This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.                             the guys: philogynist jaime tony - the gals:raymi raspil


Michael considered fate at 20:16   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment

Michael considered fate at 20:14   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
I wrote a post about how it's cool that jaime posts some nifty urban photos and sometimes people recognize the graffiti tags or art - and sometimes even across continental borders. I don't have the energy to do it all out again but go check out Jaime's last post Tue, May 4th, 2004 and then check out the comments. rock out.

the known universe
Michael considered fate at 19:49   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
I love jaime's site cause he's always posting fun pictures of city signs and graffiti and drizzly alleyways. It's the sort of shit I fancy I'd do if I were once again in a city with walking as my main mode of transportation only this time I'd have a digital camera.

Even more fun is the occasional recognition someone gets for a piece of graffiti art (see Tuesday, May 04, 2004 post - his permalinks are chummed) on his site. More fun still when it's trans-continental.

I'm Link #8 on Page 2 of a Google search for "STDs and the drippy dick"
Michael considered fate at 17:49   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Unfortunately, if you are the person who arrived here from that search, I can't help you. Of the problems I have with my dick, drippy is not one of them. Droopy, maybe. Drippy, no.

What I can help you with, however, is Cold Fusion. Why? I dunno. Just cause someone said so.

Currently the topic of Cold Fusion is heating up and it's been in the news lately. A number of articles have been talking about the U.S. Department of Energy's new found interest in Cold Fusion and that they have decided to review the more recent research available. At this point, it's a terribly compelling topic if you have any interest in energy at all..

Fusion, of course, is the opposite of Fission. It's the combining of atoms to create larger atoms. We know that Fusion does occur (luckily for us) because, as the They Might Be Giants song goes, the sun is a mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace, where hydrogen is built into helium at temperatures of millions of degrees. This simple line from a children's song can teach us most of what we need to know about Fusion: it is the combining of smaller atoms to create larger ones and it requires extreme heat (energy, really). Until 1989 the only Fusion experiments we humans had managed to pull off were highly expensive, high-heat laboratory experiments that used either nuclear explosions or insanely high temperatures to force nuclei together.

Cold Fusion, it's existence still being debated, is so named for the fact that it is "cold". It does not (if it's real) require large amounts of outside energy. In fact in 1989 two dudes - Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann - announced that they had carried out an experiment that proved the existence of Cold Fusion and they did it, essentially, in their garage. They did this by sealing a bunch of heavy water (water that is composed of deuterium - aka "heavy hydrogen", heavy because it has a neutron which normal hydrogan (protium) does not have) up in a jar with two electrodes sticking into it. One electrode was composed of palladium and as a small amount of electricity was sent across these electrodes the energy caused the heavy water to split apart into it's elements oxygen and deuterium (you can do this with normal water, too). The important step here is (hypothesized) when enough of the deuterium is absorbed into the palladium that things begin to "smoosh together" (that's science speak for "crowded"). When things smoosh together enough Cold Fusion happens (or is purported to happen).

So how did they prove it happened? Who cares? First, they observed enough heat being let off from this glass jar that was not otherwise attributable to the electrolytic process of heavy water breakdown so they were pretty convinced the heat came from fusion reactions (which releases energy in the form of gamma rays). Second, we care because harnessing the power of Fusion would be huge. It would essentially provide us with a neverending supply of energy. A good comparison would be that of a fusion powered rocket. Since we don't have a good grasp of rockets, let us further apply it to cars: A fusion-powered rocket compared to our current rockets would be the equivalent of a car that would be able to travel twice as fast as any car today AND with a fuel efficiency of 7,000 miles per gallon. Whoa.

However, it's only good and dandy until you get into the thick of the debate. Many people don't believe Pons and Fleischmann proved anything. The experiment has been repeated by many with varying results. Since the claims of the hypothesis breaks the rules of physics we have today some people believe it can't even happen (though I suspect those same people didn't believe the earth was round, either).

If you want to get into the politics a bit more a good start would be to go read this enteraining article over at WIRED Magazine (note: this article was written back when WIRED was a decently good read - 1998). It's opening paragraph reads:

What If Cold Fusion Is Real?

It was the most notorious scientific experiment in recent memory - in 1989, the two men who claimed to have discovered the energy of the future were condemned as imposters and exiled by their peers. Can it possibly make sense to reopen the cold fusion investigation? A surprising number of researchers already have.

The bottom line is that Cold Fusion is sort of like String Theory right now. Right on the cusp. Developing. Under Construction. In the works. But as my friend KC always likes to point out "Everyone thought Newtonian physics was it once, and then along came Einstein" - he broke Newton's rules AND he broke the i-before-e rule twice in his own name!


Counter and Statistics Tracker
Michael considered fate at 14:41   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
My damn site tracker is the bane of my existence. It reports to me everyday, all day, about how many people don't visit this site. Then, as if that weren't enough of a blow to the ego, it reports how many people have visited the site through completely random searches for pictures of hockey players and naked mainers among other things. All people who won't ever return. All people who don't matter anyway. As if anyone matters. As if it all had meaning; pomp and circumstance if you will.

The tracker also reports to me all the weird people who visit my site with no reference. Maybe they're blocking referral reporting or maybe they truly did arrive directly to my site... but from Belgium? Japan? The UK? It just seems strange.

Sometimes I envision people - complete strangers whom I build entire lives for.. office workers, artists, performers, and the unemployed. Young, old, middle-aged. Single, married, separated, divorced. Rich, wealthy, poor... I never imagine starving though - and I envision these people sitting at a computer - a laptop, a desktop, a mac, a public library pc - and I imagine them opening up a web browser - explorer, mozilla, firebird, safari - and then I see them type in 22, 28, 29, 33 or so characters in a seemingly inconsequential manner:

h t t p : / / b r i t c o a l . b l o g s p o t . c o m /

And they hit return. Or they hit Go.

And they get this.

D r i v e l .

And as if it matters I record in my mind all of these random IPs and domain names and I recognize them as they come back. Maybe daily. Maybe weekly. Maybe a few times a year (I can say that now because I've been around for a few). Does it matter that I remember? Does it effect - affect - does it make a difference? Do I write differently for it or think overly much about the intended audience?

Sure. Always. No more or less than the next day for the site hits though. It's the people, people, behind the numbers; that's what counts. Ask Jaime. He's struggling with it everyday. The numbers go up the amount of material he feels he can post goes down but it's not the numbers it's the specific people behind the numbers. Friends. Family. Acquaintances..

And so I make promises. I make commitments. I make proclamations. Then I unserendipidiously fall through on them. It's really quite mundane but those random IPs, those strange domains, those strangers that I make up in my mind keep showing up. Maybe they're crazy in my head but in real life they show up - I know this because the tracker doesn't lie (mostly?) and the numbers speak to me speak to me speak to me. These numbers, like trends, like waves, they speak to me, softly, as if a whispering wind through the window as I lie - head back, eyes closed - in a warm bath of scummy water - the water I've sluffed off my dirty back - and I listen.

You can't help but listen to the wind when it has something to say. It always tells such a good story.

Can you blame me?

Nothing says loving like somebody else is paying for it.
Michael considered fate at 13:00   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
I grabbed flagrant's link off the busblog but so what? Tony was right, the Monday post is pretty funny.. and I identify completely with it. No, I'm not getting anyone to pay my cellphone bill (I'm still cellphone free thankyouverymuch) but I am nabbing free cable and wireless internet for the second year in a row.

On the heels of my iTunes complaints..
Michael considered fate at 12:53   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Comes a new link at slashdot to this australian article about a new russian music download site called AllOfMp3.

The amazing thing here is the business model. You quite literally pay by the megabyte - which as I have said before makes a heck of a lot more sense to me than paying by the song (should I have to pay the same 99 cents for a 2 minute song as I do for an 11 minute song, all else being equal?). To be questioned, though, is the price. Currently they are charging the price of 1 USD cent per 1 megabyte of traffic (sometimes 2 USD cents for "Exclusive", whatever that means). At this price you could download entire albums in MP3 format for less than a dollar. In fact half A DOLLAR. Or, if you so desired, you could crank up the quality of that album to double that of your average MP3 and still likely come in under one dollar. OR you could go lossless for a few bucks. Your choice. If you're a crazy audiophile you could even download a full on CD in CDDA format and it would be in the range of $5. Now that sounds more like it (no pun intended).

So how are they managing these prices? Who knows. The article linked above goes into some detail and it sounds (somewhat) legit, legally speaking. So far the australians who tried the site out haven't had their credit card abused, they haven't had their door knocked down by australian copyright police, and they downloaded some 5 gigs of music, which amounts to 968 tracks or 56 albums - from a collection of artists that ranges from Norah Jones through the Beatles, Janis Ian, Otis Redding, Ray Charles, Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell to Miles Davis and Charles Mingus. They did it all for $48.65 USD or, as they roughly calculated, 6.8 cents a song.

Sure, the site doesn't have quite the catolog that some online music stores do (they boast 173,000 tracks to iTunes Music Stores' 700,000) but at these prices who can't afford to at least attempt to bargain shop? Plus, for a russian site, the english is readable and the site design is fairly professional looking.

Who knows if this will last but hullo! These are prices consumers will appreciate. Plus, prices like this will facilitate the downloading of full albums (one complaint many artists, record companies, and even fans have about digital music downloads is that it encourages single track downloading and due to this there is a fear that the album as an artform will quickly go the way of the dodo bird).

Anyhow, if my gut has any sense, this won't last.. but it'll be interesting to watch for now anyway.

Did I mention they take paypal?


Legal Digital Music Downloads
Michael considered fate at 11:10   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
It's been awhile since I've said anything about the commercial digital music revolution going on but I just bumbled across this article that talks a bit about the market forces pulling at the strings these days.

Interesting, albeit not too surprising to note is Wal-Mart up near the top of the list (#2) of most sales so far falling just behind iTunes. Leveraging their incredible brand awareness and also opting for a cheaper base price of 88 cents a song they seem to be making a better play at things than some lesser rivals..

Another note to make is that although the number of legal downloads has skyrocketed in the last 8 months (~2740%) to 603,000 it still pales in comparison to the amount of illegal downloads that still continue unabated to this day (~5 million).. but it could certainly suggest a growing trend.

Bottom line: they've still got a long way to go, baby, and I'm standing by my original opinion: 99 cents is far too much to pay for a single song, especially if it's not that great. Maybe I'll buy your one hit off of iTunes but I certainly won't buy your whole album (even at $9.99). I need something more for my money. Right now I can go outside, walk down the street, and purchase an entire gallon of fossil fuel for $1.74. That's less than two walmart tunes. We are talking about crude oil that was sucked, pumped, pulled out of the ground 15,000 miles away, refined, shipped half way around the world, and then trucked to my doorstep all for $1.74. That $1.74 will get me maybe as many as 30 miles away. 30 miles - even at highway cruising speeds - is a solid 8 songs on the radio.. for $1.74.. okay okay, you get my point.

Either legal music download services on the internet will come down in price, come up with a better sales model, or won't be successful until inflation causes 99 cents to be worth 50.

That's just my 2 cents.


Drizzle drizzle monday fizzle
Michael considered fate at 15:09   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Thing about Monday's is that they come around once a week. Every week. Like clockwork. I've said this before so I won't elaborate too much but the point is that they can be a bit of a bummer if you're not willing to work with them with the right frame of mind.

Today, I don't have the right frame of mind. Sometimes I think about the philantropy my company does without even knowing it - letting me sit here and type out blog posts like some sort of lamo neo-graphy that someone could liken to art if they were so inclined - but deep down I do know it's a bunch of crap. I just wish it werent.

Honestly, wish life could be a little more little more. Wish it could have a little more spice and flav and maybe some zing. If it were up to me it would be sunshine and down-pour and nothing inbetween.

And I wish people didn't let me down so much.

I wish I got phone calls every day from all the people I let down every day. I wish they would call me up and tell me that I've done wrong, or worse, done nothing at all, and that I've failed to meet expectation. How do I know I'm doing a good job if I never get a performance review? How can I fix that which I do not know is broken? I wish I didn't let people down.

Honestly, wish I could get these phone calls so I could honestly address each and every case seriously like it's own seperate entity. I could say no, in fact I don't like you very much so you are right, I am not doing a very good job and I'm not ever going to do a very good job. there. now you know. I may be a lot of things but I like to think I'm honest. Honesty is thrillingly cathartic to me.

Wish that I could call everyone up and say you, you, and you.. you disappoint me and maybe they'd all say "fuck you mike, we don't care. you aren't important to us"... and in fact that would be grand. I could learn this and move on. Improve my social efficiency. Learn not to waste time in the wrong places. Get out to the right spaces.

But people are scared of the honesty. Scared of what people will think. Scared of feelings - honest feelings. Some call it tact. Fuck tact, I say. I gave up tact a few years ago and I've never felt better.

Best Friends is an interesting label. Heck, Friends is an interesting label. The very idea is an oddity. Society is an oddity. Socialization above and beyond a procreational level is an incredibly interesting thing. How this formation even builds itself is fascinating to no end.

But I question it every day. I question it's honesty and faithfulness. I question it's reality. You'd be amazed at who reads this blog.

...and who doesn't.

And that's when I get bummed out; on drizzly mondays.


One or two or twenty..
Michael considered fate at 14:52   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
photos from iraq you probably won't see in the new york times.


Sony Launches First Commercial Electronic Paper Display Reader
Michael considered fate at 18:04   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
As reported at Slashdot, which references Yahoo! and the press release

I guess my grumbling below about looking for it in 2003 was a little over the top.. Not that I truly expected it to take another 30 years. Problem is, at $381, this isn't the throw-away-electronic-newspaper I was envisioning.

Life's Little Exercises
Michael considered fate at 15:12   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
I'm about done with the Blogging 101 lecture series. I think 10 is a nice round number - so one more to go. Plus, when I come back 2 years from now and get interested to see what the hell I wrote "way back when" there won't be too much to sift through.

Thing with this blog crap is that it's all there.. moving.. rolling.. but like a lake that turns over every spring - all that crap is still there somewhere. Maybe not right on the surface but it's there. Piled among the refuse and junk it's just waiting to be rediscovered.

Just think what would happen if you became famous. Imagine if Kurt Cobain, before his rise to fame, kept an innocent little blog. Imagine the scrutiny every single word of that blog would get after his little secret got out.

I guess what I'm saying is it's all important. The here. The now. The there. The then. The will be. The dude at the bar last night was about the now. He was about the energy - the connection you can realize that you have with this world if you really want to.. and he was unapologetic about it. "You may not get it," he said. "You may think I'm crazy," he mused. "But that's OK. It doesn't matter. You believe what you want to and I believe what I want to and we can both be right but I know for a fact that I'm here, now and this is my experience and that's what I can bring to the table is my experience." Sure, he was a rambling dude but he had a great point. He explained that we can be told a lot of things. We can learn all sorts of "facts" in books. We can hear about happenings. But we only really know our own experiences.

"Fuck what some guy read in a book!" he exclaimed, "He doesn't know shit."

And while he wasn't perhaps as eloquent as he could have been he certainly made the point to me. Experience. Live the here the now the forever.. or just don't bother at all. It's really not worth half-assing it.

So I lived the here the now the forever tired cause I haven't been getting the kind of sleep I should be getting and now I'm living the here the now the coffee-induced wake-up call. I'm on cup 5 or 6 and I'm a little warm, the flourescents are a little bright, the keys tap-tap-taping on the 'board are a little loud but I'm A-fucking-live. Alive.

My limited life experiences - a mere 25 years of them - tells me that as I try to write for an audience - Blogging 101 or subtle between-the-line innuendos to particular people I know are reading - I will fail to do the one thing that made people come and start reading in the first place: being me.

Blogging 101 is not me. Blogging 101 is the perhaps not condescending but at least a little pretensious side of me.. a side that doesn't really have much root in my true personality (no matter what peole might think). In my mind I'm modest to a fault and I'm as unsure about this so called life gig as the next guy.

The next exercise is to try and write without thinking about it.

Blogging 101
Michael considered fate at 11:33   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Fucking hell, comments really are the best part. I'll fairly attribute that comment (the comment about comments, not the link to the comment) to jaime over at theknownuniverse whose comment tag says "sometimes the comments are the best part" if and when someone actually leaves a comment.

The rest of the time it just says "Who Cares?" which, I think, is a really great subtle fuck you to anyone and everyone reading and not posting - not interacting in this medium but simply passing over it like an asshole in a dentist's waiting room skimming a magazine like it's a fleeting thing - like there weren't dozens of people who put dozens of hours and days into the making of that magazine. Whatever jaime says.. maybe without even realizing he is saying it, or without the reader even realizing he is saying it: and that's the best part of all.

I've said before that blogging is great for a number of reasons but above all certainly we cannot ignore the narcissistic qualities of a public journal. Sure, people will tell you Slashdot is a blog - but not in my book. I've been reading Slashdot off and on for probably over half a decade now and it was certainly before the advent of blogs as we know them today. If for this reason only it's not really a blog but a forefather to them. And if that reason isn't enough the second one is that it is not personal. The posts are, wedding proposals aside, all news items: technology news, political news, geeky-videogame-mod news, etc, etc. The commenting section is personal but no more personal than the letters-to-the-editor of your favourite magazine.. which brings me to a great analogy:

If Slashdot is a Magazine than blogs are zines.

And I meant to capitolize Slashdot and Magazine and I meant to leave blogs and zines lower case. That should be self-explainatory I guess. The point here is that blogs are individual expression at their greatest and most exposed - which is what we're all really looking for.

What, pray tell, is the point of an anonymous blog? Sure maybe the people who know you don't know about it - or at the very least don't know they are reading you - but the exposure is still there.. this burning desire to express is still there..

And like a tree that falls in the wood when no one is around... an offline blog is all but unheard. Which is why they don't exist. Not in the numbers that blogs do, anyway.

I'm working towards something here: It's all about the comments. It's about knowing you're being heard. It's about connecting with others - whether it be to make someone laugh or exchange political views or wax philosophical about technology. Comments are our own little letters-to-the-editor for our tiny online zines that we create day in and day out as moving changing adapting creatures. Comments are validation. Validation that people are listening and reading. Validation that the apparitions we see in front of us - this "society" - isn't just a movie, it's real enough in our minds to interact. Comments are, in an odd way, validation that we exist.

Maybe that's narcissistic. Maybe you should leave comments off your blog. Maybe you put too much weight on comments. Maybe you should just join the priesthood. Who knows.. but don't pretend it's something it's not. We're all human here. We poke the world to see if it reacts.. what lessons do you suppose we learn if it doesn't?

Which brings me to my next point. Positive comments. Negative comments. Anonymous comments. They're all good comments because they're real, active, existing items in this dynamic soup. Gotta participate. Gotta get real. We gotta see feel touch hear what people have to give but if we don't give.. and they don't give;

Well we're just a bunch of trees standing in the woods..

You really gotta get out there and participate. It's not a one-way street. As my old english teacher used to say "Life's a Grave. Dig it."

Tony decided to link me
Michael considered fate at 10:31   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
and in my wildest dreams I could never have thought up being linked in the same post with the pixies.

Up in Lights
Michael considered fate at 01:58   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Saw it up there up in Lights, thought -
gee, ain't that nice.

Saw it up there, up in lights, like I thought
I have the right

Cause I did, I do I think I have
Always, sometimes, did I

Oh forget it.

Forgot how much I hate people - and then tonight. It's always nice to forget that. If only for one minute or one iota of a second. But it's all coming back to me now how much I hate them - fred.. john.. joe.. sam.. sally.. gertrude.. especially gertrude.

Talked to this great guy at the bar just tonight. You just don't know. Went on and on about self and the now and entities like he'd just watched Donnie Darko only I know he hadn't. He was speaking from the heart.. and his message - after you waded through all the confusing conversation - was this:



acceptance of other people's awareness and perception and the ability to co-exist..

or the choice to co-exist.

He was passionate and believed it and his confusion - his pain, and suffering - came from those around him whom he chose to believe did not believe that which he did. Which was sort of against the grain of his big woody, if you know what I mean..

but that's fine. we can't all create a higher understanding that co-exists with our own moral dilemmas, right?

No. We most certainly can't. Creators of our own destiny, though? No, I don't believe that either. Energy? Is that it - are we energy? Yah, maybe.. maybe we're energy moving about the grid like tron characters battling on microbikes. Come on.

What do you believe?

(i hate people)

There are one, or two, or three.. maybe a dozen people that I don't hate completely in this world. Is that a sad remark on society - culture - environment - species - or just my bad attitude?


Anti is gone
Michael considered fate at 14:50   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
I [think I] know this because I just watched his AIM screenname fade from view in my buddylist. I know this because, although I have never met him and he resides on the complete opposite end of this continent, I know what he looks like, where he lives, that he is a stonaholic, and that he is heading to Arizona this weekend to do not one but TWO sign jobs.

I've even seen the inside of his truck.

The internet is one weird place.

Although it is perhaps unappreciated - or at least underappreciated - it could be one of the most amazing feats of human kind to this day. Sure, the pyramids were pretty tall and the Coliseum is pretty big and and and.. but the internet is free. The internet is huge. Most importantly, though, the internet (for all intents and purposes) connects everyone on this earth.

Communication from one person to another - anywhere on this planet and even beyond - is achieved in milliseconds through the internet. MILLIseconds. Amazing. Decentralized, self-maintaining, auto-routing.. Most amazing of all is how much it mimics ourselves: nature.

Damn I hope we learn something from this. + busblog
Michael considered fate at 13:25   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Just like Tony Pierce, I too, have dreams of becoming a restauranter.. or at least a standanter - which is to say, one who owns a food stand/walk-in/fast-order-to-go sort of deal.

Only I don't live nearly as close to Mexico like Tony and I don't live among gazillions of hispanics like Tony and I'm not super excited about burritos like Tony.

I like burritos. I'm just not super excited.

A man once told me you should always be super excited about what you do and what you do should be super exciting and I never really believed him - I believed truly that life is a serious of heartbeat-like hills, valleys, and plateaus. I believe that contentment - those little plateaus in between the beats - is where one should try to reside for a better part of one's life. Happiness - the true super excitement of life - is a temporary climb up a big hill which, when one reaches the top, one realizes is a peak, a point, a jagged edge, and soon topples down the other side.. It's fleeting. In the subsequent fall one gathers momentum, of course, which carries one past the plateau of happiness into a pit of not-so-happiness (I won't go so far as to say despair but, sure, it's possible). This pit is an easy enough climb back up to the plateau if you've got the right attitude. Not nearly the climb that happiness was. So that's my take.

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't choose to do things that super excite you. In life there are two things you do: those which you are not allowed to choose, and those that you have the ability to choose. So when you have the choice you might as well choose super excitement.

And super excitement to me is Lebanese Shish-Taouk. Shish-Taouk is a simple pita-wrap dealio which is filled with:

a bit of chopped cabbage
pink pickled turnip chunks
garlic sauce
  and/or tahini
    and/or humus
      and/or hotsauce
pieces of shaved roasted chicken

In some shops the pita, once wrapped, is lightly grilled over and open flame or warmed in a microwave. I prefer the grill.

But the best part about the Shish-Taouk (often shortened to Shish, which is often spoken SHUSH!.) is watching the lebanese smartly shave the chicken bits off of large stacks of chicken breast that have been piled on a vertical spit which is rotating around heating elements. If you like your chicken more charred than normal you can simple ask and they will hold the rotating spit so that a section of chicken is blackened up just for you.

The first time I ever had a Shish was at Fattouch in Montreal at 3673 St-Laurent. Fattouch (pronounced fatoosh but from then on pronounced fat-touch by me) is a hole-in-the-wall local joint which services a million drunks a night right in the heart of the St. Laurent downtown district. It's not the best Shish in town but it's cheap and, to me, will always be one of the originals.

Later on in my college career another shop almost directly across the street from Fattouch opened up: Sara's. Sara's has a few stores around the city but this was the only one I have been to. Right next to the Angel's dance club, the staff is friendly and they manage to remember an ungodly number of faces. I went back 6 months after I graduated and was recognized. Their Shish, like every Shish, is certainly unique. They use a more lettuce-type concoction instead of cabbage and it tends to be larger and less tightly-wrapped than others. It's what I call the "salad shish", which of course has it's time and place, depending on your mood.

The Shish to end all Shish, though, is Boustan's located at the corner of Crescent and De Maisonneuve in the business downtown area. Despite Crescent being a pit of touristy sin (e.g. Hard Rock Cafe, etc) Boustan's is both local and excellent. The prices might be a little higher than others but it is well worth it. They sport an open-flame grill, the tightest packed Shish, the hottest hot sauce, and gobs and gobs of garlic sauce. It's simply amazing. Drink 10 beers and then eat their Shish and it's beyond anything you could ever imagine.

As you can see, Shish is to me as burritos appear to be to Tony. Shish is amazing for lunch, on the go, or for a late night post-drinking snack. It's flavourful. It's portable. It's compact. It's probably the only "wrap" food I appreciate. (I think this big "wrap" fad in fast-food joints is ridiculus).

Someday I would like to throw open the doors to my very own Shish establishment. Portland, ME, here I come. With large roasting spits of chicken and beef (the beef version of Shish is the Shwarma), Lebanese music over the speakers, and drunks all around, I would feed the city's hungry from noon till night. The white-bread Americans of this town might take awhile to understand the true experience but I believe it would only be a matter of time before the Portland chapter of the Shish Nation was born.

It's that goddamn good.

The only problem is that I'm not Lebanese. Whoops.


dear president bush,
Michael considered fate at 13:06   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
i think what tony wrote to you is wrong. dead wrong.

in general i agree with his liberal cub-loving politics but in this iraq thing i think he is wrong. i think this vietnam in the iraqi desert that you have started could be just what this country needs to completely fix everything that you have fucked up in your four short years in the white house. i have four words for you mr. president, four short words: bring back the draft.

bring back the draft with full force and no gimmies or skip-outs or beating the system. even better, draft women. draft britney spears and throw her in jail for trying to avoid the draft. hard-nosed no-holds-barred politics here.

because when you bring back the draft - after i move to my other country of citizenship canada - middle-america mom and middle-america pop will become outraged that their kid is going to war. far more outraged than how outraged they are right now about the poor kid on the wrong side of the tracks going to war. which is not outraged at all.

because when mr senator's fresh-faced alcoholic daughter of 18 who always gets out of DUIs because her daddy is a senator's daughter gets drafted because you are going no-holds-barred hard-nosed politics.. well shit will fly and the people will stand up and speak.

okay, maybe mr. senator's daughter will never get drafted by you, mr. president because you are a two-faced lying sack of shit and the poor hispanics and blacks and trailer-trash whites of america is exactly who you want fighting your war so that your sons and daughters can keep their white church clothes clean and blood free. but when you start drafting john doe's 19 year old sons middle-america will get up, stand up, not give up the fight. middle-america will stand up next to the tree-huggers and hippies, forget that they hate stoners, forget that they dislike disestablishmentarians, and fight (with words, my friend like honest people - like any normal sane person - you try to settle things verbally first - take a page out of the democratic people's book - you have heard of democracy haven't you?). they'll say this war is not for us. once, when our sons were not getting bullets and suicide bombs thrown in their direction, we didn't mind the war so much because we were scared. once, when we thought gas was a tad pricey and we thought planes might be becoming crashed into us. but now, now that we have purchased $2 gasoline for our SUVs, now that we continue to buy our SUVs regardless of that price, now that we realize it's not really that bad, what's another 25 cents? - well, now this war isn't for us.. not if it means my son comes home in a body bag. not if it means my son comes home with nightmares and general malaise and can't hold down a job and lives in our basement till he is 35 (even though, come to think of it, he was doing that before the draft). that's what middle-america will say, mr. president.

so please. stand up to this. re-instate the draft. please. just this once, mr. president, do something right for this country that perhaps.. just maybe.. if i'm counting my eggs right.. will make up for four years of horrendous misjudgment and egregious spending.


and then lose in the next election. thanks.

your pal,


I think I got this one down pat..
Michael considered fate at 11:28   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
There are three things men can do with women: love them, suffer for them, or turn them into literature. -- Stephen Stills

Michael considered fate at 11:26   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
I don't find it particularly surprising that, in this day and age of ubiquitous computing, people are getting fed up with passwords. We already have enough to memorize - from SSNs to PINs to umpteen telephone numbers (if you don't have a cellphone like me and therefore don't have everyone on speed dial). And now on top of it all we need to remember passwords for online banking, passwords for work computers, passwords for home computers, passwords to read the new york times online, passwords to get on blogger even! Cripes it's enough to make anyone cry out in frustration.

The older generation - you know, that more responsible and organized one you keep hearing about - they seem to try to handle it in a more physical way. Both my dad and my uncle have sheets of paper posted right next to their computer screens with upteen login/password pairs for thier various investment sites, web-banking, and tax stuff. I've seen this in a lot of different people's houses and although it's handy it certainly defeats the purpose of the passwords in the first place!

Then again, all my friends just memorize their passwords.. and by passwords I mean password. Singular. They just use the same one for everything from friendster to citibank. Again.. not quite secure.

Passwords, in general, are pretty flawed. They present a security model based on randomness but they are generated by humans who are trying to remember them and therefore are picking far from random sequences of alphanumerics. They choose birthdates and anniversaries. They choose pat names and girlfriend names and car names. In short, they pick very non-random sequences of alphanumerics.


People tend to laugh at the sillyness of star trek type technology such as emerging thumb-print scans and retina imaging but perhaps we should check that guffaw. Maybe it's not such a bad idea. I'm unable to find the link right now but there has been recent mention of cheap and fairly affordable thumb-print security scanners for personal PCs. Perhaps PCs could incorporate this technology right into the keyboard in the future. PDA's with touch screen scanners. Cell phones with voice pattern checking. Cars with retinal checks.

Imagine never having to remember a password again.


Query Results - Problem Reporting
Michael considered fate at 18:59   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
I got a lot of problems no doubts no half-way reasoning no question no doubt about that... sure. I got a rash, man.. I got a rash.

But chicks man..

Chicks are fuuucccccckkked up.
Fucked UP! man

bANANANANA: Alex almost called you today from my cell phone
BritCoal: Oh? why didn't he?..
BritCoal: cause he is fucking FACIST PIG SCUM?
bANANANANA: or cause he thought you weren't at work anymore
BritCoal: why wouldn't I be at work?
bANANANANA: i dont think he knows your work schedule very well
bANANANANA: he seems to think you go to work at 7 in the morning
BritCoal: what an asshole
BritCoal: he's such a minute whore
BritCoal: just like in that donald trump verizon "in" commercial
BritCoal: he's that guy
BritCoal: that little weasel guy
BritCoal: "but my free minutes didn't start till 9pm whaaaaawhaa"
bANANANANA: he doesn't have free nights and weekends and I think that is his problem really
BritCoal: his problem is that he is a fag
BritCoal: whoa
bANANANANA: i dont think i can talk to someone with such hateful thoughts
bANANANANA: especially about their best friend
BritCoal: hateful?
BritCoal: how is that hateful?
BritCoal: it's constructive criticism.
BritCoal: and if your best friend can't constructively criticize you
BritCoal: then they aren't much of a friend, are they?

I'm sick as a dog.. however and whyever dogs are sick, I can't say.. but I've been nursing what is most likely a bronchitis infection for a few weeks now. It's getting old. Luckily, I stopped to look it up on the innnernector for shits and giggggles and you know what it told me? You know what? It said "Severe cases may also cause general malaise and chest pain."

Well I guess I know what my problem is.

Went around for the last week using that line. Everytime some asshole would comment on my cough like it was the weather - "Bad cough yah got there" I'd say "Yah.. looks like bronchitis.. which explains why I'm so lazy"


No one got it. Even after I explained it. But it's really funny. To me anyway.

Regardless, I closed over 200 PR reports this week. That's redundant (like PIN Number) for Problem Report. Which is another name for bug report - like a problem in a piece of software.. Well I kicked 200 of those bad mothers in the teeth this week, malaise and all.

So there.

And as a reward I'm drinking till alcohol bursts out the top of my head this weekend. Even though I am in my spring detox period. Even though I haven't drank since March and I'm not supposed to till May 31st, my birthday, when I will get right toasted on one can of miller lite and a bottle of Boone's Farm cause I'll be that much of a lite weight.

get it?

lite weight.


BritCoal: beers in the ears
BritCoal: Nahnanana
gcXYX: awesome
gcXYX: sounds like a great weekend
BritCoal: you sound like a great weekend

It also doesn't help that there will be visitors from foreign countries this weekend and visitors from the south - some even Nascar fans. Drinking of lite beer is not really a question, at this point, but a fact - despite the futurness of this weekend and the inevitable discussion of how one can never predict the future (ask morgan stanley - past gains are no guarantee of future returns). I can, with no question in my mind whatsoever, guarantee the excessive drinking of lite beer.

SXyxYXY: am in a bad mood and not talkative
SXyxYXY: I will talk to you later
SXyxYXY: *sigh

If I had a dollar for every..

Oh why bother? They're all crazy if you ask me.

PxzzzYXYZ: hehe, camera club
PxzzzYXYZ: send me a pic of your ass!
PxzzzYXYZ: this is our ass collection
BritCoal: yah
BritCoal: exactly

Now I must go and clean my apartment for the impending guestial visits. There is blood.. and girls.. they generally don't like the blood. My roommate cut himself. He will not tell me exactly how he cut himself but luckily he talks to himself constantly. If I am quiet as a mouse I will sneak up on him and listen into his conversation as he tells himself the story about how he cut himself. He'll go on about how he was doing something in the cupboard and something fell and he cut himself - only he'll include details because, since he is talking to himself, he won't know the story and will therefore be interested to hear all the details of it. He'll talk about how he bled all over the bathroom and then bandaged himself with duct tape. Duct tape. Medicare has nothing on this household. NOTHING.

But I must clean up the blood.

And buy a 30-rack of Busch.

Maybe Busch Light... or is it lite? I'm baffled to the ends of time when my tiny little pea-sized brain tries to calculate a reasonable explaination for the existence of Busch Lite in this universe. Baffled.

Sixty and sunny
Here in Maine
Fucking Funny
Just the same

Like it was yesterday
Or just last week
When I heard them say
It's beer we seek

And off for cases
We up and went
Did up our laces
Hard cash we spent

Beer we drank
Beer we spewed
Then we drank
another feud



Isn't that Bunnie a cheeky fella?
Michael considered fate at 13:18   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment

Michael considered fate at 00:52   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Kinda noticed it was all about money yesterday.. like that was what was on my mind. Based on the posts, anyway.. but it wasn't. I wasn't thinking about money at all except maybe when I was listening to Pink Floyd's Money which is, well, money.. no pun intended. Thing about money is that it comes and goes. It flows. It changes hands and lands.. where nobody knows. It's a dynamic piece 'o the pie just like relationships and that hairy growth on your back. So some days maybe you got it somedays maybes yous don't. So what? Can't be putting too much of your happiness on those little greenbacks cause it'll be all for naught.

One thing i have conquered in my short little life so far is that of Want. Sure, I ant things. Doritios when I'm hungry or maybe a new car or a house or a motorcycle or or or. But not really. Thing is, the want isn't so bad that it's commanding my life. The Want is like a friendly neighbour.. I see him every once in awhile and shoot the shit but most of the time I just wave to him when he's mowing his lawn. We're not intimate, is what I'm saying.

Maybe was a point in time once when I was a bit more intimate with Want... you know, in that American-Beauty-gay-military-neighbour-dude sort of way.. but not anymore. I conquered the want and I did it in the simplest way possible - I gorged myself on it. I wanted everything around me. TVs and girlfriends and popularity and watches and boats and cars and food. There was nothing I did not want for. This was a process, of course, like a coming of age deal.. Started sometime in middle school and probably followed me all the way to graduation but now, now I'm free. I want for nothing. I got to the point where I'd reach what I want and I was quick-witted enough to snap my head around and look at where I came from - look at that place I was in when I was wanting so badly, and then to turn my head back around and look at where I am now, not wanting.. no longer needing.. and I was smaat enough to realize this: I didn't feel any different. My life was not better for having a 32 inch tv. My life was not better for having an iPod or an Xbox or a motorcycle or a girlfriend. I was still me with all the same problems and all the great fortunes as before.

So I licked that want pretty good. Kicked it dead. Now it don't find refuge 'neath these lids no more.

Unfortunately what I haven't licked is the money itself. Taught, raised, brought up to know that money is a commodity - THE commodity - it's like a way of life. I collect it. Not stamps or antiques or old cars, but money. I hord it. I stack it up. I watch it accumulate. Such is my lot in life.. Luckily I rarely want for it, I just keep it when I have it. Some call that cheap. Some call it thrifty and frugal.. but it's really not about the keeping of money for later security.. it's just some weird obsession with the bottom line.. Like watching the score when you play Super Mario Brothers. No one ever watched the score. It was all about winning the game. Beating the Final dungeon level on world eight. But every once in awhile you'd come across some crazy dude who was so damn good at the game that his game - his goal - was all about score, and about playing over and over as it got harder and harder and just racking up those points after points after points. See? That's me with the money.. cause I've licked the game of Want.


Which Pulp Fiction Character Are You?
Michael considered fate at 14:20   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
That's some fucked up shit.

What Pulp Fiction Character Are You?.

You talk fast, you think fast, you act fast. Stop. Calm Down. Drink some decaf and go back to hitting up liquor stores.

Take the What Pulp Fiction Character Are You? quiz.

And hey.. guess what time it is? Yes yes.. it's tax time.. but besides that? It's almost time for...

(drum roll please)

The World's Largest Bratfest.

I've only heard good things...

And it's on my birthday...

And they have the world's largest grill...

and green ketchup.

A Sailboat and a Cessna to go, please
Michael considered fate at 14:00   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
As a white male in his mid-twenties I have a few toys. Laptops, Cameras, iPods, Camcorders.. but like always my true passion is for the big ticket items.

As a kid the xmas wish list was always short and sweet.. but expensive. Computers were up there. A small sailboat. I always wanted a camcorder.. but as I got older things started to become accessible. I could buy my own sound cards and modems and I such.. so I had to find more expensive tastes. This is what led me to sailboats. I fell in love with sailing when I was about 10 years old before I had even set foot on one. I just knew there was something beautiful about it. I just had to do it. Had to have one. It took me 2 or 3 solid years of begging and pleading but I finally did get one.. A nice 14'2" Catalina Capri (their smallest model) with a 3 inch draft and a 6 foot beam - a solid cruiser with decent speed despite it's wide girth. It even had some nice amenities like a centerboard instead of a dagger board and a roller-furling jib. Hiking straps lined the bottom of the boat and a hiking stick was attached to the tiller. It had a double hull with the top one - the floor - slightly angled backwards. Drain holes above the waterline were bored through the transom that allowed water to flow down the floor of the boat and out the back. The tiller/rudder assembly was designed to be slightly off center - in the event of a man-overboard situation where the boat was left pilotless the tiller would slowly swing all the way to one side, then to the other, causeing the boat to sail in short tiny circles.. like a puppy always by your side. In short, even though I had no practical knowledge of boats and my father knew far less, we were lucky to find a beautiful used boat with far more features than I would ever know what to do with.

When I graduated from university it became apparent that I would need a vehicle of my own. No more schlepping off the parents. No more free gas. No more free car insurance. Damn. I spent six solid months shopping for cars. I wanted something that was fun to drive. Sporty. Performance-minded. Looks were less important to me than pure handling. Finally, I ended up with a Honda Prelude which I am pleased with to this day. Sure, maybe it doesn't have the grunt of a good old American muscle car but it certainly "rides on rails" as they like to say.

More recently my large ticket item of interest has been my motorcycle. I never had a strong interest in them as a child but a few summers ago my friend became somewhat obsessed with them. He lacked the funds to purchase one himself but he did possess the furvor to interest me in the sport and thus I found a new love in motorcycles. One fateful ebay bid later and another expensive hobby was born.

It was around this time that I started envisioning one of those pictures you see on personal websites. The narcissist in me was clamoring to get out and that meant a desire for a wide-angle shot of my various toys. I could see it in my mind. A sunny and perhaps blustery day. The racing red Honda Prelude parked out on some grass, wheels cocked to the right as if in a playmate pose. The fly yellow Ducati in front, leaning on it's sidestand and looking out at the camera demurely. Water behind them both - ocean perhaps - with the fine young Catalina bobbing in the chop, bouyed amid lobster traps perhaps.

Narcissistic indeed.

But let us be honest here. The little Catalina that could ain't going to cut it. I need a real boat. 40 feet maybe, sleeps 5, with a diesel engine and teak deck. Mahogany hull most likely. Rich dark blue paint. Expensive. High Maintenance.. because in the end, all true beauties in this world are high maintenance.

A trifecta of this sort might be enough for most but my mind won't stop there.. my final expensive and wishful hobby is that of flight. I still haven't completed my private pilot's training but perhaps someday.. perhaps I will have to purchase myself a nice little Cessna and go into debt like a good American should. A 172 perhaps, or even a 182 - R? Retractable landing gear? Oh that's rich... yes.. yes.. that is rich. She would sit nicely next to the Prelude or perhaps behind and to the right - a rich white coat of paint smooth like the skin of a beautiful woman.

That would be my trifecta



and Sea

If I had a million dollars..
Michael considered fate at 12:33   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
I wouldn't even be that rich anymore. Used to be a million dollars meant something. It was a big crazy number that only Stalin and maybe a few Oil Sheiks and Howard Hughes really knew about. It was this big magical number that represented that the world could be bought and you could buy happiness.

Course this was back in the days when a little boy named Hitler was kind of grumpy about his jail time and petulantly wrote about poor little him.. sitting in his jail cell. I'm sure it was rough.

But a million dollars doesn't mean what it used to. First of all the dollar isn't what it used to be in the great white north. Back when I was attending university in the great white north you could buy beer for 66 cents USD. You could buy great fancy dinners for $7. You could even go to the movies for $4.20. Or should I say $4,20? But now? Now it'll cost you in the range of $8, just like it does down here.

A million bucks might get you a headache and a horseshoe pit in your back yard but it certainly isn't going to make you rich. Rich is not-having-to-say-you-sorry cause when you are you just pay instead. Rich is tossing money around like sponge cake at a wedding day and letting the maids clean it up.

Scrooge McDuck was rich.

Scrooge liked to let on that he was a real cheap bastard and never wanted to spend a dime but the truth of the matter is that he had the huge mansion and he had a helicopter on hand and a pilot to boot. Truth is that when he'd go on adventures with his great nephews he wouldn't cheese out and pack peanut butter sandwiches for lunch like a true miser would - he'd have baked lobster and crab and cheeses and fine wine. He'd have Launchpad grill up steaks on the back of the turboprop engine.

He even had a mistress once.

But I digress, a million clams aint' what it used to be.

One nice house in a nice neighbourhood: $500,000

One VW Phaeton for him: $70,000

One Land Rover Discovery for her: $50,000

One beach cottage getaway: $250,000

Four years undergraduate school for Son: $130,000

Look on their faces when all the money is gone?


Some people say you couldn't spend a billion dollars. A billion is too much, they say. To that I say Ho - Hey - Slow Down. Not so fast bucko. I certainly could spend a billion dollars and I could do it faster than you could say Kraft Macaroni and Cheese dinner.

As the late Senator Everett Dirksen said

A billion here, a billion there - pretty soon it adds up to real money

But one billion? Nah.. it's nothing. Pocket change. Half a stealth bomber. HALF! Know what else one billion is half of? It's half the cost of an Alaskan bridge to NOWHERE.

Unfortunately, this piece in the New York Times this last weekend comes a little late to be consider a possible April Fool's joke:

Even by the standards of Alaska, the land where schemes and dreams come for new life, two bridges approved under the national highway bill passed by the House last week are monuments to the imagination.

One, here in Ketchikan, would be among the biggest in the United States: a mile long, with a top clearance of 200 feet from the water ? 80 feet higher than the Brooklyn Bridge and just 20 feet short of the Golden Gate Bridge. It would connect this economically depressed, rain-soaked town of 7,845 people to an island that has about 50 residents and the area's airport, which offers six flights a day (a few more in summer). It could cost about $200 million.

The other bridge would span an inlet for nearly two miles to tie Anchorage to a port that has a single regular tenant and almost no homes or businesses. It would cost up to $2 billion.

Looks like I'm not the only one who can spend a billion in the blink of an eye.

And I wanted some more, and some more
Michael considered fate at 02:16   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
"So then I said 'get me some ice cream, damnit'.."

"That means your expecting.."

What is this "expecting" anyway? How can you expect something if you don't actually know about it?? Okay okay.. I know, semantics. I don't care, it's dumb.

That and does anyone else use the term "pedestrian" to describe something banal? I can't be the only one. I didn't invent that usage.. someone back me up here cause everyone keeps asking me. Everyone.

Third night in a row tonight. I sez to myself, I sez "Mike, you're going to bed early. This bronchitis flu shit is kicking you in the teeth. Get some rest". I sez this in a real serious tone like it's supposed to mean something too. Then, as I'm watching The Graduate (cause Katie Ross is Haaat) I sez to myself, I sez "I'm not going to sit around talking about the movie and shooting the shit with my pal KC when this is done.. I'm going straight to bed."

So I finished the movie and sat around shooting the shit. It's rather annoying because you can do it every night all night and no one rings your doorbell the next morning to give you a big bag of cash. Hot chicks don't creep up into your bedroom and slip under the covers next to you when you're sleeping after a long night of shit shooting.

But I can shoot the shit with the best of 'em. I've got it in me bones - like Tiger Woods. Just born with it.

It's a good thing, too, cause it's what gets you all the material you see here - for better or worse.

It's amazing what changes our moods, us humans.

Amazing who changes our moods.

Amazing how easily they can do it as well.

A simple smile or a wink or a scowl or a frown. A wave, a twinkle, a flip of the hair.

As people - human beings - we're painfully aware of how easily others effect us yet we somehow forget how effective we ourselves are to other people. If we weren't so busy being effected we could stop to smile and wave at people..

I never smile at people except in my mind.

I never talk to people except in my mind.

I never write interesting blog posts..

except in my mind.


A Cheap Way to swing (hyuck hyuck) a Flat Style ComboBox
Michael considered fate at 21:14   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
If you're not a programmer and/or not familiar with MS Com classes and/or a frog, then you probably won't find this interesting in the least.. so by all means, skip along.

Microsoft has these wonderful little controls they call ComboBoxes. ComboBoxes are used for selecting an item from a list - say "CA" out of a list of state abbreviations. MS didn't necessarily invent them but they certainly ripped them off and while that works for MS quite a bit, not everything stolen is worth stealing. These boxes are really not very nice looking but what's worse is that their 3-dimensional border style eats up valuable screen space.

Example of a 3D ComboBox

Most MS controls can be set to be "Fixed Single" or "Fixed 3D" - fixed single being the preferred option as a single line (one pixel in width) is painted around the control as opposed to a 3-dimensional border of maybe 3 or 4 pixels. Unfortunately, in all of MS's wisdom, they not only limited the ComboBox's border style to "Fixed 3D", they force the ComboBox to be 21 pixels high - wasting even more potential space. Why is the ComboBox limited in this way where most other controls are free to form borders how they wish? Why is the ComboBox's waist force-fed to 21 pixels? We may never know. The bottom line is that MS finally caught up with the rest of the kiddies and have implemented a flat-styled ComboBox control in Windows XP, but for those of us forced to develope with MS's older WFC controls through java on multiple Windows versions we are stuck with the craptastic ComboBox of old. This becomes a problem when you have chosen UI conventions that call for a "Flat, web-style look" and are using flat controls everywhere else.

Example of a (almost) FLAT ComboBox

This was thoroughly unacceptable to me so I headed to google thinking that I could not be the only one infuriated with this design. After an hour of googling "flat combobox ms com" and other likely pointers, I came up pretty much empty handed aside from some lovely Delphi and VB examples that were completely useless to me.

So I decided to fix the problem myself.

And I thought that there was no reason not to share this lovely extension of the ComboBox with the rest of the (admittedly small) jave-ms-com-programming world. So let us see if google can manage to rank this post decently on searches of MS Com ComboBox Flat Java.. yah, good luck.

To fix the problem one must first create a new control that extends the MS ComboBox (I believe it is the

public class improvedComboBox extends ComboBox

Next, we must carry around a variable specifying which border style to use (we'll default to the original FIXED3D) as well as a variable to carry the TRUE height of our control (not the nasty 21 MS tries to force on us).

private int m_borderStyle = BorderStyle.FIXED3D;
private int m_height = getHeight();

Next, we need to override the setSize() method so that when we do set a size smaller than 21, we can make sure to set our internal variable.

public void setSize(int x, int y)
     m_height = y;

Next, we must override the wndProc method of the original ComboBox so that we can catch the nasty little paint messages that are being fired to this control. Within this method we will check if we are painting a flat style. If so we will first send the message up through the ranks to the original ComboBox to let it do any painting it might want to do and then we will call our special painting routine to paint over it.

protected void wndProc(Message message)
     if (
     } else {

Now that we are trapping every time that windows tries to paint our little ComboBox and we're making sure to call our specialPaint routine, well I guess we need to write our specialPaint routine, don't we?

private void specialPaint()
     Graphics g = createGraphics();
     Pen p = g.getPen();
     Rectangle r = getClientRect();
     // let's fix that nasty 21 pixel problem
     g.setPen(new Pen(getParent().getBackColor()));
     while (r.height > m_height)
     // now draw the single line border
     Point pts[] = new Point[]{
          new Point(r.x,r.y),
          new Point(r.x,r.y+r.height-1),
          new Point(r.x+r.width-1,r.y+r.height-1),
          new Point(r.x+r.width-1,r.y),
          new Point(r.x,r.y) };
     // now make sure we clean up old 3D edges
     // with the control's background color
     // I only do this for convience, see note below

     g.setPen(new Pen(getBackColor()));
     r = new Rectangle(r.x+1,r.y+1,r.width-2,r.height-2);
     pts = new Point[]{
          new Point(r.x,r.y),
          new Point(r.x,r.y+r.height-1),
          new Point(r.x+r.width-1,r.y+r.height-1),
          new Point(r.x+r.width-1,r.y),
          new Point(r.x,r.y) };
     // now let's draw a flat button over
     // the old 3D dropdown button

     r = new Rectangle(r.x+(r.width-16),r.y+1,15,r.height-2);
     // clear out old 3D button border
     // now set the color back to normal
     // and fake out a flat button by telling
     // windows to paint a flat scrollbutton


You'll note in the above specialPaint() method that I chose not to paint the text. I just let the original ComboBox handle that. I do this because I'm lazy. See, by avoiding the middle area I let the original code do it's thing and I don't have to deal with checking for focus, or for selection, and I don't have to paint the focusRects, or any of that jazz. Good enough for me. If you plan on cramming large fonts into your ComboBox that will overrun it's bounds then you should probably deal with it.

If you do want to deal with it, consider something like this:

r = new Rectangle(3,0,getWidth()-18,getHeight()-2);
g.drawString(getText(),r,TextFormat.LEFT | TextFormat.VERTICALCENTER);

Where the rectangle r is really just the portion of the ComboBox not taken up by borders or buttons (the 3 to start with is so there is a little buffer between border and text).

Questions? Comments? Shit to fling? - All welcome.

ken + joel


I said NO complaining!
Michael considered fate at 18:40   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
I did.. earlier.. a few posts down.

I said "For awhile, I will not complain."

I meant it. If you've smelled even a hint of complaint since then you're dead wrong. Seriously. You must be confusing commentary with criticism.. or something...

So here is a little commentary for you: If I see one more blog post about one more goddamn reality show episode I might, just might, blow someone's head off.

Can we puhhhhhhhlease write something in-ter-est-ing?


Well it's apparent that I can't, isn't it?

I'm not complaining. Really, I'm not.

I might be, though, questioning the format o' this here blog thing.. just for this second.. right now.. cause it's giving me writer's block pains and it's it's it's annoying the fucking hell out of me: statement, not a complaint. I'm am happy to be annoyed as fucking hell.. just pointing it out, t'sall.

At some point here i gotta get it together. See what's happenin'. I gotta stand up and say fuck y'all and just go no-apologies-no-holds-no-nothing on all of you so you can find, once and for all, that I am most likely your living breathing savior here on this planet just waiting to give you allll the answers your little hearts' desire.

Does fully-justified text do anything to improve readability? Now there is an example of a bad idea being confused with a good idea. Can't tell me there is any point in full-justification other than the broad aesthetics. Look at a newspaper with full-justification and it'll look clean and well designed and nicely appointed. Look at a newspaper with full-justification and it'll seem more official, more right, more in-the-know maybe.. but actually try and read some of that text and you'll find it's just irritating as hell. Text all spread out and roamy and then squished up tiny like on the next line all so that the dumb-fuck who only reads the headlines can feel like they be readin a smart-paper. You see what I'm saying? Form over function.

Plus, didn't they promise me electronic paper by 2003? Aren't newspapers supposed to be delivered to me in rollable/pliable/recycled/digital paper by now?

I dunno.. maybe it was 2033. I forget.

I wish I read comic books as a kid
Michael considered fate at 16:11   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
So I could relate to all the new movies these days.

Somehow, though, comic books never lived up to my expectations.. and while cartoons didn't either, they were free to watch whereas comic books cost money.

Which explains my current predicament.

Michael considered fate at 14:01   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Bottom line is that no one asks me for anything. Didn't I tell you I live a charmed life? My friends all find their own ways to the bus station or from the airport. They all get help moving from someone else. No one bothers me.

At first glance I suppose that looks a lot like a charmed life. Little to worry about, no reason to get out of bed on Saturdays before noon, and no unexpected calls to bail someone out of jail at 2 in the morning. But really, it's a bore. Self-sufficiency makes for less community..

Here in Maine, if you live in one of the larger burgs you might find that your neighbours are passing apparitions whom you barely recognize. You might see the world out of a tiny keyhole the size of a single eye. You might not know your local selectman. But if you move yourself out into the willy-wacks where the closest grocery store is a 20 minute drive away and the laundromat is the post office is the convience store - well, you might find yourself relying on a few more folks than you did before. Rural Maine doesn't have amenities such as 24-hour towing services and all night diners. Rural Maine isn't a quick stroll to the drugstore. Rural Maine isn't even on the map, sometimes.

My personal experience in life involves one tiny town (pop 400), one small town (pop 6500), two small cities (pop 40,000 & pop 65,000) and one large metropolis (pop 3.5 million). Somehow, the extremes are where I have found real community. Growing up as a youngster in a town of 400 people you just knew everyone. Maybe not because you wanted to, but just because it's pretty hard not to memorize 400 faces. It's like going to a high school with 100 kids a class. Maybe you don't speak with every one of them but you certainly know who they are - know their names - know where they live, most likely.

Likewise, living in a large city of 3.5 million there was a tendancy to find your niche. You'd visit the same stores for groceries and the same restuarants for lunch. You'd frequent the same holes-in-the-wall for beer and you'd walk the same route to work every day. In a city you're on your feet more. You're in the trenches. Parking is a bitch so you use public transit more. Traffic is a bitch so you walk more. You're moving at such a slower pace that you see more and recognize more.

It's far too easy, in a small city, to box yourself away into a cage (car) and ignore the world around you. You can drive everywhere since parking isn't a premium and that means you go to the megasupergrocery store where it might take you three or four visits before you see the same cashier again. There are enough people that you aren't forced to see the same ones every day like you are in a tiny town. Everything moves by you in a blur as you move by them in a blur and before you know it ten years have gone by and you don't know a soul around you.

Various Top Ten lists will tell you that Portland, ME and other mid-to-small-sized cities are the best places to live in America. However, as per my discussion above you can see that I personally am not so sure. Maybe I'm an introvert. What do I know?


Why don't I have gal friends like Jaime?
Michael considered fate at 16:46   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
You know, the kind that get naked for him - or at least send him naked pics..

Blogging 101 - Ask and Ye Shall Receive
Michael considered fate at 14:11   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Blogging, as with anything in life, isn't perfect. It's dynamic and fast and live, which by nature makes it chaotic and unstable. That's fine, that's what we like about it, right? So don't blame blogging for your inconsistencies. It's not blogging's fault. If you want something done you gotta do it yourself and that may mean work. Suck it. Deal.

Good things don't always come to those who wait. If you want something then ask for it.

Let me tell you a little story about a man named Mike. Mike was applying to graduate schools and he asked an old professor of his to write him a recommendation letter. He wrote a kindly worded email to the professor politely asking for help and that professor replied in an equally kind and polite way. "Of course I can write you a recommendation letter," the professor said. Mike, believing the word of the professor, sent off email links to the online recommendation forms at the different graduate schools to the professor and proceeded to forget about the issue.

Fast forward one month.

Mike, checking his online application status at a few graduate schools noticed that the recommendation letter from the professor in question was still "pending" - apparently suggesting that the letter was never received. Mike emailed the professor, again in a kind word, and inquired about the recommendation letters and if they were ever submitted. The email went unanswered and so he had to send another a week later. The professor finally replied that yes, they were submitted. Thank you very much.

A few quick calls to the individual graduate school offices showed that the letters had, in fact, never been received. On a trip back to the city of his Alma Mater Mike made a point to print out paper copies of the recommendation letters, self-address envelopes for each one, and place the package in the professor's inbox. He then sent an email to the professor letting her know that the letters were dropped off and could she please fill them out and send them in thank you very much. The professor replied in the affirmative, said she had received the forms, and would send them out promptly.

A few weeks later Mike made more attempts to track down the letters, if in fact they had made it to the graduate schools. He contacted the general graudate admissions office as well as the specific department office to no avail. No one had seen hide nor hair of these elusive recommendation letters. At this point he made a phone call directly to the professor in question and asked her point blank: "Did you send my recommendation letters?"

"Yes," she said.

Yet another few weeks later the recommendations were still MIA. Attempts to track them down were fruitless. At this point Mike was forced to request recommendations from another source (of lesser quality as it was not an academic reference) so that he would be assured a complete status on his applications. Time was of the essence and the clock was ticking.

Finally, everything was done and complete. Applications all read "Complete" and Mike was happy. As a cautiounary measure he contacted his Alma Mater - one graudate school he was applying to - and asked if they could check that, in fact, his application was complete. The response that came back was: "Yes, although we require two of the three recommendations be academic and you only have one. We still do not have a recommendation from [the professor]. I have seen her in the halls and reminded her a few times that we are expecting a letter from her but still have not received it. Perhaps you should remind her again yourself?"

Mike was, to put it lightly, furious. He emailed the professor once again, this time asking with slightly more strongly worded phrases, if she could submit a letter of recommendation to HER OWN DEPARTMENT as it was extremely important and time was of the essence. The email went unanswered. A week later he tried one more time. This time he pleaded. He got on his hands and knees. He begged. "I need this" he said. "This is of the utmost importance" he said. This time, finally, he got a response: "I put it in [the graduate secretary's] mailbox at the beginning of the week. I will double check with [the secretary] today that she has it."

He double checked with the graduate secretary himself, just to be sure. She had it. Hurrah. Saga ended. Done.

The moral of the story here is Good things don't always come to those who wait. If you want something then ask for it. If you really want something, beg for it. Tony didn't get Lick Magazine going without asking. Why do you think you'll get anything without asking?

Ask and ye shall receive. Post comments on other people's blogs. Develope a community. Network. Interact. Ask.

I almost didn't get a digital camera. I was bored and looking but there was no real motivation. I asked about cameras, though, and I received comments letting me know what people were using and how they liked theirs. Nevertheless I almost didn't get a camera.. until Anti left a comment to the tune of "dude, get a camera so you can post more buzznet pics". Okay, he asked. That was that. I got a camera. And I did it, as tony says, for your asses.

Rachel pointed out that I forgot to do a Blogging 101 lecture on female bloggers - even though I said I would. She is write [pun]. She asked. And so it shall be so.. soon.

Blogs are choatic live changing squirming things and I can't remember it all myself.. and neither can you.. and neither can anyone. If you think someone forgot something or if you want something then the old saying applies: It can't hurt to ask.

The blogosphere only exists because there is interaction between the contributers, between the sites. Topics are live growing vines that crawl up, down, across walls and through cracks in the barriers. If you fail to interact then you fail to truly be part of it. Sometimes asking is enough to motivate someone to do something great - maybe even here, on their blog. Plus, the worst they can say is No.

Michael considered fate at 12:11   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment

Been meanin' to..
Michael considered fate at 01:01   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
The final lecture in the Blogging 101 series will, inevitably, be about comments. I won't give too much of it away right now but we all know comments are the best part. I bring this up right now because somehow when I write what I feel are the more profound and/or interesting posts (relatively speaking, of course) I get shit for comments. Then, when I post complete garbage.. well, I still get shit for comments. I can't hold a candle in the wind to the likes of the pony sisters or even tony - and tony gets shit for comments, too, considering the number of hits he gets a day (side note: I think tony gets so many hits cause he is checking his own site every minute to see if he got any comments). But regardless, when I do get comments it's on the insignificant posts. I never get that. I think people just don't want to tackle the real topics.. the meaty ones. Yah. Something like that.

But I got the camera in the mail today. All boxed up with multiple CF memory cards and USB wires and shit. It even came with - get this - a little plastic cover for the battery pack. Like a tape cover. Weird and unnecessary. I threw up some quick snapshots I did this evening after my run - as tony would say - for your asses.



Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Michael considered fate at 18:24   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
So I'm a bit of a schlep for being so late with this review, right? I mean this internet thing - always on and breathing right there next to you whether you're in your car or in your bed it's right there right there next to you and you're ignoring it? I'm ignoring it? I dare see a movie and then, gasp, not write about it instantly so as to qualify the good, the bad, the ugly? Reduce it to a review where I have to admit that yes, there was a few things wrong? How beautiful. Super. I'll do that right now.

But I lied. This isn't really a review. It's a "you know when?".. Like sitting around with friends late at night with the lights turned off maybe after watching a movie or coming back from the bars and someone pipes up "You know when you first wake up in the morning and your eyes are all foggy and.." and everyone else says "yah, yah.. I know" as if the same thought - the exact same thought - was coursing through each person individually, but connected. Possible? This is maybe one of these, maybe, if you can have the same thought. Okay, let's try, shall we?

I watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind tuesday evening for $4 at the Nickelodeon. Some people in this world should be so lucky to get to watch $4 movies at the Nickelodeon so I shouldn't complain, right? Anyhow, without giving much away the main character Joel is thinking of memories of his ex-girlfriend Clementine but she is half-way in his head and making those memories semi-dynamic and interactive:

She picks a drumstick off of Joel's plate.

     I'm Clementine. Can I borrow a piece of
     your chicken?

        JOEL (to himself, sort of, in his head)
     And you picked it out of my plate before
     I could answer and it felt so intimate
     like we were already lovers.

And in that intimate way I remembered her, while I sat in that anonymous movie theatre, while she sat in her car or in a motel room somewhere in the midwest half way to Alaska. I remembered how she used to drink from my beer as if it were hers. I remember thinking how incredibly rude I would find that gesture from anyone else, how I would normally defend my food/beer against such pillage, and I remember how sweet it made me feel, that gesture from her. I remember how it made me feel like there was something there between us that was unspoken but real. I remember how warm it made my insides with the thought that there was a very real comfort between the two of us that spoke of so much more.

I remember stopping myself. I remember thinking how ridiculus individual unstrung thoughts are - like notes with no song.

I remember thinking that if I were an only child maybe I'd be used to grabbing at anything on the table. Maybe I'd assume that people are okay with me eating off their plate. Maybe I wouldn't have that social barrier/rule/idea implanted in my head - the one that says "ask and ye shall receive". I remember thinking that maybe the gesture wasn't for me or anyone, maybe it was her gesture - the one she makes when she wants a drink of beer - not special or specific or meant for me uniquely. Maybe it meant nothing at all.

        (eyes welling)
     This is it, Joel. It's gonna be gone

     I know.

     What do we do?

     Enjoy it. Say good-bye.

She nods.

Maybe it meant nothing at all.

For those (admittedly few) NHL fans still out there..
Michael considered fate at 01:35   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
I present to you the annual playoff predictions as stated by my pal frost:


(1) tampa bay lightning vs. (8) new york islanders
so the isles made it again, except this time they'll be out of hockey's limelight in toronto or ottawa and instead they'll be suffering through 85°F off-days in the tampa sun.  meanwhile, tampa bay is now apparently a really good team, and they're some people's picks to win the eastern conference.  although they are not mine, and although they were 1-3 against the isles this year, including two losses in their own building, the grind of a 7-game series against a team this talented will wear down the isles.  unless the islanders start to finally get some production out of alexei yashin (and they won't), the 'ning will win this series.  bet the over, though, every night.

(2) boston bruins vs. (7) montréal canadiens
oh good, these two teams meeting again.  i got worried there for a moment, it had been a whole year since they met in the playoffs.  the habs limped in to the playoffs by losing 5 of 6, only able to beat buffalo in a meaningless game to both teams in the last game of the season.  the b's, meanwhile, have won 9 of their last 13, including a resounding victory on the season's final day to win a division.  so boston wins this series on account of being the hotter team.  now, if the habs took the ice completely covered head-to-toe in new york yankees attire, well, that'd be a different story altogether.

(3) philadelphia flyers vs. (6) new jersey devils
normally i'd immediately scoff at this matchup because the flyers are notorious playoff chokers and the devils are proven champions.  but the devils are just unimpressive this year.  the obvious disparities here are the goalies (brodeur vs... um... esche?  burke?  frost?  who the eff knows?) and the forwards (roenick, recchi, gagné, zhamnov, amonte... philly is pretty stacked there).  and although _i_ am a goalie and a firm believer that that is the most important position to be playing well in the playoffs, the absence of scott stevens from the devils lineup is reason enough to think that philly's list of forwards above will be too much for the devs.

(4) toronto maple leafs vs. (5) ottawa senators
this is the eastern conference's version of edmonton/dallas.  every damned year, these teams play.  the leafs have won every time.  hate to make another yankees/red sox reference, but... well... leafs = yanks, sens = sox.  the sens can be 5 outs away with a 2-run lead from FINALLY putting away the leafs... but they'll find a way to screw it all up.  no, this rivalry doesn't have the same history as the yanks and sox, but if you gave it 80 or so more years, it would.


(1) detroit red wings vs. (8) nashville predators
jeez, i'm hearing a lot of people say that the wings are going to lose this series.  okay, fine, the preds are a fast, exciting team.  and they're better than they're given credit for, and not a lot of people know much about them.  against the detroit red wings, that'll win you one game.  sure, the ducks pulled off the upset last year by emerging from obscurity, but do you really think these same wings are going to let that happen again?  if so, you are dillusional.

(2) san jose sharks vs. (7) st. louis blues
so the san jose sharks showed up a year late.  this is what they were supposed to do last season.  the sharks don't have marco sturm, and they lost teemu selanne to injury, and owen nolan was traded away, and NOW they're good.  and as for this matchup, it comes straight down to goalies.  san jose has one of the best in the NHL.  the blues have chris osgood, whose best years are firmly behind him.  that means night in and night out, the blues will be frustrated and unable to solve nabokov, and they will go very quietly.

(3) vancouver canucks vs. (6) calgary flames
the canucks FINALLY ended colorado/québec's streak of 10 straight division titles by taking the northwest on the season's final weekend.  as a reward, they'll run into the best goalie in the entire league this season (that make the playoffs anyway, otherwise it's roberto luongo), miika kiprusoff.  the 'nucks have plenty of scoring punch even without bertuzzi.  but not enough.  the flames have scoring punch in this dude named iginla.  and they have a goalie named dan cloutier, who has shown that in the playoffs, he is just awful.  so calgary rolls on.

(4) colorado avalanche vs. (5) dallas stars
NOW i'm starting to sound like a broken record.  because this series comes down to goalies as well.  marty turco is also one of the top 5 in the league, david aebischer is not in the top 20.  and if the avs decide to go with tommy salo, he'll just see those green dallas stars jerseys and immedately have a nervous breakdown.  but beyond that, the avs managed to rest most of their superstars for their final meaningless game of the regular season just to be cautious, but the ONE superstar they didn't rest--paul karyia--found a way to sprain his ankle in the game.  OOOOOOPPPSSS.  avalanche will lose handily, and tony granato will be fired before may 1st.



(1) tampa bay lightning vs. (4) toronto maple leafs
martin st. louis won't find an inch of open ice in this series.  it's one thing to succeed against the leafs in the regular season.  it's another thing to succeed against them in the playoffs.  just ask the islanders.  or senators.  it will be a VERY high scoring series, but the leafs will come out on top behind the strength of their veteran leadership, and they'll all celebrate by hitting denny's for a nice seniors discount, then maybe an episode of matlock and then in bed by 6:00pm.

(2) boston bruins vs. (3) philadelphia flyers
okay, cue that flyers choke.  boston is a team hitting its stride at the right time.  they're going to be hard to beat, and as deep as the flyers seem to be, they're not going to get past a team playing like the b's will be.


(1) detroit red wings vs. (6) calgary flames
this looks like a lopsided series, but it's really not.  kiprusoff, to me, seems to have all the makings of being this year's jean-sebastien giguere.  the wings are stuck with manny legace in net while they pay curtis joseph and dominik hasek millions and millions of dollars NOT to play.  but this is not to say legace is a bad goalie--he's not.  he could be a #1 on many nhl teams.  the flames are not going to go down easily, but they will.  their only hope is that kiprusoff can keep them in games long enough for detroit to make mistakes in their own end, but i don't think that's gonna happen.

(2) san jose sharks vs. (5) dallas stars
here we go.  mono a mono.  turco and nabokov.  dallas had been putting pressure on san jose all through the end of the year for the pacific division title, but never caught them.  i'm not really sure who will win this series, but i think dallas has more experience and more grit than san jose does.  on top of that, san jose is an eaiser place for dallas to win than dallas is for san jose.  so flip a coin on this one.  i'll go with dallas.


(2) boston bruins vs. (4) toronto maple leafs
instant classic.  this series will be one to remember.  this is a great matchup of two great original 6 franchises, and this is for ALMOST all the marbles.  boston will prevail, however, because toronto's age will catch up with them once they get to the third round. 

(1) detroit red wings vs. (5) dallas stars
if this series materializes, it's going to go to dallas.  they are a grittier, harder-working, dare i say dirtier team than detroit.  detroit is a great team, but they don't seem to work for it, with the exception of steve yzerman, who has worked hard for everything he's ever gotten.  anyway, dallas wins.


(2) boston bruins vs. (5) dallas stars
so the red sox didn't get it done, but the b's aren't cursed.  they managed to hang on to bobby orr until he sucked and THEN traded him.  anyway, i don't have to back up my pick here, because this won't actually happen anyway.
BRUINS 4, STARS x, where x is an integer and 4 > x > -1.

I'll take those odds.

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