Mount Sutro: An Electronic Periodical

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5.25-inch Floppy Diskette Article Archive

Regarding Cigars

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help

I mentioned back on 13 April I was going to be replacing the current Gallery software (powered by a packaged with the same name) with a SourceForge project called Coppermine. I selected this software from the various free gallery products available for its clean default appearance, straight forward navigation, multitude of uploading options and its file structure. I had many issues with Gallery that made me more and more displeased with it. Coppermine was installed successfully back on the 13th and has been working since, but I delayed an announcement until now as I had not uploaded all my pictures yet. I do still have to finish customising the skin to match the rest of Mount Sutro and add captions to many of the pictures, but the content as a whole is there and fully organised into main categories (cities for the most part) and the subcategories ("albums") of particular days or events.

The picture cropped and used as this article's header is one I have been meaning to comment on since it was taken. When Erik (pictured to the left) and I came into possession of cigars from Key West we were excited to finally try something we had discussed doing since we were of age to purchase tobacco products, but at the same time hesitant. The exact and proper methods eluded us and we did not wish to screw our first time up. We were cigar virgins indeed and properly intoxicated, a fact which probably was not in our favour.

I remembered a photograph taken when Ernie and company visited Orlando for Gay Days 2003. It was taken not on one of the occasions I spent time with Ernie, Mike and Don but during an evening they visited with ex-Orlando blogger Dan Benjamin and web-standards aficionado. Supplementary to publishing this photograph depicting Ernie and Dan with cigars at Pleasure Island, Dan included a very thorough instruction guide called "Regarding Cigars." Erik and I used this guide to successfully enjoy our first and to date, only cigars. I had Erik's brother Steven take this picture and I modified it in Photoshop to best match the one that had drawn me to the document that proved so ever helpful. Via telephone several months ago Ernie asked if I had ever shown Dan this tribute picture and I had not. Therefore, Dan: Thank you very much for your wonderful guide and my continued enjoyment of Hivelogic and Automatic Labs.

* the original version of this photograph lives in my Gallery but Dan's edited version is only a broken link these days.

ADDENDUM: Previous links to the Gallery and photographs contained therein should mostly redirect to the album index of the new Gallery. It took some time setting the .htaccess file correctly as it is so I am likely to just let it go. As I doubt no one has bookmarked a picture this should likely pertain mostly to visitors arriving via image search engines

The President's Press Conference

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help

If you missed the broadcast tonight or wish to review it, you may do so here.

It would be nice if questions that require a "yes" or "no" for a response are initially answered as such. If a more detailed response is necessary then it would be appropriate to do so after initially answering the question. It really seemed like some very serious questions were side-stepped with political rhetoric, repeated keyword placement and somewhat confusing doubletalk. While a public forum such as this is not Mr. Bush's forte, I believe he could have really aided his credibility and, in turn, helped him for his bid for re-election by more succinctly and directly answering the questions posed by the reporters.

For a portion of the broadcast while I was eating, I stopped listening to NPR and instead watched the televised coverage via the CBS network. Something that struck me during the question and answer session was that while the camera was on the President, the picture appeared softer and the colours warmer. Likewise when the camera switched positions to show a reporter asking a question, the colours were colder and the image much sharper. Was this done intentionally to soften the image of the President while making harsher the appearance of the media?

Here are a few excerpts from the above text that got me going the most. The original dialogue is in italics. My commentary follows each excerpt.

Saddam Hussein was a threat. He was a threat because he had used weapons of mass destruction on his own people. He was a threat because he coddled terrorists. He was a threat because he funded suiciders. He was a threat to the region. He was a threat to the United States. [...] The person responsible for the attacks was Osama bin Laden. That's who's responsible for killing Americans. And that's why we will stay on the offense until we bring people to justice.

I am glad everyone finally got that straight. However when addressing the public and stating we need to do this and that for this and that reason, it would be a good idea to keep the issues separate. Sure Saddam Hussein was a horrible person but the time selected in order to launch this Iraqi offensive was inappropriate. While the real responsible person(s) continue to be wandering free we have devoted our military power to entering a foreign land, overthrowing the hostile leaders and regime and now babysitting until a self-sufficient governing body can be established. I think the United States has been caught enough lately pants down and this time right now would really be a great opportunity to strike again while we are so distracted.

I think the hearings will show that the Patriot Act is an important change in the law that will allow the FBI and the CIA to better share information together. We were kind of stove-piped, I guess is a way to describe it. There was kind of – departments that at times didn't communicate, because of law, in the FBI's case.

There is no hearing, no organisation and no single person that can possibly classify the Patriot Act as an important change to the United States. It is a fundamental step backwards, bringing us closer to the form of government we are abolishing in Iraq. If we wish to maintain our status as a non-imperaial nation then we should support reform that would repeal the Patriot Act and in its place write a law that addresses the nations' communication flaws allowing our various intelligence-gathering agencies to share data efficiently. We do not need to restrict American citizen's freedoms to fax documents between the NSA, FBI, CIA and the White House.

The people know where I stand. I mean, in terms of Iraq, I was very clear about what I believed. And, of course, I want to know why we haven't found a weapon yet. But I still know Saddam Hussein was a threat, and the world is better off without Saddam Hussein. I don't think anybody can – maybe people can argue that.

We have not found a weapon yet because they are either hidden beyond our search capabilities, destroyed so well that we can find not a single trace or never existed. Yes, the world and Iraq are better without Saddam Hussein. But telling the nation and world we are doing something for a specific reason and then when it is discovered to have been a falsehood state we are better off anyway is wrong. You did the right thing for the wrong reason at the wrong time, Mr. President.

REPORTER: I was asking why you're appearing together, rather than separately, which was their request.

THE PRESIDENT: Because it's a good chance for both of us to answer questions that the 9/11 Commission is looking forward to asking us, and I'm looking forward to answering them.

This is possibly one of the best examples of the President not answering a simple and rather valid question. You can both answer the questions separately with the same enthusiasm as you could together. So why not just simply answer the question rather then make it appear that there is more to the story being hidden from the public?

After 9/11, the world changed for me, and I think changed for the country. It changed for me because, like many, we assumed oceans would protect us from harm, and that's not the case, it's not the reality of the 21st century. Oceans don't protect us. They don't protect us from killers.

Really? It is a good thing the United Soviet Socialist Republic was not aware about that otherwise they may have trained nuclear missiles at our country over the course of a multi-decade cold war.

You've often heard me talk about my worry about weapons of mass destruction ending up in the hands of the wrong people.

Like the Iraqi's who received a hearty arsenal from us so they could fight Iran.

The American people may decide to change – that's democracy. I don't think so, I don't think so. And I look forward to making my case. I'm looking forward to the campaign. Now is the time to talk about winning this war on terror. Now is the time to make sure that the American people understand the stakes and the historic significance of what we're doing. And no matter where they may stand on this war, the thing I appreciate most about our country is the strong support given to the men and women in uniform. And it's vital support. It's important for those soldiers to know America stands with them. And we weep when they die, and we're proud of the victories they achieve.

I am really sick and tired of people equating anti-war sentiment with being anti-troop. Of course I support the troops and weep when they die. It is their Commander In Chief I hold responsible for what happens to them. They are simply doing what they are told to do and I wish them the best in doing just that, following orders.

So long as I'm the President, I will press for freedom. I believe so strongly in the power of freedom. You know why I do? Because I've seen freedom work right here in our own country. I also have this belief, strong belief, that freedom is not this country's gift to the world; freedom is the Almighty's gift to every man and woman in this world. And as the greatest power on the face of the Earth, we have an obligation to help the spread of freedom.

Sure, so long as that freedom does not personally offend you or other conservative types. For example: the media, homosexuals and privacy. Freedom is unconditional.

...maybe I need to learn to communicate better.

Understatement of the year. Ok, that was low-brow I admit. But I just wrote a lot so give me a break.

Anyone else have comments about the President's message tonight?

E-Mail Notice

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help
Due to the fact that when I originally created the account I was not as careful about where and how I posted it publicly, my original e-mail address will discontinue working as of today. If you are using that as an e-mail address for me your messages will be delivered to the great beyond without my having viewed them.

Personal correspondence may be directed to the addresses posted on my personal contact page. Business correspondence may be directed to the addresses located on my company contact page.

Site Notice: I am in the process of setting up the new and improved Gallery now using Coppermine software. It will take me another few days to get all the pictures back online complete with captions and such. Also, pictures that were to have been added previously will now be added as well

It Makes Me Angry

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help
Please excuse me for a few minutes while I take a walk down political lane, simply because I have been relatively quiet about that particular subject as of late.

Needless to say the upcoming United States Presidential election is not something I am looking forward to at all. Maybe I have caught a premature case of the pessimist bug, but I simply cannot see a Democratic Party member proving a worthy enough candidate to successfully unseat the incumbent. In all honesty, the thought of John Kerry being the most powerful man in the modern world scares me back under the blankets. However the thought of another full term with Mr. Bush scares me enough to look at real estate options in Vancouver, Canada and London, England.

I could really care less about the majority of things the general voting public seem to care about in their leader. During the Clinton administration and whilst the impeachment fiasco many in the Republican Party, religious organisations and other anti-liberal groups bashed the very nature of the man. Was he really, really stupid for doing what he did? Sure, but that is not the business of the American people. While I could debate ad nauseam with conservative types about the actual work Clinton did during his administration I am bored to tears with it. It is my opinion and that of many well-educated political scientists that during his administration a lot of good was done. People were happy, the financial situation was the best it had been in well over twenty years and the general state of affairs seemed positive.

That said, despite his character flaws and public displays of foot-in-mouth syndrome, I do not dislike Bush the man. It is fundamentally unfair to pass judgement onto traits which concern you not. But the places Bush seems to want to take this country are places we should all be very afraid of even thinking about visiting. Whether or not you agree or disagree with the war we started in Iraq, it does not take a college degree to realise that the reasons we were given on why this action was necessary were flawed. The pursuit of justice is a noble one and I personally hope that we can hold responsible those who were the architects of the 11 September 2001 attacks. Taking the Constitution, Bill of Rights and every other sacred document that makes the United States what it is out back and pissing on them is not the way to do it.

The Patriot Act was developed and enacted into law by a lot of greedy politicians who care more about how they look to their constituency then they do about actually fulfilling the oaths they took when entering office. You know all that protection of the Constitution and such. Restricting the rights of American citizens is something that should never be tolerated. Not for any reason. If you want to protect me and help ensure my safety then pass laws that do that without restricting my rights. I would rather die a free American by a terrorist action than suffer through the transition to self-righteous communism. When we start to restrict our actions in the name of "homeland security" we tell the people of the world that we are afraid and basically bow to the whims of the terrorist community. That some conservative types would stand up in defiance of the legal and political protests made by the American Civil Liberties Union, an organisation designed for the sole purpose of protecting the Constitution and Bill of Rights, is unconscionable. That is an impeachable offense.

While our people are unemployed, unable to afford transportation and living expenses and dying left and right in a foreign land, our Commander In Chief decides wage war (once again) on the freedoms so many died to create by openly speaking against homosexual marriage. Here is my opinion on this as unbiased as possible: I do not have the desire to get married and am pretty certain to be of that mindset for a long time. However, to deny that right to those who do wish to acknowledge their unconditional love and support for another human being is against the founding principles of live and let live. The religious right spew their hatred and fear by arguing this act will destroy the institution of marriage. I hate to be the one to enlighten them but the institution of marriage is a religious institution. I can pick up a woman right now, drive the local Courthouse, pay a fee and become married, receiving the benefits granted therein such as tax deductions and next-of-kin assignment. How is that "marriage" in the terms the Church would like to define? Should it matter to the State if that couple entering into a legal contract is same-sex? If the major Churches of the world would like to remain in the dark ages and deny membership to their fellow men and women because they happen to be homosexual let them. But keep the separation of Church and State separate. The fact that our legislators are spending so much time on this issue angers me even more. We have serious problems and we need serious people to solve them.

Republicans as you know are all about smaller government, less taxation and such. Is that why new useless departments have been created? Is that why the United States went from a substantial budget surplus to a major deficit? Alex P. Keaton must be pretty pissed off these days. I am all about smaller, more efficient government and lowered taxes but in order to make that happen our officials need to have their money regulated to them. This careless spending is really outrageous. And I blame the Democrats just as much for being the benchwarmers that do nothing during the game but gripe the loudest when the team loses. Air America Radio, rich liberal entertainer blowhards, are not going to solve our problems. Our leaders need to get off their collective asses and do something about our problems.

On a final note and with my apologies for this being more of rant than the cohesive argument I had originally intended it is the hypocrisy of today that gets up in the top five things that make me mad. Rush Limbaugh was one of the loudest voices of the conservative view. He said that we should cut all Federal funding to programmes to help the poor, drug addicted and other similar groups. He called these people names and spat at them with great hatred. And now he enlists the help of the ACLU in his own drug addition battle? Oh how the mighty fall. If the ACLU were not as secure in their fight for equality and the protection of Americans they would have told Limbaugh to go fuck himself when he came to them.

I am really tired of this entire sort of thing. I am sick of conservative Republicans constantly name-calling when it comes to liberals. I have heard certain individuals personally berate Hillary Clinton and others. Do you know her personally? Did she harm you in some specific way? No, she put herself through school and got elected by the people who felt she would be a positive influence on their futures. Trash her politics if you wish, but unless you know her for real then shut up already. Screaming the loudest and using the profane words get you the attention, but they also reveal your fears. I am done for now and without even touching the issues of media censorship. I simply have no more time to devote to this.

Technical Gripe

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help
If you do not have the technical expertise (or the brains to find someone who does) to configure your web server so that it is not necessary to type a "www" prefix when going to a domain name, you should not have a website. Period.

Even more amazing are the number of Fortune 500 companies that constantly neglect these few lines of code and possibly deter customers or at least make asses of themselves. For example, several years ago I notified the so-called webmaster of the Crown Royal Whiskey Company that their print advertising displayed their domain name sans the old school prefix and was, in fact, inaccessible that way. I never received a reply to my generous observation but the problem was corrected rather swiftly.

Oh and Flash-only websites suck. Forcing your end-users (read: moneymakers) to comply to your strict requirements is illogical. Flash is an interesting technology with many practical applications but at least give me the option to skip the annoying animated buttons, splash screens, introduction pages and noisy transition effects by suppling an HTML version as well. No, actually do not even bother. Your site probably contains nothing useful anyway.