Thursday, September 20 gave rise to...

Response To Something I Barely Read

This is the something I barely read. The important thing is that it reminded me of the stuff people used to say when I was a kid at summer camp, stuff like, "Yellow 5 makes you impotent." Or, on a more serious note, "I can't have anything with Red 40 in it because my parents say it makes me crazy."

Are you comfortable with the food industry being comfortable with putting chemicals they don't really understand in things you eat every day? And really, I do mean every day, because food colorings are used in such a wide variety and abundance of products it might just be scary, depending on your viewpoint and consumption of such products.

I'm not saying break out the tinfoil hat -- I'm just saying that it might be something worth looking into a little bit more.

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Monday, September 17 gave rise to...

Team Fortress 2 and Me

I've been in Windows for two days.

"Why?" you might ask, given how much I talk about how bad Windows sucks.

The answer is that I love games even more than I hate Windows.

Especially when it's a game I've been looking forward to since the late 90s.

I don't think it will run in Linux under Wine right off the bat, and besides, I can't get sound that way, anyway. Sound will be important (and highly entertaining) in Team Fortess 2.

You heard it here first: love is powerful; more powerful, even, than hate.

But really, Windows is breaking my damn heart. I've had my heart broken so many times in the last seven days. I don't think I can take much more.

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Tuesday, September 4 gave rise to...

Oh by the way, I've given up on making Windows XP 'usable.'

I guess this is a case of "once you go ___, you never go back."

Windows is superior to Linux for certain specialized software needs and some games. Though this is clearly the case, Wine is making leaps and bounds in the realm of Windows program usability in Windows. For instance, when I play Day of Defeat: Source, I get superior framerates in Linux. The graphics are almost as good (I'm missing some shader effects), and I have no sound, but overall, it is a more fun gaming experience for me.

Back to the "specialized software needs" mentioned above -- many of these can be satisfied in Linux with free software.

Linux has a better desktop (more beautiful and versatile than Apple's OSX in my opinion), more useful programs, a working command line, more robust file management options, and even more. I can't think of anything else though because the operating system has literally become a part of my life and I'm so used to it that I can't really remember how much things sucked in Windows.

The only thing separating you from this is a learning curve that isn't steep, and it's actually getting less steep as time goes on (Linux is nearly "user-friendly" by some accounts, and if you have the time to learn, you will understand it). Distributions like Ubuntu Linux are leading the way in this revolution in usability and user-friendliness. I think that most of the problems inherent in learning a new operating system like Linux have to do with the built-in jargon that most people are familiar with because of being shackled to Microsoft products for so long. For instance, people don't want a word-processor or an office suite, they want "Microsoft Office" or "Office." They don't want a web browser, they want "Internet Explorer." Related to this is the user-base that Microsoft developed over other web browsers such as Netscape, just by "bundling" Internet Explorer with newer copies of Windows. Some argue that people don't want a choice in these programs, they just want software that works, and they're used to Microsoft's Office suite or their Internet Explorer web browser. Well, I agree that everyone wants software that works, but this situation has developed in such a way that Microsoft seems like they want to deny all knowledge of competing software, software that may "work" better for some users than their MS-branded products.

Terms such as "Microsoft Office" have become a part of the collective lexicon and literally replace the more generic "office software suite," and it's a bit of a shame -- truly telling of how strong a hold Microsoft still has on the software world in this day and age, decades after its founding.

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Monday, September 3 gave rise to...

Reflections Before And After A Night On The Town

There was magic in the air, and Jasper had all the right moves. He sucked in his stomach, looked in the mirror and adjusted his bowtie, and said aloud to no one, “I am the flyest.”

Jasper had a big date tonight; much more was riding on it than the fate of his horrible shriveled penis for the next six hours. His date was the executive of the production studio he was pitching his new film idea to. In his mind, The Man With Three Legs was a guaranteed blockbuster. In the minds of his peers however, it sounded like a load of, well, dog shit. Jasper was confident. Jasper was fly. Overwhelmingly negative feedback never stopped him from making ideas become reality in the past, anyway.

His scheme to buy eToys after the Internet bubble burst in the early 21st century left one gullible man without a savings account. Back in the 1950s, he discovered that he had ridden the asbestos train far too long: as the chief stockholder of a variety of companies that produced asbestos products, he found himself in the middle of a nationally-reported scandal. Though he claimed no knowledge of the withholding of important medical information that could have saved thousands of asbestos workers lives, he was convicted of a variety of major offenses and thusly received the title of “world's richest felon.” As Jasper reflected on these troubling times and no fewer than fourty other “tricky” situations, including the Gettysburg PTA Hostage Misstep and the Long John Silvers' Workers Union Slight, which he felt was really not an issue at all, he could not help but feel cursed. Jasper was cursed though. He was cursed badly!

He was drunk in the car, as usual. He opened his wallet to look at the picture of his daughter Emily, essentially a newborn at the time the picture was taken. She died from SIDS while with her parents on a transatlantic flight to London. The hysteria in the cabin forced the plane to return to New York – they had not even been in the air for an hour when her mother noticed that she wasn't breathing.

In Jasper's world, money could buy absolutely everything except happiness. He often wondered if his fortune was the root of his misfortune. After all, most of these situations developed because he had the money to be in places that most people would never reach. Or maybe his misfortune was actually the root of his fortune and he could go on to explain that on some cosmic level, causal connection is the reverse of what most people believe it is. Somewhere inside of him, he knew that his dinner date with the executive would never have happened were he not so wealthy. He knew he was talentless when it came to all creative things. His only talent seemed to be making more money out of money, which at the time seemed to him to be a wholly evil and morally reprehensible thing – an alchemy of sorts – some kind of black magic that should not be possible in a world governed by natural laws. Jasper had tried his hand in the realm of philanthropy, where orphanages burned down after being infected by his money and AIDS research centers ended up as the epicenter for Ebola and Marburg outbreaks after he called to arrange a date to formally announce his sizeable donation.

Jasper was confident. He knew he was fly. He knew he was going to get laid by a powerful woman, and he knew that they'd get the biggest names in Hollywood to sign for his new movie idea. What he wasn't so sure about, though, was the effect it might have on the millions who went to see it. No stranger to adversity, Jasper remained optimistic.

Jasper woke up the next morning reflective, as he always was after sleeping with a woman. He thought about his initials, which he was always told were good luck, especially by the nuns at the orphanage where he was raised. Sharing the same initials with Jesus Christ was a good thing in his mind. It stung the first time he got into trouble with the law, but he forgot about it after that first time, until this very morning. He went to the bathroom to look in the mirror at the strange birthmark on his leg – 616.

Jasper thought about all of the big things, good and bad, that he was able to do without even trying. He always felt he was special. Now, somehow, he understood a little better. He sighed and went into the kitchen to make some breakfast.

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