Archive for November, 2006

Statement of Purpose

I’ve been trying to write my statement of purpose for a month now. Grad school feels right to me. That is why I want to go. Putting words to that in an expressive essay is proving difficult.

After all these weeks of wordlessness, I decided to try a new tact. My family is in Hilton Head for Thanksgiving and we’re staying in a pimp palace thanks to my dad. A pimp palace complete with jacuzzi tub.

Tonight I decided to luxury that essay out of myself. So, jacuzzi, candles, Bailey’s and I all got together for a sit-down. That little spark which I figured would ignite this pile of pleasures, I stole from my brother.

I cannot describe to you the rushing tingle the cascaded through my body as I first touched that pristine water. It was heaven and only enfolded my deeper as I sank into the tub.

Unfortunately the stillness of the tub seemed to incite a like stillness in my brain. I could feel myself slipping into mindlessness. Not a bad place to be, but a bad place to try and find a statement of purpose. The whiskey and cream was certainly not helping either. Hoping to offset these ill effects, I turned on the jets.

Immediately, fountains of water sprang to life covering my resting head in frothing foam. I could see, as I arose spitting, that this was an environment poorly suited for writing statements of purpose.

It was invigorating though and woke me right up. I have been using alternating periods of quiet and fervor to keep me going. To date I have produced this account of my pursuit of a statement of purpose.

Statement of purpose still forthcoming.

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DC Life

I’ve been wandering our nation’s capitol for almost a year now. I’ve gone to some of the museums and monuments, and I’ve definitely seen my share of bars and restaurants. Last Tuesday, I got to take part in another part of the DC life: the political rally.

My evening began rolling sushi at a little MPP get-together. It is definitely the way to go with sushi. Normally I get five or six yummy little rolls and they are all too soon gone. When you are rolling your own you can stick all kinds of treats in them and make mounds of sushi.

It was interesting because I was talking to someone about food and started going on about how excited I was for my upcoming lunch at Fogo de Chão. I went on for a couple minutes about how amazing fifteen different types of flame seared meats was going to be before I realized it had gotten quieter. It was then that I remembered that I work for the weed people. In the room of twenty people I was one of three omnivores. It was all good though since that left more of the salmon and cream cheese for me which was so delicious as to nearly cause me to lose control of my bodily functions.

From the MPP party, I headed over to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee party. McK scored us tickets through a friend and it was a sight to behold. Just walking through the door the smell of politics was thick in the air. There were lots of important people milling about and even more people looking to make their acquaintance. The schmoozing was thick enough to cut it with a knife.

My creative team is still working on our business cards and I was already a bit lit, so I wasn’t looking to get my schmooze on. I just enjoyed the live band, open bars and hollering whenever a new seat would be called for the Dems. I doubt that I could have spent the evening with a happier bunch of people. When Pelosi got up to give her speech people I saw people crying.

It was a really fun evening and I got a cute little donkey pin for my lapel.

Things at MPP were a little less jubilant the next day. They lost both the South Dakota and Nevada campaigns. It was unfortunate. We knew things were going to be close, but I’d hoped that things would work out. There were a variety of local initiatives that passed. It’s something at least.

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Ticket Chronology

  • 2006/07/22 12:05 – Leave DC for Shenandoah National Park
  • 2006/07/22 14:58 – Stop at a light in Warrenton
  • 2006/07/22 14:59 – Pitch rolled up pieces of bread crust from one car to another
  • 2006/07/22 15:03 – Ticked for littering
  • 2006/07/22 15:10 – Notice that the date on the ticket is 2008/09/15
  • 2006/07/22 15:12 – Notice that the license on the ticket is from Virginia
  • 2006/07/22 15:15 – Decide not to worry too much as there are two years to wait
  • 2006/08/10 15:10 – Look up $250 minimum fine for littering
  • 2006/09/25 10:15 – Notice of trial in abstentia and $182 fine arrive in Bristol
  • 2006/10/05 09:15 – Remailed notice with license suspension penalty and payment date of 10/04 make it to DC
  • 2006/10/15 13:30Online verification of license validity
  • 2006/11/10 22:45 – Notice of suspension of Virginia “No License” arrives in DC

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Meats!

Yesterday, in early celebration of my birthday several of us went out to Fogo de Chão. It was sumptuous.

The basic idea for the restaurant is there are men wandering the floor at all times bearing skewers of freshly fire seared meats. They purport to have fifteen different sorts, but the ones I saw were:

  • Filet Mignon – tenderloin wrapped in bacon
  • Costela – beef ribs
  • Costela de Porco – pork ribs
  • Linguica – pork sausages
  • Beef Ancho – prime rib
  • Alcatra – top sirloin
  • Fraldilnha – bottom sirloin
  • Cordeiro – leg of lamb
  • Frango – chicken wrapped in bacon
  • Picanha – sirloin seasoned with sea salt and garlic

You have a little colored disc by your plate and you just flip it from red to green to send gauchos descending upon you to whack off a tasty chunk of meat. It was so good. The meats were wonderfully seasoned and so soft that I didn’t so much cut them as have them fall to pieces when I tried to cut them.

There’s also a huge salad bar, but I didn’t go to it until I’d already eaten about three platefuls of meat. There were some cheeses and whatnot, but few things that seemed worthy of depriving stomach space to more delectable meat. ☺

Also at the table there were cheesy mashed potatoes and some sort of little bread puff filled with cheese and fried plantains. The whole experience was amazing and I am really thankful to my friends for doing it with me.

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Boggling

As to whether I am out of touch with Joe Everyman: yes.

Gay Marriage Ban Vote Totals
State Yes Votes Yes Percentage No Votes No Percentage
Arizona 551, viagra patient 231 49% 583, cough anabolics 830 51%
Colorado 767,858 56% 611,315 44%
Idaho 257,713 63% 149,696 37%
South Carolina 812,679 78% 228,638 22%
South Dakota 172,237 52% 160,756 48%
Tennessee 1,407,769 80% 342,286 20%
Virginia 1,321,177 57% 999,854 43%
Wisconsin 1,259,489 59% 860,996 41%

In Tennessee it was completely overwhelming. Look at the voter survey for Tennessee. The only group of people who were more likely to vote against the ban than for it are those who never go to church. Go Jesus.

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Voting

I, unfortunately, will not vote this year. My absentee ballot was sent to Africa and I didn’t have time to get a new one. It sucks since I would like to cancel out my father’s vote on Tennessee’s marriage amendment. He’s been on a speaking tour across the state for the last week trying to drum up support as part of the Real Marriage bus tour.

I really don’t get it. Exactly what the do they thing is going to happen if gay people were to marry?

I always thought that homophobia was something along the lines of the racism of the 60’s. I’m certainly not going to argue that racism is dead, but if I were black I wouldn’t expect to walk into a restaurant in most of the country and be refused service. While the problem hasn’t gone away, I think that it is undeniably improving.

My grandmothers, both of whom I love and respect, have both said things that are a little bit racist. I don’t argue with them or expect them to change their sentiments. They are members of their generation and I find it difficult to fault them that when my predilections line up so much with my own generation. It is rare that someone really breaks away from the opinions they grew up with in any serious way and those who do seem more likely to be demented than visionary.

Honestly, I figured this was a problem that I could mostly ignore for a while and it would pass away (literally).

Titivillus sent me a list of ballot initiatives and it looks like eight states (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin) have same-sex marriage bans under consideration.

One of the big problems with the liberal microcosm I travel in is I lose touch with the rest of the world. It is like being overseas in an Islamic republic during the last presidential election. It was completely baffling (and embarrassing) when Bush was reelected. He was so disliked by so many of my daily contacts that I forgot that the country full of people who elected him in the first place were still there.

What are things like for the rest of you? I live with a gay guy and I spent about an hour getting chatted up by a transvestite on Halloween. Different sexualities are certainly present in my daily life, but not in an uncomfortable sort of way. I live in DC though. I went to the drag races and spent an hour dancing and drunken cat-calling drag queens with about 10,000 other people. (At some point everyone should see a 200lb man sprint in high heels.)

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Broken Phones

We can’t get XO to release our number to Verizon for another month. So, we were just going to get a remote call forward put on the XO lines over to the Verizon lines. Today though we learn that you can only get a temporary call forward put on your XO line if you go through a reseller, which we don’t. The only thing they’ll do is a permanent call forward which takes fifteen days.

Unless the line is down. In that case they will to an emergency temporary call forward. That would likely mean something happening to physical copper coming up from the basement that I watched them screwing around with a couple months ago. It would be very unfortunate is something happened to those lines…

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Pfecheur

Geek vocabulary term for the day: spear phishing. Regular phishing (Firefox 2‘s spell check knows the word “phishing”) are those random fake emails telling you your Paypal account needs verifying. It is just someone trying to trick you into installing something.

Spear phishing for example is the people at Dekalb Medical Center who got a forged e-mail from their human resources telling them they’d been laid off. The link that they clicked on then installed a keylogger to capture their password.

I remember reading about a third type that I can’t find a reference for now. It was called something like “laser phishing” which would be something like a forged e-mail from my boss with a malicious attachment. I suppose at that point though it isn’t phishing so much as social engineering.

Can you imagine a world where scammers have org charts or friendship graphs? I bet if you had something like like Google’s cache you could start to reconstruct the relationships between people with the links on sites like MySpace and LiveJournal. Then you match those identities to email addresses and you have the backing for some really well tailored phishing.

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Don’t Mess Up

I’ve been screwing with my livejournal layout. I’m about 75% of the way through, but I generally am liking how it looks.

I’m still contemplating on the friends page. I’ve got a little script that creates a SVG and rasterizes it. It makes pretty curvy corners, but Dreamhost is slow enough that some of the corners time out. It makes things kinda ugly.

One of the bigger problems at this point is I’ve deleted the edit button from the post page so if I screw up there’s no fixing it. Here’s to being carefull.

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Phones

The election is fast approaching. I have, unfortunately, found that it takes about a month to get an absentee ballot, so my voice will remain unheard this year.

Things have been heating up here in the office. There’s lots of ads and whatnot. It is going to be an interesting election, though things look bad for several of our initiatives.

90% of my time has been sunk into learning Trixbox (formerly Asteisk@Home). We were getting line errors and dropped calls on our PRI line from XO, so it was decided to drop them. The problem is the guy who knows how all this works isn’t here. So far as Linux admin experience, I’m the best they’ve got.

Not to say that I’m a bad admin. I’ve been running Linux as my only OS for about two years now and I like it. The issue at hand is I know diddly about VoIP.

It has been an instructional week. I like Asterisk in general and would definitely like a chance to roll out an installation (though with a slightly longer timeline). I’ve felt very professional calling techs all over the place and working to get things set up. It was sort of anti-climactic today when the Verizon tech and I finally got things going and when I asked him what he did and he said, “everything just needed to be rebooted.” Apparently that works in the telecom world as well.

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