The Tortured Slumber of Brave Ulysses

The Sirens:[Singing, soothing] Sleep, brave Ulysses! Sleep! Let us soothe your sinews with our sensuous songs of slumber!

Scylla: [LOUD!] *LOUD CLICK* I WHOOSH YOU INTO WAKEFULNESS! NO SLEEP FOR YOU! MY INFERNAL NOISE BRINGS FIRE FROM THE VERY DEPTHS OF HELL *LOUD CLICK* [subsides. Exit stage left. LOUDLY!]

The Sirens: [Sensuous, enchanting] Close your eyes, weary traveller! Dreams we have for you. Or, if not dreams then reverie for none shall dream while watching waiting.

Charybdis: [Creeping, oozing] My icy fingertips drag you back from slumber. Can such cold exist? Know it well, foolish mortal for I bring it unto thee!

Scylla :[SHOUTING] *LOUD CLICK* BEGONE CHARYBDIS! YOU WILL NOT WAKE HIM WITH YOUR COLD HARD SILENCE FOR I WILL WAKE HIM WITH MY FIRES! AND MY WHOOSHING! I WILL *LOUD CLICK!!* [falls silent]

The Sirens: [weird harmonies] Such dreams, such dreams you will not know if you sleep and dream of wakefulness or wish for sleep’s gentle release.  Remember, ye that teacher of old and of those days when the seven seas ye rode and ships tall sailed and soft! wailed the sunsets of your youth. I will sing of them to ye…

SCYLLA: [SHOUTING!] *LOUD CLICK! IT IS NOT YET MY TURN BUT STILL I CLICK AND WHOOSH MY HOTNESS. NO SLEEP FOR YOU *LOUD CLICK*

Charybdis: My turn it is and cold I bring, such cold ye have not known or yet imagined *LOUD CLICK* I HAVE THEE FOOLED FOR I AM NOT CHARYBDIS WITH HIS ICY DAGGERS! I AM SCYLLA WITH MY WHOOSING AND MY INFERNO AND MY INFERNAL WHOOSHING AND MY CLICKING *CLICK AND WHOOSH!*.

Narrator: What new demon is this! Avert your eyes, Brave Ulysses! For it is 12:30 AM You have slept for hours yet not slept at all and many hours yet remain in your journey through your twilight of neither sleep nor proper waking.

The Sirens: [singing soothing songs] I have a dream for thee! Remember the girl from the days of thy coming of age? She was no girl! She is your bank manager and your loan is denied! For why would you approach me for a loan unrobed!? I mock thee and cast thee out into the streets where you are lost and searching..search for what??… ye have forgotten..and search ye must..and search…for wakefulness or sleep…why search? Ye have have no need for sleep for *LOUD CLICK AND WHOOSH* [IN VOICE OF SCYLLA] SLEEP NOT! FOR I MUST WHOOSH AND CAST OUT YOUR DREAMS AND COOK THEM IN MY FIRES!

CHORUS: There is no sleep for you while these strange songs haunt your memories and your reverie. Write them down ye must or we will pluck at thine eyeballs with false promises of slumber. Go now and write! Confront your tormentors and banish them – and sleep – with words and blogs. No more dreams for you tonight or any night for sleep is banished!

More than fifty surprising things that I believe

  1. Affirmative action is counter-productive.
  2. So is the minimum wage.
  3. And minimum standards of education.
  4. Technology is uninteresting.
  5. Well over 90% of science fiction is crap.
  6. Checked exceptions are stupid.
  7. I am afraid that pubic hair will go the way of under-arm hair.
  8. C# is better than Java.
  9. There is not enough testing in schools.
  10. Tipping is deeply uncivilized.
  11. Charities should be taxed.
  12. Valentine’s Day is silly.
  13. The minimum drinking age should be abolished.
  14. I subscribe to over a dozen conservative blogs but no liberal blogs.
  15. It’s OK for children to see naked bodies.
  16. Different races probably have different abilities.
  17. Ditto for sexes.
  18. Christianity is a good thing.
  19. Catching Exception is OK.
  20. Thanking your wife when you receive your Oscar or Nobel Prize is unnecessary.
  21. Star Wars was not very good.
  22. Education, health care, civil liberties etc etc etc should be left to the states.
  23. I’d rather time travel to the past than to the future.
  24. It doesn’t matter that there are so few women in the software industry.
  25. Attempts to design a balanced curriculum are harmful.
  26. I don’t find babies to be cute.
  27. There is nothing wrong with public fields.
  28. I deeply resent the secularization of Christmas.
  29. There should be no tax deductions.
  30. Especially not for charities.
  31. I find the Pledge of Allegiance disturbing.
  32. I don’t see the point of cats.
  33. America is in my top five countries.
  34. So is France.
  35. If you want a successful life, nurture helps but not as much as nature.
  36. Or luck.
  37. Roe versus Wade was wrongly decided.
  38. I love reading bible stories and singing Christmas carols.
  39. Open source software terrifies and confuses me.
  40. The federal government should receive funding from the states, not individuals.
  41. Extreme Programming Explained changed my life. For the worse.
  42. The initiative process and referendums in general are populist nonsense.
  43. So are term limits.
  44. The mis-perception that chimpanzees are monkeys bothers the hell out of me.
  45. As does the inappropriate pluralization of offside.
  46. And the incorrect use of momentarily.
  47. Downloading music/movies/games is stealing.
  48. Most people would be better off if they did not go to college.
  49. Most would be better off starting work at 16.
  50. I am ambivalent about gay marriage.
  51. All income  (salary, profits, dividends, inheritance etc) should be taxed equally.
  52. Schools should be ‘streamed’ by academic ability.
  53. Military service deserves no more honour than teaching, nursing, road-sweeping or a host of other professions.
  54. The ability to spell is not that important.
  55. Bad spelling infuriates me. Especially when I do it.
  56. The Star Spangled Banner is my second favourite anthem.

Seven things about my more than fifty surprising things

  1. Details available on request.
  2. This post was inspired by a question on StackOverflow – what’s your most controversial programming opinion – but the first 20-something answers are positively mainstream. I thought I could do better.
  3. If you know me well, you will be unsurprised by many of my surprising things.
  4. If you don’t know me well, you will be unsurprised by many of my surprising things.
  5. If you don’t know me at all, some of my surprising things might make you angry.
  6. I tried to avoid obvious – or simply minority – things.
  7. I censored some of my things out of cowardice.

It’s traditional when you make a list like this to tag 14 of your friends and they have to repeat the exercise. I find that tradition to be crass. If you made it this far, consider yourself tagged. Or not. Whatever.