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[2022 edit] hi, it is me from the future. This was a really...weird...time in my life and I was super creepy around Brittany and...yeah. I was dumb and horny and should have known better.[/edit]

So, I located Brittany. She is not, as I had originally thought, a student of MTU. Rather, she was here visiting friends from her high school over, apparently, her spring break. This is starting to feel awkward talking about, but... she attends the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. Yes, apparently I now have the potential to have a "Canadian girlfriend". facepalm

Anyway, she is an undergraduate there for a major in Computer Science. She does not exist in the public-accessible database there, likely for the same reason I do not exist in the MTU database, Stalkernet--anonymity and privacy concerns as discussed a few weeks ago in this post. I've removed myself completely, and it appears that she has done the same thing.

/me feels happy as he gets closer to getting contact information.


I was sitting in an auditorium, listening to my brother play Beethoven on a grand piano up on the stage. I thought, "My, this hovercraft is fluffy," and suddenly I was my brother. The music flowed for a while from my hands, but suddenly the tone changed to that of a electric guitar and the volume dropped to zero. I paused, reset the piano, and continued playing, but I was lost. The music book didn't help me either because it was written sideways, and the notes were purple. I made some stuff up, and the audience applauded. I was suddenly back in my seat in the audience, and proceeded to watch a Gregorian chanting group, a person juggling dead cats, the Gregorian group playing "Come Sail Away" on electric ukuleles, an old man making parts of the audience fly out of their chairs and into a gorge by asking tricky questions, and a person juggling flaming balls which closely resembled dead cats. Suddenly, I was in my dorm room, with my roommate asking me if it was OK if he recycled the cardboard boxes I had in the corner, as that would help him win a contest to get a Guitar-Hero-themed racing hovercraft.

I have the most interesting dreams, don't I?


So, a while back, I found this amazing deal on some hardware, and, as I've found I'm beginning to be cramped disk-space-wise, I decided to get two 500GB refurbished Seagates and a PCI IDE controller for them (my server does not have any more free IDE channels, and this allows me the option in the future to add a couple more and set up RAID) all for under $200. It all arrived yesterday, and so I have been playing around with them, formatting and mounting, as well as getting my backup system finally online.

However, there is an issue...there's no room in my case for the two drives. (silly Gateway and their cramped desktop-form-factor PCs).

So, for a short-term fix, I'm gonna mod the inside of the case cover to allow the drives to hang from it over the proc heatsink and the PCI cards. Long-term, I'll likely just get a real case to put the stuff in. I don't know...stuff costs money and I have a move coming up RSN.

In other news, I have found out the girl's name, through various channels...damn, that makes me sound like a stalker...I'm not, by the way, I just have alternative methods to finding out information. Damn, I'm just digging myself a hole here, aren't I? Anyway, her name is Brittany Li. Judging by the name, she's probably part Asian, possibly China or Vietnam. I'll keep posting what I find over the next few days, or until we meet.

[2022 edit] hi, it is me from the future. This was a really...weird...time in my life and I was super creepy around Brittany and...yeah. I was dumb and horny and should have known better.[/edit]

I've Just Seen a Face...

I've just seen a face
I can't forget the time or place where we just met
she's just the girl for me
and I want all the world to see we've met
Mm mm mm mm mm mm

Had it been another day
I might have looked the other way
and I'd have never been aware
but as it is I'll dream of her tonight
La la la la la la

Falling, yes I am falling
And she keeps calling
me back again

I have never known the like of this
I've been alone and I have missed things
and kept out of sight
for other girls were never quite like this
Da da da da da da

Falling, yes I am falling
And she keeps calling
me back again
Yeah, pa pa pa pa

Falling, yes I am falling
And she keeps calling
me back again

I've just seen a face
I can't forget the time or place where we just met
she's just the girl for me
and I want all the world to see we've met
Mm mm mm mm mm mm

Falling, yes I am falling
And she keeps calling
me back again
Falling, yes I am falling
And she keeps calling
me back again
Oh, falling, yes I am falling
And she keeps calling
me back again

Man, oh man. I just met saw someone I really, really want to get to know. Like, seriously. I was singing The Beatles' "I've Just Seen A Face" all the way back to the room.

So, I'm sitting in Beth's room, helping her install Ubuntu on her Gateway, as I had promised. (w00t! One more convert!) Out of the corner of my eye, I see this girl walk past. Slim, kinda short (est. 155cm or thereabouts), long black hair...ooh!

She passed too quickly for me to get more of a glance, so I get back to work on the Gateway. A few minutes later, she walks back past, and stops to talk to the girls across the hall. Ooh...heart of mine, what wonders have you thus revealed? She is beautiful, a vision, a flawless algorithm in constant time. I was a bit distracted, and had to retry a step of the installation three times before I remembered to check a box I had, um, missed...(Hint: Don't try to partition a hard drive while it's mounted and you're otherwise occupied...) Oh, man...

Yes, friends, Andrew Grant Meyer has just, as of thirteen-thirty-four and twenty-one seconds this thirtieth day of March, 2008, actually noticed a girl for the first time. Like, I had never really, you know, noticed a girl that way. I mean, yeah, they're female, and I can appreciate, but I wasn't really ever interested on that level. But now, well, wow. I suppose it seems silly, a college freshman nearing the end of his first year just now finding a real attraction in a woman.

Now, what does the newly-emerged noticer-of-women do with his attention captured thus? He blinks, looks at the computer screen, and proceeds to finish the world's fastest install of Ubuntu (came to around 7:55, not including the multiple disk defrags and cleanups we did first), after which, when he looks up again, the girl is gone.

I will find her again and figure out if the difficulty in talking to women so oft shown in movies as being related to attraction actually is. I've never had an issue with that before, but, as discussed, I also haven't really ever been seriously attracted either.

[2022 edit] hi, it is me from the future. This was a really...weird...time in my life and I was super creepy around Brittany and...yeah. I was dumb and horny and should have known better.[/edit]


So, the last two days have had more entertainment on campus than I've seen for a while.

Yesterday we had the Society of Intellectual Sisters' performance of The Vagina Monologues, which was well done and much fun.

Following that, at the MUB we had a comedian come in, also much fun.

This afternoon was a performance by The Klezmer Conservatory Band, which was also a lot of fun (and free due to World Cultures!).

Then, tonight, I went to see Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber from Fleet Street, which was...interesting...

In a few minutes, I'll be heading down to my house's dance party to run the sound system.

So, yeah, lots of stuff going on...

On The Turning Away

Heh. Second post in a day. Found this gem of a vid on YouTube today, had to share and comment. Watch, then read rest of post.

I love Carl Sagan, as a role model and a perfect example of a scientist with religion. Though I am not religious myself, per se, I deeply respect someone who can break the stereotype of the atheist scientist and reconcile faith and science. I know that the two are not mutually exclusive, despite what others may say.

[2022 edit] hi, it is me from the future. I am eternally embarassed at just how...wrong...this post is, but honestly I was such a dumbass at this age in...a lot of ways. Carl Sagan was a ardent athiest and spent a good share of his life ridiculing the religious...[/edit]

Our Earth is a startlingly, heartbreakingly tiny speck of nothing in the vastness of even our own solar system. Yet, despite this utter insignificance, we kill each other with zeal, pollute our cradle, and cast our animal brethren aside. And for what? As the footnote to the video says, " glory and triumph, they could become momentary masters of a fraction of a dot." It saddens me to no end to see this, but I stand knowing I am not alone. I have such dreamers as John Lennon, David Gilmour, and, indeed, Carl Sagan standing behind me.


So, sitting here in the Fishbowl, two more hours on my shift, bored out of my mind. I could work on my major coding project, but as it's been pushed off to being due on Sunday, I'm disinclined. I could go through my schedule and fire off an email to Beth about when I have time to help her set up Linux on her desktop, but again, I'm disinclined. It's a terrible thing to be bored without having the motivation to do something about it. Even Huskybot fails me:

12:07:13< agmlego> HuskyBot: Entertain me.
12:07:13 * HuskyBot puts a pancake on Bunneh's head
12:07:19< agmlego> Useless bot.
12:07:20< HuskyBot> Inept human.

Ugh... Oh, you might be confused about HuskyBot's reply. OK. So, there's this meme, most aptly demonstrated by a conversation on IRC:

00:00:00< one> Hey, so, blenders are weird!
00:01:03< two> ...wha?
00:02:09< one> Yup, definitely, right?
00:03:27< two> I have no idea what you're talking about, so, here's a bunny with a pancake on it's head...
00:03:32< two>

The bunny belong{s|ed} to a man in Japan who trained it to balance things on it's head, taking hundreds of pictures over several years. However, you'll notice that HuskyBot is not set up to give a link or an image, but rather to place a pancake on one of our frequent channel visitors, Bunneh. This action is triggered whenever he (HuskyBot) does not know something, or gets confused. Thus, me asking him to entertain me caused him to spout meme.

The second lines, where I insulted him, are standard fare for chatbots. If you insult them, they'll turn it back on you. It's fun to watch people try to get the best of the 'bot late at night when drunk. He always wins. Always.

Wow. I just analyzed the response of an IRC chatbot...I am bored as hell, and still have 1:40 left in my shift...Save me!

Security and Privacy

A person should not have to have more extensions on Firefox to deal with security and privacy issues than extensions to enhance browsing. A person should not be flagged every second of his online life by adverts, spying scripts, and other little piranhas which individually don't add up to much but collectively have already absorbed your life's details, cached away on a thousand servers across the world.

Stop adware and spyware. Stop datamining. Stop blasting adverts across the net and across meatspace. Stop profiling me and my friends based on our search entries, our emails, our instant messages and forum posts and blogs and usernames and IP addresses. Stop collecting mind-boggling amounts of metadata on our personal activities and lives. And, for the love of all that is good and right, stop spamming us with your mindless shit which no one ever actually follows through on. It isn't funny, it isn't cute, and it isn't even close to effective.

I live a life on the Internet that is quiet, and much of the time, I cannot be seen, if I choose to enable all my anonymizers. However, that anonymity comes at a price. I can't download much more than images, can't use Flash or JavaScript-enabled pages, can't fill out most forms, can't watch videos, can't check my email, and can't get all my bandwidth.

I don't usually have to worry about most malware, because I run an operating system based on the Linux kernel. This does not mean that I am immune to malware, just that, by hiding behind the masses of Windows users, I am very effectively cloaked. Few virii and other malware is written for Linux boxes because few people use it. I also have more control of my OS than a Windows user (and sometimes more than is good for me, I'm afraid), and know more about the inner workings of it.

However, the online content you see on a regular basis is the same content I see. I use Firefox the same as you (you are, right? If not, no problem. Just don't use IE). The same things that capture your every move online, from which sites you go to and what you do there, to where you enter credit card info (not the info itself, just the locations you enter it), to what you searched for last week Friday when you were bored and got a strange idea into your head, all that information can also be collected from me.

I try to foil this, by hiding behind an anonymizing network that disassociates me from my IP address; by running Ad-Block Plus, which strips out the ads from web pages; by running TrackMeNot, which sends random queries to search engines to break data profiling; by encrypting as much communication as I can with SSL and SSH; by using passwords based entirely on random characters, seeded by a memorable passphrase; by running NoScript, which blocks all JavaScript, Flash, and other scripts from running unless you tell it explicitly to allow ones you trust on a case-by-case basis; by using common sense to avoid pitfalls like sending sensitive data across wireless connections; by checking the network traffic around me to make sure no one is spoofing the server I'm talking to; by eliminating DRM from my media; by not using proprietary document formats; by not giving out personal information when it isn't needed; by using proxies at public terminals.

However, I can still guarantee that there are people out there who know who I am, what I like to do on Sunday afternoons when I'm bored, what type of computer I'm running, what demographic I'm in, what my politics are, what at least one of my passwords is, and where I live. There's someone out there who knows that I frequently type two uppercase letters in a row, especially at the beginning of sentences, and that I drop words out of sentences when I get tired. There's very likely at least one person who has seen my house and known that I live there. There's probably a person who has a picture of me and knows who it is. There is definitely one person at least who has a voice recording of me in a file somewhere, labeled with my name and social security number.

I don't mean to sound paranoid, and I'm not. I don't spend every second of my day, peeking over my shoulder and sneaking from one hiding place to another. I am, nonetheless, aware of my surroundings, especially online, and I try to be as unobtrusive as I can in that environment. I applaud companies such as Google, who recently denied several governments, including our own, access to their enormous vaults of data. I say boo to those same companies for having said data in the first place. I realize that it is Google's stated mission to categorize and index the world, but to do so means to collect very detailed information on everything, including people. Individuals. Citizens who have been given certain promises of at least a sense of security to be provided from whatever institution governs their actions. And I disagree with that in a truly heartfelt manner.

This is why I am in the PSG at Tech. This is why I vote against people who support the Patriot Act. This is why I am against DRM. This is why I tell people what browser and software to use, and back that up with support on said software. This is why I am worried about Google and other large technical companies. I am passionate about this issue, and, well:

I am not a pair of eyeballs to be captured or a consumer profile to be sold. I am an individual and you will respect my privacy.
I am not a piece of your inventory.
I will not be bartered, traded, or sold.
On the net, I am in control.

--ZKS, "a consumer manifesto"

And I will fight back...


March 18 2008, 23:45:39

Fight back eh? I'll start mixing up the napalm.

March 19 2008, 02:06:24

I was thinking more like decompression bombs and spam redirects to DDoS the spammers, but napalm works too.


So, we now have a layer of ice covering the grounds outside, varying from a little under a quarter inch to fully six inches thick. Makes for a large and impressive playground for un-busy college students to play upon. (Yes, I was one of those college students...)

Got lots of little stuff done today--fired off an email to Apple regarding the vast amounts of "teh suck" present in my latest acquisitions from iTMS, fixed a bunch of niggling technical things on my various computers, and (of course) playing on the aforementioned ice.

So, I have a Physics exam in a bit (18:00), but I'm not worried. Given how the last one went...well, I won't get overconfident.

I called the guy who is selling the SanDisk flash drives on campus and ordered an 8GB one. He said that he'd have more of them after break, so I don't actually have it in hand, but I'm reasonably sure it is this. Will be nice to have, because then I can repurpose the 1GB Lexar one as a boot disc for various things.

Ah... I just realized that I forgot why I was so anxious to get this post out... Oh, well. Guess there'll be another one soon.

Oh, yes, I found this cute picture of a nekomimi on Wikipedia today. Seems to fit my recent spate of euphoria (no, I'm not on anything but life, that I know of). Also, Esther put the thought in my mind a few weeks ago by acting like a cat and purring... There are times I sort-of half-think that she didn't have a boyfriend back in Malaysia...

Anyway, so, picture is now one of my userpics, for when I'm feeling good and playful...(::bats at mouse::)

Small, Furry Animals

So, went over to Dark and Mary's house last night, as the 8U machine and the Frankenstein were in need of OS, and the web page and some of the mirrors needed updating. Plus, they fed us the most excellent spaghetti and chicken sauce. I also, apparently, needed my small, furry animal fix, because the entire night, both of their cats needed to be in as close a contact with me as possible. And Cleo, bless her heart, was firmly convinced that she needed to clean my mouse. Needless to say, much of the website stuff I wanted to take care of was mostly not done, but it was a worthwhile evening anyway.