Archive for September, 2007

Human Rights Campaign – Massachusetts

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

So I recently joined the Human Rights Campaign, as a way of supporting the push to get equal treatment for the GLBT community. Yes, I am very much in favor of same-sex marriage, and generally a fan of equal treatment for all human beings on this planet.

I’m not motivated by religious belief (since I’m an atheist) and I’m not motivated by hate, discrimination, or fear (since I’m not homophobic), and I’m also as straight as they come (not that that matters either). I just wish more people would stop for a second and think to themselves whether they really want to undermine the original concept of the United States Constitution (a powerful document, written in a time before Murdoch and Faux News) as a tool and means for segregation and discrimination, or whether they want to use it as intended, and let people live their lives however they so choose to do so.

Locally, there is currently a bill before the State of Massachusetts to modify local hate crime laws, to redress the balance in treatment ( full text available at: ) of those within the GLBT community and I encourage readers to support actions such as these to the extent that they feel they are able to.


Most amusing line of the day – Alberto Gonzales

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

So I was catching up on TDS (The Daily Show, to anyone who doesn’t know – you can get an “international” version on CNN International outside of the US) and heard the Best. Line. Ever.

“I stand before you today, sincerely grateful for the many wonderful memories that I have as the Attorney General.”

These were the words of Alberto Gonzales as he stepped down from public office last week. He became famous for two things that I find equally shocking:

*). Not believing in the right to habeas corpus (or rather, not believing it’s a protected right in the United States constitution – whether he’s right or wrong, this was an outrageous thing to suggest as a means to counter criticism of the handling of terrorist suspects). Specifically much more an issue because he was the guy left out of the last State of the Union. Had something happened, this idiot would have automatically become the president of the United States. Actually worse than now!

*). Getting away with claiming he couldn’t remember numerous meetings and other events that had happened as he allegedly assisted in firings based solely on politicking. Alberto “I can’t recall” Gonzales had become a giant joke in office as a result, but Bush kept him on for some considerable time – probably because this helped to distract the public from various other shocking events that involve the administration. Or because he’s an idiot. Or both. Or, who knows. But it’s quite shocking.

Anyway. I love that line Gonzales came out with, that TDS kindly helped to draw attention to (Jon Stewart is a great personal hero to have! :P ). I’m sure they’ll find many more examples between now and January 20th 2009.


Building Sandcastles – 2007/09/17

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

Photo: Sandcastles at sunset, Nantasket Beach.

So, for various reasons, I felt inclined to build some sandcastles randomly, at sunset tonight. I went down to my favorite local beach and quickly realized that this is harder than it seems.

My main mistake was that I didn’t take sufficient equipment for the task. It’s clear that my leet sand-forming constructive skillz would be improved with the addition of a bucket and spade, and various other implements also. But this can come in time…and anyway, it’s fun to do something random each and every day. Back to random coding and writing…


A random weekend

Monday, September 17th, 2007

So I’ve been recovering from a cold for the past couple of days – a sure sign of the transition from summer into fall- which means I’ve wasted most of the weekend doing nothing in particular. Behind on my writing, but on the plus side, I’ve been doing some random reading.

Yesterday, I wanted to go surfing with the New England Surfing dude, but the weather wasn’t up to it – and, truthfully, I probably wasn’t up to doing that either. So instead, I spent most of the day doing nothing in particular. I read some of “The Book Of Useless Information”, watched too much on my DVR, and wound up reading a biography, too.

Today, I had a violin lesson, made random calls planning my family’s trip over here to visit me, had way too much coffee, bought some more books, went for a random drive, and caught up on some email. I still need to get a bunch of work finished from last week, a new release of module-init-tools out the virtual “door”, book review work, and build some random sandcastles. The latter is extremely important.

You know I’m odd. This is a given. But do you know what makes me actually really quite weird? What makes me really weird is that I don’t just listen to my iPod playing music. I think about exactly how it’s playing music. Once again today, I was walking down the street, all the while picturing data blitting from pages of NAND into block of RAM (via a DMA engine that reads from a single port on the NAND controller), variously varied data decoding operations, all stringently clocked. I don’t just see computers around me – I think about how they’re working. And this doesn’t just go for computers. I *need* to know how *everything* (anything you can think of) works, and I need to understand how everything I see is working, too. I’m weird.


Random Haberdashery

Friday, September 14th, 2007

Photo: Jon Masters, Fedora wearer extraordinaire.

So myself and some colleagues happened to be in the parking lot earlier, and took some silly photos. Random haberdashery fun.

Yes, I keep a fedora in the trunk, for such purposes :P


The Walmart Rule

Monday, September 10th, 2007

So, I’m in Ikea over the weekend, buying a large mirror to assist with my violin practice, when one of the employees recommends I go to Walmart instead. There’s just one problem – the Walmart rule.

I have never been into, much less purchased anything from a Walmart store. And I won’t ever be purchasing anything from a Walmart store either – not while they seemingly care only about the lowest possible price, and not about employee healthcare benefits, fair wages, worker’s union rights, and other fundamental, basic issues. My personal code of ethics precludes me from going near to a Walmart store – I like to call it my “Walmart Rule”. Only if there’s no alternative for 100 miles, I’m stranded, and need something essential will I ever even remotely consider actually buying anything there. And even then, I would be very disappointed in myself.

I was saddened to think that someone would recommend that I go there – and even more saddened they worked in retail at the time of making such a recommendation. This isn’t the first time such a thing has happened in this country – it’s filled with people who just don’t see such glaring problems (how else does a company get away with having over 1.3 million employees, with such a basic level of benefit provided?), people who probably also think Big Pharma is doing them a favor in sponsoring prescription assistance programmes (because, big pharma wants to avoid universal healthcare, and other healthcare reforms, medicare/medicaid pricing, etc. At All Costs).

Meh. I managed to get myself worked up even thinking about Walmart.


California Roadtrip #1

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007

Photo: My MX-5 transcontinental roadtrip enabler.

So I’m planning a little roadtrip…from the East Coast to the West Coast, and back again. My journey will literally commence on the beach, here in MA, and finish on another beach, over in California.

I’ve been meaning to do this trip for quite some time, and seriously intending to do it ever since I bought a vehicle suited to the task. For many, this is some kind of post-highschool young adult right of passage, a quintessential US roadtrip, and one that I never had the chance to fully experience when I was younger. And it’s something I must do.

Currently, I’m in the planning stages. I will take a northern routing across on my outbound trip (passing through Chicago, and continuing straight until I hit California…detouring for some climbing/hiking), and a southern routing on my return (ending up in an office in Raleigh, NC, for a few days before driving back up the East Coast). And although it’s not quite a problem suited to optimal routing analysis types (no offense intended, especially you, Matthew…sorry!), I need some little planning this time around, mostly in order to ensure:

* The trip must be bounded by a maximum time.
* The trip must include coffee with as many friends, in as many cities, in as many States, as is possible.

The latter is the main reason that I’m mentioning this now, and starting to talk about it some more – I need your help as a reader of my blog. If I’m likely to pass through your town on such a trip, please send me an email, or otherwise drop me a line soon. We should make that happen.

Right now, I am considering doing this over Christmas – one of the worst possible times to engage in such an activity, but also one of the times when I have at least one week off, with nothing planned yet. I estimate (based on imperical data from another who recently completed such a trip) that I can complete this frivolity in under 2 weeks all in. If I do decide to do it over the Christmas period, I will likely time activities going into the New Year, seeing in January 1 from a Californian beach.