July 30, 2003

News Flash

Posted in General at 1:20 pm by Ian

It seems that telemarketers have teamed up with lawyers to bring suit against the National Do Not Call List.

It seems like a pretty vague lawsuit. It’s not even clear what law or right they claim the list would be violating. Must be in one of those trans-Bill of Rights amendments.

XVIIRZQ: The Constitution Strikes Back.
Congrefs shall make no law regarding an establishment of commerce, or prohibiting the annoying practices thereof; or abridging the ability of said establishments to call and hassle you at dinner time, or lunch time; or the right of those in their employ to mispronounce your name, and to have an undeniable right to all the profits of such jerk-offishness.

The funniest part of the article is that they claim it will result in the loss of “two million jobs.” That’s not, in itself, funny, but I find it unlikely that there are that many telemarketers in the US. Assuming an average household size of 4, that means that, on average, each telemarketer would only call around 40 houses a day before they’d start to repeat. If this were actually the case, telemarketing wouldn’t really be that bad; we could get to know these telemarketers.

Telemarketer: Hi, can I speak to Mr. Eye-un Fah-rel?
Me: Yeah this is Ian Ferrel.
Telemarketer: Well, Mr. Fahrel, my name is Bob, and I’m calling today to ask you if you’re satisfied with the service you’ve gotten from…
Me: Bob? How’s it going, man. We were starting to think you wouldn’t call back tonight. Hey, everyone, it’s Bob!
Friends: Hey Bob! Bob, how’s it going? What up, Bob-o.
Telemarketer: So, as I was saying, I have an exciting opportunity for you to
Me: Actually, Bob, we’re kinda in the middle of something. I’m gonna have to give you a call back. But listen, we’re still on for tennis on Tuesday, right?
Telemarketer: Sure.
Me: Ok, Bob. ‘Night.


But, in reality, there are probably way fewer people working in telemarketing, and I think that, while it would be a hardship for them, the loss of those jobs is not too devastating overall. Besides, they’d finally have to go get jobs that provide a service someone actually wants, such as selling crack, or their bodies.


Turtles, All The Way Down

Posted in General at 12:54 am by Ian

We went to Ran’s house for dinner tonight. He barbequed steaks, which were awesome. It was kind of a final send-off dinner. We’re wrapping stuff up on reasearch (last week). More about that later, but I’m psyched because my code started working today. I’m really glad, too, because by its very nature it would have been a bitch to debug.

Ran’s son gave us a tour of their backyard environs. It was a very… thorough tour, the most thorough tour of a garden I have ever been on which included no plants whatsoever. We did, however, make stops at the turtle pinwheel, the balance beam, several rocks, a play structure, and the turtle sandbox (turtles were a recurring theme in this tour). We also saw the zip-line, which is between some trees. I even rode it. I think there’s a slight downhill slope to it, but it could have been a trick of the eye.

At one point, when we were supposed to be looking at some sort of turtle-encrusted lawn-ornamentery, which happened to be right next to some tomato plants that were very obviously tomato-laden, I asked Ben if he knew what kind of plants those were. “Those are trees,” he responded, not even turning, as we moved on to the next stop on the tour.

Ben is five.

July 28, 2003

Libraries And Liberties

Posted in General at 11:25 pm by Ian

When I was walking to my bike at the end of the day today, I noticed that there were two men, one a library employee, the other building and maintenance, perhaps, standing by the other bike rack. They were discussing a boarded-up part of the library by the book drop. It seems that someone had become upset with the book drop being closed, and had expressed this displeasure by putting a book through the window. Now, there are a number of reasons that this was a less-than-brilliant move, the foremost of which would probably be that the book was checked out to you, you FREAKING moron.

Which brings me to my next tidbit on libraries: Librarians are cool! Due to the USA PATRIOT ACT, various law enforcement bodies can now inspect the records of libraries (Big Brother has to be able to make sure that you aren’t reading any dangerous books–which lead to dangerous ideas). Well. It turns out that librarians, long the heralds of learning, didn’t so much care for their new roles as tools of oppression, and have taken some rather interesting countermeasures. First, in many cases, they’ve taken to destroying many of their records as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the law prevents them from alerting people when the FBI comes a callin’. So certain libraries have come up with a delightfully clever method of keeping people informed: signs in the lobby that say “The FBI Has Not Been Here (watch closely for removal of this sign).”

I’ve redoubled my efforts to learn the Dvorak keyboard layout. I noticed that the keys on my laptop are all the same size and can be popped off. I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to learn it before, but I figure this is my time to shine. It took me about an hour to write this, so if that’s any indication, I’ll have plenty.

July 27, 2003

Summer Cleaning

Posted in General at 11:47 pm by Ian

I spent some time cleaning and packing today, getting ready to take off at the end of the week. I even cleaned out my keyboard. If you’ve never taken the time to do so, I strongly advise you not to. Just throw the keyboard away, set it on fire, do anything but lift up those keys.

I’ve been cleaning out my food too. I decided not to buy any new food, considering I have plenty. I’m pretty much down to tortillas, Mac & Cheese, and just plain cheese. And, AB, I had to get rid of your powdered Tang® because it had ceased to be powdered Tang® in favor of Large Solid Block of Tang®.

Death Wish

Posted in General at 8:12 pm by Ian

If I happen to die by being run through with some sort of long stabbing weapon, I hope I’m bad-ass enough to pull myself forward along it, towards my killer. I’d have some choice words for him, I’m sure.

Tomb Raider 2: Don’t Bother

Posted in General at 2:09 pm by Ian

That is all.

July 26, 2003


Posted in General at 2:57 pm by Ian

I watched 28 Days Later last weekend. Dunno how many of you like zombie flicks, but I love ’em. Don’t really care for most horror movies, but somehow, you get a lumbering corpse going after brains, and I just get shivers all over. But in a good way.

I really liked 28 Days. It was a new take on the zombie movie, with zombies being humans infected with a rather quick-acting virus rather than the dead risen. The result is that the “infected” are quick and intelligent, instead of slow and lumbering, and the change on contact takes about 20 seconds.

Many opinions I had read about the movie suggested that the last third, in which our protagonists come under the wing of the last remaining vestiges of the armed forces, was an uncharacteristicly slow and anticlimactic twist. I, however, thought that that was the best part of the movie. When the commanding officer talks about the zombie scourge being nothing more than “people killing people,” and Jim fights to rescue his fellow survivors, the movie actually has some rather deep insights into the nature of civilization and savagery.

And that is why it’s not only a freaky zombie movie but a good film as well. And, lest you think that it’s a philosophical walk in the park, the movie is scary. After watching it (in the early afternoon), I watched a Disney movie and read comics for a while and I still slept with the lights on for the next two days.

“What do we want?”
“When do we want them?”
–Zombie Rally

July 24, 2003


Posted in General at 7:57 pm by Ian

I have added smileys to posts and comments.

You can now include

🙂 😉 😮 😀
:yawn: :doh: :confused: 😎
😮 :dubious: :p 🙄

and of course 😦 and 😡

in your comments and posts.

Note: Those misusing the smileys will be severely beaten.

July 23, 2003

Brusha Brusha Brusha

Posted in General at 12:40 am by Ian

They’re doing amazing things with toothbrushes these days. Or, at least, they’re doing amazing things with my toothbrush. I assume, that is, that they’re doing amazing things. It’s entirely plausible that they are just doing random things in the hopes that people will buy them because, Look! Technology!

My new toothbrush has a little squiggle of rubber down the middle. And the bristles on the sides are longer. And multicolored. I think, too, that if I unlock the secret, it is going to, I don’t know, start dancing or something. Also, it’s about twice the size of a standard toothbrush, which makes it feel like I have a ball-gag-on-a-stick in my mouth when I’m brushing. And it almost goes without saying that it has a custom ribbed grip on it, for, uh, my pleasure, I suppose.

But the thing is, my teeth feel really clean.

July 22, 2003

Comic Con: Part II (Take 2)

Posted in General at 10:30 pm by Ian

After seeing 0.000002% of Return of the King I was all rarin’ to go, so I went and stood in line for about an hour, all told. First, I stood in line at the Real Life and Megatokyo booth for a while. I talked to Greg Dean for a bit when I got that far. And, contrary to his recent comics on the subject, there were plenty of people who wanted to see him. In fact, he was so backed up with comics to print out that I said that I’d just email him my request, and he could ship it to me. His book (of the first year) is coming out in late August, so if you enjoy the comic, you should definitely buy it. Oh. And it was great! He was wearing the Greg outfit! I asked him if he had brought four copies of it, and he said that he just happened to be wearing it. Lizzie seemed unamused. But then, she seemed unamused by everything I said, so…

It turns out that Fred Gallagher is really slow dealing with fans, so I had to leave the line to meet with the people I was with (otherwise, they might have had to wait for me…).

It turned out our meeting place was right by the Penny Arcade booth, so I went over there. They were out of my size in the Wang-Fu shirts, so I’ll have to wait until they make it up on the online store. Sadly, because I didn’t buy it at the con, I won’t get an honarary certificate of Wang-Fu mastery.

But I’ll live.

Then Avani and Peter and I went back to the line for Real Life and Megatokyo for a while. I did want to get my Megatokyo book signed. We waited for a while, and the line seemed to be not moving. It turns out that Fred had taken a break. So I left my book with Avani and went off to find Scott Kurtz, who draws PVP. I couldn’t find him at the image booth, because it wasn’t where it was supposed to be. I searched for a while, but eventually went back to see if Avani and Peter were still there. I passed by the Happy Tree Friends booth, and I almost bought their DVD. It was only $15. But then I decided that if I were to actually watch two hours of that, I’d clearly already be insane. And straight jackets are expensive, so I saved my money.

When I got back, Avani and Peter had moved about 2 feet. So we gave up on it. I’ll have to see Fred next year, I guess. Then we went by Steve Jackson games booth, and I bought Deadwood, a Cheapass Games game. I really like their sales philosophy, which is to not sell you anything in their games that you could just steal from another game you have. (As a result, I had to go buy some Monopoly money. Actually, I bought a whole set; they didn’t have just the money, and it was only $9. Who sells Monopoly for $9?)

After that, Greg showed me the Narbonic booth, where I bought her book. It’s a cute little comic. Then he found me the Image booth, where Scott Kurtz still wasn’t. But I did find him, eventually. He was a nice guy. I bought his newest comic and had him sign it. I wish I had known which of his old books I was missing, because I could have gotten it then. But I didn’t. And, now, I’m also missing the Image issues 1 and 2.

I bought a book of Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, and went to find him. Unfortunately, he had already left. I had actually been about ten feet from his booth earlier, but hadn’t realized it (and, having only ever seen a comic image of him, I didn’t recognize him).

I went by the Lord of the Rings Pavillion (oh yes; they had a whole pavillion) to see if I’d won the drawing for all kinds of cool stuff.


I didn’t get it.

Then I wandered around all over the place until they kicked everyone out. We went to dinner, and that was all she wrote.

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