Archive for the ‘Ranting’ Category

Mid-Term Elections

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

So, Tuesday was Election Day here in the States, so Megs and I went out and voted like all good little citizens should. Some votes went our way, some did not, but that’s not what I wanted to write about.

I think our current system of “winner-take-all” politics is stupid. If the vote goes 51%/49%, that means that the elected official is only representing barely half the population, and the rest are out in the cold for the duration. That’s dumb. For example, In California we have definite urban areas, largely Democrats, and definite rural areas, largely Republicans. If there’s a vote in the state congress for “should water in this river be used for farms or for lawn-watering & swimming pools?”, that’ll divide the two groups nicely, and a lot of people will lose. If your guy/gal is in office, you get your water; if not, you don’t. This just seems broken. If your guy/gal got almost-but-not-quite-enough votes, you should still have some say as a citizen.

I don’t know a good solution to this, but it’d be nice to see some kind of compromise-rewarding system. To use my earlier example, some water could be for lawns/swimming pools, and some for farms. But it seems that compromise it viewed as weakness in political circles and it only serves to invite your destruction.

Any ideas?

My Birthday and More

Friday, March 12th, 2010

As my previous post alluded, I recently turned 29. Here are some pictures:

Chris’ 29th Birthday

I miss ChrisWeb; my posting schedule here is down from more than semi-weekly to monthly at this point. I’m tempted to ditch WordPress and go back to completely home-grown, but I’m not going to for a variety of reasons. For one, WordPress is a really well-put-together piece of software and anything I’d do would be re-inventing the wheel, and in a crappier fashion. I’ve done a lot of blog-type web development in the last 10 years (can you believe this blog is almost 10 years old?!?), and that was fun and educational, but that time is behind me. I’ve changed and the web has changed. All I originally did was to fill voids in functionality that I wanted. WordPress didn’t exist. Facebook didn’t exist. Hell, the word “blog” didn’t exist when I started keep an “online journal”. I just kept adding features like logging, comments, pictures, etc. as I needed them. Now there’s a plethora of free tools out there at my disposal with teams of people working on them full-time, so that need isn’t that driving force here anymore. Also, I have 10x as many people seeing my posts on Facebook than I ever did here, and now I doubt there’s more than half a dozen people who check this place regularly. Heck, this post will be linked automatically on Facebook and Twitter once I publish it.

Why all the web navel-gazing? No idea. Guess I’m trying to figure out the future of ChrisWeb here. I was thinking last night that perhaps I should try to have some kind of focus for posts here, rather than as a general journal. Facebook more-or-less fills the latter niche, but where FB is good for short life updates and quick picture-posting, the more traditional blog lends itself better to longer and more thought-out writings.

So, what to write about? Well, what I want is a programming project. Something short-to-medium term to start with. I was thinking about writing a plug-in for Pidgin or WinAmp to start with. Always good practice to work against someone else’s code base or API. But what to create? Generally, I’m at my most driven when I’ve got some kind of need to fill, so let’s see what kind of features I want to add/enhance.

No, I haven’t actually thought it through yet; I’ve been more-or-less writing this whole post as I think of it. If anyone has any suggestions on something neat to code up, please post any suggestions you might have. I’ll start writing about what I end up working on, and we’ll take it from there. Cool? Awesome.

Pet Peeve Time

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Been a while since I last vented to no one in particular. Here’s today’s:

“All Natural”, “Organic”, and “Biodegradable”. These words conjure up images of greenery, Earth Day, and mild soap. Problem is, too often these words alone are used to label something as “good”. Bread may be “All Natural”, but what does that mean? High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) comes from corn, so is it natural? A rotten apple may be organic, but that doesn’t mean I want to eat it! And my favorite, to paraphrase my dad quoting a friend of his: “Horse shit is biodegradable, but that doesn’t mean I want it in my drinking water!” I mean, uranium is “all natural”, people! So’s lead, cyanide, and urine!

No free passes! If you are an individual or organization pushing for something simply because it’s “organic”, do a little research on what that entails other than twice the price in the supermarket.

Argument Invalid

Argument Invalid

My Damn Car… Again!

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

Once again, I’m having car troubles. This time it seems to be something electrical. Here’s what happened:

I went grocery shopping. First to Trader Joes for some wine, then to Hows for our usual groceries. After getting back to the car, I went to start it up and nothing. Everything shuts down. The lights on the dash lit dimly, but that’s it. No engine turning over, nothing. If I open/close the door after a moment, the car seems to reset and dome light comes back on and I can put the car in accessories mode and the radio works, etc. I can even put the ignition into the “On” position and I can power the windows and stuff, however, if I try to start it, everything shuts down again until I “reset” it. Sometimes I can hear the solenoid click, but only after the car has reset. I checked and all the fuses appear to be intact. Also, jump-starting did no good either.

My guesses are: 1) it’s a problem with the solenoid, 2) it’s a problem with the starter, 3) it’s a problem with the ignition, 4) there’s a broken “fusible link” somewhere, 5) broken relay, and/or 6) there’s a short somewhere else. #4 has happened with this car before, as has #3, albeit the symptoms were different (the cylinder for the key was physically broken in that case), #2 happened with my first car (Taurus), and the others are all likely because my car has always a weak electrical system.

Any mechanics out there? =(

Xboxing

Friday, May 29th, 2009

So, I finally joined the 21st century of console gaming and got an Xbox; an Xbox 360, to be exact. Pretty cool so far, and I’m liking the Xbox Live thingy, but I’ve already had a problem. The Xbox 360 is supposed to be able to play some original Xbox games, so I went out and got a copy of “Halo” and “Halo 2”, the flagship series of Microsoft’s Xbox console. Neither game would play. Got a weird, uninformative error message (thanks, Microsoft!) and that was that. Checking Microsoft’s support web site, all I could find was “the disc might be dirty”. After cleaning the discs, polishing them with Turtle Wax (seriously, this has helped me revive old discs in the past), and even exchanging them for new discs, still no go. On a whim, I swapped out my Xbox’s hard drive for one from work and bingo! Worked like a charm. With this information to go on, I Googled around some more and came across a useful forum post at xbox-scene.com that had me: 1) take apart the hard drive enclosure, revealing the 2.5″ SATA drive inside, 2) plug said drive into my PC, 3) run 3rd party software to copy over a working partition containing the original Xbox emulation software. After putting everything back together again I was up and running.

As an aside, Microsoft’s phone tech support is as useless as I’d feared. They basically featured humans reading me the support web pages and transferring me between departments. And to add insult to injury, I was mysteriously cut off right at call center closing time, so I couldn’t call back. Now, I’ve worked at a call center before and calls do not suddenly get cut off at closing time; the center simply stops receiving new calls. I know it’s naïve to call a call center near closing time and expect excellent service, but show a little professionalism guys! I’ve been in the computer business a long, long time, and I think I could count on one hand the number of times Microsoft tech support has been of more use to me than a bag full of dead snails.

Anyways, my Xbox Live Gamertag is “TopherPerson” if anyone out there wants to befriend me. I don’t have a lot of games yet, but Megs is enjoying Viva Piñata.

Viva Pinata

Viva Pinata

Headin’ South to Nerd Out

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

In just a few hours, Jacques and I will be taking mass transit down to meet Megs in Fullerton after her night class gets out. From there we will take her car all the way to San Diego for the famous San Diego Comic-Con!!!

Comic-Con logo

I’ll be taking a vacation day from work tomorrow to spend Friday at, as Wil Wheaton calls it, the Nerd Prom. Speaking of Wil, perhaps we’ll bump into him there and say hi. We’re also hoping to catch the Venture Brothers panel at 17:30 and get some signatures and/or art from the Penny Arcade guys and others. We’ll be taking lots of pictures, so expect those when we get back.

Excelsior!

My Poor, Poor Car

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

To get right to it, someone broke into my car. It was parked at home in our complex’s “secured” parking. The perp broke my back quarter panel window, popped the lock, opened the driver-side door, grabbed my mp3 player and the face to my stereo and took off. No one saw this happen, including myself. I didn’t learn about it until Megs called me at work after she saw the damage this afternoon when she first went out to her car. Here are some pictures:

Burglary I

Burglary II

Burglary III

After reviewing the damages, I called 1) the police, 2) my apartment manager, and 3) my insurance company. None of them were of much help, which is about what I expected. I don’t carry full coverage on such an old car, so the stereo is a bust. The mp3 player should be covered under my renter’s insurance policy, though.

So yeah. Great way to start my birthday weekend. =(

Venting

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

Allow me to get expository here for a moment.

My industry, video games, has been taking a lot of flack lately in the media for some of its content. That the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) doesn’t do enough to protect the children from the violent games. What I’d like to point out is that all games are rated by the ESRB, much the same as movies are by the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA). Here is the the ESRB’s rating list and here is the MPAA’s rating list. First off, note that the ESRB has more ratings for minors than the MPAA does. Also, the ESRB always has what content garnered the rating listed right on the game box itself (violence, language, etc.)

But all of this is almost beside the point. It really all comes down to enforcement and who’s responsibility it is to keep inappropriate games out of the hands of minors. In this, I don’t think it should be any different than any other minor-prohibited media. If the game is rated ‘M’ (rated ‘R’ in movie-speak), then don’t complain to the game industry or the government when you find it inappropriate for your 12-year-old after you buy it for him/her. Some parents might allow their children to watch certain ‘R’-rated films or play ‘M’-rated games, and that’s really up to the family to figure out for themselves. After the ESRB rates the game and makes it plain what age group it’s appropriate for, it’s really not in their hands anymore.

I think a lot of this stems from the misconception that all video games are for kids and thus any adult-themed game is bad. This is, of course, not true. The Nintendo Generation has grown up, and most of us are in our late-20’s now. Gaming can be for everyone, young and old, but not all games are for everyone. Video games are here to stay in some form or another, and much like movies, comic books, and rock music, we can’t just call them a blemish on society and make them go away.

Bottom line: read the box, talk with your kids, and use some common sense.

Finally Home

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

Ugh. What a day. Our flight was delayed out of both Seattle and San Francisco. I felt like crap for half the day. And to top it off, our flight couldn’t land in Burbank due to turbulence, so we had to divert to LAX, a place I despise. Us passengers formed an unruly mob and got them to get us SuperShuttle vouchers to get back to Burbank, rather than wait an hour for a bus to show up to take us all there. Keep in mind it’s about midnight at this point and we were all supposed to be back in Burbank at 21:30. Anyways, once back to Burbank, we caught a cab and now we are home. It’s 01:00, and I’m going to bed. Tomorrow I’m helping mom move.

That is all. Chris out.

Blogging > Performance Connection

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

Well, once again it’s that time of year when I gotta go figure out the new SAP system for measuring progress. It seems that every year or two we have yet another new system for performance reviews. This time I’m retroactively going back and putting in info for last year on what I hoped to have done last year, and then how I thought I did with those things. Then in another couple weeks I have to go and put in what I hope to do this year. Right now, however, I’m supposed to be commenting on my own progress goals. Confused? Yeah, me too.

Went hiking up in Griffith Park weekend before last with Megs, Anna, Matt, Tim, Jacques, Other Megan, and Kim. Good times. We really should get out more. Anna took a couple pictures of all of us in front of the Hollywood sign, so if I can get those from her, I’ll post them here.

A couple weeks ago I went down to Long Beach to say hi to mom and the Gallaghers. Then the following weekend Megs and I both went down to have some fish again with the Gallaghers. Last weekend we went down for Grandpa Brunner’s birthday. These past few weeks have been a whole lot of Long Beach, and tonight is no exception. Meeting with dad and Uncle John for dinner at some Japanese restaurant. Fun times.

This weekend, I think we’re going to go to the beach. Perhaps in Long Beach.