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February 27, 2005

Questionable Science

One of the funniest political cartoons I've seen in a long time: When Kyoto Meets Missle Defence.

22:23 | America , Politics

February 24, 2005

Gay Marriage Evil, Says Pope

It's because of reasons like this, that I identify less and less with being a Catholic.

It is legitimate and necessary to ask oneself if [gay marriage] is not perhaps part of a new ideology of evil, perhaps more insidious and hidden, which attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man.

13:29 | Quotes | Comments (2)

February 20, 2005

RIP Raoul Duke

Hunter S. Thompson, author of Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (one of my favourite books), has passed away.

"I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me."

Update: Thompson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Sunday night. I can only imagine what demons he has been wrestling with for the last 30 years.

22:18 | Entertainment

February 17, 2005

Mom And Dad Are No n00bz

Hey parents, concerned that your children are sending secret messages over the internets? Wondering where they picked up such bad grammar and spelling? Well this handy Microsoft page, A parent's primer to computer slang can help you decipher your kids' new writing style.

Some good tips include:

And my personal favourite:

I hope parents don't take this stuff too seriously. The day my mom sends me an email telling me that my "bl0g t0t4lly roX0rZ!", is the day I call the ISP and cut off her Internet access.

19:55 | Nerd | Comments (2)

February 14, 2005

Valentine's Day Surprise

Teresa surprised me this year by planning our Valentine's Day activities. She picked me up from work today and took me out for an ethnic, yet inexpensive dinner. Where? Why, Tacos el Asadero, aka, the Taco Bus. Eschewing haute-cuisine and black-tie affairs, T and I sat in the 30-year-old bus/restaurant and ate $5 burritos and tacos. And DAMN, that was some good Mexican food.

Afterwards we headed to a favourite Japanese restaurant for some sushi (The Taco Bus having not filled us up). After that, we came home and played video games together.

(In case you're wondering, I got her flowers and a Valentine's Day card I made in grade 4 that I found the last time I was visiting my parents. I know, we're a pair of hopeless romantics).

This was one of my favourite Valentine's Days ever. I love you baby!

22:37 | Stuff | Comments (4)

Inflation Is Getting Out Of Control

The other day I was walking by the gallery of panhandlers, otherwise known as Broadway Ave in Capitol Hill, when I was forced to stop at a red light. A panhandler then approached me and said, "Hey brother, can you spare twenty bucks?"

19:52 | Quotes | Comments (1)

February 10, 2005

Runoff Voting Unamerican!

David Goldstein has an interesting post about why Washington State should adopt an Instant Runoff Voting system, considering all the hoopla surrounding the last gubernatorial election. Personally, I think IRV is a good idea, especially since I'm from a multi-party Canada, and loathe the American two-party system. One of Goldy's commenters however, is opposed to IRV, and points to a Northwest Progressive Institute article which gives the lamest argument against IRV I have ever heard. (NPI is a self-described left-wing institute "against corruption and ignorance". Keep that in mind when you read the article). For some reason, I felt the burning need to refute their arguments.

In today's fast paced society, many voters don't have the time to look at all the candidates in detail and decide which ranking they would give each of them.

Today's fast paced society? You mean the kind that will let a voter research the candidates for free on the Internet, from the comfort of their own homes? Even if voters have no interest in other candidates, they don't have to rank them all, just like people don't have to vote for regional sanitation commissioners, but they're on the ballots anyway.

Instead of the traditional system of where the candidate with the most votes wins...

Clearly this guy has never hear of the Electoral College.

Instead of voting in a contest for your favorite thing (say, ice cream) you have to rank all of them.

Um, no you don't. Just vote for the candidate you want, if you don't care to rank them all. Your ballot will not be thrown away (unless you vote for Tiger Tail. That's got to be the nastiest ice cream out there).

Your "second choice" or even your "third choice" could become the winner of the election.

Um, I think that's the whole point.

Instant-runoff voting actually gives third parties more power. This is because under this system, third parties cannot suffer from negative publicity that they were a "spoiler". But third party voters can still influence the election.

Ain't democracy a bitch.

The Democrat now has over 50% of the votes and has the majority vote. The Republican, who recieved [sic]the most of the votes, is the loser.

Yup, and Gore got more votes than Bush in 2000. What's your point?

Instant runoff voting has few advantages. It's too complex to suddenly force onto voters, and it will discourage part of the electorate from voting. This gives a smaller percentage of the electorate more power in deciding elections.

I would love to see the studies they've done to back up that conclusion.

It also serves the interests of third parties. America has a long tradition of a two-party system, and that is part of what makes this nation so strong.

Ah yes, the old "But we've always done things this way, and I'm too old to change!" argument. This guy needs to brush up on his history if he thinks the US has a long tradition of only two parties.

So if voters don't know much about the candidate, they can still confidently vote for or against that candidate despite the fact that they weren't acquainted with the campaign or the race.

Um... what?

While instant-runoff voting may work well in some cities, and in Australia, where the laws and culture are different, it's not a viable option for our state or our country at this time.

Ipso facto (dusts hands after a job well done). What a closer! 'Cause I'll be damned if we end up like those Aussies, with their vegemite and their dingoes.

Sorry about that rant, but the idea someone was using this to support their position really tells you how weak their position must be.

21:54 | Rant | Comments (5)

February 8, 2005

And I Thought Football Fans Were Crazy

A Welsh man bet he would cut off his own testicles if England lost to Wales in the next rugby match. When Wales won its first home game against England in twelve years, he made good on his promise. Not only that, but he walked back to the pub to prove it, much to the horror of his drinking buddies.

A man's word is his bond after all. Even if he's now less than a whole man.

22:29 | Stuff

February 6, 2005

Birthday Party

Last night T and I hosted a party to celebrate my birthday. We had invited about 13 people, which we knew would be a challenge considering the size of our one-bedroom apartment. We decided to do some furniture rearranging, to accommodate the party. We moved the dining room table into the bedroom and set up the drinks there. The meant people wouldn't have to crowd our small kitchen, and opened up another room for socializing, with the bed as a big couch.

T made some delicious appetizers (including a baked brie with maple syrup). With Vanessa's help, they set up streamers and a collage of nice and embarrassing photos from my youth (what was I thinking with the hair I had in high school?)

People drank (I got quite drunk), ate, belly danced, and at one point a neighbour came up to complain. The party was a success. Thanks to everyone for showing up and helping me celebrate, and I'll be posting (tasteful) photos soon.

UPDATE: photos are here.

15:22 | Stuff | Comments (4)

February 4, 2005

It's a hell of a hoot.

"Actually it's quite fun to fight 'em, you know. It's a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up front with you, I like brawling."

Lt. Gen. James Mattis, who led troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, talks about fighting in Afghanistan.

06:53 | Quotes

February 2, 2005

Virginia Is For (Straight) Lovers

State legislators in Virginia are proposing to change the motto on the state license plates to "Traditional Marriage" and include an image of two interlocked rings over a heart. This is the same state that last year prosecuted a woman for receiving oral sex.

Meanwhile blogger Waldo Jaquith came up with his own plate design.

20:32 | America , Politics | Comments (4)

Parallel Universe

Just as I was turning off my computer for the night last night, I checked my email one last time (not that I was expecting anything at 11:30pm, but I like my email with a touch of OCD. Not only was I surprised that I had mail, but who it was from.

It was a cold-call email from a Robert Shanks who reads my blog (well, the Japanese journal part, at least). He's a Waterloo Co-op student working at Epson in Japan. He previously held a co-op job at Corel, and has landed an SDET job at Microsoft when he gets back home. As if that isn't weird enough, he found on my blog a reference to the song Bug Powder Dust, a mutual favourite.

And he's keeping an online journal of his adventures in Japan. Uncanny, isn't it?

07:22 | Stuff | Comments (4)