another enjoyable evening at chumleighland

101030 monster mash posterso ¾ of Snake Suspenderz went out to Cholmondleigh-land (his actual site is here, but he’s got some sort of infernal device on his site that keeps crashing my new version of firefox – konqueror does okay, however, which makes me wonder what is really the problem). all in all, a quite enjoyable evening, although the hippie ineptitude factor seemed to be working overtime: we were consistently running late, and it wasn’t until 10:00 or so that we managed to get the live show over and start on the films. i managed to be able to break moe away from her homework and brought her along as well, which made the evening all the more enjoyable. we were joined on stage by the inimitable master payne and, of course, the reverend himself, although he didn’t “ascend a stairway of machetes, barefoot” because somebody ripped off all his machetes, so instead he walked a pathway of broken glass, barefoot. since the last time i was there, he has actually finished the rail-pup (a self-propelled closed-circut railway) which was even more fun in the dark – you’d be barreling along blindly, cranking to beat the band, and the track would suddenly curve and you’d be riding on two wheels trying not to fall over… not like the last time i was there, when the track wasn’t finished yet, and if you didn’t watch where you were going, you’d plunge off the end of the track into the undergrowth…

chumleigh and i have been doing what we do, more or less, for 35 years or so: in 1978 i was playing with a dixieland band, and we were playing for the last official “Fat Tuesday” celebration in seattle. unbeknownst to us (at the time), there had been a major riot in pioneer square the night before, so there were mounted police in riot gear everywhere, and most everyone else was sticking to the edges of pioneer square, and acting very dodgy, and here we were, this small band of incredibly young musicians playing happy music in the square, very surreal. then this guy came up to us and introduced himself as reverend chumleigh, and wondered if we had a job or worked anywhere, and offered us a job playing at the alligator palace in la conner. i was the only person that had graduated from high school at the time, but i didn’t know where la conner was, and ended up in bellingham. i didn’t actually meet him again until much, much later, in 2008. in the mean time, i worked as a fish packer, a migrant farm worker, a typesetter, spent two years in a tech school, and then worked as a musical instrument repair technician, as a typesetter (again) and as a computer geek before i had a brain injury and realised that what i really wanted to be doing all along was music, whereas chumleigh was playing with the flying karamazov brothers, being involved with the beginnings of the oregon country fair, and building a reputation as one of the biggest names in vaudeville…

definitely makes me wonder what would have happened to me if i had known where la conner was, back in ’78…

ETA: in poking around, looking for links to the alligator palace, i found this article from Frog Hospital, about fishtown, a place that i visited in the early 1980s, and another article, about robert sund, whose cabin i stayed in the first time i visited fishtown… which, while it doesn’t have much about chumleigh, brings back a whole bunch of memories…

spam!!!

i’ve been getting A LOT of spam from, or by way of russia and china recently, and in my normal news perusing, i discovered that the guy who is responsible for the “canadian pharmacy” spam that you have, no doubt, seen in your own inbox – who is really a russian, and only nominally connected to any “canadian” pharmacies – has recently been arrested for operating a business without registration, but what i notice even more in this particular article is the apparent fact that spam is not illegal in russia… which would explain a lot.

this brings up a possibility that i have considered for a long time, which is to completely block all email from russia, and/or china. i have known, more or less, ever since about 1998 that it was possible to block people from sending you email from certain IP addresses, and i was vaguely aware that different regions can be identified from the first couple of IP address blocks, but i’ve never been exactly sure of how. i’ve been even less sure (although i’m pretty sure i knew at one time, having worked as a tester for a company that makes email server software) how to drop incoming email messages from a blocked IP address range with no response – i.e. if you’re in that IP address range and you send me an email, the email message just “disappears” with no reason given, but – and this the important part – i’m about 99.8% certain that it can be done fairly easily.

anybody who has ideas about how to do this should get in touch with me. i think it’s time to block email access from russia and china. the only email i get from those two countries are spam messages or malware, and it’s time to take action.

if it works as easily as i believe it will, i’m also thinking of blocking email access from africa – yes, the entire continent – as well.

ETA: something along this line is what i’m thinking of.

getting things done

today i went to somebody’s house in kent to drop off some coaxial cable, then i went to firwood, a suburb to the south of tacoma, to get parrot food, then i went through puyallup to milton, where i picked up an order for busines cards from a client, then i went into federal way to go to costco for groceries and gas before completing the grand circut home. once home, i prepared the artwork for the business card, and placed the order at the printers, did the laundry, and took out the trash.

i’ve got to take photos, and paste up a new page of printing examples for the Hybrid Elephant web site. i’ve got to figure out how to make, and then implement an updateable calendar for the BSSB web site.

i’ve mentioned my aged, brain-injured client in the past. this time he had me come over because, he admitted when i got there, he “got mad” at his computer, recently, and started randomly right- and left-clicking his mouse in an attempt to get it to do something (he never did tell me exactly what). the big result, which i’m still not exactly sure how he pulled it off, was that instead of kubuntu 9.whatever that i had installed for him, he now has a fresh, clean installation of kubuntu 10.04… and a whole bunch of “panels”, which are the linux equivalent of what, on windows, is called the “task bar”, and of which you can make as many as you want, that all do different things if you’re so inclined.

my client knows nothing about how all of the panels got there, he said that he was trying to get a popup window to go away. he did have “knotes” running, which makes popup “sticky notes” on the screen, and he had several dozen notes containing nothing but a date, that were all minimised.

i was a little taken aback that he had apparently successfully upgraded the system, but if nothing else, it’s a testament to how easy linux is to upgrade. once i got him back to a reasonable number (which, in his case, is one) of panels, deleted and removed the “popup” notes, and the KDE “desktop sharing” application, which had apparently been installed with the upgrade, and had him up and running again in about 20 minutes. i didn’t actually lock the panel – which would prevent him from “getting mad at the computer” and randomly changing things, and which i could have done fairly easily – because i don’t want to limit his exploration of the computer. if he’s aware of the fact that “getting mad” at the computer doesn’t automatically ruin the computer, my guess is that he’ll be a lot more willing to “poke around” the computer without getting mad…

40 years of inspiration

everybody is jumping on the bandwagon, which is normally something that causes me to examine my preferance towards something a lot more closely, but in this case, i think it is justified: doonesbury’s 40th anniversary.Doonesburythis was one of the first appearances of a character that i haven’t seen in a loooong time, named Bernie. i don’t know what ever happened to him, and as far as i can tell, there isn’t any mention of him at Slate (which is what you get if you type in www dot doonesbury dot com), but Bernie has been an example of what i wanted my life to be like ever since i first encountered him.

mark slackmeyer and i had a rocky relationship at first. when he appeared on the scene, i was around 10 years old, and i was intent on not becoming one of those long-haired drug-taking hippie-radicals that were all the rage in the 70s… but then, a few years later, i went to college and my parents rented out my room, which meant that, when i came home between sessions, i had to sleep in the garage – mark slackmeyer spent at least one summer in his parents’ garage, for similar reasons. and as i got a couple of years into college, and discovered cannabis, LSD, and other “drugs” there came to be even more similarities between me and mark…My name is Mark, I smoke marijuana.i have all of the original doonsebury books around here somewhere… these two were scanned from the second one, called “The President Is A Lot Smarter Than You Think”.

technology ramblings

Ms. Gates: ‘Bill does not use a Mac’ – that’s a definte change compared to when i was working at microsoft, from 1995 to 1997. at that time, it was well known around the campus that bill had a mac (among other things) on his desktop at work. if he’s not even interested in checking out the competition any longer, then my guess is that mickey$oft is not long for the world.

bill is no longer actually associated with the everyday operations of microsoft any more, so maybe he has decided that “keeping track of the competiton” isn’t as necessary, but at one time, bill was under the impression that mac was definitely worth keeping track of.

of course, it may have something to do with the fact that these days mac is headed in an entirely different direction than bill is interested in: while both companies are still major competitors, mac has developed a taste for phones, and tablets, and portable devices, while microsoft is more interested in the back end, servers, networks and that kind of thing. it could be that this is the reason bill no longer uses a mac.

i wonder if bill uses linux… i would expect probably not, but who knows?

gearing up for the holiday season

panto rehearsals start next monday, and are monday and wednesday until the performance starts, which is 4 december. for sure there is a banda gozona performance at the plymouth congregational church next sunday, and a possible snake suspenderz performance on friday, at chumleighland. then there is a banda gozona performance next thursday, at the SAM sculpture park, and a sousa band performance on 6 november (sousa’s birthday) at kenyon hall in west seattle.

oy… 😐

i just realised that i have a massive schedule conflict on 4 december: i have panto performances at hale’s palladium at 4:00 and 7:30, and i have a snake suspenderz performance at the drawing jam at the gage academy of art from 6:00 to 9:00… they’re both paying gigs… and last year i was actually the subject of a sketch by one of the artists at the drawing jam. i have to make a choice between playing music for a crowd of artists sketching naked people, or playing music for a crowd of british panto afficianados… what to do, what to do? 😐

another week closer to the eschaton…

news has been too depressing the past week, so this week’s collection of links is going to be mostly fluff. i’ll leave it up to others to decide which is which.

Christine O’Donnell: Where In The Constitution Is The Separation Of Church And State? and she’s now offering a reward of $1,000 For Anyone Who Can Find The Phrase "Separation Of Church And State" In The Constitution – why is there still any question about whether or not she’s actually qualified to be a state senator? that’s like saying sarah palin is qualified to be president of the united states… 😐

Former Surgeon General calls for legalization of marijuana and Dozens of law professors nation-wide endorse Calif. marijuana legalization – but the federal government is going to continue to prosecute people for cannabis, in spite of state laws that legalise it… it’s not exactly what i was expecting from obama and crew when i voted them into office… 😐 They’ve Stopped Pretending

The World’s Largest Gummy Worm – 128 times more massive than a traditional gummy worm, it’s three pounds and 4,000 calories of gummy… um… it looks suspiciously like a dildo…

Dead Sea scrolls going digital on Internet – yep…

Apple Patents Anti-Sexting Device – all the more impetus for kids to learn a large vocabulary.

Gangsta Lorem Ipsum – Lorizzle dang dolor sit amizzle, shizznit we gonna chung the bizzle. We gonna chung sapien velizzle, dang volutpizzle, owned quizzle, break it down vizzle, arcu.

exactly!

the shelf of notebooksi’ve been carrying around a looseleaf notebook labeled “BRASS” ever since i graduated from the tech school, in 1986, which contains all of the class notes, handouts and other printed materials for the brass repair sections that i completed when i was in training.

the "BRASS" notebookbecause of the fact that, for 25 years i have focused on the repair of woodwind instruments, i have actually never looked in the looseleaf notebook labeled “BRASS”, and it has langushed in various places, including currently on a shelf in my workshop with a bunch of other looseleaf notebooks.

but last night, i took down that notebook, and turned to the exact page that had the answer that i was looking for, which was techniques for freeing stuck tuning slides.

exactly the information i was looking fori mentioned to moe last night that i had never even opened this notebook since my tech-school days, and she commented that i had carried it around with me for all that time without ever being used. however i would carry it around with me, unused, for another 25 years if i could be guaranteed that, the next time i open it, i would find exactly the information for which i am searching.

fleep 牁铃 ฒำฉ #2

i bought a chilton’s manual for “Escort/Tracer 1991-00 Repair”, which is way too clean and shiny, and wants to be grease-smeared and dog-eared…

i would attempt to replace the exhaust manifold gasket myself, if i had someone like wheelsmaster here to help me make sure i’m doing the right things, but because of the fact that the instructions for replacing the gasket start off with “remove the drivebelt” and, shortly afterwards, is followed by “While not absolutely necessary, it’s a good idea to remove the radiator as well; the core can easily be damaged if it’s bumped by the manifold during removal”, i’m worried that, if i do something wrong, i’ll be left with a hulk in my yard that i will have to have towed somewhere before it even has a hope of running again.

however, i know that jack said he would charge me “a couple of hours labour” to replace the gasket, i’m going to see what the guys at edgewood tire have to say about it. it probably won’t make that much difference, but i could actually supply whoever makes the repair with a gasket, as well. 🙂

fleep 牁铃 ฒำฉ

ganesha the car is overheating and acting strangely, so i took it to jack – the guy i got it from, who owns burien imports – because he said that he would also fix the cigarette lighter which i would use as a power adaptor for my cell-phone, if it worked, which it didn’t, until yesterday.

on thursday, last week, i went to kirkland for their “2nd thursday art walk”. it was raining, and the store that i parked in front of actually closed about half-an-hour after i got there (which meant that nobody was “art-walking” on that side of the street any longer), but on the way there, i had to fight with traffic and deal with the fact that ganesha the car was overheating. then, when i decided that the kirkland 2nd thursday art walk had run its course, i had to fight traffic again going the other way (which is only possible because seattle has the worst traffic ANYWHERE on a pretty regular basis) and it’s a miracle that i made it home without breaking down, even with the heater turned up all the way and the fan on full blast… 8(

of course by the time i took it to jack’s shop, yesterday, it wasn’t overheating at all, which was a good thing, since jack wouldn’t look at it anyway, because “it’s not an import” which means that he doesn’t even have a shop manual for it. i left it with him anyway, because he said he was going to fix my cigarette lighter problem, and went out for a perfectly timed day on the bus.

i took one bus into downtown seattle, from burien, got off it, and almost immediately got on another bus to fremont, where i picked up my shoes from the shoe-repair guy. i then relaxed, smoked a bowl, and caught a bus back into downtown seattle, where i wandered the pike place market for a while, talked with the flute-maker with whom i interacted earlier this week when he picked up something that i put on freecycle, got some lunch and then caught a bus back towards burien, which, strangely enough, was being driven by a guy that plays in la banda gozona with me. i made it back to burien, where i wandered around for a while, went to my appointment with ned, and then called jack who had my car ready. i then got on another bus back to jack’s shop, and got home around 6:00. at no time during the course of the day did i have to wait longer than 5 minutes for a bus… which sort of makes me wonder why we have so many traffic problems around here…

in spite of the fact that “it’s not an import”, jack had some insight as to what might be wrong with the car, specifically the thermostat is probably acting sluggish, which would make sense: i hadn’t driven it for a few days before thursday, which is when it started acting strangely, and i have driven it every day since then, which is why it’s not acting sluggish now. he also said that the exhaust manifold needs a new gasket, which he said he could replace for a “couple hours” of labour… he did show me the exhaust manifold, however, and showed me what i had to do to replace the gasket, so i’m thinking…

now i’m going to go to the auto-parts store and purchase a shop manual for my car, and get the low-down on replacing an exhaust manifold gasket.

another week closer to the eschaton…

Future Chaos: There Is No “Plan B” – sooo… have fun while you can, i guess, ’cause if plan A fails, there’s going to be a whole hell of a lot of chaos, almost immediately, and there’s nothing you as an individual, and not much you as a group of well armed and well prepared people can do about it… 😐

norman foster and the dymaxion carIt’s the 1930s car that was meant to change American lives. And now the Dymaxion’s back. – one of my lifelong dreams has been to own and/or drive a dymaxion car. maybe someone will be able to pull it off this time. 🙂

Tooth Regeneration Gel Could Replace Painful Fillings – Could this new gel be the biggest dental breakthrough since the introduction of fluoride?

Squishable, Breathing Smart Phones – for high paid geeks with way too much time on their hands.

David Harmer GOP Tea Party congressional nominee from California says ‘Abolish’ public schools and California shooter says he saw Glenn Beck as ‘schoolteacher’ and Republicans’ ‘scary’ immigrant photo depicts Mexicans in Mexico, photographer reveals – we’re still losing to these morons?!?

and this is for those who think that the budget crisis that we’re currently in the middle of is the fault of the democrats: Democrats shrank US spending, deficit in last fiscal year, figures show – and we’re still losing to these morons?!? 😐 admittedly the democrats are nothing to write home about, but they’re not the source of the current problems, and i really wish the republicans would remember that when they put all these ads on TV about how evil the democrats have been recently: we’re still recovering from the bush years, which were principally republican, and we will be for quite a while yet, so just cool it.

Multnomah County stops prosecuting dozens of illegal acts as crimes or Oregon county decriminalizes heroin, meth, cocaine and shoplifting, among others – but the federal government is going to continue to prosecute drug crimes anyway, even if states legalise or decriminalise them, so there’s really not an awful lot of news here.

Holder: US will enforce marijuana laws despite how Californians may vote – this is the reason why the only way we’re ever going to make any kind of substantial change in the “war on drugs” is to legalise them at the federal level…

according to a new RAND study, either Legalizing pot won’t hinder Mexican cartels or Marijuana Legalization Would Markedly Cut Mexican Drug Cartel Profits… you decide which is really the truth… 😐 here’s the Marijuana Policy Project’s spin on it – What Exactly Did that RAND Study Say About Cartels and Marijuana?

Tracking devices used in school badges – big brother waches over your kids, too, whether they’re at school or not.

Microsoft’s search engine will mine Facebook data – another reason not to use either microsoft or facebook. i have placed a directive in my robots.txt file that specifically denies microsoft’s search engines from indexing my site (while allowing everyone else), and i don’t use facebook… but my wife does…

Facebook is ‘killing privacy for commercial gain’ – a law against facebook… now there’s an idea… 🙂

Can a Person Be Moral without Being a Christian? – hint: his answer is no. “[I]f God is not your god, you will serve Buddha. Or, if not Buddha, perhaps Allah. Or, if not Allah, perhaps Baal. Or, if not Baal, perhaps Confucius.” let’s see: buddhism, confucianism and islam are recognised, but i don’t know of any modern baal-worshippers, except for jews, and, by extension, “christians”, who worship בעל (ba’al, or “lord”)… and he apparently doesn’t recognise hindus, or jaina, or taoists… maybe i shouldn’t expect so much. i keep this guy in my regular news feed primarly because he is so absurd. he gets more absurd with every new post. maybe he’ll follow the pingback to my site and learn how truly absurd i find his views. maybe not. who knows…

Barack Obama and Sarah Palin are Related – isn’t internet wonderful?

NSFW – the National Schools Film Week, you pervert… 🙂 now if it was NSFW it wouldn’t be so bad…

snrk… 8*

domain names registered in the Cook Islands end with a “.ck”, according to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. the following “Community of Interest” suffixes are available for domain names registered in the Cook Islands:

".co.ck" is used for business organisations. Companies must register their corporate name or trading name, or some form of abbreviation. For example, Telecom Cook Islands Ltd. has registered "telecom.co.ck" as their domain name.

it makes me wonder how they would feel about me registering “suck-my.co.ck” or something along those lines…

symbolic links

they’re called “aliases” on a mac, and i don’t remember what they’re called on windows – probably something like “links” or “bookmarks” or something, who knows – but the way they work is basically the same on whatever platform you’re using, and that is to direct you somewhere other than where you thought you were going.

on web servers, they’re especially useful when you have moved a bunch of pages from one place to another. you move the pages wherever you want them to be, then you make a symbolic link to the first page, and place that where the old first page used to be, and then when people go to your old URI, they’re automatically redirected to your new URI and you don’t have to do anything else.

the way you make a symbolic link on a -x machine, is like this: go to the terminal, navigate to where you want the link, and type in ln -s <the absolute path to the document you're linking to> <the name of the new link>

the way you make an “alias” on a mac, or a “link” (or whatever it’s called) on windows, is to select the icon for the file that you want to make a symbolic link of, and select “Make Alias” or “Make Link” from the “File” menu. alternately, you can select “Make Alias” or “Make Link” from a context menu as well…

but here’s the big point: an alias that was made on a mac (and, presumably, a bookmark made on windows) will not work the same way that a symbolic link will work, when the disk you’re working on is a -x server.

in that case, an “alias” on a mac brings you to a page of gibberish, which starts off with

book????mark????0???0???´ê???????3š­<??H??T??H??H??H??H??????????Æå???icns?åÆics#???Hÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ???À?à?ð?ø?ü?ü?ü?ü?ü?ü?ü?ü?ü?ü?üis32??Q?„?…?þþýýúò¦„? ÿüûûùñ¦ëƒ?ÿ€úøð¦ù덂?ÿ€ù÷ï‘€¦?? ÿöÏh²À‡ÒÙށ? ÿ훢»°i³èò? ÿçÝà¢a4‰ùü? ÿâÌš+$ ¤Êü? ÿÓϵ…\Êêü? ÿѺà3€çàû? ÿê´µ×Üããëû? ÿêêÓÍÜßéêÿ??‡ÿ??‰???„?Ž…?þþýýúò§Ž„? ÿüûûùñ§ëŽƒ?ÿ€úøð§ù뎂?ÿ€ù÷ï’€§?Ž? ÿõÑ–ÝìµÍÙށ? ÿ¾Wqà÷Á¨Öò? ÿ“J^•È˜–Îü? ÿqAV‰{C—¨ü? ÿ_LNac0™Ÿü? ÿŒ:eG&Tˆ°û? ÿåV4\_l—áû? ÿêêžpˆ©ãêÿ??‡ÿ??‰???„?…?þþýýúò¨„? ÿüûûùñ¨ëƒ?ÿ€úøð¨ù돂?ÿ€ù÷ï“€¨?? ÿôÖÂèõÒÆÙށ? ÿ 9^Ýÿåv¬ò? ÿZ†ðÚyXü? ÿ.<͏YEü? ÿ7 Rtv+.ü? ÿƒ *E/ ƒû? ÿåO  DÖû? ÿêê•S[†àêÿ??‡ÿ??‰??s8mk??

:|

the only way i know of to make a symbolic link on a -x machine is to use the terminal, and the only other option is to give around 25 different webmasters in different countries the option of changing their web pages so that they link to the right page... which isn't going to happen any time soon.

so i try to SSH to my -x machine, only to discover that i don't have SSH access.

according to the host provider's FAQ, they only provide SSH permissions if you have a "legitimate" reasons for them. so far the new host provider has been providing exempary service... let's hope it continues that way. :|

ETA: they gave me what i need, and 95% of my 404 messages now point to the correct place (the remaining ones are for old internal links from 2003 to 2008). for example, this link and this link now point to the same place, whereas, previously, the former gave you a 404 message. :) happy web designer :)

Dame Joan Sutherland

Soprano Dame Joan Sutherland has died, age 83

i was in an opera with Dame Sutherland when i was 18 or so. i believe it was bizet’s Carmen in which i was a supernumerary. i remember, one time, just before a performance, i couldn’t find my dresser (even the supernumeraries had individual dressers, because the costumes were so complicated), so i went to find her, dressed only in a pair of tights, and ran into Dame Sutherland in the hallway, who commented that she liked my costume, and wished that there were more of them in opera…

little did i know at the time that i would end up being the tuba player for a pit band at a burlesque theatre…

lucy

moe’s latest dog, lucy, is an outstanding shepherd dog (she’s a border collie), and moe wants to breed her. lucy is in heat, and according to moe’s tests, she’ll be ovulating within the next three days or so, so she is leaving tomorrow to go to the ranch where the dog lucy is being bred to lives… she’s transporting adolescents across state lines for immoral purposes… wonderful… 😉

this is one of my five all-time favourite songs

I Don’t Work For A Living – Malcolm Dalglish & Grey Larsen

I don’t work for a living,
I get along alright without,
I don’t toil all day,
I suppose it’s because I’m not built that way.
Some people work for love,
And say it’s all sunshine and gain,
But if I can’t get sunshine without any work,
I’d rather stay out in the rain.

Give me a nail and a hammer,
And a picture to hang on the wall,
Give me a strong stepladder,
So that I won’t fall,
Give me a bottle of whiskey,
And a barrel of Strong’s best ale,
And I bet you I’ll hang up that picture
If somebody drives the nail.

this is from their 1978 album The First of Autumn, which i first heard at my friend deirdre’s house in 1980 or there abouts, and it very quickly became the song that inspired my life. at this point, thanks to my brain injury, i can honestly say that it’s pretty much true, too. 🙂

Happy Genocide Day!

Teachers of children
in the United States of America
wrote this date on blackboards everywhere
and asked the children to memorize it with pride and joy:

1492

The teachers told the children that this was the date the continent
was discovered by human beings.

Actually, millions of human beings were leading
full and imaginative lives on the continent in 1492.
That was simply when sea pirates came to cheat and rob and kill them.

— from Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

another week closer to the eschaton…

Think US politics are absurd? Brazilians elect actual clown to Congress – brazil has its collective shit together in more than two ways that i’ve noticed recently… maybe american politicians should be paying more attention to the brazilians…

60% of countries will be bankrupt within 50 years – the only hopeful thing about the future is that i will very likely die before that happens.

Drug cops smash into wrong house, terrorize elderly couple and Pot raid at school turns up tomatoes – if it were legal, they could be spending their time going after real criminals instead of hassling immigrant grandparents, and kids about their tomatoes… 😐

Why Comcast can (but probably won’t) read your e-mails, IMs – every now and then i need to remind myself why i am NOT a comcast customer. this will do for a couple of years, until something else awful and terrifying is revealed about their policies…

GPS directs driver to death in Spain’s largest reservoir or Un hombre fallece tras hundirse su coche en la presa de La Serena – i, for one, welcome our new, robot overlords… or not…

Caught Spying on Student, FBI Demands GPS Tracker Back and Student finds tracking device on his car; FBI demands it back – what…?

Hello, this is your ISP. You have been disconnected from internet. Have a nice day. – if micro$awft gets its way, this could happen to you if you get any kind of malware or virus. more reason to use linux, of course, but why would anyone think this is a good idea to begin with is a little mystifying.

Android phone auto reverts jailbreaks – i agree, that people who are required to pay for a piece of hardware to make their lives easier, should be able to use that piece of hardware for whatever they choose. the company from which you buy a cell phone does not retain an “interest” in the hardware, once you buy it… much as i like the approach taken by the makers of the android cell phone, i don’t think they should be able to arbitarily “take back” a phone that has been modified.

Woman screamed about God while destroying art and California Stem Cell Agency Rewards Blasphemy While Admitting the Humanity of Embryos Slated for Destruction – yep, people are still concerned about what other people do being “blasphemy”. in one case, a woman broke into a protective plexiglass housing and destroyed a piece of art, and in the other, people, for whom it did not make any difference, were “forced” to comply with the wishes of the people who were crying “blasphemy” and take down an otherwise inoffensive piece of art. i wrote to the contact person for CIRM (i encourage you to write to him as well) and sent him this:

i am not offended by any language, but because of the fact that you have seen fit to remove the poems in honour of stem cell awareness day, i can no longer see them, and that offends me.

No-one has the right not to be offended.
     — John Cleese

A truly great library contains something within it to offend everyone.
     — Jo Godwin

What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.
     — Salman Rushdie

Being offended is a natural consequence of leaving the house.
     — Fran Lebowitz

The most efficacious method of dealing with deviancy is to ignore, to the furthest point of our tolerance, those items which we find offensive.
     — Ilbert Geis

Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world.
     — Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet), 1694-1778

by the way, if you’re interested, the poems that were too “blasphemous” to post on CIRMs web site, can be seen here. USAToday is good for something after all.

Insane Clown Posse is actually a Christian band, and nobody knew – i knew there was a fundamental reason why i didn’t like them apart from their encouragement of drunken violence…

mouse and snake

so it’s time to feed the snake again.

the last time i fed the snake, i went down to the place where i buy live mice, and they were in the middle of packing up, in preparation for closing their business down permanently. they told me that they were still going to be in the business of providing rats, mice and other vermin for feeders, but they couldn’t afford to keep the business going. they gave me a phone number, which i labeled “feeder mice james”.

mouse and snakei called the number yesterday. there was no answer, but a message said that if i left my number, they’d call me back. they never called back. this doesn’t look promising.

i called again this morning. someone answered, and they knew who i was, which is as promising as i could have expected. they said that i should come over and get mice, so i did. i went over to this random house that i have been driving past on a more-or-less regular basis for about five years, and picked up three adult mice. so far, so good.

i get home and put one of the mice in the tank with the snake. he hisses at it, and strikes at it, but is obviously not interested in the mouse as food.

currently, the mouse has taken refuge on top of the thermometer in the tank, which is probably not the best place for hiding, but who can say what goes through the mind of a prey species when they are hunted in a closed environment.

he may be interested later. one time it took four days to convince him that mice were, actually, food. once the first one goes down, the others usually follow fairly quickly. however, there is, always, the possibility that he is just not hungry, in which case he usually develops a relationship with the mouse, and they end up sleeping together. at that point, i have, in the past, just returned the mice to the store, and come back for them in a couple weeks. but because of the fact that i am now purchasing the mice from some random person, i wonder what his policies are, on accepting “returns” of “uneaten mice”. 😐

pictures

blue jay
there were three blue jays arguing over the fresh suet i put out yesterday. i was only able to get this, more or less clear photo of one of them before they were chased away by the hummingbirds, of which i was not able to get a clear shot. we have a whole herd of hummingbirds that live somewhere around here, and they’re territorial little buggers, even taking to dive-bombing me, on occasion.european beard & moustache championships 2010
these are a couple of contestants from the 2010 European Beard and Moustache Championships.

another week closer to the eschaton…

Feds want backdoors built into VoIP and email US Would Make Internet Wiretaps Easier – yes, the united states government wants to listen in on your phone calls, and analyse your email messages, because you might be a terrorist. forget about innocent until proven guilty, forget about warrants, if these people don’t get what they want, heads will roll… and they might just roll anyway.

Web’s creator slams ‘blight’ of web disconnection laws – tim berniers-lee has a point, and we should listen to him…

2 out of 3 Android apps use private data ‘suspiciously’ – DON’T. BE. EVIL! 😐

Red Hat says end software patents – the supreme court heard the Bilski case earlier this year, and it ruled that the patentability of intangible products should be reduced. red hat takes it one step further, and says that the patentability of intangible products should be eliminated entirely, turning the entire software industry on its ear. it’s a great idea, but it’ll never work out in practice, because people are still too greedy.

Downloads are not performances – despite the fact that i belong to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), i actually think this has the potential of being a good thing. whaddaya know?

Microsoft surrenders Live Spaces future to WordPress – part of me wants to laugh at the people who signed up for the micro$awft me-too web 2.0 hype, but part of me wonders if wp is really the best choice, if micro$awft chose it to replace their hype… 😛

Authorities Plan To Trawl Phone Calls And E Mails For Signs Of “Resentment Toward Government” – my guess is that they won’t have to go far, especially since my resentment towards government is plainly evident, and has been for quite a number of years… 😐

US Is ‘Practically Owned’ by China – don’t get too comfortable, the new bosses will be arriving soon…

The Proof Is In The Numbers: America Is Getting Poorer – where’s that hope-y, change-y stuff that they were talking about? it’s about time for that stuff to start kicking in, isn’t it?

Attempts to Ban Fake Marijuana Are Further Proof of Prohibition’s Failure – more flap about K2 and the valiant, but ultimately futile attemps to ban it. all the more reason to legalise cannabis. especially when the creator of the substance that makes K2 popular says this about attempts to ban his substance: “It’s not going to be effective, is the ban on marijuana effective?”

Key ingredient staves off marijuana memory loss – now that we’ve lightened up (a little bit), we’re discovering that cannabis really is good for something. The Budgetary Impact of Ending Drug Prohibition – legalizing drugs would save roughly $41,300,000,000 ($41.3 billion) per year in government expenditure on enforcement of prohibition, and produce roughly $46,700,000,000 ($46.7 billion) annually in tax revenue. and we’re still fighting a “war” that we can’t win?

Barefaced cheek on Google Street View – ireland welcomes the google street view cameras with characteristic abandon.

Boss Hogs Bacon Chocolate Sueyts – yum… 🙂

california decriminalises cannabis

California Reduces Its Penalty for Marijuana

Marijuana legalization measure gets big lift

Schwarzenegger signs bill reducing offense for marijuana possession – “Notwithstanding my opposition to Proposition 19, however, I am signing this measure because possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is an infraction in everything but name” – it’s a step in the right direction, but nowhere near close enough to even think about celebrating yet: what about medical cannabis? what about people who grow? what about the feds?? cannabis should not just be decriminalised, because it’s not a crime to use cannabis, in exactly the same way that it is currently not a crime to use alcohol.

spam, again…

i don’t often admit to hating pretty much anything, but i will admit, whole-heartedly, to hating spam with a white-hot passion… 😛

i’m going to use this as an example of how i determine something which is not labled spam, is actually spam.

the following is a text-dump of the entire message, with the headers intact. the only thing i have done is to obscure my host server.

Return-path: <x>
Envelope-to: [email protected]
Delivery-date: Fri, 01 Oct 2010 03:40:48 -0700
Received: from hybridel by x with local (Exim 4.69)
     (envelope-from )
     id 1P1d2m-0005OP-Im
     for [email protected]; Fri, 01 Oct 2010 03:40:48 -0700
To: "salamandir" <[email protected]>
Subject: Enquiry from Hybrid Elephant
X-PHP-Script: www.hybridelephant.com/contact_us.php for 122.163.114.169
From: "Randall Tuttle" <[email protected]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
X-Mailer: osCommerce Mailer
Content-Type: text/plain;
  charset="UTF-8"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Message-Id: <[email protected]>
Sender:  <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, 01 Oct 2010 03:40:48 -0700
X-Bogosity: Unsure, tests=bogofilter, spamicity=0.583091, version=1.2.0
X-UID: 
Status: RO
X-Status: R
X-KMail-EncryptionState: N
X-KMail-SignatureState: N
X-KMail-MDN-Sent:  

We noticed that you are not at the top of the search engines for a number of your key terms.
We have helped companies similar to yours to achieve top organic rankings. Please reply to this
message and we will prepare a special proposal for you, to show you how we can achieve similar
results for you.

first, i look at the subject line: “Subject: Enquiry from Hybrid Elephant

this is not labled “spam” because it’s an enquiry from my web site, which means that if it turns out to be spam, i can’t report it, because it doesn’t have a message path that can be traced. i get a lot of spammers trying to abuse my response form (hint, it only sends to me, so it’s not much use for spamming), so that increases the probability that it is, actually, spam.

next, i look at the sender name and email address. usually people who submit legitimate enquiries to my business have an email address that doesn’t stand out. this one – From: "Randall Tuttle" <[email protected]> – stands out: “Randall Tuttle” has an email address that includes the name “rachelle”? the probability that it actually is spam just went up to 99.98%. i have never seen an example of a message that comes from someone who is apparently male, which has an email address that includes a female name, unless they were trying to mislead people in some way.

as i said, because of the fact that it is an enquiry from my web site, i can’t report it, but i can delete it without even reading further.

but i am going to force myself to read further, because deep down, i am a masochist… or something like that…

We noticed that you are not at the top of the search engines for a number of your key terms.

now i’m starting to get perturbed… i knew i shouldn’t have read any further… patience, patience… 😐

yes, i know that. it is because i haven’t gotten to the top yet. if you google “html escape sequences” you’ll probably notice my site within the top 5 on the list. that is because i have offered the only complete list of html escape seqences on the net, for the longest time, without changing its URI. i haven’t been offering incense for anywhere near as long as i have had that list of escape sequences on the net. not only that, but i just upgraded from a flat html structure to a php/database structure within the past couple of years. one of the advantages is that if you search for specific products, like “aparajita special durbar incense” you will find my web site on the first page, despite the fact that i have upgraded my web site recently.

yeah, i’m not at the top of the list for all of my keywords, but i’m getting there, and if i leave my web site alone for long enough, i’ll probably get there without using possibly illegal and most likely nefarious ways to get there sooner, which is what you’re probably suggesting…

We have helped companies similar to yours to achieve top organic rankings.

organic ratings? organic ratings!? nothing about the web is “organic” in any sense of the term. and if they were, in some miraculous way, “organic” ratings, then why would a person named “Randall” be trying to sell them to me, writing to me from “rachelle”‘s email address, at gmail.com?

Please reply to this message and we will prepare a special proposal for you, to show you how we can achieve similar results for you.

reveal more about how my mailserver works to you, and give you new and innovative ways to break into my web site and email server, so that you can “prepare a special proposal” for me? i don’t think so, especially since you haven’t actually proven to me that you have actually done that for anyone.
 

PLONK!!!
 
for those of you unfamiliar with the term, “plonk” is the sound a spam message makes when it is deleted,
or the sound of a person’s email address being added to a “do not send” or “banned” list.

 
oh, by the way, the form gives me a little bit more information about the sender than he probably realises:

X-PHP-Script: www.hybridelephant.com/contact_us.php for 122.163.114.169

aha, his IP address. a quick “host 122.163.114.169” tells me that his computer is named “abts-north-dynamic-169.114.163.122.airtelbroadband.in” which is a dynamic range coming from AirTel Broadband, in india.

yeah, i’m really going to respond to a person who didn’t give me his real name, offering sketchy SEO services from a wireless connection in india… 😐