Archive for January, 2004

More looking ahead

Saturday, January 31st, 2004

I like the Command Post as a starting point for the design of my future homepage; now, I’ve finally found a site that I think I can use for my blog. I really like this guy’s design, and he offers his MovableType templates for free download and use. Yay! Now I have something to work on between the commercials during the Super Bowl tomorrow… :)

Lieberman Watch: Good news & bad news

Saturday, January 31st, 2004

The bad news is, Joe Lieberman’s previously advertised Monday afternoon visit to Phoenix has been cancelled; he’ll be in Tuscon from 12:30 to 1:30 PM on Monday. So, no lunch-break Liebermania for me.

The good news is, Senator Joe has confirmed he will be participating in an evening candidate forum at the Wyndham Hotel, which is literally a block away from where I work. (Kerry, Clark, and Kucinich will be there, too.)

Going to any evening event in Phoenix is somewhat inconvenient for me, since the last Mesa-bound express bus of the day leaves at around 5:20 PM. So unless Becky agrees to meet me downtown and go to the forum with me, I’m not exactly sure how I’ll get home. But I’ll figure something out. One way or another, I plan to be there.

I wonder if Joe will have a rally of some sort before (or after) the forum? John Kerry is planning a “Rally for America’s Future,” according to his website.

A fishy business

Saturday, January 31st, 2004

Amid all the political commentary of the past week, I have failed to post anything about a significant developent in my life which occurred last weekend: I bought a fish.

Becky's and my fishies

He’s a Betta fish, and he’s the one on the right in the photo above. (The fish on the left is Becky’s female Betta, Capone.) And yes, he’s a he — the first male pet in the heretofore X-chromosome-dominated animal kingdom of the Brendan & Becky house. Toby, Sasha, Butter, Ozzie, Harriet and Capone, meet the man of the house: Gimli.

Yes, his name is Gimli. :) It was the first thing that came to mind, and I’m sticking with it.

And lest you think that Betta fish, which cost roughly $3.00 at Wal-Mart, are silly pets to have, think again: it turns out Bettas can be downright heroic. :)

A Picture Share!

Saturday, January 31st, 2004
You have a Picture Share!

http://pictures.sprintpcs.com/?sivt=UE54Jj5Mzm8NhzYo0h5U
———————————————————–
Send and Receive Pictures through PCS Vision.
For more information go to www.sprintpcs.com.
———————————————————–
Copyright (c) 2003 Sprint PCS. All Rights Reserved.


A Picture from my PCS Vision Camera


 
     

     

You have received a picture from:
8608335833@messaging.sprintpcs.com

Message:
By the way, let it be known that this is the wallpaper on my cell phone:


 View
    Reply

 

  View Picture MailSM demo
  Tell me more about Picture Mail


Send and receive Pictures and Videos through Picture MailSM.

For more information go to www.sprintpcs.com.


© 1998-2003 Sprint Spectrum, L.P.


LightSurf's Home Page


A Picture Share!

Saturday, January 31st, 2004
You have a Picture Share!

http://pictures.sprintpcs.com/?sivt=gEV4Jx56zmz6FURYh700
———————————————————–
Send and Receive Pictures through PCS Vision.
For more information go to www.sprintpcs.com.
———————————————————–
Copyright (c) 2003 Sprint PCS. All Rights Reserved.


A Picture from my PCS Vision Camera


 
     

     

You have received a picture from:
8608335833@messaging.sprintpcs.com

Message:
Playing with Becky's parents' new eMac. :) Will post something from their iPhoto shortly.


 View
    Reply

 

  View Picture MailSM demo
  Tell me more about Picture Mail


Send and receive Pictures and Videos through Picture MailSM.

For more information go to www.sprintpcs.com.


© 1998-2003 Sprint Spectrum, L.P.


LightSurf's Home Page


Fire the webmaster!

Saturday, January 31st, 2004

I just got this message when I tried to comment on my own post about ScreenCam:

In an effort to curb malicious comment posting by abusive users, I’ve enabled a feature that requires a weblog commenter to wait a short amount of time before being able to post again. Please try to post your comment again in a short while. Thanks for your patience.

But nobody has commented in the last 40 minutes! What is it talking about? The blog is obviously malfunctioning. Webmaster error, says I! HEADS MUST ROLL!!!

:)

UPDATE: I have now posted my comment in the post itself.

ANOTHER UPDATE: I’m aware that this flood-control issue is an ongoing problem, and not just for me. The feature is part of the new version of MovableType, which I recently installed, but it seems to be going haywire. Anyway, I’m working on it.

Butter makes her mark

Saturday, January 31st, 2004

Butter’s endorsement of Joe Lieberman — and the accompanying, very funny photo of Howard Dean strangling a cat — have gotten some attention in the blogosphere (though not too much, which is good; it’ll keep Butter’s ego in check :), thanks in part to my link-whorishly posting it on the Command Post’s Op-Ed page.

In addition to inspiring several CP comments, Butter’s announcement has gotten linked by BoiFromTroy and on 419eater.com, and has even showed up on an aggregated news service called News Is Free (scroll down till you see the picture of Butter).

And there are probably some other links that I haven’t found, judging from the fact that the Butter-Lieberman post has been the “entry page” 141 times, and that yesterday’s hit spike exceeded Tuesday’s New Hampshire Primary traffic level (though neither came close to my somewhat mysterious Iowa Caucus spike earlier in the month; I’m not sure who was linking to me then, but I sure got a lot of hits!)

Anyway, the point is, Butter is a mini-celebrity now. :)

Ah, self-voyeurism

Saturday, January 31st, 2004

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I give you… the Brendan Loy ScreenCam.

I suppose I should say “the return of the Brendan Loy ScreenCam,” since I did have something like this during my freshman year at USC, when I also had a webcam in my dorm room. :)

Anyway, as its name implies, the ScreenCam allows you to see what’s on my screen right now, updated every 30 seconds — provided my computer is turned on, “awake,” and connected to the Internet, and also provided I want you see what’s on my screen right now. :) I can turn it off any time I like, of course…

You can also see what, if anything, I’m listening to on iTunes, using a cool little text uploader thingy that I downloaded.

Dunno whether or not I’ll keep using the ScreenCam (and the, uh, iTunesCam), but I figure it’s worth a test run, at least. The main appeal — aside from the obvious, general voyeurism — would be that my wallpaper image changes automatically every 5 minutes, and this way, everybody can watch the slideshow!

As for security, the image of the screen is so small that it’d be pretty hard to read anything (like e-mails, etc.). To enhance this effect, I may try making the image a little more fuzzy (i.e., a lower-quality JPEG) as well. And on top of that, like I said, I can shut the screen-capture thingy down any time I want to. So if you were hoping to sneak a peek at the Paris Hilton video, fugghedaboutit, you won’t be seeing it on my screen. :)

UPDATE: I think there might have been some porn on here for like 30 seconds. Apologies to anyone who stumbled across it. Gotta be more careful about those pop-up ads if I want to keep this a family website! :)

ANOTHER UPDATE: Since I couldn’t comment, I’ll have to respond to Dane’s comment in the post itself. Here’s what I was going to say

Well, yes, I do occasionally do stuff on my computer. :) But when I’m at work, 8 to 5 Monday to Friday, I typically leave my computer on (and connected to the Internet via the office wireless network), and just let the desktop slideshow run. It’s like having a photo taped to the wall of your cubicle, except the photo keeps changing! So I figure the ScreenCam has the potential to be relatively interesting during working hours… which is when people do most of their Web surfing anyway.

Senator Joe’s coming!

Friday, January 30th, 2004

“Joe Lieberman will be traveling to Arizona in the afternoon of February 2nd,” according to this notice on the Joe2004 website. No details yet, but here’s hoping for a lunch-time stop in downtown Phoenix! :)

Random image generator!

Friday, January 30th, 2004

Having become persona non grata at Lieberman headquarters thanks to my snarky comments about my visit there yesterday (Janice, I really do like Joe & all you volunteers, honest! I was just being a wise-ass!), I think I’ll shy away from politics in today’s lunch-break update, and instead show off this really cool new CGI script that I just installed:

randomly generated image

What’s so cool about it? Reload this page (or click on the permalink and then reload that page) and you’ll see! It’s a “random image generator,” choosing one of 124 different images (i.e., all the files in a certain specified directory on my site) every time you load it!

In addition to being just generally cool, this is a key part of my long-term plan for my homepage, so I’m very excited that I got it to work so easily.

Reload away!

(Oh, and yes, I am taking a rather late lunch — we were having technical difficulties in the office at noontime. More Internet problems. Again, I blame the MyDoom virus and/or John Ashcroft… or possibly some combination thereof.)

UPDATE: Oh, and I’m also working on building a Blogroll:

Butter endorses Lieberman

Thursday, January 29th, 2004

(Agence Feline-Presse, Jan. 29, 2004) — Noted cat-blogger and movie star Butter Zak rocked the feline political establishment by endorsing Joe Lieberman for president Thursday.

The endorsement by the star of the hit movie Butter Baggins and the Fish of Doom came as a surprise, in light of Lieberman’s much-publicized “Dogs for Joe” campaign, which has turned off many cats.

“Butter felt that the presence of three cats on Lieberman’s animal-endorsement page indicates that he is a friend of cats as well as dogs — he just got bad advice on which species to emphasize,” said Brendan Loy, Butter’s daddy.

“Meow,” concurred Butter.

The Lieberman campaign expressed hope that Butter’s announcement would contribute to the Connecticut senator’s surging “Joe-mentum.” One staffer commented, “This is the best news we’ve had since we found out that finishing almost 8,000 votes behind can actually qualify as a momentum-building ‘tie.'”

Loy denied allegations that Butter’s endorsement of his home state’s native son was related in any way to the presence of cat treats near a Lieberman campaign sign.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Loy stated.

Loy also denied that he attempted to subliminally influence Butter’s decision by whispering other Democratic candidates’ names in her ear while feeding her foul-tasting medicine. (Butter has been suffering from a stomach infection.)

“I did no such thing,” Loy said. “Butter made this decision entirely on her own.”

“If the medicine had any influence at all,” he added, “it was in helping to convince Butter of the superiority of Joe Lieberman’s health-care plan, which would hold HMOs accountable, expand quality health care for middle-class families, and also, make medicines taste less yucky.”

Butter’s announcement came just days after the feline community was rocked by the release of a photo showing rival candidate Howard Dean attacking a defenseless kitten.


“YAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!” –Dean
“MEEEEEEEEOOOOOORRRRRWWWW!!!!!!!!” –cat

Although apparently doctored, the photo — which no rival campaign has claimed authorship of — has been extremely effective, causing Dean’s poll numbers among cats to drop to 0.001%.

A visit to Lieberman HQ

Thursday, January 29th, 2004

I stopped by Joe Lieberman’s Arizona headquarters today after work to pick up some campaign paraphernalia.

The place felt rather empty — a very small handful of volunteers in a large room, and not much activity going on — and when I walked in, they seemed literally stunned to see a stranger come in the door. Or perhaps the better word is simply “confused.” It kind of seemed like they thought I might be lost. :) Alas, I don’t think too many members of the public have been darkening the door of the Lieberman headquarters…

Not suprisingly, they had a giant blown-up copy of the Arizona Republic endorsement on their wall. I overheard some chatter between volunteers about a press conference earlier in the day; I believe they said two local TV stations showed up.

Anyway, the volunteer who helped me was delighted — or, again, momentarily confused, but then delighted — when I asked if she had any buttons, stickers, etc. (There were bumper stickers and cardboard signs out on display — and I took several of those, too — but I wanted something to wear as well.) She gave me a bunch of stuff, and encouraged me to take whatever else I wanted; the subtext seemed to be, “No one else is taking it,” but perhaps I’m reading too much into it. :)

I also took a bunch of position papers, explaining aloud that “I’m already a supporter, but I have to try to convince my girlfriend.” Becky, after all, is the only Arizona voter in our house, so she’s my only hope to boost Senator Joe’s numbers on Feb. 3. She swears she won’t vote for Lieberman, but hey, you can’t fault me for trying. :)

The Lieberman lady took a picture of me inside the HQ:

A Picture Share!

Thursday, January 29th, 2004
You have a Picture Share!

http://pictures.sprintpcs.com/?sivt=iE14JAmc8Yk8gLtYhkcx
———————————————————–
Send and Receive Pictures through PCS Vision.
For more information go to www.sprintpcs.com.
———————————————————–
Copyright (c) 2003 Sprint PCS. All Rights Reserved.


A Picture from my PCS Vision Camera


 
     

     

You have received a picture from:
8608335833@messaging.sprintpcs.com

Message:
And now, in the relatively-mundane-news-that-passes-for-excitement-in-the-working-world department: They just put up a cool new world-map logo thingy in the lobby at my workplace.


 View
    Reply

 

  View Picture MailSM demo
  Tell me more about Picture Mail


Send and receive Pictures and Videos through Picture MailSM.

For more information go to www.sprintpcs.com.


© 1998-2003 Sprint Spectrum, L.P.


LightSurf's Home Page


The search for the anti-Kerry

Thursday, January 29th, 2004

And now, for part two of today’s lunch-break update, something a little more serious: horse-race political analysis! :)

As predicted by my dad, the search for an “anti-Dean” has given way to the search for an “anti-Kerry.” And the front-runner in the race to become the anti-Kerry is… Dean. At least, that’s what he hopes. Hollerin’ Howard has pulled all his TV ads from next week’s primary states, in hopes of emerging as the “alternative” candidate in the weeks that follow. It’s a fascinating strategy:

Dean is gambling that he can pick up delegates with second- and third-place finishes while rivals John Edwards and Wesley Clark spend themselves out of the race.

Officials hope that Dean emerges later in February as an alternative to front-runner John Kerry and engages in “guerrilla warfare” until he wins the nomination or is mathematically eliminated.

Guerrilla warfare, eh? Hmm. The war analogies continue, from the candidate’s own mouth:

“I think you are going to see a leaner, meaner organization,” Dean told reporters Wednesday night. “We had geared up for what we thought would be a front-runner’s campaign. It’s not going to be a front-runner’s campaign. It’s going to be a long, long war of attrition.”

Sounds like a quagmire to me. As the writer points out, “Dean runs the risk of falling off the political map with seven defeats Tuesday.”

Personally, I hope that’s exactly what happens. I would like to see the Screamin’ Doctor disappear — his thin, high cry never to be heard again in that age of this world — and, instead of a Kerry-Dean race, we get a Kerry-Edwards race. I think that would be the best possible scenario (short of a miracle Lieberman comeback). I don’t know who I’d vote for, but I’d like to see them duke it out.

My feeling is that, right now, Kerry is the better candidate, but Edwards has a lot more potential to improve, perhaps vastly improve, whereas Kerry is Kerry; what you see is what you get, and it’s all you’re gonna get. And it’s okay — much better than Dean or Clark — but it’s probably not good enough to beat Bush.

Edwards isn’t nearly good enough yet, but I think he might be good enough if we give him time. He needs to be battle-tested first, though, and that’s exactly what a two-man race with Kerry could potentially do.

Of course, to produce a two-man race, Clark also needs to be dispensed with. I think that can happen this Tuesday. Edwards needs to win South Carolina and — this is the big one — Oklahoma. Nobody’s talking about the Sooner State; it’s overshadowed by the Palmetto State. But from what I’ve read, it sounds like Oklahoma is shaping up as an Edwards vs. Clark battle, and that means it’s an opportunity for the senator from North Carolina to deliver a knockout punch to the general from Arkansas. If Edwards can win Oklahoma, I think it might be all over for Clark. (Better yet, Edwards wins, Kerry — who is investing heavily in Oklahoma — finishes second, and Clark finishes third. That would surely doom that good general.)

My ideal scenario for next Tuesday: Edwards wins South Carolina, Oklahoma, and perhaps one more state (Missouri?); Kerry wins the rest. Clark and Lieberman drop out. (Okay, this isn’t really my ideal scenario. In my ideal scenario, Lieberman wins all seven states and is swept into the White House by “Joe-mentum.” But we’re talking about the real world here. :) Dean’s supporters are totally demoralized by seven more losses; his money dries up, his campaign derails, and he’s out of the race by the middle of the month. And we get our Kerry vs. Edwards battle. (At which point, hopefully the people organizing the debates would have the good sense to disinvite Sharpton and Kucinich, who, while entertaining, are becoming an irritating distraction from the candidates with a legitimate chance to become president of something other than, say, Mars or Neptune.)

In regard to state-by-state strategies, the Command Post has a good summary of how the candidates are spending their advertising money. South Carolina, Oklahoma and New Mexico are all attracting major investments from Kerry, Edwards, and Clark — we’re talking $400,000 to $500,000 per candidate in those three states combined.

Edwards is also spending big in Missouri (which, “momentum” and “perceptions” aside, happens to be the state with the most delegates at stake next week), hoping to pick up Gephardt’s “beer-track” Democrats. Senator John has spent $120,000 there, while the other Senator John — Kerry, the candidate of wine and whine :) — has spent $80,000.

It’s all Kerry and Clark here in Arizona: “$147,000 and $203,000, respectively.” And finally, “Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (Conn.), who finished fifth in New Hampshire, has made much smaller buys in Arizona, Oklahoma and South Carolina, totaling $31,000.” Hmm. Not sure how much “Joe-mentum” that will produce.

Political Wire, incidentally, has a good list of links on “why Joe must go.” And while the Arizona Republic is urging voters here to go down with the ship, the Hartford Courant wants Connecticut’s favorite son to return to port.

After work today, or perhaps during lunch tomorrow, I think I might take a walk down to Lieberman’s Arizona headquarters, which is about eight blocks north of where I work. I’d like to pick up some official campaign paraphernalia… you know, before they become collector’s items. :)

Speaking of Lieberman — and bringing this post full-circle — Mickey Kaus believes Senator Joe might be the anti-Kerry. Not that he’ll beat Kerry. But Kaus thinks the calm, respectable, morally upright Lieberman might just become an attack dog:

Why is Lieberman staying in the race? Maybe he realizes there is one, final kamikaze-like service he can perform for his country–namely, to be the expendable candidate who goes negative on Kerry. … It’s not as if some of the DLC-types who are sympathetic to Lieberman also have ties to Edwards. … Oh, wait!

Heh. Kaus adds, in response to the obvious rebuttal (“If Lieberman wouldn’t be Al Gore’s attack dog in the 2000 race, why would he be John Edwards'”) that it’s different now “because in 2000 he could plausibly think he had a future as a presidential candidate to safeguard.” Whereas now… well, let us just say, “Hillary.”

I doubt Kaus’s scenario will unfold. Lieberman’s got plenty of dogs on his side (Hi Dad :), but he ain’t no attack dog. It’s not in his nature. But hey, you never know. He did take a bit of a shot at Kerry the other night on CNN — said he wasn’t a “mainstream” Democrat — albeit in response to Wolf Blitzer’s prodding.

(On an unrelated note, my dad will be pleased to note that Kaus also asks rhetorically, “Psst: President Bush got 87% of the vote in the Republican primary. Isn’t that not so good?”)

Executive news summary

Thursday, January 29th, 2004

Part 1 of today’s lunch-break update is a selection of headlines and blog links, presented in a style that’s.. well… let’s just call it an homage to Best of the Web

MARCH BADNESS: ACC, SEC rule; everyone else sucks

IT ALWAYS GOES BACK TO IRELAND: David Trimble says “human-rights” groups promote terrorism

ROLLIN’, ROLLIN’, ROLLIN’: Off with another BBC head

AND HE’S ALREADY POLLING AHEAD OF LIEBERMAN: Hawkish soldier-blogger reveals he’s a Democrat

FAT CHANCE: George Bush wants my mom’s vote

NAAAAARRRHH: Iraqi blogger: Dean is wrong about Iraq

IN OTHER NEWS, JAR-JAR BINKS ENDORSED KUCINICH: Giant statue of Yoda (a.k.a. Little Green Dude) stolen

BUT BRITNEY SPEARS’S ANNULLED MARRIAGE IS OKAY: Gays denied basic human right; Jeb Bush “pleased”

EVEN FROM UP THERE, LIEBERMAN LOOKS DOOMED: Spirit sends first picture from Mars in a week

WHAT WOULD WE DO WITHOUT BRADY?: Brady Says Patriots Must Target the End Zone

:)