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Friday, November 30, 2007

Coloring Da Hair


Here is the latest image snapped from ThePete's MacBook's iSight.
Isn't it neat how he's always doing something interesting? ^_^
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Post-Novel Chocolat Fondont


So far no post-first draft celebratory sushi but this Chocolat Fondont from Beard Papa did nicely. And it was TheYummmmmmm.
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Wandering Around Hollywood


Here I am on the corner of Hollywood and Highland. After finishing the novel last night (exactly a day early!) I just haven't felt like being at home in front of the keyboard. Go fig.
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On the bus again. Smells like ...

On the bus again. Smells like a wet homeless guy in here. Maybe it's that wet homeless guy over there.

Finally made it to Soap Plant ...

Finally made it to Soap Plant Wacko. The place is like Urban Outfitters on steroids w/o clothes.

Taking an unpaid day off from ...

Taking an unpaid day off from my non-existent dayjob & visiting Soap Plant Wacko in Hollywood. In the mood for different.

OK, I'd like an iPhone now, an...

OK, I'd like an iPhone now, and here's why: http://urltea.com/28y9 Wixi.com has an iPhone version of their site. SWEET.

Watching the Clinton Campaign ...

Watching the Clinton Campaign Hostage Crisis wrap up on http://WMUR.com. So, I'm *sort of* watching TV ^_^

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I finished my novel for NaNoWr...

I finished my novel for NaNoWriMo.org!!!! Tears of joy feel so strange. 59229 words. I've got delivery waiting & then Lego Star Wars!!!

FINISHED MY NOVEL FOR NaNoWriMo!!



MY NANO IS FINISHED!

I typed the words "THE END" at precisely 12:00AM, earlier tonight.

I am celebrating with subs from a local sub shop here in Westwood and tomorrow night TheWife and I will likely be getting sushi. ^_^

AHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...

What a relief...


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The Final NaNo Writing Session for 2007 Begins!



The Final NaNo Session for 2007 Begins! I passed 50k last night, tonight I will type those famous last two words: "THE END."


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OK, 7PM PT, it's time to get t...

OK, 7PM PT, it's time to get the paid blogging done and set about finishing this damn Novel. I must get done before midnight tonight!

@missrogue! Thanks for that g...

@missrogue! Thanks for that great diggnation/Virgin America link!! http://tinyurl.com/3ajxv6 <--for anyone who missed it. Fly2for1!!

OLPC XO Laptop 1st Day Donor Badge!


Yep, if you're like me and ordered yourself and a 3rd World kid an XO laptop on November 12, 2007, it's now possible to obnoxiously brag about it to everyone who visits your blog!! That's right!

Read more about it here:

http://www.olpcnews.com/sales_talk/g1g1/olpc_first_day_donor.html

Also, you can put yourself on a Frapper map, too!

http://www.olpcnews.com/sales_talk/g1g1/olpc_community_map.html

Not sure what the point is to either of these, aside from giving us FDDs a new way to be elitist. Still, I'll do both because it advertises the cause of putting computers in front of 3rd World kids. It's not like I put a "Mad on a Mac" badge on every web page I create.
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Considering blowing off everyt...

Considering blowing off everything (like the job hunt) this afternoon and just diving back into the NaNo to get it done early...

ThePete.Cam


Yep, for anyone following along, I wrote over 6000 words in the last 4.5 hours. NICE. I think I can only write like this in the middle of the night. But yeah, I've blown past the 50k minimum for NaNoWriMo, now I just need to finish the damn story. I had some stupid idea I could do it last night, but I don't know what I was thinking. It'll definitely be tonight, though. I've only got one chapter left in the story and probably about four or five scenes in it. Can't wait to get to it. The thing is, I'm so fired up on caffeine, I bet I could keep going. But I need a break.

...THUD!
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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

ThePete.Cam


Here is the latest image snapped from ThePete's MacBook's iSight. Isn't it neat how he's always doing something interesting? ^_^
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Welcome to OLPC Email!!

Welcome to OLPC Email!!
Hey, check it out! It's a screencap of the email I just got from OLPC regarding my day-one purchase of an XO laptop! SWEET! They're saying my donated laptop is already on the way to a kid in a 3rd World country! Awesome. Seriously, that just feels cool to have paid for one of these for some kid someplace. I just wish we could be in touch with the kid to help him/her out and encourage them to learn and to help out when we can.


And the email does one worse--it gives me a window of when to expect my XO to be delivered. It's a TEN DAY WINDOW! I'm going to be driving my wife crazy between the 13th and the 24th as I bounce off the walls waiting for my XO to show up. Anyway, that's the update for now!


OH wait-- Laptopmag.org did do a comparison between the XO and the eee--which to me is way too much like comparing Windows machines to Macs. Ultimately, it's up to user preference. They both have strengths and weaknesses depending on what you're looking for in a low-power-consuming, portable PCish device. Feel free to have a read if it'll help you decide which you'd rather buy though for $400 you might as well go with the XO so a 3rd World kid can get one, too.



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Got MySpace? Login and vote fo...

Got MySpace? Login and vote for my friend Chris' dancing sandwich commercial (all the way on the right). http://urltea.com/286f

BIGGEST BANK IN USA BAILED OUT BY MIDDLE EASTERN INVESTMENT

Wow, just when I didn't think things could get overtly worse, Citibank, the largest bank in the US, gets an investment from some folks in Dubai to the tune of 7.5 billion USD. At least, that's what a November 27, 2007 article from AP.org available at MyWay.com reported. What I don't get here is why no one in the press is really freaking out because of this. Sure, the article's main point is that Citibank rebounded on Wall Street, so, everything's cool, right?

Wrong.

If the biggest bank in the US can falter once, it can falter again and who knows if it can do worse than falter? Our economy is tanking, even more so now thanks to the failing mortgage market. This is actually what brought on Citibank's troubles. However, before the AP reported about the Dubai investment, they reported that a "New Wave of Mortgage Failures Could Create a Nightmare Economic Scenario." Check out this cutting from a November 24, 2007 article from AP.org available at Biz.Yahoo.com:
Soaring mortgage default rates this year already have shaken major financial institutions and the fallout from more of them, some experts say, could spread from those already battered banks into the general economy.

The worst-case scenario is anyone's guess, but some believe it could become very bad.

"We haven't faced a downturn like this since the Depression," said Bill Gross, chief investment officer of PIMCO, the world's biggest bond fund. He's not suggesting anything like those terrible times -- but, as an expert on the global credit crisis, he speaks with authority.

"Its effect on consumption, its effect on future lending attitudes, could bring us close to the zero line in terms of economic growth," he said. "It does keep me up at night."


What's scary is that we already have data to confirm one bad thing that guy predicted. He said this sort of economic crisis could have a bad "effect on consumption." Now, I'm no economist, but I'm pretty sure that means "buying stuff." Turns out Black Friday sales are actually higher than expected, that according to a November 28, 2007 article at PublicBroadcasting.net. What does that mean? It means, on the surface, that people aren't letting this economic-downturn-stuff get to them and they're spending anyway.

It also means that people aren't preparing for the future. Sure, a record number of mortgages are defaulting, but does that mean you should stop racking up debt?

Uh, actually, YES.

It means you should stop spending and start planning for the long term. But no one wants to face reality these days. They just want to cling to their Xboxes and their false illusions about their SUVs and excessive lifestyles. After all, we're using up 140% of the Earth's resources just for food. But hey, that's not important. Hillary insulting Obama is way more exciting!

Or are you following Paris Hilton's exploits?

Either way we need to get greener fast.

The Environmentâ„¢, it's that thing you're living in--and we can't save it if our economy is a mess.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

CNN: FCC board rejects expanded cable oversight; ThePete: Of Course They Do

This is another great example of the coming feudal planet where corporations rule with governments just pretending to be in charge. The FCC, which is stacked with Republicans ruled against enlarging government regulation over cable companies. Yeah, big surprise, big government ruling in favor of big business. What's worse is that they're masquerading the move as being for our own good. Check out this cutting from a CNN.com article that reports on the FCC being butt-buddies with big business (I'm paraphrasing, of course):
A recent FCC report promoted by Kevin Martin, the agency's chairman, found that cable TV reaches a wide enough U.S. audience to trigger a rule within a 1984 law that would give the government significant new powers to ensure program diversity.

But a majority of the agency's five-member commission said the report endorsed flawed data and should have used other sources. Some said they weren't even aware of the agency's own numbers until Monday night.

"Our job of ascertaining the facts is made more difficult because the draft cherry picked the only data that justified the outcome apparently desired while suppressing other data," Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein said.


Right, right--so FCC dudes that are of the same ilk as the Bushites who suppressed data on Global Warming are now claiming that pro-big-business data is being suppressed? Likely story.

The math is simple here, folks. Power corrupts. Regulation curtails power. And since I have exactly two real choices for my TV service provider (one cable company and one mini-dish company serve my area) I'd say more regulation is required. I have no choices within the services, too. For Time-Warner Cable, I can either pay too much for too little, way too much for more, but still not enough decent programming, or--well, that's where I stopped paying attention.

Ah well...

4208 words done tonight on NaN...

4208 words done tonight on NaNo so I'm just 1120 wds from 50k. I'll definitely need more than that, but I'll definitely be done on 11/30.

3500 to go on my NaNo to reach...

3500 to go on my NaNo to reach 50k, though I'll probably need a bit more to finish up the novel. Either way, I'll be done by Friday night.

Project365 20071127 My Hand Wound -kinda graphic


Yep, this is what's making the last few days of National Novel Writing
Month more of a challenge. Just as I caught up an empty PoweBook box
falls on my hand, corner-first. Weee!!
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Monday, November 26, 2007

HANDWOUND... arg... this'll ma...

HANDWOUND... arg... this'll make the last four days of NaNo a lot of fun. A bloody circle of flesh right where I put pressure when I write.

Into toys? I've got a STACK o...

Into toys? I've got a STACK of eBay auctions ending within the hour--check them out: http://tinyurl.com/yokyle THANKS!

IRON MAN-STYLE ROBOT EXO-SUIT AVAILABLE NOW

Wow, this is pretty damn trippy:




Found this military exo-suit video at Engadget which led me to a post on the same robotic exo-suit video at Wired.


Funny how when the Japanese designed an exo-suit back in 2005, it was designed to help people who needed medical attention. An American company does it and it's all about the killing military applications. Let's hear it for innovation!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

How does Google Docs expect me...

How does Google Docs expect me to share a doc with someone if every time I try to email someone and invite I get an error from Google Docs??

In case you missed it here is ...

In case you missed it here is some news for anyone in the XOniverse: http://tinyurl.com/27z4jj

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Reached 38,258--not quite at t...

Reached 38,258--not quite at the minimum for this point in the NaNo. I should hopefully be able to put in more words tonight to hit 40k.

What's with people having full...

What's with people having full-blown business conversations at a communal table where someone else (me) is trying to concentrate on work?

At TheSaturdaily for the last ...

At TheSaturdaily for the last time this NaNo--will still be at Groundwork next Saturday for writing, though. 2nd Draft time! ^_^

Offgrid for 28.5 hrs recuperat...

Offgrid for 28.5 hrs recuperating from Turkey Day and then Black Friday. Leaving in 40 mins for the final TheSaturdaily of this year's NaNo.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Back from Black Friday fun at ...

Back from Black Friday fun at my local Best Buy. I didn't get a camcorder as I had hoped, but my XO has 8 gigs of flash waiting for it. ^_^

Best Buy Line...To Pay


No camcorder, but my XO will have 8 gigs of flash for 0 waiting for
it. I'm satisfied. ^_^
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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Best Buy Line at 4:12am


What we do for cheap gadgets! Happy Black Friday everyone!
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Best Buy line has compressed. ...

Best Buy line has compressed. We're closer but only in theory.

The line at Best Buy grows eve...

The line at Best Buy grows ever longer... The homeless people by the Ralph's have a radio so there's entertainment.

Thanksgiving Turkey After


OMG, that was so good. It was the best turky I think we've cooked. Now
I must nap. DAMN YOU, TRYPTOPHAN!!!!
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Ohhhh, tryptophan...noooo! Mu...

Ohhhh, tryptophan...noooo! Must stay awake for Black Friday adventure!! Nap or coffee? daaaaaaamm...

OLPC XO LAPTOP NEWS: G1G1 Extended!

GOOD NEWS, XOniverse!


According to a press release, the G1G1 program has been extended to December 31!


For those of you not in XOniverse, you may recall the XO laptop and the program being run by OLPC (the non-profit behind the XO) where if you pay $400, they'll send you an XO laptop and they'll also send a 3rd World kid an XO, as well--it's called Give 1, Get 1. The period in which North Americans could Give an XO and Get an XO was originally only supposed to be fifteen days--from November 12 to 27, 2007. However, thanks to $2 million a day in sales, OLPC is extending the program to December 31, 2007.


So, if you're thinking about it, you've got a bit larger of a window--but don't expect Amazon.com service--it could take as long as four months to receive your XO and it runs $25 for shipping.


Read http://thepete.com/tag/olpc for more of my blogging on the XO and the G1G1 program.


You can also check out laptop.org or wiki.laptop.org to learn more about the XO from the source.


Follow XO-related news at OLPCnews.com.


Or if you're ready to make the jump, head to XOgiving.org and place your order.


I'll be blogging on the XO as I come across news or when I have new experiences to report with the XO. I still have yet to spend any more time with SugarOS, but I hope to do that once the first draft of my novel is done. So be sure to stop back and see what's new. Feel free to drop me a line if you've got XO news.

Thanksgiving Turkey In Progress


TheWife bastes TheTurkey.

Isn't tracking our progress exciting?

1 hour to go!
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Thanksgiving Turkey Before Photo pt2


Stuffed and dressed and ready for the oven!
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Thanksgiving Turkey Before Photo


Ahhh, is it wrong to already be salivating?
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HOUSTON, WE HAVE TURKEY IN THE...

HOUSTON, WE HAVE TURKEY IN THE OVEN! THIS CANDLE IS LIT! AT 450 FOR FIRST 30 MINS UNTIL SEPARATION AND BASTING. 350 2 HRS UNTIL ORBIT!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, YOU TURKEYS


King George of America pats an American on the head.
Photo:Reuters, nicked from smh.com.au.
And yes, I'm referring to you reading this. Of course, I'm also referring to myself, writing this. We're all turkeys--assholes, fools, idiots, selfish bastards, pretending to be oblivious or actually being oblivious to our dying world.

Still reading?

Sucker. ^_^

One of the big dangers I think religion brings to the table is the idea that there is a god with a plan and everything is cool because He is in charge and He knows what he's doing.

The things is, there is no god--upper case or lower case "G," there is no plan. Yes, this is all random--we exist because of a cosmic accident.

See? Now, didn't the universe, this planet, and your life just become way more amazing and valuable?

If you picked up a deck of cards and threw them across the room, they'd just fall to the floor, making a mess. Well, what if you threw them across the room and they all landed in such a way as to create a house of cards? Wouldn't you just about shit yourself with awe? I would.

But another thing I would do is protect that damn house of cards with my life. What an amazing thing to have a house of cards fall into place by pure accident!

Well, guess what, folks. Yep, our world, our existence is a house of cards. It wasn't built by someone--it just came into being. How do I know this? Because there is precisely NO evidence of a god, but there's is PLENTY of evidence that the universe is made up of swirling balls that can sometimes (at least once) provide the randomly right combination of crap to, quite accidentally, create life.

Enter human religion and it's urge to put all the responsibility on God and His Plan. This gives permission to millions of people throughout history to do unspeakably horrible things to other people. This also gives permission to humans in the twentieth century to just "trust" in "God" that everything will be cool. It'll all just work out. It's on our fucking money for Christ's sake! "In God We Trust."

Yeah, great idea, folks. Well, guess what, there is no God to trust. So if we trust God, we trust no one. If we trust God's plan we trust nothing at all.

Enter the industrial age and the age of fossil fuels. Oil gives us gasoline, chemicals, plastic and cheap EVERYTHING. Oil is so fricken' cool that the US government convinces the biggest oil-producing countries in the world to only trade oil in US dollars, thus locking the very life of the US economy into the oil machine. Oil gives America everything it has. Everything.

Oil also gives the air and water an absurd amount of toxins. The toxins in the air create a blanket for our planet, warming the Earth unevenly, causing a disruption in weather patterns that we are already seeing the results of. The toxins in the water are now poisoning nearly every fish on the planet. It turns out that the oceans have absorbed something like 500 billion tons of carbon dioxide since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, which actually helped thin out that blanket mentioned earlier for a time. Soon, the ocean will stop accepting the CO2, and as sea life (not just fish) dies thanks to all of these poisons, they will release more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, thus creating a spike in that blanket making it worse than it's ever been.

Our planet is dying.

We've all been willingly ignorant. Why read up on this stuff when Paris Hilton is going to jail? Why read about how our economy is built on the trade of oil in the form of petrodollars when the Xbox 360 is so much fun to play? Why come up with solutions for the planet or even ways to get off of this planet when the latest episode of Lost is on TV?

I blame myself as much as I blame you and everyone else in our stupid, fat, lazy, scared, irresponsible culture. I can only imagine how many people died in Iraq so that I can have my Nintendo DS that is made of plastic made from oil. I don't want to think about the crap inside the laptop I'm using to type this incredibly heavy-handed post, because I know some of it fueled a horrible civil war in some African country.

We go about our lives in the United States (and other Western countries) with this feeling of entitlement. We have RIGHTS. We have things we DESERVE.

No.

We don't.

All we have is luck.

We were born and we were born where we were born.

We have so very much to be thankful for.

So, enjoy your turkey. Be thankful for it, your days off from work, your DVD recorder, your home, your significant other, your car (if you have one), your kids (if you have any), your job, your money, your supermarket, your Netflix account, your Best Buy, and, of course, be thankful for your very life.

Thank me for writing this post because you know god damn well that no one else is saying this shit and you know it's true. Why soft-pedal this reality?

Is it hopeless? Futile? Is there even any point, at this point?

The system was made to be virtually impossible to tear down.

For 200,000 years humans have existed in their current biological form. The Industrial Revolution has only occurred in the last hundred years.

Of course there's hope...but not for our way of life.

So, be thankful for that, too, while it lasts.

Oh and turkey skin. Be thankful for that, too. It's the best part of Thanksgiving, IMHO.

1678 words for tonight (11/21)...

1678 words for tonight (11/21) on my NaNo, kinda pitiful. Must do better after Turkey Day is done. And Black Friday. GOOD NIGHT

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

WOW, cheap hotel price: $17/ni...

WOW, cheap hotel price: $17/night. Of course, the hotel room is in Kampong Cham, Cambodia. But hey, *$17 a night!!!* Ah, story research!

OK, getting a couple paid blog...

OK, getting a couple paid blogs out of the way and then back to the NaNo. If I can get 2000 done I may still get to bed before 3am! ^_^

TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES take 2

OK, so in a previous TheMiniBlog post I bagged on how the new Terminator-based series was sexist and preyed upon the average man's urge to see women, fake and empty at their core, strung up and eviscerated. However, I just came across another poster advertising the same series that I think captures very positive themes for women and men's perception of them. Have a look:



Something about that picture does it for me. She's still feminine, but has muscles and the (admittedly phallic) shotgun--between the three elements I only see positive. She's a woman in a tank-top and make-up, so she's powerful in her sexual attractiveness, but she's also got muscles (small as they are) and a shotgun, which both show she's able to get tough (male strength). To me this post embodies everything powerful about both genders, and the ultimate adaptability of the woman to exist in a man's world. I also get a sense that she's kind of nurturing, too--she's looking down, not in a submissive way, but in a contemplative way. As though she is considering what she has to do to save humanity--not just as a baby factory (aka John Connor's mom), but as a person taking responsibility for humanity. It's actually a very cool message in my mind.

Of course, it still doesn't make me want to watch the show because I hate the woman they got to play the good Terminator. She's playing the exact same character she played in Serenity. A frail-looking, vacant, young woman who can REALLY KICK ASS!!! YEAH! Wait, NO. That's lame and boring, cliche, sexist and a little pedophilic. I mean, let's be honest, she kinda looks like a little girl--like easily under 17, yet she's set up to be a sex object for the lead character. Just because she plays a robot, doesn't mean she doesn't press buttons that activate men's urge-to-screw-little-girls-mode.

I'd much rather stick with the MILF with the shotgun, thank you very much.

Another Fun Writers' Strike Video


There it is! Gotta love all of the flash-downloading tools we have these days!
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Viddler vs. MetaCafe, which si...

Viddler vs. MetaCafe, which site pays video uploaders more in the long run? Seriously, I'm asking.

HATE CRIMES UP, DOWN WITH HATE CRIMES

This is an interesting post, make sure to read all the way to the end.

So, on November 14, 2007, Democracy Now did a story on the rise of hate crimes across the US. They talked about the Jena 6--the six black teens who were involved in a truly messed up case that started with them being threatened with a noose hanging from a schoolyard tree, all the way to having one of them facing ten years in jail for attempted murder. They also talked about the case of the seven minority lesbians who are in jail now because an instance that began with an asshole straight guy sexually harassing them ended with him getting touchy feely and them getting stabby-stabby. However, the most disturbing case they reported on was the case of Megan Williams who was kidnapped and, well, I'd rather not try to describe it when she did a perfect job of it herself for the AP, have a read (or don't, it's pretty god damned disturbing):
They were torturing me. They all passed a knife around that was -- and stabbing me. I was trying to get away as they were stabbing me, and they were holding me down and stuff. And they smothered me with a bag. That morning, I had a bag wrapped around my neck and everything. They choked me. They made me eat dog poop, rat poop and human. They made me drink their urine. And each time, they braided some switches together, and they were beating me across the back. They tore my clothes off me and everything.

And then they took me up to a lake. They said that was the place they were going to cut my throat and throw me in, and I was never going to come back and see my family again. They were just telling me that they were going to kill me.

And, you know, I was -- they made me take a bath in a trash can. They wouldn’t let me use the bathroom. I had to use the bathroom outside. I had to sleep outside. And they told me if they even remotely heard me once, that they would go out there and kill me. They poured candle wax in my hair. They pulled my hair out when they were cutting it with scissors. And, you know, they were just scary.

They had me tied up. I couldn’t go anywhere. Like the time when they left, they were going to go get some beer and stuff, and when they came back they said they were going to finish me off. And before they even got back, I had already got loose. I found a knife and cut myself loose.

I heard the police coming up to the driveway. When I’d seen the police, I just -- you know, I knew it was, you know, my chance to get out. And if I didn’t, I was going to die anyway. And then, that’s when they see me coming out there, and they thought -- they said I was going to lose my leg, when they see about the stabs. And I was scared. I didn’t know what to do. All I kept saying -- I was thinking about my momma, also wanting to come home. And every time I close my eyes, all I see is that knife, the one they kept stabbing me and stabbing me. It’s just -- you know, it’s a nightmare.


Aren't we humans wonderful?

Now, here's where it gets interesting for you, the reader.

I truly believe acts like the ones described above are truly, truly horrible. These people who commit crimes like this should be thrown in jail for life. However, I don't like the idea of calling what they do a "hate crime." This punishes people for what they think and not what they do.

As a rational society, we should act when wrongs are committed, but should not act more when really bad wrongs are committed. The punishment should fit the crime, not the thought behind it.

Who is worse?

1) The man who kills indiscriminately?

2) The man who kills only certain people who fit his own criteria?

Man #1 might kill anyone--gay or straight.

Man #2 will only kill gays.

That means that Man #2 is a threat to only a percentage of the population.

I know it sounds odd, but basing these choices on how much hate is involved is so arbitrary that it will definitely result (if it hasn't already) in unfair sentences.

Wrong acting is a crime. Wrong thinking isn't. So, wrong thinking behind a wrong act should not make it a worse crime, punishment-wise. Discriminating against those that do misses the point. You can't legislate against hate. You can only legislate against acting on that hate.

Do I think any of the men and women who committed the above crimes should get away with it? Of course not! But I don't think they should get harsher treatment because of their beliefs. That's not fair.

Man #1 above, who kills 30 people of various races and creeds could get 30 years to life while Man #2 could see a life sentence, flat, because he hated the race or sexual preference of the person he killed.

I'm just using those sentences as examples--the law in your state may impose different sentences.

The point is this: prosecute all crime, leave the judging of motivation to a higher power.

Coffee=good. Trying out TJ's V...

Coffee=good. Trying out TJ's Volcano Super Dark. Quite tasty. Very, uh, stimulating. Also trying Jooce.com anyone need an invite? It's cool!

GAS PRICES NEAR RECORD HIGH (even after inflation)

So, one of the hilarious things I hear from folks who think skyrocketing gas prices are no big deal is that adjusting for inflation, we actually pay less for gas now than we did at the end of the gas crisis in the 1970s.

Well, guess what! Even after adjusting for inflation, the price of car juice is set to crack the record. Check out this cutting from a November 18, 2007 article at CNN.com that reports on how we're just nine cents short of the highest price for gas ever:
The price of gasoline has jumped another 13 cents in the last two weeks, close to the all-time high set earlier this year, according to a survey published Sunday.

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular is $3.09, the Lundberg Survey found. That's just 9 cents below the record set in May.

The latest price is also 9 cents below the inflation-adjusted all-time high, said survey publisher Trilby Lundberg. In 1981, the price peaked at $1.35 -- which, in today's dollars, comes out to $3.10 using the latest Consumer Price Index data, she said.

Don't be surprised if the records are shattered in the coming weeks, Lundberg said. Even if crude oil doesn't climb further, "we can easily see another dime at the pump," she said, "because refiners are severely squeezed between their oil buying price and their gasoline selling price."


Nice, so even if oil doesn't climb any higher it won't mean lower prices at the gas pumps. Too bad the price of oil is almost guaranteed to go higher.

Damn, I still haven't bought that skateboard. Perhaps Santa will bring me one.

FINALLY caught up and even a l...

FINALLY caught up and even a little bit ahead of schedule on my NaNo. I still have a chance to finish early or on time and make it longer.

AMAZON'S KINDLE: ThePete's Take: Not Even for Kindling

Yeah, I really think Jeff Bezos is not the person to listen to when it comes to considering the future of technology. This is the guy who agreed with the guy who made the Segway who also said that cities would redesign themselves for said Segway. Oh yeah, Bezos is also the guy who built his own spaceship. Now what is he spouting on about? It's that thing to the right--it's called the Amazon Kindle and he's convinced it's the future of books. But check out the features:


6 inch diagonal B&W (grayscale) screen


Uses Sprint's EV-DO network (connects to 'net via cell phone network) to hook you to the Amazon Kindle Store (think iTunes Music Store for digital books)


QWERTY keyboard for entering in book titles (and such) to said AKS, you can also annotate and bookmark


Compatible with Audible.com tracks as well as standard mp3s


Has an SD (low capacity) slot for "expansion"


Supports something called "Kindle format" for text docs, along with PDF, Mobi, HTML, plaintext, and image files like JPEG, GIF, and PNG (source) but I have yet to read conclusively that it surfs the web


Comes with a built-in dictionary and allows you to wirelessly connect to Wikipedia.org


All that for just $400.


I haven't even told you how expensive books and newspapers are.


Books: $9.99 (for most titles)
Newspapers: $9.99 to $14.99/mo
Magazines (the only reasonably priced thing here): $1.99/mo


Will it flop? Well, I haven't heard of Bezos making any flights into orbit and I only see Segways zooming down the street when there's a blue moon out, so, based on those two facts and the cost of the Kindle, I'm going to go out on a limb and say:


Baring an extreme price drop, the Amazon Kindle will bomb.


I mean, think about it: you're saying the future of a passtime that hardly anyone does is in an electronic device that costs $400???


For that price you can get a laptop--hell, the eee PC is the same price and it runs XP! I just dropped $400 on an XO laptop and it has basic PC features (like web surfing) and it has an e-Book mode. So, why should I be expected to drop another $400 on the Kindle? Just because it has free Sprint EV-DO service?? Well, it only has free EV-DO to the Kindle store and to Wikipedia--that's hardly a robust Internet experience. I can do more on my Sidekick 3--which also cost me $400. But my SK3 is a phone and I can surf and check my email and IM and, a short stack of other things.


So, remind me again why I should drop $400 on the Kindle?


I'd say this thing is worth $100 for what it does. Ditch the free EV-DO service and just let us load our own stuff in it and I'm good. Oh and the books that cost nothing to copy over and over and over? Those should be about $3--not $10. Who the hell do you think you're kidding, Bezos? $9.99 for a digital book? Where do the costs go? Not to cover design or printing--just to marketing and download service support (I'm assuming that most of the mark-up on the Kindle, itself, goes to pay for the EV-DO).


Frakkin' greedy bastards. All these guys think about is how much they can charge instead of how little. Do they want their device in everyone's hands? Newsflash, guys! The cheaper your tech is, the more people will buy it! This is especially true if your device is as useless as the Kindle.


sources: Amazon Kindle product page Engadget: here, here, and here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I really rather loathe Microso...

I really rather loathe Microsoft Word. I wish Open Office didn't require X11 or that gDocs' keyboard shortcuts worked well. I'm so picky.

My Meez.com Avatar

Ah, what's a day without some wasted time? I'd think this was a complete waste of time were it not for the fact that this avatar is so much like me, it's creepy. Short of my missing red ear buds and the t-shirt that it is wearing, that I wish I owned, it's a virtual mirror image. Second Life couldn't get me this close.

Check it out:

meezAnimatedBodyshot300x400

See? Creepy.

It even gets right how I like to sit in the gutter on Hollywood Boulevard and type away on my MacBook. You can check out my Meez profile here: http://www.meez.com/thepete

http://tinyurl.com/22octw <...

http://tinyurl.com/22octw <--a pleasant diversion from any middle-of-the-night stress.

Running TheErrands and doing s...

Running TheErrands and doing some pre-Black Friday joint-casing at Best Buy.

WHY SO MANY PEOPLE ARE DICKS ONLINE

Twitterererer BloggersBlog earlier today microblogged about an article at NewScientist.com that endeavored to explain why some people are more rude online than they are in real life. The article was entitled “Don’t Flame Me Bro'” and had me smiling. ^_^ there I go again.

Here's a cutting to give you an idea of what the article concludes:
Social psychologists have known for decades that, if we reduce our sense of our own identity - a process called deindividuation - we are less likely to stick to social norms. For example, in the 1960s Leon Mann studied a nasty phenomenon called "suicide baiting" - when someone threatening to jump from a high building is encouraged to do so by bystanders. Mann found that people were more likely to do this if they were part of a large crowd, if the jumper was above the 7th floor, and if it was dark. These are all factors that allowed the observers to lose their own individuality.

Social psychologist Nicholas Epley argues that much the same thing happens with online communication such as email. Psychologically, we are "distant" from the person we're talking to and less focused on our own identity. As a result we're more prone to aggressive behaviour, he says.


I interpret this as a feeling of less or no responsibility. I got into an argument a few months back with a friend about how the FBI had arrested a man for distributing un-aired episodes of 24 on the Internet. The thing is, the argument happened online. I don't think it would have happened at all in person because both I and my friend are much more polite in person. See, I view my website as my sandbox. I do what ever I want here. I also have a clear sense of who I am and why I have this site. I know all about being responsible for everything about ThePete.Com. However, in the same way I'm the boss so I can also not care about what I do or say on here. As a result, I let more of my feelings out than I would if you were sitting here with me now and, likewise, I say much more of what I really think (though I am pretty honest in real life, too).

Of course, other people come to my site, or to other sites and they have the same sense that they can get away with whatever they want--because it's the Internet and largely anonymous. The catch is, that doesn't matter. When I go to someone's site and leave comments, I know that I'm leaving something in someone's living room. If it's a giant, steaming pile of dung, they're not going to welcome me back because it's a pain in the ass for them to clean up after me. I know this, because it's happened to me on countless occasions over the past ten years of running this site.

Sadly, there is no solution to this problem. On the Internet, as in life, ideally, you need to be conscious of your actions and how they effect others--yes, the consequences of your actions online are generally much less pronounced than your actions in the real world, but they exist nonetheless, even if you can't see them. It's the digital version of the Butterfly Effect.

As in the real world, there seems (to me, anyway) to be a jarring lack of responsibility being taken by most people in America these days. Whether it's corporate bigwigs failing to see the damage they're causing to people and the planet, or the asshole in the White House thinking "Move On Bloggers" are any less Americans than he is. Whether it's people downloading music for free or the people running music companies that get rich off of charging too much for too little, far too many of us are setting bad examples.

We're all connected, is my point. There are very few actions one person can take that will not effect someone else (even if it's not immediate) somewhere else. As such, we all need to be more conscious of how we act toward each other.

Ironically, that friend that I argued with about the FBI is no longer my friend--not because of that argument--but because of another blog-comment-battle about whether John Travolta should have been cast in the movie version of Hairspray. This is what it's come to. A friendship lost over something as ultimately stupid as who got cast in movie.

The Internet is indeed a powerful tool. It can create friendships and destroy them. It can save lives and it can end them. It can change the world for the better or it can leave it exactly the same.

It all depends on how we want to use the Internet.

What helps me be more responsible on the Web are the following:

1) Remember there's a difference between criticizing and complaining--the former is constructive and the latter is destructive.

2) Ask yourself if the thing you're about to do or say is something you'd want others to copy. Would you want 1000 other people leaving this kind of comment (on your website)? Every time you do something, someone else could view your actions as permission.

3) Pick your battles--don't fight them all. For every retarded argument about John Travolta you can have, there's a serious debate about the FBI you can also have. I ask myself, do I really want to be wasting time arguing this? Or is there another debate that I can waste time on and maybe learn something, too?

I don't always follow these points because I'm not perfect. The thing is, I do try to be responsible and, if that NewScientist.com article is any indicator, there are a lot of other people out there who should be trying, too.

Wishing I wasn't following @bl...

Wishing I wasn't following @blackfriday A $229 lappie at Blockbuster??? I don't even NEED another laptop and I immediately think: Can I get?

TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES



TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES

Clearly, a show for guys who like their women vacant, unemotional, made of plastic and metal, naked, strung-up, and eviscerated.

Thanks, TV!

Women: You've Got a Long Way to Go, Baby

When I was a kid, I remember seeing print ads for Virginia Slim cigarettes. They had a slogan that was something like "you've come a long way, baby!" which, I assumed, signified that in the early days of smoking (the late 1800s to early 1900s) women-smokers were frowned upon by society. Here, in the present, it's perfectly acceptable for women to smoke!

What a wonderful message! Cigarettes=liberation from the man's world!

Ahem.

Well, while cigarettes came to signify something else entirely since those days, it seems like women still can't shake off the man's expectations, even when they are given the choice. A post from Mashable.com reports on how the number one most popular website for women is CafeMom. According to comScore.com, a sort of Nielsens for the Internet, CafeMom.com got 90 million page views in October of 2007.

"CafeMom" is the woman's site that gets the most hits out of all of the sites for women. So, women still define themselves as baby-machines, it seems. Why aren't there women-tailored business sites? As in, sites that give advice to aspiring business women? And if there are, why aren't more women going there? I feel like I can only assume that, generally, women would rather be mothers than successful business people and this is where, I feel, society is still deciding for women what they want to be. It's not just telling them what to be, it's already convinced them that being a mom is something you must want to do. Also, women are dropping the ball in failing, utterly, to think for themselves.

The number two site in comScore's list? BabyCenter.com.

See what I mean?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Good music and caffeine: The s...

Good music and caffeine: The secret to starting writing at 3:30AM when you've already been up all night. ^_^ がんばて aka I'm doing my best!!

Project365 2007 11 19


TheWife and TheMe food shopping for Turkey Day after her dress
rehearsal.

Apologies to Yobosensei for the lack of tofu in our grocery cart.
Mobile post sent by thepete using Utterz Replies.

Listening to the excellent pod...

Listening to the excellent podcast from hucklebug.com while waiting for Metacafe to approve my videos-OH, ebay! http://tinyurl.com/yokyle

Project365 20071 11 18


Forgot to upload this yesterday. Not a photo of me literally, but I
view all things I create (all right, most things) as a reflection of
me.

This may end up being a desgin for a glow in the dark Munny I have, but
I was hoping for something a little more like a weird version of the
Autobot's logo.
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Bizarro Auto-Blogging For Google Adsense Revenue

This was a very strange thing to discover: a website that contained a blog that seemed to be auto-excerpting other people's blog posts from other people's websites, I'm guessing, without their permission. Here's a screencap I took of one:

click to make it bigger


Isn't that bizarre? A headline, followed by two less-than subtle gAds followed by the "post" that begins with "nikes4wholesale had some great ideas on this topic" followed by an excerpt of an actual post someplace followed by a link to the original post. That linkback is nice and all, but, really, this is pretty sleazy. If I found someone pilfering my content like this I'd be really annoyed. I'm very curious how this works--the dude must be using a WordPress plugin that grabs feeds and then posts only excerpts with the beginning added in.

Of course, anyone who sees this blog will realize it's fake when blogger names like "nikes4wholesale" and the one in the screencap below:

click to make it bigger


Yeah, "unknown" sure does have some great ideas on this topic!

Now, it looks, to me, like that plugin must surf search engine results for cell phone-related posts because check out this next screencap to see what happens when it stumbles across a post about that mentions cell phones but isn't really about them:

click to make it bigger


And a couple more:

click to make it bigger


WHOOPS! Now this site hates immigrants!

I'm really thinking that Google should do something about these people. For one, the people who run these kinds of sites are not real blogging. They're not even providing original content--sure, blogs like mine and many others do post other folks' content, but it's not like I just post excerpts and walk away. Even my TheMiniBlog is more about pointing to things that are cool, rather than simply lifting other people's content and making money off of it. The site that I stumbled across is obviously not being maintained by a human at all, which seems pretty skeezy. Granted, I don't think it's illegal, but I hope it's against Google's TOS. Hell, I'm not allowed to say "please click on my Google ads!" too often or I'll get threatened by Adsense emails threatening to stop paying me. It's actually happened to me.

Meanwhile, this dude gets away with it.

93 Year-Old Writer Sees History Repeat Itself

Here is a fun little anti-Studio video clip on the Writers' Strike featuring an interview with 93 year-old Hollywood writer, Irving Brecher, to round out your afternoon. I snagged it from WritersWrite.com and http://twitter.com/writersstrike. Have a watch:



I'm realizing that the longer this strike goes on the less I feel like turning TV back on again. Why support these greedy bastards at all? Why not support the underpaid artists of the Internet? Between all of the and sites like MetaCafe.com and RcrdLbl.com, I think I should be able to find some media that will keep me entertained and away from big corporate entertainment for good. Then again, who owns MetaCafe these days? Ah well. The point is, I don't have to buy music or watch commercials any more.

BEOWULF (2007)

Positive Experience/Entertaining? Definitely entertaining--which is good because I kind of expected it to suck.


Technically any good? As you can tell from the posters and trailers, the CG FX are incredible. However, I felt that they kind of fell short. There was still no real emotion in the faces and there were only moments where I felt that certain shots could have been mistaken for actual photos. I kept flashing back to supermarionation (Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlett and even Abe Lincoln in Disneyland's Hall of Presidents), to be honest. However, I was still able to enjoy the movie. The script was cool, dialog good (though unfortunate at times) and the story was updated in interesting ways, compared to the original poem, but I think there were some odd choices that made me seriously question the execution of the plot. There were comic relief moments that seemed contrived and stupid and there was an over-all lack of character development that left me with thrills but nothing to leave the theater with.


How did it leave me feeling? Excited, but realizing that the best reason to see Beowulf is for the spectacle. So, see this on the big screen if you're ever going to see it at all and preferably see it in an IMAX theater in 3-D to make sure you get the full effect of the spectacle.


Final Rating? SIYL - See If You Like - though this is NOT a kids' cartoon! There is serious violence and (effectively) a lot of nudity for a PG-13 film--between the nudity and violence I have to admit that I've seen much tamer R-movies than this PG-13er.

http://urltea.com/1rsj <--a...

http://urltea.com/1rsj <--auctions ending in just a few hours and I'll be posting more in a few as well. So many toys left!! Iron Gi ...

Reached 28,885 words tonight. ...

Reached 28,885 words tonight. I am now so tired I don't want to watch anime or even listen to music as I drift off. Sooo to bed!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

DICK CHENEY PREDICTS CURRENT IRAQ MESS IN 1992



Sorry to get political ^_^ but I saw this on Democracy Now (http://DemocracyNow.org) last Friday and thought it was so important that I should share it. It's a clip that shows Dick Cheney in 1992, the then Sec of Defense, explaining why Bush 42 and Pals didn't go all the way into Iraq to get rid of Saddam Hussein after kicking his butt out of Kuwait. In his address at the Economic Club of Detroit, Cheney predicts everything that has happened since the Iraq Invasion of 2003.

Every

Last

Detail

...Cheney knew in 1992.
The above was a Mobile post sent by thepete using Utterz Replies.

Now, what this means is that he DID know that Iraq in 2003 would be a mess and just didn't care. Why? My guess is because he stands to make a shitload of money as soon as he gets out of office in 2009. He ran Halliburton for a time, and I seriously doubt they won't repay him for the mess in Iraq that Halliburton has made huge buckets of cash off of. These military industrial companies don't forget their benefactors and Cheney and his boss, Bush, have made a mess of Iraq on purpose so they can rake in the cash.

Yes, I'm saying they're both sociopaths. I blogged about Bush being diagnosed as a paranoid meglomaniac in a book back in 2004 and this new/old video shows us that Cheney is no fool--he knew and agreed with all of us "hate America firsters" back in 1992 but chose to disagree with us in 2003.

No, we've got some serious psychos on our hands and the Dems are too spineless and protective of their jobs to actually do their jobs.

Oh and in case you don't want to sit through the above video, check out the transcript of the clip taken from the full transcript of the Friday, November 16, 2007 edition of Democracy Now. I've added emphasis to save you even more time:
AMY GOODMAN: As we talk about how President Bush and Vice President Cheney made the case for war in Iraq, I want to turn to comments made by Dick Cheney in September of 1992. At the time, he was President George H.W. Bush's Secretary of Defense. During an address at the Economic Club of Detroit, Cheney was asked why the United States didn’t bury Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War. This is how he responded close to fifteen years ago.

DICK CHENEY: At the end of the war in the Gulf, when we made the decision to stop, we did so because we had achieved our military objectives -- that is, when we decided to halt military operations. Those objectives were twofold: to liberate Kuwait and, secondly, to strip Saddam Hussein of his offensive military capability, of his capacity to threaten his neighbors. And we had done that.

There is no doubt in my mind, but what we could have gone on to Baghdad and taken Baghdad, occupied the whole country. We had the 101st Airborne up on the Euphrates River Valley about halfway between Kuwait and Baghdad. And I don’t think, from a military perspective, that it would have been an impossible task. Clearly, it wouldn’t, given the forces that we had there.

But we made a very conscious decision not to proceed for several reasons, in part because as soon as you go to Baghdad to get Saddam Hussein, you have to recognize that you’re undertaking a fairly complex operation. It’s not the kind of situation where we could have pulled up in front of the presidential palace in Baghdad and said, “Come on, Saddam. You’re going to the slammer.” We would have had to run him to ground. A lot of places he could have gone to hide out or to resist. It would have required extensive military forces to achieve that.

But let's assume for the moment that we would have been able to do it, we got Saddam now and maybe we put him down there in Miami with Noriega. Then the question comes, putting a government in place of the one you’ve just gotten rid of. You can’t just sort of turn around and away; you’ve now accepted the responsibility for what happens in Iraq. What kind of government do you want us to create in place of the old Saddam Hussein government? You want a Sunni government or a Shia government, or maybe it ought to be a Kurdish government, or maybe one based on the Baath Party, or maybe some combination of all of those.

How long is that government likely to survive without US military forces there to keep it propped up? If you get into the business of committing US forces on the ground in Iraq to occupy the place, my guess is I’d probably still have people there today, instead of having been able to bring them home.

We would have been in a situation, once we went into Baghdad, where we would have engaged in the kind of street-by-street, house-to-house fighting in an urban setting that would have been dramatically different from what we were able to do in the Gulf, in Kuwait in the desert, where our precision-guided munitions and our long-range artillery and tanks were so devastating against those Iraqi forces. You would have been fighting in a built-up urban area, large civilian population, and much heavier prospects for casualties.

You would have found, as well, I think, probably the disintegration of the Arab coalition that signed on to support us in our efforts to eject the Iraqis from Kuwait, but never signed on for the proposition that the United States would become some kind of quasi-permanent occupier of a major Middle Eastern nation.

And the final point, with respect to casualties, everybody, of course, was tremendously impressed with the fact that we were able to prevail at such a low cost, given the predictions with respect to casualties in major modern warfare. But for the 146 Americans who were killed in action and for their families, it was not a cheap or a low-cost conflict. The bottom-line question for me was: How many additional American lives is Saddam Hussein worth? The answer: Not very damn many. I think the President got it right both times, both when he decided to use military force to defeat Saddam Hussein’s aggression, but also when he made what I think was a very wise decision to stop military operations when we did.


AMY GOODMAN: That was Dick Cheney, speaking in September of 1992 at the Economic Club of Detroit.


Crazy--absolutely crazy. He said in 1992 that getting Saddam out of power was worth "not very damn many." But maybe 911 changed all that. Maybe Cheney just wanted to get rich.

Maybe it's both.