World War III

Our first nuclear winter is only months away as the Bush Administration gears up for phase III of its systematic destruction of the Middle East. News reports yesterday told of a report leaked from the White House detailing the administration’s plan for a small-scale nuclear assault against key targets in Iran. These targets include underground facilities believed to be housing nuclear laboratories.

This comes amid rising tensions over Iran’s nuclear capabilities. No one wants a nuclear Iran. However, no one wants a nuclear United States, nor does anyone want an actively proliferating, nuclear-warfare-bound United States. The hypocrisy is overwhelming.

We live in a nation in which over 65% of its people do not agree with its government’s actions. A nation in which 50% of tax dollars fund the military or military-related expenses. A nation that will most likely pass a bill into congress that will render illegal immigrants felons. This is no land of the free. What happened to the American dream? Equal oppurtunity for all?

We live in a corporate oligarchy. Democracy is a buzzword. I urge each and every one of you to stand up to this nonsense and fight for what you believe in at every avenue of the system’s exploitation. The state cannot hold without the support of the masses. Put your dollar where it counts: Out of the hands of gangsters and tyrants.

TJVD&D is now Flex.

Business is “booming” as it were, and as such, it’s time to expand.  Flex is the name Alex and I have given our new web venture.  Our goal is to be a cost-effective solution for small businesses and non-profit organizations, while still maintaining status as a professional web firm.

We will also be collaborating network resources with Moving Box Studios, a production company in Ithaca.  This will afford us many opportunities for collaboration — power in numbers.

Hopefully we will begin work on our web site soon.  In the meantime, I have to find myself a secretary.  And maybe an intern.  I’ve always wanted an intern.

Three years later and still in chains.

Today marks the three-year anniversary of the United States’ invasion of Iraq.  It also marks what many are calling the beginning of an Iraqi civil war.  Are we any more free?  Is the world safer?  Here’s what the Bush administration has been up to in the last three years on a few key topics:

Freedom

  • USA PATRIOT Act
  • NSA Wiretapping
  • Guantanamo Bay

War on Terror

  • Igniting anti-Americanism across several cultures around the globe
  • Triggering an Iraqi civil war

Economy

  • Driving the gap between our nation’s rich and poor to an unacceptable size with tax cuts for the rich
  • Allowing Iraq to become the breeding ground for anti-Western hatred that it is today, thereby reducing our ability to import its oil
  • Creating the biggest trade defecit our country has ever endured
  • Cutting domestic programs such as Medicare in favor of miltary spending

There are only two options at this point:  communist revolution or nuclear holocaust.  Happy anniversary.

Iran: Our next warzone.

Recent developments in the so-called War on Terror have led many to believe what some have always known: a war with Iran is imminent. Tehran’s unwillingness to compromise combined with Euromerica’s muscle flexing will undoubtedly launch us into yet another war.

That is, unless we do something about it first. I have started a small offshoot site from my main page entitled Iran is Next. Right now the content is sparse, but if anyone has anything to add, please let me know.

In the coming weeks I will be writing letters and making phone calls to my congressmen and I urge you to do the same. The Bush Administration has already made several cuts to domestic programs in favor of military spending (Medicare, anyone?) and appears ready to make more. We must stop this nonsense before we realize we’re living in an Orwellian dystopia.

Spring Break: Neither spring nor break.

I just finished up midterms week at school and am prepared to “kick back” and “bask in the sun” during my week off.  That is, if “kicking back” is doing a lot of work and “basking in the sun” is trudging through a foot of snow.

I will never understand the false sense of security colleges like to portray when naming breaks.  If they called spring break “winter misery week” I would have no complaints.  False advertising is one of my biggest pet peeves. 

So what’s on the agenda for the week, you ask?

  • linnadolph.com — This is a local glass artist that I have been working closely with to create an informational page for her artwork, complete with a gallery section for some of her pieces.
  • Purple Dragon Co-op Online Store — This is an online store system I am developing for the Purple Dragon Co-op in Glen Ridge, NJ.  I am writing it in Ruby on Rails.  Mr. Alex Weber (a.k.a. FelixWonderland) is aiding in the site design.
  • Jizualizer — My Advanced Networks class aims to expand the JiST and SWANS network simulation projects to include better support for ad-hoc protocols and add some new features.  One such feature is a simulation visualizer that we have lovingly called Jizualizer.  I’ll be working closely with my professor on this one.

With all of this on my plate, it’s looking to be an exciting, albeit busy, “spring” “break.”  Maybe I’ll even have time to go to Florida or something.  Pssh… right.

Weekends — such a brilliant concept.

Free weekend number three of the new semester was an amazing experience.

Friday afternoon I submitted my final invoice to WICB and completed the site to specification.  I am so relieved that that project won’t be occupying my time any longer.  This started a high that lasted through the weekend.

Saturday could have been the single coldest day thusfar this winter.  Coincidentally, the annual Ithaca Chili Cook-Off was this Saturday as well.  After volunteering at 10,000 Villages I made my way around the Commons once, took a look around, realized my face was frozen, and proceeded to have my own chili cook-off with a nice bowl of freeze-dried chili at home.  It might not have been made with delicious fresh ingredients, but I sure did enjoy it more than anyone at the actual cook-off could have.

Saturday afternoon was spent singing and playing guitar with the robots.  I believe our all-time greatest hits that afternoon were “Put It In Your Bum” and “We’re the Robots.”

Saturday night was a blast.  We had what turned out to be a really enjoyable party at our house.  It epitomized everything I love about Robot House in one glorious, climactic night.  Hookahs littered the living room; acquaintances of past, present and future came and went.  I love parties that have a distinguished dynamic to them.  There was a diverse crowd of people, making way for some very interesting exchange.

Back to the grind…

The Middle East ran fresh out of democracy; Rice asks if she can buy them some more.

From The New York Times:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told a Senate panel today that she plans to ask for $75 million to promote democracy in Iran, but she met with sharp questioning from Democrats about whether Bush administration policies were promoting the rise of anti-American governments around the world.

Ms. Rice told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the money for Iran, on top of $10 million already provided in the current budget, would be used to “support the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people,” and to counter the influence of Tehran’s new hard-line regime.

With innumerable instances of anti-West fury due to recent foreign policy blunders, it could be said that the Bush administration is propelling us into a spiral of worldwide hatred and dismay. I’m not sure how buying democracy works, but I assume it would be through the use of propaganda and military force.

On our side it’s promoting democracy — the administration fails to see that on their side, it’s cultural imperialism.

I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E.

There’s a little-known secret floating around intelligence agencies that has been brought to the foreground in tech media. In yet another effort to combat terrorism, the United States government has been actively pursuing a computer system that will mine data from various blogs, e-mail, and other online personal media outlets using Alexa’s WebSearch platform and sophisticated AI techniques to synthesize the data.

Alright, so what if terrorists were using the web for coordinating attacks. If you were a terrorist, would you blog about your latest jihads? I know I would love to have a handy RSS feed outlining all of my terrorist plots so my fellow blogoterrorists could aggregate them on their terrorblogs. The bottom line is, Islamic militants aren’t ignorant. The blogosphere is comprised of a bunch of Internet fanboys (and girls) who want nothing more than to share their seemingly important opinions and accounts with the world (myself included). As bloggers, our privacy will be undermined and any so-called “terrorist activity” will amount to extremist Western liberals who do not understand Internet tact.

…I think the NSA is at the door.

My first weekend off

I don’t usually quote indie rock, but I’m going to make an exception.

All these people drinking lover’s spit
They sit around and clean their face with it
And they listen to teeth to learn how to quit
tied to a night they never met

– Broken Social Scene

This weekend marked my first days off since we’ve been back at school, and I must say they were everything I could ever have hoped they could be.  I was at ease and regained a part of my sanity and spirit I hadn’t even realized I’d lost.

On Saturday,  I experienced role reversal as I returned to Ten Thousand Villages as a volunteer.  Although I enjoyed my position beforehand, the lifting of such responsibility was refreshing.

This morning, Kendra and I drove to Dryden to take some pictures.  It was one of the most meditative experiences I have had in a long time.  We went to my old elementary school (among several other places) and looked for interesting subjects for her photo project.  I felt a strong sense of nostalgia with everything around me–it had been a few years since I had spent any reasonable amount of time in Dryden.

I spent most of the rest of the day formatting the pictures I took for the web.  I wrote a Rails application that manages photo albums with customizable CSS for each album.   Next, I’m going to try to implement real-time thumbnail generation so that the album pages have thumbnail images next to the photo titles.  Expect to see this in action on photos.teejayvanslyke.com as soon as its ready.

Goodnight.

Rounded corners make me happy.

I added rounded corners to my main page (http://www.teejayvanslyke.com) per a wonderful tutorial I found on digg.  Once I find the link to the tutorial I will link to it from here.  My next project is my Services page.