Archive for August, 2004

I am Loved

My friend AJ just sent me this message:

“i dreamt about you the other night.

i woke up smiling.”

Multi-Blog

I really need to start writing down everything I want to post. I can’t remember half the cool shit I was going to pass on to you.

One thing I do remember concerns a topic that almost had me posting a second time yesterday.

I was bored at work (as per usual) and so to pass the time I poked around on other people’s websites (again, as per usual). I visited a site that I hadn’t visited in a long time and found this page. So this Melissa chick will review your site and, if it passes muster, will send you a crappy .gif (that touts your site’s lack of crappiness). The reason we know it’s a crappy .gif is because she has a sample image:

Just above the crappy .gif is a line of text that reads, “I will then examine your site, and if I don’t think it looks like total crap…I’ll e-mail you back…and include all the needed information to put the award on your site.”

This got me wondering what sort of information you would need. Surely she could just e-mail you the crappy .gif and let you deal with it. So I right-clicked on it and brought up its properties. I found that the address for the crappy .gif is as follows:

http://www.melo-online.com/pics/award2.gif

Wait, award2.gif? Does that mean that finding the real award is as simple as changing the 2 to a 1? No! Of course not! No one is =that= daft. You have to remove the number 2 altogether!

http://www.melo-online.com/pics/award.gif

So now, if I wanted to, I could quite easily display the real crappy .gif on my site, like this:

Don’t get me wrong, I like Melissa. She’s got some good ideas, we have a lot in common, and she’s pretty… Well, pretty! But come on, the point of an award is to have to earn it. I didn’t, but it’s on my site anyway (which I don’t think is crappy, but how many people really think that of their own site?).

Oh, and Melissa, if you suddenly wonder why this site is linking to yours and as a result come visit this site, then happen to read this, you should set up an RSS feed for your blog so I can read it with greater frequency (okay fine, I really just want it to be effort-free. Yes, I’m that lazy).

What else?

Porn is in danger of dying (yes, the link really is work-safe). I’m serious and I’m concerned. John Asscroft is trying to shut down internet porn sites by modifying Title 18, Section 2257 of the U.S. Code to require regular inspections of documents that prove models are over the age of 18. The current law only required proof from “primary producers” (photographers, videographers, et cetera). The modifications would affect “secondary producers” (such as anyone who makes porn available, from the webmasters of prominent sites to the users on P2P networks).

It’s widely known that Asscroft has it out for internet porn (wow, that came out humorously wrong) and many people consider this to be a plan to do nothing more than harass people out of business. Before the law can pass, however, the Department of Justice has to consider public comments, so if you love your porn, fight this.

Anyone concerned with improving their website should love the new utility from Michael Fagan. While a bunch of the reports are unavailable to those not signed up for the services that generate them, many of the sites are ones that you should probably sign up for anyway (I should run a Flesh-Kincaid reading test on that last sentence (I just did and it scored a 12, although its Gunning Fog Index was 17)).

And I guess that’s it for now. I have to get home on time as I have an appointment with the chiropractor today (finally! It’s been too long!). So see ya later.

Really Slick Stuff

RSS already has a couple of popular meanings (Really Simple Syndication and RDF Site Summary), but now I’m out to add another one. Really Slick Stuff. I love this whole RSS thing! Now when I visit sites I like, I take the time to poke around for a feed, which isn’t always as easy as it should be. Most sites (mine for example), proudly wear the RSS/XML button as a badge of honour. In other words, you can’t miss it. But some sites (such as Wired.com) have their RSS links buried (after much searching I finally found a link at the bottom of the page that took me to another page, where I was able to choose the feeds I was interested in). It’s worth it, however, when one finds a gem like this:

“Also, in many places — San Francisco, for example — Segways aren’t exactly welcomed. The city banned the use of the machines on its sidewalks even before they were publicly available. The scooters are banned from Disney theme parks; many European countries; and public streets, parks and sidewalks in New York City.” [SOURCE]

As many of you may know, I’m not such a fan of the Segway, having previously lambasted it a number of times in this blog.

Another particularly interesting article I found on Wired.com was this one:

“Women who use the injected contraceptive Depo-Provera have a higher rate of sexually transmitted diseases, U.S. researchers reported.

This holds true even when behavior and other factors are taken into account, the research team at the National Institutes of Health, University of North Carolina and Johns Hopkins University found.

More study is needed, but it is possible that Depo-Provera itself causes a susceptibility to STDs, said Charles Morrison of Family Health International in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, who led the study.” [SOURCE]

So that’s bad news for everyone on Depo, but even Viagra may not be safe, either:

“Viagra not all ups: San Francisco has petitioned federal regulators to warn that the anti-impotence drugs like Viagra use could increase the risk of sexually transmitted disease and HIV, officials said.

The request to the Food and Drug Administration earlier this month is a response to recreational use of Viagra among gay men who use it to enhance performance during promiscuous sex.

“The predominant problem that we see in San Francisco is that widespread use among gay men with multiple partners,” said the director of sexually transmitted disease prevention at the city’s health department.” [SOURCE]

So what about my site and RSS? Well, as I mentioned previously, I’m using an aggregator called Amphetadesk. One of the cool things about this program (apart from its ease of use and cross-platform capabilities) is its ability to be skinned. I am even now working on an ALLO-themed skin that I will likely make available for download.

I also took the liberty of setting up a system of letting users know which links may take them to sites with “questionable content” on them. Underneath the calendar to the left is a handy “colour key” that lets you know which links are work-safe and which links you should avoid clicking on until you’re somewhere a little more private. I hope that in the future this helps prevent users from accidentally visiting sites they probably shouldn’t while they’re at work (sorry, Ben).

A Corporate Whore

When did Jesse James become such a whore? He’s endorsing everything from Coors Beer to AutoZone to Yoo-hoo. Yoo-hoo, for fuck’s sake!

When I first saw a programme about Jesse James on TV, I thought he was such a cool guy. Now, his appeal is waning as a result of his willingness to shill whatever piece of shit product someone waves in his face. Granted, I’m sure he’s making a ton of money, but come on, Yoo-hoo?

Also, I’d like to apologise to anyone who clicked on the suicide girls link without knowing about the site beforehand. In the future I’ll find some way to denote when links are not work safe.

One more thing, I mentioned in a previous post about how my blog freaked out when a friend of mine posted a comment. I figured out why that happened (so if you run MovableType or are considering it, you might want to pay attention). By default, MT displays the last X-number of days worth of posts (X being a number you specify in your blog configuration). Since I wanted it to display the most recent post, but only the most recent post, I chose one day. Two problems arose from this, however. First, if you post twice within a 24 hour period, both posts are displayed. Second, if you don’t post for over 24 hours, then make a change to the site that spawns a rebuild (of the index page, such as the addition of a comment to a more-than-24-hours-old post or an edit to one of the same), it displays a blank page because it’s trying to do what it’s been told; to display only the last 24 hours worth of contents. So if you haven’t posted in the last 24 hours and a change is made, you end up with a blank page.

So is there a way around this? Well, you could increase the number of days displayed, but that doesn’t help someone like me who wants no more than one post displayed at a time. The key is to look for the <MTEntries> tag and change it to say <MTEntries lastn=”X”> where X is, once again, a number you provide; this time the number of posts you want displayed. This tells MT to display the previous X posts, regardless of when they were written.

Comcast: Evil Incorporated

I can’t live without the Internet. Sad? Probably, but at least I can admit it.

I like cable Internet because I’m used to it. DSL may be wonderful for other people, but cable works for me. Plus, you always hear all this stuff about DSL having hidden fees, but cable is really straightforward. So I thought, “Hey, I’ll get cable Internet when I move in to my new flat.”

I called Comcast about a week ago and got some prices. $30 a month for the first three months (they were having a special) and $60 a month after that (because we didn’t also get cable since we don’t watch that much TV). Since the cable wasn’t already hooked up at our flat, they had to send someone out to hook it up and “activate” it. This, of course, was to happen at our expense. I was quoted $60 as the installation cost. I then scheduled a time for the installer to come and waited patiently.

To my surprise, they showed up on time (the “arrival time window” was two hours long. I waited five minutes). When I say they, I mean there were two guys (one was young and kind of cute, but dumb as a post. The other was old, ugly, and also rather daft). It took them all of forty minutes to get things set up (the old one knocked into some of my model rockets, cracking one of the balsa wood fins). It was like watching Forest Gump and Jessica Simpson try to connect to the Internet (bonus points if you can tell me which television show I stole that line from).

They finally leave and we have the Internet. Too bad my computer won’t work properly. They installed something that was supposed to speed up the connection, but it required editing the registry. Now, I trusted that this was something that Comcast had made specially for them by professionals, so I allowed them to install it. My computer hasn’t been the same.

Internet Explorer crashes on nearly every page and AOL Instant Messenger won’t stay open most of the time, either. I spent last weekend backing up my files, then doing a format and reinstall.

Still fucked up.

I don’t know what I’m going to do. Probably format and reinstall. Again.

Kris brought up a good point about it all in an IM session.

[Re-formatted for readability]

kriskarlb (11:28:36 AM): You know what’s retarted? Well, one of the almost infinite number of things that’s retarded? Software License Agreements. When you install software, it is always presented as an "as is" product and doesn’t offer any guarantee that it will a) work, or b) not fuck up your machine. In any other industry, that would totally not fly. Think if there was an "as is" clause when you install new tires on your car. "We offer no guarantee that the tires will actually keep your car rolling, nor do we protect against the possibility that the tires cease to work while in use, causing a massive accident and killing your family. Sorry". Like with your current situation, you can’t call them and say "Hey, your software fucked my machine" They’ll just throw a piece of paper at you with "as-is" written on it and run away and cash your check.

mwproductions12 (11:31:27 AM): Yeah. Fuckers.

kriskarlb (11:31:32 AM): Yeah.

Anyway, back to them overcharging me. Today I called Comcast to complain about charging me $40 more than I was quoted and they told me it was because I would be receiving a rebate. Okay, I can see that. I just wish someone would have mentioned that to me earlier.

A Ghost From the Past

Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of humour.

The day after my post about losing friends from the past, I get a message from this guy named Jason, who I used to be friends with. The message wasn’t entirely random; I had been actively trying to reconnect with him (among others). What was so strange was the timing of the message, as I had initially attempted to make contact with him a few months ago and hadn’t heard from him since.

Perhaps, then, I should take a moment to plug Friendster. A lot of people criticize the site, saying it’s rather useless. Kate Ashford writing for Popular Science magazine described Dodgeball as, “Friendster with a point.” Given its current limitations and my complete lack of a social life (not to mention my not really having many friends in Spokane), I’ll spend my Internet time-wasting moments on Friendster, thanks.

After all, I think that Friendster does have a point; and a very useful one at that. It is because of Friendster that I was able to once again find one my best and closest friends from high school. She and I had lost track of one another after graduation, each of us having attended different universities. Nothing unexpected there, right? Well, thanks to Friendster, not only did I find her again, but I found out that she now prefers to be referred to as a guy. That’s right, she has become a he. So, he and I started chatting via eMail and we have plans to see one another again this upcoming summer.

In fact, most of the people from my high school “clique” are members of Friendster. This has allowed me to keep in touch with people who I thought I would almost certainly never talk to again (well, at least not until the next reunion). Not only am I able to keep in touch with them, but Friendster has allowed me to slowly start catching up with everything I’ve missed. Some people have lost a ton of weight, others have gained a little more than some. Acquaintances and enemies are becoming friends; the real world, it seems, is a little colder than any of us expected. Other people have matured, a few have regressed. Pretty much everyone is more self-confident. In reading the profiles of old friends, I have learned things about people that I would never have suspected. One particularly conservative girl is now interested in things like, “bodies (and parts), drag, dykes, intimacy, dark rum,” and “sex/uality”. It turns out that one of my ex-girlfriends is a lesbian. Not only that, but she and another friend were experimenting with their sexuality during high school. I had no idea.

And so, in my quest to remake friends with everyone I’ve ever known, Jason brings me one step closer to my goal. Friendster has let me know a few interesting things about him, as well. For example, he’s now married, bisexual, and has nipple rings. The lanky, goofy kid I was in cub scouts with, and who we once stuffed into a twenty-inch cubed locker is now a self described, “thinker, lover, pirate”.

Ghosts of Friends

What happened to all those people I used to be friends with?

Matt, Forest, Susan, Guy, Cory, Elise, Alley, Lindsay, Chapin, LJ, Matt, Ricki, and countless others from my life in Hawaii. Ryan, Dalton, Andy, Steve, Jenn, Kelly, Bridget, Michelle, Mike, Nate, Rob, and so many others I met in college. Rae, Contessa, JenX, Michaela, bullyapollo, defy the reds, RadioPriest, Amber, Gemma, and hundreds of other friends I met online.

Why don’t we keep the friends we have? Why is it you can never go back? Rae and I were in love. What happened to that? Why haven’t I talked to her in almost four years? Or any of these people. I rarely hear =OF= them anymore, let alone hear =FROM= them.

What about way back when? Seth, Casey, Alicia. Even before them there was Max, Jason, and some kid named Adam.

Did they move away from me, or did I move away from them?

And what about the strangers we befriend temporarily? Why should those friendships have to end? The bloke in front of you in the queue, the woman next to you on the coach, the person who you make a tiny, temporary bond with because you have something in common; usually your current location or activity. Why should we let these people go?

Twice in my life I have made an impactful connection with someone, only to have it immediately torn apart. When I was very young, we had a tsunami warning in Hawaii (one of several while I was living there and none of them ever amounted to any real danger). Everyone was heading for high ground and listening to the radio to find out when it was safe to return. I don’t remember much, but I remember that this girl and I started colouring together. I don’t know why it made such a difference in my life, but I would give anything to find her again.

The other instance was also in Hawaii. Three of the actors from The Power Rangers TV show (back when it was first released in the states and was still kind of cool) were coming to Hawaii for some promotional gig. A throng was gathering at the airport to welcome them and I insisted on going. So we went out to the airport to meet them and get their autographs (actually, I really only wanted Amy Jo Johnson’s autograph). While I was there, I met this girl around my age. She was =so= beautiful. And she was really friendly, as well. Perhaps my pseudo-pubescent lust made more of it than was really there, but she and I agreed that we felt like we already knew the other from somewhere (is it possible that she was the same girl from the tsunami? It certainly isn’t impossible). Then it was time to go and I was too embarrassed to ask for her name and phone number. And like that, our friendship was over. I had managed to get Amy’s autograph, but I felt empty the entire ride home.

Now, reading old eMails and IM sessions from years ago; now, sitting alone, in the dark; now, with my closest friends miles away, I feel truly empty; truly alone. Morah will be home from work in a few hours and I’ll forget all about this.

You know what, though? I don’t want to forget. I’m a different person now. I’ve grown up a lot the past five years. I want to find everyone I’ve ever known and befriend them all over again; even the people I don’t like. Hell, even Chris Gouveia, which is saying a lot.

But I won’t and I can’t. All I can do is reconnect with people one day at a time. All I can do is search for them and try to make contact with them. All I can do is hope that, by the time I die, I’ve found the girl from the tsunami and thank her for making my life beautiful.