October 12, 2007

Time flash back to 2000. An idealistic college student stares at a 4 am delusional Peter Jennings, who is begging for coffee after having been on the air literally all night covering a crazy election. She goes to bed, thinking, “It probably doesn’t matter that much, anyway. Bush is an idiot, how bad could he be? Gore’s a nothing, so it’d just be more of the same–no change for the better.”

Flash forward 7 years. A much more cynical office worker stares at the BBC headlines, and has the urge to scream at the top of her lungs as she reflects back on the past seven years, winding up at that image of Peter Jennings on the televison seven years ago.

This is what is going through my head as I read the headline.

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS COUNTRY? We allowed a future war criminal to steal an election from future nobel peace prize winner.* What the hell. We should have done whatever it took to make the original election results stick. We should have asked hard questions about how the second cousin of one of the candidates wound up in a position to call states. We should have counted all the goddamn chads. And when Bush defeated Kerry, we should have looked hard at Ohio. We should have questioned Diebold. We are where we are because we accept corruption without questioning.

As much as I hate to say it, I kind of agree with Thomas Friedman’s point in one of his latest editorials. Now, technically I’m older than the people he’s describing. I’ve never seen the point of MySpace or Facebook. I have enough real friends; I don’t need 300 imaginary ones to sort-of-kind-of know. I agree that politics online is not as effective as politics in real life. What we do here is a starting point, not an end point.

I would like everyone reading this to make a commitment with me–to go to the next political event that excites them. Take an active part. Go to a debate. Go to a protest. Because I, for one, don’t entirely buy into the YouTube debate. There is a mediated distance created through such an event that makes us into individuals, rather than a force for change. Eliminate the distance. Your physical presence says much more than this blog post ever will. The only way to get through to the people who make decisions in this country is to bring it to them. It also helps us to remember that we are not alone. It was so energizing and heartening to see the 500,000+ people who protested with me against the Republican National Convention in New York City. We need that energy back if we hope to change anything, and the only way to really do it is to come together.

If we are unwilling or think it’s too much trouble, perhaps we deserve what we get. This finger is for me, for not getting physically involved more.

The Salute

*And don’t even tell me about how George W. Bush has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Anyone can be nominated–hell, I could be nominated. If you took that nomination seriously, you are the world’s biggest idiot.



This post is not about the following things:

  • Barack Obama’s refusal to wear an American flag pin on his lapel.
  • A reporter who could have asked any question–like one about health care or torture–but asked about why Obama wasn’t wearing an American flag.
  • The pundit’s ridiculous responses*
  • The amount of time devoted to this story on the national news
  • The amount of bandwidth devoted to this story
  • How the New York Times made this their lead story on their website
  • The lack of coverage of real issues in a substantive way


And now, sincerely:

The Salute

*”Why do we wear pins? Because our country was attacked!” Yeah, stick that pin on and be a hero, asshole.

So, Apple puts out their 8-gig iPhone for $599.  Couple of months pass, they drop the price to $399 and declare that the $499 4-gig is being discontinued.  Believe me, I understand how that’s going to piss off customers who bought them early.  Back in my bookstore days, we discounted the top ten bestsellers by 30%.  If something hit the list after it had been out a couple of weeks, we’d inevitably have people come in wanting us to refund the difference (because we hadn’t tapped into the psychic friends network for booksellers and read the list ahead of time, shame on us).

Good business practice says, if it’s within a reasonable time frame, you oblige.  Apple refunded the $200 difference for anyone who had bought the phone within 14 days of the price drop.  Should they have extended it out further than that?  I don’t really know.  On the one hand, I have to say no – the people who bought them early were willing to spend the original amount.  It’s Apple’s right to drop the cost, and they didn’t have to give any refunds at all. 

On the other hand, our own OfficerGleason has a JesusPhone that he bought shortly after they hit the shelves, and I’d like him to have more money to spend on beer, shoes and tulips for a pretty girl.

My cynical side says, “Suck it up, bitches,” but my loyal friend side says, “Apple needs a smiting.”

Anyway.  That’s all just intro.  I’m not giving Apple the finger (today). 

The finger instead goes to Dongmei Li, who has decided that Apple owes her a whole lot more than $200.  She’s suing for $1 million dollars in damages because she stood in line for a long time, ended up with the 4-gig phone (because she didn’t want to wait for the next wave of 8-gigs), and was outside of the 14-day window.  Ars Technica goes a bit more in-depth into the situation, and holy frivolous lawsuit, Batman! 

At first, I figured (benefit of the doubt and all) that maybe she’s some kind of reseller who scooped up a whole fuckton of JesusPhones and lost money on what she hadn’t resold before the price cut.  But, no.  Looks like she’s just a pissed off consumer wasting peoples’ time and money because she can. 

I’m sorry, lady, but you went and stood in line on launch day, $600 in hand, because you wanted a shiny.  Being an Apple customer doesn’t mean you can demand a million dollars when things don’t go your way.  Well, I suppose it means you can demand it, but it doesn’t mean you can get it. 

What you can get is this finger.  It’s probably more than you’ll receive from your ridiculous lawsuit.

The state of panic we live in.

September 26, 2007

My first post here and an issue near and dear to my heart.

The world we live in or more to the point the world we believe we live in.  I’m going to cite an example from personal experience.  For the past seven years I’ve been running shall we call an accidental test.  It’s something that every time it came across my conscious I thought, “This needs to be corrected.”  But seeing as it was not high priority and I didn’t want to incur the extra expense it has always been quickly relagated to the “when I get a chance bin.”

So what’s this about?  Well let me ask you all a direct question (since most of you are techno savy), what would happened if you put a server running, FTP, web services (IIS and php), SMTP services on the internet without firewalls or virus protection?  This server was locked down removing netBIOS, all services properly secured (running as a limited user) and relay prohibited for email forwarding without proper login.  Set on auto patch and left by it’s lone some going on seven years.  I kind of give away the answer with that last statement.  Beyond random port scans and a brute force attempts now and then absolutely nothing.  The checksums on the server are the same every quater.  Beyond normal log file creation and growth, nothing has changed about it (you might ask what the hell I’m doing with this server if nothing ever changes and it’s now seven years old suffice it to say when something is free..well yeah it’s free and I don’t care).

So after all this technogarble what does this have to do with the state of panic?  Interestingly I would assume if I polled your average techno savy person they would probably say ‘ZOMG HAX” if you left an “unprotected” machine open to the internet.  Much like the concept that if you don’t have super secure airports the terrorists will get ya.  Both are possibly true but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that if this server had actually anything of value some one with actual skills would have by this point presented me with a surprise.  Much like if you want to blow up a plane or a building, if motivated a little security is not going to stop you.

I personally hate the way modern culture is heading, pick up a kid off the play ground after he falls off the monkey bars and watch out for the pedophile law suits.  Secure your home or it will get robbed! Invade a foreign country because if left to their own resources they will attack you!  The internet is unsafe!

I have no real point to this beyond saying wake the fuck up and live in this world not the imaginary world presented to you.

I don’t have a middle finger pic, but I’m waving mine proudly as a write this.

I want to respond to the post below.

The use of images from 9/11 are manipulative. Have you heard of Godwin’s Law? I think that the longer people discuss 9/11 or the War on Terror, the likelihood of sensationalist photos approaches 1. It’s similar. Don’t you not want to be like Hitler? Doesn’t the Falling Man make you sad? If you disagree with me, then you’re callously ignoring the Falling Man.


I know what happened. I know why I’m angry and sad and frustrated. I know what happened after. I know why I’m angry and sad and frustrated again. You know what happened, too. You’re angry and sad and frustrated as well, but pulling up photos like the Falling Man is nothing more than emotional manipulation.

Those of us who live here are tired of being used to justify every policy decision made by politicians. The images form a key part of that, precisely because they’re so upsetting. They don’t have a part in rational discourse. They belong to the wailing, wild, grieving tradition. It’s cathartic, and necessary, but not part of a rational discussion. If I’m crying and upset, I can’t make a good decision, and that’s what we needed after 9/11. Instead, we got–and still get, even from well meaning people–the Godwin’s Law of 9/11.

My finger is for a lot of people today, but particularly for Rudy Guiliani, because after having lived through the direct event, he’s crass enough to try and ride it to power. Fuck you, Giuliani. We deserve better.

Disclaimer: This, of course, is not personal. Quyet is a very good friend, and I respect what he’s trying to say–but I disagree with the methodology.

On a much lighter note, we’re big in Italy. Or we would be, if we wrote in Italian. I would quite happily celebrate Vaffanculo Day with any of you.

The Finger…

September 3, 2007

…Goes to these guys for making a tasty, very potent, beer.


I could blame myself for drinking too much of your tasty beverage, but you bastards have made it so easy to find these days, it was truly on a matter of time before you got me.

I’d also give you the finger, but, I’m still a bit queasy.

Hell no, I’m not hip!

August 17, 2007

Hell no, I’m not hip!

Just for the record, no matter what wordpress.com wants us to think, the hip kids are not at home blogging. It’s very stupid for one blogging website to proclaim that it is inherently “hipper” than the other blogging websites.*

Spare me the list of WordPress features, please. That’s not the point. They’re not focusing on the features. Instead they create a sort of peer pressure, of “all the cool kids are on WordPress.” We may all be deluded enough to think that you want to read about what we think is stupid (you’re reading it, so clearly we’re not THAT deluded), but I’d hope we’re not deluded enough to think that we’re cool because we use WordPress rather than Blogger.

A brand is a brand–it exists to convince you that something that is almost identical to something else is unique enough to make you better somehow. Fuck that! We are who we are no matter what, and express the thoughts we have. Whether we use a pen, WordPress, or the terribly uncool Blogger isn’t the point. WordPress, you’ve earned the finger.

The Salute

* It does occur to me that there’s another meaning of hip that could mean “wise to” or that you’ve caught on to the neatness of something. While that may be the meaning they’re going for here, that’s not how it comes across.