the weBLog

Wednesday, June 16th

Silverfir Down due to Power Outage


Today from 8:00am-4:00pm, Puget Sound Energy cut power to this part of town to perform upgrades to the grid. Hopefully this means fewer unscheduled power outages in the future. However, since I didn't get home until 11:00, it also meant that silverfir faced its longest downtime in months. The good news is twofold: I was able to properly shut the computer down before this one and silverfir may soon have a new home. It won't be much faster (sorry), but it should be a lot more reliable.

I worked 9:00-4:30 today, then I made it down to Fry's Electronics topick up a gigabit switch, two gigabit NICs, and enough RJ54 jacks and faceplates to finally get this house wired in a semi-modern way. Hopefully the incredible speeds of gigabit lan will convince everyone to chip in some money for a high-capacity RAID file server. We'll see how that goes.

The SIFF reviews, I guess, will just have to wait.

Arcanius on 06.16.04 @ 11:45 PM PST [link] [3 Comments]


Sunday, June 13th

SIFF in Review

music: Alanis Morissette - Hand In My Pocket, Silverchair - Miss You Love, Candlebox - Far Behind,
mood: Pretty Good

Today I finished up the last two Seattle International Film Festival movies that I had planned. So it seems like a good time to talk about my first film festival experience now.

I saw the following films, in the order listed, and give them the following overall ratings (from 1 to 5):

Uniform - Confused Drama - China - 1.5
Primer - Sci-Fi Drama - USA - 5
Nicotina - Dark Comedy - Mexico - 4
Ruby & Quentin - Light Comedy - France - 5
6ixtynin9 - Dark Comedy - Thailand - 3.5
A Problem With Fear - Confused Comedy - Canada - 2.5

Uniform was a tarrible way to start out the festival, except perhaps that it made me really aprreciate the next five I saw. It was almost a complete bomb, but for my passing interest in it as a documentary of day to day life in China. As a movie, however, almost everything was wrong. The plot mostly sucked (even though it could have been interesting), the cinematography was crap (but what can you do, when working with standard definition digital equipment that's probally 10 years old?), the dialogue is uninteresting, and it just goes downhill from there. Avoid this movie unless you're hoping to catch some rest and waste some money at the same time.

Primer was stark contrast to Uniform in that it was made with what may have been a similar budget (just $7000), but it was so much better. The writer, director, and lead actor was actually there at the screening, which was pretty cool because he answered some questions afterwards, and seemed like a genuine good guy. The movie is one which requires deep thinking - its definitely not a light popcorn movie. But the thought you have to put in is all worth it. Science is treated repectfully - it helps that the writer/director was a software engineer and a techie, and that he didn't have the budget for bad special effects. The film does lack exciting cinematography, and it could use some help in the music and sound department (but in this case, all of the above were one guy). However, this doesn't really detract from the movie, because the movie doesn't require any of this to be very, very good. I highly suggest that you go see it when it comes out in theaters in september (thats what I hear). You can also visit
the website for a trailer and other info on the forums. Very highly recommended.

I will finish this another time, when I am not yawning. Have a wonderful day!

Arcanius on 06.13.04 @ 02:36 AM PST [link]


Saturday, June 12th

Got Gmail?

music: Screaming Trees - Shadow Of The Season
mood: Yawnish

Having friends in high places is very nice. For example, I recieved an invitation to Gmail last night - which I hear is a highly coveted thing. So I had to brag about it a little bit. And I'm already being courted for when I get my first invitations... even though I don't have any idea really how the invitation system works. But thats beside the point. The point is, Gmail is the best webmail ever, as far as I an tell. Except for pop3 support, it has all the gadgets that other webmails have, for free, and even more - and by even more I ean things such as autocompleting addresses - something which I never would have expected from web mail. But Gmail is different from ordinary web mail. As Tim said (who coincidentally wants an invite... :-):
"Gmail is the start of a new era of computing, internet applications.
Sucessful integration of internet applications to computers will mean
that your data can be reached from anywhere the internet is availiable.
Gmail is the start of this revolution by providing an easy to use, high
quality and large storage email provider. Once gmail supports POP3
access, it will be complete."
Well said, Tim! It looks like your work in the TRC is beginning to pay off :-)
Arcanius on 06.12.04 @ 10:47 AM PST [link]


Wednesday, June 9th

Sleepless in Seattle

music: The Truman Show Soundtrack - Anthem-Part 2, Seven Mary Three - Punch in Punch Out
mood: Boyant

I can't seem to get myself to fall asleep tonight. I just headed downstairs to have an after midnight snak, becasue sometimes that helps. I even felt tiredat kinds, but the shut-eye doesn't seem to come. I'm going to work on setting up bBlog to replace greymatter as my blogger, to get access to nifty features like RSS, which I don't even know what it is, but whatever. The real reason is that PHP beats Perl in my book any day. :-)


Arcanius on 06.09.04 @ 03:39 PM PST [link]


Sunday, June 6th

All-Nighter


Just like the old days, I stayed up all night finishing a project for my differential eqautions class. I'm not sure if sleep is going to happen now or twelve hours from now. If it happens now I'll probally be neding to use Dan's darkroom. If it happens tweleve hours from now, the darkroom at BCC might suffice. Anyway, I still have to take the photos for the assignment that is due on tueday. Inspiration is somewhat lacking, but motivation is seriously lacking. At least I ahve no work today.


Arcanius on 06.06.04 @ 05:41 PM PST [link]


Saturday, June 5th

Today


Today, after Breakfast, a rather dismal day of frisbee for me (althogh I still ha fun), and a lot of mom-office moving, I tried out for a spot in the Simpsons Coutnerstrike Clan. I didn't have a great showing, but I was the top dog or top three a fair number of times, and on the last map, the one they are most likely to remember the best, I was doing the best as well, so maybe I actually have a chance.

But thsi also means I ahve to do all my photography and all my Diff.Eq. homework tomorrow. Yikes.
Arcanius on 06.05.04 @ 12:07 PM PST [link]


Thursday, June 3rd

More reasons to love Clifton


[23:51:53] Clifton: Hey, Ryan! :)
[23:52:03] Ryan: how's your orkut time?
[23:52:13] Clifton: hmm?
[23:52:17] Ryan: I read your posts on the socialism is stupid (or whatever) community
[23:52:31] Clifton: oh boy!
[23:52:39] Clifton: thanks for reading, but did you post back?
[23:52:53] Clifton: how did you find them?
[23:53:24] Ryan: I got to the community via your membership in it
[23:53:27] Ryan: and read the first post
[23:53:30] Ryan: that sounded interesting
[23:53:39] Ryan: and fell in love with what his name
[23:55:25] Clifton: who!?
[23:55:44] Clifton: that anti socialism essay that somebody posted?
[23:55:55] Clifton: I hope you didn't fall in love with Stefan!
[23:56:04] Ryan: maybe thatís who
[23:56:14] Clifton: who?
[23:56:18] Clifton: describe.
[23:57:07] Ryan: the capitalist
[23:57:25] Clifton: they are all capitalists.
[23:57:44] Ryan: oh
[23:57:47] Clifton: the guy that shot down my post?
[23:57:51] Ryan: yeah, that guy
[23:57:59] Clifton: you fell in love with him?
[23:58:21] Ryan: well, not like boy-girl love, but like, wow love
[23:58:22] Clifton: that is Stefan.
[23:58:29] Clifton: *Shrug*
[23:58:33] Ryan: coool
[23:58:36] Ryan: then stefan
[23:58:47] Clifton: I enjoyed his posts until he responded to me.
[23:58:56] Clifton: I think his last post is way off.
[23:59:03] Clifton: but I can't prove it until I read Marx
[23:59:07] Ryan: notice that we both describe ourselves as "very libertarian"
[23:59:08] Ryan: well
[23:59:24] Clifton: oh, I noticed!
[23:59:27] Ryan: his last post didn't respond to you in the way you thought you'd be responded to
[23:59:48] Clifton: you could tell how I thought I'd be responded to?
[00:00:34] Ryan: you wanted someone to either try to defend violence in the name of capitalism or agree with you
[00:01:13] Clifton: and then he said 'Capitalism is inherently peaceful' ... which is a very lofty thing to say.
[00:01:15] Ryan: instead, he pointed out a fundamental flaw in your argument, namely, that violence in the name of capitalism is not more capitalism than were, for example, the crusades Christianity
[00:01:20] Ryan: well
[00:01:22] Ryan: he is right
[00:01:24] Ryan: you see
[00:01:30] Ryan: thatís what made me go, wow
[00:01:31] Clifton: but that is exactly the same argument that the socialists make!
[00:01:38] Clifton: they say that the violent socialists weren't true socialists.
[00:01:39] Ryan: but he provides evidence
[00:02:19] Ryan: whereas people that say your quote have no evidence as far as I know, other than how they define socialism
[00:02:35] Clifton: I have some to the contrary. take Texas for example. it was originally a joint USAmerican/mexican agricultural business venture, but then the farmers themselves decided to violently take the region by force.
[00:02:41] Clifton: similar situation in hawaii
[00:03:16] Clifton: then there's the whole colonization of the Americas, in which capitalists toppled empires, and raped/killed by the hundreds of thousands. ;)
[00:03:32] Clifton: that wasn't the government, you know? it was the traders.
[00:03:55] Ryan: and that force, as stephan points out, was not capitalism
[00:04:04] Clifton: then Stalin wasn't socialism.
[00:04:13] Ryan: capitalism would have been to buy the land at a price both parties agreed to
[00:04:31] Clifton: and socialism would be to take care of all people, and eliminate poverty.
[00:05:24] Ryan: socialism would have been to forcibly take everyoneís property and distribute according to some arbitrary centrally mandated decisions
[00:05:31] Ryan: thatís the point he made
[00:05:47] Ryan: that very few people are willing to give up their property
[00:05:56] Ryan: which is why socialism is inherently violent
[00:06:28] Ryan: whereas in capitalism, all exchange of any sort is voluntary by all parties involved
[00:06:35] Ryan: so violence is completely out of the question
[00:06:39] Clifton: like during the USAmerican revolution, when we violently seized territory and political power from the king?
[00:07:14] Ryan: you are making no sense. are you saying that the revolutionary war was a capitalist endeavor?
[00:07:22] Clifton: all major structural changes to society are violent. you can't say socialism is inherently violent because it is a revolutionary movement. Capitalism went through the same phase.
[00:08:03] Clifton: let's see? a bunch of plantation owners were pissed about paying taxes, and figured they could make more profit if they governed themselves... nah, doesn't sound like a capitalist venture to me. :)
[00:08:17] Ryan: I disagree. There are times when a society has become more capitalistic though violence, but you are confusing the means and the ends
[00:08:27] Ryan: its not
[00:08:40] Ryan: capitalism would have had the exchange be voluntary
[00:08:42] Clifton: come on!
[00:08:47] Ryan: don't you see that
[00:08:48] Clifton: the colonies themselves were capitalist ventures
[00:09:39] Ryan: they were profiteering ventures
[00:09:47] Ryan: which you seem to associate with capitalism
[00:09:51] Ryan: which is not correct
[00:09:59] Ryan: is the colonies were capitalistic
[00:09:59] Clifton: common socialist mistake.
[00:10:07] Ryan: they would have purchased the land from its inhabitants
[00:10:16] Ryan: not slaughtered them to get it
[00:10:17] Clifton: but see. there was plenty of political profiteering in socialist revolutions.
[00:10:55] Clifton: it's the same thing in socialist regimes, except political power in place of money.
[00:11:50] Ryan: no, its not the same at all, because in socialism, the exchanges are not voluntary. They are coerced by those in power. In capitalism, all exchange is voluntary, or the exchange does not happen
[00:12:23] Clifton: except for when it is forced.
[00:12:39] Ryan: when it is forced, it is not capitalism
[00:12:55] Clifton: like when the USA took half of Mexico, when bush 'took' Iraq, when cowboys took lands from native Americans.
[00:13:13] Ryan: you see, you are trying to attribute non-capitalistic things to capitalism and then saying capitalism is bad because of it
[00:13:28] Ryan: none of those were capitalistic exchanges
[00:13:49] Ryan: they were all coercive with the use of force
[00:13:51] Clifton: ok, this argument hinges on one point. Did Marx himself advocate violence in order to instill socialism. If so, then Stefan is right. if not, then he is taking the same arguments that the socialists take.
[00:15:03] Clifton: capitalists that claimed to be capitalists have a long history of using coercive methods. Socialists that claim to be socialists do too. both sides refuse to recognize these people as true (capitalists or socialists)
[00:15:21] Ryan: I'm not well enough versed with Marx to answer authoritatively. However, I believe Marx advocated a revolution by the proletariat (sp) to forcibly take over the means of production from the capitalists
[00:15:40] Clifton: Well, if that is so, then I yield.
[00:15:46] Clifton: but I can't be sure until I read Marx.
[00:16:02] Ryan: people that claimed to be Christians have long histories of murdering, torturing, and hating other people
[00:16:11] Ryan: that doesn't make Christianity bad
[00:16:14] Ryan: or Christ wrong
[00:16:34] Clifton: no, but it does nullify the Christian argument that Arabs are inherently violent.
[00:16:42] Clifton: if one should be made.
[00:17:15] Clifton: I'm not arguing that capitalism is bad. just that it is hypocritical and short sighted to condemn socialism on violence alone.
[00:17:19] Ryan: well, it is true that socialism can be achieved among willing participants
[00:17:32] Clifton: it's proven.
[00:17:33] Ryan: and in that case, socialism and capitalism coincide
[00:17:42] Ryan: because no exchanges were involuntary
[00:17:43] Clifton: often, and it is beautiful.
[00:17:49] Clifton: sure. :)
[00:18:08] Ryan: where capitalism and socialism go apart is where socialism turns to force and violence to spread itself
[00:18:28] Clifton: capitalism does that too!
[00:18:38] Ryan: so, so borrow a term from differential equations, there is a bifurcation there
[00:18:42] Ryan: there is overlap
[00:18:42] Clifton: they go apart when the other uses force.
[00:18:56] Clifton: thank you!
[00:19:03] Clifton: that is half of the point I'm trying to make.
[00:19:11] Ryan: but the capitalism never calls for violence to expand, except, as stephan pointed out, in cases of self-defense
[00:19:31] Ryan: we should post this conversation to the community
[00:19:34] Clifton: and also when it is more profitable to use violence than to abide by laws.
[00:19:41] Clifton: it is way too long,
[00:19:47] Clifton: but maybe a sum up.
[00:19:51] Ryan: wait, what do you mean by "and also when it is more profitable to use violence than to abide by laws."
[00:19:51] Clifton: when we come to consensus
[00:19:59] Ryan: I won't let you sneak that one in
[00:20:21] Ryan: you are once again confusing profiteering with capitalism
[00:20:27] Ryan: they are not at all the same creature
[00:20:32] Ryan: *creature
[00:20:37] Clifton: you are once again confusing political profiteering with socialism.
[00:20:49] Clifton: unless Marx did condone violence.
[00:20:58] Ryan: which I believe he did
[00:21:02] Ryan: but thatís not the point
[00:21:04] Clifton: but can't prove.
[00:21:13] Clifton: my entire argument can be destroyed if he did.
[00:21:20] Ryan: the point is that capitalism and socialism coincide as long as force is out of the equation
[00:21:30] Clifton: well, that is a point.
[00:21:32] Clifton: and a nice one.
[00:21:53] Ryan: because, when there is no force involved, socialism is a form of capitalism
[00:21:58] Ryan: you see, thatís the key here
[00:22:24] Clifton: it is just a structure that could exist within capitalism. not a form of it, in any way I can see... or did I miss something?
[00:22:43] Ryan: when socialism moves away from capitalism, then it becomes violent
[00:23:58] Ryan: and since socialism decries capitalism so much, I think it is very easy to conclude that socialism is inherently violent, especially since (I believe) Marx advocated forceful takeover of means of production, even if people like you see that capitalism and socialism can coexist
[00:24:19] Clifton: and by stefan's argument, when capitalism becomes violent it also moves away from capitalism.
[00:24:31] Ryan: capitalism can not be violent
[00:24:41] Ryan: by its definition
[00:24:58] Ryan: it is the VOLUNTARY exchange and nothing else, no coercion allowed
[00:25:11] Ryan: as soon as violence enters the arena, capitalism is no longer
[00:25:20] Ryan: they are mutually exclusive
[00:25:56] Ryan: so, when a society claiming to be capitalist moves to violence, then it is no longer capitalist, that is true
[00:26:01] Ryan: which may be what you were trying to say
[00:26:47] Ryan: what I want to hear from you is, if it exists, an explanation of how socialism, when it is outside of the subset of capitalism, is possibly non-violent
[00:28:24] Clifton: brb
[00:28:29] Ryan: kk
[00:31:37] Ryan: I need to be sleeping soon
[00:33:09] Clifton: we can resume later, I guess. :(
[00:33:26] Ryan: no, I want an answer to my question
[00:33:59] Ryan: also, I read the part above that I missed earlier where you said you were not condemning capitalism, simply saying that it was shortsighted to condemn socialism on violence alone
[00:33:59] Clifton: it'll be a minute or two - ten
[00:34:03] Ryan: and you may be right
[00:34:39] Ryan: because socialism is bad in many more ways than just its tendency to violence
[00:35:29] Ryan: and as you tried to point out, even if capitalism is non-violent, capitalist societies have committed their fair share of violent atrocities
[00:35:33] Clifton: oh!
[00:35:37] Clifton: that was my whole argument!
[00:35:53] Ryan: but then thatís the breakdown of capitalism
[00:36:00] Ryan: not a condemnation of capitalism
[00:36:18] Ryan: but a plea for its more universal application
[00:36:21] Clifton: can you post that explanation in my defense?
[00:36:26] Ryan: yes
[00:36:27] Ryan: I can
[00:36:31] Clifton: thank you.
[00:36:39] Clifton: I'll read your question now.

Arcanius on 06.03.04 @ 12:45 PM PST [link]


Digital Video


Of course thats not the entire story. In some fo my time-wasting activities I have been researching for a future purchase of a digital video camera. The contest has come down to three candidates, which I will list in the order of my current relative preference:

Panasonic AG DVC-80
Canon GL-2
Sony VX-2100

The DVC-80 doesn't have the 20x zoom lens that the Canon does, but it has a wider wide angle and bigger CCDs, which allow for better low-light performance. It is also newer and has better audio hookups. The GL-2 has by far the best lens of the groups in terms of zoom, but I'm not sure how useful extreme zoom is - I think wide angle is preferable for indoors shooting like I plan on doing. The Sony VX-2100 is supposed to have the best Low Light detail of the group, but its lens lacks any distinctions and it doesn't have the progressive scan "frame" or "film" modes that the others boast, which is a feature I am interested in. They all go for slightly north of $2000.

I am also interested in picking up a Direct-To-Edit hard disk drive capture box for the camera. Although they run for around $1000, this completely eliminates the need to capture video after shooting, which adds as much time as it took to shoot originally to the editing process. Of course, the DV tapes are only several dollars, and I can keep them labelled long after they are orignally recorded as backup of original material, so perhaps that is just as good for now.

As if these things were not enough to spend my money on, a coworker just informed me that he is selling some cars - the one that piques my interest is a 1994 Nissan Sentra with 100k miles on it, going for $1500. Its smallish, white, two doors, fuel efficient and runs well. I really do want a replacement for the truck I drive now - I'm getting tired of the no-radio no-air-conditioning rides that suck 4 gallons of gas to and from work. It'd also be nice to have transportation that I could call my own. Thinking aobut it though, I think I have to check to see if its FWD or not, since that is kind of important in the driveway. Of course, that may not matter when/if I begin at the UW...
Arcanius on 06.03.04 @ 06:51 AM PST [link]


Tired


I've been really sporadic on posting recently, which is bad because posting here gives me a chance to materialize some thoughts, which seems to be a healthy thing for me to do.

Today in my Differential Equations class, we had the third and final midterm - I studied practically all night, albeit not very efficiently due to distractions of the Counterstike type. I went to sleep around the time the sky began to light up again, then woke up at verious 7 minute intevals between two and four hours later. Mother cooked me an excellent breakfast, and after brushing up on a few problems and missing my tennis class, I proceded to campus to take the test. It went alright - I'm fairly confident on 6 out of the 8 problems. The other two went pretty badly, though I may scrounge up some partial credit. Barring stupid mistakes on the 6 problems (which is not out of the question), I should do passably on the test. Otherwise it could get ugly.

The lesson to be learned here is that my time management, work ethic, and focus under pressue still need major improvements if I am to become a well-rounded functional person. My natural gift for test taking and blind intuition can only carry me so far thorugh life without additional effort.

On Sunday, Shai and I went to Bellingham to visit Beth and Greg. We had a good time walking among the Ski to Sea race extravaganza which included many street booths. We ate at Lemon Grass, the best Thai food resturant ever. Excellent food, good prices, excellent service, and a good time was had by all. We also thre in some frisbee and Lava tag with some WWU students that showed up before returning.

I have fallen rather far behind in my photography class as well, not having done anything to speak of in the last two weeks other than thinking about the upcoming assignment (due Tuesday). I will take pictures this weekend and develop and print on Monday, which I am getting off of work. Also due on Tuesday is the final project in the Diff.Eq. Class, which I haven't even taken a look at yet. That will also have to be done this weekend, emailed in for comment, and tweaked (or rewritten as the case may be) Monday night.

My grueling work schedule over the last two weeks has played a big part in my lack of progress in other parts of my life - an average of more than 30 hours the last three weeks. The time outside of this is often wasted, I have to admit, usually by myself but also sometimes by others. I wouldn't call the trip to Bellingham a waste, but the 2-3 hours of Couterstrike every night is definitely excessive, as are some of my other, less talked-about habits, such as surfing the web and other messings around involving, generally, my laptop, on which I have been on a rather lengthy binge. Of course there are classes as well (but reall yonly 7-10 hours), and the Seattle International Film Festival just grabs a little more time out of the pot. The result is that I've only taken a few hours for schoolwork, which was mostly composed of catching up in reading my Diff.Eq. book, because I got behind by, surprise, not reading any of it for a long time (and this well after the FIRST Championship Event, so I cannot place any blame there).

I do wonder how it is that I can get myself out of this rut. For the whole time, I was on the pills, (although they ran out today), but then I also have to wonder what affect those have other than leveling my mood - at least thats what I think they do, its so hard to tell, especially since I'm so insensitive to change.

Well, enough of that for now, back to work I guess.
Arcanius on 06.03.04 @ 05:26 AM PST [link]




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