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


Got up kind of early. Nat went out and did wedding stuff all day. I stayed home and watched Elle. I felt like crap, so I actually got some sleep on the couch while she watched movies. I ended up missing the Simpson's again. I ate some pizza earlier and started feeling bad after that. It wasn't like a stomach pain, it was just a feeling of weariness and being kind of under a weight. After Nat took Elle to get something to eat a bit ago, I got up and drank a soda. Now I feel much better. I wonder what the heck it was?
Tomorrow is work. You know, having a family makes you appreciate the time you spend at work. That is sick, but true. Is it a good thing or a bad thing when you look forward to going in to work on Monday?
Some car keeps driving by with a bad water pump. Bad water pumps make a sound that is pretty distinctive. This one is so loud, there is no way the driver could not have noticed it. It upsets me when people let things break before even attempting to fix them. I'm guilty of this myself on occasion, but come on, that sound means something is wrong.

I've looked into podcasting. I don't have much desire in sifting through the centuries of crap to find the gems. I don't have an iPod, but I hear it will work with just about any MP3 player. I've listened to some streams on my computer and enjoyed most of it.
I've also thought about doing a podcast. I don't really have time for a regular schedule. I would much rather do some short videos of things that happen like the wedding yesterday. Reading the blog is difficult enough. My next mobile phone will most likely have a podcast feature so I'm not worried. Please, don't expect anything soon.


I got the pictures of Heath and Nickie's wedding up. Please let me know what you think. It's late. It's been a long day.I'm tired. I'm happy. Can you believe it? I'm only happy when I'm so tired I can't think straight. What's up with that? Anyway, enjoy the pictures.
Heath and Nickie
We got up early today. It is a good thing Nat was already up when my alarm went off because I slept straight through it. We got up early to go to Heath and Nickie's wedding. It was beautiful. I will get the pictures up as soon as I can. It was the first set of real pictures I took with my new Rebel XT. Some of the pictures taken with the telephoto zoom are too soft for my liking. I read this is a symptom of those lenses. If you  don't get a fixed focal length lens, you can expect that sort of thing.
Heath and Nickie were the best looking couple there. They looked happy. They looked like they will make it work. There were a bunch of people there. It was a big wedding. I met people I haven't seen in years. There were many folks I didn't know. It was fun. I don't know half the people in the crowd.
It felt good going to a wedding with a date. How offal is that? It is self centered. Nat was wonderful. She looked wonderful. She seemed to have a good time. Not only that, but she let me run all over the place taking pictures. That was very kind of her. All in all it was a great day.


AAAA ... AAAAAAAAAA ... AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA Make it stop!!! I'm going nuts. There are a million things to do and poor Nat is doing them all. I have to get a Kilt. I have to get multiple cakes. I have to deal with wedding people. Oh, then I have to pay for it all.

Julian Beever
I got the following pictures in an email. It is really cool stuff. Julian Beever is quite a talented artist. His site is slow, so I'm going to put some pictures on my server. (forgive me Julian) Click on the image for a larger version. Check out the rest though.
Julian Beever Julian Beever Julian Beever Julian Beever
Julian Beever Julian Beever Julian Beever Julian Beever
Julian Beever Julian Beever Julian Beever
How it is done
Check out the different angle. Julian has to draw the lady's leg far off in the distance to get the 3D affect to work properly. They promise he draws everything by hand. I could not imagine doing this without a pre-stretched sketch to go by though.
Julian Beever Julian Beever
I would like to see a shuttle launch or something like that. I'm not sure why that popped into my head.


Groom's Cake
Nat insists I get a Groom's cake. I don't really have an idea. To keep her off my back, I mentioned a dragon cake would be cute. She wants something funky. We are sitting in the same room Instant Messaging each other links to pages with cakes we like, or laugh at. I just want something cheap. There are some interesting cakes out there.
We are going to need three cakes. The one inside TRF that they make us buy. The regular wedding cake outside and now a Groom's cake. I'm going to ask Nat if we can just have two. Come to the wedding to find out what happens.
GTA Sex Scene
This is a link to a video of the hidden sex scene from GTA. It is pretty tame to be honest. Sorry for the advertisement you have to scroll up and skip. Who hasn't done this with a couple of Barbie Dolls?


Ancient Phallus

A sculpted and polished phallus found in a German cave is among the earliest representations of male sexuality ever uncovered, researchers say.
The 20cm-long, 3cm-wide stone object, which is dated to be about 28,000 years old, was buried in the famous Hohle Fels Cave near Ulm in the Swabian Jura.

Under the Science section. You have got to go check out the picture. They tried to make it sound all scientific. You know some reporter was sitting there typing and snickering. I wonder if they faked a straight face while submitting the article to their editor.
I have had to deal with companies on the west and east coast before. I've ordered stuff and either had no trouble or needed to contact people and get things resolved. I did not have an appreciation for professionalism until I started buying things from amateurs on eBay and other points on the net. People let stuff slide. They don't return emails or phone calls. They don't care that they lied about what they had for sale. You cannot track them down easily. No one cares that you got ripped off. You know, there is really nowhere to go to resolve internet purchases. If you buy from another country, man, you are screwed.
Recently, Nat and I ordered a dress from a well known and linked web site. It took me threatening to sue them to get them to return my emails. From now on, I'm looking for a brick and mortar address before I order anything from any one. Typically, if I can find it on Amazon, I get it there, just because I trust hem a bit more. Trouble is, nearly every one beats Amazon's price, few beat the service.
Now, I have to hound people to give me information so I can pay them. Waiting in line to pay someone my money has always gotten on my nerves. Now, hunting people down to pay them has pretty much the same affect.

Jane Fonda can kiss my ass
Jane Fonda is embarking on a nationwide trip to denounce the war. Enjoy your freedom Jane. Please be sure to thank those soldiers who died for you to have the right to travel to friendly supportive clusters of liberals who will cheer your words against the protectors of said freedom. Thank the soldiers who will face an extra measure of danger because the enemies of the freedom you abuse. Remember as you soak up the attention that there is a soldier in another country, squatting in a hole, wishing to God that he could just go home. Remember, years ago, the same thing happened. You evil, self-centered, sole-less child.  hope you die and leave no legacy to do this again the next time our freedom needs to be defended.
This afternoon, while weeping at my desk, I asked god the following. "God, please get me into a cool job that pays great that I enjoy." Why the hell do I mention the "enjoy" thing last? I have a potential choice coming up soon. It will be hard work, but it will be something that I have an investment in. It will be something that I have a say in. It will be something that means more than a paycheck to me. Will i enjoy it? Will I make it work? Or, will I screw it up like most of the other stuff in my life? Stay tuned.

Firefox Trouble
When you set Firefox to open new links in a new tab instead of a new browser (Who the hell wants 900 browsers open at the same time?) you get some funny results.
For example, When I open a new email in Gmail, it pops up in a window with no menu or buttons displayed. I'm tapping my email away and think "I sure would like to listen to some music while toiling away at this correspondence." and I jump over to Radio Paradise and click on the "listen" button. That causes the little pop-up window counting my email to load the page that loads the music feed.
"DAMN-IT!!" I exclaim. Which is something I would normally say in such a situation.
I figure I just lost my whole email and I'm not too happy about it. Which is something I would normally feel in such a situation.
I click on the "X" to close the window an the computer asks me "Do you want to close all the open tabs?". ... "Open tabs?" I ask myself.
There are no tabs showing in the window. That doesn't mean they are not there. I hit cancel and try the control-tab key and sure enough, there is my email.
Now, this is one of those things you will never find on the internet. This is a combination of cascading features also known as a cluster-fuck. These things happen in all software. They happen in all parts of life. There just isn't anything you can do about it, except sit back and laugh. Then, sue someone and try to make a couple of bucks. Happy surfing.


The entry below is how I have felt some of the time. I feel lost. I feel like nothing will ever work. There are good times. I forget that too often. Every day is like a life all to itself. we feel highs and lows. Some days you are blessed with an all good day. Other times you feel not but stress and strain. Today brought both.
Today was a long day for me. Eleven hours of work and worry. A mile walk in one hundred degree heat and no air conditioning on the buss ride home. Stopped to get the mail and it is all bills. But, I walked in the house and Elle shouted "Hello Kelly!" and funniest thing, it was all OK ... dirty diaper and all.
Ups and downs.
Here come the lawsuits

The family of a Brazilian man shot dead by armed police officers at a London subway station say they are considering legal action.

The article goes on to describe a connection between the first set of attackers and the second set. Apparently, they all went white-water rafting together.
This kind of reminds me of the L. A. bank robbers. They were actually trying to kill a bunch of people and were shot dead by police. The family of those assholes has been trying to cash in ever since. This situation is quite a bit different. This guy came out of a watched apartment block (not unlike mine). Then went to the tube station and got asked a bunch of questions by the cops. Now, his visa had expired, so he starts to freak. Had he taken off the other direction, out of the station, he might still be alive. Perhaps cops should corner suspects so they will not run into the trains or other crowded areas.
I do kind of like the stance the government is taking. They say "Look, shit happens when you are trying to protect from suicide bombers." Well, that is not an exact quote, but I like it. I hope they use the situation to nab some other criminals. It might be nice if the bad guys of all kinds are afraid to set foot on the tube.
Nat is sick. I'm under strain. This family thing is too much. I'm about to snap. I don't know what to do. It wasn't supposed to be like this. There was supposed to be some good times too.


George Carlin Radio
Who would have thought old Georgy would have enough material to have is own internet radio station. Well, you can't tell me that there is anything you can't find on the net if you just look. This is just one of the little things that keeps me from climbing a tall building and pitching pennies until I'm dropped by a sniper in a black helicopter.

Donation Button
I finally bit the bullet and added the donation button to the right of this text. I've been threatening to do it for years. It would have taken all of five minutes if I hadn't blundered down the wrong documentation path the first six times. The money goes straight into my pocket. You will receive nothing in return except the satisfaction of knowing I will piss the money away on frivolous crap like food and shelter for my family.


Thank God tomorrow is Friday! I really hope things go well at work because I'm going to be a wreck worrying about Natalie's oral surgery. She has her wisdom teeth removed tomorrow at around 2:00. My mom is going to take her and driver her home. Please say a prayer for her if you get the chance.

We are trying to get rid of a dog. It is a strange mix. It pees every time you look at it. I'm beyond sick of smelling dog pee in my apartment. I don't know what we are going to do with the carpet. Frigging pets. I want a pet rock. I'm going to name it George. I will pet him and hug him and he won't pee on anything.


Scary China

China cannot be certain that its military, while steadily strengthening, is capable of conquering Taiwan, the Pentagon said Tuesday in a new report on Chinese military power and strategy.
Over the longer term, however, an increasingly modernizing Chinese military could pose a threat to U.S. and other forces in the Asia-Pacific region, it said.

I'm not sure what to say about this. If you read the article, and some others that seem to pop up daily, you get the idea that China is preparing to take over another country. The U. S. has vowed to defend to defend Taiwan when the shit finally hits the fan.

Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing of China said in response to the report that his country would continue to "pursue a path of peaceful development."
The annual Pentagon report on China's military said that China is emphasizing efforts "to fight and win short-duration, high-intensity conflicts" over Taiwan.
China's military spending has grown by double-digit rates since the mid-1990s and "appears focused on preventing Taiwan independence or trying to compel Taiwan to negotiate a settlement on Beijing's terms," the report said.
China does not yet have the military power to take Taiwan by force, the report said, and Beijing's conventional forces are not capable of threatening U.S. territory, as "China's ability to project conventional military power beyond its periphery remains limited." But the report cautioned that China was modernizing and expanding its arsenal of nuclear missiles that are capable of reaching the United States.

China doesn't seem to be very concerned. I am concerned. I have some friends who are highly intelligent who seem to just blow China off. "What are they going to do, swim here?" I want to remind them how many Chinese students, scientists, engineers, doctors, and other professionals live here and fit in to society. The Mexican border is as likely to stop a determined terrorist as a barb wire fence is to stop a flood. I firmly believe that if the U. S. and China get into it over Taiwan, China will hold U. S. cities hostage, not with missiles, but with planted agents who will commit a terrorist act on command.
Can you imagine trying to stop the commands from going through? In this day of the internet, instant messaging, email, and international text messaging any seemingly mundane message such as "aunt Martha's birthday is coming up." might set the cell off on it's appointed target. China cannot even cut it's own people from the internet.
The U. S. strategy lately is to make sure that China makes so much money off the citizens of this country that they will be too afraid of loosing money if war breaks out. That sounds pretty shaky to me.

I was listening to the BBC today, as I do pretty much every day, and I hear that buzz noise that mobile phones make next to electronic stuff. I'm sitting there checking my phone. Did I get a text? About the time I assure myself that my phone is in a pure state of noiseless bliss, the commentator comes on and asks if any one being interviewed has a mobile phone in their pocket. So, It isn't just me. It ended up being one of the "[former?] professional broadcast journalist".
The funny thing is, you hear that all the time now. It seems like every interview that isn't a planned press conference, you hear phones ringing in the background and hear that annoying buzzing over the line running over someone's voice. It is highly distracting. I'm afraid it is a fact of our current times.


Geek Poetry


If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port, and the bus is interrupted at a very last resort, and the access of the memory makes your floppy disk abort, then the socket packet pocket has an error to report.

If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash, and the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash, and your data is corrupted cause the index doesn't hash, then your situation's hopeless and your system's gonna crash!

If the label on the cable on the table at your house, says the network is connected to the button on your mouse, but your packets want to tunnel to another protocol, that's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall.

And your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss, so your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse; then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang, 'cuz sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang.

When the copy on your floppy's getting sloppy in the disk, and the macro code instructions is causing unnecessary risk, then you'll have to flash the memory and you'll want to RAM your ROM, and then quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your Mom!

Well, that certainly clears things up for me. How about you?

cat seuss

Nat sent me this one.
Jen's News Letter

Come on out to Clark's downtown on Sunday, July 24,  for an afternoon of casual music listening and hanging out.  I'll be on the Clark's stage at 4:00pm for a set and then we can hang out and listen to my good friend and talented colleague, Kat Rose who will play at 6:00pm.  Clark's is an intimate little place on 314 Main Street.  It's right next door to Dean's Credit Clothing.

I'll also be sharing the stage with a couple of my favorite musician friends at one of my favorite bars, JP Hops House, on Friday, July 29.  Steve Brooks is a super-talented songwriter from Austin, TX, and Saylor White has had songs recorded by Lyle Lovett.  We start at 9:30 pm, $6 cover.

If you haven't heard already, I'm involved in starting up a new and exciting studio called The Sound Sculptors.  We're having a huge kick-off pool party, BBQ, open mic, and free recording for all performers.   For more info, click

Hope to see you soon

Sounds like a lot of fun to me.


Harry Potter
Nat and I showed up at a book store last night just for the heck of it. It turned out to be the moment that the new Harry Potter book was released. Needless to say, I'm reading Harry Potter, The Half Blood Prince as I type. That is quite a feat, no?


I like the rain. This morning it rained on the walk in. It was a good rain though. It is the middle of Summer so the water drops are cool. I like watching the water drops hit the street and puddles in the sideways light from headlights as they pass. I like watching the ripples in the water that runs along the sides of the streets. I like the sounds that the drops make hitting my poncho. I like the fact that Mankind cannot control the weather yet. (Or do we?)

Sometimes I'm pathetic. I had an offer of a free lunch the other day. Some salesman wanted to give a pitch to some of my company's folks and I was invited. For the price of a five minute lecture on the products, I get a free lunch. Do you know why I didn't go? I felt sorry for the salesman because I knew I had absolutely no intention of ever buying or even promoting the products. I didn't want to waist the other company's money. Sometimes I make my self sick.

Batman Begins
We went and saw Batman Begins Wednesday night at, of course, the Alamo Draft House. Elle had just left that afternoon and Nat missed her terribly. It was kind of too bad though. I was sleepy and felt edgy for some reason. I had a hard time focusing on the movie. There for, I feel I have no right to say much about it. We are probably headed back tonight. I had a great night's sleep to thunder and lightning last night. Hopefully, whatever we see tonight will have a better chance of entering my memory.


Car Chase Survey

Steve McQueen's car chase scene in the 1968 movie "Bullitt" still ranks as the most popular car chase scene in Hollywood history, according to a survey.

Top ten car chases.
01) Bullitt
I agree.
02) The 2000 remake of the movie Gone in 60 Seconds,
No, I do not agree. It just didn't do it for me.
03) Smokey and the Bandit
Not even close.
04) The Blues Brothers
Will always hold a special place in my heart for some reason.
05) the original 1974 version of Gone in 60 Seconds
Because it was original, I agree.
06) The French Connection
Not really
07) Ronin
This one should have been higher in my opinion.
08) Vanishing Point
I haven't seen it.
09) the recent remake of The Italian Job
No, because it was unoriginal.
10) The Fast and Furious
Should not have been on the list.
Didn't make it in the top ten.
The Bourne Supremacy
Nice crashes, but not crunchy enough.
The Matrix Reloaded
Yes, it was cool, but it was just to contrived. It looked fake. It just didn't have that "this could happen to me" kind of feel.
Days of Thunder
The car chase sucked in my book. The car chase in Roger Rabbit should have been higher than this one.

I listen to the BBC at work. They had some golf tour on today. I hate golf. I've spoken with a guy who played golf for a living and he hated watching golf on TV. I can't imagine listening to it for fun. They would give some commentary on people playing live and then play fifteen minutes of interviews and people griping about rules or other players. It just sounds annoying to me. No thanks.


Hand Held Device
Remember the blog entry I wrote many moons ago on my idea of the best hand held device? Well, things are coming together. A buddy of mine just ordered a new toy that plays video, MP3, and other media files. It also reads SD cards and pulls information off USB devices. This allows you to take pictures of video and use this thing as a storage device and viewer. Now that Apple is getting into the phone market with an iPod phone, I think my desired device is as near as it has ever been.

Elle left for Georgia today. Natalie is understandably upset. She missed Elle before the door closed. Bill (Elle's grandfather) came by an picked up some of Elle's stuff yesterday so he could do a better job packing it for the plane ride. This is the first time she will be on a plane and the longest she has ever been away from Natalie. Elle comes back Sunday. She is off to visit her father at his boot-camp or is it basic training, graduation. He still has a bunch of school before he gets deployed anywhere.
I asked Bill to take plenty of pictures. I'll try to post them here if he wishes.

I have to say that I'm disappointed at the Shuttle launch being scrubbed today. Strangely, I was drawn to watch it. I've been all hyped up about it for about a week now. It has been all over the news. I want it to be a success. We need some good news.


Veges Follow Up
This is another email from Adam with a follow up on what happened to the guy in the poker tournament.

I just got the scoop from his brother Robb.  Robb and Ken can chime in and correct me if I am wrong on any of this.  I have also attached a photo of Dave at the tourney.  (I converted the pic from a fat bit-map to a more email-friendly JPG.)

Looking at the photo, there is an interesting anecdote about the hat. It seems when you start playing poker, big-time, you need to come up with some kind of gesticulation or trick to throw people off from reading you.  The guy that I mentioned in my earlier report that claimed to have won $20,000 said that he never talks during a game *except* when he wants to throw people off.  He just quietly sits, playing, never saying *anything*.  When he picks his hand to make a move, whether he is bluffing or has the cards, he may say something like a swear word or a witty comment.  He thinks it rattles people.  Anyway, Dave's shtick is his hat.  He never takes it when he plays.  It just sits on his head -- except when he is trying *not* to be read.  Then he takes it off.  He doesn't whip it off or make a show of it.  He just takes it off.  He thinks that it works.  From the sound of it, I'm not so sure, but then again, I'm not a big-time poker player.

David sat down at the 2nd round of World Series Poker Sunday at 11am. Both Robb and Ken were there to watch him; Laurie and I were on a plane home.  They got lucky in that his table was at the corner of the play area.  You see, the play area is a convention hall with poker tables stuffed everywhere.  Spectators are roped off and most tables are a good 20'-50' feet away from the closest spectator spot.  David was seated right next to a corner, so there were plenty of good viewing angles for everyone.

So David starts with ~$16,000 in chips and play super cautiously.  He is whittled down to over $10,000 in blinds and antes when one of his opponents goes all-in pre-flop.  This opponent is doing worse than Dave and has ~$6,000 to his name.  Dave thinks a bit and goes all-in himself.  No one wanted to challenge Dave's $10,000 stack so it was just Dave vs. the small stack.  Dave flips up a pair of 10s.  The small stack flips over Ace, 7.  The flop hits a 10, 8, 8 so Dave flopped a full house and won the hand.

So now he is sitting on something like $20,000 and the tourney organizers start condensing tables and Dave gets moved something like 2 times within a couple of hours.  Moving tables can give you a big disadvantage because you don't know the play styles of anyone you are sitting next to, but everyone else does.  Dave sits in tables next to a couple of poker big shots like Federer and a few others.  But not actually *at* their table.

Anyway he gets pushed to his third table where he is sitting on $15,000 and everyone else has $60,000+.  Not a good position for him.

A couple of hands later, two of the large chip stacks go head-to-head and the larger of the two loses.  So now one of the two opponents that used to have $60,000+ in chips now has $120,000 and the other ~$1,000. So Small stack starts going all-in every hand, bullying people into letting him have the blinds.  Small stack goes up to ~$5,000.

Dave at this time is at around $10,000.  Pre-flop, Small stack goes all-in like he has been doing ever since he lost.  Dave thinks about it and wants to chase the remaining players off the hand, so he goes all-in as well.  Everyone folds out except the big stack, who pauses and then calls.  Dave shows a pair of 10s (again).  Small stack turns over Ace, 9.  Big stack turns over Jack, 10.  Dave winces at one of his 10s being gone, but still, he has the advantage.  Flop shows 3, 3, 8.  So now Dave is looking pretty.  Only an Ace or Jack beats him, and even if an Ace shows, he still wins versus Big stack so it would be basically a wash for him.  Turn comes and shows another 3.  So now Dave has a boat.  On the river the Jack shows.

Dave loses to Big stack and finished something like 1000th in the tourney.  He says that he would do it all over again.  He was in the right spot and had the right cards.  It just didn't work out.  If he makes it again next year, I'm actually gonna go again but this time, watch him play.


Here is the picture. It kind of says it all.
David at the poker tournament

No Phones in Tunnels

Cell phone service was disabled inside the four tunnels leading into Manhattan after the terrorist bombings in London, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg questioned Monday whether the move "makes the most sense."
Cell phones have been used to detonate explosives in Madrid and elsewhere.
But cutting off cell service in tunnels beneath the Hudson and East rivers means drivers can't dial 911 in an emergency.

What was all this the government keeps saying about not letting the terrorists change our daily lives? Why not close the borders? Why not search all foreign nationals at the door? Why not go door to door looking for suspects? Read the while article and it appears to be a miscommunication.

Relationship Stuff
I should know by now to keep my mouth shut. Over the last couple of nights Elle has slept in our bed with Nat. Nat thought this was because after watching Dark Water Friday night, I would want she and Elle to have that special time together before Elle leaves for Georgia Tomorrow. Well, I was doing it because Nat was feeling bad with a tooth ache and I didn't want to make Elle cry (Elle cries when I put her to bed, that is just the way it is.) and cause Nat stress on top of the tooth ache.
This is no big deal. We simply had the same goal and different motivations. I wish I had read Nat's mind. Now I feel she is disappointed in my decision. As much as I dislike second guessing decisions, I know that this is part of "he-ing and she-ing" as my dad put it. I have had little experience in the area. Hopefully, I'll learn fast, and not dive Nat too crazy.

Town Blog
My friend Suzanne asked me if I would post her town newspaper, that she puts together, to the internet. I recommended a blog for the town. You can put pictures up and everything is free until you get a boat load of hits. I have not yet heard back on her thoughts.
She wants what every one wants when they start publishing this stuff. She wants to write everything up in Word and print it to the internet. That is what Adobe meant to do with the whole Acrobat PDF format. (PDF stands for Portable Document Format). If Adobe had it's way, you would surf from one PDF to another, all licensed by Adobe. Thank goodness that didn't happen. The internet would have ground to a halt.
I hope she likes the idea. I think it is the best solution to her need. I will link to what ever she decides is the best way to convey her information.

What have the terrorists learned from the attack in London. Well, they have learned several things.
* Brits are tough. (Stiff upper lip and all that.)
People are getting back to their lives partly in defiance of the terror and partly because people just feel the attacks were inevitable.
* Liberals will always condemn their own people more than the people who attack them.
Many people want to change their culture to appease the people who attacked them. This is giving in, but they don't seem to care.
* Politicians will try to use the attack to their advantage instantly and without regret.
The same day, the opposition was on the offensive saying their should be investigations into failure to detect the attack and so on.
* Britain is not Spain.
People keep comparing the attack to those in Spain a year or so ago. Spain had days of morning and pulled out of Iraq. Spain are a bunch of pansies. What do you expect?
* Londoners have been exposed to terror from the Nazis, IRA and now Al Qaeda. It has been done.
London is one of those cities with a very rich past. In other words, people have wanted to conquer it for a long time. It is still writing chapters in that book.
* No one is going to compete with the death of Diana.
The whole nation turned out to morn Diana. Her death was sudden and unexpected. People loved her. People missed her. There was no real enemy to hate when she died.
* Attacks underground make poor photo opportunities.
What a foul-up. Spain trains run above ground. The images were all over TV for days. This time all we saw was one buss in tatters, and people climbing out of the underground. Some news sources had to run footage from people's mobile phones for God's sake. I'm sure the terrorists are kicking themselves over that one.
Dammit! I had another great point that I forgot.

This has been on my work white board since last Friday.
whiteboard toto


There is a bunch of personal stuff that I can't really write about, so I'm going to put someone else's weekend experience here today. This is my friend Adam's weekend. He fired off an email to EVERYBODY to prevent telling the same anecdote over and over.

[I figure I'd forward this to everyone. It will keep me from re-telling the same stories over and over. My friend Kelly asked how our Las Vegas trip went. -Adam]

Kelly Hawkins wrote:

>How did the trip go? > The complete report:

Left work around 2pm with Ken, Laurie and Robb (you've met him, may not remember him -- Dave's brother, our CFO). Got in to Las Vegas at 7pm. Checked into the Casino Monte Carlo (MC for short), which is on the strip next to Casino New York, New York. We tried to call David (the guy we went to see play in the World Series of Poker) but he was busy playing poker for cash. (An aside, he supposedly lost $1000 on a single hand that night.)

Laurie, Ken, Robb and I all nagged at each other about what we would and wouldn't eat. Robb, it appears, is a meat and potatoes kinda guy. And not like you, Kelly, but really *just* meat and potatoes.

Ken forced Robb to go to a Chinese noodle place, which was really good. Ken got honey shrimp and a sushi roll. Laurie got a vermicelli dish. Robb got General Tso's Chicken -- I begged Robb to try something that he couldn't order in Houston. He still ordered General Tso's Chicken, in spite of my protests. I got lemon scallops and two pieces of giant clam sushi.

Robb's dish was the best. Robb didn't rub it in however.

While Laurie and I went back to our room to get ready for a casino tour, Ken plunked down a bone on a 10$ craps table and proceeded to make $800 in about 15 minutes. That make can play craps.

There is something about $10 craps tables that rub me wrong. I don't know why $10 craps is so hard to swallow compared with $5 craps, but it just is. I guess the fact that you can lose $100 in minutes on a $5 table kinda sets you on your heels at a $10 table. I don't know. But Robb and Laurie felt the same way. So Friday night we moseyed down to Excalibur and found some $5 tables. It seems that Robb has the entire strip mapped out in his mind and he knows where every table is everywhere.

I swung up and down that night to the tune of $200 both ways. I played craps, down $100, then blackjack, down $100, then roulette, up $300, then craps, up $100. An aside, my whole reason for hitting the roulette table is so I could place your $1 bet on red, Kelly. I'll let you know that I put $5 on red. You can have the entire $5 bet if you want. Just let me know how much you want of the bet and then I'll tell you if you won or not. I dropped $5 on "28" at the roulette wheel and it hit. I love the numbers with 8s in them. That's how I made most of my $$ that night.

Anyway, at this time Laurie is getting tired of gambling (she only watched all night) and wants to go to bed. It’s about 1am. So we shake it back to MC. Laurie goes up and Robb begs me to play poker with him. This is the second time he has tried to get to play poker -- the first time being in Casino Rishada (sp?). I got out of it the first time. This time I couldn't shake the Robb.

For some reason casino poker rooms scare me. They are way too intense and when you play you have to actually interact with people other than dealers. There is something about it that intimidates me.

Anyway Robb drags me to the MC poker room. I found out that during my play at Las Vegas that most (if not all) poker rooms are smoke free. Hell, I started playing poker from this point on just to get away from the ever-present second-hand smoke that fills that Las Vegas with a dingy, yellow musk.

Ricardo once told me that time flies fast when you play casino poker. He related a story to me where he started play poker at midnight and look up at his watch and saw it was 6am. I have to say that losing track of time is easy to do in poker. Hours fly by. It’s a fairly engrossing game. And it keeps you awake with interest.

So I buy $100 of chips and sit at a table with Robb and play 2-4 poker. This is the poker that Ed taught me to play years ago. First betting round: 2$, after flop 2$, turn 4$, river 4$. The odd thing was that there was only one blind of $2. I guess Las Vegas is making so much $$$ on poker that it can lessen the blinds. I don't know.

In the beginning of the game I am up ~$200. I win some can't lose hands – this seems to be my pattern with poker for the rest of my stay. I play real conservative at first, get up ~$100, then play all loose and lose.

The most notable hand of the night was one where Robb, a schmuck (Robb's term) who just sat down, and myself were in a hand. I had 9, A. Robb had 9, Q. On the flop: 8, 10, J. Robb was sitting on the straight. Betting was quiet on the turn. I know Robb is still kicking himself for not betting high and chasing us out. The turn rolled a Queen. His 5-card straight didn't look so good after the turn since it now only took a single 9 to straighten up. So after the turn, Robb, the schmuck and I were all betting & raising. The river came: Ace. We all bet like mad again. We all rolled our cards over and the schmuck had suited 9,A. So Robb, the schmuck and I all sighed waiting for a three-way pot split, when the dealer pilled the $$$ and pushed it over to the schmuck. Robb and I said a collective WTF and the dealer pointed out that the schmuck's suited cards hit the flush on the river. The schmuck was amazed and stated that if he couldn't read his card right, it was too late for him and he needed to go to bed. So he took our money and left.

We ended the night around 3:30am and caught Ken coming from the craps/blackjack tables (he had been playing all that time). I lost $99.75 (casino poker plays with quarters -- go figure). Robb was up or down just a smidge. Ken claims to have won ~300$ on blackjack. I think Robb converted him over to the game since he never really played it on his own before. Its funny, Robb, who is so plain-jane when it comes to food, is so exploratory in casinos. That man will play *anything*. He got me to play a bunch of stuff I would never have tried before, that's for sure.

We wake on Saturday and Laurie insists that we go to the Paris brunch buffet. By the time we get out of our room, Ken and Robb have already been gambling for an hour. I think they broke even or lost some that morn. We stand in line at the Paris buffet for an hour and then take our sweet time eating there. That has to be the best buffet in town. I have only had two better buffets ever, one at the Four Seasons in Austin, the other on top of the Deer Valley ski resort in Salt Lake City. Even then, the Paris buffet had a better selection.

We hook up with Dave at the Rio after lunch (its about 1pm now). We go to the playroom at the World Series of poker to watch. Once again, smoke free! I see three famous people playing: the young black guy (names escape me right now), some obnoxious guy, and James Woods.

Dave has survived the first wave of poker where they condense ~6000 players down to ~2000. He has ~$16000 of chips which is bad because the average stack size going into the second wave is $35000. He says he has to get lucky early to have a chance in the second wave. Blinds and antes eat you alive in the subsequent rounds. Its my bad luck that Laurie and I never got to see Dave actually play, since that is the impetus for us going to Vegas in the first place. He played his first wave on Thursday. We got to Vegas Friday. Laurie and I left Vegas Sunday morning, and Dave played his second wave Sunday afternoon. Laurie and I didn't have it in us to delay our departure any, otherwise we would have stayed and watched him a little.

We tried to catch a game at the Rio, which is normally a cheap-O casino since it is off the strip. Well, hosting the world series of poker upped all the tables into the ionosphere. So we hitched a cab to Balley's and gambled there.

Laurie just can't gamble if I'm gambling. She assumes that both of us are going to lose, and can't stand the idea of us losing money at a double rate. So at Balley's I lost $200 at the craps table, fast. I was hating gambling at this point – so I moseyed over to Robb and Dave. They were playing PaiGow poker, which is some crazy game that takes forever to win or lose money at. So something like 5 hours later, I was up $200. The dealers were actually fussing us at because we were at the table for so long. Robb kept trying to get comped a meal at the steakhouse, but the dealers said we were playing the wrong game for compensations. Laurie actually sat down and gambled at PaiGow and made $100 from $20. She loved it.

We hooked it to the Venetian and ate at the Wolfgang Puck restaurant. I was trying to eat at a restaurant I ate at before, but I think it changed owners. I'll miss those mixed-green salads at the old place; they were one-of-a-kind. Still, the food was good. Dave looked like he was running on empty and left to go to bed. We all trekked back to MC and went to nap in our rooms at 9pm.

A fire alarm went off at 11pm that roused us out of bed. There was no fire. I think I have been in Las Vegas before where a fire alarm went off at about the same time. I wonder if it is some scam perpetrated by the casino owners to get people out of their rooms and on the casino floor. Whatever the reason, it worked. Except on Laurie. She went up to her room and went to bed after the alarm. Robb forced us all over to Excalibur again.

Ken and I hit the craps table. I finally adopted the Ken-method of playing craps this time. It paid off; I was up $200 on that table. I rolled the dice twice. Both times I have amazing runs. On the first run I hit something like 5 points. On the second I hit about the same, I think I rolled 5 four times on one point. I got on the table after Ken did, and missed some lady that hit 9 points. Ken walked away with $800, and I left with $300. I was mimicking Ken almost to the bet, so most of that $500 difference was what Ken made on that 9-pt woman early on. Still I couldn't complain. My winnings put me about $20 up for the entire trip.

It was 1am when Robb summoned me back to the poker room. We played 1-3 poker. But the table was entirely different than in the MC. In the MC, good cards always won the games. At the Excalibur, half the pots were taken with junk. Everyone was drunk and bluffing. Robb bought his son Gavin a wizard hat. Every time Robb got a good hand, he would put the hat on and try to get people to fold. After all, he has the hat on and has a good hand. No one folded. It kinda pissed him off that the hat didn't scare anyone. But it was 1-3 poker, not terribly high stakes.

My end of the table was chatty. To my left was a really young mortgage accountant that claimed to have won $20000 at the Belagio earlier playing no-limit poker. I asked him why the hell he was playing at the cheap table and he said he's trying to relax and calm down so he could go to sleep. The guy to my right was a drunken real-estate adjuster from Los Angeles. What is it with financial people and gambling? I swear most of the people I talked with were accountants of some kind. Its kind of creepy if you think about it.

The drunk was real funny and would call a hand with the crappiest cards I have ever seen. He threw in 9$ to call a hand with unsuited 2-3. The guy to my left thought that was just the dumbest thing he had ever seen. It really disturbed him that someone would throw away $9 with unsuited 2-3. Hell, it bothered him that the guy wasted $1 to see the flop with that hand. What is funny about it, is there was another guy that raised the bet to 9$ and he had a 2-3 too. The up-cards were something like 4, 5, 5, 9, 10 absolute junk. The third person in that hand won because they paired up on the 10s. Ridiculous.

The most notable hand of the evening was when Robb set up with pocket nuts, in layperson terms he had 3 aces. A woman, who spent all night gambling on junk, hit a flush the river. Robb was wearing the wizard hat at the time. He was so pissed that he lost that hand. The hat mystique was sullied ever after.

We left the poker table at 4am. I had gone up $150 at one point, but at 4am I was down $30 to $70.

The next day, Laurie and I tallied all our monies and I think, for the entire trip, were down ~40$. Not bad, since we probably had $40 in cab fares, so technically, we broke even. And that's a good trip.


Thanks Adam.


Wouldn't it be nice to have done something cool? I've wondered if things might be different for folks after they have saved someone from a burning house or rescued a child from a well. It is funny how when I was a kid I dreamed of doing something so cool that every one would think I was a hero. As I've gotten older, I fear the celebrity. Now, instead of wanting people to think I'm a hero, I think about doing some great deed and fading into the background as some kind of unknown hero.
Now I'm an old man who has no need for heroism. I just want things to be quiet. I just want to live a peaceful life away from excessive tragedy and pain. I understand why people want to live on a patch of land in the middle of Montana and just be for their lives.
I am addicted to news. I am tied to my computer and the internet. I have become accustom to the constant influx of information. I feel lost without a daily dose of news and current events. I can live without TV or radio for a good length of time. I can even let myself laps into an information coma for a couple of days. At the end of those days though, I must get right back on the wagon.
I'm not a hero. I never will be a hero. I'm just a guy who has no idea what he is doing trying to make it through another day. I'm not sure there are any heroes. They are all just people trying to make it past their next bend in the road.
Home Grown Terrorist Names
The Texas Chainsaw Hadine
Wicked Red-Neck of the West
Billy-Bob's Nuke Depot
Texas Liberation Front (taken)
The Beer-Belly Bomber
League of Over-fed American Freedom-fighters (LOAF)

Better demands, better plans
* Spell things correctly.
I cannot over emphasize the importance of correct spelling when presenting demands. Nothing makes people decide you are an amateur like misspelling.
* Use correct English (or applicable language)
This is again to make you look like a professional. Misuse of conjunctions will make the negotiation team counteroffer an ice-cream cone instead of the thirty million you demand.
* Sound intelligent
This is different than the above two. Sounding intelligent is more complex than using big words. You simply have to do your homework. Don't ask for a car and a helicopter for your escape unless you use one as a decoy. Make sure the people you demand from can provide what you demand well in advance of execution.
* Leave room for negotiation
Steve Martin said he would ask for three things. Million Dollars, Get away car, and the letter "M" stricken from the English Language. That way you have the insanity defense. Well, have wiggle room for time constraints and to make the negotiation team feel like they are getting somewhere.
* Know when to hold'em
Ultimatums, deadlines,  following through on every threat, traumatizing the opposition and other tools of negotiation are all necessary to a successful outcome. Remember, your victims need to feel like there is no way out, but you have every way out.
* Know when to fold'em
Have a plan to bail, pull the plug, cut and run whatever you want to call it. Don't let the enemy know when this might happen. Many kidnappers have escaped while the victims were trying to fulfill one of the false demands.
I hope these notes help. Happy carnage.

Dark Water
Nat and I went and saw Dark Water this evening at Alamo. Nat really enjoyed it. I have to say, it didn't impress me that much. Nat identified greatly with the mother. The screens between mother and daughter were touching. All in all, it was a tear jerker. It was more of a ghost story more than a horror movie.


I'm listening to BBC Five Live. People are already gathering forensic information. One advantage London has is all the cameras watching people. Someone said there are few places on the public street in London where you are not being watched by two or three cameras. Apparently, they are really recorded all the time. The city of Houston claims most of their cameras are live shot only for checking traffic. That is a drag. What happens when you have a terrorist action and you need to review the footage? It sounds like London has the advantage here. They still don't know if it is a planted explosive, or suicide bombers, or a combination of things.
People are giving their account of the attack. Every one seems to say the same thing. "It was all so sudden and unexpected." It is strange to hear people describe the smell of the blown up bus. You forget the smells during things like this. The tube (subway) was full of smoke as people were lead to safety. Some group has claimed responsibility. They is a European group linked to Al Qaeda that seems to have a popular web page where they like pronouncing their evil actions.
So many people say it was just a matter of time before something like this happened. They said the same thing about 9/11 after the fact. If it is so damn inevitable, why can't we do something about it in the first place? Because we are not willing to do so. We are not willing to win. We are not willing to do what is needed. It would lower us to their level. Well, if their level works better, then why are we so damn high and mighty. We bathe in our pride and turn our noses up at the tasks that need to be done.
I'm listening to some one describe how they ran out of the tunnel in pitch darkness to safety. Someone had a little gadget light on his keyring. That was what guided them. It makes me glad I carry a small flashlight in my pocket. I carry another brighter one in my bag. It is the boyscout in me. This guy in the interview says he had to get off the buss after his miraculous escape from the flaming train in the tube. He felt like the world was coming to an end. His family was hysteric when he family made it home.
It all really sound horrible.
I'm watching the news coverage of the terrorist action in London. I wish I could help somehow. I know only how it feels to be helpless in this situation. When 9/11 happened, I was in basically this same situation for me. I was at work then listening to the news reports as they came in. I wish the folks in London the best. I wish the evil murderers who did this a swift sharp justice.


I hate this song
Artist: Bob Dylan [ more from this artist ]
Song: Lay Lady Lay
Album: Nashvillie Skyline [ more from this CD ]

I like this song
Artist: Sam Phillips [ more from this artist ]
Song: Go Down
Album: Cruel Inventions [ more from this CD ]


Pictures of the Fourth are up. I know there are no photos of fireworks. They didn't come out. The short video didn't come out either. These are just some family snapshots. I'm not going to bother with descriptions. Deal with it. =]
I took Lots of pictures. I'll put them up when I get a chance. There were tons of Nat's Family. Nat's brothers got tons of firecrackers. There was this one box that was basically fifteen roman candles all on one fuse. That was quite impressive. I couldn't get any of the night shots to come out. The video was just blank with a pop or two in the background.. I need a real video camera to get this kind of stuff. I was tempted to set up the camera on some long exposures on top of the car or something. I didn't have my Rebel XT with me. I used my old S5. Next time I'll know I should bite the bullet and bring the professional grade camera. As I run through the pictures, I can tell a fundamental difference between the quality of the Rebel and the S5. That is a good thing considering the amount of money I paid for that Rebel.
It was a late night. I think by the time all was said and done, I got three hours of sleep. It was worth it though. I wouldn't have traded the time spent with Nat and her family.
Elle almost made it, but blew a gasket around ten. She just started yelling at every one. The excitement was just a bit much for her. Between the firecrackers and all the new people, she was just plane wore out. It got to the point that she would simply scream and throw a fit no matter what you did. I remember telling someone that when we got her in the car she "would not make it to the end of the driveway." I was right. Two minutes after we were on the road, she was out. I think she is still undecided on whether she likes firecrackers. She seemed to like them more the farther they were away.

The British Pound is at a three year low against the U. S. Dollar. That is good news for me because a couple of Wedding things are coming from England. It is still more dollars than Pounds. Can't win them all. =]


The day before the Fourth of July
It is Sunday. Nat has a headache. She feels bad. I ordered food from a Chinese place. General Tso's Chicken and some fried rice. Tomorrow we have a BBQ to go to. We get Elle back in the morning.

God hates me
I'm telling you, God hates me. I'm trying to get the ring tone download thing to work on my phone and it gives me an application error every time. I can't win. I have no idea why this piece of crap does it, but it turns the knife on my day.


LOTR Exhibit
Wow! This was a lot of fun. We went to the Lord of the Rings Exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. It is well worth the price of admission. They have many of the costumes and armor. It is amazing the amount of detail that went into that stuff. Nat and I got a picture of what we might look like as Hobbits. I'll post it soon. I'm far too tired right now. She and I are abut to sit down and watch a movie. They also had a full size mock up of the cave troll. There was a smaller example (that was anatomically correct by the way) with it's arms stretched out. I moved to let some one by and the thing attacked me. Well, it stood there and I bumped my head into an outstretched claw.  It was highly impressive. There were props actually used in the filming and examples of the plastic chain mail they wrapped the actors in. Several pieces of the jewelery and head dress pieces were there. There were a couple of examples of how the special effects worked. One booth was a green screen that kids would stand in front of and the system would capture their live movements and display them as one of the characters on the screen in a fight.  Some of the artwork was breath taking. I must highly recommend taking the plunge if you can.

More to come. Things have been nuts.

Oh, We got the first car payment in the mail today. Yeah us. =]


Phone Software
I got the new phone. It is a Motorola V188. It is basically a V180 with a different logo on the front. I downloaded some software that claims to work with the phone. It uses a standard USB cable. How cool is that? It also uses a standard headset.
The software kind of sucks. You can only put numbers in your phone first name first. The software has a setting that says "last name, first name" but it does not work. None of the other settings do anything. It is like no one ever tried them. I tried several versions of the software and none of them put the names on the phone in last name first order.
I have a feeling this is a Chinese software problem. I believe their family name is listed first from day one. Thus, they have no need to change the order of names when putting them in the phone. I have not figured out how to put new ring tones on the phone yet. This phone too comes with really crappy tones. That was another blog entry.
This phone appears to get better reception that  my other phones. It sounds good. The text entry is kind of a pain in the ass, but I don't do much of that. I cannot use that built in "guess what you mean" software. Just let me type in what I want dammit. Nat tried to send me a picture message and all I got was a text with instructions to go to a web page and download it. That feature costs extra too. Kind of sucks.
Over all, It is a fair phone for the price.

Iranian Government, a pack of terrorists?

If the newly elected Iranian president turns out to have been a main participant in the holding of American hostages in Tehran, he won't be the first top Iranian official with a role in the 1979 crisis.
The current Iranian vice president and head of the Environment Department, Massoumeh Ebtekar, was the chief interpreter and spokeswoman for the radical students who took over the U.S. Embassy and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.
It is unclear whether the Bush administration had explored previously whether Ahmadinejad was involved in the hostage episode. National security adviser Stephen Hadley said Thursday that the United States has followed his career. "Obviously, one of the things you do when you get a report like this is look back and see what you have in the files and that's the process that's going on now," he said.

Well, well, well.  It goes deeper than the head of the government. It turns out one of the VP's is an admitted member of the terrorist organization that held Americans hostage. What is the U. S. government expected to do if it is all true? The guy is the President of Iran. His cronies help him run the place. We are still going to have to treat him like a head of state.
Is it possible to bring these people up on some kind of international charge that will force the rest of the world to arrest them as they travel outside their sphere of influence? As it stands, they are heroes in their homeland. People all over the Earth know they thumb their noses at the U. S. and get away with it. Have I mentioned that this makes me sick?

More on Work Email
Our email has been out at work for the last two days. They make announcements about it over the PA saying "It is still down." It never fails to amaze me how much the company relies on email to get everything done. All my requests come in via email. Half the phone calls I get I follow up on with an email just to create a paper trail.
I live via the calender. I keep track of things that will happen and things have already happened. I feel funny not having it instantly available. I'm entering data in my palm, which takes for ever. I'll sync it next week when, hopefully, the system is back to normal.