Sigh.

I shouldn't have listened to my inner demons and not try to attempt to upgrade woody's old (2.2.0) kernel. You see, although I had managed to run KDE 3.2 on woody's ancient distro, sound still didn't work, and as me and my partner like to listen the BBC's Radio 4 stream and loud jazzpop there was really no alternative to upgrade the kernel or get a new soundcard: but as I built my machine around MSI's K7T266 Pro-2u motherboard that has build-in sound I don't really see the necessity to get an extra piece of hardware, just because the Debian team only releases updates every two years.

So of course I messed it up and now that lovely machine doesn't boot up anymore, because I must have done something wrong in the bloody kernel process. Not that I would ever say it loud, but now I at least understand why some people run Windows. If you're not willing to go through a steep learning curve (hey, I am a Mac Head, so I don't have to know ANYTHING about hardware, as it just works), Linux still represents a technical challenge if you're interested in "state of the art" features like flash support, sound and video. Now with a ruined debian install this gives me a chance of trying other flavours like slackware or try my new knowledge on Gentoo or OpenBSD again. I am sure Theo would be pleased.

This is, of course, not without its positive effect. I have read so many man-pages, online discussions, how-to's and comments on sites like debian planet ("stuff that 'really' matters"), that I am slowly turning into a full blown nerd. At night I dream about package dependencies, software mirrors and apt-get.

The whole "Linux on the Desktop" revolution will have to wait as long as it takes so long to get a properly up to date distro working. Always think of that most helpless of user, your mother: Mine is pretty clued up, but she still has to call me and get phone support when she wants to change the settings in her email program (and she's using Panther, for goodness sake). Now just imagine what would happen if she would want to listen to music on a Debian istallation.

Compile a new Kernel???

That would be a long phone support session....

previous entry

It was moloch81. The new one, the one whose gleaming frame was as yet untarnished by years spent working in the Shafts.

Once the aftershocks of the great disaster receded, moloch17 and I were assigned to work together as one of several teams sent out to search for missing molochs. Once found it was not our primary job to free them, unless they were alive and it was in our power to free them quickly and easily. Molochs are very strong; but some were trapped by or crushed beneath many tons of debris. In these cases we would radio the location of the moloch to the emergency dispatch center that had been set up in Shaft Four. Then we would note it on our map, mark the site with a phosphorescent X for the rescue team, and then we would move on.

As you may have gathered from previous entries, moloch17 and I do not get along well.

But here, now, we could not even bring ourselves to hate each other. The terror of the disaster, the days of being surrounded by death and suffering and uncertainty, had drained us and left us numb. We spoke only when we had to, our voices flat. Often we became lost in the middle of some task and stood confused, not sure what it was we'd been doing or why.

We came upon moloch81 in tunnel Ninety-Seven A, between Shafts Eleven and Thirty-Two. From the position of his sprawled body on the floor it appeared as if he had been running when one of the overhead support beams gave way. He lay on his side, his lower half buried in rubble. Both hands were clenched into fists and were drawn up to his chest. In them he clutched a smudged and torn piece of cloth. moloch17's red cape.

We stared down at him for a long time. I looked at moloch17. He shook his head almost imperceptibly, in disbelief or refusal.

Finally he tore his gaze away from the broken moloch on the floor and looked at me. "Why?" he said helplessly.

"I don't know," I said. We both looked back at the body. After a moment I stepped forward and knelt. I carefully removed the ruined cape from moloch81's grasp. I straightened, and silently held it out to moloch17.

I have said before that molochs do not have facial expressions. We are difficult to read. So I cannot say what moloch17 thought or felt as he stared at the object in my hand as if it were an utterly alien thing, or perhaps his own severed limb I was offering. The glow from his eyes intensified in the darkness. Then he reached out and took the cape from me. He stepped forward and knelt as I had, and spread the cape over moloch81's body.

moloch17 stood. He unhooked the radio unit fom his belt and pressed the key on the side. "Search Unit Seven reporting. moloch81 located in tunnel Ninety-Seven A, between Shafts Eleven and Thirty-Two." He paused, then pressed the key again. "Status is inactive."

The radio spat static. "Acknowledged, Seven. A crew will be notified." moloch17 returned the radio to his belt as I marked the rubble that covered moloch81's lower half with a shining X.

"We had better keep going," I said finally. "There are others who are trapped."

moloch17 nodded, and the two of us continued on our way.

previous |

I wonder how the workers at the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul stores feel about agnostic hipsters who shop at their stores a few times a week not because they are poor or needy but because they want good, cheap clothes? Is there somebody else who desperatly needed those pinstripe pants and pinstripe shirt? A woman who will freeze to death becaues I bought the last fur-fringed coat? Men who will go pantsless because of my act of fashion?

No. The money I pay will go to help the needy; I get to dress better then I would on a student's salery; everybody is happy. Why, then, do I say this? Because it demonstrates exactly how banal my thoughts are getting. Also, it is good to brag: it is a very nice suit. There is also a shiny silver shirt.

I think I may be cracking up...

I've got new humour!!

I've been laughing at movie trailers all morning.. stuff I don't find funny, all of a sudden I'm finding hilarious...Since Lord of Nothings turned me on to the trailer for The Incredibles..I haven't stopped laughing..

Before that..I was out on the dock by the river here in Daytona Beach, yes, I know there's an ocean here, but there's also a river..called the Halifax and it's right outside my back door, actually my front door, but back door would be easier for you to understand..
and a group of 4 propellor driven, WWII vintage aircraft did a flyover..just for me??

Before that, at the breakfast table..sitting across from me was Sheryl Crowe. Now I personally don't think women get anymore beautiful than when they're sitting across from you at breakfast...clear, plain, uncluttered..lips, eyes, cheeks, etc., within an arms reach...and if they're playing a guitar and singing, well, you get the idea..

Now maybe this all has something to do with the fact that come Monday morning at 9:30 A.M., I'll be going under the knife for a little back surgery and I guess I'm starting to experience that little pink cloud right before one faces the end...or the beginning.

But, whatever it is, I couldn't feel better..it's amazing..enjoy what you have while you have it..it could all change in the blink of an eye..new paths, new directions..gotta love it...see ya in a few days..

Love ya..God bless ...adios

Quite some time ago I was struck to learn that craggy-faced character actor Lance Henriksen, at that time starring in the television series 'Millennium', was also a potter. He made pots. He still does, and this is his website:
http://www.bylancehenriksen.com/

The contrast between the menacing, sinister Henriksen and the gentle craft of pottering creates a disconnect in my mind which tickles my sense of humour.

I have been struck recently even more by the discovery - new to me, probably not new to you, but this is my writeup and not yours, so pick up your shovel and DIG - struck by my discovery, mine, that there is an R. Lee Ermey doll, or rather a 'motivational figure', for Ermey is something of a modern hero:
http://www.google.com/url?sa=U&start=2&q=http://www.rleeermey.com/introindex.php&e=747

Ermey was the high point of Stanley Kubrick's 1987 'Full Metal Jacket', indeed he was the film's only successful element. I have no idea whether Kubrick intended his film to be anti-war or merely extremely cynical, but the sight and sound of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman drilling his soldiers was both comic and awe-inspiring, the inventive torrent of abuse which spewed from Hartman's mouth, machine-gun style, rivalling that of any stand-up comedian or public school teacher. Whatever Kubrick's intentions, the only thing that normal people, as opposed to the Kubrick fanatics who can see no wrong in any creation of their idol, the only thing that normal people like you or I took from 'Full Metal Jacket' was R. Lee Ermey's performance. This is not my opinion, it is fact. Agree with me.

There is a tradition of inventive abuse in the UK; football terrace chants, tabloid front pages, elements of military lore, school bullying, all of these are integral parts of the British psyche. In everyday speech the Briton does not communicate with kisses or with love or words of tenderness. Instead, the Briton uses his tongue as a weapon, weakness and aberration are magnified and hurled against the other party, all communication is based on a mutual desire to cause pain. From personal experience I find that my dealings with people of other nationalities and cultures and genders, indeed other people period, these dealings can often seem overbearing and rude, indeed abusive, and that these people often avoid me because they are weak, the slimy walrus-looking pieces of shit that they are. I would like to gouge out their eyeballs and fuck their skulls, although I have so far not yet developed an urge to act upon this vague desire. I believe that it is the tragedy of all men, not that they forget, but that they do not act on their desires. The world would be a nightmare hell of rape and war if men acted on their desires, but there would be no neuroses, and we would be free. For many people today the world already is a nightmare hell of rape and war, in which case what have we got to lose?

R. Lee Ermey has subsequently become something of a hero to many people, but not myself because I do not believe in heroes and I do not worship anything or anybody. Ermey's bon mots - 'you grab-asstic pieces of shit' and 'you slimy communist twinkle-toed motherfuckers' and so forth - are regularly used to train businessmen. I find myself watching the first forty minutes of 'Full Metal Jacket' more often than I do the latter section of the film. As with my peers I can quote large sections of the dialogue, with which I amuse my workmates, or 'cow-orkers' as people said during the dot.com boom. These same people are humble now.

Anthony Swoffard, writing in 'Jarhead', his overwrought memoirs of being an over-emotional soldier during the run-up to first, less interesting, Gulf War, made the telling point that most people rent and view anti-war films because they enjoy the action and the violence, in which respect 'Full Metal Jacket' was a disappointment, certainly compared with 'Apocalypse Now', for the action was brief and mundane, the outdoors environments looked remarkably fake, exactly as if the film had been shot under an English sun in London, as indeed it was. Swoffard does not record his thoughts on viewing 'Full Metal Jacket'; the film's highlight is Ermey's performance as a marine drill sergeant, which would have been wasted on someone who had experienced the real thing first-hand, as a marine in training.

Nonetheless the irony of Kubrick's film being remembered nowadays for Ermey, rather than any other element, and that this performance is revered, idolised, quoted, and that Ermey himself has a doll (a 'Gunnery Sergeant R. Lee Ermey' doll, rather than a 'Gunnery Sergeant Hartman' doll, for Ermey was actually a Gunnery Sergeant and would rather not pay Warner Brothers compensation), and that 'Full Metal Jacket' is probably more likely to make people want to join the marines rather than not join, and so forth... and so forth. You know the rest.

Today was the first day since 2002 that I submitted a writeup. My long self-imposed exile is over, and it looks as if the reasons why I left have been rectified, to some extent.

I left because I thought there was too much of a political bias. And because I didn't share that bias, my writeups were subject to harsher review than if I had that bias. From what I've seen this is no longer the case, or if it is I haven't seen it yet. So I am back to contribute more nuggets of useless information.

So I started noding. Return of the Living Dead, which was one of the nodes I was working on around the time of my departure. I'm suprised that in over four years no one has submitted a writeup for this wonderful piece of cinema. It was received somewhat warmly. My second node however met a different fate..but I guess that's what I get for noding at four in the morning.

My quest for C! continues.

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