds and then use my trusty Opera browser in all of its tabbed greatness to open the story up I have begun to run into cluster-phuct-ness type problems. Now admittedly this would be more of a problem with something that doesn’t support tabs but still there has to be a better way! (Side note: ya know how some movie and music players can speed up the media a tiny bit so you can soak in more media faster? I wish there was a way to do that with articles, so I could digest more articles in a given amount of time… oh well.) I was thinking about something that would make a huge/long web page, like appending one page onto the bottom of the previous page… then I could just use that handy little scroll button on my trusty MX700 then, and only then will I be able to attain news feed nirvana (well not counting the ability to read more faster mentioned in my side note).

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Italian cafeteria goodness

From my early teens on I have had a certain loathing of cafeteria food. Of course when I was little, had no appreciation for food, I loved going to Morrisons cafeteria and eating limp-from-the can green beans, crusty garlic bread that used margarine and no garlic, and the shrimp cocktails (which were ok, but again I had little taste then). I blame my taste snobbishness squarely on my mother, though in truth I am not a true connoisseur; perhaps part of my loathing stems from the old person atmosphere of Morrisons or K&W type places or the worst of the worst quality of the food during my school days (re-enforced by a few years of college cafeteria)… but Italy has changed my mind. The FAO cafeteria rox in so many culinary ways (though still doesn’t hold a candle to some of the other eateries I have been to in Rome), my most recent encounter was due to the lack of a kitchen (refer to getting bribed to leave my former apartment), I had to go to the cafeteria and decided on an olive, red pepper , cheese, and herb Piadina, god bless the cheesey/sandwich goodness of Italy.

Panoramic stuff

I have been playing around with Panotools and ptgui to make panoramic pictures. I haven’t found the killer scene to make a pano of but I think I am getting the hang of putting the pictures together (not as easy as it sounds, or for me its not).

All this graphics intensive stuff has given me (yet) another reason to get a better computer, using ptgui and Photoshop CS (not even at the same time) really bring my computer to its knees… admittedly its partly due to windows crappy memory management but I can’t blame it all on MS.

Anyway, panoramic pictures are really sweet, the ability to turn my dinky 3 mega pixel camera into an infinite mega pixel camera just boggles my mind. Anything from taking super sized pictures of people (multiple close-ups of different parts of a person) to killer skylines… I love it.

For some examples I made go here

Monday, October 04, 2004

Likeable “good ole boy” helps the stiff aristrocrat

Or that is how I see Edwards complementing Kerry. I think Kerry is smart enough to hold is own in an intelligible conversation (better than Bush at least) but many seem to think he is the stiff, unapproachable aristocrat. I think Edwards bridges that stiff-gap nicely, he is the democratic version of Bush, that is, has that southern likeability about him (which is ironic to me, being from the south and consistently hearing how we are just a bunch of uncouth “rednecks” makes me wonder why many also think of the south as being congenial [which we are, in an unfortunately/overly conservative way]).

Anyway, I expect Edwards to annihilate Cheney in the debate unless he gets cocky and lets his guard down (I don’t think of Cheney as being a good debater but he certainly isn’t stupid), in which case he would deserve to loose.

American having a change of Height?

Ok, I’m back, we decided to go to a grocery that was a block away get something then chill and people watch by the coliseum. It was certainly cheaper than getting something from those conartist-cum-mobile-quickie-marts vendors or buying from the restaurants around there, and it was a smoked salmon sandwich but was not up to the standards that many other Italian eateries have been, oh well.

Anywho, I had an interesting discussion (one of many) with my friend about height differences. About People from places like Tonga and Samoa, the Germans/Dutch, and the Americans. He said he had recently seen somewhere that the average American height has decreased over the past 50 years… why? That he didn’t know, we guessed that is was possibly due to the relatively large (compared to many countries) minority populations (Asians and South Americans, certainly not the African American minority [Thanks for helping bring it back up a bit guys!]) that are in the US, could be. I heard a study that found a positive correlation between standard of living and height, where the lower the average standard of living of a population the lower their average height was, interesting. I can think of exceptions (Japanese being short [albeit short N’ cuddly] and having an insanely high standard of living and Tonga and Samoa not having the best of living standards and pretty much dwarfing most other populations).

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Unreal Travel Destination: Molvania

I was scouring the NPR site for analysis(what is the plural for analysis?) of the presidential debate and came across this piece. I thought I should have been amused but wasn’t so much, I just didn’t find it as funny, not that it was offensive or anything. It is obviously (well obvious to anyone that has lived in Moldova) based on the country of Moldova, but whatever.

NPR's Robert Siegel talks with Tom Gleisner, co-author of the travel guide Molvania: A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry. Gleisner describes the invented Eastern European country, including everything from historic nuclear reactors to the legacy of founding father Szlonko Busjbusj, also known as "Bu Bu."

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Hell yeah Kerry!

Ok, in truth *I* didn’t think there weren’t any knock out punches during the debate; I wish there had been (delivered by Kerry) though. The Polls seem to show that Kerry “Won” the debate (which is fine by me) but its pretty early to me to say that. Really Kerry only held his own and Bush just stuck to the same mantras (can’t he think of anything else?) but that didn’t hurt him. What probably hurt the most was Bush’s childish facial expressions, sometimes looking like a kid that had been sent to sit in the corner. Should facial expressions really count? No, like the Gore “sigh”, the Dean “scream”, Bush Senior “looking at his watch”. These things, to me, mean very little… I would rate little Bush’s facial expressions as being as obvious as the Dean “scream” but still, why does that count?

Anyway, Another thing that disappointed me was an article I just read “Connie Rice: Top 10 Secrets They Don't Want You to Know About the Debates”. Many of the points she made never occured to me. While I am not sure I like allowing lesser candidates to participate in debates (its good in that they could make the real candidates answer some harder questions [Nader] but they could also waste time [Perot] that could be used listening to real candidates). Oh well.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Learn something new every day...

Well, opened up my blog page and was a bit puzzled, no entries... but being the bright lad that I is, i figured out that bloglines (or all blog services?) displays by the month, and now, being a new month with no entries (this being the first) the page was empty. But have no fear, the calendar to the left gives you access to all my meaningless written wonderings from the past.

Ideal Editor/Word Processor?

Geeze, I want a VIM like editor/word processor, that spell checks as I go, is small/quick, supports word completion (like open office is *supposed* to do) and supports tabs. Is that too much to ask for? Something for jotting down notes. MS Word is big, takes a dogs age to load, is memory intensive, doesn’t have tabs, no word completion, and doesn’t edit/navigate as neatly as VIM (which I realize is debatable)

Favourite Monthly quote

I doubt I will actually have a quote that I put up every month but here is a first, and perhaps a last, favourite quote from the past month. “Bless tha B*tch!”; from my favourite German lawyer flatmate (Referring to our former [psychotic] land lord), after he landed a swank apartment all to himself after being bribed to leave (like the rest of us).

Well we are all situated, some more happily than others. I am now alittle farther from public transportation than I would like, the Italian Physicist is alittle farther out than he would like, and the German Lawyer is paying alittle more than he would like and well, we aren’t sure about the Italian Lawyer, but he is able to take care of himself in Rome 10x better than any of us.

Ah but life is good/better, I now have one flatmate instead of 3 (well that was a +/- thing), my room is huge (and if i figure in the bribe, and all resulting expenses, I will be paying about 100 euro/mo instead of the 460+ from before), the area is as convenient (minus the 8 minute walk to the metro) as the last, if not more convenient, my housemate speaks very little English so it will be a bit O’ incentive to work on my Italian, nice kitchen, and tha sweetie should be gettin’ next week, yep, life is skippy about now.