Archive for August, 2003

Flipyawig review

Big up to Aaron for his recent review of Flipyawig. Here’s the sentence I’ll choose to quote: “… Flipyawig is a loving nostalgia piece to what could be considered the second golden-era of rap music.”

Weekend wrap-up

There was a good turnout for this weekend’s funeral for Aunt Gertrude. A lot of the family showed up, even those that had to drive long distances. Despite the circumstances, it was good to see them (though I’ll be seeing a lot of them soon at my cousin’s wedding). I was asked to be a pallbearer, which meant a lot. Thoughts and prayers continue to go out to Kim and Bob, who are going through more right now than anyone deserves to go through.

We came back home Saturday night , did some yard work and house cleaning Sunday morning, and napped much of the remainder of the day away (after I caught a matinee). And so begins another week.

In other news, I’ve been working on updating my modest home studio by moving to PC-based recording. With a new mixer, new mic, fancy schmancy sound card, and CD writer in hand, all I need now is the computer, which I ordered last week. The problem: I haven’t gotten an order confirmation (“24-48 hours,” they said) nor did I get a response to my letter asking them where my order confirmation was. C’mon, guys, I ordered from you because of the good customer service experience I had with you last year. Don’t let me down.

Also working out some issues with my web host. I may or may not be switching sometime in the next month.

A twist on the standard 5-questions…

The Rules

  1. Leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.
  2. I will respond; I’ll ask you five questions (note that I won’t be able to get you questions until Sunday).
  3. You’ll update your website with my five questions, and your five answers.
  4. You’ll include this explanation.
  5. You’ll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.

Dawn from a.lifeuncommon.org asked me:

  1. If you could be fruit in yogurt, would you be fruit on the bottom or fruit stirred and why? On the bottom, ’cause I always like to be the one stirring things up. Yogurt’s a good metaphor for life… things float to the bottom unless you shake things up every so often.
  2. Why did you go vegetarian? It was primarily an ethical decision I felt was right for me, with health reasons a close second. It was strictly a personal decision that I came to when the time was right for me. I don’t preach and get all self-righteous because I know it wouldn’t have done any good if someone had preached to me five years ago. For a really long and in-depth answer to this question, I’ll point you to my essay over on the Veg Blog titled “My Path to Vegetarianism“.
  3. You are married, when did you know she was the one? I don’t know if there was one moment, but rather a thought that became clearer and clearer the longer we were together.
  4. Listener or talker? Generally, a listener. It depends, though… if I’m chatting with a friend who’s more quiet than I am, I’ll talk until my throat’s raw.
  5. If you had no fears, what would you do? I’d love to feel the thrill of some of the more daring sports. If I had the guts, I’d also give everything up and move with my wife somewhere new and open up my ideal business.

Apparently, the First Amendment has scrolled off the Constitution

Save Brian

A high school student writes a story in Notepad. He distributes it to no one, and is just flexing his writing muscle. Another student finds it, because it’s dark and violent in nature, he turns it into the teacher who turns it into the principal who turns it into the authorities. The student is charged with “planning” an attack on the school and faces up to ten years in prison.

If this same student had walked up to the school with guns in hand, threatening individuals, he would have been charged with a misdemeanor and faced no more than six months in jail.

Do you see a problem with this?

Unfortunately, all this is happening to an unfortunate kid named Brian in Oklahoma who’s been blasted in the media with incorrect statements, unsubstantiated accusations, and deliberately sensational editing. It’s scary enough he can be charged with anything in this drastic overreaction, but being charged with a felony is beyond absurd. To top the insanity off, the short story was based on a file detailing evacuation procedures placed on the school’s computers by the administration.

I got to thinking about some of my own high school creative writing. I wrote a story once for a class that described how our principal actually lived in the walls of the school and was partially insane. It ended with him being caught by a student in the school after hours and the principal soiling himself. Would this story get me in trouble today for being threatening to the principal? Maybe. Fortunately, back then, I had a teacher that also didn’t care for the administration and thought my story was hysterical.

And what if school administrators had heard some of the lyrics I wrote in high school? Good Lord, I talked about castrating one person, attacking others, and worse. But I was just talking shit. I was probably the least threatening person in that school.

The point is, high school kids are dark. Teen angst is a real thing, and pretty much everyone goes through it. Writing is one of those ways of getting angry, occasionally violent thoughts out one’s head and onto paper, where they’re less likely to hurt someone. Just because someone’s a good writer and expresses themselves in a realistic way doesn’t mean they have any intention or ability to do what they’ve written about. Especially in Brian’s case, where he had no real disciplinary problems, no trouble at home, and didn’t have a single item that could have been used in terrorizing the school. It’s all a harsh overreaction that could ruin this kid’s life.

(via Moore’s Lore)

Little League much bigger than big leagues

Did anyone see the Little League World Series game last night between Saugus, MA and Richmond, TX? What a game… probably one of the most exciting nail-biters I’ve ever seen. With MA up 10-4 in the top of the last inning, TX scored two early in the inning and then another four with two outs to tie the game. The game went into extra innings. At the top of the first extra inning, TX scored three more, making it 13-10. It looked like the kids from Texas were going to get away with one heck of a comeback. But in the bottom of the inning, MA pulled out four more runs to win the game.

When was the last time pro ball was this exciting?

Remembering Aunt Gertrude

I got word the other night that my Great Aunt Gertrude passed away earlier in the week. It was one of those things where she’d been sick for quite a while, but she’ll still be missed.

On the rare occasions when she and I would see each other (usually at Thanksgiving or Christmas), we’d always discuss game shows, among other things. She explained to me the last time I saw her that game shows helped keep her mind sharp. She said that even if her body wasn’t physically strong, she wanted to keep mentally strong.

The last time I saw Aunt Gertrude was at Aunt Clara’s funeral, but we talked a number of times since. She was always interested in what I had to say and was a genuinely caring person.

I’ll miss you, Aunt Gertrude, my “pal.”

Ryan and Aunt Gertrude; Dec 26, 1991

Zombie simulation

Who would have ever thought that someone could combine the innate geekiness of Artificial Life and the fun of zombies? Well, someone has, and they’ve called it “Zombie Infection Simulation“.

Zombies are grey, move very slowly and change direction randomly and frequently unless they can see something moving in front of them, in which case they start walking toward it. After a while they get bored and wander randomly again.

If a zombie finds a human directly in front of it, it infects them; the human immediately becomes a zombie.

Humans are pink and run ten times as fast as zombies, occasionally changing direction at random. If they see a zombie directly in front of them, they turn around.

It’s mesmerizing, but also a thought-provoking exercise in demonstrating how quickly a virus can spread from one to many. Especially when the virus involves eating people’s brains and turning them into the undead.

(via Biz Stone)

A new week (and chapter) begins…

Friday was surprisingly stressful, especially for a day off that was supposed to be one of those “mental health days” we all occasionally need. Thanks to everyone who e-mailed to check in. I really appreciate it. Things’ll be OK, I’m pretty sure.

Huyen and I spent a relaxing weekend at her dad’s place on Smith Mountain Lake, boating, swimming, tubing, golfing off of the deck, and go-karting. Unfortunately, I’m exhausted after it all and by 10 this morning I was ready for a nap. Thank goodness we have no major plans for next weekend.

Anyone want to open a diner with me and help us move to a cabin in the woods? That’s been sounding pretty good recently.

The business of business

Boy, did I ever pick a day to take off from work.

Apparently things around the office today are… shall we say… morose? I probably shouldn’t go into much detail, but it’ll suffice to say that things have been shaken up, and not in a good way. I’d love to expand on that, but I’m going to restrain myself from doing so here… if you’re interested, drop me an e-mail.

Erika Sifrit sentenced to life + 20

Erika Sifrit sentenced to life plus 20 years

“Sifrit faced a maximum penalty of life plus 53 years for her crimes … [she] avoided the death penalty as a result of a deal her lawyers, Arcangelo M. Tuminelli and Thomas R. Ceraso, made with prosecutors … The defense attorneys said in June they would likely appeal the murder verdicts, citing a separate agreement Erika Sifrit made with prosecutors early on to cooperate in exchange for avoiding homicide charges. That agreement was thrown out after prosecutors said she had lied to them about some details of the crimes.”