What's New

If it were up to me, I wouldn't let anyone know when I changed things up at benturner.com. But I suppose other people would need to know what to look at, should they choose to come back a second time and not want to see the same thing again. People have a thing for novelty.

News from previous years:

Also, read some REALLY old news from many years ago!

NOTE: Some links may be out of date now, as I have undergone several site rehauls over the years. Took me 5 years to develop a site structure that won't need revising years later. =)




Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/benturne/public_html/new.php on line 126

Deprecated: Function mysql_numrows() is deprecated in /home/benturne/public_html/new.php on line 140

A Minor Early 2016 Update

Been a while since I've posted!

I live in Manhattan. I love the city. I work as a web developer. Been married close to 2 years now.

I feel more security and stability than I've felt in a long time -- I know how the opposite feels, having endured a lot of changes and some hardships. I had it better than most, but I still know how it feels when you feel like you're getting pounded by more and more bad news.

So now is a good time. I am still working on Galapag.us. It's my baby and I want it to one day realize its full potential and to show all the ideas that I've had for it.



Such good news to report!

On August 27th I proposed to my fiancée in a secluded spot at the gardens of Versailles in France, and she said yes! It was just so green where I asked her; take a look:


The other good news is that I've settled into my place of employment at the most excellent Barbarian Group.

I got an opportunity to show my worth from the very beginning, with Project Popcorn, which forms a team of people from different areas of the company to build something out of an open-ended idea.

We chose to build Cryptstagram, which lets you upload an image, encrypt it with a secret message via a password (steganography), and then give it Instagram-like glitch aesthetic filters.

I got to build the server myself (Kevin, a senior art director, did the design wireframes, while Tucker and John wrote the copy, and Aimee pushed strongly for steganography from the very beginning as tech director), so I chose node.js/express.js with mongodb, along with jQuery on the front-end (the external libs I used made using other frameworks somewhat difficult since libs tend to have methods that don't inter-operate), exploiting cool tricks with HTML5 Canvas, Amazon S3 (ugh, CORS and CSRF), and client-side encryption and face detection.

What's more, we got some good coverage out of it! Over 1k images submitted, thanks to some press from Wired's design blog, Laughing Squid, PSFK, etc.

Finally, done with over a decade of school and ready to build a life for me and my new family!


Becoming a New Yorker

Since my last update, I moved down the street back to the East Village (joining my girlfriend, who moved from Queens), graduated from NYU (at Radio City Music Hall), and started a developer job at The Barbarian Group. It's been a very fortuitous summer!

I'm going to France for a wedding in a month, should continue to ramp up my knowledge in various web frameworks and design patterns and arcane tech knowledge, and hope to resume a life of normalcy where I can hang out with friends again (some of whom are getting engaged!).

Mostly I've been active on Twitter but I've posted some longish blog posts: one on Snowden and surveillance, another on higher education.


My First Summer in NYC, Last Year of Art School

Summer has drawn to a close in NYC. It was everything I hoped it would be, and more. And I had a lovely female New Yorker guide. Now fall approaches, my second year of art school begins, and I prepare to present Galapag.us as my thesis project.

Me and my dad at Darwin Station!

This summer I managed to go to the Galapagos Islands and Quito (and the equator) with my dad. It was even better than I thought it could be!

The Nikola Tesla statue at Niagara Falls, with me and my Tesla/Edison shirt on.

I also got to go up to Niagara Falls and see some of what Nikola Tesla created. And I went to see horse racing for the first time, in Saratoga. Went to Vegas to see long-time friends, as well. And got a lot of practice with Python, MongoDB, and node.js at work in the heart of NYC Silicon Alley. All while having met an amazing woman.

One more thing: I finally watched "It Might Get Loud", a documentary/jam with The Edge, Jimmy Page, and Jack White, where they talk about how they came to love the electric guitar and how they crafted their sounds.

What struck me about the film was seeing them together, sharing parts of their famous guitarwork, and, well, seeing these men, experts at their craft, being able to look at what magic they've created, and being able to share it with like minds. Simply wonderful.

The Edge, Jimmy Page, and Jack Black sharing a conversation on a special set together

And it makes me yearn to one day be similarly masterful in something. The road has been longer and harder and full of more curves for me, not in ease (I've lived a good life so far), but in the degree to which and the time I've had to invest trying to find what it is I could be masterful at. I long for reaching that point, though. What will I be good at?


The Upheaval Continues

I just completed my first year of ITP and finished up my two semesters at The Colbert Report. I'll be saying goodbye to many people I wish I didn't have to. I also just moved to another place a little north from where I was before, from the East Village to Stuy Town. From my room and from the shower, I can see the Empire State Building, particularly at night, when I can see the ill-chosen flashes of tourists' cameras from the Top of the Rock. Hopefully I won't need to move from here for a while. I'd be happy -- it's a spacious place with a great roommate in a gorgeous, quiet part of NYC by the East River.

View from both of my apartments, old on the left, new on the right

This summer will be somewhat stable and simple, allowing me to focus. I have an internship at a TechStars startup alumn so I'm hoping to gain a lot of hacker cred. And I'm taking a long-awaited trip to the Galápagos Islands -- it's my number one most-wanted place to go and will provide inspiration, catalyzation, and photo...ization? for my ITP thesis next spring.

So here's to a period of settling in, finding roots, finding friends, finding purpose.


Almost the One Year Anniversary

...of the fire that pushed me out of my favorite home ever, in Logan Circle in DC. Still haunts me.

I'm living in Manhattan now, with a view north of the Empire State Building's lights coming into my window at night. I'm now in school studying Processing, Arduino, Final Cut Pro X, Sinatra, Ruby, etc., becoming a far more experienced coder and jack-of-all-trades. To be around the artists, actors, and other creatives who go to the Tisch School, and to be around my classmates, who are all digitally savvy, curious, fun-loving, playful, and resourceful? Well, it's a bit like being a kid again. My creative classmates inspire me with their fantastic ideas and executions of those ideas. To see my classmates all on "the floor", working and tinkering on multiple playful projects -- it's what I always hoped I could do while in school. :) On the side I'm interning at The Colbert Report and getting a crash course in Linux administration and jQuery. I'm becoming even more digitized than I was before, which is getting scary.

On the other hand, grad school is like two years of feeling brain-addled. You do nothing particularly well, and you're never completely done with anything. It's a necessary evil to get to where I want to go, though I'm worn out of being a student at this point. I bring that up because it's a counter-point to all the benefits: living in East Village, using my deserved Post-9/11 GI Bill, experiencing an alternate universe where people give a damn about things that are beautiful, where people create instead of destroy.

There is, perhaps, too much destruction taking place right now. This includes, I fear, the destruction of yet another of my previous lives, which I've become rather good at, much to the detriment of my ability to create.


2011 is Already Kicking 2010's Ass!

So after 4.5 months of not having access to my old apartment in Logan Circle, I was finally allowed to go in and collect my things. Turns out my computer, electronics, and monitors work fine, although I think a few of my things were stolen, or I haven't found them yet. Other people said they were missing some things too. I recovered a lot of potentially lost data. I had to wipe a lot of soot off my stuff, which takes forever and is never 100% done. I threw away a lot of shoes and fabric stuff. My clothes are being cleaned on the management's dime and I'm told they'll be perfectly fine when I get them back. I hope!

Here's a video I shot while collecting my stuff:

So that was a relief to begin to put that stage of my life behind me. And yesterday, I also got my $180 back from Comcast after a protracted email struggle which ended in me paying for my "lost" equipment.

The best thing to happen was that I just got an email saying I was accepted to NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program! It'll be 2 years for a Masters of Professional Studies degree, full of 60 credits of courses learning audio, video, Python, Ruby, Arduino, Processing, creating art, 3D printing, laser cutting, building circuitboards, and so on. I can hardly wait to work with my hands again after sitting at a desk for a few years. Also, life in Manhattan! I'll move up in July or August. The DC chapter comes to a close. Thank you to Jim Webb and other Congressmen for proposing the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which made me eligible for new funding.

I'll be working until I leave -- and I'm now a team lead at work, so I get to do one of my favorite things, which is help develop subordinates and train them to be better at their job and at finding their own paths and personalities.

So this year is already off to an awesome start! There'll be a lot of changes, as I'll have to reinvent myself yet again. But, I've paid my dues.


Saying Goodbye to 2010

I'm eagerly awaiting 2011 because 2010 ended rather poorly. At the beginning of November, my neighbor's apartment caught fire while I was at work. I got an Alert DC notification of the fire at my building and I raced home in a cab. But the damage had been done and a couple months later, as of Dec. 21, I still haven't been able to get in to my floor or my apartment. The reason is presumably because asbestos was found and must be cleaned. Another 25 days, at least, are expected.

Needless to say, it was a harrowing November. I did take 2.5 months off during the summer to enjoy the warm weather and to keep coding on Galapag.us, but I'd reached a stopping point and wanted to work again. So I'd been working a couple weeks at my same previous $employer when the fire happened.

Fortunately I stayed with my girlfriend and she and her flatmate were very generous about it. I gradually got my life together again and rented a new apartment up near Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park.

There were some good things to 2010 -- my baptism, a trip to NYC to see the US Open with my mom, a trip to South Beach for the Future of Web Apps conference, getting Wizards season tickets, the news of my buddy Chris getting engaged, meeting my current girlfriend. But there were also some wretched things: losing my belongings, getting dumped by my ex of a couple years, bittersweet trip to Miami with the ex.

Personally I'm ready to move on and hope for a better subsequent year, because this one was kind of a drag.

I guess the lessons are: don't put too much value in your stuff, back up your data in the cloud, be happy with your health, have renter's insurance, be thankful for those friends and family around you who will sacrifice their time to be with you.

Happy New Year, reader. Here's to a better tomorrow.


Fall, 2010

Summer is coming to a close in DC. The leaves are turning yellow. A chill is coming in at night. The children aren't always running around at the Y. Tourists on the Mall are few and fleeting. The ladies are getting out their pashminas, wellies, and other girly gear.

I took some time off from work to code full time on Galapag.us, my platform for identity and reputation "credit ratings". But now I'm back at work with my awesome firm.

Went to NYC to meet up with my mom and watch the US Open. It has the creatives that DC doesn't have.

That is all I have to update for now.


Newly Baptized

This Easter Vigil, I was honored to be baptized and brought into the Catholic Church in the company of my St. Matthew's parish, my fellow catechumens, my mom and dad, one of my uncles, my grandma, my girl, and several of my close friends. I received very generous gifts, remarks, and love. It was quite a wonderful event and I was happy that people cared to share that time with me.

It's been a while since I posted an update, but I'm very active elsewhere, particularly on Twitter. I've been working a great job as a social media operations analyst, and I'm becoming more intertwined in several communities, including Logan Circle and the Catholic Church (obviously). Seen a couple more Tea Party events live and in the flesh while jogging by, and was happy to see the health care reform ultimately succeed, after what has been a very tumultuous struggle here in the Capital.

The tourists are in full force here, with the White House just down the street from me. The blizzards are finally over, and the rooftop pool should open soon. DC during the summer is a wonderful thing.

Drop me a line and let me know how you're doing, if you haven't done so in a while.


Settling In to a New Life

I got about a month and a half off after graduating to relax, although finding a job is not really all that relaxing. I did eventually manage to get a full-time Gov 2.0 job, took a short trip to the Bahamas (which was wonderful, and quite different from Jamaica), and also moved to the Logan Circle/Scott Circle area of downtown DC.

It's a wonderful neighborhood, better than I suspected at first. Rice is up the street, with the best mango sticky rice in town, and I'm going to RCIA at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle down the street -- soon I'll be undergoing the Rite of Acceptance to begin the formal process of becoming a Catholic!

Map of Dupont Circle/Scott Circle

And yesterday I joined the YMCA on the same street, just re-opened from fall cleaning. I had to join a new gym since my Georgetown gym membership expired. The YMCA is quite an amazing institution now that I read more about it -- the facility is quite nice, and much better than the paltry Washington Sports Club on the main Connecticut Avenue, and the over-priced glitzy Vida Fitness up the street. Not that YMCA is dirty or anything, but it's sort of like Rocky going to train at the local gym in Rocky III to find his heart again.

So I'm settling in to my new neighborhood, and am now living downtown in the most powerful city in the world. Plus summer is flagging, and the chills of fall are almost upon us.

I certainly didn't expect to be where I am now, but I'm definitely enjoying it. I'm just glad I chose to try something new instead of staying with what was familiar and safe to me.


My RSS Feed Should Work Now

Okay, so since I've been playing with a lot of cool stuff at work, I learned how to make my RSS feed work for these news entries. So if you already subscribed, it should update again whenever I post new news here (which isn't that often, I admit). It's nice to have a job where you get to keep learning. =)


We Graduated from Georgetown!

Two long years of researching and writing came to an end this month when my class of a little less than 100 brilliant people graduated from the Georgetown Master's of Science in Foreign Service program. My mom (pictured below) and dad came up to see the beautiful ceremonies.

Graduation from MSFS!

What a feeling to be done! What I will miss the most is the camaraderie we have had as a collective group. The major task at hand now is to keep us all close and regularly seeing each other.

It's been a while since my last post. Since then, I completed my first marathon, in Charlottesville, with the assistance and motivation in training from wonder-girl Dina and wonder-guy Dan. Thank you both!

For now, I'm staying in DC, enjoying the early summer, and looking for a job.

I snuck away to Jamaica for a few days with some classmates and my good buddy MonkeyPope. We had a blast. You can see videos and photos on my Flickr.

A final note: I am still building the prototype for my online reputation ecosystem, but for now you can get more details about it (Galapag.us) and self-quantification, at its Facebook fan page. Do participate, and advocate for the cause!


A Special Week and a Final Semester

In case you didn't know about it, I have a blog that I write to more frequently than I do here. It's at http://benturner.wordpress.com/.

Well, it's been a very long few days here in DC. I went to the inaugural concert on Sunday, then watched the inauguration on Tuesday from a restaurant in Dupont Circle to avoid the cold, crowds, and boredom. Then that evening I went to the Unity Ball at the Russian Cultural Center.

With at least 1-2 million people attending this weekend, clearly a lot of Americans who were turned off by waving a flag after the "War on Terror" began are now proud to be patriotic again. It's a significant point that not enough people have written about. Thank you, Obama! And good luck.

People watch Obama's inauguration from Nairobi, Kenya.

This is my last semester. I'm taking comparative democratization, policies for poverty reduction, international negotiation, and business operations in emerging markets to conclude my time in Georgetown's MSFS program. I'm also sitting in on a class on creating a culture of innovation and one on social media in government, business, and development.

Coming soon: orals exam, final Yahoo! fellowship research paper, and finding a job! Happy New Year.


A New Era

Here in DC, election night was one of the most genuinely joyous scenes I've ever witnessed. People took to U Street, M Street, the White House, all over to celebrate President-Elect Barack Obama. Everyone was smiling, hugging, shaking hands, cheering, regardless of whether they were strangers or not. Pure communitas.

Judith Warner wrote a very prescient post on Obama's presidency starting a new era:

On Wednesday, Nov. 5, 1980, my 10th-grade American history teacher started class by unfurling The New York Times. She pointed to its triple banner headline: “Reagan Easily Beats Carter; Republicans Gain in Congress; D’Amato and Dodd are Victors.”

“Save this paper,” she told us. “This is the start of a whole new era.”

And it was. An era of unbridled deregulation, wealth-enhancing perks for the already well-off, and miserly indifference to the poor and middle class; of the recasting of greed as goodness, the equation of bellicose provincialism with patriotism, the reframing of bigotry as small-town decency.

In short, it was the start of our current era. The Reagan Revolution was the formative political experience of my generation’s lifetime, like the Great Depression, the Second World War or Vietnam for those before us. And in its intellectual and moral paucity, in its eventual hegemony, these years shut down, for some of us, the ability to fully imagine another way.

What has just happened has unlocked unfathomable energy from within America: blacks and minorities once again able to hope, the promise of a meritocracy once again and a rewarding of skills and experience, and optimism and pride that has been missing for years. I feel it within myself and see it within my classmates, friends, my city, and everywhere on the internet.

Change.gov is taking in applications for work, and I guarantee you many can hardly wait to sign up. I already did.

I wrote a very long post remembering the last eight years of Dubya and of Obama (thank you to Juan Cole for the linklove). This is a key date in history. One I will remember forever.


Fall, 2008

Summer is over and classes have begun. This year I'm taking a class on Al-Qaeda and the global jihad with Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA bin Laden unit prior to 9/11. Also a class on small/medium enterprise with a career USAID foreign service officer, a class on managing development with a career USAIDer and senior consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton (part of my class including, I hope, a stint at the development consultant Chemonics), a class on the internet with Al Gore's former technology advisor during the 90's, and a class on African development with a former vice president of the Africa region at the World Bank. View of Sagrada Familia from La Pedrera in Barcelona

Also I am researching how global values shape communications technologies as a junior fellow for the Georgetown MSFS Yahoo! Fellowship this year. Check out our research blog.

This summer I spent two weeks in Barcelona (photos at Flickr) and went to Hawai'i for the International Achievement Summit. For the totally awesome details, read my write-up. I mean, I fucking saw Bill Russell and George Lucas, the most oddly-matched pair, walking and talking! And went through TSA security behind Ralph Nader (he made it through okay).

So things are fun and I'm getting to research academically exactly what I'm interested in pursuing professionally, which is a very fortuitous thing indeed.

I went in to the market earlier this summer but cashed out 100% again while in Barcelona for a loss. Market conditions have gotten far worse since -- and it all continues to feel very heavy. Scary.


Spending the Summer in DC

The mozzies are back! And so is the heat. But rain still rolls in hard and fast in DC during the spring.

Mongol, the movie

I just saw Mongol, an awesome movie about the life of Genghis Khan, filmed in China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan, and made by a Russian director. I've been wanting for a while to add Genghis to Chung Ho, Alexander the Great, and Saladin as permanent ink on my back but haven't done so yet.

I'm not working for any other organization right now but am working on my business idea. I'm set to leave for Hawai'i in a couple weeks, so I'll have lots of pics. I also booked tickets to fly to Barcelona for a couple weeks! With at least eight books on my desk to read, all the travel will also provide time to finish them! And I'm such a nerd that that makes me happy.

One last thing: I received my program's Yahoo! Junior Fellowship for this upcoming year! So while the company itself is undergoing a mass exodus, its endowment is helping to fund my studies and allows me to work with a very interesting senior fellow. What an opportunity! Hooray! Thank you, MSFS and Yahoo!


Nearing the End of My First Year of Grad School

The Georgetown Master of Science in Foreign Service program is wonderful. I'm just finishing up some work at USAID, I have mountains of reading for classes, and I've continued focusing on what I really want to do: start my own business.

I was immersed into development theory by my prof, a career USAID foreign service officer. And I studied telecom policy under the first Yahoo! Fellow at Georgetown, who's taking leave from the FCC. Furthermore, I've been learning the common language of SPSS and statistics. The most demanding class, however, is the least theoretical and classroom-based: social entrepreneurship. It's forced me to develop a business plan and video pitch for my business idea.

Snowboarding in Colorado!

This semester I took Spring Break in Miami Beach for some beach, and then went to Colorado for some snow with a handful of my classmates. In the DC area, we just had our Spring Ball last week -- a decadent but fitting closure to the year. The weather just turned warm and the undergrads have already taken to the campus lawns in revealing clothing.

I didn't get the Google Policy Fellowship; it looks like law students and Ivy Leaguers did instead.

Summer looks to be a lot of recreational reading, a trip to Hawai'i to represent my school at the Achievement Summit, a possible trip to Rhode Island to see my buddy's wedding, and working on my business.

As the school year ends, I could not be happier about my decision to come here to Georgetown. It's just changed my life and outlook completely. The way I think about foreign policy, development, and financial issues is far more nuanced and investigative than it was before. It's shocking, to be honest. And I would say that my classmates feel the same way.

Petraeus and Crocker testified last week on Iraq. The degree of inwardness and obsession in the US was illustrated to me last night when I went to a lecture by two China experts on the rising impact of China on American foreign policy. The short version? The US is willfully giving up its influence in the world but not its attitude about its place in the world. The US will wake up one day and realize the rest of the world passed it by. That makes me, as an American, very sad. In the heartland of competition, we are refusing to remain competitive.

Great Irony Depression

On the economy and the stock market, I would agree that the Administration's fiscal policy actions are irresponsible and new regulations won't make the sector stronger structurally, but for now the market got what it wanted and it's happy -- we're just going to see bad corporate earnings for a while. I am cash except for new Nintendo positions.


A New Semester Begins

The MSFS holiday social.

2007 finished with a flourish. My house threw an end-of-semester party (Iron Chef Georgetown theme), followed the next week by the MSFS holiday social. I The Williams sisters at the Aussie Open. got my grades after I drove home to Dallas with one of my classmates who lives near me there -- grades were mixed. A's in Arabic and Globalization (History). A- in international finance. B+ in international relations theory (Victor Cha is a tough, yet fair grader). B in international trade (clearly not my forté).

This semester I am taking statistics, social entrepreneurship, political economy of international communications policy, and development orthodoxies. All the classes are fascinating and are exposing me to subject areas I know nothing about, yet relate intimately to the business idea I'll be working on for the entrepreneurship class. Bottom line? I'm bloody psyched.

I got an iPhone for Christmas. It really is as great as everyone says.

As for 2008, well, I am hoping Obama has stolen Hillary's aura of invincibility and will be elected. I watched the markets gap down more this morning than I've ever seen, and then saw the Fed reactively cut rates 75 basis points. Kind of scary. I'm glad I'm still all cash from November's vapor trading.

One more thing: you have no idea how much I wish to be in Melbourne watching the Aussie Open. It's one of my dreams to go watch it one year. (or many)



Thanksgiving, 2007

I spent my Thanksgiving not with family, but with brothers-in-arms. I drove out to Annapolis and hung out with MonkeyPope and a dude we both knew from language school. Somehow we all ended up in the same line of work, and we got to share some stories over a massive dinner for 12ish with MonkeyPope's sister's-in-law family. Good to see you, bro, even if both of you had iPhones and I don't. =P

My Bio Displayed on an Amazon Kindle Apparently the future is here, in the Amazon Kindle. Ugly son of a bitch, isn't it? Oh well. My buddy somehow procured a Kindle early and forwarded me a pic of my biography page displayed on it. Ew. The idea of e-reading is spot on, and digitally saving notes and bookmarks and key quotes is what I want most in an e-reader. I seriously think the digitization of books and integration into online databases will have massive cultural effects...but I think the Kindle is probably the Newton of these devices...

There are approximately two weeks left of this semester in which I am sucking at international trade. Our class continues to remain tight, which I really enjoy, since I was able to transition from one community (Army) to another relatively easily. I am applying for a Google fellowship over the summer in my never-ending attempt to get a job with them once I graduate. I've pre-registered for classes next semester, including what I think will become my future all-consuming interest: social entrepreneurship. It's taught by a kickass prof and it will let me develop the idea I have into (hopefully) a viable business opportunity.

I finally sold all my stocks and Nintendo a couple weeks back when Bernanke said growth was slowing. That concluded a year-and-a-half hold of Nintendo from when the Wii was announced, during which the stock more than tripled. Thank you, Nintendo, for a hell of a ride!


Autumn Chill

Last week the temperatures in DC dropped a bit for the first time this year.

Classes are going well although I'm overloaded with 18 credits (including Arabic every day) and an internship affiliated with USAID. We've gotten a few grades back and I'm doing fine.

My classmates continue to rock the house. Such a diverse crowd. Our camaraderie is still there but we're in midterm-season so it's stressful.

I'm settling into the city, getting to know the public transport schedules, visiting different neighborhoods, meeting friends on the street, going for long runs through downtown.

The other week, Bill Richardson came to talk at Georgetown about the military and Iraq. He pushed for immediate withdrawal and support services for re-deploying troops. I'm hoping that Obama will win the nomination, choose Richardson as his veep, and then pull in Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Edwards, among others to be in his cabinet. Wouldn't that be something?

Solar Decathlon with the Capitol in the background.

I visited the Solar Decathlon this weekend on the Washington Mall, a competition between twenty universities to build the most energy-efficient solar homes. The houses looked outstanding and were ultra comfy and cool on the insides. Lots of people, though, meant for long lines waiting to go inside each presentation.


My Stint at Georgetown Begins

It's been an exciting month, recorded in my Wuntsah. I went to Manhattan with my parents and Julie and met my grade school friends, visited MoMA, Cooper-Hewitt, the UN, Magnolia Bakery, the American Craft Museum, Spamalot, Perilla, Central Park (perfect weather), Harlem, and more. NYC is so seductive.

My buddies and I at orientation.

I also moved to DC with all my stuff in my car and IKEA'd out my room. Our program started with a two-day orientation with lots of hand-shaking and wrapping our heads around the diversity and experience of our incoming class. My classes: international trade, international finance, globalization in intersocietal relations, and international relations theory. I'm already overloaded with articles, books, and memos to write! Plus a daily Arabic class, an upcoming internship with a USAID contractor, and jogging along the Potomac and around the city.

Soon enough the much-ballyhooed Petraeus report will arrive. That people are already spinning some successes in Iraq (by shady deal-making) as overall justification for invasion and evidence of productive policy, is disgustingly misleading. Violence is at its highest point on average this year compared with past years in the occupation. And Al-Sistani's aides are being assassinated while Al-Sadr and Al-Maliki are contending with corruption, loss of control, and division. How sad it is that what passes in Iraq now is considered success.


Pre-Term Activities

Georgetown Rowhouse Last weekend I went to my grandmother's (first time I'd seen her since before I enlisted in 2002) and to Georgetown for housing search. I checked out my new campus and met the owners of the impressive row-house I've rented out with some fellow classmates in the Burleith/Georgetown neighborhood north of campus. It's quite a beautiful area -- and having also lived in Monterey, CA, I'm perhaps a bit spoiled.

I walked around the DC area and just missed Cindy Sheehan getting arrested at the Capitol -- when I got there, there were only a few anti-war/impeachment activists outside. I didn't realize how large the Iwo Jima memorial was. I walked solemnly through Arlington National Cemetary. I saw the Air Force officers in their uniforms taking the metro to the Pentagon.

I've been going to cooking classes at the Farmer's Market here in Dallas while I've been waiting for class to start. It's great because the best chefs in the area come to give the classes and you get to taste their food. Today's chef was Richard Chamberlain from Chamberlain's Restaurant and he served us up some delicious, buttery kobe beef and warm espresso cake. I'm trying to learn to cook better and now wonder if I can spare another two years to attend the cooking school here in Dallas (which would be free for me!). With Top Chef and Ratatouille, I'm guessing cooking is the big thing right now too!

Just three weeks till class begins! I'm so psyched! I've met a lot of my future classmates through the Facebook group I set up, and got to meet some in person. It's going to be wild.

Coming up soon: a week's trip to Manhattan with my family!


Father's Day, and Operation Arrowhead Ripper

For Father's Day, my brother and I took our dad to see Day Watch, the second movie in a Russian trilogy about tenuous relations between good and evil forces requiring day and night watches to police each other. It looked promising with a Russian take on the action genre, and amped up computer graphics, but the story seemed so laborious that people were walking out of the theater and I sort of wanted to also.

Day Watch

For Father's Day dinner, my brother cooked up some steak on the grill and we had Pakistani-style corn on the cob and green beans.

General David Petraeus Undergoing right now are several large operations in Iraq as General Petraeus flexes his Iraq strategy. Early indications from journalists like Michael Yon and Michael Gordon are incredibly positive and from this lowly ex-soldier's perspective it seems like the operation to trap Islamic State of Iraq operatives (who are often lumped as Al-Qaeda or Sunni insurgents, inaccurately), while probably fruitless in the long-term, at least shows how a battle should be prosecuted. I don't know how much influence Petraeus had in these operations but my sense is that he has restored confidence and competence to our military efforts in Iraq.

Perhaps the main requirement for the mission's success will be the capture or killing of significant ISI members. If it comes out that we didn't get them, and even worse that they had been tipped off and fled beforehand (as had happened in just about every mission I witnessed while in Iraq), then the mission will be a failure.

PBS Frontline has an episode viewable online called "Endgame", a valuable look at the timeline of the war from the perspective of the war planners in Bush's administration. If you don't quite understand how we've gotten to this point in Iraq, I recommend you watch the episode. I would also add that any solution in Iraq will not involve the Bush camp -- their incompetence is suffocating.

Summer Update

On a more personal note, I heard one of my buddies got a Purple Heart in Iraq, getting hit by a sniper ricochet in the upper thigh, but he'll be okay. I am taking macroeconomics and microeconomics courses right now at the local community college to satisfy my pre-reqs for Georgetown admission. I've really taken an interest in economics and am enjoying going over the fundamentals in my classes. I've 95% secured a residence in Georgetown a couple blocks away from the campus with some really amazing roommates so I'm looking forward to that!


And as for the iPhone: well, I really want one, but the AT&T data plan promises nothing but suffering. I've been cellphone-free for over a month now and I'm really loving not getting raped by my monthly bill anymore.


Julie's Birthday and Memorial Day

Happy birthday, baby. =) Luckily I got to see you last weekend so we could celebrate a little early. I hope you were sufficiently spoiled and relaxed by the end of your stay here. You deserve it! I'm very proud of you and how you handle all your responsibilities with strength and grace. Many <3s your way!

On another note, tomorrow is Memorial Day. I spent ANZAC Day, Oz's and New Zealand's remembrance day, at ANZAC Hill in Alice Springs about a month ago, remembering the fallen soldiers from my unit in our last rotation.

SGT Daniel Winegeart SGT Dustin Adkins

This day is not fully appreciated unless you've worn the stars and bars, or if you're a family member of someone who did. There are a lot of people who wish for the occupation of Iraq to continue, yet who have never served. They offer excuses such as "I have a family" or "I'm too old" or "I would fight if called up". This, along with hand-wringing and crying on the House floor by Rep. John Boehner, means little to veterans. These chickenhawks label anti-war folks as cowards, yet these bellicose armchair quarterbacks had their whole lives to serve their country and they never did. I have no respect for these people. They claim we are in a decisive fight for freedom against terrorists, yet they continue their civilian lives knowing full well that they will never be put to the test, that they will never have to sacrifice anything, that they will never be drafted or taken out of their spots behind a keyboard to await instantaneous death like the hundreds we will remember by next Memorial Day.

So as another Memorial Day passes, this one during some of the deadliest months for American soldiers and Marines, leave the memorials for those who understand the sacrifice and volunteering to serve. To the chickenhawk, the day is just a day to make oneself feel good, to make oneself feel like he's contributing when really he's not.

For everyone else, it's a great day to BBQ, drink beer, and spend quality time with friends. So make sure you go do that!


Mother's Day

First of all, I quit T-Mobile (they're a scam), so if you try to reach my cell number, it won't work. Call my VOIP instead!

I also expanded my political platform to include more issues and more research links.

I'd like to thank my mother who has been a supportive force in my life particularly this year as I've transitioned out of Army life and had to make some big decisions about school. She offered advice and listened to my deliberating about what to do next.

At the same time she's taught me some things about cooking and money, and cooks great meals and cleans too much and bears the burden of shopping for groceries. I try to help her out while I'm staying at home but it doesn't make up for all that she's given me. I'm very happy that she had a chance to go to China with her sister recently!

Today we're taking her to see Offside, a movie about some Iranian girls who disguise themselves as boys to go to a football game in Tehran. Then we'll head over to Kathleen's Art Cafe for dinner.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom! I hope I make you proud!


Australia/Fiji, Georgetown MSFS, and Army ETS

I just got back from almost a month spent on holiday in Australia and Fiji. I stayed in Melbourne and took an Outback tour from Adelaide up to Alice Springs, finishing with some more time in Melbourne and a few days in Nadi, Fiji. Talk about an adventure! Doing this was one of the best decisions I ever made. Thanks to my dad for the frequent flyer miles!

Uluru with our two tour guides!

Also I'll be starting the Master of Science in Foreign Service two-year program at Georgetown in the fall. I even got a surprise tuition scholarship!

And finally, I'm officially out of the Army now. Almost 100 US/UK soldiers died while I was in Australia. The average killed per day right now is almost 4. It's tragic.


The Big D Texas Marathon

The Big D Texas Marathon Yesterday I ran the half-marathon (13.1 miles) for the Big D Texas Marathon at Fair Park in Dallas. It was an extremely well-organized race that took us from Fair Park to White Rock Lake and back, passing through ultra-snazzy mansions with their palatial facades and yards to the run-down areas with their 9mm casings on the pavement.

This was my first race at this distance and probably the first time I've run 13 miles; I've done some 5k's and plenty of 2-milers in the Army. I felt really good until mile 9 and then time started to slooooow down!

The good news is that I came in 203rd out of about 1,330 runners. I was 25th in my age group, 25-29. I averaged about 8:30 a mile. I definitely slowed down as my stamina decreased at the end. I think with more experience and long-distance training, I can get down to at least 8 minute miles. In the Army I was running sub-7 minute miles, but that was only for 2-milers.

My Dad and I After the Race

That was fun! Also, my parents came out with me to see me perform; thank you Mom and Dad for that. =)


Graduate School

So I've been notified of acceptance by both Georgetown's School of Foreign Service and UT Austin's LBJ Public Affairs School! I got wait-listed at both Tufts' Fletcher School and Columbia SIPA.

Right now I am still waiting for word from McGill's Political Science program and Johns Hopkins SAIS.

And today I went to the LBJ School's visitation day and I was extremely impressed. The representatives and other admitted students were excited and interesting and I just enjoyed the whole day.

I will have to decide where to go before I leave for Australia next month. My decision is getting harder as 1) I love Georgetown and UT Austin and 2) the other schools are taking so long to respond. =/

No matter where I go, I'm happy because this is a fulfillment of my discovered path and long-time dreams.


My Early Spring

First of all, best of luck to my buddies who are deploying forward, and welcome home to those returning! Glad you guys made it home safely -- I will come visit soon!

I'm on my terminal leave from the Army now. I've returned home and am enjoying temperatures about 20 degrees warmer on average. Combined with Punxatawney Phil's early spring, I should be set!

I booked a trip to Australia, but the tour is not confirmed yet. I can also get a lay-over in Fiji. I might be running a half-marathon in about a month. And I've been accepted into UT Austin's Public Affairs Masters program. Still waiting on the other 5 schools to respond!


Groundhog Day

Wuntsah demo

It's my birthday this Friday! WOOHOO! Not sure what I'm going to do, seeing as how all my buddies here are deployed -- but I'm sure I'll figure something out.

Also, I start out-processing the Army next week. A lot of stamps, paperwork, and driving all the way back home! Then I'm thinking of learning some cooking, going to Australia, and working on private projects until I find out what grad schools want me.

I updated Wuntsah so check out the neater template demo I worked on last weekend. It includes updated entries for the rest of 2006. Then, make your own Wuntsah!


Iraq: The Lost Generation

There's a good documentary on Google Video whose author interviews people from different walks of life within mainly Baghdad. A short clip from YouTube:


2007 IS HERE!

Good riddance to a bad year!

I spent Christmas in Colorado Springs with da Monkey Pope, carefully avoiding the blizzard, and then spent New Year's Eve with Julie and my folks in Dallas. Fun!


A New Mandate from the People

If 40% of the electorate barely picking the Democrats as the majority isn't a full mandate, I don't know what is!! =P

But seriously, today was a pivotal day. I am happy that there will be some political opposition again in this country. Yay!

I'm disappointed that Kinky Friedman lost in Texas with only 11%. =( Our state's not ready for him yet. On the other hand, some awful awful people have left the government and that's a good thing.

I am unsure of Robert Gates becoming the new SecDef. He has a long history in the CIA and as director of central intelligence, but my first impression would be that he's a cold warrior who could be much like Rumsfeld. Plus, he's an Aggie, so he's got that going against him. With General Hayden in the CIA and Gates as the SecDef, you're looking at two intelligence guys with a lot of influence upon war. That could be a potentially dangerous thing.

So, to sum up, the elections far surpassed my expectations. And that is all. =)))))


October is Here...

...and it's getting chillier. I miss the summer already. =(

The good thing is that my Julie is coming to visit me for Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, so she'll get to see what a military base looks like! Then I'll show her Nashville, a town that I've really grown fond of. I'm glad she'll get to see this before I leave in less than half a year to go to graduate school.


Fight on Their Turf: Away Games

Go Army Airborne Want to go to war? Want to kill some terrorists? Want to avenge 9/11? Want to directly execute American foreign policy?

Well, good news! Maximum age limits for enlisting in the Army have been increased to the age of 42!

So I have a proposal for you. I'm in the Army, and now the Army is offering $1,000 referral bonuses for soldiers who recruit new soldiers into the Army. So how's about it? Let me refer you!

And don't worry, I won't just leave you out to dry. E-mail me if you have any questions about what the life is like, or what job you should get. I'll help get you hooked up!

We need you in the fight! Come on, let's go kill some mujj! I'd be especially honored if I could get referrals for my favorite pro-war non-soldiers, Michelle Malkin and Montgomery Gentry. It's too bad Bill O'Reilly, Charles Johnson, and Neal Cavuto JUST miss the cut-off age limits. We could've used your supporting fire. =~(


Mid-Term Elections

So I flew home to Dallas on leave for a little over a week. My girlfriend will be coming here soon also, and I'll give her the Dallas experience and maybe we'll check out the new house my parents are closing on also!

Kinky Friedman for Governor I remembered that mid-term elections are coming up in November and that I have to get an application to vote by mail in September. Then I remembered an article I read in Esquire about Kinky Friedman, a Jewish Texan who's running for governor against the (useless) Republican incumbent Rick Perry and the wishes-she-weren't-Republican Carole Keeton Strayhorn. He's a real interesting guy, and the kind of personality that Texas should have running it.

I mean, the guy's upset that you can't play Texas Hold 'Em in TEXAS! Damn fucking right! And he's all about common sense policies and not any of that them thar' politickin'!

So if you live in Texas, consider giving him a vote. Get more info from Wikipedia.

Time for an awesome week with my darling and my family! Going to a Rangers game tomorrow night -- it's been a while since I went to the Ballpark.



My site was down all day on Wednesday because of hard drive problems on the web host end. No, I did not get in trouble again. =P But I did get a new tattoo on my upper back (members only for pics) and a Nintendo DS Lite.

I revised my résumé and am seeking employment for when I transition out of the Army.

It's the one-year anniversary of when I left for Iraq last year. Instead, this year I will hopefully be going home with Julie to see my parents!


New Addition to the Family

A new arrival, my MacBook!

Today my new 2GHz Core Duo, 1GB RAM MacBook arrived. It's a beautiful, sexy machine. My first Mac. The screen is gorgeous, even if it suffers from glare under direct light and if the vertical space is limited. The keys seem just fine to me, despite hyperbole from reviews. The frame doesn't seem hotter than any other laptop to me but I'm still pondering re-applying thermal paste to it just to do it.

PhotoBooth with the built-in camera has some nifty filters like a comic book pointillist look, an X-ray one, and one that looks similar to the after-effects used in the upcoming Keanu Reeves film, "A Scanner Darkly".

FedEx tracked my new baby originating from Suzhou, China to Anchorage, AK, to Indianapolis, to Nashville, and then to where I live. All in half a week!

The Mavs just beat the Spurs in game 7. I seriously thought they'd blown another 4th quarter but somehow they fucking pulled through. This changes everything! Haven't these playoffs been fantastic? With the emergence of King James and all these game sevens, it's been intense.

Not much is going on in public at benturner.com, but if you apply, you'll see what I'm working on in private.


Montreal, Dallas

Well, I'm back from block leave. I spent two precious weeks in Montreal with Julie and half a week with my parents and brother in Dallas.

On the right side there is a link to MY COUNTRY, which is my political platform that I'd run on if I were nominated. I think MY COUNTRY would be something to be proud of, something to aspire to. What do you think?



Well, I've got my MP3 player full of the new Kleptones mash-up compilation 24 Hours and some books to read while on my flight up to Montreal to be with my girlfriend for a couple weeks.

I've been waiting to spend some quality time with my woman for a long time. And the time is finally here!


When Barracks Feel Like Home

Have you seen the button up above to apply to join the private side of benturner.com yet?

A decoration for being home:

Ah to be home again.


My Return to Modernity

Well, I'm home in the States now. It feels reaaaaaal good. I am very technologically dependent to begin with, so moving out of the vacuum that is Iraq feels like a breath of fresh air, but it also means a return to good food, smiles, family, my devoted girlfriend, modern construction, and freedom. I'm settling in and now have Vonage, a new computer, and many new ideas for my site.

I didn't quite make it home in time for my birthday, but that's okay. Another month of tax-free.

Please drop me a line if we haven't talked in a while!


Mission Statement

When I get home (soon), I'm going to be over-hauling my web site. A lot will change for the better, offering a more distilled, pure version of benturner.com. I have a lot of new ideas for content. Most significantly, much of what comprises benturner.com will be made private; I'm building a private side and making it more personal, requiring you, my reader, to complete a questionnaire before given access. I want to know who you are. I'm not concerned about hits, or trackbacks, or the larger community. I care more about communicating with my readers. I want to build a network of creative, industrious idea people. Also, I want my privacy, my intimacy, freedom to speak, with an audience I know. No more free rides, little Johnny! But there'll still be plenty for the external version of benturner.com for new readers, don't worry.

Bill Murray from Groundhog Day.

Did you know it's Groundhog's Day on February 2nd? Well, along with James Joyce's birthday is my own! I'll be 28. I'm excited about this year's birthday! Last year I spent my birthday at JRTC, a training exercise in Bumblefuck, Shitwhere. For an idea of what this place is like (or what it became famous for), I recommend you rent Tigerland, a movie with Colin Farrell acting well in a good part (shocking!) as a role model for developing leaders and sergeants to follow in terms of leading from the front and looking out for his soldiers.

I'm on a quest, and it's not looking good. =P The quest? To find a damn Nintendo DS at the PX here before all the Joes buy them up. It's hard, let me tell you. NBA 06 on PSP is far, far better than I expected but I desire much more gaming in my dulled support-soldier state, dear reader. I check the PX daily waiting for a shipment to come in, but no luck. And it's too close to the time to go back home to order one online. Now I'm so obsessed with this I'm like Captain Ahab seeking the goddamn pixellated Nintendog, Phoenix, vampire!!!

The new American flag. (from Adbusters.org)

So yes. Birthday. Birthday birthday birthday. I've been in Iraq for a while. How about you go to my Amazon.com wishlist and get me something? If not for me, do it for what I think is a diverse, fascinating list of important books from economics to history to hacking to graffiti to cooking to traveling! And if not for that, do it for your country! Your consumption translates into a healthy economy, the promotion of good ideas, thongs, Cheez-Its, and lots of sex for everyone!

You DO want that, right? Then what are you waiting for?


Missing Christmas

Well, it's the month of Happy Holidays, so from Iraq (or not-Iraq, where I am, named for the complete lack of evidence in this base that I AM in Iraq), best wishes to you and yours this giving season! I wish I were back home with Julie and my family, enjoying a hot Christmas dinner, Christmas pudding, snow, and my girlfriend's lovely company. The stuff I thought was cheesy before, I miss now -- the Christmas lights, the tree, the decorations around town, even the pristinely white, clean displays in the malls.

My Christmas tree and living room at home!

Just to remind you how out of touch the debate is back home, people are worried about talk of sending the troops home being demoralizing to the military effort here. These are not the days of people spitting on soldiers and calling them baby-killers like Vietnam was. I think what's on most soldiers' minds these days is the fact that many of them have missed their children's births, their family members' last three birthdays, and a couple of the last few Christmases and Thanksgivings. Speculation about returning home is just shrugged off by tired soldiers in their third year of constant deployment. But hey, you keep writing those morale-boosting "keep the troops away" blog entries in between family get-togethers this December, Mr. Concerned Citizen!! Or better yet, join your fellow citizens and serve a tour or two over in Iraq or Afghanistan!

I think it's interesting seeing GOOG above 400$ -- they continue to release more web applications that seem to point towards a vision of the Internet that hardly seems attainable right now. Yahoo! just bought del.icio.us, the link tagging site I now post my links to pretty regularly. (I will start feeding my del.icio.us into my other links page soon) While Yahoo! now owns this and Flickr, two of the most popular web geek apps, I can't help but think that Yahoo! will never integrate Flickr nor feel Flickr-ish (which it should try to do), and that spending money to buy small web app companies (for anywhere from 15$ million to 40$ million for the latest two) is a waste of cash -- they could've designed these by themselves, at a fraction of the cost, from the ground up, learning from the small startup's mistakes and limitations. But I guess Yahoo! is paying for the communities and (if this is a real reason, that's sad) reputation transference. Put the checkbook away though: communities can be fickle, ephemeral online -- offer superior features, reliability, and innovation and people will move at the drop of a hat. I mean, who's going to use Skype now that Yahoo! is offering cheaper VoIP integrated into Messenger?

Right now I'm contemplating the effect of massive Google networked-ness and bandwidth along with an energy situation relieved by massive estimated alternate energy growth this year of 30% for solar and wind power. The gains in productivity and capital for companies and individuals will be shocking. I see this as bullish for the American economy, but even more so for international economies, which still have yet to benefit as completely as the U.S. has from the Internet, global commerce, and post-bubble corporate re-structuring.

Chart of the Shanghai index, which has been losing for a while now.

I'm bullish on international funds for the next decade or two. And I want to invest in China, even though it still needs to reform many aspects of its economic and political infrastructure, and coöperate better with its blossoming, more expressive society, before foreign investment will really begin to flow in confidently. I am interested in their long-term strategies and their attempting to create eastern brand alternatives to western powerhouses.

I'm almost through this deployment and as a late Thanksgiving notice, I'm very thankful I've had Julie this whole time. Julie's been an awesome, patient girlfriend even while I've been away in Iraq. I love you, darling. You're totally being spoiled this Christmas, that's for sure! And whenever I get to see you next! And your soundtrack song right now is Jamiroquai's "Loveblind", a killer track off their new album.


Hobbling Along

It's been a while since I've written and it's coming up on Christmas, a time I savor this year more than I have in years past, for obvious reasons! I'm excited about the Xbox 360, the economic figures and the stock market, GOOG, possible options for my future.

I know the Soapbox and forums are broken right now, and they won't be fixed until I return home and can manage it better/make sure it's sterilized of military information in light of recent events. My command found certain components of my web site to be in violation of operations security so I removed it all and got in big trouble. Sorry if things are in a bit of disarray right now but I hope you will understand.


Over There

I've been in Iraq for over a month now. There's a sort of purity and clarity of mind living here in Iraq, which is nice. The "war" in Iraq is so convoluted back in the States, full of politicism and agenda and name-calling, but here it has texture, and, well, pertinence.


Well, the time has come. I'm leaving for Iraq. Hopefully I took care of everything that needed it. Stay tuned. =) Julie, I love you!

I redesigned the soapbox. I think it looks worlds better. I also wrote a soapbox about going to the movies.


GOOG will go higher. People will stop saying they don't understand it and they'll stop saying it's a hype stock. (now, TZOO, that's a freaking hype stock!) But not yet. GOOG's chart just put in a textbook evening star pattern. However, this pattern did not occur at the end of a long up-trend; GOOG has been consolidating. Still, it might take some time before it heads higher.


I love my PSP but the releases for games/movies won't start ramping up until a few months from now. Also, Sony needs to release some helper apps like a web browser. Why did Sony have to cripple v.1.5 for third-party apps? And why can't they release DVDs that include UMD versions also, so we don't have to pay $20-30 a piece for different formats for the same movie? It's such a scam.

I like the new Army of One ads. They emphasize the important things and not the money. I guess recruiting numbers are down lately, since people don't want to go to Iraq. Well, I'm deploying next week so I'll let you know how it is. =)


Today is my girlfriend's birthday. Joyeux anniversaire, ma cherie! May I get to wish such an intelligent and beautiful French-Canadian woman many more happy birthdays. You make me feel extremely happy and strong!

My favorite movie theater in Nashville, Green Hills, no longer shows indie films. =( That totally sucks and is why I haven't been seeing many movies lately. Now they show the wide-release films only. When I'd go, there'd be maybe three or four people besides me for some films. Oh well.


Just got back from a week in Cocoa Beach, FL for some training. Bodysurfed every day, went out to bars every night, and wore shorts all the time. =P

Bought a Sony PSP for my deployment. The screen is crisp, the controls are familiar, wireless and bluetooth and movies add extra potential, and I love the sleeve the PSP slides into. I'm hoping it will really catch on. Read MonkeyPope's mini write-up of E3.

I think the whole Koran/Newsweek mess shows that there's a lot of people who would do well pausing before they spoke.

And finally, a picture from 2001:

bodypainted chick in Dallas

So I've been feeling a little under the weather and didn't want to write anything, but I'm getting better now. Plus the air conditioning was finally turned on here so I don't feel all hot and dehydrated just sitting in my room. =P

I spent an amazing half-week with my girlfriend in NYC. She makes me extremely happy. =) Definitely a vacation I needed and made good use of.

The Mavs continue to surprise me, but they need to attack the Suns at the basket the WHOLE game to win this series.


I just got back from seeing Trish and her awesome family in Ft. Lauderdale. I posted pics at my flickr page. Next up: NYC for 5 days!

A couple experiences that will stick in my mind: a mojito full of mint leaves and my feet dipping in the waters of the hotel Delano's pool in South Beach. And the drive back from Nashville, which looks wildly different than winter now because all the trees are huge and green.

Wired neglected to publish this graph of outsourcing in the U.S. on its web site. Paints a different picture. (click to expand)

Wired Infoporn on Outsourcing

And finally, the Mavericks are killing me. =( They don't have the heart to come back, down 2-0.


The weather lately has been fantastic! I'm glad spring is here -- it's fun to be in shorts again.

Read Monkey Pope's site. He's one of my best buddies, and his writing style is excellent. He and I share a lot of the same opinions on the Army and poker and life in general, except he tends to word it all better.


So I was watching Roger Federer play Rafael Nadal in the finals of the NASDAQ-100 and, strangely, he was DOWN two sets to love and 4-5 in the third. Then he smashed his racket against the ground. Then he did a fist pump and got into a tiebreak. Then I turned off the TV and went out, figuring Nadal, an 18-year-old who's been on a tear, would close it out. Later that evening I found out that Federer, the best player in the world, had come back to WIN! He had hit 74 unforced errors in the match. This guy's amazing.

Roger Federer at the NASDAQ-100

Also, when I get out of the Army, I'm going to try to grow my hair longer for the pro tennis player look.


As you can see, I re-designed the main menu here. I think it reflects what the site's strengths are a little better now.

Stock charts got ugly in March! Will the indices bounce at their 200dma's? The Naz is a little below its own, the Dow is right above it, and the S&P needs to fall another 20 points or so to hit its own. Right now I'd say utilities and oil have run their course and growth has underperformed and could use a rally.

Walmart dumped two-year support on heavy volume. Retailers are sucking. Inflation is a concern, but what about that 3.8% U.S. economic growth?

Walmart (WMT)

Few stocks are doing well besides oil and utilities. One that's done awesomely well is Pixar:

Pixar (PIXR)

I wrote a new Soapbox about the stickiness of the newest Honda Prius.

Wasn't Sin City grand? Read the article about the director, Robert Rodriguez, in the latest Wired.


Lately I've been working pretty long hours getting trained up for Iraq, which is coming up on about only three months away. I feel pretty confident that I know what I'm doing now though, a marked contrast from how I felt just at Christmas.

Parts of my site are finally beginning to irk me -- I will probably re-tool them, make them more modular, etc. soon. There's a lot of data on my site, but it's not very accessible currently.


Don Nelson, the playoff curse, is gone in Dallas. Jason Terry and Dirk are one of the best tandems in the game. And Dampier has been a good pick up, along with Henderson. This is the best Dallas team going to the playoffs in a long time. If we could just get rid of Finley now...


The stock market indices are getting precarious, but I'm not convinced the up-trend is over yet. ... So Bush picks Wolfowitz for the World Bank, Bolton for the U.N., and Hughes for the undersecretary of state. Politics aside, none of these people have the credentials or connections you'd think their nominated positions would require. At least Porter Goss has the credentials.

I wrote a new Soapbox about the stock market. Speaking of the Soapbox, I'm putting everything into a database, adding many features and statistics. You can also now comment directly to a Soapbox and follow-up on it in the forums.

How come I can't find any damn Cadbury creme eggs, but there's always 20,000 cases of Peeps at the store?


I wrote about Bush, Iraq, and the Army. ... From Kottke, I watched the trailers for Gunner Palace, a documentary about an artillery unit in Iraq. And my buddy told me about September Tapes, which he described as the Blair Witch Project meets a guy going to Afghanistan for a news story.

Deployed soldiers were asked what gear they used in Iraq, and most of it they had to buy themselves, because the issued gear was not adequate. Commercial solutions are filling the void for the requirements of today's fully-loaded self-sufficient soldier. ... 82games.com is like a Moneyball stats site for the NBA. Dirk comes up as the #1 point differential player and there's tons of info about how players really impact their teams beyond the usual box score stats.
Me in DCUs and no magazine in my M4!

Back from Joint Readiness Training down in Ft. Polk. Lots of fun stories and experiences, including a Mark 19 jammed with a grenade, requiring a .50 cal barrel to get it out. (below) =P ... I finished Barnett's The Pentagon's New Map, which blew my mind. The guy's been looking for connections between the marketplace and the military, which is exactly what I've been doing, for reasons that now seem clearer! What's best about the book is not only does it confirm what I've been feeling but couldn't explain, but it also provides an optimistic, yet still realistic view of the future. A breath of fresh air! ... Is Angelina Jolie fucking hot or what? Arabic AND Latin tattoos...so familiar. =P
mark 19 picture

Going away for training until late February. Bye. =)

Totally digging the Aussie Open!

Here are my 2005 resolutions. Happy New Year to all my buddies. Some have recently deployed, some are getting back. Hope you all stay safe. ... I like the new front page designs -- don't you?

At home in Dallas for a week or so. Merry Christmas! Make a snowflake to get in the holiday spirit! I should probably write a wrap-up of the year for a Soapbox soon...

When Cameron was in Egypt's laaaaand...let my Cameron gooooo.

I posted three new essays in the soapbox section.

Pretty clear Republican victory. I'm disappointed, but hoping Bush will reduce the budget deficit and pull through on Iraq.

I went to this driving course in Florida last week. Got tasered, OC sprayed, and rammed up a bunch of cars. Awesome! ... Also, I got this coat. Bachrach seems like a good store.

Go see Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry if you can find it locally. It was incredibly moving to me. ... GOOG is rocking!

No net connect yet, so I'm backed up on posting new stuff. ... The Cowboys are exciting to watch! Too bad the Mavs won't be... ... I'm pissed off about the presidential election! I'm voting Kerry, and can't fathom why people would vote for Bush. Usual fence-sitter arguments are military and political experience. Bush had none when he came in, Kerry's had plenty of both. (remember? he's been a senator for a while?) The other cop-out is that we shouldn't change CICs at such a pivotal point in the operation in Iraq. Why? Because it's going so WELL? Everyone knows a guy who knows a guy in the military, and then blah-blah-blah vote for strong Republicans to support the troops. Well, I'm IN the Army right now...so now you know a soldier who's voting Kerry. Kerry wants to double the number of special forces soldiers, and that's copasetic with me. That means he UNDERSTANDS what the military is for. GO VOTE. PLEASE.

Get this series of the works of Chris Cunningham, Michel Gondry, and Spike Jonze! Aphex Twin's Windowlicker, Bjork's Bachelorette, the White Stripes, and Fatboy Slim with Christopher Walken. Great videos. ... Also, the Millennium DVDs are finally out -- I think Millennium's the best series ever on TV.

I'm sort of updating my links list again. I'm in temporary barracks and don't have Internet access yet.

Yeehaw! Finished airborne school, which I wrote an essay about, and now I'm on leave back home, getting ready to report to my unit. Finally I'm a full soldier! =P ... Congrats to my best friends here in Dallas on finally tying the knot!

Anyone in the Army is familiar with how people look when they're falling asleep...and the Clintons, Prince Charles, Dick Cheney, a bunch of people were doing the headbob at the Reagan funeral on TV! ... The NBA finals are going to give me a heart attack. ... Airborne school in a month!

Things learned during recent field training: "Poguey bait" is candy used to hunt pogues, or soldiers who hate MREs. Chilled, juicy fruit never tasted as good as after an extremely fast, dehydrating, foot-tingling ruck march, don't leave your buddies lying under trees on top of chigger infestations! "Poguey bait" is a rarity, it seems, but here are some other Army slang terms. ... Done with my course, airborne school is next! ... The World Series of Poker winner, Fossilman, won $5 million for a week's worth of card-playing!

The final event of the World Series of Poker, no-limit hold 'em, began yesterday. This is the big kahuna of poker. The coverage won't be on ESPN until June 8th though. =| Over 2500 players, each paying $10k each to play. That's a ton of money! I just finished reading "The Biggest Game in Town", detailing this event about 20 years ago.

Scene from Rounders

An article on ex-military contractors in Iraq from Esquire, an under-rated mag! ... The only thing that blows more than SXSW is SXSW attendees talking about how important blogs are! ARGH, GO AWAY!

New Soapbox about life in San Angelo.

Photo of the year? Palestinian bomber and Israeli soldier.

Palestinian bomber and Israeli soldier

Loving my new Pentax Optio S4, which gets comments for how small it is for a 4 megapixel camera. Also, a T-Mobile Sony Ericsson T610. Now I want a digital camcorder for when I get deployed! Any recommendations? I like the compact Sony ones.

Sony Ericsson T610

Optio and T610 side by side

Pentax Optio S4

I'm in read-and-research mode, reading: "Naive, Super" by Erlend Loe, "A Thousand Pieces of Gold" by Adeline Yen Mah, "The Swallows of Kabul" by Yasmina Khadra, and "Positively Fifth Street" by James McManus. I'm also learning about San Angelo for a future essay. ... Gizmodo is great for gadget/tech updates. Usurp and qHate show life in Kuwait and the Middle East. ... Currently loving my new Pentax Optio S4 digital camera. Here's a pic of a San Angelo morning in the state park.

rucking in the state park

World Changing is a great blog about alternative energies. ... Military translation/chat software. ... Random thought: cellphone jammers are becoming popular right now, even though the FCC bans them, but to what extent do we use this technology on HUMMVs in Iraq to thwart remote-detonated IEDs? I've seen it mentioned in some articles, but do the troops really use it? Qaddafi and other world leaders like Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf have been using this stuff for a while now. Is the military flexible enough to buy neat gizmos off the shelf?

I rewrote my autobio since the last time I did was like 4 years ago.

Watch these videos by the band, The Darkness. It's like watching Spinal Tap. =P ... My birthday tomorrow!

Okay, got my digital cable and internet set up here in San Angelo. Not the greatest place, but we're moving up in the military world a bit in terms of living conditions. =) Drove from Monterey, to Vegas, played lots of hold em, visited the Hoover Dam, saw the border patrols, and am back in good ol' Tecksass!

Passed my tests, which clears the path for a great Xmas! Wheee!

Already took my final speaking test, and the final listening and reading tests are next week. This is for all the marbles!

Arabic tattoo

Greek tattoo

Gearing up for Christmas, moving back to Texas, finishing Arabic, and saying goodbye to DLI. Also got two new tattoos, one on my forearm, one along the front of my right thigh and calf.

Monterey looks like an impressionist painting today because the Army's doing a controlled fire over at Ft. Ord to get rid of unexploded munitions -- the bay is bright blue, the sky is full of grey, blueish smoke, white ash is falling, the sky is tinted orange, and light blue light reflects off the windows of the barracks.

Yay, got my orders! Airborne school, then assigned to support for Special Forces 5th Group! ... Going to see the World Cup final next weekend down in LA. =)

Some thoughts on the stock market in the Soapbox section.

Three good "Foreign Policy" articles: The Falseness of Anti-Americanism, Revisiting [Bush's] Case for War, and Can India Overtake China?

Going to the White Stripes concert next weekend in Berkeley, and the women's World Cup final in less than a month. ... Finished my Army airborne paperwork and almost maxed a PT test. ... Two good links: the first CD price cuts in history and SeaWaterForests.org, an organization which is irrigating the deserts of Eritrea, raising mangroves and shrimp and the freshwater table, all without creating any waste. Go donate some money towards the planting of new mangrove trees!

"Step Into Liquid" is a new surfing documentary by the son of the director of "Endless Summer". Can't wait to see! We met one of the surfers in it, Peter Mel, in a surfshop in Capitola near Santa Cruz -- there's a picture of him there surfing a 35-foot wave.

I'm reaching the stage of Arabic class where students typically tune out, which might explain why I discovered a new game involving reading fortunes from a dropped Arabic-English dictionary. =P ... I like how people criticize Malone and Payton for playing to win, and not for money. But I still hope they don't win. =P ... Reading: "Under the Black Flag" about pirates, by David Cordingly; "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer; "By Way of Deception" by Victor Ostrovsky.

I finally compiled enough information for an essay on surfing.

New tattoo, on my shoulder/collarbone. ... Almost to the homestretch in my Arabic course! And I have a class break coming up so I'm going to tour Cali.

[Medusa Tattoo]

The Mavs choked and Nelson let them. How could the season end so disgustingly? ... In happier news, I went to Disney Land and had one of the best vacations ever.

I wrote an article on my experiences with the Atkins diet. Meat meat meat. ... Mavs scored 83 points by the half? Christ. =P

puce finally dumped her site, so another one departs from the game... ... On Friday, DLI had a language day for high school students, so of course the Marines were on the prowl for fresh meat. =P We spent our day eating gyros, hummus, and shawarma from the Arabic food stand.

"If someone loves you for what you can do then it's flattering, but why do you love them? If someone loves you for who you are then they have to know you, which means you have to know them." From "Bel Canto", Ann Patchett. ... To those in the Gulf, thank you.

Yesterday there was a cruise ship anchored in Monterey Bay, basking in warm, sunny weather and matching the glimmer of the water. On one of the sand dunes, someone had written "SUPPORT R TROOPS" using leaves and debris. ... My new goal: getting double-tabbed, Special Forces and Airborne. I just have to get through Arabic first!

I saw City of God, a hoodlum movie set in Rio de Janiero in the 60's and 70's, and loved it horribly. "Willard" was alluring and creepy. ... It was once said that he who writes more than he reads is truly an amateur. I can't find the source for it -- I thought it was Fitzgerald, but maybe not? Do you remember?

At the bookstore, my friend pulled a book off a shelf and another book fell. I caught the book, which happened to be "The Fall" by Albert Camus. Now, was I supposed to read something into this or not?! Fuck existentialism. =P ... The longest bull market in history is most likely going to be followed by the longest bear market. P/E's are still high and credit and housing are nebulous. And no one's been saving. Deflating dollar? Maybe we'll go back to the days of good ol' American hard working? Not until all the weak-hearted run away, hopefully.

New: an episode about beauty.

Aside from the over-used "the left wing was to blame for Columbia" jokes and the looming war and Force Protection Delta, school is going pretty good. ... I bought a book on pirates and F. Scott Fitzgerald's "This Side of Paradise". He must be my favorite American author. ... James Joyce was born on Groundhog's Day, and so was I!

School is somewhat exhausting, but an airborne training briefing this morning and my birthday coming up on the 2nd is giving me a second wind! If I go airborne, I'll gladly wear jump boots instead of my current jungle ripples. ... I wrote about Monterey, CA last weekend.

Got my yearly tattoo. It reads "THERSITES" in Greek. Next is one in Arabic! ... The planned US strategy of initial massive missile strikes smacks of Serbia and Desert Storm, not to mention old British archer strikes. Move in the infantry! I'm reading Richard Marcinko's first book about his forming of SEAL Team 6 and Red Cell and I have to say that now I'm desiring to do intel for squad level and not unit level. I'll have to wait... ... I just found Maddox's site, and it's superb. Bless him. =P


Okay, so now that I'm home for the holidays (Merry Xmas and Happy New Year), I was able to get the site files off my desktop, meaning I can update the site easily again. As a result, there are two new Soapboxes: "On Happiness" and "Kelb Shaitan". ... I got a Knicks fleece, a signed copy of John MacEnroe's book, a webcam, the Koran, and some other misc. things. Ooh, and tix to the Mavs vs. Knicks and vs. Clippers! ... My parents got an Ewok/dustmop shitzoo while I was away in the Army. Oy.

Ben, webcam shot

Happy Thanksgiving! Random quick comments: conservatives are running amuck. Metroid Prime bites. Bin Laden is STILL dead. =P Go Mavs! I root for the Knicks still, even if that turncoat Spike Lee doesn't attend. God bless Army girls. Oh, and Arabic is a badass fucking language! =P

Well, I'm about a month into the DLI & I still haven't started my language. =P This is just what I wanted: learn a language in the heart of California at the best language institution in the country while meeting interesting people and getting paid to do it. The Army can suck sometimes (like at basic) but most of the time it's awesome. =P Not much time to update the site yet...but maybe once my 2GHz laptop is delivered. =)

Hi folks, checking in here. Right now I'm in California prepping to learn Arabic, and I just finish basic training a few days ago. I haven't been able to do much of anything until now, but now that I have public Internet access, I'll try to do some catching up...

Well, this is it. I'm leaving for BCT. Sorry, but I don't expect to have anything new here for at least 9 weeks. Love to friends, family. Bye!

I think I'm going to go see the Kids in the Hall guys live today... =P R0ck. ... Please watch the Nike commercial at nikefootball.com. It's a cool soccer ad in preparation for World Cup (which I'll miss all of, including the rest of the NBA playoffs =() directed by Terry Gilliam, with the King as music in the background. Very cool, along with the downloadable stuff!

Playoff faves: Lakers, Kings, Mavs, Spurs, Nets, Pistons, Celtics, Hornets. Then Lakers, Mavs, Nets, Pistons. Lakers, Pistons. Lakers. I hate the Lakers but how could it turn out any other way? I will miss the playoffs because of boot camp. =( ... Turns out a chick from my high school is one of the girls on ABC's "The Bachelor". Details in the forums. =P ... New Soapboxes: Wetware Personae and Vanishing Text.

From Newsweek: "'When you think Phil, you think hip-hop...and we're going to exploit that at 8 o'clock.' New MSNBC anchor Phil Donahue, on why, at 66, he thinks he’s still relevant to younger viewers." ... Woohoo, my favorite time of the year! Sunny at 7PM, lots of sun, warm temperatures! And the smell of freshly mown grass! ... Soapbox on the exploitation of black stereotypes.

Reading Hernando de Soto's Mystery of Capital. What an important book! Please go read it! ... Louis Rukeyser now at CNBC? Do they really need ANOTHER permabull? ... How many mag covers is Moby on? Geez! 18 is more like his older albums, not as catchy as Play. ... Best spam e-mail evar: calling all time travelers!

Okay, so I signed a deal with the Army. I ship out to boot camp on May 1st. =P ... New Soapbox on the web being boring.

Well, although I can never be sure with those guys, it appears my medical waiver was approved for the Army that I got because I was disqualified by the military physician. Should be signing a contract soon, but then again I've heard that before... ... Two new Soapboxes: the CBDTPA and DMCA and blog journalists! Plus a new Soapbox rating system has been put in.

Back home from Madrid. Got to chill with Anna, which is always fun. ... I put up a couple lists of some CD compilations I made under the name DJ Industrial Average. Okay, so I didn't mix them or do much with them except collect them, but I liked DJIA a lot. =P (type it into a stock ticker search) And they're great tracks! ... Senator Hollings introduced his new copyright bill, which is a bunch of unconstitutional bullshit. I hope word gets out about this. ... I got disqualified in my military physical. So I have to wait for the Army to decide on my medical waiver. =/ Sucks!

Today CNBC's senior economist actually told people not to save, but to spend and invest as much money as possible! And that saving hurts the growth of the economy! Fucking unbelievable. Gee, we wouldn't want to create REAL wealth, would we? Nooo, let's max out our credit cards! ... Off to Madrid tomorrow! It'll give me some time to work out some new Soapboxes and flesh out some experimental ideas. In the meantime, read this new Soapbox.

What's with Trent Lott yelling at Tom Daschle for criticizing Bush's war strategy? Isn't that what Daschle was intended to do by the Founding Fathers? Such a public tirade against a dissenter seems like such a dead giveaway regarding his true character. ... Sum of All Fears movie trailer looks awesome even though Ben Affleck as Jack Ryan is upsetting. Couldn't they have just given Harrison Ford some botox injections? Or brought back Alec Baldwin? ... Slashdot jumped the shark. =P Subscriptions? Bahaha.

If sony boy you've ever bought Sony headgear, you'll have noticed the frightening Japanese anime moonbubble characters shown in the instruction illustrations. Quite frightening. SOCER PLZ 2 SND POTAL ^_^ PLZNOW !! ... It's official: I'm going to Madrid for 11 days or so in about a week. ... Oh, and lookit all the new Mavs fans! =P We got a contender now!

Playing: Final Fantasy X. This game makes others look pathetic. Reading: Tom Clancy's "Debt of Honor". Echoes my concern over the insecurity of the market as well as Bush's carelessness with diplomacy. Hearing: NIN - And All That Could Have Been. Live! Planning: a trip to Madrid. Waiting: on mistar smaerty doctars to clear my Army physical.

Awww, poor Kobe got booed in his hometown. Gee, I wonder why. Could it be because he's a bratty ballhog? ... Soapboxes: "Man with Briefcase" and the whole Enron shabang. ... I got a second tattoo the day after my birthday: this time an "SPQR" on the rear of my right calf.

The sweeping disease oh so cleverly named "Enronitis" (CNBC) is causing massive Enronophobia (CNN HeadlineNews)which, coinciding with El Nino and the chupucabra, IS PISSING ME THE FUCK OFF! It's not funny anymore! Jesus Christ! And CNBC had the gall, on a negative curbs-in day, to have on horribly performing analysts hyping the same stocks that just fell 50%. Sick. ... Ahem, anyway, I put a lot of new posts up in the forums so write away please. =P

Hurray, it's my birthday! Worship Punxatawnee Ben! Dazzle me with round after round of gifts! Just kidding... If we haven't talked lately, just write and say hi.

I still haven't sworn in to the Army because I have to resolve some shit for my physical first. ... The contents of my forum were dumped by someone a while ago. That sucked. =P ... New Soapbox on Subway and Jared Fogle, a conspiracy theory. ... Nash and Nowitzki get all-star reserve honors. Woo!

Posted new Soapboxes on the coming year and mandatory civil/military service but forgot to post an update about them until now. ... Going to the Mavs-Nets game on Monday. Woo! A weekend of basketball, football, Tony Hawk 3, and Medal of Honor is a good remedy for a strained neck muscle.

Geez, Shaq almost dropped Brad Miller with that huge punch... Watch Commish Stern do nothing except complain some more and drive away more fans. Boy, I wish that game was TELEVISED. How about the NBA arrange for some of its games to be SHOWN outside local areas? At least I got to watch the Mavs light up the Pacers. WOO! ... Evidence that cable co's are going to start a trend of rising prices for Internet/TV/long distance service. Then the rest of the company ducks will fall in line... Joy...

New Soapboxes on artists and patrons and TEH FUTARE OF THE INTARNET. ... I just had my Army physical. That was a trip, a real handful of scrotum if you will. ... Seen my Gwynnie in Royal Tenenbaums yet? You should!

Happy New Year. Now that it's 2002, I'll get to see if the backend code I wrote for the site will work as it should... ... Anna is gone, I have books to read and Soapboxes to write, stuff to finish up before going into the Army. Must go to a Mavs game soon!

For Xmas, I got a ton of books I really want to read, but I also got a PlayStation 2, which would seem to impede my efforts to be all reader-like. NBA Street is indeed as good as advertised. =p ... The holidays are almost over here, and after that it'll be time to get to bidness...

Added two Soapboxes on remembering the woman who introduced me to the Internet and the US public blaming everyone but itself. ... Haha, this cracks me up: Cam Barrett writes a long rant about some Dave Weiner guy, then says he should be afraid cuz this is how Dave thinks. Is Cam a homophobe, or a closet gay? YOU DECIDE! ... In other, important news: Anna is here for Xmas! =)

Some people still complain even though the effort against terrorism is going well. First, Cam, Congress doesn't HAVE to declare war at first. PLEASE tell me you know the President has emergency powers... Or you have people who think this shouldn't be CALLED a war, or who swear John Walker didn't commit treason. (we have yet to know full details) But look, terrorists require conditions of war to be eliminated. Think you could've just asked Al-Qaeda to give up? Get the Taliban to shut down their network inside Afghanistan? Hah. And John Walker? I'm as big as anyone on civil liberties, being an Internet geek, but there's a difference between attacking a fellow countryman and merely disagreeing with him. Stop making it like the FBI is gonna bust down your door for dissenting. ... Soapbox: rebirth of American spirit!

I added Bruce Sterling's "Geeks and Spooks" speech and posted the Net Apocalypse article from years ago that cnet removed. The tragedy is that individuals like me end up hosting a lot of stuff because sites either remove old stuff or go out of business. I also added a page of common conversions. ... Kings beat the Lakers; are they good or what? ... Also, my Amazon.com wishlist.

The Kings v. Mavs rematch was the best game so far this season. ... We migrated over to AT&T's network after a couple days (not sure when it was actually first available) and I switched from Lunix to XP in a very fortuitous series of events for connection sharing. What a mess that all was! ... Soapbox on big, skeevy businesses.

The whole @Homeless debacle goes to show you how big business thrives even after the small insurrection of rebellious dotcoms. Microsoft and the telcos own everything; small product-line cable companies like Cox and Comcast aren't in great shape. Meanwhile, we might be losing Internet access while AT&T tells us how much it cares about us. What lies. ... I should've gone to the Kings @ Mavs game last night. So stupid, considering they're two of my favorite teams, along with the Knicks. I want a Doug Christie Kings jersey!

Spy Game and Harry Potter are great movies -- I wish all movies released were worth seeing like these two. ... Enron's stock is a good example of how much of a scam Wall Street can be. Investing in individual stocks can kill you in the long run. ... New Soapbox, "ERISED".

Happy Thanksgiving! Can you tell me, though, why Detroit and Dallas are playing on the featured NFL games, and why Creed and Enrique Igaysius are the halftime performers? Must eat more turkey to drown out music and bad football...

Woohoo, non-gamers bashing the X-Box! True gamers don't care about half the shit these flamebaits mention. Think these nitwits predicted the PlayStation? God no. What makes you think they'll have the reasoning right this time? ... New Soapboxes: "Thinking About the Army", "Sports Blackouts", and "You Could Win!" ... Happy b-day, Fred!

This is the first entry into the benturner.com news database. Hooray! ... Ghost Recon co-op kicks major butt, by the way.

The baseball gods swung the great bat of justice and the better team ended up winning the World Series. To all the Yanks fans who showed up to the Rangers game I went to during regular season, up yours. :P ... Mavericks are 5-1 and are on fire. Woo! I'm so happy the NBA is back. ... Davenport finished #1, since that bitch Hingis was injured. Justice reigns again! ... And finally, my attempt to install WinXP failed spectacularly. Very disappointing.

"Be alert for nothing in particular." "Resume your normal routine, but be alert." "Stand by to stand by." Isn't it great the human mind can handle such massive contradictory phrases? :)

Knicks vs. Wizards, are you ready for it? ... And all the X-Box and PS2 games coming out! And I have neither system... ... Soapbox on the Pentagon's request for ideas.

Soapbox poking fun at a good pal from Estonia: Estonian gangsta slammin'. ... Listening to Lennon's debut album and the Chemical Brothers advance!
10M/25D/01Y: Soapbox on muzak for America. ... NBA season is almost here, woo!
10M/15D/01Y: PLEASE, Miss Blogger, PLEASE tell us more about how you have a craving for waffles and feel like vomiting. It's all so fucking FASCINATING. Blogs are such a disease.
10M/14D/01Y: Andy Roddick is making the US Davis Cup tennis team respectable again! No thanks to our top players, of course... ... 3 Soapboxes: "Defeating Fanatics" (for constructive opinions), "Destiny, Males, and Heroes" (on being a child born in and after the late 70's), and "Triumph of the Dragon!@#". (some embarrassing comics I drew as a kid)
10M/12D/01Y: The media, anti-war rhetoricians, military critics, and even much of the intelligentsia are convincing the public the terrorists have already won. That all our efforts are futile. Ever since Vietnam, the public has been told to boo the veterans who survived Hell, to distrust the government and military, the only two organizations that can realistically stem the tide of terrorism. Don't you get it yet? What we need are constructive voices, military heroes, factual examples of hope and courage to counter the runaway bandwagon of spoiled, lazy, anti-American "Americans". And I don't mean Bush's tongue-wagging for "results" or putting flags on your fucking SUVs or running a bake sale. Have some fucking self-respect.
10M/10D/01Y: Dammit, you monkeys, sign up and contribute to the forums. :P ... Three new Soapboxes, more coming: "I'd Like to Thank...", "Packing Up and Moving BenTurner.com", and "Asshole Sending Hate Mail".
10M/07D/01Y: Everything seems to have transferred pretty smoothly. My next task is to update the information on my site, as some areas are terribly out of date. I've fixed the philosophy survey and updated my recommended software section.
10M/04D/01Y: It's about 11:30PM right now and I just found out my domain's been moved to the new servers. I talked to a helpful guy at NetSol today who processed my record change over the phone, which expedited the process. So right now I'm going to be going through the site to see if anything's broken. I'm not sure what else will happen in the next few days, if there are any instability issues or whatnot. It might take some time for DNS servers to update their records. ... I've added a forums section for you to talk to other readers on. Feel free to register and start posting.
10M/03D/01Y: Well, as soon as Network Solutions (or should I say NetSol? marketing fools) stops blowing itself and processes my fax authorization, maybe I can change my NS servers to transfer my domain over to the new virtual host. The site is almost completely ready and has some cool new stuff like forums.
09/26D/01Y: I'm currently readying this site up for a move to a new virtual host. I don't expect any downtime except for when the domain gets moved to new NS servers. But in any case, if you can't reach benturner.com, http://sv015751.customer.interliant.com/ will work until everything's moved. Then I'll shut down the Interliant account after a week or two.
09M/22D/01Y: The Return to Wolfenstein multiplay test is elite. But it could just be because the one map is a reconstruction of Utah Beach. ... So much for the "patriotic market rally". I think the market over time will fall more, maybe with Dow 4k's and Naz under 1k. There will be sucker bounces along the way of course. ... Some more 'Boxes, including (yay) the 300th sequential Soapbox I've written (!!): irresponsibility and a sleeping giant.
09M/16D/01Y: What if Timothy McVeigh wasn't a white Christian? Would we have paid attention then, instead of writing it off as a freak event? Why do people on CNN say Tuesday happened because God loves us and had to punish us for our sins? Look, I'm not anti-Christianity, but man, I can't hit any channel without hearing how much God loves us. Thousands of miles away, terrorists are being told how much God loves them too. Yay for 30 channels running the same news feed, and half my channels turning into the Trinity Broadcasting Network. ... I changed the philosophy quiz to PHP finally, go take it and see where your views stand!
09M/15D/01Y: Soapboxes: Tales from Tejjjas, Visiting the NYSE, Counter-Terrorism. ... I've read a lot of different viewpoints about the whole situation. It leaves me with a lot of conflicting ideas and opinions. Sometimes I get confused, other times I feel like some feelings I've had over the year were confirmed by what's been going on in the last week. I mean, the whole world is slipping into recession, why won't the US? I am all cash right now, not so much a matter of luck because of the fact that I haven't actually longed a stock in ages, because of my confidence that things are only getting worse economically. Not to be insensitive, but I should have been short something, but there's no way to predict something like this. Some may think it's bad to profit off pain, but it's really not anything to do with death or terrorism, but equity overvaluing. Of course, if you knew it would happen beforehand and started shorting stock, like bin Laden is being accused of doing, that would be wholly different. ... In the meantime, Slavek helped me set up a Linux laptop for the home network, and I got to see Nancy and Trish since they came to Dallas last week. Yay! Hope the photo of me getting kissed by a naked chick comes out okay. :P
09M/16D/01Y: Soapboxes: Tales from Tejjjas, Visiting the NYSE, Counter-Terrorism. ... I've read a lot of different viewpoints about the whole situation. It leaves me with a lot of conflicting ideas and opinions. Sometimes I get confused, other times I feel like some feelings I've had over the year were confirmed by what's been going on in the last week. ... In the meantime, Slavek helped me set up a Linux laptop for the home network, and I got to see Nancy and Trish since they came to Dallas last week. Yay! Hope the photo of me getting kissed by a naked chick comes out okay. :P
09M/11D/01Y: This goes back to what I wrote about Internet security. Governments and "experts" think the way to increase security is to take away information instead of making it available to more and more people. Well LOOK people, the biggest terrorist act ever in history. THANK YOU intelligence agencies of the world! We sure do trust you to protect us! Terrorism has long been said to be the greatest threat to world peace. Time to take that seriously, finally. ... Jordan comes to Dallas December 8! I want tix.
09M/05D/01Y: Back from NYC. Had fun, saw the US Open, etc. ... Converting much of the site to PHP, and probably switching to a new host provider. Plus I'm far, far behind on Soapboxes. I'll make it up to you somehow.
08M/25D/01Y: Interesting stuff lately: paintball, running cat5 through the walls and attic of the house, a house down the alley burning down because of a dumb worker, missing Trish and Philly and Roni Size because of not being able to get plane tix. ... Recommended viewing: X-Games. Recommended listening: new Aphex Twin, old Faithless. ... DIE BLOGS DIE!
08M/09D/01Y: Going to Philly next week, NYC a couple weeks after that. Going to US Open baby!! ... I don't usually watch HBO, and I'm not hooked on any of its shows. Sex and the City is funny but I only just started watching. But that Baltimore Ravens training camp documentary series is pretty good TV. The 2nd episode is airing this week, and there are 4 more coming.
08M/04D/01Y: HOLLY SHIT GUYS! I just heard about this new thing called a CELLPHONE, and you can like, talk to people, anywhere, no matter where you are. PLUS, I swear this is not a lie, you can check your e-mail and keep up with work even while on VACATION. What the fuck! And the scariest part is that EVERYONE has them!! Did this happen overnight? WTF! And quite frankly this journalist is angry that people are using them in restaurants, their own cars, and OTHER public places! Maybe it's time to move to Europe or Japan or Canadia, where they don't use this stupid gizmo shit! OMFG!@# Someone should do a news report on this!! Soapboxes, "Last Mile" and "Hella Angstful Blogger!!!" Plus, a page of daily culled links off IRC. ... Camby gained 20lbs in off-season, Hakeem, Ewing, Mourning, and Jordan in the east. I don't know how you could think the east sucked last season (because it sure didn't), but you definitely can't say it will suck next season.
07M/28D/01Y: I finally got a chance to watch the And1 mix tape volume 3. Fucking amazing basketball shit. Go buy/rent the VHS tapes. Volume 3 is best since it's most recent and reflects the current skills of street players. Here's a couple cool clips: juke.mpg and shimmy.mpg. Two Soapboxes: authenticity and leading indicators.
07M/20D/01Y: CWebb stays in Sac. He may have played like shit in the playoffs but I think it was all injury, having seen him dominate in regular season. ... Greenspan all the sudden is disappointed with the lack of turn-around and points out that interest rates are not always influential on the market. This is similar to his irrational exuberance speeches that no one heeded. ... Cheney, please leave the lights off if you're not in the room. GEEZ. ... Listening to: AK1200 w/ MC Navigator live in SF, Timbaland, Pharoah Monch, and some Swedish hiphop. :P ... Soapbox: privacy is realistically non-existent.
07M/16D/01Y: "The Microsoft news changed everything." No, the decision was the same, the remedy will take another long period of time to settle. Nothing has changed, really. "Everyone is bearish." No, they are scared longs. Different from people who EXPECT the market to fall more. In terms of overall sentiment indicators, it is still wildly bullish. "Don't you know that Nasdaq short interest is at an all-time high?" And so is overall trading volume year to year. In a bear market, wouldn't you expect short interest to be at all-time highs? "Don't fight the Fed." The major indices are below where they were after the big January 3rd Greenspan rally, and have had trouble trying to get above that level since.
07M/12D/01Y: AI, best movie of the year. Even if it gets robbed by another Gladiator. ... Soapbox on movies, post-Matrix.
06M/25D/01Y: A cool animated trailer for Ice Age. Also, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back will be here before you know it. Go Kevin Smith! ... Soapboxes on the current market situation and force and intimidation.
06M/21D/01Y: I just got back from what was a little less than a week spent seeing family friends and attending a big family reunion in Virginia. For me the main highlight was finally seeing my cousins all grown up for the first time in many years, so I could finally talk to them. I'm the second eldest. ... While I don't own a PS2, I do think NBA Street looks like it was made for me...drooool. ... Sarcasm and cynicism rule web design these days, since the industry is still being obliterated. Look no further than this 2001 web designer checklist, an amusing take on things. I admit I've been guilty of a lot of the things on that list, so I wear my llama-ness on my coatsleeve. :P
06M/04D/01Y: Go Sixers! ... Soapbox on inoffensive pop music.
05M/31D/01Y: The NBA playoffs have been spectacular. The Sixers squeezed by tonight thanks to the Bucks screwing up. I've been rooting for the Sixers and Iverson since early this season, but the Lakers, as everyone knows, are unbeatable right now. Gosh, the season's almost over...what am I going to do over the summer? ... Soapboxes on being nondescript and on bad customer service. (surprisingly not an idea originally conceived by Interliant owning my ass)
05M/29D/01Y: So my e-mail is down again, but luckily, YAY, they're AWARE of the problem. Well now you're aware of it, too. Now we can all sit here with our thumbs in our asses. ... And in other news I was getting nuked all weekend.
05M/21D/01Y: My e-mail is down thanks to Digiweb. They are of course impossible to reach like most companies these days. Please e-mail me at infinity@mail.utexas.edu if it is urgent. UPDATE: I found an undocumented server that worked. Hooray.
05M/17D/01Y: More evidence that girls are screwed up in the head. And they wonder why they end up with men who treat them badly. :P Thus driving home the point I was trying to make in a Soapbox of old.
05M/10D/01Y: No, I didn't close my account or anything. My provider, Digiweb, lost the server my site was on or something, causing me to lose e-mail and my site for a couple days. Plus they're upgrading their servers or something. Just another day at the office. Short INIT, "We sell sanity." :P Oh wait, it's not shortable, it's under $5/share.
05M/04D/01Y: OH MY GOD, the Mavs came back to win game 5... Unbelievable game, unbelievable comeback. I saw Calvin Booth play at Reunion right after we got him, and the guy was tearing it up...so happy to see him come through for us when it counted. Now the other hard worker Najera needs a time to shine! I said earlier that the Dallas win in Utah in the regular season was one of the best games I'd ever seen, but this one just about topped it... Go Mavs!!! Second round picks: Lakers (I like Kings more though), Spurs (even though I hate Spurs and want Mavs to win), Sixers, Bucks.
04M/29D/01Y: In what has become the norm around here, I've just put up a bunch of new Soapboxes in one big clump. I think it'd be easier to just go to the main Soapbox page than list them all here. ... Nike has put up a pimp site for its new basketball commercials. Jason Williams should be and is winning the poll for who has the best moves. My 1st round picks: Lakers, Mavs (whew, we won one!), T'Wolves (fat chance, but oh well), Kings, Sixers, Bucks, Heat (doh, clearly outplayed by Charlotte, but they will lose next round), Knicks. My teams have been struggling so far against what should've been easier opponents. :/
04M/19D/01Y: Got done with everything, got a lot to write about, so I need to sit down and get it all down. ... Throw in a whole mess with putting a new mobo in my system that led to a whole slew of problems, then me getting highlights in my hair.
04M/11D/01Y: Okay, date changed. Now gonna go see the Mavs play the T'Wolves in the final home game of the season. ... Going to Corpus this weekend with friends. Should be fun! ... I'll have details on my Survivor application (yes, I gave it a shot) soon.
04M/06D/01Y: Going to see the Mavs and Kings play next Friday; hopefully I'll get to see our new Chinese player Wang play! And hopefully we can secure 2nd or 3rd seed for the playoffs. ... Here is a screaming double standard: straight pride is bad. ... If I think about it a little more, I might have a few nasty thoughts to say about women in a new Soapbox. Might. Although maybe that Greenspan drinking game demands more attention.
03M/30D/01Y: The RIAA is scary. I mean, the way they react to things is abnormally creepy. ... I was reading something about how bubbles always overreact on the downside as well, and that in order to overreact after our last rise, we'd see levels as crazy as NASDAQ 1000 and Dow 5500. Well, I'm still short Dow, but will reshort QQQ if NASDAQ loses 1800. And given that all these techs are just warning over and over again, I'm sure it'll happen eventually. And let's see if the Nikkei holds its lows now that the Japanese government no longer has to support the banks with March ending. ... Soapboxes, travel edition. My reports on Paris, Italy, and Hawai'i.
03M/28D/01Y: Oh! I almost forgot! The Mavericks are playing UNBELIEVABLE basketball right now!! That win over the Jazz was one of the best games I've ever seen the Mavs play! (and that includes over a decade ago) ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I went to see them whoop the Timberwolves by 20 points a while ago... I hope to see another regular season game and then maybe a playoff one if I can... These guys are amazing.
03M/26D/01Y: Traffic got dissed. ... Hawaii was awesome by the way, story at 11. ... It's funny because I actually know this guy from IRC, Mortin, who got busted the other day. :P The whole story sounds kind of weird -- in some ways it looked like he was asking for it, in others it seemed like someone had it in for him at his ISP.
03M/15D/01Y: The Japanese keep producing hilarious stuff, like this Tokyo Breakfast pilot. I'm not sure if it's real or fake, but it's fucking funny. ... Survivor 2 is proving that people underestimate truly dangerous people, letting them slide through because of something petty.
03M/03D/01Y: Okay, back in a week! Must come up with some Soapbox topics in the meantime. ... Bye Napster. ... The NASDAQ? Hmm! I think tech has gone through most of its selling, but the Dow will be next.
02M/24D/01Y: Going to Hawaii, in a week, for a week, to stay with my bro there. :) First time to go! ... Funny essay from Jeffrey Zeldman, but it's a couple years too late. :)
02M/19D/01Y: Haha damn, the "all your base are belong to us" shit is out of hand. All working URLs I know of have been shut down, probably because of bandwidth... I have the flash file of it, but there's no way I'm putting it on MY site, cuz I could do without some $50k bandwidth bill. :P ... Soapboxes on a childhood experience and a recent incident in my neighborhood, all topped off with a great review of the best computer game of 2000, hands-down! ... Going to Hawaii in two weeks to see my bro!! First time to ever go there! I'm psyched!
02M/14D/01Y: What's with all this NBA is dying talk? Did these journalist yahoos miss the all-star game, and all of Tuesday night's exciting play? Geez...here's my thoughts on the NBA right now. ... Susan Sarandon gives her opinion on Survivor. Who asked her? She says the show is fundamentally evil and is teaching kids to become corporate raiders. So is that why the people who got to the end only got there because of their pact? Stick to "acting". ... Soapboxes: thoughts on cysts, how I'd greet my Gwyneth (!!), a recap of the best albums of 2000, and what I did for my 23rd birthday. ... Go Napster! RIAA says it won, but Napster is still up and is getting record numbers of downloads. Yes, you guys won alright. :P Let's hear another great quote like "it's time you made money the traditional way, by asking permission". Is succumbing to coercion and oligarchic intimidation really granting one's permission?
02M/11D/01Y: Got a bunch of Soapboxes on the way (already written, just need to be linked up). Thank you to my parents and my close friends for birthday treats and wishes. Mega thanks to Slavek and Cara for providing for Ben's Mammoth Saturday on my 23rd Birthday Bash Weekend. :)
01M/29D/01Y: Couple reasons why basketball owns football. See that halftime show? OY! And what a boring game...how about the earlier 76'ers/Pacers drubbing? And the commercials... We're Cingular, we're unique because we spell it with a 'c', and we get artists to sell out to make us appear independent. Not that I'm an Apple fan, but look at Cingular rip off their ad campaign and George Foreman rip off their design. Accentone, different name, same bloated company. Still, "What are YOU doing?" was funny, but no comparison to THIS gem, muh Kobe Bryant no-look CONFUSION MAKUH! There's a whole series of those commercials...priceless, yo! Knickerbocker PLEEZ!
01M/25D/01Y: Am taking a semester of Spanish and got around to online Diablo 2... Plus tons of basketball and tennis... That'd be why site updates are slow right now.
01M/13D/01Y: It's so rare to find sites and magazines with consistently useful content, but I think I've found a couple. First, there's Red Herring, which, although it can follow the trend often, discusses relevant issues of the day for technology stocks, and tracks sentiment amongst VCs, angels, and insiders. ... At long last I found a game review site that didn't make me want to puke from puerile and clichéd writing, and that site is Happy Puppy. Yes, it's been around FOREVER, but the reviews are actually well-done and discuss the things you'll actually find important about a game instead of dwelling on each reviewer's individual quirks. And no, I did not forget Old Man Murray. It is one of the best sites online, but come on, game reviews are an (albeit delightfully written) afterthought...it's the diatribes and cutting insight into the gaming industry that make it shine.
01M/10D/01Y: What is IT? Sounds like a bunch of H.Y.P.E. to me. But since most of the hype has been battered out of the Internet for this round, fresh optimism about future tech is good. ... Check out this "100 Most Annoying of 2000" list. Very well put-together. ... Props to muh nigguh Leho Kraav from Estonia on his double double.
01M/06D/01Y: Traders pray to the gods of volatility and they've answered. ... Thomas Rusiak, a good musician, heard him in Sweden a year or two ago, new stuff is cool. ... Soapboxes, including the first of the New Year, and another one on pop culture's corruption of feminism.
01M/03D/01Y: Thank you, Greenspan!!!
01M/01D/01Y: Happy New Year! ... Ready for a fun-filled Q1 of hack journalists pushing the exaggerated "technology is dead" theme just because the Nazzie is down? Were they talking up tech death half a year ago, five jobs ago before their employers scaled back? So lame. ... Trish turned me on to some good shit: Diana Krall and Goldfrapp. Check it out on Napster. ... And because Cam always manages to get under my skin, let's review his '01 prediction blurbs: "The Pentium 4 chip will be a dud" and "Apple's stock will rebound, as will other tech stocks that make up the heart of NASDAQ". P4 bashing is still the fashionable thing to do, but seeing some benches, and watching AMD mess up (damn them), P4 may not do too badly, and it will certainly do better than AAPL/MOT's G4 trash. I don't particularly like Intel myself, but it's not like Apple is a "heart of NASDAQ" stock. All this of course comes from a guy who predicted the world would blame Microsoft for the coming Y2K apocalypse because it named its OS Windows 2000. I have some predictions of my own: Linux will continue to be the haven for hardcore programmers and the tagalongs who wish they were as well, and Microsoft will continue to be the big powerhouse in computing, especially when X-Box comes out. It makes me laugh to hear a guy bash dotcom stocks when what he does at work is help design skins for an open source project.


benturner.com:  click here to start at the beginning
RECENT NEWS (MORE):  Subscribe to my del.icio.us RSS feed! about moods | mood music
12/03/08 MOOD:  (mood:  yellow)