May 2005 Archives

Cocooned, etc.

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I haven’t felt much like blogging the past few days. Reunions turned out to be a much lonelier time than I had anticipated. When I am feeling despondent, I tend to draw inwards, spinning a barrier between myself and the outside world.

Aside from neglecting my own blog, I haven’t visited or commented on anyone else’s blog in over a week. :-(

I’m starting to feel a little better, perhaps a day at work will do me good, coax me out of my shell, get me back on track, and all that. Or not.

There are a few somewhat interesting things to talk about as far as Reunions are concerned. Maybe in the next day or so…

For now, here is a photo of yours truly modeling my ThinkGeek “I’m blogging this.” t-shirt and my “beer jacket” while marching in the P-rade (more on what those are soon).

Michael models I'm blogging this t-shirt.

Reunions Weekend - Day 1

The alums are descending upon Princeton University for yet another weekend of drunken revelry and catching up with classmates. Most return to their alma mater every five or so years; however, there are some Princetonians who come back every single year. My class has more than a hundred members coming down this year. Since I live three miles down the road, I usually give myself an extended weekend off from work and do the Reunions thing myself.

For me, it’s often an oddly alienating experience because I never really developed any deep bonds of friendship with my graduating class (1999), but instead most of my friends are part of my original class (1994). Last year was great because they all came down for their 10th, this year…who knows.

I suppose that I will have to swing by the 30th Reunion tent since the class of 1975 went as far as to import 5760 bottles of Tiger Beer (our mascot) from Singapore.

Fortune cookie 9

Here’s a fortune that was in my pants pocket from yesterday.

Be magnanimous, be trustful,
be hopeful and be patient.
Lucky Numbers 4, 6, 9, 10, 37, 39

Good advice, I suppose, but lately I have not found it easy to exhibit any of the above qualities.

Daily Tao

I’ve gone a little crazy with the OS X Dashboard widgets lately. One of the more useless, but fun, widgets I recently installed displays a new chapter of the Tao Te Ching each day (from DailyTao.org). I really liked today’s…

 
When taxes are too high,
people go hungry.
When the government is too intrusive,
people lose their spirit.
 
Act for the people’s benefit.
Trust them; leave them alone.

Links from a galaxy far away

In honor of the recent opening of a certain third chapter of a certain space epic, I have a few random links.

  • It seems like everyone has a blog these days, even the Dark Lord of the Sith. This fictional (?) blog begins sometime before the events of The Empire Strikes Back and provides illuminating insight into the daily annoyances, personal victories, work-related stresses, etc. of a battle-scarred tyrannical overlord
  • Revenge of the Brick is obviously a marketing gimmick to sell more Legos, but at least it’s a really clever marketing gimmick. The movie, a 12 MB QuickTime download, is just over five minutes.
  • Some guy took some photos of Star Wars fans in costume at a convention and added some snarky captions. A few comments are somewhat mean-spirited, but overall, the page was pretty funny.
  • A Loews Theater in New Jersey accidentally got sent a Japanese print of Episode III. Baka!
  • I didn’t quite catch this the first time around, but it seems that Palpatine, himself, was the apprentice who killed his master Darth Plagueis. So now there is a debate among some fans as to whether one of these two had a hand in the “virgin birth” of Anakin.
  • If you haven’t caught the DLP version yet, here is a list of theaters showing Episode III on a digital screen.
  • Jar Jar frozen in carbonite

Threads woven and unwoven

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It’s odd how the threads of one’s life interweave with the threads of others, diverging and converging—random patterns of overlapping memories, coincidental experiences, shared acquaintances, randomly intersecting memes.

In a similar train of thought, I was also pondering how the idea of “six degrees of separation” may now average even fewer degrees than in 1929, when Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy first proposed the theory in his obscure short story, “Láncszemek.”

Anyway…Mac OS 10.4 includes an iTunes album art screen saver. I noticed that many of the songs from CDs that I had imported into iTunes did not have cover art. As I was perusing my physical music collection, I noticed a CD of piano music that a friend had written, arranged, and produced while we were in Russian language school in Monterey. I was curious to see if he had made any more CDs in the last decade. However, I most certainly did not expect to find out that he was an interrogator at Abu Ghraib prison and was a key witness in the prisoner abuse scandal. Wild.

Speaking of Monterey, which is one of my favorite locales in the entire world, on Wednesday I was helping a colleague put together some promotional materials for a conference in Monterey this fall. Ironically, one of the main images they are using is of the Oregon coastline. Aauugh, the sacrilege!

So I told her that I would look through the photos that I have of the most beautiful coastline in the country. Oddly enough, I can only find two rolls. I have dozens of rolls from when I lived in Germany and Bosnia around the same time, and I lived in Monterey for over a year. Surely, I have more than two rolls. I hope I have more in storage.

Looks like I may have to go back there with a digital camera sometime soon.

My Mac mini is happy now

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I finally broke down and ordered a one-gigabyte RAM module for my Mac mini. Half a gig may have been fine for running Panther, but under Tiger, especially with a few Dashboard widgets in the background, by poor little baby coughed and wheezed, trying to keep up.

Popping off the case to get at the innards was probably more bothersome than it should have been, and since the Mac mini only has one slot, I now have a 512 MB module that I might be able to get $30 for on eBay.

A few months ago I blogged about how to open up the Mac mini with a putty knife. However, when presented with the reality of shoving sharp metal up inside my shiny baby’s backside, I balked. A Google search revealed a removal method that used strands of network cable; I tried this method and failed (my guess is because I used RJ-11 instead of RJ-45 cable).

Therefore, it was back to the putty knife method. Apple recommends that one uses a 38 mm putty knife. I only had access to a 50 mm one. This one seemed to do the trick, though, albeit with a little fingernail prying.

So, is my lilliputian Mac any zippier with the memory boost? Damn straight it is. Ever since I installed Tiger, switching between open applications was downright lethargic, and surfing with Safari was excruciatingly sluggish. Now the little guy is faster than he ever was.

Execute order sixty-six.

Many of you understand the meaning of this post’s title; soon all of you will. The sudden, unexpected (for the characters, at least), widespread betrayal that this order set in motion was such a powerful moment in Revenge of the Sith. (I suppose I can really identify with having someone you trust suddenly stab you in the back.)

As I walked away from the filled-to-capacity midnight showing, I thought to myself that this was the first time in twenty-two years that a Star Wars film did not leave me disappointed. Granted, Episodes I and II weren’t bad films per se, and I will undoubtedly watch them many more times, but the first two prequels were like mediocre first-date sex—brief moments of excitement, but ultimately unfulfilling and heavy with lingering regret.

Episode III wasn’t perfect. The dialog was (per usual) downright awful at times. Hayden Christensen’s whiny, wooden acting was laughable (again, per usual). At least it is now understandable why the Emperor chose to build the “James Earl Jones voice changer” into the Darth Vader suit.

From the yellow opening crawl to the blue copyright notice, this film was a fun ride. My inner six-year-old, who was once obsessed with everything related to Star Wars, was thrilled to the core.

Now I have to find a theater nearby with a DLP projector, so that I can see the digital print of Sith.

Trying to get through a full day of work tomorrow (oops, today) is not going to be easy.

One ninety-three?!?

Aw, hell no! Stupid scale. Stupid fat. Stupid despondency.

Okay, it’s time to draw the proverbial “line in the sand,” and no waiting this time until I get back up over two hundred, and all my new pants no longer fit. I was down to 180 pounds just a few short months ago, and it felt great. One ninety-three? Unacceptable.

On a positive note, I had a great workout this morning, but my problem lately has been consistency. Now is not the time to backslide. Princeton Reunions is in ten days and Hawaii is just a hair over two weeks beyond that.

Random thoughts

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A few random thoughts before I kick off for bed…

  • I’ve had a headache all evening. I used it as an excuse to procrastinate working out yet again. Bad, Michael.
  • On Saturday, I finally did the MovieTickets.com thing for the midnight showing of Revenge of the Sith this Wednesday night. I looked again today; all 8 screens at the AMC Hamilton are already sold out. I’m cautiously optimistic about this one, esp. after flipping through the channels, seeing a rebroadcast of Episode I, and remembering how much Jar Jar sucked.
  • I spent some quality time this weekend reading through the archives of a really moving blog, and I have found a new regular read—63 Days. The author of this site is chronicling her brutal mistreatment as a 15-year-old girl at a “boot camp” for troubled teens back in the 80s. Scroll down to the bottom and read on from Day 1.
  • When the spirit moves me to write something substantive, I plan to blog about recent experiences with blogging as classwork (privacy, copyright, support, etc.), but for now…sweet dreams, y’all.

Retrospective Melancholy Mix

Michael, June 1980

I came across a cache of old photos
and invitations to teenage parties.
“Dress in white,” one said with quotations
from someone’s wife, a famous writer
in the nineteen-twenties.

When you’re young you find inspiration
in anyone who’s ever gone
and opened up a closing door.
She said we were never feeling bored.

>>|

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Suddenly, I’m not half the man I used to be,
There’s a shadow hanging over me.
Oh, yesterday came suddenly.

>>|

twenty years down the road
will i be the same as now
many things
may have changed
but theres one change that i doubt
and thats the way that i view all points before now
racing through the change
alert my memory some how
here i go again
wasted all the time in my life
how could i be so stupid

>>|

It is the end of all hope
To lose the child, the faith
To end all the innocence
To be someone like me
This is the birth of all hope
To have what I once had
This life unforgiven
It will end with birth

>>|

Paraskavedekatriaphobia

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Another Friday the 13th is upon us. As you may have guessed, paraskavedekatriaphobia (also spelled paraskevidekatriaphobia) is the fear of Friday the 13th (just Friday the 13th, the day, I imagine, not Friday the 13th, the movie).

According to this article, eight percent of Americans genuinely fear Friday the 13th, and here’s a Friday the 13th trivia quiz from a few years ago.

I am not superstitious, per se, but I do doubt that I would plan a major life event for Friday the 13th. The last Friday the 13th to come along did turn out to be a significant low point in my life. Боже мой, has it really been nine months since that fateful Friday the 13th? Let us hope that this Friday the 13th goes much, much better.

HowStuffWorks is always a fun site; I loved their tongue-in-cheek article on how lightsabers work. Here is their take on Friday the 13th.

BTW, in honor of Friday the 13th, I couldn’t resist mentioning Friday the 13th thirteen times.

Fortune cookie 8

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Yet another fortune cookie. People at my workplace order Chinese with surprising frequency.

Your destiny lies before you,
choose wisely.
Lucky Numbers 23, 26, 29, 33, 36, 38

A contradictory cookie? Does not the notion of “destiny” imply an inevitability due to external forces that supersedes individual choice? Or is destiny something that can slip through one’s fingers if not seized? Perhaps the annoying slacker kid from Terminator 2 was right—“There is no fate but what we make for ourselves.”

If destiny is something that I must choose, embrace, exploit; I must let go of the past. Not so easy.

I find myself a man without faith. I have lost my faith in God, my faith in myself, and my faith in others. Until I regain some of that faith, I fear that I may be blind to whatever destiny could lie before me.

Super Protein Latte!

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odwalla.png Odwalla has a new flavor. Yum!

My old favorite was Super Protein Chocolate, and I’m normally loyal to the bittersweet end, but I find myself now lusting after Super Protein Latte.

It’s 360 calories, so that means I can fit it into my calorie counting regimen.

Okay, so after my rave, here’s a rant. Why do so many nutritional labels have to be an exercise in multiplication. Two servings in a 450ml bottle? Puh-lease.

F***ed up links

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Below are six random links I had thrown up onto del.icio.us over the past month. I forgot to jot down where I first came across most of them—oh well. The first, fourth, and fifth links are borderline NSFW, but you shouldn’t be surfing blogs at work anyway, right? ;-)

  • These French AIDS prevention advertisements are…striking. I’m not sure which is freakier—the giant arachnids or the French guy’s naked ass. It has been awhile since I have spoken la langue d’amour, but my guess on the posters’ translation is, “Without a condom, you’re making love to AIDS. Protect yourself.”
  • Next up, we have female Stormtrooper armor. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that women’s underrepresentation in imperialist oppression and planetary genocide is not due to innate differences between men and women, but more because of the Empire’s “one-size-fits-all” armor policy.
  • A Barbie USB flash drive? Seeing her little plastic body shoved neck-first into a USB port cracked me up. [via LifeHacker]
  • Getting a bit tired of Smallville? Here’s a unique, somewhat vulgar take on the Superman origin story.
  • For you cunning linguists out there, a guide to insulting, swearing, and cussing in 165 languages. Jebo ti poshtar mrtvu mamu u podrumu u kojem je izgorila baka dok ti je pokushavala zapaliti sestru!
  • Yes, it is illegal for unmarried couples to live together in North Carolina. I just love the states below the Mason-Dixon line. Thankfully, most of the time that I was stationed in NC, I was actually in Europe. What I can’t believe is that the reporter got a quote from a defender of the law—political organizations with the word “family” in their names really scare me sometimes. [via Fark]

Haiku Day - 05/07/05

Magnolias in bloom,
Blossoms flutter to the ground.
Pink gives way to green.

Fortune cookie 7

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Today the cookie is trying to play the role of therapist. Get…out..of…my…head.

Stand tall.
Don’t look down upon yourself.
Lucky Numbers 6, 14, 17, 27, 30, 34

Ghost in the Pod

iPod in a coma, I know; I know—it’s serious.

My old iPod is gone, it will probably end up in a landfill somewhere. Thankfully, my favorite fruit company “DHL-ed” me a brand new replacement under warranty. They are just so shiny and scratch-free in their virginal state. This time, my new baby went straight from its box into its silicone prophylactic.

BTW, calling Apple’s phone support is a pain in the ass (calling any phone support is a pain in the ass). If your iPod dies, just go to http://depot.info.apple.com/ipod/ to fill out a trouble ticket; the phone support person will probably direct you to that site anyway.

To restore its “memories and personality”—everything that made my iPod my iPod—was a simple, painless process that took about half an hour. The ease of this restoration and my recent revisiting of the writings of Shirow Masamune got me to thinking.

Within our lifetimes, the following scenario could become an all-too-real reality…

From the moment that Dad rescued “Fluffy” from the pound, he had made sure that the newest member of the family had his consciousness backed up and regularly synchronized to the household’s central file server. Fluffy’s synthetic-fleece-lined bed had a built-in brainwave scanner.

One otherwise uneventful summer morning, Fluffy’s energetic bounding though the dewy grass was interrupted by the distraction of some unusual movement in the yard on the other side of the street. With single-minded purpose, he ventured across the pavement to investigate. BAM! The fender of a speeding, video-conferencing motorist tossed Fluffy into the air, and he landed as a twitching mass of broken bones, blood, and fur.

After drying her daughter’s tears, Mom walked back inside and voiced a few commands into one of the many net-connected terminals scattered throughout the house. The next day a nondescript package arrived on their doorstep. She carefully opened the box, tore open the stasis wrap, gently removed Fluffy’s pristine body from the molded cushioning, and shuddered as she realized that it wasn’t Fluffy—at least not yet. The lifeless, empty gaze of the unformatted duplicate construct gave her the creeps.

It only took a few minutes in the SynchBed—the restoration process was surprisingly brief—before Fluffy jumped up and began scurrying around like a creature possessed. He circled the living room a few times before running headlong into Mom’s left shin. A bit stunned, he looked up at her with inquisitive eyes and enthusiastically shook his tail.

Mom picked him up, sat down on the sofa, and rested him in her lap, gently stroking his warm fur. She smiled as she thought about how happy her daughter would be when she got home from school. Her smile soon faded and a tear rolled down her cheek as she failed in her attempt to push back memories that flooded her consciousness—memories of how difficult it was to have her daughter’s first body cremated after it died from a congenital heart defect.

So how’s that for wild tangents?

Where's Michael?

Boy, was I surprised this morning when one of my coworkers showed me the front page of our university newspaper. It seems some freaky-looking, tall, skinny guy in a supremely cool black leather jacket was lurking in the background of one of the photos. (Yes, that blurry blob in the background is yours truly.)

crowd at Art of Science exhibit
Katherine Anderson :: Princetonian Staff Photographer

Last evening I attended the opening reception for the impressive Art of Science exhibit, which celebrated examples of aesthetic beauty that one can serendipitously discover when observing the world scientifically. My personal favorite was “Driven,” the second place winner, but it was still interesting to listen in as the artist who created the winning piece (“Plasma Table”) tried for more than fifteen minutes to explain to the student reporter how he created the phenomenon depicted in the photograph. “Uh, so how would you sum up everything that you’ve just described in a couple of sentences.”

If you find yourself visiting Princeton University over the next year, stop by the lobby of the Friend Center and check it out. (Of course, there is the online version, but that’s just not quite as fun.)

Update 5/25: The exhibit was written up on Wired.com. Kudos to the organizers, sponsors, and entrants.

Search engines & blog logs 4

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A new month already? Sheesh.

  • r****** r**
    Only 1,879 (down from 3,140) searchers for our favorite nudie foodie in April. Could people be finally losing interest in her, or maybe my search ranking is finally falling?
  • attack of the show crap
    Yes, it is, but the former cast members of The Screen Savers are now doing a weekly podcast. Two and a half eps so far. Coolness!
  • cold stone creamery mercer mall
    No Cold Stone for me until after Hawaii. :-(
  • my home from satellite
    We are watching you. Google Maps rule. I just wish the town where I grew up wasn’t in the boonies (no close zoom for me). BTW, a great Googlemapping-inspired site is Google Sightseeing.
  • photos of emeril cooking
    Thank Odin this one wasn’t “photos of emeril cooking nude.”
  • emeril lagasse nude
    Oh…my…Gawd. I spoke too soon.
  • mike not
    No, it’s “not Mike.”
  • mike having sex
    Mike may be getting lucky, but as for Michael…not so much, lately.
  • sarajevo sperm
    Hunh?
  • mr 13 inch pain
    Again, I have to say, “Hunh?”
  • m&m girl nude
    Um, did you mean the animated green M&M character? Isn’t she already nude (except for some white gloves and white knee-high boots)? Oh well, here you go.
  • dying pubic hair
    I guess I could make a joke here about matching drapes and such, but that would be crass, and this site does have certain standards. Hah!
  • rory gilmore nude
    Okay, she was a leather-clad prostitute in Sin City and did not get nekkid. My guess is that it ain’t gonna happen. Speaking of WB ingénues, what is up with Joey Potter (aka Katie Holmes)? Um, she wasn’t even four when her new boyfriend filmed Risky Business. What…ever.
  • dismiss a muse at whim
    Well, I dismissed my muse a short time ago and have yet to find an appropriate replacement.
  • grandma-sex
    Some of these get really repetitive, but it never ceases to amaze me what drives people to my site.
  • one legged dance dance revolution
    THAT I would like to see. Is that even possible?
  • princeton writer s garden
    The word on the street is that they are trying to do the Writers Block Garden again. Yay!
  • bowflex suck
    I’m always raving about the Bowflex here because of the success I have enjoyed. One of these days, though, I will blog about the things that suck about the Bowflex.
  • what is wrong with hedonism
    What, indeed?
  • michael bad
    I know. I know. Michael is a very bad boy.

Hmmm. You know, judging from my logs every month, my site sure does get a large number of disappointed visitors. They’re looking for titillation, but instead stumble upon my inanities. :-)

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from May 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

April 2005 is the previous archive.

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