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What?

Over two years without a post? I have no idea what you're talking about...

New computer

So I built a computer. Well, I assembled one anyway, but built sounds more impressive. It's not like I had to solder anything. It's been up and running for about 20 hours now (not non-stop) and I'm loving it. I'm using Ubuntu and despite a few minor quibbles, really enjoying the experience. Hooray for me.

BBC News -- War-hit countries 'most corrupt'

BBC News -- War-hit countries 'most corrupt'.
Transparency International's annual list has always been interesting to me, even if I'm skeptical of the whole idea of corruption as a measurable thing. There's no formula for computing it, or even for the elements that comprise it. TI seem to have enough confidence in their data that a 100 point scale (0.0 - 10.0, higher is less corrupt) is needed to reflect the fine degree in which their compilation of surveys measures perceived corruption. While I find this hard to believe, I'll keep an open mind while I go over the ten surveys they base their data on. More to come...

The Sick Rose

O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm;
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy;
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.
William Blake, 1794

Nuns fret not at their convent's narrow room

Nuns fret not at their convent's narrow room;
And hermits are contented with their cells;
And students with their pensive citadels;
Maids at the wheel, the weaver at his loom,
Sit blithe and happy; bees that soar for bloom,
High as the highest Peak of Furness-fells,
Will murmur by the hour in foxglove bells:
In truth the prison, unto which we doom
Ourselves, no prison is: and hence for me,
In sundry moods, 'twas pastime to be bound
Within the Sonnet's scanty plot of ground;
Pleased if some Souls (for such there needs must be)
Who have felt the weight of too much liberty,
Should find brief solace there, as I have found.
William Wordsworth, 1806

More on guitars

So I've been fixated on playing guitars, and getting one of my own for a few weeks now. I've been practicing every day on either the Epiphone acoustic I've borrowed for home use or on one of the various guitars in the back at work on my lunch break. I dream about them, which is really sick. Little Wechters and Schecters, Hamers and Kramers dance about like sugarplums or something. I think I'll need to break down and get one that I can actually say I own sooner rather than later.

Thesis update #now

So I'm slowly digging myself out of the hole I'm in. I made some decent progress today even as I did my daily quota while bouncing my shrieking little bundle of joy on my knee. My thesis is about languages and how they are used, in this case the languages are Urdu and Hindko. More on this next time.

Thesis update #August

So I've fallen way off of schedule, but I'm getting some work done on it today. Just slowly grinding away at this miserable thing. Ugh ugh ugh.

I want a guitar

I've decided that I, as an adult currently without a guitar of his own, should do something to rectify the situation. Working in a pawnshop, I have access to a lot of guitars and I can wait until a nice deal comes along and then go after it. At least in theory that's how it should work. In reality, I've only managed one successful instrument purchase: a Deering Goodtime banjo. And it was a great deal ($75!), but it was for my dad. The only other time I was really ready to jump (on a beautiful El Degas acoustic guitar for under $100) a resaler swooped in before I could grab it and got it for cheaper than I would have been able to. So I spend a lot more time thinking about guitars than I spend actually playing them, as I still don’t have one of my own, even if I have access to others that I practice on. Maybe by putting my thoughts on what guitar(s) I want up here I can at least articulate what I value and help bring my aesthetic to a more conscious level.

Thesis report #blah

I’ve fallen seriously behind. Like a few thousand words off pace, and I didn’t get any work done today either. Still holding out hope that I’ll get back on top of things soon.

BBC News -- Puppy thrown at German biker gang

BBC News -- Puppy thrown at German biker gang.

A German student "mooned" a group of Hell's Angels and hurled a puppy at them before escaping on a stolen bulldozer, police have said.

five in a row

So this is my fifth day straight of meeting my arbitrary word count goals for my thesis. What I’ve produced so far is mostly gruesome, but it’s progress and it’s constant, which is what I need right now.

Graupel

Rime and Graupel.
Apparently there is a fancier term for what I've always called 'mini-hail', and what fell here in town two nights ago. It's graupel, a German loanword. I've been thinking entirely too much about that word since I learned it, so I'm hoping to drop it off here and get it out of my brain's foreground. I'd just about forgot about it when I realized it must be related to gravel, and it started all over again. I didn't want my first of hopefully many posts about language to be of the lightweight, word-collector variety, but it is what it is.
graupel

First day off since beginning this blog...

And I actually did it. It was quite the slog, and the quality is nothing to brag about, but I put my 500 hundred words to screen. Whether this blog is actually a help in that or not remains to be seen, but I accomplished one tiny tiny thing today. Hooray.

1UP's Retro Gaming Blog : Adam West: Videogame Journalist

Adam West
1UP's Retro Gaming Blog : Adam West: Videogame Journalist.
1up reprinted an obscure editorial by Adam West on the potential of video games, from 1983. Definitely worth a read.

In the same way a painting allows us to gaze upon the faces and souls of people from another age, or a book permits us to linger on the thoughts of great figures from history and fiction, videogames can expand our awareness of the world as it is, was, or might be.

Zettwoch's Suitcase: Pro-Wrasslers Drawn From Memory

Dusty Rhodes by Dan Zettwoch
Zettwoch's Suitcase: Pro-Wrasslers Drawn From Memory.

New computer update

Still happy with the new computer, and doing well with Ubuntu. The only real roadblock I've had so has been audio and video issues with Skype, which was ridiculously hard to get working.There're still a few minor hangups, but for the most part it's working now, and I can leave alsamixer alone. Other than that issue, it's been really positive. The Urdu language rendering is really nice as well.

Blog/thesis/life progress report

So it's just been a few days of doing this, and while it has got me on the computer more, it hasn't lead to me working on my thesis more. But tomorrow is my first day off since starting this, so we'll see. I'm still optimistic.

I got unserved

Yesterday I was subpoenaed over a case where I took in a surround sound system and a snowboard from a tweaker and they turned out to be stolen. Then a few hours later I was unsubpoenaed because the guy plead out. Now I don't get to go to court, break down in tears and point out the guy from the witness box. "There!" *sob* "That's the man!" *run out crying* This is the second time I've been unable to do my civic duty. I also would have got $25 for just showing up.

Moving

So I tried putting this blog on Wordpress, and made occasioanl posts, but I wasn't satisfied. There were a ton of great features, but also quite a few headaches in getting posts to look the way I wanted them to look. I also wasn't really learning anything about how web sites actually work, which was part of the goal. So for now I'm just going to hand-code the blog. How quaint! I'll add the wordpress posts here, a few at a time. I'll also add more features as time goes. First up, most likely, is an rss feed, also hand coded. Maybe this will be awesome?

Doesn't take much to make me happy, apparently

So at work today we were getting (internally) audited, so I pretty much had to stay put all day out on the sales floor. I don't normally do this, but I spent a ton of time on the internet doing non-work-related browsing. Made me feel like a real big shot who has the kind of job where they're online all day wasting away the hours posting comments on blogs.

Thesis

So I'm writing my MA thesis. Or I'm intermittently writing it. That's part of the motivation behind starting a blog again; force myself to sit down and type. Also, perhaps if I get some readers, they can nag me to work on it harder, and in return I will provide them with details of my research and writing, and the whole thing will be mutually beneficial. We'll see...

First post

I've had several attempted blogs before, we'll see if this one sticks. No promises. What I hope to do is create a collection of interesting things for you, the reader, to do, see, read, hear, play or think. Thanks for visiting, stay tuned.

Monthly resolutions, take 2

What was that? A bit of an absence, that's what. Well, let me see how I did with those last monthly resolutions.

...and that's it. Oh well. Try try again, the new resolutions are the same as the old. No use adding a new one to replace the one I completed until I actually get good at this.

Monthly resolutions

It's been quite a while since I've posted, things have come up. I went and came from Pakistan, Served a three-week stint as a TA/tutor and am now unemployed, so what's my excuse for not posting? None, which is why I am.
The title of this post refers to my new habit, which is to no longer make new year's resolutions, but to downgrade to monthly resolutions.
Resolutions for August, in rough order of priority:


We'll see how this goes.

Birthday update

I'm moving this blog off of wordpress as I want more control and this will teach me to code any neat tricks myself. We'll see how this goes. I worked on the site quite a bit today, but just like my thesis, I don't have much to show for it.

Very first thesis progress report

I finally got over the gripping fear of the blank page and, after being prodded by more than a few concerned individuals, got down to writing the thesis as of February 26, 2009. I'd done plenty of outlining and hunting for sources, and even given two presentations on my field work, one informal and one as a guest lecture for a 101 class. My goal is set at 2500 words/week of my rough draft. I estimate I'll need about 25,000 words to cover what I want to cover. It's been rather ugly so far. I sat down with a 'less think, more ink' mindset and have just been writing without regard to making something polished or presentable. The result has been 3500+ words since last Thursday, from about 10 sources as well as my field notes. It's so disorganized I'm probably the only one that can read it at this point, but I got a decent amount of information there. I've got a lot cut out for me next week. I'll do 500 words tomorrow, and hopefully a bit of organization as well. I'll also back up my digitized recordings on CD and start going through them in depth.

About this

I'm John, this is my blog. For the time being, I'm going to write primarily about my thesis. If/when I finish it, I'll write about other things. I'll post weekly about what I've done, what I know I need to do, etc. This is mostly for my own benefit, but others might find it entertaining or possibly even useful.