Posted in San Francisco, Travel on January 7th, 2008 by Дмитрий

My roommate in San Francisco told me she will need to move out on 31 March. She is falling on tough times with her business and will not be able to work in San Francisco anymore, so she’s moving to Napa full time.

I’m very sad. First, there’s the fact that the past year has been much better than the previous year: I’ve had a home here, where I could keep all my things and not have to live out of a suitcase. Then there’s the fact that it has been an ideal roommate situation: my roommate is gone as often a I am, and we got along really well and never annoyed one another.

It’s gonna be a tough thing to replace in only 3 months…

Religion and Me

Posted in About Me, Get In My Head on January 8th, 2008 by Дмитрий

I’m pretty non-religious, but I usually stop short of calling myself atheist these days. I’ve started to view secular intellectuals as no more tolerant or worldly than bigoted evangelists. Not least this guy - proselytizing atheists are just as trying as door-to-door bible-thumpers. I think religion (well, some religions, practiced in certain ways, in certain societies) is usually better than the void often left in its place. This is of course premised on my observations that the absence of religion does not always imply a universal acceptance of logic and reason and secular humanism. It often simply means a new (and often less benevolent) form of tyranny.

I think religion is an important counterweight to government control of civil society - otherwise Marxist/Maoist governments would not have been attempting to decimate religion as an institution for so long. Lack of any loyalties outside the state is the lifeblood of despotism. Witness the good things religions bring among, say, most Asians who are weary of their authoritarian governments.

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Is There No Escaping Them?

Posted in Economics on January 9th, 2008 by Дмитрий

Bank of America to buy Countrywide for $4 billion.

Every time I think I’ve moved all my finances away from BofA they swoop in like a pathalogical vampire. Aren’t they approaching their legal market share maximum? I guess this quote says it all:

“Federal law also bars banks from acquisitions that would increase its market share above 10 percent of U.S. deposits, a limit that Bank of America is nearing… Bank of America could easily lower the total amount of money held in deposits by lowering interest rates and losing deposits to competitors.”

Great customer-service strategy. Oh, and a great long-term growth strategy, too. Yeah. How can they, with such already-large home mortgage leverage, afford to take on more mortgage-backed assets whilst encouraging attrition to reduce non-mortgage assets? I don’t get it. Maybe I should celebrate such an illogical business plan?

The whole financial sector is making me want to puke right now - their pundits are on TV every day whining for interest rate cuts. Low interest and high inflation is fine for those who are addicted to debt. Why is the Fed supporting this addiction? Wouldn’t a better idea be to raise interest rates to help control prices and encourage saving? It would sure do a better job than those stupid “feed the pig” PSAs.

My savings is drying up not from my spending habits, but from inflation and high fuel and food prices (something most inflation numbers ignore so that they can look better, of course), whilst the government and the financial services sector chums it up and bails out the debtors and the house-flippers (and at the same time, conveniently, their lenders). Sigh.

New Home Away From Home

Posted in San Francisco, Travel on January 16th, 2008 by Дмитрий

I am 99% sure I have found a new place to live in SF. A nice big room in a 70s-era flat owned by a very nice old artfag. Will also be sharing with another gentleman I’ve yet to meet. It’s in the Sunset right off the N-Judah, only a couple blocks from both the park and the beach.

Much better commute, and no real price increase (it’s a condo so I’ll have to pay for water and trash now, but not a big deal). Nice set of nearby coffeehouses and pocket-groceries (Charlie’s!). The only draw-back I can see so far is that my roommate(s) will not be fellow commute-workers, so not as much privacy/alone-time. The major problem was that to clinch the deal I had to agree to move in 1 Feb, but my current roommie needed 30-days notice, so I’ll be paying double for a couple weeks.

In any case, now I can go home to NC tomorrow with much less stress over the SF housing situation.

MacBook Airhead

Posted in Mac on January 17th, 2008 by Дмитрий

No, actually, I’m not too enticed by an ultra-thin laptop. I’m always scared I’m gonna break my current laptop as it is. I hope Apple doesn’t switch all their portables to this profile over the next few years… It’s icky.

… In any case, I had my last iBook for over 6 years before I replaced it with my new MacBook just last month, so unless my new one’s a total piece of crap or some new chip revolution happens, I doubt I’ll need one any time soon.

Two Years In the Richmond

Posted in About Me, Get In My Head, San Francisco, Travel, Work on February 1st, 2008 by Дмитрий

It’s all too rare that I write much about the rather unexciting, everyday facts of my life: the things that, ultimately, most people don’t really care about. But they are important for the sake of memories to me. They are something I should be documenting to remind myself that, even if it’s unexciting, stuff does happen to me.

Tomorrow I will be moving house in my temporary part-time home of San Francisco. I have spent most of the past two years, when here, in the Richmond District. It was on purpose: when I was staying in hotels, I consciously sought out a little-known hotel in this area because I had loved this neighborhood pretty much since I first spent any time in it six or seven years ago. It was an acceptable little hotel, and when I decided I needed something more semi-permanent and comfortable, I decided to find an apartment room in the same area. Now the time has come where I will be moving this home to a new part of the city: essentially my “third” neighborhood, after the Richmond, and the SOMA neighborhood in which I first lived when I moved in with David in 2002.

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Souper Tuesday

Posted in Americana on February 2nd, 2008 by Дмитрий

I can’t vote next week, being a North Carolina resident, but I’m quite exposed to the severity of the presidential campaign whilst in California lately.

Isn’t it somewhat pathetic that this is the most exciting presidential election any of us are likely to see for most of our lives? And I’m sure I’m not the only one contemplating the significance of a national party in the USA whose only two contenders for the highest national elected post are a woman and an African.

Even if we end up with McCain winning the spot in the end, I don’t think I’ll ever again take seriously those hand-wringers who talk continually about the social monopoly held by conservatives and bigots.


Posted in Russophilia on February 14th, 2008 by Дмитрий

Are we doing stupid things like this

Or this?

Weapons of Mass Slumber

Posted in San Francisco on February 14th, 2008 by Дмитрий

I left work tonight, heading for the subway for my commute home. I approached Market Street and suddenly noticed hundreds - nay, thousands - of people racing toward the Embarcadero.

I shuddered and my heart sank… Oh my gawd! I thought - what could it be? A bombing? Terrorists? Was there an earthquake and I didn’t feel it?

No. It was a Pillow Fight.

Bureaucratic Overreach, or Just the Era of Bad Food?

Posted in Regrettable Food on February 20th, 2008 by Дмитрий

So… I was enjoying some Sour Cream this morning…

And realized that it had this scary disclaimer (sorry for blurryness, the printing really was that bad)…

That’s right, kiddies… Something called Sour CREAM has MILK in it!!1!!!1!one!111!1

Gee, we’re sure jaded about the pervasiveness of soy- and corn-based manufactured foods that we don’t trust our cream to contain cream… Sigh…

The Ominous Parallels

Posted in Economics on February 23rd, 2008 by Дмитрий

About 6 years ago I wrote this piece about the parallels between Green Party policy goals today and the policies of national socialism early in the 20th century. I was mostly shooting from the hip, making an emotional tirade out of my innate fear of the society that Green power had the potential to produce.

I still have that fear, but here’s an article, sent in by a reader, by someone else that addresses the same parallels as mine, only it’s well-cited and researched, and gives some great real-life examples of the parallels between the neo-Nazi BNP in England and the British/European Green party policies.

One quote by a commenter that I especially liked:

The Greens are different [from] the BNP: the Greens have power, they are driving EU environmental policy, they have you paranoid about which bin to use. The BNP can only dream about power like that.

Don’t Bother Getting Off at Cole

Posted in Diners, San Francisco on February 23rd, 2008 by Дмитрий

Because, no - there is no breakfast anywhere in Cole Valley.

Oh, and this is what “breakfast” is, in case you were wondering.


Posted in Economics on February 26th, 2008 by Дмитрий

Rah. Taxes done. I was better at prepaying last year than in 2006 so I didn’t owe as much penalty/interest. Still owed a little, which in my opinion is better than a refund, since it means I got to have that money during the year rather than the IRS.

Now, once David gets his taxes done and we get those paid (hopefully by end of March), our finances can return to “normal” for another 8 or 9 months (whatever that is).

Someone You Might Know…

Posted in Family on February 27th, 2008 by Дмитрий

…Was in the Newspaper today.

I’m so proud of my famous hubby!

OMG Spl00ge!!

Posted in Geekdom, San Francisco on March 1st, 2008 by Дмитрий

We appear to have been upgraded here in the Sunset. Comcast kicks @$$!!!


Posted in GoTh, Russophilia on March 9th, 2008 by Дмитрий


How does one miss a place so much that one has never visited?

Someday I’ll visit. I swear.

Today In Class: My Spring Break Adventures

Posted in Home on March 10th, 2008 by Дмитрий


I built a staircase this week. What did you do for Spring Break, kids?


Just me, a shovel, and many trips to Home Depot. I betcha my Oldsmobile has hauled more masonry than any other Oldsmobile in Winston-Salem!


Carnage In the Skies

Posted in Economics, Travel on April 7th, 2008 by Дмитрий

Three airlines dead in one week.

It’s definitely time for some industry rationalization. As a frequent flier, I am totally baffled why the cost of my tickets has not gone up by 30-40% since I started doing this transcontinental commute three years ago, whilst the cost of oil has gone up 100% in the same time.

Honestly, if I hear one more whiney airline executive say “we’re losing money because fuel prices are so high and passengers want cheap tickets”, I’m gonna riot. Of course we all want cheap flights. But want in one hand, shit in the other, and see which one fills up first. Isn’t that what the airlines should be saying? Why is it our fault that they refuse to bring their prices in line with their costs? Did any of them take a standard business accounting course (you “make” money when your income exceeds your expenses)?

I’m sure people all want cheap gas, too, but that isn’t stopping oil companies from charging what they need to to maintain their margins and fund investments. I could understand maybe a 3-4-month lag in ticket price increases as oil gets dearer (more or less, depending on how well-hedged the airline is), but why have prices been fairly stagnant for three years? The only thing I can think of is that the airlines are all trying really hard to look distressed so that the government will be less likely to block consolidation attempts, or maybe some of the more dire airlines are anticipating another bailout like they got in 2001.

I think the idea that a bail-out could happen if the industry takes a total nose-dive is what keeps all the airlines from genuinely competing. Ideally, the most fiscally-sound airline would be willing to take a temporary passenger-count hit and would raise prices first (maybe only on high-fuel-usage routes and long-hauls), letting the cut-rate airlines continue to lose money on their increased passenger load whilst the financially secure airline coasts along and stays fiscally sound. Assuming that there was no imminent bail-out, the loss-making airlines would have to follow suit and raise prices or go under. The problem right now is that the major carriers are all 100% convinced that Washington would never let any of them go under.

The airlines do not need another bail-out ever again. I would rather pay the price of my fare when I buy the ticket rather than with every tax payment I make.

In related news, my masochistic habit of expensively enclosing myself in one of the above-noted tin cans on a nearly-weekly basis seems to have resulted in a severe bug which pretty much wrecked my 4-day stint at home this past weekend. How much longer can I keep this up?

Homo Wino

Posted in San Francisco, Sods on April 12th, 2008 by Дмитрий


There was just something disturbingly adorable about the two winos at the back of the bus. 


They were cuddling and nuzzling one another and whispering sweet nothings at each other - almost as if to say “We might have no furniture or teeth and we smell like pee, but at least we have each other…”

Ma Ha Ta

Posted in San Francisco, creative clASS on April 13th, 2008 by Дмитрий


Yes, Ma Ha Ta - it’s the trendy new name for Manhattan. Oh, didn’t you know? Things just aren’t edgy or interesting when you call them by their name - you have to abbreviate the name into something meaningless and stupid-sounding.

No Da in Charlotte started it, of course. It stands for “Not Dangling”, I think - maybe coz only lesbians live there…


Posted in Friends, Home on April 27th, 2008 by Дмитрий

One thing I definitely like about hanging out with my friends in North Carolina very much compared with hanging out with the California gang: we’re all home owners. In San Francisco, it was more about the many of us being jealous and envious of the few home owners in the bunch; trying to maintain an air of delighted indifference to the privileges and lifestyle differences of the home owners in the crowd whilst at the same time being incredibly jealous and disinterested in that part of their lives.

Today, David and I hung out in Charlotte with a dozen of the friends I’ve made there, all of whom, to the best of my knowledge, are fellow home owners. When the crowd shares that trait in common, it’s amazing how many new conversational dynamics exist, and how much more casual and comfortable everyday discussions of everyday life can be: no one has to feel quite like the reluctant elitist or guilty rich boy. Everyone can just be themselves.

In other words, it’s nice that home ownership here is the province of the many rather than the few. I know many San Franciscans don’t think they’re missing out on anything because they would miss many of the other aspects of the city if they were home owners in North Carolina as opposed to renters in San Francisco. Still, I guess I score coz I can be both for now.

On Becoming Polite Company…

Posted in Friends on April 28th, 2008 by Дмитрий

I have been a caustic git for many a year - most of you have followed this right here in these pages.

But I’ve noticed some gradual change in the last year, I think. Whilst I still slip and make the odd political-ideological comment now and then, one of the reasons that the absolute frequency of my entries has slipped in the past year or so is that I have tended to use this journal as a forum for getting things off my chest. Thus what was here was the pissiest and whiniest of possible Mes.

My desire to spout off politically has dwindled significantly of late. Also my desire to piss on those with whom I disagree and comment on subjects about which I have strong views has taken a nose-dive. It’s not been a conscious decision, just a gradual progression.

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Mystery Munchies

Posted in Regrettable Food, Travel on May 3rd, 2008 by Дмитрий

Waiting for my plane this morning I picked up a snack at the airport. I think it tasted good, but I tossed it away after a few bites, when I realized that the manufacturer obviously had no idea what the hell was in it:

But by golly, at least the mystery treat was bagged in the good ol’ USA!

Mmm… Juice Salad…

Posted in Travel, Work on May 16th, 2008 by Дмитрий
What has your host been up to these past two weeks, you ask?

Lots of stuff, you will soon discover - and unfortunately using the internet was not among them as much as I would have liked. Read on to know my dramas and tribulations of recent…

So, as I’m sure many of you know I lost my old apartment in the Richmond back in January, and relocated to a place in the Outer Sunset.

Big mistake.

The new place was nice and modern and comfortable. My roommates were not bothersome - much. Except for the fact that one of them left in late March - the one with the Comcast internet account. No big deal - everyone can get internet now, right?

Oh, and I had my smart phone in the meantime and could use it to tether to my Mac, right? Wrong - it’s not compatible with Macs owned by non-Unix Geniuses. But I could still just use my phone browser as a stop-gap, right? Wrong - there is absolutely no cell signal in that little slice of hell sandwiched between Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach. Well, I could at least manage for as long as it takes to establish a new Comcast account, right? Wrong - the internet-subscribed roomie had left without paying his bill and Comcast would not establish service to the apartment again unless I came in with ID and a copy of the lease to prove that I was not him and that I lived there. Of course, I was not on the lease and there was no lease because I was renting from the owner of the condo. At the very least I could just hook up a phone line and get some DSL or dial-up from AT&T, right? Wrong - because the wiring in the place was so wonky, AT&T could not install a phone line to any specific room in the unit - if I wanted a specific room they would have to send a technician out to do the set-up while I was home - something that’s very hard because I work 10 hour days with a one hour commute each way when I’m in San Francisco, and AT&T technicians obviously do not, since they will only make appointments in windows ranging from 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm (both of which you know they’d probably be late for). Oh, and I would also have had to pay a $200 set-up fee for the privilege of meeting said technician (yes, they are all supposed to be that hot).

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Is it Manager of Business Analytics or Business Analytics Manager?

Posted in Travel, Work on May 17th, 2008 by Дмитрий

So what does one do when one has six hours on ones hands at the Philadelphia airport after missing ones flight home? One talks about career ideas…

So I’ve been at another low-point in my job lately. The fact is that I’ve been working my ass off harder than I ever remember and seem to be less appreciated than ever as well, mainly because of the combination of taking over for someone who is going on maternity leave, so no one really notices that I’m doing more work - they don’t notice because I’m just doing more.

Then there’s the fact that, after being boss-less for four months we finally hired a new boss for me, who has been a real slave driver getting himself up to speed on the company - no small feat with such a fast changing company in the tech sector. He’s probably going to be really good for the company, but it’s just been a pile of crud I don’t need on top of everything else.

There’s the fact that I’ve been on a 75%+ travel arrangement since January and now they’re saying I’m still not in SF enough. I can agree in terms of needing to be there a lot when taking over temporarily for a middle manager who is going on a maternity leave, but they seem to think that doing things like budgeting and and forecasting and financial modeling require tons of face-to-face contact with people, when in fact all they really require is an intensive knowledge of the systems from which the data needs to be pulled. I’ve got the latter but they insist on the former. So for the foreseeable future I’m in San Francisco pretty close to full-time; I’ll be taking long weekends every couple weeks at home, but otherwise engaged in SF. It’s good I’ve solved the housing crisis there, I guess (I hope).

A ray of hope was introduced in the sense that my role is obviously being considered intensively by my new boss as well, as he took me aside on Wednesday wanting to discuss my career direction/desires - something that always makes me feel better anyway, since it shows I’m not just seen as a worthless worker bee. He said he wanted to give me a new title and start moving me out of the Managerial role in the Accounting department and better use my knowledge of the business to be his personal “get shit done” person. I’m happy with this direction - I just hope that it can eventually lead to a real transition out of this heavy on-site schedule. I need to really consider this current arrangement the last sprint at the end of the marathon, and start thinking of contingencies and plans for the aftermath.

Regardless, if you’re up for breakfast in Charlotte in about seven or eight hours (9am-ish), I’m hoping to land and make David take me for munchies somewhere yummy. Feel free to call me if you want to join in.

iTunes at Mid-Nite

Posted in Mac, Naughty, Travel on May 17th, 2008 by Дмитрий

There really is something just sort of cool-sp00ky-creepy about sitting in an airport at 3am, playing on the internetz and then opening iTunes and seeing the three other people in the terminal who are also obviously doing the same thing, and then snooping through their iTunes library to see what sort of screwed-up tastes they have… And realizing they might be doing the same.

…And then remembering that I’ve got about 30 porn movies in my iTunes library…


Posted in Travel on May 17th, 2008 by Дмитрий

Airports can sure be cold at 4am when you’re wearing shorts, which were necessary just a few hours ago when you were stuck in a tin can with 200 other people on a runway in San Francisco, which was having its worst heat wave ever at the time.


Posted in Travel on May 21st, 2008 by Дмитрий

Atlanta is a very nice city with a very nice airport, filled with the laziest-assed people on Earth. They reallyneed some of those “walk to the left, chill to the right” signs in the walkways and escalators. You’d think no one had ever had a tight connection…

Birthday Time!

Posted in Family, San Francisco on June 14th, 2008 by Дмитрий

Wow, has it really been three weeks?

In that time, I’ve moved house in SF to my new room in Hayes Valley, mostly by the benevolent help of my buddy Jaime and her Pontiac Firebird convertible. So far, I’m incredibly happy with my new 26-hour long days.

If you’re in San Francisco on the 27th (Friday) - and it being Pride Weekend (Week? Month? Decade?), you must be incredibly masochistic to be - you should join me at the Bullshead in West Portal for my 31st birthday bash at 8.30pm.

Try to give me a heads-up if you’re coming in case it looks like I need to do reservations or anything.

All I want for my birthday this year is for no one to die. But other party favors will be accepted graciously as well.


Posted in Mac on July 12th, 2008 by Дмитрий

Like a lemming, I bought an iPhone yesterday. Unlike a lemming, I didn’t have to wait in line for it. Rather than take time off work to spend hours in line for several days being repeatedly told they’re out of stock on the 16-Black (Apple being notorious for creating intentional supply-chain problems to generate “hype” through false scarcity), I just placed a special order with my local AT&T store and will be getting my phone at my leisure a week or so from now. I can then go into the store a few minutes before closing on the day of my choosing, and the only like I’ll have to wait in is the checkout like, if there is any (which is unlikely).

But I must say I am looking forward to having one device to act as my phone, iPod and voice recorder for my language lessons. Yay for multi-function fun!

iPhone Verdict

Posted in Mac on July 31st, 2008 by Дмитрий

There is lots of digital drool going around about all sorts of ‘problems’ with the iPhone. I just don’t get it.

Yaw, there are some things that the iPhone could theoretically do that it doesn’t. There’s also lots of stuff that most politicians could theoretically do and don’t. The key is recognizing when then things at least do lots of stuff they didn’t do before.

The iPhone kicks ass pretty much in every way imaginable. And this is coming from someone who for the past year has been using a zippy 3G SmartPhone with a web browser and a keyboard and a 2-megapixel camera. If iPhone can impress me, I don’t understand why it can’t impress Joe Mobile who just ditched his crappy monochrome Samsung clamshell.

Basically, iPhone is quite possibly the coolest, most satisfyingly wonderful electronic device I’ve ever purchased.

I’m only ‘sort of’ a gadget person. By this I mean that I likes my gadgets but I don’t necessarily have to always be on the ‘cutting edge’, and I’m usually happy waiting for new technology to be tried out on those with heftier means than I. Thus I went iPhoning at iteration two rather than last year at 1.1. This was done, actually, not just because I did not want to pay to be market research, but also because the month prior to iPhone’s release I’d been forced into the Windows Mobile world (and a 1 year contract) by work. It was nice that it coincided though, coz it made me feel better about holding off on my iPhone splurging.

The thing is like a powerful, beautiful little computer with the most robust audio conferencing software in the world built in, with no attachments required to operate it. iPhone is truly Apple’s Coup de Gras and they deserve everything the hype machine is throwing at them. Not sure they deserve all the whining and complaining that seems more ubiquitous than the praise, but I assume it’s bound to happen. Happleheads are are fickle bunch.

Home for the Festivities

Posted in Family on August 10th, 2008 by Дмитрий

44 years ago today the best thing in the world Happened. Happy Birthday, hubby.


Posted in Russophilia on August 11th, 2008 by Дмитрий

Doesn’t anyone in this country realize that something seriously grave and important is happening in the Caucuses? Russia and Georgia are at war, and it’s getting even less than the scantily-covered American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan right now. Regardless of who or which side began the current aggressions, the fact remains that a couple months ago the US was actively pursuing membership into the NATO alliance of Georgia. Under the terms of the NATO treaty, this would have meant we would have been at war with Russia at this time.

I’m so sick of the persistent American need for a constant drip of militarism to keep its social cohesion alive. For years I’ve been watching as American administrations and politicians dive into the “problems” with Russia, consistently spouting a jingoistic lament at the “democratic deficits” and “authoritarian trappings” of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. All the while ignoring the fact that most of the elections in Russia in the past decade have been free and fair compared to anything that happened prior to them, and that regardless of the wisdom of specific policy decisions he may have made since taking office, Vladimir Putin has been the deftest handler of the Russian state in living memory and is easily the most popular Russian Leader in history.

America endeavors to clash with Vladimir Putin or to “contain” Russia at its peril. We need to look closer at the wider region and Russia’s ability to be an ally and stabilizing force, and stop letting balance-of-power rivalry lead us blindly to our doom. America risks the same decline Britain and Rome before it experienced: obsessed with leadership, we are spreading ourselves thin and failing to see the positive influence that can be had by letting other great powers manage their own near-abroad.

Georgia has been at war with Abkazia and South Ossetia for years. Trying to bring such a quagmire into the fold of NATO could prove fatal to the alliance. Trying to take sides in this current conflict would also be total folly for America. America must support the quickest end to the conflict that leaves the least casualties and then stay the hell out of the way. If that means accepting Russia as the governor and mediator of the matter, so be it (and I’m not the only one saying so). We need a strong, stable Russia that is at peace with its neighbors far more than we need the territorial integrity of Georgia. Besides, if we really cared about the territorial integrity of tiny European states, we would not have let stuff like this happen over the past 20 years…

The Fall of the House of Apple

Posted in Mac, Rants on August 13th, 2008 by Дмитрий

It’s been seven years since I bought my first new Mac. Over that time, I’m been a pretty intense Apple fanboy. For the first few years I was repeatedly amazed at the things Apple hardware and software enabled me to do that I didn’t even realize I wanted to do.

My oh my how times change. Just a couple weeks ago I wrote a missive about how pleased I was with the new iPhone. Now I must temper that enthusiasm with a sobering look at how Apple has changed, for the worse, since I started using the OS X suite of affiliated products seven years ago.

Let’s begin with my statement several sentences back: one thing Apple proved itself very adept at early on was opening new markets in useability. Not only did Apple make already-known application types easier to use, it offered up new applications and devices which created their own market. Its innovation was not necessarily in creating the Music-Computer linkup (it didn’t), but in making it usable and fun and creating an integrated and intuitive shopping cart on to of that application (iTunes). Apple’s innovation was not creating a digital music player, but scaling-down the feature set and user interface to make people actually want to use it all the time, and constantly adapting the hardware to complement their own music software, not to mention obtaining a market share which quickly dragged disparate industry interests together and forced them to come up with a new digital music market paradigm.

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The South Braces for Russian Invasion of Atlanta…

Posted in Russophilia on August 14th, 2008 by Дмитрий

Yep, Georgia’s quaking in it’s boots. This should solve the recruitment problems in the US army, I suppose, since so many rednecks are thoroughly convinced that the Russkies are marching on Atlanta.

As someone else noted, “Russophiles know they live in the matrix; Russophobes think they’re free and laugh at the poor Russians, not realizing that they’re laughing at their own ugly reflections.”

Never a better analogy, really - the idea of ‘acceptance’ took a long time for me. These days I like to think of myself as post-ideological. My Russian teacher often told me how she never liked capitalism because she equated it with American militarism/imperialism (a too-close-too-home similarity to what made her leave Russia in the first place). I told her America would be great - if it were really a capitalist country.

In fact, no philosophical ideal as detailed in the text of a great thinker has ever really impressed itself onto a state that has actually existed on this Earth. They try, but it’s always a bastardization, whether you’re talking about Von Mises capitalism superimposed on the pork-barrel state of America or Marxist communism warped into Stalin’s slave state.

The key is realizing that neither philosophers nor statesmen have yet figured out how to talk to each other - states are designed to impose a political order, not a philosophy, and philosophers are designed to develop ideology, not policy.

Worst Case Screnario

Posted in Russophilia on August 17th, 2008 by Дмитрий

Anyone wanting a fairly straight-forward explanation of what’s going on in the Caucuses without having it filtered through the propaganda machines at either end of the current mainstream press should read this.


Posted in Mac on August 21st, 2008 by Дмитрий

Today whilst exploring some past entries and my hubby’s new databasy site, I discovered that in addition to being buggy, resource intensive, and producing ugly web pages, iWeb apparently enjoys randomly changing the URLs it generates. At the urging of David (and his recent ease at using his new php of choice), I have decided that I am going to make the movement off of iWeb a priority of this time.

iLife is now free to suck my unhip big one.


Posted in Uncategorized on August 25th, 2008 by Дмитрий

That was fast.

David got me up and running with WordPress this weekend and I’ve back-populated almost the whole past years’ entries so far. Easy, since the past year has been one of my least entry-intensive.

Please alert me to anything not working well.


Posted in Uncategorized on August 26th, 2008 by Дмитрий

So what is it with those stupid little napkins they give you on airplanes?

It’s not like they ever feed you anything so mouth-watering that you’re gonna drool all over yourself and need something to sop it up - the snacks you find on airplanes these days are invariably some dry, salty piece of industrial waste which disappears in less than a bite. And that’s the First Class meal.

Nor, I presume, would they truly believe that such a little scrap of a napkin could help you if you happened to spill your expired Coke or the cold, weak coffee they try to sell you for a dollar.

No, I can only assume that they expect you to retain the napkin as a treasured souvenir; or dab the bitter tear from your eye as you reminisce about the glories of air travel long past…

Six Years of Domestic Bliss

Posted in Family on August 31st, 2008 by Дмитрий

It’s hard to exactly call my current lifestyle domesticity, but it is a fact that I’ve been sharing it lock, stock and barrel for six years with the only person I ever found who I actually wanted to share it with.

Hopefully someday soon I can share even more of it, more often, with him.

They Don’t Care

Posted in Americana, Economics, Urbanism on September 4th, 2008 by Дмитрий

Quite often, sport boosters try to paint themselves as the epitome of civic pride: they love their team, they support their city. This is often the root argument when tempers flare over sport-facility-based redevelopment projects. “We love our Downtown and we want to make it livlier with our team”.

Would that it were true. The reality I’ve observed is more complicated. Most sport fans don’t exactly care one way or another which team they’re supporting - rather, they just want their stadium to be there so they have somewhere to take the kids, pick up chicks, eat junk food, or watch steroid-riddled humanoids engage in gladiatorial combat. Which colors the combatants are wearing and which city they hail from are largely incidental - otherwise the existence of a native son on the “local” team would be the rule rather than the vast exception.

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You Go, Herr Schro’

Posted in Russophilia on September 5th, 2008 by Дмитрий

A good interview with former German Chancellor Gerhardt Schroeder, which provides another good perspective that the mainstream media is simply failing to broadcast. An especially astute observation about why Russia matters to the West:

“I see Russia as part of Europe, more than as part of any other constellation…  And we in Germany and Europe should interpret this as an opportunity. Russia has an Asian alternative, but Europe does not. Besides, such a constellation does not necessarily have to lead to Europe distancing itself from the United States.”

Russia is a part of the European order, regardless of what Washington tries to claim to the contrary. Having Russia as a partner with our existing European allies would be far preferable to an estranges Russia that seeks better integration and partnership with Asia instead. The same could be argued about Latin America for the past couple decades - another issue that is falling by the wayside as successive American administrations repeatedly ignore the region as irrelevant (despite persistent growth and better global integration of all its consitituent economies).

I have said before that a McCain presidency would not bother me, but over the past few months I have changed my mind: he is trying to campaign as the war hero, here to save the country - as if it was still 12 September 2001 and we were all still reeling from some direct hit. What better target that poor wounded Russia, only now getting its strength back after two decades of abuse by the Western business-military-crime syndicates. He will certainly gain the old geezer vote, as millions of codgers who miss their cold war will cast a ballot in favor of starting a new one…

Good God.

Posted in Mac on September 11th, 2008 by Дмитрий

Does someone at Apple just sit around saying “how can we eliminate the best and most usable features of our software or make it buggier and more resource-intensive?”

iTunes took away the only view I used - album view. I loved that because I like list view but I also like to see the album covers (mainly so I can easily see which albums I’m missing covers for without having to lose the song details and still be able to sort by whatever field I choose).

I’m beginning to consider alternatives

Welcome to 2006!

Posted in Geekdom on September 13th, 2008 by Дмитрий

I’ve finally got this journal caught up to the same point at which I’d caught up my iWeb site. Took me far less time and I actually like this much better and am still motivated to continue working on it.

Though, admittedly, I still have my two most prolific years left to update.


Posted in Uncategorized on September 14th, 2008 by Дмитрий

I have finished completely back-populating my old journal entries. I still have a lot of fixing to do in terms of formatting entries and removing the gawdawful crap that iWeb did to the text (and in some cases it’s affecting the WordPress stylesheets even), but that will take a bit longer to complete.

In the meantime, now I can start with real updates. Right…

Random Early Morning Monday

Posted in A Life More Boring, Health, Travel on September 22nd, 2008 by Дмитрий
  • Can someone remind me what it’s like not having to press the ‘pause’ button on my life for two weeks after every weekend I spend at home? I’ve forgotten.
  • Why is it that most of the nurses I see outside of Winston Salem’s two large institutional hospitals are either obese or smoking or both? Shouldn’t anyone taking the hippocratic oath be required to first apply it to themselves?
  • How many years you expect it will be until no one bothers washing their hands at public restrooms anymore due to the ubiquity of the non-functioning ‘motion sensor’ or ‘automatic’ faucets or soap dispensers or towel dispensers (not to mention those stupid blow dryers that pretty much do nothing but make your pants wet when you have to dry your hands on them)?
  • Asheville is sort of like a really pretty antique vase that you race to hold and admire, only to run away screaming once you realize it’s been filled with dog shit.

Slender Times for Cities

Posted in Americana, Economics, Urbanism on September 22nd, 2008 by Дмитрий

“Who’s Your City” asks Richard Florida in his new book. Yes, it’s another Richard-Florida-bashing screed from your favorite uncreative classless git.

I’m probably more guilty of committing these sort of ‘city hunting’ atrocities - described by Florida as the most important thing a person will ever do. I’m aware, however, that this habit of mine is unhealthy and I am rather alarmed that this master of the positive reinforcement of vices is encouraging more people to take the plunge and relocate, for the dubious and self-destructive reasons he cites as what cities ‘offer’ to their residents. Richard Florida, and many neo-urbanists of his ilk, are partaking too copiously in the bourgoise fantasy of the never-ending ephemeral city of leisure.

I’ve often wondered why the theory that economic booms and entrepeneurial originality could best arise in large, busy, ‘culturally rich’ cities held any water at all. My own observations of cities told me that they were filled mostly with debt-laden alcoholic youths and overgrown Peter Pans. I’ve always hated this, since I love looking at cities, I just hate being in them, or in any sort of proximity to the type of human beings that tend to congregate in them.

Lately, though, I think I am starting to understand the role of the city in economic growth and capitalism in the post-suburban world: it’s not that cities necessarily produce innovation or spark creativity; rather, it’s that the class of individuals who engage in entrepeneurial and creative work tend to both have a choice in where they live and they make that choice based on ephemeral desires revolving around what they plan to do with their leisure time.

Which begs the question: why do entrepeneurial businessmen and creative professionals travel? If they want to recreate at the corner bar or bistro, why do they need a Mini Cooper to escape the city in every weekend, or a nearby airport for that annual or semi-annual trip to the tropics? Why do they need to vacate when their chosen homes are so fucking edgy and engaging?

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Dark Age Ahead?

Posted in Economics on September 26th, 2008 by Дмитрий

Courtesy of Amber, a nice, easy-to-read overview of the stinky stuff happening on Wall Street

My Vote

Posted in Americana on September 26th, 2008 by Дмитрий

I’ve either gone psycho or come to my senses. Decide for yourself; but I really, really like Cynthia McKinney. She is the first politician I’ve heard that actually seems to be the anti-populist. Neither does she seem an idealogue.

Sure, there are certain general aspects to any Green Party policies that seem excessively statist without visiting the negative repercussions on civil liberties such ideas imbue, but I can forgive that for several concrete overriding reasons:

I must now decide whether to vote for her (probably by write-in since (practically speaking) NC does not allow third parties) or “waste” my vote on Obama. Do I go for the vote that will gain me the respect of my peers and the nebulous masses, or the vote that will gain me the respect of myself?

The San Francisco Armoury

Posted in San Francisco, Sods on September 28th, 2008 by Дмитрий

Ah… It’s nice that there’s someone putting money into this building - and a lot of it by the looks of the window treatments.

The Armoury was a place used by operative governments for the purpose of storing weapons that kill and maim people. But we, as free and enlightened sodomites, are taught to make use of the Armoury for the more noble and glorious purpose of teaching present and future generations the wonders of BDSM.