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


Armed Populous

"This is ridiculous. You work hard. You're trying to get out of there to save your family and you have people running around taking your stuff," said evacuee Pamela David. "It just doesn't make any sense to me at all. But we have our family here and that stuff can be replaced. That's why you have insurance. I got to let it go.".
"It's horrible. It's just horrible that somebody would actually break into your house when you are trying to get your family to safety," said evacuee Lisa Allen.

There are a bunch of really evil people out there.

Chaos spread across New Orleans along with the brown, toxic floodwater in the early hours of yesterday morning, and the thousands of stragglers still trapped awoke to find themselves in a city with few laws, little mercy, and no clear way out.
The police seemed to have all but evaporated in the course of a night of looting and gunfire, in which at least one police officer was badly injured. A few camouflaged national guard trucks could be seen moving through the downtown area in convoy, but there were no guardsmen on the streets to deal with the wreckage of the city.
"It was like a war zone here. There was shooting and looting, and I saw people beating women; it's fucking ugly," said a man with bare, tattooed arms, carrying an empty water canister. He identified himself only as Jason, pointing out he had been in trouble with the law himself. "I'm just trying to get to a bus stop so I can get out of here. Which way are you going?" he wanted to know.
"The police said you were on your own," Ms James said. "If you're not in the Super dome, you're on your own."
"As if water worries weren't enough ... now the looting is becoming extremely serious. In Uptown, one the few areas that remained dry, a bearded man patrolled Oak Street near the boarded-up Maple Leaf Bar, a sawed-off shotgun slung over his shoulder. The owners of a hardware store sat in folding chairs, pistols at the ready. They broke into the Shell station across the street. I walked over with my 12-gage and shot a couple into the air.' A supply store sported spray-painted signs reading "You Loot, I Shoot".

This news among the dozens of blogs talking about how frightening the atmosphere feels in the city tells me that there is indeed a reason for law-abiding citizens of this country to be aloud by their own government to own firearms. I just might join the NRA again. It looks like we are all one hurricane from bedlam in our own home towns.
Dragons Dragons Everywhere
Very cool dragon site. Natalie stumbled across this while helping me track down a dragon picture for my groom's cake.
More Day
Elle's first polysyllabic word. (as far as I know) She came up with it all on her own yesterday.
I stayed home today. I didn't feel well. I have to be much more sympathetic to Nat for watching Elle all day, every day. That is a challenge. She changed cloths for no reason. She keeps throwing things around and making a mess everywhere she goes. Hmmm. Sounds like a kid.
That is all.


There was a day when you had to stop some place and buy a map. I remember pulling into shady places looking for a street map so we could find some party or friend's house. Things have changed. The other day Nat printed out a map to a friend's house and it guided us to our destination with the help of a mobile phone and constant communication.
We didn't need an atlas of Texas to get to our friend's place. We really only needed the final couple of miles. The map we printed was relatively detailed and represented only a small area. We knew how to get to the specific exit on the specific freeway. From there, it was guess work.
I remember blundering around the inside of a vehicle by flashlight or worse, dome light, trying to read oddly angled text that meanders along a crooked line on a page that was not printed at nearly high enough resolution for the size of the type. I have a vivid memory of one road appearing to cross the other when in reality, they only came close to one another and did not have a connection. I forget the barrier to be crossed to get from one to the other without rounding miles out of the way.
Though I have a GPS unit somewhere, I've never used it. It is too difficult to program. The software used to connect it to the computer is cumbersome and only works with proprietary map data. I've seen them used. The little homing pidgins work well when the geek wielding them knows their stuff.
HBO had a show about some Russian soldiers in a tank in Afghanistan during that conflict. The tank commander decided to turn to the highway and get back to base faster. The funniest thing though, there are these two squiggly lines between their position and the highway. hmmmm. Oh, well, full speed ahead!  Well, they end up being quite fortunate that it is broad daylight because those squiggly lines turn out to be a tremendous ravine. It didn't help that the engineer had fermented most of the break fluid into moon-shine.  With a quick chat to a truck on the other side (running down the highway) over the radio they find that it is hundreds of miles before there is a crossing. There, the adventure begins.
Map reading is as much art as science. There are things implied, but not said on some maps. Those colors just might mean something. I've witnessed a friend mark the speed traps on a map to avoid tickets. Every one has at one point stuck pins in a map for some reason or another. Now, I save favorites and paste links into emails.
Mobile phones will surf the net and display maps these days. I cannot wait until the day that I look something up from the passenger seat and save the day in some adventure with our friends.


Anna Banana's matrimonial prerequisites

1. we have to buy a house
2. we both have to get fixed
3. he has to ask me.
4. he has to buy me a shiny ring.
Well, #3 actually comes first.  Well, technically #4 comes first, but I don't know about it until #3.

That's Anna.

One booth allowed visitors the chance to shoot high-powered pepper balls at dummies. Taser International, the country's largest manufacturer of stun guns, was demonstrating its weapon on any willing takers, provided they'd sign a liability release form. Taser's stun gun (which delivers an electric charge through wires attached to two darts) works by disrupting the body's nervous system, immobilizing its victim. By mid-morning, Taser had more than a dozen volunteers, including Sergio, a dark-haired young man whose friends cheered and laughed as he sat in a chair to be zapped, one leg flying up straight in front of him as the jolt hit his body.
"We haven't done human testing," Bitar said.
"We haven't done animal testing," Gibbs added.
"Yeah, not officially," Bitar said with a sly smile. He would not elaborate on any unofficial testing.

(from Slashdot)
It sounds like there are some really cool things coming down the pike. I remember hearing about the Taser a million years ago and thinking they would really want a beam weapon like Star Trek's stun gun. It would be nice to zap people while they are running away or from a helicopter. I wonder if that lightning gun could be fashioned to work from a police vehicle from a greater distance. That would be handy for taking out vehicles and perps running from the cops.



More journalists have been killed in Iraq since the war began in March 2003 than during the 20 years of conflict in Vietnam, media rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Sunday.
Since U.S. forces and its allies launched their campaign in Iraq on March 20, 2003, 66 journalists and their assistants have been killed, RSF said.
The death toll in Iraq compares with a total of 63 journalists in Vietnam, but which was over a period of 20 years from 1955 to 1975, the Paris-based organization that campaigns to protect journalists said on its Web site.

I'm sure this does not bode well for the future of reporting in war zones. I suppose the days of bias reporting are finally being paid for with the blood of the brave people on the ground. The editors should pay a bit more attention to the fact that both sides think the reporting is bias to the other side.
Light Weekend
We tried to get the old printer hooked up to my computer instead of Nat's. We got her a new printer ($22 at Target.) The old printer only works on one page at a time. I installed the driver, but every piece of software installed without prompting. I hate that. I had to uninstall. By the time I got the printer installed, Nat had already printed the map that we needed. Then, we left it on the table.
Elle keeps getting scratched by the cat. She won't leave him alone. She chases him around and gets up in his face. I can't blame the cat. I wish she would just stop.
It has been beautiful weather. We got rain last night that came out of nowhere. I'm convinced it is a result of the hurricane in the gulf. It was very windy and plenty of rain. At first glance I thought it was just a surprise thunderhead. It lasted most of the night. There was tons of lightning as well.
The rain came while we were visiting Mike and Ronnie. I hadn't been out there before. I like their place. Their neighbors are loud, but they run a nice place. We didn't leave until after 1:00 in the morning. I'm not going to tell you how Nat said she wanted to leave.
Right now Nat is on her computer playing a Flash game. She tells me her high score every couple of games. I'm watching SG1 reruns on my computer and typing my blog. Elle is watching a movie (Cheaper by the Dozen) in the living room. Tiger, the cat, is asleep in the living room dreaming of how to get to the new rat. Our new nameless rat is in the master bedroom awaiting attention.
I'm chatting with Ken about business and wedding stuff. He is busy Tuesday. Josh is busy Monday. I'm free most of the time. I wish there was an easier way to make this stuff work. Those guys are impossibly busy. It is so difficult starting up new a business. this is what is happening with both of these guys.
More tomorrow, maybe

Update:  Nat says she set it on my table after we got back from the trip and we left at nearly two in the morning, not just after one.


From an email that is getting passed around.

It has been calculated that if everyone in the united states did not purchase a drop of gasoline for one day and all at the same time, the oil companies would choke on their stockpiles. At the same time it would hit the entire industry with a net loss of over 4.6 billion dollars which affects the bottom lines of the oil companies. Therefore sept. 1st has been formally declared, "the day we take back control of our own pocketbook",  and the people of this nation should not buy a single drop of gas that day. The only way this can be done, is if you forward this e-mail to as many people as you can and as quickly as you can to get the word out. Waiting on this administration to step in and control the prices is not going to happen. What happened to the reduction and control in prices that the Arab nations promised two weeks ago? remember one thing, not only is the price of gas going up, but at the same time, airlines are forced to raise their prices, trucking companies are forced to raise their prices, which effects prices on everything that is shipped. Things like food, clothing, building materials, medical supplies etc. Who pays in the end? we do! we can make a difference. If they don't get the message after one day, we will do it again and again. So do your part and spread the word. Forward this email to everyone you know. Mark your calendars and make sept. 1st a day that the citizens of the united states say "enough is enough"!

I have some problems with this bullshit email.
OPEC (Home, Wikipedia) Doesn't have shit to do with with "Arabic" people. That is raciest or at least xenophobic . Venezuela is a member of OPEC for God's sake.
A one day dip in sales won't hurt OPEC or any of he "oil companies". Besides, that just means people will have to go to the gas station the next day instead. Oil is in the Dashboard of your car in the form of plastic. It is in CDs. It is in the film on your windshield that helps prevent it from ripping your face to shreds when you get in a wreck. It is used to generate electricity. it is used to lubricate the noisy hinge on the door. Even food products use petroleum in many ways. It is in more or less everything. This is a useless venture.
The real solution is to use less. Not just oil. Use less of everything. Recycling sometimes takes more energy to perform than just making a new product. The best day to use less fuel is today.


Proof of the Day
Women = problems


Talking Heads
You know, there is one bad thing about network news. Well, there are many good and bad things, but one thing that is pissing me off as I type is the amount of air time the talking heads get. I did cart-wheels when CNN made their video service free (to compete with Fox and others) on the net. Now that I can get Cable News Network without Cable, I remember the twelve seconds of real field video followed by thirty minutes of a bunch of goobers talking about the twelve seconds of content. Anchor people and reporters love standing in front of a camera and yammering on about whatever they think will get them a by-line. Meanwhile, the action is crawling up the cameraman's leg. I hate that. I bet video blogs are not much better. I haven't found any that don't have some catch. So much for a live feed to reality. There are better ways to waist my time.
* Web cams on grunt's helmets.
* Howitzer cams.
* Humvee confessions.
* Reality TV where people vote live over whether or not they think the torture victim is telling the truth.
What do you think?



Boudreaux been fishin down by de bayou all de day and he done run outa night crawlers. He be bout redeye to leave when he seed a snake wit a toad frog in hits mouth. He knowed that dem big bass fish likes toad frogs so he dun decided to steal that froggie. That snake, hit be a cottn mouthed water moccasin so'd he have to be real carefull like or he'd git bit.
He snuk up behind de snake and grabbed him roun de haid. That ole snake di'nt lik hit one bit. He commemced to squirm'n an wrapped itself around Boudreaux's arm try'n to get free, but Boudreaux, him had a real good grip on his haid, yea.
Well Boudreaux pried hit's mouth open and got de frog and put's it in his bait can. Now Boudreaux knows that he cain't let go of de snake or hit's goin' ta bite him good, but he had a plan.
He reached into de back pocket of'n his bib over-hauls and pulls out a pint o' moonshine likker. He pours a couple of draps inta de snakes mouth.
Well that snake's eyeballs roll back in hits head and hits body goes limp. Wit dat Boudreaux toss's duh snake inta da crick then he goes back tuh fish'n.
A while later Boudreaux dun feel sumptin tapp'n on his barefoot toe. Well, he slowly look down and dare be dat water mocassin, and he gat two toad frogs in his mouth.

I didn't run the spell ckecker on this one.
5 million rounds
I heard a terrorist boast once that they had 5 million rounds of M-16 ammo .223 or 5.56 x 45mm that they had somehow pilfered from the Israeli army. I searched long and hard and came up with a single source that says 1000 rounds more or less weighs 40 lbs. I like metric, That comes out to around 18 kg.  18 (kg per case) x 5000 (cases) = 90 tons. A large Tractor Trailer carries about 80 tons. (I cannot find a page to support that statement.) I suppose that is a possibility.
A Crane?

From CNN.comIsraeli military cranes lifted a container which carried police to the top of an old fortress that serves as Sanur's community center.
About 50 protesters, many of them young and not residents of the settlement, had barricaded themselves on the roof. On the outside of the stone fortress, a banner declared: "A curse upon those who evacuate us."

[I hope that image link persists.]
After I thought about it for a minute, it made sense. You have far more control over a crane than a helicopter. You can stop the decent of the container a meter from the surface of the roof top. The soldiers can jump out and secure the touch down zone so no one gets smooshed. Then you can start loading people. Any one shooting the container for example would be unlikely to shoot it down.


I figured out how to burn a DVD from my video camera. It also works for other video files. I'm very proud of myself. Of course, no sooner do I figure this out than the next big thing comes down the pike. It never fails. I just cannot afford the cutting edge.

Speaking of Video
I'm going to have to find this flick. I had no idea.

The internet is world of magical possibilities where all your dreams come true, and for some of you, another one of those gets crossed off the list today. Cause here's a video of Eva Longoria kissing another girl, from a movie called Carlita's Secret. And just to illustrate how weird Hollywood is, it's from 2004. So Eva was doing movies with the production value of a snuff film 30 seconds before becoming one of the most recognized women in the world. And if you think that's weird, how do you think I felt when the homeless guy I was burying started to move. JESUS CHRIST, YOU SAID HE WAS DEAD!


Skeleton Key
We went and saw the Skeleton Key Friday evening. It was alright. I liked the ending. I liked the acting and sets. I didn't much care for the idea. I wish I had a drink. It would have been more enjoyable with a slight buzz.

Google Images
I have too many hits from Google Images. The method of removing hits from Google image to my image site will not work for me because it requires access to the server root. I use my home server to host photos for my blog .Thus Google thinks the server is Blogger. I've done the little trick of putting a robots.txt file on my server, but it doesn't help much here. It isn't that bad of a thing, but It drives me up the wall because it shows up on sitemeter as a hit on my blog. The trouble is, my blog does not show up when the user gos to look at the picture. For some reason, other sites show up in it's place, even though the URL is right in the link. I'm not sure how it all works. It upsets me though.
Wish me luck.

It was an extremely beautiful day. The whole time we were out the sun shone brilliant. We spent some time with Adam and Laurie. We got coffee and a good burger. Nat got some painting stuff. She really enjoys painting. I can't wait to get her paintings up on the walls. I've always wished I could draw. While in Aaron Brothers I noticed the sketch pads and the markers. I like drawing on whit paper with black pens. I like line art. If only I had any talent.


Word of the day
Schadenfreude: Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.
It is German. There is just no translation.

Question of the day
Why do beauty magazines make so many people feel ugly?

Song of the day
A song that makes me cry a little harder every time i hear it is Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen).

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99 If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience…I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh never mind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you imagine.
Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing everyday that scares you
Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.
Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.
Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.
Get plenty of calcium.
Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.
Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children,maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s. Enjoy your body, use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own..
Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.
Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.
Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good.
Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that friends come and go,but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.
Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.
Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.
Respect your elders.
Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.
Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will look 85.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.
But trust me on the sunscreen…

Artist: Baz Luhrmann [ more from this artist ]
Song: Everybody's Free
Album: Something For Everybody [ more from this CD ]


Well, I got the FireWire card and cable in last night. It went to my old address, but that is another story. I turn off the computer, plug in the card. I then turn on the computer, plug in the camera, run the software, and hit record. ba-da-bing. captured video. Nice.
DIVX Compression
1 900 000 / 58 000 = 32.7586207
58 000 / 1 900 000 = 0.0305263158
Basically, 33 times smaller or 3% of the original size. Not to shabby. You can see the difference in the shady arias, or arias where there is a fade in color like the evening sky. The full video is simply not viable. I need to get the video on to a DVD that plays in a standard DVD player. That will be the real test.
More to come.
So, what is going on in Gaza?
I'm listening to the BBC as I type. The military is "evacuating" some synagog.  I hear the protesters in the background chanting protest songs. I hear loudspeakers preaching for the protesters to leave peacefully. The person reporting says he has not spoken to any one who is protesting who is from the settlement where they are protesting. These people have sneaked in just to make trouble.
The interviews with people who live there that I have seen all say they don't want to leave because they have put down roots. I've heard some interviews with folks that say the regular Israelis think the settlers are a bunch of "spoiled brats" who don't pay the same taxes. They were paid to go to the settlement in the first place. Now, they are paid to leave.
So, The regular Israelis are split over the subject. The settlers do not want to leave their homes. The regular Palestinians want a homeland. The radical Palestinians (among others) want Israel pushed into the sea.
It all sounds like an amazing scrum.
I have to say that the actions of the Israeli Military are exemplary as far as I can tell. They head up to a house ,unarmed, knock on the door and wait for the door to be answered. When protesters simply refuse to leave, they are carried out by the arms and legs to a bus. There have been reports of violence. There have been shots fired between entities unknown. The video is heartbreaking. The military is using an overwhelming numbers method of keeping violence down. Some of the photos  show ten military personnel on one protester carrying them to a bus.
First Thing
I walked in this morning and turned on the computer. I logged in. I stumbled to the BBC page and kicked off my morning (their afternoon) news show. As I'm reading an email I notice the stream hadn't popped up. I start troubleshooting the issue. I check the connection. Check the process. Check the system. Then it hits me, "put on the earphones stupid." Is it going to be one of those days?


Cool Stuff
These are some things that I think are cool. I don't really need them. They are just cool.
I really like the idea of cool pens. I don't write shit any more. I haven't sat down to write something in years. I do everything on the computer. I would still buy the nifty balanced roller pens if allowed.
I would kill for a cool phone. I've gone over before what I would like the all encompassing hand held device to do.
I love the idea of sunglasses. I could never ware cool sunglasses as a kid because I had to ware regular glasses. I tell you, that is the real reason I have contacts.
As far as cameras go, if I could afford a 50 megapixel 35mm body camera I would have one.
Video, well, I don't know much about video yet. I recently bought a video camera that I haven't gotten much use out. They are cool though.
I like the idea of TiVo, but I'm too cheep to pay for the service, or cable, or satellite, or anything that would make it worth while.
I own a firearm. I would get a dot-scope Desert Eagle. I have absolutely no use for one.
Then there are some non-tangible things.
SG1. (SciFi in general) I like the show. I have considered cable because of this show.
Anime makes me relax. It is not a cartoon. It is something else.
News. I intake news like most people intake oxygen. I require a slow constant stream of information on an hourly basis.
Blogs. I enjoy blogs greatly. I get as much news from them today as I have from news in the past. They fulfill my news thirst. It is like going from water to wine.

Not Cool Stuff
Some things I do not find cool. Nat apparently finds some of these things cool because she talks about them often.
Barbies. I need to post a photo of the Barby corner in our apartment.
Cloths. It is a girl thing through and through. I can't even complain about cloths competently.
Wedding stuff is her main topic right now. She is really taking charge and making this wedding something special.
There is some other stuff, but I block it out. I love her so much. I am a guy. I am not into Barbies or cloths or wedding bobbles.
I would love to hear her list.

Hey all,

Just a quick note to say Slappy's is playing two shows in the near future!
Saturday, Aug 20th, 10PM to 11PM
Where PJ's Sports Bar
614 W Gray St, Houston, TX 77019
Cozy little Heights-area sports bar.  We'll be upstairs.
When Sunday, Sept 11th Sometime that afternoon!
Where 2nd Annual Fishbowl Poker Run
Flamingo Gardens Showcase Stage
10711 Hammerly, Houston, TX 77043
Outdoor show at Flamingo Gardens.  Last year's show at the Outside Inn
was a blast!

Hope to see everybody there!

From Jason. I edited it a smidgen for blogability. Break a leg fellas.


Car made in Iran. The trouble is, it is a good looking set of wheels. Please, let us not underestimate the Axis of evil.


Look, Mom, over there! It's a live

Jesus! Holy-flipping-bucket-of-ugly!!! Put the sandwich down before you click the link.

This came in an email from my friend (crazy) Jen. Thanks.

Everything I need to know about life, I learned from Noah's Ark
One: Don't miss the boat.
Two: Remember that we are all in the same boat.
Three: Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark.
Four: Stay fit. When you're 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.
Five: Don't listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
 Six: Build your future on high ground.
Seven: For safety sake, travel in pairs.
Eight: Speed isn't always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
Nine: When you're stressed, float a while.
Ten: Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
Eleven: No matter the storm, when you are with God, there's always a rainbow waiting..


Fraud on eBay
We are getting screwed by some people on eBay. I've noticed some scams that Nat stumbled across. Fortunately, Nat has a head on her shoulders and hasn't gotten bitten yet. We are actually threatening legal action against someone not from eBay.

* Friday evening, we went shopping for wedding stuff.
* Saturday we wen to Kinko's and put invitations together all day. I tied three whole boxes of little tiny bows on bubble bottles.
* Sunday we went to a Mary K party. I hung out with the Dad's. We talked about hybrid cars and spare parts. Then we went and ate Mexican food at some restaurant that I've eaten at before. I don't remember the name. It was pretty good.

Nice Bike, er, Mower ... =\
lawn mower motercycle hybridClick the image to enlarge

From the Article
Definitely looks cooler. No doubt easier to use than walking. But the hazards remain. The blade, instead of being out in front, is now spinning like a dervish just beneath your little piggies, and you can step down right beside it instead of away from it. The blade is still capable of ejecting rocks and sticks at terminal velocity into the eyes of nearby kids and pets. If it gets jammed, it may be even harder to get to than a regular mower blade.
Naysayers. Just leave it at "cool".


Video vs Photos
It really is a whole different world shooting video vs photos. Only a precious few rules cross the divide. How light works. For example, the concept of a longer exposure makes for brighter image, but fuzzier motion. Also the concept of focus and f-stop make the leap. However. framing a shot, capturing the thing that is interesting. making a statement with what is in front of you. Make what is not there shine through. These things are completely new. I have shot some test videos and I notice that they suck. I wonder if I will pick up on the little things that make a better video.

I cannot imagine being without a country. I was reading a ton of blogs during the feminine invasion this Saturday. On one of these blogs was a quote from someone that said "Without a country a man is nothing." I wish I had captured where that come from. I was many pages away when it hit me. That is the one thing I don't feel I have to worry about. I said to Nat only today that "I did not realize how fortunate was I that I cannot see the expressions on people's faces when they are not happy with me." She tells me about every person who gives her a nasty look while she is driving. She swears she can read lips too. Maybe there is something to this whole legally blind thing.


Today there are a bunch of women in my apartment. I'm the only guy among 5 women. Julie and her little girl. Nat and Elle. Then there is Ronnie. They are folding the invitations. I'm stewing in my juices. I tried helping and got yelled at. I tried avoiding the whole thing and got yelled at. I put together an air mattress for Elle. Ronnie ended up do int it correctly. She also figured out that it is supposed to have the outside thing put on before you blow it up. I videoed a few seconds. The baby is crying. Elle was mesmerized momentarily by the graphics that play while music plays in MS media player. I need a glass of wine. Between the chamber music playing in the background, the child screaming at the top of her lungs, Elle bouncing around on her new air mattress, and the women gabbing ninety miles an hour, my head is about to explode. Welcome to family life Kelly. This is what you wanted, right.


"Not for White People"
Wow, Sometimes you forget. Sometimes you live your life in a bubble you make yourself. I have been doing this for some time it seems. I forgot how East Texas can be sometimes. I forget how I used to be myself.
I live and work in a multicultural world. Texas is now a white minority state. Yesterday, Nat and I were in a small grill somewhere in East Texas. We were sitting and enjoying a moment as a family. Then another family comes in. They sat down and began to order. I would have never noticed them, except they were the only other customers in the place. There was no way to avoid hearing their conversation. The family knew the wait staff pretty well because they spoke with a familiar tone. One of the kids was playing around and wouldn't sit down. The staff member said to the father in a joking manor "Got a rope?" The father without missing a beat said "Yes, but it isn't for white people."
I remember just coming to a halt. It was one of those moments where you are stunned. I'm glad I was facing away from the family. I am glad they could not see the look on my face. Nat kept her composure. She mentioned the incident later, we spoke about it briefly. We live in a world where you cannot afford to be prejudice anymore. We all depend on each other too much for it. It is too easy to hurt one another now. I still feel strange after that. I hadn't felt that feeling of reality vs what should be in a while. Yet, I had no intention of correcting anyone. I would not do it now. I choose to live my life a bit better than I did yesterday. That is my contribution.


What's up with blogs?
What are blogs? I've had people ask me this several times. First of all, what you are reading right now is not what they mean when they say "blog". It depends greatly on who you are talking to, or who "they" are. MSM (Mainstream Media) are not talking about me when they complain about blogs screwing things up. The pages that most people mean when they say "blog" are those with news or opinion expressed on news such as Little Green Footballs, Machelle Malkin, Intel Dump or Winds of Change. There are millions of blogs, and the vast majority of them suck. I try to keep a list of favorite blogs. It changes daily.


Why am I so cheap?
When I was a kid, I found out that I was like a month away from being born in California. I was born in Kansas. California was far more interesting than Kansas, so I was upset. My dad explained to me that it would have cost $2000 to have me in California. That is compared to about $300 in Kansas. I used this rationalization to make myself feel better about my birthplace. It stuck.

So, my new video camera came in. I try plugging it in to the computer and nothing. I mean nothing. It is not recognized. I go round and round. I try it at different computers. I take it to a buddy of mine who uses video cameras all the time. He says "Woh, man. Something is wrong." He did lend me a tape. Anyway, I hop on the Canon web page and dig around. I read how to connect the damn thing. Well, get this. It has a USB port. That USB port, my connectivity of choice by the way, is only for the crappy digital pictures this thing takes. You need a FireWire (IEEE-1394) to transfer videos. i went back and looked at the advertisements all over the place and it only says "has USB". BASTARDS!!!  Extra expense. Extra loss of time. Learning experience.

Kids Smoking
I now help take care of a two year old child. I'm telling you, she mimics everything Nat and I do. Nat didn't cuss the whole time she was pregnant or the first two years. Now, one or two slip by. Elle picks them right up. Elle doesn't miss much. She can spot a balloon floating two counties away. I told her yesterday that if a doctor ever tells me she needs glasses I'm calling them a lier. This leads me to an important observation. If adults don't want children to smoke, then, adults shouldn't smoke. That makes so much sense when you say it. It is one of those things that is hard to do. Do as I say not as I do.
You have what adults say teaching kids one thing and what adults do teaching them something else. How does this help evolution? You have two conflicting methods of learning. What do you get when you have conflict? You get competition. What usually happens in competition? The best wins most often over time. So, there is some reason for it. When it comes down to nature vs nurture, it takes both.



Saturday DnD was a lot of fun.  Everyone left at around 3am.  You and Alexis weren't there, so everyone partook in talk bat.  It was enjoyable and quick.  There were no front line fighters, so most battles consisted of the party engaging from a distance, running away, re-engaging, repeat.  In our last encounter we used the entire (or about 2/3rds) of the large, table-sized white board (I think it's 8'x4').  And there were people from the party at each corner of it.

Here's a quick synopsis.  The group started out at the entrance to a Moander's Crypt -- a holding area for a dark god's essence (you might remember, you were there when they first arrived).  The party was to enter it and verify that the wards were still intact.  They made there way through several traps (Brian S. got dropped, but not killed, by two of them -- one during a battle).  They slaughtered many demons and devils that had infested the place.  They saw that the wards were still in place and found some kids that escaped from being sacrificed.  The group found some magic books and Ethan used his party leader position to make sure that the books were returned to the Elven authorities, though only after a long argument with Bryan K. and Ken.

They returned the kids to the nearby human village and discovered that the villagers had trapped and set fire to a treant.  A fallen paladin had rallied the town to strike against the nature creatures.  Talk bat was used (Ken won) to get the townsfolk to throw out the paladin, and extinguish the treant.  Brian S.' druid swore an oath against the humans at this point though the rest of the group stayed for a week in the town, teaching the people the ways of the elves, so they could co-exist with nature.

The party headed back home, but intercepted a platoon of the Army of Darkness.  The fallen paladin (defeated earlier in talk bat) joined forces with the green dragon first met at the Crypt, and using the platoon as a distraction, flanked the party.  That combat lasted something like 3 hours.  It was quite the something.  Eventually the paladin and dragon fled (they had about 15hp left between them, but I think it was more than the party had -- total).  The party, I think, drank something like 20 potions of healing during the battle.  Bryan K. may have been the only one of the four that didn't end up in single-digit hit points sometime during combat.  I know that Ken dropped at least once.  I think Ethan used something like 30 or 40 arrows and Bryan K, at least 20.

It was 3am after the battle, and we quit for the evening.  It doesn't seem like we did much, but the 12hrs of play were packed.  Our goofing-off quotient was quite low.

This is what I missed. I did wedding stuff Saturday. It sounds like a lot of fun.The smaller groups are easier to manage. I bet with Alexis and myself gone, the strategy sessions were a bit different. We play the front line grunts. Every one else is basically the stand off and fire at distance type. Hopefully next time I can make it. They will probably schedule the next session the day before our wedding.

Realizing that fixed Internet sites had become too vulnerable, al Qaeda and its affiliates turned to rapidly proliferating jihadist bulletin boards and Internet sites that offered free upload services where files could be stored. The outside attacks on sites like "forced the evolution of how jihadists are using the Internet to a more anonymous, more protected, more nomadic presence," said Ben N. Venzke, a U.S. government consultant whose firm IntelCenter monitors the sites. "The groups gave up on set sites and posted messages on discussion boards -- the perfect synergy. One of the best-known forums that emerged after Sept. 11 was Qalah, or Fortress. Registered to an address in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, the site has been hosted in the U.S. by a Houston Internet provider, Everyone's Internet [ev1], that has also hosted a number of sites preaching radical Islam. Researchers who follow the site believe it may be connected to Saad Faqih, a leading Saudi dissident living in exile in Britain. They note that the same contact information is given for his acknowledged Web site and Qalah. Faqih has denied any link.

Emphasis is mine.
Crap!!! I've ben telling people use ev1 for years. No more. I think I still have some friends who use this ISP. I used to use them. Crap! my parents used this ISP for a couple of years. I feel like I should spit or something.
There have been a couple of times that I wanted to put a forum on my site. This kind of crap is the reason I do not. I know I would not monitor the discussions close enough to detect someone talking in code.


Behind the scenes
The Texas Renaissance Festival (fair) is a magical place. When you walk through the doors, you loose track of time. The people who put it together do the most wonderful job. I've been to the fair many times over the last thirty years or so. Every single time I've gone it has been a good experience. The only times I've had any kind of trouble, it has been because of factors outside of fair that I brought in with me. Usually women.
Today I saw a glimpse of the other side of the pseud. We went to the grounds today to get a walk through of what is going to happen during the wedding and to get a general pep-talk. They have been doing this for several years. They seem to have the system down. During the tour, I got to view the dressing rooms. They are straight to the right of the entrance. You walk through the wall to the other side. To the place on the other side. A place a bit closer to reality.
Now, I'm all excited. I can't wait.


92 days to go.

Finally, some good news. It is hard to find good news these days. I'm glad this did not end like a similar situation a couple of years ago.

I did not go to DnD. I had too much wedding stuff to do. I may not go back to DnD. I just don't have the time.


Wedding Cake
Holy shit!! Wedding cakes are expensive. I remarked to Nat last night that I am going to mutter the amount that I just paid for a couple of cakes on my deathbed. ".. for two cakes... uuuhh ... ..."


Well, I'm a nerd. I'm watching my camera come in from Oklahoma City (1:11 am). It is this side of Dallas (5:31 am) as I type. I can't believe I'm watching it travel south. I wonder if it is heading out today or sitting on a dock for a week? I hate that. I hope they keep it out of he elements. Oh well, back to work.

Nat is allergic to gold. we have decided to buy silver rings until we can afford platinum next year. I can't find a bunch of information on the net, but it looks like nickel is the real culprit. Who knows? I have trouble with tomatoes. I can eat a bite or two, but if I eat too much (not even that much) I get terrible indigestion. What in the world are you supposed to do about these things? I have a life to live. I don't want to worry about stupid things like "no tomatoes please."

DnD is coming up this weekend. We have a meeting with the TRF folks Saturday morning to go over wedding stuff. I hope I can make it back before it gets too late for a rousing game of hack and slash. I am completely lost as far as the plot points of the game. I have been so busy taking care of life that I have not had even close to enough time to mess with anything entertainment related. I have to do some reading. I will not have time. I barely have time to sleep.
No wonder this guy got shot
Steven Vincent dished the dish. He told it loud and proud. Then, he was murdered for it.

Yours from the land of the no-show employee, back-door pay-out, paper corporation and unbalanced books (but don't you dare wear too short an abiya!)...

That is the last paragraph of one of his last blog entries. The blog talks about the realities of getting things done in Iraq. He covers gangs, corrupt officials, armed thugs, and stupid Americans. The world has lost a straight shooter.


I've been eating these freaky salads for lunch lately. My office has a cafeteria and a not too frightening salad bar. Here is what goes on my salad on an average day.
  • lettuce (Got to start somewhere.)
  • Mushrooms (Just a couple.)
  • Broccoli (I like fresh raw broccoli.)
  • Green olives (I like green olives.)
  • Black olives (I like black olives, but not as much as green olives.)
  • Peas (Yes, peas, I like peas.)
  • Corn
  • Carrot slivers
  • Fruit (They have random chunks of fruit available. I normally grab some.)
  • Cottage Cheese (It is there, I grab some. It is pretty good smeared all over other stuff. It tastes pretty good on broccoli oddly enough.)
  • These stringy crunchy things.
  • A dash of feta cheese (For a kick.)
  • One boiled egg. (I could eat a bowl full of boiled eggs some days.)
  • All drown in Italian/vinaigrette dressing. (I try to miss the cottage cheese.)
It is kind of hard to look at. I just pile everything in and prey. I should have taken a picture for posterity. I hope there is nothing too strange on that list. I don't know if this is any more healthy than say a chilly cheese burger. I like it and it is thick with vegetables. It is also $5.00 for a large salad (I load it down too) and a drink.


Scripting (boring)
I do a lot of VBS (Visual Basic Scripting) at work. It is painfully tedious. The worst thing is, I'm quite good at it. I can get scripts to do those things that computers are supposed to do out of the box, but don't. Most of the programming I do is the following.
* Moving files around
Nothing complex really. Find out if a file is on a server. If it is, copy it to a place on the local computer.
Replace files that are out of date.
Find files that are lost.
* Manipulating shortcuts
Man, people love moving shortcuts around. The vendors should be reprimanded for never putting them in the right spot.
Creating shortcuts on the fly.
* Modifying the registry or configuration files
Windows does not exist without the Registry. It is just a database full of settings and every move you make is stored somewhere in it's bowls.
* detecting trouble and heading it off
Users have an amazing ability to mess things up. Sometimes they don't even mean too. It is my job to write code that trys to intercept problems by the above skills and head them off at the pass.
* answering questions for the users
I have become the front line support for software installs. The art (not science) of software distribution takes years to learn. It takes longer to get any good at it.
That's it. There ain't much more. Of course, I also do database programming and data migration. I support an antiquated VMS database that, though not one line of code has changed in nearly ten years, finds new ways to confound the users. Oh, and answer every random question in the place.
Such is me.
Video Camera
I ordered the video camera. It is not the highest rated camera, but I don't have the $1000 to get one of those. I need an intro camera that I can learn with. If I start making money with the damn thing I'll get something that is worth the effort. I'm getting it from a brick and mortar vendor via the Internet. I gave up on buying it from a person on eBay. I'm learning there are some things that you save money on with eBay and some things that basically sell for retail. I really think some of those cameras on eBay are stolen. They nick the camera. They turn in the rebate then fence the camera on eBay. How convenient. I have a problem buying a camera that just might be stolen.

97 days and counting. We have four kilts to obtain. We have rings to worry about. We have to get a dragon suit for the ring barer. We have to find some wings for Elle. Oh, and the nine million other things to take under consideration. It is exciting. Trying, but exciting.