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You didn't have to say a word,
  I could just tell what this was.
    This was all just a waste of time,
      and you'll never love me. What a waste.

 

Earlier tonight I went and saw a movie with a fairly good friend of mine. She's been my friend for a little over a year now, and she's a great person. I really liked her. I always have since I've known her, the last 13 or so months. And I still do.

It's pretty much been on and off with her, for myself. I always did like her, but there were times when I would just forget about it for a bit. As well, there were times when all I could think about was her. Every thought in my head had her name somewhere in it. I thought I was going to go insane. She never really liked me in the same way though. Twice told me I wasn't her type and wouldn't go out with me, but for whatever reason I persisted. There lies the problem.

But the last few weeks, for whatever reason, I was confident. I thought that maybe something could happen soon in time. I persisted further, called her more, talked to her more, got together with her more. I thought, at that point, things between me and her were the best they ever were. I don't think I'm wrong, I just think I was thinking too highly.

Just tonight though, there was something about this particular time and how it went. Something -- not even what she said or how she acted -- brought me back to reality; told me that, just as always, she wasn't interested in me and never would be. Had I been wasting my time? Should I have not been so confident, even so briefly? Do I try and forget about her forever? Do I...

...no, it doesn't matter what I do.

First against the wall when the revolution comes...

So I guess it's finally true: lyrics nodes are on the way out.

Not that we didn't see it all coming. I didn't expect it to be a voluntary removal, but I knew it would happen some day, so I didn't get overly excited when I heard about the new policy. I had been anticipating the time when my lyrics writeups would have to stand on their own, without the material they were referencing, and I expected many of them would require additional work. I also imagined we would get some sort of thanks for editing our own works -- some small acknowledgement that the value of our previous transcription work was not simply being nullified.

So I was a little bothered by the explanation we were given in E2 Copyright Changes. "Noders who aspire to become professional writers" are now apparently the favored group in the community, with the implication that anyone who happens to like reading the lyrics to their favorite song is not one of the "talented people." This is in contrast to the traditional opinion of lyrics writeups among the users, which always seemed to be positive, or at least tolerant (My own 24-odd nodes which feature lyrics or other material not written by me have a combined rep of +460/-66, keeping in mind I have had at least two systematic downvoters in the two years I've had this account. I love you guys.)

But we always knew this was the playground of the gods, and that we were just borrowing it for a while. Now e2 is "a writer's site for writers." So be it. There doesn't seem to be any point in putting additional work into my previous contributions. To quote Toasterleavings:

Fact: Do not expect me to keep being here cause I am already gone.


Peace.


(Do msg me you thoughts, and no, when the time comes, I won't let the door hit my ass on the way out.)

Dear E2,

Although I left you some time ago, and am still very cross at how our relationship turned out - I remember you, and the pasion and excitement that you brought to my life.

me

Quit putting a goddamn dollar sign on every fucking thing on this planet!

-- Bill Hicks



I don't like business. I detest marketing. I can't stand marketing people. I loathe anything calling itself a sales staff. I hate adspeak. I deplore radio and television commercials, billboards and busboards, junk mail, circular flyers, telemarketers and phone surveys, product placement in movies and television, and perhaps most of all, I despise spam.

I mean, really. I've either reported or filtered all the email spam I've received since 1996. Currently, I filter half of it so that I don't have to deal with it, and I analyse and report the other half, which, because of unintelligible subject lines and bunk email addresses, I can't filter. That amounts to about 30 spams per day that don't get filtered. Many, many more are filtered, and by my reckoning I receive about 100 spams each day. Those spams that get through are subjected to header dissection and are then forwarded to whatever admin or abuse email addresses I can find in whois, ARIN, RIPE, APNIC, and/or LACNIC, plus whatever I can find referenced in the abuse.net abuse directory lookup. Because I don't admin the network I access the net from, I can't filter all this shit out of my mail at the DNS level.

The worst part about it all is that IT NEVER ENDS.

If anything, spam has been increasing during the past couple of years. I recently read somewhere (I think it was The Register) that the total amount of spam sent in July 2003 exceeded the total amount of spam sent in 2001 altogether. That's a mind-bogglingly large amount of spam. And it just keeps coming and coming. For every spammer I complain to an abuse department about, a hundred more show up. I'm aware that it's mostly the same few dozen people (Alan Ralsky, Bernard Balan, Super Zonda, Eddy Marin, etc.) behind most of the spam, but how they keep getting so many underlings to work for them is truly amazing, in the fact that so many clueless or unscrupulous people are willing to send the stuff. Honestly, they can't expect to do well trying to sell illegal Viagra substitutes, penis enlargement pills, fake university diplomas, cable television descramblers, porn, or get rich quick schemes, can they? I'd like to think that I'm not giving too much credit to the average person, but I guess if it wasn't profitable to market those things to average people, they probably wouldn't be doing it, despite the glee they seem to derive out of annoying people.

Not forgetting, of course, the staggering number of open proxy servers available to spammers, the fleet of unsecured SMTP servers and open relays that they need, that keep popping up as well. Based on the spam I receive and analyse, there isn't a single secure SMTP server or closed proxy to be found anywhere in Korea. China, on the other hand, is merely a front for spammers -- the Chinese government thinks it brings business, however shady, from Americans wanting a network to send their spam through, that won't ever go down. The national Chinese network (chinanet.com.cn) has not, as far as I've ever heard from anyone I know or anyone that posts to news.admin.net-abuse.email, ever responded to a complaint. No indeed! Their abuse@ and postmaster@ addresses regularly bounce whatever emails they receive. That same Register article indicated that 60% of spam this year has come from Chinese servers, mostly in the Chinanet netblock. Other antispammers I've known have taken to blocking the entire netblock of IP addresses in China, Korea, and Brasil, from whom another large amount of spam originates. I'd be doing the same thing if I had control over my ISP's DNS.

Of course, the primary source of spam is the USA. It's just that most American spammers, forced out of countless internet services providers for spamming, get accounts with foreign ISPs because they're known to be spam-friendly.

I've spent seven years of my life trying to fight spam, but just like everybody else, I don't really get anywhere with it, apart from a minor victory here and there when an ISP lets me know that they've terminated a spammer's account. Abandoning the internet would put a stop to my own personal battle with spam, but that would be letting the spammers win. It would also leave me with junk postal mail and telemarketers to deal with instead of spammers.

I'm not much of an activist for any cause, although I will continue fighting spam for as long as I can sit up straight in my desk chair. It's just a tiny effort to make the world a better place, but a tiny effort is better than apathy.

"Hello, Jimmy."

"Good afternoon, Mrs. McCorkle."

"My, what a lovely toy fire engine you have there."

"Yeah, isn't it great?" he said holding it up for her to see.

"It looks just like the one David was playing with yesterday."

He quickly turned sideways, positioning the truck as far from her as he could without taking an actual step away from her. "But this is a different one from his."

"Really?", she said, arching an eyebrow at him, having spotted some writing that didn't look like "Jimmy" on the bottom as he turned. "Then, why does it say David on the bottom? It's really his firetruck, isn't it?"

"Well, yeah, I guess. But he wasn't using it," he added defiantly.

"Does he know you have it?"

"No, but he's in class right now, and this is my playtime, so I figured he wouldn't mind if I played with it for a while and put it back before lunch." It seem perfectly sensible to him, but the teacher looked unconvinced.

"So, you took it without asking. If you're using it and he didn't say you could, that's stealing, and you know it."

"But I was gonna put if right back," he protested. Why didn't she understand?

"That doesn't make it okay. Why don't you go put it back now - right now. Then come back here and we'll have a little talk about this."

"O-kay." He turned to go, dragging his feet, knowing he wasn't going to enjoy this. All of the sudden his foot caught on the carpet and he collapsed to the floor, landing on top of the toy, snapping the ladder off like a dry twig. He looked from the broken toy to his teacher and back. "I can still just put it back in his cubby, right?"

Mrs. McCorkle gave him a wan smile. "You stay right there. I'll go get David, so you can apologize. Then, you'll be having a talk with the principal."

While he waited Jimmy pondered how things could have gone so horribly wrong. Soon, he figured it out - it was all Mrs. McCorkle's fault: if she hadn't told him to put the engine back, he wouldn't have fallen on it and it wouldn't be broken now.


Addendum:
Before you go and msg me with an all-caps "Fuck You", take a minute to reread the FAQ in question. Read the whole thing. Ponder how we might claim copyright protection for our writing when we don't respect the copyrights of others.

If that doesn't give you sufficient pause, then try this second excercise.

Take the policy stated there, and apply it to each and every one of your wu's. Yes, I mean all of them. On one list put the writeups that are unaffected, on another put the ones that are affected. Odds are the first list is much longer than the second. Keep that in mind as you make for exit.

Next, for the ones that are affected, evaluate them for fair use. Honestly. Just treat them like someone else's writeup for a second and ask yourself, "Does this qualify as fair use?" If you think they do, check them off the list. Do the same for writeups where you've gotten permission from the copyright holder. These are in the clear, we're done talking about them.

Now, how many are left unchecked? Pretty small number, isn't it? Have you tried getting permission from the copyright holders on these? Lets say you have, and you were denied or (more likely) got no answer. Let me refer you back to the FAQ (emphasis is mine):

Since it ultimately comes down to the user's responsibility the user's word will be taken.

So, on the items that don't qualify for fair use, if you're so attached to them, why not just fucking lie and say you got permission!! At least then you're going all the way: lying and stealing.



Ooo, I gained a serial downvoter! Anyone else?

So I'm moving soon. And I've been moving soon for quite some time now. In fact I have an apartment 200 miles away; all my stuff is there, my wife, my cat, my TV. All but the computer, an incredibly uncomfortable hide-a-bed and about four days worth of closes which I keep washing. For weeks now I've wanted to write something about this. For weeks I've wanted to tell you all the news, I've wanted to log on and write, "I'm moving to Bellingham, WOOT!" ...but I can't...

They've known about this for over a year, you'd think they could've had things ready...

What's that? What the hell am I talking about? Oh, perhaps a little back story would be helpful. Since before I was married my wife has had a particular school picked out from which she wishes to acquire her formal education; Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia, the most expensive school in Canada. (That is what we've been told anyway, but it's not that big of a deal. I believe it still cheaper than in-state tuition at the University of Washington because Canada prefers to spend their tax revenue on education and health care instead of military power.) So when I was offered a long term project, my employers wanted to know my long term plans. I informed them that we would be moving near or across the border in the summer of 2003. And here we are...

For those of you that don't know, Bellingham, Washington is about 20 minutes from the Canadian border and about an hour from Vancouver (I'm going to be P_I's neighbor). It's such a pain in the ass to immigrate to Canada and getting a work visa (damned foreigners taking jobs away from hard working Canadian families) is quite difficult as well. Because of this, we decided to live in the United States and my wife will get to know the border guards on her daily commute.

This spring we started setting things in motion. It was May that we discussed it again, I told them now was the time for a decision. I could document the work I had done, back out of the project and seek employment elsewhere. But the investment of training dollars and the quality of work I've been able to turn out over the last year an a half was appreciated enough to motivate them into retaining my services, regardless of the fact that there's no office in Bellingham. I will be working from home. I will be moving into a new position, it's a promotion and a little more money, a new boss, and lots of paper work to get through. "July 1st," I told them. (And what's the date today?)

People, my friends, family and my co-workers, keep asking me when I'm leaving. "Soon," is all I can tell them. "Soon," is all I've been able to tell them for some time now. Today I've had six people ask me why I'm still here, "Because those fucking idiots are taking their sweet time about getting things done!" I want to scream at the top of my lungs but all that comes out is a wimpy little shrug and a sorrowful, "I don't know." My (current) boss today jokingly asked me when I was going to give my two-weeks notice. I told him I had: a month and a half ago. I want to be able to tell my family, "I'll be leaving on [insert date here]." But I don't know. It could be tomorrow. It could be next month.

So I'm moving soon. I'll probably go back to my empty house tonight and play Star Wars Galaxies until it's time to go to toss and turn myself to sleep on that hide-a-bed o' discomfort. If there's one thing I've learned out of all of this, it's that I really miss my wife, and that's a good thing.

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