Visiting California

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I went out to California last week for work. We had a good time hacking, watching movies, eating, and hearing music. Cesar, Anthony, Amber (Anthony’s girlfriend), and I all went to hear LA Phil play on Thursday. They played Brahms 3 and Brahms 1, which seemed like a little bit of a strange concert.. but it was really good. Whoever was sitting principal viola was playing on an Iizuka viola like mine, which was sort of cool. Walt Disney Concert Hall was fantastic. On Tuesday we went to see The Departed at the dollar theater. Very cool movie.

Pete and Cesar hacking

Gerry and Shannon

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I saw Gerry and Shannon the other day, and had a nice visit with them. They have a new dog now, Louie. Very cute dog. We talked about a lot of interesting things, went out for pizza, watched some rock DVDs. It was very fun. I wish I could see them more often.

Happy New Year!

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I hope everyone had a fun and safe New Year! I went over to Valerie’s house and hung out with people from Dallas Symphony and other friends of theirs. It was fun, and I got to taste many delicious wines. Pam’s son was playing Destroy All Humans! on Ralph’s PS2. It’s pretty amusing, but when Pam saw that it involved anal probes she took it away and made him switch games. :)

Megan

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I went over to Megan’s parents’ house tonight to visit for a small wedding reception. I got a call from Megan on Thursday telling me that she was getting married on Friday, which was kind of a surprise since she had never even mentioned that she was dating anyone before. But it turned out she is pregnant, so I guess it sort of makes sense. So I went over today and hung out for a bit and met her new husband, Scott. He seems like a good guy. He works as a web designer somewhere in Dallas, so we chatted briefly about that kind of stuff.

New Year

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Everyone have a happy and safe New Years Eve this weekend! I’m going over to Ralph and Valerie’s house that night. Should be a fun time. Maybe next month I will finally get around to reading Perilous Power by Noam Chomsky. I bought it back in November, but the copyright date in the front of it marked as 2007 for some reason so I’ll use that as my excuse for having not read it yet. :)

Germany Invaded

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We all remember when Germany was invaded by a giant insect not too long ago. Well, it looks like this time it’s Flying Spaghetti Monsters!

Killer Teddy Bear

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RELEASE OF ANY TEDDY BEARS into the fish hatchery water IS NOT PERMITTED!

Under Blackpool Lights

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So I finally got the White Stripes concert DVD, Under Blackpool Lights. It was filmed at the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool, England in January 2004. I really like it a lot, and forced my friend Jason to watch it last night. He’s not as familiar with them yet, so he’s not a big fan but he still seemed to enjoy it well enough.

Then he forced me to start watching Aeon Flux (the cartoon, not the movie). I had never seen it, which surprised him. But it came on late night MTV, and I have never watched MTV so I guess that’s why I had never seen it. So far I can’t really say I like it that much, but I said I’d watch the rest of it.

On political stuff

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Philip: To you and the Lebanese Arab whose comment you posted to your blog, I think you’re a little off in your target. It’s easy to just point the finger at US citizens and say, “you guys fucked up by voting for your current government” but I’m not sure if you realize that our alternatives are not vastly better. No matter who we vote for, this is still the US.

American foreign policy in the Middle East and elsewhere has been consistently immoral for decades. The US has blocked the two-state solution that the rest of the world, and most of the US population, has supported since 1976. This isn’t some new phenomenon that is the result of George W Bush’s foreign policy. This is US foreign
policy, and is not even limited strictly to the domain of the Republican Party. The US continued to support expansion of illegal settlements of West Bank and Gaza during the Clinton administration’s years.

We have serious problems in this country that can’t be fixed overnight, and simply saying “vote the other way” is not a real solution at this point. The people need to become aware of what’s going on and what our government is doing, and that’s not an easy thing to do. Propaganda in this country is immense and powerful and it’s enormously difficult to get people to become aware of it. It’s happening slowly, but the propaganda machines are adapting because they’re better centralized and have the support of enormous corporations.

Obviously the government is not acting by the same ethical standards that the people are, and this is evident by the fact that our President feels that it’s necessary to lie about things like secret prisons and torture (some of us knew it was a lie all along, but now he has admitted it). It’s becoming increasingly more difficult for the government to hide these things from the people, so they’re stepping up the propaganda to try to influence people’s decisions. Kennedy didn’t need to lie about what he was doing, and didn’t need such a massive propaganda system. He just did what he wanted, and most people were behind him. Let’s start a massive terrorist campaign against Cuba. Great! Want to go bomb some little south Asian country on the other side of the planet? Sure! It’s not so easy anymore. Chomsky points out in the beginning of Understanding Power that Reagan’s administration tried to do things in the same direct way at the beginning of his term in 1981 and there was massive disapproval about it, so they resorted to clandestine operations instead. Look at the Iraq invasion: never in the history of the US (or of the world) has there been so much opposition to a war–at home–before the war even began. Sure, you’re going to point out that the war happened anyway, but look at how hard it was for them to start the war. They had to
present so much false information to persuade Congress to approve the war, and now that this stuff is being proven to be false it’s going to be that much harder for them (by “them” I mean this administration or a future one) to start another such war. This is the type of progress that is being made, and I think we should not downplay it. We can always do better, but let’s not discount what positive advances are being made.

Gnome 2.16

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It was very cool to see that Gnome 2.16 is released! Congratulations to everyone involved with it!

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