The Balloon Project (Or Happy Birthday Abuela Part 2)

While talking to my mom last night she asked me to do her a favor. For today, her mother’s birthday, she asked me to write a message on a balloon and let it go into the air, metaphorically going to my grandmother in Heaven. I did it, taking pictures to document the act because that is a symbolic thing to me as a visual person and photographer. I was fine while I did it but when I came inside and looked at the weight which had kept the balloon down while in the supermarket, I was instantly depressed. I was having one of the most amazing days of my life, propped up by the fact that my blog was back and this was just like jumping into one of Ithaca’s gorges. I didn’t even feel like having dinner anymore. Eventually, I got it out of my system and I feel better. I am still a little down, but nowhere near as bad as before. Stay tuned for the next part, where I put up some pictures of the event.

Happy Birthday Abuela

Today would have been my grandmother’s birthday. She died this past March during my Spring Break and I loved her very much. I know that she’s up in Heaven now having a heckuva time with her husband who was taken from her more than twenty years ago. She remained faithful to him to the last day and never remarried. I miss her so much whenever I open up my phone and think of someone to call. I would always call her when I had a free minute. I always get so mad that she didn’t get to see the wedding or my graduation. I mean, I’d like to believe that she was able to see it from Heaven, but she didn’t get to hug me that day. I didn’t get to see the smile on her face. The best way I know to remember her is to use my talents and remember her through my photography. Here is a tribute to her on her bithday:

Happy Birthday Abuela!

(Also, my father and Daniel loved her a ton too. I just don’t have any pictures of them with my grandmother.)

Things that make you believe…(part 1)

Just a quick thought that I may elaborate on later (hence the part 1). Some may just call it coincidence, but days like this further my belief in God. Out of the blue I think that perhaps I should just try my server again, after trying EVERYTHING when I first moved in. Now it suddenly works! I feel God put that idea in my head. Thank you.

[1.0] The Artform of the Photograph Elevated

Recently I’ve been reading a book on photography. Unlike my usual photography reading, this isn’t a book on how to TAKE or MAKE pictures, it’s just a book on the work of the greatest photographers of the 20th Century. They’ve inspired me in a way that’s nearly impossible for me to describe. But I’ve been presented with all sorts of techniques and concepts that I am now fiddling with. My photography has progressed from the time that I was a little child simply photographing the events of my childhood to taking pictures for aesthetic reasons to attempting to create art. I don’t know how inspirational this phase will be in my photography, but I’m excited by all the new ideas bubbling inside of me. It’s as though the book was the key to unlock something inside of me which has been waiting to be expressed. Something always called to me from Dali, for example, which I have been expressing recently in my art. Here are some examples:

Self-Canabalizing

Half-Naked

See No Evil Hear No Evil Speak No Evil

Here’s another I was inspired to do from the work of an artist whose name I cannot recall right now:

Temporal Transformation 1 - Tomato

[1.0] Civ 4 will be out soon!

Linux Uptime: 17 days, 2:16
Time in Civ3: 3 hours 41 min 45 seconds
Score in Civ3: Eric X the Pathetic

I have been playing the Civilization franchise ever since the first Dos version. At first I didn’t like it, but as I learned the complexity in the game, I began to like it more and more. In Civ1 and 2 my brothers and I used to want to play together so we would each take charge as governors of certain cities and all settlers that came out of those cities. Civ2 also improved the graphics and made the gameplay even more realistic.

With Civ3 we could finally play together as different Civs. The game was also made a bit harder as evidenced by the fact that I could no longer make it into the space race by 1850 as I could in Civ2. However, I loved it even more and, as I was older, I understood the concepts even better and began to receive higher scores.

I usually win cultural victories and it’s not unusual for cities around me to succumb to my superior culture. In one previous game I got 10 cities via cultural conversions. I usually play as the Japanese and take advantage of the piety to use temples to placate my citizens. I used to be the smallest of the civs and least protected, but I managed my alliances correctly and would win those cultural victories.

As I began to do better, I realized that I needed a lot of land to ensure that I could have the resources to take my civ to the next level. In Civ3 you needed coal, for example, to build railroads. If you didn’t have it, you had to hope for a trade or destroy the other civ. I had never attacked another civ until civ3 when I had to get that plutonium or whatever else I wanted. A bit more realistic, no? Therefore, I can’t wait until Civ4 comes out on 25 Oct.

[1.0] Smackdown in New Orleans

Linux Uptime: up 15 days, 23:37

Yesterday as I was running on the treadmill I was watching MSNBC and, to my horror, saw a 64 year old man beaten by the cops. This wasn’t just a “Cops”-like takedown of a criminal. They grabbed him from behind and punched his head into the wall of a building before tackling him to the ground. They say he was resisting arrest, which he denies. However, even if he WAS resisting arrest, how could you beat the pulp out of an old man? How many strong old men are there? This guy had a white beard and all – unless he was a karate master, they probably didn’t have to worry.

The victim/alleged criminal says he was speaking to an officer on horseback about the curfew when another officer came and said something rude to him. He told the second officer he thought he was being a bit rude and finished up his conversation with the first. Then, on his way back home, the second cop beat him from behind with a bunch of other cops. It was all caught on tape and it’s etched into my brain as MSNBC had the tape on loop. It was only a minute or two long so in that half hour I saw the tape about 15 times. It wasn’t pretty.

The officers have been charged for the beating and they plead not guilty. Our speedy justice system, which is sadly one of the speediest, gives them a trial in January. By then who knows what anyone will remember. Anyway, I hope they get punished. I don’t think they should necessarily go to jail for life or anything, but I just can’t see how to justify what they did. Again, it wasn’t like the person resisting arrest was a young man who could have hurt the cops. And, the man says he was never put under arrest to begin with.

There was also some random asian guy in the video who wasn’t a cop, but was helping them tackle the guy. What the heck was that about? Aren’t the cops supposed to keep people from getting involved in official police business?

Oh yeah, and I didn’t want to mention it before so that I wouldn’t cloud your perception of things, but the victim was black and the cops were white. To me, that’s still secondary to the fact that he was an old man.

[1.0] Watching Disney Movies as an Adult Part 2

A long while back (I don’t remember which blog it was) I wrote about watching Roger Rabbit as an adult and getting a lot of jokes I didn’t get before as a five year old. Cinderella just came out on DVD and I bought it for my wife since she collects Disney movies. While watching it last night, I realized something which didn’t mean anything to me when I last saw Cinderella – the name of the cat.

If you remember from the last time you saw the movie, the cat was evil. Not only did it try and keep the mice from acquiring the parts for Cinderella’s dress, but, when the Duke was about to leave, it wouldn’t let Cinderella get the key to her room. The cat even purposely got the dog in trouble early on in the movie. The cat’s name: Lucifer. Shocked you didn’t remember that?

What better name for an evil character than the embodiment of evil Himself. Obviously to call him Satan would have been to obvious, but I don’t think that Lucifer went over the heads of the adult audiences. Additionally, we must remember that at the time period when Cinderella was first release, many adults went to the movies to watch cartoons. The Disney cartoon was a family event, but it didn’t preclude the adults from having fun.

If you look at the songs, plots, and characters, you can see that Disney was for older audiences. I guess that’s when the tradition started and, even today, Disney movies always have some references for adults.

[1.0] Yeah…what did you think would happen?

Today’s big news story, other than the Supreme Court stuff, involved the numbers from Detroit. Boy were they dissapointing! GM was down 25% from Sept last year and Ford was down 19% Toyota, on the other hand, had their best September EVER. Why? Well, it’s pretty simple. Detroit was making all of their money on those gas guzzlin’ SUVs while Toyota was focusing more on lighter cars and their Prius, which has been selling like bootleg DVDs on Canal Street.

I’ve been predicting (along with a few hundred thousand others) that this would happen as soon as gas got exepensive enough. With the cheapest gas around here coming in at $3.03 today (down from a high of $3.27), I don’t blame people for avoiding SUVs like the plague. Maybe Katrina and Rita, while extremely devasting to many personal lives, are just the kick in the pants America needed to help it get off of oil. Let’s hope our good old American ADD doesn’t kick in and that we do something before prices go back down, allowing us to complain again next time they spike.

[1.0] I give up, I think

My current ISP doesn’t allow me to run a server and I don’t have the money to switch to an ISP that does. So, for now, unless I get alternative funding, I guess I’m going to come back to blogging here and having this be my permanent site. I’m pretty sad because I loved the independence of having my own site and blog. Being able to do pingbacks and trackbacks. Well, look to here for future posts.

ed note- this is when all of my 1.0 blog was hosted on Tripod.com

A quickie

One of the things I love about Linux is that it doesn’t slow down like Windows tends to. I can (and did) have the computer up for weeks at a time and it doesn’t go any slower than when I first booted it up. More importantly, after updates the computer doesn’t slow down. I don’t know what others have experienced, but whenever I update Windows or even download anything more than a few hundred megabytes, Windows slows to a crawl. This may be something unique to my computer setup or something, but just downloading the ISOs for Fedora cause my Windows computer to grind to a halt! With Linux, I can download gigs of updates and it doesn’t have any bad effect. I hope that 1) Linux never loses whatever it is about the kernel that makes it this stable when running for days and after updates and 2) that Windows finally learns how to do that.

We’re back….in a hacked up sort of way

You may have noticed some instability in the blog recently. This is due to the fact that the place where my server is held recently switched to an ISP that blocks port 80 due to the Code Red Virus. As I’ll be moving soon, it didn’t make sense to enter into a contract with a business tier ISP for the server, so I had to do a few hacks to get the server running. A few more hacks this morning allowed me to get the blog working, since the blog kept looking for the old URI and I had to do some creative things with the URI in order to keep the same one working for those of you who have linked to the top level of my blog.

Therefore, you may notice that the links on my blog do not have the same URI as the one listed at the top. This will be fixed when I move (around mid to late September) so don’t link to any of my specific posts or that link will be broken when I change the URI back. For now, just link to http://www.ericsbinaryworld.com/ and that will continue to work. For example in the post right before this one my own link to my post (the “farewell to numa numa” link) doesn’t work right now because it’s in reference to the old link.

I’m just happy that I can continue to post and have my posts read by my readers. I’m just as annoyed by these inconveniences as you are, but I just keep telling myself – it’s just another six weeks, that’s all.

Numa Numa ¿Que? (And other tales from Cancun Part 1)

It’s almost been a month since I went to Cancun, Quintanilla Roo, Mexicao. I meant to blog about it, but at first I was busy getting my married life and my room back into order. While in Cancun I decided not to rent a car in case the drivers were as crazy as the ones I’d heard about in South America. They actually ended up driving just as good (or bad) as people do in Tampa and arguably a lot better than how they drive in Miami. Since I wasn’t actually in Cancun, but in Puerto Aventuras (Adventure Port) we had to take a taxi to get anywhere Interesting.

It was in one such taxi ride on the way to the ruins at Tulum where my driver was listening to the radio that the Numa Numa song came on. My wife and I just stared at each other. So I asked the cab driver if he had seen the Internet video and he affirmed that he had. He asked me if I happened to know where this music came from. It has just appeared on the radio about a month ago. I told him it was from Rumania in Eastern Europe. He nodded approvingly as if one of the larger mysteries in his life had finally been clarified. I informed him that this song wasn’t on the radio in the US and he appeared a little shocked. I leaned back in my chair and my wife and I half-heartedly acted out the Internet video in the the backseat and laughed to ourselves. I thought when I said farewell to Numa Numa that it would fade out of my life. Who knows where it’ll appear next…some rapper remix?

While I was in Mexico there was a bit of what I’d like to call reverse-culture shock. One example was hearing Numa Numa on the radio. What I mean by reverse-culture shock is going to a foreign country expecting to see local traditions and customs, but finding non-local customs instead. For example, going to Playa del Carmen was an especially disturbing even for my wife and I. When we first walked in we saw:

Honeymoon - Playa del Carmen - 05

A Sushi restaurant! I’m not saying that the Mexicans can’t eat sushi, don’t get me wrong. But this was a famous tourist location. Maybe I’m just not with the times, but I like to go to other countries to experience what their customs and traditions have resulted in. In this same area was a Subway and a Johnny Rocket. Then, to my horror, we came across:

Honeymoon - Playa del Carmen - 16

That’s right, those $@^& golden arches are everywhere! Can’t they leave a place alone? It was right next to:

Honeymoon - Playa del Carmen - 24

and just ruined the view. I’m just glad they didn’t have a McDonald’s at the Tulum ruins or I think I would have really disliked my trip. More about my trip to Mexico in a future post.

The new theme!

I have chosen the ramart theme, developed by the owner of a blog about Weird Al Yankovic. After going over all of the available themes, I chose this one because it best reflects what my blog has evolved into. As a blog mostly about technology news and the GNU/Linux operating system, I feel this theme best conveys my content. However, don’t worry that I won’t be talking about personal things, politics, or religion – it’s just a realization of the main topics of this blog as well as the fact that I ‘m a VERY technological person. I mean, how many other people have three computers they use on an everyday basis, including a server. Finally, with the theme I was previously using I didn’t like the font as much – some of the letters ran together such as a c and an l – looking like a d.

I have adapted his theme to suit my preferences, such as having a calendar on the sidebar, which was not exactly a trivial task. I will be making a few more changes in the coming days. For example, I have decided to license all of my posts under the Creative Commons. They will still be copyrighted to me, but I think I will choose a license similar to the one I use for my pictures – attrib-deriv-no-commercial. I’ll add a link/icon to the site describing my license as soon as I get some time.

Ch-ch-cha-anges

I believe that websites, magazines, blogs, and other media that people become accustomed to should always look the same. Afterall, that’s what people become comfortable with, so why change it up? However, I also realize that these things always change and it’s often for the better. In that vein, I am going to be changing up my blog a little bit. I don’t like that I’m just using one of the default templates for WordPress because what is it that distinguishes my blog from Andrew’s Blog or any of the others using the default template. It may take me a while to customize the template the way I want it, but I don’t want to take the server down again – it’s had enough downtime recently. Therefore, you may notice some changes on your visits until I get everything tweaked the way I want it. Thanks for you patience and see you on the better side of “It’s A Binary World 2.0”.