Sat, 26 Feb 2005

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lent

This season has traditionally been a time of giving up things, but perhaps because of Vatican II (when hippies apparently infiltrated the Catholic Church), when I was growing up in Catholic School, the emphasis was on making a life-affirming change. Instead of negative reinforcement, the idea was to do something positive. Instead of giving something up, the idea was to do something new to make oneself a better person or make the world a better place.

So in that spirit, I have vowed to not wallow in my dingy apartment on my days off. To that end, I actually went out last night (witness my barely coherent musings and the pathetic story fragment that it inspired.) And today, I decided to visit the Sea (which, as I have mentioned, I am completely obsessed with.)

Today I found myself in La Jolla. While there are better, less snobby beaches to go to, for some reason I was drawn there. Maybe it's simply because of the cliffs, reminding me of my mad trip up Highway 1. Maybe it's the traces of memories from those demented days when I would fly out to California from Chicago and spend time visiting my sister here. I don't know.

The thing I noticed is that the music on the radio really gets me down. I don't know why. Because I don't live that far away from work right now, I haven't been bringing my iPod with me, which may have been detrimental to my mental health. Now that I am listening to my own music again, I feel much better. I want to rationalize that it's because the hip-hop they play on the radio is dreary and appeals to base commercialism and materialism, while the hip-hop that I have on my iPod is typically life-affirming, cognizant of the Struggle, and/or cerebral. Conclusion: hip-hop on the radio sucks shit. Nothing we already didn't know.

So I wandered around the streets of La Jolla with my iPod on, and it really made a difference to my mood. I stayed out there until the sun was too low to provide any warmth, reading The Executive Brain: Frontal Lobes and the Civilized Mind on a bench overlooking the cove. The book really reinforces my suspicion that I suffered some subtle brain damage when they anesthetized me as a kid, given my general indecisiveness and the overwhelming inertia I feel when trying to start a project. It's probably no surprise to anyone who knows me well that I probably have some kind of brain damage. True, I may be highly functioning, but I've always maintained that I'm probably the stupidest smart guy you'll ever meet.

After that, I decided to go to Coronado, another site of decadence, where the affluent dwell. One of the places I work is actually in Coronado, so I ate at a familiar diner and browsed quickly through a familiar book store. By then the sun had set, so I headed home, a little weary, somewhat pathetically content that I at least didn't simply rot at home.

The question is, how long can I keep this up? Can I keep going for the next three months without having an entire weekend off?

Still, I suppose I don't really have any choice. Sink or swim, baby, sink or swim.

19:14:03 26 Feb 2005 > /soul > permalink > 3 comments

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ineptitude

He arrived at the club two hours late, hamstrung by his own scatter-mindedness, without any real hope that he would still find her there. But he headed out anyway into the night, amidst the teeming swarms of barhoppers and thrillseekers. There was a time when he would have revelled in the illicit goings-on of the night, the whoring and the drug-dealing, the generalized debauchery. But in this strange place, he only felt desolate, having been gone too long from this lifestyle.

He was unsure he would recognize her face on the barely lit dance floor, couples bumping and grinding to the sexually suggestive beats, the bass mimicking the undulations of lovers fucking. And then he spied her at one of the tables on the edge of the dance floor. But elation was quickly followed by ice-cold self-recrimination and self-loathing for his stupidity. She was wrapped around some guy with a tight, built body. Ah well he thought to himself, not really surprised. So this was probably her friend. He toyed with the notion of simply not approaching, then realized how ridiculous he was being. Indecision won the moment, so he bought himself a drink. "Shot of tequila," he told the bartender absently, and without salt or lime simply slugged it. Nothing he thought to himself. Not even a buzz. He ordered one after another and almost went for a fourth when he finally decided to pull himself together, nearly tripping in doing so. Here it goes, and he walked grimly to the table, swaying a little…

18:51:03 26 Feb 2005 > /3p-omni > permalink > 0 comments

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spammers must die (reprise)

So I've disabled trackbacks since some bastard has started pinging pr0n sites at me, which is not that great of a loss since no one has pinged me since I started using Blosxom as my blogging engine. I wish I could eviscerate these spamming scum.

18:35:09 26 Feb 2005 > /computers/www/blosxom > permalink > 1 comments

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translocation

I should've known better than to go to sleep drunk and without taking my meds.

One: having to wake up early enough to drive down to San Diego from L.A. and go to work. For some bizarre reason, I was on an OB-GYN rotation, and the hospital I was working at reminded me of Cook County Hospital in Chicago (minus the ER)

Two: in my dream, I learn that an undying but hopelessly unrequitable love is not entirely unrequited.

Three: me and my oldest friend have moved to Chicago, and we are wandering around Wicker Park, looking for somewhere to eat breakfast.

I hate it when I wake up more tired than when I went to sleep.

11:31:56 26 Feb 2005 > /dreams > permalink > 0 comments

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serious mental problems

Tomorrow is my first day off in 12 days. Without question, I believe that this has had a negative impact on my emotional status. This morning I had to all but drag myself out of bed and get into the shower, and I showed up to work 15 minuntes late, thinking of nothing but of the hour when I would get out and free myself from the shackles of daily drudgery.

The pathetic thing is that I only have one day off and then I get to go back to work on Sunday for 30 hours straight. Yipee.

There comes the question of "quality of life."


I reminisced about what was possibly one of the hardest months of my life. Dealing with death. Feeling responsible for death, even when realistically, there was nothing I could do. How I have willingly allowed my soul to be scarred. Like standing in front of the avalanche, trying to stop it with brute force, even though I know that it is utterly hopeless and futile.

And yet mental anguish has never managed to kill me. Debilitate me to the point of uselessness, perhaps, but I have never been able to take the knife to my chest and end this suffering. For better or for worse.


What I wonder is how you can lose something that you never had. It is with a heart-wrenching, sinking feeling that I have come to one of those moments that are simultaneously a hello and a goodbye. Those brief few hours spent with each other, exchanging inanities. Dreaming to myself what will certainly never be.

I didn't even have time to descend into my morbid self-doubt.

But yeah. Before I even got to know her, she's going to be gone. I doubt that the cumulative amount of time I've spent with her has equalled up to an entire day in these past three months, enough to make me wonder, but certainly no where near enough to know.

I suppose I should be content with potentiality, rather than demand certain hopelessness.

And I can't help but feel my life is going in neverending circles.

And still, I persist in claiming that I don't need anyone, and I'm perfectly fine here on my own. Which from a purely rational perspective is entirely true.

And yet there's this feeling of aching emptiness which I can't help but curse as ridiculous.

I suppose it's like being an emotional amputee. Feeling pain from a phantom source.

There's nothing to see here, folks. Just a tired young man who thinks he's a 109 years old.

Cryptic, I know. It's the best I can manage at 2am.

02:12:43 26 Feb 2005 > /soul > permalink > 2 comments

Mon, 21 Feb 2005

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worship

It being Lent and all, and me being a Catholic caught in the vortex of a now 4 year crisis of faith[1][2][3], I was watching Comedy Central today. Since it's Monday, the Daily Show wasn't on. Instead it was an old Damon Wayans stand-up routine. He got to talking about the hypocrisy of preachers, and how religion is just a way for people to commit evil acts and yet still feel good about themselves. And, inexplicably, I had the urge to want to go to Church.

But instead, I went to the Mall, which is, I suppose, the American equivalent of a Church. The Church of the Almighty Dollar. It struck me the number of happy couples walking around. Having spent winters in the Midwest for the past 5 years, where you really can't go outside for at least 5 months out of the year, I have forgotten that that's what people do when they can't think of anything else to do in California: wander around the Mall.

Of course, I ended up spending some money at Target, but, ah well, what can you. There is only one God, the Dollar, and his prophet is Adam Smith.

I swear. I'm not a Communist.

21:40:06 21 Feb 2005 > /soul > permalink > 0 comments

Sun, 20 Feb 2005

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hst

I can't remember the first time I ran into Hunter S. Thompson's work, but it was relatively recent, and it all started with "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." I think it might have been in the awful aftermath of the 2000 election which destroyed the American Republic. On first glance, the movie is incomprehensible, almost literally so. The lines are half-muttered, the characters addled on drugs, and insanity is the only logic to the course of events. Which, if you think about it, is really what the world is like. And in time I realized what "Fear and Loathing" was: a requiem for the American Dream. Not just the end of the freedom of the '60's, but a generalized regression. The loss of potentiality. The Republic finally failing against the forces of history and entropy, and decaying into Empire.

But HST led me down a path of self-discovery. If I had read The Rum Diary before I ended up going to med school, I might have just said "Fuck it" and pursued my dream of becoming a writer, locked in a rat hole of an apartment, staring at my keyboard, smoking a cigarette. Trying to make the words come together and to tell a story. (I dream hazily of that time in college, amidst what I now understand to be a prolonged major depressive episode. The few bits of happiness I remember were when I was working on a campus-based literary magazine, creativity locked up against the four walls of time and other obligations. The cigarette smoking, the booze, the weed, the camraderie, the trauma and the pain of lives intertwined, however briefly. As usual, I wax over-romantic. But, seriously, those were good times.)

HST was my John the Baptist, a voice of the generation past, crying out in the wilderness. In these bleak times, I wonder if there might still be hope for a Messiah to wrest us free from the shackles of Empire, but, despite what you read, HST was always about hope. How in a dark, filthy bathroom amidst the vomit and the shit, there was still some glimmer of humanity. Despite the dessicated structure and form of our now-imperial society, run by the suits, the point-haired bosses and other idiots with no souls, there are sparks of authenticity. Real people. People who yearn for more than that 3 bedroom house in the suburbs with the 2 car garage and the 2.5 children and keeping up with the Joneses and all the other acts of idiocy represented by a wasteful capitalistic machine society. People who truly desire freedom, who are channels of inspiration, who actually do make a difference without having to say so. Truly actors on the stage, not just the background scenery that most of us are.

In his writing, and in his friendship with Oscar Zeta Acosta, I found my way to the histories of the city of my birth that they tend to omit from the history books, the City of Angels, an occupied city, the indigenous designated as non-persons, and the invaders trying to rule the masses despite being the minority. In those seething '70's, the struggles of the Chicanos, as pervasive and soul-wrenching as the struggles of the Blacks in the '60's. The murder of Ruben Salazar. As I cruised down streets with names like Santa Monica and La Cienega, Figueroa and Sepulveda, and even older names like Cahuenga and Tujunga, it all made sense. The ebb and flow of Empires and Republics, of freedom and totalitarianism. Of conquest and of being colonized. It contextualized for me what was probably the most traumatic event of my adolescence, the L.A. Riots. It made me realize that this wasn't some one-off event, that this was part of the on-going struggle of freedom versus oppression.

It was HST who introduced me to the abomination that was Richard Nixon, the man who sought to rule the world, who perverted the laws of the land to achieve his goals. A harbinger of the things to come, I suppose. Although the neocons make Nixon look like a saint.

But there is just too much bile and ichor. Too many tears shed, too much blood shed, and in too many ways, it's like we haven't learned a god damned thing, determined to drive off that imperial cliff just like the British and the Romans before us.

A part of me is reluctant to believe that this was just suicide, or the result of some tragically bizarre accident.

One only needs think of Gary Webb to wonder about things to come and of things that might be. (And to juxtapose these real journalists with scum like Jeff Gannon. Fuck.)

But, whereever you are Dr. Thompson, know that there are still people fighting the good fight, mostly because we don't have any choice. Like the doomed Anglo-Saxons at the Battle of Maldon, we will fight to the death rather than live in a world run by treacherous thugs and men of no honor, people who want to bring a deadening homogeneity to the world. Not because of some hopeless deathwish, but because it'll be the only way to make sure that life is still one hell of a ride.

23:06:09 20 Feb 2005 > /soul > permalink > 0 comments

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bluetooth ipods

I knew it was only a matter of time. Bluetooth-enabled iPods. (It's only a rumor.)

21:24:09 20 Feb 2005 > /computers/macosx/ipod > permalink > 6 comments

Thu, 17 Feb 2005

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time flies

My most hated month, the dreaded month of February, is at once living up to all horrible expectations, but at the same time, isn't as bad as it could be.

For one thing, at least I'm not freezing my ass off.

I can deal with 50 degree mornings.

But I have grown obsessed with the sea.

My trip up PCH (aka California Highway 1) seems to be echoing through my soul. I finally finished Christopher Moore's Cambria (aka Pine Cove) Trilogy which includes Practical Demonkeeping, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, and The Stupidest Angel. (And I was also gratified to learn that Mr. Moore is an anti-redstater.) And I also ripped through Sideways, which, while perhaps a bit laden with cliche and not a little misogyny, was still pretty decent, and indeed reminded me of the flavor of the Central Coast.

Ah, the Central Coast. I'm not really sure I could live there, only because I know there are some sheet-wearing, ignorant-ass, racists lurking in the bucolic pastures and meadows. But that is another story.

On my partial weekend off, I grew obsessed with the fact that the Santa Monica Mountains, whose eastern end, Mt. Hollywood, faces my parent's house, runs straight west and off into the ocean, becoming the Northern Channel Islands, which includes Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel. Given the proximity of the hill that my parents live on to Mt. Hollywood, I wonder if my parents' hill is part of the same piece of rock. I descended into websites dedicated to geology, learned that the Palos Verdes Peninsula used to be an island until the San Andreas Fault raised up the Los Angeles Basin from sea level.

On Sunday, I helped my dad and my brother take my uncle and my godmother to LAX, after which I was to head off back to San Diego. But, as the sun glowered in the western sky, I decided to head west down the Imperial Highway (which immediately makes me think of centurions and conquistadors and colonialism) and ended up on the shore, which really didn't have anywhere nice to stop. The entire coastal route was lined by chemical factories and petroleum refineries, and the view didn't much improve until I got to Manhattan Beach. Eventually, I decided to get out of my car at Hermosa Beach, where I watched the sun dip behind the clouds and the sky turn dark purple above the crashing waves. To the north, the Santa Monica Mountains seemed to head west off into infinity, and to the south, I could see the Palos Verdes Peninsula and the dark, hazy shadow of Catalina Island (which is a place that I want to return to someday, to try to recapture the very fleeting sense of happiness I had there as a teen-ager.)

Since it was growing late, and would soon be my bed time (since these days, I have to get to sleep by 8pm if I wanted to be up and functional the next day at work), I thought I would just get on the monstrous 405 and head back to S.D. Instead, I foolishly took a detour down Palos Verdes Drive and cruised down the seashore. By then it was pitch black, but I could makeout the lights of the city of Santa Monica and of Malibu to the north, and could later see the flickering lights of Avalon, the one-square mile settlement on the northern shore of Santa Catalina. I don't know what it is about islands. I don't believe in racial memory, but these sensations make me wonder sometimes. Is there something in my blood inherited by my ancestry that gets stimulated by the sight of the sea, and the idea of island-hopping?

I returned to civilization on the southern portion of San Pedro, wondering faintly if I could possibly live there. In San Pedro, I could still have that feeling of insularity, sheltered from the ravenous megalopolis, but still be technically in the City of Los Angeles. (I certainly don't want to live in the suburbs on the Palos Verdes Peninsula itself.) In any case, I drove across the Vincent Thomas Bridge, the only suspension bridge in Southern California, skimmed by Downtown Long Beach and headed down the 405.

For that short while, I was happy.

One day, I will learn how to sail, and I will buy a boat, damn the rest of the world.

Until then, I need to promise to myself that I will visit the ocean whenever possible.

18:01:06 17 Feb 2005 > /soul > permalink > 2 comments

Sun, 13 Feb 2005

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GNOME 2.9.91 build order

This entry is obsolete. Please see GNOME 2.10.0 build order.

GNOME 2.10 beta 2 has been released. There are a few new packages since 2.9.90 (2.10 beta 1)

  1. glib 2.6.2
  2. atk 1.9.0
  3. pango 1.8.0
  4. gtk+ 2.6.2
  5. at-spi 1.6.2
  6. libart2 2.3.17
  7. libglade 2.5.0
  8. libgnomecanvas 2.9.1
  9. gail 1.8.2
  10. libIDL 0.8.4
  11. ORBit 2.12.0
  12. libbonobo 2.8.1
  13. libgnomeprint 2.8.2
  14. libgnomeprintui 2.8.2
  15. gconf 2.9.2
  16. gnome-mime-data-2.4.2
  17. howl 0.9.10
  18. gnome-vfs 2.9.91
  19. audiofile 0.2.6
  20. esound 0.2.35
  21. libgnome 2.9.1
  22. libbonoboui 2.8.0
  23. libgnomeui 2.9.1

14:08:32 13 Feb 2005 > /computers/gnome > permalink > 1 comments

Sun, 06 Feb 2005

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stress ulcers

it is 9:30pm, and I have to be awake again in 6½ hours, and I basically pissed away an entire weekend off.

well maybe I'm being a little harsh on myself. I did sleep quite a bit. I also felt sick as fuck and like complete ass yesterday.

I most likely have a horrific case of gastroenteritis (yes, too much information, I know) and it feels like my intestines are trying to wriggle out of my belly, but now, since I took a 4 hour nap between 2pm and 6pm, I can't seem to get to bed.

This sucks.

I am currently reading The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove by Christopher Moore, another of his books set in Cambria, AKA Pine Cove. I recently finished reading Practical Demonkeeping and will probably go on to read Sideways which is not by Moore, does not have supernatural goings-on, and is not set in Cambria, although it is set in the Santa Ynez Valley, which is, while farther south, still on the Central Coast. Yes, I've heard the accolades and the hype about the movie, but since I spied the novel at B&N (where I found Lust Lizard) I figured I'd have a look.

I've been thinking about the time I spent wandering the Central Coast. I worry that I spend way too much time by myself. A small part of me worries that this is completely unhealthy, and that it may very well be the first step on that long descent into clinical insanity.

Then I wonder which class of perenially single people I fall under: am I a quirkyalone, or am I a full-fledged loner outcast&the type of person that everyone worries is really a psychopathic killer.

Which is all a very roundabout way of saying: what am I doing with my life?


Despite my avowed disdain for making plans, I realize that for the 1st 20 or so years of my life, I was driven by one single goal: to become a physician. Whether or not this was a good idea or not is sort of moot at this point, but I am totally having one of those existential moments. I've brought this up before. If you've ever watched "The Princess Bride," you might remember Iñigo Montoya's existential quandry at the end of the movie. He had been so intent on revenge for so many years of his life that now that he had achieved it, he really didn't know what to do with himself.

Yeah, I guess the lesson of that movie is that I could always become the Dread Pirate Roberts.

But seriously. What's next?

Oh sure, I still have to finish my residency, which is going to be another rs and five months of ball-busting agony, but, while I am under the yoke and the whip, I figure I've got to have some sort of carrot leading me onward.

What is that carrot?

Oh sure, there are the traditional, normal things. Money, power, love. A good paying job, a nice house out in the suburbs, a family, 2.5 children. The good ol' American Dream. But you and I know that I could never stand such inanity, at least not for long, and, sure, part of that is the finite probability that I will never meet someone that would be willing to procreate with me.

After all, this isn't exactly the ideal world to raise children in. Especially not if this country regresses into a racist, homophobic utopia for fat white guys, which it seems to be in danger of doing.

But, then what?

Here is where I finally confront the heart of the matter and recognize what exactly lies inside my heart.

I guess this is the carrot, as mundane as it may be. I need to finish my residency, get a decent paying job, and pay off my loans before life passes me by completely.

And assuming that nothing manages to derail me on the way (which is basically another way of taunting God or the Fates to kick me in the crotch and give me a nice wedgie), I guess I can do this in 10-14 years. Maybe sooner if I can rein in my extravagant spending habits. And if I can keep my sex drive repressed by psychotropic medication.

Sick, sad, but effective.

Shit.

So that's where I am. Making a decision to go down the path that I probably should've just gone down years ago, instead of having to face me fears of inadequacy, realize that I should actually probably pursue my dreams instead of simply fulfill other people's expectation, and then now have to come up with an escape plan from a prison of misery of my own making.

OK, OK. So I don't hate what I'm doing that much, but, months like these, I know that I'd much rather be writing than spending 36 hours locked up inside a hospital.

Ah well. It's all perspective.

21:56:18 6 Feb 2005 > /soul > permalink > 5 comments

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cortical stack

Like many aspiring authors often do, I had a "hey, I thought of that" moment. This occurred while reading Broken Angels by Richard Morgan, the second book about Takeshi Kovacs, a Japanese-Slavic mercenary from a colony world 100+ light years from Earth who used to be a U.N. Envoy, which, contrary to its diplomatic connotation, really describes someone who has been trained to be a preternatural super-killing machine.

But the idea that I had once upon a time which I have since failed to complete as a novel is akin to the cortical stack in Morgan's books.

What is the cortical stack? It is basically the human equivalent of an airplane's black box machine, except more sophisticated in that you can retrieve the person's consciousness and reimplant it into either a computer or another human body, thereby wondrously bypassing death. Sure, you can still melt the cortical stack to slag, causing Real Death™, but people can go on for centuries without running into that kind of problem.

I was actually going to use a similar device in a Fantasy story with SF trappings. Swords and sorcery mixed up with a little interstellar technology here and there. I was going to call the device (for lack of imagination) a soul catcher. My protagonist would find the soul catcher of a particularly nasty demi-god-like character who harbored a genocidal rage against the inhabitants of this world. It would have been guarded for centuries, with very few people even understanding what the thing is anymore. Set against the backdrop of a corrupt Republic that was on the verge of being twisted into an Empire (how original, I know), the chaos of war allows the thing to get lost, and strange forces become allied to try to retrieve what they think is a powerful artifact which is in fact the very consciousness of an evil persona who was thought to have been long-ago vanquished and who is now looked upon as more of a character out of mythology.

Anyway, my soul catcher is basically just like the cortical stack, except for some details of storage and reimplantation. Ah well, maybe I'll use it anyway. If I ever make any progress on my story.

13:11:29 6 Feb 2005 > /3p-omni > permalink > 0 comments

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mac mini

Now, mind you, I don't have one of these myself, although I am currently saving up for it. A review of the Mac Mini entitled "The Emperor's New Computer" has been penned by Jorge Lopez, a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, which rehashes a lot of strawmen arguments about Apple Computers in general that have been circulating since the early '90's by Windows/x86 die-hards. I couldn't help wonder if this wasn't a piece of satire, since the arguments are way off base.

Some of these arguments are truly ridiculous. Take the criticism that the Mini lacks PS/2 ports, parallel ports, and (I assume, DB-9) serial ports. Seriously, what modern peripheral does not plug into a USB port? Are you really going to want to attach your circa 1995 PS/2 mouse, keyboard and Centronics parallel printer to a computer built in 2005? A decent USB optical mouse and keyboard can be had for $20-$30 total. And who really still uses 3.5" 1.44 MB floppies? A 128 MB USB Flash drive can be had for the cost of 20 floppies these days.

The lack of expansibility is perhaps a more reasonable criticism, but then again, Apple is not marketing the Mini as a full-on computer. It is marketing it as an appliance, a media center. It has the same sort of satellite relationship a gaming console (such as, for example, the XBox) has to a full desktop and/or notebook computer. These machines are not meant to replace your personal computer. And if you really want to, although it is more expensive then merely popping in a 3.5" hard drive into an open drive bay, you can daisy chain 127 external drives via Firewire, or you can connect them by USB 2.0.

I can't believe he knocks the fact that it makes no noise while operating. Isn't this what everyone wants? What kind of moron doesn't know if they turned an appliance on? Early gaming consoles didn't have fans that made noise, and 8 year old children were competent enough to know that the damn thing was on. Come on!

His mischaracterization of MacOS X is really ridiculous, though. He is trying to argue that MacOS X is not as advanced as Windows, never bringing up the fact that MacOS X is in fact a UNIX variant (techinically, more so than Linux is, but we won't get into that right now.) Meaning that it is technology that has stood the test of time, the type of OS you can depend on in mission-critical scenarios. (OK, so you might not be screwing around with a GUI when you are in truly mission-critical scenarios, but, hey this is UNIX, you can boot into a command-line if you are truly hackerish.)

And since the early 1990s, just exactly what sort of application can you run on Windows that you can't run on MacOS? There are MacOS X versions of Microsoft Office, all industry standard desktop publishing and image processing programs are available for MacOS X, many advanced video editing and audio editing programs are only available for MacOS X, and if you really need to run Minesweeper or Solitaire in all it's crashable glory, you can run WinXP on top of Virtual PC (which, by the way, is now a Microsoft product.)

Yes, I know. The argument is games. But, really, this is a marketing and economic issue. There is no techinical reason you can't play games on a Mac. The typical performance bottleneck in a first-person shooter is the video card, but Macs use the same AGP video cards that x86-based systems use. Hell, one of the first person shooters ever created (Marathon, written by Bungee, the company responsible for the wildly popular Halo series) was written exclusively for the Mac, and this was in the early '90's Sure, it's a pain in the ass to port code written for DirectX APIs to anything else, but the limitation is economic, not technical. Just look at the popular games that have been ported to Mac OS and even to Linux: Civilizations, Warcraft III, even Halo. But honestly, if you're really a die-hard gamer, and you're into more than just first-person shooters like Half-Life, you really should be getting a game console and not screwing around with your computer that is likely to BSOD at a critical juncture in the game before you even saved.

The e-mail criticism is bizarre as well. Mail.app is a really excellent mailreader, especially when you consider it comes with the OS, unlike Outlook (the full version.) And if you really want to run Microsoft software, there's nothing stopping you from installing Microsoft Entourage, which I understand is actually superior to Microsoft Outlook.

What is really laughable is the criticism of the lack of antivirus software, defragmenter, and registry cleaner. While I recognize that Macs are not immune to viruses, UNIX systems are simply more robust. Consider that the Internet is run mostly by computers running a variant of UNIX. MacOS X makes the wise choice of not allowing the newbie user to run around as root, unlike Windows, which gives the first user account admin privileges, allowing one to trash one's computer willy-nilly. Without root access/admin privileges, it is pretty difficult to spread viruses and worms. Not to say that it's not impossible, just that it's less likely.

With a modern filesystem like HFS+, what in hell do you need a defragmenter for? Sure, fragmentation happens, but it is not the performance sucking problem that it is with FAT16 or FAT32. Note that NTFS (another modern filesystem) needs far less attention to defragmentation than it's DOS-based cousins.

The lack of a registry cleaner could be a problem, although, again, access to the Netinfo Registry is limited to the admin (i.e., you need to explicity type your password if you or a program wants to make changes.) You can't just blindly mangle your registry like you can on Windows, and there are very few reasons why a newbie would want to go mucking around in Netinfo.

I do not foresee the Mini getting unstable and slow in a couple of months. I've known users who have uptimes of a couple of months—i.e., not rebooting— with very little performance loss.

I do wonder what sort of software this guy is running. If a particular package doesn't exist, I am certain there is an equivalent, hell maybe even a Free or Open Source equivalent. And if you're really missing all those performance-killing gewgaws and doodads swirling around in your web browser, go ahead an install Mozilla Firefox and it's plugins. With regards to keeping track your passwords, it's built into the OS. Keychain.app will track your web passwords, e-mail passwords, and certificates if you want it to.

This is where the article descends into what may well be a gotcha. The author makes such absurd claims that perhaps this is a subtly written piece of satire, and the last few paragraphs is the "Ha-ha, fooled you into taking me seriously." For example, take how he tries to install MS Office for Windows onto a Mac. Or the fact that he mindlessly refers to the hard drive as C:\, which means nothing to a system that is not based on MS-DOS. Who the hell wants to run IE 5.2 anyway, which is ancient, not standards compliant, and which might actually open up your Mac to serious security risks? Run Safari, run Firefox. You've got choices. IE is a piece of trash that's not going to be updated until Microsoft releases Longhorn.

And then the fact that most of the software he runs is simply stuff that keeps his computer from otherwise crashing. Sad.

Anyway, I figure anyone who is going to buy a Mini knows exactly what they're going to use it for. For a file server/media center (mp3 player, photo storage, DVD player, etc.) that can be effortlessly added to a LAN (Rendevous/Zeroconf, baby!) $499 is not a bad price at all, and you don't need to assemble it yourself or try to hunt down obscure drivers for your cut-rate no-name Taiwanese peripherals. If you really hate Mac OS, you can probably easily get Linux to run on it. What more could a real hacker ask for? Sure, the stylishness might be a minus in that regard, but hey, nothings perfect.

12:08:13 6 Feb 2005 > /computers/macosx > permalink > 0 comments

Wed, 02 Feb 2005

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hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to work i go

so endeth my gloriously noneventful vacation. I am apprehensive about surviving the next 4 months, which are likely to be quite grueling and mind-bending, but nothing lasts forever, I guess.

I am, once again, procrastinating.

God save me from myself.

08:52:25 2 Feb 2005 > /soul > permalink > 6 comments

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last dance for half a year (the theory of many-worlds)

in the background the soundtrack of my private despair

dream of gazing into your eyes, light glimmering those stray photons etching like laser light into the hidden dimensions of my heart

nonsense tumbles from my lips like verbal troglodytes misshapen, ugly, and needlessly brutal I am tumbling through space flailing wildly, trapped in my own vortex forever hiding my desire

the conversation spins and spirals I am mesmerized, enchanted the space between us unravels, splays out into cold, immeasurable distance

to die numb and unfeeling light fading, the false warmth of frostbite alone in this merciless maelstrom this unforgiving tempest I see my doom wrought in the golden thread of the Fates reaching into infinity, unraveled, unfettered, unbound

in the blackness of empty space I can only dream of the life I was not destined to.

08:49:48 2 Feb 2005 > /poetry > permalink > 0 comments