Monthly Archives: March 2006

Family business and so on


As you may have noticed, Jon finished the server move this morning and we're back online. There's still some tweaking to do for performance and we're still catching up on the loose ends (yes, the IAM authorization module will be fixed very soon). Thanks to everyone who contributed we managed to post a huge 5,800 image megaupdate. Thanks also to the lovely and recently engaged Asurfael for the cover shot.

Starting with the least pleasant news first, the third (or first or second, depending on how you count) family member of my generation (as in me, my brothers and sisters, and my extended cousins) just committed suicide this weekend. I didn't really know him very well because we grew up far apart, but I think we had a lot of similarities and I'd just started talking to him again online over the last few years… An unfortunate decision I think.

I was watching some episode of Law and Order recently that tackled assisted suicide in the case of someone who was mentally ill (as in chronically depressed). I can't even begin to describe how uncomfortable that episode made me… While the libertarian part of me completely supports the right-to-die, I have to admit that allowing assistance to be legal in the case of people who are mentally ill is playing with fire and would result in hundreds of thousands of deaths a year. Other than people who are about to die (terminal illnesses in their final phase), I think suicide is almost universally wrong, and I say that as someone whose doctor specializes in suicidal behavior — and I only got that doctor after returning from a vacation to Hades.

In not-really-my-family's-news, Nefarious's godmother's aunt-in-law just died… She was about forty years old and in good health. Symptoms of a winter flu and sore throat came up, and it spiralled out of control instantly. When she got to the hospital her body was already shutting down and all they could ask her was “do you want us to keep you alive long enough to say goodbye to anyone?”

(Sometimes little things are fatal; their prediction was accurate and the funeral is in a couple days).

Anyway, in much more pleasant family news, check out this awesome tower of MegaBlocks that my daughter Nefarious and I built this morning. I could have gone all the way to the ceiling but I ran out of blocks… It's a simple square design with a spiralling brace that runs its entire height and is very strong!

And yes, I spend too much time in front of that TV.

Let's see what else I have to report… Blair came by today and we worked on getting his book closer to completion, and I also did some more publishing work with crippled Lane as well… I grabbed groceries too, and got lots of yummy things, but this was not one of them:

Seriously, could a digestive cookie have a less appealing name? I mean, really… even TurdAid™ would be better I figure.

Other than that, as you may know, my brother is one of the top unlimited class arm wrestlers in the world. There's a meet coming up this weekend (want to come?) so I've been roughing out ideas for a shirt for them. Here's the core concept. He's the one on the right:

That's just a rough sketch; I still have to redraw it and fix the hands, and decide if there's going to be text or if that'll just go on the back, and so on. I'm super proud of both his and my sister's accomplishments and talents so it's a real pleasure to be able to help out in little ways like this.

And now I'm gonna go watch The Simpsons!

I have a little bad news for you.

Today I got up and Nefarious and I went and rebooted the server that went down last night. None of us were up to doing it at the time (sorry). We stopped for a blueberry muffin on the way home and bumped into an old friend (warning: link goes to fat Shannon) that I haven't seen in a long time. Then a bit more playing and around, building and sketching, and I switched to “real” work.

As of 10PM EST (about two hours from this post), we'll be taking BME offline to move it to a new server. This will take a while, but it should be bearable. This only affects; not any of our other servers.

But the good news is that I completely cleared our image backlog, and a nice big update with 5,800 new pictures (including tons for members only) will go up when the site returns either late tonight or in the morning. This should eliminate our growth and stability problems for some time to come.

Other than that, I know I'm a little behind on this meme, but I really love the video that Martin de Thurah did for the Röyksopp song What Else is There?… Here's a good quality link, and it's on YouTube as well. The dreamlike imagery and editing is really beautiful….

Anyway, because the visual is similar, it really made me want to finish the movie I (barely) started back in university… It was called H ANGEL FREE AND DOWN WE GO (terrible title, I know) and, to give the TV Guide blurb, was about life in a collapsing over-industrialized society where people choose between suicide supermarks and drug parlors peddling their own escapism. I know, I know, clichés start to finish, but I did a whole lot of art design for it and it would be cool to finish it some day.

But I've got another movie to finish first.

Via Rachel

From Rachel's page:


DALLAS, TX -- After deliberating 6 hours, a jury here has found Clarence Thomas Gartman and Brent Alan McDowell guilty of having shipped an obscene video across state lines. The jury also found Gartman guilty of a conspiracy charge.

The verdict highlights once again the confusing and subjective nature of obscenity law in this country. The video found obscene by the jury contained nipple piercing billed as sexual torture, but no explicit sexual acts. Another video, found not to be obscene, was a rape video which had been deemed obscene by a different jury in the conviction of Garry and Tamara Ragsdale, former business partners with Gartman, in October 2003. A third video, also not obscene in the eyes of the jury, featured urination and defecation.

"The obscenity law is still mired in inconsistency," said Gartman's attorney Andrew Chatham. "It simply does not give clear directions as to what is allowed to be sold or not sold to consenting adults."

From Tim Wyatt, The Dallas Morning News, 3/14/06
And from Mark Kernes,, 3/13/06

The bold is my emphasis. If you still didn't get it, a couple of guys were found guilty of obscenity over a video of a nipple piercing. There were no sexual acts in the video. They were found NOT guilty of obscenity for a video full of sex acts containing peeing and pooping on someone as well as not guilty for a rape video. So a piercing is considered obscene but explicit sex acts involving urine and feces as well as rape are not. While I don't feel that either act is obscene, it worries me that THAT is where the line is being drawn.


Comments go here

And, in more pleasant news:

My day in brief

I had a quite nice day today, although I didn't get any of the work done that I was supposed to do today (although at least I did get ModBlog updated). Just played! Yesterday Jon put in the new BME server, and we're slowly moving bits over to it and testing them. So far ModBlog and BME/video have been moved. BME is next, but because it's so big and under so much load, we'll have to take the site down for a couple hours at least to do that.

“Improving Fucking Since 1994”

So yeah, there might be some disappearance of the site over the weekend, but we'll be able to post a notice on the front page explaining what's going on (and you'll be rewarded with an update when it returns). This doesn't affect IAM. Let's see… Also yesterday I tried to put together a roller-coaster model that Rachel got me, but this is as far as I got… the instructions don't match the pieces that are in the kit, so I haven't decided yet whether I'm giving up for now because it's too stressful building broken things.

But I think it's part of the fun… Time to get out the duct tape!

Phil and Nefarious and I went out to pick up some DVD movies I'd left with Badur before moving to Mexico, and then off to pick up some paint… I spend far, far more than I should have restocking my supplies, but I should be good for the next few. Maybe I should consider selling a few paintings to pay for the supplies… They really add up fast.

Anyway, to add a bit to the financial stress, and on the back home the current BME server croaked under the excessive load, so we headed down to the colo to reset things… It wasn't much more than pushing a power button, but I think I need something to relax me.

Oh wait, that's not as exciting as it first sounded.

Saira and Michael [update: and Badur and Tally] have just come over for a night of green beer (no joke, we really got food coloring) so I'm signing off for the evening I suppose. Oh, while we were picking up dinner supplies, we also grabbed a few new MegaBlocks… this thing took forever to put together.

But it's possible that while I'm pretty smart for a thirty-two year old, I'm kind of dumb for age eight.

Very punny

I was just zipping up the photos from yesterday from my camera for Badur…