the weBLog

Monday, April 26th

Blake Ashby For President

music: The String Quartet Tribute To Linkin Park - Points of Authority, Linkin Park - Runaway, Plc.4 Mie Haed, Pushing Me Away
mood: Hopeful

From Blake Ashby's Campaign Website:

"My name is Blake Ashby, and I am running for President on the Republican ticket. I have never run for office before, and I will likely never do it again. But I had to do something.

I have been a Republican since my sophomore year in High School. My Republican party has a core set of principles and beliefs. We don't hold these beliefs to get elected. We seek election to put these beliefs into action.

My Republican Party believes that budget deficits are stealing from our children. Further, we recognize that budget deficits are a distortion of the free market. My Republican Party believes that while the government certainly must help insure the stability and integrity of the institutions of the free market, the free market itself tended to do the best job of allocating resources and generating value. My Republican Party believes that free trade is good not only for our economy and the global economy as a whole, but is also a tool of democracy, helping people raise their standards of living and expectations of freedom.

Again, we don't hold these beliefs to get elected - we hold them because they are prudent and cautious. Because we believe we have an obligation to pass on to our children a sound and healthy country.

Unfortunately, this Administration has abandoned all of these principles. This Administration has doubled farm subsidies, regularly puts up trade barriers, and is running a massive budget deficit. Think about it - we have a Republican House, a Republican Senate and a Republican President, and yet spending beyond homeland security has skyrocketed. By any measure, this Administration has abandoned the prudence and caution that were the hallmarks of my Republican Party.

The President likes to talk about his tax cuts. My Republican Party knows the difference between a tax cut and a tax deferral. The $400 billion of government we didn't pay for this year, we still have to pay for. My Republican Party knows that the ONLY way to cut taxes is to cut spending. Unfortunately, this Administration is throwing money at any interest group it thinks it has a chance of buying votes from. But government spending doesn't hurt less just because it is a Republican writing the checks.

I voted for the President, twice - in the primary and general election. I thought I was getting another fiscal conservative, another Eisenhower. I thought I was getting an Eisenhower, but instead I got a Lyndon Johnson. It's ironic, but this President, our President Bush, will go down in history as the Republican President that most increased the tax burden on U.S. citizens.

You know that what I am saying is true. You know that what has happened in Washington over the past three years is not what we believe in. And you know that we are slowly bankrupting our country. Will you stand up to the President? Do you want this to be your legacy? That you stood by and did nothing while our government was bankrupted, and our principles trashed? Will you be able to look your grandchildren in the eyes? Will you be proud of your stewardship?

Please, be a Republican and stand up for our beliefs, and the future of our country. Do what you can to help. Write in Blake Ashby when you vote in the Primary. Forward this email to friends and associates. Call your elected officials and let them know how unhappy you are with the Administration. If you are interested, visit ashby2004.com and sign up for our email list. But whatever you do, please do something - this is the future of the United States we are talking about."


There is also a convincing essay on the Bush administration's failures in Iraq... Go ahead and read it.

Since I pretty much agree with it all, and I don't think higher gas taxes are a bad idea in general, and I am certain that gay marriage, abortion, and flag burning should not be outlawed at the federal level, you might wonder why I'm still likely to vote for Bush this November.

The real problem is, I'm scared of Democrats. Even if they arrive at some good ideas, they do so starting out from a completely different set of basic assumptions that distinguish liberals from conservatives. And when someone comes from those sets of assumptions, I don't feel like I can trust what they will do in a given situation. I certainly was no fan of Clinton - even though we did pretty well under him. I attribute this mostly to the fact that the presodency and congress were split. Basically, very little got done, and the less government does, the better off we all are.

Now that government has decided to go all proactive for a while, we're all giving up more freedoms and waiting longer at the airport for a false sense of security. Its pretty sad really, how hapily we give up our freedoms because someone wearing a white shirt tells us that its for our own good.
Arcanius on 04.26.04 @ 11:37 PM PST [link]


Craziness is over... for now

music: Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit, Linkin Park - Step Up (Live in San Deigo), Linkin Park - Forgotten, Cake - Short Skirt, Long Jacket, Pearl Jam - Alive, Bush - Glycerine, Nadasurf - Popular, Alice In Chains - No Excuses
mood: Tidbit Lonesome

I am returned home, all in one piece, and with still a decent chance of passing my classes (I think). The combat robotics trip was enlightening and fun, and my big brother is all graduamated from college, making me the only member of my immediately family who cannot (yet) claim a bachelor's degree. Interestingly, the ceremonies at BYU were absent of tradition: no tassel flip, no hat throwing, no wild celebration. It all seemed very utilitarian, as much as a ceremony can be that way. I got to see Bradford again, and we had a good time seeing Hidalgo and then playing Starcraft until 4 am (we won!). After eating some barbeque with the Sullivans, I was dropped off at the airport and flew to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California. There, I was picked up by Larry, and we made our way to the hotel, a very nice, new hotel just a block or two from both the Anaheim convention center (where the RC Exhibition was) and Disneyland (to which Iíve never been; this is the closest I have come). The interesting thing about this hotel is that while it was overall quite nice, it had the most bizarre accents in the form of drain pipes sticking out of the walls occasionally. Also, the ice machine room was extraordinarily warm. After Phaw, the combat robot that was Timís senior project went 2-3 in competition (the match I drove, we won, and the first two matches the drivetrain wasnít working well [but we won one of those matches anyway]). The club was also interviewed by some tv camera and reporter lady. However, the most interesting thing about the competition for me was to compare it to a FIRST event. FIRST regionals are many times better organized and ran Ė perhaps up to 10 times better in presentation and organization, and having its own venue as opposed to sharing with another event. However, the entrance fee to this competition was $150, and the entrance fee to a FIRST event is $4000, well more than 10x more. It got me to thinking about where does all that money go? Even at a small regional with just 36 teams (like the PNW regional), thatís nearly $150,000 brought in. At the nationals, the budget is 1.2 million dollars from entrance fees alone. Yet FIRST says that only covers about half the cost of putting on the event. So Iím wondering, how can it really cost that much? I talked with Larry about it, and from that conversation it seems to be that there is a lot of waste going on between FIRST and the final production. Iíd like some hard figures to know for sure, though. Let me know if you have any.


Arcanius on 04.26.04 @ 07:35 PM PST [link]


Wednesday, April 21st

A Crazy Weekend

mood: Thoughtful

Right now, I'm headed to Utah, using the internet at the incredible rate of 9.6 kbps! Its good enough for this, at least, as well as IM and text-based email, so I'm heppy. Its still pretty amazing one can get internet at all hurtling down the road like this...

I'm headed to Utah because my brother is graduating from BYU tomorrow. But it gets more excting than that, becaus Friday night I'm flying to Anaheim for Steel conflict. Sunday I return home and my life returns to some semblance of reality, except that I'm on my own in a huge house for three weeks, which will be kinda wierd in and of itself.

I seem to have left my glasses in Atlanta, I'm going to have to call the hotel to find out for sure and hopefully have them shipped to me.

Recently, I have created a stir on the Chief Delphi forums, the de-facto meeting place online for FIRST teams. If you want to see me being inflamatory, head on over there and search for threads that include the number 492. I also have some legitimate posts, which have had the unintended consequence of making my reputation (which was at one point the second lowest on the board) positive instead of negative. Oh well, I can't win all the battles.
Arcanius on 04.21.04 @ 10:15 PM PST [link]


Sunday, April 18th

Still Waiting

music: Depeche Mode - Taking A Ride With My Best Friend, Sheryl Crow - Every Day Is a Winding Road
mood: Mixed

"Your application is awaiting a preliminary review, at which time we will determine whether all required documents have arrived, if these documents are current, and if all other required materials are on file."

That is what I have seen since I submitted my application to the UW over 8 weeks ago. Hmmm...

Tomorrow, life goes back to normal for an entire two days. Then on Wednesday, we're off to Utah for my brother's graduation. Then I'm headed to Cali for Steel Conflict, then I'm back home and trying to pull the remnants of my school quarter back together.

For all of how good Far Cry's AI is, it is still pretty easy to fool. And the inability to fight in water is pretty dumb. Oh, and so are the mysterious appearing-from-nowhere helicopters if you wander out of the "open range" game's range.

I'm going to try to stay on this earlier schedule I got onto due to being three hours ahead, but I'm already letting it slip - I slept a lot in the plane and airports today, and listened to the ipod most of the day. I was impressed with its battery life today. On the other hand, my laptop's battery seems to be fried - either that, or windows is acting up and hibernating prematurely (it does fail to give me the warning first for some reason, like somehow it misses the 10% mark and goes straight to the 4% mark.

Thats all for tonight, unless I get crazy and decide to post again.
Arcanius on 04.18.04 @ 10:16 PM PST [link]


End of a Streak, Begin of a New Era

music: Deblah Morgan - Dance with Me, Gorillaz - Clint Eastwood
mood: Mixed, rested

Well, the TRC didn't win in Atlanta... They didn't win anything in fact, making this the first event out of eight that the TRC has not won an award at. So the streak comes to an end... which is a bitter pill to swallow. That was one of my favorite statistics to quote about the club.

On the other hand, a new era may be starting for the club - more people are interested, and for the first time since the first year, it looks like girls are going to be in the club leadership. And more people seem to be catching the idea that very cool thing can be done with the club. I hope the momentum stays up.

I'm currently in Salt Lake City, having accepted a $400 voucher to change flights. AndI'm about to board, so I'm outta here!
Arcanius on 04.18.04 @ 05:30 PM PST [link]


Friday, April 16th

TRC ranked 20th in the Galileo Division

mood: Looking up

After a rocky start going 1-2, the TRC won three games in a row, pulling themselves from the pits into the spotlight with three excellent matches. The reasons for the turnaround are numerous; the most important is pure luck: Our first three matches were with robots that could do precious little (which at this level is rare). Our next three partners were each capable hangers, and we routed our opponents in each of those matches with scores of 150, 150, and 110. One of these matches was with the current umber one seed, and we hope we caught their eye. We think with us and one more hanger, we could go far in the finals, just like in the pacific northwest regional.

Catch the webcast on Saturday from http://robotics.nasa.gov. We could very well be in the finals and perhaps even the next national champions.

;-)

Arcanius on 04.16.04 @ 07:52 PM PST [link]


Tuesday, April 13th

In Atlanta

mood: Anticipatory

Today, we met at Sea-Tac at Nine, got everyone checked in around Ten, made it though security by 11:00, and arrived in Atlanta around 7:15. We all made it to the Hotel by using the MARTA, which was extremely easy. Most of the kids went to McDonalds to eat, the "Adults" (except for Bobby and I) went to other, more expensive, better food places. I figure there will be plenty of time for expensive food tomorrow (er, later today if you're in Atlanta) when we are traveling the city.

So far, Atlanta has impressed me. The people are generally nice, the panhandlers are gentle, and the hotel, though getting old, is well maintained and clean. And getting free internet from the much nicer hotel a half mile away through the window is nice too. Thank goodness for high power WLAN cards and directional antennas.

Tomorrow we tour the city, the center of commerce in the south. Then the competition begins. With 295 teams, the pits are a ten minute walk away from the playing fields. It will be intense, and I still have to finish my scouting program.
Arcanius on 04.13.04 @ 11:57 PM PST [link]


Saturday, April 10th

I am a Grammar God!

music: Deblah Morgan - Dance with Me, Rage Against the Machine - Bulls on Parade
mood: Jivin'

So, I took this quiz (just 20 questions) and it told me that "You are a GRAMMAR GOD."
It went on to say, "If your mission in life is not already to preserve the English tongue, it should be. Congratulations and thank you!"
Wow, if only all godhood were so easy.
If you want to try to become a Grammar God as well, hop on over to the " How grammatically sound are you?" quiz at Quizilla.

And that was my break between cleaning the deck and cleaning the bathroom. If it weren't for music, I could never clean anything. Yay. Also, it appears that the strange crash my computer suffered last night erased all my bookmarks. Good thing I don't use them extensively.


Arcanius on 04.10.04 @ 01:56 PM PST [link]


Friday, April 9th

Comcast is the suX0rZ! Girls are too!

music: Alice in Chains - Rooster, Screaming Trees - Dime Western, Nirvana - Heart-Shaped Box, Linkin Park - Somewhere I Belong (Live In Texas), Pearl Jam - Alive,
mood: Pissed off

A week ago, my ping in Counterstrike started sucking like a well-paid whore. It came to a head (pun not unintended) around wednesday, when the cable modem would reset about every five minutes, and pings were between 80 and 3000 milliseconds, when the pakcet made it at all (over 25% packet loss). So I called Comcast and made an appointment. The next few days were smooth sailing. Including earlier today. And since there is a possibility the technician would have charged us money if he found nothing wrong, I cancelled the appointment. Not one minute later, my ping went back through the roof. I am holding my breath in anticipation of the packet loss (which is now starting I notice, taking a look at HLSW), the 2.1k/s downloads, and the complete loss of all internet for a couple of days, just like last time. The scary thing is, it started happening immediately after I cancelled the appointment. I'm serious. I was playing counterstirke before, and no problems. Pings of 30-50, with the occasional spike that everyone experienced. Then I found a phone and cancelled the appointment. Then I played CS again, and my ping was never better than 100 and it averaged 200-300. CS is unplayable like that at the level I play, at least. The timing makes me think conspiratorial thoughts... One has to wonder....

Now on to the next topic, girls. So, last week, on tuesday, I'm sitting in the L-lounge after my tennis class and before my DiffEq class, reading my book because there was a quiz. In comes a girl from my photography class last quarter. I didn't get to know her very well during the quarter, but we were friendly, so we wave. She comes and sits near me, and we talk until our 10:30 classes. On thursday (the next day of my tennis class) I head into the L-lounge again (since thats what I do) and she's sitting there. I pull up a chair and the scene repeats itself. Everyone is happy.
So, over the weekend I get to thinking, this girl and I get along, she seems interested (she did, after all, come up to me in the first place, wehn we didn't even have a class together any more) , and she's friggen hot. That same weekend, my mom comes and tells me about how good the showing of "Man of La Mancha" is at the Village Theater in Issaquah. So I put 2 and 2 together, and decide that I'll be a gentleman and give the girl almost a full week's notice instead of springing the idea on her on the weekend. Sure enough, the next tuesday, she's there, and we talk. Right before class, I pop the question. We've been talking about work through in the rest of the conversation, and she's working a lot that weekend, so I'm not put off when she tells me she has to check her schedule and will let me know on Thursday. I'm cool with that, I'm pretty flexible, and I figure she'll probally say yes, since we're getting along so well. Well, clearly, that is not what happened. I could have handled a No. I wouldn't have minded. I would have backed off, gone back to friendly conversation, just enjoyed her company if she wasn't interested in anything more. No. Its a one syllable word. Its easy to say. She probally said it a lot when she was 2. That was 18 years ago. She shouldn't have forgetten.
But... appreantly she did. On thursday, I was a little nervous, but I figured, a no wouldn't be so bad. I was ready for it. But instead, she wasn't there. Poof. Gone. She changed her entire everyday routine just to avoid me. I can handle rejection, but I'm not sure what I should make of this. I don't think I'm that revolting. Maybe I'm wrong, but I could handle even being told that. But what the hell is this avoidance routine? I think my good friends at Nada Surf said it well in their song "Popular":

"Three important rules for breaking up
Don't put off breaking up when you know you want to
Prolonging the situation only makes it worse
Tell him honestly, simply, kindly, but firmly
Don't make a big production
Don't make up an elaborate story
This will help you avoid a big tear jerking scene
If you wanna date other people say so
Be prepared for the boy to feel hurt and rejected
Even if you've gone together for only a short time,
And haven't been too serious,
There's still a feeling of rejection
When someone says she preferres the company of others
To your exclusive company,
But if you're honest, and direct,
And avoid making a flowery emotional speech when you brake the news,
The boy will respect you for your frankness,
And honestly he'll apeciate the kind of straight foward manner
In which you told him your decision
Unless he's a real jerk or a cry baby you will remain friends"

Sure, we weren't breaking up, but the same rules apply. I don't know about other guys, but for me this is scripture, the absolue truth. I may feel hurt and rejected, but I'll get over that. Well, I'll get over this too, but its harder. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Combine this anecdote with evidence that Dris will soon post in a comment (don't let me down) and I think we will have proven that women are evil. Hah!

Arcanius on 04.09.04 @ 11:52 PM PST [link]


Thursday, April 8th

Such a bad schedule

music: Alan Parsons Project - Sirius
mood: Tired

I maintain such bad sleeping schedule. I also found this song I've been wondering about and looking for forever - its teh Alan Parson's Project's Sirius (Listening to it right now). I think its the best anticipation music ever.

Soo tired.
Arcanius on 04.08.04 @ 02:16 AM PST [link]


Tuesday, April 6th

Ack! Three days without a post!

music: Limp Bizkit - Re-Arranged, Linkin Park - Numb, Linkin Park - Lying From You (Live In Texas), U2 - Mysterious Ways
mood: Loaded

Perhaps the best part of the new computer is that I've been able to use my Sound Blaster Audigy again. While I haven't gotten around to setting up the 4.1 surround sound again yet, the sound quality is so much better with the Audigy than the poor, poor amps in the laptops that it is truly a different experience both in headphones and on the Stereo.

Work has been good, but it is hard to get into a homework mode afterwards. Angeringly, but perhaps fortunately, Comcast is sucking it up in the ping and packet loss department (I ran some ping tests last night to confirm that it wasn't a wireless link on my side), so counterstrike is a pain for me and those playing me with all my teleportation.

I started work on a scouting database program for nationals. I hope I'll get it done in time; If not, there is always the plane ride and wednesday and thursday before the finals begin. T miunus one week until we leave. I can hardly wait.

But before then, I have three photography assignments to complete and probably a bunch of computer programs to write and lots of diff.eq. to study. Fun stuff!

Last night I enabled Magic Quotes so Bobby's Uberblog-powered site would work properly. Its unfortunate that Dris doesn't instead use the "addslashes" function, but until that time, I'm willing to compromise.

The nieces are over for another day it looks like, and I'm pretty tired - thats what I get for my inconsistent sleep schedule I guess.
Arcanius on 04.06.04 @ 07:38 PM PST [link]


Saturday, April 3rd

Neglectin'

music: Alice in Chains - Don't Follow, Fastball - Out of My Head
mood: Mixed bag of fun

I've been neglecting some things recently and also more in general. I've neglected my athleticism - I'm trying to combat that with my tennis and soccer classes, but a more fundamental change will be needed for the long term. I've negelected silverfir.net, since I keep planning on doing the "real thing" with oasis. I've neglected my brain, studying only as hard as I need to to do well. But things might be changing on this front with my diff eq class. Or maybe thats jsut because I need the book to pass the class. I don't really know.

I do suppose that its better to have too much to do than not enough. Nevertheless, I think another prohibition on CS or a hard limit would be good, so I can get mroe done with my limited time.


Arcanius on 04.03.04 @ 11:28 PM PST [link]


Friday, April 2nd

School, Work, and Counterstrike

music: Van Halen - Jump, Smashing Pumpkins - Zero, Alanis Morisette - Ironic, Linkin Park - My mood: Much better than worse

I've neglected you all for a few days, sorry! (although, I never know who you are because you never leave comments... lurkers!)

Today, I learned about differential coffee, painted a cookie can black, and scanned many barcodes at work (can you believe they pay me to do that!?). That was all before I got home. Then I got home, ate, and played CS. I was on tonight. In fact, for the first time, I maintained, long term, a 4:1 kill:death ratio. And
I did it on Seattle T3 CS 1.5 #2 to boot.

Then I looked at pictures of the UW's Trash Can Robot. Then I wondered how it is that KIRO will come to interview a trah can, but they don't even mention that a local team won the entire Pacific Northwest Region in a national robotics competition. Sigh.

Speaking of the dumbness of the media, toight on the news there was a segment on how this movie called "10.5" showed the Space Needle falling over. How dumb is that. Seriously, that is the least important thing ever. Well, not quite ever, but tis so unimportant its ridiculous, and here's this 5 minute news item on it. The media is so dumb.

Next up, I talked with Bobby abut Color Spaces, and then I thought that maybe I should do some homework. Then I ate graham crackers and decided to write this post instead. Well, the order is a little mixed up there, but thats the general idea.

Rich signed my fmaily up to clean the building tomorrow, and since its conference week, we get to do it at 7:45. Hurray for friends.

Obviously I didn't write this one in Word.
Arcanius on 04.02.04 @ 11:39 PM PST [link]




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