Happiness is a warm gun, bang, bang, shoot, shoot.

I don’t know that there’s any more obvious lead in to ??Mr. and Mrs. Smith??, a movie I heard described as “beautiful people shooting at one another”. That does pretty much sum it up, but I think Roger Ebert is right when, “in his review”:http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=%2F20050609%2FREVIEWS%2F50524003%2F1023, he says:

bq. None of this matters at all. What makes the movie work is that Pitt and Jolie have fun together on the screen, and they’re able to find a rhythm that allows them to be understated and amused even during the most alarming developments. There are many ways that John and Jane Smith could have been played awkwardly, or out of synch, but the actors understand the material and hold themselves at just the right distance from it; we understand this is not really an action picture, but a movie star romance in which the action picture serves as a location.

For better or worse, that is it exactly. And I was entertained, even if it *was* a festival of cartoon violence.

Vince Vaughn, incidentally, seems to have totally jumped tracks in his career. Not that he doesn’t do it well, but I wouldn’t have guessed he’d end up in this role five years ago.

Tomorrow we intend to watch a movie I will feel much less guilty about enjoying, ??The Girl with the Pearl Earring??.

So the phone rings…

And someone comes on the line and tries to tell me I owe someone $2K+. I asked what it was about, they said, “A card with citibank that was in default.” I told them they had the wrong guy, never had a card with them. The guy said, “I have a social, last four digits XXXX”. Nope, not me. Sorry. 🙂

I must admit I had to get the guy to read the number off twice because the first time my head was so full of voices shouting “Identity Theft” I couldn’t concentrate on what he was saying.

I just need to point out…

That long before he was Dumbledore Mk. II, “Michael Gambon”:http://imdb.com/name/nm0002091/ was the thief in “??The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover??”:http://imdb.com/title/tt0097108/.

That should creep out anyone who’s taking their kids to those Harry Potter movies.

If you have to ask…

then you would surely not understand why there would have to be “an entire web page devoted to Iron Maiden album covers with Spongebob Squarepants inserted into them?”:http://kebawe.com/wallpapers/maiden/SpongeEd.shtml

But rest assured, there must be such a thing.

I should have noted this yesterday (obviously)

So, at least “according to Wikipedia”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxing_day. *no one knows why it’s named Boxing Day*. It’s silly, but in a wonderful sort of way–it’s apparently centuries old, but no one knows why the hell it’s called Boxing Day.

Fafblog doesn’t make me laugh quite so much any more

Not because it’s not as funny as it used to be (’cause really, it is), but because it’s just harder to get me to laugh now–I look around and sometimes think things have truly come off the rails.

But “their bit of commentary on the attacks on Christmas”:http://fafblog.blogspot.com/2005/12/long-jolly-slog-i-hear-they-got.html is great. I especially liked:

bq. “On Secularmas, they do not exchange presents,” says Giblets. “They exchange identical cardboard boxes filled with rocks and mold and broken childhood dreams and nothing!”

Turns out I was wrong

The default theme that RockBox uses is much less pretty than that of the default iRiver firmware, but as you might have guessed from the way I said that, RockBox is themeable, and the non-default themes are at least as pretty as the iRiver firmware.

In other words, RockBox, err, rocks, in every conceivable way.

Mmmmm, yummy rockbox goodness

So, today I installed “RockBox”:http://www.rockbox.org/ on my “iRiver IHP-140”:http://www.rockbox.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/IriverPort.

It’s not as pretty as the original firmware (which, incidentally, I can still get to because, well, the RockBox guys are pretty smart), but it has two feature that I always wished for that the original firmware never had–1) the ability to use .m3u playlists that also work under “mpd”:http://musicpd.org/ (that is, ones that use forward slashes, as $DEITY intended), and 2) the ability to create playlists on the fly by queueing up tracks interactively.

I would seriously recommend it to anyone who has one of these players, and once the iPod port is to a reasonable point, I’d push people to use it on those too–you get access to actual *free* formats, like OGG and FLAC, instead of being tied to MP3 and AAC.

I spent all weekend at a yoga retreat


You might then think that at this time more than any other, I would be able to make a distinction between those things that I think I might want want–largely because they’re “neat”–and those things I need.

But damn, it sure does feel like I need “a nixie tube clock that looks like an H&K amp head”:http://news.harmony-central.com/Newp/2005/Hughes-Kettner-Tube-Clock.html


John Goerzen is a Debian developer for whom I’ve got a lot of respect. He has also recently been let in “on the secrets of underwear drawer rotation”:http://changelog.complete.org/node/428.

And his workplace just had a big fire, and “he’s logged the thrills of working IS during times of crisis”:http://changelog.complete.org/node/431.

On the one hand, I feel a little guilty

I mean, some guy posts an insanely inane idea for a movie he thinks Pixar should do to Bruce Perens’ old email address at Pixar, and CC:’s the debian-devel list. Really, I should have more compassion, and not post a link to his message for the purposes of ridiculing him in public.

But I’m not yet enlightened, and it’s *so* excruciatingly bad. How bad? “Read it yourself”:http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2005/12/msg00566.html.

Gaaah, I think I became stupider just reading it.

I wasn’t going to link to this…

…insofar as I can only stomach about five seconds worth of cultural criticism at a time these days–since that’s about how long it takes me to look at Anne, shrug my shoulders and say something about how the cultures on the skids or vice versa.

I don’t have the energy, and besides, what the fuck to do I have to be outraged about? I do stupid shit, you do stupid shit, “they” do stupid shit, this is the human condition. Laugh a little, or a lot, but calm down. You will be happier if you accept that stupid shit will be perpetrated for as long as the race is viable.

Mind you, some of the stupid shit I see makes me wonder how long that may be…

However, having decided for another reason to link to it, I must say that I participated in almost none of eXile’s “90 90’s shams”:http://www.exile.ru/2005-December-02/that_90s_sham.html. I don’t mean that as a value judgement (see above), just as an observation. My purity test score is low, my music collection is full of oddball items, and I don’t go to the movies. I guess I’m realizing, I ignored huge swaths of my peers experiences, period.

Oh, what was the reason I was going to link to it? The site is built using “Mason”:http://masonhq.com/.

Yeah, I’m a geek.

I try to be polite to telemarketers

It’s not that I care so much about the people who are trying to push products through telemarketing–I am on the do-not-call list and all–but it seems to me the people who are actually on the other end of the phone deserve some compassion.

After all, I can’t imagine that it’s anything other than a job that combines mediocre pay and soul-crushing work. I suppose that in some cases it may be a specific choice someone makes because it leaves them free to do other things, but in most I expect it’s what they do because it’s all that’s available.

So when I get solicited, I usually say, as politely but firmly as possible, “Thank you, I’m not interested.”

Well, today some guy calls from Earthlink, and I do my normal, “Thank you, I’m not interested.” and the dolt tries to tell me why I am wrong not to be interested.

And I snapped.

Not in a shouting-obscenities-and-banging-the-phone-on-the-table way–which I’ve been known to do, but usually in a more Spider Jerusalem state of mind, that is, with a smile on my face and giggling–but in a harangue-on-a-theme, “You should not presume to know enough about me to tell me that I’m interested in your product.” way.

After it was over and I went down to feed the cats I started to wonder where our little version of capitalism went totally off the rails. Why is it that companies I do business with, often over long periods of time sometimes seem intent on making me regret having a relationship with? That just seems stupid.