Monthly Archives: January 2005

BME update and various commentary


I've just posted another BME update — this time it's about a thousand images in BME/extreme (and e2 as well). Mainstream stuff will start getting added tomorrow. Thanks to Brian0icu812 for being the cover model and of course everyone else who helped out as well.

The upload took a little longer than expected so I'm going to ramble for a while. Let's see what else I can talk about… Allen just posted a list of his “five favorite bands from highschool”, and I was just talking to Rachel about the same list a couple days ago, so I thought I'd post my own, in no particular order:

  1. Skinny PuppyBites and Remission are literally the first albums I ever bought (on the same day).
  2. Throbbing Gristle — does it surprise you that small record stores in rural communities carried most of their extensive catalog? It surprised me.
  3. Yngwie Malmsteen — yeah, laugh it up. Don't laugh too hard though, or I'll unleash the fucking fury. I still listen to this stuff when I'm programming.
  4. Pink Floyd — No surprise there.
  5. Guns'n'Roses — Mostly because I was in a GNR cover band, Appetite For Destruction era.

I should do another list some time of the music I listened to after highschool (which is pretty similar to what I listen to now). The day music changed for me was the very first time I did acid, and walked into a strangers room just as the first burst of Slowdive's Losing Today started to play.

I feel I really should mention that tomorrow, January 6th, is the day that Bush in theory is confirmed again as President of the United States of America. Rep. John Conyers has been trying to fight it and get the truth about the fraudulent election out, but he's being blocked by both big business (who are refusing access to exit polling data among other things) and the White House.

It really blows my mind that Americans won't tolerate a rigged election in the Ukraine (with far less “evidence” of that than there have been stateside) and were instrumental in getting a new election, but won't do the same in their own country. Very very strange. But I guess it's easier to admit that there's something wrong with someone else than acknowledge it in yourself.

But let me point out a number: The cost of having a second election is less than being in Iraq for a day. Ah, priorities. But let me explain how the price of a US could be brought to almost nothing, if you think elections are something you should try and cut costs on:

ATMs can double as voting machines.
(note: I've seen others propose variants on this also; it's not just my idea)

The ATM banking network is increibly secure. It confirms identity as well as any voting station does. It provides a paper trail, and high-speed electronic tabultion. The network is already in place — all it would take is the five biggest banks agreeing on a method.

It wouldn't be universal of course since not everyone has a bank account or credit card, but it would massively reduce the problems, simplify things, and secure them.

But it won't happen, because at their core, the average person (not just in America) doesn't really care all that much about democracy as long as they've got food in their belly and a roof over their heads. We're herd animals, us humans, and only a small percentage of us want to have freedom — the rest are actually much happier as slaves (as long as we're not actually forced to admit that we're slaves).

So we've got Kid Rock playing the Bush inauguration “youth party”. Let's sample some lyrics:

Pimp of the Nation, I could be it
As a matter of a fact, I for see it
But only pimpin hoes with the big tush
While you be left pimpin Barbra Bush
What's up granny
First name Annie
Dried up cunt and a saggin fanny

I screw hoe's from Shamiqua down to curly Sue
You think i'm jokin, i'm pokin your girl, she lovin me
Sugar walls to my balls that how i'm shovin it
Wham bam thank you mam a dirty nigger wrote
And if your man wanna trip i'll let the trigger go
Pop, pop, pop, pop, now watch that nigger drop

hey faggot where's your friends
cause you know that you can't hide alone
you know you're shit
so hit him in the face, in the face
come on do it again
in the face, in the face

That's just some random picks, it's far from the most “offensive” stuff in his roster, but you get the picture. Now, I'm not saying that should be censored or even that I particularly have a problem with it — I'm 100% cool with Kid “all I do is curse and fuck” Rock being on the market. Hell, if you come down for BMEfest, I encourage you to bang the girls gone wild Bush twins in Los Cabos. But I do question that “American Bad Ass” is the kind of thing that should define a Presidency. But if that's what Bush wants to endorse, I suppose you either tolerate it or go to prison.

I was thinking a little bit more about the tsunami numbers, and this story got me wondering… It's interesting to note that civil war has killed as many people in Sri Lanka — and far more in Indonesia, although not as recently — as the tsunami did. Sri Lanka was known as “The Island of Death” long before the big wave struck, and its violence overflowed around the world (we certainly had Tamil Tiger gangs in Toronto when I was living there).

Saw this via MeFi; I'm not really much of a fan of “hipsters” (or of Bill Murray, not that I have a problem with him or anything), so I got a kick out of the intro (and extro) to this review of The Life Aquatic.

What will the hipsters be remembered for? The last few months I have raised this question in Brooklyn, on the sagging couches of its Brownstones and over the din of the glowing jukeboxes in its dives. The most common answer is "Nothing." New York Rock? So much retread. The hipsters' championing of vintage clothing? Sorry, you can't be remembered for remembering. The embrace of white-trash chic — trucker hats and so on? Interesting but evil. Though not authentically evil. The hippies had Charles Manson, one friend noted. "We haven't even produced a decent serial killer."

[snip] The failure of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou may just be a sign — along with last year's dud Belle and Sebastian album — that the Age of Twee is finally over in hipsterdom. Come to think of it, I've been seeing a new breed of male around Brooklyn lately. He's put on some weight, gotten burlier, more menacing, and grown a beard. He drinks harder and he's been stealing the pretty girls from the effete indie boys. The trucker hat is gone, and his hair's starting to thin. He looks, well, sort of like Charles Manson.

At a couple of the BME BBQs particularly “hip” folks have occasionally come, although the wonderful irony is that at least around here, the freaks and geeks crowd fits in perfectly. It's kind of funny to watch the hipsters, because they sit by themselves in a small group in the corner, well-dressed and scowling at all the unfashionable folks enjoying themselves. If only they could watch themselves from the top of the suspension tower.

Finally, there's a very good quote from my father in the Whatever forum;

“I NEVER LOST what I LEARNT near death hence I am unable to rejoin the living.”

I know that there are enough people reading this that have skirted very close to death, some even having crossed the line and come back. I wish there was a way to explain life without having to ask a person to experience death, but it's the only way to get the big picture.

The story I am about to tell you is true.

An old friend of mine that is in a very specialized high end job (I'm sorry, that's all I'm willing to say, so don't bother asking about it) requiring a great deal of loyalty and trust had to commit suicide to get that job. Surrounded by doctors, they held him under freezing water until both his breathing and his heart had stopped — to get the job, he had to be able to control himself to the point where he confronted death without a struggle. Once he had died, they revived him, and he was reborn.

I kid you not.

Enjoy the nightmares.

Why are things smaller in Mexico?

I've come up with one small complaint about Mexico. As much as I've lost weight, I'm still a pretty big guy — I'm six-foot-two, have big hands, feet, and so on. I've been wanting to get some new shoes down here, and it's exceedingly difficult to find ones that fit. Had to pick up some socks as well, and even their “extra large” ones barely fit. It's actually kind of weird… and don't even get me started on their diminutive (both in lack of larger sizes and of selection) condom selection — that's not a small dick joke — I'm sure that's more so an issue of Catholicism than physical stature.

Polls are lame, right?

I haven't done a poll in a long time. This if from newaddict via FREE. Filling it out it really struck me how little I know about my own life. I think my head is so full that stuff is falling out.

01. What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before?   02. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more?
Let's see…. I'd never OD'd on a ketamine and opiate cocktail before. Does that count? It was the first time I ever lived in an apartment building (I don't think university res counts), and it was the first time I visited South America.

I don't think I made any, so there were none to keep. If I made them, I forgot them. I didn't make any this year either, although I would like to get in better shape. I felt great when I was going to the gym, but stopped going when I moved to Toronto.

03. Did anyone close to you give birth? 04. Did anyone close to you die?
A surprisingly large number, yes. Only one in “real life” though (both my brother and brother-in-law are having early January babies).

Yes, unfortunately, and none were of natural causes. Only one really shook me though. Way too many suicides…

05. What countries did you visit? 06. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?
I didn't travel much at all in 2004 (a lot more in 2003 when I was in the Netherlands, the UK, Antigua, BVI, St. Martin, Hawaii, and more) — my only trip was to Buenos Aires, Argentina, but it was really nice.

Time. That's really all I want that's realistic. The only other thing I'd like is not to live under the constant fear of arrest and prosecution for my social views (ie. BME).

07. What date from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 08. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Unfortunately nothing but code and BME details are etched in my memory. I don't even know what weekday it is today.

I don't think I did anything particularly unusual, I really just worked all year long. I started painting again and did a few pieces I was very happy with. I'm happy with all the things I've done, I worked very hard this year.

09. What was your biggest failure? 10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Too much drug use. Part of my motivation in moving to Mexico is to get away from the drugs for a while. Yeah, I know it's the land of $5 an ounce pot, but I'm trying to take a break.

Not really.

11. What was the best thing you bought? 12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
You'd have to ask the people I bought stuff for. I didn't buy anything of import for myself all year.

My daughter Nefarious is very cool.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? 14. Where did most of your money go?
Yeah, I think you know the answer to that one.

BME-related projects and people I care about, as well as a large chunk of charitable donations.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? 16. What song will always remind you of 2004?
Really, I've just struggled to keep up with the workload and try and provide things for everyone. That's why I'm hoping I can somehow generate time for myself some time in the next few years. Even just a week off would be nice.

I didn't listen to music in 2004, or for some time before that, which makes me very sad. I just don't have a place to set up my stereo and listen to it. One day… A guy can dream, right?

17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier, and are you richer? 18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Neither has changed that much.

I just wish I had time of my own.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? 20. How did you spend New Years?
I'm happy with the things that I did and I don't think there are any of them that I wish I'd done less of. That's the problem!

I spent it with Rachel here in Mexico.

22. Did you fall in love in 2004? 23. How many one-night stands?
Love isn't really something that you do on a given date. It's permanent and it's not something that you fall into — it's something you reveal.

Zero. Not really my thing, on top of the obvious reason for the answer “zero”.

24. What was your favorite TV program? 25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I'm a sucker for Survivor and hope my cable service here will show it.

I don't hate anyone, although I don't enjoy the company of stupid people.

26. What was the best book you read? 27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The only non-fiction book I read cover-to-cover in 2004 was How to Own a Continent. I enjoyed it, but it's far from a “best book”. Having little time I'm constrained to non-fiction reading.

Like I said, I didn't listen to a lot of music but I like The Unintended's debut album, a very Canadian low-key indie project.

28. What did you want and get? 29. What was your favorite film of this year?
I didn't get anything in 2004.

I didn't go to many movies. It's not so much that it was my “favorite film” of the year or anything like that, but I liked going to see Mean Girls with Rachel, but that's just because I like going to movies with her. I think I may have smashed up our Touareg that day as well.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Scheduling conflicts and work obligations canceled my birthday this year, although I did have plans to eat a blueberry pie, get incredibly high, and watch TV in my underwear (hey, when you work all the time, sometimes that's all you want). I turned thirty-one.

Thirty-six hour long days.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004? 34. What kept you sane?
Fashion is a state of mind.

Nothing. Don't you read my diary?

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? 36. What political issue stirred you the most?
No one in particular.

Needless killing. I guess it's true that “9-11 changed everything” because it forced us all to accept that there are issues that we can't keep ignoring. I was politically aware before then, but that's really what flipped me “on”.

37. Who did you miss? 38. Who was the best new person you met?
I miss a lot of people; I wish we all lived closer. I even miss some people I haven't met in real life.

I'm not sure. I meet a lot of amazing people.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004. 40. There is no question 40.
Do it now, because you're going to die soon. Keep going, and never stop. -AWK

Yeah, there's also no question twenty-one or thirty. What's up with that?

Buffered update software

I've got my buffered update software running in debug mode right now (where it just says everything it wants to do, rather than actually doing it) and it appears to be functioning fine… So I'm going to make it live shortly and add first the BME/HARD images, and then take it from there.

Above are screenshots of my internal updating software; the screen on the left is what shows me what's in the buffer and lets me select which things are to go into the current update, and the screen on the right is a single image being added (in debug mode; the live version isn't so chatty).

Updating and general commentary

It's not like PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility) doesn't regularly post disturbing stories about what's going on in America, but this one really takes the cake:

Washington, DC - The Bush Administration has decided that it will stand by its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noahs flood rather than by geologic forces.

It's as if the Bush administration's goal is singularly to make the United States some bizarre feared laughing stock of the world, as if it were Emperor Commodus being ridiculed by those living in terror of his insane wrath. What a strange, strange world religion and power have built.

Other than that I see that the US Congress is expecting a $100 billion war request for 2005 (on top of the current $420 billion Pentagon budget). Let's put that number into context by pointing out that the cost of “curing” hunger and disease (creating sustainable solutions that ensure everyone on the planet has food and good living conditions — sanitation, clean water, food, universal education and healthcare, and so on) is about $30 billion if you use the UNDP numbers or $80 billion if you use the more conservative (and corporate profit oriented) World Bank numbers (more, more).

That is, the cost of a non-military solution to all of the world's core problems is a tiny fraction of what we currently spent on war. Conclusion: We're a bunch of murdering idiots.

Oh, and I haven't got Internet access at the house yet so I think I'm going to have to upload a BME/HARD update from here at the hotel's business center. Expect that this afternoon…