Archive for August, 2004

31 August, 2004

Recently nerdygirl had a contest to pick her nemesis. (It was a hoot!) At one point in the proceedings, she reminded everyone that the role of nemesis was a humorous one only; no nerdygirls were to be harmed. It was totally fun in her own, special way. (Remember: they will always love you.)

That got me to thinking. Did I want a nemesis? Was I going to be the dorky kid that everyone shunned because I had none? How gauche was it to be sans nemesis?

But I don't want a nemesis. I'm sure there are a few people out there right now that harbor a deep (and inappropriate) hatred toward me. I bet Chris Fahlbusch still hates me for reasons unknown. Despite his unexpected and rather awkward letter a decade ago, my money is that Alexander Lai still seethes at my lack of comeuppance.

Those are just the unidirectional animosities. Then there are the bidirectional ones. The mailman, Frank, has turned his broad bitterness at the life of a postal carrier into a personal enmity with me. (I was fine with him until he started destroying my children's gifts.) The Les Schwab store on Walker Road has also thrown down the gauntlet. Why these folk would want to start a feud with a Scot is beyond me, but there you have it.

I wouldn't classify any of those as nemeses. (Although if you are a full-fledged nemesis out there with me as your target, please let me know; I'd like to properly participate.) They are far too low-grade for the title of "nemesis".

And I like it that way. Life is too short to waste time plotting another's downfall. Maybe if I was any better at it I'd get some sort of joy from it. But I'd rather have people that think, if only for one brief moment, "without that guy I'd be in deep kimchee".

nerdygirl can keep her nemesis. I wish them both the best of luck in dreaming up creative (and fictional!) ways to off each other. (I'm seeing Michael Palin in A Fish Called Wanda for some reason.) I, on the other hand, will continue to Be Nice and hope that, in due course, I reap the rewards of some good karma.


McPeak Behind the Curtain
26 August, 2004

General McPeak would like us to believe that he is qualified to recommend the next U. S. President. But first let us remember that McPeak was on the board of directors of CenterSpan from back when it was still ThrustMaster. (I remember because I worked at CenterSpan.)

I mention this because board members are expected, and compensated, to provide advice to the management. CenterSpan burned through $40 million of the investors' money jumping from harebrained idea to harebrained idea. The CEO was making well over twice what a startup's CEO would normally make in base salary alone. The company kept changing its business model with the rotating crop of executives. The company paid $10 million for the assets of Scour, assets that amounted to 4 million email addresses and not much else. CenterSpan was a prime example of all that was wrong with the dot-boom.

Is this McPeak's fault? No. Could he have helped avoid it? I think he could have. He was on the board. He could have at the very least voted against some of those proposals. (To be fair, I never saw the ones that got voted down.) Or, preferably, he could have held the executives accountable for the company's performance.

There are several possible reasons for why he did not do any of those things. Perhaps he could not be bothered to research the issues facing the company. Perhaps he did the research but lacks the abilities to analyze the data. Perhaps he did the research and knew what was happening but just did not care. I do not know; I only saw him in the office once.

My point is that from McPeak's commercial we do not know that an insightful political analyst with a military background has cut through all the chaff to identify the One True Candidate. All we know is that a rich, old, white guy switched from another rich, old, white guy's side to a third rich, old, white guy's side.

Bawdy Joke
24 August, 2004

What advice did the linguist give his son?

Remember the clitic.

They Don't so much Fly as Plummet
24 August, 2004

Worms 3D is pretty fun. You can blow people up with sheep for crikey's sake!

Sitting on the Bench
23 August, 2004

At the end of last year, we gave our oldest's teacher a gift certificate to a local nursery. My spouse ran into her today. The teacher related how she wanted to get a very special plant, something to remind her of our eldest. After some deliberation she bought a bench. She said that the bench, now residing in her garden, reminds her every time she sees it of our precious child.

I like her; she has good taste.

I'm Slipping
21 August, 2004

You are 28% geek
You are a geek liaison, which means you go both ways. You can hang out with normal people or you can hang out with geeks which means you often have geeks as friends and/or have a job where you have to mediate between geeks and normal people. This is an important role and one of which you should be proud. In fact, you can make a good deal of money as a translator.

Normal: Tell our geek we need him to work this weekend.

You [to Geek]: We need more than that, Scotty. You'll have to stay until you can squeeze more outta them engines!

Geek [to You]: I'm givin' her all she's got, Captain, but we need more dilithium crystals!

You [to Normal]: He wants to know if he gets overtime.


Take the Polygeek Quiz at

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness.
17 August, 2004

"From a scientific point of view, therefore, we are forced to consider [him] not as a personal devil, wicked as his actions and philosophy may be, but as the expression of a state of mind existing in millions of people, not only in [his country] but, to a smaller degree, in all civilized countries. To remove [him] may be a necessary first step, but it would not be the cure. It would be analogous to curing an ulcer without treating the underlying disease. If similar eruptions are to be prevented in the future, we cannot content ourselves with simply removing the overt manifestations of the disease. On the contratry, we must ferret out and seek to correct the underlying factors which produced the unwelcome phenomenon. We must discover the psychological streams which nourish this destructtve [sic] state of mind in order that we may divert them into channels which will permit a further evolution of our form of civilization."

Does this sound like a post-September 11th assessment of Saddam Hussein?

It is not.

It is from a section of a psychological assessment of Adolf Hitler compiled by the OSS at the start of World War II.

What was it that George Santayana said?

How Many Strikes?
17 August, 2004

The boys were being their active selves and we'd just about run out of patience. Christi says, “You guys already have two strikes.” Cameron goes zooming down the hall to put on his jammies. From his room, we hear him start crying.

With an air of resignation, Brennan calmly says, “Strike three.”

Third Time's the Charm?
17 August, 2004

Am I the only person who found it inappropriate that the male German athletes wore brown shirts in the Olympic opening ceremonies? Perhaps I am such a history dork that I saw the link to the Brownshirts. But I would guess there were a few Israeli athletes that noticed.

(Thanks to for the tag line.)

Haka Eye
11 August, 2004

While I was watching the Australia versus Pacific Islanders test match this morning, I realized that I have an affinity for Pacific Islanders in general. (I also found myself pulling for their side as well.) I pondered that for a bit. I am not a Pacific Islander. Nor have I married into a Pacific Islander family.

After some reflection (and introspection) I compiled the following list of possible reasons why I like Pacific Islanders:

  • They are authentic
  • They are strong and tough
  • They have a laid-back spirit
  • They are a proud people
  • They are family-oriented
  • They are a select few

When I put it that way, that pretty much describes the rest of my friends.