November 01, 2004

I hate voting

I like it in theory but it feels like so much fucking bullshit. For example I decided tonight I would go over the candidates more and be sure I knew who I was interested in voting in. Being a Libertarian I often have to pick someone who I don't like no matter what. In this case I would up at one of my state's senate candidates pages comparing his stance on certain issues to his opponents. The page included phrases like "pro-infanticide, anti-jobs, anti-worker, anti-consumer, and anti-law abiding." My god its the devil himself. Bet you can't guess which party this guy is with. I'm sure the other candidate is anti-jobs. It sounds retarded to even read that phrase. While I might agree with the republican economic issues and sometimes give them a higher prioirity than my agreement with democratic social issue, seeing stuff like that makes me just want to quit reading their literature. If you can't present your stances on issues compared to your competitions in a way that doesn't fall just short of calling yourself perfect and the other guy pure evila, maybe that changes my view.

I also can't stand automated calls for the candidates. If you can't find people supporting your candidacy to make the calls you shouldn't be allowed to make them. Even then I'm not sure you should. It certainly also makes me less likely to vote for a candidate when they annoy the piss out of me.

Whats up with qualifications that have nothing to do with anything at all? I don't want to see pictures of you with your family. I don't care that the candidate for state supreme court was an Airborne Ranger. I guess if someone gets out of line you could kick their ass... I also don't want to see a picture of him at 2 years in a wash tub or standing over a dead antelope later in life.

Best one yet though, for my state house representative district the Republican candidate is Steve "Weiner" Steevens. I'll pause a moment to let the snickering die down. Its really difficult to find much on either candidate other than the incumbents track record. In this case though the St. Louis Post Dispatch also had a writeup about how they tried to contact Mr. Weiner, couldn't, his house burned down a couple years ago and theres just an empty trailer on the lot, they talked to his cousin or uncle or something and they didn't have access to his unlisted phone number. Wow. What a great candidate.

I must confess I'm a little lost on voting for coroner and the like too. Is there really much information out on what makes a good coroner? Campaigning? I admit I haven't gotten their phone calls. No necrophilia and we're probably fine. Maybe that could just be an appointed office. Ahhh well.

At least I can vote for 2 libertarian candidates this year. Its a shame there can't be real discussion of the issues like adults between the candidates. But hey presidental debates are only for 2 parties so I guess thats a bad example to follow.

I did get together today with Lanae and Poor Clint though which was really cool. Lanae's really cool and I dig hanging out with her so hopefully it won't be another year before I can do it again.

Posted by johnm at 12:06 AM | Comments (3)

October 18, 2004

My problem with open source

Yeah its been a while since a post but hey I'm boring.

Today I went looking for open source solutions for two needs I have. Now first I understand beggars can't be choosers. At the same time though alot of people think open source software is the hammer to fix every problem. The problem is theres alot of really shitty hammers on the rack. Sometimes I find it impossible to find the right open source software short of going to "Ask Slashdot."

Sometimes of course there is no challenge in finding the right software. Web server? I think everyone knows that answer. A few database choices are obvious ones for those needs. The same applies for web browsers. Not knowing any software that did what I wanted I turned to Sourceforge and Freshmeat, which are fantastic tools.

Once again though theres a problem. If you want a search feature that doesn't suck, you need to pay sourceforge. A large number of my search results were projects that had fantastic descriptions...but no files uploaded yet. Or just a half complete project that hasn't been updated since with PHP 2.0 though. Out of the nearly 90K projects listed, I'd love to know how many are actual projects, that are either complete and functional, or been updated at least a few times a year, with files uploaded, and users.

I really love the open source community and their software but there is truly a market here for some directory that is going unfilled. Perhaps a Yahoo like directory where projects are submitted and listed if someone approves them. A project wouldn't have to be complete, but at least have some progress made to be listed, and continue to be updated until completion to avoid delisting. I imagine there are some really good projects out there that could gain users and contributors if they were more easily found.

Until then though I shall continue my search for a php/mysql based dual entry accounting system. Oddly enough I can't find that, but I can find lots of CRM packages that all but run a business for you. please!

Aside from my software frustrations, not alot notable has happened. I'll be playing with a Packet8 VOIP DTA soon and am anxious to see how that performs. I've also been buying and selling alot on ebay, I need to quit.

Posted by johnm at 10:48 PM | Comments (0)

June 07, 2004

Change and Familiarity

Its been a while as usual. Alot has changed, yet seems oddly familiar. I moved out of Carbondale after finishing my BS. You'd think for all I spent on tuition they could get the diploma to your quicker than like 8-10 weeks later. Driving a 24' U-Haul with 200k miles is less than pleasant. I only hopped a couple curbs...or is hard to tell. They're also pretty costly. You also can't help but feel a little dumb spending time and money to move college quality furniture.

For the time being it is all moved to my dads where I now reside, and drive from to work 3 days a week at say 1:20 each way. I can't say I care for not having my own place, but the price is right. I figured a little time semi-off for a mini-vacation and to work on some personal projects would be good. I'm really feeling the urge for something new in life though, it is boring and routine now. In a few months I hope to shake things up quite a bit.

It's interesting all the crap you dig up when you move. Not that it makes up for all the hassle that is though. For example while cleaning out my desk I found where Krissa took a pad of post-it notes and made a huge "This is not a love note" note one day. It was pretty nice to just find that out of the blue, even if there is a bit of sadness associated with it. The good stuff like that though is few and far between. Mostly it was more just jamming old mattresses, box springs, and cinder blocks in the dumpster.

Brewing is about to take a turn for the more expensive, time consuming, and hopefully better tasting. I have constructed a mash tun from a cooler, and got in about 40 pounds of grain today to make two batches of beer from grain instead of extract with. Pictures should be up in the gallery in a week or two since I think this weekend is when I'll brew. This time I'm making a barley wine and a saison. Mmmmmmmmmmm.

Months without writing and thats the best I can do.....ah well like I said, more excitement in the coming months more than likely.

Posted by johnm at 12:39 PM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2004


Tonight was fun :)

Posted by johnm at 11:33 PM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2004

Boredom leads

So lately I've been bored and wanted a new hobby or something. I've thought about ferrets but I'm not sure I'll be able to play with them enough so I think I'm going to hold off for a while. I did get another idea though. I really love good beer so I think its time to try and make my own just out of boredom. I read up on Beer Advocate, some other websites, and went to the only liquor store that sells homebrew stuff for like 80 miles. I saw nothing and asked and a guy led me to the basement with everything. I didn't really want to get a kit with plastic, wing capper, etc but that was pretty much all they had at a reasonable price so I got it to get started. Total cost was about $90-100 for the kit and the supplies to make 5 gallons of India Pale Ale. I've since went out to buy a large pot to brew in and a thermometer too.

I have the first batch in the fermenter and already know quite a bit I'll do differently on the next batch. I'm going to deviate a bit from the instructions and do a secondary fermentation this time too. That adds two more weeks to the ferementation stage which kinda sucks since I'll be many week off drinking it. Ahhh well hopefully it will be worth the wait and won't taste like ass. If its good though I can see this as being something I would do more often. Bottling could still be too much of a pain though....we'll see. The none too exciting pictures so far are also in the gallery.

Spring break is also over which saddens least its the halfway point in the semester. I can't wait to be done even though I have no idea what I will be doing afterwards or even want to be doing. I do wish someone would sign the lease for my apartment already I'm tired of people coming by to look at it. I really will hate to move out the most since I'll miss my personal space if I wind up at home for a while.

I've felt like crap this week and haven't made it to work near as often as I should. Hopefully tomorrow I'll make up for that or I'll be really broke on payday. I need some new challenges really I think.

Unreal Tournament 2004 is in stores this week and I'm tempted to pick up a copy. I tried the demo and it was really fun and its priced reasonably. Especially with the mail in rebate offer for having a copy of the pile of crap known as UT2003. But I think I'm just going to save my money and hold onto hope that Half Life 2 will be out soon. I don't even remember how long I got the coupon for it with my ATI video card. I'm glad its not being rushed, but anytime now would be great. Doom 3 might be fun but I'm in no rush there. Counter Strike shall continue to hold me over with its like 5 year old great play.

Enough for now I think its time to read for a while.

Posted by johnm at 10:51 PM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2004

Bullshit and a Reminder

Thanks to Tivo I actually don't mind watching TV anymore. In about two months I've went from never watching it and being on the verge of dropping my directv account to paying for a premium channel. I've always like Penn and Teller, especially given Penn himself seems to be a bit of a geek. When I saw they had a show on Showtime where they debunk crap I figured I could finally pay for a premium channel. It was worth it. Bullshit! is easily one of my favorite TV shows. It matches my viewpoints incredibly well and pushes some subjects that aren't discussed fairly in the media enough. And its just fun to watch stupid people get made fun of too of course. I can't stress how great this show is enough, watch it or pick up the DVD set of season one when its out in the next month or so.

I had hoped after running into the guy crapping in Casey's that would be done with but no it happened again at dinner tonight. If you're in a single occupancy bathroom....lock the door. It'll only take a second and I'll appreciate it as will most other people. I'm still convinced most of society is defective.....

Its spring break right now too which is nice since I have a week off class. Sadly I have a ton of homework and projects for work going on too so its not much of a break. Its also not very warm for spring. At least I'm not supposed to be in class though. I do have a ton of movies I want to watch though. I've been trying to watch Lost in Translation for weeks.

I'm starting to get worried about the end of the semester too. Its close and it'll be really nice to be done, but at the same time I don't know that I'm eager to jump right into a full time job again. I'd love to have a cool job in my field without a doubt, but some time off would be great. I have alot of business ideas of my own too and I'd really like to try one of those out, but I'm not sure if that will work out either. Those loans are starting to look quite large too......

Posted by johnm at 10:25 PM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2004

Yeah I'm lazy

This entry shall start like all others "wow its been a long time since I've blah blah blah."

Now that that's out of the way.... Well its a new year, January was largely a waste of time. Outlook for February is about the same. Class has resumed and I'm making myself go as much as possible. I'd like to not only get done with my BS this semester, but maybe with a respectable GPA too. I think some of my classes have the potential to be pretty interesting and others are going to be incredibly boring. Its really weird to think that soon I might be done with school for a while and have a real job. I'm still undecided on a master's for now. Ideally I'll find a company to work for that will be flexible and pay for it. We'll see.

I also decided to let my apartment lease lapse in May. As much as I don't like the thought of moving back home for a while if I don't find a job, its probably for the best. I don't really want to be stuck in Carbondale much longer. I have no obligations right now and by then I might even pack up and move somewhere else just for a change of pace. I think 23 years in southern Illinois is over the maximum safe dosage anyway.

In other news I've recently picked a DirecTivo, 27" Sony Wega, and a new DVD player. They're all great but now I want to spend more time watching tv than I should. The crappy Apex DVD player rattled all the time and really ruined movies so I'm glad to be rid of it. The Wega's anamorphic mode and component inputs are such a step above composite, not to mention the fantastic picture quality. People always say how great Tivo's are but I didn't believe them because I didn't watch much tv anyway. They are right though, I can't believe people don't have them. Now there's actually stuff available to wath when I want to, I can skip commercials, and pause live tv. Season passes are great. I'd like to get an Avia dvd to tune to the tv though. I've started ebaying old hardware I have kicking around here to pay for it, surprising how much that stuff builds up.

I'm also about to make some changes to the blog software so that links in comments will be redirects and not direct to help combat people using blogs to increase their page rank on google. Its a shame its come to that because genuine comments often deserved to have their page rank helped a bit.

I've played around the m0n0wall lately which is a Freebsd (well a pared down Freebsd called m0n0bsd) made by the same guy. I have it booting on an old machine from a 16 meg compact flash card in a CF to IDE adapter. Its pretty nice. So far its more reliable and more functional than the Sonicwalls that I'm forced to use at work that are also way overpriced. Its in my list of links, try it out.

I met a pretty cool chick recently and I'm hoping that might go somewhere. Previously I decided that could wait until I was done with class and had a job but sometimes you meet someone special enough to make you think about exceptions to such rules :D

This whole weekend the frame relay circuit between Verizon and us has been flaky like 20-30% packet loss and it looks like its down completely now. Thanks Verizon, your service is stellar like always.

Yeah I think I know why I don't write here much, its really boring.

I've been meaning to read a ton of stuff lately but I've just been too busy with other things. I can't wait to get back to working only and having free time again. I have been tossing around an idea for a website that I'd like to start but I need to come up with a good domain name that isn't taken yet.....

Posted by johnm at 11:45 PM | Comments (1)

December 22, 2003

I Really Should Be Sleeping....

So its 4am and I have to be at work soon for a complete waste of my time. I usually can't complain about work too much, just a bit irritated at some projects happening now. I should be sleeping but its just not happening. 10 cups of tea sounded like a good idea many hours ago, but perhaps my judgement was somewhat erroneous. What better to do but post here.

I've actually intended to update with a time or two since the last post but each time I've wound up producing material I felt was personal. It really wouldn't matter given that the six people who would read it would probably just be getting a bad link from google or something. Right now I'm incredibly bored though. I'm quite used to having a small group of friends but the number of people who return my calls let alone call me is getting a bit old. I'm starting to bore myself. Need to change that.......

Finals are over and grade wise the semester went well. Only one more semester left for this degree. I'm still undecided on future ones. Maybe I'll find a job to help pay for the next one. One week of break is already gone and thats scary. I really could use a bit more time off. Actually I'd really like to take a short vacation somewhere but I'll have to see how funding looks for that.
I still have to do quite a bit of last minute shopping for gifts. Whee. I hate going to the mall, especially now. I'm going to find out what everyone wants in March this next year so I have plenty of time to mail order gifts. A few paragraphs up I complain about being a bit of a social recluse, and now is my savior. John: Now with 100% more irony!

Yesterday our terrorist alert level went up another color. Apparently terrorists are planning nasty things. Who knew. Isn't that just part of their job description? Of course on the news they showed that all but one ramp from the interstate had been closed down to the airport and security was searching SUVs before they even got to the airport. The state security czar or whatever said there were no known threats targeting the airport, but intellegence knew that terrorists were looking for airport weaknesses in general. I know I'd be thrilled as a traveler for the holidays to have delays from that on such a general fear. I wonder if the public will ever tire of these scare tactics.

Posted by johnm at 04:27 AM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2003

A Special Note to Spammers

I didn't include this with my previous post since I hoped this way it might be noticed and read, though I still doubt it. Some spammers have been posting comments here with links to their pages presumably in an effort to increase their Google pagerank score. Here is a sample with URL changed to screw the guilty:

Hi! Nice site! Please visit our site also . Viagra see you soon.

If you're planning to try to spam using my site you should know your comment is emailed to me after it is posted, I will see that email almost immediately unless I'm sleeping and it will be removed. Don't waste time for either of us and just go spam usenet like you usually do or something.

If it becomes an issue I'll just setup comment approval I guess. Might try to read how other bloggers are handling this later. Dirty spammers......

Posted by johnm at 09:29 AM | Comments (0)

Almost November

As usual its been a long time since I have written anything here. I've just been busy so this hasn't been a priority. Since for some reason I'm awake at 8:30am on a day when I don't have to do anything though I thought I might as well post.

Midterm has passed has school which is always an excellent thing. I just wish Thanksgiving break wasn't so far off. Classes are fine, just terribly boring as usual. I don't think I'm made for school, never really liked being spoon fed information..... I am starting to get more concerned with finding a job when I'm done to pay off what looks like a ton of student loans. I like money and miss it so hopefully it won't take long to find a good job. I don't believe I'll be too selective with where I'm employed as long as its not too hot year 'round. Ideally I think I'd like to work somewhere in Washington or the UK for a while. An odd pairing I know, especially given that I've never been to either, but I think it could be fun. Washington seems to be the right blend of geeks, hippies, and good weather that I wouldn't mind.

I saw a truck going down the road yesterday with a bumper sticker that said "I (heart) my wife." Is this really a statement that you need to announce to the world? Shouldn't that really just go without saying? If you didn't would you still be married? Perhaps I can start a line of bumper stickers that state obvious things. I see it opening with ones like "Sure Glad I'm Not Dead," "I Have To Breathe to Live," and "Dogs Are Furry!"

In DVD news The Undergrads DVD set is out. It has two discs with all of the episodes on them and a few extras. I will admit I was sort of disappointed with the extras. I was hoping for some commentary in episode from the creator Pete Williams, the writers like Josh Cagan, or even the rest of the cast and crew. In one of the (short) extras Pete Williams mentions the drawings he sent to MTV to win a contest and get the show started. Seeing those would have been nice. With it you get the episodes but not much else. The show is great though so its well worth picking up. Sadly I guess its safe to say that we probably won't see another season of this show since its been so long since the last one.

A month or so ago I went to St. Louis and bought an Apple iPod. I was very hesitant to drop that much cash on a gadget. The 20 gig version is $369 before tax and before a student discount. Add in a USB2 card for an aging computer and $20 for a USB cable for it and it all comes out a bit over $400. Which brings me to another point, everyone always asks why I paid for the USB adapter and didn't just get a Firewire one. First I figured USB2 I will definately use for other devices, firewire I may or may not. Also the USB dongle lets me plug the dock into the wall and the usb port instead of forcing it to be powered by the firewire port only. This way I can turn off my computer and still allow it to charge. Anyway the iPod is the coolest gadget I have ever bought. Blows all the PDA's and stuff out of the water. I don't think the interface could be any better. If you would like music on the go for anything you have to get one. Very small and easy to carry as well. No complaints at all so far from me on it.

This weekend I'm going to neglect some homework and go home. I really shouldn't but I need to. I spent about $200 to get new hinges and seals for my drivers side car door and need to try and put them on. You see, in the winter time my car develops a particularly nasty habit. When I wake up in the morning and there has been any freezing rain, or it even seems like a heavy frost my car keeps me out. I use the remote and the door unlocks, but doesn't open. I will spend 5 minutes prying and pulling and banging on my door at 7:30 in the cold trying to get in but it won't budge. Eventually out of frustration I'll go back up the always trecherously icy stairs to my apartment and get a container filled with scalding hot water or isopropyl alcohol to break the seal of ice and let me in. Once the door finally opens though, it refuses to latch and close. So I'm then faced with sitting in the car for 20 minutes with the heater on high, holding the door closed, to defrost everything or having to drive to school holding the door shut by the seatbelt and hoping I don't roll out when I turn. Arrive at school, lather, rinse, repeat. Same for work. Needless to say this is a tradition I could do without. If the seals and hinges don't help, I'll just light it on fire more than likely.

I may try to neglect homework more this weekend and go see Kill Bill. It looks like its already starting to leave screens around here and I don't want to miss it. I also decided to try and upgrade this server a bit by moving from a 6 gig Quantum Bigfoot to two Maxtor 30 gig 7200 drives in a raid 1 array. I put them in hot swap enclosures by Vantec, but one of the enclosures seems to have a problem and gives CRC errors if I run in UDMA mode. Because of that the array is currently running at PIO4. I have moved from write speeds of about 20MB/s to 4MB/s. I must resolve that next week......

Its nice though that Halloween is coming up. I always like this time of year alot. So much nicer after its cooled off, leaves are falling, etc. I wish it would rain some but... For now though I had probably better finish my laundry, grab a shower, and get ready to leave.

Posted by johnm at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2003

Regular Semesters are Slow.....

After taking interim and summer classes I had completely forgotten how long and slow a regular semester is. They're really quite unnecessary. I'm confident a 4 year degree could be compressed into one 12 month school year for many degrees depending on the classes the person had in highschool. 21 hours this semester is keeping me busy though when you add in work. It would be much better if it were at least midterm already.

So a few weeks ago I bought a package of "Garden Burgers" when I was getting groceries. I figured at the least they'd have to be better than a crappy frozen hamburger if I didn't feel like making the real thing. I was hesitant because the last time I bought "fake meat" it was one of the most disgusting substances ever, from taste to smell. Animals would have tried to bury it. I tried my first Garden Burger today though and they really weren't too bad. Certainly not a true hamburger replacement but a reasonably healthy substitute. I wouldn't be buying them frequently, but now and then I could eat one I think.

I've had some things that have really irritated me lately but I haven't had time to write about them here. One item currently in the news is VeriSign's SiteFinder service. Verisign just needs to go out of business, the Internet would be so much better for it. Their company Network Solutions kept themselves as the only way to register a domain name for years and made a killing off of what should have been much cheaper. Verisign's been known for sending out notices of domain expiry to people registered with other NICs to trick them into renewing with them. Verisign doesn't play very fairly when releasing domain names that have been allowed to expire either. This time though they decided that if you try to visit a non-existant domain in the .com or .net TLD's that you should be redirected to a page of theirs.

Conveniently that webpage has a link for searching that returns sponsored links. They're simply using their position to try to make some extra money. This has also broken or lessened the effectiveness of many people's spam filters that rely on checking for non-existant domain names. I will be updating all of my BIND DNS server installations as soon as I get the time to keep VeriSign from unjustly using the DNS system in this fashion and would urge anyone else running a DNS server to do the same on theirs.

I'm sitting here listening to Shark Attack by The Bouncing Souls and it reminds I need to pick up their new cd, Anchors Aweigh. Which bring me to another point, I always hear people saying how they refuse to buy cds now. Remember to support your favorite artists who are not part of RIAA labels. Many labels will even put out full high quality mp3s from their artists for you to sample. Check out Epitaph Records, Side One Dummy Records, and Thick Records for some of the labels my favorite artists are on.

Hmmmm I hungry....some Chinese would be great now.....

Posted by johnm at 04:42 PM | Comments (1)

September 02, 2003


Its been a while since I've posted here. I would suspect its not unusual for many blogs to have more comments than entries but in my case its just because I don't post much.

Lanae came up from Memphis on the 21st of last month to visit for a bit. It was really nice to visit for a while and everything. Next time we'll have to hit a local bar so there's better beer available than what I keep in the fridge! We headed out for some dinner and the Chinese place that is always pretty good sucked a bit this time. They don't serve beer either apparently. I really enjoyed seeing her though (it had only been a few years I guess), it was fun, forgot to take any pictures though.

The fall semester has started. This is the third week now. I haven't been skipping too much, although I certainly don't have a stellar record at the moment. I'm debating skipping one of my classes today. One in particular has a really boring lecture but I skipped last time so there might be a test or quiz. I wish there was a schedule for those or something. Class overall is fine, I just have alot of them which gets irritating when you don't really want them.

Its dark and rainy out today and was for most of yesterday too. I wish there was some thunder and lightning but I'll take what I can get. It makes me just want to go back to sleep though. I have to remember to get an umbrella next time I'm out too, it'll make those long walks to class in the rain more tolerable. I wish it rained more often though, its so relaxing.

Well I guess I'll get ready to go to class now. I have the urge to skip, but its also boring sitting here in my apartment.

Posted by johnm at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)