Spill it…

Lex tagged anyone who feels like it, so here we go. Five things you may not know about me:

  • I used Ubuntu Linux because I’m a cheap bastard. Okay, also because it basically fulfills my needs, and also excludes the possibility of gaming, which is good for me. But basically, when I bought my laptop, I was considering installing Linux, but I was too lazy. So I ran Windows on it for a while, just the factory-installed default WinXP.

    After a week, it was collapsing on me, and finally I gave up after several times having to reset to the original set point on the recovery utlility thing. Then, I moved on to Ubuntu. Now, Linux, even Ubuntu Linux, has its frustrations. Things suddenly get broken, or need to be reinstalled, and things sometimes just don’t work. I wish I could say I really, truly enjoy hacking it when this happens, but I mostly just go to forums and search for an answer, and think, “Ubuntu’s just not quite ready for my mom yet.”

    But since it’s free, and means I don’t need to pay $200 to Microsoft, I keep using it. Though I did make a dual boot install today on my laptop, with WinXP on one partition and Ubuntu Linux 6.10 on the other. Windows is just sometimes necessary. I think Lime will be pleased on those days when she’s hanging out here and wants to check her email or catch up with Daum cafes, as it’ll mean she’ll be able to post online again. (Ubuntu wasn’t handling the Korean, Windoze-centric Web very well at all, at least not my install of it.)

    Long story short: I use Ubuntu Linux because I don’t have to pay for it, and it has everything I need. The sweat and annoyance and things that don’t work are the price I pay, but since there’s no money and no support to (or dependance on) Microsoft, I feel happy enough shelling out a little time here, and putting up with a little perplexity and frustration once in a while… As I say, I use Linux because I’m a cheap bastard.

  • Despite lots of experienced being chased and beaten up by groups of kids my own age, or older and bigger, my scariest childhood memory was when I heard someone on TV explaining in calm, cold language what happens to people during a nuclear explosion, depending their proximity to various concentric radii around the center point of the blast.

    My old man, perplexed, found me huddled behind the boiler in the basement, in tears and shuddering in total horror and shock and stifled panic. I hated Reagan evermore after that I thought America and Russian both mad, and resented scientists for ever being complict in any technology so obviously and irredeemably evil.

    And I can’t say I have changed the opinion that nuclear weapons are evil. But I also think they’re a symptom of our immense, species-wide stupidity. And I really wish we’d just smarten up.

  • I don’t really consider myself “Canadian” anymore except in the sense of it being a handy poltical label. I’m not saying I’ve given up my citizenship, but it’s not part of my identity, anymore. Not really. I prefer to think of myself as sort of post-national. That said, I am grateful about how many places I can travel without having to apply for a tourist visa beforehand. But I don’t think I’d feel any different doing so under a British passport.

    It turns out I am entitled to a British passport, because for the first year or so of my life, I was a British citizen, not a Canadian. I actually had to get naturalized as a Canadian when I was a kid. Anyway, there’s some record of my having had a British passport, which means I’m entitled to one again. But I’ll have to do this long process of applying and demonstrating it’s me and I am actually entitled to one. I’ll be starting that process in February, when I have some free time.

  • Personally, I don’t mind that there are no manned space missions right now. I do think we should get them going soon, but I don’t feel emotionally put out that it’s not happening now. I think a Singularity probably will come, someday, but it won’t be anything like what we SF people have thought up so far, and I have to say, I suspect we’re not on the edge of it. I think culturally we have the brakes down hard, and the deep implications of all the scientific knowledge we’re accumulating is not going to penetrate very deep for a long time. People still believe in Creationism and angels, and question natural selection. We are defintely not anywhere near a Matrioshka brain solar system timeframe. Nowhere near.

    And while I do think that the notion of a Technological Singularity can be totally and utterly a simple recasting of religious eschatology into technophilic mythology, I also know that massive, unimaginable leaps have happened in evolution in the past. Whatever Derrick Jensen’s right about, we’re still immensely different from preverbal animals in many significant ways, and that’s probably going to increase as we follow the trajectory that our overgrown brains lead us toward naturally.

    But I also think it’ll all be very slow. Tech will be faster than natural selection in its creation of a singularity — language too millions of years, but after written language, electronic telephony and otherwise networked communication only took a few millennia. Still, I don’t think I’ll live to see anything like the Singularity mentioned in all kinds of SF books since the 90s. Born too early for it, that’s all.

  • My favorite kind of ice cream changes with my health. When I am being health-conscious, it’s green tea ice cream. When I am less worried about my health, it’s something called Ummaneun Waegaein, at least in Korean Baskin Robbins shops. “Mommy Alien”? I am not quite sure what the hell it means, but it’s terribly sweet and chocolatey and good.

3 thoughts on “Spill it…

  1. “My Mom is an Alien,” I think. I saw it this past weekend at Busan Station. I don’t know what it’s supposed to mean either (maybe the name of a TV show?), and I was too afraid to try anything with “Alien” in the title.

    (I must admit it took me a moment to get your interesting method of Romanization, and my first thought was “Uma Thurman is an alien? Yeah, I guess I can buy that.”)

  2. Well, it’s not far off the official romanization, is it? I just find “Eommaneun Waegaein” a little unwieldy for people who can’t read Hangeul and don’t know that “eo” isn’t a dipthong or some other weird sound, but just the sound “Uh” in English.

    “My mom is an alien,” that’s not a name that inspires much appetite, but the ice cream’s pretty good.

  3. Yeah, that’s the problem with Romanization. The thing is, Romanization systems aren’t designed to be phonetic equivalents, they are a a means of transcribing a non-English language using the letters of the English alphabet. They are a code to be learned, just like any other, and once you learn the code you should be able to read it just fine. That’s why consistency is really the most important attribute of a Romanization system.

    Thus “umma” isn’t true Romanization, it’s phonetic approximation/transcription. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it is wrong, of course–just that it’s not true Romanization. (I’m saying this to correct my initial comment, where I called what you wrote “Romanization.”) You are of course free to write Korean words however you want. :D

    The MCT Romanization, by the way, would be “eommaneun oegyein”–so actually it is kind of off (although I’m guessing the “gae” for “gye” was a confusion of the original Korean). Kevin hates the “oe” for “way,” and I can’t say I blame him. But, like I said, Romanization systems aren’t meant to be phonetic approximations. Yeah, you want to get as close as possible, but internal consistency and logic is more important than pronunciation.

    Of course, a lot of this is opinion–people have been battling over the issue of Romanization for ages, and I doubt we’re going to come to a conclusion that everyone is happy with any time soon. Even Japanese, which is a relatively easy language to Romanize, has its pitfalls.

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