Wake up and smell the Java… Again

As I was growing up, Mom often told me that life is a constant repeat. How often she told me was usually a factor of how much I complained about doing some routine chore. As usual Mom was right. However, not all that comes back around is necessarily bad. My love of writing is one example. Now, I’ve rekindled my interest in learning a "real" computer programming language.

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Sticks and Stones

When George Bush predicted Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic nominee for President, he wasn’t just tipping his hat to her campaign prowess, or her unassailable plans to fix healthcare, Iraq, and any other number of societal ills. He was voicing the hopes of Republicans who share the vision of retaining the executive seat in the White House. One might even say he was trying to conjure her nomination into being. After all, no matter how many lies this administration tells, nor how dangerous the lies are, the sheeple still assemble to graze on the fetid crumbs that lead straight to Bush. If he predicted Mickey Mouse would be the nominee, shares in Disney stock would skyrocket. When most early polls predicted an eventual Clinton smackdown of Obama, many Republicans were ecstatic. Watching the current inter-Democratic bickering must have them buying new underwear by the case.

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Didn’t Even Know Anything Was Wrong

I’m finally prepping the Vista lappie for a clean OS install. A Vista disk and 2 Gb stick of RAM are on the way — Woo! Hoo! I’m also trying to optimize and speed the machine up even more. I’ve once again left the Aero interface behind in favor of Vista Basic. Upward of 60 Meg of RAM was immediately released! Let’s see… modified index settings to minimize number of indexed locations, hacked registry to allow more than two simultaneous downloads, turned off Remote Differential Compression, disabled games I don’t play, and I ran disk cleanup.

The screencap below is from Disk Cleanup of my system drive. Notice the amount of space consumed by user and system error reports! This is a first for me. I never considered what happens to error reports, you know… the cryptic messages accompanying those annoying “This program has crashed would you like to send info to Microsoft?” screens. I assumed (incorrectly) that event reports might also be included in that ~ 6 Gb of space so I opened the event log (under “Performance Information and Tools–>Advanced Tools).

Let me say my hat’s off to MS for providing the mother of all information gathering tools. Every electron that moves inside your Windows machine is tagged, tracked, and described here. There’s some really useful information under the Microsoft/Windows section of Applications and Services Logs, including logs that track how long it takes your system to boot and shutdown to the millisecond. You can also learn what applications are slowing those processes down. I’ll continue to clean, strip, and tweak until RAM and Vista disc arrive.

disk_cleanup.gif
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The Loneliest Primary

What if they held a primary and no journalists showed up? Think for a second what incredible good could come from a thousand reporters suddenly vanishing. Not just the so-called liberal reporters or the jack-booted pen wielding apologists for the current DOTUS (Decider of the US), but all reporters. When the populace suddenly realized that Barack Obama’s being the first Black to win a presidential caucus is not news (merely historic), they would be forced to find entertainment elsewhere. More importantly, without the press around to interpret every word uttered, every poll taken, and tell us all who we’re voting for, we’d be forced to do the unthinkable.

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Don’t call it a comeback: Obama wins!

With the electronic ink still settling, major news organizations are calling Iowa for Obama and Huckabee. As arcane as this decrepit method of choosing a president is, I’m starting to feel that buzz. Everyone loves an underdog. Stopping the Clinton juggernaut by such a decisive margin is a victory worth savoring. Regardless of subsequent wins and losses, in some ways this will be the most important win for Obama. Tuck it away my friend. Put it in your pocket like saltines as you prepare for the stormier seas ahead.

I’ve been uncharacteristically withdrawn from the race so far. Tonight will most likely end my arm’s length appraisal of the candidates. It’s time to take an up close and serious look at my choices. More than ever, any winner will be a compromise. In some ways that fact befits a system that has compromised all of our ideals of what the leader of the free world should be. I mean if we truly deserve the government we get, exactly what the hell crime did we commit seven years ago? In any case, I’ll be watching the race more closely now.

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To err is human, to forgive… Forgetaboutit

Listen up YouTube tyrants, self-appointed “experts”, road rage advocates, haters in general, and other angrier than Hell types! I got a message for you.

You can all go straight to JustRage!

The tagline for this devil’s knockbox of ill will is “the internet anger sponge”. Like a sponge, the website’s demonic, orange-flamed background soaks up readers’ hate-filled invectives and regurgitates equally vituperative comments. The posts range from banal rants about traffic trespasses to accounts of abusive relationships and desperate family situations. The blog format shows comments instantly. No punches are pulled, no language is spared. Comic overtones from juvenile stabs of hyperbolic profanity soon give way to a menacing undercurrent of real anger. To its credit, the site also provides a sensible list of techniques to release that anger. Despite the slightly scoured, raw nerves the vitriolic prose at JustRage leaves you with, it’s undoubtedly saner than blowing away a bunch of strangers on a bus, or in science class. One astute poster named “anonymous” summarizes:

This is what this site is for,so we all don’t go kill.Hello!

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Bang! Bang! Out With The Old

Another year begins. At midnight, in a big ole American F*** You! to the Brady Bill, a handful of citizens in my predominantly black neighborhood abused their Constitutional right to bear arms. I think this January 1st set a record; a good fifteen minutes of mostly semiautomatic gunfire. It was notable not only for its duration, but in the sheer volume and variety of calibers used. I imagine the streetlights cast an eerie greenish glow through the pungent clouds of gunpowder. I imagine it only because I wasn’t stupid enough to poke my head outside as the boys in the hood did there best Gaza Strip impression.

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Am I the only real girl in here?

Yahoo Instant Messenger used to be hot. Then the bots came. Kinda like Battlestar Gallactica. Then Yahoo installed Captcha challenges at the entrance of every room. The bots left… for a while. At least they returned with a sense of decency.

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No, It’s Not A Tea Kettle

Just when I was all set to blast Mike Huckabee with my Ultra-Snark 2000 for his dumb-ass pheasant hunting comments, I ran across a whole YouTube community devoted to spreading the joys of nasal irrigation. Nice! My sister has previously suggested this procedure, and NPR did a report on an aspiring opera singer who practices the treatment. I’m sure it’s poised to be the next big thing for health conscious presidents, that is when they’re not too busy shooting birds, caucasers, or foreigners with better tans.

A Wikipedia article states that Jala Neti, the ancient nasal cleansing technique is a common practice in parts of India and southeast Asia. Jalanetipot.com offers more in-depth information, including a FAQ, comparisons of pots, and related research. The procedure involves using a special container (neti pot) that looks variously like a gravy bowl, Alladin’s lamp, or a tea pot. While breathing through one’s mouth, a saline solution is poured into one nostril and allowed to drain out the other one, thereby flushing the sinuses. Sounds simple enough, but for the unimaginative I’ve embedded a demonstration by YouTuber AuroreBabore. A, she’s cute. B, there’s a very short but adorable cat chase at 2:45, bottom right frame. Enjoy!

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Where The Heck Did It Go?

It’s the end of another blessed year and time to plan for the up and coming one. Whether you’re a devotee of New Year’s resolutions or not, it’s hard not to reflect on the previous months with a compare and contrast mindset. Did you save more money than last year? Did you lose the weight you promised you would? Did you find the love you deserve? Did you spend more time with family and friends?

Some prefer to take the road less traveled. Others, me included, like to at least plan for construction ahead. I never believed in making resolutions until I realized they are simply the roadmaps we use to navigate life. That simple paradigm has sparked all the creative pursuits and practical goals I’ve accomplished this past year. My writing, my music, and my recent ability to consider a future beyond the weekend all began with the roadmap I set for myself this time last year.

But unlike an actual map, there’s no reconnaissance. Charting our way on this journey is done day by day, hour by hour, and sometimes minute by minute. As life cartographers, our successes and failures are the only survey we have to go by. And embracing and understanding our failures is every bit as important as celebrating success. That realization alone can make up for years of failed pep talks from experts on how to keep resolutions. The truth is simple: we each cleared some personal hurdles this year, and fell short of some others.

So stop thinking of New Year’s resolutions as goals. Instead, regard them for what they are, roadmaps that show how far you’ve come, and how much further you have to go. If you can get past the creases, you win a chance to do it again. This time, maybe you’ll do it better.

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