Wednesday, September 07, 2005

"We've been gone for about a week... did we miss anything?"

So who caught Tuesday's Daily Show? I thought Stewart's monologue was delightful. I don't necessarily agree with his characterization of Hurricane Katrina as "George Bush's Monica Lewinsky" - the deck seems too stacked in the president's favor for that to happen - but it's a nice thought nevertheless. Ed Helms was in top form too.

HELMS: Today, finally, a ray of hope. Eight days after Katrina came ashore, the federal government has gotten its act together, marshaling all of its resources in a desperate effort to save this beloved, and now beleaguered, president.

STEWART: I'm sorry, I thought we were talking about New Orleans.

HELMS: Oh, no. That place is fucked.

...

HELMS: Here's the thing, Jon. While everybody else is busy setting up commissions, and finding fault... through the president's leadership, he'll end up building a billion-dollar dam in Arkansas.

STEWART: Why would he build a dam in Arkansas?

HELMS: His plan will be to fight the water there, so we don't have to fight it here.

Oh, and I found a cricket in my bathtub last night. Gah.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Mycroft, Microsoft

There's a friend of mine who works at Microsoft, and knows more about computers and technology than I ever will. The breadth and depth of his knowledge are unmatched in anyone I've ever personally met. There is a line from a Sherlock Holmes story, "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans," in which Sherlock describes his older brother Mycroft, but could just as easily be describing this Microsoft employee:

"He has the tidiest and most orderly brain, with the greatest capacity for storing facts, of any man living... The conclusions of every department are passed to him, and he is the central exchange, the clearinghouse, which makes out the balance. All other men are specialists, but his specialism is omniscience."

Don't get into an argument with this fellow. The only one I can remember in which I was right, and he was wrong, was over whether a certain Transformers toy he had was a genuine Hasbro item or a knock-off. (It was a knock-off.)

A traveling apocalypse

I just saw an MSNBC photo of Katrina's devastation - you've likely seen the same picture already - and it reminded me of the scene from Terminator 2 that depicted an H-bomb's immediate effects in very graphic detail. It's like we have a miniature, traveling apocalypse.

This is probably the best site I've found for coverage of the hurricane. Nothing but cold, hard facts, free of the uninformative, sensationalist garbage that's plaguing all the cable news networks. There are even blogs from professional meteorologists, showing their analyses and some interesting images that require a bit of on-the-fly scientific training. It's also fascinating to see the forecasters' chronology, including their initial erroneous predictions that Katrina would hit land somewhere in western Florida.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Exterminate, annihilate, destroy

I just killed a cricket with Raid. I sprayed him from a distance, and he jumped about three feet into the air, bounced off a closet door, and fell to the floor, dead.

I know they're harmless, and I don't care. I am a Dalek when it comes to bugs of any sort in my dwelling. Exterminate.

Here's another Daily Show moment that had me howling.

COLBERT: There's a more important reason to keep NASA's programs going strong.

STEWART: And what would that be?

COLBERT: The dream. Since our earliest ancestors first gazed up at the nighttime sky, we have always dreamed of going to space, of transcending our terrestrial origin, and reaching heavenward to satisfy the curiosity that burns inside all of us, and to achieve that greatest of discoveries, that thing we, as human beings, need most.

STEWART: Which is?

COLBERT: Space oil, Jon. It's out there. We just have to figure out how to drill the void.

My first post

Greetings and salutations. I've read hundreds of others' blogs, but I never thought about doing one myself until today. Just didn't have the time, I guess... was preoccupied with leaving college, looking for a job, and moving to Kansas City, which wasn't my first choice (I long for Massachusetts or the U.K.), but you know how that goes. I don't expect my posts here to have any real form or structure, because, well, that's just too much work. :)

I just became an official Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator on Windows Server 2003! Took me almost two years to do it, but I blame the factors listed above. Something must be wrong with me, though, because aside from the two-day, two-night revelry of gluttony and intoxication in which I indulged following the news of my certification, I've barely slowed down on my studying. I've plunged into the documentation for ISA Server and SQL Server, ceaselessly experimenting with both at work, and sometimes at home. It's all really quite fascinating. Plus, the more I study and work with all this stuff, the less I care about debates over operating systems or hardware or whatever. The vast majority (though not quite all) of those arguments are waged by people that have little to no real knowledge of the products that they advocate or vilify - it's cheap, mindless theater with no practical value to my job.

Let's see, other random nuggets. Jon Stewart's interview on the 25th with journalist Christopher Hitchens was wonderful.

HITCHENS: Zarqawi's the most dangerous man in Afghanistan, possibly more than bin Laden, certainly the second-most dangerous man in Iraq before we got there. The people who say that the violence of these people is our fault are masochistic and capitulationists.

STEWART: But the people who say that we shouldn't fight in Iraq aren't saying it's our fault. That is the conflation that is most disturbing to me.

HITCHENS: Don't you hear people say we've made them nasty?

STEWART: I hear people say a lot of stupid shit. But what I'm saying is that there is reasonable dissent in this country about the way this war has been conducted, that has nothing to do with people believing we should cut and run from the terrorists, or we should show weakness in the face of terrorism, or that we believe that we have in some way brought this upon ourselves. They believe that this war is being conducted without transparency, without credibility, and without competence.

HITCHENS: Well, I'm sorry, Sunshine, I just watched you ridicule the President for saying that he wouldn't give a timetable -

STEWART: No, you misunderstood why. That's not why I ridiculed the President. Why I ridiculed the President was: he refuses to answer questions from adults as though we were adults, and falls back upon platitudes, and phrases, and talking points, that does a disservice to the goals that he himself shares with the very people he needs to convince.

HITCHENS: You want me to believe that really you're secretly on his side, you just wish he was more persuasive?

STEWART: I secretly need him to be on my side. He's too important and powerful a man not to be.

Also, I tried one of Wendy's new Frescata sandwiches today. Maybe I just don't pay enough attention to advertising, but I had no idea they were cold. Tasty, yes, but... cold. I think I'll be sticking with the Einstein Bros. Bagels a few blocks away for my sandwich needs.

And my apartment has a serious cricket problem. I poured borax in front of the sliding glass door that leads out onto the patio, and I find a few dead crickets there every day, as well as some live ones that manage to make it past the poison dunes. I want management to seal up the door, but I don't know if they'll do that.