Thursday, August 31, 2006

Losing my Religion

I hope this doesn't come off sounding too much like a rant (especially since it falls right after a small rant post about Verizon). I hesitate to post some of my relgion thoughts because that's my sisters world. And her blog links to mine, mine to hers, and I don't want to embarrass her with my "uneducated" ponderings. But I have to post this to get it out of my head. (Forgive me sis ;)
I've had this thought bouncing around in my head for some time now. I started a ginormous project (at my sisters invite) to read the entire Bible in 90 days. After reading about how "easy" it is to only read 12 pages a day I said "sure I'll give it a shot". Well it was very difficult for me to keep that pace. I didn't realize the time commitment, nor the dedication to only reading one book for 3 months (which is like torture for my ADD mind ;). Anyway, enough with the excuses, as you can guess, I quickly lost my way - but have not given up. I have read about 20% which is way more than I would have read had I not undertaken this mission. Onto my post... (there's 2 parts).
1) Why doesn't God talk to people anymore? I know... wait a minute, hold on... such a simple question needs volumes of explanation, but I'm going to treat this like a 6-year-old asking this question. Is there anyone alive today, who is being talked to by God like those written about back in the old testament. (seems most communication -not all!- was done via dreams). But is there anyone out there on this whole internet-tube-thing that is claiming to have had an angel come visit them and communcate to them? AND... theres another part to this... NOT look like a crazy person!? Are those two statements at odds with one another? If God does talk to a person does that automatically classify them as "crazy"? I don't know. BUT I would like to know what messages are being claimed. I find it sad and I find myself a bit lonely at times like these. Am I not listening? Am I not going to the right websites for news updates from God? (are there websites like that? I should start one!). And No... I'm not talking about the "religious persons" answer to the 6-year-old like "he's always talking to us, we just need to listen". I'm talking about an actual person-to-angel contact, or a phone call, or even an email. I wonder how I (or others would react) if they got an email from God. It'd probably end up in the SPAM filter I bet. (Finally... I hope this is being read with my sense of humor showing and not being taken as sarcastic or disrespectful.)

ok, part two...
I found this link today:
(An attempt to have a petition to ban the sale of the Bible from Wal-mart)
I don't know the story behind it. I don't know if it's supposed to be funny, or true. I don't agree with it BUT... there are elements of truth in this. I don't know how to think about it yet. It's a scary thought... what if the Bible were banned from being sold based on outdated historical thoughts?! I'm going to have to let this thought bounce around in my head now for some time, and I'll probably post a followup in the future. :)

(PS> I'm not actually "losing my religion" it's just a catchy name and great song by REM).

Verizon gets some sense knocked into it

A little while ago I posted about my letter from Verizon and how idiotic it sounded. (recap: The Gov dropped some sort of imposed fee, but rather than Verizon not charging it's customers anymore they made up some new name and continued the fee (at a few pennies less)).
Well, I just learned via one of my new favorite websites: that due to complaints and rants (hopefully my rant helped) that Verizon will not impose this new fee. As one of the commenters pointed out though... neither he (nor I) have recieved this news from Verizon itself. So We'll believe it when we don't see the fee.
Read the post at: the

Also of interest to me on the page right now, is the topics of:
How a bunch of RadioShack employees just got fired - via an email notice in their inbox.
How Geico really messed up this one guys accident claim and that his attempts to get the problems (that they made) resolved ended up getting him nowhere. (Side rant: I'm ALL for doing things better and faster on the internet, but when it comes to holding someone accountable the internet stinks. Geico is an internet company.)
What I like about is not so much their tone of voice (the occasional crass curse words or inappropriate comments) but rather learning how others deal with problems like these. Knowledge is power.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Green Rooftops

What a cool idea! I don't remember where I stumbled upon this blog but there is some interesting things on there. (Plus I like the name of it Pink Tentacle). What also surprises me is that this company is a division of Toyota the car company. Way to go toyota.
I wonder If I could use something like this... I have a small (7x10') balcony at my apartment and my neighbor who lives downstairs has her balcony, er I guess it's a patio if it's on the first floor, right below me. She smokes outside on her patio. On nice days when I want to open the balcony doors, her smoke wafts right up and into my apartment. I've thought of putting some astroturf out there thinking it would make it more difficult for the smoke to waft up throught the wooden floorboards. (waft... what a funny word). I've yet to find out where I can buy astroturf. But a square footage of real grass would be cool. I like the idea of them on this sort of mat system that his a built in watering track.
Check out the site for more cool Japanese stuff.


A new website that looks promising...
I just signed up last night after learning about it via Digg. It's brand new and still advertising it's in Beta. My first impression... nice idea, nice layout, a bit confusing to navigate though. But... what I would like to criticize is that this website could be so much better. The idea of a social based recipe sharing website is great! I like how recipething incorporates the tools for your own single recipe, but I would like to see more. A menu planner, the ability to add "friends" whose tastes you share. Hopefully this website will change and flourish, or a new website will come along and swallow this one up.
(As I am about to post this it appears their website is down. If it doesn't load for you, I guess we know why it's still in beta).

Monday, August 28, 2006

Free energy

An update on the post I posted earlier about the perpetual motion. It seems things are moving forward and the gloves have been takin off and the gauntlet thrown. The company has posted an open challenge to scientist to disprove them. 3809 scientists have expressed an interest (according to their website on 8/28/06) And what's cool about the company is that they have set it up on the web and you and I can be one of the first to know the results (you have to give them an email address.) First off the company name is Steorn. Here's their website.
Here's an article on the Guardian UK website that is a good read (not too techincal).
Wow, I think this is sounding promising. And how cool would that be to be one of the 45,706th (that was me) to find out about a HUGE scientific discovery via email.
I love this quote too:
...then one day one of our guys [co-founder Mike Daly] came in and said: 'We have a problem. We appear to be getting out more than we're putting in.'"

A problem he calls it :)
Let's not kid ourselves too... this technology will not be free. There will be license fees, subscription fees, etc... but it's still pretty amazing. THIS could change the WORLD!!! (can you tell I'm excited about this?)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Friday Cat Tricks

Yahooooo It's Friday!!!
I'm struggling to stay awake while sitting here at the computer, so I decided to do some quick web surfing. I really need to explore this guy's website... A few weeks ago I found a video clip of this guy doing a mock broadcast of a political baseball game (since lost the link), and he was pretty funny. Then this moring while checking one of my usual morning sites, I saw that his name was mentioned again, in that the Colbert Report possibly stole one of his bits. I just checked out the delicious links for "cool" today and his name popped up again. It looks like a cool website and the guy is obviously funny. I wonder if people have to work at being funny or if it comes naturally. What makes a comedian a comdeian? Anyway... I found this link on his site of his pet cat Annie. Several short video clips that are both cute and comical and his descriptions are funny too. I especially like the Egyptian dig... and the Halloween clip. Check it out here. Oh and I should at least mention the website name:

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Turns my stomach

This past weekend I watched (and blogged) about some black leaders who gathered on Cspan to discuss racial issues. As a white person I admit that sometimes I wonder "C'mon... is there really racisim still alive in todays world?" Then in less than a split second, I'm saddened to be reminded that yes it is. Well, I just discovered a new blog (bear with me) via another new blog... I found this blog first: - then found this blog (currently at #6), which featured this post - Which led me to this article in the Shreveport Times. - "Black Students ordered to give up seats to whites". Have we made no progress at all in the last 50 years? I am amazed that humans can be so cruel to other humans.
So for the record... YES! Racism is still alive in 2006. How can we fix it? The only solution I fear is time. In time as each generation comes and goes there will be more people who are accepting.
I just went back to the original post and even some of the comments are troubling. There is even hate in those words that condem the action. Hate begets hate. Why don't people see that?
Ok. It's late. I've had it with this day Aug 24, 2006. In approx two minutes it will be Aug 25th. A new day. Here's to a better world tomorrow.

And then there were 8

Well, it's been talked about all day long on NPR... the big news that Pluto is no longer a planet.
The scientists have finally agreed (well they are still in debates, and not everyone is in agreement). One of the quotes from the scientists says something like, " would be disastrous to come away from this without an agreement. We will look like idiots." (I'm paraphrasing since I can't type as fast as what I heard on the radio.)

So, now Pluto is officially called a "dwarf planet".
Is it just me, or does the galaxy feel a little smaller today?
Read more on NPR here.

Tech Tags:

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Amazing Scuplture

This is some amazing sculpture and with the benefits of using "found" scrap metal.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Art Meme

Sad and happy technology

First the sad technology... In the office I work it is an old historic bank built around 1907 in a small town. The town is a nice town in that it has somehow escaped (to some degree) the idea of progress. The houses are old style Victorian, the speed limit on main street is 25 mph, there is an ice cream shop that is very busy in the summer evenings, and a corner deli to get a good hoagie. Well, progress is starting to catch up. We recently had a "light rail" railroad track upgrade where they put in parking, and train stations. Well, this means more people traveling into the small town which means more upgrades. They have just torn down an entire shopping center (coffeeshop, pizza shop, small grocery store, etc) to make way for a whole new shopping center (and a CVS pharmacy, which in this area, you can't throw a stone and NOT hit a CVS pharmacy). Well, there is an area right around the corner from me that has been a dirt parking lot and overgrown with trees. No More. Starting Friday, they brought in 3 gigantic machines, and in less than 8 hours managed to clear the majority of all the large trees and shrubs. A friend and I walked over Friday evening to see the destruction and it was sad. These trees which have been there for what, 100 years? Were wiped out in the blink of an eye, and cut right down to the stump and shredded. Today, they expanded the tree removal to a wooded lot behind our building, again taking out large trees in less than a minute. All this so that we can have another shopping center and some condos. So sad. Yes, I understand the urban sprawl, but to see it creeping into this small 200 year old town is like a cancer. Well, I can't dwell on this too much or I'll get depressed.

Onto the happy technology...

Perpetual motion. It's something I've been fascinated with over the years. According to modern day physics the idea of perpetual motion can not be achieved. This doesn't stop people though from thinking about it and experimenting. Good for them I say! Perhaps our modern day physics have overlooked something... Perhaps there is an anomaly that can be exploited. Me personally I'm convinced that a perpetual motion machine can be made using magnets. (Maybe not a true perpetual motion machine because a magnet will need to be replaced over a length of time because it's magnetism will decrease over time, we're talking a 100 years or more). Well, I've been hearing rumblings on the internet about a new discovery that again claims to be a machine that can output more energy than it takes to consume (using magnets). There have been several frauds over the past years, but this one sounds promising to me, because they are not looking to make a quick buck$ out of the deal (yet). I'll try to keep an eye and ear out on this to see if anything comes of it. Read more about it here on a wired article.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Verizon double talk

I wasn't sure if I was going to post this, but after just reading about it on Techdirt, I think I will. My ISP (Internet service provider) is Verizon DSL. Overall I'm happy with the service (10x better than my old AOL dialup.) Over the weekend I got this longwinded, confusing email... (feel free to skip this if you want)...

Effective August 14, 2006, Verizon Online will stop charging the FUSF (Federal Universal Service Fund) recovery fee. We will stop being assessed the fee by our DSL network suppliers. Therefore, we will no longer be recovering this fee from our customers. The impact of the FUSF fee is as follows: for customers of Verizon Online with service up to 768Kbps, the fee eliminated is $1.25 a month; for customers of Verizon Online with service up to 1.5 Mbps or 3Mbps, the fee eliminated is $2.83 a month (based on current FUSF surcharge amounts). On your bill that includes charges for August 14, 2006 you will see either a partial FUSF Recovery Fee or no FUSF line item at all, depending on your bill cycle.

Starting August 26, 2006, Verizon Online will begin charging a Supplier Surcharge for all new DSL customers, existing customers with a DSL monthly or bundle package, and existing DSL annual plan customers at the time their current annual plan expires. This surcharge is not a government imposed fee or a tax; however, it is intended to help offset costs we incur from our network supplier in providing Verizon Online DSL service. The Supplier Surcharge will initially be set at $1.20 a month for Verizon Online DSL customers with service up to 768Kbps and $2.70 per month for customers with DSL service at higher speeds.

Ok, still awake? Here's what I got out of it... There is no longer an imposed fee on Verizon (from who? I guess the federal government?) of $1.25 - BUT... I guess Verizon figures we are all used to paying this fee, so they've made up some technical sounding name like "Supplier Surcharge" and guess what it's only $1.20. What the *BEEP*!?
Well, apparently I was not the only one who took notice of thie idiotic scam... The Onion has released a "news report" that sums this plan up nicely...
Verizon Introduces New Charge-You-At-Whim Plan.

Great Quote and cool bench

I was over at one of my favorite websites makezine blog, and saw this post with a really simple and cool wooden bench. I went to the link which had a quote that I really like:

The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant, 'What good is it?' If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not. If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.

One of these days I might have to try making one of these.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


I just finished watching a terrific interview on CSPAN's BOOKTV with Juan Williams the author of a book called "Enough". First a little about cspan... I still have not fully made up my mind about this series called "afterwords". I have seen several of these "interviews" but I'm not sure if I like the overall format, in that, it's presented as an arguement. They find an author who has written a new book (usually of a political or social issue). Then they find an interviewer who has an opposing view to interview the author. But these interviews quickly turn into an arguement over personal issues and do not represent what is in the featured book. I give a real credit to Mr. William's approach to his interviewer Michael Eric Dyson, for (at times) stepping back from the arguement and trying to keep the interview on track about the book, and not so much on Mr. Dyson's views.
Here's a quote I pulled from the cspan website:

In his book, "Enough," author Juan Williams expands on the arguments made by Bill Cosby during his 2004 speech to the NAACP. The subtitle of the book is, "The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America-- and What We Can Do About It." He discusses the book with Michael Eric Dyson, author of the book, "Is Bill Crosby Right?"

I found this interview interesting because just prior to the show Cspan had another show on called "Success for Young Black Men" in which one of the panelists was Bill Cosby. I did miss the beginning of this show, but I watched a lot of it. Very interesting, and I was particularly surprised (and supporting) Cosby's "rant" against one of the other panel members who worked for a newspaper and was doing a "series" that talked about helping young black men, but then he said something... "We're taking the summer off and will start up in the fall". Well, Mr. Cosby tore into this decision (rightly so) and could not fathom why a subject that is so important to getting to the young audience (while they are out of school) would "take time off".
(I'm getting sidetracked... I wanted this post to be about the booktv interview sorry).

Anyway, If you can check out the interview with Juan Williams. You can go to the cspan website and watch it via "realplayer or windows media player" - or you can use itunes or ipodder to subscribe to the "afterwords" podcast. (The process is more than I can link to here. I wish they would simply post mp3 files on their website to make things easier.)

I'm going to go search the web to see if there is a way that I can find Mr. Cosby's speech online. If I find It I'll post a link in the comments area of this post.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Good story

I went to my MAKE magazine blog website this morning and picked up a really good story on this guys blog about how he built his own "street luge bicycle". Not only is the machine itself pretty cool looking, but to read the guy's account of how he bbuilt it, the troubles they had, how he made it street legal, etc... is pretty interesting. Check it out here.
If nothing else here's a quote that I really liked:
"Kids need danger in their life or they'll always be afraid of everything."

But maybe it should be Adults too and not just kids.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


ok, first a small note to tell everyone to check out some new photos I just posted to my flickr account. (scroll down on the right sidebar to get to them). I got a few good macro shots of a green leaf hopper that entered my apartment last night when I had the window open. (Yes, I rescued him this morning and put him back outside... along with a large moth that I didn't get photos of.) And... we have a nest in the building next to our office and I was able to get some photos of a Dove with her two babies feeding. If you start at the beginning of the dove photos you can sort of see the storyline there.

ok, onto the WOOHOO part...
A Judge (U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit) has ruled AGAINST the Bush administration with their wiretapping US citizens. Finally a bit of "checks and balances" have been enforced today. Of course the bad news is that the Bush Lawyers are going to appeal the ruling, so it will drag out even longer and spend more of our tax payers money.
But here's the scary part... In my google news today was this headline: ACLU Wins One For The Terrorists. What!? I almost hate pointing any of you to this website because they will get the ad revenue, but... I read some of the comments and they really put this person in their place. It amazes me how "reporting" like this can be published. Turns out its a "reprint" of something they picked up off the blogosphere. So this is how reporters report now?

I really hope this ruling is not overturned. Somebody needs to stand up for our rights.
I think I'm off to go see if I can make a donation to the ACLU. I don't know if I agree with everything the ACLU does but this is fantastic. I can't wait to hear how FauxNews will rip this apart tonight.

Another stupid online test

I hate filling these corny online tests out, because the parnoid part of me always thinks I'm giving away TOO much info to someone I have no idea where the results go. I picture all of these online tests as a large government experiment that is being datamined. But... in spite of that fear, I couldn't resist this test to see which superhero I am most like based upon a bunch of personality questions. Who are you?
(Interesting how they grouped the female characters with the male... I'm glad I didn't come up as Catwoman ;)

Your results:
You are Spider-Man

Green Lantern
Wonder Woman
Iron Man
The Flash
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Weird Animal and Weird Magazines

I was planning on posting about two magazines I've just discovered, but saw this post on boingboing that was pretty cool. (Sorry it's on the site). It's kinda funny to me that the people interviewed described this animal as "evil". We're so afraid of new things. It's also interesting that this hybrid survived if it is a crossbread of wolf/dog.

Ok, onto the zines...
I happened to have the TV on Sat night, and was flipping through the channels as there was nothing on, and ended up seeing the tail end of a show of G4 network (I despise that network after what they did to TechTV!). Anyway, it was an interesting show called "icons" where they interview people today (in the tech world) who have made an impact. They were talking about Shepard Fairey. He's an Artist who has apparently created this cult following of his work. I can't describe all that he's done here so if you are interested check out this website: or read about him on wikipedia here. At the end of the show it said how Shepard has created a new magazine also (now on issue #7) called Swindle. I went to Barnes and Noble this weekend to try and find the zine. Well what a mess. They have way more magazines then they have space to display them, and everything is just thrown about. As I was looking I saw that there was a woman stocking the shelves with new issues. I asked her if she's ever heard or saw this magazine while stocking... no. She told me to go up and ask the information desk to see if they even carry it. Ok. I go up to the info desk and much to my surprise she said "yes, we carry that" but the computer doesn't tell me if it's in stock." What? Why!? In today's world, why can't they tie in their database of sales with what is in stock in the zines? They are able to do it with their books. Grr. So she said it should be filed under the "lifestyle" section. Great, I said... where's the lifestyle section... her response... "I don't know, lets go look". So we walk back, (she then informed me that the woman stocking the shelves is the manager and not the zine person who was out that day). We get back and sure enough there is no "lifestyle" section. The manager then says it should be in the "mens interest" (Why is an art magazine considered mens interest?) Well, I looked high and low, the info desk woman looked high and low (the manager couldn't be bothered). No luck. Finally, I went back to the info desk and asked if the computer told her when the issue came out. Perhaps I'm looking for something that has been sold out for over a month now. Sure enough, it was released in June. So I gave up. Wow... I didn't really mean this to turn into a rant.
All that to say, that I DID find a new magazine called Juxtapoz on the shelf. It is a really neat zine about the underground art culture in CA. I'm glad I stumbled upon it. I am still on the lookout for Swindle but it looks like I'll have to subscribe to this one. I don't want to subscribe though site-unseen. Oh well.

Finally, another zine I found (Which I had heard of and enjoyed) is called ReadyMade. It's similar to MAKE magazine (my favorite right now!). Check it out if you can - they have a good website too.

(my apologies... In looking at this post, I really should have broken it up into individual posts. Oh Well.)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Little Miss Sunshine

It's Tuesday already, and I'm finally getting around to blogging about the movie I saw Saturday night. You guessed it, we saw "Little Miss Sunshine". I knew nothing about this movie other than what I saw on the trailer, and actually I assumed it was a sort of handicapped roadtrip style movie... but I was wrong (in a way). Turns out it was a "dark" or "black" comedy. I have always thought that I liked these style comedies but now I'm starting to wonder. This particular movie skated right up to the edge of 'too much' for me. With topics like suicide, bankruptcy, divorce, old age, and drug use, they don't generally equal "comedy" when I think of them. But, I guess that is what a black comedy is all about. Turning the tragic into comedy. I won't explain too much of the plot so as not to give anything away, so in a nutshell, the story revolves around Olive who is about 9 years old, and has just won the opportunity to compete in a "little miss sunshine" beauty contest. Her family including Ma, Pa, Bro, Grandfather, and Uncle due to a variety of reasons are in this all together. So take all of these misfit characters and put them in a old beat-up VW van and send them on a 2 day roadtrip where anything that could go wrong does. The cast was fantastic! Greg Kinear, Alan Arkin, Steve Carell, Abigail Breslin, Paul Dano, and Toni Collette. I think the only person who may have been mis-cast was Toni Collette as the mother, but perhaps she was supposed to be the rock of the family so she was supposed to be a little out of place amongst the crazier characters. In spite of some of the darker comedic moments what really brought this movie around for me was the ending. It was worth the entire movie to see the ending. What? No! I'm not going to reveal the ending! Just go see it, if you think you can deal with a "slice of life" style movie where the slice has perhaps fallen in the dirt. I expect you will be hearing a lot about this movie as it becomes more popular. Right now it's only in select theatres.

Monday, August 14, 2006

A real dilemma

I have a real problem and I don't know what to do about it.
I live in an apartment complex. In back of my apartment is a sort of "courtyard" that is about 20-25 feet of grass, which separates the next apartment building. Well, the two buildings act as a sort of sound chamber that amplify's and echos any sort of sound from opposing apartments. At the end of the spring a few months ago, I must have gotten a new neighbor across this courtyard from me. This person, leaves their window's open (as do I and most other people on these nice days.) But here's the thing... They have their alarm clock radio set REALLY LOUD. It's hard to tell you how loud it is. Lets say that if I close my windows I can still make out every word spoken in the annoying "morning zoo" radio station she listens to. Then there was one point where she was waking to the same CD every morning playing the Dixie Chicks... I was ready to mutilate anyone if I heard the dixie chicks one more time.
So... what do I do? I already wrote a "stern" but not nasty note asking her to keep her radio down, or to move her radio away from the window, but now that the nicer weather is hear again it's obvious she didn't listen (or forgot).
I supposed my only other option is to complain to the apartment complex management, but I'm going to sound like such a complainer. But if you heard the volume you would understand it's way above a "reasonable" level. Just to give you an example, I NEVER have heard another alarm clock radio while living in this complex.
I could fight fire with fire... set my alarm for about an hour before her's and blast my alarm, but that won't really solve anything, AND I'll now have to wake up about two hours before I normally would. And knowing my luck one of the other tenants would complain that it was me causing the disturbance.
Suggestions anyone? I don't think logic and reasoning will work, since I tried that.
Do I just suffer with a stuffy apartment and go to bed with the window closed? Do I suffer by putting in ear plugs every night? Do I retaliate in some way? Maybe leave a stink bomb outside of her window? I won't be able to take 3 months of this until the cold weather arrives and I can then sleep with the windows closed and the heat on.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


I probably shouldn't post this but I'm going to anyway.
Two stories really but both related to driving... Kids... don't try these at home.
1) Last weekend I was coming home and was driving onto an on ramp. As I came around the turn and was entering onto the two lane highway, I saw something on the other side of the road driving pretty fast, and it actually took my brain a few seconds to compute what I was looking at... It was a guy on a motorcycle doing a wheelie down the middle of the highway! No cars were around him, and no other motorcycles. My first thought was of course, 'look at this idiot'... but then I thought, 'How cool was that!' He wasn't doing it to show off for his friends, he must have just felt like doing a wheelie because he could.
2) This other story just happened to me tonight. My friend and I were on our way to the movies (I'll post about that later), and on the way we were talking about driving. I was telling him how in CA people are very considerate to pedestrians crossing the road, and that even though the highway driving was bumper to bumper driving, there seemed to be a flow to it. People didn't seem to be upset, they were just dealing with it. (I wasn't driving either so maybe that had something to do with it.) So my friend and I were saying that here where we live people are more ignorant and inconsiderate. Well, as we're talking I pulled into the parking lot, and had just turned down the lane to park. As I made the turn there was a large pick-up truck driving slowly down the middle of the lane! I thought maybe he just pulled out from his spot, and was "arcing" wide, but as I approached he wasn't moving over. So something in my head just "snapped a little" as we were just talking about inconsiderate drivers, so I too, pulled out into the middle of the lane. So it was like a mini game of head-on chicken. In hindsight, I realize how stupid this was to do, but at the same time I'm glad I did it. Eventually the other pick-up eventually did move over for me (you don't want to play chicken with me) and it was an older guy (50s) and he was smiling as we drove by. Why was he smiling?! I have no clue. But I'm glad I didn't just push myself over to the side and let this guy by. I took a stand and made him realize he was in the wrong. I know... stupid, you don't have to tell me.

In celebration...

I was just doing some last minute web surfing and stumbled upon this photo and it's just a great photo. In addition to it being a great photo, I am posting this as a psuedo celebration for a new birth in our family. I know, sorta strange to post another stranger's baby photo but hey... I'm strange.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Early August Sunset

Just wanted to post this photo that I took last week. I was trying to get the dark silhouette of the trees and thankfully my camera cooperated.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Terror in the skys

I wasn't really planning on blogging about this, but so much for planning...
First - Obviously... I'm thrilled the plot to blow up as many as 10 planes was foiled. I'm also glad there are approx 21 people under arrest at the moment, and I heard there may have been as many as 50 people involved, so I hope they catch the other 29 people.
But... what I wanted to post here, is how there seems to be an over-reaction to this latest terrorist attempt. Now, mind you I understand this on one hand because God forbid, if someone were lax about their reaction then something might happen. But, sometimes these "reactions" seem silly.
Maybe silly is not the right word... illogical maybe. For example. The idea now of having two checkpoints... One is the standard TSA checkpoint that we're all used to. But now, if someone stops off at a cafe, or newstand within the concourse to buy a bottle of water, or a soda, or even a cup of coffee, they are now forced upon entering the plane to go through this other checkpoint where they are looking for anything liquid. So really, whats the point of the first checkpoint? Also does this point to a more disturbing fact that the items in the concourse are NOT going through some sort of security check? I would think that anything within those limits has gone through a security check and everything is safe.
I'm also seeing photos poping up on the web, where they are showing the security agents confiscating liquid materials and then just "dumping" them into a big container. Um... maybe that's not the safest way to dispose of a potentially dangerous liquid!
The Daily show did a bit on this last night too... bringing up tricky subjects like "yogurt" - Not really a liquid or a gel :)
I'm sure this is all just an over reaction and things will calm down and logic will prevail. I can also see where this is headed... NO carry on items will be allowed.
I'll just add a side comment here... in seeing the hundreds (thousands?) of people waiting in lines outside of the security check points and even standing in lines outside of the airport itself, we've just moved the "targets" into a new area and possibly LESS secure as they stand in line.
What a mess.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Cup of Coffee or Espresso?

I recently read in one of my books that many people (myself included) are under the assumption that a cup of espresso has MORE caffeine in it than a normal cup of coffee. Well, I finally got around to googling this today and sure enough (in a round-about way) a mug/cup of coffee has MORE caffeine in it than a cup/shot of espresso.
The reason they gave in the book was that the water is what extracts the caffeine from the grounds, so that a standard drip runs more water through the grinds thus extracting more caffeine. But there are many other factors that could push this to being a false statement. The type of coffee must be the same in the comparison. The grind of the bean must be relatively the same. And here's the other kicker... a shot of esspresso is usually fairly small, so you (on average) are getting about 80mg of caffiene, where as a cup of coffee (8oz) has about 115mg. Most people drink more that an 8oz serving so that changes things too. Totally confused? I almost am, but I think I got it.
Read some of the posts on this google search to become absolutely confused :)
Great... now I have a craving for a cup of coffee.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Locks are for honest people

I believe it was my grandfather who said that, "Locks are for honest people".
This video shows how easy it is to open a lock using a not so special key with a tactic called "bump keying" - It's a bit long at 7+ minutes but worth looking at if you want to protect something with a lock and key. (I've heard of this techique but didn't understand it, this video which is making it's rounds on the internet is explaining it all too clearly.) This is for educational purposes only.

Food glorious food

I am always a bit surprised that when I have a cold, I never lose my appetite. I would think that after several days of eating lightly (mainly due to lack of energy to lift a frying pan), that I would have lost a pound or two, but NO! Anyway, I'm starting to feel a little better and food is starting to get it's taste back. Which brings me to my two posts for today:

Gormeh - a new word coin'd by Lore Sjoberg (there should be two dots (an umlaut?) above the "o" - I wish my name had two cool dots in it)).
Read his funny article on Wired News talking about the fast food's attempt to "gourmeh-itize" (I made that one up) foods like burgers, and cheese, and gorditas.

Then I found this article today about the California State Fair, where they have a wine tasting award for homebrewed wines. Not only is that pretty cool, but this website has consistently incredible photography for it's short recipes. Check it out.

{Hooray! It looks like blogger fixed the image upload glitch.}

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Acute nasopharyngitis

Acute nasopharyngitis... yep... that's what I have. Also known as the "common cold". I made the mistake of looking up "common cold" on the wikipedia website and now I feel worse. Words like: "mild viral infectious disease, rhinoviruses, coronaviruses, and also certain echoviruses, paramyxoviruses, and coxsackieviruses" - ugh... I feel like I should lock myself in a quarantined ziplock bag. But, I feel like I'm at the half way point. Starting to feel a "tiny" bit better, and looking forward to getting outside of the germ-infested apartment. But I'm still a little loopy from the Dayquil (though that stuff is helping a lot). On a related note, my friend just told me about airborne health, which I think I will try next time I'm getting on a plane.
ok, enough about my health - onto more important things...
I just heard a bit of an interview with a producer or director of a new movie called "the illusionist". Sounds like it is going to be a cool movie! Finally Ed Norton is back! I don't know what happened to Mr. Norton. He's a very talented actor, but it seems his last few films really stunk. I think it may have been a contractual obligation, and now that he's out of the obligation, he's free to start making descent movies. Norton and Paul Giamatti - a good combination! I'm going to look forward to this one. (note: I turned the interview off because NPR has a way of giving away WAY too much information on their interviews about movies.)

I also just dicovered an old local college radio station. I'm only about 10 miles outside of a major city, but only if the wind is blowing correctly can I get this radio station. I just learned that the station also streams their music live online, so that's cool. I think I'll use my recording program and maybe record an hour or two of music for my daily commute. Is that illegal? Probably, but I think it's justified. I can't go out and buy the music because it's music I've never heard of, and I can't listen to it in my truck because of poor reception. What's a guy to do? Well, I'm really starting to consider satellite radio. I HATE the idea of paying for another subscription service though. I've not made up my mind yet.
I started reading my "50 simple things to do to fight the right" and it talks about Air America. Why can't I get this radio station? Why is the AM radio waves mostly static? Radio needs a revamp.

well, I better go and get some food in my stomach for my next dose of dayquil. That's one good thing... I've not lost my appetite. :)
I just made myself a "buffalo burger" last night and it was good. Though I still have a problem eating a majestic animal like a Buffalo. I know the Indians used to eat them like we eat cows, but there is still something not right about it.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

great book

I just now (well about 8 minutes ago since I just boiled some water and made a cup of new tea that I bought: Jasmine Green Tea... smells fantastic!) finished a really good book. "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" By Jonathan Safran Foer. In a nushell the story is about a 9 year old boy who lost his father in the Sempteber 11th tragedy. But this almost takes a back seat to the overall story of the book, which is the "adventure" this young boy (Oskar) leads to try and find a lock in the city of NY that his father had the key to. The book is like none I've ever read before in it's creativity of story telling. There are photographs scattered through-out the book, there are pages with red ink that circle mistakes in grammer and spelling. These things, the photos, the ink marks, are things that the characters in the book have done or are doing... by seeing them it really drew me into the story. The style of writting was very different too as it was sort of told from the 9 year old's point of view, and had a sort of "stream of conciousness" to it. It was a strange story, and I didn't always understand what was going on, but I also felt like I wasn't supposed to always understand it. The strangeness I was also prepared for because the author wrote a novel that was turned into a movie I really liked called "Everything is Illuminated". Both stories have a sadness in them. But this book was also good because it talked a lot about "life lessons". I'm glad to have bought this book while on vacation visiting my family.

Well, I'm a bit out of it now... I've caught some sort of cold. It's been a strange one that started with a sore throat on Friday night, then I felt a little better on Sat morning when I woke, and even went over to my mom's to do some laundry (and have a nice lunch where she made me chicken-noodle soup! Aren't mom's GREAT! Mine IS!) But when Sat night arrived, my sore throat moved further back and was just really annoying. I didn't sleep hardly at all, and now I've spent most of sunday sleeping and resting (and reading). I really needed a day like this, so in a sense I'm glad I am feeling under the weather. I'm only up now because I don't want to go to bed too early and then wake up at the crack of dawn tomorrow.
I did miss out on a photography field trip that I had planned today so I'm bummed about that, but maybe I'll just have to go on my own one of these weekends.

And finally... sending my sis good vibes across the blog-o-sphere for Monday. I know she'll do great.

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Hurricane of justice

I just finished watching a good dvd...
The Hurricane (1999) with Denzel Washington. Denzel adds another to the list of some of my favorite movies. Although towards the end, I started to think... it was meant to be an inspirational story, yet I felt a bit sad that our justice system locked up an innocent man for such a long time with several attempts to rectify the situation. I can't imagine what this man went through. The movie almost glamourized his life in prison... reading, meditation, growing flowers, hot soup, etc... I wish they would have shown a little more as to how prison really is.
And... this leads me into a story that I found this morning on boingboing... Talk about Justice...

We can detain any combatants for the duration of the hostilities," said Gonzales, speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"If we choose to try them, that's great. If we don't choose to try them, we can continue to hold them," he said... The proposed rules would allow hearsay evidence to be introduced, including evidence obtained under duress, unless a military judge considers it unreliable, Gonzales said.To prevent terrorists from having access to confidential information, judges handling the cases must be able to temporarily exclude defendants from their own trial if deemed necessary for national security.

Wow... this sounds pretty scary, and now combining this with having just seen the movie "The Hurricane" - These are dangerous times.

Here's the full article on yahoo news.

A little story...

Just a little story I thought I'd pass on...
The other night I went to my photography group. We gather in a local public library that has meeting rooms. About 20 minutes into the presentation, a man walked in and apologized for being late. He was new and got lost. We had a rather large turnout that night of about 17 people, so the seating was limited. He ended up sitting up front near the presenter. The presenter was doing a presentation on lighting and using flashes, and bounce flashes, etc... Well, he needed a "model" so he could illustrate the various lighting techniques. As it turns out the new guy (I'll call him Lou because he looked like a Lou - I forget his real name.) Lou was sitting in a good spot that made him an easy target for being the model. He was about 50-ish with a strong build. Lou sort of smiled and jokingly said "actually I am a model". I didn't think there was anything special about his looks to qualify him as a model but just assumed he was one of these "average joe" models like you might see in a catalog. After a few shots later, he joked again about being a model and then took his business card out and handed it to the presenter. The presenter sort of laughed and chuckled and asked if he could pass his card around, and Lou shrugged his shoulders and said sure. I was sitting about 3/4 way around the table and I started noticing the reaction to the business card as it was being passed around. It usually got a chuckle, or a small gasp, or a raised eyebrow. Hmm, I thought... that was a strange reaction to a business card. Well, eventually the card made it's way around to me... I had to chuckle also :) Here, Lou was a female impersonator. I just passed the card along and continued to watch the surprised looks, and raised eyebrows, etc... What I found interesting was that once the initial reaction, everyone accepted Lou and didn't make a big deal about it. It was all so "matter-of-fact". I just thought it a nice little story, and to notice the "nuances" of the various reactions was interesting to me. As I told this story to a friend she said, "It's not everyday one gets to meet a female impersonator"... I never thought of it like that.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Darth Smart A$$ Vader

This just cracked me up. A Short remix of video:

Random thoughts...

I know, I shouldn't blog with a title called random thoughts, but, that is what this post will be...
First off, I missed Rock Star Supernova last night! My family got me hooked on this show. I've only seen a handful of episodes, but now I need to know who will win this thing. It's pure "reality TV" at it's mindnumbing best :) I was watching Tuesday night's episode and flipped away during a commercial break... apparently I was sidetracked for just a bit to long because I missed the "perfomance" by Zayra but I was able to watch it on the web last night. Doh... I just went to their website to look up how to spell "Zayra" and saw who was voted off last night. Oh well, I'll still have to watch the webcast. I did want to comment though on the two really great performances on Tuesday night by Ryan and Storm.
Oh... great... Now I forgot what my other random thoughts were!
ok... here's one...


I went to my photography meeting last night. It was very good. I'm learning a lot and being inspired by other creative people. Last night we were given a demonstration on various lighting effects by using 1 and 2 flashes. I knew all of this in theory but it was neat to see it first hand. We also had a rather large turnout of about 17 people. Many of whom entered the photo contest. I did not win this week, but that's fine because the photos that did win were really great. I will post mine anyway (if blogger will allow me) - nope... I had to manually figure out how to code the image myself - Grrr.

I am watching a new series that was on HBO. It's called "Carnivale". It's a strange one. I still am not sure if I like it or not, but I made it through episode 2 last night and now I'm going to watch episode 3 next. There's just enough drama and "strangeness" to keep me hooked.

ok, that's enough for now...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Toilet Paper Caper

Just found this news item on Yahoo (via digg)... What a great story of "revenge" - revenge in the sense of "justice" not "vigilante-ism". Kudos to Mrs. Base!

Teenagers who toilet-papered and damaged a home now face felony vandalism charges because of a mother's extraordinary sleuthing.

link: yahoo news

And... after just reading about the new AOL pricing plan (and posting about it below), I decided to jump on the FREE plan asap. I wanted to wait until I got home so I could tape my call to customer service, but thought If I wait longer they might be overwhelemd. So, after several attemps on their automated system, I finally got through to a real person (with a funny accent). He was very polite, he treated me fairly, and was able to help me (I hope). It was kinda funny, because when I asked him if all I need to do is "cancel" my aol account he responded "oh no..." it was the way in which he responded that made my laugh, like "how dare you say that" :)
But, it was a good experience (once I got past the automated services).
Now, I'll just monitor my credit card to make sure they don't continue to bill me (as they are known for).

Two more quick items...

JWD - Stop reading this blog and get back to studying ;)
good luck with your upcoming exam!

And I just checked my little map at the bottom and I got a hit from Africa!! Yes!

Blogger photos not working

I've been trying all morning to post this but have been having trouble posting the photos. Well, turns out after a little digging that Blogger is experiencing problems with this since July 25th. So, I'm just going to post without using photos for the next day (or more?). This stinks because I like putting the photos up with my posts. I hope blogger fixes this soon. It looks like they were having computer problems so they "upgraded" and now they are trying to sort out all the bugs. One of which was that they estimate 10% of their blog pages are having trouble loading.
To find out about their problems here's the link:

ok, onto my posts:
These two items are from the Make Magazine Blog. Issue 7 is at the printing press now! Yes!

A "walking" robot!
Check out this video on YouTube!
Imagine this thing walking along as you drive by.

There is a father/son project posted over on the popular mechanics site... an underwater spy submarine! Cool! Though I think this would take ME much longer than 4 days! Not to mention having all the gizmos.

and a bit of news about AOL!
I've been getting ready to quit AOL. I've bought my own domain name to have my new email address, and have been trying to update all my old AOL contacts. I fear making this switch because I'm sure I've forgotten something important. So for the past few months (I was going to wait a year) I've been monitoring my email to see if I've forgotten anyone. Well, looks like I can rest a little easier. AOL has finally announced (today) that it will change their prices and offer many of it's services for FREE! (Including email!) Finally AOL is seeing the light. I have been a loyal customer since 1993! But over the past 2-3 years they have really gone down hill.
AOL used to be a community, and long the lines it lost this. So, I wish AOL all the luck as I think they will need it. I hope they don't screw over the customers who still need dial up access (most of America!). If they play their cards right they will survive.
Cnet news item

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Stephen Colbert Wikiality

I was up late last night and happened to catch the first part of the Stephen Colbert Report. (I usually don't make it past the first commercial break). He did a short piece on Wikipedia. I am a fan of wikipedia but I too question it's "truthiness" as Stephen points out. Well, this morning I signed on and my small "tech news" filter found this article...
"How Truthiness and Wikiality helped Colbert Take Down Wikipedia"
Interesting short read. Check it out.
Here is Stephen's Wiki page.