Matt Mangels Writes Again Thursday, Mar 17 2016 

We meet again!

Given that the last post to this blog was published in 2007 I’m sure you’re wondering why I decided to start posting again. To be honest I am too. I guess I figured that I have this account, and even though I hate the domain name that I choose I’m stuck with it, and I might as well make the most of it. Also, some off-hand post about a CSI episode that aired in 2005 seems to have gained a modest amount of attention over the years, which I was utterly unaware of until now.

I was in 17 years old and in high school when the last post to this blog was published. I’m 26 now, and I work at a startup company in Silicon Valley part-time. I’m still very much a piano player, as you might have guessed from your browser’s URL bar. “Matt Mangels” is the name I use when I perform, but my legal name (which I never used to reveal online, but times have changed) is “Sean Hall”. I stopped writing regularly some years back, but I’m gonna see if I can get back into the habit, and hopefully it won’t be another 9 years until the next post.

In the meantime, here is where you can find me elsewhere on the web:’s New Design Thursday, Apr 26 2007 

So Fark redesigned yesterday, much to my dismay. But instead of needlessly whining about how much it sucks and how the admins handled the situation almost as bad as FEMA handled Katrina, I wrote a Greasemonkey script to get rid of the useless right column, and to center the main column (as it was before). won’t let me upload .js files, so I’ll just post the content here:

// ==UserScript==
// @name Fix Fark
// @namespace
// @description Gets ride of side column and centers main column
// @include*
// @include http://**
// ==/UserScript==
(function () {

On Broken Clocks and Right Wing Bloggers Thursday, Mar 29 2007 

Yesterday, a blog post about the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” case from a certain right wing blogger came under my radar. Of course, I expected the post to say that this was just liberals advocating smoking pot, because that’s what all liberals do, and the schools have a right to censor students outside school; you know, typical authoritarian conservative diatribe.

I was wrong.

As the saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day. In fact, the post is, I daresay, overflowing with sensible ideas, something quite rare from “conservative” bloggers. This guy, Greg, argues that Tinker vs. Des Moines must not be overturned, in direct opposition to this opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal.

I’m sorry, but Daniel Henninger [author of the opinion piece] has this one completely wrong here. If one fundamental mission of public education is to teach young people the importance of American political values and the freedoms that are part of our representative democracy, then it is essential that Tinker not be overturned, but instead be reinforced. If it is not, our public school would become no different from the old Soviet Union, which had a Constitution guaranteeing expansive individual liberties which were systematically denied to the inhabitants thereof.

I often feel that the term “communist” is thrown around amongst conservatives to ridicule anyone they don’t like (a fad that made sense during the Cold War, not so much anymore). But here, the comparison between the way public schools would be if Tinker were overturned and Soviet Russia could not be more accurate (or timely).

He further adds:

Can young people learn freedom by being taught lessons in oppression and suppression of their fundamental civil liberties?

I fully agree. I feel that Public schools are bastions of hypocrisy these days by not practicing what they preach.

Now if only conservatives were this sensible all the time…

What’s Eating the 43? Sunday, Mar 11 2007 

It seems that Muni’s 43 line has been running a lot less frequently lately, while the 36 has been running a lot more frequently. The buses are supposed to come every 10 to 15 minutes, but lately it’s been more like every 45 minutes to an hour. I demand an explanation! Frankly, if this keeps up they deserve to be losing money.

Slippery Slope Monday, Mar 5 2007 

Next person to use this phrase gets punched in the face. I am so tired of hearing people use this bit of rhetoric to connect two unrelated things. I’m surprised more don’t call bullshit on other people using this. “It’s a slippery slope; if we allow stem cell research we might end up killing people’s babies for their cells”. This is the kind of crap I am talking about.

Sorry. I just thought I should mention this. When you hear this phrase, set your bullshit detectors to “stun”. Let people know what’s wrong with this phrase, and use a ridiculous example to illustrate your point.

Obama 2008 Wednesday, Feb 14 2007 

This is just pure speculation, but I think the first person I ever vote for in an American Presidential Election could very well be Barack Obama.

I mean, not only is he not a republican or Hilary Clinton, I think he can be a real uniter. He seems to respect the conservative point of view. I have a good feeling about him, but the election is a good 21 months away. A lot can happen in that time…

The F-Line: Form over Function Thursday, Feb 1 2007 

I rode the MUNI F-Line for the first time today. I’ve heard a bunch of people saying how great it was to have old streetcars running again, and keeping San Francisco history alive.

Now I love history, but there’s a reason these old streetcars went out of style: They just plain suck. If you’ve been stuck behind one before, you know what I mean. They run way too slowly for a downtown San Francisco street, much less the busiest street of them all (Market).

The fact that Market Street already has the MUNI Metro makes the line even more superfluous. This is what happens when people put form over function. The cars are nice to look at, but are simply not practical. Let’s leave them to the Embarcadero and off the busy downtown streets.

Yawn Tuesday, Jan 30 2007 

I don’t know if I’m alone here, but I’m not the least bit excited about Windows Vista. I saw Bill Gates’ interview on the Daly Show with Jon Stewart (“What does the F12 button do?”), and it really didn’t make me want to go out and buy Vista. Furthermore these rumors I hear of DRM are even more discouraging. What I’d really like is OS X.

I think I’ve lost hope in Microsoft. (Although IE7 isn’t completely terrible. On the other hand it did take about 5 years to fix IE6…)

Show of Hands Saturday, Jan 20 2007 

How many people like Grissom’s replacement on CSI? I think he’s OK, but there’s no one quite like Grissom.

Only in San Francisco Sunday, Jan 7 2007 

I don’t know if it’s still there, but a couple weeks ago there was a Billboard (“Are you?”) on one side of the Bay Bridge on-ramp, and a billboard congratulating Nancy Pelosi on the other.*

I wonder how many conservatives’ heads burst into flames upon seeing that.

*Update: The billboard is no longer there.

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