Saturday, February 25, 2006

Use Your iPod for backups

Small technology tip in the personal blog today. Backups for laptops are a cronic problem. I've started backuping up key files from my laptop to my iPod. Its a multi-gig portable harddrive, after all.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Surprisingly Good Movies

Over at my brother Luke's blog we've been discussing the worst movies we've ever seen. Here I'd like to start a similar discussion. What movies most surprised you by how good they were? Again, I'm not asking what your favorite movies are, but what movies did you watch expecting to be bad, and ended up enjoying them?

For example, my lists includes:

"Seed of Chucky"
"The Bourne Identity"

What's on your list?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Act Forcefully

Writing is something every literate person does, like it or not. We often do it badly. Partly this is due to lack of education and care of the basic craft of writing. Sometimes it is systematic, which is bizarre. When you combine the general lack of skill in writing, and systematic warping of language, you get unexpected results.

For an example, I have a local news story that is also getting national coverage. A nurse at the VA hospital in Albuquerque wrote a letter critical of the Bush administration, and it was published local paper. As a result, her computer at work was seized, and it was reported that she is being investigated for Sedition. The ACLU is representing the nurse.

I read the story and said out loud, "I guess I'll keep giving money to the ACLU every month." This interested Jae, and she read the story, including the nurse's letter.

Her response was, "Yep, that'll get you in trouble."

"What?", Josh asked.

"She advocated violence to overthrow the government."

"Huh? Did we read the same letter?" asked Josh.

"This sentence right here.", said Jae, pointing.

"We need to wake up and get real here, and act forcefully to remove a government administration..."

I responded that interpreting the phrase "act forcefully" as encouraging violence was silly. The worst habit of writing is lack of precision. "Act forcefully," I argued, was much more likely to mean impeach than to mean remove at gun point. Jae did not agree. To prove my point, I googled for "act forcefully." The results surprised me. Most of the hits were from articles or statements that were overtly political in nature. In the political cases, "act forcefully" clearly meant "use violence." In political speech, "act forcefully" is systematically used as a euphemism for violence.

This depressed me. First, because I lost an argument. Second, because this cowardly warping of speech is a reflection of the inadequacies of politics. Would it hurt to speak plainly when we are talking about killing people? This is a subject on which I want people to be clear.

I recommend you read Orwell's "Politics and the English Language." If nothing else, read the section where he rewrites a verse from Ecclesiastes the way it would be written by a modern politician or bureaucrat.

You can read about the VA nurse, from an obvious slant, at

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Idle Chatter

Journals are individual. It's part of their essence. For this blog, I have chosen to avoid the daily ramble. Nothing wrong the daily ramble, and I enjoy it when other people do it, its just not what I'm doing with this blog. Except today I am.

I'm lunch. That's a fun typo. I mean, either, "I'm at lunch", or, "I'm lunching." I shouldn't admit to using the second. Strunk and White would not approve of the verb->into->noun. I brought a copy of ;Login with me. Its the publication of USENIX, the Advanced Computing Systems Association. Looks like a good issue. I just couldn't do it. Not in the mood to focus and think.

Ala the magic that is the iPod, I am listining to Josh Ritter's new song, Thin Blue Flame. I'm listening to it over and over, which is the most elequant review I can give it. At 10 minutes long, of course, I can listen for long time without repeating it much. I'm surprised to find I've never blogged about Josh Ritter. I wrote these awhile ago, reviews. After that we saw him live. I guess I only gushed about that in email. My prediction, he's a star just over the horizon about to go nova.

I'm drinking Dragonwell, eating strawberries and listening to Josh. Do I really have to go back to integrating the systems of 3 ISP's?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

If I Only Had a Brain

Potential titles for knowledge base type stuff:

If I Only Had a Brain

I have an interest in training, teaching, "knowledge transfer". Mostly because I could be good at it, at least in terms of creating written materials.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

So there

Many of us are familiar with ending prayer with, "Amen." In the new Battlestar Galactica they have a nice variation. At the end of group prayer, and also at the end of some secular addresses, they end with everyone in the group saying, "So say we all." Jae has her own variation. Jae reads out loud from a Buddhist text while I drive us to work in the morning. At the end, she finishes with, "So there."

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Borrowed Words

Some lyrics today. From Emmylou Harris's "Deeper Well"

I was ready for love I was ready for the money
Ready for the blood and ready for the honey
Ready for the winnin', ready for the bell
Lookin' for the water from a deeper well

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Broad, Sweet Behind

The idealized American female, when she has an ass, has an aerbocized ass, a marble peach. I admire these beautiful posteriors as much as the other guy, but I also appreciate the broad, sweet behind.

The marble peach is firm, round, and is in close proportion to the other parts of the body. The young and the athletic have these tempting tails. The broad, sweet behind, is an upside down heart. It extends out in the direction of the hips. That expanse creates the most lascivious curve a woman has, a curve that describes the ratio of hip to waist, a sinful slide, a place for hands.

You can get a handful of a broad, sweet behind. You can get a good bite of one, too. You won't bruise yourself on it. You could be smothered with one.

So three cheers for all the women in the world on step ladders right now. A big "Hurray" for all the girls perched on stools in lab class. A round of applause for those reaching for something on the bottom shelf. You make today a better day.

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