Seldo.Weblog: October 2002

Been busy with -- gasp -- real life recently, so not too many interesting web finds. LindowsOS is...

Been busy with -- gasp -- real life recently, so not too many interesting web finds. LindowsOS is getting good reviews; maybe when I do my free-computer project I'll try it? Other than that, X-men evolution series 3 is fantastic, and I'm still in love with the elf. I also found this really nifty animation of the boundaries of the United States through history, showing how the states were formed, in what order, and how they changed shape. Fascinating, for all of the 30 seconds it takes to run.

I work in tech support these days. Also, I think you know you're living in an excessively litigious...

I work in tech support these days. Also, I think you know you're living in an excessively litigious society when fanart comes with pathetic disclaimers like "please don't sue me".

So it seems we've discovered a new planet. It has the funkiest-sounding name ever; well done there...

So it seems we've discovered a new planet. It has the funkiest-sounding name ever; well done there choosing "Quaoar" (worth at least 15 points in Scrabble), let's see Paula Zahn try to pronounce that fucker. Or we may have just proven that Pluto isn't actually a proper planet. We'll have to wait for the fast-paced world of astronomy to decide.

Now available: fog screens, as last seen on SeaQuest. (Y'know, Lee was right, the SeaQuest font...

Now available: fog screens, as last seen on SeaQuest. (Y'know, Lee was right, the SeaQuest font does look kind of like the Seldo.Com font.)

Living in the US is so exciting! Suicide hijackings, anthrax in the mail, hideously overpublicised...

Living in the US is so exciting! Suicide hijackings, anthrax in the mail, hideously overpublicised abductions, and now snipers on the rooftops! It's like Sarajevo, only with McDonalds.
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...

Until about 2 minutes ago, I was having an unbelievably shitty day. I went to bed last night with a cold, and woke up this morning with a jaw-cracking toothache. One of my wisdom teeth is playing up, but because I've had a cold all week, I haven't noticed, because the tablets I've been taking for my cold are also mild painkillers. So now the pain is actually strong enough to penetrate the numbing of a painkiller, the only solution to which is to take more painkillers, because it's the weekend, and dentists don't work on weekends, and don't accept a situation as an emergency unless it can't be controlled by painkillers. So it's Advil for me (Warning: can cause stomach bleeding. Great!) until Monday morning. Plus, of course, I still have the stupid cold. To top it off, my computer has started spontaneously rebooting every half an hour or so -- god knows why.

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.

Fuck that woman rescuing her worm, my face hurts and the world sucks. Ow ow ow. The dentist says...

Fuck that woman rescuing her worm, my face hurts and the world sucks. Ow ow ow. The dentist says I've got an abcess, so I'm on antibiotics and the pain should subside "within 48 hours". What??? What am I supposed to for the intermediate 48 hours of unbearable pain, bitch? Ow ow ow. The abcess, it should be noted, is on a tooth I've already had filled, so had the filling been done in any country other than Trinidad, I would have a great malpractice suit on my hands. In the meantime, I'm planning to avoid the inevitable root canal until I get to Trinidad, because it's cheaper there. Why is it cheaper? Because they don't need malpractice insurance. Isn't it all just a wonderful cycle? Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow.

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.

In case you were wondering, my tooth still hurts. A lot. But probably not as much as this did...

In case you were wondering, my tooth still hurts. A lot. But probably not as much as this did [WARNING! DO NOT FOLLOW THIS LINK IF YOU INTEND TO EAT ANYTIME SOON]. Also at the profoundly disturbing rotten.com [WARNING! DO NOT GO THERE UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE OFFENDED], the Catholic church finally reveals what it truly holds sacred [WARN... actually, no, this one's pretty tame].

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...

Boy, did I get a lot of complaints about Tuesday's entry.
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...

Y'know what? The legal system sucks.
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?

Fire alarms should not be allowed to go off at 5.30 in the morning when it's below zero outside....

Fire alarms should not be allowed to go off at 5.30 in the morning when it's below zero outside. Ugh. I'll finish today's blog later. I'm back off to bed now.
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.

Bright feathers



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.



I should be happy, out on the dancefloor, I should be having fun with the crowd, I love this feeling, I love this music, but somehow I'm still sad. It usually seems a graceful thing, a natural way to be myself. I make love to the dancefloor and I don't need anyone to like it. But suddenly my perspective has shifted and I'm watching myself. It all becomes an absurd mating dance, frantic gyrations desperate to attract attention, desperate for love, bright feathers on display 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 will you beat down the door
already?
I don't need a partner out on the dancefloor
I can dance by myself but I can't be alone

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'm going to make this hard for you 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 here and take care of me.

Can't Forgive You (Natural structure)



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



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 knew it was happening and wanted it to stop? Was that not something we could control, some predetermined plot? I know you thought you knew me, but you only knew yourself. You knew what you thought of me, and wouldn't listen to anyone else. So when I said the things I said, the things you didn't want to hear, the things you weren't expecting, you gave in to your darkest fear. You unleashed words with bite and sting that cut me to the bone, that ripped my confidence away and left me all alone. I feared those 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, when 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, a 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 once you live. Every time I see your face I hear the echoes of those words, I try to give you comfort but the scars reopen on my hands.


Maggie

08 March 2003
I like it :-(

Immortal master

28 October 2007
great

Okay, it's time for big old backlog of links, since I didn't get to post much recently. First up...

Okay, it's time for big old backlog of links, since I didn't get to post much recently.
  • First up is this account of the first web browser, including a screenshot, written by none other than Tim Berners-Lee, who of course invented the whole shebang, and is one of my personal geek idols. Yes, I really do have geek idols. Hush.
  • Flitting as usual from one topic to another totally unrelated one, what music have I been listening to recently? Jurassic 5 get props* for being really good, and also for writing two songs with the same hook. Did they run out of ideas? Ben Folds Five are also entertaining me at the moment, and with great song titles like The battle of who could care less and One angry dwarf and 200 solemn faces, how can you go wrong?
  • I'm really looking forward to storing five DVD-quality movies (4GB of data) on a combined disc+drive that's less than 4 centimetres wide. Bring it on.
  • Tabloid newspapers make it to Russia, complete with page 3 girls and a "bizarre" column.
  • Could the world stop being so scary? 'Cause I could really do with not being blown up. Y'know what? Terrorism works. Because I'm scared of being blown up right now; and that was the idea, wasn't it? Maybe I should fight terrorism by eating more.
  • I'm doing a French module this year, and About.Com's french site is amazingly good. But the temptation of using the fish is frequently too great.
  • I'm glad to see my home country continuing to take baby steps towards tolerance of other sexualities, even if the level of gay social interaction at the moment still appears somewhat basic.
  • Also, I don't think I've read anything more hilarious in my life: US Senators warned about snipers on golf courses. Best of all is that they're warned about "Al Qaeda" snipers on golf courses. Uh, guys, I don't know if you've noticed, but it's kind of likely the sniper is an all-American nutcase, isn't it? As this thought provoking article points out, labelling everything bad as "Al-Qaeda" at the moment is a habit that is only going to backfire. We'd be better off blaming Canada.
  • Meanwhile, Dawson gets involved in gay sex in his latest movie. Cue massive box-office success. It's hardly surprising that he agreed to do it, though, since apparently pornography is a white-collar hobby now. America? Sliding into decadence? Nah.
  • I thoroughly recommend checking out the fascinating Google zeitgeist, a great place to get good data on current operating system and browser usage stats (hint: Microsoft at 92% market share).
  • Finally, some cheerful news on the health front: a new and effective treatment for gliomas, the most common type of brain cancer. Okay, so it doesn't affect me. It's still nice to know.
  • Would Microsoft be allowed to get away with this? Apple is giving away free copies of OS X 10.2 to every teacher in the US. That's a lot of people. Expect pirated copies of OSX to become a lot more easily available :-)
  • Oh, and thanks be to Ed (he of the seldom-updated but hilarious rant weblog) for finally convincing me to read Tomato Nation, which is absolutely fucking hilarious, especially when she talks about her cats.

    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?
  • Download your mind to silicon by 2040. What else can I say? How about YES, YES, HELL YES! BRING IT...

    Download your mind to silicon by 2040. What else can I say? How about YES, YES, HELL YES! BRING IT ON! I can't wait to get out of this body.

    Oh, and groan. That's all. Today's blog is super-short, because yesterday's was so long. It's Karma.

    So, you're the police chief, and a mysterious sniper is running around several states randomly...

    So, you're the police chief, and a mysterious sniper is running around several states randomly killing ordinary people at unpredictable times and places. What do you do? Well, the first thing you do is try not to spread panic, and a great way not to do that is by letting out messages like "Your Children Are Not Safe". Now, Chief Moose (good name, BTW) is clearly the one coming up with this stuff, but CNN is certainly stoking the fire, with quotable quotes like "However, Moose pointed out that no one is safe until the shooter is caught.". Because we don't just want you to be worried about your kids. No, we want you to be scared for your own ass as well. I think that article is probably my favourite CNN headline ever, apart from the one about snipers on golf courses.

    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...

    Congratulations to Scott Adams for continuing to push the boundaries of being the biggest sell-out ever. Also, if you're bored and twisted (possibly as a result of visiting rotten.com, certainly that's what did it for me) you might want to read the story of Gary Heidnik. How did I find this? Innocently enough, by reading this post on Slashdot (what, you don't read it every day?) and wondering who the hell Gary Heidnik was (and why he had three women chained up in his basement).

    In possibly the wittiest bit of American advertising I've ever seen, a new campaign points out how...

    In possibly the wittiest bit of American advertising I've ever seen, a new campaign points out how George Bush's rhetoric may backfire.

    You assholes! The way to resolve a hostage crisis is not to lob nerve gas into room full of 700-800...

    You assholes! The way to resolve a hostage crisis is not to lob nerve gas into room full of 700-800 civilians! Just when you thought Russia was taking steps towards stability, they go and pull a cold-war stunt like this. Jesus Christ. But the story gets worse:
    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.

    I'm beginning to buy into this whole CNN-makes-the-news conspiracy. People were beginning to get...

    I'm beginning to buy into this whole CNN-makes-the-news conspiracy. People were beginning to get used to the sniper picking somebody off every couple of days, right? So ratings were dropping. So suddenly this uncatchable sniper leaves the most obvious clue ever and gets caught. After a day or two of "we caught the sniper" ratings, we get an attention-grabbing hostage crisis, culminating in a dramatic mass killing of civilians, cold-war-Russia stylee. That finished, without a break, we launch straight into another school shooting and all the moral hand-wringing TV specials that come with it. This news is too convenient. Clearly, CNN is funding Terror™ worldwide in order to boost ratings. I mean, it makes business sense, doesn't it? For the cost of a single episode of Friends, you can fund a lot of terrorism, and news channels can't just make up new stories, they have to have some basis in fact. So CNN has taken the logical step, and started investing in individuals and groups likely to cause newsworthy mayhem. How long until you drop the bomb, CNN? HOW LONG?

    Hey, I'd switch just for him. Does the sexy geek come with the sexy computer? His name is Jeremiah...

    Hey, I'd switch just for him. Does the sexy geek come with the sexy computer? His name is Jeremiah Cohick, and he is blatantly gay. I want one for Christmas, okay?

    Update 31.10.2002: I let Jeremiah know I blogged him. He replied thusly:
    Hi Seldo,
    Thanks for the email, but I'm not gay.
    
    Jeremiah Cohick
    http://www.JeremiahLee.com
    
    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:
    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.