MC Spoo
22Dec/100

The Problem with Internet Filtering

I'm finding this puzzling.
The Government has decided that the best thing they can do "for the children" is attempt to force the use of an Internet Filter in schools and public libraries by withholding grants and discounts unless a library or school implements a software or hardware filtering solution.

In order to get grants and discounts on Internet access, we MUST install these obscenely expensive filters because... it protects children?

Allow me to debunk your junk "facts"...

1. Filters cannot tell what is obscene and what is not.
FACT: there is no computer, no server, no software in existance that knows the difference between what is obscene and what is not. Filters rely completely on "blacklists" for the majority of their functionality. These blacklists must be obtained by people, because after all, there's no way to automate this. If you automated it, everything or nothing is obscene, or it relies on inaccurate algorithms... Until Artificial Intelligence is created, specifically one capable of comprehend the nature of obscenity... there's no hope of this ever happening. If obscenity (verbal, written, visual, video, etc) is definable by an algorithm... that would truly be an amazing accomplishment of science.

2. Filters block access to LEGALLY OBSCENE MATERIAL.
FACT: This is completely false. Filters block access to LEGALLY OBSCENE MATERIAL only if you're kind enough to access it directly. If you're wise enough to know how to use unlisted proxy servers and other methods, you'll float through almost any Internet filter in existence. Why? BECAUSE COMPUTERS DON'T KNOW WHAT OBSCENITY IS! The fact is, bypassing filters is child play. A small amount of knowledge, and nearly every establish filter in use can be bypassed with little effort.

3. FACT: Parents obtain a false sense of security. Parents believe "my child is protected because the library/school has a filter". This is completely, totally and utterly false. A filter does NOT prevent access to LEGALLY OBSCENE MATERIALS. A filter only makes gaining access to LEGALLY OBSCENE MATERIALS on premises "slightly more difficult".

Think of it like this... There's an single entry way to a library. There's a guard at the door. The guard will only let people wearing a BLUE SWEATER in or out of the building. A pedophile sees this, but he's wearing a GREEN SWEATER. So the pedophile goes back to his car, grabs a BLUE SWEATER... and walks right in.

The guard is only looking at the color of a sweater. That's all the guard understands. BLUE = GOOD. ANYTHING ELSE is BAD. The guard is incapable of logic to determine that the guy in a BLUE sweater doesn't belong. The guard can't remember faces, and it can't tell the difference in size. The guard has no logical processing capability, and if he does, it's limited to knowing exactly WHAT shade of blue is acceptable.

The GUARD in the above scenario is your average Internet filter. Did you feel safe because there's a guard at the door? Probably. Did you know the Guard is only slightly more effective than a door knob? No, but that's the case.

So why does the government require the purchase of obscenely expensive software or hardware solution that doesn't serve the sole reason for it's existence? The common argument given is "for the children"! The truth is, all it does is create an government supported group of businesses, that otherwise would not survive because their products are flawed to start with.

Yes, that's what the children need... their parents to have a false sense of security, lowering their guard, which allows the average Pedobear/Pervonaut easy access to their children...

The real answer is education. The reason answer is to fix the SOCIAL ISSUE itself. You cannot fix SOCIAL ILLS WITH TECHNOLOGY. It just DOESN'T WORK. Any attempt to solve a social issue with the application of technology is doomed to failure. The real answer is that it takes a village to raise a child. We're all responsible for the safety of our children... and not a one of us will put the safety of our children in the hands of a guard who can only assume that Blue is bad, but everything else may pass.

The REAL issue is that there are morons who believe there's nothing wrong with viewing hardcore pornography in the middle of a public library with tens of underage kids running around. The issue is that kids are looking for dirty pictures (but this is the normal part). The issue is SOCIAL (perhaps psychological). This is NOT a technology issue. Efforts should be put forth to dissuade people from this behavior. Education for how to safely and properly use the Internet should be started as soon as the children can type. Parents need to be educated to know what's out there, what's waiting, and how to spot problems.

My opinion: the only reasonably successful way to meet the requirement of the CiPA (Children's Internet Protection Act), which is used as part of the wording for eRate (USF) funding requirements is to MONITOR access with human beings. A proper policy must also be written, stating such access violates all code of conduct rules, and any violation of the policy results in immediate loss of privilege and/or ejection.

As a human being, I can tell you what is obscene and what is not. When I see it, I know it. Will I be completely accurate? No, I won't, because what is obscene is defined by a measurement of community mores and personal morals. Will I sit there like an Overlord and watch what everyone accesses? No, of course not. Will I toss your ass out if I find you looking at hardcore bestiality on a public Internet computer? You bet your pathetic ass I will and I'll ban you from coming back. And that I will do for the children (and common decency).

A Library is a public institution. It's not a right. It's a privilege, and part of that privilege is being a responsible citizen... that means knowing our children don't need to be exposed to your perverse inclinations. Even if we provide a "separate" adult internet area, that doesn't mean its an open license to search for hardcore pornography.

Now, personal disclaimer:
Personally, I do not have negative issues with pornography (except Child Porn, which is legally and morally perverse, and should be prosecuted appropriately EVERY TIME). A responsible adult, in the safety of their own home, has the legal right to access and peruse such materials... but they have no such legal right to access of such materials in a public location.

I'm not selling a personal agenda here. I'm summarizing from the view of a person who's job includes the duty to run and monitor public internet computers. The above reflects my experience in dealing with the public, and the "technological measures" that have been required by the government to obtain funding. The general purpose is to demonstrate both the failure of Internet Filtering, and the fallacy of requiring the application of such a poorly executed service as a requirement for obtaining funding. These are my own personal views, and do not reflect the views of my employer(s).

Back Stories (these are just memories of filtering):
Back in the day on multi-line BBS's, they implemented "swear" filters, to keep things clean. These swear filters were the first attempt at filtering electronic communications I'm aware of. They would prevent you from saying any of the classic list of "seven dirty words", amongst others... but were incapable of filtering creative spelling of swear words.

All the phone slang, etc you see today sprang out of that movement. The swear filters would block the word "shit", but not the word "sh!t". The swear filters would oftentimes block completely innocent words like "pocketwatch", leaving you having to look through the word to determine the secret swear word within... which is really more obscene than the swear word itself.

Interesting way of getting swear words, even by human filters: turn the word into a new word. Best example of that is Battlestar Galactica on Syfy. In order to keep the characters appearing human (because we all swear), they introduced the word "frak". Frak is clearly just a typo of "fuck". So the characters are randomly exclaiming about "frakking" this and "frakking" that.. they're swearing on the air. But that's okay, because the censors have been tricked into thinking the word means something else entirely... yet everyone with half a brain knows that they're saying "fucking" this and "fucking" that.

19Apr/100

Automobile Roulette

Well, the lease on my CX-7 is just about up, so I started the process of shopping for a new vehicle. I'm going to share my experiences here so maybe others can learn about things, but mostly just to outline my thinking...

I realized I wanted a vehicle with better gas mileage than I was getting. The CX-7 varied from 16 to 23 mpg. On the Highway, sometimes you could get 24 or 25. Decent, not spectacular, and mostly hovering between 17 and 19. This meant a 4 cylinder.

I also realized I wanted to buy this time. I considered lease, but lease is restrictive. I mean, I wanted to drive down to DC in my CX-7, but realized if I did, I'd end up paying a penalty. Meh.

I began thinking small. Honda Fit. Nissan Cube. Nothing by the domestics in this class worth considering, unfortunately. a Chevy Aveo isn't worth firing a solitary neuron. However, I realized: I'm a big guy. I need a vehicle I can fit into.

So I started looking at Ford Fusion, Mazda 6, Dodge Charger, Chevy Malibu, HHR... but also some small SUVs like the Honda Element, Chevy Equinox/GMC Terrain, Ford Escape, Jeep Patriot and Nissan Rogue....

Fusion: Lovely car. Comfortable. Plenty of room. 4 Cyl model is peppy. Otherwise, the vehicle is blah... and over priced. Ford wasn't really all that interested in a decent sales price. They wanted to lease only. Want to buy? Full price! Plus, Ford has changed their X-Plan rules to make it prohibitive for me to obtain an X-Plan. So... no.

Mazda 6: Same basic chassis as the Fusion. Again, lovely car, but in a different way. Roomy (except for instrusive arm rest on driver side that dug into my knee). Engine is pretty decent. Felt stronger than the one in the Fusion. Because I'm a "previous Mazda leasee", they would have kept me on an S-Plan, so the price was excellent.

Malibu: Overpriced. And boring. Very very very boring. Not much else to say.

HHR: Still a package I like. Comfortable. Sizable. But... why such backwards technology? If you want an automatic, all they have is a 4-speed. WTH? Come on, Detroit. Wake up!

Equinox/Terrain: I LUSTED both of these. They're large, comfortable looking vehicles with great gas mileage. However, they also horribly and ridiculously overpriced. Didn't even bother with a test drive. Too expensive.

Charger: I LUST the way this car looks. It's manly. But... only a 4 speed auto? Are you kidding me? Hello, Dodge/Fiat? The 1990's called. They want their transmission back. I want a modern vehicle, not a dinosaur.

Patriot: I've test driven one of these in the past. The new ones are even nicer. However, dealership issues scratch this from the list. Once again, I show up to test drive and price a Patriot... and the dumb asses try to sell me a Dodge Nitro. I was so incensed, I simple put my hand up, and said "Bye". What the hell is wrong with you, Jeep? Someone was there to buy a vehicle, and you wanted to sell them something else. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU????

Element: I like the quirky design. The interior is fabulous. The engine is smooth but... no. It still seems like Tonka designed an SUV for Honda based on a design by some designers 12 year old kid on Nyquil. Besides, its still the same Element they've been selling for years, so it's long in the tooth... and the engine is too weak (gas mileage is weak, too).

Escape: I used to have a 2001 Escape. It was decent, but had bad transmission and quality issues. I still wanted to look at these, but Ford is over pricing their vehicles badly. New trans (6 speed) but still... why so much? It's still the same chassis as the 2001 model I had. So... no.

Rogue: Well, I had low expectations for this, but came up pleasantly surprised. The CVT is decent. The engine is strong. The gas mileage is better than the CX-7, even with AWD. The interior was crisp and not a swath of hard plastic. Quirky, but not overtly spartan. The price on a purchase was perfectly within my budget. It wasn't overpriced. It fits the sweet spot between my expectations and my hopes.

Therefore, I am in the process of obtaining a brand new 2010 Nissan Rogue S AWD in Silver Ice. I should get my new vehicle within the week (as long as I can get Mazda to "inspect" my CX-7 in timely manner).

I come away again without a domestic vehicle. I can't express how poorly the domestics are priced and sold. Chevy thinks they're selling gold plated, diamond encrusted SUVs. They also killed off 2 brands that I would definitely have shopped: Saturn and Pontiac. Let's me honest here: If Pontiac wasn't killed off, I'd be buying a Pontiac G8, which was the mostly beautiful vehicle Pontiac ever made. I LUST LUST LUST that car. But there's none left. And Saturn had the Aura (a MUCH better looking Malibu clone) and the Vue (lovely SUV). Ford? Same problems as Chevy. They're over pricing their cars.

Years ago, I remember shopping with my mom for furniture. We went into Gardner White. There's a couch that looks perfect for what she wanted, but no price tag on it. So we ask the salesman, who says "Oh, that's a $5000 couch, but we'll let you have it for $1700." WTF? No it's not. How much does it really cost? Are you showing us a HUGE price up front, and then a smaller sales price to make us think its a bargain? I'm just not stupid enough for that trick, and thats the way the pricing at the domestics (Ford and Chevy) felt. A Malibu really costs $27k? No it doesn't. Not for a 4-cyl model. Are you kidding me? It looks like someone stepped on a gummy bear!

Dodge/Jeep? Good Lord... shape up, or ship out. Stop selling 1990's technology. Start selling what people go to the dealerships for! Fiat better get something modern flowing from that pipeline before it dries up. And fix the sales people, for gosh sakes... Sell me what I want: not what you have incentive to sell.

Don't agree with me? Let me know...

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5Apr/100

March – Onward?

March was one hell of a month for me.

I can't recall the last time I worked that hard. I worked almost 16 days straight with a day off to start the month. Tons of projects came to completion.

I became haggard, whiny, and angry. I snapped at people.

But... what an ending to the month. The last 2 weeks of March have been like a waking dream of epiphany to me. Finishing RFID has felt so professionally satisfying, these words only scratch the surface.

BOTB was such a smashing success (literally... witness the Gong) this year, I now wonder just how we can possibly do better.

And there's a lady out there... who I've found a common bond with. And I don't much like being away from her now. She gets me in a way I never imagined to be possible. She likes a lot of the things I like. She likes the fact that I'm... well... I'm a geek/nerd/spaz. And she thinks thats great!

I like talking with her. As much as possible. I like making her smile. I'll listen to her for as long as she wants me to. I want to help her with her problems. I want to make her world a shinier and better place for all of us. I just need to keep my imagination in check. It goes places long before it should. It might get me in trouble. Who knows.

I want to see where this road untravelled goes to. Its made my whole month, which felt so hard and difficult, out to be the best month I can remember in... near forever.

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19Feb/101

Confrontation and Confusion

I do not do confrontation well. There was an incident where we found someone doing something they shouldn't do.

It should have been simple. I should have simply ejected the person from the place. I mean, they were violating the code of conduct, and more to the point, likely breaking the law.

Instead, I froze. The kid was really good, and I was impressed by what he was doing. It took me a few moments to figure it out, and when I did I was like... whoa. Okay. Wait a second...

This is me when I was 12 years old. Hacking a Commodore Pet in the Library so everytime you pressed a button, it said "STOP TOUCHING ME!" and then when you typed "QUIT" it said "You shouldn't have done that. I'm mad now. I'm going to erase you." and then shut the computer down. (nothing but GOTO and IF/THEN loops in BASIC).

I felt like the bad guy. Telling him to leave. BUT... I'm a grown man now. My job included telling that kid "what you're doing is wrong, and must stop". Which I did... and I felt like... a hypocrite.

What made this a "confrontation" was the fact that he basically threatened me. A KID. Dude, I'm 38 years old and huge (so I'm told). I kicked him offline 3 times. He kept coming back. He would not leave. He found holes in the system. I was impressed... and repulsed... and confused.

Confusion is because when I was a boy, confrontation meant getting into a fight. Win or lose, it meant having to hurt someone. Thats the furthest thing from my mind and being as humanely possible. Even when not physical, it means stopping someone from doing what they want to do or saying something mean. And the kid? All he wanted to do was play a game (albeit, he was cheating). All I know is, I was so mad and confused, I felt myself vibrating. It was all too familiar. Like all the days of being made fun of... people screaming "DEAF BOY" in my ear... shoving me to the ground, forcing me to eat dirt.

Maybe this means I'm not doing my job right. Maybe this means I'm emotionally compromised now. Maybe my logical and emotional halves are just about to go to town on each other. Its hard to be confrontational in a verbal fashion when you can't hear.

Maybe its weird this is consuming me, and for the first time in a very long time, I hadn't thought about my mom for more than a few hours... and I feel guilty about that.

Maybe this blog post is about confronting confusion and hoping the end is logical.

Filed under: Deaf, General Stuff, Work 1 Comment
17Feb/100

Movies and Books and More

Just a few random movie reviews...

Zombieland: AWESOME movie. I want a sequel. or a TV series. Really well done.

Moon: GREAT sci-fi. Sam Rockwell deserves an Oscar nom for this movie. I mean, he's the WHOLE MOVIE. Maybe a bit of a slow build, but it pays off well.

Twilight: Nothing on tonight, so I watched this... atrocious excuse for a waste of celluloid. Well, that's harsh... it wasn't really SO bad... dopey writing. unattractive actors and actresses in a "love" story (pronunciation required).. and horrible HORRIBLE directing. What was with that dopey running effect? What is this? Land of the Lost?

And Another Thing: Douglas Adams' corpse should be spinning in its grave, attempting to verify the Superman theorem by spinning counterclockwise in an effort to turn the clock backwards and make sure Eoin Colfer is NEVER EVER offered the ability to mangle this beloved series.. holy, craptastic bad book. A long time ago, I bought into a maxim (thanks, Cairo Bob!): "Finish every book you start, you'll learn something by finishing it.". Well... I can't finish this crap. It's AWFUL. It's almost the worst book I've ever read. (and I'm look at you, Star Trek: Ghost Ship)

The Hurt Locker: Okay, I see why there's the Oscar hype. But... so? The movie was not really all that complex. Decent characters, but still basically gungho GI Joe, yippe kai yo. SO... he LIKES to disarm bombs. He's an adrenaline junky. So? Whatever.

Inglourious Basterds: Much more deserving of an Oscar. GREAT acting. GREAT directing. Slow build? Not really. Follow the detail. Not every movie has to be wall to wall slam bang action. I loved the way this movie rolled out and LOVED the way it rewrote the end of WW2. I mean, what IF? If that's the way you win, what the hell would your society be like? Would it really be better than the Nazis?

Avatar: Still want to see with IMAX 3-D. Saw it in "Real Digital 3D". In any case, I spent the first 20 minutes with my jaw open. Seriously stunning effects. The 3-D really works in 'closed" scenes, but "wide shot" scenes? Not so much. Serious immersion. The story? Very derivative. Dances with Wolves in Space. Even so, its awesome entertainment and a real leap forward in movie making. In any case, I'm amused endlessly by the reports of people who feel depressed about their lives after seeing this movie. I wrote about the EXACT EFFECT as part of my college thesis. I stated that Movies, TV and Computers will merge together, creating immersive entertainment structures and once those structures are established in a meaningful fashion, society will have to cope with it. Who wants to spend time in drab reality when you can spend time in a colorful, beautiful world of giant floating mountains and Smurfette is 12 feet tall and sexy hot?

25Jan/101

Summary and Upheaval of Fabric

So everything in my life seems to have changed drastically, and I lost my voice to speak here. Now I'm struggling to regain my voice.

My mom passed away in November after a bit of a battle with Renal Cell Carcinoma, a shitty piece of disease that creeps up and infects your body so insidiously, that the doctor have no real way of knowing it's there until it's already done it's damaged. She spent the last month of her life in the hospital, and the preceding month undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments for... well... nothing much at all.  She got so weak, she could not get into the house on her own. She could not stand up on her own anymore.

Now everything is different. I no longer know what normal is, and this effects everything there is about me. Maybe this post will be a bit selfish, but after the last 6 months, maybe there's some time in your life when its not really so awful to be selfish. Sometimes it's required.

I've been feeling mean. Petty. Vindictive. Upset. Pissed off. Scared for myself. Scared for my dad. I've been snappy with co-workers, and probably not nearly as pleasant as I otherwise should be. How long should it take for me to regain my footing, and find myself again?

For years,one of the ways I kept my head screwed on right, was to write poetry. It was blowing off steam. I posted a bit of these that pass muster on this site (http://mcspoo.com/creative). But I haven't been able to produce much of anything but pointless hatred and rambling whenever I put my mind to writing. I think I did manage to write two things that are passable, so I posted them. The tonality of those writings is... so different from the past. I re-read them and it was like reading someone elses writing. One is called "Bump in the Night" and the other is "Total Peace". There's not a lot of rhyme/rhythm to them, but the subject matter is curious even to me, like I shut off "me" and let some deeper voice scream through my fingers.

Anyhow, I do feel like I'm "getting better". I'm a "please" and "thank you" type of guy. "Have a great day", and I mean it type of guy. I realized for the last six months (since August or so), that hasn't been me. I've been a "sneer" and "sod off" kind of guy. I think I'm finding that part of myself. Smiling to people. Saying "Please" and "Thank you" and "have a great day"... and meaning it from the bottom of my heart.

17Jul/090

Bugatti Veyron vs Smart ForTwo

Images:
Smart ForTwo
Bugatti Veyron 16.4

Price:
Veyron = $2.1 million
ForTwo = $15,000
Winner: ForTwo
For the price of 1 Veyron, you can buy 140 ForTwos.

Horsepower:
Veyron = 1,001 HP (w/Hi Octane Gas) from a 8.0L Turbo Charged W16
Smart = about 90hp from an 1.0L inline 3 cylinder
Winner: ForTwo
If only because the combined HP rating of 140 ForTwo's is around 12,600 HP

Gas Mileage:
Veyron = 8.5 MPG
ForTwo = 35 MPG
Winner: ForTwo
With 140 of these, you're using more fuel per mile, but...

Passenger Capacity:
Veyron = 2
ForTwo = 2
Winner: ForTwo
If only because 140 ForTwo's will hold 280 people.

Top Speed:
Veyron = 253mph
ForTwo = 90mph
Winner: Veyron
Even with 140 ForTwo's, not a one of them is going faster than 90mph.

Repairs:
Well, with 140 ForTwo's at your disposal, the cars would become pretty much disposable, which means everytime one of them breaks down, you'd just toss it (literally) on the growing pile in your backyard. Your neighbors would complain about the toxic waste dump forming.
With the Veyron, every time something breaks, you'd take it to the dealership, and since you're filthy rich, they'd give you another one as a loner, or something similar like a Koenigsegg to keep you happy while waiting 3 or 4 months for the parts to be smelted, forged, shipped and installed from Europe.
Winner: (TIE) ForTwo and Veyron
If only because pissing off your neighbors with discarded automobiles is totally backwoods, but the experience with repairing a Bugatti is likely much more pleasant... unless you blow up the Koenigsegg, which is quite likely.

Ride/Drive Comfort:
The Veyron is likely to plaster your face back. Saves money on facelifts. However, the local police would likely park outside your house and give you tickets any time you accidentally depress the gas pedal more than a quarter inch. Ride would be smooth, exciting, and generally cause unsuspecting passengers to screech relentlessly and vacate their bowels without control.
The ForTwo has a grabby transmission, takes 16 seconds to reach 60 miles an hour, and would likely be blown off the Mackinac Bridge by a light westerly breeze.
Winner: ForTwo
Neither vehicle provides enough trunk space to take more than a bundle of Q-Tips on your trip up north, but at least the ForTwo has a cup holder. Also, with 140 of them, all your friends, family, and even their friends could go on the trip.

Obvious Winner: Smart ForTwo

(Sarcasm Off)

Filed under: General Stuff No Comments
7Jul/090

How Well Do You Know Me?

Recently, I made a quiz for Facebook using the popular "How Well Do You Know Me?" application. Almost no one tried it, and no one passed.

One of my friends called Shenanigans on my quiz, stating that I don't know myself well enough to produce a realistic test.

Is he right? Who knows... Your cheat sheet follows (Correct Answers in BOLD and Explanations, if any, in Italics):

1) How many slices of pizza did Mike eat during a HS band pizza party?
a) 9
b) 3
c) 27
d) 42
I realize this sounds ridiculous, but it's true. They threw a pizza party for the marching band after a football game and almost no one showed up. The few of us that were there munched down on pizza. I remember having a ball, and counting the number of pizzas I ate... I ate 3 whole large pizzas. 9 slices each. 27 slices of pizza. I had a BAD week after that.

2) What did Mike state was his ultimate work goal while in college?
a) Making LOTS of money
b) Becoming the next Steven Spielberg
c) Directing the Late Show with David Letterman
d) Managing computers in a public library
e) 40 years of unemployed bliss
This was actually part of a questionnaire when I agreed to go to Madonna University. We were asked what our ultimate career goal would be. I stated that I wanted to direct the Late Show with David Letterman. Remember, my major was VIDEO COMMUNICATIONS, not FILM. D, of course, is where I've ended up.

3) What is Mike's middle name?
a) Tralfaz
b) Scott
c) David
d) Lawrence
e) Laurence
Cheap trick question. I included the alternate spelling. Sorry. Tralfaz is Astro's real name. That always cracked me up...

4) What year did Mike graduate from Madonna University?
a) 1992
b) 1993
c) 1994
d) 1995
e) 1999
Technically, I would have accepted 1992 as correct. I completed all my course work in 1992 except for 3 credit hours. I actually had to waste 2 semesters after wards attending conferences that I have no memory of to pick up 3 credit hours... So I finished my Bachelors' in 3 years. Yes I did.

5) Mike's Cat is named Fargo. What inspired this name?
a) A visit to South Dakota.
b) A visit to North Dakota
c) The movie "Fargo"
d) His desire to visit frigid climates
BS was called on this question because I deleted an important detail... when I got Fargo from the Humane Society, he had a name applied to him already (as they are wont to do, because naming the pet makes it more personal to them). The name was: Chipper. So, one of the more famous scenes from the movie Fargo involves the disposal of bodies in a wood chipper... see? Fits like a glove...

6) Mike lives in a condo. He calls it the...
a) Fantasy Wonder Sex Land
b) Loft
c) Hellhole
d) Condo Rice
The reasoning here is obvious. Read some back entries on my blog. I hate this place, with all my soul. It's just a hole in the ground I dump money into and sleep. I hate the place because I distrust the Condo Association. They're worthless, money grubbing, crap-faced liars who deserve whatever bad things come unto their existence.

7) Mike's current side business is called...
a) McGeeks for Hire
b) MC Web Design
c) McEvoy Technologies
d) Techiance
e) NotAGeek
Mildly trick question. Until January this year, I DID have a business called "MC Web Design", which I ran with my cousin Charlie. However, Charlie just doesn't have the time on his hands to devote to a side business proper. I respect that. I wish I had a great wife and 2.5 kids to keep me busy too. Otherwise, Techiance was one of the business names I considered before McEvoy Technologies. It stood for "Technical Brilliance".

8) What was Mike's handle on BBS's?
a) Whadda
b) Sponge
c) Spoo
d) Spultz
e) Fartbreath the Farthest
Supreme Premier of UnListed Time Zones. That's what Spultz meant. It was also the sound effect for dropping dead bodies off a building. Either way, it was unique on BBS's. I technically also used Whadda on 1 or 2 BBS's, but those only lasted a month or so. I NEVER used "Spoo" on a BBS. That was a nickname because "spultz" was "too hard to type" while "spoo" was easy.

9) Mike ran a BBS with his brother and friend. The BBS was called...
a) Frontline
b) A Touch of Class
c) Power Outlet
d) The Other Side
e) Solaris
Ah, those were the good old days... of Punter protocol, and ASCII graphics. 1541/1581 drives to max out storage. Uploads and Downloads that took 3 to 6 hours to complete... (which would take about 25 seconds now!) Thousands of floppies worth of fun and late night pizza from wonder bread, spaghetti sauce and cheez whiz. Hanging out all night with my brother and friends... good good times.

10) Mike has a physical impairment. Can you name it?
a) Blind
b) Has no Toes
c) Has no Nose
d) Deaf
e) Can't smell
I have no idea how anyone I know could possibly NOT answer this correctly.

11) Mike considers this to be the greatest sci-fi book ever written. Name it.
a) Neuromancer
b) Rendevous with Rama
c) Snowcrash
d) I, Robot
e) 2001
I re-read this book over and over. It just always works for me. It's not uplifting or anything. It's just utterly, triumphantly fascinating and imaginative. I want to play Raven in the movie.

12) How many scripts (80 + pages) has Mike written?
a) 1
b) None
c) 3
d) 6
e) 2
This one is easy to find out: just go to http://mcspoo.com/creative and read them. See? That was simple.

13) Michael likes to write...
a) Notes and such
b) Short Stories
c) Screenplays
d) Poetry
e) Manuals
On the back of the last question, this was definitely me being funny again. However, I have written more poetry than... well... most dead poets. The pure posted number of poetry (which is just a fraction of what I have at home) should have been a dead giveaway. You'll find some of it online at http://mcspoo.com/creative. I have no idea if any of the poetry I've written is any good. Its never been read by anyone who could give me an honest critique.

14) The first rollercoaster Mike ever rode was...
a) Gemini
b) Blue Streak
c) Wildcat
d) Corkscrew
e) Magnum XL
Junior High Field Trip for having a 3.25 GPA for the year. Rob Lambert and I walked in the park, and ran right to the middle, got in line and managed to get the front of the coaster. I then told Rob "I've never been on a roller coaster before".

15) Mike watches professional wrestling. Who was his favorite?
a) Hulk Hogan
b) Ric Flair
c) King Kong Bundy
d) Randy Savage
e) Ultimate Warrior
I hated Hogan after Wrestlemania 4. Flair, I hated him until the late 90s. Bundy? Hated him. Ultimate Warrior? Liked him, until Jim Hellwig legally changed his name to "Mr. The Ultimate Warrior". That leaves the Macho Man. Oh yeah!

So... does this still sound like I don't know myself?

15Jun/090

Update from the Netherworld

Well, I haven't left a message in awhile. However, my site isn't dead: I just haven't had anything momentous to share.

Over the last few weeks, I've been able to take a vacation It was a driving vacation, and I quite enjoyed it. Here follow some thoughts on the states I drove through in chronological order:

Ohio (Northern): Defective by design? Boring? Ohio isn't a destination: it's something your drive through to get where you're going.

West Virginia: Gorgeous scenery, literally the whole state is covered in hills and mountains. Very beautiful, but I had the sneaking suspicion that if I walked off the trail, I'd get bitten by a Copperhead snake or something. The area through 64 from Beckley to the VA border is incredible.

Virginia: Very long state. 64 is rather dull. I mean, it's a tunnel of pine trees. I can get that up north, but on the east side it has some of the WV mountains, and it's just as impressive.

North Carolina (Eastern): We entered through Norfolk, VA to get down to the Outer Banks... now I know what OBX means. Outer Banks is very cool. I liked it very much, but found a lot of it to be be... Lake Michigan with salt, ya know? Jockey Ridge was a nice sand dune and all, but it's tiny compared to Sleeping Bear. Wright Brother's memorial was great. Best part was food: fresh seafood... I liked it a lot, but could not help but feel it was a lot like Mackinaw City

South Carolina: My opinion of South Carolina is slanted. We drove down I-95 and encountered some of the worst roads outside of Michigan. Stay in the right lane for the first 30 miles down I-95 and you'll get sick to your stomach from being bounced around. However, once down state, it's got a strange "you're almost to Florida" feeling to it. It was terribly muggy while we were there. The slant is that I stayed with my aunt and uncle, and the area they live is just simply gorgeous off the charts. Hilton Head is awesome. We drove through, and I'm trying to figure out how I can make enough money to live there... We drove upstate (I-26) out of SC, and that was an equally interesting drive back into North Carolina.

North Carolina (Western): The west side of NC was completely different that the East side. Very hilly... and that's being polite. We stopped at a gas station and saw a box of fireworks so big, we couldn't have fit it in the truck. I wondered if it was a joke, but it's not. Apparently, they love to blow stuff up in North Carolina. We drove across I-40 towards the Great Smoky Mts... and I know WHY they're called "smoky". We drove the Blue Ridge Parkway between Waynesville and Tennessee... and it PORED like mad. But once the rain broke, we got a few shots from Wolf Mountain that are... absolutely, freaking, Ansel Adams-ish. I wished at that moment I was a well educated photographer with immense talent, so I could capture that scene, because... it defined the saying "we're not worthy". It was awesome.

Tennessee: Rather slim state, isn't it? We drove through Knoxville, which seemed pleasant enough. We had breakfast at a Cracker Barrel. Otherwise, it had some of the Great Smoky Mts to it, but then it went down hill into Kentucky. Not much else to say.

Kentucky: I drove all the way through Kentucky, north on I-75. It was really nice in the southern half, but the Northern half has rolling green hills... which seemed kind of Michigan-ish. Geography differences began to fade into similarities to my home state.

Ohio (South to North): Drove up I-75. Cincinnati smells. Bad. Dayton traffic is horrid. The state is utterly featureless once you get away from the Ohio River. I drove all the way through as quickly as possible because I wanted to get the hell out of Ohio as soon as possible. No offense, but even Indiana has features worth looking at. Ohio is like a troll under the bridge that smells bad, looks bad, sounds bad, probably tastes bad, and generally assaults all human senses.

Okay, so I'm a bit hard on Ohio... still... what the hell is in that state besides Cedar Pointe and Six Flags? The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame? Drew Carey?

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24Jan/090

Meandering About

I've had a bit of a shock to the system lately. I'm completely buried in the redesign of the new Library website. Last night, I woke up around 12:30am (sorry... I went to sleep early...) because I was basically having dreams about working on the website. So I woke up in a sweat... and started working on the website.  In the mean time, I've been busy with side jobs after work for a Dr office and still have another visit or 2 left to finish the job... February 2nd is the website roll out date... and it can't come soon enough.

I'm also in a bit of a time warp... the year is now 2009, which means 20 years ago (June 8, 1989 to be precise... which I remember because it was my birthday - still is, in fact), I graduated from high school... along with 98 some other classmates. Some of those classmates are coming out of the wood work. People I haven't spoken to in years, and I'm feeling this odd mixture of longing to renew acquaintances with my old friends, and shame in having lost touch with them. Why do we "lose" best friends? Was the best just temporary, or did it mean anything? Who knows... I know I want to see my friends again. There was a song they had us sing in Music class in grade school... which seems to have a few lines burned into my mind: "Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold". Seems appropriate.

I'm finding it cool to find out what some of my classmates have done with their life. More than one is in a band or two. One's actually an MMA fighter/trainer. Some live overseas. Some still live nearby. Who knows what the other's do? Are they more successful than me? Less? Does it matter? I think all that matters is that they're all happy.

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