Monday, July 31, 2006

Mel Gibson

It's been difficult for me to find my "groove" so far from returning from my vacation. I still feel like I'm walking around with a fog. I don't really want to start posting when I'm not thinking clearly, but maybe I need to start posting to clear my head. So with that said...

I saw this headline on my google news page and was a bit surprised and shocked at this story. I've always been a fan of Gibson's work, but now I don't know if I'll be able to view him the same way anymore. In a nutshell... he got really drunk, climbed in a car, was caught by the police, then while being processed went on a rant that reflects some really nasty anti-semitic comments. Mel has released an official apology, but this is not something that will be swept under the carpet easily with a simple apology.
small news clip here:

Not that I'm trying to push the attention away from what his comments were, but I do find it interesting that no one is in much of an outcry over his decision to drive drunk (really drunk too .12), but rather everyone is more upset over what he said while drunk. The guy must have serious problems. I guess even money can't save you from having problems.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Back from Vacation

Hello my blog and blog readers.
I'm back.
I had a great time visiting family and seeing another part of the world.

I don't want to jump into any postings yet because I'm still collecting my head and trying to get back into the groove of life. My sleep patterns are all screwy now what with time changes, naps, sleeping on a the plane, seeing "daylight" while on the plane for approach 12 hours, etc... My "rhythm" is out of whack. I did get to SLEEP the day away today though, so that helped a lot!
So after taking one more day (today) off from blogging I hope to begin posting again tomorrow (Or maybe even tonight!?).

Monday, July 24, 2006

Science addiction - Geek Activism

Ok, this may be my last post before heading to the airport later today. I may or may not be posting while on vacation. I'm going to TRY to break free from my addiction to my computer, no email, no web surfing, no make magazine, no boingboing... shudder. We'll see :) I may start back up blogging on Sunday July 30th. Bon Voyage.

95 Theses of Geek Activism:
This looks like an intersting read...
A few that jumped out at me:
1) Reclaim the term ‘hacker’. If you tinker with electronics, you are a hacker. If you use things in more ways than intended by the manufacturer, you are a hacker. If you build things out of strange, unexpected parts, you are a hacker. Reclaim the term.
4) Keep in touch with everyone you can vote for and make sure you know where they stand on the issues you care about.
23) Some corporations may seem to be on your side, but are not.
57) ID cards do not make us more secure.

Read them all.

On a related note: I predict, in fact wouldn't it be cool if this one small comment would lead to it all? That there will be a Third Party of Politics in the upcoming future. Call it what you will, but in essence... The Geek Party - or probably more marketable "The Tech Party"...
I believe that with the advances of email, internet, blogs, social websites, etc... That eventually the "citizens" of the internet will start to form a new political party. We will eventually realize what a great tool we have to communicate and organize and that we don't have to use these tools for the exisitng 2 party system. Elections can be held on Open Source machines and software, polls, e-roots campaigns, etc...
Let the E-Revolution begin :)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

UFO Criminal?

I have an automated news feed on my google homepage (a nice feature of google), and I decided to set one up to search for the term UFO. It's funny, and many times (surprisingly) many of the posts have nothing to do with actual UFO's - it seems many people like to compare other items to UFO's for some reason. Anyway, this story has been popping up every now and then, and I've not heard much talk about it on the main stream media. I just got this update which I found an interesting read...
I'll give you the "nutshell" version... This guy is a hacker. I know nothing of his background. Hackers can be grouped into three broad categories: White, grey, black hats. A white hat hacker is a good guy. A sort of Robin hood mentality. He may break into a computer but his (or her) intent is to do good. Many times the security holes that you read about with Micro$oft is found by white hat hackers. They post the vulnerability so that someone can fix it. Where as a Black hat is the opposite. They are into scams, stealing data, corrupting data, and generally messing with other people's computers. Grey's are of course for those that skate back and forth between white and black.
From what I've read, it sounds like Gary McKinnon is harmless. (of course this depends upon who you are talking to). Gary wanted to know about UFO's. He is into conspiracy theories. and he hacks. A dangerous combination. Well, he decided to try and hack into the NASA and other government MILITARY websites looking for UFO data (and apparently 9/11 conspiracy theories). WHY? Lets just say he may not be the smartest tool in the shed. I think it's pretty clear that you've either got to be REALLY good or REALLY stupid to try and hack a government site. Strike that... even if you are REALY good, it's still STUPID to hack a GOV site. It's ILLEAGAL! But I digress...
Gary, got into these systems and "mistakenly" deleted important files. How important? We don't know. But the USA gov is claiming $700,000 in cost to repair the damage Gary did. Not to mention compromising the national security.
Well, Gary got caught! Not surprising.
In recent news he is now being extradited to the USA to face trial and a possible 70 YEAR sentence in prison. The article I posted above sort of paints Gary as just another nerdy guy who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Yes, Gary broke the law (allegedly), but I have to wonder... is a 70 year (life sentence) appropriate for a person who went in looking for information about UFO's? The punishment doesn't seem to fit the crime.
I hope my google news watch will keep me posted with this. It's the kind of news items that won't make the standard media outlets. I find myself torn, because I know what he did was wrong, but I find myself rooting for him. I hope our system doesn't decide to "make an example" of this guy, and at some point common sense prevails.
(Disclaimer: My opinions of the above news story is based upon "facts" from newspapers and online sources which may not be correct!)
One more scary aspect about this story... This guy who is obviously not the brightest person, was able to hack into important GOV computers and do damage (diliberate or mistakenly). What does this say about our GOV security?

What do you think? Should be be tried for 70 years? Should he be forced to pay a fine? Do you feel sorry for him or think he should be locked up and the key thrown away? Leave a comment.

Double header tonight

Ok, It's late (1:15 am as I write this) so forgive me for any typos or wandering thoughts...
First off... This word came up on my google "word of the day" and it's a funny word with a funny meaning.
nescience: lack of knowledge or awareness.
I'll have to find the right time and place to use this word.

Double header! My friend and I every once in a while will decide to see two movies in one night. Occasionally there are several movies released at once that we are both interested in seeing and due to the timing we might miss one in the theatre so... Double header.

Tonight we saw: Scanner Darkly -
I really liked this movie. It was a drug movie, which a lot of times I don't like, but this one was different. First off the style of animation (yes it was animated) was original and done in the style of "waking life" - same director Richard Linklater (slacker - good movie, dazed and confused - good movie, School of Rock - good movie, The Newton Boys - good movie). I guess that makes me a fan of his movies. Well add this one to the list. It blew my mind at the end of the movie, because somehow this was based in reality. I didn't quite make the connection, but apparently Philip K. Dick (author who wrote Blade Runner) was making some sort of a statement. I may have to try and find the book now to understand it better. I will say that maybe this movie isn't for everyone. You have to have a bit of an open mind, be able to put up with Keanu Reeves, and keep up with some whacky drug induced philosophical rants. But all in all I liked it. OH.. and Robert Downey Jr. was great in it too.

Second movie was - Lady in the Water
M. Night Shyamalan (pronounced SHAH-ma-lawn) has done it again. I have enjoyed all of his films. Yes, some are better than others, but I've learned that the key to enjoying his movies are to just sit back and listen to the story being told. He's a storyteller who just happens to work in film. His stories are always based in a fantasy world and often times are very unbelievable. Yet, this is what I like about them. Well Lady in the Water was another non-believable film but due to the talent of his film-making for about 1.5 hours I become a believer. Paul Giamatti carried this entire film and he was great. I've always been a fan of Giamatti. One thing that I like about this movie was that there were a lot of comical parts in the movie. The characters were "quirky" to say the least, and the effects were nicely done - not over the top (though for some reason I've NEVER seen a realistic CGI bird, they can never get the physics right for the flapping of the wings). Just to give you background on the movie, this was a story the M. Night made up himself and told his children as a bedtime story. One of the things that struck me about this film was that M. Night chose to do a lot of shots where we the viewer only got to see one character during a conversation. I'm sure there was a reason for this... M. Night is known for thinking his shots out, and I know this wasn't just a random occurrence. I'd be interested to know why. Well, if you are willing to take a chance, DON'T expect a "typical" M. Night movie, and just would like to hear a good bedtime story, then check this movie out.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Great Photo

Just a great photo I found surfing.

Wage Peace

Here is the photo that I took of the sign that was put up out front of a house on my way home from work (and to work). There is something both odd and (not sure what the word is to describe it... inspiring? thought provoking?) about driving along in a small suburb town and seeing this in the front yard. I think I'm going to leave a note in the mailbox and just say something simple like "thank you for putting up your sign".
You can see two more photos by clicking on my flickr thing in the sidebar to the right (might have to scroll down to see it).

I found this link (via boingboing) where you can read this woman's firsthand experience about what is happening in Israel right now. She lived in Canada but flew to Israel to be with her family on July 18th. It's scary to read, and brings it that much closer to home. It puts a personal bent on something we are only used to hearing about on the news. I think something like this also shows the power of blogging. It can be used for more important purposes than things like boingboing or art, or rants over customer service. I'm glad I am a blogger.

On a lighter side of things...
I got my new "sticker" book... I like it. It has inspired me to post my own "blogger stickers" on my blog. I may re-design it though, but I like the idea of just putting a little digital "sticker" on my website. Could be serious, silly, etc... and I can change it easily now that I have the code in. So look for more "blog stickers" soon. I would also like to post a small "photo of the moment" on my sidebar. I need to figure the code first because I'd like to put it in a sort of frame. If I can't figure the code out, I will just post it somewhere.

AND Today is the beginning of my vacation! My blogging will probably be close to nil this following week. (though I still have two days left before I actually leave - so chances are I'll be posting more over the weekend.)
If not... have a good week.

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war learning

ok, I've made a small dent in trying to learn about what is happening in Israel. A few things so far...
1. Israel is a little smaller than the state of NJ (source: JWD via CIA world factbook)
2. Wikipedia is not neccesarily politically neutral. Upon looking up the info I was greated by this LARGE insulting banner. Update... I just went back to the page to take a screen shot and the offending banner has been removed. (GOOD). Here's the page I was looking at - minus the banner. I suppose since anyone can edit the information on the wikipedia pages, there may still be charged political comments or "facts".
3. I heard one man on c-span question if the two men who were captured by Hezbollah were in Lebanon territory or Israeli territory. I have not heard an answer to this anywhere (yet). Wikipedia also claims that three other soldiers were killed by the attack - I had not heard this reported anywhere else.
4. The media keeps repeating that this war was started because of two men who were captured. I find it hard to believe that a country would go to war over two people. I'm SURE there were additional reasons though the media makes it sound like it was ALL because of these two men.
5. Fox News' Bill O'reilly is in favor of bombing Hezbolah. A cease fire helps the terrorists - July 20th's "Talking points".
6. Hezbollah also launched a barrage of missiles into Israel just prior to kidnapping the two soldiers. (source: Wikipedia). OK, now THAT sounds like an act of war to me and something that would garner a response.

That's about all I have so far.
I'm still wishing for peace everywhere though.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Privacy Rules!

Just found this clip on
EFF's Spying Case Moves Forward - Judge Denies Government's Motion to Dismiss AT&T Case
San Francisco - A federal judge today denied the government's motion to dismiss the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF's) case against AT&T for collaborating with the NSA in illegal spying of millions of ordinary Americans. This allows the case to go forward in the courts.

continues here:
This is great news!

On a sidenote: On the way home from work, I pass a house every day, and in the past the owner has put out politically charged signs... today I drove past, and a new big sign was out front... "Wage Peace" - I hope it's still there tomorrow when I drive past, I'd like to get a photo of it. I also think it might be cool to leave a note in their mailbox that thanks them for post these signs. It takes guts to do something like this - I would fear some sort of retaliation, wether it be vandalism, or the township levying a fine, or something. Kudos.

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I've been trying to keep my head in the sand when it comes to this Israel Lebanon conflict. It involves many aspects that I'm uneducated in (politics and geography to name he two biggies). But, I owe it to myself to try to learn more about what is going on in "my world". If you are like me and don't understand what is happening take this first step with me... Start with a (what I hope) is a neutral description of what is happening... I'm starting on Wikipedia. This page has a description of the conflict and a few maps. What I would like to see, is this map superimposed on the US to get a reference... I've heard that Israel is a small country about the size of New Jersey.
As I learn more about this, I'll post anything interesting that I find, yet at the same time I want to hold any judgments and opinions until I do learn more.
I will say this... In these trouble times, I wish the citizens of all the nations at war today (USA included) safety. There's no way to say this without sounding like a "hippy" (which I suppose in many ways I am) but I'm thinking of one word... Peace.
(I also welcome any comments if you can point me to any good links on the web that would help explain this conflict - preferably "politically neutral" news sources if there is such a thing)

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

FREE* Business cards

I've been meaning to post this for some time now, but forgot! I was just on another blog I frequent often (Kevin Kelly -- Cool Tips - more on this later)... When he had a post about Free* business cards - and it's the same company!
So... Check it out... All you need to do is pay for the shipping (it's around $5) and they will print your cards on their stock designs (not horrible but not great - self promotional plug... If you want custom business cards let me know and I'll design them for you - not free of course ;).
the company is: Vistaprint.
I found out about this from a person in my photography club. If you are starting up a hobby, or would like to just have a card with contact info to hand it this is the way to go. The only "disclaimer" is that the company puts a line of type on the back of the card - what do you want for free. Pretty cool idea.
I'd like to get some with some kooky saying or fake business or something like that... Maybe "Cyenobite: Defender of the universe" - OR!... A card promoting my blog address! Hey there's a good idea!

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The headline on this caught my eye...
"Top 10 Dumbest Online Business Ideas That Made It Big Time"
Interesting... I have to agree with most of what he comments on. And as someone in the comment section pointed out the "red paper clip" one was genius/dumb too.
This is encouraging to me though, because I've got an idea brewing in my head that I may actually go forward with. At what point do you cross the line of being an "entrepreneur" vs a "nut" for trying to promote a business idea? My idea involves a website though it's not really a web based business. It will mean an initial investment of probably a couple hundred... Is that too much to gamble on an idea? I don't know. I'll let the idea brew a little longer.
It's still "top secret" at this point so I can't say more ;)

Skipping the technorati tags this time because I'm feeling lazy.

The Consumerist

I've found a new website...
I found this site from looking into my previous posts regarding the AOL customer service call where the person taped his phone call to cancel his account. I don't know if I like the consumerist's style (curse words, and a general sort of "in-your-face" attitude) but I also think there may be useful infromation on this site since we're all consumers.
While reading it this morning, I found another example of a guy who recorded his call to customer service - this time to "T-Mobile". It's a bit long (12 minutes) but again it's kind of interesting thatRudy was not very helpful at first but then relents to giving the guy a sort of credit. My only advice in this case would have been to take it up with his credit card company. It's obvious David did not recieve the services he paid for, and the credit card company should have reimbursed his money. Then the dispute is in the hands of the credit card company and T-Mobile. David also warned his caller that he was being taped at which point Rudy says he's not supposed to take the call. Interesting.
Anyway here's the link to the story and recording.
Disclaimer: Recording phone calls in some states is illegal. Check your local laws.
I apologize if it seems like I'm harping on this, but I think this stuff is important. I'll try to push myself away from this topic for the next several blog posts anyway ;)


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Photo of the day

Here's a small photo that I took of a Red-winged Blackbird. I was experimenting in photoshop on trying to get some strange coloring effect, and although this is not what I was trying to achieve, I thought it looked kinda cool anyway - so I'm posting it.


Sticker Nation

A post I found over on boingboing today that caught my eye...
A new book has been put out by Srini Kumar called "Sticker Nation". Apparently it's a book full of stickers with some of his "famous" sayings on them. I had never heard of him (or the stickers) before, but it looks pretty cool. The book is available on for only $9.72 and as the author himself points out, you get 432 stickers for this price! A great deal! Only problem is... they are paper stickers (not good for putting on your car outside), and if you peel them out of the book, you sort of ruin the book. One reader suggests buying two copies.
I think I'll check it out.
This actually brings me to a good point... are there any bumper sticker sheets that you can purchase for using with an inkjet printer? Seems like that would be a million dollar idea to have vinyl backed sheets for making your own custom bumper stickers. I'm sure there is.
But... if you want a decent price, The same gentleman Srini has recieved such fame and fortune that he created his own online bumper sticker website, with reasonable rates (125 stickers for $25)... check it out...

Switching gears:
On a customer service note---
I had to call today because my yearly plan expired a month or two ago and they automatically started billing me at the "month-to-month" plan which is $8 more than what I pay now ($29.95). Big jump! So I called today to get it straightend out... I got the NICEST customer service person! She was happy, pleasant, made small talk, and was genuinely concerned with helping me. It was SO NICE. I made sure to ask her if there was someone I could tell to compliment her service and she also seemed genuinely thankful that I would do this. She gave me a telephone number where I could leave a voicemail message (I hope they got it). As per my previous post of taping customer service... I had to make this call while at the office so I did not. I wish I did now, just so everyone can hear that there is at least ONE nice customer service rep in the world :) Thank you Cheryl S. of Verizon. May the blogger train of good Karma visit you often.

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Monday blahs

I had a comment on my blog today. Pretty cool when someone comments - lets you know there is actually someone reading this blog of mindless postings. And as an added bonus the person who responded was, in fact, the person that I blogged about. He was kind enough to let me know there was an update to his fiasco.
Read about the update here:

My original blog post:

Mr. Hasbrouck's home page:

Good luck to you Edward. I have the feeling you are in for a long fight.
I'll be flying in about a week and will be thinking of your fiasco as I too go through the various checkpoints.

I've got the Monday Blah's today, but am glad that this is the final week before my vacation! If I don't post anything next week you'll know why ;)

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

blicka blabba

blicka blabba blibba...
I'm sitting here now trying to listen to the Cspan interview with Peter Beinart (that I just posted about on friday) and those three words are what I am hearing. I apologize to my readers if you also are struggling with this interview.
These guys are WAY outta my league, AND what makes this interview very difficult is the speed at which these guys talk!
Actually, this brings up one of the points that I dislike about these interviews on cspan booktv... They choose a person with an opposing point of view, which on the surface sounds like it would make for an intersting interview, but I find the bickering and arguing distracting. Martin Sieff was the interviewer and I think he thought he was on the "Martin Sieff Show". His questions would ramble on and on (if they were even a question) - yet I give Peter credit because he was able to keep up and respond to Mr. Sieff's questions and comments. I could not.
Oh well. I'm back over onto Cspan 1 and am watching an interview with Gov. Mike Huckabee who is apparently going to make a run for the presidential race in 2008. I see if I can keep up better with this conversation. Something about Sundays that makes me think politics.

oh.. and as I'm typing this my diner is cooking in my new rice maker! I bought some new California Brown Rice and am steaming two cobs of corn at the same time! It smells great!

Enjoy what is remaining of your weekend. I made a venture out for some last minute grocery items and it is HOT out there. 92 plus humidity last time I checked. We're scheduled for about three days of this heat, so I'll probably be cooped up in the AC for these days. Maybe I'll head out tonight for a walk and embrace the heat... or maybe I'll just watch a dvd ;)


Great digital artist

I just found this website that features the art of an amazing digital artist. What also struck me about his website - is that he was kind enough to post 3 "how-to" videos for anyone to download. (Thanks Carlos!) Warning: They are HUGE files to download - but it's amazing to watch how he works. If you don't know anything about Photoshop then I would recomend you skip the download and just look at his gallery page.

On another note: I just got back a bit ago from seeing the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie. The effects were awesome, but the movie was about a half hour too long for me. Some of the action scenes could have been trimmed down to make room for a shorter film and smooth flowing story. Not to mention I was VERY confused as to who was doing what and what the motives of the different characters were.

ok, it's 2:28am now so I think I'll go to bed now. I swear I'm on the west coast time zone - which is a problem since I live on the east coast.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Peter Beinart on Cspan

Wow... Three posts in one day! Maybe a new record for me.
I just got this email from my Book TV alert from Cspan.
This weekend will feature Peter Beinart. I like this guy's comments (for the most part). What strikes me about him, is his quickness! I don't know if he's used to arguing or what, but he speaks very fast and can string about 5 heavy duty topics into one sentence. He's on a lot of talk shows, and is often defending the Liberal point of views. I saw him debate Ann Coulter once and he blew her out of the water. Anyway, if you are anywhere near a TV this weekend and you get C-span, check him out.
Here's the clip from my email:

Book TV Alert
C-SPAN2's Book TV: July 15-17
After Words
Insightful author interviews

Peter Beinart, author of The Good Fight: Why Liberals, and Only Liberals, Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again, is interviewed by Martin Sieff, National Security Correspondent for United Press International. (Saturday 9:00 PM ET, re-airs Sunday 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM ET)

Other Weekend Highlights

* Encore Booknotes: Katharine Graham, author of Personal History, discusses her life and career as publisher, CEO and chairman of the board with The Washington Post Company. This Monday, July 17, is the 5th Anniversary of her death.
(Saturday 6:00 PM ET)

* History on Book TV: Lewis Buzbee, author of The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop, chronicles the history of bookmaking and bookselling and recounts his experience working at a bookstore.
(Sunday 4:00 PM ET)

* Public Lives: Marwan Iskandar, Rafiq Hariri and the Fate of Lebanon
(Sunday 7:00 PM ET)

* Kevin McCullough, Musclehead Revolution: Overturning Liberalism with Common Sense Thinking
(Saturday 7:00 PM ET)

* Jeffrey Herf, The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda During World War II and the Holocaust
(Saturday 8:00 PM ET)

* Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down, signs copies of his new book Guests of the Ayatollah
(Sunday 12:00 PM ET)

* Iraq War Veteran Colby Buzzell reads from his book On the Ground in Iraq
(Sunday 10:00 PM ET)

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Rice Cooker

I made another purchase that doesn't make much sense. But it's something I've been wanting for a while now... I bought a rice cooker! Why? I don't know. It seems so stupid because afterall, you can cook rice in any pot right? Maybe not! I've never been able to cook rice well. I almost always end up burning the bottom of the pot, or under cooking to prevent it from burning. So, in an effort to eat better (that's how I'm justifying it to myself) I got this gizmo. Actually it does much more than just cook rice, but that's probably how I plan on using it the most. I went with the Sanyo ECJ-D55S model. 5.5 cups (that's a lot of rice!) capacity. I went with this model because a friend of mine has one, and let me borrow his the other night. I have to admit... it was the best bowl of rice I've ever eaten.
So, I'll be sure to let you know how my rice turns out, and if I get creative with any new rice recipes.
Oh, and I suppose I should credit too... They shipped the item within 24 hours! Ahead of their 2 day estimated arrival date. I just signed up for their "prime membership" (80$ a year for free 2 day shipping - I've yet to figure if this is a scam or not ;)
But I placed my order around 5pm on Wed, and it arrived this morning! Kudo's amazon.

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Halo comic

Hmm... where to start this post... Wired i guess... I was just reading my latest issue of Wired magazine (which they recently were in the news for finally purchasing but that's a whole other story.) While reading I came across a sidebar that talked about a new comic book Graphic Novel about the video game HALO. I've been playing halo WAY too much lately, but it is a cool game! (when people are not cheating that is). BUT what struck me about this article was that one of the artists who have signed on is Simon Bisley (Biz). He's probably my all-time favorite comic book artist! And, maybe it's because I've gotten away from my comic reading, but Biz sort of fell off the face of the earth. So I'm jazzed about getting this new Graphic novel from Marvel (due out sometime this month). Available on Amazon too.
Here's Biz' site (May not be safe for work/kids) - He draws the best monsters!
My favorite comic of his was SLAINE. He usually doesn't do full comics but is known more for his cover art.
Here's an interview with Biz on the site
OH and one of the other artists featured is Jean "Moebius" Giraud who is another very talented comic artist. I remember him from my days of reading "Heavy Metal". Great stuff.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Mmmm... Ice Cream

Well, I was going to try and stay away from politic posts for a bit, but I can't resist this one. I tuned in late, and unfortunately missed the beginning of this interview, but Ben Cohen was just on C-span's "The Washington Journal" (for about 30 minutes). It's too soon now as I post this, but Cspan usually posts their shows online the following day, so tomorrow, be sure to check this out. He's one of these guys who just looks like a nice person. From his manners, the way he talks, etc, it feels like you've known him for years. Apparently he's on a bit of a press tour now promoting something called "Ben & Jerry's - American Pie". He did a really neat (though scary) demonstration on the amount of nuclear weapons we have with BB's. (I thought it ironic he was using a BB which is a munition iteslf). This clip is also viewed on Ben and Jerry's website here.
I'm going to check out the website too, because it looks like some good information. You should too.
I'm also enjoying my "50 simple things" book. I've started an email discussion with a friend of mine who leans right, so I hope to learn something from this.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Mark Jenkins Street Art

I've seen this guy's art featured before, but these new "installations" are one of my favorites. Check out the crowds reaction too in the videos (a small yellow link under the photos).
I also give this guy credit for putting the time into creating his art, and then setting it free in the wild. I wonder if his stuff has ever been runined by one too many "pokes" from the crowd.
(PS> this is a GREAT photo with the guy carrying a lamp).

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Magnetic memory chip

Interesting little news item caught my eye this morning...

Magnetic Memory Chip unveiled

Radically new...
"This is the most significant memory introduction in this decade." Said Will Strauss, and analyst with research firm Forward Concepts.

It sounds like these chips are just starting to enter the marketplace today, so look to the future to see what they may bring. What I get out of this, is basically a chip that will either work in tandem to todays memory chips, or possibly take on a new roll in electronics (mostly computers) that will allow a person to turn on their computer and have ZERO "boot up" time. Pretty cool.
Read the small story here on the BBC website.

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

With age comes politics?

You know it's funny. A few years ago (5?) I could have cared less about politics. Don't get me wrong, I followed it with half an eye open, but I had made up my opinions about politics based upon books that I'd read. Bottomline was that I didn't understand a lot about politics, mix that with general distrust of politicians, and then mix that with seeing some of the worst atrocities commited on the human race in the name of politics. I basically wanted nothing to do with it. But as I've gotten older, I'm finding myself being drawn in. I'm feeling the "need" to speak out (on my blog which has a readership of about 4). Perhaps I'm too late to make any sort of difference in the world, but I hope that by starting to learn about politics now, maybe someday I'll be able to feel good about doing something positive. I have a lot to learn I admit.
Anyway, the reason I've brought this up, is that I've noticed (through the technorati tags) that my number one tag lately is "politics". That came as a shock. So I've been wondering "why" and wondering if I should continue my political points on this blog or look to other topics. Well, I figure I'm going to not choose and let my "dancing bear" trait influence where my blogging interests lie. So... another blog post about politics :) - maybe it's just a phase.
I just found out about a movie called "Borat" that looks very funny. And my friend who told me about it said he saw it on the trailer list. In my previous internet life I was an online "film-critic". Basically a nut with a webpage. But I was much more in tune with what was coming up in the movie theatres. I still am to some point, but I realized I'm not as much as I used to. So just now, I went over to the apple trailers to see whats coming. Guess what... perhaps it is a sign of the times, but there are quite a few policital movies on the horizon. I find that very interesting. Could the times be changing? Is Art (yes, I still believe a movie is art), starting to make a statement again? Cool.
So, be sure to check out "Borat" and this one which I just found out about staring one of my "comedy central" buddies Rob Corrdry called "blackballed" (looks very funny). And then look at the list of new releases (here) and check out some of the political ones. This one especially caught my eye: America: Freedom to Fascism - the premise of this film was something I was seriously looking into (the "LAW" that says you have to pay income tax) but after reading up on it, I determined it wasn't worth the fight for me. But the film goes on to highlight what are many of the reasons I did not get involved in politics before. Also of note is the John Lennon film: The U.S. Vs. John Lennon. Oh, and the Barnyard animal one looks very funny too. (there something not political ;)

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Friday, July 07, 2006

Sunday Bloody Sunday

I can't imagine the time and effort that went into cutting this movie together! I can assure you though that by the end, I bet he or she was SICK of that U2 song!
Link to YouTube

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

political Thursday

I just got a shipment from Amazon yesterday (always a good thing!) and I got a couple new books that I've had on my wish list. (and a new digital tape recorder that I've been wanting for some time now. I hope to maybe to a podcast someday, and of course my new idea to tape all my calls to customer service). Anyway, one of the books I got is called "50 simple things you can do to fight the right". I saw the author interviewed on the "yearlyKOS" event on Cspan, and liked what he had to say. It looks like an interesting book. I don't know if I'll agree with all of it, but I'm certainly willing to listen to what he has to say and to maybe try one of those 50 ideas. So far I am a bit leary, because some of the language is a bit extreme, and I don't know if I agree with that. Words like: Fight, take, radical right, defend america, etc... I think it's just a matter of the author(s) being passionate, but I am leary of passionate arguments because sometimes their logic is askew.
Then today while checking my boingboing daily blog, I saw this post about James (Jimbo) Wales. He is the founder of wikipedia. He wants to bring the wiki-idea to politics - which I think is a great idea, and where the future is headed - a LONG time in the future, but still. The only thing I fear is that due to some extreme politics, people may deface, or post bad information on the opposing side's wiki. (a wiki for those of you who don't know, allows anyone and everyone to add to or delete information on the website. The idea is that if done correctly, and with many eyes looking at the topic, that the webpage will be current, and correct.)
It's a great idea and apparently that's all it is really at this point is an idea. Mr. Wales is encouraging people to get involved, and as one example on how to get involved is to tell others... which is exactly what I'm doing now with my blog. So check it out here at:
There, I did my job, now you do yours.

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th of July

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Take a minute or two today to read the whole thing... It's not that long really.

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Monday, July 03, 2006

historical look back on movie theatres

I've seen this guy featured before (I may have blogged about him before too)... Lore Sjoberg. He writes for Wired and he's usually pretty funny. Here's a funny post set some time in the not so ditant future looking back on the movie theatre experience. As a person who frequents the theatre often these are pretty much on the mark.,71245-0.html?tw=wn_index_24

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Taping Customer Service

If you have AOL you should know about this. If you surf the web, you've probably heard of this already. It got a large amount of coverage and the guy who did the recording has turned into a minor celebrity on the talk show TV and Radio shows. But... what I have not heard is that this guy thought of a really clever way to "fight" customer service.
First the disclaimer... I have had pleasant customer service experiences in the past. I have a friend who works in the Customer service end of her company and I know she does a good job. Not all customer service persons are evil... But... lets face it, a LOT of customer service calls are frustrating (to say the least at times).
Ok onto the first story...
Vincent Ferrari, wanted to cancel his AOL membership. He called the customer service person who could 'help' him do this. But as you can hear for yourself, the customer service man was anything but helpful. AOL has been criticised in the past about being "difficult" when you want to cancel your account. (I have been a member of AOL since 1993! I'm officially a charter member - but I too will be canceling within the year.) Mr. Ferrari tape recorded his phone call with customer service, and afterwards posted it on his blog to tell the world. If you want to go to his blog or the actual post you should go here:

What I have NOT heard mentioned in the various comments about this experience, is that EVERYONE should tape their phone calls to customer service! Yes, in many states to tape someone without them knowing is illegal - So I can't condone that. But If enough people DO start taping their customer service calls, I bet that the service would improve overall. And what the heck... tell them up front that you are taping them, I bet they will treat you better then.

I just had a call yesterday with customer service. It was rather pointless, and the woman was not able to help me out in anyway, but part of that was my fault for not paying attention to my order. (I actually typed up a large post about this yesterday, but just before posting I messed up the html and lost the whole thing.) I regret that I did not tape this call.
(My digital recorder is what I ordered from Amazon so that's why). But in the future, I too will be taping all my customer service calls.
How you ask?
It's simple and fairly cheap to do.
Go out to radio shack, or to your local electronics superstore (or on the web) and purchase one of these for about $18.
Then you'll need to pick up a recorder. You can spend anywhere from $20-100+ depending on memory and features. I recommend the Olympus digital recorders.
Thats it. When you are ready to record, just hit the record button. It's not complicated at all.
WE have been conditioned to being taped. Be aware of it next time you call... during the automated process you'll usually hear this "warning" that says "your call may be monitored or recorded for training purposes"... yep that's right they are recording you, so lets turn the tables.
Hats off and thanks to Vincent.
Oh, as a follow up... AOL claims to have fired the man who gave Vincent such a difficult time. I'm not in favor of anyone losing their job over this, but it's understandable.
I also think that this may help the growing problem of companies outsourcing their phone customer support to India. I have (and others I know) have a very difficult time understanding their thick accents at times. I'm currently reading "The world is flat" and the author points out that the airline "JetBlue" has "outsourced" it's phone calls to housewives who live in Utah! Now that's a good idea.
Here's a good article I just read from the NYTimes that spured this post.
(geek note: I'm using a new website I just found to generate my technorati tags: Fintan's Technorati Tag Generator)

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