New Pictures

I finally took the opportunity to take my camera outside to get some shots of more than just the items in my room. I don’t think anything else needs to be said, so here they are:

Barbed Wire Fence

Barbed Wire Fence

Woodchip Pile

Woodchip Pile

Hammons Tower

Hammons Tower

Softball Field

Softball Field

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New Camera and Some Pictures

So, I bought a new camera a couple weeks ago, a Nikon D6o DSLR. I have to say that I love it. I told myself a while back that my next camera would be a DSLR and that day finally came as a result of the death of Circuit City. It almost had to happen this way because I bought my previous two cameras at the “Circuit.”

So without further ado, a sample of the fun I’ve had with it…

JQH Arena

JQH Arena

LEGO F-1

LEGO F-1 Racer

Bullet

AK-47 Bullet

Tonight's The Night

Tonight's The Night

Music and Lyrics

I do realize that this post has the same title as a fairly recent chick flick… and while I did not see it (with no plans to as of this day), I thought it would be a fun title, seeing how it is relevant.

I would consider myself a fan of music. My music collection has songs ranging from classical to metal with unintelligible vocals with at least a little bit of just about every genre in between. But I, like most people, get hooked on a certain genre or band for long periods of time. For instance, when I bring a CD into my car, it will stay in my stereo for, usually, at least a month on end, being the only music I will listen to. Most recently, and currently, my disc of choice is the album “Truthless Heroes” by Project 86.

truthless-heroes

Project 86 has been one of my favourite bands for around seven years. I have always loved their music in general, but I think that is the lyrics that continue to draw me back in. That lyricist is none other than Andrew Schwab. In addition to the lyrics for the band, Schwab has also written two books of poetry, one about life with the band, and another due out this year.

Schwab is a very cryptic writer and I have to admit that, especially with his books, I usually have no idea about the full extent of his meanings. I think that he writes poetry like I write print; so only the writer understands fully. I like this approach in that it makes me delve into and fully immerse myself into the work. But it can also be frustrating at times when you read the words and they feel like just that: words.

…Anyway, onward and upward to the music. Truthless Heroes is great to me both musically and lyrically; lyrically in that there is a story to the album (I truly wish more bands did this.). The story is about a person’s attempt to satisfy his needs, following other’s ideals because of false promises, and finally realizing that he was wrong too late. Like I admitted before, it’s hard to get the full story at times, but I never fully understood how the story ended. Since I’ve been hooked on Project lately, I had decided to look over just about all of Schwab’s work and, to me, it seemed like the story continued to their next album. And, in their album after that, at least the first song seemed to follow the same line.

That is the main reason I am writing this post. I was amazed and it really excited me. To go to that much trouble to just gives me nothing but the greatest respect for the man. He is a true artist that cares so deeply for the quality of his work.

So, I wanted to include an example of his work. This is the last song from Project 86’s album “Songs to Burn Your Bridges By,” their album after Truthless Heroes:

“Solace”

We have waited for so long
To occur this day
There are those who fly away to a distant place
But I think I’ll stay
And I wouldn’t have it any other way
In this solace I see
A light piercing the darkness
Coming on the winds
Of imagery
When all I know is crumbling
I am becoming something more than humanity could ever allow me to be
I remember a day when
My dreams of escape
Seemed so far away

Let’s go back in time, you and I
To my
Initiation to your false empire
You greased, you aimed
And then you spit
While I
Once again pushed away my conscience

Yet always, it seems
I cannot fathom the plateau
Without first the pit

Against the goads there can be no pleading
Because every thought reaps an action
And for you, my former captor
All the earthly wisdom and wealth
Cannot erase your susceptibility
To brutal mortality
And the funny thing about justice
Is that it always comes when you least expect it
So friends it won’t be long
Seems I stole your smile, right from wrong

So forever now we’ll find
Our peace inside this
We’ll find our solace in your silence
And though I once desired your twisted sense of fame
I know, I know that in myself I’m nothing

Nothing
Nothing
Nothing but the words of the “meaningless”

You have given me all I’ll ever need
The nerve, the greed, the lust, the lust, the lust, the lust for justice
And now I will never rest
Until the meaningless become your silence

And you’re

Over
Over
Over
Out!

Now I mean to thank you once again, with this
My, my, my goodbye kiss
You broke my heart
But something tells me that I won’t, that I won’t, and I won’t miss it
And on this very day
And on this very hill
While the heavens are hushed
In anticipation, beckoning
We’ll have ourselves a reckoning
And all of the oppressed will greet you

And you’re

Over
Over
Over
Out!

Over
Over
Over

There you have it. I hope you enjoyed that as I have.

Pro Bowl

Ever since I can remember, I’ve never really been a fan of NFL’s Pro Bowl. I can never stand to watch more than the first quarter of the game before I get tired and switch channels. And there’s one reason that I feel this way; the game is worthless…

Unlike all the other major sports (MLB, NBA, NHL, and to a lesser extent MLS), the NFL is the only one that holds their All-Star game after the season is completely over. Therefore, in my opinion, the Pro Bowl is just another exhibition game that has absolutely no meaning and no benefit to the players. With other sports, the all-star festivities take place in the middle of the season and provide some well needed rest to players during the long season.

Now, I don’t claim to avidly follow any of those other sports but baseball (of which I would consider myself a bigger fan than football), but the MLB All-Star game has some meaning. The winning league in that instance becomes the owner of home-field advantage for the World Series. That sounds to me like a reason to play at nothing other but your highest capability. When the players have incentive, they will make the game interesting in itself. I think, for that reason, MLB’s All-Star game are, more often than not, quite competitive, even though the American League has won all but four times since 1988.

With the NFL, the only incentive to the Pro Bowl is to get it over with and start the offseason. I just don’t see what’s so interesting about that.

A Case For Redundancy

One of my computer science teachers gave us a “word of the day” today – idempotent. It basically means that if you apply a certain function (though not every function works for this) on an item more than once, you will get the same result as if you only applied it once.

For example, you start by taking the absolute value of a number. Then, you take the absolute value of the number you just took the absolute value of. The result will be the same as if you only took the absolute value once and it would remain the same if you performed the function 20 more times.

So, when an idempotent function is applied more than once to an item, you have redundancy. In the CSC department, we are taught from day one that there is no reason for redundancy. It’s bad practice and it wastes both time and space. And I wholeheartedly believe this, in theory. When it comes to programming, I am all for making sure I only do what is necessary to accomplish the end goal. When it comes to the real world, that philosopy, at times, seemingly goes out the window.

Sometimes it’s paranoia (constantly feeling for my wallet wherever I go, convinced I am going to be pick-pocketed at any minute), and other times I would call it OCD (having to check my alarm ten times before I go to bed because there’s a chance it might not actually be set for the right time).

I don’t know what causes this strict barrier between those two very different  zones. Maybe it’s the fact that if a computer is programmed right, it will always operate in that same, right way without fail. I, on the other hand, am very human and can easily fail (e.g., short term memory). Chances are that I probably, unconsiously, know my human limitations and become a repetitious mess in order to keep myself from looking like a complete fool all the time.

While computer are, for our practical purpose, in the right hands, infallable beings who scoff at the redundant, I, as a human, fully embrace my affliction.

So, it’s about time for me to check if my alarm is set, then check it again, and again, and again….