April 30, 2006

Richard Stallman Protesting Peacefully

Richard Stallman, or RMS as many know him, decided to print a simple placard and to hold it silently as a representative of video card maker ATI spoke in RMS’s office building at MIT. The event organizers at MIT decided that they were going to take a heavy handed approach and called in local authorities telling them that there was a public disturbance and even manage to convince them to pull RMS from the event without even having to tell the police what the disturbance was. When the police learned that there was no disturbance and that RMS was sitting quietly in the event simply holding a sign they were less than pleased. MIT officials finally admitted that they had lied about the disturbance but believed that a disturbance could have happened, apparently in the potential, indefinite future. RMS was allowed to return to his seat once the police were more likely to arrest the MIT staff than RMS (who is also MIT staff, possibly MIT’s most famous professor.) It is scary to see just how close a large, totalitarian institution like MIT can come to simple removing someones rights. Even a staff member’s rights. But the real damage comes from the fact that instead of being a quite man holding a sign in an event with 35 people attending (I don’t know the actual number, I made that up) it has now made major news and is being linked everywhere. So ATI you have MIT to thank for making your poor driver practices no longer just geek political concern but national mainstream news over first amendment rights. Go MIT. (P.S. Any students out there considering a career in computer science? I strongly urge you to consider schools that focus on education and not on being big business.) (P.P.S. Buy NVidia. Although their driver practices aren’t very good either. But they are a nicer company in general and treat their customers with a little respect. Just ask Andy about what ATI thinks of people who buy their products.)

Dominica and I slept in quite late this morning. Almost until noon. Oreo made me get up a couple of times during the night and that made it really tough to get a good night’s sleep. The upside is that one of the times that he made me get up also encouraged a certain centipede to make a mad dash for it across the floor but I was ready and I got him. Pheww. There are no known additional centipedes in the house although I am quite sure that they are here. We just haven’t seen them yet.

We were getting hungry so we went out for lunch at 1:00. As expected we went over to the Omega Diner. We had our lunch and then we went to Walmart to do some “quick” shopping. The whole thing ended up taking three hours. The Walmart here is impossible to get around. It is small and completely packed full of people just meandering here and there and not paying any attention to the people that they are blocking the way of that are trying to get through. And the lines take close to an hour to get through. And no I am not kidding. Every single line in the place was backed up into the shopping areas and they weren’t moving forward at all. It was terrible.

While we were at Wally World we managed to get some lamps that we have desperately needed to have around the apartment. We got one for the living room and one for the bedroom. We picked up some DVDs since I had managed to have watched everything that was left for me at the apartment. We picked up Remingston Steele Season Three, Broken Lizard’s Club Dread (Nicklin would be proud), State Fair both the 1945 original and the 1962 remake with Ann Margaret, some movie with Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan that was in the bargain bin, a five movie collection of Marlene Dietrich films, the latest Judy Dench film Mrs. Henderson Presents and Fletch Lives! with Chevy Chase.

We came back home and spent most of the day just relaxing in the living room watching movies. We get almost no time to just relax together, or at all really, so it was a nice change. Dominica has never seen State Fair and it is one of my favourite musicals so we started off with that. We watched the 1945 version. That is the one that I have seen several times. It was one of those musicals that would show up on television every so often when I was a kid. I have no idea why they would have done a remake of that movie only seventeen years after the original. The original was so good. That would be like making a remake of a musical from 1989 today! How weird would that be? State Farm is a really great, feel good kind of movie. It really makes you wish you had lived on a midwest farm in the 1940’s although I think that miss protraying just how poor everyone really was.

After State Farm we popped in Mrs. Henderson Presents which is “based on true events” that happened in London in the late 1930’s and up until about 1940. The movie was good and I think it did a good job of portraying how awful it was in England during the war. The movie was very interesting from a historical perspective. It was well made and entertaining. I wouldn’t put it into the classic category but it is worth a watch. Excellent performances all around.

After watching two movies back to back either filmed during the war or about the war we decided that we needed a break and moved on to the corny 2003 Bill Paxton movie Broken Lizard’s Club Dread which is one of those “bikini movies thinly disguised as a cheesy horror movie” movies. I have seen Club Dread on cable a couple of times at Min’s parent’s house but I have never managed to have seen the entire thing. That is the problem with traditional television – you always end up coming in in the middle of a show. The movie isn’t very good. No, actually it is terrible. But it is funny in that “horrible horror movie” sort of way. There isn’t any plot and the characters really don’t develop but it can be entertaining. I think that Min thought that it was funny. It is totally a John Nicklin film.

That pretty much wrapped up the day. We ordered some food from Pizza Plus Cluck U (yes, that is there name) and ate that while watching the final movie. We got eggplant parmesian and corn nuggets. The subs were better than the pizza and the corn nuggets were awesome again.

It was bedtime at 11:00. Even though tomorrow is May Day I still have work. Dominica and Oreo are going to just hang out at the apartment and hopefully find someplace to do some laundry. I have not had a chance to do any since I have been down here and so far we have had to just keep buying new clothes to give me more time between laundry trips. Dominica has been taking laundry back and forth when she travels to get it done at home.

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