August 29, 2008


[ Part 1 (3:41) | Part 2 (2:32) | Part 3 (3:36) | Part 4 (6:02) | Part 5 (10:22) | Part 6 (8:50) ]

A few quotes I liked:

  • Why else would [McCain] define middle class as someone who earns under five million a year? Heh heh.
  • It's time for [the Republicans] to own their failure.
  • One of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and each other's patirotism. The times are too serious. ... Patriotism has no party.

He addressed many of the criticisms that have been sloppily thrown at him by the Box Network and the mass of want-wits who consider watching that plus campaign commercials to be valid research. Let's get this straight: McCain is not a maverick, Obama has solid experience, and eloquence and rhetoric with substance is an admirable trait. Let the debates begin!

posted by sstrader at 12:01 PM in Politics | permalink

August 28, 2008

ITT: Save the iPhone girl!

posted by sstrader at 1:03 PM in Phones , Science & Technology | tagged iphone | permalink


Aha, here's the implosion I've been waiting for! Gratefully, it comes from McCain and, more gratefully, it's actually being reported on. Reporters (AZ reporters excluded) are still at fault for the years of kid gloves that allowed this bat-shit crazy 72-year-old to even get this far, but maybe there'll be a die-by-the-sword end game. Noun + verb + POW, indeed.

posted by sstrader at 11:48 AM in Politics | permalink


Gettin' caught up. Man, some outstanding speeches. Democrats, for the first time in a loooooong time, didn't fuck this one up and implode. They were on target, passionate, and generally good-to-great hittin' the right themes of (1) restoring the constitution, (2) restoring international diplomacy and thus international respect, and (3) correcting the imbalance of wealth. Charisma and content has returned after eight long years. Our story thus far:

  • Michelle Obama [ Part 1 | Part 2 ] - Touted as "average" by those brainless drones from the Box Network, her speech was reserved and honest. She didn't discuss policy (and why would she?) but spoke of their life together and how it illustrates her husband's focus and morals.
  • Dennis Kucinich - Short speech, cranked up to 11. He may be just this shy of crazy at times, but man he gets the job done.
  • Hillary Clinton - Uh. What just happened?!? Her current batshit crazy supporters, please god let them be a fringe, still try to denounce Obama and pledge their noseless, spited faces to McCain. Based on their shrill protestations, along with that shall-we-say overlong primary period, I didn't expect her to transform into such a gracious supporter. Her speech was phenomenal and her suspension of the DNC rules (though certainly not her idea alone) will be remembered as a shining moment of this election. I was expecting the worst, and am now glad I didn't need to be so pessimistic.
  • Bill Clinton - His weirdness from the last few months melted away. Many quotes, here's the one that hit me: People around the globe have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power. A-fucking-men, bitches.
  • (still waiting to get a link for Biden's speech...)

And, as always, let's hope they can hold up their end of the deal and follow through with those promises...

posted by sstrader at 12:18 AM in Politics | permalink

August 20, 2008

ITT: Spaghetti Cat rules

posted by sstrader at 4:29 PM in Culture & Society | permalink

August 19, 2008

Big trouble

People seem to be up in arms over (1) China's youthful gymnasts, (2) China's policy of initiating training at a young age, and (3) other countries' use of U.S. facilities for training. That's quite an array of whiny bitching, but I guess it's par for sports: even within the same culture, the other team will always have some unfair advantage in this or that. Cross-culture differences can only exasperate the situation. Swapping 8-year-olds or some such for teenagers is certainly suspect, but we seem to ignore the number of foreign-born athletes and coaches on the U.S. team. And to the training issue, I can only look at the best musicians of our time and when they begin training (usually at 3 or 4 years of age). Few would judge their sacrifices and subsequent accomplishments in terms that have been used to describe what some Chinese families put their children through.

Finally, I'm curious if any of those who sneer at the alleged wickedness of the Chinese olympic aspirations ever put half as much effort in railing against the arguably more pertinent issue of China's human rights record. Trading tragedy for pettiness seems kinda sad.

[ 20 Aug 2008 ]

Excellent rant about the duplicity of partisan ranting: These Olympics are a joke.

posted by sstrader at 11:42 PM in Culture & Society | permalink

August 16, 2008

Command line

I'm not sure who came up with the idea that Google is the new command line. It was several years ago, I think, and I liked it at the time, but now I tend to think of my browser's address field as the new command line. It is especially useful to me since I use Opera and can customize it with any number of search commands. Prefixing with "a" will search on, with "dg" will search on my favorite German dictionary, etc. Here's the full list:

I'm sure Firefox has some sort of plugin to do the same. Having Google in there gives my address-field-command-line Google's tools (maths, unit conversion, etc.) plus access to those other silly sites making address-field > Google.

On a recent episode of Future Tense, Jon Gordon talked about a new web site that's making SMS into a command-line of sorts. Kwiry allows you to update your online accounts such as Amazon and Netflix. You can also leave notes to yourself much like Twitter. It's not incredibly powerful, but I have to admit that I'm jealous of the idea. I'm a heavy SMS user with the wife and Twitter, so I'll definitely be following as they add more functions.

posted by sstrader at 2:12 PM in Science & Technology | permalink

August 15, 2008

Put your head in the sand

Ira Flatow discussing climate change on the Talk of the Nation Science Friday segment Are We Headed Toward Extinction?

I've had scientists who have pulled me over to the side and said in private [that] the situation is much worse than we're willing to talk about in public because we don't want to scare people.

I've heard this same warning for years from others close to environmental scientists. Kinda sad. Well, maybe a little more than that.

posted by sstrader at 3:34 PM in Science & Technology | permalink

August 14, 2008

Burning Chrome and Virtual Light

After reading Mona Lisa Overdrive I started searching for some more Gibson in hardback or oversized paperback to no avail. Amazon had few choices and results from the otherwise wonderful BookFinder would seldom specify whether the edition was trade paperback or mass-market. Blargh. So, I went to the Book Nook in Decatur for the first time in years. Alas, they only had the cheap-yet-expensive mass-market paperbacks:


(Rewatched Donnie Darko the other night; been paging through Watchmen as images from next year's movie are released; read Borges' "The Aleph" after looking up the word from its references in Mona Lisa Overdrive)

Burning Chrome had some very average sci-fi--where I assume Gibson was finding his way--along with iconic early cyberpunk. "Johnny Mnemonic," "New Rose Hotel," "The Winter Market," and "Burning Chrome" stand out. "Johnny Mnemonic" was difficult to read only because I kept visualizing that gay movie with Keanu Reeves, but then much of the imagery in cyberpunk novels would look idiotic on screen (I'm flying in cyberspace!!!). "Fragments of a Hologram Rose" could easily have been an inspiration for Strange Days.

I'm just finishing Virtual Light. Once I got to the reveal with the augmented reality goggles, I was immediately reminded of an article I'd read years ago (maybe "Lab Rat: Virtual light" from Red Herring, 18 April 2001?). You wear the glasses and they tag objects with information. Think of the neat little Wikipedia icons that you can display in Google Maps but live and floating over your field of vision.

posted by sstrader at 1:33 PM in Language & Literature | permalink

August 11, 2008


Trying to listen to internet radio and it keeps coughing:

[003] - 19:08:46 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])
[003] - 19:13:51 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])
[003] - 19:24:01 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])
[003] - 19:29:05 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])
[003] - 19:34:07 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])
[003] - 19:59:20 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])
[003] - 20:12:19 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])
[003] - 20:17:22 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])
[003] - 20:36:57 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])
[003] - 20:48:27 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])
[003] - 20:50:25 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])
[003] - 20:52:59 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])
[003] - 20:55:36 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])

I will be so happy to be rid of fucking Earthlink on Wednesday.

posted by sstrader at 8:59 PM in Personal | permalink

August 8, 2008

Tech changes

A few changes to the web site here. First, I had to block hotlinking after I was trolling through the logs and wondered why a certain Watchmen image was getting loaded every few seconds. Who knows how long it's been going on. ?!? And it took me too long to figure out the correct combination of httpd.conf and .htaccess configurations (my httpd.conf was in kindof a mess from previous changes...), but blocking has finally been acheived. Then, I decided to take the plunge after four years of blogging and add Sitemeter. I like the world map view. Someone in Dubai is visiting me? Really?!

On the how-am-I-connecting-to-the-internet front, I'll be switching from Earthlink (nee Mindspring) to Atlantic Nexus next Wed-nes-day. Same price. Higher speed. Much higher ratings on DSL Reports. I was thinking about going cable, but it's easier to swtich to a different DSL provider first to try to solve my connection woes. Lisa 'n' I will be keeping our @mindspring email addresses 'cause she insisted and it's only ~$30/year, and also, let's face it, I'd really miss all of the spam that accumulates from an 11-year-old email address. After the internet switcheroo, I cancelled a bunch of stupid phone features and cut $20 off of our bill. Holy shit we've been wasting some money.

posted by sstrader at 12:02 PM in Personal | permalink

August 3, 2008

Where was I?

In Destin last weekend. Left Friday morning and returned Monday morning. Relaxing, but I got burned the first day out on the beach :(. There were eight of us in a dee-luxe house, so there was a lot of stayin' in and drinkin' and eatin' and gabbin' and watchin' goofy DVDs. Minor drama when I went walking one night and came back two hours later with a rented scooter, but scooters are fun so it was a win. Until Monday morning when it ran out of gas on Lisa & I on our way to fill up and return it. Another :(.

Detox during the week whilst I finished various reads. I wanted some funcrazy cyberpunk for vacationing, so I picked up Mona Lisa Overdrive for the beach and read most of it on the drive back. I had gone to Kroger on Thursday beforehand because I'd been wanting try out its DVD rental kiosk. I flipped through the movies, saw Cloverfield was already checked out (!), and realized that that's the movie that needed to be taken. I must find it! Planning to find another Kroger, instead I just went to B&N, bought a copy, and realized I needed to pick up a beach book. They only had MLO in mass market paperback, and I'm struggling now to find the other Gibson novels I don't have in either hardback or oversized paperback. Oddly difficult. Cloverfield was a win and FEAKED EVERYONE'S SHIT OUT during the subway scene. I pass-ed out-eth so Lisa & I watched it again when we got home.

On our return to the ATL, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Eighth Season graphic novels (#s 1 and 2) and the last book of Y: The Last Man were waiting for me. Hoo. Ray. The Buffy stories were fun and it was great seeing the wild changes that have occured; probably would've been difficult with a TV budget. The artwork had two problems: body proportions and likenesses. Most of the time, people's heads were absurdly too large for their bodies. Not Peanuts-large, but large all the same. Skilled artists otherwise, so I can't explain it. Getting the likeness right is always a pitfall of adaptations. They were close-enough. The painted covers had them perfect. I powered through Y the morning before work on Tuesday. Had started the night before and got hooked while trying to avoid work. Ultimately Yorick's five year trip was the enjoyable part of the story with this final episode simply capping things off. The whole series was a way to offer riffs on sexual politics (and reversals) and sexual identity. The defining scenes at the end were when 355 lectures Yorick, worried that he alone would not be a good father-figure to a son, that mothers are more responsible for molding men than fathers. Later, an aged Yorick lectures one of his 22-year-old clones that it was Dr. Mann's asshole father that pushed her to be a great scientist. You gotta find a balance. The scene with Ampersand made me very sad.

Last night was Dark Knightus Interruptus. Ten-or-so minutes in and the Great Atlanta Storm of August 2nd 2008 hit. It directed its greatest force at the powerlines that fed to the Midtown Landmark Cinema. Specifically to the theater that was showing The Dark Knight at 7:00 PM. BLAST! Sad tweets here, here, and here. We gave it 20 minutes, then headed back to Pint and Plate where the drinks were flowing, the sliders were ... sliding, and power flowed through the tubes like Coca-Cola!

posted by sstrader at 11:22 AM in Cinema , Language & Literature , Where was I? | tagged comic books | permalink

August 1, 2008

Fuck you, ABC

Outstanding/depressing report on the anthrax story from Glenn Greenwald. As per usual, he cuts through the media cloud. Too many gems to quote.

Reporters are warned about possible anthrax attacks before-the-fact; anthrax is sent to (1) media outlets and (2) Democrats in Congress; ABC reports from anonymous sources that the anthrax is linked to Iraq (it is not); conservative rags denounce the Bush administration for not immediatly accusing Iraq of being behind the attacks (Bush, on record, had been gunning for Iraq before 9/11); Bush references Iraq+anthrax in his State of the Union; Congress falls over itself to give up citizens' rights.

Poor Bruce E. Ivins is probably just a scapegoat to Bush and those complicit assholes at ABC.

posted by sstrader at 7:19 PM in Culture & Society | permalink

Julia Allison, nothing to see here, move along

Wired magazine's recent issue (16.08) has a cover story about someone named Julia Allison (me neither). She's supposedly "internet" famous because she has a popular blog about her life, hangs with the hipsters, and ... that's about it. I guess that technically does make her famous, but Wired insists that this is some kind of new famous because she did it on the internet. Typical Wired.

I hate to rant again about Daniel J. Boorstin's book The Image, but this is a perfect example. JA is nothing but an online Paris Hilton. In Boorstin's words, she's famous for being famous. She hasn't accomplished anything notable or unique, she's simply good at getting people to talk about her (yes, I hesitated to post anything but hey, I'm not famous so it really doesn't add to the mix). There's tons of people who do that and just doin' it on the internet is not that notable.

posted by sstrader at 12:19 PM in Culture & Society | permalink