Strange Brouhaha

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ah, the Mind Hump

It's the Wednesday Mind Hump from Blogdrive Insanity. All about guitars, this time. Mmmmm, guitars.

1. Who is your favorite electric guitarist? Or top three, if you can't decide on one?

2. Describe your dream guitar. What color is it? What brand? What special touches does it have?

3. Bass guitars are electric guitars too. Who is your favorite bassist?

4. Name one of your favorite electric guitar solos.

1. Sir F. Crisp and I were listening to some Queen on our drive home from work the other day, and it struck me--as it does pretty often when I hear a Queen song on the radio (or iPod, in this case)--that Brian May is pretty damn good. So right now, I pick Brian May as one of my top three. George Harrison's tone is killer, so he's on the list. Let's see, for my third, I'll take...jazz guitarist Jim Hall. His work with Bill Evans is amazing.

2. I can't choose just one...that's impossible. It's a good thing I'm relatively easy to please. I've got three. First, since I've admired Paul Reed Smith Guitars for a long, long time, I'd pick a regular old PRS Custom 22 with the wide fat neck and the stoptail, with the Artist Package (special inlay, basically), in Gray Black. Second, Fender's Eric Clapton Signature Stratocaster was always one of my favorites to play in the grim days when I worked at the music store. Finally, a Gibson L5 like Wes Montgomery played. Not that playing an L5 would make me Wes.

3. Hey, a category where I can pick just one! Geddy Lee. Well, and Josh Burke. :)

4. Obviously, Den Dennis' solo break from "Bad News" would have to be up there, but right now I'd have to pick either the solo(s) in "Hotel California" (Don Felder and Joe Walsh) or the extended, huge solo section of "Freebird." Yeah, I said it.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Alles in Ordnung, Herr Kearns!

So, supposedly, this the Season for Peace and all that stuff. Think of all the Christmas songs you know that use the word "peace". Take your time, there's a lot of them.

You might think that hanging a Christmas wreath shaped like the peace symbol would be an appropriate thing to do at this time of the year. You'd be right...except in Pagosa Springs Colorado.

If you're not inclined to read the article, the story is this: a woman put up such a wreath. Some of her neighbors complained to the homeowners association. The association president, Bob "Stumpy" Kearns, displaying tactics from The Decider's School of Leadership ("Our Motto: duhhhhhhh"), ordered the association's architectural committee to declare that the woman had to get rid of the decoration. They refused. He disbanded the committee.

I tell you, if I had the money, I'd send her one day's fine ($25) just to spite this Kearns and his lickspittles. (And I'd mail a swift kick in the butt to people who think the wreath is Satanic. I mean, please.)

Update: Yes, I started out writing "lackeys" and somehow thought I was writing "lickspittles" and thus ended up with "lackspittles," which sounds like a mucus deficiency. I have rectified the error.

Update II: "Misunderstanding" my ass. The Brownshirts just backed down because, like all bullies, they're a bunch of cowards. I bet if the wreath had been in the shape of The Decider's Glorious Visage, there wouldn't have been a problem.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Your Mobile JUnit Tip (and Gripe) of the Day

If you're doing JavaME development (for a cell phone or other small, mobile device), and you're using Sony Ericsson's Mobile JUnit to do your unit testing (and if you're not using it, you're not doing unit testing and you're a bad person), pay attention to the documentation. When they say that Mobile JUnit will attempt to guess the path to your wireless toolkit if you don't specify a path to it, they're not kidding.

The problem--and here's the gripe--is that this information is not included in the whitepaper on Mobile JUnit! It's actually in the Java ME Developer's Guide for Sony Ericsson phones. This is a problem because Mobile JUnit is designed to work with any wireless toolkit, not just Sony Ericsson's, so you might not necessarily think to download Sony Ericsson's documentation, and the MJU whitepaper makes no mention of it. At least, I don't think it does.

The integration with Eclipse (and NetBeans) is limited to creating and editing the tests. You can't create an application launch configuration for Mobile JUnit--which is why they keep saying that you have to use Ant (or the command line) to launch the tests.

Anyway, in your build.xml file, you need to follow the recommendations in the MJU whitepaper/SEMC Developer's Guide, plus add <arg value="--wtk:<PATH>" /> to the java task. (Obviously, you need to replace <PATH> with the proper, non-space-containing path.) When you run the Ant build and select the appropriate target, everything should build and run.

Saturday Six...again

The Saturday Six from Patrick's Weekender:

1. Take the quiz: What was your Thanksgiving horoscope?

2. Did you have either of those two dishes on your Thanksgiving table? Of the two, which would have been your choice?

3. Which single food do you blame most for your weight gain?

4. Take the quiz: How thankful are you?

5. Which are you more thankful for: your family, your friends, your career or your possessions?

6. Did you do any shopping at all on "Black Friday?"

1. Mmmm, food. We went to The Old Feed Mill.
Thanksgiving Horoscope for Cancer

You're the sign most likely to both dread and look forward to Thanksgiving.

Your signature dish: Mashed potatoes

Your signature dessert: Pecan pie

This holiday: Don't let crazy family members get you down. Maintain your tough outer shell!

2. Yes, The Old Feed Mill had mashed potatoes on the buffet line. No pecan pie, though. I like pecan pie, but of the two I'd choose mashed potatoes--as long as they're fresh, of course. Not flakes.

3. Rice, I guess.

4. This sounds about right, I guess.
You Are 71% Thankful

You are a very thankful person - for both the big and little things in life.
Your optimism is powerful. Getting through hard times is fairly easy for you.

5. I am most thankful for my family.

6. Hell no. We stayed in and avoided leaving the house at all. There's no deal worth the hassle. Well, I take that back, but there's no deal that any store would offer that would make me fight people just to get into a store. I guess we indirectly supported Buy Nothing Day.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Done, and not a moment too soon

Cast your peepers over to my NaNo banners. The latest file I submitted to the official verifier has, according to NeoOffice, 50462 words. The official verifier, on the other hand, calls it 50000 exactly--and that's good enough for me. I think I'm in the middle of a sentence, and I really don't care.

This year's NaNo was not an enjoyable experience for me. The main problem was that the story I came up with didn't really hold my attention, even through the relatively short 50000 word length. I really should have done more planning than I actually did, and that's a lesson for next year--either that, or quit trying to write something genre-oriented without a little bit of forethought.

And by the way, Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Mumble mumble

Much like Guns n' Roses, I missed my anticipated launch date. I just don't have it in me to write 2000 more words, after doing nearly 3000 already today. That's okay, though. The official verifier doesn't go online until the 25th.

It feels good to be practically done, and to know that barring catastrophe (knock wood) I will be a NaNoWriMo "winner" again this year. Yay, me.

Update: ARGH. I ran my manuscript through the automatic word counter and it subtracted nearly 500 words from my total! I wish I knew what algorithms they and my word processor were using, and why NaNo says that I'm further from my goal than I thought I was. The same thing happened last year, but I don't think it was that far off.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

That sound you hear is nobody caring

Unsurprisingly, the putative release date for Guns n' Roses' Chinese Democracy (today) has come and gone, and there is no album. In fact...drumroll's pushed back again.

By this time, I only want the damn thing to come out so we can hear what a train wreck it is. You know it's not going to be done any time soon--and they're on tour right now, so nobody is even working on it.

I'm considering taking bets on just how godawful it will be.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Aaaaand the Sunday Seven

Patrick's Sunday Seven is fun this week: "Name seven of your all-time favorite lines from the movies." Feel free to add your own.

I don't actually keep a list of my favorite lines; there are so many good ones that I find it difficult to really choose. These are just the first seven that I think of, so I'm sure that there will be many others that I think of later.

  • "Ready, Khan? Here it comes." Captain Kirk, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

  • "This is Dave Bee-thoven. Maxine of Arc. Herman the Kid. Bob "Genghis" Khan. So-crates Johnson. Dennis Frood. And, uh, Abraham Lincoln." Bill and Ted, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.

  • "I want my father back, you son of a bitch." Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride.

  • "Nice shootin', Tex!" Peter Venkman, Ghostbusters.

  • "Does this look like a cooking knife to you?" I forget who, Under Siege.

  • "I just want to eat." JCVD, Universal Soldier.

  • "I don't like sand." Anakin Skywalker, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

  • Ha ha! No, I'm kidding about that last one. Here's a real one:
  • "Come with me if you want to live." The T800, Terminator 2.

Ah, the Saturday Six

Nano is going very well this year. I don't feel nearly the pressure I did last year, and I've been keeping up with blog posts, too. So here's Patrick's Saturday Six.

1. When a bill arrives in the mail, what do you do with it: pay it immediately, hold it with others and pay at once, or put it off until the last possible minute?

2. Which actor makes the best James Bond?

3. Of the foods you enjoy, which one are you least likely to try cooking yourself?

4. Take the quiz: What does your birth month reveal about you?

5. Of the results you just got, which one seems the farthest from the "real" you?

6. Will you see your extended family on Thanksgiving Day this year?

1. Sadly, I put them off until the last possible minute. And, occasionally, the last possible minute is the day after they're due. I realize that this is a bad habit, and I'm sorry.

2. Unlike most people, or at least the most vocal people, I don't like Sean Connery's Bond at all. I grew up watching Roger Moore as Bond, and while I really, really like Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton, I prefer Moore.

3. There really isn't one. I've actually attempted to make most of my favorite foods myself. Actually, now that I think about it, I'd never be able to make kalua pig all by myself. It requires a whole pig, a big pit, lava rocks, banana leaves and wet burlap.

4. Ugh, I really hate these. I think this result, for June, is about half right: "Thinks far with vision. Easily influenced by kindness. Polite andsoft-spoken. Having lots of ideas. Sensitive. Active mind. Hesitating, tends to delay. Choosy and always wants the best. Temperamental. Funny and humorous. Loves to joke. Good debating skills. Talkative. Daydreamer. Friendly. Knows how to make friends. Abiding. Able to show character. Easilyhurt. Prone to getting colds. Loves to dress up. Easily bored. Fussy. Seldom shows emotions. Takes time to recover when hurt. Brand conscious. Executive. Stubborn."

5. I'd have to say that "Good debating skills" is pretty far from the truth. I can construct an argument, but have no ability to defend it.

6. Nope. We're doing what has become our family Thanksgiving tradition (although it's only, what, four years old?): going to The Old Feed Mill in Mazomanie, Wisconsin.

NaNo Update

After writing for nineteen days, I'm at just over 41,000 words on my novel, as you can see from the graphs over on the sidebar. I've added a few more graphs, by the way.

There's one that looks like a bar graph, which shows my daily progress. The green bar represents the amoount of words I wrote on that day. If there is red, that represents the deficit between the amount of words I wrote and the "quota" amount for that day; the quota, of course, is the goal (50,000 words) divided by the time period (30 days), or 1666.67 words. Light gray represents the daily quota. Dark gray represents future days. This weekend, I wrote ten thousand words, over half of them today.

There's one that looks like a version of my live participant icon. It's got a green bar which represents the amount I've done as a percentage of the goal. I have no idea what the numbers underneath the bar mean. Right now, the "Goal" number and the word count add up to 48304. The "Goal" number and the number in parentheses next to it add up to my total word count.

The last graph is called a "Word Count War". You can't just list your own region, so I chose Hawaii just to see what the word count from home is.

In addition, I linked the participant icon (the blue one) to my Nano progress report, which contains some statistically interesting information, including the fact that I've only got to write just over 800 words each day until the end of the month to get to 50,000.

My plan is to write 2000 words on both Monday and Tuesday, then really push on Wednesday to get through the 50,000 word goal point. That means another 5000 word day on Wednesday, but I'd really like to get done before Thanksgiving.

And done I will be, as soon as I get enough words to pass the automatic validator. Unlike last year, I doubt I'll actually have an ending, but I'll be done.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Reasons number 732 and 733 why The Decider is An Ass

Reason 732: Jesus, Your Majesty, what's next, appointing the head of the Flat Earth Society as National Science Advisor? Appointing someone who wants to blow up the United Nations as our ambassador to the Uni...oh wait, you already did that. Or just appointing someone who doesn't believe that family planning should encompass all available options ("birth control is demeaning to women") as head of the Office of Population Affairs at DHHS? This is like appointing Borat Sagdiyev our ambassador to Kazakhstan.

Reason 733: The lesson Monkey Boy believes that the Vietnam War has for him and Iraq? "We tend to want there to be instant success in the world, and the task in Iraq is going to take a while. We'll succeed unless we quit." In other words: "We would have beat the Cong if we had stayed." (Juan Cole says it better than I do. And check out the comments on the U.S. colonization of the Phillipines.)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

It Begins

With apologies to Martin Niemoller: First they came for the animal rights activists, and I said nothing for I was not an animal rights activist.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I know I've sort of said this before (and not too long ago), but I just thought of a better way to say it. I thought I'd share.

There's been a lot of talk over the last few years about how the Democratic Party is the party of appeasement. Democrats have been compared to Neville Chamberlain. Now is the perfect time for the Democrats to show that this is not the not appeasing the Republicans.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Here's one reason

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin runs a feature profiling local schools. I was wondering when they'd get around to my alma mater. Today, they did.

The first article is the really interesting one for me. It talks about why Iolani students tend to overwhelmingly choose schools on either coast rather than schools in the Midwest. I don't know what this Todd Fleming's policies are, but when I attended Iolani, the college counselor, Dan Feldhaus, actively discouraged me from applying to schools in the Midwest. I consider myself fortunate not to have listened to him.

So there's one reason right there why seniors don't consider Midwestern schools. Perhaps my homies from back in that particular day have different perspectives.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I don't wish to be alarmist, but...

Whatever your opinion of the outcome, all Americans can take pride in the example our democracy sets for the world by holding elections even in a time of war.

This sentence comes from The Decider's Radio Address for this week. If it does not scare you, then you are incapable of being scared.

This sentence comes from the same place:

We must put these elections behind us, and work together on the great issues facing America.

My memory says that he made a similar statement when he was appointed President in 2000, and again in 2004. I think the best start would be for the Democrats to work together with him just as much as he worked together with them.

I don't particularly want the Democrats to be conciliatory. I don't want them to be nice. I want them to take a good, hard look at the way they've been treated over the last six years, and a good, hard look at the way The Emperor and His Minions have treated this nation and its people, and I want them to come out swinging.

And all of the right-wing pundits and non-pundits who are going to complain about it can suck hind tit for a while. That's right. Do not accept comments like "This column is a good example of the totalitarian impulses tha (sic) lurk in the minds of most leftists" (which comes from the comment section of Bob Cesca's fantastic column at Huffington Post). People who say things like that need to take a long look in the mirror and then listen to some of the things that the Republicans have said over the last six years.

This happened on Friday

It was 70 degrees on Thursday.

Welcome to Wisconsin.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Music Mambo from Monday

Here's the Monday Music Mambo from Blogdrive Insanity. I thought it would be interesting to answer these questions, especially since I did those 80s ones just a few minutes ago.

1. Peanut butter and jelly is one of America's favorite sandwiches. What musical duo do you think fits together like peanut butter and jelly?

2. Some prefer their peanut butter smooth. Which singers do you think have the smoothest voices?

3. Other people prefer chunky peanut butter. Which singers do you think have the "chunkiest" voices?

4. Non-music question: Do you like peanut butter, and if so do you like it smooth or chunky?

1. Did you ever notice that whenever I have to answer a question like this one, which asks for ONE answer, I can never hold myself to just one? Here's how I'm going to define "fitting together like peanut butter and jelly": the peanut butter is good by itself, the jelly not so much, but together they're the perfect combination, the whole surpassing the sum of the parts by an order of magnitude. So, for example, the Brothers Cazimero would not be peanut butter and jelly, because I don't think I've ever heard any of their solo work that I've really liked--but their work together is phenomenal. My first answer to this question is mind-numbingly obvious: Simon and Garfunkel. However, I would also have to put Hall and Oates on the list, as well as Karen and Richard Carpenter.

2. Sade. Alison Krauss. Seal. Basia. I'm sure there are others that I'm just not thinking of right now.

3. Tom Waits. Axl Rose. Brian Johnson from AC/DC, who sounds like he has to take a crap every time he sings a song.

4. Yes. Smooth. And It Must Be Jif. There is no other peanut butter.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Yesterday's Mind Hump

Time to take a break from the NaNoWriMo project (going well, if a bit disorganized) and write about yesterday's Wednesday Mind Hump". It's all about the 1980s. I like the 80s. I wouldn't mind seeing a serious retrospective on the pop culture of the 80s, rather than the snarky "I Love The 80s" that they show on the VH1.

1. What 80s song makes you want to get up out of your seat and dance like a fool?

2. What 80s ballad (new wave or hair metal or any other) makes you cry behind your Ray-Ban sunglasses?

3. What's your favorite movie from the 80s?

4. What stage of life were you in during the 80s? Was that a good or bad decade for you?

5. Do you know how to wang chung?

1. "Dance Hall Days" by Wang Chung. In fact, that's the first song I ever bought from iTunes. Honorable mention: "We Live So Fast" by Heaven 17, and that Scritti Politti song, "Perfect Way". The Communards' cover of "Don't Leave Me This Way" (frickin' Jimmy Sommerville is almost as scary as the twelve-foot-tall Chuck Billy and the frightening bald dude from Midnight Oil). Anything at all by Prince. There are so many.

2. Good question. The first one that comes to mind is "Crazy For You" by Madonna, but it doesn't really make me tear up or anything. I was never really much of a ballad person. Maybe someone can remind me of some good ones. BUT NO AIR SUPPLY.

3. It's a toss-up between "Rambo: First Blood Part II" (I bought our first DVD player in part because that was one of the DVDs that came with it--true story!) and "Purple Rain". Both of which were rated R. Both of which I saw in the theaters. Don't tell my mom and dad. I hope that it goes without mentioning that "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" have emeritus status in this category. Interesting, isn't it, that three of those movies are sequels...and that all of them have sequels that never should have been made? (Is "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" from the 80s? Because that's another favorite right there. And it has a sequel that never should have been made, too!)

4. The 1980s saw me through fifth grade all the way to my junior year in college. Adolescence is rough for pretty much everyone, for each of us in his own way, so I guess the best I can say was that it had its ups and downs. I had good friends and a great family, so the ups certainly outweighed the downs. Whatever I am today was shaped largely by the 1980s. I did a lot of things and made a lot of choices in those ten years, some which make me proud and some which I regret.

5. No.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Wisconsin votes for bigotry and hatred

I am disgusted with the people of the state of Wisconsin for voting to deny rights to gay couples. It is a mark of shame for us to join the other states who have voted for bigotry. What a horrible, horrible misuse of the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin.

Just so we're clear: by more than a 2 to 1 margin, the people of Wisconsin have voted to defend the "sanctity" of marriage. Way to go, jerks.

Update: The gap is narrowing, but there's no chance that it will narrow enough; according to one site, with 38% of the votes counted, Yes leads No 58-42.

Monday, November 06, 2006



Sunday, November 05, 2006

An open letter to GEICO


Please stop the caveman commercials. The first few were mildly amusing. Now they're annoying. Find a new gimmick--the cavemen are not the new "Where's the Beef?"



Well, of course it's their fault!

Whose fault would it be that Iraq is such a mess? Obviously, obviously it's the Iraqi people's fault!

This is taking blame-the-victim to a new low. I mean, we've become the frickin' Mafia, here.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Burn in hell

Courtesy of the wife, here's a link to an article posted on It's a preview of an upcoming Vanity Fair article, all about how the architects of the Iraq war are suddenly saying that it's not their fault. I'll reproduce the single sickest quote from the article; you can read the rest of it for yourself.

Richard Perle: "Huge mistakes were made, and I want to be very clear on this: They were not made by neoconservatives, who had almost no voice in what happened, and certainly almost no voice in what happened after the downfall of the regime in Baghdad. I'm getting damn tired of being described as an architect of the war. I was in favor of bringing down Saddam. Nobody said, 'Go design the campaign to do that.' I had no responsibility for that."

Draw your own conclusions.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

My take on the Kerry thing

Instead of reaching for a joke, he should have just come right out and said "George W. Bush is an idiot." Then it would have been crystal clear.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

NaNo Tidbits

Just three quick things.

First, I replaced this year's participant icon with an icon-plus-counter that shows my word count.

Second, I've updated my NaNoWriMo profile with a brief excerpt of this year's work (that's every one of the 287 words I have as of right now).

Third, I reuploaded last year's winners' badge so that it shows up again. I was tired of not seeing it.