How to not post a Facebook status

I’ve been hitting the gym, lately. Our new offices are in a residential high rise building with a pool, a spa and a small gym. There’s a few different machines there, but I’m old-school and mostly stick to the dumbbells and the inclined bench, along with the bike to warm up and warm down. I’ve been working out during my lunch breaks in an effort to get a bit healthier and to lose my big fat gut that’s been developing over the last couple years. I’m half expecting to give birth to an alien chest burster one of these days.

Anyhow, last Friday I decided to blast my calves by performing Standing Calf Raises, where you find a small step or around two inches, place your toes on that step and then raise the rest of your body up that step using only your calves. I remember from my younger days that I had really good calves and could do Standing Calf Raises while carrying 90kg on my shoulders. No other muscle group was ever quite as strong as my calves. I was proud of my calves.

So, remembering this, and remembering that I’m a old, fat, unfit, baldy bastard I decided to take it easy and gently ease into my calf routine. I settled on picking up 15kg dumbbells in each hand for a total of 30kg extra weight while making sure to warm them up, stretch them out and cool the down afterwards. I blasted away at them for 20 mins or so and felt pretty good about it after I’d hit the showers.

The next day I was a little sore all over as you’d expect, but Sunday was torture. In fact for the better part of a week it felt like my calves were 3 inches shorter than they should be and just would’t stretch out enough to allow me to walk. Standing was painful, and I hobbled around like an old man for a few days.

But it was around Wednesday when a friend of mine spotted me at the train station waiting for the train home, headphones on and eyes closed. I was most likely listening to Echoes by Pink Floyd trying to dull the slow throb I was experiencing after forcing my legs to carry me the few blocks from my office to the train station.

I felt an intense flash of pain shoot down my leg from the back of my knee all the way to my heel. I thought someone had taken a flying Karate side kick at my calves, but it turned out I’d only been lightly poked behind the knee in an attempt to unbalance me. I squealed in pain, and half the people on the platform stared at me. I was quite embarrassed.

And now we get to the point of the story. I scolded my friend who, to be fair, didn’t know the ordeal I’d been going through. But then I thought to myself “I’ll show you. Wait until I tell the Internet about this”. I got onto my phone and posted this:

It wasn’t until I’d pressed “save” that I paused and thought to myself that I could have worded it a little better. I mean on the face of it, this looks pretty serious right?

I swear it was about 15 seconds later that my phone started ringing. It was the Imperial March from Star Wars, the one I use for Suzanne’s incoming calls. It was then that I knew that it was a poor choice of words for a status update, and I should have known that Suzanne would read it straight away since she’s always on Facebook. I got chewed out, and dreaded going home because I knew I’d get a bollicking late into the night.

A couple people also Tweeted at me, asking if I was alright. HTC Sense also posts to twitter, conveniently, and it seems Suzanne wasn’t the only one concerned for my welfare. I was able to pull the Tweet easily enough after explaining that it was a joke gone wrong, but I had to wait until I got home to delete it from Facebook.

At one point I thought of adding an update along the lines of “I got assaulted at home. No security around to help me”, but thought better of it. I guess the lesson here is that I need to think more clearly about what I post. Even though I post joke statuses for a living, it might not be that funny sometimes.

New iPad Review

I’m just mentioning the new iPad so that I can double my hits overnight. I have no content, and nothing to contribute. But I expect my ad revenue will be through the roof by the end of the day. Well, maybe not. But I’ll be able to see a blip.  I’ll also add that the new Apple iPad will feature a high-definition screen and an improved processor. Furthermore, any subsequent mention of the new iPad in this article—as well as any mention of the fact that preorders for the device start today—is resulting in increased reader traffic and, thus, increased revenues for your company’s ad-based business model.

New Apple iPad review and technical specs

New Apple iPad

You gotta hand it to Anonymous

Protest schemes that don’t cost the participants any inconvenience, hardship or money remain the most popular, despite their ineffectiveness.        -Snopes

 

Its true. Protesting rising fuel prices by boycotting petrol stations on a certain day achieves absolutely nothing. You’ll just buy the petrol a day earlier or a day later, and it allows speculators to profit if they know there will be less demand one day.

Changing your profile picture on Facebook will not stop child abuse.

Signing and online petition or blacking out your web site will have absolutely no effect. Not unless you’re a significant player like Wikipedia, perhaps.

This is action. This has a chance to get things fixed. This is how voices are heard.

Raising awareness is a great way of feeling good about yourself without actually doing anything.

Imperial military strategy: how Palpatine dropped the fully armed and operational battle station. Twice.

This is a clever and comprehensive analysis in response to a question posed to a holder of a Master’s Degree in Military History, and fellow Goon. The question being, “In hindsight, was it a mistake for the Empire to put all its eggs in one basket by constructing the Death Star? Surely such an undertaking cost the Empire a lot of resources which probably could have been better used had they been spread out?” This is used without permission, though attribution is given so we’re good.

This is clearly the case, but the situation is not as simple as it seems on the surface. While it is easy to blame the Empire itself for what looks to be a gross misallocation of resources, the truth is that there were two independent problems with the Death Star Project, only one of which was the amount of resources devoted to construction. The other problem was the approach taken in deploying the two Fully Armed and Operational Battle Stations.

In addressing the first problem, some brief historiography is necessary. In the immediate aftermath of the disastrous events at Yavin IV and Endor it was widely accepted that the Empire itself was responsible for the decision to build these weapons and, in doing so, subject the economies of numerous star systems to unbearable economic stress. While this blame at first seems reasonable, it must be remembered that such accusations could very likely have been propagated by the group of freedom fighters led by Luke Skywalker. Such a situation would not be unexpected, as any propoganda tactics that would serve to discredit the Imperial government would no doubt have been used by these Rebel Scum. Indeed, over the last 5 to 10 yearsnew documents have come to light suggesting that the initial work on the super weapons was already well underway during the Republic’s waning years. It should be remembered that the former was the very same governmental body that Skywalker and his cohorts were striving to reincorporate; therefore, he and his Rebel Friends would have every reason to divert attention away from the Republic’s responsibility and place the blame squarely on the Empire’s shoulders. Nor should it be overlooked that noted insurgent leader Obi Wan Kenobi, as well as Skywalker’s own father, were high ranking officers in the employ of the Republic, and may themselves have had some involvement with the Death Star project.

Some have argued that although the Death Star’s planning and initial construction probably began during the late years of the Republic, the government itself should not be held responsible since there were numerous quasi-independent political factions operating separately from the legitimate government at the time. However, given the size and scope of the project, the Senate, if not directly responsible for the project, must have either ignored evidence of its existence, in which case they were grossly negligent, or known of its existence and given tacit consent, in which case they were complicit. Either way, it is clear that the Republican government, not the Empire itself, was responsible for either permitting or ordering the initial devotion of large quantities of capital and material to a project of questionable utility. Further adding to the evidence of Republican responsiblity is the rather curious lack of attention paid to certain common-sense safety measures on the stations, such as adequate catwalk railings or sufficiently well protected exhaust ports. Such oversights are clear indications of design-by-committee, and all too representative of a stale democratic government’s way of doing things. Indeed, it was precisely the propensity of the Senate to allow such goings-on that prompted Chancellor Palpatine to assume dictatorial powers to try and straighten out the whole mess.

While the Empire was obviously not immediately responsible for the initiation of the project, it did allow construction to continue through to completion. Why was this? There are likely two reasons. First, the transition from Republican to Imperial government structures was not immediate. It was, in fact, not until after the first Death Star had been completed that the last remnants of the Old Republic had been swept away. The length of time necessary for this change was attributed to the fact that mid-level members of government continually insisted that the local bureaucracy was necessary to maintain control. Indeed, transcripts from high-level military planning sessions suggest that even some military leaders felt this way, although the sentiment was probably not too widespread. Thus, during this period of flux, large bureaucratic programs such as the Death Star would have been very difficult to simply terminate since Emperor Palpatine had his hands full with innumerable similar problems.

The second reason would be that, given the advanced state of the project at the time that Palpatine assumed the principate, it may have been more expensive to deconstruct the stations than to complete them. Although records from the period are incomplete, it is clear from the close proximity in time between the battles of Yavin and Endor that the second Death Star must have been under construction before the first was even deployed. Therefore, its construction was also likely beyond the point of no return, so to speak.

The second problem, that of the Death Stars’ deployment, is more directly attributable to the Imperial Navy and even the Emperor himself. That the Death Star design was out of place in the Imperial Navy is something of an understatement. Although the Navy certainly had a penchant for gigantism, it never strayed too far from the idea that their weapons of war should be simple and easily mass produced. The TIE series of fighters, interceptors, and bombers, for example, while they did not necessarily excel at local space superiority, were sufficiently ubiquitous to allow the Empire to at least disrupt, if not necessarily defeat, many Rebel undertakings. Considering the limited resources available to the Pitiful Little Band, had the Empire remained true to this strategy of gradual attrition it would significantly have increased its chances of ultimate victory. Likewise, the Imperial II class of Star Destroyer was quite capable of causing problems for even a moderately sized Rebel task force. The sudden shift, then, from widespread attritional strategy to focused annihilation is rather confusing. This is particularly the case when one considers the fact that by tightening their grip upon one star system at a time, the Imperial Navy would most likely have let many others slip through their fingers.

While the fundamental reasons for the Empire’s shift in strategy remain a mystery, it is still clear that the Emperor and his officers made some rather naive mistakes in their use of the Death Stars. In the first case, the Death Star’s attack on the Rebel Base at Yavin IV suffered from an unforgivable dirth of battlefield reconnaissance. Had even the most basic survey of the Yavin system been made prior to the Death Star’s arrival, its approach could have been calculated to come from the same side of Yavin IV as the Rebel-held moon. Instead, the lack of reconnaissance caused the Death Star to approach from the opposite side, thus lengthening the time required to position itself properly, and ultimately providing the Rebels with a perfect opportunity to drive an attack home.

In the second case, the Emperor himself made a critical error by personally overseeing the final stages of construction. Apparently unfamiliar with the dangers inherent in exposing himself to attack, Palpatine insisted on being present on the occasion of his ultimate triumph, despite objections from his closest advisors. One witness even describes the the occasion of the Emperor’s announcement, whereupon Lord Vader was said to have responded, “I have a baaad feeling about this.” In any case, the Emperor’s overconfidence was his undoing.

Spam/Wife, it’s all the same: I get no respect

Suzanne has been forwarding me job postings from employment web sites lately. In one of my increasingly rare appearances on Facebook a couple days ago, I posted this image:

Suzanne That’s a pretty funny image you posted the other day.

Brian Haha, yeah I thought you’d like it.

Suzanne You know it’s not entirely true though.

Brian Well, yeah I know.

Suzanne I’ve never sent you emails about losing weight!

Brian …

Suzanne …

Brian I’m so defriending you on Facebook.