August 2004

July 2004 -- 2004 -- September 2004

August 9, 2004

My summer is almost over, and while I've had an incredibly amount of fun and met a lot of really cool friends, there is no denying that college >> work even if it's really cool work. I'm leaving on Thursday for Gainesville, spending the night there, and then getting back to Tampa Friday afternoon. It's been a really fast 3 months and here's a few more pictures (out of the over 650 I took this summer) of what I've been up to these last few months:
Me and the two girls interns
The whole Purdue trip group
Couches are fun!
Me, my roommate, and the girls
Space and Rocket Center

And yes, I managed to survive my trip to Purdue. It did live up to the hype and I had a blast. They have the absolute best bar EVER there called the Neon Cactus. It's like the old Alligator Rocks in Gainesville, except a lot more fun since everyone participates and it was just really cool. And free coke!

I also went to the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center last weekend, which I've intended on going to since my first weekend up here, but just never happened. It was really cool and had a lot of information on the Apollo missions which were built here in Huntsville. I found out the other day that I can never be a NASA astronaut though since my eyesight is too poor. Which just means that those private space endevours better hurry up and become reality so I can take one of those up into space someday in the semi-near future.

Doom 3 is a really awesome game.

And finally, sign #33093943 that the Apocolypse is upon us. A blatently open racist has won the Republican primary in a northwest Tennessee district. Which he got because I'm assuming the Republican can't really choose who runs under their party name, and a write-in candidate bid failed to garner enough votes. The really scary thing about this though is the guy got 7,671 votes, 83% of the people who voted. Luckily the Democratic candidate is a heavy favorite so this guy won't be making it anywhere near Congress, but this is as bad as the segregated prom fiasco in Georgia.

August 16, 2004

It's been a crazy last few days, with a lot of adventures and fun and the school year hasn't even started yet!

It started with a VERY early (got up at 3:30 am) start from Huntsville to try and reach Gainesville without getting hit too hard by Tropical Storm Bonnie. Thanks to a traffic jam in Birmingham where I did not move a single inch in 40 minutes, I managed to miss most of the rain as well as Atlanta rush hour traffic.

I then checked into my apartment and started unpacking the stuff I had used in Huntsville. I was originally supposed to then stay the night with some friends, and leave Friday afternoon to finally get to Tampa, 3 months after I left. However Hurricane Charley put a nix in those plans so I stayed up in Gainesville another night. It did end up missing Tampa, which is good since it would have been disasterous here. Which going off on a side rant, there were editorials in the newspaper today with people complaining about having to evacuate. Seemingly to completely fail simple logic to realize that it's impossible to predict with 100% accuracy what a storm is going to do. I guess they'll just be the people who end up getting blown away the next time one comes through. Anyways, our house was just fine so that was good.

Sunday we then packed up all my bedroom furniture in a UHAUL and moved the rest of everything into the apartment. We got it unfurnished but between me and my roommate we won't have to buy many things at all. We also got an awesome couch for only $40, and then my parents had a big table that's being donated to the Furnish-My-Apartment fund. Which if you have a coffee table or chairs, you too can donate to the fund.

I forgot my camera so I don't have pictures of the apartment, but here's some of us moving and the trip down:
What is wrong with this picture?
Packing everything up

Today then I finally got my ingrown toenail fixed. I've had it almost a month now, but I had managed to get out the worst of it back at the beginning so it hasn't really hurt much since then, except when you hit it just the right way. And it kept pussing up, and then get better, then puss up again, then get better, and so on, so I eventually gave up on it getting better on its own and went to the podiatrist. It was a quick and painless (well once the novacane shot was done with) procedure and at the moment my big toe is wrapped up in bandages like a mummy (see today's cam picture). I've got a list of instructions to care for it over the next two weeks, but hopefully the worst is over.

I've also been trying to get my wireless card to work in Linux so I can stop having to reboot everything I want to be mobile. I managed to get the card recognized finally, but for some reason it won't connect to the network. The fun of Linux strikes once again.

The Republican National Convention is coming up, and there are already thousands of people plotting on how to best disrupt the festivities. Which I'm all for protesting and getting the word out on how bad a president Bush so that he won't be elected for a second term. But property destruction and causing general chaos in the streets won't help that goal at all in any way and at worst will make Bush look better since he doesn't have "those crazy anarchists" supporting them. These people really need to read some books on being persuasive and find out that being confrontational and directly attacking something that the person you're trying to convince holds dear, is the absolute worst way to change someone's mind. Instead they become defensive and only remain even more strongly rooted in their initial beliefs. To win someone over you've got to understand why they feel the way they feel on a matter and appeal to those points. It involves compromise and conceding ideals, but it's much much more effective than saying "You're wrong!"
Secondly, causing mass chaos in the streets of New York violate that old adage of "Your rights end where mine begin". If someone blocks traffic on a major highway to cause ruckus during their protest, then the person who you're causing to miss their flight is not going to be very happy at all. And again, the whole message you're trying to convey gets completely lost since they don't care why you holding up traffic or causing problems, just that you are and they don't like it. What some of these groups are planning isn't protesting, it's madness.

And speaking of all of this, I got my absentee ballot for the August 31st election in the mail. It includes offices for things like US Senator, County Commissioner, School Board members, and Judges. And then a 1/4 cent sales tax increase for health care services for the poor. So now it's off to do research on what I should vote for. I love democracy!

August 31, 2004

Ahhhh college, how I missed thee. It's been a hectic last few weeks of moving into my apartment and getting back into the school groove, but I've enjoyed the first week and a half of classes in my senior year of college. I still have my Masters degree to get, but its' sad knowing this will by my last fall of my undergraduate career. It's gone by so incredibly fast, and I still haven't done so many things I keep meaning to do.

For the first time I actually looked forward to all of my classes, since I got to pick them all out since all I have left is electives pretty much. I'm taking two graduate courses in computer architecture, a class in advanced calculus for my math minor, a really cool class on Social and Legal Issues in Computing where we debate online privacy, pirating, online decency laws, ethics, and all sorts of interesting topics related to computers and technology. Sorta like the stuff I write on here about sometimes (ie the DMCA/DeCSS and mp3 downloading). And finally social dance, which is the first non-science/math related course I've ever taken in college. I like dance a lot, and we get to learn a lot of cool ballroom dances (currently doing foxtrot) so that I signed up for it even if it is ridiculously early in the morning at 8:30. Not to mention it has more girls in that one class than in my last 3 semesters combined.

The apartment is also really cool, even if my roommate is a little crazy (in a good way, really!). I'm still not sure how I feel about apartment life, as I love the large kitchen so I can cook and being able to sprawl out on the floor to do homework. But I don't like having to leave an hour early to make sure I get on campus in time instead of walking out the door 5 minutes before class starts. And I do miss the easy social interaction of the dorms, though I've already been really busy this semester.

Today was also a voting day for many across the country, and there were several primaries and non-partisan elections out here in Alachua. And as a great example of why even just one vote can count, the people of Alachua county defeated a 1/4 cent sales tax increase (to pay for health insurance for the poor so they wouldn't have to spend millions of tax payer dollars going to emergency rooms) by just 4 votes out of 32,458 cast. Most of the people I voted for won, and it's sorta nice to know that since I live in Florida my vote counts so much more than everyone else's due to our stupid electoral college voting system.

And speaking of politics, I've really got to say I disagree with all the firestorm over Bush's remarks that the war on terror might not be winnable. Because it really can't, not in a true sense anyways. You can't make everyone in the world decide not to ever use terror tactics ever again. It just can't be done. You can make it hard to do, you can try to keep it disorganized and small and lessen the threat, but much like the war on drugs, it's something that is impossible to "win" in the typical sense.

And I still don't understand why a moderate party isn't formed that takes the middle road on everything. Most people aren't hard left or hard right, and I think it could gain a lot of support. Meanwhile you've got this crazy thing on the GOP website about how rich Kerry is while completely ignoring that there is nothing wrong with being wealthy, and also how rich Bush and Co is, not to mention how they got that money. I mean come on.

And now I have to finish some calc homework. If I don't get blown away by Hurricane Frances then I might actually update sometime next week again.

July 2004 -- 2004 -- September 2004