Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Just a cranky old code hacker sinking in quicksand

Something has occurred to me recently. I'm becoming more and more disenchanted with computers. More specifically, hacking on computers. You see, I am a techie by birth; it's genetic. I still love playing with technology, especially related to computers and the Internet. But the enjoyment of programming has been fading for a little while now.

This is due to a combination of things, I suppose. Getting dropped from school because my health prevented me from keeping a good course completion percentage, my Android phone constently get filled with temp/junk and having the only way to fix be a complete system reset (thus losing all the data and programs on it), and, most recently, the frustration of having Fedora 15 and 16 becoming nearily as difficult to update and configure as MS Windows. I didn't have this much heartburn back in the compile-your-own-kernel, hand-configure-X-and-hope-you-dont-destroy-your-monitor days. Which means I have no interest in doing anything. i.e. I don't want to get out of bed. Sounds like being depressed, huh. It is, and I'm fairly certain that is part of it. But the depressing aspect of all this is that there doesn't seem to be a way I can dig myself out of the hole I'm in.

It's like quicksand. I can't work in my carrier field, nor any blue collar type job, due to my health. Seven years of unemployment have wiped out all savings and now we have trouble just buying food enough to last the month. I started the journey to get a degree in order to be in a better position for finding a job I could work at. I'm one year short of that degree but now I'm told I've used up so much of my financial aid I can't finish school without paying out of pocket. This is, obviously, an impossibility.
Can't work
because I don't have a degree
which I can't get
because I have no income
because I can't work
because I don't have a degree
which I can't get
because I have no income
If it weren't for my son I'd just throw in the towel.
What's the use of trying anymore?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Urgent - Russia about to silence millions

This issue is one that needs to be dealt with. Silencing information is the first step towards making "undesirable elements of society" disappear. This that statement is an over reaction? Then I suggest you research Germany in the mid-to-late 30's for some historical perspective.
I just added my voice to this urgent appeal, standing for human rights in Russia and all over the world. Medvedev and Putin's party is pushing a law to vote this week that would make any mention of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender issues illegal.
The bill, being introduced as early as this Wednesday, would criminalize any book, article or speech about sexual identity and gender orientation, labeling it "homosexual propaganda". This is outrageous, and now is the time for key world leaders to speak up, we need every voice.
Will you take a minute to add yours?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why I am so furious about the firing of Joe Paterno

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few weeks you have heard something about the child abuse case involving former Penn State football coach Gerry Sandusky.  When the story broke I posted a commentary about the attacks that immediately started against Joe Paterno.  Since then Paterno has been vilified, crucified and fired.  And, as the title of this post might indicate, I am (understatement alert) a bit peeved about it.  While I tried not to get sucked into the ranting and raving that exploded on the 'Net, but it was a losing battle[1].

The reason I am so upset about what happened to Paterno is not simply due to my being a fan of his.  You see, I have some experience trying to help a molested child.  I also know what can happen when a good man is railroaded, slandered and ripped to shreds by people who don't bother to get any of the facts before passing judgment.  If you investigate this whole mess and read the official reports/documents you will find this -
  1. Sandusky is seen by Person A possibly molesting a child
  2. Person A tells Person B what they saw
  3. Person B tells Joe Paterno what Person A said they saw
  4. Even though he has what amounts to unsubstantiated, secondhand hearsay, Paterno reports the indecent to the proper authority
  5. From here, the whole thing gets swept under the rug
As you can see, the only person in this chain who actually did the proper moral and ethical thing was Paterno.  And he gets destroyed for doing so.

Many people have railed that he should have followed up and also reported the incident to the police.  These people have likely never been on the outside-looking-in of a child molestation case.  Do you know what happens if you report an unsubstantiated, secondhand rumor of child abuse to the police that is proven to be false?  In most cases, you get your ass handed to you.  I have lived it.  You don't just yell "fire" in a crowded theater then say, "Oops! My bad." if it turns out to be untrue and receive no repercussions.

What happens if you report to the police that a child told you they were molested?  If you're lucky, they will do more than a cursory "investigation" and close the case without even talking to you.  I have lived that scenario, too.

I know that this post isn't likely to have any effect on those who've already made up their minds about Paterno.  Jesus, himself, could come down and proclaim him just and it wouldn't make a bit of difference.  And this is what makes me so upset.  When people are so bigoted, judgmental and closed minded that they attack and hate without knowing anything about the situation, or even try to get informed, it is infuriating.

And you know what the irony of it is?  These people will feel just as infuriated when confronted with the very same kind of prejudice and hate that the insane, fanatical, so-called Muslims of Al-Qaeda spew in their tirades.

[1] Just search for my name and "Joe Paterno" to see some of the fun.

Dynamic Views

I'm trying out Bloggers new Dynamic Views options.  Please feel free to try out the different options available and see which one(s) you like.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Turn it up to 11

Today is (inter)national Heavy Metal Day! If you had to pick one song to represent this day what would it be? Personally, I can't narrow the list down to less than three digits, but some of the ones that would be at the top of my list are (in no particular order):

  • "Ace of Spades" - Mötörhead
  • "Breakin' the Law" - Judas Priest
  • "Enter Sandman" - Metallica
  • "Walk" - Pantera
  • "The Trooper" - Iron Maiden
  • "Highway to Hell" - AC/DC
  • "Rainbow in the Dark" - Dio

But if I absolutely had to choose one, and only one, song to represent all of Heavy Metal, it would have to be "Paranoid" by the band that created Metal, Black Sabbath.

To those who understand the meaning of Metal, I solute you... \m/
To those who don't understand, my sympathies.

"Rock and roll ain't noise pollution,
Rock and roll ain't gonna die.
Rock and roll ain't noise pollution,
Rock and roll...
Rock and roll...
Is just Rock and Roll!"


Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Trying to break a great man

This weekend a story broke about a former football coach at the University of Penn State. It seems that, after retiring from the football program there, he was molesting young boys. This is a disgusting thing and he should be punished severely for it. The situation has also cost the jobs of the athletic director and the schools VP. They are being investigated for lying to the authorities about the abuse. All of this is as it should be. You do something bad, you get punished for it.

But there's something happening that is nearly as disgusting. There are people who are calling for the resignation of Joe Paterno. This is beyond ignorant. The authorities have stated that Joe Pa did the right thing by alerting the school when he found out about the allegations. He did everything legally, ethically and morally that could be expected for anyone yet he's being crucified.

But, for many longtime PSU/Joe Pa followers, this isn't as surprising as it might seem. Joe Pa has been part of a big-time university football program that doesn't play by the "rules." There's no cheating; no grade fixing; no "extra" special privileges... Joe Pa wins games because he plays fair and works hard. The elite university football establishment can't stand that. So they have been wanting him out for decades. Now they will try and use this incident to break him down.

After all, we can't have honest, decent men ruining our cash cow.