< insert catchy title here>

So, here you are. You actually decided to click this link, eh? Well, can I ask you a question?


While you figure that out, I'm going to keep talking. You can do two things at once, correct? Good.
Hi. As of June 2, 2000, I'm a fifteen year old sophomore at a random high school in random small-town Washington. Even if I told you the name, it likely wouldn't register...put it this way, no one ever knows where we're talking about unless we mention the drug seizure auction, so if that gives you a better picture, good for you. If not, sorry I mentioned it. Anyhow, Life? My life is at a rather interesting point, where I'm in at least ... lemme count ... 6 different friend circles, and they don't quite all mix. The punks tend to clash with the "normal" people who stay low-level and don't make waves, who tend to completely misunderstand the techies/geeks, most of which want nothing to do with the drama department, many of which hold an odd deep disdain for the "smart people"(note the ambiguous "many of which..." statements, there are several exceptions in all cases). The only people that seem to get along with everybody is the choir, and I have no idea why. The world may never know. Anyhow, let's see... I get my taste in music from a variety of sources, though mostly the indie/punk scene. I also have been known to do jazz, oldies, techno, and pretty much anything in French, particularly lounge style jazz and swing. I tend to run screaming from ameripop and rap(in which, if you didn't know, the 'c' is silent). Fave artists and groups include, in no particular order: Tori Amos, Marianne McPartland, Pink Martini, Serge Gainsbourg, Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill, Björk, Hole, Nine Inch Nails, Huggy Bear, 8&1/2 Souvenirs, Juno, Jude, Ani DiFranco, and *early* Barenaked Ladies--their recent stuff lacks inspiration. If you're looking for some new music to try out, I highly recommend "All Hands on the Bad One" by Sleater-Kinney(indie rock), "Not a Pretty Girl" by Ani DiFranco(folk/grrl guitar), "Happy 2B Hardcore" by various artists(techno), and "Happy Feet" by 8&1/2 Souvenirs(multicultural swing).

But that's just to listen to. What I play is an entirely different story -- I've been a friend of the piano since 1st or second grade, and have in the process learned that music can be pretty impressive... Most people will toss up aimless admiration at a short little sonata or something, which is nice for a cheap ego kick. My favorite styles of music to play are classical, jazz, and showtunes(only 'cuz they're so much fun around other people (-: ). Composers I frequent are Chopin, Beethoven, lots and lots of Bach, Clementi, Hayden, Mozart, and when the mood hits, myself. Something interesting I've discovered is that if you're bored after a test, have a song stuck in your head, and start writing it down on paper, people start asking all sorts of questions, like "You can just hear it in your head and write it down?" Well yes, would I be writing down the music in *your* head? How about just random notes? Not hearing it? s'Fun. I think I figured out I had some talent in the musical department when (a) people started asking the above questions about my little scribbles on paper, (b) when I realized I never played the dumbed-down versions of songs any more, and (c) when I picked up an old book. The first song had been really difficult for me, so I quit playing out of it. A while ago I found the book, and played it cover to cover, sightread the whole darn thing. Scared the heck out of me.

Books. I tend to love books, have for as long as I can remember, and it's probably becuase of that that I was (and probably still am for all I know) a seriously precocious child. I played an audio tape last week of some songs I'd recorded in the 2nd grade... My little sister had been around at the time, making noise, and at one point I'd gotten fed up with her and said "You're being very distracting." Now, the last 2nd grader I've heard use the word Distracting was... um ... well. Anyhow. I read a lot. The portion of my bookshelf actually containing books has mostly Sagan, Asprin, Anthony, Heinlein, Niven, and Orwell. There's a bunch of Asimov and McAffery left over from Junior High I think, and my L'Engel collection is still there too. I don't own too many books, as the Library works very well. I buy the ones worth having -- Ringworld, Contact, etc, but that's about it. Yah I'm an SF/F buff. "Sure, 95 percent of Science Fiction is crap. 95 percent of anything is crap." I've read just about all the "good" science fiction I've heard of as yet, and recently spent one great month reading the DUNE series, something I've been meaning to get to. I also read mystery on occasion, and love poetry, especially Charles Dodgson/Lewis Caroll. I even write some of my own, and though others may disagree, I have decided that most of it is much too corny to ever see the outside world(though, isn't that how most people feel about their own writing? perhaps. interested? email.) Oh, and, don't forget math, science, french texts and such. Heh heh.

Hmm, it seems I've covered two of the three main subjects that take over all my spare time ... and now the third. Computers: over the past two years, I have become such an incurable "techie" it's almost frightening... and has gotten me quite a few odd looks from parents, teachers, friends etc. If you would be the type of person who'd be at the giving end of one of those looks, this particular set of --paragraphs? pages? maybe-- may not be interesting in the least to you...then again, I could be wrong. Oh well. Funnily, on that subject--funny looks, that is--it appears that I get a lot of odd reactions from people because of the interests I'm about to spend a page or two exploring...evidently not too many girls get into this stuff; I get combinations of "excuse me--you? like computers? you're kidding!" and "Wow, you like computers. You're amazing/the future of the country/a tribute to womynkind(sic)"(heh). Can't imagine why girls shy away... I'm in a class consisting of 20 or so guys plus me. Took 'em a while to get used to me(can we say: 5 months, maybe 15 words? total?), but I'm pretty sure they're either over it or really good at faking it, which is just as good. It's fun having guys around...they don't get in the way. I've had some experience with a couple girls in another comp-oriented class...they were a bit delusioned, wanted to fiddle with terrible graphics all day and have me do their coding. Not something they will find beneficial in thr future. Anyhow, on with the train of thought...I've always been a bit precocious(hmmm...that sounds familiar. never you mind); the whole deal of giving up in 3rd grade math class because it was too easy, getting put in TAG programs up to the ears(THAT got old quick), and generally hanging out in the back of the class, doing my own thing while letting the teacher do theirs(opposed, of course, to attempting to take over the class), and lately snickering at several teachers' attempts to explain easy concepts in the most complicated way possbile. I've read through math books *voluntarily* since the 5th grade. That may be where it started -- almost any math book you'll look in has computer programming excercises in it (in BASIC, of course) that the teachers never tell you about. Quite useful, that -- yes, let's try and get our youth involved in the Information Age by including programming in their education, but let's not tell the teachers how to teach it, oh no. But that's life. I've been using computers since I was four; I say *using* and not *working with* because we're a Mac house, and Macs don't require you to *know how they work* to *make them work*(enough **asterices** for you?). I learned how to script HyperCard a bit in 5th grade, but lost it... got it back in summer of 6th doing projects(first comp-related manual I ever read, btw...Hypertalk 2.0), and used it in my 7th grade math class, which was taught in HyperCard. Knowing how to script HC was quite amusing, and the teacher was clueless. 7th grade I met somebody who --gasp-- was designing an actual computer game that I assume he was planning on implementing himself, which was rather amazing to me at the time... somebody my age actually having the knowlege to be able to do that. That sparked something special, and I'm glad I listened to it, it's taken me far... I continue to hold the utmost respect for the guy; he put up with a heck of a lot of naivette from me. Onwards.

Well, in 8th grade I learned HTML and a little JavaScript; 9th I took a Computer Applications class taught by the teacher at our school who knew the most about computers ... learned to script Macromedia Director, learned Mac networks, and also learned that I knew a great deal more about how computers worked than the teacher did. That was an unsettling thought for a while, but I got used to it, used it to my advantage(ahem! but I'm ethical, don't worry). By the summer between 9th and 10th grade, I was really into computers. I wasn't happy anymore just knowing what they did; I wanted to know how they did it, how to set them up exactly the way I wanted to, and ..<dum, da-dum>..how the Other Side lived. PCs had always been something of a nuisance to me. If you listen to people talk, you almost never hear anything good about them. The people who use them whine and complain all the time about how much they suck. I never understood that... Mac users are (well, from my side of the table) quite different. I heard a quote once which portrays it effectively: "While most Mac users swear by their Macs, most PC users swear *at* their PCs." True? Mac users are passionate about their OS and hardware... insults to Apple are taken as personal assaults, terribly offensive. The Mac community pities PC users .. "It's not *their* fault they use an unenlightened OS... they just haven't discovered the elegance of the Macintosh yet." On the flip side, insults to PCs, Microsoft, and Bill Gates are interpreted by PC users as group jokes, shared opinions. "Bad command. Bad command! Go sit in the corner." is funny for PC users; "Crapintosh" or "Mac error message: 'Whoa, dude, somethin' went wrong...' " is insulting and will most always get a Macevangelist fuming to the point of figurative combustion. PC users view Mac users with a sort of disdain... those who care to give reasons for this attitude mostly come up with something along the lines of "What do they know? They don't have *two* mouse buttons like my manly PC does." "You can't get any decent games for the Mac -- who wants to use a computer like that?" and my favorite, entirely uniformed reason for disliking the Mac, "The Mac sucks! That little thing has no power to speak of compared to my 2032xpi4592 PC!!" (... try here for solutions to these and more myths concerning the PC vs Macs). Yes, we have one button on our mice as default...but it's not hard to change it if you do want two, three, four, five ... and assign macro functions to each one. You only need one button to navigate the MacOS, but if it makes you feel better, you can do what you want. Mac gaming is at a slight disadvantage, but if you have the hardware, it's easy enough to get around any software-porting issues you may have: Connectix VPC at your service. Works best on a G3/4, 64+ megs of RAM, and works like a dream. The virtual machine will even crash regularly, just like a regular PC :). But I'm biased(could you tell?). I'm around PCs every day during the school year. I don't see anything special about them that almost any Mac at home couldn't do, and easier to edit/control/learn/update as well. Be proud of me though, I've kept my opinions very much under control for the duration of this section -- normally PCs and Windows serve as an easy target for whatever pent-up vehemence I happen to be carrying around. Just so you don't miss out on some of that, and so you won't become confused further down, I highly suggest you visit Richard Hunter's site to see somebody who shares my view almost to the letter. Rather violent, yes, but it's a living. But wait a minute-- this is not to say I'm not flexible: PCs are good for some things, and not just paperweights, expensive CD players, ballast, alibis, or foot warmers. NT has some great ideas behind it, and does pretty well for itself despite the general Windows crap it has to deal with. Managing a network, though it technically *can* be done on a Mac, is not currently a walk in the park -- unless you're willing to be generic, do everything by hand, and let the computer make your decisions for you. ASIP lets you do excrutiatingly little, and insists on holding your hand. It wouldn't be so bad -- if Apple would implement their own freaking scripting language into it(maybe? you think?). Then maybe I could actually get some work done instead of spending three weeks on a FaceSpan app to do something the hard way which should work by itself. Hopefully serving off Macs will be less annoying once OSX is out for real... more on that below, if I get to it, but the basics are better support, a higher level of access into what the computer is doing, and (crossing fingers) much better security. NT is a big pain to set up, but at least you have options -- if you know what you're doing. Otherwise you're screwed. But that's life.

Fortunately, there is an OS which lets you get at whatever you want, make your own special specifications, along with maintaining an impressively high level of elegance(i.e. things work, if they don't, you can fix it, otherwise the OS stays out of your way, is logical, and the docs are useful rather than mindless/braindead). I got interested in Linux via a computer class this past year, and have done about a month's worth of fiddling around on a copy of LinuxPPC 2K(link1 - link2). It's a really cruddly installation, has about 80 screens' worth of package discrepancies, but it... works. Somehow. There is relatively little installed help, unless you count man/info pages...a downside, but it's more than I can say for DOS. If you can manage to get the internet working on it, you've got infinite resources at your fingertips. *Everybody* writes Linux docs. On every possible subject conceivable. For instance: I was trying to get the poor thing online, which has several complications...our house routes through a Mac IIci in the closet with no monitor, running IP NetRouter. I was able to find some guy's site online who had the exact same setup, with screenshots on how to do it, which was great 'cause at that point I was scared to death of the CLI and was relying almost completely on GNOME. Outgrew that pretty quick, seeing as only a handful or so of the "control panel"-type apps actually *work* in the GUI(like I said, I did a really cruddly installation) plus I do too much development now to let the GUI trip me up, and until I fully learn emacs or vi I'm perfectly comfortable with pico, gcc, and g++. CLI is more usefull in many ways anyway; I can do one line + return instead of point, double-click, point, double-click, point, click, click, point, click, type, point, hold, drag, save ... anybody who cross-platforms between GUI-based and CLI-based OSes knows some of what I mean, perhaps. Anyhow. I guess the result of my little twiddlings in Linux is a(yes, yet another..)quote(I enjoy these, bear with me) which I find hilariously funny:

"Linux for development,
Macintosh for productivity,
Palm for mobility,
Windows for laughs."

So. What've I got? "my" computer is a teeny little 68K laptop on its last legs. She does have a 2.5 gig hard drive, which is nice, but I have to run DiskWarrior on her about once a month, and any browser I have ever found is a bit too unstable for my taste. I used to have about a 10 minute surf limit before the poor dear froze, now I've got it up to about 10-15 surf sessions. I use Netscape and iCab because they don't put a gazillion little tiny useless files on my drive like explorer does, plus they don't make explorer for 68K macs. My email's on Eudora(hah! in your face, outlook...), I develop(sort of, she doesn't like it much) on Metrowerks Codewarrior(C/++/Java), FaceSpan(AppleScript), and Resorcerer(a ResEdit variant, fun to play with. Be careful though -- I had tweaked some image or other on another comp in the house, and dad thought we'd been infected with a virus...he got halfway through a run of disk First Aid before I caught him), and am thoroughly familiar with MacsBug, Apple's version of an emergency CLI useful when a program goes berserk and you have to stomp on it. She's on OS 8.1, and that's probably as far as I'll go -- any more would be more trouble than it's worth.

My sister's box is a 5200 series Performa running MacOS 9. I don't know anything about how stable it is; Ash keeps her room locked most of the time, and you don't want to get her angry at you. I do know however that it is excessively tedious despite the myriads of RAM and memory we've chucked at it. Performa. Pff.

The family comp is a beige G3, OS 9 w/ multiple users enabled, 1.4 + 5.8 Gig hard drives, 96 meg RAM. It is the most idiotic computer in the whole house. I restart the darn thing at least once a week, on average three times weekly, if not because it's locked up(again), login's unexpectedly quit(again), or it's frozen(again), then just to make some attempt at keeping one of those from happening. The reason for this is probably because my brother, being 5 and already too familiar with a cd drive for his own good, is content to install every piece of shareware he can find in the house. We get a shareware cd monthly from a company called Software USA, on which maybe 5-10 percent of the programs are useable and don't trash the computer. Everything else screws over the System Folder to the point where I've quit trying to reverse the process, and am working like h*ll to keep things from getting any worse. Geez. Coincidentally, this is also my Linux box, which has not crashed once since I installed. I've known core dumps, survived kernel panic, but never has it frozen or locked up once booted. Of course, the longest amount of time it's been up consecutively was for three days when the parents were out of town...but considering the crufty programs I've run on it(netscape, for one, is crap on linuxppc, not to mention the "practice" progs I write) that's still pretty neat.

My dad's computer ... is the object of just about every ounce of jealousy I've got in me. G4 laptop, equipped with Connectix Virtual GameStation, running a *stable* version of MacOS 9, Windows NT on VPC, and maybe even a version of Linux though I doubt it, he's left that to me lately. He could, there's plenty of room. Dad works in an all-Microsoft environment...I think it's twice now that his has been the only working computer in the building because they get infected with viruses. He doesn't have printing or network problems(other comps in the building do) and has no cross-platform problems to speak of. He unplugs from the office every day, comes home, sets the network to "home" mode, and is up 'n' fine again. The only thing I've crashed it with is MS Word. He could work from home were it not for several crimps to work out in the telecommuting software somebody wrote, that says certain administration functions must be done on-site(dumb? maybe). Man, I want that computer.

The other working comp in the house is the one in the closet, which runs OS 7.5. Besides running our internet connection, it also runs XTension, which is a home automation program that runs about half of our house. Fans, lights, doorbell, reminders for mom to pick people up from practice / club mtgs / whatever(the computer talks, is connected through the house speakers). We have to fire up Timbuktu about twice a year for maintenance and fixes(the only way it seems to break is through Scary Chime On Startup disease -- why, I don't know), otherwise it plugs away in the dark all happy by itself. If you're looking for a really good story about the life of a macintosh, check this guy out.

We used to have a little Mac Classic, which was mom's computer since she only ever needed it for word processing and solitaire :) (of course, now she's got the G3 and surfs all day). A couple years ago the monitor portion of it broke, and though we tried a couple times, we couldn't fix it. The rest of it's fine, we just can't seem to get the monitor back on its feet(or a new one either, if I remember correctly). So if anybody needs Classic parts .... :)

Heh Heh Heh. Two companies ago dad got to work at home, and we got all sorts of little toys ... an ISDN line, a Sun box, and a Wintel machine(though why, I don't know. Of course, it took forEver to network...it couldn't see anybody, but everybody else could see it.) 'Twas fun, fun, fun. Small taste of UN*X, but wasn't really into much then. Sorry I passed up the chance now, but oh well. Such is life.

Anyway. In the past year, I've gotten a lot done--things have been tending to progress exponentially lately. Summer before 10th grade I started C upon the startup of a potential game with a guy I know left over from the 9th grade comp/app class--and once I realized TADS wasn't going to cut it. :) Got about as far as "Hello World" and basic operators before school started and my interest hit the floor. I did grab onto a comp class second trimester...and so incredibly glad I did it's not even funny. Spent the first 12 weeks finishing up C (mostly; I know enough for what I use), learning bits of Mac innards, and being taught NT by a senior in the class (pretty neat guy, see his website and Twin Rivers). The last 12 weeks of the year I did Java, which is an awfully nice language, been using it to learn GUIs. I also started work on an ASIP machine for a Mac-served network next year. Once Java began to wear off I started C++, which I'm continuing to learn over the summer. I've also diddled a bit in Perl, and am seriously considering adding Python to my repertoire... they've got a nice sense of humor, see their website for details. Lately, I've been...a bit obsessed. I had a day or two free this summer, so I learned Perl... a few spare hours, made a dinky little game layout in C...character rotation...databasing... Let's see, right now there are ... 1, 2, 3...10 nice thick juicy books sitting stacked on the desk/floor/spare chair. HTML, JavaScript, K&R C, MetroWerks Mac Programming, several on Java, a couple on C++, and one on Hyperscript, which I was actually using last week.

Alright, this looks like a good place to stop for now. If, for some reason, you have an odd urge to talk to me, email me instead, it's most often more reliable, plus I'm online all the time anyway. Or if you'd like(and you're really lucky), you can try to find me on AIM, ICQ, or IRC as infryq. I MUD(however terribly) as infryq on Nanvaent or Valhalla. Come find me, say hi. If you're looking for any more information about any of the above namedrops, try my links page, which may or may not be up by the time you read this. And now, back to your regularly scheduled lives.


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