July 2008 Archives

Never Ever Ever Talk to the Police

I don't really have a problem with police in general.  As in every profession (mine included), there are good ones and there are bad ones.  Of course, with police work the bad ones can sometimes result in innocent people meeting an untimely death, whereas in software the worst that usually happens is your spreadsheet crashes and you have to start over on that budget your boss wanted two days ago.

Even still, I avoid the police like they're covered in Chernobyl fallout and olive paste.  Just as is success, catastrophe is often about being in the right (or wrong) place at the right (or wrong) time.  I don't want to take any unnecessary chances.

Today, Boing Boing linked to a couple videos describing why you should never talk to the police without first consulting a lawyer.  That Miranda warning is your best friend if you are "interviewed" by the police.  Despite its reputation, it's meant for innocent people.  The Miranda warning, which describes the fifth amendment, will help prevent you from inadvertantly and accidentally condemning yourself.

FTA:
Of course, "innocence" is relative. At the very beginning of the video, Prof. Duane addresses the -- literally -- unknowable extent to which federal laws and regulations have grown, so that even the government itself has no idea how many punishable offenses there are. It's very easy for people with clean consciences to admit to violating laws and regulations they never knew existed.

Total runtime is around 45 minutes.  It's probably worth watching--the information therein could save your life, quite literally, someday.

NPH Would Do That

I can't stand musicals.  They're so drab and artificial; after watching for 15 minutes I start wondering if the frown on my face will be stuck forever.  For these reasons and a thousand more, I won't be seeing that new musical now in theaters.  You're more likely to see me signing off the Internet, powering down my computers, and throwing them in the trash.  And world peace is even more likely than that.

But leave it up to Joss Whedon to make an exception.  If you've been around me much, you've probably had to listen to me try to convince you to watch his Firefly TV series.. And for some reason, nobody ever does.  Just look at the positive reviews on Amazon, people!  It's a western!  In space!  The most awesome of worlds collide in a brilliant way.

Now Whedon has something new on the table (the Internet table):  Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.  It's a three-act web series featuring Neil Patrick Harris as Dr. Horrible, a wannabe mad scientist evildoer who video-blogs about his plans for world domination; his application to the Evil League of Evil; his arch-enemy Captain Hammer; and his crush on the cute girl at the local laundromat.

Go watch it now.   It's not going to be available online for free much longer.  Trust me, it's worth 45 minutes of your life.  Watch it.

The Busy Life

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In a recent post I suggested that I did not have time for this blog anymore.  While that may be true, the lack of time for the hobby is merely a matter of priorities.

You recognize the same thing when planning your day:  priorities cause the important stuff to float to the top, and the rest of the drivel sinks to the depths of forgotten negligence.  They even get demoted to reduce the guilt of your neglect (it's just drivel, after all).

Thinking about this has caused me to reconsider my use of the word busy.  It's easy for me to realize that being busy is an excuse for justifying priorities.  One person has certainly chosen different commitments than the next, but in the end we all have twenty-four hours in a day.  When you tell someone you're too busy, what you're really saying is that their request didn't make the cut.  "My day is booked, and I'm not going to miss my happy hour or my nap or my Star Trek marathon on TBS for you."

It's obvious, I know.  It's just more curt the way I say it.

So I've decided not to say I'm busy anymore.  I have been taking the opposite approach: I'm telling everyone that I'm absolutely flush with free time.  I have so few responsibilities that my life is a textbook example of leisure.  It's not true, of course, but it's fun to say.  In fact I've noticed that when I tell people this, they get genuinely aggravated or even upset with me.  Everyone knows how busy they are, and they want everyone else to suffer the same burden.

Which is funny to me, because how can everyone be so busy when they've seen every episode of Lost and 24 and mastered the hard level of Guitar Hero ?

So we all think we're busy and active because we feel we have to be.  I guess it's because you have to act that way or you will feel like you're squandering your life.  In some sense, "busy" is a self-aggrandizing word used in place of "occupied."

The promotional folk are keenly aware of the phenomenon, too.  Have you noticed how many products are advertised as "perfect for your active lifestyle" ?   Just about everyone must identify with that.  Even the most slovenly couch-potato can be heard gasping "that's me!" between bites of a Baconator and gulps of Diet Coke.  It's universal.

I'd write more, but I have other priorities now.  You're probably too busy to leave a comment.


The Second Third Coming

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Check it out:  I just resurrected most of my blog.  It looks kind of like it used to, except I put a new banner at the top from a picture I took at Castello Banfi in Montalcino last week.

I think everything is here again minus the photo gallery.  I'm going to start a new one.. a fresh one.  I decided against importing all of the old pictures because, honestly, some of them were somewhat inappropriate then and many of them are very inappropriate now.  So just as soon as I have photos to post, there will be a gallery.  I'll keep the dog pics to a minimum.

Thanks to everyone who kept my feed in your RSS reader through this drought.  It's been, what, a billion seconds since my last post?  I kind of miss writing here--it was sort of my creative outlet.. and in some ways, my creative inlet (I don't know what that means).

My future posts are guaranteed to contain 20% less sarcasm and 62% more empty promises.  And they'll occur 0.05% more frequently than before.  How can you resist ?  My feed, it's down there in the lower-right.  If you click right now, I'll mail you a pony.


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