Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Effin Christmas, everybody!

I suppose it's technically not Christmas anymore, but what the hey: Merry Effin Christmas. 

Betsy Aoki brought to my attention the fact that a new version of XNA game studio 2.0 is out.  I thought "Kick @$$!" and immediately downloaded it.  It installed great, I got the starter kit, and it blew chunks.  I hate this damn computer.  I've apparently got the screwiest video card on the planet (Radeon 9250 if any of you would like to avoid it).  You see, the plan was to throw together a little "Santanator" game similar to the old Duke Nukem 1 that would allow all of you to participate in my little private war on Scroogery, but frikin' Dell put a stop to that.  Time to get myself a little birthday/Christmas present and buy a decent computer.  I'm thinking Dual Core/Big Ass Video Card with 400 billion gigs of ram, you know, standard development machine.  I'll let you know how that works out.  I can tell you this much... no more Dells.  I'm going back to the Frankenstein

On a completly unrelated note, I've got the bug to write again, but I'm having trouble nailing down a story.  Feel free to post any ideas you'd like to share here, maybe I can use it.  I give credit.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Take your "Bah Humbug" and shove it up your big fat ass!

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening,
In the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful sight,
We're happy tonight.
Bitchin' about how much we hate Christmas!

What? That's not how it goes? The hell you say!

I intended to imbed Joe Pesci's "Take your love and shove it up your big fat ass" as the theme song for this post, but I couldn't find a stream of it. Google it, you'll find it, eventually. It pretty much sums up how I'm feeling about Christmas (and other things) right about now.

What the hell happened to Christmas? It's been over-commercialized, defined as some date with no background that's been defined to mean "peace on earth, happiness" and all that crap, and everybody you see says "Bah Humbug." We've all turned into Scrooges. The "Christmas Spirit" is at an all time low.

What the fuck, people?

Let's straighten a few things out.

1. I'm not Christian, so the "real" meaning of Christmas is more or less pointless to me. An earth spirit was born 2000 years ago, supposedly on December 25th, told everybody to be good to each other, then got nailed to a tree for it. Very sad. Let's move on, bible-thumping soon-to-be-ex-wife notwithstanding.

2. The over-commercialization of Christmas is, I believe where the majority of the ill feelings towards Christmas comes from. Black Friday? What are we shopping for? We fight monstrous crowds trying to find the "perfect" gift, and increase our respective stress levels by enough per capita to power several starving third world countries. Feeling Jolly yet?

3. No matter how many times and in how many forms we cram "A Christmas Carol" down your gullet, you people just don't seem to get it. All I hear is "I hate Christmas. Bah Fucking Humbug."

4. I've got as much reason to hate Christmas this year as anybody. I won't go into details, but it involves death, shattered home life, and various mental instabilities all hitting at once. Figures it be fucking Christmas.

I feel like Clark Fucking Griswold.

Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse.

Jesus Christ, I am Clark Fucking Griswold!

When I was a kid, Christmas was a good thing. I'm sure my parents practically killed themselves trying to make it that way, but dammit I WANT MY CHRISTMAS BACK!.

That's it. I've had it. Say hello to Santa's big-ass helper.


That's right. You worms better get Jolly or else. I'd better start hearing some fucking "Merry Christmas" and I'd better fucking believe it, or I'll shove your "Bah Humbug" so far down your god damned throat, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come will have to bring a fucking scalpel.

This is you last warning, worms! Get Jolly or Get Your Ass Kicked!

Santanator out.


Restored comments:

Celes said:

Yeah, I kind of felt this way this holiday season. I understand there are lots of negative things that have come about with this holiday- but if you have any control over your own life, why not try to make the best of it? Shit happens no matter what time of the year it is. Eat some cookies and try to get over it already. I know it's over commercialized, but then if you hate that, why not refuse to participate in the commercial aspects you disagree with? Buy and give if you really feel it. If you're giving out of obligation and guilt, it makes the gift pretty worthless.

The Cowboy said:

Hey, you know me. A rant a day... It's not even the commercialization of Christmas that annoys me, I tune that out for the most part. I think it bothers other people, then they take it out on me. That annoys me. Then I rant. Then I feel better and yell less. Well, usually. Not this time. Usually I'm pretty effin Jolly. Ho ho ho.

Just for the record this wasn't in response to any blog post, it was in response to people in my life being pissy, making it harder for me to be so effin Jolly. Sorry if it came off offensively. I have that effect on people.

- CC - said:

Offense? Not I. I wasn't directing that comment at you, I was directing it at those people who have been pissing you off and me off as well with their bellyaching.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Tao of the Cowboy

The stresses in my life have made me a little un-centered lately. Today I'm trying to refocus on spirituality. The "Tao" in front of "Cowboy" is for a reason.

A recap for those who don't want to go digging for this nugget of info in my past posts. Several years ago I joined what I though was a normal everyday church. Actually my wife joined, and talked me into going. Oddly enough I'd been approached by these people twice before, and this little alarm went off in my head. This time it didn't.

Being in a cult is a very strange experience. Nobody in a cult believes they're in a cult, even if everybody that knows them can see it. Nobody about to join a cult thinks they're stupid enough to join one. The flaw in their logic is that the likelihood of you joining a cult has absolutely nothing to do with your intellect. Nothing. Very smart people join cults all the time. The Hale-Bopp comet cult was full of very smart people. Don't ever think you're too smart to fall for it. That leads to the Dark Side, my friend. It's all about emotions.

The other danger of cults is that very few people actually know what a cult is. People who have never been in one tend to get their ideas of what a cult is from TV. I seriously doubt any dramatization of Jim Jones or David Koresh was even remotely accurate. Many people who have been in cults still don't know what one is. They may or may not be aware of why their head is so screwy, but they may not know what makes that group a cult.

I spent a year after I left my cult convinced I was going to hell. I still believed what they told me, but knew I couldn't return. I didn't know why. I guess that little alarm in my head finally went off. A very old and very dear friend of mine finally told me what had happened to me, and how the bastards fucked with my head. Recovery was a slow, painful process, but I managed to drag two more people out with me, one of them my wife. I have to give her credit, I didn't think she was strong enough to leave. That gives me a final score of -2, or 2 depending on how you look at it. I never dragged anybody in, but I managed to drag a few out. One of the few positive things I can say about the whole crappy mess. I was able to do all of that because I took the time to find out what defines a cult and how they work. I needed to know how that had happened to me. I normally consider myself a relatively intelligent person.

Something odd happened after that. I had lost all desire to go to any church. I went to a few on my wife's request, but every time it just creeped me out, sort of like somebody trying to get on an airplane after surviving a crash. Eventually I admitted to myself that Christianity held nothing for me anymore. So I started looking.

I found Taoism. In all this time I've only scratched the surface of what's there. In true eastern fashion, it doesn't fit the western definition of a religion or a philosophy. It's somewhere in between. A lot of westerners have trouble with that, but it's part of what attracted me to it. It was also the first "religion" that I found that didn't condemn all the non-followers as heathen bastards going to hell. It actually validated other beliefs, and talked about how many don't understand their own religions.

If anybody understood the Christian bible, would there be (if I remember correctly) over 300 denominations of Christianity?

I wouldn't call myself a true Taoist, but that's where I look when I need a little spiritual guidance. It fits with my theory of the universe the closest.

Tao information, translation, screensavers & more

One of the more central ideas in Taoism is Wu-Wei. It's not an easy concept to explain, but nothing in Taoism is. The closest parallel in western thought is "Go with the Flow". One of my favorite books, The Tao of Winnie-the-Pooh uses Pooh bear to brilliantly explain this concept. It's Pooh's uncanny knack for just letting things happen and always ending up on top that shows the idea the best.

In my life I have an example, and it's very recent. This is kind of surprising because I haven't been practicing these ideas lately, but I think that I should. It involves going to what I would consider one of my top 5 perfect jobs, and it just sort of happened. My entire life, whenever something bad seemed to be happening, I would let it work itself out, and I always ended up better off than I was before. That's Wu-Wei. I suppose I've always been a kind of Taoist, I just didn't know it.

I needed to remind myself of that today. I don't have enough time now to explain why, but it got the job done all the same. Who knows, maybe what I've written here will help somebody. Maybe not. It's all the same.

Anyway, another important part of Taoism is getting proper rest, so I'm going to bed.


Restored Comments

tao said:

All judgement is immoral and all effort to change somebody is destructive and violent. And that's what cults and churches have been doing up to now. That's why Lao Tzu is incomparable, unique, unsurpassed before and after. His vision is the ultimate vision of spontaneity, suchness, nature. If you understand him your life will start moving in a totally different rhythm. You will become a non-interference, WU-WEI. And only when you don't interfere in another's life do you respect life that's what reverence of life is all about.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

What's bugging Cowboy?

There was a vote a couple of years ago to allow gay marriage.  I never once heard a really good argument against it, yet it failed.  There's only so many places you can be on this issue.  Let's review, shall we?

1. You're gay, so you're for it.  Simple enough.

2. You don't care.  Probably an enlightened heterosexual (or metrasexual) who, like me, is yet to hear an argument against it that doesn't involve invoking the Christian bible or God.

3. You're against it.  This is the one that interests me, why would somebody be against this?  The obvious one, and the only one I heard during the debate was "God hates homos".  Eloquent enough, but what about separation of church and state?  Are we still basing laws on the bible?  While we're at it let's throw all the damn heathen Atheists, Hindus, Taoists, and whatnot out of the country.  Being decidedly non-Christian since that whole cult ordeal, I'm going to have to reject that argument.  Plus, I'm a bit more tolerant than that by nature. 

I can understand the Christians feeling that gay marriage is wrong and has no place in their religion.  Don't allow gay marriages in your church.  See?  You have every right to do that.  Do you really have a right to force tenants from your religion on the rest of the country? 

My problem is, I don't see why it should be illegal.  If you've got a good reason and can state it without using the words "God" or "Bible", fire away.  It's kindof like the whole marijuana debate.  Why exactly is it illegal?  What makes it worse than say alcohol?  We seem to have a whole series of "immoral" laws, making illegal things that would only hurt yourself if you were to do them.  The only justification seems to be that it's immoral, according to some religion or another. 

Here's what should be illegal, but isn't:

1. Six hour miniseries with no denouement.  What the hell, Tin Man?  I haven't seen anything end so abruptly since Rosemary's baby.

2. Driver's licenses for idiots.  I know you heard there's going to be ice, but the weatherman was wrong.  There's no ice on the road, so you don't need to drive really really really slow in preparation.  I need to get to work today, dammit!

3. Hillary Clinton for president.  I have no problem with a woman president, just her.  We've had enough Bushes and Clintons.  How about Mary Carey?  Just imagine what she could do for foreign policy!

4. $3/gal. for gas.  What the hell?  What.... the.... hell?

5. Spell checkers that don't know the word "dammit".  Dammit!

6. My continual rants.  Who really wants to hear this crap?  Peace out!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!

Okay, I'm apparently not very good at satire.  My last post contained a bit of satire combined with a bit of truth.  Here's how to sort them out:

1. Please don't send me your twenties.  It was a satire on Internet scams inspired by Rory's post.  I didn't post a mailing address on purpose (duh!).  If you ask me for one I will first laugh, then, as I slowly realize that you're not joking, I will begin to cry softly.  When my wife asks me why I'm crying, I'll have to reply "The world has gone insane.   I'm going to build it a little house to keep it safe."  Then I'll build a small shack inside out, and quietly stand guard "outside" to make sure none of the patients escape.

2. The dollar bill didn't really shrink.  It wasn't even my dollar bill.  I shrank the picture myself with Paint.NET.  It's a great program, and it's free.  Download it, then donate to the cause.  However, it was meant to point out that during the last administration we've A) gone to two wars from which we "can't" get out. B) Gotten way too many of our young men and women killed for a war that never had anything to do with 9/11.  C) Watched oil companies make record profits.  D) Watched our budgets shrink as gas prices have tripled, with a ripple effect to almost everything else.  The dollar does not go nearly as far as it used to even eight years ago.  I'm not trying to lay out a conspiracy theory here, I'm pointing out that our government has made poor choices, refused to admit that they were poor choices, and refused to try to fix the messes that they've created.  We've lost nearly 4,000 soldiers in Iraq.  Are we safer because of that?

3. I really do think Henry Rollins would be a good president.  Better than anybody else currently running.  I really am tired of the Bushes and the Clintons.  I really do think that we won't find a good candidate in Washington D.C.  Douglas Adams once said something to the effect that anybody who wants to be a politician is by their very nature the worst choice for a political leader.  I think he's right.  Is Henry the answer?  Maybe, maybe not, but either way we need a change.

4. The digg this links were because of the Henry Rollins content.  I tried clicking on them myself and couldn't get it to work.  I don't think it's the plugin's fault.  I tried doing it through the digg site and it didn't work either.  Ah well, I didn't really think the Rollins for President movement was going to take off anyway, but it was fun to try.

5. Yes, the inside out house was from Douglas Adams as well.

Rory, I hope I'm trustworthy again.  I've learned my lesson. Angel

Everybody else: Satire is BAD BAD BAD!

If you'll excuse me, I've got six hours of Tin Man to veg out to.

Monday, December 10, 2007

More Henry

I couldn't leave it alone. I found this and had to put it up. This is a letter from Henry to Ann Coulter. Every reason I want this man for our next president is summed up right here. After watching this, you too will be unable to deny that we could have no better president.

Conspiracies and the next President of the United States

Rory has just opened my eyes to a terrible conspiracy! Yes it's true, there is a government conspiracy regarding the twenty dollar bill. I wasted no time in trying to help people.

I can help you!

Your twenties are no longer safe! You must get rid of them now! Can you burn them? No. There's a secret sensor inside them that can detect when you're trying to destroy them. You'll have SWAT teams bashing in your windows before you've even got the fire going. Don't burn them! Your only option is to...


Yes, that's the only way you can be sure. Send all of your twenties to me, for I've unlocked the secret of how to disable the sensor and can safely destroy your twenties. I would post the information here, but that would alert the PRIVACYINVADER 3000 server and then I'd have the SWAT teams bashing in my windows. You have to send them to me now, it's the only way!

On a related note: I've been running a little experiment. I took a dollar bill from around the beginning of the current administration. Here it is before:


Last week I checked on it to see how it was doing, and here's what I found:


That's right, people: It shrank. Check for yourself: Go to your local gas station and put $5 of gas in your car. See how far it gets you. How far did it get you eight years ago?

You're probably thinking "It's the Republicans!" but you're wrong. A Democrat won't fix this either. There's only one answer to what's ailing this country. There's only one way to put our country back on the right path.

It's not another Bush.

It's not another Clinton.

It's not any of the D.C. regulars who want you to believe they're different. They're not. You could vote for them, but the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result. We keep voting for the same people (note: 20 years of Bushes and Clintons) and things never change. It's time for real change.

This election, my vote goes to Henry Rollins.

Vote for Henry Rollins. Tell your friends to vote for Henry! Tell your mom! Get everybody you can to vote Rollins next fall! He needs your support!

This message was not paid for nor endorsed by Henry Rollins.

I'm The Cowboy and I approve this message.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Links and Smileys

As I said last time, coming up with topics for posts seems to be getting harder. I think I'm hitting a creative slump right now, as even coding or composing in my spare time fails to interest me lately. Might be time to ask the doc for more wellbutrin.

Honestly, I only have two reasons for this post: one is to brag about the fact the I got a link from Rory Blyth. Thanks, Rory. I'm assuming that means you occasionally peek over this way. That's cool, 'cause I deleted all the mean things I said about you just in case that happened.

The truth is I occasionally up a link (like the one three sentences ago) just in case anybody happens to read any of this and wants to know just who the hell this Rory bloke is anyway. I'm not really trying to drive any traffic his way, because I'm pretty sure I don't have any traffic to drive.

All that's to say, I'm not sure what the etiquette is here. I posted a comment thanking him (I hope he understands German), and then wondered if that means I'm suddenly going to have a lot of traffic here and if that's really a good thing. I suppose it is if I'm ever going to get Henry Rollins in the White House. As I blog I discover things about myself. I originally intended to blog a mixture of programming topics interspersed with occasional attempts at humor. What ended up happening is that I find that I tend to rant quite a bit, so the things I rant about during the day have a way of finding their way here. It's not intentional, I don't encourage them to do that, they just do. Anyway, I'm not sure how all this linking and trackback sortof stuff works. If somebody could point me in the right direction so I don't make a complete ass of myself, it would be greatly appreciated.

The second thing is, I just downloaded some seriously cool plugins for Windows Live Writer, so I had to try them out. If you're looking for meaningful content, there's none past this point.

This is the "Insert a smiley!" plugin: Open-mouthed

Code Monkey: Monkey<-Me!

The obligatory dancing banana: Banana

This is the "Insert a code snippet" plugin. I got this one just in case I actually put up any tech posts. Here's hello world in C#:

   1: using System;

   2: class MyClass 

   3: {

   4:     static void Main() 

   5:     {

   6:         Console.WriteLine("Hello World!");

   7:     }

   8: } 

That's just freakin cool.

Here's the Digg This plugin:

I'm gonna use this on the next Henry Rollins post.

I've got a few more, Insert from Visual Studio, which isn't quite as cool as the code snippet one. Insert Silverlight Streaming Application, which I would use if I had one to stream (it's on my todo list), and an amazon link, I thought that might be cool but apparently you need an Affiliate number. I'll have to find out how to get one of those...

That's it! done playing.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

You're so far over the line... the line's a dot to you!

Bonus points if you can identify the quote.  The more I blog the more I realize what's really hard about maintaining a blog: deciding what the hell to write about. 

A lot of topics have been running through my head.  This is the danger of drinking coffee at night: your head starts working fast, but not necessarily the way it's supposed to.

Topics I've considered for this post were:

  • Jeff Atwood has managed to stir up a bit of controversy regarding the 80/20 division of programmers.  I'm not sure what all the fuss is about.
  • He also, in a follow-up post, divided programmers into three groups: Mort, Elvis, and Einstein.  I'm somewhere between Elvis and Einstein, because I've got the powerful intellect of Einstein with the unflappable cool of Elvis.  No?
  • The foul odor that just accosted me when I opened the fridge.  WHAT THE HELL IS THAT SMELL ANYWAY?
  • The shelf life of un-refrigerated pizza.  I hope it's long, because if not I'm in for a rough night.
  • Why the hell my bullet points look like flowers in Windows Live Writer.  Will they still look like flowers when I post?  That's gonna have to go.
  • Exactly how Luke became a full fledged Jedi with what could only have been a few days of training when the other Jedis had to study for years (see Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back).  This is the danger of being a Star Wars geek and watching them all in chronological order over six nights.  I would've done them all in one day if I could have.  Still doubt my geekiness?
  • The fact that I just applied for two completely separate dream jobs, and might actually have a chance at getting an interview. 

But I think what I'll talk about is how dangerous it is to have me for a dad. 

My six year old is about to turn seven.  He's entering that age when potty humor is sublime entertainment.  The other night we all sat down to a nice chili dinner.  My wife, trying to please myself and my oldest son, made the chili a bit spicier than normal.  My poor youngest couldn't eat it, but my oldest and I pretty much snarfed it.  Afterward, and I don't really remember how we got there, but the discussion of beans and their rather dramatic effect on the human digestive system became a topic of conversation.  I proceeded to illustrate a scenario in which I could save money on gasoline by strapping a pair of roller skates on my feet and a lit match to my butt.  The ensuing propulsion would surely get me to work in record time. 

The poor kid almost suffocated from uncontrolled laughter.  I was quite graphic about it and included sound effects.  I know all kids go through the potty humor stage, but are parents supposed to encourage it?  The problem is, I'm pretty sure with me as a father this poor boy stands no chance of leading a normal life at all. 

My brain, always racing ahead, immediately painted a picture for me of a future holiday dinner with friends and family, whereupon my son stands up and re-enacts the whole spiel.  Then he proudly turns to me and says "My dad told me that."  I don't think the human face is capable of looking sheepish enough to get out of that one, but you know it's going to happen.

What do you think?  Encourage crude behavior in children for the laugh factor or always be the "Serious" parent?