Rants

Speaking of Lame...

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So last night I went out with a couple friends but didn't invite friend X. It's ok though, cause friend X is pretty lame and never does anything anyway. But it was kind of boring, so we got to talking about how lame friend X really is. And then we decided to call him a few times just to tell him that he's fucking lame, which he totally is. But I'm totally not lame, I'm like a total swinger... but without the swing, more like just a total ****er. And he had planned for us to go to this lame assed beer fest where there'd be something like 100 different microbrews... blah, give me some molsons baby. It sounds kinda lame anyway, so I think I'm just gonna work until 7 and go late (it starts at 5, and he said he was gonna try to get there around 5:30, but whatever, lamer!).

And now, friend X is all like, "you want lame? Cause I can give you lame." And he's decided to bail on us on anything we plan for at least the next two months (including the beer festival) in favour of doing gentoo development and contract work. Like wtf, we already know you're lame you don't have to prove it or anything? What the fuck is the matter with that lamer anyway? At least I can work late tonight now (and during any other lame thing he might have wanted to do in the next couple months), which will probably be funner that any of his lame events anyway.

LAME!

Disclaimer: Parts of this entry may be a dramatization of actual events

HOWTO: Picking a good movie [for you]

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Want to watch a movie?
Don't know which movie to pick because the ones you've heard of all look shitty, and the rest, well, you've never even heard of them?

If so, then this guide's for you.

Sure, there's plenty of movie review web sites and magazines. But you can never tell what those people have been smoking or who's been paying them off. Like look how well the fast runner did. Maybe some people liked it, but it sure wasn't my bag, baby.

What you really want to know, is what the producer or writer of the movie was smoking, not the reviewers. And a surefire way to figure that out is the soundtrack.

The soundtrack is a very important part of a movie. The music has to "go" with the movie. A movie who's soundtrack doesn't really fit, will be an odd movie indeed. So a sure way for you to get a feel for the movie before even renting it (and in most cases, without even seeing a preview) is to look at (or listen to) the soundtrack.

For example, if you despise "bands" such as Britney Spears or Jessica Simpson and the movie you were thinking about has that style of music on their soundtrack, you'll probably want to avoid the movie. If you hate 80's music, odds are you won't really be into most movies written now, that take place in the 80's.

Of course this only helps if you know the songs, so it might be worth your while to download a couple of songs from the album to see what they're like.

I can almost garauntee, if you like the soundtrack, you're bound to like the movie, and vice-versa. But don't get me wrong, there's always exceptions.

digestion

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We just got back from lunch and damn am I full. I was thinking of what kind of music I like to listen to best when I'm full and I think I like ultra slow music. Seems like heavier music makes my stomach feel kind of agitated. I think maybe oldies would work too. Does anyone else have a preference?

We went to the DUC for Vivian's going away lunch. The new coop was invited too. I actually don't remember eating from the menu there before, it's usually just a buffet when I've gone before. I was quite impressed with the menu, and decided on the buffalo burger. It was like all burnt and shit. wtf? And they refused to change Ivan's meal at all, I think he wanted like veggies instead of rice... wtf? Are waiter was a complete asshole basically. Anything that we wanted just a little different he had to make a huge pain in the ass for us. Like we were paying seperately so we wanted seperate bills. He was like "well you can only do that if you're paying cash because it's really busy in there". (We were the only table in the restaurant at that time). Like such an asshole. And Ivan and Chingtai both ordered their meals because it said that it was a big plate. Well, the plate was big, but the meal sure as hell wasn't. So when the waiter asked Ivan how his meal was, Ivan was like, "well there could've been a bit more meat". The waiters response: "oh" and then he walked away, never to return to our side of the table.

But then I realized why he was such an ass when we got the bill... tip is included in the price.

Ahh, brought me back to the days of shitty service in France where the tip is also included at most (all?) of the restaurants.

Just the usual

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This has been a pretty good week. Tonight we took a trip to A&B sound. I purchased the new (old) weezer Deluxe Edition, and a new bookshelf stereo system. Just a little JVC (the FS-H100, if you're really curious). It's obviously not excellent, but it definately does the job pretty well. We just wanted a system for our bedroom. At least the weezer b-sides sound ok on it. Would you believe that this is the third time I've bought the blue album?

Work has been going ok too. I had been working on this "progress reports" system that basically helps in monitoring the progress of grad students. It's quite a simple system, really. But it's been developed since 1999 by at least 6 different people. The perl code is less than readable, to say the least. It's got to be nearly 7 thousand lines of code. Last month I stripped out 2000 of those lines. This week, when I needed to do more work on it, I decided it just wasn't worth it anymore. So on Monday afternoon I began re-writing it, in python. I was half way done by Tuesday afternoon, and pretty much done by the end of today :-). 5 years may have been a little excessive for a program of this magnitude.

Also, I've managed to convince them that we should give Gentoo a try. I installed our first Gentoo server this afternoon. After an hour trying to get networking to work I realized I had set the wrong gateway. Dumbass. But after that it went very smoothly. Boot strapping took 1h 30m on the 2.6GHz P4 Dell. Not too shabby. I think I've got almost the whole team sold on Gentoo. Now all I have to do is show it to them and get them hooked :-).

Believe me, if you've ever installed Gentoo, you'll know it's a drug. It starts off as just a simple curiosity. Then you start doing it for more enjoyment... and more enjoyment. Soon you start getting involved in the "community" (aka the Gentoo Junkies). Before you know it you depend on Gentoo to get through the average day. Yeah, I suppose I'm a pusher, but everyone's gotta do what they've gotta do. I think this Gentoo is a drug thing is grounds for an entire entry, hmm...

Email Etiquette

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Edit - September 14, 2004: I just found a great site that basically describes what I'm to say below. So if what I wrote below isn't very clear, maybe this will be better: http://kimihia.org.nz/articles/email/

It was about 10 years ago when email first started getting popular, amazingly there are still very few people who have a grasp of how to format or reply to email, nor do most people even know that there are ways that you should format your replies to make your reply more readable, this despite the fact that a very large majority of North America and Europe use email on a daily, even hourly, basis. These people aren't limitted to just the non-technical, they include everyone from your Grandma to your most technically elite email veterans and hackers.

Every day I read poorly formated emails. This usually means that neither I nor many others will read that email, especially if you're sending the email to a popular mailling list. Perhaps one day good emailing skills will be taught in school, but first the teachers will have to realize that there is something that needs to be taught. I write the following as an experienced emailer who has to read through other peoples crap replies every day.

Most of this is common knowledge and applies to email, maillists, and forums. But it takes practice to master good email communications, so keep emailing!

Top Posting
Some zeolots will tell you that "top posting" is rude and idiotic and that there's nothing more annoying than having to read through an email where some of the people decided to "top post". Top posting is what happens when you reply to someones email and leave all your text at the top.

Hi Bob,
I think that your ideas on theory X are crap

On Tuesday July 6th, 2004 Bob Wrote:
> Scott, theory X is an excellent theory. It demonstrates exactly why theory Y is
> applicable to theory Z and so much more.

Not sure where the following originated, but it summarize the evils of top posting very well.

A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
A: Top-posting.
Q: What is the most annoying thing on usenet and in e-mail?

Now you both know what top posting is and why it should be avoided.

In general, top posters will also leave a lot of irrelevant email below their text. This is a waste of bandwidth and diskspace. It is unfortunate that top posting is the default for many email clients, such as Outlook.

There are some cases when top posting is perfectly acceptable, and in fact could be preferred. But generally when the conversation is going to be long, or several people will be reading the email, it should be avoided.

Bottom Posting
Bottom posting is the exact opposite of top posting.

Although bottom posting is generally preferred, please bottom post with caution. I said that top posters generally leave irrelevant email below their post. Well this is far more annoying (but thankfully less frequent) when a bottom poster does this, as the readers may need to scroll for pages before they get to the message. This is probably the single largest reason why some people are actually "anti bottom posting".

Know when to hold 'em
Only keep the relevant parts of an email you're replying to. This helps the reader determine exactly what you're referring to. In a lot of cases I find it best to snip out the unneccessary email contents and insert my reply to that specific statement or idea in the middle (middle posting?).

Try not to keep loads of irrelevant content in the email. I find that often people will write something like Yes, I like that idea, but it might need some more thought even though my email had a few places that that exact statement could refer to.

Nothing is more annoying than having to reply back to a reply because you've got no clue what the person is referring to.

When starting a new topic, start a new topic
Don't reply to someone's email if yours has nothing to do with the topic. Each email contains an ID and when people thread their emails, their email client bases the threads on these ID's. If you don't know what email threading is it's basically just a way of grouping all emails relating to an original email. So if someone replies to an email those two will be grouped together.

Now, when you just reply to an email and modify the subject that email will be grouped with the one you replied to. People who thread their emails are unlikely to read your email, probably because they'll never see it.

So, instead of just replying, take the time to start a new email.

Remember, a badly formatted email hurts both the email's author and the email's reader(s).

If there's anything here you disagree with or think I should add, just post a comment (although I'm sure you would've anyway).