The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

Started my new job today

| November 29, 2004

That's it. Not much to report. Getting knowledgeable about the way things work, systems, etc.

I bought a used Thinkpad off ebay. Hopefully, it will last longer than my (increasingly more broken) Dell Inspiron 8100.

I also shot my .45 (A Kimber Pro BP II for anyone paying attention). VERY nice. VERY impressive. Consistent, accurate, noisy, makes big holes in targets. What more can you ask for?

I'm getting sleepy. Methinks I'm going to bed.

Night all.

Aux input added to 05 Golf Stereo

| November 23, 2004

Linkage:

http://www.mattcaron.net/photos/golf_stereo/index.html

Restaurant Review

| November 18, 2004

Seven Moons was really good. For those of you who don't know, it's a restaurant in North Kingstown, up route 1 past Quonset, which features a variety of pan asian quisine. Chinese, japanese, vietnamese, thai, and more. We had a sushi/sashimi platter and assorted tempura. I got a bowl of Miso soup. The soup was excellent, and the sushi was even better. My only comment is that they don't use a lot of rice there, probably half as much as other places. The fish is the same size as one would normally expect. Of course, less rice does make the sushi easier to eat. The tempura was good, though a little oily on the sweet potatoes. However, the batter was excellent, and the tempura shrimp superb. The service was quick and nice and (importantly for us gaijin) spoke english very well (at least, the waitress we had did). Oh, and Liz says they make a decent martini (she got some Orange concoction that tasted like kool-aid with booze, but, she liked it). The tables are cute – they have these low japanese-style tables, except instead of sitting cross-legged, there are wells for your feet, so you are sitting normally, but it has the same effect as a low table. I thought it was very cool.

Verdict: We'll definitely be back, and I think we need to take sometime too.

An old hobby, rediscovered

| November 16, 2004

After hitting the range on Thursday, I decided to take up shooting again. It looks like the best indoor range around is American Firearms School. I've been there before, some years ago. It was a good facility.

I've paid for and am currently in the waiting period for a Ruger 10/22, though mine came with an aftermarket heavy target barrel and a scope.

I've also applied for my handgun permit (just to buy, not to carry), and so I'm going to pick up a Kimber Ten II (nothing like a Colt pattern .45 ACP brought into the modern age with a polymer frame and double-stack magazine) and a Walther P22. The P22 is good for beginning shooters, but I happen to like small bore pistols. They're cheap to feed with ammo and lots of fun to shoot.

I'm also looking into Cowboy Action Shooting. I think it would be fun.

Oh, and I joined the NRA. I can't say that I agree with all their politics; but most of them. To be honest, I find them to be a little soft, of all things. But, then again, I feel that all firearm permitting and waiting periods (at least, waiting periods in excess of what it would take to run a criminal background check) is unconsitutional (look for various discussions of position and opinion on the social ramifications of firarms ownership).

Also, please note that supporting firearms ownership and joining the NRA does NOT make me a conservative. I am a libertarian, and I am supporting a responsible citizen's the right to keep personal weapons. Indeed, despite my pro-weapon stance, I really, really, dislike radical Christian organizations (KKK and various Nazi groups), and feel that the best way to protect oneself against their everpresent threat of violence is to arm oneself.

That and guns are fun to shoot. 🙂

And I need to start playing paintball again next spring.

It's Liz's birthday tomorrow. I'm taking her out to Seven Moons and am making her peanut butter chessecake. (It's not a surprise, but hopefully it will be special, nonetheless).

1st vs. 2nd amendment

| November 11, 2004

Why is it that the KKK can hold rallies threatening Jews, Homosexuals and Minorities, but if those same oppressed groups are frightened and want to arm themselves to protect hearth and home against said KKK, they have to wait some period of time and (often) acquire a permit before purchasing said arms?

This is, of course, crystallized in Ann Coulter's book How to talk to a liberal. Though I never thought I would be quoting her, I did see Michael Moore's movie, so I figure I should at least read her book (and Liz bought it off audible and has been playing it in the car). Anyway, she talks about the second amendment and brings up some good points (and I'm paraphrasing here):

  • If the second amendment was as strictly interpreted as the first, we would have the right to bear nuclear arms.

  • If guns are removed from the equation, women become prey, easily overpowered by male assailants. “God made men and women, Col. Colt made them equals.”

  • Most anti-gun people don't really want to get rid of guns, but rather rid the world of violence. This is a laudible goal. It is also somewhat laughable. As long as the world is full of testosterone, there will be violence and war.

While I don't agree with the second half of the last point, as I've seen too many vicious and malicious women in my travels, I do think the rest hold water.

Oh well, it's a holiday today, and my dad just joined a firing range, so I'm off to do some shooting with him at the range.

I quit my job today

| November 9, 2004

I accepted a position at another firm, doing something completely different.

That said, in talking with my new boss, he expressed concern about some of my posts related to customers and hassles at work. He has a point. I tried to keep it as general and vague as possible, but that may not be general or vague enough. Since the internet has a long memory, this is not a good idea. There is even a name for being sacked because of things you said on the internet; it's called dooced.

Consequently, I will not be talking about work at all, excepting perhaps as a setting, such as “I was driving to a customer site today and saw the biggest ricer POS broken down on the side of the road”. Besides, no one wants to hear me bitch about work anyway.

So, my new job is a programming position with a wide and varied interesting bits. I think this is a good move for me. I'll be spending some time on Long Island, getting up to speed on the company, clients, etc., and so I will likely take the railroad into the city and poke around on the weekend, or something. I've never been to Manhattan, so I might take a walk about and see what's going on there.

Of course, political commentary, social commentary, talk about cars, and all that wonderfulness will be unaffected.

Back from a mini-vacation

| November 7, 2004

Just came back from Carnage. A good time. Nice drive up and back in the new Golf, mostly highway, and all the stuff through NH is basically empty road, so you can do 90 and no one cares. Played some games, bought some books.

Got back and my adapter that fakes out a CD changer so I can hook in my Rio Karma to the car stereo has arrived. I have pictures; I'll post a website with a howto at some point.

The con made me realize how much I miss gaming. I miss seeing my gaming friends and just hanging out. So, when work settles down I'm going to try to start up a game again. I don't know what, or where, or who is going to play; I just want SOMETHING. It's odd – I realize how much I need gaming in my life; for stress relief if nothing else.

Open Letter to the MPAA

| November 4, 2004

Dear Sir or Madam:

My name is Matthew Caron. Following the RIAA's decision to sue it's customers, I ceased to purchase music from any and all record labels affiliated with the RIAA. The website RIAA Radar has been quite useful in determining which albums are safe to buy.

Throughout this time I have been continued purchases of DVD's, generally in a volume of three or four DVD's a month. If the MPAA proceeds in it's announced course of action and begins to sue people for copyright infringement, I will cease these purchasing activities, only buying movies from non-MPAA affiliate labels.

Please note that I support the MPAA's right to protect it's copyright, and were the MPAA to fight copyright infringement in the historical manner of criminal prosecution, I would continue to purchase movies. Criminal prosecution is better because there law enforcement oversight (and therefore some amount of indirect public oversight) of the MPAA's actions. The filing of mass lawsuits provides little oversight and the playing field is easily biased toward the player with more money. Therefore, all this provides is an opportunity for a wealthy trade group to harass large portions of the population.

Sincerely,

Matthew Caron.

PS – I tried to send this to the MPAA, but there is no provision on your website for electronic submissions.

PPS – Tell your web people that “introductory flash sequences” are annoying, stupid, and bely a fundamental misunderstanding of proper web page design.

PPPS – DeCSS may be “akin to a tool that breaks the lock on your house” (http://www.mpaa.org/Press/DVD_FAQ.htm), but fundamentally, it is MY house. I can do whatever I want to it. I can sell it, let people live in it, leave it unlocked, break out the windows, etc. Simililarly, when I purchase a DVD, I can sell it (right of first sale), let other people live in it (have friends over and watch a movie) and even snap it in half. I should therefore be able to watch it on any platform containing suitable hardware, and even rip it to a central movie server. If it have the talent to construct such a device, no technical or legal impediment should be allowed to stop me. Such an approach stifles creativity and basically destroys garage innovation. As long as I am only using it for personal/family viewing, there is no reason the law should stop me from doing so.

Third party candidates

| November 1, 2004

For all those who say that Badnarik/Cobb/Nader/etc. cannot win the election, I have two words for you.

Red Sox.