Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Verizon Wireless rules
Originally, Verizon Wireless led the other wireless carriers in a lawsuit claiming that allowing "local number portability" would cost the carriers a combined $1 billion to implement. However, they lost the lawsuit. Now, as their rivals are tacking on LNP's, Verizon Wireless is not charging its customers for the service. It's also challenging its competitors to follow suit, though Sprint PCS, Nextel and AT&T Wireless have already come out saying they won't stop charging. (Sprint PCS says only the government can make them do anything.) Why is Verizon Wireless doing this? First, they say the cost is about 15 cents a month per customer and that wireless companies should just eat the cost. (The others charge customers $1.50 or more per customer.) Secondly, Verizon Wireless has a really good product, good customer service and gives most customers very, very few reasons to actually leave. So they look good to their own customers (thanks for not charging us this bogus fee, Verizon Wireless!) and at the same time make the others look bad. (This costs you 15 cents and you charge me $15??!???). Third, they know all the other companies suck and won't follow suit. (Though I'd be happy to be proven wrong.)
http://cl.com.com/Click?q=0c-_YDDIc8oF7gN0VUJy2e37YA2inpn
Sprint PCS. Systemically StinkyTM
San Francisco, Lexington, and Baltimore

Monday, June 23, 2003

Saturday, June 21, 2003

BULk
We saw The Hulk tonight. It might not be easy being green, but it aint a picnic watching green either. At 2 hours and 20 minutes, I'd say it's about 40 minutes too long. I have to admit. The tank scenes were more realistic looking, but what was with all the boring rolling in the sand crap? Not to mention that every time I saw The Hulk (or "Angry Man") jump or run, it just wasn't possible to suspend anymore disbelief. You'd think he'd run slower, not faster, with all that body mass. And jumping those distances? Puh-lease.

Homefront
We found a house we really like today. :)

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Notmail
So Lori got a credit card offer today addressed to her maiden name. And I got an offer to subscribe to Playboy magazine. Uh, folks? You're about 3-1/2 years too later.
Credit Card Offer - These are the same people who know can screw up our credit rating so easily. Scary.
Playboy - One year for $12 + the collectors edition of their naked college girls. There was a time when that would have seemed like a good deal. Now I'm older, wiser, and married. I thought it was pretty interesting how much nudity they actually showed on the outside of a postcard. But they must be pretty desperate to offer the magazine for $1 an issue. Hey guys - you should have never gotten into the "low" XXX stuff. You should have stayed with the "high" classy naked lady pin-ups. And Debbie, if you still work for Playboy, shame on you!

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Dead for 22 years...
An Iraqi man, upon finding out that he was being saught by Saddam's police, went home and built a fake wall in one of the rooms of his home. And then lived there for 22 years.
http://www.msnbc.com/news/927602.asp?0sl=-42

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Peace

(attributed to Robin Williams? Not sure. Also sounds like something my friend Kevin might suggest. Some of them, anyway.)

I see a lot of people yelling for peace but I have not heard of a plan for peace. So, here's one plan:

1) The US will apologize to the world for our "interference" in their affairs, past & present. We will promise never to "interfere" again.

2) We will withdraw our troops from all over the world, starting with Germany, South Korea and the Philippines. They don't want us there. We would station troops at our borders. No more sneaking through holes in the fence.

3) All illegal aliens have 90 days to get their affairs together and leave. We'll give them a free trip home. After 90 days the remainder will be gathered up and deported immediately, regardless of who or where they are. France would welcome them.

4) All future visitors will be thoroughly checked and limited to 90 day visits unless given a special permit. No one from a terrorist nation would be allowed in. If you don't like it there, change it yourself, don't hide here. Asylum would not ever be available to anyone. We don't need any more cab drivers.

5) No "students" over age 21. The older ones are the bombers. If they don't attend classes, they get a "D" and it's back home, baby.

6) The US will make a strong effort to become self sufficient energy wise.This will include developing non polluting sources of energy but will require a temporary drilling of oil in the Alaskan Wilderness. The caribou will have to cope for a while.

7) Offer Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries $10 a barrel for their oil. If they don't like it, we go someplace else.

8) If there is a famine or other natural catastrophe in the world, we will not "interfere". They can pray to Allah or whomever, for seeds, rain, cement or whatever they need. Besides, most of what we give them gets "lost" or is taken by their army. The people who need it most get very little, anyway.

9) Ship the UN Headquarters to an island some place. We don't need the spies and fair weather friends here. Besides, it would make a good homeless shelter or lockup for illegal aliens.

9b) Use the buildings as replacement for the twin towers.

10) All Americans must go to charm and beauty school. That way, no one can call us "Ugly Americans" any longer.

Now, ain't that a winner of a plan.

"The Statue of Liberty is no longer saying 'Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses.' She's got a baseball bat and she's yelling, 'You want a piece of me?'"
The atheist and the bear

An atheist was walking through the woods one day in Alaska, admiring all that evolution had created. "What majestic trees! What a powerful river! What beautiful animals!" he said to himself. As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. Turning to look, he saw a 13-foot Kodiak brown bear beginning to charge towards him.

He ran as fast as he could down the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the bear was rapidly closing on him. Somehow, he ran even faster, so scared that tears came to his eyes. He looked again and the bear was even closer. His heart pounding in his chest, he tried to run faster yet. But alas, he tripped and fell to the ground. As he rolled over to pick himself up, the bear was right over him, reaching for him with its left paw and raising its right paw to strike him.

"OH MY GOD!"
...Time stopped....
The bear froze.......
The forest was silent............
Even the river stopped moving ...

As a brilliant light shone upon the man, a thunderous voice came from all around:
"YOU DENY MY EXISTENCE FOR ALL THESE YEARS, TEACH OTHERS THAT I DON'T EXIST AND EVEN CREDIT CREATION TO SOME COSMIC ACCIDENT. DO YOU EXPECT ME TO HELP YOU OUT OF THIS PREDICAMENT? AM I TO COUNT YOU AS A BELIEVER?"

Difficult as it was, the atheist looked directly into the light and said:
"It would be hypocritical to ask to be a Christian after all these years, but perhaps you could make the bear a Christian?"

"VERY WELL", said God.
The light went out.
The river ran.
The sounds of the forest resumed.

.. and the bear dropped down on his knees, brought both paws together, bowed his head and spoke: "Lord, thank you for this food which I am about to receive."

Monday, June 16, 2003

Why does Harry Potter rule?
A long article, but if you start, you should read all the way to the end.
http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101030623/story.html

Friday, June 13, 2003

Yay, Aloha Friday!

Crime Doesn't Pay...
I think whoever said that was either being witty or wasn't completely quoted. If it were me, I would say "Crime Doesn't Pay Because Criminals Are Stupid." I'm convinced that the same brainiacs that perpetrate most crimes would also fail if presented with the chance to start their own business. I think the same people who success in business could succeed in crime if they chose that route. Of course, there are always exceptions... become a celebrity that makes lots of other people money (Mike Tyson), a beloved celebrity so-much-so that people will deny the crime (Michael Jackson, Bill Clinton) or buy your way out of jail (O.J. Simpson). But, if you're smart, you can get away with it while others to participate and ultimately take so much of the blame that while you appear guilty, you can parade around while your colleagues are going off to jail or killing themselves (Enron's Kenneth Lay). I read today about a guy that perpetrated a small scam that probably netted him (or he and a small group of associates) over $1,000,000. They rented space in a strip mall, put up a sign and said that they only did business over eBay. (I will point out at this time that there's still the potential that they aren't as guilty as it sounds, but that's just that whole innocent-until-proven-guilty nonsense that cause TV news to use words like "alleged armed car-jacker" while showing the guy pulling the woman out of the car by her hair with one hand while holding a gun in his other hand and then getting into the car and driving away.) Anyhow, they sold a lot of stuff on eBay, enough to have over 750 positive ratings. Then in a few weeks' time they offered lots of laptops at $1,000 each. By the time people started complaining and eBay called the Feds, they had probably netted over a mil in cash. But, they were stupid. They stuck around the strip mall and one day while the Feds were watching from across the street (remember that episode of The Simpsons where they're being watched by guys in a pizza truck and the minute Marge says "That pizza truck has been across the street for a week now." the engine starts and it roars off, only to be immediately replace by a truck reading
Flowers
By
Irene
with the F,B and I bold and darker than the rest of the letters. That was a funny scene. Anyhow, I had digressed.) So the FBI is watching these people and notice that they're starting to pack up their office. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

They should have...
(1) Had a partner at a Mailboxes Etc. store. Sorry, I mean The UPS Store (stupid name)
(2) Had a warehouse, not an office
(3) Not boxed up anything, but just left it there at the end of the scam
(4) Not used their real names
(5) Shipped some computers at a loss to keep the scam going (or shipped old computers and then said it was a mistake and then paid to ship them back)
(6) Cut bait as soon as the FBI came to Mailboxes Etc. store to ask to have the box opened

Although ultimately, I bet being a career criminal is a tougher job than being a business leader. You can't trust your employees, or you have to work solo and often-times the police are far more organized than the business' nearest competitors. That's my thought for today.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

In Honor...
Gregory Peck also passed away. People think it's really sad, though I don't know much about him. Who will be #3?

Nightmares
Last night, I had two. The first, I was in the second story of an office building looking out the window. It was a narrow street below and a guy was coming one way in a black SUV. A guy in a white SUV came from the other direction and pulled in front of the black SUV diagonally to block him. Then they both started exchanging gunfire, getting out of their cars and moving towards each other. They were pretty close to one another and they looked up at me. They were young black guys with lots of gold chains. They looked like rappers you see on MTV. They scowled at me and I think they were thinking about shooting me when 8 or 9 black Apache helicopters swooped in from above the other office building on the other side of the street. That caused me to look up and over and I noticed that there was an airport right next to that building. At that moment, a huge airplane disintegrated in midair. Just blam. Nothing but a huge ball of fire and little bits of fire falling to earth. Then a plane on the ground taxiing exploded sending cars and airport equipment and chunks of pavement flying in every direction. And then I woke up.

In the second dream, I was in a house that I owned. This guy was coming after me and wanted to kill me. But me and the other people there were frustrating his attempts and finally I took my huge 6-D-battery MagLite and clocked him upside the head with it, knocking him unconcious. We took his gun and got rid of it. Then his cell phone rang. I tried to sound like him and answered it and realized it was his boss. So I started cussing at him and calling him names and saying that I wouldn't work for him anymore. Then I twisted the cellphone until it broke and then ripped apart the pieces and started burying them all over the backyard. He left, but we knew he'd be back and that he'd bring reinforcements. Not too much later, my boss' boss showed up with his family. He seemed to already know what was going on. They started taking all of my furniture and loading it into a van and unloading their furniture into my house. He explained that it would serve to confuse them and temporarily make them think they were in the wrong place. Someone gave me a gun, but no bullets and said it was just for show. Then my boss and his brothers showed up. They began making a wall of bookcases and furniture in the garage that they intended to shoot from behind. One of his brothers tossed me a sealed bag of M&M's, but I could tell that there were bullets inside it. Another brother began driving cars down the street, parking them all over, even sideways, to disrupt traffic and hopefully draw police attention. Some of the cars were painted with different designs on either side. I'm not sure why, except again to cause confusion. There were probably about 15 of us, men, women and children, all getting ready to take on this guy who wanted to kill me and his posse. Before they came back, I woke up again.

Semi-Related
I have friends flying tomorrow to an area where until recently, airlines had shut down all flights for fear of terrorist activity. There's a Canadian, a Swede, an Egyptian and maybe a few more. Only one of them won't stand out as a foriegner in the region, so please pray for their safety. I'm reasonably certain that no more than three or four people even read my ramblings so I don't think I'm putting their lives in danger by putting my concerns online.

Semi-Sweet
I would like it noted that I resisted doughnuts, muffins, half of a Subway sandwich and cookies yesterday. I did eat a bag of Sun Chips that were given to me and later cookie crumbs that made up half a cookie because they were sitting there where I was waiting for people for a meeting, but I did rather well, will-power wise. Today I had dessert with lunch, but did resist the brownies. If only resisting food helped you lose weight as quickly as not resisting made you gain weight.

In Honor...
David Brinkley passed away last night at home in Houston.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

AFLAC! AFLAC!
This is an article about how the company came to have a spokesduck. Kinda neat.
http://www.msnbc.com/news/925309.asp

Isn't it nice when things work (the 606th time)?
This single-camera continuous shot 2-minute ad now playing online and in the UK cost $6 million to make, and what results is take #606. But it's still very cool.
http://home.attbi.com/~bernhard36/honda-ad.html

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Yeah, well, that's a whole fat lot of not-working-ness. AT&T's got some pretty strict rules for the website use. Blogger isn't compatible with it in terms of uploading my blog there. Bummer.

I was just reading some of my older posts. They almost seem intelligent compared to now. Now I rarely write and it isn't even of interest to me some of the time. I've gotten boring. Or busy. Or uninspired. Maybe I need a muse. Is a muse always a person? Because if so, it's not a muse I need. Maybe I just need a new hairstyle. It's 6 pm on June 10 and what do I have to show for the day? I did get up, shower, and eat lunch. I've done my jumping jacks but not my sit-ups, push-ups or weights. Any minute now, Lori's going to head for home. Maybe I'll pick up a little around the apartment, get the mail and go lift weights. Then I can say I've done something productive today.

And I get to mention this, dang it... I avoided homemade cookies in the breakroom yesterday. Yay me.
If I weren't so lazy...
...I'd figure out how to publish this on my own site so that I wouldn't have to have the ads at the top. Maybe I'll look into it today. I cannot believe it's 5:20 already. I guess time flies for me when I'm home sick just about as fast as it does when I'm at work. Several hours of Rise of Nations didn't help. I lost playing against two computer opponents and then I lost playing against one computer opponent because I was building blowing them up and not building stupid pyramids and stuff. Dumb. Then I was actually doing quite well when the computer decided to restart for no apparent reason. Fortunately, I can detect my own addictions and un-installed the game. I think they give you too much access in the free trial version, I could play for hours and hours and hours. Just ask Lori.

I've been working on a new online store for work. It uses cookies and a database and I believe (while you cannot yet actually place an order) that it is already far superior to the old existing cruddy one I built as a stopgap a few years ago, never imagining we'd still be using it...
Old: http://www.lakeave.org/tools/store/showsermons.asp
New: http://www.lakeave.org/tools/store/2/

That's nearly everything I've done today. A little exercise, but mostly just sat my lazy self down in front of the computer for most of the day. It was as if I hadn't called in sick.

I'm not positive, but when the condos next door covered over some wholes where pigeons used to nest, that they might have sealed in some babies. I can hear them crying but I don't know if they're in that building or somewhere else nearby thanks to my lack of audible spacial perception in my one ear. Also, there's only one egg on our deck now and not two. And there's no sign of egg fragments and even though Morticia managed to get on the deck yesterday, she wasn't there long enough to eat an egg, so I don't know where it's gone.

Friday, June 06, 2003

Oooh... new blogger
Eh.

Taxes
Ok, I wasn't completely right. I will get a tax break on the $20 in dividends I receive in a typical year from the piddly number of stocks I own. Of course, I also should see a larger paycheck because they're withholding less.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Stupid Lousy Government... Glad I didn't vote...
What good is a tax cut if it doesn't help ME??!?!? No check in the mail because we don't have kids. No marriage-penalty-relief because we itemize. No other benefits because we make just enough to almost be enough.

Sunday, June 01, 2003

And then there were two...
There are now two pigeon eggs in the tiny makeshift nest on our deck. The birds have come back and one will sit on the eggs while one or two others stand watch.

Goldline when?
Saw a train pulling out of the Sierra Madre exit tonight. It's cool to see, but I really doubt the July 2003 opening. They've removed some of the signs that say "See you in July!" from stations, but the website still claims. I'm doubtful.

Found him!
Finding Nemo is a really wonderful movie. Some shots were downright amazing and, in my opinion, photorealistic. But I also really laughed hard at the mooses (meese) in the preview for another movie where they asked us to leave without seeing the movie. One thing about Nemo that I guess shouldn't have surprised me... like all good Disney classics, sad and horrifying deaths. I guess that's just a fact of life, eh? Had to laugh at the guys I overheard in the bathroom talking about how disappointed they were with the second Matrix, but nothing that the studio had their $9 so it was too late. I guess the problem is that no one's giving a second or third $9. One girl in the theater tonight was saying she saw it last night and had to come back again tonight because it was so good. Me, I want to see The Italian Job again. And I want to buy a MINI and get it tricked out.