“Dean Clark”

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2003/11/10/dean-clark/

So, last night I figured it out. If Dean and Kerry are the front-runners, at least for me, then you’d balance the ticket with one of the pretty Southerners who are running for Vice President. Since Kerry’s a veteran, and not all that handsome, he gets Edwards, who is pretty enough to be in a girly magazine and can woo women with his Southern drawl. Howard Dean needs Wesley Clark as his wingman. A southerner and a general.

Which leaves me admitting that Kerry-Edwards is the more viable campaign, because Dean and Clark are both pale, white-haired stiffs. But maybe the old folks would feel nostalgic and vote for them anyway because “Dean Clark” sounds like one of those ancient old movie stars. But then John Kerry looks like one of those ancient old movie stars, preserved to the modern day. I don’t know.

As long as we don’t get another four years of George.

How’s this for in-depth political analysis?

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The Transporter

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2003/11/10/the-transporter/

Vern, Richard, Julia and I went out to Old Orchard to see the third Matrix movie on Friday. I don’t think any of us really wanted to watch it, so much as we are all geeks and have to catch the latest installment of geek canon. I could be wrong, though. I was fairly entertaining. It moved better than the last movie, I think, which was all-virtual-kung-fu-all-the-time, but it sure had a bit of drag to it. Julia put it best during a death scene that was drawn out for way too long with horrible, horrible, lame, crappy, formula dialog, by calling out “Oh just die already!”

Julia is a high-strung Asian-American lady, who found the preview for “Last Samurai” where Tom Cruise goes to Japan and shows them how to fight, and of course gets some nooky along the way, to be just way too awful. And I explained that, well, he’s in Japan, so the action scenes are going to be more exotic and interesting, and he’s in Japan, so the love interest is going to be Japanese, and don’t we all know that stuff is sellin’ (out?)

But then Sunday rolls around, and I’m watchin’ HBO, and I stay tuned for “The Transporter” because it beats getting out of the chair. Oh my … I had to e-mail Julia, Richard and Vern:


i just saw a movie that would make julia scream, and i just had to share.

the transporter was made in association with canal plus. of course, everyone speaks english. it is about an american man, a soft-spoken, hard-working veteran who knows fast cars, working as a driver for shady types in the south of france. the local detective has his suspicions, but they are buddies. oh, and it turns out he is a pro in hand-to-hand combat.

ooh la la.

but one day he violates one of his own rules. he notices the “package” he is transporting moves. it turns out to be a woman. a beautiful chinese woman who spends the first half of the movie in bondage.

but after the guys figure out that he looked at the package, they blow up his car. he goes back and kicks their asses and steals another car and finds the woman, tied to an office chair, in the back of the car.

they go back to his place, she makes breakfast, the bad guys blow up his house, they go scuba diving from his personal blue grotto and steal some clothes after she offers herself to him in gratitude (i shit you not, and he has to think about it, at first, of course, before he wraps his mouth around hers.) uhmmm, and then there’s a lot of action and violence and action and violence and they meet her dad, who’s a real asshole, that she is trying to rebel against, but her dad doesn’t approve that she’s falling for a low-life american white boy, and then there’s some more action and fighting and violence and action and a hijacked airplane and a final big scene and then they open up the trucks they’ve been race-driving for the past twenty-minutes to rescue the 400 chinese migrants who have been in a pair of shipping containers for the long boat ride over from china.

I mean, I can kind of sympathize with a movie that very obviously tries to appeal to various elements of fantasy that are marketable these days. I mean, it is Sunday night on HBO so some implausible “soft porn” is perfectly acceptable, but then to try and justify it by putting Chinese folks in containers, like its some sort of expose of contemporary geopolitical concerns … I mean, that’s just gratuitous.

Which means that the movie has a little something to offend as many diverse sensibilities as possible. And that’s no small feat. Bravo!


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Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2003/11/11/contingencies/

Exactly two months of unemployment left.

If I’m still collecting unemployment December 10, I’m going to start chasing the local restaurants around for a job. December may not be best time for restaurants, though I could be wrong, but there should also be some New Years / Holiday turn-over to help me slip in to the sector.

A long, strange trip indeed.

Meanwhile, dev.toldme.com now has a CVS repository, and a feed search interface. So, it is coming along, but still has no recommendations, and lots of things I don’t like and want to change around, and lots of clean-up, and some serious work to do on performance and scalability.

I need to share some pictures here. If you’d like to hasten this at all, nag me via e-mail.



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Technical, Technology

Frankenstein’s Laptop

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2003/11/14/frankensteins-laptop/

I’ve spent a little too much time hacking on my laptop lately. And by hacking, I mean hardware, and by hardware hacking, I mean an iron file, wire cutters, trimming off chunks of plastic, and of course carpet tape, electrical tape and duct tape, all in an effort to install an internal keyboard.

You see a good while back, the keyboad controller in my laptop started flaking out. So, I removed the internal keyboard and have been using external devices. One external device is a compact keyboard that fits very well in the space the old internal keyboard used to occupy, so I’d pack that along with the laptop whenever I wanted to go portable. But now I’d like to roam about the house with wireless, without having to drag a seperate keyboard around.

So, I liberated the mini keyboard from its plastic case and plopped it in the hole in my laptop, which it fits pretty well except it has a little printed circuit board connected to it by a couple of ribbon cables … and I really couldn’t fit that IN the laptop anywhere. Well, it sort of crammed underneath the keyboard fairly well. Also, the plastic from the laptop case chewed into the function keys, so, I trimmed back the laptop case somewhat and filed the plastic edges of the keyboard down a bit, but I still couldn’t get the thing in there with the circuit board tucked underneath. Too springy. Hrmmm.

So I puzzled and pondered and hit on snaking the ribbon cables underneath the LCD hinge and mounting the circuit board on top of the computer. Ugly, sure, but it worked! I wrapped the circuit board in a trimmed plastic baggie, and used electrical tape to mount it on top. Mmmm, not quite — the electrical tape, while black, like the laptop, is just a little too weak to keep the thing on. So, today I upgraded to good old-fashioned silver duct tape, reinforced with carpet tape to fasten the back of the circuit board to the surface. And after much dicking around, I was able to trim the three foot cord down to about four inches, that comes out of the back of the LCD and snakes around the corner and plugs in to the PS/2 port.

Much more portable, so now I can wander off to the living room and sit back in the recliner and type, as I’m doing now.

If only I were doing something useful with my little Frankenstein’s monster CPU buddy.


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Bureaucratic Mysteries

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2003/11/19/bureaucratic-mysteries/

I received a credit card in the mail today, which is kind of interesting because I haven’t applied for any credit cards lately. It was from Chase. I used to have a Chase credit card, which I layed off as soon I was able to pay off the balance that I had transferred to it to reduce my interest expenses. After puzzling over the enclosed literature, I determined that they were sending me a replacement credit card. Since MBNA yanked my Linux Fund MasterCard, because I’m a dirt broke po’ gangsta with no credit, I figured this $1,500 credit limit might be worth keeping anyway. I called them up to get the story straight that it just plain slipped their mind that I’d ever cancelled anything, and make sure they weren’t going to charge me any annual fees, then I called them again so I could pull the sticker off the front of the card and now I’m qualified to float an extra $1,500 short-term debt at 6.99% APR.

So I went downtown to file some paperwork for Mom to get the title to her old van which, along with Grandpa’s old van and Papa’s old pickup truck, have been rusting away in our backyard for many a year now. Once we get the title we can give it and the other rusting hulks in the backyard to charity, and we’ll look a little less like rednecks. Unfortunately, Ford still has the lien registered on the vehicle, so Mom gets to call them and they get to fax something over to staple to the application which we mail to Springfield with $60. When I brought the paperwork back, Mom sighed that she’d been through this before.

But I was able to feel her pain, because I had gone to get my driver’s license. Somewhere is my Social Security card, but it wasn’t on me, so I ran across the street through City Hall, where I stopped to register to vote, then go to the Eugene “Gene” Cook County Recorder of Deeds Office, and around the corner and down the stairs and down the hall to the microfilm archives section, where they pulled my DD 214s. What’s a DD 214, my civilian readers ask? DD 214 is the form issued by the Defense Department describing your discharge from military service. For $1.25, a stamped copy of your DD 214 can be retrieved, and constitute a bulky proof of your Social Security number.

So, I got through the DMV, and the lady asked for $10, and then her computer told her something, so she talked to her computer some more, and it told her that I still had something I need to clear up with the State of California. I could hear Arnold in my head grunting like a bull in heat “Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah it’s naht a toomah!!” As if I haven’t spent enough time on this crap. So, I’ll call them again tomorrow, several times, until I get through, without getting dropped, to find out have they still mysteriously not received the abstract that Angel mailed off to them weeks ago, or have they found a new reason to hate me. I wish I could terminate this issue already.

I spent $5 of my $10 on a slice of sausage pizza at S’barros. They gave me two for one, I think because they were closing, so I sprung for a pop to wash it down, else I’d have paid a bit less.


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Timothy Levitch: Monologue from “Waking Life”

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2003/11/19/timothy-levitch-waking-life/

Timothy “Speed” Levitch is a professional Cruiser in the midst of a torrid love affair with New York City. His work as a tour guide has been documented in a documentary titled “The Cruise”.

On this bridge, Lorca warns: life is not a dream.
Beware, and beware, and beware!

And so many think because then happened, now isn’t.

But didn’t I mention, the on-going WOW is happening, right now!

We are all co-authors of this dancing exuberance, where even our inabilities are having a roast! We are the authors of ourselves, co-authoring a gigantic Dostoevsky novel starring clowns!

This entire thing we’re involved with called the world, is an opportunity to exhibit how exciting alienation can be.

Life is a matter of a miracle, that is collected over time by moments flabbergasted to be in each others’ presence.

The world is an exam, to see if we can rise into the direct experiences. Our eyesight is here as a test to see if we can see beyond it, matter is here as a test for our curiosity, doubt is here as an exam for our vitality.

Thomas Mann wrote that he would rather participate in life than write a hundred stories. Giacometti was once run down by a car, and he recalled falling in to a lucid faint, a sudden exhilaration, as he realized at last, something was happening to him.

An assumption develops that you can not understand life and live life simultaneously. I do not agree entirely, which is to say I do not exactly disagree. I would say, that life understood is life lived. But the paradoxes bug me. And I can learn to love, and make love to the paradoxes that bug me. And on really romantic evenings of Self, I go salsa dancing with my confusion.

Before you drift off, don’t forget, which is to say remember. Because remembering is so much more a psychotic activity than forgetting. Lorca, in that same poem, said that the iguana will bite those who do not dream. And, as one realizes, that one is a dream-figure in another person’s dream: that is self-awareness!

Emphasis added by dannyman, per the rhetorical philosophy articulated in “Speedology: Speed on New York on Speed”

See also: Jimmy’s Chicken Shack



Thank You Magic Civil Servant Supervisor Lady!

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2003/11/19/thank-you-magic-civil-servant-supervisor-lady/

So, I called California’s DMV and I got through on the second call. I navigated through the phone tree, and spoke with a woman who was exceedingly friendly. She confirmed that I’m still blocked by Palo Alto, there was nothing she could do, but she managed to fill me in on the details of the incident. It was 9/8/01. You don’t remember? Well, that’s over two years ago … wait … that’s near 9/11/01, which was a few days after I crashed my car. Apparently, in the haze of frustration with being broke, unemployed, and car-less I was supposed to go to court to explain myself for driving in to the poorly-lit obstacle upon which I crashed my car. Ah! So, I’m being haunted by the ghost of one of the darker weeks of my life! So be it!

So, I called up Palo Alto and after a few years on hold got to spoke to a public servant who was moved from indifference to compassion, because after all the abstract was mailed to DMV a month ago, and it got lost in a purple haze somewhere, there’s nothing to be done, but send them another abstract, which means another $12 fee, via certified check, which itself costs $5, or running a friend around again …

… so she gave me the phone number of the supervisor, and told me to call her after 2PM CST, when she would be back from lunch. If anyone could do anything, this lady had the power to print out a copy of the abstract and fax it to DMV directly. I’ve just gotten off the phone with the woman who has the magical power to print out a document and put it in the fax machine. She told me I should contact the DMV in another week’s time and see if they had managed to receive and process her facsimile. Huzzah! Gratitude! Thank You Magic Civil Servant Supervisor Lady!

In other news, I received a package in the mail today. Mom’s mouse pad had turned in to the skank, so last time I ordered prints, I ordered a custom mouse pad with a picture of Madeline, Mom’s cat, on it. I threw out the scummy old pad, and slipped in the new one, on the idea that she’ll get a kick out of it when she gets home.

I also have a fairly promising lead for a job that sounds pretty cool, thanks to good old-fashioned good will from good old-fashioned networking with an old colleague. I shant elaborate on that just yet, so as to avoid jinxing anything. There’s been a bit of that going on this year.

Oh, I have a tip for those who are calling somewhere with a phone tree and they’ll be waiting on hold. Of course, you’ve got a note pad in front of you for such calls, right? Well, first thing you put on that note pad is the number you are dialing. Then you leave space just below that to jot down what numbers you press to get through the phone tree. That way, if you get tired of holding, or disconnected, or have to call them back, you can get through the tree quicker without listening to a bunch of boring, long-ass recordings. The Palo Alto Courthouse is especially annoying, because before they tell you the numbers, there’s this long spiel about what sort of cases they handle in what local municipalities. I can feel my life force being shredded slowly and painfully whenever I have to sit through that just to hit another damn number so I can listen to the next long informational recording, and so on and so forth in hopes that some day I will have the great privilege to wait on hold to speak to a human being. Whew.

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Politics, Technology

Worth a Chuckle

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2003/11/25/worth-a-chuckle/

From an item in The Register, on Dell’s efforts to off-shore tech-support calls to India:

Customers had complained of “thick foreign accents” and “scripted” exchanges – although this proved to be a winning combination for Arnold Schwarzenegger in his successful bid to become California’s gropenführer last month.


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