Rants, etc.


Time Travelin'


You Are Not A Fuckwit

As with everything in the world, there were three degrees of time machine.  But people, such as myself, are prone to exaggeration and the tendency to find patterns can be overwhelming.

However that may be, there are always three levels, or degrees, to everything.  If you don't believe me, you are a fuckwit and if you are offended at my saying so, then you are also wasting your gaddamn time and, frankly, beginning to irritate me.  Fuckwit.

As I was saying, like art, bureaucracy, number theory and naturalism, there are three degrees of time machine.  These are, I think, obviously, micro-, macro- and nominal/local:  that is, very small, very big and “normal.”  Normal, for some reason, difficult to define, is akin to what you can sense without special machines or symbols.  Example:  With numbers, on either side of zero, you (or a machine) can count indefinitely.  Bigger and bigger.  Continuing to Infinity (which isn't a number, but a concept, like “shit, big!”  Or negative infinity, which is also impossibly big, only negative.  Then again with numbers, there is the “shit, small” — closer and closer to zero.  With nature, we may treat “shit, big” with a telescope, “shit, small” with a microscope, and nominal/local with, duh, our own naked eyes.  To review:  Fuckin' small, like amoeba or H2O molecules or even subatomic particles; Ridiculously big, as interplanetary/inter solar/intergalactic distances; and, local/nominal… ya know, your neighbor's car or maybe your cat or any blade of grass.

Got it?  Good.  You aren't a fuckwit.  But don't congratulate yourself, it isn't something to be too proud of.  Like literacy, I take it for granted that you aren't a fuckwit, just like I've been taking it for granted that you can read.  You should be way beyond being surprised that written words make sense.  Be proud of something else.  For instance:  do you know any funny jokes?

Where was I?

Chapter I:

I Ate Your Goldfish.  It Tasted Good.

Go Back In Time and Stop Me.

Now you, being not a fuckwit, and clearly literate, are still with me.  Assuming a) this is not a library; b) you are not a thief, speed-reader or buying second-hand; c) not me, writing these very words (or serving in some editorial/proof-reading capacity) – or even d) one of the dozen-or-so folks I've given free copies to, e) some other reason, yeah:  assuming I don't know you and you aren't a bastard, maybe your continued interest may get me paid (unless this IS a library…) (…or my blog…)

Time travel.  As with everything in the world, there were three degrees of time machine.  Of course that really just means that there is a possibility of a vast continuum of time machine and you'd simply design and build for what-ever suited you.

Want to see the formation of destruction of the Earth, the solar system, the Cosmos?  Yeah:  Macro-time.  Macro-time machine, take 10 (million years) and start adding zeros by multiplying by, eh, ten.

Maybe you just want to go back a couple days or years to watch a certain favorite movie in a theater, or beat up a child-hood bully.  That'd be nominal, local time travel.  Unfortunately local time-travel is for anthropologists and selfish fuckwits.  Just like Range Rovers.

Now, it comes to my attention that micro time travel, greatly leaned upon in the teleportation industry, is the ONLY KIND OF TIME TRAVEL ALLOWED BY EINSTEIN and F. Gauss.  Don't like it?  Go back in time and debate the thing.  I should warn you, though, Gauss may not even talk to you if you don't know your higher math (or French).  Einstein, if ya catch him later on, speaks a little English—unfortunately, compared to him, you're probably a half-wit or a monkey.  But Einstein may be too polite to say so.  (Gauss, however, may be so bold as to invent the term 'fuckwit' just for you.)

The great problem for nominal and macro-time travel is information.  You can't know before you know:  It is a paradox.  But this ONLY APPLIES TO GOING BACK IN TIME.  Of course we're all going forward in time, simultaneously… nominally.  And we REMEMBER the past, imperfectly, perhaps, but still…

If I send you back in time and you change anything, talk to anyone, you will destroy even the concept of time travel:  Fuckwit.

This is why I'm not sending you.  You, me and the – now MACRO – whole human population can't be trusted.  Maybe Descartes, but he's dead and I can't trust you to go to Sweden and bring him back.  Instead, we'll use voodoo.  … and astrology.  Why not?

I am not a fuckwit.  Voodoo, yes, but that crack about astrology, that was a test.  By the way:  do you remember your goldfish?  I bet you don't even know what I'm talking about.  That's O.K.  It serves to illustrate a point about time travel:  If the time-traveler changes anything, mother nature takes it upon herself to step up and fix things.  This is the (new) central thesis of this document (the old thesis:  'You are not a fuckwit,' has been trashed and, I believe, obviously, debunked).

The Unbearable Paternalism of
Mother Nature.  (That old Bitch.)

Call me a fuckwit, but I am constantly amazed at how ingeniously mother nature shields sentient beings (and half-wits) from the realization that clumsy anthropologists keep accidentally changing the time-line.  For example:  I'm more than a little peeved at the loss of my talking dog named Spot, my sex-crazed girlfriend who loved to give me blow-jobs and my PhD from M.I.T..  I miss the girlfriend the most.  It's kind-of OK about Spot, though – his indifferent kleptomania was an albatross, a constant source of humiliation and embarrassment.  Pluswhich, fucker never spoke a gaddamn word to anyone but me.  Tell ya the truth, I'm glad to be rid of him.  Anyway, the talking cat's better:  at least he's afraid of water.  (And I don't have to plagiarize Warner Bros to talk about him…)
It occurs to me that mother nature doesn't need to protect half-wits from knowledge of time-line changes:  she just does that as a public service.  Certainly it'd look bad to give inbred half-wits evidence of UFOs, miracles and a living Elvis … come to think of it, maybe mother nature has been slacking off lately…  Mother nature is like the TA whose under appreciated job it is to check that I haven't plagiarized.
I think mother nature has a drinking problem.  And don't get me started in on her and the freakin' gambling.  “Uncertainty principle,” indeed.  Maybe the whole thing's going to shit.  The more I know, the less I like, like US foreign policy, pain and sexually transmitted diseases.  Oh, and the great proliferation of fuckwits.  I sometimes say:  “How'd that fuckwit get that job?” or “Haven't they fired that fuckwit yet?” and, of course, the obligatory, “Who voted for that fuckwit?” …
There is definite evidence that mother nature has finally said “fuck it” and went off to take a nap.  Someone went back in time and voted (repeatedly) for certain rich bastards and now we're all in debt.  Then again, maybe mother nature doesn't have to be sober to do her thing:  people don't seem to see ALL THIS as evidence that we're being fucked with by time-traveling intelligencies from beyond the galaxy.  Or time-traveling greedy fuckwits from Texas.  (I suppose it is just a matter of perspective.)  (For the record, I've actually, personally met kind-of nice and intelligent people from Texas:  Why didn't they get time-machine privileges is beyond my fucking comprehension.  Hamsters would have done less damage…)
But I've gone way off subject and began editorializing (it's what I do when I go off-subject; sorry).  Where was I anyway?

Chapter II:

You're Still Reading This?

As with everything in the world, there were three degrees of time machine.  Zerg was using a type II device (in the nominal range, days, weeks) to send and receive information into (eh, from) the past.

Zerg needed accuracy to three decimal places and often cocked-up his research and had to start all over.  Finally, nerves frayed, he decided to “borrow” someone else's results and this is where our story begins.  (Bet you lost faith that there even was a story.  Bet you failed to notice the repeated past-tense of time machine … I try to resist using 'fuckwit,' but geez…)
Here's Zerg's thinking:  Go into the future, take any random anthropology dissertation, bring it back, submit it and (snap fingers sound) voila!  Instant PhD or Master's degree … whatever.  Zerg, it turns out, wasn't actually used to doing his own work.  I guess being born to power and money can do that to a person.  On the other hand, why do I care if Zerg's degree is legitimate?  Maybe I'm still pissed off about the whole “Santa Claus” thing.  I just can't believe people can so brazenly lie, I guess.  Anyway, he hacks away at what it means to have a degree and … and that he could do it, that he did it and it is OBVIOUS that he didn't get past, say … forth grade on his own merits kind of ruins it for everyone!  (But I'm also a bit peeved that I was so naïve well into my second dozen years of life, almost into my third:  Now who's the fuckwit?)
Zerg's name is a four-letter word.  That's as obvious as I'm going to make things.  (Also, I may have changed “history” to “anthropology” — but we WERE talking about time-travel.)
When I was kinda young a VERY attractive bohemian woman (you don't know her) told me why she doesn't vote.  She may have had some of the details wrong, but basically, she has a point.  (I may have to go back in time with my type III device to tell her – she'd be younger than I am now.  This situation begs the question:  How's your memory?  Was she really hot and super smart, like my pre-teen self insists?  We'll find out.  What was her name again?  Started with … 'D' … ?)
Politics!  Yes!  Now here is an excellent example of micro, macro and local/nominal.  Think about it.  It certainly seems to be a matter of perspective… OK, so maybe there's no real “micro” politics (individual pennies in tax revenue?) and “macro” may be an exaggeration (“It only starts to matter when you're talking about BILLIONS of dollars…” maybe not) – but, compared to nominal/local, they're both fucking out of reach.  Without voodoo (and large sums of cold hard special interest cash).
Sing along if you like:  As with everything in the world, there were three degrees of time machine.  (Be sure to emphasize “were.”)  My finger hurts.  Can you believe I'm writing this in pencil?  See if Zerg finds a way to plagiarize this.  Ha ha.  Fuckin' Zerg.  By the way, do you know any funny jokes?  I could use a laugh about now.  And a beer, I mean, if you're indulging me … no?  Oh, OK.  Just, it was a hot day yesterday and …

Let's talk about accuracy.  Hmm.  Right.  That very SENTENCE lacks accuracy.  Maybe “we” should talk about “honesty” first?  OK, I'll write about accuracy, you just try not to move your lips while you READ about accuracy, that is, my mini-essay about accuracy.
Zerg needed accuracy to three decimal places.  Did I say “needed”?  “Need” may be too strong a word.  Oh well.  Sometimes a rough estimation just isn't enough.  Before I used a blade of grass as an example of nominal.  However, a yard full of grass or “all the grass growing along the Mississippi river” or “All the grass ever” brings to questions of scale.  And discussions of scale bring us to estimations of accuracy.  (We could go the other way and justify 'blade of grass' as nominal:  how many atoms of carbon are there in a cubic ¼ millimeter of this particular blade of grass?
I want some serious accuracy with those numbers.  For people like Zerg, accuracy doesn't matter much, because he has stumbled upon the thesis of this document (I changed it again, sorry, I forgot to tell you…) — it is that “most people don't know anyway” and “those that do know can't contradict you if you are in power” and “most people don't care anyway.”  Finally, “if you are in a position of power, they'll likely just take your word for it anyway…”  A person of Zerg's background can do a lot with those data.
Accuracy be damned!  The answer to the question “how many” depends on either a) how much you personally care or b) how willing other people are to re-produce your observations and/or contradict your findings.  c) anyone's willingness to contradict you and their ability to do so loud enough for it to make a difference.  Good luck fuckin' honest people.  Good luck curious people and, finally, good luck hard workin' starvin' poverty-stricken can't-afford-medical-insurance people.  Seriously:  Good luck.
A dependable type II or III time machine is like having a lot of money.  You can use the thing for all kinds of mischief.  For instance, you can make your illiterate smug self the president.  Time machines (and gobs of cash) are useful that way.  And, as Zerg is about to find out, they are also both equally useful for avoiding having to actually do something.  Pluswhich, loads of cash (and time machines) can help if you're a compulsive liar:  Money and time travel can make people believe your self-serving lies:  no matter how blatant.  No matter how compulsive you are about telling lies or even how OBVIOUS you are about the very act of lying to people.  Even if everything you say is a lie…
You want to save the world, here's what you do (pay attention, I learned this from Ann Coulter):  1) create a completely fictitious world with simplistic and dishonest problems.  2) write a book about the world created in 1.  3) Be careful to blame who-ever is your opposition back in the tired real world (that is, most likely, the ones who will be most peeved at your lying, just a guess). 4) Deny that the world you created out of your own smelly ass (in 1) is a device, a fictional world of simplistic and dishonest problems. 5) Complain that the science in the real world (not your fake one) can't adequately answer policy questions (in your fake world), cannot “realistically predict” anything or “is being used by those with an 'agenda'.”  Finally 6) Without denying that you, yourself, have an agenda, and being careful not to use the word “agenda,” pretend you are above that sort of thing.

If all else fails:  resort to name-calling.  Recall how well it works for me: fuckwit.  (Figure out for yourself who I learned that last one from…)
Chapter IV:

What the Fuck Happened To Chapter III?
See?  That's the thing about accuracy, without it, you subject your audience to weird shit.  Plus: you risk having to lie to defend yourself when all you were originally guilty of was laziness.  I shouldn't have to work too hard (heh) to convince you not only that laziness isn't a crime, but that probably all mammals hold it up as an ideal.  Fuckin' cats and hamsters sure do.  And computer programmers, too: else, why bother programming?  Think about it.  (That's right, I'm trying to live up the the male lion's example.)
You probably expect me to say (eh, “write”): “Only a fuckwit would wonder what happened to chapter 3.”  I hate to disappoint amateur psychics:  Only a fuckwit would wonder what happened to chapter 3.  (FYI: Professional psychics don't waste their time on me.)
Why I don't run for president.
The reason I don't run for president is NOT because I'm only 31.  It is also NOT because I don't have a powerful father or uncle and a truckload of cash and oil rights.  Nope, the reason, the true reason I don't run for president is that my type I time machine isn't adequate for the cause.  That's the truth, really. :)



Personal stuff:  “dirty five-thirty” gets a bit blistery in the summer (hot here).  “Dirty five-thirty” is an expression I picked up recently.  Never mind.




You may be surprised to hear this, but I'm not going to complain about the price of gas.
However, as it comes to my attention by various channels, gas prices have gone up and up and up. Meanwhile, gas compainies have made more money than any other company ever, that's in the history of companies, money and whatever else…

So!  My buddy back in Huntington Beach sent me an email.  Normally this is a very Earth/Eco-friendly guy.  This guy complained about how "animal control" mistreated a cougar caught in a tree in a "residential" area (human residential area, not cougar residential area) out on the edge of town (whatever town; a 'burb of some big megalopolous)… whatever, it doesn't matter.

click here to read the letter

If you don't want to read that email, let me tell you briefly what is going on:  some consumer activist-type is complaining about gas prices and suggesting that we boycott the two largest (which are the same company) gas companies and force them to lower their price and that'll, he-or-she postulates will make the other companies lower their prices to compete (that can't happen anyway, because as soon as the first company lowered their price, the boycott would be broken, no matter what magic you held over the participants heads, but that is beside the point.  I was and am really pissed off about this email.  It isn't like we're talking about air here, we're talking about a fossil fuel which will be depleted eventually, destroys the planet to mine and use, causes weird "foreign policy" decisions and keeps certain cretens in power.  I know Americans are greedy and money and power hungry, but this is just too much.  I say to these fuckers:  Didn't your mom ever tell you to clean up your room?  Yeah?  Apply that logic to the WHOLE MOTHER-LOVIN' PLANET.

Meanwhile, this is what I replied to my pseudo-eco-buddy… — oh, by the way, brace yourself for a rant…

I like you, <eco-buddy>, but that's a really stupid email/forwarded message.

It doesn't matter what the price, there are less than 300 million americans and not all of us have cars. Some of us have mulitple cars, so maybe that "averages out" but it isn't important to my issue.

My issue is that even if there were ONLY ONE CAR EVER, if it runs on GAS, it will eventually, one day, have none left. It takes WAY TOO LONG to make the oil and natural gas and coal that we humans are just throwing away. Meanwhile, wind and solar power (... hell, soy deisel, too) ... moving rivers (we don't like to do this anymore, though...) ... anyway, there are "renewable" sources of energy. It doesn't matter whose pocketbook we attack. The gas companies and auto companies are just taking our money and robbing the earth -- us, our future, whatever -- of these resources ... they block legislation to regulate them, their profits, emissions ... in LA they turned the whole place into "car culture" and you are treated like an idiot or something if you don't drive, refuse to drive or can't afford to drive. Reminds me of drug dealers in those fairy tales adults tell kids: first they get you hooked, then they look the other way as you rob people to help you pay for your habit. FUCK ALL. Take public transportation, use a bicycle. Walk, whatever. Find a way to convert your vehicle to something renewable. The rest of the world is moving toward sustainability; if AMERICA doesn't catch up, we'll -- after we finish fucking up the atomosphere -- have to have a crash course later (when there /is/ no oil).

Complaining about "high gas prices" is bullshit.  In England gas is ALWAYS $10/gallon (usa equilivant) ... they don't drive unless it is necessary. Hell, in New York City, few people drive. It reminds me of little kids whining. "I want ice cream I want ice cream" ... a) it isn't fuckin' good for you, b) you ate it all already and I had to pay for it, c) you wasted half of what you had in the first place.

All three apply to people and gasoline.



As someone who sometimes goes on tirades about nature, I wouldn't have expected such an email from you.


Finally:  check out this article, and this article.
…and lastly, I just don't like chain emails…



No one comments anymore?  My fault, I guess, for being gone so long.  Maybe people want to say:  "Don't feel sorry for yourself, you loser piece of shit," but can't find the 'polite' way of saying it.  Or, perhaps, my three readers have gone on vacation or decided to boycott me.  But maybe I don't reason well and there are other factors.  However, being that I've been gone for-like-ever, I'm going to go with the theory that the two or three people who used to read this blog have found something more productive to do (maybe read a blog that it updated more often)?


What does it mean to be productive, anyway?  My single gripe, I think, with the world can easily be boiled down; besides, I think it may be a local problem.  Plus, I have a new insight, which is actually an old insight and I've seen it before, too, so it isn't even new to me, however I forgot it, and so it is new now:  Some people can't figure out how to fix themselves, so they decide the society/culture is broken and try to fix it.  This, from page 198 of a paper-back version of Isaac Asimov's "The Caves of Steel."  I'm paraphrasing, but that's the gist.  Just so you know that I'm a little tiny bit self-aware.
I like headings.  I like typing "in sito" html.  Like the non-breaking space code, etc.  This is because I'm a computer-language snob.  It's like if you go to France and you have that one asshole American who tries to show off to his friends by talking to the waitress in French.  They hate it, you think he's an asshole, she's a waitress, so probably has to pretend to think it's nice and correct or whatever (bigger tip, perhaps).  Yeah, so just like that.  Does it make it easier to read?  No.  Can most people tell?  No.  What good is it?  Well, I know that I did it, so that's its value.


That heading is <h3 align="center">H3</h3>.  I'm so proud.
(That is not a heading, I just wrote "Cats" with line break codes around it.)  Both cats are here in the bedroom—Oh, I'm using the IBM Thinkpad (from Japan) to type this.  The linux machine has some kind of blogger blockout or something; blogger doesn't typically work from the "machine on the right."  Cats:  I've probably talked about our cats before.  There are two and they came as a set.  The people at the Humane Society Animal Shelter convinced us (we aren't difficult to convince, so it wasn't a trick or anything) that these two kittens (they were kittens at the time) were brother and sister from the same litter.  This is looking less-and-less true as they get older and was probably a lie, on its face, when we first heard it; but like I said, we're easy to convince.  But here's my "evidence" that they're probably not brother and sister, let alone the same litter (fraternal twins, fraternal half-twins [supposedly more than one male cat can fertilize more than one egg in a female cat when she's in heat, so sometimes you have fraternal half-twins, that is, assuming more than one non-sterile male when your she-cat goes into heat; you should get your she-cat fixed, because going into heat is a sad little sight]):  1) Rainy (female) has a flattish face, not so flat as a Burmese, but flattish compared to her "brother," Sunny.  Sunny's face is longer, like a mountain lion, not like a Siamese, but still clearly longer than Rainy's.  2) She can curl her tail, he doesn't seem able to curl his tale (nor willing to let me curl it for him).  3) She is "tabby-and-white," but so is he, and both have white bellies and chins, white feet (not necessarily white legs, though).  However! Sunny is symetrical; Rainy is, decidedly, not.  Plus he is GREY!  Sunny's fur is like a medium grey with smallish lighter-grey "thumbprint" tabby stripes.  Rainy's tabby-stripes are obvious, pluswhich she has a black (!) stripe down her back, effectively splitting her tabbyness in two.  She also, though it is less obvious now, has a white scar-looking stripe going through her left eye (used to be really clear and was kind of cool looking; now it is less obvious, yet still cool, imho).  They are different genders and this may have an effect on their behavior, so I can't compare that, pluswhich, how we treat them will also effect their behavior; so if we treat her different or something, and we probably wouldn't even be aware of it, she'll be different.  But, in case it matters, and it isn't behavioral, Rainy has turned herself into a little pudge-ball of a cat, whereas Sunny is weirdly skinny; he even has that "extra tummy" skin/fur under him when he walks that tempts me to grab it and say:  "what is this, huh, Sunny?"  Which I do, infrequently.  Rainy's tummy is, of course, firm.  Behavior-wise, and I'm only saying this because it's cute, not because it helps my argument, but:  If you rub or pet Rainy's tunny, she'll roll onto her back and purr like she was a machine specifically made to emit purring noises.  Sunny, however, not so.  If you rub or pat Sunny's tummy, he'll engage you in a game we call "grab and bite," in which he, as you may have guessed, grabs onto whatever part of you he can and then bites it, sometimes really hard.  Then again, I encourage this behavior.  I think it's cute.


I wish I had some digital pictures of the cats and perhaps I will soon.  I'd love to bask vicariously in their glory by posting their adorable likenesses onto this blog.  Maybe then people would actually comment.

Even today I have a large Chico State cup full of coffee.  Still learning Calculus.  Re-reading several Asimov novels, I did the Galactic Empire series, now I've started the Robot novels (the Butte County Library is so kind to me).  I re-newed Kurt Vonegut's Breakfast of Champions (audio CD), on the off-chance that they get me the actual book version-if I read it while the Stanley Tucci reads it on the CD, I'll memorize it forever.  That's all for now; thanks for reading, assuming you did; otherwise screw off.



Clone wars

Because friend (and barber) Martin was going to host the mic-less open mic (he just called it 'spoken word'), I was inspired to write a poem (I don't have it with me and I don't remember it, but the pseudo-title was 'I killed my clone').


I'm right now on the forth floor of the CSU, Chico library.
Probably I'm not allowed to be here; maybe I'm allowed as a Ca resident, but probably I'm not allowed to be using the computer.  M went to class and is using me as a seat holder/warmer—I've been used for less (doorstop, etc).  The problem I have, and I should repeat that I really don't have, I guess, the right to complain, not being an actual student, anyway the problem I have is that for some gaddamned reason the fuckin' people using the computers and study table (to the left of the elevators as you get off them) are always fucking loud.  Doesn't anyone know what it means to be in a library anymore?  It isn't like there aren't places that have computers and are more social, I've been to the BMU (student union building holds a post-mod college cafeteria, run by a mafia-like "associated students" which is probably, and, I think, most likely, a misleading suggestion of student involvement and employment/ownership—God I'm cynical about this place—and the bookstore, also AS) and it ain't quiet; and there aren't signs telling me to be quiet, so I make the necessary assumptions.  But LIBRARY?!??
M is less cautious than I.  She notes:  "Those loud Asians."
This is typical, being that she is Japanese, in both the ethnic and national sense; she is an international student…


Speaking of M.  We had one of our typical fights about what a piece-of-shit loser I am and how she is embarrassed because her "friends think [she] is stupid for helping" me.  That is, letting me stay with her and "not pay rent."  (For the record, I did not intend to talk about this, and probably shouldn't; too much pain, no objectivity, etc.)  But I have conflicting information, a) I help her with her studying, and am always available for whatever small (or otherwise) chore she sets for me, sometimes this involves helping one of her friends (but rarely). b) I only came to Chico in the first place because she brought me.  If I get a job in this weird cheap-student-labor burg, I'll end up being a laborer of some stripe:  ie. underpaid, not appreciated and easily replaced by a high school student who won't bother to stand up for herself.  Alternatives are to find a job in Sacramento or the Bay Area, but she seems content to veto them.  So:  Rob's options seem to be "degrade yourself and get paid very little for the same," "magically produce a pile of money," and, I suppose, "leave."  Unfortunately, two things:  In spite of this single issue, this one argument, I really like this girl.  I don't like how she makes me feel small, unwanted and useless when she seems unaware that it isn't all that difficult to be the kid of some foreign rich folks, but it is a fascististic government we run here and I am disallowed to defend myself, especially with such venom.  It causes weird side-effects.  I am troubled; the other day, in the middle of our issue, but I was inside before she was, from a trip to Costco, anyway, I'm not sure exactly what happened, maybe I desire some kind of physical injury to parallel my emotional/psychological injuries, but today I have a serious bruise on my right-hand-pinky-knuckle and a weird bruise/cut (like a boxer!?!!) over my right eye.  The fucked-up-person's equivilant of, I guess, punching a wall (or another person):  Punch yourself.  Some people opt to take it out on people even worse off than themselves, in my case, two cats.  Unfortunately, the scales are a bit too tipped in my direction and, barring some insight on their part, the cats can't fight back AT ALL.  Not that I'm willing to drop the analogy; I'm just not going to abuse the cats just because I can:  it's just wrong.  *sighs*  You may think the above was cathartic, but now I'm going to have to worry that I thought the things too much and they left permanent lines on my face and that it'll start its own episode of said fight.  Meanwhile, I used the Rush website (it's a temp company, not a loudmouthed idiot) to upload my job qualifications.  I'm trying to look forward to the abuse they'll inflict.  But I didn't talk about Chicago.


It is premature for me to write anything about next year, even this December, however I can report the past.  Some people can change gears rapidly, some people can't.  After certain painful arguments (ie. 'you are worthless, fuck off and die'), I tend to simmer for a number of days and try not to be angry, try not even to be distant.  You won't believe this, but I'm probably, on the surface anyway, chipper, and less cynical when I'm actually feeling the most of a wreck; which is how I feel, what is wrong with this planet when someone who is capable of helping, who is capable of solving problems is reduced to the level of begging for work at McDonald's?  Where was I?  Oh yeah, Chicago.  M graduates in December.  The other day, this is AFTER the fight described above, she actually expressed a desire to live in Chicago.  Some people may know that I hold a reverence for Chicago that borders on the mythical.  This is normal, and correct me if I'm wrong, for people who lived in provincial (read:  Small towns south of Chicago in) Illinois.  We also tend to hold St. Louis in high esteem, but maybe we don't because I'm dealing here with a sample of one, myself.  So I'm reasoning with the same data as Freud.  Shitty company.  But, considering how people talked about bigger towns when I was younger and living in Ill, I think my guess is pretty sound.  Plus theres the architecture and the Lake.  Plus the culture is in the East.  But I've been contradicted on that point by a man named Dennis who is a graduate student/lecturer for the CSU whom we found on a walk (the day before the argument); he uses wax in his abstract paintings; they are quite good and I wish I was a rich foreigner so I could buy one or two; he says that besides New York, Los Angeles (of all places) is an art center; what with the Getty, LACMA and MOCA.  But I've lived in L.A., so I disagree.  People there don't care about art, they are superficial.  Being in SoCal (minus, perhaps, San Diego) perhaps has that effect on a person/maybe it is just the big city thing; who fucking knows or cares.  If you're from L.A. and feel it necessary to defend yourself as being non-superficial, don't bother:  When I was there, I was perhaps not superficial, but individuals don't act as groups, groups are groups and as a group the Los Angelenos are fucking superficial as hell.  Shall we move on?


This particular fight happened on Monday and we did go to spoken word (mic-less open mic sans Kyle, the usual host; ZS knows this guy better than anyone, unfortunately for him and perhaps for K as well, he may resent my talking about it, I'm sure K would, too bad for K).  Fighting:  the thing about this fight is, it may have been avoided (or, at least, delayed) except that I was already ill-well.  The parking situation was what it was on Monday and I had to drive the car back home.  I was in a hurry to get M after her class but suddenly had to use the bathroom, like, right now!  More of this "too much coffee" thing I talk about, but for some reason, still drink too much coffee; it's tasty, and I'm addicted.  Besides, I can't have cigarettes, M, also an ex-smoker (she smoked much much more and longer than I did, in fact) doesn't like them, and not necessarily for their economic impact on poor families, etc.—she could smell the cigarette(s) on my breath and didn't want to kiss, so I quit smoking.  Of course, now we don't kiss all that much anyway so what was gained, I ask you.  Sure, my health, but who the fuck cares about that, I'm a negative piece of shit who doesn't "work" etc.  Moving on?
So I was late going to pick M up after her class and she was in conversation with a waitress we know from her favorite restaurant (which serves Chinese food) the waitress is also a psyc major at the CSU.  Apparently M asked her about finding a job in Chico; now, a computer consultant/programmer/database expert is not exactly going to go about finding a job the same way as a college student/psyc major/waitress, but that's a whole other issue.  My inability to explain myself and her bizarre insistance that people think she's stupid (including, supposedly, myself, because I'm "using" her and "must therefore think [she's] stupid" and a few other "mis" understandings she harbors.

I should quit now, she will be here now and I don't want to preach about facism.

…however, I wasn't exactly feeling well when the fight began, that's what I was going to say.




Ohkay, I feel better.

How are ya?
Don't answer that.

Yesterday's project had nothing to do with Pokémon (honest!):  I was going to use the CSUC library to find a half-way decent Calculus book.  That's right, only one.  I picked 3 that looked promising from the stacks, and discarded 2 (a two-volume set) from the "folio" section, because I didn't and don't know if M can check those suckers out (I don't even know what 'folio' means in this context).  Excuse me, I have to go change the CD--I'm recording to a minidisc all my Belly/Tanya Donelly stuff…  I'm back.  Where was I?  Oh yeah:  getta calculus book.  The plan was to flip through the 3 books and pick the best one.  However!  The first one I opened, "What Is Calculus About?" by W.W.Sawyer (New Mathematical Library, 1961, Yale) was kind of easy to read and was like an introduction to a precalculus class or something.  So I had M check out all three, as I didn't even peek at the other two, "Introductory Calculus >>> With Analytic Geometry" by Edward G. Begle (also Yale, 1954), and "From Calculus to Chaos An Introduction to Dynamics" by David Acheson (ISBN: 0198502575).  I've since finished the "What about…" book.  I recommend it, honestly.  I really recommend the Teach Yourself Calculus book, but CSUC's library didn't have it.  gotta go change CDs again, excuse me.  Later, I'll probably try the ol' profiteering route (not that it matters, ya'all never click&buy my suggestions anyway) and make links.


For some reason, every so often, I get a bug up my ass, that's right, a bug up my ass, and start listening to and enjoying my minidisc player and small collection of minidiscs.  My sweetheart, M (why do they so frequently have the first initial, 'M,' anyway… hm.) one day spontaneously asked me, "Do you want me to buy you more minidiscs?"  I thought she was kidding, and, at any rate, this is not something to be taken lightly.  Minidiscs are rare, especially here (our apartment), and it isn't like my having 10 brand new blank minidiscs would do her any good whatsoever, so I, somewhat homefully, said:  "that'd be cool."  Or did I say:  "Fuck yes!" (?)  But I didn't push the subject, however, I was a bit of a dick in looking for the best price and stuff (wouldn't want her to forget and dash my hopes now).  So what I'm doing right now is I'm "remixing" my Belly/Tanya Donelly (she's Belly's lead singer, in case you don't know, yet somehow manage to care anyway) because it was previously on a TDK 74min MD and I remember I had to cut a few songs (they were duplicates, to be sure, but the finished disc didn't represent the collection I have).  Meanwhile, the ZOMBIESLAYER (see link at sidebar) loaned me a good 15 CDs including 5, that's right FIVE, Pink Floyd albums.  Surprisingly, Pink Floyd all fits on one Minidisc (Black ONE, I call it; the new ones all have colors).  excuse me again  I like minidisc because I can put a buttload (buttload = approx. 5 hours, 20 minutes) of music on each MD (those are the 80min ones) and then organize them however I like and carry whichever mini-collection(s) I want with me when I go do what people do when they have portable music players…

Too much coffee

I drank too much coffee.  I know you know what happens to the stupid fool who drinks too much coffee.  If you don't know, it is too gross to discuss here, and I will not indulge your disgusting purile voyerism, sicko.

That's all.  Thanks for reading, assuming you did.  If you didn't then fuck you.  Jenn:  I'll go tag you, you're pithey.


My D&D alter-ego…

Y'all may be interested in how I filled out the personality test mentioned in (below, I guess) previous articles:

I Am A: Chaotic Good Elf Mage Fighter

Chaotic Good characters are independent types with a strong belief in the value of goodness. They have little use for governments and other forces of order, and will generally do their own things, without heed to such groups.

Elves are the eldest of all races, although they are generally a bit smaller than humans. They are generally well-cultured, artistic, easy-going, and because of their long lives, unconcerned with day-to-day activities that other races frequently concern themselves with. Elves are, effectively, immortal, although they can be killed. After a thousand years or so, they simply pass on to the next plane of existance.

Primary Class:
Mages harness the magical energies for their own use. Spells, spell books, and long hours in the library are their loves. While often not physically strong, their mental talents can make up for this.

Secondary Class:
Fighters are the warriors. They use weapons to accomplish their goals. This isn't to say that they aren't intelligent, but that they do, in fact, believe that violence is frequently the answer.

none was listed

Find out What D&D Character Are You?, courtesy ofNeppyMan (e-mail)

According to the stats listed below all this stuff, I could just as easily have been called a 'cleric' as opposed to 'fighter' if that matters, because both had scores of 3 and the program seems to have arbitrarily (or because it was first?) chosen 'fighter' but I'm happy either way.


Which D&D Character is Mrs. Savage?

There is a link below to the site I used, and Mrs. Savage walked in while I was looking through the 'personality test' for D&D character and alignment, etc. I think it is interesting, some of this stuff looks like what The Zombie Slayer and I've discussed in the past. So it may apply equally well to him. ZS: If you read this, I encourage you to take the quiz and post your results.

I Am A: Chaotic Good GnomeRanger Bard

Chaotic Good characters are independent types with a strong belief in the value of goodness. They have little use for governments and other forces of order, and will generally do their own things, without heed to such groups.

Gnomes are also short, like dwarves, but much skinnier. They have no beards, and are very inclined towards technology, although they have been known to dabble in magic, too. They tend to be fun-loving and fond of jokes and humor. Some gnomes live underground, and some live in cities and villages. They are very tolerant of other races, and are generally well-liked, though occasionally considered frivolous.

Primary Class:
Rangers are the defenders of nature and the elements. They are in tune with the Earth, and work to keep it safe and healthy.

Secondary Class:
Bards are the entertainers. They sing, dance, and play instruments to make other people happy, and, frequently, make money. They also tend to dabble in magic a bit.

Baervan Wildwanderer is the Neutral Good gnomish god of forests, travel, and nature. He is also known as the Masked Leaf. His avatar is always accompanied by an intelligent, giant raccoon, named Chiktikka Fastpaws. His followers, like him, enjoy the outdoors and work to protect it and guard those who also enjoy it. Their preferred weapon is the halfspear.

Find out What D&D Character Are You?, courtesy ofNeppyMan (e-mail)


I've been away…

I'm sorry, everyone. I've been away. I've been trying to relearn (though it feels like I'm learning it for the first time, I must be getting old, that's all I can say in my defense) Java. I know you'd think I'd actually need a computer for that, but you'd be wrong. All I need are a few books and ALOT OF PAPER. Pluswhich, free time and then I have to tear myself away from it an do something completely arbitrary so my mind can percolate, whatever. I find playing Pokémon Crystalélately, this iséis good for this, that, and reading, of course.

I'll try to think of something really stupid to write about and get back to y'all. Yes, I'm sorry: I am a Slacker: I love Richard Linkletter, as a matter of fact. yep, I'm even due for a 're-screaning' of that video (I even own a version of the 'screenplay').
More later.

PS: Thanks to everyone who reads these words! Check out the skeptics, that's what I always do!

Right now my mind is percolating on some kind of role-playing adventure game, I mean, whose mind isn't constantly constructing other worlds and potential human/creature inhabitants of said worlds?


ReadMyList:  New Blog

I made a short list of people I know with two ingredients for making great pasta: They can read and they have internet access. Maybe those aren't the ingredients for making great pasta. Maybe the ingredients for making great pasta is to go out to eat. Or have Rob cook.

I started a new 'blog… And, jus' fer kicks, I invited a couple of my more literate friends to join (read: I asked all of my friends, [read: I asked 3 guys I know]).

To begin, I went room to room in the apartment and found all the books I'm reading right now (half a dozen came from the library today — my reserves came in — woohoo!), and I made an unordered list (<ul>…</ul> !?!?) of them all, carefully linking them to my bookstore. Go! Check it out: ReadMyList: A literate 'blog


Aussie News

A View From Downunder…

Wealthy sweat on tax probe

First, read this article from the Herald-Sun.
Here is my response:

It seems this probe is far-reaching. It also seems to be a well-known thing that in the US, the wealthy are guilty of tax evasion, fraud, etc. Probabilistically, what do you think the chances are of a probe such as this article describes, occuring in the States?


Myself, I'd guess that the probability is lower than that of my own self winning the lottery (I don't buy tickets). I suggest such a low probability (someone'd have to give me a winning ticket, somehow, or I'd have to find it), because it appears obvious to this observer that the corporations OWN the government here.

I could be wrong (and I hope I am).
—What do ya'all think?
PS: I added this to keep ZS happy. He seems to think I'm neglectful of my 'blog. I'm sorry, ZS. Zombieslayer is my master
Uni stands firm on terror exhibition

Second, read this article from the Herald-Sun.
Here is my response:

Sounds like any excuse to hinder freedom of speech will do these days. Censorship is censorship.

—What do ya'all think?
PS: I added this to keep ZS happy. He seems to think I'm neglectful of my 'blog. I'm sorry, ZS. Zombieslayer is my master
Agreement on freeway's frozen millions

Third, read this article from the Herald-Sun.
Here is my response:

This is quite a mixed up bag of political horseshit, non?
I see one thing to actively and bitterly complain about: Using someone else's broken promise to make a demand of public money seems lame. But I don't know the whole story here. Actually it would seem the Aussies have a better system for dealing with road money. But I don't even have the VAGUEST idea what our own system is. For all I know, it's far superior! *shrugs*

—What do ya'all think?
PS: I added this to keep ZS happy. He seems to think I'm neglectful of my 'blog. I'm sorry, ZS. Zombieslayer is my master
(I promise the next one is good!)Pet project aids the elderly

Lastly, read this article from the Herald-Sun.
Here is my response:

That dog's name is 'Mintie'?  I want to eat that lil dog.  Why do people have dogs that size?  Haven't they ever heard of hamsters?  I absolutely HATE little dogs.  They are worthless as hell.  In fact, HELL, is NOTABLY WORTH MORE THAN THESE MUTANT PUPS.  Case in point:  Ya kin use h-e-double-hockey-sticks to scare Christians and small children straight.  (In honor of this, I've renamed the 2 aug page of this blog…   …actually, I renamed all the entries.)  Ohkay, that said, I see two sides to this and one is my robot-with-a-heart-of-stone response:  So the old farts do better with animals so we let them have animals then because they're too old and infirm, they neglect or have to surrender the animals back to shelters (or the little suckers die)… so these dudes come swooping in to care and feed the animals that are there to keep the old farts, who live alone, alive longer in the first place.  Maybe we can solve the problem if we take away the pets?  I mean if the old putzes die, there'll be no need to give them pets and there'll be (again) no need to take care of said pets.  Why not a big communal old fart farm?  Ya kin keep alda oldies in one great big … hell with it.
The truth of the matter, is that I often quote the thing about how old people do better with pets, but not because I'm necessarily ADVOCATING pets for the elderly, so much as I'm advocating pets for MYSELF, in general.  But I'm really making a comment on how you'll tend to thrive if someone, apparently ANYONE, depends on you (note, 'ancient' tribal leaders from Native American lore:  Because they were the respected elders, they lived much longer than the common loser tribesman)…  but it seems a little far-fetched—nay—artificial, to keep people alive through this psychological warfare of having a small animal depend on them, ESPECIALLY, when the damn animal CAN'T DEPEND ON THEM (hense the swooping)!!!!  WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?  A social program to save another disaster of a social program?  CAN I GIT SOME SOCIAL PROGRAM CHAINING, PLEASE?!!?


PS:  Disagree with me if you want, but don't expect me to share my tinydog sandwich.

—What do ya'all think?
PS: I added this to keep ZS happy. He seems to think I'm neglectful of my 'blog. I'm sorry, ZS. Zombieslayer is my master


Fuckin' Liberal-conservatives

classic email volley

To:  Zombieslayer
From:  savage

Subject:  Re:  some help here?
I'm going to post this, I'll excise your 'biblical-sounding' name and replace it with 'something-more-appropriate,' same with Mrs.ZS's 'koenig-esque' name and replace it with (obviously) Mrs.'something-more-appropriate'—

I'll also turn someone into 'Him-of-the-red-suspenders' or maybe I'll say: 'Host-of-Micless-open-mic'
I'll also remove the reference to your email addy (of course)

BLOGGERS:  This is the bloggy-pi-bin-reverse-polish-notation email system speaking:  "Clearly, these emails are in reverse-order.  Imagine it was done on purpose, like 'Pulp Fiction,' yeah?"

--- The Zombieslayer wrote:

> Rob,
> I'm 100% in agreement here. Not all conservatives
> are Republicans. I'm
> economically conservative but I can't remember the
> last time I voted for a
> Republican anything. Ah yes, it was either '88 or
> '92 when I voted for
> Pete Wilson. Now, that was a huge mistake. Being
> a big proponent of
> abortion (not pro-choice, I'm pro-abortion. The
> Jerry Springer show is
> proof that abortion isn't used enough), you can see
> why I so rarely vote
> for Republican anything.
> And likewise, a lot of liberals voted for Nader,
> Mrs.ZS being one of them.
> She calls herself either liberal or Green, but she
> hated the current crop
> of Democrats.
> -The ZombieSlayer (is your master, bow you wretched fleshbag!)
> The Computer Guy said:
> > I don't think you'd like it. "intellectual
> > conservative" is neither, I think, intellectual
> > conservative. I'm not really able to
> self-identify
> > with whatever, maybe not even 'intellectual,' but
> I
> > think they're making the common mistake that...
> > conservative = republican
> > and
> > republican = conservative
> > -r
> > PS:
> > Red-suspenders is doing the same thing and if he isn't
> > conservative and/or republican, that only means it
> is
> > worse, because then he's doing this...
> > liberal = democrat
> > and
> > democrat = liberal
> > and you don't have to be a zombie to know that
> that is
> > just WRONG. on so many levels. but I'll spell my
> > personal problem with it.  Hey: 'problem' has
> > contained withing it the word 'rob' … I wondered
> > what the fuck was wrong here.
> >
> > anyway my issue with d = l and l = d is that Bush
> Sr.
> > called Dukakis (how to spell, who cares, whatever)
> a
> > 'liberal,' as if it were a bad name and D (fuckin'
> > spellin') tried to ... shit, what do you call it
> when
> > someone else makes a fallacy in a debate and you
> try
> > to call their attention to it by making the
> converse
> > statement? ... anyway, so D says to Bush Sr.,
> > basically, 'fine, if I'm a liberal, you're a
> > conservative' -- *sighs*
> > he called him poopy head.
> > ...
> > my problem with a 'liberal' or a 'democrat' and
> > especially a 'democrat' calling themself a
> 'liberal'
> > is that they're playing into the bullshit started
> by
> > their own opposition!
> > :(
> > and now I just got my hands (fingers?) dirty by
> > talking about it!
> > blah and double blah.
> > maybe I'll post this.
> > -=-
> >
> --
> Check out the Zombieslayer blog, the internet
> website that just might save
> your life:
> Zombieslayer is my master
Me again:
No, I don't know anything about politics.
Not even a little bit.
I thank you politely—though briskly ("Fuggoff") for visiting.


We hope you enjoy your exploration of Martinique.

The election scheduled for May 11 would not take place.


First, a few facts:
Mt. Pelée is an active volcano on on the North end of the island of Martinique. Martinique is part of the Lesser Antilles volcanic arc. The arc is formed by the subduction of the North American Plate under the Caribbean Plate. Mt. Pelée, is called a stratovolcano and is made mostly of pyroclastic rocks.
The above is from this page. and my memories of other things found in my recent research after reading for M's class from the class packet.
The most recent eruption of Mt. Pelée was from 1929 to 1932. "Mt. Pelée is famous for the May 8, 1902 eruption which killed 29,000 people and destroyed the city of St. Pierre. This is the largest number of casualities for a volcanic eruption this century."-same

(from Wiki) "The study of the causes of the disaster marks the beginning of modern volcanology with the definition and the analysis of the deadliest volcanic hazard: the pyroclastic flows and surges, also called 'nuées ardentes' (Fr: glowing clouds). The eruption has also lent its name to 'The Pelean eruption style'."

My interest?
(da da dum!)

The Election of May 11th, 1902

Volcanic eruption of 1902
"Nothing in the past of Mount-Pelé let predict such a dramatic eruption.é Few volcanic phenomena observed before, did not convince the inhabitants of the importance of the danger.é However, May 8, 1902, the crater explodes.é In a few seconds, a volcanic cloud shaves any trace of life on 60km2. 30000 people perish."-here
ohkay, so you know that the city was destroyed…

But this wasn't like a sudden thing! The most obvious clue (to the modern observer, this is admittedly a post-hoc argument, but anyway) is that the mountain IS A VOLCANO. Just to get that out of the way. However, it hadn't done ANYTHING in recent (to the people at the beginning of the twentieth century) history to suggest it was anything other than some kind of sleeping dragon, or stone dragon, whatever, anyway…

January/Febuary 2002: Sulferous smell emanates from mountain and annoys residents of St. Pierre. But no one seems to notice or worry. The American Consul's wife wrote to her sister in Ma about it, but *sighs* it wasn't like she was worried about dying, it was just hard to breathe, ya know?
the remaining stuff is from this site. It is copied and pasted and then I edited the format so it wouldn't look too weird. (JUST A REPRINT — but pay attention to the election stuff, please, as that is really the topic here)…

"Although in January 1902 Mt. Pelée began to show an abrupt increase in fumarole activity, the public showed little concern."-this site see below:
OVERVIEW: The Tropical Paradise of St. Pierre
The infamous volcano of Mt. Pelée, shown in this 1987 photo, looms over the village of St. Pierre on the French Caribbean Island of Martinique. This sleepy little village shows little of the grandeur of turn-of-the-century St. Pierre, which was a vibrant colonial city, known to European tourists as the "Paris of the West Indies." With its red-tiled cottages, rambling streets, and tropical vegetation, this prosperous little city was renowned for its beauty. In the official 1894 census, the population of St. Pierre was around 20,000. Although most were native Martiniquans, the wealth and political power were controlled largely by Creoles and a few French colonial officials and civil servants. No one at the time could have predicted the horror that was to descend on this tropical paradise with the reawakening of Mt. Pelée in the Spring of 1902.

Although in January 1902 Mt. Pelée began to show an abrupt increase in fumarole activity, the public showed little concern. This changed, however, on April 23 when minor explosions began at the summit of the volcano. Over the next few days, St. Pierre was rocked by earth tremors, showered in ash, and enveloped in a thick cloud of choking sulfurous gas. These nightmarish conditions deteriorated further when the city and outlying villages were invaded by ground-dwelling insects and snakes driven from the slopes of Mt. Pelée by the ashfalls and tremors. Horses, pigs, and dogs screamed as red ants and foot-long centipedes crawled up their legs and bit them. Thousands of poisonous snakes joined the fray. An estimated 50 humans, mostly children, died by the snake bites, along with some 200 animals.

As the summit eruptions intensified, water in the Etang Sec crater lake was heated to near boiling. On May 5, the crater rim gave way, sending a torrent of scalding water cascading down the River Blanche. The hot water mixed with loose pyroclastic debris to generate a massive lahar with a downslope speed of nearly 100 kilometers per hour. This large volcanic mudflow buried everything in its path. Near the mouth of the river, north of St. Pierre, it overran a rum distillery, killing 23 workmen. The lahar continued into the sea, where it generated a three-meter-high tsunami which flooded the low-lying areas along the waterfront of St. Pierre.

Living near the volcano became increasingly stressful, leading many to consider leaving St. Pierre for Martinique's second city, Fort-de-France. On the day of the lahar, however, Governor Louis Mouttet received a report from a committee of civic leaders who climbed the volcano to assess the danger. The only scientist in the group was a local high school teacher. The report stated that "there is nothing in the activity of Mt. Pelée that warrants a departure from St. Pierre." It concluded that "the safety of St. Pierre is completely assured." The report eased the public's fears, and gave hope to city officials who were particularly anxious that voters remain in the city to cast their ballots for an election that was to be held on May 11. The only people with enough money to leave the island were the wealthy, nearly all of which belonged to the Progressive Party of Governor Mouttet. Mouttet convinced the conservative editor of the daily newspaper Les Coloniesto downplay the danger of the volcano, and to lead the effort to encourage people to remain. Still, some residents left the city for Fort-de-France. This prompted Governor Mouttet to send in troops to patrol the road to Fort-de-France, with orders to turn back refugees who were trying to leave. Based on the soothing articles that appeared in Les Colonies, many people in the countryside flocked to St. Pierre thinking that it was the safest place to be. The population ballooned to about 28,000, nearly all of which would perish in the cataclysmic eruption of May 8.


The election scheduled for May 11 would not take place. The report issued by the investigating committee on May 5, failed to realize the potential danger of a large V-shaped notch cut through cliffs surrounding the summit crater. The notch was like a colossal gun sight pointing directly at St. Pierre four miles below. At about 7:50 a.m. on May 8, the volcano erupted with a deafening roar. A large black cloud composed of superheated gas, ash and rock rolled headlong down the south flank of Mt. Pelée at more than 100 miles per hour, its path directed by the V-shaped notch at the summit. In less than one minute it struck St. Pierre with hurricane force. The blast was powerful enough to carry a three-ton statue sixteen meters from its mount. One-meter-thick masonary walls were blown into rubble and support girders were mangled into twisted strands of metal. The searing heat of the cloud ignited huge bonfires. Thousands of barrels of rum stored in the city's warehouses exploded, sending rivers of the flaming liquid through the streets and into the sea. The cloud continued to advanced over the harbor where it destroyed at least twenty ships anchored offshore. The hurricane force of the blast capsized the steamship Grappler, and its scorching heat set ablaze the American sailing ship Roraima, killing most of her passengers and crew. The Roraima had the misfortune of arriving only a few hours before the eruption. Those on on board could only watch in horror as the cloud descended on them after annihilating the city of St. Pierre. Of the ~28,000 people in St. Pierre, there were only two known survivors.

The remains of St. Pierre
Nuée Ardente from Mt. Pelée

The dynamic cloud of hot gases and incandescent solid particles that destroyed St. Pierre was a pyroclastic flow, a feature that was unknown to science at the time. Subsequent examples observed on Mt. Pelée were described by French volcanologists as nuée ardentes, or glowing clouds.


John Allen Paulos wants you to understand probability

Math Illiteracy

Innumeracy, pt. 1

I was reading the quixtar blog (I know, I have an obsession, knowing about it is the first step) and found people (in the comments) supporting the quality and price of the (amway/quixtar) products (they're overpriced and don't fair well on the open market — consumer reports, for one thing, rates its soap sub-par and 5 times too expersive, etc.)…
Hense this article (which is just a reprint of a comment I made at the quixtar blog — deal with it)
I find it difficult to believe these people believe this stuff. I always thought that stuff like cults and RSP (really stupid people, ex. Columbine kids' parents: where were they while their kids were sawing guns in the garage?) were either a) a hoax or very far away… but for the third time, I've had to deal with these people.

The 'business opportunity' the 'buy from yourself, for credibility' it's such crap: If you ran a grocery store and DIDN'T buy from yourself, people like this would say you have a credibility problem, but they're OBVIOUSLY assuming that the grocery store guy must be BUYING FROM A COMPETITOR. What kind of FOOL buys groceries at retail when they have access to wholesale prices?
I work with computers. Frequently I find that I can save money if I buy 30 motherboards (an example) instead of 3. Normally, I don't have to buy that many, but there is a critical number where you have extra motherboards, but you still saved money — even if you don't use the extra ones. This is because when you take a product from a wholesaler (not distributer, the numbers will be different) you TYPICALLY multiply the price by a factor of 2.5 — OR MORE — I'll illustrate: (no, the numbers are just example numbers, they don't represent any real products, this is a simple math example)

  • 1 motherboard, retail, $100
  • 30 motherboards, retail, $3,000 (30x100, get it?)

  • 30 motherboards, wholesale, $1,200 (…at this rate…)
  • 1 motherboard, wholesale, $40

So, if you need 12 or more motherboards, it is immediately and clearly better if you can try to get a wholesale deal. This is the OBVIOUS point. (You even end up with 18 count 'em EIGHT-TEEN extra motherboards: That's a spare motherboard for each of the original 12, PLUS an additional spare for half of the original dozen!)

The less obvious point is that if you can get them for $40, you can ALWAYS try to sell them for $40.25 plus shipping. So the extra motherboards, even if you give them away don't cost a dime, but if you don't give them away, you'd make a profit. The only issue is, and this is for normal consumers: Most of the people don't have the $1200 and so $100 is the price they pay. Get together with 11 of your friends some time and make a small business — You don't need Amway.

(I used the same numbers, compare: 40x30 = 1200; (x) times 2.5 = 100 -> (x) = 100 divided by 2.5 -> (x) = 40)

What you need is to not be number-stupid. Innumeracy is the problem. Read the John Allen Paulos book.
I may have to edit/modify this post. If so, I'm sorry. The reason is that I will undoubtably have more examples. Because I want to make a series of these 'Innumeracy' articles and I think we all profit from more examples. There is always the possibility that one example will make sense to you more than another and that another people will identify with a different example. So any ideas would be appreciated.


Hey Rob, Believe in Good People, please?

This is going to be a weird blog.

Because blogger posts things in the order I feed it (or if I lie to it about the times...) I have to feed it information in the reverse order or you'll get the end first and the beginning last and though that style may work for some stories ... it really would ruin this one.

I'm going to lie about this post and say it happened at noon on sunday. Everything good should happen at Noon on Sunday.
This is the first.
I hope I don't screw up the order.

Some of these will be complete drafts of emails I've received or sent — I will dis-allow comments for those. I'll put a little blurb between them so we can comment.
I'm doing this so I can keep up with y'all, not for censorship. Say whatever pleases you, where-ever it fits or suits your fancy. but, I want the emails to stand on their own.


This is the second.
This is where I'll type up the back-story.
Please feel free (and by that, I mean: please!!! please!!! please!!!) comment on any section you feel like commenting on.

I really need the feedback. I can't believe the world I live in sometimes!
I'm going to post this with the correct/current time (Around 3:30 on Saturday Morning).

In the middle of January, I moved with my girlfriend to Northern California because CSU, Chico admitted her for the Spring/2005 semester. I didn't know what I'd do for work, but I hoped that I'd figure something out when I got there (sorry, here).

One of the problems I've already mentioned here and it can be easily phrased as: "pride." After being your own boss, doing something you love doing and feeling like you are helping people and making enough money to support your CD and video lust… you can see how being chronicly unemployed would kind of hurt. But after that, I found short-lived success as a programmer and I loved that even more, because impressing people with my brain suits me REAL WELL. Plus the money was pretty good.

*sighs* Where was I? Oh, yeah:
Anyway, Chico. This 100k people town fancies itself a small town. Until I got here, they didn't have craig's list or even Trader Joe's (Trader Joe's is scheduled to open in Nov. 2005 or after the holidays -- you're welcome, Chico). But being a town with a college, many starving or whatever college students are willing to do my job as interns or whatever and I'm kind of rather stuck. Stuck between a large rock and pride. Or something. I used up all my metaphors earlier tonight, as you shall see.

Ohkay, so — Eventually craigslist came to Chico and I posted an ad for services offered: "computer consulting" (dead air, or for you nature lovers, the sounds of crickets gently chirping, if I drop a pin… you get the idea)— so a week later, I posted my resumé and again nothing. The phone would ring and it'd be: dead air (come back to rub it in?) or for someone else who apparently used to have the number or selling something or a fax selling something. Even the volume of my spam didn't change!

One day, (actually this was last Monday), I finally got an email. Of course I thought it was spam, however, the subject was "database programmer" which was the same as the title I gave my resumé on craigslist. I'll post this email here, as exhibit A, I'll tell the thing I've traveled back in time one minute (3:37AM, Aug 20, 2005)

(The usual Yahoo mail stuff is on the top and left…) — I wish I could include a banner-ad so it'd be more realistic!

This message is not flagged. [ Flag message - Mark as Unread ]

From:"Dominick Chiricosta" Add to Address BookAdd to Address Book
Subject: Database Programmer
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 14:04:25 -0700

Hello Robert,

My name is Dominick Chiricosta. Once a victim of corporate downsizing, but no more!

A friend of mine recommended that I look at to find people who might be in a similar situation or just looking for a change and want to move on: 1) looking to generate some extra income, or 2) interested in an opportunity to significantly improve their current situation.

What you had to say in your note/resume, captured my interest! Can't promise you anything, but possibly I can help.

After 30+ years in Corporate America (Computer Systems / IT Services Management / Management Consulting), getting downsized several times, and spending a lot of time and energy looking for another JOB (just over broke); I finally took command of my financial future. I have teamed up with some business people and close friends of mine from the Bay Area and am establishing a web-based, Interactive Commerce ™ business. We have applied our combined skills and experiences to create a unique business model and, we solved the problem with “stickiness” for the typical “dot com” business!

Our business is legal, ethical, and moral. It is anchored on free enterprise principles, a win-win philosophy, and conservative principles and values. We plan to expand the business internationally and are looking for a few motivated people (P/T or F/T) who want more out of life than “just survive”. Individuals or couples who are team players, not afraid of change, willing to learn, flexible, have a desire to win, want to make a difference, and will make the effort to do the necessary work to achieve their goals.

If you consider yourself to be this type of person or would like more information, contact me so that we can set up a detailed discussion of my needs, your interest and goals, and determine if there is a mutual interest for us to work together.

“Whether we spend life winning or loosing depends on how we use our mind-sight – what we choose to ‘see’ or to ‘dream’”. Dr. David J. Schwartz

I'll go back in time another 4 minutes, 3:33AM on Saturday — half-way to Hell. Maybe.
Anyway, getting this email, I knew that the person had seen my resumé and it wasn't spam, or, if it was, it wasn't yer typical spam. Whatever.

You will notice that I missed a few red flags here. Ten points to the one (not ZS, he's seen these before; not M, either, so's she) who spots the most red flags.

Better! Ten points PER red flag. Be creative. What should have tipped my dumb-ass off?
PPS: You all win if you even get ONE. Because at this point I had nada.
The next post is (or should be) my responce to that first email and I'll go back in time a good 3 minutes so I'll be at the half-hour. Then I'll use simple 15-minute increments. Assuming I spelled that correctly. ;)

Date: Tue, 16 Aug 2005 14:39:10 -0700 (PDT)
From:"The Computer Guy" Add to Address BookAdd to Address Book
Subject: Re: Database Programmer
To:"Dominick Chiricosta"
I have been a computer consultant since before I
graduated high school (I didn't call myself that back
then, I just helped people with their computers and
was happy that they 'helped' me back with checks!).

Long ago (even before Jr. High), I've been programming
as a hobby. I've picked up many languages -- so many,
in fact, that I think they're all pretty much the same
(that is, learning a new language is ridiculously
easy) I learned PHP and Perl in what seemed like
overnight (helps that they are essentially identical).

The thing I'm really tired of is managers (or project
managers) who don't program at all. I VERY BRIEFLY
programmed for a guy (he'd say 'company') in Costa
Mesa who was trying to be a middle-man for e-commerce
websites. His company made PHP-based templates for
and then created tools to help customers modify the
templates. (I don't understand, for instance, why the
customers don't just hire a couple programmers to set
the thing up and then consult with them a couple times
a month; adding inventory to the database can either
be taught to a janitor or ... simply interface the
database with whatever system they use to keep track
of inventory in the first place) ... ANYWAY: it was a
disaster. After the first day, when I did something
his other programmers had apparently told him couldn't
be done, he apparently expected miracles. But I had
yet to learn his existing code! I think I lasted like
3 days! two and a half, actually. He called me a
'wanna-be' ... funny, since he kept saying he doesn't
program. If he /did/ program, he'd know that
maintenance is /harder/ than straight coding because
writing a program is just a matter of knowing the
language and (at most) having a handy manual (O'Reilly
is good). He'd know that when a programmer is dropped
into the sea of someone else's code, they have a new
learning curve. It may be true that I can read PHP,
but the longer the program is, the more I need to
study it.
Like "Just because I'm an architect, standing on your
lawn, doesn't mean I know where your closets are
before I've walked through your house, much less
before I've even been inside.

Tell me what I can do for you, I'll try to help.
I'm near the University in Chico (95926). I could
probably do any programming or database work from here
(we have a Mandrivia workstation and an IBM thinkpad
with WinME) or figure something out. I am not opposed
to travel, I'd just need more information.

--- Dominick Chiricosta <>

> Hello Robert,
> My name is Dominick Chiricosta. Once a victim of
> corporate downsizing, but no more!
> A friend of mine recommended that I look at
((( Here, it reproduced the text of his first email to me, we can skip it. )))

> "Whether we spend life winning or loosing depends on
> how we use our mind-sight - what we choose to 'see'
> or to 'dream'". Dr. David J. Schwartz

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