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‘rants’ Category

  1. ever tried buying NEW unwashed and untorn jeans?

    August 16, 2007 by Saar Drimer

    I guess I am un-cool, trying to purchase a pair of jeans that are NOT “pre-washed”, “pre-patterned”, and “pre-torn” (George Carlin comes to mind with all this excessive use of pre-whatever).

    I have just returned from a 10 day trip to Boston, where I attended a conference and presented a paper (which won “Best Student Paper“!) One of the items on my shopping list was a new pair of jeans, as my previous ones are torn, patterned, washed from real-life events. I wasn’t prepared to how difficult this would be.

    Essentially, most jeans today come “pre-cooled”, which means that they have patterns on them that emulate heavy use and have torn bits which are “pre-patched”. When I confront “sale associates” with this issue they are a bit dazzled but soon realize that indeed, I am in a bit of a “situation” as non of the jeans they have on offer answer to my unique requirements: jeans that look new! (Some “associates” said that that is the first time they ever thought of this.)

    I finally found a pair at Macy’s; it was not exactly the figure I was looking for, but I figured that if I want new jeans that looked new, my options are incredibly limited.


  2. well, gee, thanks!

    July 9, 2007 by Saar Drimer

    studentuniverse.com sells cheap airline tickets for students. They also have a neat little bonus they give for free to every student who signs up!

    For your protections we will not spam you

    That’s like me demanding a medal for my good social conduct because I don’t go around randomly punching people in the face.

    Well, thank you very much studentuniverse.com for protecting me from yourself and for practicing restraint with regards to your right to spam me and sell my information! It is also much appreciated that you are using my private information only for the purpose I am providing it for. (link to page imaged above).


  3. respect for Bruce

    May 21, 2007 by Saar Drimer

    Willis.

    For me, he just stepped out of the festering Hollywood swamp by saying something intelligent about his own, and fellow actors’, intelligence and cerebral capacity.

    BRUCE WILLIS is fed up with listening to outspoken actors – and believes their opinion shouldn’t mean “jack shit” to the general public. The Die Hard star understands some of his colleagues want to do good for various causes, but wishes others would keep their thoughts to themselves. He says, “I don’t think my opinion means jack shit, because I’m an actor. “Why do actors think their opinions mean more because you act? You just caught a break as an actor. There are hundreds – thousands – of actors who are just as good as I am, and probably better. “Have you heard anything useful come out of an actor’s mouth lately?” He adds, “Although I liked George Clooney’s documentary on Darfur.”

    (emphasis mine)

    I should add that acting is not exactly a prerequisite for, or the strong side of, the “actors” Willis is talking about; you just have to be good looking and know who to sleep with, and when… which, I suppose, requires some talent, I’ll give them that.

    Damn it, I love starting my day with a good rant! ;)


  4. “no” is a perfectly acceptable answer

    March 19, 2007 by Saar Drimer

    Lately, I am increasingly annoyed with people assuming that a lack of an answer means a “no” when they are invited to do something. Well, it isn’t! A lack of an answer means (surprise!) a lack of an answer. I’d much rather hear a “no, I won’t come to your lousy party even if you served the last drink on earth” than a silenced cop-out. At least I know where I stand.

    People are embarrassed/shy/uncomfortable saying “no” in general, for some odd reason. Delaying a “no”, or not giving it at all, hoping that everything will just magically go away — like kids closing their eyes assuming no one can see them anymore — is disrespectful for the other person’s time and effort. Yes, I believe that saying “no” is a sign of respect only second to a “yes”, of course (unless it is a “courtesy invite”, but that’s another matter), while non-answer is, you guessed it, insulting.

    I don’t require a reason. I don’t care. Why do people feel obliged to give an, often made-up and unimaginative, excuse to weasel out of something they don’t want to do? I long for the day where I can comfortably say “Nah, don’t feel like it” (those who know me already know that I often do it anyway, but it is socially unaccepted and considered impolite, especially around relative strangers, and I end up looking like a weirdo).

    So, for those of you that interact with me… say “no” without the excuse and I promise to never-ever-ever-ever be insulted or ask why. But for goodness sake, do it quick.


  5. Nations of the World, Unite!

    September 8, 2006 by philip

    (By guest blogger Philip)

    Or don’t. Probably better that way. I wondered about what I would write my first blog post of all time. But NPR answered that question for me when Michael Krasny decided to discuss the possible future secretary general of the U.N. candidates this morning. If there is one thing I can’t sit through it is a bunch of socialists talking about their plans for the U.N. Enter the caller from Berkeley. He didn’t have anything topical (i.e. about the potential future candidates for SG) but he was absolutely certain what the world needed: a U.N. tax on all citizens of the whole entire world. Thank you, Berkeley. Now I remember why I don’t call on you much, though you sit at the front of the class and raise your hand constantly.

    Increasing the power of the U.N. is an idea that is an affront to the entire accumulated knowledge of human kind as far as it applies to government. Doesn’t human history scream out that power is abused? That centralization leads to extreme power? That even the best-intentioned governments eventually fail into corruption and self service? So now we ought to take an absurdly undemocratic institution (Brunei has a monarchy with absolute power to the sultan who appoints the UN ambassador, who therefore essentially has a personal vote in the UN; India shares one vote amongst its whole democratic populace) that spans the whole world (the British Empire only got halfway) and give it money (is power) so that it doesn’t even have to answer to the only people it currently answers to at all (the governments who fund it). Then it would be sure to further all of the noble goals set forth by its unelected representatives (mostly appointees of countries who rule themselves poorly) and better the lives of all us oppressed folk who previously only had our own democratically elected goverments to look after us.

    Now, like communism, world government has fatal flaws that will prevent it from ever really working. But also like communism that wouldn’t stop it from maiming or killing hundreds of millions trying.

    Let’s keep the U.N. poor and small and focused entirely on international ambassadorship. Let’s channel our international charity through our own home grown institutions. Let’s not throw out every bit of fear of government we have earned over recorded history just because we all wish for world peace, prosperity, and health. The U.N. isn’t the way.

    I am sure I’ve made lots of new friends in class today by kicking the big fuzzy teddy bear that is the U.N. Please leave your love notes in the comments section.


  6. these damn artists

    August 26, 2006 by Saar Drimer

    Don’t you hate it when musicians decide to add 30 minutes of unintelligible crap to the end of a track because, somehow, they think it is cool? Fuck, it’s annoying.

    I just had to let this one out. Haven’t had a good rant in a while.

    Exhale. Feeling better.


  7. quest for the muffin

    July 26, 2006 by Saar Drimer

    food machineA food vending machine, similar to the one on the right, was recently installed in the lab. It’s been giving us some trouble lately. Mostly the common failure mechanism of not supplying goods despite cash. The trouble is with the sliding door. A special—undocumented, mind you—procedure needs to be followed in order to get goods.

    1. position tray to desired item.
    2. insert cash.
    3. slide door until stuck and release (it does not open all the way; this is to indicate to the machine which item you chose so two or more doors could not be opened simultaneously.)
    4. slide door open again.
    5. get item.
    6. enjoy crappy food specially designed for graduate students with no life who need them to survive at night.

    I asked Robert Watson (who was already home) though our irc channel if the machine is “safe.” He replied that it was wholly functioning earlier today. Knowing this, I ventured to get a muffin with confidence. I came back with a muffin but still screwed out of cash. I posed the riddle to Robert:

    21:38 < rwatson> saar: so something that results in you getting screwed, yet still getting the muffin.

    21:38 < saar> rwatson: yes. and it only involves the machine, not other people ;)

    Can you guess what happened? It’s a tough one.

    I only had one gigantic 2 GBP coin and I inserted it into the machine. Following the procedure above, I also got my double chocolate muffin. Happily, I was futzing around with the sliding door to examine its spring rigidity and the option of invading another compartment ;) Little did I know that since I had a 1.2 GBP credit, the machine charged me 80p AGAIN! So, I payed for that damn, unhealthy, fatty muffin TWICE!

    Clearly a design error (NOT user.) I think I’m going on an 80p rampage a la Payback!


  8. how to fix the world cup

    July 8, 2006 by Saar Drimer

    I’m not a World Cup follower… but I can feel the pain of people who care about it when it comes to penalties. Penalties suck! They are downright unfair. So here’s the fix:

    1. After extended time, there is another 20 minute extension in which offside is cancelled.
    2. Teams start with 9 players each and every 5 minutes a player is taken out from each team.

    If they can’t score then, they both deserve to leave the cup!

    There, problem solved; I require no royalties, only credit.


  9. don’t be a “devil’s advocate” around me, please

    July 6, 2006 by Saar Drimer

    Alright, I hate it when people who argue with me, end up saying, after proven, by me, that their argument has holes the size of Switzerland, “I’m only playing devil’s advocate.” Arrrgggg… I explode inside trying to keep composure and control of my limbs. Why bother arguing if we agree? Believe me, there are a million and one other things we disagree on that we can comfortably argue about, why waste my time? Huh? Besides, I can tell it’s a cop-out.
    Now, to sleep.


  10. conference clicks

    July 1, 2006 by Saar Drimer

    Last week I attended most of the WEIS and PET sessions. The topic is a bit removed from my interests but it was good to hear what is out there and chat with all the interesting people. The most valuable thing I learned, however, was that I am happy where I’m at, as far as research interests goes.

    I have a Dell Inspiron 9300 laptop, better described as a “desktop replacement.” It’s a great computer, but not for hauling around. I don’t take it to conferences or workshops; some of it has to do with the weight of the thing, but mostly, I believe that if I am somewhere, I should be fully there and give my undivided attention to the person on the podium–they deserve it.

    As an experiment, I tried to phase out the speaker’s voice and listen to what I’ll call “conference clicks,” it’s quite astounding, you should try it. Looking around, I see that many people stare at their screens, meaning that they are not fully there; I can only imagine how the speaker feels (I have not spoken in front of this large crowed before.) I’d feel quite insulted, to be honest; I’d rather people not be there at all than not being fully there.

    My solution? Cut the WiFi during sessions and have cabled ports outside the hall for people who choose not to attend the lecture. This may sound outrageous to some, but I think this is where we are headed.

    To tie in one of my other rants, I’d ban laptops from business meetings too. When I am king/CEO, that will be corporate policy and I think this will become more wide spread soon as well.

    Say no to “conference clicks”!