It wasn't me. You can't prove anything.



I'd love to know what the US policy towards Iran actually is. On the one hand, the US encourages the mullahs to give up their nuclear capacity. On the other hand, we're working with the EU3, and the UN ... and nothing is being accomplished -- which may be the way the world wants it. Sanctions have been mentioned -- but Russia and China have indicated they'll veto them.

How likely is it that the U. S. and Israel will allow Iran to achieve a nuclear weapon? I hope not. Do you suppose the Russians and Chinese, both of whom share borders with Iran and depend heavily on her oil, will lift a finger to save Iran if they thought the supply of oil would continue?

Of course, that doesn't’t mean that we aren't’t planning an attack, since it should be pretty damn obvious to anybody with a functioning brain that negotiations aren't’t working one little bit and time is running out — FAST. If we don’t, the Israelis will do it alone, because they have no choice.
What it does mean is that we've reached the point where we find it useful to signal our intent to the Turbaned Tumblefucks of Tehran, which again means that the unproductive diplomacy dance is going out of style fast and our leaders are acknowledging that fact at long last. Acknowledging it openly, that is, since I’m sure that they've been aware of it for quite some time.

I predict much to-do over semantics, rhetoric. diplomacy, and a few resounding booms.
Last Day of the Year
Today is the last day of the year of our Lord 2005. It has been a hell of a year for me. We just went to lunch with a friend and his family. It was a ton of fun. I missed hanging out. We talked about blogs and the Wikipedia debacle. We talked about kids and jobs. We talked about all the things that happen to us on a daily basis. It all made me think about things that happened this last year.
What happened.
* I Got Married - This was a big one. I love Natalie. I like being married to her. I like spending time with her. I wish I could convey that to her. We have our moments of poor communication. I feel that there is nothing we can't make work.
* I Became a step dad - That is I met Elle and married her mom. That makes me her step dad. That still feels funny. If any one asked me a year ago if I wanted kids, I would have said I had no idea. I wouldn't have it any other way.
* I camped at Faire. I always wanted to go camp at Faire. I hadn't had the opportunity before. If I could afford it, I would go to Arizona this February for another Faire.
* I bought my first real 35mm type digital camera. I had no idea I would like this much. I got a video camera too, but I have not used it as much as I had hopped. If I figure out how to pull video using Linux, I'll use it more.
* I moved. I hate moving. With Elle, we needed a bigger place. it is still not big enough. I wish I could give them a castle.
* We bought a car.
There must be a couple of dozen other things I could add to that list. That kind of covers it.
What did not change.
* I still have my vision. I worry every day that I will get a detached retina or some other catastrophic change will occur in my vision.
* I still have my health. Ever since I was diagnosed with a funky heartbeat (Early Ventricular Contraction) I worry with every sore rib, heartburn, or stomach cramp.
* We have not been robbed. I worry about that all the time too.
* I still have my parents. That is a good thing. Nothing bad has happened to them.
* I still have my job. I complain a lot, but I'm glad to be employed. I recently put updated my resume and set it adrift. Not sure if any good will ever come of it.
So, some very important things stayed the same.


In Other News

Tom LaPuzza confirms that the U.S. Navy has also contributed to the placement of dolphins in entertainment facilities. While a "retirement community" exists to care for Navy dolphins no longer in active service, downsizing in the mid-nineties forced the transfer of 18 Navy animals to marine parks in the United States and Tahiti. LaPuzza also states that strong information made available to the Navy shows the Soviet training program is "out of business", with the result that the animals are dead or have been turned over to marine parks.
But the U.S. program is still in operation, on a stand-by basis.
"They are a deployable unit," LaPuzza says. "If there was information that there would be an attack on a submarine base in Seattle, we would send them up there."

In other news a pack of well trained dolphins overpowered a night watchmen at a Sea World facility in Tahiti. The pack then took control of a local police station, armed themselves and took several hostages. their demands include the release of several "comrades" still being held near their native Russian Black Sea military training facili    ty, Fish, and the relaxation of inter-species marriage regulation across the world.
Witches of the Caribbean
This movie sucks. It isn't worth the space it takes up on a web server to tell you how much it sucks. Avoid at all cost.
Open Thread for Friday
I know full well that there are not really enough readers to this blog to have a proper open thread. I feel left out though. So, without further a-do. Here is my first open thread.



Fortunately, studies show that we can learn to manage complex systems. There are people who have investigated complex systems management, and know how to do it. But it demands humility.
And I would add, along with humility, managing complex systems also demands the ability to admit we are wrong, and to change course.  If you manage a complex system you will frequently, if not always, be wrong.  You have to backtrack.  You have to acknowledge error. You\u2019ve probably learned that with your children.  Or, if you don\u2019t have children, with your bosses.
And one other thing.  If we want to manage complexity, we must eliminate fear.  Fear may draw a television audience. It may generate cash for an advocacy group. It may support the legal profession.  But fear paralyzes us.  It freezes us.  And we need to be flexible in our responses, as we move into a new era of managing complexity. So we have to stop responding to fear:

Rarely is there a movie, TV show, or conversation that captures my attention so much that I won't go to the bathroom at the first inkling of need. Never has there been a text that has bolted me to my seat in such a way. Not, that is, until today. I found an essay on Complex Systems that I could not stop reading until i was done. I didn't even realize I needed to go to the bathroom until I had absorbed the whole thing.
I've heard that religion is an old way to control the masses. It worked before there were these things we call governments. Fear of hell and lust for the rewards of heaven have governed our actions since we walked upright. I personally believe the concept of language came about because one wanted to control another. Michael says we must stop responding to fear. I say we must step back and stop responding to all emotions to understand what is going on around us. Emotions are what guided us before we started to "think". Emotions kept us fed, warm, together, away from danger. We have thought our way out of these holds. The Japanese seem to be the closest to enlightenment if this theory holds true. Then again the Vulkans may be the most advanced. Perhaps there will be a day when Human kind surrenders completely over to logic and predictability. It won't do much for art and creativity. Those are both celebrations of complex systems.
I love complex systems. It is why I like programing. So many people think computers are complex. They are not. They only do one thing at a time. Only one line of code goes past a processor at a time. Processors may have multiple threads. Computers may have multiple processors. The truth of the matter is they can only handle one instruction at a time. they are actually quite simple attempts to manipulate math.
Mat is quite simple. I know mathematical theory sounds complex, but it all boils down to 1 + 1 = 2. I hate to tell every one out there with a degree in mathematics. Theory is speculation. Some of that theory gets things done. Theories about friction tell us how breaks will stop a car. Computers don't deal with theory. Computers crunch a bunch of ones and zeros. Programmers deal with theory.
Back to Michael's essay. He goes into detail about the history of the mismanagement of Yellowstone park. Yellowstone holds a special place in my heart because I've been there. I have memories that will last a lifetime. I saw the burned forest. I saw one bear. I saw one moos. I saw a couple buffalo. I saw a goat. I saw some birds. I saw some elk. I'm legally blind. That is quite an accomplishment. Michael goes into how humans, from the American Indians to the current administration have failed in the management of the park. Creatures come and go. Meadows go dry. Michael uses it as an example of failed management. i say it would all take care of itself if there were no humans getting in the way. I've said it before, that the Earth would be a very nice place to live if it were not for humans.
I'd say that we are the complication.
Katrina Crime Wave

The task force is the second program to increase police presence that the city has unveiled in recent weeks, amid concerns about manpower and a swelling homicide rate up nearly 25 percent over last year and 70 percent this month.
Many of the problem areas fall in southwest Houston, particularly in apartment complexes housing numerous Katrina evacuees, White and Hurtt said.

I live in an apartment complex in South West Houston. I know for a fact that there are many Louisiana evacuees in my complex. I know for a fact that my wife has been harassed by someone from Louisiana in the complex in the last couple of months. I know that the only reason I do not move is because I'm broke.

A brawl that began in the Westbury High School cafeteria Wednesday and spilled outdoors capped weeks of growing tension between Houston students and Hurricane Katrina evacuees and resulted in the arrest of 27 students.
"After Katrina, I hate to say it, but it's been chaos," she said. "It's really sad. It's truly sad."
Some Houston students said the once-open social atmosphere at the school has become charged with new tensions since New Orleans students joined their classes.
"The first two years I was here, we hung together, everyone knew each other," said a 17-year-old junior. "They just don't like people from Houston ... There's been a whole bunch of fights," he said.

Westbury High School (Map)
We live north of tat location by quite a bit. It doesn't make me feel any better. I keep hearing more and more evidence of conflict. I've heard rumors that my complex is going to raise rates next year because they are basically filled up with evacuees. It all makes me want to move far, far away.
I've heard that the list of cities with the highest murder rates only counted cities with more than 400,000 residents. If New Orleans had qualified it would have been the murder capital by a large margin for the last several decades. I have no proof of this. I cannot find a link.
How am I supposed to worry about all the crazy crap going on in the Middle East, China, the UN, Europe, Africa, Russia, and indeed the rest of the universe when bad things are happening in my back yard?


We will be out this evening taking care of some left over Christmas stuff. Back later, or tomorrow.


Old Enemies Are New Again

After the Cold War, with the Soviet threat gone and with Democrat President Bill Clinton in the White House, terms such as "the peace dividend" became commonplace within the Washington Beltway and in the mainstream news media. No longer was the political establishment interested in defense, and the new agenda for the US was domestic.
However, slowly and methodically Russia's steel-eyed leader Vladamir Putin began to rebuild and expand his nation's arsenal and its fighting forces. This new phase in Russia's military buildup has created fear in some quarters in the US that a new arms race exists. Recently the Russians deployed a nuclear ballistic system that their generals made clear could render US anti-missile defense systems ineffective, according to reports in the European news media.
While Americans and Europeans celebrated the Christmas holiday, the Russian army activated a large number of Topol-M class missiles that can fit nuclear warheads and travel 6,000 miles, while rapidly switching their trajectory in order to neutralize any US- or European-based interception device.

The article goes on to rant about Russia's support of Iran having nukes and the Russians selling missile technology to Iran.
You know, I'm starting to understand the disconnect between the people of a given country and the government that controls them. I read blogs from Iran and all the people seem interested in is getting laid, satellite TV and decent cigarettes. The same seems true for Russians. So, why do the governments of these countries seem so hell bent on stirring up international shit? It is because there is a huge gap between the people and government figures. Not just an economic gap or social difference. There is a lack of reporting and criticism. The couple of people I've spoken with say they don't like what their governments are doing, but they don't feel they have any say in the matter. In Iran, I believe it. In Russia, I think the voters at least have some say. Perhaps not. What do I know. It is nice to have a perspective from some folks who lived there. It all makes me feel better about the US system. It really does sound like the worst possible system, except for all the others.
Go away Kofi

It was with some amusement that I found myself the target of a decidedly undiplomatic tirade by the U.N. chief at a news conference last week. The usually mild Mr. Annan erupted in an ad hominem attack, calling me "cheeky" and belittling me as an "overgrown schoolboy." Although I have covered the U.N. in minute detail for The Times of London since 1988, and have known Mr. Annan for almost all that time, he suggested I was not a "serious journalist."
The cause of Mr. Annan's ire was a question I put to him about a Mercedes car that his son Kojo had imported into Ghana (and which cannot, now, be traced). The facts indicate that Kojo had bought the car in his father's name, thereby obtaining a diplomatic discount and a tax exemption totaling more than $20,000. The question about the car--to which Mr. Annan again refused to give a satisfactory answer--is part of the wider probe into his role in the U.N.'s Oil for Food scandal. Despite months of investigation, important questions about the integrity of public officials remain unanswered. If we are serious about U.N. reform--as Mr. Annan claims to be--they must be resolved.
It is a time-honored tradition at the U.N. to bury a scandal by conducting an inadequate inquiry and then declaring the matter closed. Mr. Annan did precisely that when news first broke in January 1999 of his son's involvement with a Swiss firm that won a U.N. contract in Iraq
Amid the clutter of unanswered questions, one query has the virtue of simplicity: Where is the car? I have been asking this for weeks at the U.N.'s daily briefing. It was this question that triggered Kofi Annan's outburst. He clearly wants me to shut up. I'm afraid, Mr. Secretary-General, that would be the wrong thing for me to do. Every schoolboy knows that.

Sometimes, members of the MSM get it.
I distinctly remember the first time I heard of the Oil for Food project. I thought "No, it is going to end up a debacle." I thought the corruption would lead directly to Saddam's door. Then, the contractors would all receive a stern letter and be aloud to continue work. I really didn't think the UN <spit> itself, all the way to the top, would be at the center of a shit storm of theft, graft and outright lies.
I've never really liked the idea of a UN <spit>. It seems to style competition between countries. I know it was created as a cold war answer to the Soviet Block, but those days are long over. I tell you, the UN's <spit> days should be numbered. I just don't like the way small countries can leverage the UN <spit> to bully the US. Yes, bully the US. The very idea that Iran can stand up at the UN <spit> and suggest that another member country, Israel, be "wiped off the map" turns my stomach and makes me want to invest in canned food and shotguns. Then, find a nice split level cave in Wyoming.
I suggest a few simple ways of eliminating the UN <spit> as a threat.
* Stop paying for it. The US is the primary financial contributer to the UN <spit>.
* Veto everything until it is just not relevant any more. This would make the US look worse to the rest of the world?
* Arrest all members who have broken laws in the US. That should clear out the rif-raf, and bring the nose count at meetings down a bit. Diplomatic immunity my ass.
I could come up with more if I were not so drained from this cold and the jumbo can of caramel popcorn my mother gave me. Which, I've nearly completed. That is another blog entry. I'll rant more later.


I haven't seen this yet. I have always wanted to. I'm trying to find it. I did find a great review of the movie. At least, it looks like exactly the kind of movie I expected it to be. I might give my own, or not. We shall see.


Christmas Day
It is Christmas day. All through the house, not a creature is stirring. Except me and the cat. Hmmm. that doesn't exactly rime. Nat is in bed. She doesn't feel well. We were going to to go to Nat's mom's place for an early Christmas. We were at my parent's last night. We bot felt too bad to go though. Sorry Monica. Anyway. Ted picked Elle up. I've been trying to get her to pronounce her "L"s. She tends to drop them completely. I got Nat a digital camera. Her old one gave out. Elle got a Barbie Jeep that stays at Grandpa Mike's.
My head is killing me. Nat isn't feeling well. I'm going to go lay down after I skin the cat for crapping outside the damn box again.


MilBlog buddy
This is a friend's blog. He is in Iraq and comments on how proud he is to be part of freeing a nation.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Still here
Current mood: relaxed
Category: Life

  Well, it's Christmas eve and I'm in Iraq.  To be honest, it's not so bad.  Yeah, I'm away from my family and friends, but if anyone has been paying attention to the news, you'd know that Iraq just got finished with their elections.  Most people are like, "Yeah, whatever.", but the people here are thankful that we have brought them a chance to vote.  I personally was involved with making sure ballots were sent out to the right polling sites and tracked each truck that went out.  Then after the voting was complete, I (and the small group of 4 with me) tracked the trucks as they returned with the ballots.  During that time, we spent quite a bit of quality time with the Iraqi Army soldiers.  They told us, if it wasn't for the U.S. and all the allied forces, they would still be under Saddam's control and wouldn't have been able to have a voice as they do now.  People back in the states take for granted all the freedoms they have.  They don't have to worry about being killed for saying the wrong thing.  They don't have to live on only $100 a month and try to support a family.  We are a very spoiled nation and after just being here for 4 months, I now cherish the things I have more than before.  Be thankful every day that you live in a country that has so much freedom.  Even if you don't support what we are doing here, it won't stop me from sleeping at night because I know that I am helping a country with their freedom.

I'm off my soap box now.  Have a good one.

That is a MySpace blog so i have no idea if any one can pop in. Give it a try.


Word of the day
Cleptocrat: A politician, or other purveyor of paperwork with sticky fingers.
If I Were King

While declining to comment on whether the United States would consider kidnapping Hammadi, McCormack cited an example where U.S. Special Forces captured a militant leader in Iraq.
Germany, which does not have the death penalty, rejected an early U.S. request for his extradition on the grounds that he could have faced capital punishment in America.
At his trial, Hammadi confessed to helping stage the 17-day hijacking to help win the release of 700 Lebanese detainees held by
Israel, but he denied any role in killing Stethem.
But according to witnesses, Hammadi and an accomplice took the 23-year-old to the cockpit and beat him. Then they shot him and threw his body out of the Boeing 727 plane.

These are the times I wish I had 51 million dollars so I could offer a 50 million dollar reword for this asshole delivered on the white house lawn tied up in a sun dress with a big yellow ribbon and bow. He would have to be alive and capable of standing trial. No questions asked.
(Hat-tip LGF)


Whoo-Hoo Post 1000.
I had a pretty good day today. I got some things done at work. Elle seemed to be in a good mood. Nat acts like she feels better than the last couple of days. I'm still sick. Nat put the angle on top of the tree. She just commented that really is starting to feel like Christmas around here. Between the tree, the presents and the wall covered in Christmas cards I suppose she is right. It feels good.
I spoke with Jenny over IM and we reminisced about past Christmases and many hot pans of Rice Crispy Treats. Those were the days you had to make them yourself. No one had thought of packaging them yet.
It is cool weather, but it is supposed to warm over the weekend. Christmas day is supposed to be even warmer. I can't wait to watch Elle open presents. It is too bad that Nat and I are so broke. We are not going to be able to buy nice gifts for every one. I know that is not what the day is all about, but it kind of hurts to be so broke at Christmas time.
I have some other friends who just got back from the Caribbean. They seemed to have fun.
Another couple are headed to Oregon to visit the family. They always have fun up there.
Most of the folks at my work are taking tomorrow and the remainder of the year off. It is just going to be us contractors next week.  A buddy's company takes the whole week off and doesn't count it as a week of vacation. In years past I've used this week to work on programming projects. I don't have much this year. Hopefully the transition I undergo soon will change that. I imagine I will get my time sheet filled out tomorrow and start looking for people to talk business too until the day is over. Sometimes, a direct will come by and say we can leave around 1:30 or so. Not too shabby.
It really seems like it was Thanksgiving last week. The Faire seems to have made the weekends feel shorter. Now, I have to find things to fill my time. The blog does wonders. I read current events like mad. I need to mark down all the blogs I frequent and put them in one spot. That might kill a couple of hours.
I need to go blow my nose and load up on drugs. Someone leave a comment for God's sake. Start a conversation.


Witch! Witch!

MONKS: Pies lesu domine, donna eis requiem.  [whack] Pies lesu domine,
[whack] donna eis requiem.  [whack] Pies lesu domine,
[whack] donna eis requiem.  [whack] Pies lesu domine...
CROWD: A witch! A witch! A witch! We've got a witch! A witch!
VILLAGER #1: We have found a witch, might we burn her?
CROWD: Burn her! Burn!
BEDEVERE: How do you know she is a witch?
VILLAGER #2: She looks like one.
BEDEVERE: Bring her forward.
WITCH: I'm not a witch. I'm not a witch.
BEDEVERE: But you are dressed as one.
WITCH: They dressed me up like this.
CROWD: We didn't, we didn't.
WITCH: And this isn't my nose, it's a false one.
VILLAGER #1: Well, we did do the nose.
BEDEVERE: The nose?
VILLAGER #1: And the hat -- but she is a witch!
CROWD: Burn her! A witch! A witch! Burn her!
BEDEVERE: Did you dress her up like this?
CROWD: No, no... no ... yes. Yes, a bit, a bit.
VILLAGER #1: She has got a wart.
BEDEVERE: What makes you think she is a witch?
VILLAGER #3: Well, she turned me into a newt.
VILLAGER #3: I got better.
VILLAGER #2: Burn her anyway!
CROWD: Burn! Burn her!
BEDEVERE: Quiet, quiet. Quiet! There are ways of telling whether
she is a witch.
CROWD: Are there? What are they? Tell us, tell us.  Do they hurt?
BEDEVERE: Tell me, what do you do with witches?
VILLAGER #2: Burn!
CROWD: Burn, burn them up!
BEDEVERE: And what do you burn apart from witches?
VILLAGER #1: More witches!
VILLAGER #2: Wood!
BEDEVERE: So, why do witches burn?
VILLAGER #3: B--... 'cause they're made of wood...?
CROWD: Oh yeah, yeah...
BEDEVERE: So, how do we tell whether she, is made, of wood?
VILLAGER #1: Build a bridge out of her.
BEDEVERE: Aah, but can you not also build bridges out of stone?
VILLAGER #2: Oh, yeah.
BEDEVERE: Does wood sink in water?
VILLAGER #1: No, no.
VILLAGER #2: It floats! It floats!
VILLAGER #1: Throw her into the pond!
CROWD: The pond!
BEDEVERE: What also floats in water?
VILLAGER #1: Bread!
VILLAGER #2: Apples!
VILLAGER #3: Very small rocks!
VILLAGER #1: Cider!
VILLAGER #2: Great gravy!
VILLAGER #1: Cherries!
VILLAGER #3: Churches -- churches!
VILLAGER #2: Lead -- lead!
ARTHUR: A duck.
CROWD: Oooh.
BEDEVERE: Exactly! So, logically...,
VILLAGER #1: If... she.. weighs the same as a duck, she's made of
BEDEVERE: And therefore--?
VILLAGER #1: A witch!
CROWD: A witch! A duck! A duck!
BEDEVERE: We shall use my largest scales!
BEDEVERE: Right, remove the supports!
CROWD: A witch! A witch!
WITCH: It's a fair cop.
CROWD: Burn her! Burn!
BEDEVERE: Who are you who are so wise in the ways of science?
ARTHUR: I am Arthur, King of the Britons.
BEDEVERE: My liege!
ARTHUR: Good Sir knight, will you come with me to Camelot,
and join us at the Round Table?
BEDEVERE: My liege! I would be honored.
ARTHUR: What is your name?
BEDEVERE: Bedevere, my leige.
ARTHUR: Then I dub you Sir Bedevere, Knight of the Round Table.
[Narrative Interlude]
NARRATOR: The wise Sir Bedevere was the first to join King
Arthur's knights, but other illustrious names were soon to follow:
Sir Launcelot the Brave; Sir Galahad the Pure; and Sir Robin the
Not-quite-so-brave-as-Sir-Launcelot who had nearly fought the
Dragon of Agnor, who had nearly stood up to the vicious Chicken of
Bristol and who had personally wet himself at the Battle of Badon
Hill; and the aptly named Sir Not-appearing-in-this-film. Together
they formed a band whose names and deeds were to be retold
throughout the centuries, the Knights of the Round Table.

This is of course from the geniuses of Monty Python. I will not top this dialog in my lifetime. How messed up is that? I'll never top this single funny scene. If I were to find myself lost in an enchanted forest and brought before the greater deity of wit and retort who smiled upon my forsaken, humorless mass, I would not be able to top this five minute collection of one liners.
By the way, you should hear it when the computer reads it. It is still kind of funny.
Dell, no, say it ain't so.

Let us travel back through time to one month ago, November 15th, when my mother asked me to order a computer as a surprise Christmas gift from my grandmother to my Aunt Annie, who has taken over the job of running the house and paying the bills since my grandfather died. "I will order it from Dell right now," I told her, and forthwith did, finding a very nice deal on a Dimension 3000 that set us back a little over $850 including shipping and tax.
Keep in mind that I have been calling them every single day since we ordered the replacement, to make sure that the thing was actually percolating through the system. On Friday afternoon, five days after the replacement had been ordered, no one mentioned this little issue to me. Apparently, they stopped manufacturing the Dimension 3000 some time this weekend. Undoubtedly all the workers were in Hong Kong, protesting at the WTO.
You would think, that with all the customer service problems they have been having, Dell would not want another customer out there saying "Dell strung me along for a month and then dumped me on the computer market five days before Christmas." You would think, in fact, that they would be falling all over themselves to FedEx me the closest thing they could find to what we ordered at no extra cost to myself. Or maybe you wouldn't think that. Maybe I'm some sort of woeful naif with an outsized sense of entitlement who believes that just because Dell's colossal screwups threaten to leave my family without a present under the tree for my much-put-upon Aunt come Christmas morning, that Dell should try to fix it.
Update IV I seem to have inadvertently implied that Indians are incompetent and/or mean in the update above. The point was just that Indians presumably don't understand the cultural significance of Christmas, any more than I understand the cultural significance of . . . umm . . . that holiday where they throw colored powder all over each other. Although it looks like mad fun. I assume that Indians are just as compassionate and caring as Americans are. Although I have only met a small fraction of India's 900 billion people, my experience so far has been very pleasant. If we can generalize up from my small sample, Indians are lovely people indeed.

I've had no problems with Dell support. I am, however, hearing nightmares all over the place. I've heard some stories from people at my work. I've heard stories from my friends. I may have to reconsider where I get my next machine. When I hear someone I know is a techy type tell me "They just don't care" (from a friend of mine) I have to stop and wonder if I should just build my own computers from now on.
I'm hearing these kinds of stories from different industries and from all over the place. It really sounds to me that the economy as a whole has decided that customer service is just not worth the money. It is an after the sale cost. Until there is some kind of shake-up nothing will change.
I'm sure there are just as many asshole Indian folks as anywhere else. The pay structure can still afford to pay people to be nice in India. That will change. Here in the states, I noticed many years ago the loss of "service with a smile" from just about every one. It happened in the mid 80s. Right about the time a huge recession came rolling through. The labor budget dropped and the first thing that went was the good nature.
I thought there were 1,080,264,388 Indians. Oh, look I'm right. =]
Jen's News Letter

This Thursday, Dec. 22, there will be wine tasting and gourmet hors d'ouvres at Pizza Roma's Little Italy from7-9pm.  Call 281-556-5555 to reserve your spot for delicious vino, complimented by the chef's specialties.  It's $25 per person, and it's a perfect retreat from the holiday chaos.  You're worth it! And you can bring your out of town family members, too.
If you'd like to enjoy their regular wonderful Italian food, you can come on over and get in for free.
Pizza Roma's Little Italy is at 12645 Whittington, just off Dairy Ashford, between Westheimer and Briar Forest.
Happy Holidays!, Jen

We might actually show up to this one. We live about a block from that pizza place. I've always wanted to go there. They used to have a 57 Chevi (at least the hulk) that they had as decoration somewhere. They had to change the sign out front for a while because it had a huge lit up New York skyline that included the two tours. They went out of business for a while. They had a sign up that read "We ran out of doe." That was cute.


Sleeeeeeep. ... ... zzzzzzzzzzzz ... ...


What I want for Christmas
Actually, just get me a card. I'm not giving out gifts. If you want to get me something, get Elle something. That will make me happy. Oh, wait, I already blogged about that. Nothing that makes noise or too big. We are already getting one of those Barbie Jeeps from an uncle who missed a couple of Christmases. That toy is living at a grandparent's place.
Merry Christmas! I do not wish you happy holidays. I'll wish happy Honica. I'll say some other religious or state mandated holiday, but not if it is specifically designed to cover up Christmas with some generic rhetoric to keep from offending someone else. If you are offended by my religion, then you are not tolerant. If you don't want to say Merry Christmas then don't say anything at all. OK, <Kelly steps off soapbox> I surrender the floor. Go home to your families and enjoy every day. You only have so many.
Helping A Friend
Nat is in Far East Texas. A friend of ours needed some help and she volunteered. Nat is good people. Elle is over at Bills for the rest of the day. I've been on my own most of yesterday and probably will be most of today. You know, having the place to myself is not what it used to be. I just don't like it any more. I'm thinking that is a good thing.
I was thinking I could get a bunch of stuff done, but guess what. I've been a lazy lump. I've sat here and piddled around (U. S. definition of basically wonder around and get nothing of significance done) and watched some movies. I've commented on some web sites, read some blogs.
Oh, I killed three hours looking for a bolt action rifle that reverses for left handed use. I found one. The trouble is you cannot use the search term "left hand" or "ambidextrous" because they all have ambidextrous safeties. I found some purpose built left handed bolt action rifles. They are just as bad as a right handed one. I suppose I'm just going to have to avoid bolt action all together. There is always lever action. They jam more, but they work. I would get a semiautomatic, but people seem to frown on those. I'm probably not going hunting. If I do go hunting I will be more interested in taking pictures than shooting an animal. It would be nice to know how to do it though.
Anyway. I'm making a pot of coffee. I'm watching movies. I miss my family. Funny, that makes me smile.


I've heard before there was ammunition that you could use in a standard chamber firearm that makes no sound. I finally found a site that talks about some older technology that may be on that track.
That same page goes on to talk about an underwater sub machine gun developed by the KGB. Not too shabby.
More on Kong
Official Site
Nat had the best review I've heard so far.
Movie Notes
* The dinosaurs were better than the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park.
* There was more to the monkey than stop motion/ CGI. The actor's feelings came through. He should get an Oscar out ever spending a frame in front of the audience. They need to make one if need be.
* The movie drips the grand feeling that used to be so hard to find in movies.
* Several panning action shots are used. I'm sick of in the car shots and static shots, but when you through on some impossible fly-by shots that look like a video game, they make the old time shots come together.
* There are a couple of scenes where Kong is far to personified as compared to a gorilla. However, the body language, sounds and facial expressions seem to pull it off. It is a love story after all.
* You really do pence Kong's pain.
* Naomi Watts does the best job of acting I've seen in a while.
* Jack Black didn't trash the roll half as bad I thought he would.
"Best movie ever" No, I would have to disagree. It was a good movie. Believability, well, that is a relative term. How much realism do you expect with a 25 foot beast?
* Ice skating 25 foot gorilla.
* The rooftops would not have held his weight as he jumped.
* His actions are too fast in some instances. A larger creature would suffer from slowed synaptic response.
* Why the hell were the planes flying so close? Why was the third plane to be grabbed flying that close?
I could go on all day. This was Peter Jackson's dream. Well, good job Peter. It was worth a career in the movie industry to come out with this film. I hope you win a bunch of your crony's awards. I hope you go on to make more films. I hope some day you top Kong. Good luck.
Saw King Kong
That is all.


I should have known

Defeatism and defeatist entered the language in 1918, from French défaitiste, which was coined in reference to the Russians dropping out of World War I. Defeat itself is much older, of course. It comes from Old French defait, from a common Latin compound of dis- "un-, not" and facere "to do, perform." The original sense of defeat in English was "bring ruination, cause destruction." The military sense of "conquer" dates from c.1600.

Now that I think about it the word "defeat" sounds like a French word. It cracks me up that it is French. Now that I'm thinking about it, the word "surrender" sounds French too.


Damage Control
If you have been reading this blog for any length of time you know what side of the bread on which I butter. No, I'm not referring to my sexual orientation. I'm talking about my political views. Funny thing about this country. We are aloud to complain about our current politicians. We are aloud to complain about other governments. We are aloud to be annoying and obnoxious. As long as we do not cause harm to others and allow them to do the same. Well something like that anyway.
I freak out a lot about the Middle East in general. This week it is Iran. Last week (and still this week really) it was Syria. Before that it was Iran again and before that it was some other country. Sometimes it is China that I complain about. Lets face it, I'm paranoid. I accept that. I have not been diagnosed, but I have all the symptoms of paranoia. Oh, then 9/11 happened. Before that it was the ship that was manually torpedoed in a foreign port. Oh, there were some plane hijackings. Let's face it. The U. S. is a target. Why, I have some ideas, but I cannot prove anything.
I have chosen sides. One must choose a side before one can properly argue a point. It is kind of required in a true debate to have chosen a side. Correct me if I'm wrong.
I choose the United States of America. There, it is done. I can be just as open as any one else in the world. I can be just a  accommodating. I could forgive a man who picks up a speer to proverbial home against whomever. That is, I can be all these things as long as the U. S. is winning. You see, I've chosen sides. That will conflict with every single person on the planet who has chosen a different side. Since the population of the U. S. is only like 2% or so of the Earth, that is a gaggle of folks out there who will not agree with me on most topics.
So, what prompts this gross of rhetoric? There is an intelligent concerned woman who is a Palestinian who I know. She has a diametrically opposite viewpoint from mine. She asked me about some of the points that I covered in my blog and wanted to try to communicate her feelings to me. I asked her to comment on the blog entry in question. For all I know she is typing her response to my sometimes damning words aimed toward the vicinity in question. That is wonderful in my book. I found someone who believes perhaps more strongly than I in the opposite direction. She is intelligent. She is well spoken as far as I can tell. I cannot wait to read what she has to say.
I am proud to live in a country where two people on opposite sides of the very catalyst that might start WWIII have a venue and yes, the right, to face off and try to convince each other of our points of view. We do not have to hide our debate. We do not need to sneak off to some small corner where no one will hear. We can stand on the mountain top and shout to the world. We have the freedom.


Wholly-shit! Have you heard what is going on in Iran? Iran is clearly attempting to acquire nuclear technology. The supreme leader (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) of Iran said he wants to wipe Israel off the map. Then the psycho says the Holocaust is a myth. All Europe and the UN do is sit on their hands and bitch at each other for pissing off the madman. The UN is fare more interested in Toyota Land Cruisers and expensive cigars. These fools don't realize they are staring WWIII right in the gullet.
North Korea is behind this. They are prodding Iran "Go on, you are not going to let the U. S. and Europe get away with making you look like a sucker are you?" The only consolation in the latest blathering wafting from the leadership of Iran lately is they are including Canada between the hate filled hissing. It is about time Canada stood up with the rest of the West and took it on the chin.
You know, I don't have to publish my pictures at all. I took a bunch of pictures at the party. I had multiple requests for removing pictures of specific things from specific people. I tried to remove the pictures in question. It appears I missed something and people are complaining. Whatever. I give up I don't have to publish them at all. The pictures are really for me anyway.
Nat's Cooking
Nat cooked Monday evening, Tuesday evening and breakfast this morning. Everything she cooked tasted great. She didn't like the carrots in one of the dishes. They tasted like every other frozen cooked carrot  I've ever eaten.  The waffles, yes, waffles, she cooked this morning tasted great. The automatic waffle maker we got for the wedding either screwed up or has some quark we need to learn because the waffles came out in pieces. So what! She made waffles. I'm happy. Oh, then she drove me to work on a rainy day. Hazaaah!


I've put up some pictures from last weekend's party. There are actually some black boxes on some of these photos. This is the first time I've had to do that sort of thing. No biggie. I also had to use a new page generator. It looks OK. I've already gone over why I had to switch.
This group is a cool bunch of folks. I want to sit down and go through the pictures one by one to explain what is going on. I will spare you. I did enjoy taking the pictures. I'm worried about upsetting any one. This is new ground and a new group. If I've upset any one in the pictures then let me know. If I've offended any one outside the pictures, then grow some thicker skin. This is the 21st century for God's sake.
I remember when I was about thirteen or so, my parents got cable TV. I'm not kidding, the guy hooked it up and some B movie came on that was the cheese aliens raping women and killing people all over the place. The Show was not on three minutes before some woman got naked. My mom said "We already discussed this. We are not going to hide it from him." to the cable guy.
Works for me.


I worked on an old project most of the day at work. I cannot wait to move to a new assignment soon. Every time I go through knowledge transfer at work I fear training my replacement. This time it is a bit more disembodied. I'm training some IT zombie over seas to do some of the tasks that I've performed. Honestly, what I have been doing over the last couple of years is not that complicated. It is, however, based purely on experience. You have to have an idea what is going on behind the curtain in order to make things happen as planned. The reason I fear the KT is that I fear training someone and then loosing my job.
Natalie finally got me on MySpace. She has been trying to get me to sign up for a long time. I'm not impressed really. It is a venue for advertisers to peddle their products to groups instead of one web surfer at a time. Several of my friends are there. it looks like I can avoid most of the crap. It was kind of cool that Natalie had to help me configure my site to not look dork. Well to look less like a dork anyway.


Day After
Nat and I went to a Goblin Nation party last night. It was a blast. I have to get approval for the pictures so they will be posted soon. it was a ton of fun.
* There was great food. I'm not talking party food, though there was plenty of that there too. I'm talking cheese cake and good sausage. Any time Scott shows up, there is good food it seems. Abaddon had the most amazing stir-fry.
* Thee was a contest called a "Peck-off". I'm not going to go into it. Let your imagination run wild.
* I met some wonderful people. These are people who have bright warm souls. They are worth the time to learn their world and a joy to join in with a proud "hazaaaa!!"
* I took a bunch of pictures. They are not up yet. I'm waiting for the King's approval.
* We had a fire in a barbecue pit out back. That gave it a definite Faire feeling. I've noticed that open fires, or in this case one in a pit, give a gathering a different calling.
* I have a cut on my right hand, I have no idea how it goth there. I only had one gulp of mead. Nat had to stitch Keven up after a broken bottle incident.
* This was the first Goblin Nation family party. I'm glad to have made it. Several people could not make it. They were toasted by those who did.

I sat down at my computer and figured out that I had not figured out how to make web pages to do display the pictures I take. You have surely seen the old pages. I was using a program called JAlbum to put those together. For some reason, when I attempt to install JAlbum, it gives me some kind of freaky binary error. If I can figure out how in the hell to get it installed, those pages will probably come back. Until then, I'm going to use a program called GThumb. It comes with the Ubuntu install. It doesn't do a half bad job of resizing and wrapping the images. I tried about five different programs and ended up back at GThumb. It was the first one I tried. I thought it was terrible until I tried to get the other five programs to work. All of a sudden, after about three hours of messing with other programs, it's output was acceptable.


The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
We went to the Alamo Draft house of course. However, I left my credit card at the house by mistake and we had to run back to the house to get it. When you buy the tickets online, they track you via your credit card. We ended up sitting on the very front row. I could only watch one half the screen at a time. I started to get a headache during the previews. I knew it was coming. It really kept me from enjoying the movie. I bet it was spectacular. I did look up during the battle scenes They had the grand feel that I felt in the Lord of the Rings series.


Best Comeback .. Ever
OK, I'm quoting a blog that is quoting NPR, but this is kind of weird because it is an audio interview. Normally, I would quote the original source and give the hat-tip to the blogger. They probably have a link to a transcript or something that I missed. Anyway, here is the whole thing. (sorry Israpundit)

Max Strange reports
Marine Corp's General Reinwald was interviewed on the radio the other day and you have to read his reply to the lady who interviewed him concerning guns and children. Regardless of how you feel about gun laws you gotta love this!!!!
This is one of the best comeback lines of all time. It is a portion of National Public Radio (NPR) interview between a female broadcaster and US Marine Corps General Reinwald who was about to sponsor a Boy Scout Troop visiting his military installation.

    FEMALE INTERVIEWER: So, General Reinwald, what things are you going to teach these young boys when they visit your base?
    GENERAL REINWALD: We're going to teach them climbing, canoing, archery, and shooting.
    FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Shooting! That's a bit irresponsible, isn't it?
    GENERAL REINWALD: I don't see why, they'll be properly supervised on the rifle range.
    FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Don't you admit that this is a terribly dangerous activity to be teaching children?
    GENERAL REINWALD: I don't see how. We will be teaching them proper rifle discipline before they even touch a firearm.
    FEMALE INTERVIEWER: But you're equipping them to become violent killers.
    GENERAL REINWALD: Well, Ma'am, you're equipped to be a prostitute, but you're not one, are you?

The radio went silent and the interview ended.

Statistically, I bet the most dangerous thing you can teach your child is how to drive. I'm willing to bet teaching someone safe gun use reduces the likely hood of being hurt via a firearm. However, I'm willing to double that bet that teaching a child how to drive increases their chances of dying or being injured in a car crash. How ironic would that be?
Music News

Song Sites Face Legal Crackdown
CaptainPotato writes "According to the BBC, the Music Publishers' Association is stepping up to launch the next phase in the music industry's battle against online music. The MPA is demanding jail time for the maintainers of websites offering unlicensed song scores and lyrics. The MPA President has stated that closing websites and imposing fines is not enough, stating that by 'throw [ing]in some jail time I think we'll be a little more effective' in its crusade." We just recently reported on the pearLyrics cease-and-desist order as well.

If you criminalize music, only criminals will have music. They still don't get it. They need to evolve, not sue their own customers and people who understand change. I suppose a race of animal that realizes it is on the way out has the opportunity to eat all the animals that are evolving it out of existence. It is a battle for survival after all. I hope the new guys get a chance to thrive.
Another Survey

The average person only gets 7 right.
This is based on U.S. info, so use all lobes of your brain. This can be more difficult than it looks - it just shows how little most of us really see!
There are 25 questions about things we see every day or have
known about all our lives. How many can you get right?
These little simple questions are harder than you think-- it just
shows you how little we pay attention to the commonplace
things of life.
Put your thinking caps on. No cheating! No looking around! No
getting out of your chair! No using anything on or in your desk or
Can you beat 20?? It is nearly impossible for any normal person to get higher than a 20 (The average is 7). Write down your answers and check answers (on the bottom) AFTER completing all the questions.
REMEMBER - NO CHEATING!!! BE HONEST!!! That means no looking at your phone or anything on your desk...
Then, before you repost this, change the number on the subject line to show how many you got correct.
have fun!
Here we go!

1. On a standard traffic light, is the green on the top or bottom?
2. How many states are there in the USA? (Don't laugh, some
people don't know)
3. In which hand is the Statue of Liberty's torch?
4. What six colors are on the classic Campbell's soup label?
5. What two numbers on the telephone dial don't have letters by
6. When you walk does your left arm swing with your right or left
leg? (Don't you dare get up to see!)
7. How many matches are in a standard pack?
8. On the United States flag is the top stripe red or white?
9. What is the lowest number on the FM dial?
10. Which way does water go down the drain, counter or clockwise?
11. Which way does a "no smoking" sign's slash run?
12. How many channels on a VHF TV dial?
13. On which side of a women's blouse are the buttons?
14. Which way do fans rotate?
15. How many sides does a stop sign have?
16. Do books have even-numbered pages on the right or left
17. How many lug nuts are on a standard car wheel?
18. How many sides are there on a standard pencil?
19. Sleepy, Happy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey, Doc. Who's missing?
20. How many hot dog buns are in a standard package?
21. On which playing card is the card maker's trademark?
22. On which side of a Venetian blind is the cord that adjusts
the opening between the slats?
23. There are 12 buttons on a touch tone phone. What 2 symbols bear no digits?
24. How many curves are there in the standard paper clip?
25. Does a merry-go-round turn counter or clockwise?

1. Bottom
2. 50
3. Right
4. Blue, red, white, yellow, black, & gold
5. 1, 0
6. Right
7. 20
8. Red
9. 87.7
10. Clockwise (north of the equator)
11. Towards bottom right (left top to right bottom)
12. 12 (no number 1)
13. Left
14. Clockwise as you look at it
15. 8
16. Left
17. 5
18. 6
19. Bashful
20. 8
21. Ace of spades
22. Left
23. *, pound (..)
24. 3
25. Counter-clockwise


I got a 20. I missed the Campbell's soup and lowest number on an FM dial.
Another Survey That Goes Nowhere
You know, I refuse to fill out surveys that do any one any good. The surveys that are just for the heck of it I take. How messed up is that?

Put an X by the movies you've seen.
If you get more than 70, you're a movie junkie.

(X) Pirates of the Caribbean
(X) Boondock Saints
(X) The Mexican
(X) Fight Club
(X) Starsky and Hutch
(X) Neverending Story
(X) Blazing Saddles
( ) Garden State
(X) The Princess Bride
(X) Young Frankenstien
(X) AnchorMan
(X) Napoleon Dynamite
(X) Saw (and Saw II)
( ) White noise
(X) White Oleander
(X) Anger Management
Total here: 14

(X) 50 First Dates
(X) Jason X
(X) Scream
(X) Scream 2
(X) Scream 3
(X) Scary Movie
(X) Scary Movie 2
(X) Scary Movie 3
(X) American Pie
(X) American Pie 2
(X) American Wedding
(X) Harry Potter
(X) Harry Potter 2
(X) Harry Potter 3
(X) Harry Potter 4
(X) Resident Evil I
(X) Resident Evil 2
(X) The Wedding Singer
( ) Little Black Book
Total Here: 18

(X) The Village
(X) Donnie Darko
(X) Lilo & Stitch (and II and the other thing I can't remember the title of, and the daytime cartoon)
(X) Finding Nemo
(X) Finding Neverland
(X) 13 Ghosts
(X) Signs
(X) The Grinch
(X) Texas Chainsaw Massacre (old and new)
( ) White Chicks (I refuse to watch this one)
(X) Butterfly Effect
( ) Thirteen going on 30
(X) I Robot
(X) Dodgeball
(X) Universal Soldier
(X) Limony Snickets A Series Of Unfortunate Events
( ) Along Came Polly
(X) Deep impact
Total here: 15

(X) KingPin
(X) Never Been Kissed
(X) Meet The Parents
(X) Meet the Fockers (+ II)
(X) Eight Crazy Nights
(X) A Cinderella Story
(X) The Terminal
(X) The Lizzie McGuire Movie
( ) Passport to Paris
(X) Dumb & Dumber
(X) Dumb & Dumberer
(X) Final Destination
(X) Final Destination 2
(X) Halloween
(X) The Ring
(X) The Ring 2
( ) Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
(X) Practical Magic
(X) Chicago
(X) Ghost Ship (and Ghosts of Mars)
(X) From Hell
(X) Hellboy
(X) Secret Window
(X) I Am Sam
(X) The Whole Nine Yards
(X) The Whole Ten Yards
(X) The Day After Tomorrow
( ) Child's Play
(X) Bride of Chucky
(X) Ten Things I Hate About You
(X) Just Married
(X) Gothika
(X) Nightmare on Elm Street
(X) Sixteen Candles
(X) Bad Boys
(X) Bad Boys 2
( ) Joy Ride
(X) Seven (SE7EN)
(X) Oceans Eleven
(X) Oceans Twelve
(X) Identity
Total here: 39

(X) Lone Star
(X) Predator I
(X) Predator II (I thought I saw III. Is there a III?)
(X) Independence day
(X) Cujo
(X) A Bronx Tale
(X) Darkness Falls
(X) Christine
(X) ET
(X) Children of the Corn
(X) My Boss' Daughter
(X) Maid in Manhattan
(X) Frailty
( ) Best bet
(X) How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
( ) She's All That
( ) Calendar Girls
(X) Sideways
(X) Mars Attacks
Total here: 16

(X) Event Horizon (Could have been so much better)
(X) Ever After
(X) Forrest Gump
(X) Big Trouble in Little China (Of all movies that didn't have a sequel)
(X) X-men 1
(X) X-men 2
(X) Catch Me If You Can
(X) The Others
(X) Freaky Friday
(X) Reign of Fire
(X) The Hot Chick
( ) Swimfan
( ) Miracle
(X) Old School
(X) Ray
(X) The Notebook
(X) K-Pax (lame)
Total here: 15

(X) Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
(X) Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
(X) Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
(X) A Walk to Remember
(X) Boogeyman
(X) Hitch
(X) The Fifth Element
(X) Star Wars episode I The Phantom Menace
(X) Star Wars episode II Attack of The Clones
(X) Star Wars episode III Revenge of The Sith
(X) Star Wars episode IV A New Hope
(X) Star Wars episode V The Empire Strikes Back
(X) Star Wars episode VI Return of The Jedi
(X) Troop Beverly Hills
( ) Swimming with Sharks
(X) Air Force One
(X) For Richer or Poorer
(X) Trainspotting
(X) People under the stairs
(X) Blue Velvet
(X) Sound of music
(X) Parent Trap
(X) The Burbs
(X) The Terminator (II & III)
( ) Empire Records
( ) SLC Punk
(X) Meet Joe Black
(X) Wild girls
(X) A Clockwork Orange
(X) The Order
(X) Spiderman
(X) Spiderman 2
Total here: 30

(X) Mean Girls
(X) Shrek
(X) Shrek 2
(X) The Incredibles
(X) Collateral
(X) The Fast & The Furious
(X) 2 Fast 2 Furious
(X) Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow
(X) Closer
Total here: 9

(X) Titanic
(X) Saved
( ) Bowling For Columbine
(X) Farenheit 9/11
(X) The Sixth Sense
(X) Artificial intelligence (AI)
(X) Love actually
( ) Shutter
( ) Ella Enchanted
(X) Princess diaries 1 (Elle movie)
(X) Princess diaries 2
(X) Constantine
(X) Million Dollar Baby
(X) Envy
(X) Eurotrip
(X) Malibu's Most wanted
(X) Big Daddy
(X) Black Sheep
(X) The Breakfast Club
(X) West side story
Total here: 18

(X) A Christmas Story
(X) Spanglish
(X) Pulp Fiction
(X) Sleepover
(X) The Evil Dead (I've seen all six or so versions of this movie.)
(X) Killer Klowns From Outer Space
(X) The Seed of chucky
(X) Vanilla Sky
(X) Nightmare Before Christmas
(X) Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
(X) Interview With The Vampire
(X) The Crow
(X) Purple Rain (waist of celluloid)
(X) Reservoir Dogs
(X) Wayne's World
Total here: 15

(X) Wayne's World 2
(X) 21 Grams
(X) Blow
(X) Edward Scissorhands
(X) Clerks
(X) Beauty and the Beast
(X) Guess who
(X) Monster In-Law
(X) Elf
(X) Stuart Little
(X) Stuart Little 2 (and the cartoon version)
(X) Mall Rats
(X) Chasing Amy
(X) Dogma
(X) Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (I've seen about four of the Jay and Silent Bob movies now)
Total here: 15

(X) Beetlejuice
(X) The Last Samurai (movie and an Anime version)
(X) The Amityville Horror
(X) The Aviator
(X) Romeo and Juliet
(X) Barbershop
(X) Barbershop 2
(X) Beauty Shop
(X) Legally Blond
(X) Legally Blond 2
(X) The Forgotten
(X) Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen
(X) Grudge
Total here: 13

I got 217. That is not the most.
If you only got 80%, you are not paying attention or your are not living in America.


Christmas is for the kids. Elle gets all the attention this year. If you feel like giving me something, get something for Elle. Give me a card. It will make me happy to make sure Elle is happy.


More Balls than Brains
Well, there may be more to the old adage than one might think.

The brainier male bats are, the smaller their testicles, according to a new study. Researchers suggest the correlation exists because both organs require a lot of energy to grow and maintain, leading individual species to find the optimum balance.
Pitnick and his colleagues had predicted that, in species with promiscuous females, males would require bigger brains in order avoid being cuckolded. So they were surprised to find the opposite: ?Perhaps monogamy is more neurologically demanding.?

How many of my tax dollars are spent studying things like this. I make myself think that in order to reduce our dependencies on chemical pesticides, we study the natural answers to infestation in order to better take advantage of it. Still, some intern is getting paid, either directly or indirectly, to hold a bat still and measure its reproductive organs. Someone else is quantifying the promiscuity of the females. A manager type is sitting there racking his/her brain trying to figure out how to keep these people focused and motivated. Someone is mopping the floor too. And all on my tax nickel.
Now, as far as which is more taxing on the brain, I fully understand that a female that sleeps around does not require a lot of thought to bed. I'm no expert at this, but pleasing a monogamous female is far more challenging. You cannot just perform the same tasks over and over to please the same female again and again. You must be creative. You must think.
I've always prided myself on being smart. I was not able to get a degree. The more I learn the more I realize I need to learn. I consistently tested one standard deviation above average on intelligence tests in school. As for the other, ask Nat.

I heard this story on the BBC. I have to give credit to the announcer who said the words out loud with grace and didn't crack up once. The interview with the expert was professional and I did not hear one jab at the ridiculousness of the subject. The next story though was started out by saying "I don't think I can follow that."
Christmas Spirit
I'm finding myself in the Christmas Spirit. I haven't felt this way in a long while. It is a good thing I'm broke or I'd blow all kinds of money on decorations and toys for Elle. Well, I'm still going to get some toys for Elle, mostly things that can say are educational in some way. Natalie is a big Christmas freak. I have to say that I like that about her. She picked up a small Christmas tree and some battery lights for the wreath that she already had in a box. We don't have the little lights up yet. I want to get a picture of them when they are up.
The last time I felt any Christmas spirit was a couple of years ago when I bought a PlayStation II and a remote control truck for my parents. They had expressed how this was going to be a light Christmas due to some problems with business. I decided that was the perfect time to get a bit crazy. They plaid the ATV game that came with the PS II for a couple of hours and chased the dogs around with the RC truck. All in all, it was a capital occasion.
This year we (as in Nat, myself, and all the grandparents) will have Elle and at least one other grandchild to enjoy the season with. Elle is a great kid to have around when presents are passed out. She loves receiving. I'm sure as she matures, she will appreciate the joys of giving too. I've only known her for a short while, but she seems to have a deep personality.


At my day job, I'm changing what I do. I'm amazed how many times I have completely changed what I do at this job. I started out doing a job that was just a bit more complex than data entry. Then, after some well placed complaining, I became the proprietor of a database that controls material specifications. From there I fell into several small programming stints. At some point I was drug into packaging software. That is, I set it up to install from the network without much user input. That isn't supposed to be a full time job, but it kind of works out that way. Now, I'm off to another task. I'll still have some of the same responsibilities. No pay raise I bet. It is more programming oriented and I like that.
Wish me luck.


We got Elle back around noon. Her grandfather Bill had taken her over night after her birthday party on Saturday. We ran out to Monica's (Nat's natural mother) to let her have a chance to talk to Elle because Monica could not make the party due to her new job requirements. We had noticed a bump on Elle's left thumb that grandpa pointed out when he dropped her, but it didn't make swelling go down. We ended up in the emergency room. Fortunately, they saw us in less than two hours and we got a prescription for some antibiotics. Ted's insurance paid for the visit and the antibiotics. Good deal too because I'm not sure I could have covered it this month.
Nat just called me into Elle's room and pointed something pretty interesting out to me. There was a dead fire ant on Elle's pillow. There are no signs of ants since the last fumigation at our apartment. I wonder if she picked up the ant walking around in the grass.
Something told me when we left that a) I needed to go for some reason and b) This was going to take all day.


Today was Elle's birthday. She really seemed to enjoy herself. Nat rented a room at First Colony Mall. I originally thought that would not work out, but it worked out well. The room was big enough to hold every one and closing off the doors made it easier to corral the kids.
Bill took some pictures.
I was in a really crabby mood all day. I don't know why. Some people were upset by it. I ended up throwing $4.40 worth of cash on the floor and waling away from one person who pissed me off.
We went and saw Aeon Flux. It was OK. Nat seemed to enjoy it. I didn't think it was nearly as eclectic as the comic or cartoon on MTV. It wasn't bad though. They cut the fight scenes to ribbons. I'm not saying they left things out, I'm saying the bounced around from angle to angle so much to make the illusion of a magnificent ballet of violence going on that it was distracting.
I got Linux to mount the FAT32 drive in my computer. I've been able to mount it manually, but that had to happen each time I wanted to access the drive. I got the fstab to work this time. Now I have a bridge between my Windows boot and the Linux system.
Earlier this week I attempted to convert the partition in question from NTFS to FAT32 in order to use it read/write from both Windows and Linux. I used a program called Partition Magic to do this. Something happened and the software crashed. I lost everything on the partition. It was just a bunch of otherwise useless data. Still, I wish I could have saved it. I feel like I failed somehow.
Christmas lights
This is what my parents did all day. Pretty.


There are those times in parenthood when things kind of work. This is one of those times.
Elle and Tiger's morning
Elle's morning.
I emailed a link out to several friends of mine and received the following feedback. They are in the order that I received them.
Woody Very Cute
Very Cute
I want a orange kitty!
What angles.
Very cool. Isn't it wonderful - how kids (and cats) can relax so completely, and sleep so deeply. Fun photo, with all those pastel colors.
Very cute :)
Pretty damn cute.
Id say that is a consensus. Nat couldn't help but snap that picture with her phone and send it to me. I could not help but send it out to the world.
This is a picture taken at the Texas Renaissance Festival. I took it on the last weekend this year (2005). If you can identify where the picture was taken, I'll give you a cookie the next time I run into you. Nat is disqualified because I told her where the picture was taken. lick the image for a slightly larger version.
Quiz Photo
Quiz Photo


So, when I was a kid I remember watching a show about a group of folks camping out in Florida. They were waiting for the Space Shuttle to launch. I remember during the interview you could see campers and tents in the background. Camping at Faire must have reminded me of this because I had a dream last night of Natalie, Kim Dana and I out at that camp ground waiting for the Shuttle to go up. We all took pictures of people and the launch. The funny  thing is, we were in Faire garb. It was kind of fun.
Kim and Dana
Kim (left) and Dana (right) from Faire. They are married. They are both photographers. Dana has a nearly identical camera around his neck. They are two of the wonderful folks who took pictures at our wedding.


Time Out
I had to give Elle a time out a little bit ago. She was throwing paper at Tiger (our cat) in a mean way. When I confronted her, she yelled at me. I picked her up and took her to her room and made her sit down (and thus cry) four a measly minute and a half. You would have thought the world was coming to an end. When the minute and a half was over I told her in a very calm manor that she had to be nice to Tiger, and we both walked out of the room. I went back to the computer and the Aoen Flux movie trailer. Elle ran in to mom screaming her head off and loads of crocodile tears. Nat wasn't buying it. Elle is quite the attention hog. I've noticed the time out structure kind of works. It is better than popping her in the butt, but it still doesn't stop her from doing stupid stuff. I have a lot to learn.


Linux update
Just for the heck of it I installed a new mouse pointer theme that mimics Mac pointers. I don't particularly like mat pointers, but I wanted to do it to learn how. I also got my old Sony Clie working with jPilot. The trick is you have to start the palm sync first, then kick off the desktop. I added Pimsleur Spanish MP3s to my MP3 player. That was a no brainer because I plugged it in and it worked. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm quite proud of myself. I should be proud of the Ubuntu folks. They created a situation where a user like me could get so much done.
Check out the links below for Ubuntu and general Linux information.

Is Ubuntu for You?
Ubuntu Terminology
Ubuntu Forums - Absolute Beginner Talk - Screenshots
Free Ubunut Linux CDs - Shipit | Download
Ubuntu - HowToGetHelp

Team Bahamut - Ubuntu Document Storage Facility
Ubuntu FAQ Guide

Breezy Customization Guide
David Martin's - Ubuntu 5.10 (Breezy Badger) How-To
Ubuntu Forums - Customization Tips & Tricks
HowTo - Sound

Ubuntu Forums
Official Ubuntu User Email List
Ubuntu support via Internet Relay Chat (IRC)

GUI Tweaks
Gnome Art FAQ (How to change icons, themes, etc)
Ubuntu Gallery - User submitted screenshots
Gnome Art
deviantART - Wallpaper and skins
Freshmeat - Themes

Hat tip: Blogs of War

This is the guy who got me to look at Ubuntu in the first place. He seems keep up on the topic.
Portable, low maintenance energy

What if you had a power unit that generated substantial electrical energy with no fuel? What if it were so rugged that you could parachute it out of an airplane? What if it were so easy to set up that two people could have it running in just a few hours?
SkyBuilt Power Inc. has begun building electricity-generating units fueled mostly by solar and wind energy. The units, which use a battery backup system when the sun is down and the wind is calm, are designed to run for years with little maintenance.
Depending upon its configuration, SkyBuilt's Mobile Power Station (MPS) can generate up to 150 kilowatts of electricity, says David Muchow, the firm's president and CEO. That's enough to power an emergency operations center, an Army field kitchen, or a small medical facility.
It works this way: Parts for each Skybuilt unit are packed into standard-size shipping containers. The containers, specially modified and strengthened, can be moved by ship, truck, train, or even dropped by a laser-guided parachute to the most remote location.
Once on-site, the container is opened, and arms and poles are attached to the outside to hold solar cells and wind turbines. A prototype built here in Arlington has been running steadily for more than a year without repairs or maintenance.

So, this thing is the size of a tractor trailer. It is designed to put out 150 kilowatts max. That is enough to run a couple of houses. What is the one thing that has happened to ALL technology in the history of mankind? It has gotten smaller and cheaper on a daily basis. I picture a day when they build these things into the attic of the house. I mean, why would I be bothered about a couple of panels or a windmill on the roof if it is the norm in the neighborhood?
You know, nothing says we have to buy electricity at all. Nothing says we have to hook to the grid. I daydream of a house on a hill with panels on the roof and a well for water. We live our lives attached to a phone tower far away or a satellite. We  eat as much as we can off the land. The world knows we are here. We know he world. We are just happier in the woods, away from so many others.
I have been waiting for years for a better battery, or a better generator. The thing that will free us from so many wires and so many monthly bills.. This is one tool. fuel-cell phone batteries are another step. A tinny turbine engine for running electronics has been tested. There is a battery charging pad that you lay your devices on (no plug) to charge. I know the researchers that be, are feverishly looking for materials that will hold more energy for longer shelf times. The trouble with bottling up energy is that it wants to achieve a state of balance, in other words, explode.
I like self powered devices like the old windup flashlights and the like. I've recently looked at generators just for the hell of it. I remember someone designing a pair of shoes that charged a phone while you walked, but I cannot Google it. Now, they have drop-anywhere solar panels. Not too shabby. "shiiiiinyyyyy" as they say.


Family Adventures
Email # 1

Hi All

Ron is in Cabo San Lucas, the transmission went out on the boat about 85
miles north of Cabo on Wednesday Night, he then had the adventure of his
life and by the grace of God he and the crew survived.  It's his story to
tell and I'll not take the time now.  His email address is
<>.  He will be in Cabo until the transmission is
fixed and then will take the boat on to La Paz.  I don't know if that is
days or could be weeks.  I'm staying at Kerri's house in Long Beach and
Boomer and I are doing fine.

I'm still recovering from the shock of what happened and I hope and pray he
decides to give this up.

Love ya Judi

Well, I got on the stick and emailed her back with something to the effect "WTF happened?!?" Or maybe it was more like "Our prayers are with you as always. What happened?"
Email # 2

They ran into a storm, 15-20 knot winds, no engine, couldn't use the sails
in that high of seas.  Waves 12-15 feet high.  One of the crew called the
Mexican Navy and lied about being sick, they came out and took him off the
boat but couldn't help Ron.  That left Ron with 2 crew.  They finally made
Cabo and anchored at night in the fog, one of the crew fell asleep on watch
and they drug anchor 9 miles back out to sea.  Finally had to be rescued by
the Mexican Navy, seas were so rough, a large fishing boat finally went out
to bring them in.
One crew member was a diabetic and he had run out of meds and was going in
and out of trances, the other a green sailor (he's the one who fell asleep
on watch).  I guess Ron had made peace with God and said goodbye to everyone
in his prayers.  It is a miracle they made it out alive...I'm still trying
to figure out what he thinks is so great about this.  Thanks for the prayers

I'm still hurting for details. It kind of reminds me of the movie Captain Ron. All my Uncle needs in an eye patch. I will try to give some more details if they come up. It definitely sounds like someone in my family is having the real kind of adventures.
Big Brother (continued)

People think that if the government is going to "spy" on them that there is some great big machine named "WOPR" that is recording everything they do.
That is simply not the case. The government is made up of people just like you and me who have no interest in the mundane details of your life.
That said, I don't want people poking their nose in my business. It's more the principle of the thing, not the actual thing itself.
I know, I kinda went round and round on this response -- but so did you. :)

The above comment is from a dear friend of mine  Let's say, that he know what he is talking about. The "WOPR" comment comes from the movie War Games. Will the symbolism in that movie never end? If it were a big machine keeping watch over me, I don't think I would have a problem with so much information sitting around. The trouble is, it is people who get the information. I understand all too well the frailties and vulnerabilities of humans. Nobody has a problem with security cameras until it is their twelve year old daughter being watched by some forty three year old security guard who still lives in his parent's basement. That is when I want a little bit of control over the situation.