Happy 50th

…Aaand it’s now been 50 years since we landed on the moon. Probably the most important achievement in human history. And nobody seems to care. I found like 3 events in the city celebrating it. 2 were kinda lame, and one (the scienceworks one, which was also lamer than it should have been) was sold out. At least the “sold out” bit is encouraging.

Now, not only can I use the expression “We can put a man on the moon but we can’t <X>“, but I can also say “half a century after landing on the moon and we’re still <X>“.

I’ve been listening to the excellent Apollo in Realtime site for most of the day. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s interesting getting a sense for just how slow and methodical everything was. I think I might do Apollo 13 in realtime next.

Hellboy Review

So the new Hellboy movie is finally here. I figured I’d post some thoughts:

Fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you.

Why would I watch a Hellboy reboot when you refused to conclude the already excellent trilogy?

Let’s just set aside the tired old “Gillermo Del Toro is the perfect director for Hellboy”, “Ron Perlman is the perfect actor to play Hellboy”, and “Mike Mignola was involved in the writing” arguments and just focus on one thing: Franchises.

Let’s assume that this new Hellboy reboot is amazing, better than what Del Toro, Mignola, and Perlman would have done (I know right, but let’s just assume a miracle). Lets assume that it’s a masterpiece and the greatest movie ever made, and not just a slapped-together incoherent cash-grab mess with no real interest in or respect for the subject matter like so many reboots are. What then?

Well, obviously, it becomes a franchise! Because that’s the done thing these days! There will be sequels! “Hellboy 2: The…uh…platinum? army” gets greenlit and goes into production. And takes a few years to make. The same team comes back. They set it up as the second chapter of an epic trilogy and it’s amazing.

But like the hollywood studio you are, some exec goes “OOH SHINY!” When someone comes along with a concept for yet another Hellboy reboot rendered in claymation. So you reboot it yet again rather than completing this new and even better trilogy. And now I’m left with two excellent, unfinished Hellboy stories.

You see, by not completing the previous (excellent) trilogy with Del Toro and Perlman, you’ve undermined your credibility: Why would I get invested in Hellboy again when you’ve already shown that you don’t have the attention span to conclude the existing trilogy? Are you going to sign a written contract guaranteeing me that this time you’ll definitely let the director conclude his vision? I don’t think so. And even if you did sign that contract, then I’d have to re-open the issues set aside above. So I see no reason to be interested in the slightest. Which is disappointing for everyone really, I think an R-rating could really suit Hellboy. But given that I have to assume that the next movie in the series will be 2021′s Hellboy reboot with a new cast and director, followed by 2025′s Hellboy reboot with a new cast and director, I’m not able to be interested in this. Which brings me back to my original position: fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you.

Mad props to my homie Ron Perlman for having principles and refusing to be involved without Del Toro.

Mythbusting Mythbusting Linux

This post is my response to This video:

(Sauce)


(Archival / downloadable copy)

OK, so I appreciate the tone of your video and your stated motivations for making it. I’m going to try to be diplomatic in my response.

1. Viruses.

The viruses you found were an exe file and a dll file. A windows executables and library. Not exactly a threat, especially if you don’t have wine installed. These are definitely not linux viruses and that machine is not infected – even if you did manage to run a virus-infected exe file, it’s not going to infect any of the other binaries on your system with the possible exception of windows binaries that your regular user has write access to.

The example you give is a really weird one, and I have no idea what is going on. My only guess is that perhaps this ‘imagination’ software (which I’ve never used, though I do see it in my repos) has an ability to optionally run some external windows-vased helper program if you have wine installed. The fact that the files were in /var/tmp indicates that it was your regular user who downloaded them, i.e you did it, or the program has a “download utility x” helper built into it. Or perhaps these files got into that temp directory via other means, and imagination didn’t run simply because sophos wasn’t allowing it to access the infected files.

There’s also the possibility that this was a false positive, and that the exe and dll files were not infected but simply used an executable compressor or something like that.

Yes, you found a virus, but your system was not infected by it. If I go to a website and download a virus intentionally, and then scan my ‘downloads’ folder, I’ll find a virus too. But I won’t be infected. In windows, even having that virus on your system is dangerous because simply double-clicking on that exe could infect a countless number of other executables. Though newer versions of windows have gotten better at protecting system files, and it’s quite possible to infect a whole lot of windows programs if you are using wine.

I will agree that perhaps the wording “Linux doesn’t get viruses” is a bit extreme – there are one or two linux viruses out there, and that perhaps it should be re-worded to something along the lines of “during normal use, linux applications will not be infected by viruses”, with the caveats of assuming you’re only using software from your distributions repository, and you’re not running things as root.

2. Uptime and reboots.

This is just wrong. I never ever reboot my machine, and I update it regularly. In 90+% of cases, this causes no problems at all.

Yes, there are cases where some library might be updated and it might render things which use that library unusable until you reboot, but even in this case, a reboot is rarely necessary – often you can just restart the underlying service or the GUI and things will work fine. Though sometimes it’s easier to just reboot than to figure out what you need to restart. It should also be noted that we’re talking about a miniscule percentage of updates here – usually when a service is updated, the update script will restart it for you.

Yes, from what I understand, systemd updates will likely require a reboot. This is one reason why we shouldn’t be using systemd. But that’s a whole other debate.

The machine I’m typing this on has an uptime of 138 days right now. That’s how long it’s been since we had a power outage. My laptop is at 103 days. My server at work is at 330 days (i.e: since the day it was commissioned). Next time I reboot, it will be using a newer kernel. Until then, everything is fine.

Compare this with rebooting three times during a round of updates.

3. Fragmentation.

You say that linux has “3 defragmenters”, but two of the ones you point out are tools which report on fragmentation, they don’t actually defragment. The two reporting tools are probably not necessary, since e4defrag has the ‘-c’ switch, kind of like ‘egrep’ being an alias for ‘grep -e’. The number of tools available isn’t a big indicator of a real problem, Linux types like to have lots of variety, e.g there are about 100 different tools for doing disk partitioning, but it’s not something a normal person does with any kind of regularity.

I’ve been using linux for 10+ years and I had never heard of these tools, so I did a defrag check on my machine, which initially started out with ubuintu 8.04 and has been upgraded multiple times without reformatting. I use it for everything you can imagine – gaming, audio/video production, media center, and coding. It gets heavy use and its disk has been up to 99% full more than once. I figured that if any disk is going to be fragmented, it’ll be mine.

The fragmentation score on my root volume was 0.
The fragmentation score on my home volume was 1.

I was a pretty damn advanced windows user for a long time before I made the switch, and I can attest that the same usage on a windows machine would have seen heavy fragmentation (actually the same use would have seen multiple reformats and reinstalls to clear out crud, but regular defragmentation would also be necessary). I used to defragment on a regular basis when I used windows (I had it set up as a scheduled task). Until today, I didn’t know that there were even degragmenting tools available for Linux.

Again, the wording on the claim “you don’t need to defragment” could probably use an asterisk on it, with a subtext “during the course of normal use”, and I can see how you think that the claim is misleading, but I think you’re attaching more signifigance to this than it deserves.

4. UUIDs in fstab – you can’t just switch disks.

Here I think you’re just wrong. Sorry, but you are. Yes, it’s true that you won’t get your full whiz-bang GUI interface immediately upon switching a disk from one machine to another, but saying that the system didn’t boot isn’t exactly accurate either. In your video, the machine boots to a grub prompt (which included an ‘advanced boot options’ choice which probably would have allowed you to boot the full system by specifying the root volume, if you knew the invocation to do so [I don't off the top of my head]). But the system also leaves you at a command prompt. It doesn’t give you a blue screen effectively saying ‘please insert your installation CD and reinstall’. From the command prompt you got, fixing this problem is as simple as doing something like:

ls -l /dev/disk/by-uuid
(jot down uuid of the disk in question)
vi /etc/fstab
(change uuid of root volume)
reboot

OK, so for your average nontechnical user, this isn’t obvious or intuitive, but it’s a far cry from a blue screen of death and a reinstall. You’ll note that the instructions above don’t include “insert your installation cd”, though that would also work – you could boot into the livecd environment and make the change you need to make to fstab from a nice gui without reinstalling.

Yes, back when /dev/sdX was being used in fstab, you used to be able to just put the disk in another machine and it would boot the full GUI. Sometimes. Assuming that the ‘X’ was the same on the new machine.

The reason this changed was due to the fact that in a modern distro devices can appear and disappear at any time because they might be plugged in or unplugged at any time. This includes hard disks (though I don’t recommend trying it unless you have a hotpluggable disk!). This support meant that there was no guarantee that /dev/sda would still be /dev/sda the next time you reboot – it might be /dev/sdb when you reboot, meaning that your fstab is incorrect and the system won’t reboot properly.

I’ll grant that perhaps fstab should be using disk labels instead – that would solve this problem (assuming it’s practical), but to do so would mean that all disks would need to have a label, and many don’t. It would also cause issues if you have two disks with the same label (e.g having a volume named “ROOT” in two computers, and taking the “ROOT” volume from one machine and putting it into the other – which “ROOT” should it use?)

I’d also grant that a more descriptive error message in this situation might be helpful, depending on how practical doing that would be. If the console had a message to the effect of “cannot locate root volume – perhaps you need to edit /etc/fstab?” it would be much more intuitive. Hell, it’s probably possible to build a text-based program that does this for you.

Technically, though, since you saw a command prompt and not a kernel panic, the system booted. I guess this comes down to your definition of “boot”.

It’s probably not awesome if people are making the claim that you can just pull the disk out and put it in another machine. There should probably should be an asterisk there, too. But “not booted” isn’t a correct desctiption of the situation either.

In Conclusion
I think you have misunderstood and misinterpreted a few things, leading you to some incorrect conclusions.

I think that this should probably be an interesting lesson for everybody involved – you can learn a few things about linux, and the linux community can learn how its “sales pitches” can be misinterpreted.

You should be careful and make sure the facts are on your side when using words like “misinformation”. Your video falls under that category.

I think you have done everybody a disservice by disabling comments on your video.

Not worth my effort

Natalie Bennett, A victorian police officer, admits (in private, off the record of course) that she routinely speeds because she knows that if pulled over all she has to do is flash her badge and she’ll be let off scott-free.

This makes her a despicable human being and part of the problem.

When I expressed my outrage at this wanton abuse and double-standard, I was told “if you have a problem with it you should become a cop so that you can speed too”.

I was particularly astounded at the complete lack of interest in justice which this view implies – it seems that some people don’t want a better world. It’s not just that they’re apathetic and terrified, they’re actively disinterested in the world being a better place.

It’s times like these when I think that I shouldn’t bother trying – this idiotic species doesn’t deserve my help – let it die. It might not be my ideal “better world”, but it would be an improvement.

PROTIP

Don’t forget to breathe:

  1. Inhale
  2. Exhale
  3. Go to Step 1

Following these steps will provide you with a continuous oxygen supply unless you seal yourself away from the atmosphere (i.e: sealed room, underwater) or leave the planet.

Leaving the planet without an adequate oxygen supply is not recommended.

3653 days

Today marks 10 years since I met you.

And on February 14th (Yeah, valentine’s day) – It will be 10 years since we first got together.

I still remember it so vividly.

It was a sunday afternoon. I was running late, as usual, to meet my friends at the St. Kilda festival.

So I got my shit together, and maybe 15 minutes late I turned up at the meeting spot. I was the last to arrive – everybody else was still there.

And somebody new.

I don’t know exactly what it was, but there was something about you that I saw straight away. I knew instantly that no amount of shyness on my part was going to stop me from talking to you. I knew that I wanted to get to know you instantly.

I knew all this so quickly that my mind went racing even before I figured out who you were. In the space of a couple of seconds, a huge number of thoughts flew through my mind. My thought processes went something like this:

1) “Oh. My. God: She’s fucking *gorgeous*!”
2) “Who is she, anyway?”
3) “Oh, I know who she is. This could be trouble.”

The “This could be trouble” was because you were my best friend’s sister, and I knew that I was going to be compelled to chase you. I didn’t want it to cause problems with my friendship. Of course, it did. But that’s another story.

I guess the point of this story is that since then I’ve pretty much believed in love at first sight.

Not literally, that would be stupid – I didn’t fall in love with you then and there. I don’t know exactly when I did fall in love with you – it snuck up on me: one day I realised that I’d do anything for you, and there it was.

But this wasn’t just attraction. I’d been attracted to pretty girls before, and I’ve been attracted since. This was not the same: there was more to it.

I can’t put my finger on it: maybe it was the expression on your face, maybe it was your pose, something in your body language. But it was there. And I saw it and knew straight away.

And I’ve never loved anyone the same way since. I don’t see it happening again.

I miss you.

pretty vacant

I wrote this a few days ago in the small hours of the night:

It’s the pub in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. You and your friends are out-of-place here – there’s a bunch of rednecks fawning over you, none too subtly.

I can see why – you’re young, gorgeous, with long, dark, straight hair – just how I like it, and you’re wearing a tight, short, single-piece red thing that nearly takes me off my feet.

But these guys are cringe-inducing – really lewd and loud, and all stepping over eachother like a bunch of morons. It’s funny and pathetic to watch – the air carries the dual scents of sweaty testosterone and evaporating estrogen. I refuse to be involved – I’m reading a book and drinking a beer.

And then you sit down opposite me and say hi. You tell me that I look familiar. I say that’s unlikely, since I’m 3000kms from home. We introduce ourselves and chat a bit. You have an english accent – Oh my god, could this be love?

We’re chatting about nothing in particular. After a little while I decide to dispense with the pleasantries and ask a loaded question – one which says more than it asks:

“So, how do you like the blokes here? Subtle, huh? Must be interesting coping with that…”

You stare at me blankly.

“Huh? What do you mean?”

I LOL on the inside. Probably not love.

“Never mind”.

I get up from my seat and go talk to the blokes. It’s not hard for me to blend in with them – If I laugh with them they’ll think I’m one of them. And now I can join them in laughing at you.

foxtrotgps / landscape mode X apps on qtmoko / QX

I’ve been playing with the latest QTmoko on my freerunner after a couple of years of not updating my distro.

Some thoughts:

It’s great! Very snappy and responsive – congrats and thank-you to Radek and the other contributors, you’ve done a fantastic job and you’ve made some great strides over the last couple of years.

I haven’t tried using it as a phone yet (I’m still put-off by my previous experiences, and don’t have a second SIM), but it looks like it might be *gasp* almost usable! :O I’m tempted to try it out as a phone…

I particularly like what you’ve done with the keyboard – I think it’s about as good as an on-screen keyboard is going to get on this device. Very nice. though I wish I could have it default to qwerty mode.

But it’s not perfect – everything I want doesn’t “just work” yet (though it is very good – things like wifi and bluetooth seem to just work). But that means I get to have some fun tinkering!

I’ve been messing about with making foxtrotgps work under QX on qtmoko for a little while, and wanted to jot down some notes and tips:

  • When QX asks which X server to install, I recommend xorg – xglamo doesn’t seem to like being rotated. I’d love to make xglamo work, because it seems faster. (Performance with foxtrot on xorg is very usable, but faster == better.)
  • You very likely want to apt-get install gconf2, or foxtrot won’t save user prefs (e.g mapset, postiion, etc) when you close it.
  • Rotating the X screen with xrandr doesn’t rotate the touchscreen input properly. To fix this, you need to use xinput to swap the x-axis.
  • I’m using ‘xrandr -o right’ for my landscape orientation. This means that the USB plug on the freerunner is at the top. If you want to use ‘-o left’ you’ll need to play around with the axis swapping.

  • There’s no onscreen keyboard for X apps. To fix this, apt-get install matchbox-keyboard matchbox-keyboard-im, and launch matchbox-keyboard –daemon before you start foxtrot. This will give you a keyboard which pops up when you select a textbox. After foxtrot closes, I kill matchbox-keyboard.
  • QX has a ‘display always on’ option, but X has its own screensaver and blanking/dpms stuff. you’ll want to use xset to turn these off if you want your display always on.
  • You need to start gpsd before you start foxtrot. I also kill gpsd when foxtrot closes. This means it can take a while to get a fix, but I haven’t done a huge amount of outdoor testing yet – all I’ve done is confirmed that it will get a fix.
  • Pressing the AUX button to multitask while X is rotated under QT is ugly – qtmoko will work, but its display will be broken – it looks kinda like QVGA mode and is incorrectly rotated. If you can manage to hit AUX a couple of times to get back to QX, and then press ‘resume’ or ‘stop’ in QX, qtmoko will revert to an un-broken state. Ideally I’d like to disable qtmoko’s AUX-button handler while foxtrot is running, or capture focus events to unrotate on lostfocus and rotate on gotfocus, but I haven’t yet found a way to do either of these.
  • The above ugliness will also happen if X dies while rotated, so you need to xrandr -o normal after foxtrot exits. This means you want to exit foxtrot gracefully. Since foxtrot doesn’t have an ‘exit’ menu item, this means you want to ‘use matchbox’ in the QX settings. You also want fullscreen.

I ended up doing the following to make a wrapper script for foxtrot. It’s a bit of a nasty hack, but it works for me. A slightly nicer way would be to use update-alternatives to use an alternate foxtrotgps launcher script, or saving the script as ‘foxtrot_launcher’, building a desktop entry for it, and setting up a QX favourite for it.

the script below could very easily be modified/generalised to run things other than foxtrotgps!

root@neo:~$ mv /usr/bin/foxtrotgps /usr/bin/foxtrotgps.bin
root@neo:~$ vi /usr/bin/foxtrotgps
              (insert content, below)
root@neo:~$ chmod a+x /usr/bin/foxtrotgps
 

/usr/bin/foxtrotgps:


#!/bin/bash
#Custom script for starting gpsd and foxtrotGPS in landscape mode:
#xinput stuff liberated from: http://lists.openmoko.org/nabble.html#nabble-td7561815

#ensure GPS is powered up:
om gps power 1
om gps om gps keep-on-in-suspend 1

#gpsd
#service gpsd start
gpsd /dev/ttySAC1

#sleep 1 
# we might have to wait some time before sending commands (I didnt)

#rotate:
xrandr -o right

#disable screen blanking:
xset s off -dpms 

#swap x axis:
xinput set-int-prop "Touchscreen" "Evdev Axis Inversion" 8 1 0
#no axis inversion
xinput set-int-prop "Touchscreen" "Evdev Axes Swap" 8 0
xinput set-int-prop "Touchscreen" "Evdev Axis Calibration" 32 98 911 918 107

#run the matchbox keyboard in daemon mode:
#with matchbox-keyboard-im this pops up automatically
matchbox-keyboard --daemon &

#run the real foxtrot:
foxtrotgps.bin --fullscreen

#foxtrot has closed, cleanup:

#kill keyboard:
killall matchbox-keyboard

#unrotate:
xrandr -o normal

#stop gpsd:
#service gpsd stop
killall gpsd

Aw Shit

Neil Armstrong has died.

It’s taken me a bit by suprise how emotional I am about it.

There’s so much to say, and yet so little.

The internet has been going crazy honouring him for a day or so now – as it should. Journalists and writers will do a much better job than I ever could at prattling on about what a loss this is and what a great man he was. Go to teh googles and do some searches and read about him, like you should.

I really only have a couple of things to say about it:

  • “Aw, Shit”.
  • “He will be remembered for all time”.

“Aw, Shit”.

Buzz Aldrin pointed out that he was looking forward to Neil being there for the 50th anniversay of the moon landing in 2019.

I think for me the biggest dissappointment is that Neil will never meet the next Neil Armstrong – the first man on Mars. That Neil never got to see humans exploring the solar system, he never got to see the real fruits of his accomplishment which I believe will inevitably come. I would have loved to hear what Neil would have had to say about man landing on Mars, or an orbiting hotel, or a moonbase.

“He will be remembered for all time”

He was one of those guys. I read the term “humble hero” somewhere, and it’s apt. He didn’t like publicity, he wanted to live a private, normal life. Kinda difficult when you’re the first man to walk on the moon. He was always deflecting the accolades onto the team, saying (I paraphrase):
“I just flew the thing – there’s half a million people who built the thing – congratulate them”.

I highly recommend “Being Neil Armstrong”, a very good BBC documentary about Neil which talks about how he didn’t like being in the spotlight.

There’s the “Futurama scenario”, where humanity forgets who first landed on the moon, but I think that it’s unlikely. Possible, but unlikely. I think we’ll remember Neil for as long as there is a humanity.

I was sitting at work today and another Armstrong thing came up on my news feeds and I got a bit bummed out. And I looked up and saw my James T Kirk Motivational Poster, and I had an idea – something appropriate and light-hearted. So I put it together tonight, here ’tis. I think it’s the kind of thing Neil would probably say… ;)

Kirk Motivational Poster
(Note: I don’t know who to attribute this image to. It’s not mine.)

Neil Armstrong Motivational Poster

RIP. :(

incompetence

Me:
“It’s very obvious to me that you don’t understand my question. Can I please talk to someone competent – someone who has some basic knowledge of networking?”

Vodafone Mobile Broadband Technical Support* consultant:
“No, you can’t: We’re an Internet provider, we don’t do networks.”

I was reminded later by a friend that the Internet is in fact a series of tubes. And here I was thinking it was a TCP/IP network. Silly me.

* I use the term “Technical Support” very, very loosely – I do not mean to imply that they provide support or are capable of being technical.

Stallman is Nucking Futs!

Stallman talks about Valve releasing a Steam client for Linux

Go, read. I’ll wait.

Back? Good.

Oh, Look! Valve got a mention by the mighty Stallman!

He asks what good and bad effects can Valve’s release of a Steam client for Linux have? Well, it might boost linux adoption, and that’s good. But…

Nonfree games (like other nonfree programs) are unethical because they deny freedom to their users. If you want freedom, one requisite for it is not having these games on your computer. That much is clear.

Wait, what?

Hang on a minute… If I want freedom, I’m not free to run these games? huh?

IMHO, having freedom means having the freedom to choose to run nonfree software if I want to. I’d rather play Half-Life or Portal than any open source game (It’s not that there are no great open source games, it’s just that Half-Life and Portal are better than all of them).

Stallman goes on to discourage Linux distros from offering the software to users – i.e deb packages for steam, and says:

If you want to promote freedom, please take care not to talk about the availability of these games on GNU/Linux as support for our cause.

Which is totally…fucking…insane.

I’ll be promoting freedom – freedom from Windows: “You don’t need windows anymore – Steam is available for Linux!”. I’ll be promoting the freedom to finally run good games on my chosen OS without any fucking around with wine. I’ll be (gasp) buying a bunch of games. Because a Steam client for Linux would be totally fucking awesome – I think it’d be the biggest event in gaming since Id released the source code for Doom. Just watch the Linux market share grow after the release.

Stallman says that Linux adoption isn’t the primary goal. That the primary goal is to bring freedom to users (But apparently not the freedom to run games they love). But I think that adoption of Linux at this point is more important than sticking to this (silly, BTW: nonfree != evil) principle – The more adoption we see, the more the community will grow, and the better the software will get. While this happens, more people will be exposed to Stallman’s (unrealistic) philosophy.

Stallman does concede that “My guess is that the direct good effect will be bigger than the direct harm”.

Direct harm? Really? I can finally delete that old windows XP partition, and you’re talking about Direct Harm? You think there’s anything at all bad about Valve’s monumental decision to embrace Linux?

You’re fucking crazy. Even distros that your foundation doesn’t endorse (Prepare to be amazed), like Ubuntu, go out of their way to tell the user that they’re about to install nonfree software. It’s always optional. It’s just been made easy because not everybody is as nuts as Stallman – some people, like me, actually want to use nonfree software. I should be free to do that, but apparently that’s not OK with the so-called “Free Software Foundation”. Apparently software should be free, but not people.

(Update: Late 2013: Valve refuse to give me a refund for the nonfunctional game Fez, in violation of Australian Consumer Protection Laws. They try to tell me that the laws don’t apply. I lodge a complaint with the ACCC and stop buying things on Steam. Maybe Stallman isn’t that nuts after all. No company can be trusted.)

(Update 2: 2014: The ACCC Sues Valve for violation of consumer protection laws. I love those guys.)

(Update 3: Jun 2015: Valve announces that they now allow refunds. This is because they’re really good, caring people, and has nothing at all to do with an Australian judge being about to hand out a $10,000/day fine)

(Update 4: comments disabled on this post due to spam bots following the link here from my squee when steam for linux was announced)

Kids

“Having kids is hard”

“Having kids is such a chore”

“I don’t get any sleep anymore”

“I won’t have a life for 18 years. And then I’ll be too old to have a life”

These are just some of the more common of the whingy, bitchy things people who have just had kids say to me.

Here’s a thought: I don’t fucking care! Did I twist your arm and make you have kids? No. Did I tell you beforehand that they’re a fucking nightmare, and that you’re making a big mistake? Yes. Did you listen to me? No.

So why should I listen to you or care in the slightest when you come to me whinging about how your life isn’t your own anymore?

You made the mistake, not me. Deal with it. I don’t want to hear about it. I know that having kids is a hassle and a nightmare which changes everything – that’s why I don’t have any, and why I will never have any. It’s almost certain that I told you that you were making a mistake at a point where it was still a choice. You chose to have kids, So don’t fucking bitch to me about the consequences of your actions.

There’s only one thing worse than “My life is over now that I have kids”, and that’s hiding behind your kids because you’re too fucking gutless to say “No, I don’t want to”.

“Oh, it’s such a hassle to get the kids in the car, it’d be too much to manage – I can’t come to [kid-safe-event-I've-invited-you-to]“.

My ass. How do you manage to go shopping then? Ever been to a family dinner since you had kids? How are these things any different?

I find this whole premise especially amusing in that 99.999% of the time your kids are entertaining themselves with their game boy or TV or DS or whatever-the-current-fad-you-fell-for-is – it seems kinda strange to me that your kids can be completely unsupervised at home and yet require your constant attention the minute you leave the house. If that really is the case, which I really really doubt, then as an independent observer I’d speculate that perhaps they’re not being properly disciplined?

Here’s a simple, easy-to-follow set of instructions on how to get your kids in the car and to come to [kid-safe-event]:

  1. Unlock Car
  2. Say: “Kids, get in the car”
  3. Scream at any child who is fucking around
  4. Beat any child who is still fucking around
  5. Pick up any remaining children and put them in the car forcibly
  6. Lock Car
  7. Drive to event

Problem solved.

Secret tip: when your kids get unmanageable / unruly in public, screaming out “STOP THAT SHIT RIGHT NOW OR I’LL SMACK YOU ONE” works wonders. If that makes them cry, you can always use the good old chestnut: “SHUT UP OR I’LL GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO CRY ABOUT!”

Oh, what’s that? you still can’t come? Oh, right, well if you need to…uh… do your washing then that’s fair enough, I understand…

Liar.

Don’t Bullshit Me

If I ask you a favour, I’m asking. It’s not mandatory.

If you’re not going to help me out, don’t waste my time with bullshit. Don’t tell me that you’re busy/don’t have time. Don’t tell me “Not right now, but I’ll call you back”.

Here’s a list of answers to “can you do me a favour?” that are perfectly acceptable, but that nobody ever uses because they seem to think that a bullshit answer is more acceptable than the truth:

  • No.
  • I can’t be fucked.
  • I’ll be busy sleeping.
  • That sounds like effort.
  • I would, but I’m just not going to.
  • I’m far too lazy to do that.
  • I don’t want to help you with that.
  • I would rather gouge my eyeballs out with rusty sporks.

The worst one is the “Sure, but not right now, I’ll get back to you”, because you have no intention of ever getting back to me, and when I hear “I’ll get back to you”, I stop trying to find someone and sit by the phone waiting for you to call (well, probably not literally, but I’ll put less effort into trying to find someone else).

Another thing: You don’t owe me an explanation. If you’re not going to do it, say “No”, and we’ll move on. Nothing more is required (except in certain circumstances, like if you owe me a favour, but none of this really applies in that situation).

Don’t bullshit me. Tell me the truth. If you ask me a favour and I’m not going to do it, I’ll say so. Probably rather bluntly. I expect you to be big enough to be able to handle the fact that I’d rather watch Terminator 2 for the ten thousandth time than help you with your problem. This is a courtesy. You should return it.

Xmas Carol

Many many years ago I came up with an idea for an xmas carol.

Years after I came up with the idea, I actually made it into A Song.

Now, for the last month of so, I’ve had an Idea for a second xmas carol.

But I’m too lazy to turn this into a song, especially in time for it to still be relevant.

So, here are the lyrics. It fits to the music of “we wish you a merry xmas”:

There’s still a whole month till xmas,
there’s still a whole month till xmas,
there’s still a whole month till xmas,
Fuck xmas in the ear.

I can’t bear to hear
your fake xmas cheer
there’s still a whole month till xmas
So stick it in your ear.

get out of your corporate mindset
get out of your corporate mindset
get out of your corporate mindset
I’ve had it up to here

I can’t stand the din
of your fucking caroling
There’s still a whole month till xmas
So stick it in your ear.

your greed means you are the devil
your greed means you are the devil
your greed means you are the devil
there’s a paradox here

The commercial appeal
has you under it’s heel
there’s still a whole month till xmas
Fuck xmas in the ear

the greatest paragraph I’ve ever written

…was, of course, in a flame – I’m at my best when I’m trying to insult or provoke someone.

This was years ago when I won an auction for a Commodore SX-64 on EBay. I’d managed to score it for somewhere around $250 (which is a really good price for that machine, it’s super-rare). The guy was really dodgy – he’d said he accepted COD in the ebay listing, but when I said I’d pick it up and pay cash, he said He’d meet me in a carpark rather than at his house, and wanted me to pay by bank deposit in advance.

I told him this was a very unusual way to do things, and that COD meant ‘cash on delivery’, and that I wasn’t paying by bank deposit, and what was the problem?

He replied telling me that he “Never carries around that much cash”…

…wait, what? I paid cash for my motorbike! And this guy never carries around $250?

He went on to explain that he was selling this machine on the sly, it was in storage somewhere and he didn’t want ‘the missus’ to go through his wallet and steal the cash.

Fair enough, I said, thinking to myself how I’m never ever getting married, then we’ll have to meet twice, because I’ll be seeing a demo of this SX-64 in action before I do a bank transfer.

No Reply.

A couple of days later, I get an email from ebay telling me that this guy’s account has been suspended due to fraudulent activity and that if I haven’t paid for my purchase yet, I shouldn’t. The plot thickens.

Not long afterwards, I get an abusive email from a different email address. It doesn’t say who it’s from (it’s a hotmail with a fake name – ‘john hancock’), and it doesn’t mention why I’m a “fucked faced motherfucker”, just that I am. There is no information content, just abuse.

I deduce that it’s this guy from ebay and that he thinks I was the one who reported him to ebay, so I reply, telling him that it wasn’t me who reported him but that I was glad I hadn’t done a bank transfer already.

I get back an abusive reply, and another, new piece of abuse from a new email address. The email headers have the same originating ip.

Here’s a nugget of that response, and my reply… which is just about the most awesome thing I’ve ever written:

>I KNOW MORE ABOUT YOU THAN YOU THINK

you know more than I think, do you? well that wouldn’t be difficult – my
expectations aren’t exactly stellar, but what if I think you know more
than you think I think you know? But then, we both know that you don’t
think much, much less know anything, and it’s much more likely that I’ll
think you know less than you think I think you know, and I’ll probably
be right… And we still haven’t even touched on what I know, or what
you think I know, or what I think you think I think you know. But then
I’m not the one sending abusive emails from two different addresses with
two different names but coming from the same IP. Thanks for the
confirmation on that, BTW.

—EOF—

And now the fun part – naming and shaming:

John Ath – pcgallery@hotmail.com
John Hancock – shimf66@hotmail.com
X-Originating-IP: [120.19.186.49]

Let’s Gore an Ox

(Originally posted on myspace on 17 Nov 2006)

So, This has been in my head for a long time, but this is the first time I’ve actually written it down. I’ve discovered a way to logically show that the beliefs of christians are wrong. These thoughts are probably not original and infact are probably thousands of years old, because to my mind they’re obvious, but I’ve never seen them written down anywhere, so here goes…

My line of thoughts are based on the following premises:
1. Christians claim their god to be omnipotent: “all knowing, all powerfull”.
2. Christians claim that sin exists in the world.

Now, laying out the premises like that, the incongruency jumps straight off the page and right into my face, but it might not for everybody, so lets go through some thought excercises in order to make our point:

* Just to be clear, “all knowing, all powerfull” means that god knows everything, and can do anything he wants (i.e affect physical reality in any way he desires) merely by wishing it.

* Let’s be more clear on the “all knowing” bit, because this is where the issue lies: Any entity which is “all knowing” neccessarily knows EVERYTHING. Including, by definition, everything that’s going to happen in the future.

* This immediately creates issues for anyone who believes in free will, because if god knows what’s going to happen in the future then man can have no free will, but if god doesn’t know what’s going to happen he’s not All knowing and the christians are wrong, which would bring out thought excercise crashing to an end. But let’s continue anyway…

* The Free Will issue opens up a whole seperate line of discussion, and it’s messy. A form of free will might be able to exist and still allow an omnipotent god, but only if the many worlds interpretation is correct, and in this case an omnipotent god would still be able to forsee the future of our reality by simply navigating probability streams to find the most probable future (which would presumably be that of our reality). so in this case, god wouldn’t know the future, because it would be impossible to know for sure, but he would know each possible future and it’s relative probability of occuring. For our purposes – because this thought introduces mind-bending paradoxes, and because we want to be generous and give christians the benefit of the doubt, we’re going to assume as far as we can that the christians are right, that god is infact all knowing, and that therefore man has no free will.

* Now, assuming that god is all-knowing and can see the future, and that genesis is to be taken literally, god created man, put him in the garden of eden, and said “don’t eat that fruit of knowledge”. However any omnipotent god would have known before giving the instruction that he would be disobeyed. Therefore the only logical conclusion I can see is that any omnipotent god intended for his instruction to be disobeyed, otherwise he would have either created a creature which would have listened, or not created the tree of knowledge, or not allowed the snake into eden to tempt man, etc etc etc… basically if the christians are to be taken seriously then it was god’s will for man to disobey him, so it’s not sin as it’s not against god’s will. Either that or he’s not all-knowing.

* So at this point we are left with two mutually exclusive possibilities: 1: That god can’t see into the future and therefore is not all-knowing and therefore christianity is wrong, or 2: That god intended for man to do everything he has done (and will do), in which case nothing you could ever do would be a sin, as it’s not against god’s will, and christianity is wrong.

so, as you can see: Christianity is wrong. Thanks for stopping by.

Now, the only remaining question is whether we call the unified, non-christian humanity which must now inevitably be created the “Allied Atheist Alliance”, “United Atheist Alliance”, or “Unified Atheist League”…