Life, Reloaded

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Sitting on my ass in the snow is theraputic. I can feel the snow hitting the back of my jacket, and as I peer over the rims of my goggles I see the mountain dive into the village below, surrendering to gravity, pressure and time.

I hear the wind, metal and fiberglass on ice, creaks of the lift and trees groaning as they grip the earth with their wooden hands. I see children with their parents, lovers, married couples, grandpas and grandmas, all dressed up — puffy versions of who they really are.

And in my frozen state the rest of the world is actually melting away in its own light. I stand up, twist, and shoot down the mountain.

Problems slowly condense in my mind and slide out. With each cut in the snow my knees weaken but my heart beats faster, my face pulses harder, and I find a little bit of myself with each pass. I look up the hill, I see Kelly, Kai, Kimo, Mom, and I pretend for a little while like this is everyday. This is every time.

It felt like home, for a little while.

Friday Night Fights at the Palace

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Ron Artest will be the first one to tell you that nothing was his fault. Ben Wallace overreacted, he’ll say. Big Ben didn’t like that he was down by 15 with 45 seconds left and took it the wrong way.

The fans, then, right? They shouldn’t be punching the 6’8″ black man trying to attack a fan. They shouldn’t throw food or drinks in disgust of the visiting team’s tirade into the stands. Or maybe that one white guy shouldn’t be throwing a beer onto Artest as he acts like a smartass by sprawling out on the scorer’s table during a scuffle he was basically responsible for starting.

After watching what is probably the biggest brawl in NBA history, I think to myself – who caused it? Having watched the whole thing, I think it’s very simple.

When you’re up by 15, and a guy gets an open dunk, there is no reason to intentionally foul him from behind. Ben Wallace knows this. Ron Artest knows this. The fans knew this. That was bullshit, and everyone knows it. The ensuing fight was quelled, everyone was calm, all is well, right?

Wrong. I do not know what prompted Artest to lay down on the scorer’s table. In a way it’s him flicking off the fans, Detroit, the officials, etc. He basically started it. It’s like the kid hiding in the bushes as he laughs and watches the house he lit on fire burn down. Hell yeah he deserves to get his ass whooped.

What is tragic here is the embodiment of an eye-for-an-eye on national TV. Beer thrown + Fan = Right to assault someone. Is that fair? In the heat of the moment that is how they all justified themselves. It is just wrong.

And I have to listen to assholes like Tim Legler saying it was the fan’s fault. Yea – maybe the fans were out of line – but you have to remember Artest, man. This guy left his team to go make a rap album, he led the league in flagrant fouls last year and will probably lead it this year. The guy is a dirty player and on top of that he doesn’t care about his own team.

Ben Wallace? He has big hair. And that’s not even a bad thing. The guy is a nice guy, real humble, youngest kid in his household of 8, raised by his mama and had no father. Does he get upset when someone like Ron Artest comes into his house and fouls him on purpose with a 15 point lead and 45 seconds left? I sure as hell would.

In the end, the league will survive, life will go on, people will forget. I hope people don’t get all terror-crazed at NBA arenas because of an isolated incedent. Soon we’ll see barbed wire between players and fans.

Artest will probably get a slap on the wrist, but he should really be banned from the league.

Monday Night Hypocrisy

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Janet Jackson could tell you that the majority of the TV-viewing public is a little sensitive. Give them an excuse to cry about something and it’ll cost you a good 500 large.

The FCC and other Christian coalitions across the globe have been saving America’s youth for some time now. We owe them everything. Thanks to them, tonight’s viewing audience will see no nudity and only hear censored language.

Meanwhile, vanity, fear, greed, dishonesty, violence, hatred, racism, sexism, any other -ism — it is all out in the open on MTV and the WB. Teen pregnancy, sex in high school, hate crimes, terrorist threats, eating disorders. All available in vivid HDTV and Surround Sound.

In the spotlight, our youth are slowly being poisoned by many things heavier than language or sexuality. They are weighed down by negligent or – even worse – oppressive parents. They are told what to watch, hear, think, believe.

Are we raising a generation of free thinkers? Does hiding the breast of an african american woman really have any effect? No. It really doesn’t.

TO’s skit on Monday Night Football doesn’t really amount to much either. How about stop focusing so much on sports and TV bullshit and start paying more attention to bigger things?

Like, say – the presidency would be a good place to start. How about the overabundance of bigotry, ignorance and apathy that courses through the veins of the red states? How about civil rights, economic well-being, diplomacy, peace or justice?

Some of the good thoughts are really the bad ones, and the bad ones? Well – they are just bleeped out.

download.mozilla.org

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Most great things in life are silent and intangible. In many ways, the backend support for communities like the Firefox Community can be so subtle; so easy to miss unless something is going wrong. After a long day, the server group of the Mozilla community showed why it is so important. I developed an appreciation for how much people seemed to care about and recognize the importance of the release of Firefox 1.0.

I saw server admins up past midnight working on getting things prepared for the onslaught. Communication and teamwork are what held things together. It was great to see such unity in a time where many of us stand divided and in search of our sense of brotherhood.

I saw Scott doing everything he could to help, setting up boxes left and right. I saw Dave and Myk working all night babysitting the servers. I saw myself staying up until 3am working on version 2.0 of a mirror managing tool I wasn’t sure anyone would use. And no, I didn’t need caffeine – I had motivation from everyone else who was doing the same damn thing.

Around 2pm things were looking bleak. Load was increasing, memory was disappearing and the pressure was on. Scott and I had worked so hard on the mirror management app — it was ready to go. It was made for this very reason. We had a great box to run it, load-tested code, and finally — the need.

It took off — Plan B was in effect. And there it was — our app — handling hundreds of thousands of requests — redirecting users to Firefox to rediscover the web. Between 2pm and 5pm it handled nearly 200,000 download requests.

It was awesome to see that we actually made a big difference. The app helped the main mirrors stabilize by dividing load evenly across the other 18 mirrors that were still up. Eventually things stabilized and requests kept coming in. DMO handled it nicely. It felt so good just to help out.

And sure — the system isn’t perfect. The servers, they might need work. Maybe the infrastructure needs a little tweaking. But we have good people, good minds and hearts. We try to do what is right. We think. We adjust. We admit mistakes. We learn. We step forward. We fail. We get up. We struggle more. We still stand tall. We grow.

You know – Firefox 1.0 is just a program. It lets people see into their world, and from that world they learn about themselves; they find answers. In a way, helping the project, helping the foundation, it let me see into myself, into the people I worked with, into that same world.

What did I see? Well, I saw something that looked unfamiliar in today’s red-blue age.

I saw hope. That was my motivation.

Bouncing mirrors, too much chocolate and beer pong

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November 9th marks the release of Firefox 1.0. When the product is released Mozilla will experience server demands never before seen. Everybody will be trying to get 1.0 at the same time, and dividing the load between as many mirrors as possible becomes much more important at times like this.

I have been working on a project for the past month or so to help with this. Using PHP, Apache, MySQL and Perl me and a couple of developers have created a mirror management application to allow for management and logging of mirror usage depending on load and bandwidth capabilities. The app redirects user requests based on a fairly simple mirror weighting system. Using a simple admin interface, mirrors can be re-weighted, disabled or added. It also provides for management of products and file locations. An accompanying “sentry.pl” pings all mirrors for the availability of data and updates the database accordingly.

It’s been fun – there will be more coming regarding statistics, the addition of versioning and reporting features using jpgraph. We’ll see how it goes. Remember, don’t forget to grab Firefox!

This weekend I went to a tailgater and bought way too many chocolate bars for s’mores. That was funny. What the hell am I going to do with 4 pounds of Hershey’s? Damn you Costco why are you so awesome?

After the BBQ, my buddy and I rediscovered the ancient sport of beer pong. Beer pong is played using a ping pong table and two cups. Each cup shoudl be filled 3/4 of the way with high-quality Pabst Blue Ribbon. You score points by hitting the cups, after which your opponent is penalized 1 drink. If you get the ping pong ball into your opponent’s cup, he has to finish all his beer. We played for a while, and it was so fun my face hurt from laughing. For some reason I don’t remember who won.

Beer pong rules.

4 More Years of the Same Shit

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To my deep disappointment, Bush was re-elected today. I fear for the well-being of our nation more now that I ever did before.

Ironically, for each bomb that drops, we feel safer but in reality we should actually be more scared of retaliation. The aggressive and non-cooperative diplomacy of the Bush administration destroys our global image and only increases the power of our enemies.

How much longer can we ignore the possibility of an equal and opposite reaction to our tyrannical acts? We invaded a country in retaliation for something it was not responsible for against the wishes of the world and completely destroyed it. We lied about why, cover up how bad it is there, and insist on deferring blame for our mistakes. Where will we go from here? How will we progress without change? Where is our leadership? How can this be happening?

Our leader, our country, our congress — do they believe true equality or justice for our own people? They seem more interested in equality among heterosexuals, Christians or whites but not all people of all faiths or affiliations. I do not find it suprising that we lack the same compassion on a global scale.

My hopes and dreams lie with the supreme court and the strength of the constitution. The democracy we hold dear is in jeopardy unless checks and balances can keep our current conservative regression from de-evolving our society 50 years. The legality of imposing religious beliefs such as the pro-life paradigm and marriage must be challanged. Congress needs to reduce the power of the president through legislation and strong leadership in order to prevent the destruction of our social infrastructure.

Ultimately, without justice there can be no peace. We are in many wars because we are not fair to our brothers and sisters both in our own nation and others.

Today is a sad day for America. We have witnessed nationally our lack of education, ignorance, complacency and bigotry. It almost makes me want to pray.

If we don’t reclaim our principles of justice and equality, all is lost..