January 31, 2004

Dream is Destiny

As the pattern gets more intricate and subtle, being swept along is no longer enough...

The quest is to be liberated from the negative, which is really our own will to nothingness. And once having said yes to the instant, the affirmation is contagious. It bursts into a chain of affirmations that knows no limit. To say yes to one instant is to say yes to all of existence.

Wake up...

Posted by thom at 07:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Green Tea and Citrus

No one has ever asked me how I came up with the name for my blog. The truth is: I didn't. Sarah, my ex-special ladyfriend, was visiting and surfing the web:

"What are you reading?" I asked.

"That article you linked to about copyrights..."

"I didn't think you'd find that interesting."

"You found it interesting, and thus I find it interesting by association," she proclaimed.

I simply recognized the brilliance of the phrase and thus iba was born on January 18th, 2003. After we broke up I thought about renaming it. I thought about it a lot. After I was told I was living in the past I thought about it even more. But it is the perfect name (even if I don't manage to actually be interesting very often) and my reasons for changing it would be petty and spiteful.

I've been reading The Future Does Not Compute by Stephen Talbott and it has a lot to say about the past. He says it is a mistake the try and make human decisions about the future by trying to extrapolate from the past. He makes a very good point:

Ask yourself about the critical decisions in your life. How did you choose your present vocation? There are, of course, very sober ways for doing this. Begin by taking a few psychological tests to inventory your skills and aptitudes, personality type, likes and dislikes, character, stability, financial requirements, geographic preferences, physical characteristics (strength, endurance, handicaps), and so on. Then align this inventory with a similar analysis of all the possible vocations (basic skills required, profiles of the most successful people in each vocation ... ). Finally, identify the closest fit and (presto!) there's your future -- presumably a well-adjusted, profitable, and happy one.

But, no, something's not right here. Have you, or has anyone you know, ever made an important decision by weighing all related factors, adding them up, and then obeying the sum? This is not really your future we're talking about; it's your past. The real question is, what do you choose to become -- despite what you are now? What future not already embodied in the past will you embrace? Of the great figures of history, where would they be if they had merely hewed to a reasonable future? Joan of Arc. The first black in a white Mississippi college. The first woman doctor. The soldier who dives on a hand grenade to protect his comrades -- what sort of a future is that? Yet we honor him.

Or take marriage. Shall I choose a wife reasonably, because all the indicators point to our being well-adjusted and happy, or shall I plunge into a future I cannot fully see, but that I am strangely, mysteriously, drawn to, dimly recognizing something of myself (but not yet myself) in my partner? Is there really a choice to be made between the perfectly compatible marriage of the inventory-takers and the reality cited by Adolf Gueggenbuhl-Craig? Marriage, he says, is

a special path for discovering the soul .... One of the essential features of this soteriological pathway is the absence of avenues for escape. Just as the saintly hermits cannot evade themselves, so the married persons cannot avoid their partners. In this partially uplifting, partially tormenting evasionlessness lies the specific character of this path.

Every question about the future -- every human question -- is like this. We strike out into the unknown, with a hope and a vision perhaps, but without an adequate "basis" for our decisions. After all, a perfectly adequate basis would mean the decision was trivial, because divorced from questions of human destiny. Unfortunately, however, broad areas of our lives have fallen under the spell of the computational approach, where we imagine the computer -- the past -- to hold the secret of a future that is, therefore, no longer a future.

I have spent so many years under this computation spell trying to discover my reasonable future that breaking the spell required more than a simple kiss. I have spent so much of my life trying to quanitifying the intangible, to digitize it and then sum it up and thereby protect myself from the unpleasant and unpredictable that I lost my way. Call it an occupational hazard for nerds. Sarah, you helped me find my true path in this life again, even if I haven't the slightest clue where it will now lead.

I'm having trouble bringing this rambling about my inner whatnot-ness to some sensible conclusion or point. I feel like the Del Griffith of blogs. What the hell was my point anyway? Oh yes! The Name. It is a good name. A fine name. I can't imagine ever changing it.

And now this sentimental fool will leave you with a poem about the waxing moon and hope...


The moon, grown full now over the sea,
Brightening the whole of heaven,
Brings to separated hearts
The long thoughtfulness of night....
It is no darker though I blow out my candle.
It is no warmer though I put on my coat.
So I leave my message with the moon
And turn to my bed, hoping for dreams.

Posted by thom at 06:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 29, 2004

My Littlest Best Friend

Today's entry is about fond memories. I was visiting my friends Dave and Jerusa and their little son, Zach. I've been so lucky and privileged to watch Zach grow up over the years, although I don't get to visit as often as I'd like. As the perpetually single guy who loves kids and wants to start a family but hasn't found the right woman yet* I naturally tend to spend more time interacting with Zach than the adults when I do visit. As a result I've sort of become his favorite adult I think. Usually it's less than 2 minutes after I walk in the door before Zach is tugging at my pants leg or taking my hand and saying, "Tommy, come look at this!" Since I don't get much kid-time in my life I can never resist.

This visit I was trying to spend a little more time with Dave and Jerusa. Zach kept trying to get my attention by showing me his favorite toys or saying "Look what I can do!" before performing his newest trick. Each time with a little more urgency as he noticed I was paying more attention to his parents than to him. After about 10 minutes he was getting frustrated and was intent on disrupting the adults' conversation so I would give him my undivided attention. Dave told his son he could either behave or go play in his room.

"No!" was Zach's reply.

Dave is about the best dad I know and took Zach into the bedroom for a quiet talk. He spoke very quietly and I couldn't make it out from the other room but I'm sure he said something like, "Tommy is my friend and I want to talk to him without being interrupted." For Zach it was too much and from the other room I could hear him proclaim at the top of his lungs...

"No! Tommy is MY FRIEND!!!!"

It was one of those little moments when someone touches your heart when you least expected it. It doesn't happen a lot in this life - at least not for this chronically single guy. I want to start a family so much. I need moments like this everyday for the rest of my life.

*sigh* Maybe I should just go invade New Zealand instead...

Posted by thom at 11:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 26, 2004

Vaguely Interesting by Association

Now that the whole comment spam thing is taken care of iba can get back to normal. Returning to the roots of blogging: Just posting a bunch of lame links that are filling up your bookmarks menu.

  • I ran across 3 Bitchy Chicks when I was trying to solve my MT-Blacklist woes (Carlene was having similar woes). They quote one of my favorite despairisms: "The only consistent feature of all your dissatisfying relationships is you."
  • Voices from the Days of Slavery is pretty damn interesting. Interviews with Americans who were once slaves. Unfortunately it showcases the state of the art of audio recording in 1932. Worse yet, it has to be one of the most poorly designed webs sites I've seen recently. It's good enough for government work, I guess.
  • Gary Marcus has written an article on Making the Mind. Interesting if you're curious about your brain.
  • I loved the movie Fargo but I had never heard the sad story of Takako Konishi. After I read it I got mad about how her story was reported at the time.
  • Learn to use Movable Type.
  • I honestly don't recall how I found the Paris Hilton Video blog, but it includes a complete transcript of the infamous tape which is pretty funny.
  • Cheating has become so commonplace today that it has its own blog: The Cheating Blog.
  • My sister loved playing Monopoly with her little brothers. Mostly because she kicked our asses everytime. Now I have another reason to hate Parker Brothers.
  • Why Weak Links Matter.
  • Right now my entire love life is a Polite Fiction.
  • Yahoo! Research.
  • The smell of model glue brings back so many memories!
  • Time Cube brags that "Google has over 1,000,000 links to Time Cube site" and links to a Google result page with 2,720,000 "links". Sorry, Buddy. The Correct Answer is 180 links. Of course if using BIG FONTS makes you smart then this guy is a GENIUS!
  • If you like reading lots of articles on economics this this is your big day. These guys might be kooks, I'm not smart enough to tell the difference, but at least they are very productive kooks.
  • An Interesting Band.
  • I also stumbled across servlets.com while searching for info on the whole comment spam thing. I haven't really had a chance to look at it yet. Might be interesting, or it might be boring. Probably the latter.
  • I was searching for information about making iTunes do cool stuff with AppleScript and found Doug's AppleScripts. No, I didn't really expect you to find this the slightest bit iinteresting but now it doesn't live in my bookmarks menu anymore so I'm happy.
  • Similar story with this link but at least you can just listen to it. Of course, they talk about Macs and stuff so the entertainment potential might be somewhat limited. I was looking to fun applications for RSS feeds and mp3 files.
  • Common Content is an open catalog of redistributable content.
  • ReasonOnline has a Hit & Run blog-type thing going. I didn't have time to actually read it but a quick scan made me think the writing might be good so I threw it in my bookmarks. And, um, now it's here.
  • Glumbert is another one of those I haven't actually read it type deals. The pictures feature looks pretty funny though.
  • If you're looking for some Movable Type stylesheets then try here or, better yet, here.
  • For Mommies everywhere I now present, for no particular reason, The Mommy Blog.

Are you still reading this? Did you click all those links? There is going to be a quiz on them this friday...

Posted by thom at 11:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

MT-blacklist Woes

An error occurred: Can't locate object method "load" via package "MT::PluginData" at /usr/local/apache/cgi-bin/mt/extlib/jayallen/Blacklist.pm line 2878.

A couple of people are getting this error when install MT-blacklist but no one seems to have discovered a fix yet. Neither have I. This is with Perl version v5.6.0 and Movable Type Version 2.64

Time to turn off comments again until I figure this one out...

Posted by thom at 07:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Afternoon Quickie

The IKEA walk-thru for video gamers:

You start this world armed only with a UNIVERSAL FURNITURE-ASSEMBLY ALLEN WRENCH. This is the weakest weapon in IKEA: You will have to hit a person 16 times with it to kill them. So your primary goal in this level is to find more lethal means of dispatching your enemies.

As you enter the SHOWROOM, perform a rolling dodge to the left. Grab a free PAPER TAPE MEASURE and a handful of IKEA EMBLAZONED GOLF PENCILS from the kiosk near the entryway. The PENCILS serve quite well as ranged weapons, but it will take some time to master their use. Before venturing further in the world, stand at the kiosk and practice hurling GOLF PENCILS at patrons as they enter the SHOWROOM. Remember: Hitting the eyes does triple damage.

Oh yes, don't miss the Ping-Pong Ball Avalanche (320,000 ping pong balls!)

Posted by thom at 02:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 25, 2004

A Nerd in Love


Posted by thom at 12:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 24, 2004

Green Eggs and SPAM

For the curious this is the trash I've just spent 3 hours deleting 240 times:

Take your time to check some helpful info in the field of phentermine can i, zyban canadian pharmacy, viagra buying, propecia treatment, online pharmacy safe, tramadol no doctor visit, ultram female, wellbutrin reviews, paxil 75 mg, meridia for woman, zyrtec plans, xenical mail order, vioxx 40 mg, vaniqa benefits of, retin a on line, prozac 37 5mg, generic viagra intercations, celexa 12 5mg, buy phentermine comparison of, xenical online check, ambien effects of, dilenyoung cheap, hopforyou cheap, kip980 ointment, mng765 review, pol_uri prescription drugs, piter_gordon 180 pills, miss20092000 sales, robert_zed2003 alternative, fp292003 top 10, diagodream get, jacglen2003 perscription medications, lisa_plamer comparison of, gill_bern treatments, gtrgtr45 12 5 mg, poklop2000 mail order pharmacy, nolzer12 1 month supply, rtopopi discount, oklokol perscription drugs, racertroy2003 new, viagra 350 mg, phentermine male. .

Yes, it's an ad so poorly written and so ineffective it needed to be posted 240 times to have a chance of having any impact -- and still failed. You still can't post new comments until I install MT-blacklist but you can see old posts again when you look at individual entries (by clicking the date at the lower left of the entry).

UPDATE: Kip ointment? I gotta get me some of that. On second thought... ew ew ew.

Posted by thom at 03:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Does anyone in the BlogWorld know how to delete HUNDREDS of comments at once? Searching on Google hasn't turned up anything applicable. I've manually deleted 40 comments so far (120 clicks) and the prospect of manually deleting 200 more one at a time isn't appealing. Link to me with trackback or e-mail me if you know of a solution.

Posted by thom at 11:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

IBA Terms and Conditions

I, the operator of this webpage, am setting forth the following legal binding terms of usage for anyone leaving comments here:

  1. Leaving messages for non-commercial purposes is FREE.
  2. Anyone leaving a message advertising another website will be charged $150 PER POST.

By posting a message you acknowledge you are agreeing to these terms. Thank you for your time and your support

UPDATE: After a little whois research I've discovered that my new advertiser is one Mr Jay Kim of 24 Finchley Road, London. Had I had this policy in place when he spammed me this afternoon he would owe me over $30,000US. I'll re-enable comments once I modify them to make sure the interface presents the terms to anyone leaving a comment and forces them to either accept or reject them - in a very legally binding way.

Posted by thom at 03:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Spam is made from Spamimals

For a few months now I've been getting comment spammed by random sleazeballs who can't think of a better way to sell their worthless products and services. I'd get new spam every few days. Then once a day. Then a couple of times a day. Each time only a few individual spam comments. I prompted delete each one. It's been like this since October. Tonight I check and dicover some idiot spammer is apparently upset I've been deleting his crap and so posted over 200 new spamments. Now Movable Type doesn't have a quick way to delete all 200 quickly. Nope, I've got to click three times for each spamment. Six hundred mouse clicks to get rid of this crap. I think I'm read to begin my ritual killing spree now. Names and home addresses of known spammers would be a big timesaver so send 'em if you got 'em. In the meantime I'm turning off comments for now until I can figure out how to quickly purge spam. Before it gets out of hand, I'd like to say the whole "ritual killing spree" this is entirely a joke! (names and addresses would still be appreciated though)

Jeremy has an idea but I don't think it'll be effective.

Posted by thom at 02:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 23, 2004

Eat Me

Something about this next link seems appropriate to post at 1am, even though it technically falls into the catagory of Afternoon Delights.

Posted by thom at 01:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 22, 2004

Horny Martians

Nasa's Mars rover Spirit has stopped sending useful data to Earth:

At around 0302 GMT on Thursday, the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft in orbit around the planet received a signal from the rover suggesting that its UHF radio was on.

But Spirit was only transmitting "pseudo-noise", a random series of zeroes and ones in binary code and not anything the scientists could decipher.

I think the little spirit has probably decided to go into the herbal viagra business. This is a great moment for inter-planetary commerce. Get yours while supplies last!

Posted by thom at 05:41 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Random Silliness

paulthomorbirson.org -- "It always starts the same way..."

iPaulothom.org -- Wilhelm's Revenge

Posted by thom at 03:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 20, 2004

Not the 'droids I was looking for

All warfare is based on deception
-- General Sun Tzu, ca. 400BC

If leaders are deceiving the led then who is the war being waged upon?

Posted by thom at 10:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 18, 2004

Carnac the Magnificent Blogs

"I hope not."

Posted by thom at 03:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Slow Day

Sometimes I'm not sure why I bother with the words either.

Posted by thom at 03:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 17, 2004

Silly Putty Man

Anybody want to help me buy some silly putty in bulk? Before dividing it up I figured I could sculpt a life-sized Silly Putty Man. E-mail me if you're interested.

In other news: Eric (who is no freak from a menagerie) has shared the joy of finding a where's george'ed dollar [SERIAL NUMBER A67774267B SERIES 2001]. The bill apparently started it's journey at the "WORLD FAMOUS" (but not net savvy) Stone Lion Tavern, the best dive bar in the free world. Eric, being only half a bee, was unable to enter the bill's new iinformation into the database (although strangely he was able to enter a comment here at iba). Despite this, I still love him semi-carnally.

Posted by thom at 04:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wireless Hell

Mr Pandagon had some thoughts about why businesses should provide free wireless access to customers. I'm part of the crowd that thinks public wireless access is great but isn't willing (even if I was able) to pay an extra 30 bucks a month for it. I've discovered several growing lists but no local businesses here have figured it out yet. I suspect there will be free wireless access in Hell before we get it here.

Posted by thom at 03:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 16, 2004


Just whoa! Too bad they didn't have a really big grape. [Spotted at metafilter]

Shattering the greyscale window (like a monochrome buddha).

In other news: I was looking for some action. It was night - late at night.

Posted by thom at 09:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 15, 2004

A Bummer, part duex

I used to think I had it all figured out. That the time I had spent reflecting on love and life on my long journey searching for that special someone had given me some great insight -- made me some Zen master of love. But I know now this only proves how delusional I can be. There is no balance in my life. I am all yang and no yin. I am a fool. A fraud. A physician incapable of healing thyself.

Now where did my bouncy ball get off to? Ah! There it is...

Posted by thom at 10:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 13, 2004

Kind of... a Bummer

defaultIt started when I tracked down this song that I had heard a few weeks before. That was when I learned that it was inspired by Ellen Feiss who had given a testimonial as part of Apple Computer's switch ad campaign. People loved Ellen's story and, since this is the internet, fan sites immediately sprang up all over the place. There was also a rumor that she might have sparked one up beforehand. But it wasn't ganja she was on, it was Benedryl. There are some pretty funny parodies floating around. Ellen was invited to the Letterman show but turned it down. I was looking forward to seeing her being interviewed by Dave but I guess it'll never be. It is, as Ellen says, "kind of... a bummer."

UPDATE: It looks like Bill Gates did an iSwitch ad too!

Posted by thom at 01:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 12, 2004

Cannibal Cows

I spotted this post about mad cow over at dead parrots. I agree that comsumers bear part of the burden, but that doesn't mean the beef industry didn't make some really bad choices too.

Coming this evening: Abattoir stories from the Brother-in-law

Posted by thom at 01:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 11, 2004

Spelling Regrets

If only "interesting" was spelled with a 'Q' or a 'Z'...

My Scrabble© Score is: 32.
Posted by thom at 11:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 10, 2004

Writing Aerobics #1

I feel like a traveller of old who has lost his way on a moonless night. Huddled over a damp, smokey fire wondering what dark fate might await him in the gloom. Moments spent in the warm company of friends seem distant and more precious than he ever realized before - a treasure that has fallen from his pocket on the road. He reassures himself his path will be rediscovered in the morning and passes the night recalling fables of a coming dawn.

Posted by thom at 11:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 06, 2004

Job Outlook: COLD!!!

From: "ahadig"
Date: Mon Jan 5, 2004 10:50:25 AM US/Pacific
To: rmiug-jobs@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Open position

This is a contract position, with benefits, located overseas. Our headquarters are in Centennial, Colorado. Please apply only if you are qualified.

Supervise up to 3 persons. Establish the work schedules, ensure proper tools and equipment are available, ensure safety and station policies are met. Perform Structured Premises Cabling effort toinclude: Entrance facilities, backbone, horizontal, work areas, equipment rooms, telecommunications rooms, cross-connects-main, intermediate, horizontal. Pull CAT5E, install connectors, test and document. Pull fiber optic cable, install connectors, test and document. Pull coax, install conectors, test and document. Install low voltage components, ground and test in accordance with the National Electrical Code. Splice cable. Perform fire stopping activities as requiredd. Install patch panels. Perform other duties as required.

Required Skills: BICSI certification

Special Work Environment:
PHYSICAL AND / OR OTHER SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS: Deployment may be required in this position at discretion of management. If required, the individual in the position must successfully complete the physical and dental examinations, and psychological examination for winter-over positions, as required by the NSF for deploying to Antarctica. Failure to meet these requirements may result in withdrawal of employment offer or other employment action. Complies with applicable safety, environment, health, and waste management policies and procedure. US citizenship or permanent residency required.

If you meet the requirements, please send your resume to gisso.welsh@usap.gov.

This is the perfect job if you love winter sports. I sent my resume to Mr Welsh before posting this. I'll post updates when I know more.

UPDATE: Despite my natural insulation and deep affinity for penguins I'm not really qualified for the position. It's a shame really - I hear Antarctica is a hedonist's paradise.

Posted by thom at 12:39 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 05, 2004

The Reverse Engineer, part deux

Sorry things here at iba have been so quiet but it's been more of a thinking kind of New Years than a writing kind of New Years.

I went to see Paycheck with my brother yesterday. I didn't have high expectations for the movie so I wasn't terribly disappointed when I walked out of the theater. The explosions were very good - the writing, directing, and acting were... well, let's just say if as much effort went into them as the explosions it would have been an excelent movie.

Before the movie came on I was looking at the ads they show on the screen. There was an anti-drug ad that said:

The basic ingredients for making methamphetamine can be purchased at local stores.

Don't support drug use!

I still can't figure out what the ad was trying to say. Was it saying that shopping at local, methamphetamine-ingredient-supplying stores promotes drug use? Does this make the local chamber of commerce drug lords?

Posted by thom at 06:46 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack