Journeys of the Sound Chaser

A somewhat infrequent log of rants, features and the like.

Location: Hyperspace-Upon-Twilight-Zone WSW, California, United States

After much dabbling in the Liberal Arts...oh, wait, that was high school, huh? *ahem* After much dabbling in a great many things, including a half-hearted attempt at Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, I got a foot in the door as a UNIX System Admin and it was all downhill from there. I program pinball simulations (and fix pinball machines) for fun. I play piano, bass, mandolin and guitar and I (pretend to) sing. I also (attempt to) draw. More sketching, really. The rest is relatively uninteresting.


Happy New Year 9.1.1.

or, "will it be the same old same old?"

Happy 9.1.1. I hope.

Back on the "original" 9/11, 2001, the radical Islamic arm looked to take down the United States. They hated us for our freedoms, our permissive views on how the world should run, and, by and large, because we had hitherto been so successful.

They probably also hated us because we had engineered said permissions and freedoms OUT of their status quo, but that's probably a different story for another day.

So on 9/11, they sent a couple of planes to take out the World Trade Center.

They also succeeded in goading a knee-jerk reactionary government into taking unnecessary steps which eventually led us into a war in which we had no need, and no true purpose.

Part of what happened was we began in earnest to build a Police State. It began in our airports and, soon, extended to our train depots. In some places, it is present in our subways and, of course, it is present at our state borders.

We have played right into the hands of what these terrorists wanted. In fighting this "war on terror", a war against "an unseen enemy", we have stripped down the basic rights of our citizenry and reduced ourselves to the enemy we once feared.

If the basic goal of the terrorists was to eradicate this country because of its principles, they have already won, and we have handed them their victory.

Here at 1/1/2009, or 9.1.1, we are sitting in a country which is sitting in a financial quagmire in very large part because of the offensive we launched back in 2003 because of something that happened in 2001, even though the two causes were not connected. Not Really.

And we are looking at a very bleak picture: Thus far, we are being socially reduced to rubble. We cannot shine as people when we must concentrate on making the ends of the shoestring meet, living hand-to- mouth. The economic problems we face are directly connected to our success socially. The renaissance we enjoyed for that brief moment in time gave us so much, and yet while our top brass is bailing out the banks and the carmakers, they are letting the very elements of the soul of this country wither and die. The arts. The social programs.

A friend of mine recently pointed out the difference between Conservative Equality and Liberal Equality:

"Liberal Equality states that the end result is equal, no matter the path one takes in life to get to the end. Conservative Equality is on the other end: We all start with a level playing field and it is up to us to make something of it."

I agree with this in principle, but there are the ever remaining issues that we do not all start with a level playing field, and even if we start there, those of us who play fairly get screwed over by those who play without ethics, by those who hide behind a shield of righteousness to promote discriminating agendae, by those whose definition of fairness means "fair for me and screw everybody else". In short, "after me, you come first."

We are, ever more, becoming that which we so feared back in the Cold War. We are turning into the old U.S.S.R. with all its trappings. Yes, we have the "right to vote" -- for either of two sides of a flawed single-party system. Yes, we have the right to freedom of expression, so long as we do not express anything against our government or rally dissent. Yes, we have the right to our capitalism, as long as we acknowledge that the government has the right to walk in and take everything we own by brute force if need be.

There is no longer a difference between what was, over there, and what is, over here.

...and this is not going to change until we, the people, nut up, and hold the gun to our government, cock the hammer and demand that they admit their responsibility, their irresponsibility.

And if they refuse, we, the people, can no longer sit idly by and not pull that trigger.


The Good and The Bad

The Good

Okay, we have Barack Obama, our first Our first BLACK president, or President of Colour. Let's call it as it is. Political Correctness must die if we are to achieve anything of substance in this world.

No, I'm not upset by this at all. In fact, I'm THRILLED that we don't get FOUR MORE YEARS of the McSame Old Same Old.

But we need to quit hyping this up as "A Great Day For The Heritage Of African-Americans". That is NOT what this election stands for.

It stands for the promise of change. Change for the better, or so I can hope. He has TWO YEARS, at most, to establish his mandate. If he does it right, he gets two more years. We'll need that left-swinging mandate in order to get back to centre.

The Bad

As happy as I am about this, I am also very very upset at the two measures in California that are passing that shouldn't:

Proposition 8 - Banning the Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry

1. What is the problem with this? Where does the difficulty exist?? I'll grant that "traditional marriage" is between members of the opposite sex, given lack of documentation to the contrary. But you f*cking right-wing fear-of-god MORONS would deny them rights as individuals? Is it really wrong for two people to love each other? Does it matter what RACE they are? How about what their financial status is? Hell, why don't we prohibit Democrats and Republicans from marrying?

...So why does it matter what their sexual ORIENTATION is? Don't say "preference", because you're demeaning the natural order of things and DON'T gimme your "God says this" bullshit because I Have HAD it with you bigots and your playing on the fears of otherwise good people. Go jump into a pit of concrete and be gone with you.

2. I have the SERIOUS problem with this in that the majority of funding and effort to defeat this measure has come from OUT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA. That means that other states are trying to tell California how it should be voting on matters of state. This needs to STOP.

3. We need to put something into place to reject the ability to change the state's constitution with a simple majority vote. It should be a two-thirds majority for something that important. That this was not in place for this initiative is a Very Bad Thing.

Proposition 9: Rights of Victims AND THEIR FAMILIES to show up at parole hearings and keep people in jail.

It's easy to see the perspective on this: Someone kills your family, you want to make sure they stay in jail.

But you idiots who only see the one side of this argument are missing something very important: There are a LOT of people incarcerated who have served their time and should not be denied their chance at parole who will end up serving a longer sentence than is reasonable for their crime.

So you who passed these two bits of legislations should be ashamed of yourselves. You are not only not interested in truly being a co-operative part of society, but you thrive on the conflict you create.

Shame on you, all of you.



Random bits of wisdom

For every day...

If an adult-of-diminutive-but-stocky-stature looks at you and tells you that they are not happy, do NOT ask them which one they are.

Life grades on a curve.

Turn signals: Not just to look pretty.

Ashtrays: Not for smokers' coins.

It's not that I'm old. Your music really does suck.

"Common sense" isn't.

What Would Scooby Do?

Cheap. Fast. Good. Pick two and call me in the morning.

Peace and Freedom can never coexist for very long. Both, in fact, are illusory as long as there is someone who insists on being the one in control.

"Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so." -- Douglas Adams

Anyone who says "it's as easy as X" has probably not attempted X.

Scene 1, Take 2 -- they're small!

Fade to Plaid.

I'm not as you think as I'm drunk.

Drunk is temporary. Ugly is forever.

I got a coffee. The cashier asked me for one fifty. That seemed a bit pricy for a cup of coffee, but she gave me back forty-eight and a half, so I guess it all worked out.

My other car was on Alderaan.

NEVER give the Game Master ideas.

We have strangled ourselves by litigating against innovation.

Why are people so bent on outlawing enjoyment of life?

Raise the bar of education instead of dumbing things down.

Organized Religion: Spirituality with mob mentality and military funding.

Technically speaking...

"On a clear disk you can seek forever."
"The steady state of disks is full." -- Ken Thompson

"Operator precedence is the property which makes


do what you expect. It is also the same property which makes that do what you do not expect." -- me

Just because memory, disk space and CPU speed are cheap is no excuse for shoddy programming.

Contrary to popular belief, UNIX is user-friendly. It just happens to be selective about whom it keeps as friends.

Euphemisms for "user error"

"Eye Dee Ten Tee" (write it out) error.

PICNIC error (Problem In Chair, Not In Computer)

PEBKAC error (Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair)

Layer 8 error (see ISO Seven-Layer Network Model)

cki (Chair-Keyboard Interface) error

I'll add to this as I go.



If life is a story...

Just had an epiphany this morning while I was returning with coffee to my desk. The logic train went something like this (I entertain story ideas as I do occasionally attempt to write stories. Thus far: Story: 15, Author: 0.):

"Remember the characters you used to create in Dungeons and Dragons?
The ones from lands of fantasy, which were rumoured to have existed
at one time, and were wiped out by the humans?

They're back. And they have a whole new take on life."

This led to the Lord of the Rings, and how it was one point-a-to-point-b plot story, with a lot of ancillary subplots branching off and tying in (usually).

THAT led me to think, "Who, in their life, really has a plot? Our lives are pretty much not plot-driven, but character-driven."

The thought for the day is,

"If your life is plot-driven, you had best be a VERY good writer."



Jake, and other diminutives...

So there's something that's been bugging me for a while. A long while, in fact. It has to do with nominal diminutives, or common names.

Now I can see how something like "Tessa" would derive from "Theresa", and even how "Sally" might come from "Sarah", and I just found out that "Ike" falls from "Isaac", which is actually kind of cool, but there are several out there that completely elude me, logically speaking.

The ones in question, specifically, are "Jack" and "Jake".

We hear references to the late John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and his brother Robert, as "Jack and Bobby", often by people who would like to think they were friend or kin to those two (but never mind that).

Now, back up a second.

In the etymology of names, is not John a name unto itself? Seriously. Look at it, especially Biblically (and I'm not necessarily a Bible fan, but that's a rant for another week and a half that I won't start now). John is a saint. John is, if I am not mistaken, actually an Apostle. And I fail to see how "Jake" falls from "John". "ay" vs. "ah", you know? Etymologically speaking, it just doesn't match! What are these people thinking?

"Jake" sounds like it could come from "Jacob". Ditto "Jack". "Jacob" is not a name you're going to hear often unless you're traveling in Hasidic or Judaic circles a lot. It doesn't surface.

...unless you're one of the ones who was named, given the propensity for a stuffed shirt at birth, "James". Of course, how "James" came from "Jacob" in the first place was a twisty little maze all its own (Jacob (Heb.) -> Jacobus (L.) -> Jacomus (Late L.) -> mmmyeah, that kinda makes sense, if you're drunk or stupid and drop lots of letters from your words...).

But the point is that "John" is truly sore out of luck as a name, from my point of view. I could never name a kid "John". What do you do with that name? You can't really call him "Jake" or "Jack", not properly. "Johnny"? Well, I guess it worked for Johnny Cash. You could misspell it "Jhon" and take it from there (I know someone who did that with his last name. He's a very good photographer). The only "Jake" I knew was a "John" was John Kelly, who went by "JK", his initials, and everyone called him "Jake".

Not that I'd be wanting to name a boy "James", after all, in spite of the diminutives. You get Jim, Jimmy, Jamie (Scottish diminutive, and yes, it is a BOY'S name and I could shoot the person who decided it was a good name for a girl from all the crap I started getting for it about the time the Bionic Woman came out on TV, different spelling notwithstanding since it was all about the pronounciation), and fun little ones like Jim-O, Jammer, Jim-Bob (go a bit south for that one), but you could also call him "Jake" or "Jack" and be perfectly, rightfully correct in that.

(The reading of how James (English) -> Diego (Spanish) was also interesting, a twisty little passage all its own. Google it. You will discover that "Jaime" is an adoption to the name "James", not a representation of it. Origin of "Jaime" is Iberian, not Spanish, and its meaning is apparently completely unrelated.)

That's about it, since I can pretty much figure out the origins of such names as Babs, Hank, Rusty, Shorty, Sloppy, Sleazy, Shifty, Lefty, Lenny and Bruce...