Aaron Schwartz: "On February 21, 2003 I watched my first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (6x09). ... Since then, I have watched every aired episode of Buffy, spinoff Angel, and creator Joss Whedon�s other show, Firefly, from the beginning, in order."
May 30, 2003
May 29, 2003
I'm back from the soggy graduation proceedings in Providence wherein I saw many remarkable things. I saw a baccalaureate service held in the First Baptist Church in America that opened with the Muslim call to worship, featured a Taoist prayer and closed with Chinese dragon dancing. I ate a lobster omelet, heard a kickass song about seaweed and drank one of the best Chai teas I've ever had.
And got to see my brother graduate in a soaking wet cap and gown. Never one to miss an opportunity to exploit sibling embarrassment, there are naturally many pictures (in deference to my mother, the shots of his crackden dorm room have been withheld).
Posted at 23:12
May 24, 2003
My today's being scraped across America as I wing my way to Providence, RhodeEye for my brother's graduation. The last time I was there was during the weekend of my own graduation ... we took a family roadtrip up North to check out the campus. For some reason, it took 2 hours to find a place to eat lunch. I assume we'll be better informed this time.
Posted at 08:26
May 21, 2003
As I've not driven regularly in over 8 years, I'd forgotten a couple things about my driving habits. In particular, the fact that I sing along loudly with the car stereo and play a mean set of steering wheel drums. And nowadays, I'm using my iPod to pump out the jams so I've got 2500 of my favorite songs to belt out.
Incidentally, this device from Belkin is just great. It's an iPod charger that also has an amplified line out for use with cassette adapter. Perfect for giving you that extra jolt needed to hit the falsetto intro to New Order's "Temptation."
Posted at 22:39
May 18, 2003
TelevisionWithoutPity: "The 25th Amendment again. I feel like every show I watch is dealing with this theme. (Okay, they haven't really gotten into it on Trading Spaces.) It's just a big coincidence, right, that popular culture seems pretty taken with the idea of removing a sitting President from office for being unfit? Right?"
Posted at 22:55
I ended up hating on the first Matrix movie because everyone kept talking about how amazing it was from a metaphysical perspective. And the movie supported this kind of over-seriousness: "No one can be told what the Matrix is." Well, actually, you can.
It's for this reason that I was completely blown away by Matrix Reloaded. There's an NYT article today about Cornel West and his cameo in the movie. He's quoted as saying, "The second Matrix movie actually critiques the idea of the first. It's suspicious of salvation narratives. It's deeply anti-dogmatic."
I completely agree. Those who would try to sweep the sequel under the easy "brains in jars" philosophizing of the first are really missing out. Reloaded goes far beyond the original by building layers of myth around the central question of "What is the Matrix?" so that there is no easy, superficial answer.
All of which makes me wonder why the effects are all that's mentioned in every review I've read. I mean, it's got to be said that the effects are phenomenal. The chase sequence certainly makes the Coruscant chase of Episode II look like the unimportant cutscene it actually was.
But when I was leaving the theater all I could think about was the first time I saw Dune or 2001 and knowing that there was more going on than I could have possibly absorbed in the first viewing. It's science fiction at its best - creating a complex, complete otherworld and filling it with questions that extend beyond the plot. To call it a "popcorn movie" is like calling Blade Runner a stereotypical film noir.
Posted at 15:06
May 15, 2003
Saddam Hussein is/was a man.
All men are mortal.
Therefore, Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
In this NRO article, Jim Lacey tries to come up with a reason why we've been unable to find WMD in Iraq. Occram's razor be damned, Lacey says. It can't just be that there weren't weapons there.
Instead, he concludes, "Saddam wanted the program and was willing to endure crippling sanctions to have it. However, his henchmen were unable to deliver and, unwilling to be on the receiving end of Saddam's zero-defects program, they faked it."
So let me get this straight. First off, it was these folks on the right who kept trying to get me to understand that Saddam was a megalomaniacal dictator so evil that he might as well have been the love child of Stalin and Hitler. Now these same people can't possibly see why said megalomaniac would get pretty prickly on issues of sovereignty and forced inspection.
But the part about the WMD program being faked, well, that's just a new level of self-deceit. So, our intelligence is so bad that we can't tell the difference between a real threat and a staged one? If that's the case why should I ever believe you when you say that we must use force now in order to protect ourselves from the Big Bad?
But the biggest question of all is that what does this say about the ethicality of having invaded Iraq if, in fact, the WMD was a fake. The pro-war arugment has seemingly become that pre-emptive force is justified not only in the case of an actual threat but also in the case of one that ultimately turns out to be a fake.
In the name of efficiency, we've managed to remove the second step from the doctrine of Shoot First and Ask Questions Later.
Posted at 15:37
May 14, 2003
May 11, 2003
Proposition: The internet is amazing. I needed a place to get my smog checked and the Feeling Lucky hit for "smog check San Francisco" pointed me to the perfect place just 8 blocks away from my house.
What's hot is that the referring page is a personal account of smogcheckery, complete with hard-to-read font and layoff commentary. I've been connected to someone I'll probably never meet (and a great garage) by virtue of search.
Opposition: My blog is the first hit returned for a search on "rodent death."
Posted at 19:08
May 10, 2003
Most often, the quality of your seats at a baseball game makes for an easy 1-line conversation rather than a genuine debate. "Decent seats, huh?"
My $8 upper deck tickets at today's A's game were no exception. The angle made some foul balls seem fair, but the view was good enough to see Roger Clemens rack up career win 298 and Jorge Posada deposit a monster homerun into the left field bleachers.
Also, I got to witness the pride of the dad in front of me who found a triple decker peanut in his bag during the 3rd inning. I wasn't scoring the game or I would have made a special note.
Posted at 18:56
May 09, 2003
This weekend I'm going to be reunited with an old friend ... my mom's '89 Camry. It's being carted out here on an open-air car carrier (by way of LA and Fresno).
This is the car I learned how to drive in, the one I lost my mind in while listening to the Les Mis soundtrack on a family roadtrip to Colorado and the one I got my first ticket in when out after curfew at the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Now we'll be spending our mornings and evenings together on 101, hunting for parking in the Mission and taking new, Kansas-free road trips.
Posted at 15:58
May 05, 2003
At the last professional conference I attended, I was told that the only way to write software requirements was to analyze the root cause of the problem using a shipyard management tool. This seemed odd. Moreso, when it was revealed that the tool was called the Fishbone Diagram.
You gotta question any system that uses fish parts to divine knowledge.
Fortunately, this week I'm at the Adaptive Path conference where the second slide warned against the One True Way of design.
Posted at 21:54
May 02, 2003
Come on, Spring.
I know it was a dry winter and all, but this raining 3 times a day thing is preposterous. And you're such a tease. When it's not raining it's all blue skies and comfortable climes. In fact, usually it's like that when it's raining.
They have a saying for that type of behavior. The devil is beating his wife in hell with a skillet.
Not a pretty phrase, is it, Spring.
Get your deal together.
Posted at 14:36
May 01, 2003
There's a bogus story that the word posh is an acronym for Port Out Starboard Home. The idea being that luxury cabins should be in shade on a boat heading east in the morning and west at night.
It's not true. Well, the part about where the sun would be is true.
But since I take Caltrain south in the morning and north at night, I end up sitting on the starboard side for both legs to avoid the glare and better watch Dr. Strangelove on my laptop.
Sosh. That's what I am.
And sick of taking the stupid train.
Posted at 15:38