Cloture Vote

Looks like the Senate has voted (75-25) to end debate on the Alito nomination. Oddly enough, Patty Murray voted no and Maria Cantwell voted yes. If I were still a resident of the state of Washington, I'd be working this fall to hand Ms. Cantwell her walking papers. Luckily for me, both of my new Senators voted correctly.


This Will Probably Offend My Mother

I laughed very hard when I ran into this picture on the internet.

Not That It Matters (Since I Don't Live in WA Anymore)

Senator Cantwell,

I'm just writing to let you know that I support Senator Kerry's call to fillibuster Judge Alito. I've been following his nomination from the "blogosphere" and it seems pretty clear to me that the gentleman, while quite intelligent, isn't someone that I want on the Supreme Court of the United States.

With respect to a woman's right to choose (which I strongly support), regardless of the mealy-mouthed non-answers that the judiciary committee allowed him get away with during the confirmation hearings, it's quite clear from his previously stated political (and moral) beliefs that he'll vote in the negative on any case that seeks to preserve a woman's right to choose and in the affirmative on any case that seeks to strip women of said right.

That being said, I'm actually far more concerned about his nomination due to his historical deference to the executive branch in prior cases. Let's face it. We have a President that doesn't really seem to have a lot of respect for the "rule of law" and who seems to think that other two branches of the government exist solely to rubber stamp whatever he decides is best for the country. The last thing this country needs is another judge on the Supreme Court who can be counted on to reflexively vote in favor of further empowering the executive branch whenever possible.

I realize that the chances of a fillibuster actually succeeding are practically nil, but at the very least make some noise. Stand with Senator Kerry and at least say that Alito should be fillibustered. The Democratic Senators should not let this nomination get through the Senate with hardly a whimper of protest. At the very least, PLEASE don't vote to confirm Alito, regardless of whatever sweet deals the Republicans might (not that they will) offer you.


Aaron Cooke


This Makes Me Very Happy

As Scottland can attest, I absolutely hate palm trees. No only are they ugly, but they're highly inappropriate in Davis. Just because something can live somewhere doesn't mean it should. Palm trees may be more appropriate in Miami, but it still makes me glad that they're ripping the ugly things out and replacing them with better trees.


Martin Luther King Hates Sodomites

So I'm at the MU today, and there are two lovely gentlemen standing in front of it holding large placards on sticks. On one side of both placards is a picture of Rev. Martin Luther King and the inspirational message, "I have a dream." On the other side of the placards are alternately "Racism and Sodomy are Sins!!" and "End Racism and Sodomy Today!!!"

I pointed the placards out to one of my fellow students and launched into a riff about how amazing it was that someone had found the lost portion of King's "I have a dream" speech where he specifically went into the evils of sodomy and how it was a menace equivalent to racism. Rumor had it that he had been forced to cut that part of the speech out at the last minute on account of time constraints.

While we ate lunch we watched as the occasional (Obviously America Hating Liberal) pedestrian walked up to the two champions of love and tolerance (unless you happen to have thought Brokeback Mountain was a good movie) and bitch at them about utilizing a symbol of tolerance to promote an agenda of intolerance.

Of course, I wouldn't be a bit surprised to learn that King would have agreed with the message these two gentlemen were promoting. He lived in a completely different era and the Black community is quite well known for having an "issue" with homosexuality in modern day.

I contemplated going up to them as well and giving them a piece of my mind, but decided that they would probably reveal that they had explosives underneath their bulkly overshirts and blow me up. It's what the Rev. King (in addition to Jesus) would have wanted them to do. Eric (the other student) pointed out that they would probably be cross shaped explosives. I added that the explosives would probably be filled with little cross shaped bits of shrapnel that have been blessed by the Pope. Eric pointed out that they probably didn't like the Pope. He may be right, but I'm sure the Pope would have liked them.

I need to get a digital camera for these sort of moments.

Zombie Zimulator

Something cool I found on the web while persuing a website that Suzanne sent me a link for. This simulator was programmed by the same guy that put together urbandead.com, which I and Jon Anderson play on occasion.


"Bareback Mountain"

Scottland and I saw it at the Strip Mall Mega-Complex in Natomas, just north of Sacramento. We both agreed that while it was an average movie, it was certainly the best gay movie either of us had ever seen.

We both agree that the cut-away scene that briefly appears while Ennis is getting some bad news in a phone booth was uneccesary and very trite. One of those, "this is what happens to homos" sort of things and just not needed. We don't like that it was very ambigous as to whether the cut-away was real or imagined. My guess is that it was imagined since it involved a crow-bar and that was specifically mentioned in Ennis' boy-hood story.

I just didn't think it added much to the movie, although we did spend ten minutes discussing three seconds of film, so maybe its inclusion was a good thing after all.

Basically, I liked the movie in spite of the fact that it was relentlessly depressing. I would have liked to see Ennis get something other than a likely case of lung cancer.

Also, we noticed that Jack's wife's father was the XO of the Pegasus from Battlestar Galactica. I know this because Scottland shouted it out in the theatre. We both then said "Frack you."

I don't really know what else to say, besides "Jake, Scottland and I would like to invite you on a lovely island getaway."


Back In The Lab

So it turns out that working in the lab (at least right now while I set up my first 'experiment' is a lot like my old job at the Washington Technology Center, minus the frustration of working for a bunch of clueless idiots. I wonder how long it'll take for me to decide that everyone here is a clueless semi-retard. *chuckle* Oh wait, too late . . .

For the next five weeks, I'm going to be measuring the absorption spectra of 3/5 semi-conductor nanoparticles dispersed in glass over a range of temperatures from -180 to +100 celsius. I fired up my apparatus for the first time yesterday and I'm already identifying problems that'll need to be fixed. The biggest problem so far is that the temperature measurement that the system is making doesn't seem to reflect the actual temperature of the sample. That's kind of a problem.

Anyhow, it's kind of nice to be doing this sort of work again.


Cyclops The Cat

My roommate studies cat's that have the genetic defect that causes this. Pretty freaky, huh? The article for this photo can be found on yahoo.

The Plague

I spent most of my christmas break sick. The first half of it was some sort of achey, head-coldish garbage. I recovered from that right around Christmas and then almost immediately developed a nasty cough that's only now starting to let up. It was still pretty bad on Friday, but I spent the entire weekend doing exactly nothing. I'm feeling much better today, but have decided to skip classes. This cough seems to be very sensitive to my level of exertion, so I figure if I do absolutely nothing today (except of course my homework that's due on Wednesday) I'll be almost 100% by tomorrow.


Who Made Up This Advertising Campaign?

So I'm on the LA Times webpage, and I see an ad for audible.com in the gutter on the left side. My only thought is "chunky latino gay fabio from the musketeers wants me to go to audible.com?"

If you go to dontread.org, you'll discover that chunky gay medieval fabio is actually "Emilio", an audible listener.

Who thought of this add campaign? It's kinda bad.


The Lord Of Terror

Here's a screen capture of me kicking the self styled Lord of Terror's scaley ass. My 30th level sorcerer, Suzanne, was able to rather easily defeat him with a combination of Glacial Spike and Blizzard.

The interesting thing about the game is that when you complete it, it resets back to the beginning on a harder level. It's the same game over again with the same monsters, only now they're much harder to kill. In theory I could take Suzanne up to 60th level if I really wanted to.
I wish I had gotten more screen captures of some of his cool magical powers. It was pretty spectacular.

Maybe now I should buy the expansion pack so I can go kill Baal, Lord of Destruction.

Annoying Celebrity Self Love Fest

Normally I would never watch the Oscars. Jon Stewert is hosting it this year. I may have to watch it for a bit.


Puerto Rico

I just got back from playing a new board game, Puerto Rico, with one of my fellow grad students Mike and his friend Amy. It was very cool. I predict that I will purchase this game and bring it with me to Seattle at the end of January. Perhaps a game night at Scottland's will be in order if time permits.

Home Again

I'm back in Davis now. It's wet. Apparently the place was deluged with rain while I was gone. It's been much more Seattle-like since my return, ie gray and slightly drizzly. When I was being driven from the airport to Davis, I noticed that the Sacramento was only a couple of feet short of the top of the levee. Apparently it had come down a bit since the highest point of the flood.

My first day of class is tomorrow, I think. I'm not actually sure that there are classes tomorrow, but it's the first day of instruction. I'll go to the class room and see if anyone else shows up. I'm only taking two classes this quarter, advanced reaction engineering and molecular modelling. Both classes are apparently fairly heavy on the numerical techniques, so I may really enjoy my classes this quarter.

I'll also be working in Professor Sen's lab for the first five weeks of the quarter. It'll be interesting to see how that goes. I'll stop by his office tomorrow and find out when he actually wants me in the lab. It looks like I'll be analyzing glass dispersed 3/5 semiconductor nano-particles using some sort of infra-red spectroscopic technique. Other projects were available, but it sounds like this one can be done in the five weeks alloted and might lead to an actual publication.

On a different note, say hello to Tropical Storm Zeta. Zeta has a fairly good chance of becoming a hurricane in the next day or so. Ummm, someone really needs to tell the Atlantic Ocean that hurricane season ended a month ago.