NYE 2004; or, wants and needs

Dear friends, happy new year.

Ah, New Year's Eve — so much organisation and anticipation for one short night of alcohol- and drug-fueled revelry, celebrating nothing more than the fact that it's been 365 days (give or take) since the last one. I hope you enjoyed yours, however you chose to spend it.

auroraslave and I spent the night at Rock City Morgue at The Metro, followed by the NYE Demons Ball at Tailors:

Rock City Morgue NYE Demons Ball

As New Year's Eves go, it was better than expected. For me, the highlight of the evening was friends: seeing old friends I hadn't seen in a while, and meeting new friends (or in some cases, friends I'd already met, but didn't remember meeting *cough*). Of course, Angelspit was awesome (with extra go-go dancing goodness!), and the DJs had the crowd eating out of their hands, but you all knew that already, so I'm not going to stroke their egos any further. (I'm not really into this new "heavy metal" music, so I didn't go see any of the other bands.)

As I explained to my dad when he phoned at midday today to wish me a happy new year, I drank a lot of those new "energy drinks" last night, so I was still wide awake despite the fact that I hadn't slept yet. After tidying my room a bit (actually a lot, but it only made a small amount of difference), I decided to pass some time by changing this:

I want to believe

into this:

I want so much to believe

Remember, friends: you don't need to inject marijuana or snort heroin to have a good time. You don't need to carry around a stupid bottle of water and go stand outside every half hour because "man, it's really hot in there." You don't need to degrade yourself, jerking off strangers in public toilets because you're tweaking and you really need to do something with your hands but you pawned your Playstation last week. MDMA? Don't need it! GHB? Not worth the risks! THC? Get the fuck away from me and take a goddamn shower! No, I'm talking about a drug with a convenient acronym which you don't need to hide up your arse during international travel: Nine Inch Nails, the perfect drug.

There's only one man that deals this drug: T. Rizzy, and you don't need to give him a hand-job to get a hit (although the jury's still out on how to get him to cough up a new album). Lose yourself in those smouldering eyes! Marvel at that enigmatic Mona Lisa smile! Acknowledge the less-noteworthy features of his face!

So much anger! So much pain!! This man doesn't just want to believe, he wants it SO MUCH!!!!!

(No, I haven't slept yet. How could you tell?)



Dear friends,

The last week has been quite hellish. Tomorrow, I will be flying to Norway to burn down some churches (and hopefully unwind a little). Please look after auroraslave while I'm gone. See you in three weeks!

Take care,

0wnz3d! or, the difference between crackers and hackers

About six or eight months ago, I put Linux on my family's computer. I installed the latest SUSE release, and set it all up so they could easily do everything they needed (which basically boiled down to web-browsing, word-processing, image-editing and playing CDs). Thankfully, they haven't had any serious complaints (which for my family is like World Peace).

A few days ago, I dropped by for a visit, and they mentioned they were having some problems with the computer. So I took a look at it, and guess what! It'd been cr4x0red and rootkitted! [And before the Windows trolls come out, I'll take a Linux+Mozilla system (one compromise in six months) over a WinXP+IE system (one compromise every 15 minutes) any day, thanks.]

Monthly Survival Time -- The SANS InstituteCollapse )

Anyway, after I had recovered from a sudden bout of uncontrollable coprolalia, I was sitting there for quite a few hours trying to work out what had been changed, and what the hell I was going to do about it. I'll be the first to admit I'm not much of a security expert, and I'm definitely no 1337 h4x0r. At one point, my beloved siblings asked me “Don't you know all this stuff?” The implication being, of course, that I take an interest in that sort of crap! I was so insulted I could only stare at them, speechless with indignation.

For future reference, dear friends, comparing a cracker to a hacker is a lot like comparing a mugger to a chef: they're both handy with a sharp knife, but you wouldn't expect a mugger to be able to cook you up a banquet, nor would you expect a chef to stab you in the throat and take your wallet.


Blogging For Dummies

[Note: the title of this entry is in reference to the hugely popular "For Dummies" series of technical books. I want to assure you all that I would never even contemplate calling you "dummies" to your faces.]

[Note to self: the next "Blogging For Dummies" entry should be titled "Bloglander II: The Linkening". That would be awesome!]


analyse *this*; or, why I haven't posted that election rant yet

This week, I've been hard at work on Assignment 2 (PDF) of the Analysis subject I'm taking this semester. Or at least, I should have been. I keep getting summoned into the office for "urgent" meetings, plus I've been finding it really hard to concentrate (I blame the heat, as well as the complete lack of air conditioning in my new sardine-tin, sorry, office).

[A small request: I realise that
  • less than 0.01% of you have any interest in maths whatsoever, and
  • you all hate me anyway, and derive an almost sexual pleasure from causing me pain,
but let's just pretend that I've already received 10,000 comments along the lines of "OMGF MATHS!?!?!??! UR A NURD!!!!!!!1 LOL" and proceed from there... please?]

In an effort to kick-start something resembling motivation, I've been hitting the cold-n-flu pills and energy drinks over the past two days, and now I feel predictably shit. The twitchiness and edginess have subsided, but the veins in my arms are telling me that my heart is pumping ball-bearings instead of blood. I'm guessing it's dehydration caused by the heat — I've been drinking water by the bottlefull and resisting the temptation of coffee, so I wouldn't otherwise have expected to feel so bad so soon.

The real disappointment right now is that I didn't make the 4:30 deadline on this assignment: I'll be handing it in on Monday and my marks will be taking a substantial hit. Realistically, though, the writing was on the wall on Thursday: I was too far behind where I should have been, with not enough time to catch up. I can program in my sleep, but maths takes a lot more brain-power. I need to be well-rested and clear-headed, and this week I've been neither. By Thursday, there just weren't enough hours before the deadline to allow myself the luxury of a decent night's sleep, so I sat at my desk and stared at the questions and tried very hard not to think "what the fuck?".

Apparently there's a Vortex this weekend. I won't be going. I probably wouldn't have gone anyway — I need to keep a clear head this close to exams, and nothing messes me up for the next week like a big night out — but now I know what I'll be doing on Saturday night. Ah, the student life!

The other side of the coin: as soon as I hand in this assignment, work will be right there to demand my time and energy again. The boss has expressed a desire to demo the "latest" version of our little program in three weeks' time, where "latest" translates to something like "incorporating features which are intended, but do not yet exist". It wouldn't be quite so frustrating, except he's had me working on other, unrelated stuff over the past three months or so (all of which, of course, was also terribly urgent at the time) and now he expects me to get this stuff working in the space of a few weeks. Today he actually emailed me to say he'd like a working version installed on his laptop by Wednesday!

(Spoiler: I said no.)