Tuesday, December 30, 2003

FedEx buys Kinko's

So now I know where to put the apostrophe. I wonder if they'll rename them to compete with The UPS Store... like The FedEx Copy Center or something. Anyhow, this seems like a good deal to me. Not sure why. Compelled me to finally buy some FedEx stock, like I've been contemplating for several years. Next, they need to add Starbucks and Wells Fargo counters inside the Kinko's. And you could nearly live there. My friend would hate that, though, I suppose.

More of the same

My friend, who works at a Kinko's, refused to help someone yesterday trying to photocopy information from an almanac on the U.S. Virgin Isles. He said he didn't think it was a big deal but that I could mention it on here if I wanted to, since everyone seems to think the government is reading my website.

(It is Kinkos' policy to prohibit photocopying of copyrighted materials... I knew that yesterday when I used Kinkos as an example just because no one would know that BJ's is a stupidly named copy-shop in Glendale. A block away from Kinkos, in fact.)

Doesn't the rest of the world hate us? Then shouldn't we be saying that we're the only ones allowed to carry guns on flights? Here's an idea... why don't we just hand each passenger a gun instead of a pack of peanuts?

I had a dream the other night that arsonists stole the door off my car. They tied a rope to it and dragged it around a park terrorizing people having picnics. Then they lit some forests on fire and the firemen came, put out the fires, and killed the arsonists. Someone gave me a videotape of my door being dragged around unceremoniously but fortunately I woke up before I had a chance to call the insurance company. (If I had stayed asleep, that would have been unpleasant.)

Monday, December 29, 2003

Don't be caught in public with an almanac

The government is warning police agencies to be on the lookout for people with almanacs... they could be terrorists! (nbc4.tv) Of course, after this news report, maybe they should be on the lookout for people at Kinkos making photocopies of pages from almanacs or people at Barnes and Noble furiously scribbling onto paper while reading an almanac. Or anyone at Starbucks with a laptop and a wireless connection. Or anyone who calls 411 on their cell phone and asks for directions to Sacramento. *sigh*

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Who the hell cares?

Mini-rant: A-Rod is a dumbass name. If you want to trade him/her/it, do it already. But stop telling me that a trade might be possible. If it was a good idea, it would be done by now. Or we would have found out about it after it happened. But it doesn't need to continue being news.

In other news, my wife thinks I'm about to be added to a Government Watch List and labelled a subversive. I don't care enough to be a subversive. Originally I was going to say that I didn't even care enough to look up what the word meant. But it turns out I did. I am not a subversive (why do I keep typing subversize?) nor do I want our government overthrown. Yeah, there's several thousand years of history on how not to run countries (and some persist even today in their wrong way to run a country), but USA rules. I'm not a subversive. If the government doesn't even care enough to take my simple suggestion on their website, then I doubt they will care enough to watch me, or watch out for me. Unless I said those magic words that brought the Secret Service to my door. But I'm not as dumb as Eminem.

P.S. France sucks.

Monday, December 22, 2003


We're now at terror level orange.

It's been at least two months since I had my last dream involving terrorists. Having been the most realistic one yet, in terms of how it was carried out, I went to the DHS website and wrote in, asking if there was a way for ordinary citizens to submit possible scenarios. I have heard nothing back. Nothing. I guess they're not interested in our safety.

So here's my scenario. A terrorist gets a job working at a airport. If possible, with a fire-fighting crew. Then, when there's no one around, they fuel up a fire-fighting "supertanker" helicopter. But they don't just fill the gas tank, they also fill the part where the water's supposed to go. Then they lift off, heading for some large outdoor gathering, like a stadium and dump the load of fuel on the crowd below. (No one would dare shoot them down over restricted airspace if they were full of fuel.) Then a terrorist on the ground (or a bunch of them, to really add to the confusion and pandemonium) lights themselves on fire and runs into the middle of the crowd. Can you imagine the impact that would have? TV crews panning over a section of a stadium with a bunch of charred bodies, in seats, crowded into stairways and probably even on the field itself?

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Thin-air display is promising but thin on details

Hey... blogger is working today. Cool. Anyhow, this article details a cool sounding project... it projects images apparently into thin air. And it's "touch sensitive" so that you can interact with the "screen". (news.com)

Friday, December 12, 2003

Gene map reveals uranium-gobbling microbe’s secrets

Ok, this might sound boring. But 10-second version... scientists are developing bacteria that can be poured into contaminated ground-water. The baterica eats any uranium it finds, cleaning up the water. If necessary, it can also produce electricity. (msnbc.com)

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Light Faster Than Light?

I don't understand all of this, but I find it quite interesting. It has to do with slowing down or stopping light and speeding light up so much that in one study it seems that the light reaches one end of a chamber before it's turned on at the other end. (msnbc.com)

Thanks, old people

Meet the Greedy Grandparents - Why America's elderly are so spoiled. (slate.com)

Monday, December 08, 2003

Toyota boosts Prius production

This is nice... people are buying 31% more of the gasoline-electric hybrid cars than Toyota had forecast. I still think they're a little too ugly, but attaway! to those who are taking fuel economy and environmentally friendly approaches to transportation over style.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Sprint PCS sucks in Boston


Viewer Mail

hi tvjames,
just wanted to take a moment thanking you for saving me from Sprint! I live in chatsworth and have cingular at the moment. cingular has been ok with quite a few blackout spots. the customer service has been suprisingly decent-at least not problems yet. I have heard from quite a few people, who probably heard from someone else, that sprint has the best networks but are pricier. like a fool, I was actually considering going with sprint without doing my research on them. I had only researched phones and compared plans. what saved me from jumping ship immediately was that sprint does not have any great start-up deals like cingular or t-mobile so I waited--good thing. I went to epinions, reviewed a bunch of phones and then saw in the corner reviews for service providers. sprint started off with many people actually proclaiming their customer service, as I read on I found the opposite. I found quite a few like yours. your title caught my attention so I read the whole review (like others) and was amazed you took the time to put such great detail into it. it has inspired me to do a review of compaq after my horrible dealings with their "customer care" located in INDIA!! do you know what time you have to get up to call these people?? to get through?? anyway, it should be posted shortly. I was even inspired by your review title "sprint-satan" so I called joined epinions as Compaqis666. hopefully Ill get it in there soon and save a few souls myself!
thanks for saving mine.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Sprint PCS sucks in the Bay Area


Sprint PCS sucks in Los Angeles


"Home Depot is good at breaking stuff."

That was the verdict of the first GE Repair Man last week. A piece of plastic had sheared off, leaving the central bin of our washing machine off-center. He popped off the lid, did something and declared it usable. However, he was going to order a part, which arrived a few days later via Fed Ex. And then a second GE Repair Man came and installed it. That seemed odd to me, but there was no charge and now the broken parts are in the shipping box that the new part came in, sitting by the garbage.

As the first guy explained it, there's a shipping rod in the bottom of each machine and that the guys at Home Depot often remove it before loading it onto the truck to save themselves time during installation in the field. That we could not have broken it ourselves, even with heavy lopsided loads, like the dog's pillow. Apparently there's a part in the washer that contains sea-water and provides for counter-balance on unbalanced loads.

The Home Depot destruction theory could also explain the bent runner on the dishwasher. I unbent it as best I could, not knowing if I had done it, or if it had been delivered that way (since it sat in a box for two months). I levelled it and it's been working fine.

I hope nothing's wrong with the hot water heater, still in a box, three months later. That was unceremoniously left outside our gate with no attempts by the delivery guy to actually make contact with us, we just found it sitting outside the same afternoon that different Home Depot guys were to deliver the stove, dishwasher, washer and dryer.

Friday, November 14, 2003

T.G., T.G., T.G.I.F.

I'm glad this week is over. I think my dental surgery is healing, but sometimes it's hard to say. I'm still staying drugged up nearly 24-hours a day, vicodin at night, ibuprofen 800 by day. I refilled the ibu, but not the vico, so I only have 3 or 4 nights of it left, which is downright tragic.

Tonight when I came home, 6 or 7 of my low-voltage lights in front had been pulled from the ground. It was either (a) the mailman tripping over them, (b) kids riding their bikes through our lawn again or (c) an animal pulling on the wire. I haven't yet buried the wire, but will probably do that this weekend. I was able to quickly right them all, good as new.

Separate from the pain in my hand (mostly now down to the pinky, everything else seems normal) and the pain in my mouth, I have a cold. It consists mostly of me being drained of energy and having to blow my nose every 12 seconds. It's not fun. I look forward to the sweet release of sleep. Until 5:30 a.m. when the pain medication wears off at the exact same time that the tiny cat Cash decides it's time to get up and play.

But still, Thank God it's Friday, eh?

Sprint PCS sucks in Ft Lauderdale


Tuesday, November 11, 2003

More Pain

Trying to install low-voltage lights (that provide almost no light), I smashed my wrist yesterday night. The pain was new to me, I hadn't done anything like that before. I'm hoping it's only bruised, not broken, but I'm driving one-handed and typing different than before to minimize use of the two smallest fingers on my right hand. Thank God I already had prescriptions for Ibu and Vico for the oral surgery recovery.

More Stuff I Found Interesting...

Sony, BMG to merge music interests (msnbc.com) and
Nickel getting a makeover (msnbc.com)... (When did the U.S. Mint get all trendy?)

Do You Fear Me Now?

A great article on Forbes.com about how Verizon, and specifically Verizon Wireless is just kicking everyone's behind.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Pain, Heat and Wash

On Thursday I stayed home in the morning so that someone could come check out our heater. We had turned it on for the first time a few days earlier and after an hour of working fine, it shot out a fireball. High enough not to burn the carpet, but low enough that we would have had a flaming cat running around the house had any of them figured out how toasty warm it was at the base of the heater. The guy checked it out, cleaned and replaced a few parts but said he couldn't find anything wrong with it. But it's worked fine since then and it's sure nice having the Home Shield thing. We had forgotten about it and were thinking we were going to have to spend a lot of money to have it replaced, but one $45 check and we were on our way. Glad someone else reminded us about it.

Me, I had hoped never to have to use it. But living in a desert it can get cold and it has. From 100 degree weather one week to probably low 60's and even lower at night the next. No insulation doesn't help. It had been too hot and now we don't have the cash. Plus, I want to do some wiring in the attic and it seems like it would be easier with no insulation in the way.

Then on Friday I had oral surgery. Four teeth removed. One on one side, three on the other. None would ever go into their correct places because my mouth just isn't big enough. Which is incredible irony since I've always been told I had a big mouth. Which makes at least 8 teeth removed now. At least one was a molar in my jawbone. I'm told the bone will grow back. And one had its root extending up into my nasal cavity. I will hopefully breathe better with it gone, but they had to sew the hole shut and it's not yet airtight. Blowing my nose can cause hurt all over the place and the first day my nostril was just plugged and I so I blew it and realized it was all plugged with blood. Yuck. Two of the molars were partially errupted, meaning that they had broken through the skin. But only a little bit. They were still mostly underneath, allowing food to get under the skin. I couldn't properly clean them, and if left, they would decay and cause the teeth next to them to decay as well. So, my whole mouth should be healthier. They were a little concerned after the surgery and made me go back in and they did another suture that they said I wouldn't feel. ha ha ha. I totally felt it. It was not fun nor funny. ow ow ow. I have a bunch of stiches in my mouth that they need to remove in a week or so.

And yesterday Lori realized the washing machine is broken already. I guess the basket is held in place by streches of rubber attached to plastic posts which are screwed to something. One of the plastic posts has sheared off. We had a GE guy scheduled to come out, but who knows if that will be considered as part of the warranty? I hope so.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Quiet Weekend

It was a nice quiet weekend. I didn't get anything done. I suppose that's both good and bad. David and I jointly purchased the new "Max Payne" game and I spent some time playing it. I'd play it more, but I don't want Lori to yell at me. Plus, for $20, I want to make it last. Fortunately, David's still playing the last game he bought so he hasn't started pestering me to give it to him so he can play. I'm enjoying it, it's really engrossing. They've spent so much time on the story.

We also saw "School of Rock." It was pretty entertaining. It wasn't great, but it was good.

It rained heavily on Halloween. Very few kids came. Some even admitted that they had stopped by before. We gave them a lot of candy and still had a lot left over. And we skipped three parties to stay home for that. Bummer.

Friday, October 31, 2003

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Ten technologies that deserve to die

I thought this was pretty interesting... some really common technologies on his list. (msnbc.com)

Thursday, October 23, 2003

A Step Backwards?

This was an interesting article about the end of supersonic flight. The author wonders if humans have peaked, if there's nothing new and exciting, no next step.

Dirtier than usual...

At 61 Wal-Marts last night, 300 people were arrested for being in the country illegally. Hey, this opens up some positions for grocery store workers.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Hello, World

Today, the ads are for:
The Next Generation Blog
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I guess talking about Blogs makes the ads abot Blogs. And some guy named Andrew Sullivan. Who I guess is some author. Who apparently advocates for gay rights and conservatism. Now there's an odd mix. I guess talking about Coyote Urine doesn't help get Coyote Urine ads. Which is good, because who wants Coyote Urine ads?

My friend (and this blog's supposed sole reader) Kevin made what I consider to be a rather astute observation yesterday... Working at a grocery store is supposed to be a transitional job. He's right. If you're making a career out of working at a grocery store, or worse yet, working there part time and demanding benefits, well, that's sort of pathetic. And at the very least, it's also not living up to your potential. Unless you are still in high school, then it's a perfect stepping stone and opportunity to improve your people skills. But if you've been working at a grocery store for 20 years and you're not a manager? Well, your career path is a little screwed up.

Lori Doolittle found another cat last night. Well, kitten actually. Very tiny. Almost fits entirely in the palm of my hand. It was caked in mud and after washing it, we realized also that fleas were biting it to death. No wonder it was crying so much. But it's very small. We drowned most of the fleas and flea shampoo made for kittens will take care of the rest of them tonight. Once cleaned up, it's a very neat looking tiny little cat. It's like a cat, only in miniature. She's instant messaging me right now to say she might have already found it a home.

Sprint PCS sucks

in Los Angeles

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

What the...?

Today, call me really entertained. I've been recently noticing the Google text-ads at the top of each blog on BlogSpot. Lots of ads with topics like Iraq. What's at the top of mine?

Time Warner Internet
First six months only $29.95 month Free modem & installation affiliate
Coyote Urine
Save on Home & Garden products! Simply Fast Savings

I know what's triggering "Time Warner".. that's easy. But what's triggering "Coyote Urine"? Sprint PCS?

We went to Gelson's last night because my wife didn't want to cross the picket line. The experience gave me such a knot in my stomach that I felt bad for the rest of the evening. I think it was partially hunger, but mostly it was the fact that we were supporting the strikers by taking our business to a non-striking store. Worse yet, it was a store I didn't like in a mall that I hate. Paseo Colorado. A stupid dumb mall that's always too crowded, only has froo-froo snooty crud stores, a lame movie theater and horrendous attrocious parking.

My wife is also slightly amused (slightly) that I've started using "Baldwin" to describe things that are bad. In our commute in both directions, Baldwin is where the traffic starts to stink. And since all of the Baldwin actors also stink, I've decided that the term "Baldwin" should apply to things that stink, in varying levels from an "Alec" (really bad), to an "Steven" to a "Daniel" to an "the other one" (the least offensive). I know his name, but it's more fun to just refer to him as "the other one." Now some would argue that the one who was in Homicide should get slightly better treatment, but, sorry, he's still a Baldwin. Hunt for Red October was ok, Main Street was pretty good but Fair Game just destroys all cred.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Sprint PCS blows

in Chicago

Unions - polite but sucky.

I told some people protesting near a grocery store today to "Get back to work." One said "Hey..." and another "Yeah, yeah." But no one cursed at me.

It's so lame that they're picketing at the entrances to entire strip malls. I mean, why should you feel persecuted going to Taco Bell? Tonight we're going to have to brave them in order to get money out of the our ATM most likely.

Sprint PCS sucks

in San Fransisco/San Jose/Oakland

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Unions = Organized Crime

Where I work, if you don't like your job, or you don't like the benefits, you go work somewhere else.

But this divide and conquer crap that the unions are pulling (only strike at one store so that they have to cave! then we can force the others to accept the same deal!) is pure b.s.

I'm all too happy to cross the picket-line. Even if the losers park grocery carts up against my car while I'm in the store.

Uh, guys? Out here in the real world, we have to contribute to our employer paid health care. If you want to know who's ripping you off, don't look at your employer, look at your union.

Not to mention stupid union rules which makes it more cost-effective for grocery stores to overhire and keep everyone at part-time.

And I used to think that more rail lines were a great idea. But now I'm starting to favor more lanes on the freeway -- a freeway lane can't go on strike.

I honestly don't know why the MTA is not considered a public service, like the police and fire and forbidden from striking (ha! thanks LASO). The people most hurt by these strikes are those closest to the poverty line, trying to make a living and keep their family fed. The MTA currently pays $500 PER MECHANIC PER MONTH in health care costs and are ready to go up to $600, but apparently that's not enough.

And don't even get me started on the LASO "sick-out." Yeah, you press on your eyeball until it turns pink and then go see your doctor to get a doctor's note to stay home sick. Is it any wonder the health care costs are getting so great the employers cannot afford to keep paying for your health care?



Recreating Iraq's marshlands

In 1991 Saddam Hussein ordered all the marshes in Iraq be drained and the water diverted to deny Shiite Muslims a hiding place. Now that the war is over, the marshes are being refilled. This is a pretty neat story. (msnbc)

Friday, October 10, 2003

Common Sense has prevailed

They're not going to sue him afterall.

What the...?

They're suing the kid who showed people how to use the shift key to prevent the new CDs' copy protection from being activated.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Shift key breaks CD copy locks

Yep, hold down the shift-key when inserting a CD with copy-protection and AutoRun won't run and software won't be installed on your computer that prevents you from accessing the music on your CD's. (If installed, it lets you have limited access to a second set of files that contain the music but can't be copied.) (news.com)


Now that Blogger is giving us the ability to use titles, I'm going to take advantage of that. So things are going to look different for awhile until I get everything adjusted just right...
In Germany, a kindergarten for men
A bar allows you to drop off your husband while you go shopping. He gets a nametag, two beers and other things to keep him entertained. You get a receipt that you hand back in when you pick up your husband. Reminds me of how we track kids in the nursery at my church. (msnbc.com)

I've lately started reading other people's blogs. I figure, maybe someone reads mine. If so, they're probably pretty boring. I seem to lack the angst of so many other blogs. I think that most of the ones I stumble onto belong to girls, mostly 10 years younger than myself. I like this one. I like the design. I like the cool effects used on links. Very impressed. If I someday steal some of those tricks, like the color-swoosh when you move across a link, don't say I didn't warn you. http://www.ratbite.net/index.htm

Monday, October 06, 2003

Redneck Funnies
Hey, I didn't make 'em up, I didn't collect 'em. I just received the email with the link... (raywei.net)

Friday, October 03, 2003

Sprint PCS sucks in Memphis... (epinions.com)

Old classics that arrive in my inbox every year or so. I still re-read them and I still chuckle at quite a few of them...


Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, "I think I'll squeeze these pink dangly things here, and drink whatever comes out?"

Who was the first person to say, "See that chicken there... I'm gonna eat the next thing that comes outta it's bum."

Why do toasters always have a setting so high that could burn the toast to a horrible crisp, which no decent human being would eat?

Why is there a light in the fridge and not in the freezer?

If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a song about him?

Can a hearse carrying a corpse drive in the car pool lane?

If the professor on Gilligan's Island can make a radio out of coconut, why can't he fix a hole in a boat?

Why do people point to their wrist when asking for the time, but don't point to their bum when they ask where the bathroom is?

Why does your Obstetrician, Gynaecologist leave the room when you get undressed if they are going to look up there anyway?

Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs! Why can Goofy talk and Pluto cannot?

What do you call male ballerinas?

Can blind people see their dreams? Do they dream?

If Wiley E. Coyote from the Road Runner had enough money to buy all that ACME crap, why didn't he just buy dinner?

If quizzes are quizzical, what are tests?

If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, then what is baby oil made from?

If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?

Why do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune? Stop singing and read on . . . . . . . . . .

Do illiterate people get the full effect of Alphabet Soup?

Why do they call it an asteroid when it's outside the hemisphere, but call it a hemorrhoid when it's on the outside of your ass?

Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him on a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?

Does pushing the elevator button more than once make it arrive faster?


I've learned that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is stalk them and hope they panic and give in.

I've learned that one good turn gets most of the blankets.

I've learned that no matter how much I care, some people are just jackasses.

I've learned that it takes years to build up trust, and it only takes suspicion, not proof, to destroy it.

I've learned that whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.

I've learned that you shouldn't compare yourself to others - they are more screwed up than you think.

I've learned to not sweat the petty things, and not pet the sweaty things.

I've learned that we are responsible for what we do, unless we are celebrities.

I've learned that 99% of the time when something isn't working in your house, one of your kids did it.

I've learned that the people you care most about in life are taken from you too soon and all the less important ones just never go away. And the real pains in the ass are permanent.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

I know this is evil, but...
As long as the FTC and the Direct Mail Association are fighting in court as to whether or not the FTC will be allowed to force telemarketers to adhere to the "Do Not Call List", wouldn't it be funny if some telemarketer took the Do Not Call list and called everyone on it? I mean, where else will you find as comprehensive and as up-to-date a list of working phone numbers all in one place? msnbc.com - FTC to stop updating do-not-call list

Monday, September 29, 2003

Google, we love ya!
Well, that was already common knowledge. But the fact that we now get most of the cool Blogger Plus tools for free is way cool. How often on the internet does something start out free and become paid? All the time. How often does something start out paid and become free? Um, like never. This is a first.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer In waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are wtiretn. The olny imrpoetn tihng is that frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.
Fireproof Babies!
Some environmental group says that their new study finds high levels of a common flame retardant chemical in breast milk of women across America. I wasn't going to waste time with my "well, the babies won't catch fire" joke until I read that the entire study is based on the breast milk of 20 women. That's not a study. That's a completely bogus sample. (msnbc.com)

Monday, September 22, 2003

Fun Fact
Massachusetts: 1 Dunkin' Doughnuts location for every 7,389 residents
Washington State: 1 Starbucks for every 15,383 residents
Streetsweeper! Streetsweeper!
A streetsweeper came up and down our street this morning. I thought not living within the city limits that we were on our own for this. Granted, they did travel kinda fast, but I'll take it. It's pretty cool, considering. We've got the Monrovia address, better yet, Arcadia schools. There's a city fire station that serves us almost within rock-throwing distance, yet far enough not to be too loud. Los Angeles County Sherriff is the first responder with an average response time of 2.5 minutes. CHP handles all traffic violations and we're so far from the freeway that we never see them unless called, which means we can speed. Because of our Monrovia address and zipcode, we get all the city mailings. We just don't have to pay city taxes on our real estate or utilities. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me. And Lori said she's heard the streetsweepers before, so it's probably at least monthly.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

“AOL is a very unattractive tail on a beautiful dog"
That's a quote from one analyst. AOL Time Warner is renaming itself Time Warner, Inc. and changing its stock ticker back to TWX. That makes me happy. Stupid AOL. They expect to have everything changed in the next two weeks. They swear that they have no plans to spin-off America Online. Of course, they swore that they had no plans to change their name, either. Spin it off! Spin it off! (msnbc.com), (aoltimewarner.com)

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

It's always somebody's birthday...
Somewhat random this morning... I was thinking this morning about how they're going to try to keep 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Daughter on the air even though the "my" in that statement refers to a character played by the late John Ritter. I don't think they should. They had a hastily (though well-done) ABC News special biography of John Ritter last night with lots of his friends looking back. It was kind of cool. They even had some footage from a MTR interview he had done that same day. They also borrowed from an A&E Special I had watched much of in our hotel room the day before he died. And so then I went to the "Oh! This was this year's big news story." Lately, every birthday or anniversary seems to be a big news story... Anniversary: Terrorist attacks on WTC.... Birthday: Space shuttle blows up... and so I thought about other tragedies and how I had to go to a funeral for my great-grandfather one year on my birthday and after the memorial we went to TGI Friday's where we had a party and someone also noted that it was my birthday. I boycotted TGI Fridays for years after that. And then I thought about that day... the day he died... that was actually the day the other space shuttle blew up... and that that was Carol's birthday. While Carol never knew my great-grandfather, the other event no doubt had some impact on her and her special day. And it made me all nostalgic again. I hope wherever you are, Carol Maakestad (Makestaad?) that you're doing well. Maybe you'll Google your own name and find this, maybe you won't. Carol was the director of the youth programs at Silverdale Lutheran Church back when I was in Jr. High and High School. You'll find postcards from her serving as bookmarks in my Bible and copy of The Message. You may have met my cat Carol, also named after her. She was a very giving, generous, devoted person. Also really attractive. I feel I should mention that because she was just all around a really good deal. She had been engaged to a good guy from another church when she broke that off and resigned from our church. Lots of people were resigning from our church at that time. And the last time I saw her was during Christmas break of my senior year of college, I had gone to my parent's home to collect the rest of my belongings, said goodbye to Carol, went out and found Patty Hoem (Patty Armstrong) and said goodbye to her and went back to school. But to think of Carol this morning made me miss the entire gang... Doug Hahn, Chris Wilkinson, Robin, Shy Davis, Jeff, Angie, Mark, Patty. I have just fond memories, so I hope they're all doing well. Somewhere in that, I began to think about John Ritter's death again and how it was on his 5-year-old daughter's birthday, which was also the day of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. And how if he had actually died a few days later, it would have been his own birthday. I don't know John Ritter and never got into the show Three's Company. We had gotten into 8 Simple Rules... in the past two or three months and I just thought that it was in its second or third year by how well the cast clicked on screen. But the media makes us care and why not? We need things to care about and you do make connections with the people you welcome in to your homes through the glowing screen. And sad or tragic things do happen. And whenever they happen, it's also a day marked with good. It's someone's wedding anniversary or someone's birthday. Maybe even their first.

In other news, Sunday night I completed tearing out over 300 square feet of concrete from our front driveway. I don't know what I'm going to do with it now, but that space is marked to become a path and more grass. Now I need to rent a tiller.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Free Internet Phone Calls Just Got More Interesting...
The makers of Kazaa have created a peer-to-peer telephony project that works like Kazaa, hopping from computer to computer taking the most direct route without the need for any centralized servers. (cnet.com)

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

NBC steps up

NBC steps up - Vivendi Universal and GE are now meeting to discuss how to merge their entertainment assets into a new company. This should prove veeeerrrry interesting. :)
A New Look at Autism...
A researcher takes a new approach and defines humans on a scale from E (Empathy) to S (Systemization) and suggests that children with autism skew heavily towards the "S" end of the spectrum; that they aren't disabled or don't have a disease, just a strong leaning towards an ordered, systematic world and find it harder to practice empathetic behavior. While he admits his theory isn't a complete explanation for autism (generally believed to be a result of extraordinary brain growth at a very young age), it does a lot to explain how to approach autism and offers proof that some children can be helped with the "E" deficiency through social interaction training. But it also casts autism in a more favorable light, recogizing that it's not a failing of the social skills, but a gift in the logical, systematic skills that should not be downplayed or considered a disease. This makes a lot of sense to me. I'm not a super-intelligent person, but I was placed in gifted classes in school and always felt more comfortable around systems and logic and social interaction has been difficult. This E-S scale seems to really explain how that might work. (newsweek.msnbc.com)

Monday, September 01, 2003

In what will be an exciting boon for those who are wheelchair-bound (those who can afford it and those with great insurance), the iBOT has received FDA approval. The iBOT is a wheelchair invented by the guy who invented the Segway. It can climb up and down stairs, and in its coolest feature, "stand up" on two wheels and elevate the user to the same height as humans standing on two legs, giving them the ability to converse with people at eye level. I had seen video last year and one girl was crying when she had to give it up at the end of the test, because it had done so much to make her feel less like she had a handicap. She could navigate stairs and slopes, reach things on the tallest shelves at the grocery store, and have a conversation with someone without them having to crouch down, or look down at her to talk. It was really sad. It's neat that people will now be able to use these and I hope that this girl is able to get one. (news.com.au)

Friday, August 29, 2003

I found their website... http://www.earthliberationfront.com/. It's kinda scary because they describe their organization in the same way people describe terrorist cells, like in that really bad movie with that Annette Benning. It's laughable that ELF says they're not terrorists.

I think we should do stupid, embarassing stuff and sign it ELF.

And someone should go hang out by those post office boxes and harass those morons. And spam them to no end... elfpress@resist.ca. Stupid weenies hiding in Canada.

More info:
PO Box 78061, 2606 Commercial Drive
Vancouver, B.C. V5N1G8

And here's the company hosting them:
Domain ID:D1958305-LROR
Created On:12-Sep-1998 04:00:00 UTC
Last Updated On:14-Jun-2003 18:10:24 UTC
Expiration Date:11-Sep-2004 04:00:00 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:R103-LROR
Registrant ID:EN183
Registrant Name:EnviroLink Network
Registrant Street1:P.O. Box 8102
Registrant City:Pittsburgh
Registrant State/Province:PA
Registrant Postal Code:15217
Registrant Country:US
Registrant Phone:+1.4124206400
Registrant Email:webadmin@envirolink.org
Admin ID:EN39650
Admin Name:EnviroLink Network
Admin Street1:P.O. Box 8102
Admin City:Pittsburgh
Admin State/Province:PA
Admin Postal Code:15217
Admin Country:US
Admin Phone:+1.4124206400
Admin Email:webadmin@envirolink.org
Billing ID:EN83945
Billing Name:EnviroLink Network
Billing Street1:P.O. Box 8102
Billing City:Pittsburgh
Billing State/Province:PA
Billing Postal Code:15217
Billing Country:US
Billing Phone:+1.4124206400
Billing Email:webadmin@envirolink.org
Tech ID:EN86029
Tech Name:EnviroLink Network
Tech Street1:P.O. Box 8102
Tech City:Pittsburgh
Tech State/Province:PA
Tech Postal Code:15217
Tech Country:US
Tech Phone:+1.4124206400
Tech Email:webadmin@envirolink.org

And them:
Domain Name: resist.ca (242120)
Registered: 2001/02/22
Last Modified: 2003/04/12
Expires: 2004/02/22
Registrant: TAO Communications Vancouver (242092)
N. Barber admin@resist.ca (268527)
1 778 8688175
Technical: admin@resist.ca (268527)

And them:
WedgeWeed Technical Workers' Cooperative
100-2747 East Hastings Ave
Vancouver, BC V5K 1Z8

Registrar: DOTSTER
Created on: 11-OCT-01
Expires on: 11-OCT-03
Last Updated on: 05-APR-03

Administrative Contact:
collins, ron ron@resist.ca
312-1707 Charles St
Vancouver, BC V5L 2T6
(604) 255-6967

Technical Contact:
collins, ron ron@resist.ca
WedgeWeed Technical Workers' Cooperative
100-2747 East Hastings Ave
Vancouver, BC V5K 1Z8

Domain servers in listed order:

Oh, how interesting the internet is... I was looking for information on those ELF morons. I found a website called http://www.animalrights.net/. I noticed it linked to http://www.anti-peta.com/. And that was created by http://www.netcat.org/index.html (Internet Cat Club) which is a member of The Cat Fancier's Association.

I also found a site called People Eating Tasty Animals. Funny.

I was searching for more information on ELF after reading articles on MSNBC.com. I think ALF and ELF are dumb acronyms. Although ELF seems entirely appropriate for these little, small, petty, simple minded people.

Their tactics are dumb:

  • If insured, more trees and other natural resources will be wasted replacing homes and apartment complexes burnt to the ground.
  • If uninsured, construction projects will be halted, construction workers will be out of a job and unfinished projects will languish, often as a breeding ground for pests like mosquitos.
  • Why burn an apartment complex construction project? Apartments do less to cause urban sprawl than housing projects.
  • SUVs on the dealership lot will be replaced, and more resources will be spent to replace them.
  • SUVs belonging to people will be repaired and insurance will cover it. Which raises everyone's insurance. Or people will be forced to drive around with damaged vehicles, complaining about the a-holes who messed up their cars.
  • If SUVs are too damaged, people may be unable to get to work, and worst-case scenario, lose their houses.
  • Arson fires pollute the environment in a huge way.

According to my boss, it's the "damned environmentalists" that are actually causing urban sprawl. They make it so difficult to build in existing areas the developers just go out and buy large plots of land on the edges of existing sprawl and add to it.

In my opinion, I'm not quite sure who's to blame. I just overpayed for a really tiny house because the house prices are so outrageous. It's not in a great area of town and the house is old. But there are way too many people moving into the area buying up all the houses. And then when someone does buy a house, they upgrade it and enlarge it. And all the new houses being built are so expensive that the market of homes available to first-time home buyers is shrinking. I do like the idea of mixed-use communities, where there's stores under an apartment complex and over a mass-transit station, but then again, I don't want to live in one of those. I want to live in a house. Thank God for His provision, I've been able to buy a house.

But I would like to know what kinds of cars ELF and ALF members drive and what kinds of residences they live in. Of course, I'd like to also know how many of these are people who just do this because they enjoy being violent and damaging and can do it under the cover of these organizations because the media has told them what ELF does, what it spray paints and how it makes bombs and stuff like that.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Is the U.S. auto industry doomed?
Owning GM stock, this is something I've worried about. This is analytical/editorial piece on the probable future of the big three. (slate.com)

Monday, August 25, 2003

California is messed up
This is a great piece against Bustmante. It doesn't necessarily advoate anyone else, but explains why his plan is wrong for California. (sfgate.com)

Friday, August 22, 2003

Freedom of Religion? Freedom from Religion?
I thought this was a good, informative piece on the whole issue in Alabama about the Ten Commandments. (msnbc.com)

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Matrix Ping-Pong
Almost as good as the Star Wars Kid...
Matrix Ping-Pong
Star Wars Kid
Build Your Own Cruise Missle
On one hand, this guy says he can build a cruise missle for $5,000 and is doing it to show that it can be done. On the other hand, he plans to sell the video diary and plans. Doesn't that make him a terrorist for hire? (msnbc.com)

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Stupid FCC is going to allow AOL to add enhanced (video, etc.) features to its instant messenger. Stupid FCC! You suck! )news.com)
Come to Boston and get hosed by Sprint PCS! (epinions.com)

Monday, August 18, 2003

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Model plane flown across Atlantic
Not much to add, I just thought this was kinda cool. (msnbc.com)

Monday, August 11, 2003

Ha, ha, ha. They're now considering removing the "AOL" from the name of the company. (msnbc.com)
Maybe we shouldn't mess with Texas afterall
I guess Texas has jurisdiction even in space. A Russian cosmonaut in space married his fiancee who was in Texas. They'll have a religious wedding after he returns to earth. I'm glad the Russian government gave their blessing, but I thought both people were going to be in space. That would have been much cooler. (msnbc.com)

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

From Marcus...
CLASSIFIED ADVERTISEMENT (from a recent issue, Atlanta Constitution)

Single black submissive female seeks male companionship, ethnicity unimportant. I'm a very good looking girl who LOVES to play. If I get naughty you can just give me a good spanking and im all ears. I love long walks in the woods, riding in your pickup truck, hunting, camping and fishing trips, cozy winter nights lying by the fire. Candlelight dinners will have me eating out of your hand. Rub me the right way and watch me respond. I'll be at the front door when you get home from work, wearing only what nature gave me. Kiss me and I'm yours. Call (404) 875-6420 and ask for

Click and drag for the second act twist: (Over 15,000 men found themselves talking to the Atlanta Humane Society switchboard about an 8-week old black Lab retriever.)

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Sprint's Billing Error - $2 million
Sprint says it didn't knowingly overcharge the Justice Department $2 million. And then paid a $5.5 million fine for it. It now faces the loss of new government contracts. (msnbc.com)
Thought for the day...
You read about all these terrorists -- most of them came here legally, but they hung around on these expired visas, some for as long as 10 -15 years. Now, compare that to Blockbuster; you are two days late with a video and those people are all over you. Let's put Blockbuster in charge of immigration!

Friday, August 01, 2003

Glowing Mice
Click to enlarge
A fluorescent mouse family is on display during the Bio Taiwan 2003 show at the World Trade Center in Taipei, Taiwan, on July 26. The mice, provided by Level Biotech Inc., had a fluorescent gene implanted in their embryos in a procedure combining genetic engineering and transplantion technology. (from MSNBC.com)
If it's really that easy, can I make a recommendation?
The United States needs to declare that it isn't a target of potential terrorism. Australia wins U.S. correction on airline threat

Monday, July 28, 2003

L.A. to Vegas Robot Cars
I linked to an article on this earlier this year. Here's another article on the government-sponsored contest where people will try to create vehicles that can cross the desert from L.A. to Vegas without human help. Kinda cool. (news.com)

Friday, July 25, 2003

I suggested this a long time ago...
Mind you, I'm not taking credit for it. You'd have to have an IQ of 5 to not realize that if LeBlanc wanted to do it, that it had a good shot... Cheers spun off Frasier and now Friends will spin-off Joey. Although I'm hoping for a title change. I also hope they move his character to Los Angeles, as a way of explaining why the rest of the friends are gone. Of course, they say they have no intention of using the finale as the launching pad, but doesn't it make sense that it should be? It all started when Rachel burst into Central Perk in a wedding dress, why shouldn't it all end when Joey moves to L.A.? (hollywood.com)
And go ahead and Avoid Sprint PCS in Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, too... (epinions.com)

Space-saving parking
Click to enlarge
This is in Venezuela and the way it's written, it's unclear if a flood next to a freeway picked up all the cars and deposited them in a pile, or if people driving next to the flood were distracted and all ran into each other. I figure it's probably the former, but wow, bad writing!

Ooh... da big scary bear!
Click to enlarge
This polar bear is having a reaction to some medicine. Apparently it was expected and not harmful. But man is it cool. They should change all the animal's colors at the L.A. Zoo for the month of April each year. That would sure bring up attendance.
Wow... Sprint PCS is pretty darn lame in Minneapolis/St. Paul (epinions.com)

Also, I was listening to the radio on the way in and this excited guy is doing a Honda ad. And at the end of the ad he says "Drop by or give us a call at 1-866-POWER-HONDA!"

No, my friend, your phone number is 1-866-POWER-HO and if people want to dial the NDA, that's their own fault for being unable to count.

Monday, July 21, 2003

A cool picture
Click to enlarge
(from MSNBC's Pictures of the Week. I'd include a link, but they make that difficult and I'm feeling lazy.)

Friday, July 18, 2003

Patent this, buttmunches!
Pinpoint Incorporated is a lame company that has some really bogus, duh-worthy and just plain stupid patents. They've applied for (and received) business method patents for all manner of customization techniques (such as most frequently requested pay-per-view becomes available more-often through computerized statistical analysis) and now they're going after people like Amazon, just because Amazon shows you products related to the products you've searched for or bought in the past, which they say is covered by one of their patents. (pinpointincorporated.com)
Older Drivers
So there's news now that the guy who killed 10 people by driving through a famer's market in Santa Monica may have been fleeing a hit-and-run accident involving a parked car. *sigh* There was a bill that would require old people in California to be re-tested every two years starting at age 75 to keep their licenses, but it died in committee. This article is a really interesting opinion piece from a woman who realized she needed give up her car. <newsweek via msnbc.com)
Ah, the French.... le morons fantastique!
The Culture Ministry of France has declared that the word "e-mail" is no longer a part of the French vocabulary, but that instead people should use a new made-up word "courriel" which is the combination of "courrier" and "electronique" which is a long way of saying electronic mail, although they appear to not know how to spell "electronic" or "courier" either.

Anyhow, I have a question about the new word "courriel". I originally attempted to send a courriel to the Culture Ministry but the courriel addressique goes to a person who no longer works there, apparentlyique. So, I'll post my question here in case some French person who speaks English and who doesn't hate Americans and still doesn't hate them after reading my message might want to respondique. (Should it actually be the English and not us who are offended, since it's their language that the French are trying to get people to stop speaking? Long live the queen and whatnot, eh?)

Anyhow, my question... "E-mail" could be used as both a noun and a verb.

Verb: "I e-mailed her." or "E-mail me!"
Noun: "I sent her an e-mail." or "Did you get my e-mail?"

Can "courriel" be used in the same fashion, as both a noun and a verb?

Can you "courriel" someone? Or do you have to send someone a "courriel"?

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Dirty Little Secret
Big companies want spammers to stop sending spam so that their spam doesn't get lost... (fastcompany.com)
I'm curious as to why there aren't more hijackings of car carriers. It seems like you could hook up with a driver at a small roadside diner and disable the tracking system and be on the road in no time at all. You could offload the cars on the side of the road somewhere... I'm guessing the cars probably don't have gas in them and the driver doesn't have the locks to unload the cars, but it still seems like quite the doable plan. Especially with those vinyl sided BMW carriers. You ditch the cab of the truck, check the trailer (and cars) for transmitters, affix new vinyl panels over the BMW logo, remove the distinctive rounded back ramp section, pull in your own cab, hook up and drive straight to the dock. Quickly transfer the cars to the standard stolen-car container, get your fee and be gone.
What you do in your house is your own business...
But, according to some Australian scientists, a little alone time could help guys stave off prostate cancer... Teenage boys everywhere are now asking dad to pick them up a copy of Playboy for "medical reasons"... (drkoop.com)
In New York, they're on their knees praying to God you won't get Sprint PCS (more compelling notes in the "comments" section) (epinions.com)
Is Sprint PCS just a bunch of Nazis? Some guy in Memphis thinks so... (epinions.com)

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Ahoy, matey
Ok, so Lori and I have already seen it twice (and we took Steve and Adrea the first time, Rich and Christi the second time). Tonight Lori, Adrea and Christi are having a girl's night out so they can drool over Orlando Bloom and see it again. Disney likes those odds and have announced that a sequel is in the works. (msnbc.com, courtest of Lori, natch)
Dirty Rotten Scum
The FCC now is mulling allowing AOL Time Warner to offer advanced Instant Messaging features without opening up their systems to other IM software. (And don't say that Apple's iChat or Earthlink's IM are competitors.) The ban on advanced features without interoperability was a component of the FCC's approval for the merger of a great company with a piece of dirt dishonest company that eventually led to my downsizing. But I'm not still bitter. (news.com)
Sprint PCS bites in Detroit/Grand Rapids... (epinions.com)

Sprint PCS is lame in Ft Lauderdale/Miami/West Palm Beach... (epinions.com)
MIT builds snail
This is kinda cool... scientists are trying to build an artificial snail to try to understand how they work and how they move. (msnbc)

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

It is probably about 90 here in the office right now. On one hand, this is a good thing... the house we've put an offer on has no air conditioning. On the other hand, this is a bad thing. You sweat profusely. I should ask to have my chair steam-cleaned after the air conditioning is fixed. Anyhow, we had a sign on the door for awhile saying "Please do not tell us it's hot in here. We know." Our office was hotter than the rest of the offices and people would come in and point this fact out to us and it just made it feel even hotter. Well, we took the sign down because we thought it was too sarcastic. But, several people today have taken it upon themselves to come in and point out that fact.

Which totally reminded me of this quote.

"One of the things Ford Prefect had always found hardest to understand about humans was their habit of continually stating and repeating the very obvious, as in It's a nice day, or You're very tall, or Oh dear you seem to have fallen down a thirty-foot well, are you all right? At first Ford had formed a theory to account for this strange behaviour. If human beings don't keep exercising their lips, their mouths probably seize up. After a few months' consideration and observation he abandoned this theory in favor of a new one. If they don't keep exercising their lips, he thought their brains start working. After a while he abandoned this one as well as being obstructively cynical and decided he quite liked human beings after all, but he always remained desperately worried about the terrible number of things they didn't know about." -- Douglas Adams

Monday, July 14, 2003

Hey, guess what? Apparently Sprint PCS stinks like dead fish in San Francisco/San Jose/Oakland... epinions.com
Sprint PCS is appalling in Cincinnati and Dayton... epinions.com

Friday, July 11, 2003

Click to enlarge
Tooling around on a spool
Peter Bergstrom, left, and Jaron Heard move along residential streets toward downtown Walla Walla, Wash., on July 8 on a pair of wooden spools. The two teens had practiced on the spools at Heard's house. They said they were headed downtown to "act like big bears in a circus."

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Incredibly Pointless Technology
An Asian company is marketing the ability to hear music instead of the "ring" sound that you now hear while waiting for the person at the other end to answer the phone. This is dumb for two reasons... (1) You might like the song and then it ends because they've picked up the phone and they get grumpy with you. (2) Phone companies will use it to play advertisements instead of music.
Hello, it's your favorite song calling | CNET News.com
In Minneapolis/St Paul, avoid Sprint PCS... epinions.com
Sprint PCS = worthless in Charlotte... epinions.com

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Any day now, this guy will be able to dump Sprint PCS in Boston (epinions.com)
Sprint Stinks in Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill (epinions.com)
AOL adds new phone features
See? This is the stuff I've been looking for. Why does it have to come from AOL?
CNET News.com
Wal-Mart cancels 'smart-shelf' trial
I'm a little bummed. My guess is that ultimately it came down to cost. The tags are still rather expensive (10 cents each). They are going to start by focusing on using them in the warehouse and they're still asking their biggest suppliers to start using them on inventory. But I do like the idea of a more automated store, one that can tell you when it's running low on something and also tell you where products have been left incorrectly to aid in the process of restocking and shelf straightening. Having never worked retail (I was a food service man), I don't know why this interests me so much. I guess I just like order and efficiency and hate it when stores are out of something I want to buy.
CNET News.com

Saturday, July 05, 2003

My wife wants a dog. If they were all this cool, all the time, maybe I'd be less hesitant.
Click to enlarge
Barry White died tonight.
A man who's probably done more for sex than condoms.

Saw a great fireworks display tonight... in San Marino, presented by the San Marino Fire Department. A fire department setting off fireworks. Hmmm... does this lend to the 'all-firement-are-pyros' theory?

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Sprint PCS - the funny smell in Atlanta

In other news, our offer was approved for the house and we're just moments away from being in escrow.

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.)
Sprint PCS. Systemically StinkyTM
San Francisco, Lexington, and Baltimore

Saturday, June 21, 2003

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.

We found a house we really like today. :)

Thursday, June 19, 2003

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.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003


(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.

...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:

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.

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
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?

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.

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.

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

This is an article about how the company came to have a spokesduck. Kinda neat.

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.

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

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.

Friday, May 30, 2003

You will never drive the same way again...
The Italian Job kicks butt! Poor Kevin, probably won't get to see this on a really huge movie screen. I think I'll go see this a few more times. I also want to take defensive driving courses and stunt driving courses.

I also recently saw Matrix: Reloaded... some good action but some yawning, too. Down with Love was clever and cute, I guess. Nice plot twist. X2 was also pretty good. Some good action, better effects.

And a pigeon has decided to nest on our desk. I swept up their nest-in-progress last week thinking it was just detrius that had blown into the corner but now there's more along with an egg. The cat chased the bird away from the nest and I chased the bird the rest of the way away before seeing the egg. Lori went and got some lint from the laundry room to surround the egg until the bird comes back.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

A Monopoly of Two...
AOL Time Warner announced that they aren't suing each other anymore today. Not sure how the deal worked out, but AOL Time Warner gets a check for $750,000,000. (They plan to immediately turn around and pay people they owe money to so they can decrease debt.) AOL Time Warner also gets to license Internet Explorer free for the next seven years. (Want to decrease some more debt? Fire all the Netscrape people. Netscape has sucked since like version 3. Bloatware extraordinaire.) And AOL Time Warner and Microsoft claim that they plan to work towards interoperability for their Instant Messaging clients. (About time!) And Microsoft will make it easier for AOL Time Warner to know how Windows works so that they can make their software work better.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

As long as they spin off Mr. Case, too
Reports are that Steve Case has been speaking favorably of the idea of spinning off AOL from AOL Time Warner.

Anything the NRA is against, I must be for
The NRA sent letters to its crazy wacko gun loving freak members saying that the media in the hands of fewer, larger companies could literally "silence your NRA." I'm sorry... how is this a bad thing? The NRA sucks. Plain and simple.

Monday, May 26, 2003

Some American Idol callers could not vote...
"My daughter dialed more than a hundred times and couldn't get through," says Cynthia McGinnes of Chestertown, Md. "This is a show we all watch as a family, and I guarantee you we will never watch again. My daughter was in tears."
Hey Cynthia McGinnes of Marylame -- you are an idiot for such a dumbass quote.

Sunday, May 25, 2003

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Growing Pains
Kirk Douglass has a kid, Michael, who in turn has his own kid, Cameron. On the TV show Growing Pains, Kirk Cameron played a guy named Mike. Just something that occured to me this morning. Yeah, I don't have a normal brain.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Casual Photography
HP is developing technology that would be built into a pair of glasses, allowing you to be constantly taking pictures as you went about your daily life, and storing
them digital for later retrieval. It's kind of neat sounding.
Sprint PCS sucks in New York and Los Angeles.

Monday, May 19, 2003

The New York Times' Best-Seller List for Fiction this week... saw The New York Times Newspaper in its number 1 spot this week. hahahahahahahahahahahaha

Sprint PCS Sucks in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver and New York

Blowing Up Planes Made Easy
According to this article on MSNBC, all you need to do is ship something. Well, you ship a lot of legitimate stuff, and then you build a pressure-sensitive device, it goes on the airplane unscreened and Helllloooo, Lockerbie. Lame, lame, lame, lame. Makes me want to never fly again.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Ok, I think whoever came up with this is pretty brilliant... Basically, they pave a section of the sea floor. Rubber fins move back and forth with the tide. The fins create suction and pull air down, through turbines, generating electricity. The lack of moving parts means less damage to the marine ecosystem (if you don't count paving the ocean floor) and if they built the system under the Golden Gate bridge they could generate twice the energy required by the city at its peak energy need. http://www.msnbc.com/news/910115.asp
Robert Stack died today at home, 84. This is kinda sad. I never really watched anything he was in, but we were always trying to convince Wayne to act more like Robert Stack when we did stuff for the comedy show. I think we were re-enacting the crime blotter section of the school newspaper (which was silly stuff like campus safety workers baking cookies and leaving them unattended to go attend a campus safety meeting... long story short, burnt cookies, fire department, lots of smoke) All the "crimes" were incredibly minor which made the re-enactments even funnier, or sometimes, lame. But we kept telling Wayne to be more like Robert Stack. Unfortunately, he didn't know who Robert Stack was, so he'd rarely comply. But at least he had the trenchcoat.
Word Heard 'Round the World...

In Word, if you have autocorrect on and type "=rand()" then you get "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. "

But how well does it do in other languages? Thanks to Woody's Office Watch readers for the answers... http://www.woodyswatch.com/

Italian: "Cantami o Diva del pelide Achille l'ira funesta."
Translation: "Sing to me, oh Goddess of poetry, about the death-bringing rage of Achilles, son of Peleus." It's the first line of the Illiad.

Swedish: "Flygande bäckasiner söka hwila på mjuka tuvor."
Translation: "Flying snipes search rest on soft tussocks." Two of the words in the sentence, "bäckasiner" and "hwila" are misspelled but still understandable. The word "hwila" is an old form of "vila", in English "rest". It has not been spelled like that for maybe 90 years. Tussocks is used in the sense of a bunch of grass suitable for, well, for snipes to sit on.

Slovenian: "V kozuscku hudobnega fantail stopiclja mizar."
Translation: "In fur coat of wicked boy trips joiner and calls 0619872345." (That's a telephone number.)

Finnish: "Viekas kettu punaturkki laiskan koiran takaa kurkki."
Translation: "The sly fox with the red hair peeks from beyond the lazy dog." "The cunning red-furred fox was peeping from behind the lazy dog." Or something like that.

Spanish: "El veloz murciélago hindú comía feliz cardillo y kiwi."
Translation: "The fast Hindu bat happily ate golden thistle and kiwi." This Spanish sentence does not contain every letter in the alphabet (b, j, p, q, s, t and x are missing, and they're all common letters). Quite surprisingly, the orthographic check of word checks "kiwi" as wrong, and suggests substitution with "kivi".

French and Canadian French: "Servez à ce monsieur une bière et des kiwis. "
Translation: "Serve that gentleman a beer and kiwis."

German: "Franz jagt im komplett verwahrlosten Taxi quer durch Bayern."
Translation: "Franz dashes all through Bavaria in a completely neglected taxi." Contains all 26 characters of normal alphabet, but without ä, ö, ü, ß (=Umlaute).

Norwegian: "En god stil må først og fremst være klar. Den må være passende. Aristoteles."
Translation: "A good form must above all be clear. It must be appropriate. Aristotle."

Danish: "Quizdeltagerne spiste jordbær med fløde."
Translation: "The quiz participants ate strawberry with cream." The phrase "strawberry with cream"

Polish: "Pchnac w te lódz jeza lub osm skrzyn fig." Translation: "Push the hedgehog in that boat or eight boxes of figs."

Russian: Translation: "Eat these soft French rolls and drink tea."

Chinese: With Word versions up to and including Word 2000, if I type =rand(1), I get a paragraph of 5 sentences of the "brown fox" sentence - in English. But with Word XP, I get the translation of that sentence in Chinese characters, which doesn't make much sense. In Chinese we have over 6,000 frequently used characters (the total number is not known, but it is well over 10,000). So it is just impossible to check all of them at one shot. The strange thing is, we do not use space(s) after any punctuation mark. But with the sample paragraph, I can see that there are two spaces following each period (which is a tiny circle in Chinese, not a dot).

Traditional Chinese: In Word 2000 (Traditional Chinese - Big 5), the rand() function gives a sentence of 6 Chinese characters. The translation is, "Opportunity seldom knocks twice." This sentence does not represent all Chinese characters, of course, nor does it make use of all the possible radicals or strokes that go into writing Chinese characters. I can think of no reason why Microsoft chose this sentence. Of possible interest is that the final sentence in the string displays short one character as well as the sentence ending period, that is, it's an incomplete sentence.

Japanese: Translation: (Word 2002) "Word is the most useful word processor for the internet." Or "The most famous software for word prossesing is Word." Or "On the Internet, Word is the most used word processor." (Word 2000) "Word 2000 is a Japanese word-processor which is an epoch-making realization of a Japanese input/editing environment." Or "Word 2000 is a Japanese word processor creating a revolutionary Japanese input and editing environment." The Word 2002 version uses 4 roman characters out of 26 (w,o,r and d), 10 of 46 katakana (phonetic characters for foreign words), 8 of 46 hiragana (phonetic characters for Japanese words), and 2 of 1,850 general use kanji (Chinese characters). The final sentence is missing the final hiragana and the stop.

Brazilian/Portuguese: "A ligeira raposa marrom ataca o cão preguiçoso."
Translation: "The brown quick fox attacks the lazy Dog." More or less.

Hebrew: The phrase contains all of the letters, and it appears right-to-left, as it should.
Translation: "A curious fish swam in a pure sea, and suddenly found nice company."

Woody also points out that "Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz." is more efficient than "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." http://www.woodyswatch.com/

Monday, May 12, 2003