Thursday, June 27, 2002

Vacation, Lovely Vacation

I'm heading off to Hot-lanta to hang with my brother, Matt, over Fourth of July Week! Yes, this means flying. No, I'm not worried. :-)

This will be my first big vacation since the Maine trip last year, and I'm thankful that I have the chance to do it so soon after starting my new job at DIT. I've also had trouble sleeping of late, and I'm hoping that this coming week I'll have the chance to catch up on a little, and perhaps get some better sleeping habits formed.

Of course, knowing Matt, and how he and I get on, we're likely to be up till all hours BSing and fiddling with his toys: computer, TV, DVD player, etc., etc., etc. Dad may or may not be proud: the apples never fall far from the tree. :-)

I'll try to blog from the road (Matt does have dialup), but no promises...


Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Has it Already / Only Been a Year?

Brain Squeezings turns 1 today! It's certainly been a year of ups, downs, backs, forths and showerings of sugar and/or vitriol on the subject of the day. Who knows? This "blog" thing might actually last!

Impromptu, the singing group with which I, well, sing, is recording a CD this summer, and we held a recording session last night. It was hard work, and long, and we were plagued with page rattling, loud breaths, and pops from the rafters, lights and doors (we recorded in the chapel of St. Catherine's School on Grove Avenue, for those familiar with Richmond), but in the end I think we'll surprise ourselves. There's a lot of talent in this group. :-) I'm glad they let me sing along.

Back to work, now; it's a crazy one today...


Monday, June 24, 2002

Posting on a Monday

Lynn keeps finding cool stuff, and is quickly becoming one of my favorite content-stealing sites. ;-)

Today's gem is the World's Smallest Political Quiz. I scored as a Centrist, though shading strongly Libertarian and to the right. The test appears to have a pretty strong Libertarian bias, though; statements like this:

Right-conservatives prefer self-government on economic issues, but want official standards in personal matters. They want the government to defend the community from threats to its moral fiber.
...are overly simplistic in my view, and oh by the way, there's a form to fill out on the results page if you want more "Information on Libertarian Ideas." :-D

But then again, the "Libertarian" description:

Libertarians are self-governors in both personal and economic matters. They believe government's only purpose is to protect people from coercion and violence. They value individual responsibility, and tolerate economic and social diversity.
...isn't too far off my mark for the ideal in society, though it whitewashes a fair bit of the Libertarian trend toward "throw off the shackles" attitude that leads toward the legalization of drugs and prostitution. But hey, it makes for good discussion material. :-)

In other piracy from Lynn, she posted a link to a story from GUT RUMBLES, and I like this guy. He says all sorts of things I'm too polite to say or too self-absorbed to see. Go ACIDMAN!


Friday, June 21, 2002

I've been labeled...

Wow! Apparently I'm a "Geek, Alien or Other Superior Lifeform"!

Should I even ask which? ;-)


Today's Friday Five

1. Do you live in a house, an apartment or a condo? Two-bedroom apartment. One bedroom has been converted to a media room.
2. Do you rent or own? Rent.
3. Does anyone else live with you? Two dogs and a cat. (more)
4. How many times have you moved in your life? Nine times, not counting going home from college for the summers.
5. What are your plans for this weekend? Scour the apartment, and see both The Bourne Identity and Minority Report. Oh, and a friend recommended a local steak house as being exceptionally good, so I'm gonna check that out as well.


Thursday, June 20, 2002

Of Late

Been a few days. Hmm, what's been going on?

Grabbed JBuilder Personal (a freeware Visual Studio 6-esque programming environment for Java) to fool around with at home, and have begun writing myself a few utilities to use in the GURPS campaign I'm working on.

At work, I've been given Visual Studio .NET to play around with, and after a few days I can confidently say that the Java world is right to be concerned. All the versatility of a Java-esque core library structure without OS-agnostic pain like having to learn how to implement an Interface just to filter the filenames in a "File-Open" dialog box (class JFileChooser). Assuming Microsoft hasn't made any enormous blunders, I'll be surprised if Java's still anything to sneeze at in five years.

Geeking Out
My new machine at work is running Windows XP Professional, and I have to admit I'm really liking it. With every version post-Windows 95, Microsoft's been adding extraneous crap onto the interface, and it's bugged me to no end. My first few hours with a late-model virgin install of Windows are almost always devoted to making it work as much like Windows 95 as possible. With XP, though, MS has put on a new, fruity face, and for giggles I thought I'd try to use it "as is" for a while. Turns out that I like it - I like it a lot! Who knew?

Yes, I've rediscovered the written word, and it's largely thanks to a) the utterly crappy TV options out there on everything but TechTV, and b) Mary Delli Santi's bookblog. Head over to bookblog, by the way. There's some great discussion going on.


A to Z

Pirated from Sarah, pirated from Crazy Tracy...

A - Animals/Pets: Two dogs and a cat. (more)
B - Best Friends: Hunter, Tripp.
C - Cohabitants: See A. Accepting applicants.
D - Desire(s): Life as a novelist while raising a family.
E - Eye Color: Blue.
F - Favorite Food(s): Steak and sushi.
G - Games: Video and word, assorted.
H - Habit(s): Too many to list; they're how I live life sanely.
I - Interests: Writing, programming, grousing (not inclusive).
J - Job: Java/C# Programmer for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
K - Kitchen (Wonder or Blunder?): Pretty damned good when I do anything.
L - Languages: English, German, a smattering of Russian. Romance languages? Feh.
M - Most Valued Possession(s) (an item, not people/pets): My Palm m505. I'd be lost without it.
N - Name (Named after?): Richard Carson Miller, Jr. After my dad - and no, there won't be a Richard III.
O - Outfit You Love: Oxford with collar open and sleeves rolled up, and slacks - hey, I'm basic.
P - Pizza Toppings: Meat. Lots of meat.
Q - Question Asked To You the Most: "What have you been up to?"
R - Relationship/Partner: Accepting applications. See C.
S - Sport: Football, NASCAR. Watching, not participating, though I did play high school football.
T - Television Show(s): Invader Zim.
U - Unsavory characteristic(s): Fat, depressive, occasionally lazy, occasionally obsessive (not inclusive).
V - Video (Favorites): Wow - The Empire Strikes Back, The Matrix, Fellowship of the Ring, Harry Potter, Sleepless in Seattle, Silence of the Lambs, the list goes on...
W - Webpage (Favorite--not your own): Slashdot.
X - Xylophone (or other Instrument?): Piano, tenor saxophone. Long, long ago.
Y - Year Born: 1970, Chinese Year of the Dog
Z - Zodiac Sign: Taurus


Sunday, June 16, 2002

More on Artificial Eyes

Here's the article.

This just gets better and better... How long before fighter pilots, night-fighting SEALs et al, who can benefit from amazing vision on their jobs, just go in for a simple $1000 procedure?


Thursday, June 13, 2002

Favorite Things

Since "favorite things" lists are all the rage lately, here're a few of my own. Enjoy!

Dog smiles
Listening to the ocean for so long you almost can't hear it any more
Cool linen sheets
Wind in dry leaves

Brass with glass
Buttery smooth, dark wood
Burgundy velvet

Old books
Worn leather
Hot cookies
Roasting meat
Burning wood
Sea air

Writing a program and having it work perfectly on the first try
Driving fast on empty highways
Walking among trees at twilight
Walking along water in moonlight
Walking in sand at sunrise
Lovemaking in cool air

Pearls on skin
Gold on skin
Kissing for ten minutes or more
Long hair
Short hair
Eyes lit by the moon
A woman's weight
Lips whispering in my ear
Hands in my hair

Right! Enough of that. Go on. Back to work. Nothing to see here. Off with you.



...and thanks to Lynn [whose own list was much more appropriate] for the idea.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

More on Bikinis :-)

Welcome, Sarah, to the discussion.

Sarah elaborates on the feminist male-oppression argument, in terms of the expectations of (male?) society to either mother children or live in service to a husband, protector, etc. I won't argue feminist oppression theory here, simply because I'm not prepared, but Sarah goes on to some territory I do feel more comfortable discussing:

I'd contend that sex drives differ more between individuals than they do between the genders. [emphasis mine] But again, a strong sex drive is expected and praised in men, and is reviled and discouraged in women. Men are studs, women are sluts. So if you do believe that a strong sex drive relates to a strong creative drive, what would it mean to have that source of power questioned and denigrated and burned out of you on a matter of principle?
The underlined statement above has not been my experience, and though anecdotal evidence is of little use here, IMO there's a reason men are societally pilloried these days as "thinking with their crotches" and "only interested in one thing" and having "sex crossing their minds every seven seconds" and the like. Straight evolutionary reasoning suffices: successful individuals from the half of the species that's more likely to get itself killed fighting over territory, food and/or reproductive rights will have a sharper hormonal "spur" in order to get their DNA out and working sooner rather than later.

...And evidently I'm in the (male) minority in thinking that it'd be great if more women had high sex drives and paraded them around a bit. Then at least I'd be more likely to get some. :-D I've never understood the whole "sexually confident woman == slut" thing, though I see people who reduce themselves to self-denigrating parodies of sexuality as repulsive and "slutty" in both sexes. "Slut" is actually one of the nastier words left in the English language, IMO, and interestingly the only times I've heard it used on anyone (probably less than a dozen instances, lifetime), it's come from female lips.


Monday, June 10, 2002


Sorry for the lack of posts last week... Between work exploding on me and a few other factors, I've lost track of most of the debating that was going on. ...And I've lost interest, too. When it comes down to it, environmental arguments are a passing interest to me, and I was drawing fire from those who've made it their life's work.

I'll admit it. I don't care as much as y'all do. Like Ford Prefect against the soldiers from Krikkit, I know that a person with a passing interest fighting those with a lifelong mission is going to end up losing.

With that out of the way, I'd like to turn the subject to a favorite of mine. Bikinis. Or more to the point, Lynn's contribution to the ongoing string bikini debate. Specifically, she wonders whether the male libido might be part of the reason that history's standouts are predominantly male (long quote alert):

The male mind is strange and fascinating. Whenever guys act like....well,'s so easy to feel superior to them and to think of them as nothing more than horny adolescents. And yet, men can be fascinating conversationalists, capable of profound insight. Why are there so few (if any) great female philosphers, composers, artists, etc? You can make the argument that it's because throughout most of history women have been repressed and forced into the traditional roles of wife and mother. There is some merit to that argument but I think that to completely dismiss the disparity in acheivement based on this one feminist theory is to deny reality.

[...]But why have there been no women composers to equal Bach, Mozart and Beethoven? Could it be that the beauty and passion of such music comes from little more than the type of sexual tension experienced only by the male of the species?
I think Lynn's on to something here, and not just because she states that men actually can control themselves. :-)

It's my opinion that like hunger, greed, ambition or fear, a rampant sex drive can be a strong motivator, whether its owner has learned control or abandon from it. It's a matter of record that most of history's great generals, terrible conquerors, transcendent artists and world-changing politicians have had elevated libidos; it's not quite a prerequisite, but it's close. If you accept that postulate, then it stands to reason that the half of humanity more prone to high sex drive would appear more frequently in the annals of humanity's great achievements and follies.

This isn't to say that the rest of us poor hard-up schmucks are all closet Caesars and Bachs, but if that can help us get some... ;-)


Thursday, June 06, 2002

China loses grip on internet