Saturday, September 17, 2005

Mail programs are annoying

I'm changing back to Evolution for my mail program. I had been using Thunderbird for quite a while but it just became to difficult to mess with. Don't get me wrong. I like T-bird much more than Evolution but the way that things tend to be setup by default in the current distros tends to force your hand. This has gotten me to thinking about email and the different mail programs I've used over the years.

My first real email program was something called PROFS that ran on the mainframe. It was supposed to be something like Groupware but it just sucked. Once I started using Linux in 1991 I became a pine user. And a very happy pine user I was, too. I continued to use pine up until the fall of 2001. Then I switched to Evolution. I didn't want to switch but it was just easier switch than to try and get Outlook/Outlook Express users to use a decent, standards based email client. Well, I used Evolution for a while but every time they would release an update for it the program would become more and more like Outlook. Thus is became more and more useless as an email client. When Evolution 2.x was released I'd finally had enough. It was time to try T-bird. I made th change in early 2004. At first it was a little squirrelly but once I found some of the plug-ins I was happily wailing along. Until I upgraded to Fedora Core 4.

It seems that in the quest to make Linux into a "desktop" OS the vendors and distro development teams are working very hard to make Linux look-n-feel as much like MS-Windows as possible. Thus there are all kinds of default setting that have everything all setup for you before you even finish the install. FC4 defaults to the GNOME desktop environment and with that, all the app bindings are preset for you. The significant app binding is the one between Firefox and Evolution. I had setup T-bird and was all set but whenever I clicked a mailto: link on a page it would start up Evolution. Unfortunately the wonderful F-fox plug-in MozEX has not been updated for a while and is incompatible with the version of F-fox. There's another plug-in called Launchy that is supposed to do the same thing but it doesn't seem to want to work at all for me. So, it was back to Evolution for me.

There are a ton of other email clients out there. KMail, Sylpheed, Mutt, Balsa plus a ton of other options. I just wish someone would make a mail program that would do what I want it to do.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Comments on the Belguim GP

Ah Spa. There's nothing like it. Rain, rain and then, wait? No, just more rain. The weekend was like a scene from Noah's days as the teams did their best to qualify in a torrential downpour. Come race time the rain let up but the track was still quite wet. Just about everyone went out on intermediates and the changing climate conditions rule was put into effect so teams could change tired as needed/desired. This would cause some teams & drivers some heartburn later on.

The front row of the grid was all McLaren as JP and Kimi went 1 and 2. Giancarlo Fisichella qualified in P3, two positions ahead of Alonso but was docked the 10 places for an engine change. This put Trulli and Alonso on the second row. The third row was all Schumacher as Ralf nipped his big brother by 0.075s.

When the race started there was water all over the track but after a few laps the upper part started drying out quickly. This led to some teams trying a gamble and putting slicks on. It was disastrous. The lower part of the track was still quite flooded. Every car that tried the dry weather tires ended up sliding all over the place. They'd come back in after a lap or two to put the intermediates back on. Again, this would prove to be a crucial aspect of the race finish.

As the race went on the McLaren boys went away and opened a gap quite early, per norm. It wasn't a mega-gap due to conditions. Alonso got around Jarno and was happily tooling along in third. But Giancarlo was driving like nothing I'd seen in a while. Within a few laps he was up into 9th and pushing to get into the points. It all looked very good until he caught the curb at the top of Eau Rouge on lap 11. Bam! Into the wall. He was not a happy camper.

Later on Ralf had worked his way into 2nd place and was looking great ripping off fast lap after fast lap. But when he went in for his scheduled pit stop someone had the bright idea to try sending him back out on slicks. After sliding all over the place for one lap he came back for another tire change and that put him out of the running for the day.

The tire gamble would also cost Michael a finish. Taku was on slicks and lost it going into one of the S's. He plowed into the mack of Michael taking them both out. Michael was not pleased with this at all. He jumped out of his car and read the riot act to Taku ending up with a slap to Taku's helmet visor.

Towards the end of the race it was looking good for both McLaren and Alonso s they were running 1 & 2 (Kimi & JP) while he was happily in third. It would mean McLaren would take the lead in the constructors championship while keeping Kimi just a little farther away from catching Alonso for the drivers cup. But then another FUBAR on dries. Antonio Pizzonia was trying to keep from being lapped by JP when he lost it and took them both out with only three laps to go. This gave Alonso 2nd and fairly shut the door on Kimi's chances. Alonso could become the youngest F1 champion in history in Brazil. All he needs is 6 points over the last three races and it's done.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Comments on the Italian GP

Wow! What a race. First off, Kimi qualifies fastest by a good margin but gets penalized 10 places on the starting grid due to an engine change (stupid rule). This puts JP and Alonso in P1 and P2. Another interesting thing was that Antonio Pizzonia was starting in place of Nick Heidfeld due to the latter being under the weather. Pizzonia hadn't been in a car for 3 months yet was called up on Saturday to race on Sunday. He started 16th on the grid but brought his Williams-BMW in at 7th place.. Additionally this was the first time that all the cars were running at the end of a race since 1960-something, not counting that sham of a race at Indy. That's not to say there weren't some bumps and bruises along the way. Especially the first turn. But the real action was in the strategies. Unknown to everyone outside of McLaren-Mercedes he was running on a very heave full load. The plan was for him to have a one stop race. After being held up by slower traffic for a good many laps he was able to push his car up to 2nd behind JP. He then went in for his one and only scheduled pit. After taking on a good load of fuel he came back out in 5th but looking very good as all the others in front of him would have to pit sometime. Unfortunately for him his left rear tire decided it didn't want to play anymore. It started to come apart on the past tread so three laps he had to pit for a tire change. This dropped him back to 14th and from then on he was out of contention for winning. The real fun came a few laps later when JP's left rear started degrading in the exact same way as Kimi's. The team knew that if they brought him in it would be all over as there were less than 15 laps left. So JP stuck it out and kept on going. He had a large enough lead so that he was able to back off and still win the race. Alonzo, though, was charging like a madman. he ended up just behind JP at the flag. This extended his lead in the drivers championship but the McLaren boys cut into the team championship and look in a very good position for Spa the next weekend.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Minor break

As it happens, school has started and I have a brand-spankin' new 3rd grader to have fun with. That plus the fact that I hosed my main system1 will make blogging a little more sporadic. I have the bulk of the "Comments on the Italian GP" done, just got to find them. They are at Spa tomorrow (Sunday) so I might end up posting both of them on the same day. I'll tell you this much, Monza was fabulous. A real fun race to watch.

I also have a girlfriend who's doing her best to have a heart attack or stroke that I need to try and calm down. $DEITY, why do (some) women have to go out of there way to add stress to their lives? You'd think they'd be happy what what life brings them. Oh well...

1 There''s an old saying; If it ain't broke, hack/tweak/thrash/reconfig it 'till it is. At least that's the techie way.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Death to all Bush haters!

The other day I was watching an old-school "adult movie" (Candy Stripers, 1978) and it brought up something I've been wondering for a while now. When, and more importantly how, did shaving off all your pubic hair become all the rage? I've heard a number of different reasons but they are all ridiculous. I can understand a woman wanting to keep the bikini line trim, but completely bald just doesn't make sense. At least not to me. If I were ever with a shaved woman I would be turned-off by it. It's to much like child molesting or something. Hopefully this will just be a cycle and bush will make a comeback. Of course, by the time it does I'll either be dead or to old to care. <sigh>

And you thought this was going to be a political rant.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Little lost boy

There's a song by Styx called "Man in the Wilderness" (off of The Grand Illusion album) which occasionally represents my state in this reality. I can definitely say that it makes no sense at all.

The problem is, as the song says, I am drifting with the tide. There's things I could/should be doing but I'm letting them just go along their merry way untouched. This isn't a good state to be in, however. Being washed along the river of life, letting it just toss you into whatever comes along (look out for that bolder!) isn't living. It's just existing. There are a number of external reasons I'm in this state but the biggest reason is inside me. I'm nearly paralyzed with fear. Fear of what? Let's see...

I'm afraid of making any move that will change my situation with respect to my son. I'm not in a position to afford any legal help. Being in my present situation I fear that my son will be taken away from me if I don't stay under the radar. There's also his mother. Every time anything happens, anything at all, she gets all paranoid and accuses me of trying to take him from her. I have absolutely no intention of ever, ever, EVER taking him away from her. She's a pain in the ass but she's his mother and she loves him. And he loves her, just as it should be. But by not wanting to cause any kind of tremors with her I am not doing things that would be better for my son and myself.

There are other fears but right now I just decided to pass over them. After writing the above it put things in a better focus and the rest of the fear is now virtually irrelevant. Oh, there is the whole relationship thing. That's not quite irrelevant. But it's not as big an issue as I seem to think it is. That part is just fear of being alone. I come from a big family with an Italian heritage. My desire was to have a family in that same mold. Even though the possibility of this actually happening is nil, I still hold onto it. See my rantings on my current girlfriend. The odds of a relationship with her are, well, let's say very slim and leave it at that. But this is a secondary issue right now.

And so we come to my greatest roadblock. The pain. If you have never had chronic pain it's hard to describe. But after 10 or 12 years of it you get so worn down that you don't do anything because it might make it hurt more. I say hurt more because you always hurt. Not like a bee sting or a sprained ankle. It's an over whelming pain that occupies the biggest part of your consciousness. And that's on a good day. You see why it becomes the #1 thought of every instant of every day and night. "If I do this will it make the pain worse?" This question is invoked for everything you do. Everything. When I go to get up out of a chair the first thing that happens is I do an internal cost/benefit analysis of getting up.
  • If I get up will it hurt more?
  • Will it hurt just a little more or a lot more?
  • Why do I need to get up?
  • Is that reason worth the pain that will be endured?
This is the process that happens for every movement I do. It even happens when I go to use the remote to change the channel on the TV. If you can imagine living like this for over a decade then you might have some idea of what I have to contend with. Just the fact that I got out of bed this morning is an achievement on the scale of climbing Mt. Everest.

That's the situation. If I do anything I risk losing my son and I will incur significant pain doing it. So I don't do anything.

And that's got to stop.

But how?