blarg?

Thanks to Mark Zanin I now have an IMDB entry: “Mike Hoye: Man Outside”, which is just about as perfect a credit as I could have asked for.

I imagine that everyone’s reaction to finding themselves on IMDB is the same, but here’s mine: Ron Tarrant was the lead in Sunday Morning; in 1993 he wrote Time Runner, starring Mark Hamill, who also starred in Slipstream with Bill Paxton. Paxton, in turn, starred in Apollo 13 with Kevin Bacon, giving me a Bacon Number of five.

All I have to do now is finish up and publish the idea I’ve been sitting on about prime numbers, and I’ll have secured myself a rare Erdos-Bacon number as well; I don’t think that getting an email from Don Knuth counts.

WAT We got some new client licenses for our brand new, shiny IP telephony and voicemail system at the office the other day.

That picture there? That’s how they ship them. I asked the guy if he was kidding, and after a long breath and an unfocussed stare into the distance he shook his head and said no, that’s how they ship them. I wanted to tell him that our company doesn’t even own anything that will read these anymore, but I didn’t have the heart. What can you say to somebody who’d send you a floppy disk in 2009 that they would understand? Do you have to make it sound Chaucerian? “Ye olde Floppediske, yew nao weyrk eht heyre?”

It’d be hard to bridge that gap. People used to think that grammar was prescriptive, baud rates were a relevant metric and Bob Hope was funny back then, you know? The language might have drifted too far for meaningful communication to occur. I wonder if women are allowed to vote at their shareholder meetings.

You hear about bringing a knife to a gunfight but jeebus, I’ve never heard of somebody betting on the wrong horse at an F1 race.

I’ve told this story a few times recently so I feel obliged, internets, to tell it to you. And because I’m not yelling it at you across a crowded bar, I’ll even take the time to embellish it a bit; don’t say I never loved you.

I was reminded of it when I sat down to dinner last week with some fellow nerds and one of them put his phone on the table. So, of course, the next guy did, and the next one; I was reminded of my humble little anecdote which began much the same way.

A few years ago my friend Ben and I were sitting down to some late breakfast on a patio in the Byward Market and talking about nothing I can remember when two strapping young men sat down two tables over, presumably for the same.

In my memory of it I could see what was coming even before they sat down; something in their body language, and sometimes you just know. So as these two tanned, gym-buff and raybanned specimens took their seats there was a quiet pause; in a perfect world a tumbleweed would have rolled by just then, but it’s the Byward Market, so alas.

So, high noon at the Continental Bagel, one man pulled out his cellphone and put it on the table.

The other looked at it, nodded just a hair, and put his own cellphone on the table.

The first lifted an eyebrow, took out his PDA, and put it on the table next to his phone.

The other man glanced at it briefly and did the same. And then, freeze. A beat, a long pause, the tension is drawn out and fierce. If Sergio Leone had been running the show, this is when the faint sound of a harmonica would waft by as they sized up their technology and stared each other down, both of them very obviously struggling with the same question:

“Do I put my dick on this table, or not?”

Lucky for my lunch and everyone involved, after about eight seconds of this both of them seemed to snap out of it. But it really looked like a close thing; they visibly shook it off, and their relief was palpable. Then the waitress came by and took our orders, the little vignette ended and that was it, life moved along.

But now whenever I’m in a restaurant and people start the ritual of putting their cellphones on the table, I have a little voice in my head saying please, that’s good, that’s enough. We can stop there. I’m trying to eat.

There’s nothing I enjoy quite as much as coming into work the morning after an eighteen or twenty hour workday spent rebuilding a LAN to hear the local support monkey tell me that the reason I.T. puts all these firewalls and security measures in place is because we’re all just lazy, and don’t like to work.

Not a single thing.

Ever had a doctor tell you to wear your seatbelt? That’s ’cause the people who’ve been in car accidents go to the hospital and that’s like work, and who wants that? It’s sort like how parents diaper and toilet-train their kids, right? Because the only real job of parents is to mop up a river of shit, and most parents are just slackers.

Right now I’m watching our shiny new firewall methodically block a portscan coming, curiously, from a production machine (no, local support monkey, thank you) and really looking forward to the extra couple of hours of slacking I’ve got ahead of me this evening.

Yay.

Funny thing:

Statement Regarding Madoff Investigation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2008-297

Washington, D.C., Dec. 16, 2008 — Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox issued the following statement today concerning its ongoing investigation in the case of SEC v. Madoff:

[...] In response, after consultation with the Commission, I have directed a full and immediate review of the past allegations regarding Mr. Madoff and his firm and the reasons they were not found credible, to be led by the SEC’s Inspector General. The review will also cover the internal policies at the SEC governing when allegations such as those in this case should be raised to the Commission level, whether those policies were followed, and whether improvements to those policies are necessary.

Today:

By Carlyn Kolker, Thom Weidlich and Oshrat Carmiel

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) — Bernard Madoff, who sent his clients thousands of receipts purporting to document their trades, has left no trace of buying any securities for customers for as much as 13 years, the trustee liquidating his securities firm said.

“We have found no evidence to indicate that securities were purchased for customers’ accounts” for “perhaps as much as 13 years,” said Irving Picard, the trustee liquidating Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. It was “cash in and cash out,” he said.

So, from when the first complaint against Madoff was lodged in 2000 up until it all unravelled late in 2008, the SEC was unable to detect that he hadn’t actually bought or sold any securities at all since 1996.

I’ve got a longstanding theory that Republicans are only concerned about crimes that are committed by minorities. You know, if a fireman stated, in his job interview, that it’s better to just let homes burn to the ground because it’s the owner’s fault anyway, I would expect him not to get that job. Likewise a prospective cop who’s told you he won’t get out of the squad car unless there’s a donut in it for him or a doctor who claims you that getting sick is just what God’s got in store for some people and you shouldn’t interfere with that. But that’s what happens when you elect small-government conservatives. They get put in charge of a critical regulatory and administrative body that they state, outright, should be castrated and marginalized, and then act surprised when everything has gone to hell.

Ready for this?

“Pride & Predator”.

Apparently it started life as this photoshop job, and Elton John liked the idea so much that he’s paying to have it made.

I will be honest with you: I squeed.

Dear really rich people: this is exactly the kind of crazy shit you should be using that money for.

Cold City Light

Can we regard as a truism now that any human experience that is recorded for quality assurance purposes is going to suck?

My thinking on on this matter is as follows: yes.

You’d think that with the staggering volume of these things routinely recorded that we would be approaching some sort of customer-service nirvana by now, but alas.

Reflection.

We’re on the home stretch for futurekid reno-prep, I think. Who knows, though?

My wife is tired and hungry a lot lately, which I believe I have accurately diagnosed to be the fault of the five-pound parasite that’s comandeered her abdomen. It’s really wierd having this thing in my wife’s belly that’s kicking and thrashing around, and how that’s just fine and totally expected. I mean, normally what I’d expect is for something like that to burst out of her chest, skitter across the floor and try to kill me.

I suspect that it will turn out that’s pretty much what happens in real life, except for a brief step between the skittering and the killing that involves changing a lot of diapers, raising it to young adulthood and teaching it to drive.

Honestly, it’s hard to tear your eyes away from this cultural multi-car pileup. Horrible, but fascinating.

That Johnny Cash thing is the one that’s going to keep the developers of Songsmith awake at night, staring at the ceiling and hoping there’s no afterlife in which they’ll have to answer for what they’ve created.

Provided without comment:

13:54 < mhoye> ashughes: I'm not some jackass whose lips move when he reads through the management-tips book he bought at the airport. This is hard-won knowledge obtained at substantial personal expense.
13:56 < ashughes> mhoye: I do not recall anyone calling you a jackass... if they did, I would say they are way off base
13:58 < mhoye> You'd be wrong, but I'm not that particular kind of jackass, no.
13:58 < shaver> it's a complex coordinate space, indeed