Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Getting the Big Picture

The word big is not a big enough word to describe how I view our fate as a species. So I'm going to try and explain the underlying concept I use on life, the very thing that motivates most of my decisions and opinions I harbor.

"[Life] is a tale told by an idiot -- full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." -Macbeth

That's the quote I probably can identify with the most. It means we can easily get caught up in our piddly lives but in the end, it really means nothing. It's an attitude that causes me to always try and look at the bigger picture of life, our reason for existence, why we do the things we do and the conclusion I keep seeing is our survival as a species as the main reason for our lives. We are here to give birth to the next generation and to keep an environment that will support them, hopefully forever.

Because of these views, I won't have many opinions on the everyday activities in life. Sure I have a few, you can read through my posts to see them, but it's just a hobby, a reason to babble. I'm passing the time while still completing my obligation. Far too often it is mistaken for apathy. It's not that I'm apathetic, it's that I just don't care. Actually, I'm not apathetic, there is just something more important to care about then which political party I am affiliated with, or who owes me five dollars, or what my view is on the homeless.

Initially, I didn't have a big opinion on the war between the United States and Iraq. Wars are just as meaningless as a trip to the store (keep in mind the focus is on the bigger picture here). Ultimately though, there is a good cause for this particular war and perhaps others, and that is to try and civilize the world and put a stop to personas whose ideals promote extinction. It is my hope that with the world civilized, we can concentrate on more important things such as technology, medicine, philosophy, culture - subjects that will work towards the extension of our lives:

Technology to develop the means for space travel, to get off of one planet that at some point will no longer be able to sustain life. How far was Iraq from starting its space age?

Medicine to extend the lifespan by ridding the ailments that causes death or weakness in the species.

Philosophy to know there is more to life than work and a need to expand our ideas, our image of ourselves so that we don't become stagnant which will lead to extinction.

Culture to keep many variables in the species so that we don't become one breed which would cause stagnation which would lead to extinction. I do want to be clear that although I support certain conflicts that seemingly may want to support the American or western or protestant way of life, I don't want to see everyone Christian, Muslim, Jewish, white, black, brown, democratic, socialist, liberal, conservative - whatever. It doesn't matter! I am in support of quite the opposite, the more individual the identities the better.

Also, we must continue to challenge ourselves so that we don't fall into repetition which leads to stagnation which leads to extinction. We must try new things for our species, we must take many risks, we must accept the temporary losses such boldness causes, rack it up to experience and move on, better off as a species with the new knowledge.

These are harsh words but it is our lives, our very existence we are dealing with and nothing is more important. We must support the factors that keep us going.

It is because of my views that I support an anarchy type of government. The ultimate challenge of our people is to not be ruled, not be governed by laws which tell us how to live which leads to stagnation. It encourages us to be more aware and very much motivated to survive if we have no laws. It is survival of the fittest and natural selection will promote the stronger who can keep our species alive. Any dependency on anything long term leads to stagnation (ergo extinction). But the Catch-22 on an anarchy form of (no)government is that we would probably have a tough time advancing our technology and medicine, which is two of the crucial ingredients for our survival. The other two factors, philosophy and culture would grow wildly, but it's not enough to keep us alive one million years from now.

Everyone feels the need to keep our species going. We reproduce to extend ourselves as an instinctive need for immortality. We do this to keep our civilization alive, to give meaning to the actions we took in our life. So everyone has this need, it's just that some of us get caught up in the oh-so-insignificant details of life, useless goals such as social status, power, money that we can't hear what our survival instincts are telling us. The motivation behind power (for men anyway) is the need to reproduce with every female on the planet. We have been implanted with the need to spread our seed with as many subjects as possible to insure offspring. But we can't have one man mating with all of the women, that would lead to certain stagnation.

I feel like I'm rushing through my ideology here and am only scratching the surface. I have so much to say about this that I'm sure I could write chapters on it. And maybe I will. To me, what I have said here is just a table of contents, but for now I think this is a good stopping point.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Hitting the Online Dance Airwaves

Digitally Imported is my abosolute favorite online techno station - the best for any source actually. Check it out if you like techno. Winamp required.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Masterpiece Network

You know how computers on a particular network will commonly be part of a naming theme and the more popular themes are from the genres of fantasy or scifi. It's natural for geeks to be drawn to computers, so many times you'll see networks with machine names such as Gandalf, Frodo, Gollum or Worf, Picard, Geordi (wouldn't a machine named Data be confusing?). Well I'm proud to say that my home LAN is no exception to this.

First, some background. Our first apartment was in an edition that was itself a theme - famous French people. Each of the streets were named after the celebrities from that culture and we lived in a small two bedroom upstairs apartment on a street named Rue Renoir, so named after the famous impressionist artist. So we decided to name our first computer in that apartment after an artist to keep with the theme of our humble abode. You'd think we'd call it Renoir, but for some reason we went with the cubist Picasso. Picasso was a Pentium 2, 266 Mhz which retailed for $2000 - a great deal at the time. We moved later and picked up another computer. Even though we weren't living on Rue Renoir anymore, we stayed with the artist theme. Our second computer was Van Gogh, a Pentium 3, 450, cost $1300 - another fabulous deal at that time. We now had two computers so we had to get a router to connect them. We named the router after Van Gogh's good buddy Gaugan.

Many years later, it was time to upgrade one of the machines to keep up with the rapid evolution of technology. We chose to upgrade Van Gogh since it was the machine we used most and we gutted it by taking out just the motherboard (chip attached) and replaced it with an AMD Athalon 1800. I think I paid $300 for it. Keep in mind it was just the motherboard and chip. New motherboard/CPU meant a new identity (philosophically anyway) so we called that one Monet.

In my last post, I mentioned my newest purchase, a Celeron 2.0 Ghz laptop, $1000. For a computer of such small stature we picked the appropriate artist - Letrec. And wth Letrec, I needed to setup a wireless network to be able to use the laptop anywhere in the house. If you want a wireless network, you need a wireless router, so I had to replace Gaugan with a Linksys 802.11g standard WiFi router and we named that one Degas.

So Picasso is still hooked up although rarely used. Van Gogh is in the closet (who did he cut that ear off for then?), Monet runs full time and Letrec gets transported a lot. The active machines are able to talk to each other through Degas who just recently replaced Gaugan. Oh, and the printer is Da Vinci.

I almost have a baseball team. Want to know who's on first?

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Cut The Cord

I'm pretty stoked about my new toy. I just received this week, my new laptop from Gateway, a Celeron 2.0 Ghz which I paid an even grand for. I've been wanting a laptop for years but I can get somewhat choosy not to mention frugal with my major purchases. So I got the laptop and picked up a WiFi network to run it on. For anyone who might care, I got a 802.11g standard wireless router and matching laptop network card. I write this from the comfort of my living room with no cables attached to the machine whatsoever. Freedom is good. Freedom to roam is even better.

The status message on my instant messenger id is 802.11g at 8477. 8477 being my address. I'm not sure many people on my friends list will know what that even means. Nerd alert.

I got home last night at 5a and didn't wake up today until almost 1p. I can't remember the last time I've slept in that long.
Late Night Working At The Airport

Hey there. Stuck at work at this ungodly hour. It's 1:39 a.m. here and I've been called in to upgrade my Sun systems to work with an FAA system that's getting its own upgrade tonight. When you work for the FAA like I do, any time you want to make changes to the system, you get stuck with the off peak hours so there is minimal risk to air traffic safety. No one's flying at this hour except UPS and FedEx and should something go seriously wrong with the upgrades and we go dark (can't track air traffic, also known as ATC 0), millions of lives won't be at risk, just a bunch of packages. I heard a rumor which I guess could be classified as an urban legend by now, that a few years back a squirrel wandered into some power lines and took our building's electrical power completely out, blanking all the radar screens and knocking us to ATC 0. A squirrel's death wish putting all those people into danger - I bet you feel like buying a plane ticket right now. I have no way of verifying that story though. I just think it's funny - not that the squirrel died but that a small creature was temporarily in control of thousands of people's lives.

I'm taking a break right now while they run some tests on the upgrades. I'm all ready on my end. As soon as I see data begin to flow across my screens, I'm packing out and making the 30 minute trip back home.

Uh, now I am hearing alarms I've never heard before. This might turn into a long night after all.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Is The Senior Trolley Bus Allowed to Qualify?

63 year old Mario Andretti has decided to get back into professional car racing and will try and qualify for the Indy 500 this year. The last time this guy won the Indy 500 was before I even existed. He has said that he can't read the dials in his dash very well because of his poor eyesight but all he really needs to see is the road. Someone needs to make sure this sextagenerian doesn't leave his turn signal on during the race and for God's sake, stay out of the passing lane if you're only going to do 210 miles per hour! I heard that his pit crew will be allowed to add an extra resource to their equipment when Mario needs to pit. In addition to tires, fuel, water and spare parts, they'll have an oxygen tank recharger ready.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Boston Marathon and Finding Hitler

Does anyone else find it funny that this year's Boston Marathon was won by a fella by the name of Robert Cheruiyot - pronounced Chariot. A guy named Chariot won the Boston Marathon. Didn't they see that one coming?

I had a dream a couple of nights ago that I infiltrated Adolf Hitler's household, spotted him and turned him in after 60 years of being in hiding. Good for me.

Monday, April 21, 2003

Older Than I Look

I went out to play a baseball game with the neighborhood kids and one of them said, "Oh great the other team gets the 25 year old." I yelled back to my house "Hey I'm 25!"

I'm 30. Thanks kid.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Saddomy Hussein

Former Iraq President Saddam Hussein has supposedly 80+ film credits on his resume of a long list of jobs. It is being reported that Hussein once starred in a gay porn film created back in the 1960s. Biographers believe it to actually be the leader himself. Since he doesn't have a country to run anymore, perhaps we'll see the return of Omar Studdif.

Believe it or not.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

25th Amendment of US Constitution Misguided

I noticed this because of last night's episode of '24' where a section in the 25th amendment of the U.S. Constitution is being invoked by the Vice President on the show. The character wants to remove the President from power. I got to looking at the amendment and I think it's a poor amendment to have in the U.S. Constitution; worse than the maybe the 18th which was repealed in the 21st anyway. The 25th amendment gives the Vice President of the United States too much power and I think it needs to be rewritten to give that power to someone else. The first section states that when there is a vacancy in the Presidency, the position will be assumed by the Vice President. Even scarier (and the one that is being used in this television show) the fourth section of this amendment gives the Vice President a leverage (albeit a very difficult one to manage) to remove the President from power. That's too much power for a mere sidekick!

In our elections, the role of the Vice President is a very minor one. Officially, he (or she) serves as the President of the Senate which basically means he casts the deciding vote when there is a tie in the Senate. How often does that happen? The candidate's main and unofficial role is actually to help win the ticket for the President in an election. The Vice Presidential candidate is picked to bring in the votes on an election which means not so much emphasis is placed on whether or not he's fit to lead the country. Personally, I think the second in line for the Presidency should be the Secretary of State, not the Vice President. Some might say it is ludicrous because the Sec. of State is not an elected official, that he's appointed by the President as are all members of the President's cabinet, and we can't have a non-elected official become President. I would say consider a couple of things. First, the Sec of State is already 5th in line to succeed the President should the four people above him not be able to take the position. So there is precedent to allow a non-elected official to take office. Second, in a situation where the position of President needs to be suddenly filled outside of an election, it's probably a desperate measure that needs a desperate action. Would you want a person who was picked on his looks or home state to assume that role or would you rather have someone who was appointed by our leader because they have the skills and knowledge to run our country in some fashion.

So take away the Vice President's power in the 25th amendment of the United State Constitution. He's the election whore and not much more. (Hey that's a good rhyme for a picket sign... and so is that!) If it turns out that the Vice President has the skills to be able to run the country, then let him run in the next election so that he may pick a flunky to serve by his side.

For those of you interested in the right of succession for the United States Office of the President, it is as follows:

Speaker of the House of Representatives
President pro tempore of the Senate
Secretary of State
Secretary of Treasury
Secretary of Defense
Attorney General
Postmaster General
Secretary of the Interior
Secretary of Agriculture
Secretary of Commerce
Secretary of Labor

This succession was established by an Act of Congress on July 18, 1947.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Be sure to check out the new (final theatrical) Matrix trailer. It looks pretty darn cool.

Friday, April 11, 2003

School Ties, Roomies Again

My old college roomate is moving in with me for the month of April. I last roomed with this guy during our college days back in the early 90's. Now it seems his relationship is finished and his apartment that he planned on moving to will not be available till May 1.

Of course I checked with my girlfriend first before okaying it. I didn't want my relationship ending as well and then both of us not having a place to stay in April. The only thing she was worried about is the constant (video) gaming that will take place. He's bringing his Xbox. I have my Gamecube. We'll never get out of the living room. I feel I should mention though that my girlfriend's concerns are not because she won't get to spend any quality time with me. Nooooo, it's because she's an addict on a couple of games herself and tries to get an hour or two of playing time in every night. She claims it's a stress reliever. I can think of other ways (more fun) of relieving stress but apparently she gets more satisfaction gaming and doing it by herself. What does she need me for? Oh the Gamecube is mine. I bring a game console to the relationship. Ah, glad I can contribute something. So she's worried about us being console hogs. We'll have to work something out. The family that plays together, stays together.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Government Needs to Respect the Press

I try not to be preachy in my column here but I'd like to remind the citizens of the United States government that in a democracy, that government works for its citizens. Let me repeat that. Government officials work for its citizens. They are the servants, not the boss. And it is the press' duty to drill the representatives of our government on the performance of the job we've hired them to do.

The first law, the first commandment, the first right established for this country supports the freedom of press. The three branches of government; judicial, legislative and executive were designed with 'checks and balances' in mind. That is they have to keep an eye on each other and make sure one does not get too powerful. Well the press is that 'check and balance' for our whole system of government and officials will be better off showing more respect for them and answering the questions that the citizens of this country have a right to know.

The American press is criticized for asking dumb questions or questions that would threaten national security or military action. It's the press' job to ask all questions, there is no such thing as a dumb one. If someone is disgusted that a reporter would ask for operational details of a military action that would threaten the soldiers in that action, he needs to realize that all the government official has to do is refuse to answer the question on the grounds of security. It's just that simple. Yes, it is! The responsibility of national security lies in the government officials hired to protect that security and not with the press members who question the performance on the job. If it leaks, it is not the press' fault. If the US Government wants to hide details that would threaten an activity, they can and should. If it leaks, then they have a weakness in their chain that needs to be rectified but they are still fully responsible. No one said their job is supposed to be easy. Being a servant of 260 million people isn't supposed to be.

Having said that, the relationship between the U.S. government and the American press actually is becoming a symbiotic one lately and has been established in a way that has never been seen before. They support each other instead of being at odds. It is a fact that the US military has used the American press to provide false information of an action to help establish a feint or communicate with threats directly - and it works! If anyone who still harbors prejudices against the American press as a threat to our nation's interest is just stuck in an archaic (and inaccurate) attitude that definitely has no place in our society today and you will be better served by removing such prejudices. You need to adapt with the times and help out or you're just in the way of this great country's evolution. You should realize that the press ensures that our money is better spent and that decisions are being made constructively by the officials who were appointed by the representatives we elected. That is in your best interest. Give them your support if you're too lazy to investigate for yourself what every government official is doing to our nation behind closed doors.

The U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld displays an example of how not to treat the American press. The man has it in for them and takes any questions posed to him as a personal attack for some reason and responds to it as a personal attack when it is completely unwarranted. He is the king of question dodging when his subordinates in the pentagon are open and have established a good relationship with the press. Secretary Rumsfeld is an example of a dinosaur official who is accustomed to treating the press as the enemy just like they did in the 'old days.' His resignation was called for by the American press years ago and had it not been for 9/11 attacks, he would have been removed from his post.

Rummy you old fart, show some respect for the American press. I guarantee your life will be a lot easier if you do. When you talk to the press that way, you are talking to your bosses, the American people, that way too. Get with the program, buy a clue, wake up, grow up or get out.

Monday, April 07, 2003

From the Iraqi Newswire of Poor Propaganda

The Iraqi Minister of Information Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf was gracious enough to update us on the recent activity of the coalition troops and give us information on the military's movement. According to the Minister's latest comments, the coalition forces had just recently reached the city of Oslo (Norway) and is still quite some distance from the country of Iraq. He went on to say with any luck and the wind at their backs, they might reach the borders of Iraq sometime in late August. At which time, the Minister declares, "Iraq will be ready."

The press conference that the Information Minister held was outdoors to prove that the capital city of Baghdad was quite safe. When questioned about the Minster's mysterious tick which resembled a ducking motion following a series of loud booms that could be heard throughout the city, the Minister explained, "It's a medical condition that I contracted since the start of the war-uh since late March and should probably see a doctor about it... that is if I can find one. And the sounds you hear are simply our troops running a weapon synchronization exercise so that we may be ready by the time the silly Americans reach the middle east sometime in the fall." The Minister then declared in the midst of another tick, "We will be victorious!"

Friday, April 04, 2003

-Bombed In Baghdad

Here's a blog worth reading. It's managed by a resident of Baghdad. The posts aren't daily, for understandable reasons. The power is out in most of Baghdad now so I imagine we won't see updates for a long time now.

I could make posts about the going ons in my midwest city here, but I don't think anyone would find them nearly as interesting as a city under siege. That writer in Baghdad, he's so lucky.

On another note, it is my youngest brother's birthday. He turns 23 today and will be spending it with his army collegues somewhere in Kuwait. I have no way to get a hold of him and wish him a happy birthday. I hope he knows already and does so.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Interesting Times

Poor people are fat
Rich people are thin
Best rapper is white
Best golfer is black
French think Americans are snobby
Germans don't want war