My Paranoia Makes Perfect Sense

I was validated on a couple different levels in the past 24 hours.

My Mom send out a request last evening for participation in the wildly popular “” address book website. I do not, by any means, intend any of the comments in this blog as a slight against the people, their clients/users, or anyone who has used in the past, or anyone who is likely to use it in the future.

But frankly, I am far too paranoid about Internet security to ever place a series of vital information about myself into an online database. It just sounds far too risky for me. What happens when that server is compromised? You’re confident in the words of some limey in a Braves cap who lives in San Francisco? That’s fine, and maybe I should be envious of less paranoid people, but there’s just no way I will ever do it.

Validation #1 was when Dave Schrubbe sent me an article from MSNBC:
Database giant gives access to fake firms

Now, assuming here that you’ve read at least part of that article, my next question makes loads of sense: if the biggest information gathering company IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA can be broken into, trust me: can totally be broken into.

I forgot now what vaildation number two was, but personally, I think the first one is enough anyway.

If you ask me, there are far too many methods of information gathering for people with malicious intentions to NOT be extremely cautious about everything. Honestly, there are times that I wonder if too much has been divulged on this website, and there’s practically no sensitive information (except maybe a name and email address, possibly a phone number somewhere) in here.

Point is, I’m going to keep being paranoid, and if you could please not print this blog entry out, pass it around, or even talk to others about the fact that you’ve read it (or even that you’ve met me and know where I live) that would be AWESOME.

This Is What Happens When You Watch a Ton of Movie Trailers

One of the things that I “got done,” (hehe) yesterday was to watch every trailer for every movie that I haven’t seen yet on (which, in case you’re ever looking for movie previews, is the best place to go on the web).

I think that that activity contributed, at least in part (along with a ’24’ mini-marathon to get myself caught up to this week), to a strange dream I had this morning:

I was visiting L.A, and the truck I rented broke down somewhere on the 405. I WALKED to the next exit, somehow through the speeding traffic I guess, and once I was off the highway, I decided I would get a haircut. I went into a salon that was right off the freeway. Vin Diesel worked there, and he did my hair for me, y’know, since I knew him and stuff.

Well so then we’re all done and Vin talks me into buying some product for my hair, I didn’t ask him what it cost or anything, and I’m going to sign the slip and this bottle of whatever he gave me was ONE HUNDRED SIXTY DOLLARS out of a total bill around $210. I was like, “Vin, man, look — I really can’t afford to get this stuff for 160 bucks, I’m gonna have to make due with what I’ve got at home.”

And he’s all offended, like I just didn’t want to buy it from him or something. Whatever, Vin Diesel! Christ, since we’re friends, why don’t you shell out the 160 bones, it’s not like you didn’t make enough on your latest Hollywood-blow-everything-up-crap-a-thon.


So I was really pissed at him, but me and Jen found the EXACT same product at Target for about 20 bucks.

At Least It's Fast

The release of Microsoft’s next version of Windows is on the horizon, and facts are this: there are a lot of people out there that have, at one time or another, used a less-than-fully legitimate/legal copy of a Windows product. In anticipation of not being able to afford a license for the new Windows, I’m trying to get more familiar with Linux (again).

I’m understanding the file structure and the “way Linux works” better than ever, but there are still some pain-in-the-ass type things that bug me about different distributions or packages or systems. The thing I’m glad about is that installing a slackware system only takes about 20-30 minutes. Beats the hell out of Windows’s hour, but when Windows is done I know how everything works, so I guess that’s the diff.

The weather is very wintery again in the Fox Valley. I guess this current storm is expected to drop something like 8 inches of snow before it’s all over. We’ll see if that happens; it definitely has been snowing since around midnight, but never really fast. I will admit that I haven’t been outdoors since 6 on Saturday evening.

Dave Slotten was over at the house for a few minutes today to (finally) pick up his Christmas gifts and take a call from the governor. We’ll probably try to get together again at the earliest time possible.

Did I tell you I booked a flight to Boston for spring break? I’m going to meet Wordy and Ben Leubner (who lives there) on Friday, 3/11, and stay until the 15th. After that, I might go up north or else stay at home and work. Probably smarter to do the latter, as I could always go up for the following weekend…

I should get out and take some pictures, eh?

On Blogging

This whole exercise has, as I’ve mentioned before, become so trendy and commonplace now, it’s seeping into the cultural consciousness as deeply as email, cable TV, and SUVs.

I read this story from the Washington Post this morning via Yahoo.

Take a look at it if you like, the summary is that it’s about the risks of blogging at work, and on another level, I think it just signals this thing called “blogging” as the latest web-trend to be absorbed into popular (as opposed to Internet) culture.

But man, here’s the facts about blogging that some of the people metioned in the article must’ve forgotten:
1. Your blog appears in a public place (the Internet). With access to the web so widespread now, things you say in a blog are just as likely to be seen as if you rained 10,000 flyers on your community from a cargo plane. Everybody’s on the Internet, so don’t say things in public that you wish to keep private.
2. In relation to #1 — you wouldn’t stop every person you see on the street or in the mall or whatever to explain to them how much your job sucks. Why not? Well, first because you’d be crazy, but second, BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW WHO KNOWS WHO OR WHO IS WATCHING WHEN. It’s tact. You need to have some tact in the blog, or you run the risk of getting people mad at you, being reprimanded at work, or worse fired, or worse yet, prosecuted.

I guess those two items mostly sum the case up, but I’d like to forward this opinion: those who get fired for flaming their workplace in a blog probably wanted to quit or get canned anyway.

Still working on the metablog…. have a nice weekend.

An Almost Sort of Non-Blog

I wanted to get something in here today, and frankly, I just don’t have much to report.

Today is Jen’s birthday, she is 28.

That got me to thinking about how when office cards get passed around for birthdays, I typically consult a website to find something interesting that happened that day, or find out if someone interesting was born or died that day.

This is a relatively simple process in this digital age, and yet the card recipients are, invariably, impressed with this seemingly thoughtful sentiment.

It’s really not that difficult, I just choose not to put the same boring pap as everybody else in the card.

If you want to do something similar around your office, the address is:

Oh, and don’t forget that it’s Lent now, in case you’re Catholic.

I Win: 2-0

I won another 5 bucks from Knitt today when the Eagles covered a 10-point spread in the Super Bowl. I told people it would be a pretty good game, and for the most part, it was. Only thing was that by the time the whole business ended, it seemed that it should still be pretty early in the evening, and consequently, I don’t feel like sleeping at all.

Yesterday Joe & I made some beer. He picked up a turkey fryer at Farm & Fleet for 30 bones, which worked just marvelously for boiling the brew pot. Its effectiveness was 2-fold: didn’t have to cover the pot just to keep enough heat in there to stay boiling, and being as we were out in the garage, no mess to clean up in the kitchen afterwards.

Later on we went to Ambassador, and when we got home I watched a Charmed DVD while Joe fell asleep.

Before the game today, we went to Starbucks to get some coffee and do some homework. I wound up needing a couple more books, so there was also a trip to Barnes & Noble, and I picked up Best American Short Stories 2004 on an impulse.

Be back in Vegas on 2/7.

The Top

I was here asking about your Top Three Records of 2004 recently, and didn’t post my own list becuase I didn’t actually listen to three new records made in 2004. Not until recently, and it seems kind of moot to have to put all of them on your list, because they’re the only ones you heard that year.

Anyway, here are my aforementioned Top Five of the 21st Century (including 2000). This is a subjective list of the five records made in the last five years that I bloody-well love the most.

1. U2 – All That You Can’t Leave Behind
2. Radiohead – Kid A
3. Modest Mouse – Good News for People Who Love Bad News
4. Johnny Cash – American III: The Man Comes Around
5. Dandy Warhols – 13 Tales From Urban Bohemia

And I got a new cell phone this week that has more features that I wanted, and since it’s free after the rebate, I says, “What the hell?” It does voice-command dialing without having to preprogram — it just knows how to talk, basically. So here are the Top Five Names In My Contact List That You’d Think the Phone Would Have Trouble With But Doesn’t:

1. “Raul Chavez”
2. “Groschopf”
3. “Mike Konsmo”
4. “Schrubbe”
5. “Matt Reigle”

I think I’m gonna go to Waukesha over the weekend and make some beer with Joe, seeing as Mom and/or Dad won’t be ready to swap cars with me again until next weekend.

Have a good time debating your Top Five with me or with your loved ones.

I Hope the Hell You Appreciate This

I write you this blog while in the union, via handheld, using the tap-screen keyboard. I may have to stage a photo some time so as to

I walked out of my class this evening with my professor, Ron Rindo, and he asked me if I was still making with the blog, and of course I responded affirmatively. Since I’m here waiting to see if Kevin will get out of his class early and join me for coffee, there seemed to be no better time.

What has begun to trouble me more and more, though, is the mainstream appropriation of blogging — turning it into a trendy, simple, fun, easy, and understandable activity that any dufus with access to a computer can participate in and enjoy. And trust me, they are out there doing it in droves. What I’d really like, and what I communicated to Ron, is to come up with a new device that serves all the purposes of blogging without actually involving the act of blogging itself. I am nowhere near developing such a device, so this will, for the time being, have to suffice.

If you should ever happen across a blog in your Internet travels that TRULY sucks ass, please do me and the rest of the Western world a favor: email that blogger and request that they cease and dissist immediately. Your letter could be very simple, something like this:


“I have read your blog. It is awful. It has absolutely no redeeming qualities, whether cultural, social or otherwise. Please stop.

“Thank you,

You will be doing all of mankind a great service.

Of course I have considered that to offer such an opinion of blogging and bloggers in my own blog is to invite such harsh (but polite) criticism upon myself. Most likely this criticism will come from Wordell, Lorch, Schrubbe, or Kevin, and even if it should come from someplace outside, I am willing to stand up to it. For god’s sake, I could use some incentive to imagine the proverbial “metablog” into existence.

The simple truth is that no one should actually expect such an email as noted above to cause a blogger to stop his blogging. The only such email that might work is one that said, “If you don’t stop blogging, we are going to kill this box full of puppies. No kidding. We will do it,” and even then we would have to hope that the blogger in question likes puppies.

The best anyone can hope for is that the message gives the blogger pause, the next time he sits down at the terminal, to really consider what he is contributing to the annals of human history with this tiresome, self-fulfilling catalogue of minutiae whose only truly interested audience is himself.

To accomplish that, a spiral notebook is cheaper and, at least, biodegradeable.