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Chippy the Squirrel

Posted 2013.11.29 9.55 in Pointless Blather

Chippy

He’s had his fill of the leftover pasta, and now he’s nibbling on… some blue plastic? I have no idea what that is.

All the stale bread and uneaten pasta and limp vegetables tend to go out into the backyard. It’s got to the point now where just opening the backdoor frequently attracts 3 or 4 squirrels into the yard.

This one is chilling out on a shelving unit that’s temporarily stored on the back porch – here, he can enjoy his pasta (or plastic) in the shade, out of the elements.

I just can’t tell…

Is he cute?

Or is he plotting?

Plotting

A Name By Any Other Rose

Posted 2012.02.22 9.15 in Computers/Internet/Technology

Recently there has been a bit of a kerfuffle on teh interwebz about Google’s most recent privacy violations. While I’m not sure lawsuits will help, I suppose they’ll at least keep the evil empire in the spotlight for another minute or two. It’s not just Apple’s Safari either, Microsoft has also come forward and said Google is fucking with its users too.

For those who aren’t up-to-date on this latest scam, it’s about Google knowingly exploiting some issues that allow them to install cookies on users’ computers, even if the users have specifically blocked 3rd party / advertisers cookies in their settings. So if you visit site xyz.com you would expect to only maybe have a cookie from xyz.com but instead you get that plus a dozen others from scummy advertising sites like google or doubleclick.net.

So while the tech blogs and news sites have been thrashing it out a little, I’m just waiting for security updates to patch these holes and end the exploits. In the meantime I’ve been deleting all the cookies from my system, and modified my hosts file to redirect some of these jerks to nowhere.

While doing this, I’ve also been puzzling over why a lot of people don’t seem to care about third parties sideloading cookies onto their computers. I mean, they say it’s only a few kB of data, it’s not like it’s a virus or anything, right?

Well, ok, it’s only a few kB and ok it’s not a virus. But that’s not the point.

The point is, I’ve gone into my settings and set it so that no, third parties and advertisers do not have my permission to install shit on my computer. So when they find ways to bypass my settings, to essentially override my personal preferences and say Hey, we’re going to install our things on your computer and you can’t stop us – well that’s frankly a bit of a piss off.

It’s worse when you recognize what the point of these cookies are: they are there to track you. Track what sites you visit. What your interests are. And the more data they get, the more they know about you.

Last night I had a bit of a revelation. I think a big problem is that these things were named Cookies. That makes them sound all fun and cute and harmless. Oh it’s just a cookie. Nom nom nom. Would people be as ambivalent about them if they were referred to as, say, Web Turds?

I think not. I think people would automatically get a bit more wary if they realized that almost every website they visited meant that another dozen advertisers were leaving stinky little piles of Web Turds in the corners of their computer.

64 Pixels of RGB Fun!

Posted 2011.06.03 8.40 in Computers/Internet/Technology

Taking some time off from my MCP project while waiting for some more components to arrive, last night I put together a Meggy Jr. from Evil Mad Scientist Labs.

The Meggy Jr. is an open-source handheld video game platform. The ‘screen’ is an 8×8 matrix of RGB LEDs. Despite such a ‘low-rez screen’ there’s actually quite a few games out there that are very playable.

It comes with “Attack of the Cherry Tomatoes” pre-programmed on the uC and over a dozen more examples are included in the free development libraries, which work with the Arduino IDE.

 

Evil Invisible Gnomes

Posted 2010.08.30 16.27 in Life On Drugs, Pointless Blather

So last night while I was laying in bed, it suddenly occured to me that Ouch, normally the bedsheet does not cause me any pain in the knee. So why was my knee all sore and tender now?

Today I had a look and my knee is all black and blue and purple, like someone had at it with a stick or club or something.

Now I don’t recall any kind of beat-down, nor for that matter do I remember taking any unexpected trips to the ground. So this can only be the result of one thing:

Evil Invisible Garden Gnomes.

They’re sneaking into my house at night and beating me with sticks while I’m asleep.

I know they’re invisible because I can’t see any garden gnomes in the neighborhood when I look for them. And I surmise that they are evil because they’re invisible, and therefore they can be evil and get away with it.

Plus, if they were friendly or visible garden gnomes, I’d like to think they would sneak in and clean my house while I slept, rather than pummel me with blunt objects.

Here is photographic proof: You can clearly see that no friendly or visible garden gnomes exist. Therefore the only garden gnomes in this photo are the evil invisible variety. It is conclusive!

More Fun With Dentists

Posted 2010.04.19 15.33 in Pointless Blather

Another dentistry day. I guess I’m paying my dues for having avoided dentists for so long. Ok it’s not a guess, it’s a fact.

I knew this was coming back in November – that was the plan. Once the wisdom teeth were out, he could get at the trio of cavities that were hiding at the back. Well, today he got at them.

To be fair, the actual drilling wasn’t so bad. The needles were worse, as usual. Jabby jabby pokey pokey in the gums. Then he accidentally squirted some of the freezing into my mouth and wow that stuff tastes toxic. It tastes like what I imagine drain cleaner would taste like. Just a horrid, horrid nasty medical waste kind of taste.

The other thing that I really don’t enjoy is the sensation of being tipped upside-down, in that scary mechanical chair contraption, while they fill my mouth up with stainless steel and water. Being in that position triggers my sleep apnea only not while sleeping, so my throat keeps trying to close up and I can’t breath. So they’re busy excavating, one pipe bringing water in, another pipe taking water out (but not as fast as it’s coming in) and all the power tools and stuff, I’m clinging to the chair to keep from sliding headfirst out of it, and gagging for air… Actually that might be slightly worse than the needles. Or not. I’m not sure.

Oh and the other other thing is, just before he started working he cranked up his radio to full blast. He thinks that music blaring at full volume helps people relax and takes their mind off the drill. Maybe for some people. I can’t stand loud noises. I hate going to clubs and stuff like that where there’s noise and music blaring away. The loud blaring music was as relaxing to me as, well… it’s just not relaxing at all.

Think about taking a cat to the vet then the vet turns on his shop-vac and sets it next to your cat, to help the cat calm down. Yeah. Loud music. Car horns. Jackhammers. Crying babies. Chainsaws. And for that matter, vacuums. They all have the same effect on me, and that effect is not a calming one. Fortunately at one point I was able to ask them to turn off the radio.

That was all this morning though. Now the freezing has worn off, and I’m just left with a nagging ache in one of the teeth he worked on. Or maybe it’s all three of them, but one is worse than the others.

I really hate going to the dentist.

And Another Thing…

Posted 2009.11.09 19.21 in Pointless Blather

In the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the character Anya had been a normal person who was recruited by demons to become a vengance demon specializing in scorned women. There was also another vengance demon in one episode, who specialized in neglected children.

Just on the off chance that there are any demon recruiters cruising teh interwebs, I’d just like to mention, I’m available.

I’d specialize in asshats who didn’t know how to use turn signals or stop signs. When innocent drivers wind up in prangs because some asshat cut them off, failed to signal, or didn’t stop, they could summon me, and I’d make sure that Horrible Things happened to the Asshole in question.

I’d just add one thing to my demon contract, that I wouldn’t have to do my evil against my family.

Otherwise, I could totally get down with the live forever, perform evil horrible deeds against assholes who can’t drive, and generally just being nasty.

So, evil demon recruiters – get in touch. I’m available.

Computers are Evil

Posted 2009.04.14 14.13 in Computers/Internet/Technology, Pointless Blather

I’m absolutely exhausted, and the servers and routers and switches and cables are all conspiring against me. They laugh at me when I’m not looking, they’re dropping packets all over the floor and leaking bits down the back of the shelves.

At night they must have little fights — or maybe they’re getting up to something naughty — because the cables all get twisted and knotted up into a big tangle.

I don’t know why they hate me so. I try to keep them happy and well-fed. I only get tempted to pour soda pop onto their CPUs after they’ve been acting up. They started it. 

They’re mean and nasty and evil. Stoopid computers. 🙁

p.s. Next time someone mentions the dust on the server shelves, I’m going to tell them that it’s not dust, it’s all the bits we keep losing from the packet collisions. And I’m going to try and keep a straight face. “Don’t touch it! It’s digital!”