Empty Days

Saturday, February 28, 2004

This is rather funny - Erotic Cycling Supply :-0

And this below is of the wow-variety:

Blogdex round-up

Isn't this the most obvious thing? And I predict that this is not about to change - geeks love unix too much to let it become too user-friendly:

I've just gone through the experience of trying to configure CUPS, the Common Unix Printing System. It has proved a textbook lesson in why nontechnical people run screaming from Unix.


Blogrolling is rolling away:
The decision to sell the company was a very difficult one for me and after talking to several companies who were interested, I decided on Tucows because they are an extremely upstanding group of guys (they're Canadian, after all!) who will treat all of you with care and respect. They are going to continue running Blogrolling as is, which was one of my reasons to go with them. I trust them wholeheartedly and am happy it's going to be taken care of by these fine folks.
Yep - whatever else may be said about this nordic country, you can count on Canadians not to screw the life out of you, just because they can.

Confusion in the green meadows

Spring is in the air and like all animals I am seeing an involuntary increase in my sex-drive. Which once again brought forward something I've been wondering about for a while now: I am probably bisexual.

This has started happening towards the age of thirty and six years later it is still happening and I have no idea how to explain it, let alone what to think of it.

The facts are these: I regularly find myself ogling young androgynous-looking girls of a very specific type. The age is always the same - 18-23 years (or looking that). The type is always the same - european student in jeans, somewhat ethereal, somewhat intellectual, somewhat boy-like, non-feminine, self-contained, immature.

I am drawn to this type as if with a magnet. There are probably deeper nuances, but I cannot enumerate them. All I know is that this is a very specific kind of beauty and this beauty never fails to catch my eye - and it cheers me endlessly and yet it also leaves me sad and titillated. I don't know what to do.

[This model is not me but she looks remarkably like myself, flying-jacket included.]

When I think of the Proustian phrase Les jeunes filles en fleur - those are the girls I imagine. There are no sexual fantasies associated with them in my mind. The attraction is not overtly sexual. But it is definitely and potently erotic - no matter what I tell myself, I know it is.


When I worked in a large pharmaceutical company with the IT department, the labs downstairs and the cafeteria during lunch were chock full of those very same girls - undergraduates fresh from school starting out on their working career. Being 10 years older and from another department, I had no way of approaching their boisterous clusters.

Nevertheless, this daily exposure was enough to finally make me fall in love with one gender-less creature whose smirk and arrogant boyish air became a much sought-after event of the day. Since I was responsible for file security on the company's servers, I was able to retrieve her photo from personal files - name, age, which exact department, work schedule. I retrieved this photo often enough to crash the server. If I didn't run into her naturally during the day, I would arrange with service technicians to go do their errands in the department where she worked. After work I would make sure to catch the bus with her and have a "view" while there. Whenever we crossed each other in the company's labyrinths, I would look her straight in the eye and meet her smirk with a smile - wistfully ironical.

I never spoke to her once during that whole year. She could not have been more than 19-20 years old. She had loads and loads of friends. Her mother worked with the company. She was absolutely and finally "from another world". Yet she knew how I felt about her and she enjoyed it no end. In fact, in this silence that separated us so inexorably, there existed a sort of unspoken implied communication. Every time she saw me she expected my attention no less than I expected her smirk - and returned it knowingly.

There was never any lechery in my stare. Nothing to fear.


Les jeunes filles en fleurs love to be adored. It never occurred to me how true that was until the day when I tendered my resignation and caught that last bus home from work. She was on the bus too, chatting away with some girlfriend. I knew I would never see her again - so I decided it was no use confusing things further, and I ignored her, stopped looking at her.

Lord. What a turmoil this sudden disinterest of mine produced in her. She kept glancing at me, with that silent, bewildered look in her eyes: What did I do? Why? I had no means to tell her why. But this mini-tragedy on a suburban bus will stay for me - it is cruel to lose love, even if this love never had a name, even if it was always met with a silent smirk.


Aw. Evoking these memories is a bit of a wild ride here :) Today I ran into "that type" once again in the supermarket. And once again I was transfixed and smitten and thrown off my track - it's a whole world that suddenly opens up deep inside my psyche and I am defenseless against it. How can I describe them, these girls? Why am I so utterly moved and drawn by them? What the fuck does it all mean???


At one point I experimented with being a bit more direct about this. I finally gathered my courage and approached one such girl in the park. I was on my bike and she was taking a ride too. I followed her, we were alone, I caught an opportunity to start a mindless conversation. But these girls are not your mindless buxom bimbos. Oh no. One obvious reason I am so inexplicably attracted to this type is precisely because of deep masculine intelligence that it implies.

The girl immediately knew this was not a "normal" situation. After all, in this french city nobody approaches people in the street without a specific reason ("May I sleep with you?" "Can you tell me how to get to downtown?" "Could you tell me the time?" "Spare a quarter?") Nevertheless, because I was neither lecherous nor aggressive, she was kind enough to continue with the conversation and eventually invited me to have a smoke (pot) at her place nearby. Sociable. I can be sociable when I need to. Once there, we had a joint together and a more honest talk. She went ahead and tremulously asked if I were lesbian - hurrying to add that she herself most definitely was *not*. I told her that I've never slept with a girl and did not intend to.

We became friends, very good friends. She had no education to speak of. She used to write poetry in HS and worked part-time in a library. She was fatherless and had a depressive hippie junkie for a mother. She lived with a construction-worker party-animal of a boyfriend. She had many friends. She was very open-minded. We talked literature and philosophy - her interest in these was natural, though her lack of education and mindless milieu gave no food to her mind. But most of all, and despite all these differences, we had a real inner contact - that bordered on intimacy.

In the end I lost her. Like I've always lost pretty much everybody and everything else in my life. Through depression. When it hits me I withdraw from people and things without explanation and for exceedingly long periods of time. It is inhuman to try to go back after these spells. And so I lost her.


Is this yet another confession - is there anything to "confess" to? I doubt it. This is simply something I need to explore and understand a little better before I am done with life for good.

One reason I finally tried pot (in my thirties!) was to be able to mix with younger people. Some men have a fixation on much younger women. This is an overwhelmingly frequent mid-life-crisis phenomenon in males. That last shot at the passing youth, or what have you. But I think there are men who are fixating on young girls for another reason: it may be something like pedophilia, except that the age is within legal limits.

This may be one reason I find myself interested in something as odious as pedophilia - except that I don't use this word in its scandalous, violent sense. Not all pedophiles are predatory - male or female. I am myself something of a youth-lover - and I am almost certain that the psycho-sexual mechanics are similar in my case.

As to gay-marriage (which is probably going to be introduced here in Canada without nowhere near as much ado as down south): Sullivan beat Atrios to the chase in quoting the one argument that stands really toll against tweaking the US constitution:
On Dec. 12, 1912, Rep. Seaborn Roddenberry (R-Ga.) proposed this amendment to the Constitution:

"Intermarriage between negros or persons of color and Caucasians . . . within the United States . . . is forever prohibited."

The amendment did not pass, even though the majority of Americans opposed interracial marriage and advocates argued this amendment was necessary to save the sacred institution of marriage.

Let us hope that the proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage meets the same fate.

I've read a book from the 30's not so long ago, describing why Jews deserve to be hated. The one thing I was impressed with is the kind of arguments the author took absolutely for granted (as today we take it for granted that you should not fuck small kids). One of those "obvious" things was this racial-intermarriage argument - as the epithome of the unthinkable.

So let's just say the USA is still in the dark ages, as most countries with very large populations usually are.

US Catholic clergy sex abuse

CBC cites an internal report by the American Catholic Church of the sexual abuse of youths and wide-spread cover-up.

While the rest of the blogosphere raves about gay-marriage, this story is closely followed in the St-Blogs niche. Snapshots, with deep links:
It made me angry. But I don't think it would be wise for me to post any kind of "instant analysis" at this time. I think you should read it. And perhaps if you see The Passion this weekend, you might want to contemplate that the hand holding the whip does not belong to a Roman soldier, but to the Church itself.
Good point. Especially in view of the murderous movie they're all rushing to see.
The clerical caste is just that. It is a closed system, accountable only to itself, it is deeply socialist (that is, you are supported no matter what, excellence is not rewarded, but loyalty is), and it fosters immaturity. And it is all-male. All single male. (For the most part)

Do you see what this means?
Oh yes, I do. I've always wondered how the latest Pope got elected - reminds me of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in the former USSR. How an odd-bird like Gorbachev was ever brought to power is still a dark mystery.
The effectiveness of the measures taken depends upon how well they address the root cause of the problem: active homosexuality in the priesthood. With even the Vatican wavering on the issuance of a decree forbidding the ordination of known homosexuals, it seems no one in power wants to grasp the true nature of the crisis.
Really? How about castrating all male clergy before ordination. If you're looking for really effective solutions, that is.
On another note, this last blog (Recta Ratio) also features regular - and appallingly frequent - updates on victims still killing themselves from the said-abuse. All this backed by a theory:
It was the time when Cardinal Cushing, in order to service a growing Catholic population, wanted every able body he could get into a Roman collar.
And apparently, a ring of perverts were coming through St. John's at the same time.[...]

Now, of course this reminds me of a whole host of similar stories that have nothing to do with the Catholic church and everything to do with closely knit societies that don't tolerate unseamly facts and so just let them happen - over and over again.

Examples. Not a long ago there was a much-publicized and much-belated scandal concerning the abuse of small boys in the old Toronto hockey forum. There was a "ring" of a few janitors-cum-attendants who bartered much-coveted hockey tickets against the most sordid kinds of sex - from young kids. Those kids gew up and came up with allegations. The one man who was most affected killed himself in the middle of all the media hype. There's really no justice you can get as a victim - if you weren't able to get over this, you gonna do yourself in, revelation or no revelation.

One reason these kids never dared to complain when it counted: at the time (some 15-20 years ago) homosexuality and anything related to it was a truly unspeakable subject. As a kid it was unthinkable you would mention something like that. Suicide is a legacy of this climate too - not just the abuse.


Examples in orphanages abound (there's been a slew of these scandals in Canada and the flow is ongoing). Church and no-church. Police officers covering each other's tracks. Judges. Public officials. This and that.

One reason all this is suddenly coming to the surface is because the climate re homosexuality has changed drastically in the last decade. It is now possibly to at least speak about this - and not be the victim of public contempt on top of having been an abused kid.

Homosexuality alone is not to blame - it's the monstrification of it that's created so many monsters, and so many victims.


Concerning pedophilia. I am inclined to believe that there exists a distinction between homosexuality and attraction to underage boys. And/or girls. Moreover, there seems to exist a specific difference between those attracted to small kids and those fixating on teenagers. In view of which it is perhaps not such a good idea to lump all these abherrations together. Put two kinds of "pedophiles" in the same cell and they will not be able to find a common language - except, of course, the language of persecuted martyrs.

Know your enemy.

The Big Bully

Maher Arar documentary on french-canadian tv (he's moderately bilingual and his wife's french is perfect). The gist of it. According to american law and canado-american agreements:

- a canadian with a double-nationality cannot be deported to a third country;
- a person with whatever nationality cannot be deported to a country known to practice torture;
- upon being arrested a person has the right to consult an attorney;

All these laws were violated in Arar's case. He says that when he was arrested at the JFK airport, he was insulted ("fucking this and that") and treated like the scum of the earth by the federal officers. His first meal was served to him 30 hours after he's last eaten - it was a MacDonald's take-out, cold from having been bought hours earlier.

Something else. A new technical term is now en vogue in the american intelligence community: extraordinary rendition. This effectively means - deportation (rendering) to a friendly country known to practice torture so as to extract information through "torture by proxy".

Arar's case didn't make any impression in the States. This is obviously due to the fact that Arar is not an american citizen. It is also due to the fact that american cases similar to Arar's are very effectively supressed from publicity. The media in the United States remain in the dark and are rather unwilling to go after such cases.

Besides, the vast majority of american media (let alone the public) are genuinely convinced that all Arabs are Muslim and that all Muslims are enemy.


Recently a police car-chase originating in NY state went right through the canadian border and ended in the death of a woman in Ontario (Niagara Falls). The guy whom the americans were chasing caused the death. Such police car-chases are prohibited in Ontario precisely to avoid this sort of accidents. The fact remains that it was up to the american officers to stop where they should have (at the border) instead of ramming right through and continuing the chase through the streets of a canadian town.

Canadian border-guards are unarmed and can't stop anybody ramming through. What a joke.


The United States are changing for the worse and are becoming more and more intractable. Perhaps Canada should wake up and take appropriate actions: name a tougher ambassador to the States (instead of the gutless fags they usually post there) and improve border-security (how about shooting those trespassers on sight?).

It is kinda hard to "cooperate" with a bully.

Friday, February 27, 2004

On solitude ::

I am dead tired of pop-psychology. It's everywhere - it sips through the walls of every mind, even the best and the wittiest, it corrupts and skews vision, it smears everything in a thick nauseating syrup of "reasoned sensibility". In other words: it is the ugliest kind of thinking ever produced by the well-meaning dumbasses of the rational universe.


How is loneliness "produced". What industrial forces shape which other forces that finally zero down on you and make you an outcast. This is without interest entirely. Shoot the prophets, scatter their wad of Besserwisser theories in the wind, this is all pure muck - if you're in therapy, don't forget to strangle that all-knowing idiot in the leather armchair over there. Most of all though - avoid tv, bestsellers, mass-media. Avoid it! This is where all this manure is distilled down to the stinkiest crap ever.

No, it's not enough to click past Dr.Phil. This pig-eyed moron is too obvious. Far more dangerous are the ones who speak to your higher intellect and make it all look oh so sensible. The formula should be reversed: the more sensible it sounds, the less it makes sense. Don't be fooled - you are enough of a fool already, with your world twisted in a knot; you really don't need those other fools telling you "it's because".


The worst of all this explicating muckiness is no doubt the "it's all because of your parents" theory. Jesus. Live those old farts alone for once, will you. No one is to blame. Including those "industrial forces" working on you from deep space. Let them. There's something called Fate out there and you're living it - biochemical or metaphysical, it really doesn't matter. Can you truly understand what is going on? No, you can't. "Take control of your life" blah-blah. What control and what life? These questions need not be answered.


Pop-music and pop-psychology stem from the same root. Compare the best of this crap to Mozart's Requiem. Nothing even *remotely* matching can be created on the current "reasoned sensibility" basis. This is not sensibility - it's a muck-up, a pale shadow of what a human being has for guts. The fact that Amerika rules the world has something to do with this sprawling idiocy. Lite-headed - that's all that can be said about this so-called "culture". Today's world craves this lite-headed shallow cruising muck-up of a life. Which is to say that Amerika is not to blame either - it's a factor, a huge laser-beam mirror for all the raving idiocy out there (did I forget technology? no, I didn't - it's implied).

Holy shit. Have you ever wondered why do some "formerly reasonable" people convert to Islam? Why the fuck do they go on pilgrimages in silly white robes and/or blow themselves up? Why the fuck it's not enough to cruise and "enjoy" and be "sensible"?


How does this have anything to do with Mozart? In fact it has everything to do with Mozart. Not the one on the radio - it's not on the radio, it's in your guts, the Requiem and all that drama, so very unreasonable, so out of date. Out of place. But it's there - and it's not going away despite all the high-culture elitist crap you try to confine it to.

Shawshank Redemption, when you play "arias" to "inmates". Or from my own experience - switching the radio to classical in the wasteland of a dirt-poor Turkish flee-market in Berlin. Out of place is where it happens.


There is nothing I can say that will reach me. Let alone anybody else. I am bored with most people and most people are bored with me. I have lost and forgotten the concept of an "interesting person". The more brilliant and colorful, the more it bores me. At this point I am the very opposite of a socialite and the very opposite of a groupie or an enthusiast.

Life has lost its colors? Not really. All the colors are there alright - it's just that I don't want colors anymore. I want depth. Tremendous violent naked depth. Without smarts, without cleverness - raw stuff. This is what I fear most and need most. And I don't know how to get there - all the way down the ladder, boiled down to naught.


Everything that I am holds me back. It's all mental mechanics, wheels and chains. How would it feel to get out of the machine that is "me"? To break the order of processes and movements, to topple down the minaret I am calling from, to fall head first into the void?

Self-annihilation is not enough of a disaster. It is a small, pitiful act of will.

Self-destruction should be the thing. *Not* picking up the pieces after demolition. Scattering yourself against the wind. *That* is the way and the end. What I am most afraid of - my worst nightmare come true.

Nothing I can say will reach me.

Here's somebody from a well-known blog doing a Rush-Limbaugh act:
I Recently Realized That I Am An Alcoholic

I am. I need booze. And I have trouble stopping. Big time.
I can't stop. It's affecting my life, and I can't stop.
Damn it.
How pathetic is it that I share this with you publicly?
I can't stop. What's wrong with me?
Poor babe. And now he's gotta deal with all the donations. Aw, the poor guy. "Don't cry for me, Argentiiiiinaaaa"....

Well, it's impossible to escape this Mel-Gibson flick controversy - it jumped at me first thing upon visiting Andrew Sullivan's site. He provides a review - in which he describes s/m scenes from the movie and calls it pornography. I think he also calls this "unprecedented". Well, perhaps there are some precedents after all. Pity he didn't mention Pasolini's Salo or 120 Days of Sodom. Tarantino is an innocent babe compared to that.

Not surprisingly, Sullivan's review in itself is pretty sick too - let's call it A Failure of Logic. I am perpetually amazed at this man's raving contradictions. Both in language and thought.

This is gorgeous - though I don't understand a word.

In relation to which, here's a very good point from a knowledgeable blogger:
Arabs in U.S. Raising Money to Back Bush

Published: February 17, 2004

This is truly painful:
" One reason may be that Arab-Americans are not a monolithic group. The term is used generally to refer to people from Arab countries, but they may have diverse religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, like Lebanese and other Arab Christians or Muslims from Egypt and Pakistan."

Is it really too much to ask that people get it through their thick heads that Pakistanis are not Arabs? Nor are Afghans or Iranians (the idiot author uses an Iranian American in the article.
Indeed. And that's NYTimes too. I guess it is "too much to ask", especially of Americans.

Memory knot: Contrairiwise, Six Demon Bag, Hebig


Some problems people have (of the teenage kind:)
my mum finally allows me to go church, burt onli for next week cos she is afraid that going to church every wk will affect my studies.. maybe she has a point there.. she's scared tt i will mix with too many friends and blah blah.. she said next yr she will let me go every wk.. well, i m so thankful that she will allow me to go tml.. at least god has ans my prayer.. amen.
And they're complaining church attendance is at all times low :-0

On cycling in comfort ::

Interesting piece via Velorution about how to bike without killing your back. That's one reason I love my summer bike (which is a $5 dollar piece of junk from the 70's, gotten at a garage-sale) and hate my winter bike (which is a $150 piece of mountain-bike junk from walmart - and I got it for free).

The summer-bike has totally bizarre bars that curl sharply towards the rear in a very 50's style - so when I ride my back is almost straight and since I am sort of casual and laid-back on the bike, I rarely ever lean on the bars, rather I grab the tips of the handles, just enough to get a good grip on the breaks. That's how a town-bike is supposed to be - you sit straight and you hope the saddle is comfy enough for long rides.


It is no secret that I live in Montreal and that Montreal is an island. I read somewhere that the circumference is about 277km (I suppose this includes all the little nooks and cranies, so it should be a bit less in real-life). At one point I did attempt to tour it in one day - and failed (at that time I didn't know the exact length). It took me two days. Since I live pretty much in the middle of the island, one day I did the western half and the next the eastern part, about 10 hours of biking each (plus about 2 hours taking rests, a nap in the park, a smoke by the river etc).

Needless to say it wasn't all entirely effortless but I didn't push too hard and whenever I felt I was about to fall off the bike from fatigue that's exactly what I did - I fell off and stretched in the grass and stared at the sky. But the only reason I was even able to have any fun doing these long stretches was because of body-position on the bike: straight, comfortable, no fucking sports-racing forward-leaning crap. And all this thanks to these out-dated bizarre bar handles from the 70's - you rarely find this nowdays. Instead you find a lot of sports-like designs that I personally hate and loathe - why do people pay all that money to get this shit is beyond me.


Well, basically all my stuff comes straight from the garbage. The winter-bike was "found" - somebody left it to rust in the open and I took it. The only good thing about this bike is that it has tremendous wide tires and aluminium frame + wheel rims. Which means it's light. And that's important because I live on the second floor and winter being what it is I have to carry it up and down all the time in a rather narrow staircase. But this is a mountain-bike and the bars are in straight line, plus it's probably a teenager's thing because the frame is really small. All in all I am superiorly uncomfortable on it, but you can't go very far in cold weather anyway so it's not such a problem. However, two hours on this thing is the most I can take. My back starts to kill me. I avoid using this bike as long as possible - which would be anything before the first snow.

Raise the roof ::

From a militant politico blog:
Why isn't this being screamed from the rooftops and posted on every responsible blog site? Are the sheep just too self absorded in their petty little lives that they can't be bothered to wake up?
Well, I don't know about pretty. And I sure as hell don't know about responsible. And I can't wake up - in fact, I wish I could sleep and sleep and never see the light.

My first belief is that politics is a huge game - obsession with politics is a self-important involvement in a huge game - claiming that this game is the very best game out there is a bit of a limited perspective - let the gods fall on their heads - Allah is great - surprisingly enough, I do mean it here.

Another frank take on how computers affect humans:
I've decided, however, that I prefer blogging at GT (with Movable Type) than blogging here. The format works much better and more smoothly, and I prefer writing short essay-style entries (which is easier outside of blogger). I've also found that I'm less likely to kill time looking for links when I only post an entry filled with links every day or two. (My usual modus operandi here was to sit at a computer, with some work to do, doing the work and occasionally browsing the web for interesting sites; I've been more effective at compartmentalizing my time since the switch to Gnostical Turpitude, since before the move I'd occasionally get stuck in a rut of looking for good links and not finding them.)
Notice the MovableType effect as well... *and* this blogger is a uchicago.edu one :-0

You have to love it when machines emulate human wit:
Ping http://rpc.weblogs.com/RPC2...
Thanks for the ping, however we can only accept one ping every half-hour. It's cool that you're updating so often, however, if I may be so bold as to offer some advice -- take a break, you'll enjoy life more.
Exactly my sentiment too :-0

Description of a picture-perfect life (from a fellow blogger, obviously):
I woke up this morning with a plan - get up relatively early, do some laundry while I'm sipping on my coffee and checking out my news stuff, then go to work after I've gotten a couple loads done and maybe cleaned up the house a bit since Ana's coming back soon.
I am thousands of miles away from that "life as it's supposed to be" as per these specs. Jesus. There's no way back into *that* particular picture - as I can't help knowing all too clearly.

A handful of peanuts ::

Another statistical thought - I wonder why it is that I periodically keep running into bloggers overtly hailing from uchicago.edu. Given the millions of blogs out there this frequency is certainly intriguing. Is this a huge university or does it mean that it has the greatest ratio of blogging population in the whole of USA? I have no idea, but there does seem to exist some sort of a chicago-edu-blogging-network here and, like the bubbling fish I am, I just keep floating right into that particular sprawling net.

This has been something of a mystery so far :-0


In other news - feed-reading is a blast. I can even syndicate my comments (thanks to Haloscan.com) so I don't need to scroll down the page anymore in case of odd-bird pronouncements. Aw.


Blogping utility from Effbot. I have to investigate this a bit further because apparently, there's more than just weblogs.com out there. Which also means that there must be european ping-centers for blogs too. Or how about that "elite" Userland community? I just have to find them and let them know they're not alone:)


Did my first bona-fide trackback ping the other day. Which certainly does feel like "joining the club" experience. Thanks to Haloscan.com once again - the "rights to the people" service for the poor-n-stupid of the blogs.


If I could drag-n-drop feeds onto that EffNews reader (as it's supposed to be), I'd have a list longer than the Mississipi river. So in a way, going manual is a welcome restraint.


How to pass your Atom feed into an atom-unaware feed-reader. Very simple:

http://www.2rss.com/atom2rss.php?atom=http://myblog.blogspot.com/atom.xml&encoding=iso-8859-2 (or whichever encoding you're using)

Appeal to the great wide world out there:
Using this service for Blogger weblogs you may have to activate Atom feed for your blog (Settings -> Site Feed -> Publish Site Feed = Yes). For details see Blogger help. Bwahahaha!

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Animal farm research

Now here's something else that's been rolling around in my empty head today (living up to the blog's name, quite so). From Skeptical Blog by Dominion:
Bush has been the worse thing for science since the medieval Catholic Church. And that's saying something. He is the worse nightmare of anyone that professes to be skeptic. He does not know enough about science to see how politicizing science will ultimately damage science. And that's damn sad.
Ok. Bush is as obvious as can be. But I have to wonder - who are those bright young Yale-graduated scientific advisors he's got there to promote his "medieval" policies? And here I am thinking of some panel-discussion I saw on Jim Lehrer (PBS) not such a long time ago - about those darn human stem-cells and whether research should be allowed on them or not (I wrote a post on this somewhere... here).

Well, the guy representing gov's views was a certain Mr Cohen, young and bearded, and as medieval as can be, and obviously with a wad of Ivy-league degrees his pockets full. So what's the point of going after G.W.Bush-the-moron then? It's not Bush - it's those other guys, fresh from Yale and Harvard, knowledgeable enough to know exactly what they're talking about - and yet holding perfectly Bush-like views.

So - lack of information is most certainly *not* the problem here. It's something else. An ideology that fears and despises "progress", which is to say: anything that is not perfectly in line with the current populist slogans of the gov (anti-abortion, anti-research, anti-anything-new or remotely challenging). So, why is Bush going to Mars all of a sudden, despite being such a loser in sciences? Obviously because going into deep space has a vast popular appeal - as opposed to stem-cells research. Bush is not a very enlightened leader, but he sure knows how to play the local-US politico game.

And, sadly enough, that's about all he needs to know to run that big ranch.

I am not into massive quoting normally but this reflection by Joi Ito is really a very good one and it explains a certain problem I seem to be having with this blog here - inconsistency. But this inconsistency is not something I regret - on the contrary, this is actually my best bet for saying pretty much all I want and not feel constrained by "genre" or "audience expectations" (audience is really very unexpected sometimes:)
It's clear that it's fun and easy to hang out with people you like and trust and shared context allows you to relax and communicate easily. I do not think, however, that hanging out with your friends is exclusive of caring about or listening to people outside your immediate group of friends. This is especially true if you care about diversity or the pursuit of truth. The difficulty with blogs is that a variety of contexts are collapsed and the conversation with your friends, the conversation with a larger community and the general pursuit of diversity and "triangulation" all happens in the same place.

Normally, chatting in the kitchen with my family, hanging out at a geek conference and giving a plenary at an international conference are different contexts for me where I am performing a different facet of my identity and where my mind is in a completely different mode. On my blog, I somehow mix all of these together.
Right. All those faces you wear here and there, they all merge at some point. And that point might be your blog - if you choose to.

Something I was trying to find and instead found this. Lucretius, On the Nature of Things, Book III:
Nothing to us was all fore-passed eld
Of time the eternal, ere we had a birth.
And Nature holds this like a mirror up
Of time-to-be when we are dead and gone.
And what is there so horrible appears?
Now what is there so sad about it all?
Is't not serener far than any sleep?
And, verily, those tortures said to be
In Acheron, the deep, they all are ours
Here in this life. No Tantalus, benumbed
With baseless terror, as the fables tell,
Fears the huge boulder hanging in the air:
But, rather, in life an empty dread of gods
Urges mortality, and each one fears
Such fall of fortune as may chance to him.
Excellently said - and it does stand repeating.

Oedipus on the net

I am learning to appreciate the commodity of feed-readers. Indeed it is pretty much like having that usual blogroll in your side-bar with the unlikely perk of being able to view the contents of each of these blogs, at a scroll :-0

Basically, an rss-viewer is an advertisement tool. It advertises to you what you are missing by being stuck in your own blog instead of visiting somewhere else and get a life.

My being stuck on the net is already enough of an unhealthy development, so why not make this compulsive disorder a little less of a calamity? In a month or two I should be off that abusive aol connection. Good. I'll probably attempt to get another one and I really hope I won't succeed. Internet is a drug - and if you're obsessive (and I most certainly am) then you're hooked and it invariably takes something of a force majeur to break the bond.

Losing eye-sight would be enough of a permanent solution, I guess. Which does remind me of Oedipus - I think something bad happened to his eyes in the end, if I recall correctly. Oh yes, he blinded himself with a knife. How very appropriate...

With all the debate on gay-marriage raging left and right, that's a rather refreshingly self-searching take for once:
Some say the faults of others that are most aggravating to you are really your own. Others say it is the sin you don't have a problem with - such as homosexual behavior - that most aggravates.

This suggests the universe of unaggravating faults is rather small.

Blasted. Somehow I will need to find a way to script this Python effnews thing into reading those atom-unaware Blog*Spot blogs I have on my roll. All the more frustrating since all of them have that capability pre-built and just not enabled (since at the time we set up our blogs with Blogger it told us that free-account users are not supposed to enable that little rss-feed feature in the options - as it will never work for us anyway. Ha!)

Fucking blogger.com, I guess :-0

BuzzMachine went on a rampage and created this post about a super-blogware utility that would do about everything except writing a post all by itself while the owner of the blog takes a nap :-0

He has one requirement that I find pretty reasonable though:
: Give me very, very powerful tools for managing comments: Let me see all comments, all comments today, all comments from a given commenter, all comments that use this word...

: Let readers see just comments from those who use their identities (or all comments).

: Allow the option of threaded comments (to deal with the size of a BlogFor America).
Yep, comments. I am still not up to doing it with bookmarks.

What do you do if...

...you are a pedophile. Of course this is an easy question to answer - if you're not. But suppose you were. Suppose all your sexual vibes were geared towards children. Suppose you never knew you had that "problem" and then one day it all comes to the surface. You can't ignore it, pretend this is not happening. It's there and it's at the core of your very being.

Put this way, doesn't this remind you of the well-publicized "Oh my God, I am homosexual" experience? There was a time, a very long chunk of time, when this sort of realization was as dire and problematic as pedophilia is today. Homosexuality was an absolute taboo and the reasons for it being such a huge taboo were not especially reasonable. The taboo gradually dissolved. What sort of light does this cast on pedophilia?
Common Ground : Finally here is a forum designed to bring together the Girl Love and Boy Love communities and to give each a place to debate and talk out their differences as well as their similarities, and to establish common ground for working towards solving the major educational and political issues that challenge all Minor Attracted Adults today.
[via here]
So you change the language and you've solved the problem? No, not really. And there's less than zero chance that anybody out there will bother to educate their children in such a way that they may start sleeping with adults as early as possible - and "be ok with it" later.

In other words, you're very far removed from that "happy-camper pedophile" era you're looking forward to.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

In medicine, pedophilia (American English), alternatively spelled paedophilia or pædophilia (in British English), is sexual attraction of an adult to prepubescent children. In common usage, pedophilia or under-age sex is sexual attraction and sexual acts towards children generally, including adolescents who are far beyond a prepubescent level of physical and psychological development. This article will discuss these two concepts separately.
Clearly, the definition that prevails and forms the world around you is the one "in common usage". And it damns you to all hell for all eternity. It is very difficult to discuss pedophilia "reasonably". There is nothing reasonable about whatever sexual quirks and there is nothing reasonable about sex in general. Reasoned discussions are not really a solution here. Look at this for example (from Pansexual Sodomite):
Many (most?) heterosexual men feel a genuine revulsion at the notion sex with another man. Back when I was in the 'escort business' I remember a boy at a competing service who vomited when a man went down on him. Funnily enough the guy felt ashamed that he couldn't handle it.
Yeah, "funnily enough". That's also why kids who were used sexually by adults later develop such a load of psychological problems - there is no "reason" in the world why they should, but they do.

So, as a pedophile, can you really ignore that? Some of course do actually ignore "that" and just go ahead and do the best they can finding kids to have sex with. Those are not the much-feared rapists in all those jails and all those trials you see on tv. No. Those are the ones who are neither hunted nor caught. You don't know about them. Suppose you are one yourself. So - what do you do?

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

EffNews clues ::

So after testing the alpha release of that Python-based EffNews feed-reader I am satisfied to anounce that, yes indeed, this is a perfectly viable little feeder that does away with all the graphics and dishes out pure text - all this on 6mb of RAM usage. Nice.

Besides, I figured out a way to read content from pages that do not have RSS feeds. Aha! That's what I mean by "editing script". I have no idea how Python works and what it is even (needless to say I have no clue about java either). All I did was look at some examples here and apply this rather simple pattern to those bad rss-less blogs out there. Sure enough, since I don't know the basics, it looks a bit ugly but as long as it's readable it's alright by me.

As a funny guy once said "alpha means it doesn't work; beta means it doesn't work either" :) Which is to say that you can't be completely numb and dumb about it - if you intend to use it regardless.

What I really like about this ultra-lite reader is that it has no browser integration: it doesn't try to emulate a browser and it doesn't try to plug-in into a browser. Think "memory-efficient approach". At the same time it displays full-content if the feed allows it. And then it simply opens relevant articles in my Opera-window when I want it to. Refresh is manual and fast (fine, I am not reading CNN here). That's it that's all.

Interestingly enough it does seem to support Atom rss after all (it polls and refreshes ok) - but in a funny way: I can't open the feed in the browser if it's atom.

Also: need to edit the .ini file to add feeds because Opera doesn't support drag-and-drop. What else is new.

[ Update: it doesn't process br tag, only paragraph - which results in a lot of text without spaces. Boo. That's a stupid one. ]

Cloudy brainy skies tonight ::

I've been mindlessly absorbed in geeky endeavors for the past day or two which is all the more hilarious since I am absolutely code-illiterate - I really don't know what I am doing when I get down to do something that involves editing a script.

Somehow this runs parallel to my inner routine which had me crying profusely on waking up from some oppressive nightmare - even my cat was surprised and tried to cheer me up by biting my nose ever so affectionately. Well, shit happens.

In any case, I've always thought that mechanical and technical activities tend to relieve one's mind of all that existential confusion one could happily live without - if you ask me. Computers, programming, all this is perhaps a monumental waste of time, but I would contend that most of life here on earth is per se an unmitigated waste of time, and I don't see how tending to cows or tending to code or screwing with your bike is any different really.

The peace of mind in not knowing that you have a mind - that's a noble objective.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

RSS for Blog*Spot people::

There is this curious phenomenon - Blogger has implemented atom rss for all its users and apparently tons of people just don't know about it.

The reasons for this are obvious:
- most people use remote tools to post to their blogs;
- nobody ever logs in through the Blogger.com page;
- some who do go there don't bother to read mysterious-sounding news ("what is atom?" - who cares);
- not so very many people are paying attention to all those geeky squabbles around rss formats;

The only reason I found out I now had rss for my blog is because I was bored enough one day to actually read the news-announcement about it on Blogger's main page. Thereafter it took me a special effort to find out that Atom is not such a well-supported feed - and adapt accordingly.

And in this I am a minority. Most people are too busy blogging and creating blogosphere influence. Geeky perks are for idlers.

The reason I am even bringing this up is because I find it somewhat strange and absurd that I, who's been around blogs for a total of 3 months maybe, should have to explain these matters to long-time blogspot people whose readership is vastly superior to mine. Something is not right about this picture.

Ode to a nervous breakdown

I had a bona fide nervous breakdown a few years ago. And I remember it with fondness. Sure - there were those first two weeks of unmitigated suffering, which I might describe as "the schism and the abyss", but after this forced catharsis I had probably the best time of my life that lasted for about 2-3 months (and ended in sudden and definitive depression, shutting forever the divine glimpse of freedom).


So - what is a nervous breakdown? The outward signs are the same in most people (of either sex, notoriously): crying everywhere and for no apparent reason, being emotionally unstable, experiencing strong unadulterated feelings of sorrow and despair. That's what a breakdown starts with - it opens up an abyss in you that's always been there, except that up til then you had enough self-control to pretend you didn't know about it. Something you've been doing for years and years - really, those shackles are quite strong.

After that first stage - which is indeed a fulgurating catharsis inasmuch as it bursts open and flushes out all the dirt and hurt that's been accumulating for untold periods of time - after that you experience something like a mini-rebirth, perhaps harking back to your less self-controlled days as a child. I wouldn't call it "a reconciliation with yourself" because there is no conscious sizing up of the mess you've become as an adult. It is rather a perfectly primal thrust of emotional vitality that throws you face first against reality - an unprotected perception of life, all skin gone.

Sure, nerves are shattered by all these rapid transformations. You are in pieces, quite literally. You still cry everywhere but this time for a reason - when you see pain, you respond to it and you cry with it. When you see joy - you respond to it and you are fully joyful. This is abnormal and cannot be tolerated but it's a wonderful experience of no-control on who you are. That's how you are - under all the thick skin, behind all the high walls. You are not that cold self-possessed steely creature you always wished to be. You are a squashy mess of the silliest kind. That's your living core and it has come to the surface - against all odds, and you are ragged from the effort.


But of course it doesn't last. It's too much to bear - you are unused to the impact of life at its most direct. The whole of your past life, the life that from the first days of infancy has molded and pushed you inside a chinese shoe - your so-called personality - all of this mighty machine raises against your sudden freedom and finally it topples you and throws you to the ground. A nervous breakdown is always followed by the deepest depression - your freedom was unwarranted and you must be punished and shackled again.


My best memory has me sobbing wildly in a movie theater during a day-time screening of some indie drama about junkies. I don't remember the title, and I am not sure who was in it. I never saw that film again. In any case it wasn't the film - it was the people. I completely forgot it was happening in a movie. I lived their lives with these sorry folks.

My second best memory has me sitting on a terrasse of some cafe, looking at the sun through the greenery of the trees and the pure blue of the sky. Feeling as alive as any bird in that tree. The last time I felt that alive I must have been 6 or 8. Nothing to do with "good mood" - way more than that.


I wish I could have another nervous breakdown. My obsession with suicide (and I should probably invent some other word for it because the common associations are starting to get on y nerves here) is in fact an obsession with freedom. I do not wish "to be all I could be" - I wish not to be at all. No form, no constraint. To die and never rise again.

Swedenborg's idea that life after death mirrors exactly life down here is probably the most horrifying concept a religious nut could come up with.

If you can't reach life as it is - why not just leave and walk away? If it's nothing but a movie on some screen. And you are that screen. Tear it down.


There is this british movie, The Lost Language of Cranes, that deals with the same subject - liberation. It has some mighty good actors in it (Brian Cox in particular). Nominally, this is a gay movie - coming out when you're 50+ and married, and your 20+ son is happily gay. That kind of thing.

If you have a problem with homosexuals this is not a movie you'd like to know about. But if you don't, there's quite another slant to it. Forget all the sex stuff, forget all the gay stuff - what we have left is the primordial case of a man who's lived his life away from himself. And that is a universal subject, unfortunately - it concerns fear and it concerns freedom. Brian Cox plays that role to the hilt.


Coming back from the cold is the meaning of repentance. There's fear standing in the way. Because freedom is abnormal and must be crushed. Repentance requires recognizing that fear, that you've submitted to it, and denied freedom. This is impossible to do without some violence - to yourself and to others. There is a point you must reach where nothing counts anymore. That's the threshold - then you can do it.

I have a dilemma: find a stand-alone rss reader that supports atom and is not huge and fat or requiring the latest version of Windows or .NET or IE and God knows what else - and is free.

FeedReader (which is in alpha, in delphi, and is full of bugs) would have been perfect. Except that it doesn't support atom. Blog*spot blogs are all on atom, now that BlogMatrix is out. What do I do? I guess I will have to go with Blogstreet now - and see what happens.


Partly solved, I think. There's something outrageously primitive out there called EffNews and it describes itself as a "minimalist feed reader". And it is too - very Zen.

The curious part is that it's in Python and it's a beta and I have no clue how to tweak these things (a .py extension is too odd for words). Either way it works and it's lite enough, and it does open windows in my default browser and not in IE. The only problem is - I can't drag-and-drop rss links onto it (goddam Opera 6) and there is no other method to add channels. By which I mean that of course there is - the good old manual editing of the .ini file.

Obviously this thing does not support atom. However there is this other online service called Atom2RSS and it transforms atom feeds into known rss format. EffNews is ok with that. Phew!

If you love and respect very primitive and frugal things, EffNews certainly fits that profile. It's like BlogBuddy - it's for vegans, hobos and back-to-nature nuts :)


Note of interest: Blogstreet is incapable of scraping some of those very blogs that Blogmatrix used to dish out without any problems.

[Errata: I was wrong about FeedReader - I actually meant EffNews all along :-0 ]

Hell Fire Club of Priests

Re sex-abuse of boys by priests. Now this comes from Recta Ratio, a catholic blog, and the whole idea is indeed rather startling:
My darker suspicion, of which there is no evidence yet, but who knows, is that there existed, or exist secret societies within the priesthood in which buggering teenage boys is a sort of initiation ritual, even more wicked and closed precursors to St. Sebastian's Angels. We have seen individual priests use sexual contact with teenagers as initiation in the flood of stuff that came out in 2002- 2003. These secet societies that may or may not have existed need not have been large (5% of priests apparently were abusers). They were probably very closely guarded secrets. But their existence would explain a great deal of the old-boy network of abuser-enabling that dates back before Vatican II.

A Hell Fire Club of priests? I don't think it is beyond the possible. And if there was a Hell Fire Club operating at least in the Boston priesthood, one becomes very curious as to just how long it existed. How far back in Catholic history do things like this go?
If this is not pure goth I wonder what is :-0

Funny thing - once upon a time I used to have those lengthy important conversations/correspondences with people about literature, philosophy, linguistics and God knows what else.

It's all gone now for some reason - I can't be bothered. I still like to observe these things from afar but don't find it in me to join in. I officially do not care anymore. What a relief :)

The Maltese Cross

So I was going to find out what that symbol meant in the bikers' lore and found a whole bunch of explanations all in one page (Hot-Rodders forum):
Its probably coming back because its nostalgic and people think its cool, no other reason than that. The maltese cross is waaaaay old. The Knights of Saint John are now known as the Knights of Malta and the 8 pointed cross became known as the maltese cross. The eight points stood for 8 things the knights had to obey. Live in truth; have faith; repent of sins; give proof of humility; love justice; be merciful; be sincere and whole-hearted; and endure persecution. Through the years its looked changed, but meaning was the same basically. The knights of malta were pretty set in their ways and they thought their veiws were the bottom line. The iron cross(german version) was awarded for bravery and honor same as the maltese cross to the USA. A whole bunch of other things as well as sunken subs ect. the cross came from the early vetrans of course the first hot rodders. Just the same as the Hells Angels they started as veterans from the war, the name was their flight suadron. The maltese/iron cross was slapped on to hotrods as a tribute to the lost and a way of life as the new "road warriors" or "road knights", it was and still is a symbol for honor no matter what its carried on. Like I said, most now just use it because its nostalgic and cool, no idea why it was used back then, but most new hotrodders and bikers and customizers don't really care about history, they just want the look and eventually they will learn.

Just a bunch of vets trying to live the life they were used to in the life that we live that they faught and died for. The military didn't let them keep their planes or platoons if they came back so they had to swap for the next best thing, fast motorcycles and cars.

The firefighters use it because after the Knites of St. John moved to the island of Malta their enemies started launching bombs filled with naptha, this would cause firery deaths for many knites so their brothers in arms would try to rescue others by putting out or pulling them from the fire; firefighters!- [by HK]
And as to fire fighters...
The Maltese Cross is a symbol of protection - a badge of honor. Its story is hundreds of years old. When a courageous band of crusaders, known as the Knights of St. John, fought the Saracens for possession of the Holy Land, they encountered a new weapon unknown to European warriors. It was a simple, but horrible device of war; it wrought excruciating pain and agonizing death upon the brave fighters of the Cross. The Saracens' weapon was fire! As the Crusaders advanced on the walls of the city, they were attacked by glass bombs containing naphtha. When they became saturated with the highly flammable liquid, the Saracens hurled a flaming tree into their midst.Hundreds of Knights were burned alive. Others risked their lives to save th eir brothers in arms from dying painful deaths. Thus, these men became the first fire fighters...and the first of a long list of courageous Fire Fighters. Their heroic efforts were recognized by fellow Crusaders who awarded each hero with a badge of honor - a cross similar to the one Fire Fighters wear today. [by Kevin45]
And as to choppers...
Just a note. The resurgence of the Maltese cross is currently poplur because of what they are calling "OLE" school. I.e. "Ole " school choppers. Jessie James claims to build "Ole" school, and to a point he does. The term Chopper is from the fact that the WWII guys would chop or cut off anything that was not necessary. It was easier to just go ahead and cut off or throw away fenders, than to fix twisted sheet medal after a crash. In all honesty they were more of what to day we call "BOBBERs" than choppers. Anyway a return to the ole style is called ole school way of thinkin now. I think we`ll see tear drop mirrors and bullit spots again soon. [by Slider in WA]
And there is more but I guess that's enough of a picture already.

I am always surprised when things work out as they should. Apparently the referral javascript at the bottom of the page actually does what it said it would do. Stats are still more fun though - currently I am getting google hits from people desirous of joining the Silent Skulls m/c club. Hopefully my irreverent comments will not sway their resolve :-0

Monday, February 23, 2004

Baby-boomers riding to their death:

After nearly a decade-long decline, motorcycle fatalities are on the rise again - and statistics show that aging baby boomers may be behind the increase, according to a LOS ANGELES TIMES analysis of federal statistics.
Motorcycle fatalities among riders 35 and older rose 59 percent between 1994 and 1999, while federal statistics show that deaths for those 34 and younger fell 22 percent during the same period. For the first time, in 1999, older riders accounted for a majority of those killed. That was also the year the trailing edge of the baby boom generation turned 35.
There is also some bitching in that link about mandatory m/c helmet laws. Well, I guess I can sympathize - as a year-round cyclist I can say that the chances of that helmet actually doing any good to you are infinitesimal (unless you're crazy and ride like a madman). Luckily my city doesn't force me to wear one. And if it did, I wouldn't pay attention.

In bike accidents the worst thing is mangled limbs. I can't recall how many times I nearly missed my leg or foot being crushed by an awkward car. How many suddenly opened doors I've avoided at the last moment. Why I am still untouched is a mystery to me.

Sure, I've had my land-mark accident - all my fault though, it's not such a great idea to ride against traffic. So indeed, I went airborn and landed on my face. There was no pain and lots of blood. The pedal on my bike got flattened right into the back wheel. Lucky my foot wasn't there at the time. Lucky there wasn't any traffic to run me over where I landed.

Lucky. That's the word you ride by.

Memory knots: Drunk in a Midnight Choir, Demagogue... and something I don't understand about OPML and feeds.

What is it with blog titles in Latin? Is that supposed to make you look serious-studious-arrogant-retro-nostalgic? So far I've noticed that there is a pattern - blogs with Latin names are either catholic (which I can understand) or politico, with a lawyer-ish side (they probably still study Latin in law schools).
Sometimes it's both of course - and those are especially heavy cases.

Either way, when you see Latin in title it's a 90% chance you gonna end up with one of those.

[ Reflection spurred after spotting something called "Recta Ratio"; now, if you're not too strong in Latin, what will be your first thought? Exactly. It *can* be funny, you know. ]

I remember reading something on BuzzMachine's blog about how he's totally obsessed with blogging - to the point of spending every waking hour doing it. Which does remind me of someone who might be obsessed with sex - to the point of fucking everything that moves as opportunity permits.


To me the blogosphere has definitely lost some of it's novelty by now - and as a result I am getting obsessed with blogging. My own this time.

I am not an aspiring writer so the act of writing does not entail any measure of ambition. Or audience. What it does entail however is mirroring myself in words - and images too (were it not so, I wouldn't post pics in here). This mirroring seems to be a sort of conversation that I am having. Not with myself but with somebody who I believe might be my self. This is self-creation pure and simple. Not very artful and not very truthful - there are too many things I refrain from letting out. Of course the image thus created is nothing but a doppelganger. It's a bit off the mark. And thanks to it being a bit off the mark I am having a very real conversation here - where I am only learning that there's nothing to learn.


The process of defining what blogging is for me has come to completion. I've been wondering whether I should still have comments on in here. It's not really necessary. On the other hand I find it frustrating when I go to some blog and there's no possibility of anonymous feedback there. So - judging by myself - I might as well leave those on.


I suppose some people might be destabilized by others' comments on their personal views. But it really depends what game you're playing. Blogging, like politics, sports, arts and everything human - is a game. You can play for the public or you can play for yourself, or for both, or for one and the other in unequal measure. The more you intend to attract or disturb, the more you will be repelled or disturbed by people's reactions. Paradoxically though, blogging is a rather impersonal undertaking - unless you're doing it for close friends.


No doubt my approach has been influenced by the unlimited AOL connection I've been abusing recently. The internet is too much of an interactive media to switch it off like I switch off the tv because it bores the hell out of me. Strangely enough I can never get bored with myself - as this blogging thing proves. And it's only possible thanks to the internet.

I suffer, I have bad days, I have non-descript lite days, I do exactly nothing and go exactly nowhere - and despite all this nonsense I can never get to the point of boredom. This is astonishing and it's always been this way. I must be superiorly self-obsessed.


Which reminds me: perhaps I should expound the secret of no-boredom life - for the advancement of human spirit in dire circumstances.

The secret is simple and radical - stop caring. Immediately stop caring about what you might have been or would have liked to have been. Stop wanting. Stop running after pleasures that leave you empty. Stop doing whatever you're doing if it bores the hell out of you. Stop sucking up to heroes and ideals. Immediately stop trying to be more than you are. Turn your back on everything that goes against your core. Do not hope. Hope and desire are the primary cause of boredom. Do not regret what you've lost or will never find. Suffer freely. Be miserable if you must be. Stop running around like a mindless squirrel. Presume to think.

That's the gist of it. And it's not hard to do. In my first youth I had spells of boredom. Easy to see why - I thought I had a lot to do.

A chat with Bush:
Bottom line: If George W. Bush could spend 25 minutes chatting with everybody in America like he did with me and five other folks today, he would win any election by a landslide.

He'd be a great guy with whom to watch a football game.
That's what I thought too. It's a fluke of history that such a dumb place as the US of America should rule the world. But history has been known to dish out even sillier circumstances, so why should I complain, really.

Something I shouldn't care about:
The difference between mediocre and star programmers is that star programmers understand assembly language, whether or not they use it on a daily basis. Programming from the Ground Up gives programmers the edge they need to be successful.

Assembly language is the language of the computer itself. To be a programmer without ever learning assembly language is like being a professional race car driver without understanding how your carburetor works. To be a truly successful programmer, you have to understand exactly what the computer sees when it is running a program. Nothing short of learning assembly language will do that for you. Assembly language is often seen as a black art among today's programmers - with those knowing this art being more productive, more knowledgeable, and better paid, even if they primarily work in other languages.

Programming from the Ground Up uses Linux assembly language to take you a step at a time through these concepts: [...]
Nevertheless it's always good to know why so many progs suck so bad.

Atom at My_Yahoo

I've always hated "My Yahoo". Never used it except to store photos or files occasionally. Now they're supposed to have introduced an RSS reader into their setup. And it's supposed to read Atom feeds too. So I tried it out. It seems to recognize Atom - except that it doesn't poll from it beyond the one time you add your feed.

I would like to call it "static news" - news that never change.

Canadian winter - formative of the national character, no doubt.

Photos taken by an actual Canadian around where he actually lives.

Amazon was wrong

What's happened to the Look Inside the Book program?
The Look Inside the Book program has evolved into the new, improved Search Inside the Book program. We are no longer accepting submissions to the Look Inside the Book program.


One curious thing about suicide. It seems like such a remote abstract idea. Then you come closer. It's less abstract but still remote enough. Death is like infinity - try to imagine infinity. You can't.
Then one day you simply take a step and all that remote, abstract, unimaginable infinity is compressed into some passing moment - which is what reality is, it's a passing moment.
And that's the curious thing about suicide - that it's only a step away.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Forgiveness Sunday

That's how the last day before Great Lent is called in Russian Orthodoxy. This year it was today. Apparently it's different for Greeks who call it the Sunday of Orthodoxy (major doctrinal trip). And it seems that no such holiday exists in Catholicism and other Western brands of Christianity. Strange.


Either way it's a wasted day on me since I can't forgive. Not for real and it's no use trying. In fact, if there was something like "hate-them-all" day, it'd probably be the only holiday I'd care to observe. With profit and some relief, as holidays are suppose to procure.


But as we're talking forgiveness. It's an impossible idea but I think I would like it very much if my parents finally decided to repent for having brought me into this world. But this is never going to happen and so I will never be able to forgive them - since they don't want that kind of forgiveness. They'll keep confessing to non-existing faults they obsess about, and I'll keep telling them I understand and it's just fine by me.

Likewise, I know that the faults I obsess about are non-existent to them and they're just fine with it. And so they will never be able to forgive me, since by them there's nothing there to forgive.

And I will never be able to forgive myself because nobody cares for my repentance.

And that's why forgiveness is such a terminally impossible business.


On the other hand I should ask forgiveness of my cat - for having adopted him as a helpless kitten and having emprisoned him in my world from which he cannot escape without becoming an orphan again.

Boring Canadian news that keep bugging me for some reason

1. Due to mad-cow worries, beef is being sold for peanuts by the farmers; nevertheless the prices remain as high as ever in the stores; who's making money out of this? Obviously - either the packers or the grocers/distributors. Farmers are pissed, the media is pressing the gov to investigate. The gov can't be bothered. Everybody denies making money.

2. Don Cherry, the big-mouth redneck icon of Hockey-Night-in-Canada, spouted out his regular five-minutes of outrageous comments and some of them concerned "those French and European guys being yellow-ass for wearing the visor". Quebec nationalists decided to make a story out of it. Now we have an endless "French are not yellow-ass" media hype over it. They're trying to prove that D.Cherry is an idiot. We already knew that. News, please!

3. Halifax is paralyzed under 2 meters of snow. I am envious.


Footnote. Don Cherry is also a homophobe (naturally). Nevertheless, he is also the one who said of a coach who's sexually abused a teen player, was later convicted, served three years in jail, was released and found work in Europe: "he's done his time, stop going after him."

The Puritan and the Fucker

A belated review of the Janet Jackson Super Bowl scandal - by SadPunk at Neurapraxist. And of course it's not just about Janet - it's about the very essence of American culture, which seems to be based on a rather peculiar but by no means unheard-of dichotomy - that of the Puritan and the Fucker.

The best thing about this humorous, self-searching and enraged exposé is that it's actually true :)

And to end the evening, here's another pleasant vision from the world of steel and wheel.
Those looking for more may go here, here, here, here and here - and spend the rest of their day googling and goggling.

I was right :)

"Founded in 1965"

Ok, this just way too good to pass - so I'll cite some more from these guys (if they weren't so bashful, they'd call themselves "Zen Riders" or something:)
Silent Skulls are individuals who enjoy spending time alone with their bikes. They strike harmony and achieve peace of mind through riding, working on, and thinking about, their motorcycles. The motorcycle is an integral part of their life. It is one of their most important and treasured companions. Different from a life style, this is a way of life. It is from the inside out rather than from the outside in. The Lone Biker doesn�t need or isn�t looking for anything else. Our Club mirrors this experience. We are an International Club of Lone Bikers. By joining, you are formalizing the commitment you have already made to yourself. As in riding and in life, choose the path you are taking carefully, and with deliberate intention. Are you one of us? Are you a Silent Skull?
The author *must* be a 60's guy :)

Lone Riders gone loner

I've been meaning to find out the mythology of the iron-cross insignia associated with biking, but since it's not a pressing concern, here's instead a rather amusing deviation from your traditional idea of what a bikers' club might be. From a bunch that call themselves "Silent Skulls":
With due respect to traditional motorcycle clubs, Silent Skulls Club was found out of our natural individual inability to conform to riding rules. We are a brotherhood of lone freedom on two wheels, freedom of choice not to lead or follow. We are not a "want to be traditional M/C", we can�t be a traditional M/C. We are not affiliated, supported, chartered or sanctioned by other clubs. Because of our non-organizational, non-political, non-traditional, non-club ways we ride alone. In crossing few areas our rights to the road have attracted attention from other clubs, know where you ride.
Maybe it's having the courage to ride as a club alone... Maybe it's knowing all members are lone bikers like ourselves....Maybe it's the excitement of seeing another jacket in the middle of nowhere... Maybe it's the great feeling of pulling over at the end of the earth and being content alone... Maybe it's riding for simplicity and control over time and distance...Maybe it's not just about bikes, rules, bylaws and patches but about camaraderie with anonymity...Maybe it's because we ride as though it is an indissoluble love affair with our motorcycles and we view the destination as the end of a biker romance.
Jesus :-0 Does sound masturbatory in a metaphysical kind of way.

Little Magna for little people :)

I guess if I were a millionaire I'd have a garage full of these - and I'd move to Nevada or something, for the wide spaces to cruise in. Is this a graceful machine or what? And so very fragile. You'd never believe "how fragile we are" - sung in a throttle-roar instead of Sting's little voice. Yep, you gotta love all that tinkering and nickeling.

In a northern near-arctic climate a bike, most especially a cruiser, is a luxury - a massive toy you have to keep hidden in a well heated shelter pretty much for most of the year. Except for those 4-5 months when you can actually use it without too much weather-induced suffering.

A bike is neither a car nor a bicycle - it's a hybrid. It exposes you to the elements and makes you a lone-rover, as only a bicycle-rider knows. And it gives you machine-speed and power over vast spaces like a car does. But the weak spot is still the weather. A cyclist can brave serious winter weather and fares reasonably well on city streets (which are being kept clear for the cars, of course). And no need to specify that a car is the only way to go if you're heading somewhere far under these conditions.

But a bike... A bike can't do it. So if you're a biker, per force you must become a mere motorist in winter, or a cyclist - if you're of the nuttier variety. So the fact remains that northern bikers go underground for most of the year. And maybe that's the reason we have Hell Angels and other bad apples like that - they go rotten over the winter and can't stop going rotten after that :)

ASCII art be not forgotten. From here, via here. Looks awful in html, so better check-out the original .txt out there. (in the end it's a screenshot I took)

/ 10/19/2003 - 10/26/2003 / / 10/26/2003 - 11/02/2003 / / 11/02/2003 - 11/09/2003 / / 11/09/2003 - 11/16/2003 / / 11/16/2003 - 11/23/2003 / / 11/23/2003 - 11/30/2003 / / 11/30/2003 - 12/07/2003 / / 12/07/2003 - 12/14/2003 / / 12/14/2003 - 12/21/2003 / / 12/21/2003 - 12/28/2003 / / 12/28/2003 - 01/04/2004 / / 01/04/2004 - 01/11/2004 / / 01/11/2004 - 01/18/2004 / / 01/18/2004 - 01/25/2004 / / 01/25/2004 - 02/01/2004 / / 02/01/2004 - 02/08/2004 / / 02/08/2004 - 02/15/2004 / / 02/15/2004 - 02/22/2004 / / 02/22/2004 - 02/29/2004 / / 02/29/2004 - 03/07/2004 / / 03/07/2004 - 03/14/2004 / / 03/14/2004 - 03/21/2004 / / 03/21/2004 - 03/28/2004 / / 03/28/2004 - 04/04/2004 / / 04/04/2004 - 04/11/2004 / / 04/11/2004 - 04/18/2004 / / 04/18/2004 - 04/25/2004 / / 04/25/2004 - 05/02/2004 / / 05/02/2004 - 05/09/2004 / / 05/09/2004 - 05/16/2004 / / 05/16/2004 - 05/23/2004 / / 05/23/2004 - 05/30/2004 / / 05/30/2004 - 06/06/2004 / / 06/06/2004 - 06/13/2004 / / 06/13/2004 - 06/20/2004 / / 06/20/2004 - 06/27/2004 / / 06/27/2004 - 07/04/2004 / / 07/04/2004 - 07/11/2004 / / 07/11/2004 - 07/18/2004 / / 07/18/2004 - 07/25/2004 / / 07/25/2004 - 08/01/2004 / / 08/01/2004 - 08/08/2004 / / 08/08/2004 - 08/15/2004 / / 08/15/2004 - 08/22/2004 / / 08/22/2004 - 08/29/2004 / / 08/29/2004 - 09/05/2004 / / 09/05/2004 - 09/12/2004 / / 09/12/2004 - 09/19/2004 / / 09/19/2004 - 09/26/2004 / / 09/26/2004 - 10/03/2004 / / 10/03/2004 - 10/10/2004 / / 10/10/2004 - 10/17/2004 / / 10/17/2004 - 10/24/2004 / / 10/24/2004 - 10/31/2004 / / 10/31/2004 - 11/07/2004 / / 02/20/2005 - 02/27/2005 / / 02/27/2005 - 03/06/2005 / / 03/13/2005 - 03/20/2005 / / 03/20/2005 - 03/27/2005 / / 03/27/2005 - 04/03/2005 / / 04/03/2005 - 04/10/2005 / / 04/10/2005 - 04/17/2005 / / 04/17/2005 - 04/24/2005 / / 04/24/2005 - 05/01/2005 / / 05/01/2005 - 05/08/2005 / / 05/08/2005 - 05/15/2005 / / 05/15/2005 - 05/22/2005 / / 05/22/2005 - 05/29/2005 / / 05/29/2005 - 06/05/2005 / / 06/05/2005 - 06/12/2005 / / 06/12/2005 - 06/19/2005 / / 07/03/2005 - 07/10/2005 / / 09/04/2005 - 09/11/2005 / / 09/11/2005 - 09/18/2005 / / 09/18/2005 - 09/25/2005 / / 09/25/2005 - 10/02/2005 / / 10/02/2005 - 10/09/2005 / / 10/16/2005 - 10/23/2005 / / 11/13/2005 - 11/20/2005 / / 11/27/2005 - 12/04/2005 /