Archive for July, 2004

Random Political Rant

This wouldn’t be a proper bloggg without at least one vaguely political rant, so without further ado…

I’ve come to a conclusion, and a lot of you are not gonna like it. It goes like this: I’m not voting for any fool who wants to shit up this fine country by increasing our Homeland Security. I live in about the safest, most secure country I can think of save for maybe Canada, or the Netherlands. (Wake up, smoke a little ganje, hack a little Linux, not hear crap about terrorists all day, yeah.) Now, I’m sure the US of A is just brimming over with disaffected citizens looking to migrate en masse to the Middle East, Cuba and Beijing, but me, I think I’ll stay where I am, thanks. (All right, well just stay out of Detroit).

Now, politicians in need of fast votes on the cheap, and especially the ones who think this whole liberty bit is overblown (John Ashcroft, I’m looking in your direction), are likely to trot out 9/11 as an excuse to drop a little Big Brother on our asses (they prefer to call it “increasing our Homeland Security”). 9/11, 9/11, 9/11… we need to increase security because 9/11, we need to subpoena your library books because 9/11, we need to read your e-mail because 9/11, we need to have a look at your telephone bill, because 9/11.

Ooh, I’m looking under my bed tonight…the terrorists are gonna get me! Now, I know the politically sensitive powers of the world are going to serve my ass to me on a Pyrex plate for this, and 9/11 **victims the world over will ring my phone off its hook to express disdain over my lack of sensitivity, but here’s how I see my risk of getting “got” by terrorists right about now: 9/11, the terrorist event politicians can’t stop talking about, occurred in 2001 and consisted of 2 exploding airplanes. (2004 – 2001) = 3 years, so the American Mean Osama Bin Ladin Terrorism Rate is approximately 2/3 or 0.667 exploding planes per year. Let’s estimate America as about 3.5 million square miles, and that the kill radius of an exploding airplane is 2 square miles (accounting for flying shrapnel, etc.). So the average American citizen’s annual Probability of Getting Blowed Up by Osama is approximately (2 / 3,500,000) * 0.667 = 3.81E-7, or about 1 in 2,623,688.

Meanwhile, the odds of someone my age (20-24) dying from
Accidents… 39.8 per 100,000 = 1 in 2513
Homicide…. 1 in 6098
Suicide…. 1 in 7813
Other stuff…1 in 3704

Total odds of dying between 20-24 in general = a little over 1 in 1000.

Yeah, I hear it now…”But wait! Osama’s not going to waste his time and copious bodily fleas crashing planes into Montana, he’s gonna come get your happy ass in a well-populated area.” All righty then, let’s adjust our figure by a factor of ten and say I have a 1 in 262369 chance of getting Blowed Up by Osama by age 24, about the same as my odds of being struck by lightning in any given year. This all means I, myself, am still a couple orders of magnitude more of a danger to myself (accidents + suicide = 1 in 1901) than this camel-riding ass nugget and all his Al-Qaeda dingleberries put together.

Needless to say, I feel plenty safe right now…but the nice man standing at the door to the T with the rubber glove isn’t making me feel any safer. As Uncle Sam adds 30 new surveillance cameras to Boston (“for Homeland Security during the DNC”…funny how they’re not coming back down once it’s over) to augment the 900+ already in place, I can only imagine how freeze-frames of me picking my nose in traffic are going to stop terrorism. Presented here are my Projected Boston Anti-Terrorism Spycam Stats for 2004:

Speeders caught: 57
Red light violators: 42
Jaywalkers: 22
WWIs (Walking While Intoxicated): 21
People enjoying a little weed after work: 6
Guys getting a blowjob in the alley when they thought no-one was looking: 3
Bin Ladins: 0

Now remember kids, statistics don’t lie, but these are projected statistics. Tellya what, first person to actually catch Bin Ladin on a lamppost surveillance cam gets a free hat (I won’t be using it anymore).

PS. First one to post pictures of me picking my nose in traffic during my election campaign gets a complimentary kick in the nuts.

QOTD: I’m a dog. I lie awake at night wondering if my owner is really a dyslexic agnostic.

DNC

We went out and watched the DNC tonight downtown. OK, actually, we hit the pubs and observed the whole mess from a respectable distance (onscreen!) – but were in the thick of gay marriage and miscellaneous other protesters, blaring their diatribes from bullhorns mounted on gaudily-painted vans (gotta love conditional noise ordinances). I was originally planning to howl loudly everytime a politico said the words “Nine-Eleven”, but decided against it so as not to get kicked out of any establishments (and a guy’s gotta breathe sometime, too…) Towards the end of the evening, one of our guys somehow acquired about 100 linear feet of John Kerry stickers and stuck them to… Frickin Everything, which included random passers-by (hey, save some for my muffler repair).

QOTD:
“This is the Accused. He is behind spikes because if the Accused bites you, you become an Accused yourself.” (Seen here. I don’t know why, but this had me damn near pissing myself.)

Ocean fishin’ with the work crew

Where are they, lemme at 'em!

Loaded for bear

Blub Blub

First catch (a little one) (…the ones underneath…those are the bait!)

Ooooh, she's a little runaway

Once you catch ’em, you have to catch ’em again…in the boat!

Is it really moving, or am I just drunk?

Me hanging on for dear life (the boat, she was a rockin’)

Nature called, she left a message for....RALPH!

AJ chumming the waters, again (seasick much?)

Fish on!

Hey, it worked! (After a couple hours of lax fish activity, poles start going down hardcore…sometimes 4 at once)
The dude on the left once got skunked on a fishing trip, then bought a smoked salmon from the supermarket, wrapped it in ice & newspaper and brought it home. For two years (until someone spilled the beans), he had the wife convinced that he caught it! (They don’t come out of the water pre-smoked?)

And a million points of light...are ascending to the sky...

Where have I seen this before?

QOTD: When he heard her talking like a shore nuff down home southern belle, Jimmy began to sweat cause the swamp lizard hid in his BVDs was wanted to get out and sing Dixie. He hustled off after the other lady before things got plumb out a hand.

Check Engine

Yes, this is a rant. While tooling around with the college gang somewheres about Michigan (see previous entry), my check engine light comes on. Remember when Check Engine used to mean something? Why, I remember when that meant your alternator just died, and you had two hours of drive time (with everything juice-draining off) until you’re on the side of the road waving for a taxi. Or your engine was spluttering oil all over the place and leaving a nice slick snail track down the interstate. Or that one piston has decided to achieve escape velocity through your hood. Stuff like that. Well, fast forward to 1996 (or earlier for some makers) and government/EPA-mandated OBD-II engine control modules. Now, instead of “Dead on the road in 2 minutes, pull over”, want to know what this dire warning really means?

It means that a non-critical emissions-control component has failed (or more precisely, has given an out-of-tolerance reading during two consecutive driving trips) in such a way that could potentially cause emissions to reach or exceed 1.5x their nominal value. Not to say that emissions would actually come close to the maximum allowed, only that the type of sensor failure detected could cause that level to rise to 1.5x what is normal for that particular car.

Yyyyyeah. Anyway, since I trust sensors so much, and sensor sensors even moreso (hah!), I decided I’d actually take it in (when I got around to it, of course), after hounding the Autozone dude to plug their whizbang OBDII-o-matic into my dash and read out the diagnostic codes. (Wow…a ‘standard’ protocol that can randomly use any of three different modulation schemes! How…standard…) Now a little thing about me, when I say “when I get around to it”, this time frame is usually meant relative to the age of the universe. So anyway, a month or so goes by…and wouldn’t you know it, the “malfunction” goes away on its own. (Without me even having to disconnect the car battery overnight or rip out the little tattlebox and reset it.)

PS. Yes, I know you’re probably wondering how, if I blogged this at the beginning of July, how I already know what’s going to happen a month later. Well, when your daily life is a cracked-out as mine, the producer gives you a copy of the script several months in advance and… All right, I’m still a professional procrastinator, and blogging stuff ‘when I get around to it’. (Really, is it so surprising?)

QOTD: Life is like an exploded clown: it’s really funny until you figure out what just happened.

Homegoing at a glance or slightly more

J* and E*: It’s like I was never gone at all.

T*: Did we like, used to know each other or something?

T*’s bitch: Still an asshole as ever. Immediately entered Turf Protection mode. (Incidentally, I come to find out I’ve been attaining sort of a bad reputation in my absence…) (Hey…um…I’m 23 and live in Boston. Your turf is secure.)

Bubblegum and lollipops: A riot, plain and simple. Finally met this chick who’s been talking dirty to me for so long. Not at all what I expected (somehow, I had this mental image of a [&politically sensitive term for fat] Latina chica). Still my cousin’s too-young friend whom I am *not banging*, a fact that required considerable explanation to certain parties (mentioned / ranted on a few times before).

R* polished up the nail on my traffic finger to a mirrorlike sheen, and someone (who shall remain a DAmN unIdEntified LittLE sneek) wrote something obscene on my back using her razor nails, so that it would show up in red while I was swimming. Wish I knew what it said (curse this not having eyes in the back of my head!). Later we ended up watching our homebrew fireworks show, laughing uncontrollably the entire time. Getting into that resonance where everything–and I mean everything–is just fucking hilarious, and you as a collective find it impossible to stop laughing because one of you busts out laughing and sets everyone else off all over again…love that shit. I swear everyone must have assumed we were on something. Of course, the frequent references to my brother’s recent law-enforcement encounter (the high point of which involved a large, friendly black man and a very non-lubricated latex glove) may have been a contributing factor to the unending mirth (not to mention several attempted beatings, as he was within earshot most of the time…haha)

Speaking of the certain parties, took a load of shit re: hanging out with younger female persons, on the basis that persons with this disability are unable to form valid opinions and aren’t worth talking to. “What could possibly be so appealing about all that bubble-gum talk? Unless…” Here we go again.

The ex: Um…hi…bye…

Nando Clan: dirty dancing with some cute Cali girls at Zero-G. Numerous russians of every non-color color (black and white) were consumed. Nando dresses like a flamer and probably spent more time schmoozing with the DJ than the ladies, but that fucker can dance. Before the Cali girls and thumping bass of incredible loudness, Predator was on the big-screen. (Yes, we DO both know every line in that movie, what’s it to you?) (“I’m here! Kill me!”)

College Crew: That was priceless, seeing my one college buddy all but passed out on the floor after we killed enough bottles of liquor to reach end-to-end across his kitchen table. He complained along the lines of “man, I gotta yak, but it won’t happen…”, so the remaining not-as-drunk-fucks ran out to Ghetto Bumfuck Mart to pick up some make-ya-yak stuff to help the process along. While there, my phone rings…”hey, nevermind…I just imagined a world where there was nothing but ’90s music, and that did the trick.” So it was decided mutually that nothing calms a stomach like a big brick of cheese, so that’s what we picked up instead. Man, the look on the cashier’s face…”just a big brick of cheese for our sick friend.”
Shot the BS, watched movies and then crashed hard on his couch before continuing the voyage back to Beantown the next morning.

Random driving pics:
Kristoff – scheduled downtime
The administrators of scheduled downtime
Pennsylvania’s first corn-snack-powered vehicle(?)
Truth in naming – near Cleveland
They care about your load

QOTD: First ‘official’ addition. This project includes ASCII-number-to-binary conversion and a large integer division routine that can be adapted to numbers of arbitrary size, upstaging those lazy MATLAB programmers who think the world ends at 52 bits :-)
-Me, in the CVS changelog comments for software being developed for an 8-bit microcontroller.