Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Brannigan, begin again

Ah, but I am not Zap Brannigan, so at least I'm not in that state of things.

Yet still, I do have that urge...

I have a nasty tendency to wipe out vast portions of my computer whenever I feel the slightest drop in performance, a nasty habit indeed, especially if it were to be practiced elsewhere...

And I have friends, I have family, I have goals and ambitions, and I have God. I have all I need and plenty more. Yet to be honest, I rarely have much reason to go to sleep, since each day brings little of particular enjoyment, at least no more than I could get alone in the middle of the night.

What would it require for me to reach that state... Well, let us not speculate on that for...

And cut, cue the pity cords. Yeah, I'm okay overall, pretty good by most standards, if not great, well, I have potential. And perhaps I'm a little bit sad, and a little bit lonely, but that's okay. There are worst things to be and I have been some of them.

Well, take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Certain Burden to Things

I believe to some degree we choose our own destinies, but that is largely because our own destinies are largely internal. Our lives are in the end dust in the wind, but in that whirl of dust cannot we declare some glory to our moment...

Yet I also believe we are inherently helpless, hence the dust in the wind. But moreover, we are creatures interdependent and left at the whims...

It is generally a bad idea to write of current problems, even in such a distant allusion-ary manner, but when you are left with little influence over the outcome of the situation, what is there to do but whine?

Ah, but I do not take well to whining, I like to ROAR!!!! But lacking the savannah or the lungs of a lion, I must be content with this little mumbling, but such is the way of the world.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cause sometimes computing ain't for tooling

So far in my uneven revival of The Rand Show, I have attempted to punch out a deep, lengthy post for each sitting. While an admirable ambition, such a goal not only deceases my willingness/ability to post, but it undermines the randomness that makes the Rand Show, well, just in a category of its own. With that in mind, I step aside from my usual ruminations to ruminate different-wise upon the software that I use. Because ultimately, though my soul waxes and wanes on the matter far too seriously, software is cool, and so thus let me share what I use:

Windows generally. Not really by preference, but it is the system that has a lot of software and that generally is pretty user-friendly. I used to be a Mac-fan, but nowadays Mac's are priced out of my range, and while I do have a Linux machine (Ubunutu by variety), that particular machine is unreliable at best, yet installing Linux on this computer would leave me without a Windows machine, which overall I guess would be bad, probably. To those actually thinking of making a decision about OS's, I'd recommend Linux, despite the hypocritical ring these words may take on, it does seem to me the superior system. I suppose as for me personally, I'm too fickle to give up the flexibility having both Windows and Linux on different machines allows, and I just have the misfortunate (less you think me melodramatic, it is but a slight, slight misfortune) of having Linux on the lesser computer.

Internet browser: A little bit of everything really. My browsers have over time covered the gambit. Since I've been using the inter-web since it's explosion, I was at a time well-acquainted with the Netscape Navigator, since then I have on occasion used Internet Explorer, but stayed mostly on the alternative brands, let me tell you why:
Surfing Speed: IE, due to its embeddedness does have a starting up edge over many of the alternatives and when it comes to rendering simple pages sometimes IE can squeak out a slightly smaller time, and sometimes those two factors make IE useful, but generally when it comes to rendering resource-rich pages, IE ain't the tops.

Web Development: Defenders might claim that IE's web page rendering model is not inferior to the W3C's standards. Honestly, I've had frustrations with both so I'm not going to judge. But the thing is, even if at points IE's model might be better, it is not consistent, and it changes from edition to edition. The result is a slowing of internet innovation and annoying number of man-hours lost to cross-browser compatibility. But let me qualify that. IE8 and even IE7 do reduce those flaws to some degree, and let it be known certainly, that NO ONE SHOULD BE USING IE6 ANYMORE. It makes web developers bleed!

Security: IE8 I will also admit does step up security a good bit. However, of major browsers out there it is still the most likely to attract cookies, spyware, and other annoyances. Part of this is popularity, but Internet Explorer is BY ITS NATURE, more hack-prone, if for no other reason, than for the fact that it is integrated into the Windows system, giving it access to resources no other browser has. And let me add a completely unverified point. I do believe IE has a less elegant design that makes features and cooperation with other programs more hap-hazard. But even if we ignore these somewhat vague theoretical points, history has shown Internet Explorer to be awful at preventing security holes, and painful in managing permissions. The current IE8 system is a good example, with its mind-numbingly grandular security options, and annoyingly strict default mode. Le sigh.

Let me leave IE-bashing to others, because others will happily oblige. Let me then cite the browsers I do use:
Firefox: No longer the fastest browser on the block, and a resource devouring behemoth, it is still incredibly featureful with an unmatched add-ons repository.
Safari: Safari is amazingly fast. Even on Windows. That said, I can't say too much more of its praises, because it does strike me as a bit minimalistic. I mean in theory there are a number of interesting features, but many, like DOM Inspector, are hidden away in the wetworks.
Chrome: Like Safari very fast, not as fast though. And not nearly as stable. The Google Chrome project is still developing, and it seems like someday it might be a worthy entry. The isolation of problematic processes I actually have found useful. Still, it's raw edges come out every now and then, and it's generally a 2nd or 3rd choice for page viewing.
Opera: There were once many closed-source browsers, now there are two Opera and IE. Opera was once a little known gem, but it has since gained a particular popular niche: The mobile world. Opera Mini is now the mobile phone browser of choice, and if I had a better phone, it likely would be my phone's browser of choice. Anywho, the desktop model is also very good, with a strong rendering speed near equal to Safari. It also has a nice sampling of features like a built in mail system. Yet though it is almost as fast as Safari and almost as featureful as Firefox, the almosts don't add up to a definitive win. Still, it is nice as a back-up browser.

Word Processor: I have used many word processors in my day, and my favorite remains the ClarisWorks suite, but since that doesn't exist any more and its replacement, Apppleworks, is Apple-only (as was Clarisworks for a while I believe, but back then I was Apple-only as well), I am forced to deal with lesser systems. It's hard for me to give an edge to Microsoft Word or OpenOffice, both have +'s and -'s, WordPerfect isn't too far behind either. But with all those systems I am constantly annoyed at how long it takes to load even the simplest levels of functionality. While I want to type, I don't want to wait 10 minutes to get started! To combat that I've started working with AbiWord, a nice light-weight word processor with almost comparable functionality, but sometimes I just go back to simple WordPad. Not because I like it, mind you, but because the field is so barren of quality.
Programmer's Editor: PSPad I must recommend. Outstanding program. So many text-highlighting options, a ton of indenting and editing tools. It just gives you everything you need as a programmer. Unfortunately, it is pretty buggy at times. If you have a big document it can slow, freeze, or crash with alarming regularity. It also has ceased to output proper Unicode documents for me, so I'm forced now to find another editor. Le sigh.

Well, I'm getting a bit long here, and I have more than enough material for another post on this sometime, but let me run down some also recommends:

  • GIMP-The freeware image editor of tons of options, but painfully slow loading

  • Inkscape-A freeware image editor of truly high-end editing, but painfully obtuse user interfaces

  • GCC-If you're a programmer, I'm afraid that's just the way to be

  • Thunderbird-Very user-friendly, much less quirk-prone than Outlook, and it's the word

  • XTrans-Because XSLT is coming you see

  • Spybot-Search and Destroy-The basic security utility all computers need.

  • Songbird - A surprising capable music player/music organizer with occasional less than surprising performance issues

  • VLC-If you want to play anything without issues, you want VLC

Well, if this seemed like an excursion in pointlessness, remember that I am Rand and I am awesome. Just keep that in mind and keep the above in mind when you need some software to scratch some particular itch, or if you just like cool and shiny new thingamaggers like me.

So take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It's a long way down to nothing at all... My oh My

And it's a long way up to everything you want. I got to keep that in mind because every moment when I get a good turn I get a new urge to pump up the ambition. There are a lot of bizarre theories about this, mostly me talking about me. But it's a matter of will and a matter of vigilance (one might need to be careful about the later, that is vigilant about vigilance, which despite the oddity of the sound, which is though no more odd than everything else I say, but the point being is one can lose oneself in this cycle of self-monitoring, till the introspection devours the outside and leaves nothing at all).

Ultimately, however, both vigilance and will can fail. Take for example the man who walks on coals. You step at the right areas and you suppress your pain and you can make it unscathed. But most people probably will get at least a little burned, but it depends on the person. Some people have less of a talent for coal-walking than others, and still yet others it is a matter of craft, you can practice and read and train. And so on, etc.

Now if it seems like I am blowing up a micro-example of life to a grand theory, I would like to point out one man's micro-theory is another man's macro-theory. It's all just a matter of who they are raw and all. Raw and all we have strengths and skills and then and so on...

Well, I think I beat this dead horse to a nice meaty pulp, now just to add some seasonings and we got ourselves some steak tar-tar or maybe even... a convoy!

We got a big old convoy riding through the night!
We got a big old convoy! Ain't she a beautiful sight!

Yes she is a beautiful sight, indeed, she is! And so on.

So take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I am not your carpet ride

I am not the sky, but I do aim pretty high pretty often.

And I wonder where that leaves the rest of me, all and all, all together, but still life rolls on.

I have to say, I have been waiting of late, to sort out my postings more comprehensively, as oddly parallel, I have been waiting to sort out my priorities to then decide how to handle my life. But to wait to long, is to lose it all, and the burdens those I care for take for me, are taken out of care, and time moves on, and...

And the beat goes on...

So take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Because I am a ROCKET MAN...

That really is a great song, don't underestimate it, and it captures such a perfectly unique mood (lyrics to prove the claim, more or less). The rocket man, filled with superhuman power, stranded so far from home in a place, cold as hell, with a mix of optimism and pessimism, resignation and hope, he strides boldly into the long night, and it will take him a long, long time to get back. Kudos to you Elton John, Kudos.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Move Along, Move Along, Like I told you too

And so I have through good and bad, but then again, I haven't had things so bad really and so.

But I have to say I have moved to a better place all and all. Not physically, that matter is up to debate. But emotionally (well, not exactly emotionally, more like in the aspect of satisfaction) I feel a good deal better than even yesterday.

It is amazing what a day of blogging can do (as I used to rant about, I never have reconciled myself fully to that word, but...ah, these are My United States of Whatever!), if I wanted though to pin down something particular that triggered my mood, it would probably be that act of resuming my writing in this forum. Yet there are perhaps other reasons for this shift in my sense of feeling.

Now I am one who believes that God gives us the right to refuse Him, but I also believe that He does intervene in this world. As with many apparent contradictions of religion, a little thought can resolve this one and lead to a more complete truth. I believe essentially, though not absolutely, that God, in most cases acts in ways that can be doubted. But then there are also miracles, and among those whose record comes from sources I trust, one cannot say God always acts ambiguously in people's lives. Well, perhaps for some people the choice to accept or reject God is made more direct, although not truly forced, but most of the time, I think, God's work is most obviously His to those who do not need such evidence, the true believers who have not a shred of doubt. That does seem a bit unfair at first glance, but it does preserve our freedom of choice in belief. But let me not over-generalize, I think with everyone, their relationship with God is unique, as suits a most crucial aspect of a unique person.

And so that's my view of things, and on the practical side of that view that leads to an open view of those who cite direct experiences from God, and yet I rarely if ever trust in mystical senses of things. But if that sounds like the best of both worlds, that is a highly debatable assessment, in several senses. What it has meant for me, with what I like to think is a strong faith, but an uncertainty about all experiences and about myself and about my ability believe, is that I constantly must debate how to treat things in the light of God's will. Now I do believe that coincidences are sometimes God's interference, but I also believe that they are sometimes coincidences.

It makes perfect sense to me that God, an infinite being, would have a personal interest in me, since wouldn't an infinite being of infinite love be able to grant an infinite affection for an infinite number of people? If that seems like a high number of infinites to juggle, well, life's like that (and that's the way it is), after all, if the universe can contain the whole of our life, it becomes questionable whether our mind can contain the whole of the workings of the universe. Anywho, I quite a bit often find myself falling upon random things in life and pondering, perhaps far too deeply, about what they mean or if they mean nothing. Is this oddity a message for me, is it a message for someone else, or is it just part of the odds and ends produced by all the different messages and meanings that are flying through the universe, faster than the speed of light.

This all in general leads to an uncertain suggestion of answers, and yet, that does leave me with plausible deny-ability in making my choice about whether or not to follow God's will, giving me a choice despite my fear and/or love for God. While sometimes this causes possible interventions to do little (or on the surface little), to change my pre-determined course, sometimes it gives me a sense of things to do, either in act or in thought.

And to march back through the paragraphs to where I was talking about my renewed mood (although now I'm starting to question my renewed mood, although that's largely because ME SO SLEEPY!!!), these little (and sometimes not so little) coincidences which I debate over did however give me an increasing sense of dissatisfaction. Not exactly dissatisfaction in life, actually more oppositely a dissatisfaction with my attitude on life which in itself was very dissatisfied. While I can't place my finger on what exactly that attitude was, or the change, and hence not exactly on the cause of the change, it possessed a marked negativity overall, that again and again I sensed God disagreed with. And perhaps, bit by bit, this sense of things changed my attitude, shifted my mind and brought me this new mood simply coinciding with my blogging and...

Well, actually, the most probable answer is one which I have the most stock in trusting, is that this dissatisfaction with idle dissatisfaction lead me to push a renewal of writing which in turn renewed my mood and on and on and on and so on.

And in the infinite scheme of things, this might be insignificant, but we have little to control in this life, even as we do the best we can to control our consequences to the good, to do the will of God, but what we do have control over, or what we can control in our best fathoming of who we are and what control is, is our attitude toward life, toward ourselves, and toward God.

In the end we have but a choice, but what a wondrous choice that is. A choice to choose Love.

So take it to your head, take to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Two steps forward, one step forward, one sideways, and always twirling toward the future

So it is, so it is.

It's tiresome to have grandiose dreams, and less-than grandiose capabilities, but ah that is the nature of the grandiose?

But let me step away from all that, but then again am I bound by that rule in this as well.

Well, I must say I am displeased with the level of nonsense that comes out of me these days. I mean I have nothing against nonsense, and I revel in it when the moment is right. But each person has different moments when it is right, and other moments when it becomes obsessive. And then peeling away the skin of the nonsensical, one finds some very, all too, sensical fears and lusts.

Lately, much of my speech has danced along the line between indulgent nonsense and the sort that celebrates life in its meaningless richness. I suppose that's because I do nonsense well. Yet I cannot carry that banner on all occasions, lest I wear thin the patience of those around me, as well as my own, because to be honest, even I have points where I'm sick of nonsense. Oddly enough those occur sometimes when I'm still spouting nonsense and then I just get sick of hearing myself speak, or think for that matter.

But the alternatives to nonsense are the oblivion of apathy, and making sense, and while I need not cite the negatives of the former, the later carries a burden as well. Because if you make sense, well, your words carry, your actions carry, and when they carry too much the weight of the guilt and the consequences lay on you, and then when they carry too little, the weight of the guilt and consequences seem like they lay on you as well.

But as I said, or at least implied, nonsense can only get you so far. And I am near the sickening point of my own nonsense...

But perhaps that is just my feeling this moment. Perhaps, in truth, I have more of a leeway for nonsense than I give myself credit for, and perhaps, perhaps just maybe I am making more sense than I sense myself. Ah, but that is not for me to judge, and so I will carry on, into the night where the stars are like dust and history is infinite...

So take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.