Saturday, February 11, 2012

Too Many Choices

To be honest, after a day of decision-making, I don't like to have to make choices and decisions in my off time. Least of all, do I like to make choices and decisions that have no real bearing on anything meaningful. It just feels not worth the effort.

Food/meal choices fall into this realm. It's part of why I like when a meal is just set in front of me to enjoy (and don't ask me what wine I want with it, for god's sake!).

Weekends are the worst. Because of how fluid and unstructured weekends' planning tends to be, meals tend to fall by the wayside. Why? Because there's many times that, because of the shear number of choices and the shear lack of how much it actually matters, I find myself completely unable to decide. The net result is that I'll end up not eating, at all, because I couldn't decide from all of the choices - particularly when it comes to things like ordering in or eating at a restaurant. Hell, just choosing where to go or to order dinner from uses up the last of my decision-making capability. To then try to sort out what, in particular, to order (especially if the menu is lengthy) just leaves me paralyzed.


Winter Splits

What do you get day after splitting your lips in 7 places? Lotsa hurty, dangly lip-skin. Stupid winter.

I Keed

Is it bad that, when my wife asked about the possibility of taking dance lessons, all I could think of was, "do they make steel-toed dance shoes?"

Friday, February 10, 2012

Tripping the Web Fantastic

One of the down sides of being easily bored and seeking relief through "teh intarwebz" is where that relief-seeking might take you. Today, for whatever reason, I ended up Googling about for metal covers of pop songs. I gotta say: there's something mildly disturbing about a Children of Bodom cover of Brittney Spears's Oops, I Did It Again. I'd say that their cover sucked (and it did), but I'm not sure how much of that was because Children of Bodom's music sucks (it does) and how much the material they were covering sucked (it did). So, I'm not sure it's fair to say their cover sucks as just a standalone statement.

How can a DC-plated Chevy Tahoe possibly be considered a "practical" personal vehicle?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Quote of the day "there is no greater inequality than the equal treatment of unequals"

They Call It Security

As someone who's had a history of taking liberties with poorly-protected systems (eveyone's young, once), I recognize the value of locking down technology. Because I know there are bored people out there and because I know there are truly malicious people out there, I make efforts to protect things against them. I understand the value of "systems security".

That said, I have to deal with others interpretations of what it means to make a system "secure". In general, security is at odds with usability and functionality. The key to good security is finding "balance". Sadly, so much of systems security is left to people who've never broken a system and who've only ever read papers, articles and/or books on security. So, when someone writes a security recommendation, the typical security person takes that recommendation as gospel or comes to the wrong interpretation of that recommendation (or fails to consider the impacts of what following a recommendation is).

This type of blind approach security always leaves me scratching my head. Invariably, the people implementing these policies in a context of ignorance leave gaping holes in systems. They'll lock down an avenue to a given piece of information. But, because they don't really understand the systems they're securing, they don't realize that there's a dozen other ways to get the same data (or that some data are critical to overall system usability and maintenance). In the end, it leaves you, as a system user, wondering "what the hell were they thinking" or "what the hell was the point of doing X". Today, what I found myself wondering was, "who the fuck removes `whereis` from a standardized UNIX deployment??"

Cultural Longevity of Memes

Prior to the rise of "Internet culture", one of the more interesting cultural barometers were the use of slang terms and other idioms. How many kids that grew up on the seventies still use the term "cool" to describe things. How many remember using the term "bad" to refer to something that they actually meant as "good". Most of us could probably think of hundreds or thousands of things we used to say - and that sometimes slip out in current conversation and horribly date us by their use - that we've allowed to fall by the wayside.

Internet memes seem to be another type of cultural barometer. They have a quick onset, and then a long period of "dude, that's so over" use-period ("FAIL", anyone?). But still, it makes me wonder how long these "over" things will persist. Will my friends' children understand "FAIL"? Will people that used these terms or otherwise participated in these memes still recall them decades from now. For instance, I sort of wonder what the reaction of people twenty years from now would be were I to walk up to them and say "badger badger badger"?

The Reek from Over the Cube-Wall

Like many people in the modern, western economy, I work in an office building. And, like most such people, I work in what I "lovingly" refer to as "cube land". Aside from lack of privacy, willingly or (more frequently) unwillingly taking part in (or being subject to) random conversations, noise and other office realities, there's the smells associate with cube life.

Today was another adventure in office smells. This seems to most frequently be an issue around lunch time (or worse: about an hour or two after lunch has passed). Today, this smell came creeping over the wall. I had a hard time identifying it at first. But, as it settled into my cube area like some reeking, putrid cloud, all I could think was, "when your lunch smells like a combination of cheap top ramen and burning tires, you need to reconsider your dietary choices."

Ugh. Still. Better than going in to use the mens room only to find that your co-workers don't understand the concept of the "courtesy-flush".

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I did not watch the Super Bowl, this year. I had no interest in the teams playing. The commercials - frequently the best part of the whole thing, any way, were all immediately available to view online. I had no interest in this year's halftime-show installment of the over the hill gang.

Once the Super Bowl was over (thank you FaceBook for being the barometer for this), I hit the NFL.Com website to see if the commercials were decent. Some good ones (the various car commercials seemed the best) some mediocre ones and some that made me wonder why they bothered (pretty much all of the movie ones - especially the one for Phantom Menace - sucked).

FaceBook, Twitter and Plus were all aflame with how good Madonna's performance was (even with an undercurrent of "I don't know why she didn't play the 80s classics" and "I don't care for the new stuff). People were talking about it at work and it was being mentioned on all the news. The news stories, however, were the most annoying.

Madonna hasn't been "The Material Girl" for twenty plus years, now. When you're post-menopausal (presumably), you're no longer a "girl". If the AARP is starting to recruit you, you're no longer a "girl". If you look great from a distance and in soft-focus, but closeups reveal aged, crepey skin, you're no longer a "girl". As such, it's more than slightly ridiculous for newscasters to still be referring to Madonna as "The Material Girl".

I'll Take "Things That Are A Given" for $1000, Alex

I live in the DC metro area. I've lived here since the early 90s. I remember the "bitch set me up" news stories from before I moved here. Living in the DC area, certain things are just a given:

  • DC-area police - particularly in the District, itself, and in Maryland (PG County, especially) are frequently brutal thugs that would cause the old Nazi brown-shirts to say "I think you crossed a line, there, bud" 
  • DC-area politics are comically-corrupt.
I accept that corruption is rampant throughout the US political landscape. However, the level of low-rent criminal acts that happen around here are positively laughable. I mean, FBI's knocking at your door and your best idea is "shove the money down your panties"? Amateur-hour shenanigans aside, though, the corruption is so rampant that, when it inevitably makes the local nightly-news, you can't help but ask yourself, "how is fraud within the DC government even news any more?"

Careless Whispers

One of the joys of being married is sharing a bed with your partner. In the winter-time, you can leave your bedroom ice-cold and snuggle under layers of quilts.

But, it's not always "roses". If you're like me, you occasionally have to cope with a bed partner that talks in their sleep. Sometimes it's funny. Sometimes it's maddening. Mostly it's just an annoying disturbance of your sleep.

I had my alarm set for 6:00, this morning. I didn't need to set it because I had a "natural" alarm clock. My wife was dreaming and, as sometimes happens, she was talking in her sleep. She was angry with whoever she was addressing and was cursing up a blue-streak.

You know what's a perfect start to the day? Being wakend by your bed-partner's tourettes-like sleep-vocalizations. Who needs an alarm clock?