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February 25, 2005

A Couple iTunes Scripts

Because I’m an Apple whore and I now have an iPod Shuffle (which rocks, by the way) I have had to write a couple scripts to correct shit. The first thing I fixed is the underscores in Justin’s track info (he’s scared of spaces):

The second thing I wrote was to correct the genre mistakes on an artist-by-artist basis. Both of these scripts rip off the “Make Playlist From Artist” script that comes in the iTunes collection.

My apologies that they seem to be delivered as text. I can modify the .htaccess file as soon as I know what it should read. Let me know if you like ‘em or use ‘em. :)

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February 20, 2005


Gangs of New York. Hard to say how I feel about it. It was too damn long, not that it wasn’t entertaining but that it was just too much story for a single movie. It had a lot of torture in it, and that generally bothers me, apparently, but it also had some decent acting and plot. I have a hard time believing it’s rooted in fact, but I also know practically nothing about American history that isn’t lie, so I suppose it’s possible. Cameron Diaz is ugly and can’t act her way out of a paper bag. The linguistic angle was satisfying, though not as satisfying as my favorite movie, the Big Lebowski. Very mixed bag on this one, I’m going to say $3.50.

Arlington Road—excellent, excellent, excellent. A bit of gore, a lot of suspicion, and centering on right wing extremist terrorist groups. Highly entertaining, don’t want to give much away or I’d say more. $8-15.

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February 19, 2005

Response to Mat

I’ve now had extremely stimulating conversations about religion with several people, especially Mat and Layla.

Firstly, Mat elucidated the initiation thing. There are many different ways to look at it, some wrong ways being “to fit in” and “to establish a moral system.” I am apparently a moral relativist, because I think that everyone’s actions are based on what they think is the best thing to do at the time, or else they’re just not thinking for one reason or another, and I don’t think anyone has a God’s eye view. So I’m not interested in it from the point of view of establishing moral systems. I do like it because it’s a commitment to become a better person, and I think that it can trigger a personal transformation. As for fitting in, I want neither to become a drone nor to become one of those guys with some weird internally-consistent wacko crap religion (customers of my company, by the way.) It would be nice, I think, to have a few other people to talk to about your religion, and not have it be a cult, and neither have it be some huge thing.

Sad that the choices seem to be personal crap, cult, or mass hypnosis crap, because none of those sound particularly rewarding. Of course, neither does the Sunday potluck society known as the Unitarian Universalist church.

I’m too tired to finish this post now, so I’ll try and pick it up later. Which means I probably won’t.

I got an iPod Shuffle. >-D!

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February 15, 2005

Religion and Other Mighty Crap

In response to Jarrod’s post

Ah, where to begin.

Firstly, I thought I should just be out with it and admit that like sweetanniehi has already done, I have been thinking about converting to Judaism for some time. I think my religious thoughts and feelings line up with their system better than with the Christian systems, and I know several people (Eric, Harry, my late grandfather) who are Jewish and seem to derive great cultural benefit from it. However, a few things have stopped me: 1) I don’t really think this world is safe for Jewish people, even now, 2) some aspects of Jewish life I would find very difficult to handle (namely, bacon, and kashrut in general) and 3) I don’t know any converts to hang out with nor do I know anywhere I could go and get converted that I trust. Santa Fe is just too fruity for me to believe that anything one finds there is “real.” Needless to say, I find the idea of Christ ridiculous and laughable, and designed to prey on childish feelings of fear and self-loathing.

Secondly, I have real trouble finding a religion I could like because I am so liberal or libertarian. I am very strongly pro-abortion (not just pro-choice, pro-abortion)—this is a fucked up world and nobody should be having kids unless they really, really mean it. But I’m also very much in favor of initiation, as everyone in the Clan knows, because I think it’s the key to personal transformation. I don’t like Unitarianism, because it seems more like a vapid political/cultural experiment in meaninglessness than a religion, but I consistently get “Unitarian Universalist” at the top of my Beliefnet quizes. I really really like Sikhism, but it turns out the local Sikhs are basically a cult that has very little in common with the awesome Sikh religion. So there are really only two religions I’ve ever thought about converting to, which are Judaism and Sikhism. I’m not opposed to eventually converting to one or the other or both at some later date when I can be around the authentic item.

I find it flabbergasting that, ideas like freedom, equality, and taking personal responsibility for your actions are incompatible with the idea that the universe was created by an external entity. Why can’t God be clever enough to invent evolution? Why can’t God want us to be happy on our own? Why can’t God believe in us and our ability to improve things without his coming to our aid? Why can’t God create processes that create us, rather than us directly? Why does God care what we believe?

I also have a few nonsensical notions which are shared by (or at least alluded to) by both the Sikh and the Jewish religions but not a major point of either one in particular. These notions, I believe, are more important than the rest of their doctrine together. So I remain non-atheistic, but not exactly religious.

As for Christianity, I don’t know what to think. Some of my favorite people are strongly Christian: Manuel, Allan, now Will, apparently. Some of my other favorite people are strongly atheistic: Alex, Jarrod, Eric, most random Clan members. I know precious few people like myself that are strongly non-atheist and strongly non-Christian: Faust and Mat are the only ones that come to mind. Most people I know find contemplating it to be too dry or too weird, and choose not to. I think the world would be better if more people would get off the fence and develop strong feelings and intelligence about these matters on their own.

My boss is a pretty severe Catholic, and I have to admit I think I have a broader perspective now as a result of talking with him about these things. He’s often complaining about various things around here. His wife, for example, is a strong advocate of teaching abstinence. I find this rather hilarious, since I think people are going to fuck whether it’s the right thing or the smart thing, or even the completely offensive thing. (I find monastic religions particularly amusing because of their high incidence of child molestation—this includes groups like the Hare Krishnas, so not just Catholic priests. If you hold your desires in, they find a way of getting out, I think that’s just a human principle and making it “wrong” just exacerbates the situation.) But I don’t particularly care if they want abstinence taught in schools, because I just don’t think it’ll matter. They can teach that eating is dangerous and could lead to problems later in life, and I think it would have about the same effect.

These guys also want opt-in classes about Christianity and the Bible. I think that’s fine as long as it’s opt-in and evolution is still taught as the fact it is in Biology. You can make Biology opt-in if you like, it’s not like I learned anything from it, but you can’t make me change the core facts of a discipline to suit you. But I haven’t heard any argument in that direction from my boss or his wife. They just want “equal time” so to speak. Around here, they have an even better point, because the Sikhs are apparently teaching opt-in yoga classes.

And I think equality is very important. People have a right to be incredibly stupid piles of shit if they like. No amount of moaning on the part of the smarter aspects of society will be sufficient to open a closed mind. Better to stop resisting. They use our resistance as evidence that we’re closed-minded anyway. So fuck it. And reforming the education system should start at a higher level than Christianity in schools anyway.

Is Christianity offensive? Yes, especially if you look at it from the Jewish point of view—this twat shows up and tells everyone that because he’s God, they can all start eating bacon, as long as they consider in their heart that he dealt with their “sins.” (I strongly dislike the ridiculous notion of sin, especially original sin.) Christian actions are more offensive if you look at them throughout the ages. Columbus and his imitators, for example, enslaved most of the Carribean and killed many millions of people with a clear conscience, because they offered the savages salvation through Jesus in a language they didn’t understand when they first stepped off the boat. Fuck that. I would say this isn’t something we should hold against them, if it seemed in any way to be ancient history, but many politicians these days use their Christianity as an excuse for immoral and illogical behavior. They’re really just trying to control people and obtain money and power, but doing it against a Christian background and not getting lambasted for it makes Christianity look bad, period. These days, I think most people are Christians out of laziness or a desire to control others. There are a few good ones though. In general, I agree with Cathy, that as soon as it’s myth and literature the world will be a better place. But I don’t want to waste any time hating it to no greater effect; time which I could be spending pushing secular humanism instead.


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February 13, 2005

Shitty Movies

Last night, I saw “Without a Paddle.” $1.25 max, for a handful of jokes. Today, we watched “Shark Tale,” $0. Absolutely nothing redeeming about the movie at all. The end-cap was giving up on “Ichi the Killer” about 3/4ths through. -$20, by which I mean, don’t watch it unless someone has handed you cold hard cash. What a shitty collection of movies, and an artistic “fuck you” to Faust and Joe for recommending Shark Tale, and another one to Schlake for in general defending the director of Ichi.


Last night was the clan dinner, which was wonderful, and it was great to see my friends again. I saw most of you the weekend before last but not for a particularly long time. Dinner was swell but would have been better if we weren’t doing the pay-ahead thing. Hopefully we’ll do it again sometime this semester and perhaps at India Palace.

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February 12, 2005

Joe's Movies

To share the torment, you can now select 10 random movies from Joe’s collection.

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February 11, 2005


Saw many movies recently:

Heart of Glass - particularly awesome, and a Werner Herzog masterpiece. A weird story of a town who’s master glassmaker dies, taking with him the secret of their ruby red glass, the local prophet herdsman wacko, and the insane red glass obsessive aristocratic glass baron. It took a bend towards apocalyptic when the herdsman got to drinking and started making a lot of prophecy, specifically apocalyptic sounding wars. $5.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow - This is my new favorite movie. It rocked, a lot, and I think anyone could enjoy it. I don’t want to say anything more than what you probably saw in a preview. This one gets the $20—and I’m gonna buy it next time I have cash.

And a house movie:

Life as a House - Good albeit sappy movie about a dying man trying to fix his relationship with his son and do something decent before he goes. It was great, the only shortcomings really being the male prostitution thing (I have never heard of teen boys willingly prostituting themselves, but lots of gross things are more common than we want to believe) and the fact that the kid seemed to be kind of two-dimensional with respect to his culture. First he was listening to Marilyn Manson, then Limp Bizkit, then Radiohead, and wearing a Misfits shirt, then a Metallica shirt, then a Che shirt. That seemed a bit incomprehensible to me.

In spite of all this, it’s a pretty good movie. $2.50


I’ve decided to write a literate version of the ACCRETE program. This is going to take some time though, since I’m going to need to comprehend the original program first, and I’ll want to incorporate some stuff from the CS literature about it. This is a fairly long term project.

Baird and I are talking about some sort of RDF project. I don’t know what’s going to come of that yet though.

Manuel and I are collaborating on a todo list application, our goal being to way, way over-design it and have it be as good or better than Basecamp’s todo list tool. I think we can achieve this, but I’m still waiting on a scan of the revised ERD. He actually took our ERD to Mazzy and had him look at it. :) Makes me so proud, to say that.


Michael and I are going beta with Spamfire 2.0 tomorrow. IMAP is still very lame, and we are not yet at 1.0 compatibility with respect to revenge and all that, but we expect we can do it, and we expect to have it done rather quickly. Hopefully Bill will have figured out the transparent proxying shit for us and we can ship the beta with that. If not, suck.

We’re planning one of those lame opt-in email filters, where if a message is not from someone in your address book and they send you mail, they have to respond to an email with some sort of random noise in the subject, and then their original message gets released (but not the verification). Alex says she’s interested in that, I’d like to know if other people are interested in it too. We’d be charging less for it than our regular Spamfire.

More details as they come in.

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