Thursday, 25 September 2008

"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving"

Did I mention I was in Minneapolis, Minnesota, this weekend? anyway, it threw a spoke in my posting schedule. We don't do catching up on the net, and I don't have time for that anyways, so I'm just going to continue on as consistently as I can.

For the last, say, 10 years of my life, the bicycle has been my preferred mode of transport. The Netherlands has a deeply ingrained bicycle culture, which is both the reason this preference exists and the method by which it is sustained. Riding your bike through Amsterdam is possibly the only sane way to navigate it. Since no one on a bike there has any regard for traffic laws, driving a car there is virtually equal to murder (suicide is not really the right word here).

However, in The good old USA, riding a bike categorizes you as definitively out of your freakin' mind. Why, that's why god gave us the car, isn't it? Added to that is the complete lack of bicycle-friendly infrastructure, and the fact that everything here is so damn far away from other things. Riding a bike here is, in other words, is a royal pain in the ass, no matter how good a saddle you have.

Having said all that, my host father has recently bought me a bicycle. Not one of those things we Dutchies would use to navigate traffic comfortably, but a racing model. This thing was built for speed. 10 gears on it, which are necessary with all the hills around here. So despite all my complaints, I have been cycling my way to school recently, and it is an absolute joy. Finally exercising my muscles again! What I'm trying to say is, get off your fat ass and go do some physical exercise, you damned americans!

today's quote supposedly came from Einstein, though this has not been difinitely confirmed

Thursday, 18 September 2008

"People accept their limitations so as to prevent themselves from wanting anything they might get"

I missed my posting deadline again today, this time by more than two hours. I'm sorry, I try to keep my schedule, but I hardly get time for a private thing like this except at night (though it can hardly be considered private if the website is there for all to see).

I've been quite happy with my Eee PC 901. You get noticed by everyone in the cafetaria (and sometimes mocked, but who cares?), and it's a nifty little thing to have around. Honestly, I sometimes think I only bought it for the cool-factor. You know, like drooling at the iPod section of a store? My inner gadget-freak acting up. However, the Xandros-based linux distro installed on the thing is, frankly... awfull. For, one, the simple GUI which seems to emphasize easy, is just too limiting. And the advanced mode is KDE based, which is just not my cup of tea.

So today I installed Eeebuntu on my little Eee pc, after first trying Eeedora and failing to get either wifi or ethernet working. Now, Eeebuntu doesn't actually support them out of the box either, but at least it makes it possible to install them. Let me show you a list of some things eeedora does not provide out of the box:
  • GCC
  • make
  • G++
  • wget
  • man
  • open-office
  • any multimedia applications
And probably some more obscure things I forgot about or didn't try. But that is a list of pretty essential things. You don't have internet access to install them, and you can't compile packages from source either. I suppose I could have gone out to find .rpm files for all these, but I installed eeebuntu instead, and got all this and Wifi working by installing two .debs I transferred over via USB-drive. So now I actually have a smooth compiz-enabled desktop with every application I'll ever need. It's a shame that eeedora was being such a royal pain, since I prefer yum over apt-get, but I can live with the way things are right now.

today's quote was already harder to find. It comes from Celia Green. Also, WikiQuote is my newest friend.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

If you can't decide in a day... you can't decide

I can get quite irritated at the the indecisiveness of some people, Most likely because I am one of those people myself. Nothing annoys us more than seeing our own flaws accentuated in someone else. A few days ago, I went with Betty to the Wal-mart to buy me a cellphone. Of course, it is impossible to go Wal-mart with a woman and a shopping list, buy what you need, and get out. At a certain point you will hear the line "Oh, while we're here..." or one of its many variations, which will be the start of a shopping spree no man can easily endure.

To Wal-mart's credit, they have quite a few different products. And by that I don't mean that they have everything from hunting rifles to peanut butter (they do), but that they have a hundred different brands of peanut butter. Including one that sells 16 kilogram(!!) buckets. But I digress.

On this particular day, Betty had decided to buy some bread, and so it was that I found myself at the giant store's bread section. And Betty was dancing around it like a child around a Christmas tree. Feeling the texture of all the different breads, admiring their looks, marveling at all the different flavours. Seriously, this went on for 10 minutes. I mean, how hard is it buy some friggin' bread!?!

And that's when it got even worse. I know, it's hard to imagine, but she managed it. She did the one thing possible to make this situation even more dire: She asked for my opinion.
As you may have guessed, I don't give a **** about bread. And I was annoyed. Normally, when faced with such a situation, men use tried methods that have been known to work, such as the no-no-yes rule. However, this only works for specific questions ("do you like this?"), not when asked for an opinion. Needless to say, I panicked a bit, and opted for the simple approach: point at the nearest bread and pray she'll just go with that. Luckily, it worked this time, though she caught on to the arbitrary nature of my decision.

The funny thing is, I did the exact right thing one can do in such a situation. If it is that hard to choose between the different breads (and one can abstract this advice to other concepts), it is likely that the choices are equal in value. Which means that more important than what you choose, is that you choose. The worst option you have is not making a choice at all.

Betty's indecisiveness cropped up again yesterday, when we were at an auction. I swear, this man talked so fast it was unbelievable. But I'm straying again. The problem was that by the time Betty decided she wanted to bid on some item, it was already sold. I was determined not to get caught in that habit, so when an old keyboard came up for auction I immediately cast aside any doubts and vowed to get it. And I did. For a measly 80 dollars, I now have a keyboard standing in my room, a re-branded JVC. It doesn't even come near a piano, but anything is better than nothing at all.

Today's title is a quote from "Munich," which is a good movie. Go see it. And sorry I didn't make it with the post. I'm only an hour late in my timezone though.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my fathers forty-seventh birthday. Congratulations from the states dad! Don't miss me too much!

I've been having trouble getting posts out ever since coming to the states, so I have decided to put myself on a more strict posting schedule. Posts will be every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Sunday posting will be optional. for those of you following the mailing list, posting there will be twice a week, Wednesday and Saturday. These have all been recorded in my google calendar to remind me. There may be an overlap in topics, so if you follow both of these outlets, be prepared for repetition. Together with the new schedule will be a new format: every post title will be a quote from a video game, movie, book, or other such thing. The post topic will relate to the quote in some way but not to the source of the quote in question. Exceptions are made when a political event or other recent real-world thing will be discussed. I'm hoping this format and schedule will help me write some more interesting posts.

I bought a tennis racket and some balls this week. I haven't had the chance to use them yet but I'm really pumped about that. A few people at the dorms play tennis and I want to play them. There are a few things still on my to-buy list, including a mobile phone and a camera. I've been drooling over iPhones, but I'm definitely not going to buy one at the ridiculous 2-year plan (60 bucks a month!) that they come with. the iPod touch is also tempting, but the 32 gig is too expensive and I still have a good iPod. My inner gadget freak is just acting up again. Especially after seeing the refurbished section at the applestore, with 80GB iPod classics going for just 176 dollars. Every geek in the world has a thing for Apple I guess.

My current favorite songs are "the poet and the pendulum" by Nightwish and "I'm yours" by Jason Mraz. I guess it shows my conflicting musical tastes. If anyone is interested, I will keep listing these as theey change