Welcome again to another Random Rant by Mike Burns. Today I will be ranting about popularity, closed mindedness, equality, keeping with tradition, computer programming, looks, and intergender communication. So lets begin with something I have little experience with:

What does it mean to be popular, anyway? Well, if you are popular it means you have many that follow you. These followers need not be friends; they could just be people looking to gain ego by increasing yours. So why doesn't everyone become popular? If a ditzy blonde can do it, so can I, right?

Well, why would you want to become popular? Sure, the followers can be a great ego boost, but they can also be a real pain-in-the-butt. Plus, who needs the hassle of planning schedules with others and hurrying around to meet odd deadlines? No one, that's who. More time is devoted to keeping others pretending to like you and less time doing things you may enjoy more, such as playing around with tomsrtbt.

Closed-Minded People

A closed-minded person is one who, when presented with a difference of opinion, instantly disagrees with it. Examples of closed-minded people are Hitler, Stalin, and most adults when confronted with minors. This is what is considered 'treating others as an equal', where 'others' is anyone you wish to listen to. Traditionally, this excludes people under the age of 18 years and females. Basically, no matter how bright of an idea one may have, if the person is younger than 18 years old aor female, the idea should be either ignored or belittled.

Some people ignore all ideas; these are truly closed-minded people, and the treat-everyone-but-minors-equally people must be fully closed-minded to dissupport new waves of equality. These closed-minded people refuse to learn from others or even themselves. They often follow one idea for life and never stop to question the idea and listen to other's suggestions about it. Their way is the only way and it may never change -- it is tradition.

I am not American, due to the fact that I am a minor. I have no legal rights or Freedoms because of my age. I would claim age discrimination, but I can not legally do so. Adults preach the word of the 'Land of the Free' to me, but it makes no sense when I have just as many legal rights as a peasant under Stalinism. To quote Rage Against the Machine, The land of the free? Whoever told you that is your enemy. (Know Your Enemy, from their album Rage Against the Machine). The people representing America should represent America's future; then maybe I wouldn't have this problem (although I would enjoy it more if we were more than represented…).

Computer Programming in the 1990/2000s

Programming for computers has taken a major landslide as processor speed, hard drive space, and RAM sizes increase. The problem is that Netscape Communicator 4.7 takes more than a few seconds to load on my Linux machine. Some of you old-timers (if any) would say that I don't know how well I have it, but I say that I know too well; my Linux machine is zippy and every programme loads quickly, except for Netscape. This isn't just a problem with Netscape, though; most commercial software has this problem. And that's not the biggest problem of all; people accept as okay that programmes are too inefficient, bloated, and memory-wasting!

In my high school algebra (Algebra 2 Honours) class, my friend and I create small, efficient programmes on our TI-83, using as much structured programming as possible. I am constantly writing and rewriting old programmes to use less variables, use a faster algorithm, and to take up less space. The first thing we look at when we show each other our programmes is the code, and how much we can bum out of it.

For example, I am working on the Mike SHell (MSH) on my TI-83. It reads opcodes and performs operations from that. I recently created a MOD opcode for modulo, or the remainder of division. I spent two days creating the algorithm, going from brute force, to semi-structured, to reorganizing, and I'm still working on making it do fewer operations. It's not as if it takes too long; the time is barely noticeable. I just want it to use as few resources as possible.

Maybe it is because the source is available that any programmes are efficient; if Linux used poor programming techniques, no one would have even given it a second look. MicroSoft, however, hides their code so it may not be looked at by competent people; they have no one to impress, so no code bumming is nessecary.


First impressions are important.; Be yourself.: pick one.

I choose the Be yourself. idea, because if someone is going to like me for how I really am, then I will probably enjoy it too. If one likes me for who I pretend to be; well, I can't act forever.

I understand that in Capitalist America if you don't look "presentable" you have less of a chance of receiving a job; but I still think that's silly. If you are fully qualified, you should be able to receive the job.

For example, an older friend/teacher of mine went into his recent (relative to when this was written) slew of job interviews wearing jeans and a T-shirt and informed the interviewer that if he seems like he isn't working most of the time, it is because he isn't. He now makes $72 per hour being himself.

Intergender Communication

The following is not intended as an insult against either gender; please do not take it as one. If you do, don't say I didn't warn you.

I have a girlfriend; I have had the same girlfriend since February 22nd, 1999 — longer than the life of this Web site. Most disagreements we are in are due to a large inability to communicate using the same vocabulary. We basically have few common definitions of abstract concepts.

I learnt about two models of thinking; connected and seperate. Basically, connected thinkers make things personal and, well, connected; while seperate thinkers keep everything in their place. Generally speaking, females are connected while males are seperate.

It has been discovered by me that it makes sense to think of things such; for example, my girlfriend asks me not to insult people, so I say that I won't. Later in the conversation, she claims that I insulted her. I explained to her that as insulted as I may seem at times, it is nearly impossible to insult me; thus, I have no idea what a real insult is. This, of course, insults her more.

Another problem, hinted towards earlier, is that there exists the same words with difference meanings. To me, "marriage" means religiously bonded; to her, it means being together due to love. We both come from divorced families, so I can't see how she arrived at that definition, but I respect her definitions none-the-less. A common vocabulary is difficult when even the base words are ambigious!

Don't mind me; I am just venting.


The word aor used above is a concatenation of the phrase and/or. Basically, I think and/or should be made into one word due to its high use. So use aor next time you want to say and/or; someday, you will see this word in the dictionary.


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Mike Burns <mike@mike-burns.com>