Thursday, January 27, 2011

Week 5 cont'd

Was about to be sad that I would only manage one good deed this week, when being careful what you wish for struck home.

Brenda Namigadde is threatened with deportation from the UK. She is a lesbian, and will be exported back to Uganda where pressure and violence against the LGBT community is growing. Her deporation puts her in mortal danger.

I signed the petition to help keep her in the UK after seeing a friend post it in their Facebook profile. Then I posted it on my own and tweeted it. I post it here not to gloat that I did it, but in the hopes people will see it and sign as well.

Please sign. Please help.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ars Poetica

In one of those weird moments where you look back on things and realize you did something cool without meaning to, I opened up a book of poetry I've been writing in for the better part of 4 years now and began to read.
Cheese factor was the main expectation, and I fully intended to embrace every wincing moment of my words over the years.
But something odd happened. Apparently when I sat down to this book, unnoticed, I was being incredibly sincere with myself and what I was trying to say. The words stumble in places, but the cheese was almost nill. Perhaps to someone else it would be high, but I surprised myself with still being proud of what I'd tried to say. Moreso, that I'd basically managed to say it, and do it via some rather un-crappy wordcraft.
What caught me the most was a poem I didn't even remember that I'd written. As I went over it I realized that everything I truly believed was put down there, and I shocked myself with the plainness with which it was set down.
Of course, I'm going to transcribe it here. Because it's my wish that if anybody is to know what I feel and believe, they this is the short version. A TLDR with heart, if you will....

~Untitled (6/27/07)~
If I were to die tomorrow
and words of mine were left behind
I think I would want to be known to say
that an orange is a wonder
even in mid-summer swelling on the branch
because it is swelling on the branch.
Thunderstorms are not scary
and children should learn to count
the space between the light and the boom.
Sunsets happen every day.
They're free and more spectacular
than any cinematic feature.
It is possible to miss firefles
as much as your high school sweetheart.
Breathing is under-rated
and people are too afraid to openly love.
Scotch is okay on ice, but better without.
Poetry shouldn't rhyme,
books don't have to make sense.
A tattoo doesn't make you a degenerate.
Drive to drive. Walk to walk.
Dancing doesn't require 2 legs,
it can be done with the heart.
Sing like no one is watching
when you know damned well they are.
Proudly enjoy music others openly mock.
Fall off something moving fast
or get tackled fiercely in sports
to show yourself you can live through it.
Creativity must have its day
somehow, some way
and do your best not to judge now it manifests.
Burn a marshmallow over a campfire,
then eat it anyway.
Keep a childhood treasure with you all your life,
and love forever the person
who thinks it's cool too, when you share it with them.
Scream once in a scary movie or haunted house,
jump in leaves until you're 50.
Taste at least one snowflake a year,
throw snowballs at friends
and indulge in a snow cone
when you forget how fun they are.
Remember being said isn't bad,
there is no bad or wrong thing in this world.
There is only experience and what we make of it.
These things are tried and true
and one who follows them will live more,
feel more,
BE more.
More than human.

I leave you to your own impressions of their veracity -but do suggest if you have not tried any of these yet, reserve judgment until after you've tried them and see if they do not affect some change in your outlook. I swear by these things.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How to wipe Vista off my laptop and install Ubuntu, use victoriously.

"So much faster now!"

How I did it: Having grown tired of my 3 year old laptop that virtually ground to a halt any time I asked it to do anything under the Vista OS, I decided I wanted to give it a second life by loading up Ubuntu on it.
Initially it would not boot from the disk to let me try Ubuntu without installing since Vista is a selfish cow, so I was forced to finagle things until I could set up a dual boot on it where they're side by side on the hard drive. After logging in and seeing how fast Ubuntu ran even on 3 year old software and hardware in comparison to Vista, I was hooked.
Because Vista wouldn't allow any installs from disk, I had to do a few tricks ot sidestep this problem. The first was that I downloaded DBAN, or Darik's Boot and Nuke. It comes as an .iso file, and Windows proved incapable of burning a bootable disk from the file. Because of this I turned to a program called MagicISO and attempted to burn a bootable CD. MagicISO did not like my CD-Rs, so I had to go snag CD-RWs for it to work (a common resolution to problems where DBAN didn't launch properly or MagicISO wouldn't burn a program, btw.)
After burning it and confirming in the BIOS that it was set to boot from the CD tray first, I slapped it in and ran it. Because I didn't have a lot of precious data on it, I opted for the bare bones "autonuke" feature, which makes 3 passes over the hard drive to wipe data. It took 4 hours to complete, during which time I went to bed since it was 11 pm.
When I woke up I found that it had completed it's work, so I popped the disk out. A list of I/O errors popped up, but seeing as the machine restarted and found the Ubuntu disk I put in just fine, they were inconsequential.
From there it was almost literally a cakewalk. Ubuntu 10.10 has a lovely and fast installer and walks you through settng everything up. I was done and had a functional and fast machine again. This will be my first foray in to Linux territory, and I'm really excited. I fully intend to make this thing my programming workhorse and I'm glad I'll be able to get a few more years out of this much sleekier operating system!

Lessons & tips: ~BACK EVERYTHING UP. When it says nuke, it means it. It will literally eat everything on your hard drive and leave no trace behind. This is part of its appeal and its success.

~Make sure you have everything ready before you start. If you run through DBAN but don't have a bootable disk for Ubuntu, you've got a very sexy looking doorstop.

~Most people will only need to type in "autonuke" when prompted in DBAN. If you have financial data or sensitive info on there that you don't want to get out, there are multiple options for an even deeper erase job. YouTube has multiple walkthrus to show you how to find these options and which to select.

~Allow a LOT of time for this. Even with the barest of wipe and reinstalls, this took me 5 hours. If you go for a more thorough wiping of the hard drive, alot at least 8. Plan on this being your weekend project while watching TV or getting other things done.

~Remember to set your BIOS to boot from disk when doing this instead of from the hard drive! That way it will find everything first before trying to load Windows or whatever you use. If you have questions on how to do that, YouTube has many useful tutorials there.

~If you have any sort of question about what's going on or run in to a problem, Google and YouTube are your best friends. Chances are good that whatever you've run in to has happened to somebody else and they've either created a forum post on it, or someone has created a video about it. Search away, and read until you're satisfied with the answer!

Resources: ~Google
~YouTube - I ordered the disk so I wouldn't have to fiddle with burning another .iso, but you can get an .iso off this website.

It took me 2 days.

It made me Ecstatic!