Sunday, December 27, 2009

Index cards are useful for this

People may not have forgotten about this, but they've certainly quit caring. Heck, I almost quit caring myself. It would not have been a huge loss if I had. It would have just been a regular loss. The same kind of loss as occurs every day when people forget to shave and alienate folks on the streets. The kind of loss that is easy to ignore, and if you try hard enough, to forget.

A few weeks ago - it feels so long ago now, vacations do that to you - I was sitting with a few of my friends who are girls. I won't call them girl friends, because those are dangerous words. The sequence of the words here is very important. At any rate, we were just talking while waiting for a party of sorts to start. We were talking about the people we know and our interactions with them, and we were verging on bitterness. As an experiment of sorts, I don't know what sort, I ventured "You know, I was going to ask out X the other day, but when I got up the morning after I decided to do it I realized that I could never make the logistics work." We bantered the idea back and forth a bit on the subject, and I ended up getting heaped with abuse that I should have seen coming.

The detail of this episode that I desire to scrutinize is the difference in my opinion between the night I decided to ask X (I'd probably tell you her name if you ask nicely) out and the morning I decided against it. I stand by the morning position now because it's the more reasonable one. There's no way my plans of the evening were going to happen. They were just plain logistically unfeasible. It seems to happen so often though, our rescinding night's plans in favor of morning's realities. It appears to me that this phenomenon is part of the never-ending battle between man's possibilities and his abilities. Is it that I dream too big at night, or am I actually afraid in the morning? Is it possible to dream too big? What would I be afraid of?

Time to paint.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Right side of my mind




So this last weekend I bought a PlayStation and the Greatest Hits edition of Metal Gear Solid on eBay. I figure I got a pretty good deal, especially for the game. I got the same price for both items, $11.50. The game was in more-than-mint condition, though. There weren't even any fingerprints on the inside of the case. I don't think it had ever been opened. Not in 11 years. It was as if I had just got back from picking it up at RadioShack (they did sell PlayStation games in the late 90's, right?).

I kinda wish I had a girlfriend. It's hard to imagine why I don't when I'm so good at saving money and other 1337 skillz. However, it's also important to consider that I'm kinda terrible at commitment. Also, I don't think I'd want to spend as much money as having a girlfriend seems to take. Or the, um, not sure what to call it, but the following vignette might illustrate: One time, one of my friends who is a girl mentioned to me that she was cramping cos it was "her time of the month." Do you think I'd want to know that every month? No! Of course not! But that would be the kind of thing I'd have to hear, or so it would seem. Argh! Choices!

Well, it's off to bed cos of this sham called "DST." I guess I'll see you tomorrow. Or maybe not. Nobody reads this anymore.

Oh, and "in the air of freedom the flame grows bright." Just a line from a song.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I shot a man in Reno.

So, last night, I went on a date. I got some tickets to see the Chinese acrobats perform at the performing arts center my parents are "patrons" of. And they were good tickets, too - front and center. We had an awesome view of all the stunts, and one of the clowns offered my date a glass of raw eggs as a joke. Easily, the most terrifying stunt they did was balance a chair on top of four champagne bottles on a table. A girl climbed up, and they started handing her chairs and she used them to build a tower! Finally, after seven chairs, she was at the top and could almost touch the ceiling. She started doing handstands and stuff on top of the chairs. It was certainly death-defying. At the end of the show, one of the acrobats came and shook my hand and gave my date a flower. After that we got in my truck and headed home.

It was way cool.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Single flavor

Do crisp and smooth go together? The reason I ask is that those are two words I'd use to describe my new keyboard. It's a nice keyboard, if I'm qualified to say so, and I daresay I am qualified.

Back in spring, my laptop's keyboard started going on the fritz. Occasionally certain keys (notably E) wouldn't work. I would lock my computer and wait an hour or so until it started working again. Eventually, the entire top row just quit on me. I decided that it would make sense to remove some keys and get all the crumbs and paint and hair out. Which was good, until the little plastic levers under the keys started breaking. Unfortunately, superglue was somehow incapable of forming a bond between the broken pieces, which were practically microscopic anyhow. So I was stuck with a keyboard with no E, Caps Lock, or Backspace keys and a nonfunctional top row. After some thought, I removed the keyboard and cleaned the cable contacts with an eraser. After reassembly, the top row worked again, given I touched the conductive spot under where E should be. I was able to work like that for a while, and the Tab and D keys joined the others in an old Chinese takeout bowl. Eventually, though, 3, E, D, and C quit working altogether. I needed workarounds.

For slow applications, I was able to use the On-Screen Keyboard dealio that's built in to the Language Tools or whatever on Windows. But for something faster, I needed a full keyboard with no slow mouse movements. I set up a Remote Desktop connection across my LAN and used another PC across the house for all of my writing. But it was a shared PC, so I couldn't use it at will. I managed to find an old iBook, but it couldn't directly remote desktop to my laptop for some reason (I guess cos it was running 10.3.9). A VPN out to the Internet, back to my house, and across the LAN was the way to go. Superefficient. Running Remote Desktop over the new VPN worked like a charm, but I didn't want to do that forever, so I asked for my dad to buy me a new keyboard. Ok, so I did wimp out. Live with it.

It came in the mail yesterday, and I installed it as soon as I got it. And if I had to describe it in one word, I think I'd go with "tasty."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Well congratulations!

I read this on the Inet just a second ago, and it made me giggle.

The problem with buying a package of cookies is that I'm torn between gobbling them up immediately, and savoring them. If I gobble them up, not only will I be hit with an immense wave of guilt, but they'll also be gone too quickly. If I wait, they run the risk of being stale. This upsets me the most when it's Milano cookies or Oreos, two brand names that almost everybody on the planet likes. Both my Milano cookies and my Oreos are now stale. I wanted to cry, but I couldn't find the tears.

Welcome to Shelf Life.

It was probably cos I thought a guy wrote that column until now.

Also, I'm exempt from Gummint. Somehow.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Promises

This is an excerpt from my diary. For some reason, I was super proud of it.




Tuesday, February 17, 2009 2247 hrs

One year ago today, I sat in Terminal C of Ronald Reagan National Airport reading The Appeal by John Grisham and eating churros (from Cinnabon, I believe). That was a long Sunday. I spent something like six or seven hours alone in that airport. It holds a lot of meaning for me.

When I think of it, powerful emotions awake that I almost never feel. I don't understand them properly at all. I'm not sure where I'd even begin trying. It was a time when I was independent and free. I value independence and freedom, but I've experienced those things at other times, too. [redacted to protect the innocent; they might know whom they are] The architecture of parts of that airport is stunning, having a strange, ethereal quality that almost seems to convey me across time and space. There's also the mental link I hold between that place and Portable Ops, but it's an oddly transcendental one that shouldn't affect me quite like this.

It's one of the most important places in the world, and it's our first anniversary. Many happy returns, hein?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Toshokan Sensou

I was glancing around my blog for the first time in a while. I just spend so much more time on the back-end of things. While I was perusing, I happened to see the little tagline that says "What's with all the kissing in the rain, guys?" That goes wayyy back in time to a German chick that I sort of knew. I found a list of "ways to turn your girlfriend on" or something like that on her Facebook page... profile... thing. HerSpace. I reposted it on my blog with a running commentary of why or why not the things listed seemed like good ideas. One of those was "Kissher in the RAIN!!!" (yeah, bad typography, similar to the original). I said something along the lines of "Dude, do what ya want, but kissin' in the dry sounds better to me." That started a huge paranoiac argument and I slapped the rain-kissin' tag on the headliner.

So I started to imagine what kissin' in the rain would be like. Kind of hard cos I've never kissed anybody, but I can try. I can feel like the water on my lover's lips as they brush mine. Same as a regular kiss but wet. Big deal. But I guess it must be romantic or something to go to all the trouble of risking pneumonia just to show a bit of affection.

I saw an albino roach the other day... and my mom bought a copy of The Host (which, I am guessing, is about a necrotic maitre d' who falls madly in love with an unassuming girl-next-door named MJ and almost gets his a... butt kicked by Spider-Man. Still waiting for the second installment to see the thrilling conclusion) and almost put it in the bag with my Navy SEAL picture book but luckily put it in the bag with my brother's WWI history book.

There's an entry in my diary that I'm especially proud of. Not sure why. Just am. I'm considering editing it for content and publishing it here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chloroplathts

I'm going to Michigan this summer. I don't think I've ever actually been to Michigan before, except for a quick stop in the Detroit airport. I think I'll list the states I've been to:

Utah
California
Tennessee
Illinois
Kansas
Iowa
the District of Columbia
Alabama
Texas
Nebraska
Georgia
Wyoming
Nevada
Arizona
New Mexico
Oklahoma
Mississippi
Florida
New York
Minnesota (MSP airport)
Louisiana
Kentucky
Maryland
Virginia
Missouri

That's all I can think of, anyhow.

Oh, and I'm going moose hunting in October. I hope that'll be more productive than all the elk hunting I've done already.

Edit: I just found out that my English grade is a 98 and I'm kind of mad about it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sucrets

Once upon a time there was a dude named Steve Stevens. He was awesome. He was so awesome, that he played guitar for Billy Idol. Most people agree that Billy Idol is one of the awesomest dudes ever. It seems to follow that if someone as awesome as Billy Idol relies on you, you must be pretty awesome too.

I've always described Stevens as a "monster." I mean that in at least two ways. First, he looks like a monster. He's got that whole huge black shaggy hair thing going on and he wears some crazy makeup. Second, he's a monster guitarist. No wonder he was picked to play the "Top Gun Anthem." That's the real theme song of the movie Top Gun. Yeah, "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins isn't actually the theme song. They needed something totally hardcore and they needed it to be done awesomewise. So they hired Steve Stevens and some weirdo piano player with a wispy little mustache. The final tune was a mix of anthemic melody and adventurous action-shredding. Perfect for a movie about a guy who tries to... um... Does Maverick fight for justice at all in Top Gun? I know he "finds himself" and joins an elite band of fighters. I guess the dedication it took to do that is the inspiration for the anthem part of the song. The "need for speed" mentioned in the movie, referring to Maverick's maverickness, is well represented by Steve Stevens' solo work halfway through the song.

There's another hero of mine - Simo Häyhä. He's only the most awesome warrior I can think of (who's a real person, anyhow). From what I can tell, he killed over 700 Soviet soldiers in the Russo-Finnish war. And like 540 of that was as a sniper, using no scope. That's pretty amazing. Of course, there are estimates that place his kill record closer to 1,000 total killed, but I'm going to stay conservative for now. He's just an amazing guy.

Now I'm going to maybe play "Top Gun Anthem" again. Or maybe not. I kind of want to watch some anime. Maybe. Who knows?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Itchy knuckles

Does anybody but me ever use the fullscreen mode in browsers? It's kind of neat, and almost handy when you get used to it. The shortcut is usually F11. Try that the next time you use any sort of kiosk that has a keyboard: hit F11. If you're lucky, it's only like Opera or Internet Explorer in fullscreen mode, displaying a custom webpage. I did it the other day at Carmax. Of course, it was only IE5 displaying the Carmax webpage so that customers could search the Carmax inventory conveniently. I changed some setting or other so that people would have a harder time going places other than that site. Helpful ol' me.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Read the Readings

This is your first HTML lesson with Dr. RT (Panzer Time!). Since students are not allowed to address professors by their first names, you will refer to me from here on out as Dr. Panzer Time! or as Panzer-Time!-Sensei (or as Panzer-Time!-Sempai, if you are so inclined).

Since nobody anywhere knows how to manually embed an image, and since I'll be embedding images in this lesson, I'll start with embedding an image. It works like this:



In that picture, you see a snippet of HTML. On the end you have the little corner things. That's what tells the browser (Firefox or Safari or Internet Explorer) what parts of a page are code and what parts are plain text. In HTML, everything is done with "tags" that have the little angley corners on them. In most cases, you put the tag with the instruction you want, like "b" for "bold," followed by some text that gets made bold, followed by another tag that has "/b."

The "img" tag, which we just saw, works a little differently. There's only one tag for one image. It closes itself - that's what the slash is for. It has the word "src" followed by an equals sign. That tells the image tag where to look for the actual image. The URL, in quotes, does that. The URL I used for that image was
"http://i167.photobucket.com/albums/u158/RT_Jones/1.jpg."

Next we have the "a" tag. The "a" tag is a lot like the "img" tag in that it has an equals sign and a URL. However, the "a" tag usually wraps itself around text and has a separate closing tag. Check it out:



This time, instead of "src," "href" is used. "href" stands for something like Hyper-Reference or something like that. It's only ever used with the "a" tag, but it does the same thing as "src" does in the image tag. Notice that there's a few words in the middle of the two "a" tags. These are what's used for the link - linking is what "a" tags do.

There's more things that can be taught, but that's probably all for now.




Just for fun:

<img src="http://www.pe.com/imagesdaily/2008/06-25/berlin0625_300.jpg" />

goes to:

Friday, February 6, 2009

Titre is a French word

Today at skool I said that the only reason I even show up anymore is so I can have some place to keep my hat during the day. It sure feels that way. I sleep through most of my classes. I don't bring my backpack home at the end of the day, and the only thing I take in the morning is my hat, my iPod, and the previous day's Wall Street Journal (it comes in the middle of the day when I can't read it). I don't try hard at anything much anymore, mostly because I don't need to. I try hard to be fun and I try hard to draw a picture every once in a while and I try hard to be a good Président. But that's pretty much it.

I like work, you know? That reminds me, I need to upgrade one of my old computers.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Jamaican crack dealers

Yesterday was like the best Sunday I ever had. It all started about 0700 hrs. See, church starts at 0900 hrs, but I have to be there about 0830 hrs. So I woke up, looked out the window, said "screw it" and went back to sleep. Mom came in and asked if I was going to church. Normally it wouldn't be an option, but I was pretty sick and really didn't need to go to do anything special (I'm not actually all that necessary at church, other than blessing the Sacrament, given my ability to constantly elude Sister Ginn and her choral machinations).

I said "no, not if you aren't going to make me." Keep in mind I was sick; I actually like church. She said that I wasn't allowed to use any computers while she was gone, but said I could read if I wanted. She told me to eat some "breakfast steak."

After they left, I took my tray downstairs and fried a breakfast steak, whatever the heck that really is. Doesn't matter anyway, cos I didn't eat but a little bit of it. I loaded up the tray with that, some grapes, a slice of bread, a glass of water, and the newspaper.

Now, the tray has the little handles and the legs that fold out so I can lay underneath it and eat. It's neat. The reason I got it was actually to use my computer in bed more easily, but it's designed for eatin' and it's good at what it's designed for. And I used it for what it was designed for. I spent like two hours just laying in bed reading the paper and eating with the windows open, which was nice. After that, I read Rise and Fall of the Third Reich for a couple of hours.

I worked on the computer later in the day, writing some neat stuff and doing little junk. Then I worked on another computer later.

I reckon it was the feeling of accomplishment I had yesterday that made it so great. I was able to read a lot of stuff and watch clouds go by all day. It was so nice, and I wasn't breaking any sabbath-day observance because my heart was turned to the Lord all day! Nice.

I'll probably write another post tonight or early tomorrow. I'm just in that kind of mood.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bleeding-edge

Look, Windows 7 doesn't even show up properly:


Friday, January 9, 2009

Win7

I read this blurb just a second ago. I can't say how true it feels sometimes.

That said, the word "enhance" (as Jay uses it) reminded me that the only changes I've made to my blog, other than new posts, since I've started are:

☆ I've changed the tag line from "The life of a lonely hacker" to the much more arcane "What's with all the kissing in the rain, guys?"
☆ I've added a little picture of the NYC skyline as a reminder of 9-11 (see bottom of page)
☆ I finally got W3Counter to work (see bottom of page)
☆ I added a link to www.anti-dmca.org (see sidebar)
☆ I added a link to www.worldwidewardrive.org (see sidebar)
☆ I think I changed my little profile description, but I'm not sure.
☆ I also added a little tiny map of where my visitors are from (see sidebar)

I have not:
☆ Made any major layout changes. Granted, I've juggled a few bits around as I've added those links, but everything's still there and it's still in the same two places.
☆ Changed any colors, much as I've been implored to (red on black seems to bother some people)
☆ Changed the name
☆ Changed the URL
☆ Deleted it
☆ Changed the point

It just so happens that I've offended many people since I began this thing. Sorry, if you deserve it. Some people probably don't, but they'll never see this anyhow. It also so happens that I've totally neglected my comics blog. Sorry. I just forget to put stuff there. I've also got a dA account now, and I put a lot of my artsy stuff there instead.

Windows 7 beta comes out tonight. Who knows? Maybe I'll start a Panzer-themed Windows 7 blog. I wonder what I could name it.

How long have I been at this? Since Sunday, October 14, 2007. That's... about 1.25 years. I think.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I have enemies too

I AM wearing socks.

I AM eating Lemonheads.

I DO have a full bladder.

I DID NOT eat lunch.

I HAVE things that should be higher priorities.

I HAVE spellcheck in places you don't.

I WILL finish The Once and Future King someday.

I WILL become a famous cartoonist as soon as I get an imagination.

I AM NOT wearing my Chicago Bears sweatshirt, for it is too hot in my house.

I WAS surprised to have enjoyed Speed Racer.

I FOUND a 12-episode anime last night.

I ENJOYED the dream I had between 0630 and 0800 this morning.

I think people have sort of forgotten about this. Like nobody reads it anymore.

Hey, I forgot to eat lunch! I might go do that now and then read some. I'm thinking The Age of Ideology.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I think I'm goin' to file all of these old papers

I haven't slept in about 30 hours and don't intend to any time soon. I guess it's more impressive if I include the tidbit about having only slept for four hours before I started this crazy train ride.

It all started on New Year's Eve. I was at a dance - like I am on most New Year's Eves - and I was thinking about the first time I ever (willfully) stayed up until midnight. I remembered how hard it was to do and how little real reward I received. Then I started thinkin' 'bout the film Saints and Soldiers, where the dudes have to find a place to hide out while they take their first nap after essentially running nonstop for like three days. I realized how nightly sleep is more of a luxury than a necessity. It's sort of a construct that people have made for themselves. I started telling my friends that staying up 'til New Year's is for weenies (while checking out the chick with the two-tone gray and white hair, which I think is HOT. Think Terri Nunn but shorter hair and gray on top instead of on bottom) and that I was going to stay up as long as I possibly could.

What I meant by that is the sort of thing maniacal behavior scientists do to gerbils to see if they can make rodents go as insane as people go when they lose track of their routines. I meant I was going to go without any sleep whatsoever until I had not only developed severe mental illness but had probably died also. I imagine I can take a fair amount of this sort of abuse - I have hacker roots, for goodness sakes. Spending a week working 22 hour days so that I could master a new SQL injection technique or working feverishly until 0200 hrs installing various "obsolete" versions of Windows in virtual machines and getting all the little doodads like networking to cooperate was a fixture in my life for a long time, and I'm not averse to doing it occasionally now, as long as I get to blast the same trance and house music and take Enemy Territory breaks. To save some time, I 'll say that I meant to test not my own limits, not even the superhuman limits that we occasionally hear 'bout soldiers reaching, but to set entirely new standards by which only purpose-built machines could be judged.

What ACTUALLY transpired on New Year's Eve is not very close to what I ended up planning (or thinking I had planned). Basically, I talked to the two-toned hair chick, who turned out to be friendly and nice but way weird (not that it's a problem), I went home, and I must have fallen asleep on the sofa or somethin' cos this diagram I just drew does NOT indicate that I did what I thought I did. The point is that it was a bust.

Well, the next day was the 50th anniversary of Fidel Castro's enslavement of a nation. I spent part of that night in the tub watching some anime or something. Maybe I just sat and thought. I remember that I spent a lot of time cleaning the bathroom up while the tub was filling. I remember I went in my room about 2230 and started listening to the Cuban propaganda station on the shortwave. I just like to listen to Cuban music occasionally, OK? I remember turning the lights off and cleaning my room in the dark somehow. I did a good job. I remember praying a bunch too. I know that at midnight I shut off the radio and laid down to go to sleep. When I turned over ten minutes later and looked at the clock, it was 0300 hrs somehow. I have no idea how I wasted three solid hours, but I know I did.

My alarm clock rang at 0600 and I dutifully got up, silenced the buzzer, raised the blinds, and read the thermometer taped to my window. For some reason, I'm able to do that in the dark. Pretty useful. I turned around, realized that there was absolutely no reason in the WORLD to be awake, walked back to my bed, and slept until 0700, at which point my dad woke me up so I could go to the DMV and finally get my big-boy license. With the GDL that's so popular among states now, it takes like three years of training to actually be able to drive.

By the afternoon, I had spent most of the day doing more or less useless (but surprisingly productive) computer maintenance tasks and my head was hurting. So somewhere between noon and 1900 hrs I know I took an Excedrin. Kind of a stressful day, though it sure didn't need to be. I know my head was sort of sore before I went shooting, but all of the noise and stuff probably isn't terribly healthy. Around 1700 and 1800 hrs, I got a dinner at Sonic, ate it, went up stairs for a bath, and promptly vomited as my bath water was being drawn. Something about throwing up makes me feel better when I have headaches. Completely illogical, mais ça marche. I finished my bath and watched half the "New Year's Dream" episode of Azumanga Daioh at the same time, put my Chicago Bears pajama pants on and watched Reba for a bit.

After that it's even more muddled. I know I watched some Lucky Star on the big screen, I watched Nacho Libre over a span of seven hours, I played some Guitar Hero (woo bass and singin'), and did some other similar stuff. About 0500 hrs this morning, we finished Nacho Libre and Josh fell asleep after a bit of Pokemon action. I personally turned to Civilization and proceeded to "get in the zone" for a few hours. I guess until about 0800. Then my attention span finally expired and I started cleaning again.

I'm a bundle of energy. Energy that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, let the record show. I've done a lot of chores I shouldn't have and eaten quite a few crackers. I can barely keep my eyes still long enough to read the back of a CD case, but somehow I wrote this post. I guess I'm off to do more useless computer chores.

At least if I suddenly die in front of you between next Tuesday and Friday, you'll have a bit of the backstory.

On da radio: Deep Purple's "Woman From Tokyo"

How can I even type?