Twenty Months Later

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Twenty months. Imagine that. It’s been that long since I wrote anything on this site. It’s amazing to think I started this blog a little over 6 years ago, and almost two of those years was left without writing a single thing (at least on here). I’ve since upgraded my wordpress version to the latest one — the update to end all updates apparently. The new versions can automatically upgrade themselves without the need to FTP anything across, backup a database, and/or delete files manually. (At least that’s what I think I read.)

In the last two years, I’ve since discovered woodworking and how awesome it is especially if you have these Ariat Work Boots review 2016
. Most of my evenings are spent in the garage (which is now a balmy 1.6 C or 29 F) and is my new safe-haven. I can spend hours on hours in there getting lost in my work, forgetting to eat, and only stopping when I’m physically and mentally so tired I end up making costly mistakes. So far, none of those costly mistakes have resulted in amputation — thank God!

.NET Color to Hex Code

There are times (many) that a .NET developer needs to use the web-iversal Hex code for a color as opposed to the pretty-named Microsoft palette. I can’t begin to count the times I’ve needed a simple Hex code for LightSteelBlue, or LemonChiffon, or one of my favorites, Gainsboro. Hence, provided below, I’ve made a little table of all the .NET colors alongside a reference to the web Hex code equivalent. It’s ordered alphabetically. Hope it’s useful! It sure makes for a colorful post.

AntiqueWhite #FAEBD7
Aqua #00FFFF
Aquamarine #7FFFD4
Azure #F0FFFF
Beige #F5F5DC
Bisque #FFE4C4
Black #000000
BlanchedAlmond #FFEBCD
Blue #0000FF
BlueViolet #8A2BE2
Brown #A52A2A
BurlyWood #DEB887
CadetBlue #5F9EA0
Chartreuse #7FFF00
Chocolate #D2691E
Coral #FF7F50
CornflowerBlue #6495ED
Cornsilk #FFF8DC
Crimson #DC143C
Cyan #00FFFF
DarkBlue #00008B
DarkCyan #008B8B
DarkGoldenrod #B8860B
DarkGray #A9A9A9
DarkGreen #006400
DarkKhaki #BDB76B
DarkMagenta #8B008B
DarkOliveGreen #556B2F
DarkOrange #FF8C00
DarkOrchid #9932CC
DarkRed #8B0000
DarkSalmon #E9967A
DarkSeaGreen #8FBC8B
DarkSlateBlue #483D8B
DarkSlateGray #2F4F4F
DarkTurquoise #00CED1
DarkViolet #9400D3
DeepPink #FF1493
DeepSkyBlue #00BFFF
DimGray #696969
DodgerBlue #1E90FF
Firebrick #B22222
FloralWhite #FFFAF0
ForestGreen #228B22
Fuchsia #FF00FF
Gainsboro #DCDCDC
GhostWhite #F8F8FF
Gold #FFD700
Goldenrod #DAA520
Gray #808080
Green #008000
GreenYellow #ADFF2F
Honeydew #F0FFF0
HotPink #FF69B4
IndianRed #CD5C5C
Indigo #4B0082
Ivory #FFFFF0
Khaki #F0E68C
Lavender #E6E6FA
LavenderBlush #FFF0F5
LawnGreen #7CFC00
LemonChiffon #FFFACD
LightBlue #ADD8E6
LightCoral #F08080
LightCyan #E0FFFF
LightGoldenrodYellow #FAFAD2
LightGray #D3D3D3
LightGreen #90EE90
LightPink #FFB6C1
LightSalmon #FFA07A
LightSeaGreen #20B2AA
LightSkyBlue #87CEFA
LightSlateGray #778899
LightSteelBlue #B0C4DE
LightYellow #FFFFE0
Lime #00FF00
LimeGreen #32CD32
Linen #FAF0E6
Magenta #FF00FF
Maroon #800000
MediumAquamarine #66CDAA
MediumBlue #0000CD
MediumOrchid #BA55D3
MediumPurple #9370DB
MediumSeaGreen #3CB371
MediumSlateBlue #7B68EE
MediumSpringGreen #00FA9A
MediumTurquoise #48D1CC
MediumVioletRed #C71585
MidnightBlue #191970
MintCream #F5FFFA
MistyRose #FFE4E1
Moccasin #FFE4B5
NavajoWhite #FFDEAD
Navy #000080
OldLace #FDF5E6
Olive #808000
OliveDrab #6B8E23
Orange #FFA500
OrangeRed #FF4500
Orchid #DA70D6
PaleGoldenrod #EEE8AA
PaleGreen #98FB98
PaleTurquoise #AFEEEE
PaleVioletRed #DB7093
PapayaWhip #FFEFD5
PeachPuff #FFDAB9
Peru #CD853F
Pink #FFC0CB
Plum #DDA0DD
PowderBlue #B0E0E6
Purple #800080
Red #FF0000
RosyBrown #BC8F8F
RoyalBlue #4169E1
SaddleBrown #8B4513
Salmon #FA8072
SandyBrown #F4A460
SeaGreen #2E8B57
SeaShell #FFF5EE
Sienna #A0522D
Silver #C0C0C0
SkyBlue #87CEEB
SlateBlue #6A5ACD
SlateGray #708090
SpringGreen #00FF7F
SteelBlue #4682B4
Tan #D2B48C
Teal #008080
Thistle #D8BFD8
Tomato #FF6347
Transparent #FFFFFF
Turquoise #40E0D0
Violet #EE82EE
Wheat #F5DEB3
WhiteSmoke #F5F5F5
Yellow #FFFF00
YellowGreen #9ACD32

Shakespeare Reader

I’d like to introduce my latest software creation: The Free Shakespeare Reader. What is it exactly? Does it read Shakespeare plays for you? No.

I suppose if you take the title literally, it’s a total misnomer. But, it’s too late to change it!

What my new application does, is it provides the user with all 38 of Shakespeare’s plays in a single application, with study aids like a play-notebook, word/paragraph counts, full-text searching, etc. All the plays are packaged into the application, so you don’t need an internet connection on your computer to access or search through any one of the plays. This is a handy and invaluable application for students and Shakespeare fans everywhere.

Best of all, it’s free. Just download it to any computer running Windows, execute the installer, and voila you have plasma cutter reviews, you’re done! (To uninstall, go to your control panel/add-or-remove programs, and select “shakespeareReaderInstaller”.)

For more info and some screen shots, visit this page. Hope you like it!

Download Link : Mirror 1 (ShakespeareReaderInstaller.msi)

Shakespeare Reader Screenshot

Obama, History

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This doesn’t feel real. An African American president?

I’m at home, sick with a cold, alone in bed with my laptop, and the road outside my window is all quiet. There are no cars going by. There are no children outside running around cat-calling. The television is off. But I can feel my own pulse beating off of my pillow.

What was it like when Martin Luther King Jr was shot? Or, when JFK gave his speech; or when he was shot? Watching those moments of history in archive footage, I often wonder what it would be like living in one. I sometimes think the moment must have been loud, and rattled the globe like an earthquake. And I always wonder what I would have done, or felt, in those giant moments in history.

Well, I feel like I just witnessed one of those moments last night on television. I kept pausing my mind, looking at myself listening, trying to snap-shot the moment in my head; believing I was actually listening live to a sound byte that will be heard over and over again for generations to come.

What a day, the next morning. It’s all quiet.

Paper can be folded to make things

One might assume that after, what, 7 years of college and with a majority of those classes involving a bit of writing, that one would finally grasp the idea that waiting to the last minute to write a paper is generally not a pleasant experience. Furthermore, one might assume that if this person did have a long paper to write, his/her free time would perhaps be better spent working on the paper rather than: sleeping 10 hours, checking email impetuously every 10 minutes, writing a post on a worn-out blog about said procrastination, considering purchasing the Firefly DVD set on that has since dropped in price, checking the status of 401K plan for future retirement in the summer of 2048, aimlessly following silly links of people doing silly things on Digg, and …

Alright, I suppose I should buckle-down and do some work; also, need to not think about presentation to class about said non-written paper for tomorrow. Will figure something out on ride over: thinking, magic trick, or “man trapped in invisible box” routine may be sufficient.

(Need also to remember to slap self on face for sounding too much like Bridget Jones on blog post.)

Pistachio Binge

Alright, that was stupid. I just came back from a long day of work and class; it was 9pm; and there was no food in the house except for a plastic bucket-like thing filled with pistachios. I think it’s easy to see where this is going. Yeah, I just ate about 5 pounds of pistachios in one sitting. I tell ya, it’s breaking apart the shells that gets me. Since you have to work a little to get to that tasty center, it all seems like a healthy cycle of toil and reward, toil and reward.

Not helping; Ugh, I think I’m going to be sick. Cancel all my appointments!

(What do you mean I don’t have any?)

Ha ha.. i was just jokeing…. i actually did some work and here we are. The ultimate paper shredder reviews by portablecnerd are up! Check them out!

Review: “We The Living,” by Ayn Rand

Review: “We The Living,” Ayn Rand (Book 34 of 100)

WE THE LIVING is a great and interesting novel—though to be frank, I wouldn’t necessarily place it on the all-time top 100 book list. My suspicion is that it landed on this list much the same way that 12 Charles de Lint novels did, or 4 L. Ron Hubbards: in a word, “obsession.” There is such a cult-following surrounding the works of Ayn Rand that label anything she’s ever produced as worthy of unquestioned acclaim. Admittedly, I have immensely enjoyed a few of her other works, particularly “The Fountainhead,” a book I read in High School—though not for any class.

How did it happen—my reading that novel? (What’s that? You didn’t ask? Pardon the rhetorical, it serves as a segue for my sharing.) Maybe 10 years ago, in a physics class, a girl named Jessica had said something to a group of people that I happened to overhear. She and a few of her dorky friends that were all in the same “AP English” class were commiserating together—and out loud of course. To be sure, they were a tedious pretentious posse of privileged, pretty girls: sometimes obsequious, sometimes sycophantic, but always hard to ignore. Jessica, the more gregarious alpha-prig of the group had dropped the mention of this novel to my ears for the first time, “The Fountainhead.” Of course, this wasn’t nearly enough persuasion to pick up the strange book for myself, but I remember to this day something she had said soon after that motivated me toward it. What she said was that her older sister had read the book before, and had claimed, “It changed her life.” What an assertion! My interest was immediately piqued. How a fiction novel can change someone’s life, this I had to see for myself. I immediately purloined a copy and dug right in.

After reading, “The Fountainhead,” I actually had to admit it: I think the book did change my life. It is a silly story, with frankly a dull plot, and often very unrealistic dialogue and circumstances, however, there is something laced within the pulp that may adjust your view on certain things. What those certain things are, I haven’t the slightest idea—which I realize is very unhelpful. But, that book, for certain, I really do recommend. Although, I suspect that that same profound effect the book had on me then, was probably augmented by my having still been in High School. Whether it would have a similar affect now—assuming I had never read it—I cannot say for certain, but I’m very willing to doubt it.

Having said that, and now realizing that I’ve said very little about my topic book, “We The Living,” I hope I’ve at least set the background to the extratextual associations surrounding the works of Ayn Rand in many lives, as well as my own, and also in large part to why her books are so sanctimoniously revered—regardless of their literary merit.

“We The Living” was Ayn Rand’s first novel, and like her later works, contains a layer on top of the narrative—best described only as spiritual—that is less substantial and often unrealistic—or perhaps, just Russian. The characters bleed emotion, and are incredibly complex. They engage in philosophical transcendental musings and acts that truly take place nowhere aside from the closed sphere of printed matter. One thing for certain, the book does offer an excellent first-person glimpse into the specifics of communist Russia during the 1920s. You can hear the shouts at the picket rallies, the windy dogmatic speeches bellowing in repetitive ideology to a receptive, though desperately starving, and utterly impoverished proletariat. But, and more closer-to-home, you can see what it’s like to not have a ration card, and try in earnest to support an ailing family. To see your wife cough-out blood and die on a bed, after being refused at a hospital for less-than-perfect party alliances. It is often, a very sad story. If I say more, I would risk ruining it for any that might want to read it.

To describe in brief the general plot, it is about a woman,– a young girl at first–Kira Argnovask-too-long-to-remember, as she grows up in an environment that is completely changing, mostly, if not all, for the worse. But instead of becoming consumed by the exerternalities outside of her control, and falling-in, capitulating, she does what she can to keep her sense of self from being conquered.

As you can see, it is hard for me to describe this book without wading into the metaphysical. In short, I will say that I enjoyed “We The Living.” It wasn’t as fast moving as some other books that I’ve read, and as such, was a bit harder to get into. However, the novel is incredibly complex—one can probably develop an entire course around the book. And I’m sure, I haven’t given this book nearly the credit it deserves. It would probably take me a few more gray hairs, and years under my eyes, and certainly a few more readings, to begin to approach that. But, if you are looking for something deep; if Anna Karenina is your favorite novel; if you have Ayn Rand posters in your bedroom, and an “I’m with Ayn” bumper-sticker on your ’87 Bug, then this book is certainly for you.

iPod Touch. tap…tap…tap

Alright, I caved. I bought a new iPod touch. Now I’m sitting next to my laptop (but I’m not on my laptop), tethered by a stylish white USB cable, and tapping away at a 2 inch keyboard with my right index figure and writing a post. I imagine I most look something like Sloth from the Goonies over here, straining over this tiny dainty device, trying with marginal sucess at limiting my large simian, awkward fingers, from not mashing more than one key at once. It may take me 8 minutes or so to tap-out a complete sentence, but I will have to admit, I feel rather suave and 2.0 doing it. I just need a pair of black frame glasses, a cup of starbucks nonfat soy milk latte, and a black ribbed crew shirt to make the transformation official.

More literally speaking, I actually did purchase the 2.0 software upgrade which enables the installing of little 3rd party apps. I got the WordPress one (which is one of the few free ones) and so far it’s working great!

Well, Sloth is starting to get a little ancy doing all this finger taping, so I’m just going to turn in, for now.

Update: 100 Book New Year’s Resolution (goal)

We’re almost two-thirds of the way through the year 2008, and it’s about that time to look back at how well we’ve kept up with our New Year’s resolutions. I only made one this year: to read the top 100 books from the Modern Library’s Reader’s List. So far, I’m not doing as well as I hoped. But all is not lost, at least not yet. I’ve got about 34 books down with 66 more to go. Two books I’m dreading are “Ulysses” and “Gravity’s Rainbow,” which are lying on my bookshelf and seemingly weighing it down.

I will admit that I’ve made some modifications to the original list. A keen observer had noticed–and wrote a comment–that the list was excessively biased to a few authors, particularly L Ron Hubbard (founder of Scientology as you know) and Charles de Lint, an author of whom I’ve never in my life have heard of before. Since there were about a dozen novels by Lint on the list, I replaced a few of them with some of Jane Austen’s works. L. Ron Hubbard books on the other hand have been completely expunged and replaced by others works including Gilman’s “Herland,” Octavia Butler’s “Patternmaster,” and Zamyatin’s dystopian novel “We.” I haven’t quite completed my “modifications.” More Lint books are sure to get the axe soon, and be replaced by some suggested Latin American titles, that is, once I’ve acquired them.

I’m also taking another suggestion, and I’m going to start writing brief reviews on each book as I finish (something I wish I had thought of doing sooner).

Well, I hope your doing better at your own New Year’s Resolutions. Or maybe your one of the smart ones that didn’t make one at all!

A Misogynist Woman

My friend Anja (I’m just going to use her name and hope she doesn’t mind) said something that kind of threw me off-balance the other day. She began by relating how “surprised she is that there isn’t more general misogyny in the world.” Apparently, she has this sort of antipathy towards her own sex, a hatred towards women, which I don’t quite fully understand yet. I suppose she can get away with making such an assertion, because, well, she’s a girl. To this, she started to elaborate some, and I was bit shocked at what she said. The general assertion she was making wasn’t by itself groundbreaking, or pertaining to thoughts I hadn’t perhaps on occasion entertained myself, but it was the fact that it was being said out-loud, on Westminster Street, with the occasional finger literally pointing at passersby as walking hypotheticals that made me blush. — And if the melanin in my skin didn’t abscond manifestations of all shades of “blush,” the world might have seen it as well.

Thus, she began her little treatise, speaking out-loud unabashedly, inviting some very nasty looks and head-turns. We continued to walk together down the highly trafficked street, like Morpheus speaking to a Neo in a simulated Matrixed world. Apparently Anja is a bit old-fashioned, and is quite critical of how her sex has evolved within the last couple of decades. To her, she claims women have digressed into something she is ashamed to call her own. They are (or so she claims) the “lowest denominator of a Russian nested doll,” the matroyoshka, suggesting a stripping off of every last bit of modest decency, with nothing remaining but a tiny little caricature of assumed worth. I listened, impressed by her imagery and eloquence (though a little wary of the blanket generalizations), and it wasn’t long before she pointed to a 35 year-old plastic Corporate Barbie, smoking outside, wearing shapely office-attire, low-cut reveling top, a gray tight skirt-short, with heels comically high, to which she branched into a new [paragraph] on the “working-woman.”

In short, to Anja, the full-time woman-professional that strives to be at par with her male contemporaries, filing reports, attending meetings, firing people, is a digression. This is of course ironic since Anja is herself a professional, though she will rub this nuance off as unimportant, — not germane to the issue, — and to me, frankly confusing. She takes umbrage not at the women who needs to work to support herself and her family, but the independent woman, the woman that needs “only herself, a one-bedroom apartment, a man-hating cat, a good wine-bottle opener, and a sufficient enough quantity of ice-cream in the freezer to last through one complete disk of Sex and the City.” I nervously laughed through most of this: it seemed to be almost borderline “hate,” which the Christian side of me tends to abjure like the plague. How can anyone be against “woman’s rights” when it seems so fundamental to the equality of existence. There is no way I could be in support of anything like inequality for women, or support any suggestion towards disenfranchisement — just seems too unethical. But to hear this from a girl, no less, and girl that is being so vocal and passionate about her ethos, which seemed long-thought and pressurized in her head to finally erupt into such a mountain of vitriol, was too much for my meek and humble self to quietly bare — in a public venue no less.

I couched my objections for the time, (I mean, where to start?) and then begged first for a little more elaboration. According to Anja, you cannot find a women in the current time — or a least one worth commitment: your only recourse is to turn to fiction. To her, the model of true feminine grace and modesty are sealed forever in centuries past: the 18th, the 19th, century. The heroines of Jane Austen’s pen: Elinor Dashwood, Lizzy Bennet, Emma Woodhouse, Catherine Morland, and Anne Eliot. Women today, she claims, have stained that sacred veil of purity that was once their most precious garment. Holding the self-low, in terms of virginity and feminine modesty, have turned Sarah Jessica Parker into the modern day heroine, and “what kind of life is that really?” she questioned: women in their mid-to-late thirties, unmarried, going out and glorifying their own promiscuity in the name of female independence; it is a “rebellion against natural gender roles that have sustained human life for 200,000 years.” This is when she took an angry and rather vocally harsh turn towards homosexuality, particularly against what she called “post-” lesbianism, which I should mention is quite dangerous to do in the middle of Providence and all — but again, she’s a girl. While she doesn’t take aim at homosexuals in general, she objects to the winked approval of lesbianism, and the high-esteem it has attained as a highly sexualized, and desirable practice. This, she claims, the curtain-approval and sealing of homosexuality as a purely normal and natural occurrence, that needs to be embraced and open as such, has attracted many otherwise straight women to lesbianism purely as a surrogate to men — who are now unneeded as the gender divide collapses.

“What has equality brought us,” she asks, rhetorically. “Voting, equitable wages” was my immediate response. To my disbelief, she actually attacked “voting” as something that has only perpetuated the problem: “Hillary Clinton” was her one-name response to it — which I found a bit weak and unconvincing. I mean, really, how is Hillary Clinton and her large pool of her supporters really perpetuating this new kind of implosive feminism? Anja claims that women have given up too much in exchange for too little: a pawning of their gentle femininity, to gain an illusory promise, that has yet to realized. The chivalry of the past, lasting fulfilling marriages, and a life of motherhood has been traded in for an insatiable appetite for power and independence that gives birth to bastard children, and second-divorces. The once prized domestic skills of the woman cast off like chains of bondage, when in truth, they were the pillars of a noble home. Anja suggests that men look at her, and other women, cheaply: grouping all women into the homogeneous batter of stereotype; that instead of seeing a life-long companion, and a mother, they see a 3-month fling, and a night of off-the-books fun.

After all this, I didn’t really quite know where to stand, or how to respond. Her plea was doleful, her face in mourning, and the arguments at times were convincing. I hope she’s wrong.