Jul. 9th, 2008

ACTA

Jul. 9th, 2008 09:45 am
jackofallgeeks: (Wrath)
I think you all need to read this. Follow the link for the actual article
(which itself links to more information).

Techdirt has been pointing out how there needs to be a lot more sunlight shone on the discussion surrounding the new "ACTA" treaty, which is basically a way for the entertainment industry to sneak
through new copyright laws without getting Congressional approval. Basically, the entertainment industry writes this international treaty, and the US Trade Representative gets it approved. Then, suddenly you get stories from lobbyists for the industry about how we need to change our copyright laws to live up to international agreements. Sneaky, right?

Now, according to William Patry, the US Trade Rep is resisting calls to open up the process by which ACTA is written, by claiming that ACTA is really pretty minor and won't require any substantive changes in US law Of course, that's turning out not to be true at all. At that link, Patry looks at the RIAA's suggestions for ACTA, many of which would substantially change copyright law, in rather astounding ways.

It's a laundry list of an ideal world for the RIAA. Basically, everyone else would be responsible for policing any form of unauthorized usage for the entertainment industry. Things that are now civil offenses would become criminal, and the RIAA would have much lower burdens of proof. ACTA is turning into an agreement designed to prop up the RIAA by forcing everyone else to try to force the market to pretend that technology doesn't do what it was designed to do, and to try to hold back the more efficient market innovations that impact the established industry's business model. And they want to do it all in secret and without letting Congress even have a say in the process. And, to make it even better, it's apparently now on the fast track for approval.
jackofallgeeks: (Default)
So, right now, I'm paying about $150/mo for my Internet, TV, and phone
service from verizon (split about $42, $54, $42 respectively, plus taxes and
fees). I got the phone line figuring I'd get a fax machine. I didn't.
(All my actual phone needs are satisfied by my cell.) I got the TV service
figuring, with a DVR, I'd watch more shows. I don't. The only thing I do
use is the Internet, which is roughly 1/3 of my bill. So, I need to just
end my other services. I think there's going to be an early termination
fee, but if it's less than $100/mo then I come out ahead in the long run.
Getting just Internet would cost me about $58/mo, less than half what i'm
paying. (Getting Internet and phone service drops the Internet price by $5,
but phone service is at least $30; net gain of $25 for a service I won't
use.)

I just need to buckle down and actually call them to change my service; I
keep putting it off, and I'm losing $90/mo for it.
jackofallgeeks: (Gendo)
Today's kind of a crummy day.

I slept reasonably well last night, which is more than I can say for the
last two nights -- it's been hot and my AC is still busted, and I really
don't deal well with heat. Last night it was cooler, but whever it is that
drops of the paper in the morning woke me up at about 5:30, as he often
does. The guy comes flying through the neighborhood with his stero too loud
making lots of noise opening and closing his door. It may be that I'm just
extraordinarily sensitive to sound that close to my usual waking time (I get
up at 6am), but it's still irritating.

As per my last update, I did the math and found that I'm spending an extra
$90/mo than I really ought to be. I need to call Verizon and find out what
the details of my contract are, specifically when it expires and how much
I'd pay for early termination. But seriously? I wouldn't even notice if my
phone and TV service stopped today. My DVR/set-top box isn't even hooked up
to my TV because my Wii and PS2/DVD-player take up all the inputs.

I had a little bit of a panic attack when I was checking my Verizon account
and it looked like I botched my bill, not paying it when I should have and
with the deadline just around the corner. That affected me because I get
really down on myself whenever I'm less-than-perfect at taking care of
myself (or, more accurately, fulfilling my obligations). Thankfully, on
closer inspection, the account page was just unnecessarily difficult to
read, and I had in fact paid my bill properly. It still has mer feeling
kind of bad...

Plus, my personal finances are a little bit off. I pay my mortgage
tomorrow, but don't get my paycheck until Friday, which means I need to dip
into savings to cover my bills for the 24-hour lapse. The off-by-one
problem plagues all computer scientists. It's not a big thing, my accounts
will be back in order again before the weekend, but it's irritating. It's
also a little concerning because before I get paid again I have my trip to
Florida for Nifer's wedding, and at least will need a rental car, two nights
at a hotel, and food.

And then there's whatever's going on with Meghan...

I just want to go home. With about two hours left in the day and no real
work to do, I have half a mind to tell my boss I'm sick and just head out
early. But I won't.
jackofallgeeks: (Euphoria)
So, Meghan.

As a little background, she and I were involved a little over three years ago; my Senior year, her Freshman year. We weren't dating, mostly because of me -- I was still enamoured with Suzannah at the time. I met Meghan at Contra (which I'd been going to in order to see Suzannah), and I asked her to dance because she was being quiet off to one side and, after being in the group for most of a year, I felt pretty comfortable there and wanted to get new people to enjoy it as well. Since Suzannah was, in retrospect, trying to see less and less of me, Meghan and I spent more and more time together, dancing and talking afterward and stuff.

Fast forward a bit, Suzannah's out of the picture, I know I'm going away to school in California, and Meghan's been fairly open about wanting to date me. This puts me in a rather awkward spot, as I'm not over Suzannah (despite my mistreatment; comparing me to a dog isn't far off the mark, really) and past experience has given me misgivings about long-distance relationships (in my mind if not in truth, my summer in California contributed to the disintegration of my relationship with Claire). And, as I told her and myself, I had misgivings about being her first relationship, because experience had taught me that first-time romances never work out. (And she'd never been in a relationship before.) So I hemmed and hawed and pulled back, and then I was in California. (Just before my leaving, she and I went out to dinner together; it was a rather emotional parting, and we both left in tears because we weren't to see each other for a long time -- at least, that's why I was crying.)

When I was out in California, we still talked. She still wanted a relationship, I was still reluctant. As Christmas break drew near, she suggested that we at least "give it a try" while I was home for the holiday. That seemed a bit absurd to me, especially since I only got two weeks which is hardly enough time to see each other let alone "try out" a relationship, but I relented and said, yeah, we could see how things were over break. Then we had a fight.

There's a lot that could be said about the wheres and whys and whats of the fight, but it pretty much came down to the fact that she wasn't comfortable with me having close lady friends. As anyone knows, 90% or more of my friends are girls, several of them I'm very close with and a few I've dated before. I imagine it was one part feeling threatened and one part her up-bringing (I'm pretty sure her parents don't think boys and girls can be friends; as Harry said, the sex always gets in the way), but the bottom line is she wasn't comfortable with my friends, and I wasn't about to give up my friends for a romance, so... Very shortly after our fight, she started seeing this guy Patrick, and we didn't even see each other over Christmas, let alone "try things out." (Unless we did, and I just forgot, which is possible, but I don't think it happened.)

Patrick didn't like me one bit, which is perfectly reasonable considering that (1) Meghan had liked me, and (2) I'd hurt her. I'm pretty sure most of Meghan's friends didn't like me very much right about here, but I can't really say, I never knew them. I can't remember the hows or whys, but for some reason I tried to reconcile myself with Patrick and he'd have nothing of it; I never so much as spoke to the guy, but he really disliked me. I'm not presenting this bit very well, Meghan or Laurel might be able to explain it better. Patrick didn't want Meghan to talk to me any more, didn't want us to be friends, and I really don't understand not-being-friends. Meghan and I did stop talking at one point, I think, then she started up communication again. She had less-than-great stories which basically said to me that he was a jealous, controlling jerk and his family hated Meghan, which I said was more than enough reason for her to not be seeing him. But she apologized for him... There was later a story about Meghan getting fed up with him and asserting herself (which I found odd, because I'd known Meghan to be fairly assertive; she's an Irish Woman, for crying out loud), and after that he allegedly started behaving better and treating her like a person. This whole section is rather fuzzy for me, though.

Relatively recently (in the last year or so?), I asked her why she'd been avoiding me and she said she wasn't avoiding me, but it was maybe best that we weren't friends any more. Which hurt me a lot, not least because it was essentially the same thing Suzannah had said to me. A while after that, I let her know that I was still angry about her calling off of our friendship. She apologized for it (for what that's worth) and said vaguely that maybe we could be friends again If, but she couldn't say more than that. (I surmised that the If indicated she was having troubles with Patrick, but didn't get confirmation.) this is putting her in a worse light than it should be, I think: I'm afraid as it is that all my friends are biased against Meghan. (And it's not like they don't have reason to be.)

Through all that, Meghan had transferred from Christendom to Steubenville (though I can't remember if it was before or after getting together with Patrick, who himself was at Steubenville, I think). Amusingly, she got to be friends with my brother Josh's circle, at least in part because her childhood friend Tahlia was in that crowd (and, coincidentally, one of my brother's ex-girlfriends). I saw Meghan a few times when I was visiting Josh, though the timing gets confused.

This is all important, though, because Elizabeth (another of the group, and also one of Josh's exes) was having a cook-out on the 5th (last Saturday). I really like Josh's Steubenville friends, and I like seeing people, so of course I wasn't going to miss it. A few days prior, though, updates on Facebook let me know that Tahlia was making arrangements with Meghan to get a ride to the cook-out. Which means Meghan was going to be there, which only makes sense because she is part of that crowd now. But I was rather conflicted on the point, because while part of me wanted to see her (the fact that I still carry a torch for her had recently come up in a conversation with Leslie, though I don't remember how), most of me was still hurt and angry and didn't really want to see her. But I resolved to just play it off and not make a big deal about it, and even if I was angry I could be civil.

The cook-out came, Meghan arrived, we got along well. We got along really well, actually. The whole night was really good, with Elizabeth's College friends meeting her High School friends, and lots of laughing and joking around and watching Clue. (I'm pretty sure at some point the potential for Leslie putting me in a bridesmaid's dress for her hypothetical wedding came up.) As we were leaving, Meghan told me that it was good seeing me, she'd really missed me, and we should talk more. I agreed, we should. And it really reminded me of how things felt between us that night before I left for California.

She's said a couple more times that she's really missed me, and we've started catching each other up on our lives through Facebook messages. And I've missed her, too. So, that's what's going on with Meghan -- in short, I have no idea. But, when I logged into Facebook today (how juvenile can we get?), I got notice that she was no longer listing herself as "in a relationship."

And now I'ma shut up.

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jackofallgeeks: (Default)
John Noble

August 2012

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