Monthly Archives: July 2006

Discrimination is everywhere!

In case you missed it, my post on gay marriage turned into a long frustrating “debate” with a random visitor. When looking into this guy’s website I found his amazing definition of discrimination…

Here’s the breakdown for all levels, a marriage that excludes one sex or another is discriminatory. In a same sex marriage the individuals are participating together in the discrimination against a sex. In the delusion of claiming “gender neutrality” a government that accepts a discriminatory marriage as equal to a non-discriminatory marriage endorses gender discrimination.

After reading that, it was clear that there was no way to debate an individual who believed “discrimination” was defined in such a way. Wouldn’t a white man marrying a white woman then be discrimination against other races? Goodness, we have a lot of racists in this country!

From Merriam Webster, the usage of “discriminate” as an intransitive verb: 2 : to make a difference in treatment or favor on a basis other than individual merit. OK, I see where he’s coming from. A man chooses to marry a man, because he likes men. But he’s discriminated against a perfectly worthy female candidate. It makes so much sense, because afterall homosexuality is a simple choice. A “switch” even. Just flip it off and marry the woman instead. (heavy sarcasm there, for people who have trouble) So, if gay marriage is discriminatory because both sexes aren’t equally represented, then what else is discriminatory?

  • This morning I chose to order an Americano at the coffee shop. I discriminated against lattes, mochas, and dairy products as a whole.
  • I ate a burger at a BBQ on Saturday as opposed to a hot dog. I’ve helped oppress processed pork products.
  • I’m writing this on a weblog instead of a letter, newspaper or newsletter. I’ve discriminated against all print media.

What discrimination have you been up to lately?

A Double Let-Down: Or a very long argument about Gay Marriage

**Update 2 – My original post regarding both Floyd Landis and the Washington State gay marriage decision has turned into a very lengthy “debate” on gay marriage. See the comment thread below.

**Update – More news and enlightenment coming out regarding Landis and testosterone. This Testosterone 101 article at VeloNews is especially good. It could be a real shame if this is a false positive, or a fluke sample, because Landis’ reputation really is ruined already.

Floyd Landis, the hero of this year’s Tour de France has tested positive for “high levels of testosterone”. I hope he’s got high levels of testosterone, he’s a guy! Oh, they probably mean abnormally high levels of testosterone. After the rollercoaster Tour and the impressive comeback by Landis, this is a big let-down, but not entirely surprising. This just goes to further tarnish the reputation of pro-cycling. Heck, we have diving and head-butting in soccer, juicing in baseball and cycling, sexual assaults in football and basketball… and we call these people professional athletes? Role models? And they’re paid millions for it?

And then there was yesterday’s decision by the Washington State Supreme Court to uphold the ban on gay marriage. Eli Sanders at The Stranger sums up the details of the ruling quite well. Reading some of the quotes from the justices is just painful: “…limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples… furthers the well-being of children by encouraging families where children are reared in homes headed by children’s biological parents.” Awesome! This decision not only bans gay marriage, but returns all foster children to their biological parents, reunites divorced parents, and makes sure all women are married before they give birth. Impressive!

Google Working on Flash Games?

Like some people with personal websites or weblogs, I have my resume sitting on my site, just hanging out. Every once in a long while I’ll get a recruiter who stumbles across it as they’re doing searches. I received this in an e-mail the other day:

I am a recruiter looking for some top talent to fill an exciting Software QA Tester position at Google.

There is a Google office that opened up not too long ago in Kirkland, Washington and apparently they’re looking to fill a number of QA positions (temporary assignments). I do have a bit of experience, but unfortunately I’m not too interested in moving back into QA, let alone on a temporary basis. The rest of the message was your typical technical job description and common sense requirements: “a quick learner, a great team player, and able to work independently…” But at the top of the requirements there was an intriguing line, surrounded by double asterisks:

** Some of the openings require extensive experience testing Flash applications and some game background. **

What is Google working on? Flash and games? Not a lot of Google’s products currently use Flash. There’s Analytics which was almost entirely acquired and not in-house. Google Video uses Flash to embed their videos, and Google Finance does some nifty Flash stock charts. Is there much else?

And games? What’s the plan there? Sure, it falls somewhere on the list of possible directions that Google could go. Yahoo has a huge user-base in their online games, and Google may want a piece of the pie. It would of course be a huge area for targetted advertising through the AdSense behemoth. Puzzle games, maybe an umpteenth Bejeweled clone, Google-tris… A Flash-based Google MMORPG? Although I think they’d make a real killing if they went with online card games and poker, using real-money powered by Google Checkout.

Anyway, if you’re interested in a temporary QA position in the Seattle area, the big “G” is up to something.

Paper or Plastic: Choose Your Environmentally-Conscious Battle

Paper of plastic? When I get to the end of the checkout line at the supermarket, I still find myself struggling with this question. I know the real environmentally friendly answer is: bring your own bag. I would never remember to carry a set of reusable canvas shopping bags with me every time I stop by the grocery store, so I’ve got to discount this option. When given the choice between paper and plastic, which is really better for the environment?

I began thinking to myself… Plastic requires petroleum to produce, and isn’t biodegradeable. Paper degrades nicely, but producing paper requires cutting down trees to produce (assuming the paper bags aren’t made from recycled paper already), but trees are more easily renewable than natural gas or oil. What if I’m extra good about bundling and recycling my plastic bags, or reusing them, does that matter? Common practice seems to suggest paper is the more ethical way to go, but I keep getting hung up on the tree thing again and I really wasn’t sure how much water the argument held.

I’m obviously not the first one to think about this, and a Google search for “paper or plastic” yields some surprising results. Believe it or not, the first result is for this page on plasticbag.com, location of the the Film & Bag Federation, a division of The Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc.. Great! I bet they’ll give me all the facts! Their “information” basically consists of, “Look at all these other uses for your extra plastic bags!”

Going through the other results, I was surprised to find even more indecision, and a slight leaning towards plastic. A number of places listed statistics about how the energy required to produce paper bags is actually greater than that of plastic. This article from Bankrate.com (!?) seemed to have some of the best facts and the consensus is a resounding: neither. They’re both pretty bad and there’s no clear winner. I guess that answers my question. Maybe I will start reusing bags like the good ‘ol granola Seattle-ite I pretend to be.

Materazzi Kicked Zidane’s Ass

It’s getting late now, but I still had to join in and beat on this long-dead horse. It really frightens me how many people have jumped to Zidane’s defense. Of course all of the French papers, and Chirac have all declared him a hero, but why? Maybe in France they don’t teach the whole, “Sticks and stones…” rhyme. Sure, I definitely agree that Materazzi is a dickhead. He’s a dirty player, he’s a punk, and he’s no more than a school-yard bully. He kept pushing Zidane’s buttons until he snapped. That’s exactly what the bully wants. Constant picking, insulting and bothering rewarded at last by a response from the victim. Materazzi wins. Hands-down. Zidane cracked, and he got in trouble with the principal, and as a valuable penalty-kicker, he was out for the final shoot-out.

What I really don’t buy is the rebuttal that, “it was a very personal insult, so it was justified.” Zidane made his annoucement today that he was sorry, but not regrets (is that a cliche yet?). He described Materazzi’s insult, confirmed by various lip-reading translators, as something about his mother and his sister. Translators also threw religion and race into the mix. Who knows what was really said, but I can tell you that the majority of the above reasons don’t warrant violence (I think I learned that in kindergarden). Aren’t the majority of the problems the world’s facing right now having to do with racial, religious or familial differences (let alone revenge and retaliation)? I can’t imagine what the nerves and energy of the World Cup must be like, but… oh, I don’t know. Just play the game. Leave the punkass Italian kid alone. Karma takes care of things just fine without your head-butting help.

Back to a Chilly Denny Creek

Saturday was a hot (for Seattle) 80 degree day in the city, so what better way to spend it than to head to the mountains and jump in some icy water. I went off with some hiking buddies to Denny Creek to take the short hike up to the cold rocky pool and natural waterslide. Word must have gotten out because it was pretty crowded this time. Darren and I still had a good chance to jump (or get pushed) into the water to cool off.

Pushed Into the Cold Water Darren on the Denny Creek Water Slide

Looking back on previous years it’s easily apparent how much more snow-melt there was this year, judging by the volume of water. In fact, looking up the creek just a ways from the waterfall and pools, there was still a giant snow drift. Yes, that’s how cold the water was. It was fresh snow-melt from a ton of snow, some of which was just 50 yards away. Thanks to the hot mountain sun, we were warm and dry in no time. Now if there were just a big pool of water at the bottom of the trail to cool you off after you hike back down…

A Stringy Long Tail

Another few months, and some more traffic, means more search strings bringing people here. The only real interesting development in my most popular search strings is that in June, “lopolis” is now one of my top 10 search strings. The rest are still most of the same terms as past months, which are, well… you know what.

Search strings are really a great example of the long tail. For example, in the month of June, out of a total 940 logged search strings, the top 10 (the “short head”) strings alone made up a substantial 43% of the total traffic. The middle section of strings, ranging from 40 hits to 4, made up just 27% of the total. Finally, the remaining search strings, getting just 1, 2, or 3 hits each made up the remaining 30% of the traffic. That was 833 of the total 940 strings that got such low hit counts. Long tail indeed.

The past few months have also given me these unique winners…

guinness world record for most poops in a day – I don’t want to know.
what’s up man hey yo what’s up yeah what’s goin’ on here sick a – Ooooh, they’re informer lyrics
brown banana ripeness – Second Google result
dreams about burning cats – Um, no… never
women turn into octopus dreams – Every time
elephants eating people
blogs with girls who take their temperature rectally – What!?!?
drunk snowman – That’s why they call him “Frosty”
eating grass flirty speak – Hey baby, does my green tongue turn you on?
will you go out with me translated to italian = Ciao!
penny arcade beating a dead horse – Very much so
phone browther – Thingular may already have one
poopy snot – Oh yeah, #1 on Google

Superman vs. Superman

SupermanBefore seeing Superman Returns this past weekend, I decided to Netflix the original Superman movie last week (Special Edition, actually, with a few extended scenes). Despite the slow pacing of the original, and the primitive effects, I still thought it held up quite well. I was a huge fan of the movies (at least the first two) growing up, and I still got chills when the Superman logo filled the screen, with the John Williams score playing in the background. Christopher Reeve really was perfect in the dual role of Clark Kent and Superman. Every mannerism as the awkward Kent seemed to fit, down to the action of pushing his over-size glasses back up the bridge of his nose every time he bumped into something or fumbled. There was some surprisingly clever dialogue in the original movie, and some jokes I’m sure I never understood as a kid.

Continue reading