Jul 20, 2006

For work, I had to install Internet Explorer 7.0 beta 3 to track down some issues we've been having with it.

I won't try to review it, because as soon as I squash the problems I'm rolling back my VMWare image to before the install; until IE 7 is the dominant browser I need to keep that around. All I want to do is point at and gently mock the new IE 7 logo.

Microsoft, you're going to have to do a lot more than add a halo to the logo for me to think that IE 7 is angelic.

Wart removal testimonial
Jul 19, 2006

For at least the last six months, I have been fighting two warts on my foot. (Don't worry, no pictures will be in this post.) I have spent at least $100 on various treatments over that time period, probably more, and basically, they have had no effect. I could knock the warts back, but leaving them alone for three or four days returned them to full strength.

My wife finally reminded me of how much we had spent and announced that I should seek a doctor. We'd be paying full price for the doctor, so I decided to look around one last time for other, cheaper wart cures.

As I did so, I came upon several articles talking about a treatment that I had remembered seeing in the news a while ago: Duct tape. In short, you cover the wart with duct tape for six out of seven days. I used a second medical tape to hold the duct tape in position; it may be possible to simple cut yourself a piece to wrap around the entire toe if your toe doesn't get irritated. I also don't think there is any particular reason to believe it has to be the same piece for six days straight, though that was the protocol tested.

It has worked like a charm; the warts have receded just about as quickly as possible. In the first day, they hurt a little more than they had before, but after that they pretty much vanished in two weeks.

This isn't a scientific result, because I am a sample of one, and technically the study was done on people all younger than me, but I figured that from a wart's point of view the age of the skin wouldn't matter much. I'm also fairly certain this isn't a case of the conventional treatment fixing the problem and then crediting the unconventional treatment because I had been getting nowhere for a long time on the conventional treatments. This new treatment was far better, immediately.

My plan in the future is to jump straight to duct tape treatment in the future, and I would recommend that to anybody reading this.

The study said that if it was going to work, it'll work visibly in the first two weeks; if it hasn't obviously done something by then you'll have to find a different treatment. But given the price of the treatment and its high effectiveness, it's worth trying once to see if it'll work for you.

A Lieberman Scenario
Jul 11, 2006

For a long time now, I've believed that either the Democrats make major changes, and oust their most radical elements, or they are dead. For the last few months, I've been betting on the latter.

The scenario I've thought most likely has been a calving of the Republican party into two parties along indeterminate (and at the level I'm thinking about, basically irrelevant) lines, but how's this for an alternate scenario, brought on by the article Democrats would be weaker without Lieberman by Marc Danzinger, which I will quote:

And when Lieberman is sitting in his Senate office next year, do you think the Democratic Party will be stronger or weaker for his departure?

I say it will be weaker.

It will be weaker because a losing Lamont candidacy will not have local and regional coattails as large as Lieberman's - and I somehow don't see Lieberman doing a lot of campaigning for downballot offices in the next few months.

It will be weaker because a senior sitting senator will owe very little allegiance to the national party.

Weaker because other senior officials will sit and weigh the cost of party allegiance against the benefit, and will have a concrete example of what party loyalty buys.

So try this scenario on for size:

  1. The netroots/nutroots succeeds, and Lamont gets the nomination.
  2. Lieberman runs as an independent and wins, preferably with a decent margin of victory.
  3. At least two or three other senior Democrats make the calculations Marc Danzinger postulates, and decides that the Democrats are no longer a net gain for them. They decide to go independent and form a block with Lieberman.
  4. This opens the doors, and in a matter of months it becomes a Democratic stampede. Lieberman nucleates what would be in essence a new, reformed Democratic party, but looking more like Lieberman (although of course not a clone), looking more centrist, and, most importantly, looking more electable.
  5. But what really gives this new party legitimacy is that some current Republicans jump ship to it as well. A few smart ones who can see what is coming may want to get in at the ground floor, others may simply find it a better ideological match.

Will this actually happen? I don't know. I wouldn't bet on it. But I think it's in the realm of the possible. Ya gotta toss out these crazy theories every once in a while so that if one of them happens, you can point back at it and say "Aha! I told you so!"

(For context, and especially before sending me nastygrams, you may wish to read my Government Myths bits about how parties work in the United States. I believe that political parties are effects of ideologies, not causes, and I don't believe that the death of the organization currently calling itself the Democratic Party will change very many minds about very many ideological issues. From my point of view, which party holds what views is just historical accident and I really don't care. I will freely admit that currently I am aligned Republican, but there are at least five issues I can think of off the top of my head that a new party could turn my head with. This is speculation, neither a fervent hope nor a horrible nightmare to me.)

Jul 01, 2006

Chizumatic says (likely permalink):

The future belongs to Robert Rodriguez, who is the only director I've ever heard of who argued for a lower budget for one of his films than the Hollywood studio wanted to give him. Rodriguez believes that tight money brings out the best in a production crew, and his track record backs that up.

See also Serenity, the Firefly movie. I'm the kind of person who enjoys listening to director commentaries, and as I recall the commentary is full of "Well, we didn't have the money to do this, so we had to do that, and I think it came out better" and "Well, the actor accidentally did this, and we didn't have the money to reshoot, so we had to roll with it" and "We told the special effects guys to just come up with something cool within the budget, and they came up with this and it was awesome."

The last one in particular led to one of my favorite special effects scenes in the entire movie, when Serenity falls out of the sky in a catastrophic spiral, something I've actually been wanting to see for a while. (Now I think the only special effect I'm waiting for someone to do is blowing up the Earth correctly.) Complete serendipity, and the money couldn't have possibly been better spent on the usual gigantic ships or explosions or other useless, repetitive same-old-same-old that movies like that usually blow cash on.

Serenity was made for $40 million, and honestly, you'd never really know it; it carries itself like it's worth $80 million.

Jun 25, 2006

After one too many people describing my website with various synonyms of "ugly", I've taken another swing at un-uglifying it. I think it's progress, but I'm not sure I'm out of "ugly" yet.


Years ago, I set myself a rule that I would create a good website design (not "great", just "good") that used neither black nor white. I'm beginning to think that for someone as graphically talented as I (in one word: "not"), this may be a bad idea. Two or three more failures over a few more years and I may have to reconsider that restriction.

Appreciate your graphics designers... this stuff is hard.

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