February 13, 2009

Diffing the Many Versions of the Stimulus Bill

If you've been following the trajectory of the Stimulus bill as it winds its way through the house, senate, bicameral committee, back to the house, and then on to the senate for one final vote before going to the president, you might have a bit of an interest in the following:

  • just what is in the dang bill
  • what exactly has changed between each version
Well, huzzah! Thanks to the open source version control tool Subversion, it was a rather simple task to whip together a repository of the bill and track the various changes between each version. See links below:
To check out your own version of the repository, here's your handy command:
svn co http://www.geek-pac.org/svn/stimulus-bill
And off you go!

February 10, 2009

7 things you may (or may not) know about me

...and may not have wanted to know. The illustrious Sara Dornsife tagged me - like, eons ago - to blog about the 7 things you may or may not know about me. It goes without saying that you may not have even wanted to know this, in which case you should avert your eyes now. I throw out tons of garbage on my twitter feed, with a high noise to signal ratio, so it's quite possible that nobody knows anything about me. Well, no more!

1. from the age of 8 until 12, I was basically homeschooled. Ok, so it was actually a tiny fundamentalist Christian school with about 9 or 10 other kids, but my father was the principal, my mother helped with teaching, and the other volunteers were mostly other kids' parents, so it sure felt like home-schooling. When I was 12, we moved to hell^H^H^H^HCorning, AR, for which I never forgave my parents, and I attended a public school, where I soon learned the reward for being completely isolated from modern secular culture: incessant carping, bullying and a general sense of not belonging. There are those advocates of home-schooling who insist that socializing with other kids either doesn't matter or can be ameliorated via other means. I beg to differ. The key is unsupervised play time. Home-schooled kids just don't get enough of that - although I'm sure there are some enlightened parents out there. In any case, I always felt that those years left me at a disadvantage socially, an area where I didn't feel "caught up" until my mid-to-late 20's. I never did shake the feeling of isolation or not belonging, which I carry to this day.

2. As mentioned in #1, I was raised in a fundamentalist protestant - Southern Baptist, to be exact - family. When I see documentaries like Jesus Camp, I completely identify with those people, even though I rejected the religion of my youth long ago. When I see paranoid morons going off half-cocked on cable news shows, I understand them completely - because I used to be one of them. I will always have a soft spot for children who believe in creationism, because I remember what it felt like to be "under siege" from the unsaved, to know that scientists were conspiring against God, to know that "the others", ie. other colors, other religions, other nationalities, were assaulting our religious freedom, and that we had to prepare for the end times, assuming they weren't already here.

3. On account of #1 and #2, above, I was either born with or acquired at a very early age the desire to evangelize to others. In earlier days, it took a religious form, but now it takes the form of convincing others to embrace whatever I embrace, which are craft brewing, soccer, open source software, or whatever political arguments I've crafted. If I discover a new book or piece of music or interesting free software tool, then I want you to enjoy it, too. This is why I excel at my job - online community management (or "community organizing" if you will) and grassroots marketing.

4. I am a shameless and unapologetic beer snob and am only too happy to lecture you ad nauseum about the joys of traditional Belgian brewing styles. Nothing raises my ire more quickly than that poor, unsuspecting Belgian person who doesn't know their own country's place in the pantheon of beer... and tells me Stella Artois is a pretty decent beer. Like hell, it is. And I especially enjoy being the killjoy who gets the honor of informing ignorant Germans or English that their brewers are, with a few notable exceptions, stagnant, bland, and behind the vangaurd of American brewers. Tee hee... Oh, and then there's the matter of both countries killing off many of their traditional styles *sigh*.

5. I enjoy finding the flaws in other people's logic and clobbering them over the head with it. Especially when they're ideological, free-market worshipping Republicans. And *especially* when they're dittohead, cult-of-Rush koolaid drinkers... but then that's like shooting fish in a barrel.

6. I had an existential crisis when I was 12. I couldn't convince myself that I wasn't living inside someone else's imagination - that everything I saw, smelled or touched wasn't a complete fabrication inside someone else's head. I finally got over it by deciding that I had to roll with it, whether it was someone else's fabrication or "reality." When I was 14, I couldn't stop counting the number of letters in words I spoke or thought about and trying to find the right words that would make the letters per word average out to an integer. In both cases, I never told anyone until long afterwards. In the latter case, I sometimes still do it.

7. I have somehow managed to find another human being and convince them to stay with me, even though she long ago caught on to my imperfections. God knows why. This is our 12th year, and it astounds even me. Before I met Cathy, I never lived in the same house for more than 2 or 3 years at a time, and we're now in our 8th year in our Bay Area house. I still yearn to be a rolling stone, but I've learned the advantages and disadvantages of each.

And, golly gee, but I guess I can't stop talking about myself, so here goes...

8. I continue to aspire to political office and have for many years. In fact, when I was 5 or 6, my 3 possible vocations were 1. scientist, 2. football player and 3. politician. My goal is to hold some office by 40. I still have 5 years :)

Rules of this game according to @SaraD:

  • Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
  • Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
  • Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged.

So herewith, I tag the following victims (name, twitter ID, blog URL):
  1. Stephen Walli @stephenrwalli (blog)
  2. Stacey Schneider @sparkystacey (need to start a blog?)
  3. Lisa Hoover @lisah (blog) oops, she's already been tagged. It's a good read :)
  4. Joseph Arruda @zeruch (blog)
  5. Tony Guntharpe @fusion94 (blog)
  6. Jeff @toxic (blog)
  7. Angie Danielson-O'Keefe @SadieBug (blog)

February 01, 2009

The Free Software Song in a Previous Life

All I can say is.... holy christ, this was 9 years ago. And it's still just as embarrassing today as it was then - but because I'm further removed now, I can LMAO about it :)