so, i'm looking at getting a digital camcorder for my road trip. normally i'm not really into pictures or videos, but since i more or less hate driving, i don't think i'll be making too many road trips in the future, so i may as well do the best job i can recording this one for posterity.

anyways, here's the camera i'm looking at now... it's a bit more than i was originally planning to spend, but still within my price range. and it's got some pretty decent reviews over at cnet, so i think it may be a good buy.

any suggestions would be most welcome.


the little red book, in cg

so, apparently the new movie "the ant bully" is like the communist manifesto writ large. read these two reviews for the particulars. i just had one thought to apply to this: though ants may indeed be fairly communistic in nature, they are also, to the best of my knowledge, the only species besides man that wages war against other members of the same species, so not exactly the happy-peaceful society the movie might make them out to be.

thanks to wizbang for links to the reviews.


merry birthday!

to my good friends jonathan and josiah pickett.

more on mac vs. pc

"The fact is that the world is divided between users of the Macintosh computer and users of MS-DOS compatible computers. I am firmly of the opinion that the Macintosh is Catholic and that DOS is Protestant. Indeed, the Macintosh is counter-reformist and has been influenced by the ratio studiorum of the Jesuits. It is cheerful, friendly, conciliatory; it tells the faithful how they must proceed step by step to reach -- if not the kingdom of Heaven -- the moment in which their document is printed. It is catechistic: The essence of revelation is dealt with via simple formulae and sumptuous icons. Everyone has a right to salvation.
DOS is Protestant, or even Calvinistic. It allows free interpretation of scripture, demands difficult personal decisions, imposes a subtle hermeneutics upon the user, and takes for granted the idea that not all can achieve salvation. To make the system work you need to interpret the program yourself: Far away from the baroque community of revelers, the user is closed within the loneliness of his own inner torment.
You may object that, with the passage to Windows, the DOS universe has come to resemble more closely the counter-reformist tolerance of the Macintosh. It's true: Windows represents an Anglican-style schism, big ceremonies in the cathedral, but there is always the possibility of a return to DOS to change things in accordance with bizarre decisions: When it comes down to it, you can decide to ordain women and gays if you want to."

by Umberto Eco, found here


so, i was surfing the university of chicago's website last night (one of the grad schools i'm thinking of applying to), and found out that their history department accepts about 35 grad students a year. now, having no experience with grad school, i'm not sure how that number compares to other programs/schools, but it seems very small.

also, as i read more into it, i'm thinking it may be a good idea to get my MA somewhere else first. UC is a straight-up PhD program, though they do award MA's to folks working towards the doctorate. i think the main bit that scared me off was the writing sample required with the application. several of my professors at whitworth told me i was a good writer, but i'm very tempted to think that i was relatively good rather than absolutely good. there were definitely some students in the department i considered good writers (nick fox and j-coe, for example), but a lot of what i read (which was not everybody, of course... there could have been quite a few more good writers out there that i just never knew about) was not that great. plus, there's this (from the Application FAQ):

The Department of History considers the writing sample the most important part of your application. Please select a sample that you consider to be your best work. It should be self-contained, that is, includes a beginning, a middle and an end of an argument. Generally, 25 double-spaced pages (including footnotes) is sufficient, but do not feel bound by length should your best paper is longer. If possible, the work should be a piece of original research and in the specific field of history you hope to study at Chicago. The writing sample must include your name and the class/publication for which it was created.

the longest paper i had to do at whitworth was 18 pages long (got a B, i think, and i'm not even sure it deserved that), and the one that i considered my best (got an A, and it was used as an example of a good paper) was only 6 pages long... probably closer to 5 without all the footnotes. that's especially unfortunate because it was on an area that i am very interested in, byzantine history and the crusading orders (the paper was on the siege of rhodes in 1522; i argued that it was the quantity rather than the quality of ottoman troops that won the battle for them).

but who knows? i was just a few classes away from having another BA in political studies. i plan on finishing that up at some point, and maybe i'll end up doing something in that area instead, go for a job in the state department or something. that's the wonderful thing about being young... i've still got some time to make up my mind. and/or win the lotto.


... you might have made a mistake. (updated)

if your territory is getting the crap bombed out of it because you kidnapped a few soldiers... you might have made a mistake

if you've pissed people off to the point where even germany, canada, and the rest of the G8 are supporting israel's actions against you... you might have made a mistake

if the people who should be your strongest supporters, the terror-exporting wahhabi's of saudi arabia, are now declaring that it is unlawful to join you, support you, or even pray for you... you might have made a mistake. (h/t say anything)

on a somewhat related note, NPR talked to a guy in lebanon yesterday who said that because of what israel is doing to lebanon, hamas should be there. apparently he doesn't realize that if hamas were not there in the first place, israel would have no reason to be bombing israel.

if you decide to join forces with the people that israel is blowing the crap out of... you might have made a mistake. (h/t pw)

--update (07/21/06)--
if you declare that israel would have no reason to bomb israel, you would technically be right; but if you meant to say instead that they would have no reason to bomb lebanon... you might have made a mistake.


a "proportional response"

it seems that a lot of folks around the world want israel to limit themselves to a "proportional" response against hizbollah and hamas. in my opinion, however, that would be very bad for the "palestinians" and lebanese citizens, since it would involve israel randomly firing off rockets at civilian population centers; which, israel's technology being much better than that of either terrorist group, would result in far more civilian deaths than the hamas/hizbollah attacks. true, israel has killed civilians with their airstrikes... but that's to be expected when hizbollah is hiding among the civilian population (NPR mentioned that one of it's reporters was approached by hizbollah militants dressed in plainclothes during "all things considered" a little after 5 tonight... if you're less lazy than i am, you can probably actually find the audio on their site) and preventing lebanese civilians from leaving the cities.

there's hope yet

Judge overturns Wal-Mart healthcare law



why do people always blame "big oil" for high gas prices? personally, i think they're overlooking a few things:
1) "big oil" is, in fact, a business, and businesses exist to make money, NOT TO SERVE CUSTOMERS. while they may make their money by serving customers, that is a means rather than an end.
2) what about the blame on OPEC? their control of the oil supply sets the price for crude; as they drive up the price for the raw materials, the price for the finished product (gas) will rise with it.
3) a gallon of gas is still, in many places, cheaper than a gallon of milk (the articles a few years old, but those milk prices are still high).
4) also, gas here is still cheaper than it is in europe. true, our public transit is not nearly as nice as much of europe's, but our country is more than twice the size of the european union (at 9,161,923 sq km to 3,976,372 sq km... that's not all of europe, but a pretty good chunk of it); it's a bit tricky to fill an area that size with reliable public transit. that, and our politicians have much better things to spend (or at least attempt to spend) our tax dollars on, like in-state tuition and social security for illegal aliens.

i had some more arguments, but it's time for bed.


well that could suck

as if the bombings in india weren't bad enough already, it now looks as if they were committed by members of pakistan's intelligence service.

h/t pajamas media


does anyone here speak english? or at least ancient greek?

actually, i'm looking for something more along the lines of someone who speaks/knows a bit of old german. i just finished reading "the name of the rose" by umberto eco (good book), which was completely translated from the italian... except for the parts where the characters are speaking a foreign language (german, latin, french, spanish, etc.), which makes some bits of it a bit hard to understand. anyways, it's set in the early 1300s, and there's one line in old (possibly middle, not sure... but a friend of mine who's majoring in german didn't recognize many of the words) german that i want to figure out:

"Er muoz gelichesame die leiter abewerfen, so er an ir ufgestigen."

if anyone can tell me what that means, i would be much obliged. all i know is that it has something to do with a ladder.


#$()*#$)*(#&$; also, an apology (updated)

guild wars hates me right now, and the feeling is mutual. to all those people (who will probably never read this, but oh well) who have been in groups that i've disappeared from, i'm sorry. i didn't quit, guild wars logged me out.

and again.

and again. this time it was w/ henchies though, so it wasn't quite as bad.

and yet again, just as we were about to fight the boss. with a pretty good group too.

--update (13 July)--
this time, it let me beat the final boss, and get my faction reward, before kicking me. without registering that i beat the mission.

man, what have i been eating?

i had the weirdest dream last night. i was a jedi, as was a friend of mine. we were in an unfamiliar building, and i have no idea why we're there. all of a sudden, saddam hussein--who, in this case, was also a dark jedi/sith lord--climbs up out of a trap door in the floor and flops over, apparently not in very good shape. we tie him up and prop him up against the wall, then go back to whatever it was we were doing. a little while later he sort of wakes up, and immediately starts trying to turn the jedi-in-training (not exactly "padawans," since they aren't specifically assigned to either of us) that we have along to the dark side. there are two of them, both represented by my younger brothers' friends. we warned them not to listen, and then basically ignored the situation. the apprentices thought they were pretty awesome, but we didn't think they would be stupid enough to a) listen to the bad guy, especially one that we had just captured with little effort; and b) attack two jedi knights. especially since my friend was amazing with the light saber and i was pretty much awesome with the force. we were, unfortunately, wrong, which resulted in one dead jedi apprentice (not sure what happened to the other one, the dream didn't cover that). i had a neat force trick that let me temporarily slow down time for everybody else in a small area, which, for all intents and purposes, meant that i could move incredibly fast. as soon as one of the apprentices started pulling their saber out, my friend started charging at them and i used my time dilation-esque power and disarmed both of the apprentices. as soon as i brought things back to normal speed, one of them tried to fight anyways and got herself chopped in half by my friend (again, not sure what happened to the other, though i'm assuming he surrendered). at that point the dream pretty much ended.



you remember all those mac/pc commercials that've been showing on tv lately? here's a much better version of them.


dear microsoft

go away and leave me alone. we both know my copy of windows is "geniuine," since i've had to prove it for pretty much every update i want to download. so why do you keep telling me (at least 3 times now) that i need to download the latest update of the "windows genuine notification doohicky"? it's not like i'm going to ditch my legitimate copy of windows for a pirated one... that would just be stupid. i realize that most of your employees are on the "smart" end of the intelligence scale, but c'mon, give the rest of us some credit.


if only

sick days would be a lot better if only it weren't for that whole "sick" thing.



230 years and still going strong. Keep up the good work, America.

smart as paint

on a good day. maybe. but i'm really starting to doubt it. when north korea starts threatening the US with nuclear war, i figure they've completely lost it. in my mind, that's a good way to make sure there's no more north korea. they say it would only come if we launch a preemptive strike against them, but i'm pretty sure they don't have the capability to launch an "annihilating strike" as they are now, and i'm sure they'd have even less after any strike on our part. because let's face it... when we hit somebody, we don't do it half-way.


not bad. not bad at all.

congratulations to my friend pat, who was recently hired for a job at microsoft. well done pat. now update your friggin blog already.