Thursday, March 30, 2006

Punking Matt Smith

Time: March 29, 2006. Location: the AppleBees' in Brunswick, OH The poor guy, all he wanted to do is to meet for dinner so we could shoot the usual shit -- and what happens? Some waitress insults him.

So, who is Matt? Matt is a friend that for years, I've insulted with the same running gag. It all began innocently -- well, not exactly -- one of the Matt Smith-ism's is "You're such a tool!"

This he would say to me on most occasions when I was simply trying to communicate some fact or other about work. Okay, so maybe at times I can be just as obnoxious, but everyone needs a signature style...

Anyway, Smith kept calling me a tool, so I started responding different ways, all more or less categorically placing the "tool-ness" squarely back in Smith's court.

Then I began a campaign: I began to "find" documents that "proved" that Smith was the _real_ tool. Artifacts began to appear on his cubicle wall, including (but not limited to) the following:

  1. A 24-inch long wrench, with Matt Smiths' name on it
  2. A print-out from a google search for the word "tool", which begins with the usual google "did you mean Matt Smith" and where all of the entries had his name in them.
  3. A screen-shot of Internet Explorers' tool menu, pulled down, and right under the "Mail and News" menu option, clearly, is the "Matt Smith" option.
  4. The man page for "Tool", which clearly had Matt Smith-ism's all over it.
You get the drift -- soon, other people were joining the party, and by the time Matt left the company (I know what you're thinking -- but seriously we're friends and it didn't have anything to do with me), his wall was almost covered with this crap.

So, back to last night.

For some reason, Matt is ultra-paranoid about me getting him with these kinds of practical jokes when we eat out. I'm sure it's not related to a while back when the door greeting people seemed to know he was a tool.

He comes in, all paranoid-like, and sits down. We have a good meal and we're talking (it's been like an hour and a half now, since he sat down -- his defenses are completely down). We're talking about recognition as a hacker, and I (totally casually) grab one of the waitresses who's simply vacuuming the floor.

"Do you recognize this guy?" I ask.

Short pause, and she says "Wait, yeah! The web. I saw a picture of you!" Matt's face lights up. "Weren't you on the tool section of the Craftsman web site?"

God, I wish I could have had this on video. It was a solid 5 minutes before I stopped laughing and Matt stopped threatening to slash my tires.

It's the little things in life that make it all worth while...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

On the Cover of the Rollin' Stone...

Ok, it's happened to me. I've had a few articles posted to slashdot -- this is even bigger for me -- I'm up on as of about an hour before this posting:$100_Laptop

I guess it's time to re-evaluate my priorities (mabye I'm just returning to normal, or rather, "FeriCyde normal").

Friday, March 17, 2006

Linux Disney Land Returns

Hopefully, not momentarily.

I might just be seeing balance return to my life -- what an amazing thing. When creative Linux writing returns (Ok, it's a stretch here, gotcha), you know I'm getting better.

The article can be found here.

Linux Disney land is back -- pray for me and that it's for good.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Winning Over The Male Psyche

Winning is baked into you if you're a guy in our culture. From the moment you're brought into this world, the social programming begins. Everything is about Winners and Losers. Think about all of the social contexts -- even the women are bought in the stupidity -- what's a guy in a bar scenario that no one wants to approach? "Loser!".

Losers abound.

Wasn't Jesus the ultimate Loser? Didn't the guy have an entire one-up on society and mankind (he was, after all, the Son of God, imbibed with immortal powers, and don't forget, perfect). Yet, he didn't chose to win -- he chose to lose -- the most important thing (we're led to believe) that a human can be given -- his life. He gave it away for us.

We didn't, after all, win it.

Jesus, What a loser.

Yes, this is on my mind today, as I laugh about an incident that illustrates just how stupid this mentality is. I was working out at the local Y yesterday, and bumped into an old friend. We got into a discussion about churches and I explained that I still hadn't exactly found one that would suit me. On that topic, I explained that one of the tiring aspects of my going to church usually boils down to the fact that the Sunday school classes are inevitably taught by 'coach' guy types -- these people, in my not so humble opinion, have more than lost out on spiritual growth. Why? Because they've bought into the entire sports paradigm as a way to run their spiritual lives.

This is a reflex, mostly -- it's something ingrained at such a fundamental level, it tosses them off the mark early. I think possibly I was lucky -- my father was not a big sports fanatic, and often spent time trying to make me think about social situations in a different way.

Back to the YMCA...

I was talking loudly, because I was winded, and on a treadmill at the time. I explained that I found very little about spiritual growth in sports, and that the male mentality of trying to paste life into these contexts was something that made me weary when it happened.

As if on Gods' queue, this guy, lifting weights, who had overheard me, chimed in:

guy: "Well, that's what it's all about, after all, isn't it?"

Me: "What?" (clearly, he'd only heard part of my conversation)

guy: "Winning -- life -- it's about winning."

Me: "No, it's not." I said. "That's what I'm trying to get across. Very little in life is about winning and losing."

This disturbed him somewhat.

guy: "No, think about it!" , he said, grinning.

Me: "I have, trust me." I countered. "What was the last thing you won? Did you win you paycheck, or was it a compromise?" More examples like this were being shouted out by me at this time. I'll skip them for brevity. I ended my quest to get him to think by pointing out that we get our salvation by Gods' graces -- not by winning it.

That made him think. He mumbled some bible verse that he was fond of and walked off. Still grinning, because he thought he'd "won" the argument.

Later I ran into my friend in the hallway -- she'd mercifully walked out in the middle of the "discussion".

"Well, how did that end?" She asked. Clearly I'd made more people than myself uncomfortable in this situation.

I explained that I wasn't trying to win or lose the "argument" -- but that clearly he was exactly the kind of thing I was fighting. I mean, how much better can you get -- his view was so slanted, he couldn't even step outside of the bounds of the small fence in his head. Possibly, he might have stopped and thought "Hey, maybe here's a chance to think about something outside of the bounds of what I've been taught. Maybe it's not time to win an argument -- maybe it's just time to discuss something."

My friend and I talked for about 10 minutes on various subjects related to this. I'm beginning to see that it's more than just an irritant -- this thing I've stumbled into is within myself, and it's going to be removed, or at least altered for comic effect. I'm certainly not going to sit back quietly and watch this kind of stupidity like a good spectator -- it's time to join the "game".

I do plan on going to church today (one of the side effects -- someone invited me to their church).

I'll keep an open mind -- that's probably going to be the first problem I face in church, by the way -- and enjoy myself.

Someone's gotta do it, might as well be me.