October 31, 2004

Do You Know What Time It Is?

Posted in General at 8:33 pm by Ian

Well, this blog certainly does. As of 1am this morning (the second time), the times for entries posted are working correctly. Now that the universe has sorted itself out, I expect this proper chronology to continue indefinitely, unless April happens again.


The Sad State of Education in California

Posted in Political at 8:29 pm by Ian

As Tip O’Neill said, “All politics is local.” So, for the next few days (in the spirit of the season), I’ll be focusing on issues local to California and even to Santa Barbara (if I can figure out what they are). The first to the block is education, in which, as many know, things are Not Going Well™. The Kindergarten Science Education standards for California, for one, are severely lacking. For example, in the Earth Sciences section, we learn that Kindergarteners are expected to know that

3. Earth is composed of land, air, and water. As a basis for understanding…

What a mockery of learning. How can our young students be expected to function in a modern society without a reasonable understanding of all the elements. Write your senators and demand that Fire be added to the Kindergarten curriculum.

Remember: children are our future.

October 30, 2004

You Can’t Get There From Here

Posted in General at 11:12 pm by Ian

My oven is rack-impared. It has only one, which makes all my multi-layer cakes just take too long to bake! So I went about today to try to get another one. Oven racks, one would think, must be sold separately from their feudal masters. And they are–I still think–but not to those as uncultured as myself.

First I asked Google, which turned me on to several websites that claimed to sell such things, but only if I gave them a model number, which I did not have because it’s not on the stove anywhere. They did, however, help me out with a nice diagram of the many places on the stove the model number would be listed. If it were. Which it wasn’t.

But aha! One of the websites had an 800 number for help. 7 Days a week! Open Late! I called, and the first question the woman asked me was what the model number of my product was. When I told her that I didn’t know, she told me that she couldn’t do a search without that. So… basically, this website employs people to sit at computers with their website loaded and enter model numbers for people. And it seems to be working out for them.

But not for me. So I next called Sears, and asked about oven racks. Before I could even find out if we could identify the model, the guy told me to call their parts line. Another 800 number. When I called that, the guy helped me not find the model number, and then said there was nothing he could do without it. He was, however, helpful enough to give me the number of my local Sears store.

I think I’ll make one out of alumnium foil…

October 29, 2004

Why You Should Vote For Bush

Posted in Political at 10:07 pm by Ian

What I am about to recommend may seem like a shock to you (coming from me), but I ask you to hear me through to the end. Though I would generally not advocate such behavior, desperate times call for desperate measures.

“But Ian,” say some, “Didn’t you already vote for Kerry and mail your absentee ballot weeks ago? Don’t you scoff with disgust at the tatters of traditional conservativism the modern Republican party has left behind, feel shame at the great distrust the rest of the world feels towards America, and believe in the ideals of progress and equality that liberals are known for? And haven’t you been drinking?”

These are all true.

Yet, there are many reasons to vote for Bush this Tuesday:

But if none of those are good enough for you, let me offer this in all sincerity: The Electoral College is an antiquated and unnecessary institution that inflates the votes of small states and leads to pork-barrel spending in swing states at the expense of the rest of us. The best thing that could happen in this election is for Bush to win the popular vote and Kerry the election. This could lead to truly bi-partisan support for abolishing the Electoral College (assuming the racists let it through this time). California’s going to Kerry; if you live here, vote Bush.

Or you could take the long view and want to see him continue to fuck up the mess he started.

October 26, 2004

Barnum Was An Optimist

Posted in General at 3:04 pm by Ian

If we assume that it was true when said (although it turns out, Barnum never said it), due to increases in the population growth rate, there is now a sucker born every 5.78 seconds! And it was even worse in the ’90s.

Some would point to this as an example, but that’s not really fair.
the woman misled the young man into believing he was doing nothing wrong.
Now, I paid pretty close attention in school, and not once did anyone tell me point blank that it was illegal to fill out official forms with someone else’s name in exchange for crack cocaine. It’s probably buried somewhere in a bunch of techical interpretations and complicated interactions of interstate commerce law. When will Congress stop expecting its citizens to be mind-readers?!

October 25, 2004

Cyclus Eternus

Posted in General at 9:05 pm by Ian

The summer between Sophomore and Junior years, I bought a new bike. It was to replace the bike that I’d had since sixth grade, which had served me well for years but, having been left outside to be ravaged by the vagaries of Southern Californian weather for two years, it had been transformed from a precision work of engineering to a hulk of rust. The gear shift had long ago stopped working. One of the brakes had fallen off. I gave it to my suitemates to use as they would, and for a time it was used by many.

At some point, after a particularly hard ride, it was pronounced dead and broken down for parts. A while later, after a party, I remember finding it halfway across campus and dragging (it no longer had the use of its front wheel) it home. Time passed, and I lost track of it.

And I moved on with my life.

A few months ago when I went back to Mudd to visit, I happened to glance around as I left Linde Dorme, and what I saw warmed my heart. My bike, stripped now of both wheels, handlebars, and seat, was leaning up against the railing, as at home as it ever was.

October 23, 2004

Last Laugh

Posted in General at 2:13 pm by Ian

Dave Barry is taking an indefinite leave of absense from the Miami Herald, and the column that he’s written for over 20 years.

This is hitting me much harder than I would have thought. But then, I practically grew up on Dave’s humor and, to the extent that I think I can write funny, it’s because I write like him. I remember being so excited when I went to a book signing of his. I drove out to UCLA to hear his band play. And I’m sure I’ll continue to check his columns weekly for a while, until I realize that he’s not coming back.

October 22, 2004

Out With The Old, In…

Posted in General at 8:28 am by Ian

Philip now has a blog, which will henceforth be linked from below and to the leftish, replacing Kevin who, taking to heart his last known post, may have offed himself. Nikhil, let’s just say you’re on the ropes.

Also, from reading other blogs it has become known to me–and on the off chance that some of you don’t read them, and would be otherwise unaware, I shall repeat it here–that Boston has won some sort of sporting event. You should check it out.

October 21, 2004

Google Talk: Happiness is a showdown with the Wind

Posted in General at 11:10 am by Ian

Enter a few words, and Google Talk will search google for that phrase and add the next word it finds. Then it will remove the first word and iterate until you stop it.


Google talk
Google Hack

October 20, 2004

Things That Go Boom

Posted in General at 10:46 am by Ian

Right now, from Sola St. to about four blocks to the North, the police have blocked off the street because they suspect a Red-painted box with an anarchy sign on it of being a bomb. I became aware of this about 10 minutes ago when one of my coworkers told me about it and we went to look. We walked to the other end of the building and looked out the windows to see a bomb-disarming robot approaching the box, which was about 50 feet away.

I then had the following thoughts, in rapid succession:

  • The policemen are way further away from this thing than I am.
  • If it’s not a bomb, there’s nothing to see.
  • If it is a bomb, I think I’d rather be on the other side of the building.

So I returned to my desk.

Update (2:27pm): It was just a box.

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