my wal-mart hatred, articulated

As many of you may know, I have a special place in my heart for WalMart. I’ve hated the place since before I read _Nickle_and_Dimed_, and since then I haven’t even let someone mention it without going off on some sort of tirade. I was recently reading slashdot when I came across a comment ( that really summed up why I think the place is so awful:

Top 5 Reasons Not To Shop At Wal-Mart

        1. American Wal-Mart Employees Are Exploited.

        2. Wal-Mart’s Low Prices Are The Result Of Human Misery.

        3. Wal-Mart Forces Its Unethical Practices On Its 65,000 Suppliers.

        4. Wal-Mart Destroys Local Communities.

        5. Wal-Mart Is Not Accountable.


        * “Full-Time” (actually 28 hours/week) employees only gross $11,000 a year,

              on average.

        * Health benefits are available only after two years, but premiums are so

              high only 38% of employees can afford it.

        * Even discussing working conditions or unionization will result in

              retaliation and firing.

        * There is “a harsh, anti-woman culture in which complaints go unanswered

              and the women who make them are targeted for retaliation.” (Quote taken

              from a national class-action suit against Wal-Mart.)


        * 13-16 hour days molding, assembling, and painting toys, 7 days a week; 20

              hour days in the peak season.

        * Workers are paid 13 cents/hour wages in China: the minimum wage is

              31 cents.

        * There is no health or safety enforcement: constant headaches and nausea

              from chemical fumes, indoor temperatures above 100 degrees F, rampant

              repetitive stress disorder, no protective clothing available.

        * Most employees are young women or teenage girls.


        * Suppliers have to open their accounting books to Wal-Mart executives so

              they can cut “unnecessary expenses” like unionized workers, health

              benefits, and American-made products.

        * Suppliers are forced to move facilities to China and other low production

              cost nations to meet Wal-Mart’s demands.

        * Competitors are also forced to abandon customer service while slashing

              employee wages and moving production to foreign sweat shops to remain



        * Wal-Mart stores average 200,000 feet in size: more than 4 football fields

              and destroying any sense of community or character where they are located.

        * By pricing items below cost they crush local retailers. Once they hold a

              monopoly in the market they raise prices.

        * Three good jobs are destroyed for every two Wal-Mart jobs created.

        * Instead of business profits being reinvested in the community they are

              shipped to Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.


        * The media won’t report negatively about Wal-Mart because Wal-Mart would

              pull its huge advertising budget.

        * The 535 members of Congress have no power compared to Wal-Mart’s

              global reach: Wal-Mart does not have to answer to American voters, just

              it’s stockholders who are seeking unethical profit.

        * Wal-Mart is radically remaking our labor standards and local economies

              by stifling debate, suppressing knowledge, and not asking our consent.

like SSX only real

In a short and cheap trip last weekend, we headed out to lake tahoe for a day of skiing/snowboarding. It came to me this time much more quickly than the last, so very little bashing of the head or wrists occurred. I did get a tad ambitious at one point, though and went in the actual half-pipe. For the uninitiated, this is literally like a giant flute carved out of the snow that you go up and down the sides of, maybe not dying in the process. I barely managed to get down it without serious injuries. I proceeded to try to grind on a rail and ate serious snow. It was nice to live out some of my SSX fantasies. It’s kind of odd–I felt the opposite of what everyone talks about. Instead of the video game making me want to jump off huge ramps in real life, it just made me think, “jumping off of huge ramps is for video games, not real life.” Mostly I thought this as I was in the air after leaving the top of said ramps. Landing from them didn’t often work out. We do have some pictures of the excursion on gallery.

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur

I found this while wandering the Internet and suddenly remembered three years of my life I spent trying to learn Latin:

Macdonaldus Senex fundum habuit. E-I-E-I-O. Et in hot fundo nonnullas boves domesticas habuitt. E-I-E-O. Cum moo moo hic, et cum moo moo ibi. Hic una moo, ibi una moo, ubique una moo moo. Macdonaldus Senex fundum habuit. E-I-E-I-O

What a great language, eh?

a short hiccup for overt

Yesterday in the midafternoon, you may have noticed that overt was unavailable for maybe an hour or so. This was actually not do to the DNS change as I had warned, but rather to the fact that the breaker that overt was plugged into was tripped. This meant that the machine had to be rebooted (thank you, george). It’s interesting to note that before the power was cut, overt had been up and running without a reboot for almost 250 days.

I’m still waiting for the domain name transfer to finish up. I don’t expect there will be any hiccup in name resolution, but if you notice some funky behaviour, maybe wait an hour or two before freaking out.