Seldo.Weblog: October 2002
So it seems we've discovered a new planet. It has the funkiest-sounding name ever; well done there...
Living in the US is so exciting! Suicide hijackings, anthrax in the mail, hideously overpublicised...
Meanwhile, Harry Belafonte is getting mixed up in US politics (Incidentally: what? Dude, your career ended decades ago!), with fantastic quotes like:
[on Colin Powell] "There's an old saying ... In the days of slavery, there were those slaves who lived on the plantation and [there] were those slaves that lived in the house. You got the privilege of living in the house if you served the master ... exactly the way the master intended to have you serve him."That's amusingly close to saying Colin Powell sucks Bush's dick. But he clearly thinks John Ashcroft is insane, so I have to say I'm on Harry's side.
Until about 2 minutes ago, I was having an unbelievably shitty day. I went to bed last night with a...
But none of that matters. Because it rained last night, and 2 minutes ago I was looking out my window -- waiting for my computer to finish rebooting, actually -- and I saw a girl walking along the tarmac path by the pond. Suddenly, she stopped, and knelt down, looking really closely at something on the path. After a while, she looked around, and picked up a twig. Using this twig, she very slowly and carefully manuevered something off the tarmac and onto the twig. She then carefully deposited the twig onto the grass.
She was rescuing a worm.
I love people, sometimes.
On the positive side -- see, I'm not totally down on the world today -- French continues to be quite fun. Knowing another language will be cool. Ow, though.
Meanwhile, we had a fascinating lecture from a man from UBS Warburg, who extremely effectively convinced me and lots of people I spoke to that we should never, ever work for investment wankers. This was driven home (consulting my notes here) when he talked about a system they have called IRIS. Essentially, lots of people don't like to make it known how much of a company's stock they own, so they set up holding companies to conceal this fact. Likewise, people like to know who really owns stock in the companies they run. For a fee, UBS Warburg provides both these services. Do you see the conflict of interest here? Essentially, UBS Warburg is being paid to encrypt information, and then being paid by an entirely different set of people to decrypt it again, thus making the encryption pointless, but extremely profitable.
In a similar vein, he talked proudly about their "custody and collateral" arm, which they are "just beginning to exploit". Essentially, people give them things -- such as stock -- as collateral. Their strategy for making this more profitable is to do things with that collateral, such as sell it, and hope they can buy an equal amount of it back before the entity involved needs it back. Now, I'm sure this is all perfectly legal, but does it sound like an honest living to you? Does it sound like the kind of thing you would be proud to say you did at work? Me, I'd rather work for Starbucks. At least they sell something tangible (and caramel frapuccinos are amazing).
Meanwhile, matt has pointed me to WinMX, a file-sharing program. I'll let you know if it's any good.
Oh, and the weather here right now is appalling. It's cold, and wet, and miserable, and is apparently going to stay that way for the next few days. Lovely.
Boy, did I get a lot of complaints about Tuesday's entry. Here's the ideal solution to raising the...
Here's the ideal solution to raising the self-esteem of Afghan women -- beauty parlours! Yes, MAC and Revlon are helping fund a school that will teach women how to run their own beauty parlour. Because we all know how good cosmetic companies are at raising women's self-esteem, right?
Other than that, not much going on. I'm working on my project website; that text will turn into a link when I've posted it :-)
I have been listening to Radio Warwick (now with Ogg Vorbis streams! 1337!). Amongst the best bits I heard on the Startlingly Unprofessional Show (8-9pm Thursday 17th):
JD A: And you can text us...
DJ B: Actually, you can't, because I've lost the password for the SMS machine
DJ C: You can text my number though, it's....
DJ B: Yeah, text her phone!
DJ C: Is this a wise idea?
DJ A: It doesn't matter, no one's listening anyway.
They then proceeded to give out her personal mobile number on air, as well as finding and then reading out -- on air -- the password for the aforementioned SMS machine. Fantastic.
Y'know what? The legal system sucks. On November 26th, 2001, a previously-convicted child molester...
On November 26th, 2001, a previously-convicted child molester by the name of Ricky Chavis discovered that the father of a child he was molesting had found out about it. He then persuaded the boy, who was 12, and his brother, who was 13, to let him into their house, where he killed their father and then set their house on fire. He then persuaded them to help him conceal the crime, to the extent that they confessed to the crime themselves, having been thoroughly coached by Chavis to keep their stories consistent.
A year later, Chavis has been found innocent, and even more ridiculously, the boys have been found guilty. This would be a ridiculous miscarriage of justice even if that were the full story. Who's more likely to have killed their father: the kids, who were shit-scared of their dad (a strict disciplinarian)? Or the person who actually had, gosh, a motive to kill the man who had discovered him engaged in a whole bunch of illegal sexual abuse with his kids?
But the stupidity doesn't end there. The same prosecutor was assigned to the cases of both Chavis and the kids. So in both cases, he argued that they had committed the crime, and convinced two separate juries of two totally different interpretations of the evidence. Insane. And meanwhile, two very young, very stupid, very scared kids are being prosecuted for the murder of their father, rather than being counselled to try and get over the massive psychological and emotional problems that the murder and the preceding abuse has doubtless created.
What kind of life are these kids going to have? What kind of relationship with authority figures are they going to have, when every authority they've experienced in their lives so far -- first their father, then Chavis, and now the criminal justice system -- has done nothing but abuse them? To reiterate: the legal system sucks.
On an unrelated note, read this article and see how long it takes you to notice what's wrong. Scary, huh?
Update 10.30am: Oh, it's another fire alarm.
Update 11.15am: And another.
Update 11.40am: And another. One of the sensors is faulty. Oh, FFS.
I should be happy, out on the dancefloor,
I should be having fun with the throng,
I love this feeling, I love this music,
but tonight something just feels wrong.
Dancing usually seems a graceful thing,
A natural way to be myself,
I make love to the music, I don't need you to like it
I'll do what I want and to hell with the rest
But I suddenly find my perspective has shifted,
I'm up in the air and I'm watching the dance,
It all becomes an absurd mating ritual,
Everybody fighting for a good mating chance
Frantic gyrations, desperate for attention,
Desperate for love, bright feathers on display,
Looking around for a little attention,
Hoping for a mate to take care of me.
I close my eyes but I hope that you're looking,
I close my heart but please beat down the door
I'm not doing the two-step so I don't need a partner
But please don't leave me all alone on the floor
Stop being dumb, learn to ignore me,
Ignore what I'm saying and court me like crazy
I need the attention, though I'll cast it aside,
I'll make this hard though I don't know why.
Don't give up like all the others,
Don't move on and leave me here,
I need you desperately inside me,
I'm hiding it behind my fear.
Stop listening to what I'm saying,
Take pity on my foolish needs
Look at my bright feathers flashing,
Come over and take care of me.
When did it go wrong?
When did we lose touch?
When did you become a man
I saw but couldn't touch?
When did you stop listening,
Was it before I stopped talking?
Why did we still drift apart
When we both saw it happening?
Did we want it to stop?
Was it out of control?
Some predetermined plot,
Part of some greater whole?
You thought you knew me,
But you only knew yourself.
Knew what you thought of me,
Listened to no one else.
So when I said what I said,
Things you didn't want to hear,
The things you weren't expecting,
You gave in to your fear.
You unleashed words that stung
That cut me to the bone,
That tore my confidence away
And left me all alone.
I feared the wounds were mortal,
But I only bled inside
We told each other "it's okay"
And both knew we had lied.
I don't know how I hurt you,
You only hurt yourself,
But I know how you hurt me
And can think of nothing else.
My wounds still bleed, they will not heal,
not with time or change of heart.
No amount of soothing speech
Will smooth away my scars.
I love you for the man you were,
And hate what you've become.
My best friend has turned enemy,
The man who killed his son.
I do not want to hate you,
I'm desperate to forgive,
But my pain will not let me,
You're guilty while you live.
Every time I see your face
I hear the echoes of your voice,
You're hoping for forgiveness
But you've left me with no choice
I hate to think about what the juxtaposition of these topics does to Google's page ranking algorithm.
*I accept no responsibility for using the word "props" in a sentence. That's what happens when you listen to a lot of Jurassic 5, okay?
Because I haven't posted it earlier, I'd just like to point out how great the last few days have been. Clubbing in Birmingham was great, especially when certain female members of the group decided it would be fabulous idea to enter the wet t-shirt competition, and ended up baring all to 2000 strangers. Well done, girls, your mothers would be proud. And Top B last night was amazing, for so many reasons. But now another deadline looms, so it is time to work my little socks off. But before I go, the next contestant on Ready, Set, Sue Their Asses Off is Marcomedia (thanks be to Steve for the link, and the conversation which inspired it). Macromedia have yet to release the lawyer-hounds, surprisingly.
P.S. What the fuck is going on in Iraq? Who slashes their arm and tears off their clothes at a protest?
Congratulations to Scott Adams for continuing to push the boundaries of being the biggest sell-out...
In possibly the wittiest bit of American advertising I've ever seen, a new campaign points out how...
You assholes! The way to resolve a hostage crisis is not to lob nerve gas into room full of 700-800...
Information on the type of gas used has been withheld from doctors treating the hostages, hindering their ability to treat the patients with an antidote, they say.Well done! Because hitting them with deadly chemical weapons isn't nearly enough. No, you have to let the civilians suffer preventable deaths. That's the way to get the public on your side. Putin, what are you thinking?
Meanwhile, Phoenix is the best browser in the world, ever. Free, best interface, least bloated, most stable, and the rendering engine is gecko, so it has the best support for web standards. This is not a geek's web browser; this is just a great piece of software, period. It also has lovely little touches: if you type a phrase into the location bar, it automatically Google searches for that phrase.
Update 2002.10.29: Okay, so it wasn't nerve gas. It still killed 115 people.
Hey, I'd switch just for him. Does the sexy geek come with the sexy computer? His name is Jeremiah...
Update 31.10.2002: I let Jeremiah know I blogged him. He replied thusly:
From the horse's mouth. But I think he's just in denial. He is Christian, after all :-) But I doubt he's a Christian of the homo-hating variety, since I found this quote in his own weblog:Hi Seldo, Thanks for the email, but I'm not gay. Jeremiah Cohick http://www.JeremiahLee.com
If homosexuality is a disease, let's all call in queer to work. 'Hi, can't work today, still queer.' — Ophelia Speaks by Sara Shandler.Of course, it's kind of weird blogging about somebody who might conceivably still be reading this. Ah, the reflexive nature of the web.