I guess I have been buying a lot of random stuff on Amazon.com, all the same:
I guess I have been buying a lot of random stuff on Amazon.com, all the same:
On my way home on Thursday, I stopped to check out a protest on Market Street. It has been a while, and people were gearing up to protest the President’s recently-proposed “troop surge”. I stopped to take a few pictures, and when I got home I spliced together a short video:
I received three movies today. I purchased each one because I enjoyed them each a great deal. They are epic films–two are over three hours long–and they’re all movies I watched alone in Walnut Creek after Yayoi left last year. So, they have an extra layer of special to me. Looking back, I would say that long, dramatic historical epics are great “breakup movies” to watch alone while contemplating life. Or, well, they worked for me.
As memory serves, the first movie that I saw was “Lawrence of Arabia” in which an eccentric, talented, idealistic, and iconoclastic young man with blond hair and dreamy blue eyes gets mixed up in the Arab revolt against British colonial rule. When you meet him as a young man in an office in the middle of the desert somewhere, he is explaining to his companion, in the third person, how boring his current job is . . . he extinguishes a match against his hand, just because, and when his friend hurts himself copying the move, and wants to know the trick, Lawrence explains “the trick is not to be bothered by the pain.” The movie is about three and a half hours long, which is insane, but then so is the subject matter, and three and a half hours is not so long to find yourself lost in the mystery of Arabia. I believe I watched this movie twice, and my description doesn’t do it justice.
The next is “Doctor Zhivago”, that movie we’ve all heard about but none of us has ever watched. Well, I watched it. I don’t remember it as well as Lawrence, but I do remember that this was another epic 1960’s film in which you could get lost in the lead actor’s face, his eyes. You again have the impression of a remarkable man in remarkable times, and the three and a half hours is spent guiding the protagonist through the vagaries of the Russian Revolution and World War II, ending up in this enchantingly weird “ice palace” toward the end. I look forward to an occasion to re-watch this . . .
. . . the third film–and there’s a good chance that you have never heard of it–is Zhang Yimou’s “To Live” . . . at a modest two hours and thirteen minutes, you witness the story of a guy whose wife leaves him because he won’t stop gambling, and he gambles everything away, and then he’s drafted into the war to fight the Japanese, then he finds himself fighting the Communists, then he finds the Communists have pretty much won, he makes his way home, is rejoined by his wife, and it turns out that having lost his material wealth is a good start for Communism . . . the film just barely starts there, and you travel through another decade or two of their life together under the various kinks of Chinese rule. In that it is an epic that brings you through WWII and a Communist revolution, this movie is a lot like Zhivago, but more focused on action and narrative than on the character of the protagonist. I think it is more approachable.
And, more precious. It is out of print and the DVD was over $50 on the Amazon.com Marketplace!
I am thinking I will have to have friends over some nights for epic movie watchin’. If you happen to be interested in getting in on a viewing, let me know, right?
Some notes I dropped on Yelp Talk:
In my marriage, all the income went into the Savings account.
We drew an equal allowance, transferred monthly to separate Checking accounts.
We shared expenses equally. We each wrote a check for half the rent, I covered utilities, she covered groceries.
The wife was a student, the husband a tech professional.
I figured over time the breadwinner status might change.
I still think this was an awesome system. :) Basically, you set the allowances such that the Savings should grow over time, and there’s a “buffer” in the Savings account so that short-term loans may be drawn as needed to cover overages. Both partners are financial equals, and earning your money is something done for the family unit.
My last employer was slow setting up the 401(k) so at the end of 2006, we enrolled in individual Roth IRAs, and rolled some of the Savings into the 2005 Retirement.
One “advantage” of the individual IRAs turned out to be that in dividing community property at separation, the “community property” of retirement savings was pretty much “done” . . . not sure how it works with 401(k)s.
Last, I recommend that once you guys are ready to marry or such, you start your new life together with new accounts, etc. In the unfortunate event that you need to calculate “community property” down the road, having accounts clearly understood CP versus pre-marriage, that’s helpful.
Recently noticed product at Andronico’s, hoity-toity supermarket for the monied class:
Scott’s Signature Series
Korean Style Barbecue Sauce
INGREDIENTS: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Purified Water, Soy Sauce (Water, Soy Protein, Salt) . . .
I like how every ingredient is Capitalized, that the principle ingredient is government-subsidized High Fructose Corn Syrup, and that it features both Purified Water and plain old non-purified Water.
I was reading through 13 Photographs that Changed the World which is a fascinating and wonderful read, like visiting a great museum exhibit from my computer chair, and I got to Gandhi and His Spinning Wheel and I was thinking “that iconic spinning wheel looks like the heart of the Indian flag.”
I researched a bit, and learned that the wheel at the center of the flag is the Ashoka Chakra the ancient Indian “Wheel of Life and Cosmic Order” . . . huh, the spinning wheel association seemed so poignant. But then when I read the Wikipedia page for the Ashoka Chakra, I learn:
The most visible use of the Ashoka Chakra today is at the center of the National flag of Republic of India (adopted on 22 July 1947), where it is rendered in a Navy-blue color on a White background, by replacing the symbol of Charkha (Spinning wheel) of the pre-independence versions of the flag.
One of Gandhi’s causes was to champion “home spun” cloth in favor of imported machined textiles, thus the iconic value of the spinning wheel as an instrument of independence.
From OutKast, “Happy Valentine’s Day”:
Got a sweet little darlin back in my corner
But lo I know I love her but act like I don’t want her
Surrounded by the lovely but yet feel like a loner
Could be an organ doner the way I give up my heart but
Never know because sheeit I never tell her
Ask me how I’m feeling I holler that its irrella
I don’t get myself caught up in the Jell-o jella
And pudding pops that other sops who call falling in Love but
For the record have you ever rode a horse
Likely you could send me to Pluto I said of course
But if you aint a sweety indeedy I won’t endorse
Han Solo til I’m hit by the bullet so may the Force
Be with you and I reach you when better time permits
For now show me samples examples why you’re the shit
But how am I to know with the profession that I’m in
And if you do not know me then how could you be my friend?
Happy Valentine’s Day, and remember: when arrows don’t penetrate, Cupid grabs the pistol!
The University of Illinois has at long last retired its
Mascot Honored Symbol.
That’s awesome! My Alma Mater made a significant contribution to the modern Internet, but culturally speaking, we are still dragging ourselves kicking and screaming into the latter half of the twentieth century, when
we the civilized world figured out that it was somewhat rude to use other peoples’ cultures to “honor” our sports rituals. Some of our fine White People took great offense when told that they must endure the shackles of political correctness. They responded that it was incorrect to call the Native American Mascot a Mascot, that the preferred nomenclature was that Chief Illiniwek is an Honored Symbol, following an Honorable Tradition, wherein the Illini people from whom our state took its name would be remembered by having a White Guy an Eagle Scout who is 1/8 Native American perform an exaggerated Lakota “war dance” during the half time performance at sports games. What better Honored Tradition could we possibly maintain for these people? (A Native American Studies Program or a Museum? Boring! You liberals love your museums and cultural programs–get down from your ivory towers and get with the team!)
The argument against retiring the
Hollow Hallowed Symbol is that a lot of alumni would get freaked out and stop contributing money to the campus. That always struck me as silly . . . but just to be sure, I have been stingily holding back from giving anything until we adopted a new mascot Honored Symbol. Right? If some alumni are going to stop giving when the Chief goes away, then other alumni ought to be waiting for the Chief to go away before they give.
Guess I get to pay up . . .
Dan Howard!! Put in a change of address!! (sunset / parkside)
hey dude, I am tired of having to take all your mail to the post office and doing the whole return to sender thing. you have not lived at this address in the 5 years that we have been here, wtf? who are you running from? we get cards from your relatives even, you could at least tell your family that you moved. we got a package for you the other day, and i am tempted to open it. what is it? i think its a vhs tape of something, is it child pornography? we even received your muni pass once. you paid for it, and had it sent here? what’s up, seriously? there are too many damn dan howards in the city for me to just start calling people, so if you are dan howard and you ever lived on –th ave, put in a change of address already.
In July I moved to San Francisco at xyzz –th Ave. But a few times I told people xxyz –th Ave. Well, for the past several months a neighbor on the next block has been receiving the occasional misdirected mail, and recently she got fed up and posted the above ad.
Within about two hours a friend forwarded the link to me, and I dropped off some address labels in exchange for a box of cherry cordials from my Grandma. :)
2014-09-05 Update: Revised my Stylish answer
2012-01-09 Update: Note that pimp-your-chrome no longer works due to new Gmail style . . .
2011-04-06 Update: Added some additional options . . .
So, I have mixed feelings about GMail, but it is mostly good enough. However, if you are a system administrator, you find that the ability to render plaintext messages in a monospace font is really really important. Messages like this can get very annoying:
It is pretty lame that after these few years, GMail still has no feature to set your preferred font. But that doesn’t have to stop you! These days (2011) there are a few ways to achieve a fixed-width font in Gmail:
My former employer is in the news.
It has just occurred to me that Mike McCue shares the same initials as Milo Minderbinder. At any rate, the phrase “everyone gets a share” echoes in my head, and I smile.
I make a very modest amount of money from this web site. Most revenue comes from Google AdSense. On a few pages I have added links to Amazon.com Associates. Recently, I noticed that I had made a very modest amount of revenue from Associates. Alas, it seems that I found a topic that people very much want to read about:
So, at first I think “gee, I am profiting from the desperate misery of others.” Then, I think a bit more. Education aint free, and my blog shares my own separation and (failed) approach toward marital reconciliation, which for me was a hard-won learning experience. If I may provide (pointers to) some hopefully useful information for the next people who find themselves in dire straights, then I am pleased to know it. Following my recommendation, they go and purchase a book that I have found useful, or they find some other book, and some cash goes back to the authors writing the books that are trying to help people . . . much of it goes to Amazon.com, and then I get a little cut for being a part of the chain.
If you are interested in a healthy diet, but have grown wary of the ever-changing advice of diet fads, and you appreciate an understanding of the food offered by the contemporary American industrial food system, then I heartily recommend a serving of Michael Pollan.
If you can afford a half hour for a healthy intellectual treat, then check out his article, “Unhappy Meals”, in the New York Times Magazine. If you prefer to indulge his prose for a longer, fuller understanding of the special challenges of America’s food culture, then you should definitely check out his novel, The Omnivore’s Dilemma.
For the less patient, or for those like me who like a handy reference, I’ll share a stripped-down version of his advice on eating well, adapted from the “Unhappy Meals” article, (more…)
So, assuming you are a SysAdmin, you really want to get a basic understanding of public key cryptography and the rest. But then, there’s a lot of stuff you need to learn and sometimes you just need to apply a patch, and would like some decent assurance that the patch hasn’t been compromised.
Today, I am patching–a few weeks too late–a FreeBSD system to reflect recent legislative changes to Daylight Saving Time. The procedure is very simple, and covered in FreeBSD Security Advisory FreeBSD-EN-07:04.zoneinfo. It starts:
a) Download the relevant patch from the location below, and verify the detached PGP signature using your PGP utility.
# fetch http://security.FreeBSD.org/patches/EN-07:04/zoneinfo.patch
# fetch http://security.FreeBSD.org/patches/EN-07:04/zoneinfo.patch.asc
Alas, here is a quick-and-dirty crib sheet for the “verify the detached PGP signature using your PGP utility” part: (more…)
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Arrr! . . . Avast!