Sunday, April 30, 2006

between the moon and the tide

i added an update to the blog on the side panel. you can now view a feed from of the most recent news stories i've "dugg." this is for anyone who wants to see what stories i'm interested in, and for my own use, since a lot of what i highlight are things i see at work and want to go back and read thoroughly later.

how ironic is it that the spell check on my blog doesn't know the word "blog"?

i have a couple of music reviews i thought i would share, with several more when i have time.
Tool's 10,000 Days was the first quality album i'd heard from 2006. sure, it's not completely unique from the other albums they have put out. you can certainly tell that it's a Tool album, but that's not a bad thing. the cd is unique enough that it doesn't sound like a regurgitation of what they've done before (and i would hope not, seeing as their last release was five years ago). there's a lot of really good songs on it, and it's definitely better than most albums being put out right now. it can't quite stand up to Aenima or Lateralus, but its a solid effort nonetheless.

one album i was happily surprised to hear was David Gilmour's album On
An Island. i never really got into most of his solo stuff, and considering this was his first studio effort in twelve years, i didn't care too much about hearing it. but it's really a good album. the whole mood is very mellow and peaceful, which i guess is keeping with the setting of being on a beach or island at sunset. that's the feel i get from the album. Gilmour's guitar playing is still great. it's a nice mix of rock, jazz, and lounge-type music. the guitar on one song even reminds of Pink Floyd's Piper At the Gates of Dawn. its not something i could listen to when i'm cruising around on a sunny spring afternoon, but it's perfect for a calm atmosphere.

i plan on having some more reviews from Neil Young, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and some others in the next day or two.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

ten thousand days in the fire

so according to another article i saw on Digg, the proposed 10 year maximum penalty for piracy proposed in that new piece of legislation would make the penalty for copying a movie or downloading a cd worse than pedophilia or assault:

Although sentencing varies in the US, the new law does send a very strange message as to what the government considers 'bad' in the 21st century.

For example assaulting a police officer will get you five years, downloading child porn will get you seven years, assaulting without a weapon will get you ten years and aggravated assault six years.

So in other words if you copy a Disney CD and sell it you will be in the same league as a paedophile who is distributing pictures of sexual attacks on children.

If you copy Craig David's CD you get ten years, but if you punch him in the face and pummel him into a seven day coma you will only get six. You are more likely to get the respect of the prison population with your six year sentence as well.

yeah i would say that our priorities for punishing crime are slightly off-base.

Monday, April 24, 2006

prying open my third eye

my new e-machine monitor is up and running, thanks to elly's family. it was good to see elly and tim last week; they were in for elly's sister's wedding. i went out to eat with tim and a couple guys from faith fellowship church on wednesday, which was a nice distraction from my bad day. we hung out with the family on thursday, and i emerged victorious after another bitter match of apples to apples. that game is always one huge argument waiting to happen. i can only imagine what would happen if rob and i played that together. blood would be shed, that's for certain.

middle to late may is now the new deadline work has announced for letting everyone know about future staffing (i.e. letting us know when we'll be laid off). we were supposed to know by next week, but once again they fail to just be straight-up with us. jen told me that whether or not someone gets severance pay depends on whether they've been actively looking for other jobs within the company. the severely drops my hopes of getting severance since #1 - i'm pretty sure the majority of jobs open within the company are either full time or outside the realm of possibilities for me, and #2 - i really don't think i have any desire to work another job in the company anyway. so i've decided i need to just start looking for another job and hopefully quit as soon as possible.

i saw an alarming article on today, about a new digital copyright bill being proposed in congress. in my opinion, it's a scary thought. the whole thing reeks of lobbyists from the likes of the RIAA sending their lackeys to washington and then scaring the politicians with buzzwords like "piracy" and "terrorism". there's nothing quite as wonderful as having politicans make decisions over issues they are entirely ignorant about. i would hope that if congressmen really understood what a "rootkit" was, they wouldn't be pushing legislation that would make removing it illegal. here's a few highlights from the article on the proposed legislation:

It also represents a political setback for critics of expanding copyright law, who have been backing federal legislation that veers in the opposite direction and permits bypassing copy protection for "fair use" purposes. That bill--introduced in 2002 by Rep. Rick Boucher, a Virginia Democrat--has been bottled up in a subcommittee ever since.
Jessica Litman
, who teaches copyright law at Wayne State University, views the DMCA expansion as more than just a minor change. "If Sony had decided to stand on its rights and either McAfee or Norton Antivirus had tried to remove the rootkit from my hard drive, we'd all be violating this expanded definition," Litman said.
The proposed law scheduled to be introduced by Rep. Smith also does the following:

• Permits wiretaps in investigations of copyright crimes, trade secret theft and economic espionage. It would establish a new copyright unit inside the FBI and budgets $20 million on topics including creating "advanced tools of forensic science to investigate" copyright crimes.

• Amends existing law to permit criminal enforcement of copyright violations even if the work was not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.

• Boosts criminal penalties for copyright infringement originally created by the No Electronic Theft Act of 1997 from five years to 10 years (and 10 years to 20 years for subsequent offenses). The NET Act targets noncommercial piracy including posting copyrighted photos, videos or news articles on a Web site if the value exceeds $1,000.

• Creates civil asset forfeiture penalties for anything used in copyright piracy. Computers or other equipment seized must be "destroyed" or otherwise disposed of, for instance at a government auction. Criminal asset forfeiture will be done following the rules established by federal drug laws.

• Says copyright holders can impound "records documenting the manufacture, sale or receipt of items involved in" infringements.

Jason Schultz, a staff attorney at the digital-rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says the recording industry would be delighted to have the right to impound records. In a piracy lawsuit, "they want server logs," Schultz said. "They want to know every single person who's ever downloaded (certain files)--their IP addresses, everything."

wire-tapping over the suspicion of something like downloading an mp3 illegally? making it illegal to remove unwanted third-party software from your own personal, private property? not being allowed to copy cds on you purchased with your hard earned money onto the computer you also purchased with your hard earned money? this bill sounds as american as communism. come on republicans and bush administration, you're striking out on this one. get out of bed with the music and movie industries already, and pass something to defend our rights.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

ride the spiral to the end

and now my monitor died. i'd been expecting this to happen eventually. it had been making these weird crackling noises at times, and the screen would flicker every so often. then today it suddenly made this horrible high-pitched screeching noise and then the screen flickered out and wouldn't come back on. so i'm in the market for a new monitor now.

jess is right, maybe i shouldn't go outside today. at this rate i'll get struck by a meteor or random bolt of lightning on a sunny afternoon.

the end of all your dreams

nothing like going out to your car in the morning to head to work, only to find that some moron smashed your car windshield. awesome.

Monday, April 17, 2006

and it keeps repeating

my updating has become infrequent again. i'm spending most of my time with school and work, which also means i don't have much else to talk about besides that. school still keeps me busy, mainly from that one class. work has been slow. we haven't been getting many calls, and i'm thinking that we have to be getting notice soon on when they're letting us go.

ufc 59 saturday night had some good fights, but unfortunately the two biggest matches were a little disappointing. tito ortiz vs. forrest griffin ended up being a really good fight; at first it looked like it was going to be awful as tito spent most of the first round raining elbows down on forrest's face. but forrest somehow survived that and shook off all the rest of tito's takedowns until the very end of the last round. forrest wailed on tito the second round, and the last was split pretty evenly. sadly tito's last takedown at the end probably secured the win for him, as he one by split decision from the judges. forrest griffin really is crazy, and is rapidly becoming another one of my favorite fighters.

andrei arlovski, another favorite of mine, lost his heavyweight title to tim sylvia in the main event. the fight itself was pretty disappoint; i was hoping it would at least last longer than it did. they both came out swinging. arlovski landed a killer hit that knocked sylvia down, but amazingly not out. shortly after that sylvia landed a monster punch of his own on arlovski's jaw, which sent him to the mat. sylvia pounced on him until the referee stopped the fight. it was a sad way to see arlovski lose. but congratulations to sylvia. i don't hate him like i do tito ortiz.

it was nice to see evan tanner and jeff monson get wins. that parisyan looks impressive too, i'd like to see more of him in the future. i hope they come up with a good fight card for ufc 60, because the matt hughes vs. royce gracie headlining match isn't really interesting to me.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

now i'm bored and old

we are only a week into spring quarter, and i already know it is going to be my hardest quarter yet, mainly because of just one class. it's an introduction to the study of history and one of the core classes for history majors. the basic work load has us reading three 300+ page books in a week or two, with some form of homework due every week (including three 2,000 word reviews on those books, and a ten page paper at the end). the massive amounts of reading is what makes this course so impossible. i just don't have the time, with other classes and 22 hours of work a week.

my other classes make up about 5% of the rest of my workload for this quarter. the journalism class i'm taking has homework most weeks, but the load isn't too bad. films & history of wwII is great, we spend the class listening to him lecture and watching old propaganda movies. there's no books at all, and no homework to speak of. history of rock n roll just has a minimal amount of reading required, and the class is 2 1/2 hours of entertainment. so basically it's just history 300 that's going to kill me. that and the journalism course, the two classes with homework, also fall on wednesday, which is my crazy-busy day: work 8:45-2:15 (same work schedule on monday, thursday and friday too), history 300 from 3-5:20, then journalism from 6:30-9.

so... i've decided i'm giving up video games for the rest of the month. i wasted way too much time yesterday and lost too much sleep playing day of defeat: source and sid meier's alpha centauri (which i pointed out to austin ironically abbreviates to form the word "smac," which is an accurate testament to addictiveness of most sid meier games). i originally was going to give up video games for the whole quarter, but figured that was much too unrealistic. i'll take this one step at a time. the sole exception i'm making is if i'm already hanging out with people, and they want to play x-box or 64. other than that, i can't afford to waste anymore time. i can't afford to spend anymore time writing this post now either...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

like the cancer in your system

you should all go donate to jess' relay for life team. all donations need to be in by friday, so go do it today. you don't want to look like a cancer lover for not donating like austin lubbers (yeah that's right, mr. "no thanks" response to a donation request). just click on the link, search for "jessica alexander" under participant's name, and make your donation. any amount helps.

edit: ok, this link should take you right to her team page to donate. if not, follow the steps above to get to her page.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

written on the palm of my hands

at work this monday everyone becomes a "universal" agent. that means instead of taking calls just on laundry and dish products, i'm going to be taking calls on everything. diapers, shampoo, toothpaste, medicine, make-up, you name it. with a handful of exceptions for certain brands, if we make it i have to answer calls on it. and with the exception of one hour of training on certain health care products, we've had no formal training. the best they've done to prepare us is email out some powerpoint presentations on some of the products (most of which don't make a lot of sense if there's no one to explain them) and told us to try and look through the files on the computer when we have time between calls to teach ourselves. except that there's such a crazy number of products, it's impossible to learn all about them. i don't even know all of the different brands i'm taking calls on, let alone know about all the products each brand has. i counted forty different types of conditioners being made, and that's from just one of our hair care brands. i basically feel like they're just throwing us to the wolves on this. we'll see how this next week goes...