the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

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Tell the Man Where to Stick It

This just in from those lovable liberal loonies at I don't pass along much of their chatter, but I hadn't realized that this was coming to a vote so soon. Please read what they have to say, and act with your conscience, whatever your opinion.

Congress is about to vote on amending the U.S. Constitution to deny marriage equality to same-sex couples.

Never before has our Constitution been amended to take away anyone's rights. Yet our Senators will vote on this amendment in the next 48 hours.

It's urgent that we speak up now. This hateful divisiveness has no place in America. Please join me in saying so, at:

Equality in marriage is the civil rights issue of our generation. We can't let anyone, or any group, be singled out for discrimination based on who they are or who they love.

Thank you.

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Two bottles of not-so-tasty wine on Friday night eventually led to one that was happy, which ended up paired with grilled brats and Return of the King.

Slept in far past our originally planned time, then discovered that our lack of hot water on Friday morning was not a fluke, as the shower would only briefly flirt with being mildly tepid before producing nothing but ice water. Showered very, very quickly. It turns out that some of the collection of random wires which the electrician did not attach to the new electrical box were the circuit for the water heater. Whoops! So I think he and our general contractor will be having a little conversation at some point soon...

Dealing with the water took up much of the afternoon. Liz had a bit of a nap, then we were off to the pseudo-going-away festivities (I say "pseudo" because it was a fairly laid-back affair of casual conversation and good times that never really even touched on [info]ayb2's departure). The meal was tasty, and a good time was had by all--save, of course, for Ronald Reagan and Smarty Jones, who appear to have both had a jolly rotten day.

Zipped on down to the theatres at Valley View for Harry Potter, which was much better than the first two films. Lots of subplots and details got dropped in order to service the taut main storyline, but I was okay with most of the omissions. The end credit sequence was also quite fun and worth paying attention to. I'm very glad to see the films improve as the books did (though the second one is still my least favorite, in either medium).

Hung out at Champp's after the movie for a bit to nosh and have a drink and chatter some more. Saw the end of the hockey game. Whee, hockey. Realized that I'm really going to miss Angie, but that I'm still overflowing with happiness for her. Whee, life.

The photos from Thursday's Food Forum outing to Carrie Cerino's are now online; mad props to Joel for his excellent work, and for allowing me to host them for him.

Hmf. It is way, way too late for me to be awake if I am serious about doing some work on Sunday. I wonder if I'm really that serious. Hmf. Perhaps mildly. I'll have to see how I feel after some much-deserved sleeeeeeeeeeep.

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Straight But Not Narrow

President Bush wants to defend marriage through a Constitutional amendment? That says that not all men are created equal, that refutes the tenet that all citizens should have equal protection under the law?

If he really wants to protect the institution of marriage, then why don't we drop all the discriminatory rhetoric and do something that will actually get the job done. It would be far more effective to simply outlaw divorce or make adultery a federal crime.

And exactly whose marriage is at risk if two people of the same gender want to spend their lives within the bond of a commited, loving, stable relationship? Is the Gay Marriage Enforcer Squad going to come and take you away from your spouse and press you into kinky gay servitude? If two other people's loving, monogamous relationship threatens your marriage, then you and your spouse are probably (over)due for some counseling.

In a hundred years, history will look back on the "marriage defenders" the way we now look back on those that would deny women the vote, or that would enslave those with different skin. The President's pursuit of the Constitutional process on this issue is reckless and foolhardy, and will cement his tenure in the White House as a time of shame for our nation.

Marriage is love.
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All Systems Go

Once again, I've let everything else distract me from posting for a few days, and now nothing is quite as fresh as it would have been. Oh well, let's play catch-up anyway!

Overall, things are good. Work is still really stressful as we prepare for Valentine's Day, but a string of really good days has somewhat restored some karmic balance to my life. I had my review on Friday, and it was downright excellent, which always feels good. While there are no open positions that I could be promoted to, it sounds like there is a decent chance at better-than-typical financial compensation this year, which also feels great.

Friday's "Monk" was a self-referentially delightful gem.

Saturday, the weather was clear and truly sunny (at least on our side of town) for the first time in weeks. We took the opportunity to run around town on errands that are just too much of a hassle when the roads are bad. We finalized the specs on the sliding door for the kitchen project, finalized our choice of appliances, stopped at Heather's Heat & Flavor for some spices and salsas, got a sample quote on appliances from B&B;, took the cat to the vet for a checkup, and picked up some meat at K&K; (local butcher) for doing the cooking magic.

[info]aquamindy made bitchin' turkey and black bean chili that afternoon using a variety of peppers, some hotter than others. A liberal sprinkling of little "firecracker" pequin peppers and a dash of ground habanero savina filled out the flavor nicely. We then left it to sit overnight, because the only thing better than homemade chili is homemade chili once it's had a day or so to really grow into itself.

I followed up the chili preparation with a wicked-fun little chicken stir-fry. Chicken, onion, ginger, more little pequin peppers, five-spice, bell peppers, broccoli, fresh pineapple (mmm!), Szechuan sauce, sesame seeds... Over a mix of jasmine and saffron rice... Served with the wondrously tasty Bell Viognier, it was a sinus-clearing taste extravaganza!

Dinner was followed by a phone chat with my parents (hi, Mom, hi, Dad!), and then Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and popcorn (flavored with a little of one of the spice rubs we'd picked up at Heather's earlier in the day).

Sunday we slept late, did laundry, and hung around the house. [info]aquamindy perfectly complemented her chili with what has to be the world's best cornbread recipe (delightful with a bit of honey from my coworker Mike's hives). Had a nice little budget Cab/Shiraz blend with dinner that was an affable match, quite nice. We then spent the evening snuggled on the couch, ignoring the game and watching the commercials. Sadly, I must confess that I was too busy being disgusted by how awful the halftime show was (damn kids and their crappy music these days!) to even notice the little Janet Jackson "tempest in a C-cup" incident. By the time I heard about it, our TiVo cache of it was long, long gone.

Let's see... what else?

I finally started reading Fast Food Nation; I expect to be shocked, awed, and deeply bothered by it shortly.

I'm making some more progress figuring out Twisted, but what should be painfully obvious about how to set up the reverse proxy magic to properly integrate with Apache is still eluding me. I suspect I'll have to fire off the obligatory "Hi, I'm new, please flame me" post to the mailing list...

And Liz and I are finally going to Three Birds tonight! So I get to fend off the "where are you interviewing" comments all day long, since I won't have time to go home and get spiffy before dinner.

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Thank You, Patriot Act!

I missed's webcast of their "Bush in 30 Seconds" shin-dig, but finally did get a chance to see all of the finalists.

While there were some not-very-good ones in the 1500+ that were submitted, some pretty impressive ads came out of the contest as well. Many, especially (most of) the finalists, are worth your time to check out. Particularly good were "Child's Play", "In My Country", "Polygraph", "What Are We Teaching Our Children", "Human Cost of War", "Desktop" (for you fellow Mac geeks), "Bankrupt", "Bush's Repair Shop", "Pop Quiz", "Al Keyda", and "Bring It On".

I was also amused by the concept of "If the Bush Administration Was Your Roommate", but it needed a little more zing than it had.

Oh, and since it seems to be the meme du jour...

I am an Intellectual

Which America Hating Minority Are You?

Take More Robert & Tim Quizzes
Watch Robert & Tim Cartoons

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It's been another funtastic day of hitting my head against the immovable, unresponsive brick walls that are the partners I have to "work" with. Bleah.

I killed a little time by hacking together some changes to IDS, the opern source photo gallery project that I use. It's an altogether minor feature tweak, but it scratched one of my particular itches, and I'm considering submitting the diffs to the project maintainers. It was kind of an entertaining exercise to do some Perl hacking; thanks to eating, drinking, and living Python all day long for over three years, my Perl is incredibly rusty. Also, my copy of the Camel Book is sitting on the shelf at home... Yes, I know that everything I ever wanted to know about Perl (and then some!) is available online, but there's definitely some entertainment value to be had from working without a net, so to speak.

I did learn a new word today, thanks to Eric S. Raymond and Bruce Perens' response to SCO's "Open Letter to the Open Source Community". Is it just me, or does SCO resemble the marketing division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation more and more with each passing day? Yeah, I thought so too.

Beyond that, it's been an utterly useless day. I really need to have fewer of those.

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Something that justifies getting out of bed before 7:30 in the morning -- the national do not call list is live today! You will still be able to get calls from charities (which can't be regulated under the statute that was used to create the national list) and political organizations (political speech is protected by the first amendment, God bless it), but pretty much anybody else has got to stop calling you or be open to getting pursued legally. Registration of a number in the database is good for five years, so remember to renew in 2008. You can even sign up online!

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Random Thoughts Collected

I haven't posted in what seems like forever, which is partly due to how stupidly busy I've been at work lately. On one hand, I'm almost done with what I am stupidly busy with at the moment, but on the other hand, I am about to embark on even more strenuously busy endeavors. Eek!

Apple's new music service seems pretty damn cool. Their selection needs to be improved, and some of their pricing is a little weird ($0.99 per song is great, if it's not, say, the "20th Century Fox Fanfare", which is only 21 seconds long). Also, I lust after the new iPods.

The weather lately has been fantastic. We've entered into those fleeting few weeks of spring where the world is coming alive again, as if surprised by the sudden absence of winter. I went for a bike ride yesterday, down to Clague park, and watched the ducks, geese, and seagulls vie for the affections of little girls with loaves of bread. I sat in the sunshine with Liz, and was pleasantly at peace for the first time in, gosh, forever. Of course, I'm sore as hell from the ride, but all in all I figure it was worth it.

I'll be getting rid of my old Power 100 this week, which was my first new computer, that was no one else's. I feel oddly sentimental about it, but at the same time it's not doing me a lot of good sitting on the floor of the office. Hopefully someone else gets some use out of it.

We went to see Bill Cosby a couple weekends ago. On the stage sat an empty chair, and a white sweatshirt was draped on the chair. The brightly colored lettering on the sweatshirt read, rather simply, "WELCOME FRIEND." When Bill came out onstage, he explained that he'd recently lost a great friend in Fred Rogers, and that in tribute to Fred, and to all the loved ones who couldn't be with us, we would take a few minutes to listen to a song that he'd been playing on the road, and think about those we missed. He stepped off stage and cued up his music. For the next five minutes, we listened to "Ave Maria" while the stage remained empty, save for the spotlight on the empty chair, and the happy, white sweatshirt. At first the audience mumbled and chattered quietly to itself, but as the minutes passed, they collectively realized that he was serious and shut up. And it was heartbreaking, and it was comforting, and it was beautiful.

The rest of his show was as hilarious (and true) as I'd expected, and I loved every minute of it. But his opening was really touching and special, and I think that's what I'll remember the most.

Sunday we went to Eric and Kat's house for the combination calling hours/sitting shiva for Eric's mother, who died last week. I can only remember meeting her once, and that's if I even remember it correctly, but by all accounts she was an amazing lady, and though the world is saddened by her departure, it was most certainly enriched by her presence. My mother would be delighted to know that Eric's mom took up quilting several months ago, and did some really nice work in the time that she had. It was good to visit with Eric and Kat, to see that they are working through their grief, and to see the support of their friends during this difficult time.

>Oh, yes... We're running out of things for Liz to destroy. Poor girl. :-)

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