Monday, August 25, 2008

Buyer's remorse?

One thing I am absolutely certain of is that Hillary Clinton wouldn't sit by and let a weak Republican candidate run his pickup truck all over her campaign.

September is almost here. Drop the freaking hammer already. Sheesh.

Friday, August 15, 2008

New Used Laptop

As it turns out, I'm going to be inheriting someone's laptop this weekend. This makes three computers for a household of two. The question is: what do I do with it? I'm thinking that I'll format the hard disk and turn it into a Linux machine. I'll then dedicate it purely to internet and minor word processing. Hopefully, the newly uncluttered hard disk will keep the computer fast.

I was previously thinking about doing the same to one of the two laptops that we already have, but I was too lazy to sort through and back up the data on the hard disk. Now I can completely bypass that potential hassle by working on computer #3.

Before going through with any of this, does anyone have any other suggestions of what I can do with a potentially creaky computer? Am I getting the most out of the computer with a format/Linux install?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Speaking of Chinese accomplishments...

Hobs forwarded this over to me. A nice interface I think for my Popo's favorite piece of art. It doesn't look like it at first, but it's a great segue for testing whether or not her grandchildren remember World War II.

I'm trying to find those one-wheel carriage things I keep hearing about.

Olympic Fever

Much of the world is currently in the throes of Olympic fever. The pageantry, the athletics, and of course, watching your country in the medal race.

But, you know what? I'm just not that interested.

I'm sure part of this is my anti-China bias. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that I've lost interest in the Olympics more generally. The jingoism gets to me for one. And then there's the fact that my youthful dream of being an Olympic swimmer will never come to pass (although the 41-year old athlete with two kids is making me reconsider this).

But I've been far more interested and concerned with the war between Georgia and Russia than I am with Team America, Team China, or Team Korea (which is surprisingly high in the early medal count right now - good for them).

Anyway, I want to call your attention to this article. Tim Wu discusses the non-Chinese media (I refuse to call it Western because, let's be frank, this kind of coverage isn't limited to just the "West") and whether it's being too harsh on China.

Now, I agree with much, if not all, of what he's saying. Just because the Chinese have put in a lot of hard work to prepare for the Olympics doesn't mean it should be immune from criticism, particularly if all that hard work was geared towards cleaning up their treatment of laborers, minorities, or the environment. And as a good friend of mine said, if China wants to be a leader on the world stage, it's got to be able to accept the criticism. Just because you're great doesn't mean you're faultless, and it's perfectly legitimate for people to point out your faults (they do it all the time to the U.S., EU, and Russia. Indians do it to themselves.)

However, I think there's also something to the Chinese complaint. It's difficult to separate legitimate criticism from a wider cultural disdain, but I think some of the reporting falls into that. Of course, there is the gap between Chinese expectations and everyone else's reporting, driven in many ways by the high expectations that the CCP set for both itself and the rest of the world. But, while I may dislike China, I think our criticisms must be tempered with this recognition of all its people have accomplished in the past 30 years (as well as being mindful of all its people destroyed in the 30 years before that).

The criticism is getting tied up with the jingoism, and I draw a line there. It's fine to point out (massive) faults in the system and history, but the arguments are stronger (and sometimes more chilling) if they're grounded in a more rational assessment of the country.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I own too many books, y'know?

I missed a chance to post not-filler. Alas.

Also, now that I recognize scenery music so often used on This American Life as being from Philip Glass's score for Mishima--a fact both obvious and unexpected--I can't hear it without picturing someone committing seppuku.

And because I want it on dvd and when I think of Glass I think of Nyman and I was on youtube, Prospero's Books: