Month: November 2012

Gridlock, and the Threat of More Gridlock to Come

Dear Senator McConnell,

I saw you on the news vowing that, if Harry Reid enacts filibuster reform, you will ensure that your caucus will dig its heels in and make itself even MORE intractable. I have a few questions regarding this attitude:

  1. I am in favor of filibuster reform, as I was in 2005, back when you were also for it (and Harry Reid was against it). Can you provide a reason why you changed your position on this issue other than your party losing the majority?
  2. You have previously stated that the sole purpose for your previous intractability was to ensure that Barack Obama would be a one-term president. Now that this strategy has proven, objectively and unambiguously, to be a failure, can you provide a reason why you believe you should become even MORE resistant to compromise?
  3. To tell the truth, your threat seems empty. How do you propose that your caucus could be any more resistant to compromise than it already has been these past two years? What do you propose to do that is worse than filibustering every single bill and nominee that your opponents bring to the floor? Are you going to start filibustering your OWN bills now?

Thank you.


Black Page, Synclavier version. Uploader timmo1782 says "early 80s I'm guessing"; I'm inclined to agree.

Dragon Quest 1&2 SFC

I've occasionally been poking through the Super Famicom remake of the original Dragon Quest on my cell phone -- you know, when I've had downtime and haven't had my PSP or DS or suchlike with me.

First of all: man, onscreen D-pads suck, even for games that require as little precision as DQ. I have to savestate-spam just to get around the outside wall of Rimuldar without accidentally walking out.

Second: there's so much that's wonky about the interface of this remake. The stupid little half-steps you take instead of moving a full tile at a time, the bizarre decision to stick the action button on X and leave the menu on A (something they stuck with on up through 7 on the PS1!)...frankly I'm almost inclined to tip the Game Boy remake as the superior version of the game despite its inferior graphics and sound, just on its smoother interface.

(Also I recall the GB version having a more charming translation. I probably snorted out loud in class when I took the Princess to an inn and the keeper remarked the next morning that we'd sure been up late last night.)

(Yeah, I played Dragon Quest in class for most of CSE122. If you'd ever tried to sit through a lecture with that instructor, you'd understand.)

ZPZ in Austin

Bits of Keep It Greasey, Carolina Hardcore Ecstasy, and some solos I can't quite place offhand but that sure sound great. 2009; uploaded by ZappaIrl.

More Random Thoughts

Got an E-Mail about a Win7 update needs doin'. Only a four-day job but it'd still be nice to get.

Dizzy again today. It had been awhile. Don't know what caused it; did not like it.

Those Threadless shirts came in, and so far they seem like quality merchandise! I am happy with them. The Groupon deal still appears to be going on; it's worth checking out. (Though I now find that both shirts have been marked down to about the price I paid with the coupon since I ordered -- oh well, it happens.)

Ate dinner at Cornish Pasty. Good food, good beer.

Arrow has turned out to be a surprisingly good show, but man the dialogue on tonight's was overwrought. Geoff Johns? Oh.


Egg, sunny-side-up, on toast, with feta, sour cream, and Arizona Gunslinger sauce.

Fascist Theocracy

Zappa's legendary 1986 appearance on Crossfire -- pardon the audio quality.

I'd read a (maybe partial?) transcipt before but never actually sat down and watched it in its entirety. It really is quite astounding just how aggressively ignorant John Lofton is -- incest is a major problem in America because of Prince? Seriously? Jesus Christ. Good thing conservatives had their priorities straight -- not like there was anything more important going on in early 1986.

Douchebag of Liberty Bob Novak seems downright moderate by comparison.

Judging by the E-Mails I routinely get from the Washington Times (thanks to foolishly signing up for a mailing list from a local Republican politician I knew professionally in 2006), they have roughly the same journalistic standards today as they did then. But that's a story for another day. (A story titled Is Obama Ruled by Demons?)

The parallels to recent debates about adult content in video games should, of course, go without saying.

Ze Germans

Not sure if I'll stick with OpenSUSE for the long haul or not.

I quite like YAST but it doesn't have the level of package support that any given apt-based distro does.

And it's slow. I heard OpenSUSE was faster than other KDE-based desktops, but that hasn't been my experience, even switching from HDD to SSD. Firefox routinely pegs the CPU. So does Xorg (which I think is down to my keeping LibreOffice open most of the time). RSSOwl -- which does not have an OpenSUSE package and was a straight-up bitch to set up -- is frequently slow and unresponsive (good ol' Java).

So why RSSOwl, anyway? Well, I like to keep my RSS feeds synced across my desktop, my laptop, my phone -- wherever. At the moment I'm using Google Reader for that.

I used to use Akregator, but it doesn't sync with Google Reader.

I tried Liferea, but...well, it's coded by a guy like me. A power-user who wanted specific network functionality and isn't very good at UI design. It's missing such basic functionality as being able to rename a feed (a necessity when it chokes on as simple a thing as an apostrophe -- my feed list contains "Kurt Busiek's Formspring answers" followed by "Neil Gaiman's Journal"), and its syncing with Google Reader is spotty as well.

Also its name resembles "diarrhea".

So I tried RSSOwl.

Under Ubuntu, it was simple enough to set up RSSOwl -- had to add an external repo, but that was it.

There's no repo for OpenSUSE. There's a binary download, but here's the rub: it doesn't work out of the box. It requires xulrunner 1.x -- 2.x does not work. And OpenSUSE 12.2 doesn't have a package for xulrunner 1.x.

It took me ages to find, but I found a good RPM package of xulrunner 1.9. It's for Scientific Linux, but it installed fine under OpenSUSE, and worked once I symlinked to . It throws the occasional warning when I run updates, but I've been able to navigate those just fine.

And that's another thing about OpenSUSE: YAST's options, when it runs across a version conflict on a dependency, are pretty opaque and incomprehensible (and it frequently lists the same option multiple times), but at least it gives you options. Ubuntu's package management, in my experience, just throws an error and quits when it runs across that kind of conflict. So score one for OpenSUSE there. Sort of.

Still and all, for all I like about its configuration center/package management system, I'm having a hard time seeing OpenSUSE as Worth It. Maybe when I've got some time to do yet another damn reinstall, I'll give Mint a shot, or something.

Playing: Got in some good Arkham City and Mass Effect 2 time today -- after my job interview. Working my way down that list...