Archive for January, 2005

interesting read…

Sunday, January 30th, 2005

…even if you don’t ‘do the Apple thing,’ you should go read I, Cringely‘s [] column on the future of Apple: Dethroning King Gillette: Is iPod the Razor or the Blade? []. The concept of Steve Jobs [] standing up in a few years and saying ‘All your content are belong to Apple’ is quit amusing, even if the idea of Steve being the consumer media version of Bill [] and Larry [] is not so amusing… Watch out MPAA/RIAA or is that watch out consumer?

This discussion is over

Tuesday, January 25th, 2005

For a long time my little corner of cyberspace was quite, the neighbors didn’t make much noise and there were not a lot of strangers around.

Life was good…

Then reality came crashing in. For sometime now I have been getting comment spam. It has been confined to a single post [] from a single spam bot for the past few months. To manage this I added Jay Allen’s MT-Blacklist [] plugin to my Movable Type installation. This allowed me to remove the offending post easily and for the most part automatically.

And life was good… for a time…

Today I had 136 comments posted to my journal. Comments posted by people with names like; cmxmqr, yreaiile, kaiewh, turjey, hkqoaq, etc. They have been coming in fairly regularly all day, about every 15 minutes. MT-Blacklist is still working, blocking a number of these posts, but spammers are persistent and my in box is getting full.

By lunchtime I was a bit annoyed about this and was trying to figure out what could be done. I went through a lot of heart ache when my email address first made the rounds with the spammers. I was a long hard struggle, but I am farily spam free now thanks to spamassasin []. I didn’t want to go through that painfully long process again to make my journal spam free. Then I remembered that over at Jonathan elacour’s [] weblog there is a little tag line at the bottom of the comments on old posts. It reads This discussion is now closed. My thanks to everyone who contributed. This is a good idea, especially since most comments come within the first week or so that the entry is posted and most of these spam comments are being posted to achieved entries.

Now Jonathan doesn’t say how he does this, but a quick search of mt-plugins [] turned up this nice little plugin called CloseComments [] which does exactly what I want. It took only a few minutes of fiddling around with the plugin to get what I wanted.

And life is good… for now

I have set the CloseComments plugin to remove the ‘post a comment’ form from any journal entry over 14 days old which has not had a comment posted to it in 7 days. Now you will see in place of the ‘post a comment’ form a short note saying that comments are not allowed and pointing any lost soul, who may happen to wonder in from the cold and decide to participate in old discussions, to this post. So now, this discussion is over. Have a nice day.

coming back to a pet store near you

Monday, January 17th, 2005

I will return to life as a Siamese fighting fish []. That is if the Hindu or Buddhist idea of samsara[] and karma [] is correct.


Stasia told me so when I was managing the fish store. It went something like this: Siamese fighting fish, hereafter referred to by their more common name, betta fish, beat the living crap out of each other if they are in the same fish tank (at least the male ones do, they also tend to kill females after the whole mating and egg laying thing). So rather than let them beat the crap out of each other we kept them in cups next to the front counter. At any one time there were between 5 and 10 of them on the counter.

On day I was sitting behind the counter talking to Stasia about her, very nice, freshwater plant tank that she had been tending for about a year. All of the sudden one of the betta fish on the counter went all epileptic and jumped out of his container.

Stasia look down at her feet. I leaned over the counter to look down. There on the floor was this blue (I still remember the color!) betta fish flopping back and forth.

“Um,” I said, “hold that thought Stasia,” as I walked around the counter and attempted to grab the franticly flopping fish off of the carpet. When I got my hands on it—which took a few tries as it is slimy and was flopping back and forth—it was covered in dog hair. (We didn’t sell dogs or dog supplies, the hair was from Brooklyn and Fafner, our two store mascots, but that’s another story) I walked over to the nearest fish tank, a 60 gallon breeder that was one of the tanks we sold live plants out of. I then dunked my hand and the hairy fish into the tank and shook off all the dirt and grim—and hair.

After I plopped the betta fish back into it’s tiny cup on the counter I look up at Stasia, who had a completely blank expression on her face, and said “you were saying?”

“You’re going to come back to life as a betta fish. You’re going to start your life in some rice patty. Then someone is going to bag you up, in a tinny little bag, ship you across the world and put you on display in tinny cups for people to stare at all day. And, you’re going to flop out of that cup and suffocate to death on the filthy floor of some pet store.”

From that day on we kept all the betta fish in the regular 15 gallon tanks that lined the fresh water section. One per tank with the friendly fish.

wondering eyes

Wednesday, January 12th, 2005

Everyone window shops, even when you’re in a relationship you window shop, it’s human nature. Being attached does not change the fact that we all have wondering eyes and we like to look at beautiful things. We like to imagine what could be—to fantasize. If you suppress this natural behavior I believe you doom your relationship. Window shopping is necessary if the relationship is to be healthy.

What I find interesting is that how I window shop changes depending on my personal life. When I am single and not obsesed with some new girl or pinning over some lost love, I look at girls and pick out the things that make the girl desirable: the color of her eyes, the shape of her hips or other, cruder thoughts. I don’t notice the things that may not fit into my plutonic ideal of a beautiful woman. I only see the desirable.

When I am in a relationship that is healthy and I am happy I find that I still look at all the other girls, sometimes it’s the same girls that I looked at when I was single but I am more critical, looking for things that I can say are not as good as my love: this girls’ hair is not as nice, her nose is not as cute or maybe she’s too much taller, too much shorter, fatter, thinner. I seek out those qualities that are not the same, to which I can say ‘my girlfriend is better because…’

I also find that I do this when I am pursuing a girl or when I just have a crush on her. She, as with the girlfriend, becomes the basis for all measurements of other women. And her features, her measurements are always better than the other woman—because I do not compare the features where she might not be better than the others.

The features which get compared don’t have to be physical. My girls’ car is better, or maybe she has an accent that I like more. I can find really petty things, even stereotypes about race or social status.

Another interesting part of this is when the ruler changes from one girl to another. I begin to find fault with the old ruler. Notice things that went unnoticed before; speech patterns that suddenly become annoying. Attitudes that start to offend whereas they were once accepted. Little things I didn’t notice before now become big annoyances.

There is another situation: the manic ruler. When a relationship has gone bad but I’m still in the relationship. Where one day your lover is always the better ruler and the next the stranger on the street looks better.

I’ve experienced all of these in the past. The manic ruler drove me crazy for a year and eventually drove me out of C’ville. Leaving C’ville in turn started me down the roads that led, eventually, to Singapore. And now I find myself using a new ruler to judge the women I see on the street here in Singapore.

One more time around the sun

Tuesday, January 11th, 2005

27 times around the sun now since I got here…

embarrassing generosity

Wednesday, January 5th, 2005

$350 million is a big number. That is how much the United States has ‘so far pledged’ in aid to the peoples and nations affected by the Boxing Day quake and tsunami [ ]. $350 million is a big a number, but $500 million is bigger—thats how much Japan has pledged.

$80 billion is a bigger number. That’s how much the ‘liberation of Iraq’ was supposed to cost—no point in discussing how much it actually cost. It’s a disgrace. And Collin Powell has the audacity to say that our paltry $350 million was “an opportunity to see American generosity, American values in action.”

I guess it’s a good thing that the tradition in America is not of government charity but private charity. Hopefully the private donation by truly generous Americans who do have values will far out weigh the required generosity of the government. Have you given any money? Here are a few places you can donate if you have not…

The only worlds to describe the scope of the damage and the loss of life associated with the earthquake and tsunami is biblical just look at the death tolls [ ]. Remember that these numbers are still changing and they don’t include those who will die from lack of safe drinking water or proper medical treatment over the next few months.

The fall out for the few minutes of the earth shaking will take years to be fully realized. We will never know the true number of people affected because most of the affected areas are mired in absolute poverty. Whole villages were erased from the face of the earth in a few moments.

If you want to see a small sample of the power of the waves take a look at a few of the videos [ ] that were taken by tourists.

There was no killer wave here in Singapore and luckily I know no one I know was directly affected by the disasters. One person I know in the region checked out of his beachside hotel less than an hour before the tsunami hit—there is nothing left of the town he was staying in but he is ok.