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


What Do You Think ...
Someone walks into my office while I'm typing away trying to do something that I don't even remember when I turn around to talk to them for a moment. They asked me a question that I can actually answer. I don't know what it was as I turn to go back to the thing I was doing. They ask me why my eyes are watering and I tell them that my allergies are killing me and complain that there are no medicines that seem to do any good. They agree and we speak about breathing trouble in Houston and how horrible the air is. Then, we go back to our day.
What do you think? Do you suppose I'm listening to the same song over and over because it hits a nerve. Do you suppose I've been listening to it for three days. Do you suppose I need some emotional help bringing things besides rage to the surface. Is it because I have been told all my life to hold myself tall and be strong. Am I aloud to have a feeling besides those that keep other people in line. What do you think? Am I having another day of the emotional breakdown that I call a life? Am I finally going to snap? Am I just letting myself feel? I wish I could write the feelings down. I wish I could be a better, stronger person. I want to be. I want to feel. I want to tell the person in my office that it is all OK. The gut feelings keep telling me I'm going to be fine and to help old ladies on the bus.
When I was a kid I thought I would be dead by thirty. I hated it because I was going to mis the year 2000. Well, now I feel that I'm going to be here for a long time. A dreadfully long time. That can mean many things. I've had dreams of ending up in prison when someone on the street finally pisses me off to the point I jump through their window and break their neck. I've had dreams of being stuck as the leader of a small group of people who are fighting something. I don't even know who or what. Lately, I've dreampt of having to live past the time where every one I ever knew had died. This is what they call a mid life crisis. I thought guys hit this at fifty. I'm always the go to guy in my dreams. I'm the guy people need to survive. I'm the guy who makes it work. I'm the man. I'm the leader. I like it. I have drive. I have will. I lead. I fight. I kill, but it is kill or be killed. I like it. I have focus. Things go wrong. Things go right. I decide. It is like I'm being prepared for something.
Then I wake. I'm back to my desk job. I'm back to living in this world. I'm here. I love Natalie. I love Elle. I love my friends. I miss the world where I rule. It isn't real. I'm not that person. It feels good thought.
I was supposed to die a solider somewhere around the age of thirty. Something happened. God doesn't make mistakes. I'm here in stead.


Faire is this weekend. I'm so looking forward to it. I am not even that much in to dressing up and acting like someone else. I'm more in to getting drunk and hanging out with my friends in a place where we all have an excuse to act nutty.
Nat pulled stuff out of the attic last night. It looks like more stuff than we had last year. I cannot find our table. I bet it ended up in someone else's pile. There are still a few things we need. Tonight is our last chance to pack anything. I just need a few things put in my backpack and I'm ready to go. I wish I had some kind of period water skin. I end up carrying water bottles around the faire and looking like a dork.
We are broke. We will have no money for stuff at faire. We will not even have money for food. I plan on loosing weight and having fun.
It is going to suck because that is a part of the fun at Faire. You walk around a bit open mall and shop basically. They are cutting the entertainment budget in half this year because they plan on selling the faire. This is supposed to make it look good on paper. This means there will not even be shows to watch. I picture standing around a bunch of people eating stake on a stick or apple dumplings and just fucking hating life until we get back out to the camp grounds. I sell a ticket just to get some food.
I'm talking myself out of being excited as I type. I better stop.

I went over to A&L's last night. Their new baby is gorgeous. She is a magnificent little girl. Elle and Nat fawned over the baby and I went into the kitchen to talk with Adam. he has taken a couple of weeks off to deal with adoption and the endless piles of paperwork. Now he is home with his family. He was cooking stir fry for Laurie and her parents. I don't think I've ever seen him like this. He was walking on air. Laure would have been too, but she was holding the baby.
I have been there from the beginning. They went through every possible turn for the last ten or so years to have a baby. It is funny that the birth mother may have been say eleven or so when all this started. I'm so proud of them for sticking with it. and putting up with so much for their daughter.
Nat had to go through a lot with Elle. Some folks wanted Nat to give her up for adoption. There is nothing wrong with that option. I'm glad Nat stuck it out too. I wasn't there much for her in those days. I try now.


Well, I think I may have finally found the right combination of codecs and settings that allows me to use Cinelerra on my machine. I have been messing with it for weeks. Just ask Nat how annoying I have been about the whole thing. It seemed no matter what I did the render would crash. Normally the program would just go away when I hit the ok button or it would simply render crap and die at 99%. Well, here are the settings that actually made a video last night. I still have some cropping thing set wrong because the video is messed up, but that is my fault.
# QuickTime for Linux
# Audio - MP4
# Video - MPEG 4 (either dual or not)
That is it. I get a .move file that actually plays and has my edits applied. I cannot wait to start shooting video and playing around with editing. I want to transition shots and splice multiple videos together. The real challenge will be getting something that I can put on the web that folks will be able to download.
There is still a long road ahead. Now that I got the one function of rendering working, there are a million more things I have to worry about working or not. I know it isn't my setup because it has been doing the same thing on both my Ubuntu 6.x box and the Fedora Core 5 box. I have also tried multiple versions of the software all over the place. I've even tried compiling it and installing it. I cannot believe I got that to work at all. I think this is the first time for a major piece of software.
I can cut video with Kino, but that is about it. It only works with DV format files really. If you import another video it seems to convert it to DV for the editing. Cinelerra might do the same thing, but it seems to work better for the moment. I'm not even going to go into what functionality Cinelerra has over Kino and most other video editors. If all the functions work, it is a full video workshop program that I bet gives professional programs a run for their money. (especially since Cinelerra is free for amateurs)
My name will be up in lights in no time. I can imagine myself accepting an award for best something-or-other film of 2007. I can also picture myself throwing the camera over the back fence when it becomes a chore in stead of a hobby.
Wish me luck.


Stuff for Faire
Items to get
first aid
anything missing out of the first aid kit
toilet paper
baby wipes
bottled water
trash bags
zip lock bags
bug spray
sun block
hand sanitizer
batteries for flashlights
propane for lantern & stove
chair (one of our bit the dust last year)

Stuff we already have
sleeping bags
fair cloths
First aid kit
air mattress
air mattress pump
sinus meds
This is the second season we have been out there. The real difference this time is that we are broke. I'm thinking of the absolute bare essentials. I just plane can't think of anything else. I'm sure Nat has the rest on her list.
Tent Inspection
We went over to Chrystol & Tony's to look over their new GP Large. We had to "retire" the old tent because the canvas was past it's last legs. It is a beautiful area. These guys are are red necks.

If you have the room and the open "pasture" to set up two full size army tents in you front yard, you might be a red neck.

# If you mow your yard and find a car, you might be a red neck.

# If you tow your jet-sky with a four wheeler, you might be a red neck.

Good folks. I had a great time. I wish I could have been more help.


Trip Home

Not much to do with the trip home, but a nice impromptu picture drawn by Kasia on the white board. She was illustrating the baby grand piano.

These pictures are of a very special walkway. It is one of those times where you build the walkway where people are walking anyway. This is a straight shot from the front door to the parking garage. It also hits smack into a puddle of water when it rains. If it were a hundred meters longer, it would make a nice walk.

This is the Wendie's across the street. I wait here for the bus some days. Those rocks at the bottom of the photo are just right for throwing. Not very smart on the restaurant's part if you ask me.

This was an unpleasant surprise. That is the roof of the bus. The emergency door is open. You can glimpse a sign sliding by as I snapped the photo. It was a clear enough day to have the sun roof open, but this was unnerving.

Remember the racers I keep complaining about? This damage happened just to the side of the road a couple of weeks ago. I was on my way to work and noticed the police ahead blocking traffic. They were letting out a tow truck. I didn't get a good look at the car, but I bet it was one of those rice burners every one is racing on Saturday nights.

I do not know the story behind this cross. It means someone died near this point. The point where I walk every time I catch the bus. Have I mentioned this is unnerving?

These are some more snaps I got on the way. It started raining when I past the church, so I missed that photo.

This is the ... phone building I pass. I don't know what it really is. I've noticed a phone truck parked there once or twice.

The bar across the street.

Home sweet home. The garage sale sign is still up. They are having it again tomorrow.


Pattern recognition is a sticking point in computers. Human brains are designed to recognize patterns. If there is no pattern, your brain will make one up. See "The Perfect Mind". Programmers have been trying to come up with ways to find patterns in the chaos since computers were invented. One of these methods is called Regular Expressions or regex. I use it daily in my new job. I am no expert. Nothing brings a group of programmers together like trying to match some collection of garbage data via regex. I've had half the company sit down and scratch their heads over these little blobs of seemingly random characters. I would give a couple of examples, but they would not make any sense. It ten or twenty constructions of regex statements to catch what is really going on. Even then it takes several more before you can look at a regex statement and guess what it is looking for. It takes even more to diagnose why a regex statement is not working. The hard ones are the ones with "or" and "and" logic.
I look at ht the characters on the page of paper and it takes my brain a second to recognize them as letters. The patterns continue to words and then sentences. Then we get paragraphs and stories. Then we get to chapters and books. Then we get to whole library sections. The patters repeat, but they all say different tings in different ways. The patters are simple There are 62 primary characters with a bunch of punctuation added in in the English language. They make up the blocks that make up the libraries of information written in English. I'm sure there is a matching amount in the European languages. Then there are all the Oriental variants. They are different patterns that end up telling the same story. I have the regex in my head for English. I'm listening to Spanish lessons at work occasionally, but this won't help me develop the Spanish language pattern any time soon. I have to live it for a while.
Computers have come a long way, but they too have to live the experience before they will learn the patterns. I hope this does not happen in my lifetime. I envision either a Matrix or Terminator scenario. It all boils down to pattern recognition. That is what separates Humans from the animal kingdom, not the thumb. We recognize our thumb and describe it in a way someone else can discern the pattern and identify their thumb. It is still a thumb in Chinese or Latin. Even though these languages use different words to describe what a thumb is, they describe it in an amazingly similar way. That is because, even though we use different words to describe our thumbs, we still have the same pattern recognition software running in our brains.
Scientists say that there is a huge chunk of our genetic code that does nothing. I say bullshit. That is the code for everything that they have not discovered like this pattern recognition software running in all our heads.


Palestine and Israel

The Hamas-led Palestinian government that won elections in January has refused to recognize Israel, end violence, and honor past agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, which Abbas heads.
Abbas told the assembly's annual ministerial meeting that he has recently sought to establish a government of national unity "that is consistent with international and Arab legitimacy and that responds to the demands of the key parties promoting Mideast peace -- recognition, ending violence and honoring past agreements.
"I would like to reaffirm that any future Palestinian government will commit to all the agreements that the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian National Authority have committed to," he said.
These include the letters of mutual recognition exchanged on September 9, 1993, by the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian chairman Yasser Arafat, whom Abbas called "the two great late leaders."
"These letters contain mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO, renunciation of violence, and commitment to negotiations as the path towards reaching a permanent solution that will lead to the establishment of the independent state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel," Abbas said.

I'm withholding belief until something real happens. Far be it from me to be a nay-sayer about peace in the Middle East.
This directly conflicts with the charter of the PLO which I believe includes killing all the Jews and pushing Israel into the sea. I might be mistaken.
Well, I didn't have to wait very long. Further down in the same article.

The coalition talks have stalled in recent days as the U.S. seeks assurances that the Islamic militant group will renounce violence and recognize the Jewish state.

I knew it.
I do a bunch of testing in my new job. It is no secret. For a long time I have wanted to put my information down electronically. I can do this, but I could not publish to the place where we keep all the data. It only excepts text data and I need to keep things in a table to keep everything straight. I use an HTML editor that is built in to Mozilla. It is the one I use to put my blog entries together and keep notes all over the place. It is just plane raw HTML. Nothing fancy. That is why I like it. I decided yesterday to heck with it and just keep the HTML files with my email archive. Now, I fill out the HTML table as I do my work. It is so much better. I was using a clipboard with a notepad and had written tables every day. I even used a 90 degree and a ruler. My drafting father would be proud. I wonder if the crappy pencils I bought had something to do with the decision. Well, regardless, I'm all electronic now.
The funny thing is, I miss writing things down. I can understand why people were passionate for so long about not giving up their paper books and cursive. I print everything exclusively now because I might want to read it in the future. You just get used to things and they feel gone when you replace them. This way is better and I will stick with it. I don't really miss the paper and pencil method. It just feels funny for a while.


Lunch Conversation
Again, I took off early and went to take walk in the pretty weather.
# How very young kids act when they are sleepy.
# Some folks who live pretty far away still come over to this side of town to go to specific restaurants.
# The business behind Google and searching in general.
# Sushi came up for the third day in a row.
    o I just don't like it because it is not cooked. I don't mind the taste. I have to drown it in sauce. Why not just eat the rice in the sauce?
    o Some like the California Rolls exclusively.
    o Some like it when it is still wiggling.
# Music in one fashion or another.
# A & L's new baby. The pictures are adorable.
User vs Owner
In Linux, you have permissions. When you want to write to a file, you have to have write permissions. When you want to read a file, you have to have read permissions and so on. You can read, write or execute files. These are known as "modes". There are three entry points to permissions. User - the user who created the file. Group - a group assigned to the file so the number of multiple users can be limited. and Others - every one else in the universe. User is pretty straight forward until you try to change the user assigned to a file. Then, it is called owner as in command "chown". Some commands like "install" which is really just a fancy copy "cp" command, changes permissions, ownership and group while copying. Very handy. First of all "install" is confusing because they should call it "cp_pluss" or something. That is all it is doing. Second, in this one command, while changing mode you use -m xxx which stands for user - group - others. You can also use -m u+w which means give the user (owner) the ability to write to the file. Then, you have -o <user> which changes the user of the file which is also known as the owner. However, if you think "owner" you might put -m o+w which gives "others"(every one in the universe) the ability to write to, or delete the file you just copied.
This kind of thing is why MS has resisted implementing real security in Windows for so long. I hear they are finally giving in and forcing privileges by default in the new versions of business MS-OS.
Clear as mud?
Left Handed Mouse
I use the mouse left handed. I am really right handed. The first mouse I ever used was on an Amiga in the eighties. I had a Commodore 64 for a while. I then graduated to an Apple IIe. I remember that computer the most. I did some of my first programming on it. Apple IIe machines were what we had in computer science. No hard drive. No network. I had a modem on my computers and surfed the BBS world. Every one was a troll or a punk who wanted to screw with your head. I had a couple of people help me out.
Then it happened. I got a PC. This was the computer that ended up with a mouse. I wanted to learn AutoCAD and some other programs that were only available on the PC at the time. I remember dealing with High-Mem one a program by program basis. One package required using one memory manager and another program did it's own management. It was normal to have five or six configurations and have a menu at the computer startup that listed different paths. What a mess.
I used the mouse left handed on that machine. I have almost always done it. I have to think to use my right hand on the pointer. I tried for the longest time in Windows to use the left handed mouse buttons, but it never worked as advertised. Now, I'm in a lab environment and there must be seventy machines. I'm so glad I got used to just using my middle finger in stead of my index. I use the stiles on my palm left handed too. I cannot write left handed, but I can do that little language for Palm OS that way. I try to shoot left handed to stay in practice and I use chopsticks left handed. I eat ambidextrously with a fork and spoon. I've been told I don't cut meat properly because i don't switch hands after cutting it.
I read somewhere that financial people tend to use the mouse left handed because they have to used their right hand on the numeric key-pad. I'm not sure how common this practice may be. I knew someone who used a detachable numeric keypad left handed for that very reason.


So, I'm trying to write this script that does something cool like run a bunch of tests. I'm basically translating from an example that Jake wrote. He is one of the Engineers up there. So, I get stuck on a long command line with a bunch of parameters. Jake keeps changing them up and there is no documentation. Anyway, I ask him what the changes should be and he says just copy the whole script and change the name of the type of server. So, I make a backup of the script and cut and paste. I run the script hoping that it blows up just teach the smug engineer a lesson, but it works. Damn-it. Well, it did work, but there are still some changes that need to be made to make it worked as the comments say. Anyway. It was one of those moments we script-kitties hate.


Cinelerra sucks. The idea is great. I like the way the program works and the user friendly interface. Let me go through some of the trials I've had with the software.
# Loaded the RPM 1.2.2. When I try to render (basically save completed project) The program simply went away. The moment I hit the button, all five windows of Cinelerra disappeared and so did my project.
# I loaded a new RPM 2.0.x. I got some different errors and the software ran like crap.
# I loaded another new RPM 2.0.x built on the same distribution FC5. Cinelerra had the exact same problem as 1.2.2 where the program simply disappeared when I tried to render.
# I downloaded the source code to 2.0.x. I got the prerequisites and installed them. I got Cinelerra to build and install. I managed to render my first AVI. Well, almost. It got right up to the end then Cinelerra crashed. The AVI was all there, but ran at something like four times speed.
I'm reading in some forums that I'm lucky I got this far. There is a blog out there where a guy explains going through video editing on Linux. Half his blog is bitching about Cinelerra and getting things to work there in.
The video is up. I used Kino to edit it. I may have to make this my norm for a while. Kino is pretty lame, but it seems to get the minimum job done. That is more than I've gotten out of Cinelerra so far.
While I was complaining about Linux and video software, Nat (I love this woman) digs in a box and finds the software that came with my computer. She says "Look here Kelly. 'DVD author EZ' and 'Blah-blah Movie Maker deluxe'. These came with your computer."
"Yes dear." I answer. She is pretty sick of my griping. Did I mention that the video is up? And, now Microsoft products were used in the production of that movie. So, "nyaaaaa!"
Lunch Conversation
# Good football games this past weekend. i don't follow football, so I do not remember the details.
# Bad football games this past weekend.
# habanero ranch and cilantro ranch on Ricardo's home made wings. I nearly bit his arm off to get to them.
# The state of Mexican politics. The dual government in Mexico scares the hell out of me. I'm not sure what is going on any more. I hope some integrity slips into the system in one fashion or another. I'm not going to hold my breath.
    o ... can't cut a check.
    o ... can't order the military around.
    o ... cant make or enforce laws properly.
    o ... can't deal with other countries effectively. Chavez has already recognized the "loosing" side because it is to his advantage to do so.
# Adam and Laurie's new baby and the insane hassle it is to take a newly adopted child between states.
# Spam. Not the eating kind. Someone had printed out an email that was along the line of those scams where someone says "send me your bank info and I'll deposit a bunch of money for you to hold" yadda yadda.



I did not know any of these were still in the air. It is awesome to get a video of one flying. A friend of mine had a model of one of these when I was a kid. He knew the whole history. It was the first time I really became interested in jets or what knot.
Alarm went off at 06:00. I told Nat it was that early and went back to sleep. She got up and started getting the place ready for a garage sale. Nat and Julie sold stuff until about 12:45. We were supposed to go to a six year old's birthday party, but Julie ended up taking Elle for us. Nat stayed here and cleaned for the party we had this evening. The party was fun for me any way. I bet I can list every one who showed up. My parents bailed. None of our Faire friends showed. Justin showed from work. They brought brisket. Bill showed and brought brisket and very tasty reindeer. Nat's brothers came. They were the life of the party. A friend of Nat's from High school brought her two nephews. They were fun, but a bit wild. They are young boys. I'm just not used to it. Cynthia showed. I have to say, I didn't expect her to show. I'm glad she came. I haven't had a good geek conversation in a while.
It all going so well until every one left and I tried to get to sleep. The racers were out in force. I went out to my back yard and recorded some video. I called the police. I could not get to sleep after that.
Any one interested in the video?


A buddy of mine forwarded a bunch of pictures and said they were from Katrina. He had been duped by someone. I'm not sure who starts this crap. I wish they would give it up. I forwarded it too thinking the pictures were cool. I forgot to put my normal disclaimer of not knowing the origins. Thus, I didn't bather telling people they were not Katrina pictures. They are just cool pictures of weather stuff.
It kind of makes me sick. I wish they would just leave well enough alone. Don't try to impress people with bullshit. It nearly always back fires. Go take a look at the pictures. They really are spectacular. Make sure you read the truth about them.


Dead Linux
And on the fourth day, the keyboard stopped repeating key strokes. You know, when you hold a key down and the letter goes off the screen, that stopped working after the machine  at work was up for four days. It is funny stuff like that that collapses in Linux. I bet I could have got it working again if I were just plane amazing at Linux. I'm not. So, I had to <hush> reboot my Linux box to get it working attain.
I asked what it would take to get more memory in my desktop and both my roommates laughed at me at the same time, with that "humph" sort of laugh of frustration felt by those who have been down that road many times. Great. I'll live with what I have.
I have managed to only bring a mechanical pencil and a cordless mouse to work so far. Hopefully that is all that I will bring up here. One thing I liked about my old job is they had good supplies most of the time. At the new job, we have a supply shelf. It has some pretty random stuff show up. I found a 90 triangle that I use all the time. I hadn't seen one of those since my father brought a bunch of his stuff home when I was a kid. I use ti to draw up a table so I can keep track of what goes where and what tests ran. I recreate it every day. I would like to do it on the computer, but the place we keep the data does not accept HTML, so putting it in tabular form on the computer is really a waste.


I need to do some research on what the heck Feminism really is. I must have the wrong idea. I've heard several times now of women converting to Islam because it is a template of Feminism. I heard it again on NPR this morning.
But wait a minute. I heard that a woman's testimony is worth half that of a man in Koran. I heard that if a woman is raped she needs five men as witnesses to confirm the allegation or she is to be put to death (by her own family) for shaming the man and her family. Men are aloud to take up to four wives if they can afford it. All of these are of course up to interpretation. That is the problem.
This does not compute. I clearly need to do more research.
The Koran clearly defines the roll of women in society. It clearly defines the roll of men, and children. I think that is why so many people convert. They are tired of all the decisions they have to make every day. They want some rules. The bolder the lines the better. I've felt like that many times in my life. Over all I like having the choices.
But, Feminists really confuse me in this area. I thought Feminists wanted to bring down the division between the sexes. i must be miles off on this thought. I'll do some reading and come back.
Well, according to Wikipedia, I was spot on about Feminism. Nearly every bullet they attribute to Feminism is countered by the Koran. Here is a very good explanation of what women find in the Koran. Their bullet points leave out a lot. It sounds like the interpretation makes a huge difference. Hmmm, sounds like every other frigging religion on Earth.
I have been watching House with Nat lately. I have to say that i don't like the show more and more every time I watch it. The protagonist is a doctor with amazing diagnostic abilities and a growing disability that no one can do anything about. He constantly talks in metaphor like a Chinese prophet. I get tied of his attitude and him never being wrong. Even when he thinks he is wrong it turns out his friends were lying to him to teach him some humility.
Nat loves it. I can sit through it with her. I just can't get in to any dramas on TV any more. They have to be something off the wall like SciFi or The Simpsons. I'm not sure if it means anything. It just is. My life has enough drama in it.


Better or not
Here is to being hated by the rest of the world. I know why they hate us, the rest of the world I mean. I know why the U. S. is so reviled everywhere. It is because we are no better than any of them. We are just people who elect our own government and throw the bastards out every now and again without bloodshed.
# We are better educated. I'm not saying every moron that rolls off the public school assembly line is better educated. God no. I'm saying we have access to the best minds and the drive to put them to work. Other countries complain that the U. S. draws their brilliant people away.
# We are better equipped. Our armed forces have the tools to do the job most of the time. If they don't have it we will get those big  brainy types mentioned above to get right on that. Americans may be out classed, we may be out run, we might even be out smarted, but we are never out gunned.
# We are more informed. I'm not saying every one is a news addict here, I'm saying we keep better tabs on the entire world including ourselves. There are holes, sure, but the NSA has like thirty eight thousand employees of whom a large number are from that large noggin club.
# We have a better economy. I'm not saying there are not examples of better numbers on this planet, but other economies look at the U. S. for guidance. Some base their currency off ours. Some, like Mexico, China, and most of the Middle East are highly dependent on our economy and they won't even admit it.
# We have better music and TV shows. Hell, we invented TV. We invented cable and satellite TV (I think). Have you seen some of the crap coming from other countries? There are a few gems, but yeeesh.
# We have better innovation. You have no idea how hard we Americans work to out do each other and stay on top. Again, not on every front. The Chinese have stolen some very useful technology from all over the Earth.
# We have better choices. This is broad. We have better choices of food, schools, products, religions  therapists, you name it. All it takes here is money. Other places, money cannot always get you what you want.
# We have better opportunities. Nowhere in the worked do you have a better chance of raising your social economic level than the U. S. Ever.
We are not any better than the rest of them. We have just made better choices.
You know, I kind of miss MS Outlook. Not for its own sake, but because all the other programs in the universe seem to make themselves compatible with Outlook. Gmail only exports and imports their own proprietary CSV and Outlook compatible CSV. It seems like the only real PIM software that works with Palm and WinSE was Outlook. I cannot even take my contacts from home to work without loosing information. Jpilot will export a CSV file, but then, get this, you cannot import it right back into Jpilot without errors. That kind of pisses me off. There must be five thousand different PIM type software out there and not two of them uses the same data structure to get the same job done. There is no solution. that works as well as Outlook and it is only because all the programming universe makes their stuff work with Outlook. That sucks. No standard. No open source solution. Bastards.
Lunch Conversation
I walked over to Randal's to get a loaf of bread and some lunch meat. Nat offered to bring me some sandwiches, but I thought it would save gas going to the store. As expensive as gas is right now, I'm not far off.
# Kids and their allergies. If you protect your kid from peanuts, they just might hate peanuts the rest of their life. One person suggested "Kids today just don't eat enough dirt." In the daycare, they have signs up telling what kids are allergic to what. We remanised about people we went to school with not being allergic to stuff.
# Peanut butter is bad for you.
# UT plays Army this week.


The Rat, The Cat, The Homemaker and Her Husband
So, there Nat and I were, snuggling on the couch after Elle had gone to bed. When Tiger, the cat, jumps around the couch with the most determined look on his face. He settles in a crouch staring between the table and the chair. Nat says "He is stalking something." Just then, we hear a scratching noise come from behind the couch and Tiger takes a step forward. Nat hops up and starts moving furniture so Tiger can get to whatever it is. she moves the little trash can from the side of the couch and jumps back with an "eek!"
I ask "what is it?" "What did you see?"
Before I get the words out Nat says "That's my rat, Pretty Girl."
Now the goal has changed. We have to hold tiger back and retrieve the rat before a tragedy occurs. The dog is going nuts. She is in heat and we have had to keep her cooped up in her cage for the past three days with only trips outside for short supervised periods.
We pull out the couch and Nat climbs back there. The rat is freaking out. She never made a sound that I'm aware of until Nat had to finally grab her. She squeaked in disapproval, but seemed to calm down when Nat coddled her.
"That little bitch pushed open the top of her cage." Nat exclaimed. We found something to tie the cage shut with. This morning, as Nat exited the garage door to drive Elle and I to our daily toil she said to the rat "No great escapes today Pretty Girl."
I'm surprised Elle didn't come running out from all the noise. Between Nat and I moving furniture and the dog blowing a gasket in her cage it was pandemonium.
One more family adventure.


The Day, 5 Years Gone
Houston has a moment planned down town. It seems like every major city has something to remember. New York is getting along. The nation has taken some turns since September 11 2001.
I have felt people's pain by reading survivor's stories. There are movies and documentaries out there, but I still cannot watch without turning away. I was in a meeting at work talking to someone in Chicago and another in Manila. My cell phone rang. My phone never rings. I didn't answer it because I was in the middle of the meeting. I had the door closed to my office and yet, I heard people moving around and sounds of distress outside. It was a friend at work who opened my door and told me an attack was going on.
We had TVs in the lunch room that had CNN on them. The room was packed. People were silent. I still have the imagine of a hundred people standing in a room designed for maybe ten at a time, all silent, heads facing the same way, transfixed on the screen.
That moment seems a long time ago and yet clear as any thought in my head.
A friend of mine who I am partners in a business with has a cousin who worked on the fifty-something floor of one or the other tower. He had worked all weekend so his boss gave him an another employee that Tuesday off. He awoke to frantic calls from relatives. Several people from his office died in the attack.
Does any one out there have a story they want to tell?
Bear Creek Park
The clan just took a trip to Bear Creek Park. The pictures are already up. We had fun. It was hot. The Mexicans kept feeding the animals right in front of the "No feeding the animals" signs. It kind of pissed Nat and I off, but what are you going to do? The animals were hot and laying in the shade. The birds outside the cages were quite loud. The birds inside the cages acted like they were showing off for the camera. The people were mostly breaking the rules.
It's funny how many people were on mobile phones. It seemed like half the people there were in a conversation with someone who was not there. There was only a couple of people who didn't have kids in tow. There was one old couple who fought constantly in Spanish as they past.


Lunch Conversation (written 2006-08-08)
# Batman from the TV show vs Bat Man from the Dark Night.
The TV show Bat Man would win because the Dark night would set up for a fight and a plastic shark would crawl out  of the suer and bite him in the ass.
# Someone is heading off for vacation this week and they can't set up their TiVo to get the new shows because they are not entered in the system yet. Sure, you can set the thing to record at a given time, but that takes effort. That is what TiVo is all about. Effortless TV watching.
# The big TV networks have stopped renaming their TV shows when there is a "very special" episode because people's TiVos would not recognize them and thus not record them.
# Someone is about to be a new parent, so we spoke of the lack of sleep and the other challenges.
# Some folks have purchased the DVD to TV shows to get the commentary. Lost was one they particularly liked. Apparently there are a lot of bad commentary DVDs out there. The good ones are very good.
# The intersection we have to traverse is frightening.
# The restaurant was full of smoke. They have smoked food, but someone left the vent closed.
# The street in front of our office smells like a suer. It is the construction going on in the Target parking lot.s
# Car stuff that I didn't listen to.
# More kid stuff I didn't listen to.
# Vacation stuff that I pretended to listen to.
Notably Absent from the conversations.
# Video games were not mentioned in my earshot.
# Religion.
# politics.
# House/apartment issues.
I was distracted for some reason. I didn't feel 100% today. I'm trying to skip medicine today except for the antibiotics. I think they are making me, you know, blah or something.
OH, something I did learn today. As it happens our office has a phone on the wall in the men's room. This is only because people need to hear the announcements from there and the speakers are in the phones. Well, someone called our office today from the men's room just for kicks. It comes up "TheJohn" on caller ID.
So, I noticed the screensaver on my Dell box (Fedora) sucks. The vector drawn screensavers would blink and flutter. So, I thought I'll try xscreensave in stead of gnome-screensaver. Low and behold, no blinkity screensavers. They are the self same screen savers, but now they are smooth and pleasant to look at in stead of giving me a headache.
Thinking this is a great idea, I try to switch the screen savers. I turned the internet upside down and found five great descriptions of how to do it for Fedora, that were all wrong in one way or another. So, I took the word Fedora out of the search. I found the correct answer on Ubuntu Forums. The Ubuntu community has a much better attitude than the Fedora community. The Fedora community is a bunch of snobby know it all types who are only interested in gloating and making me feel like an idiot for asking. The Ubuntu forums seem to be interested in answering the question and getting people on their way. If I'm wrong, please leave a comment.
Glasses are a necessary evil. They sit on my face and help me see more clearly. I hate having to ware them, but every waking moment they are on my face. I have contacts, but I don't ware them that often any more. They are expensive to replace and i don't really have the money right now. I'll save them for Faire.
I've heard that people associate glasses with intelligence. So, if you ware glasses, people may think you are smarter. The Khmer Rouge killed people walking down the street who were warring glasses. They didn't want intelligent people to start anything. Watch all those Hollywood movies where the pretty woman wares glasses during the first couple of scenes, then drops them when she is supposed to turn pretty.
I've warn glasses all my life. I have permanent notches in the side of my head, just above my ear, where the arms ride. When I'm dead, I'm sure a coroner would say "This guy wore glasses all his life."
Warring glasses has come in handy more than once. I've had things bounce off them that would have gone in my eye. I had a wasp try to sting my glasses while I was riding my bike. There are other examples I'm sure.
My father has worn glasses all his life too. He told me a story of when he was in the army, they called the names of all the guys headed for Vietnam from a huge assembly. After it was done, he looked around. Most of the guys left were warring glasses.
My mother has worn glasses all her life too. There is the cutest picture of her somewhere as a child with thick black frames. She has worn contacts since they came out. I remember her boiling them in the eighties. I don't remember if she still wares contacts or not.
So many people are getting surgery to clear up their vision. I don't care how many people get it, I just don't trust doctors around my eyes. I've had eye surgery. it is just plane no fun. I don't care how hard they try to make it sound like a manicure.
Lets see, I have several glasses needs.
# Bifocals for work. I wore bifocals all through school. They had a blatant line and some people did make fun of me for warring pop bottles.
# Sunglasses for every day ware. I now own a pare of prescription sunglasses that I got online for $30. They are just regular glasses with extra tint. I found a place that makes them on the cheep.
# Contacts for going out. I really only ware them at Faire these days. They are too expensive for every day use. They are too much of a hassle anyway. Sometimes I get a wild hair and ware them for a couple of weeks.
# Magnifying glasses for computer. Most of the time at home I just take my glasses off and blow the text up a bit. I sometimes ware regular magnifying glasses (granny glasses) too. Sometimes I ware my regular glasses and a pare of magnifying glasses at the computer because this way, I also get rid of the astigmatism.
# Safety glasses for stuff outside. I have safety glasses that fit over my regular glasses for yard work. I just need to bring myself to ware them on a daily basis.
I hate waring glasses. I wish there were a way to see clearly without surgery, glasses, contacts whatever. I'm not even counting the fact that I'm legally blind with or without them. People who do not need glasses know not their blessing.

P. S. I admit this is kind of a filler piece. I wrote it yesterday, but was too lazy to publish. I should probably hang on to it for a day when I have writer's block, but I'm too lazy for that.
Coming to a fountain near you
glow in the dark bubble bath
Maybe you can't suds a fountain with this stuff, but can that be far behind?


Teenagers are more selfish than adults because they use a different part of their brain to make decisions compared to adults, new research suggests.
Blakemore found that teenagers rely on the rear part of the mentalising network to make their decisions, an area of the brain called the superior temporal sulcus. In contrast, adults use the front part, called the prefrontal cortex.
... explained by an evolutionary mechanism in which the development of the brains of adolescents takes precedence over its performance. “You don’t need to be on a par with other people because you are looked after until reproductive age. Only then do you need to start to take into account other people’s perspectives.”

Scientific proof that teenagers really are assholes until they grow up.
This is eye opening. So, at what time does the switch take place? I think when you strike out on your own. That is when it happened for me. I've heard so many people say that same thing. Someone famous once said "When I was sixteen, my father was the stupidest man I ever met. By the time I was twenty, I wondered how the old man learned so much in four years." Switch thrown.



A miniseries about the events leading to the September 11 attacks is "terribly wrong" and ABC should correct it or not air it, former Clinton administration officials demanded in letters to the head of ABC's parent company.
But in a statement released Thursday afternoon in apparent response to the growing uproar, ABC said, "No one has seen the final version of the film, because the editing process is not yet complete, so criticisms of film specifics are premature and irresponsible."
"For dramatic and narrative purposes, the movie contains fictionalized scenes, composite and representative characters and deluge, and time compression," ABC said in its statement. "We hope viewers will watch the entire broadcast of the finished film before forming an opinion about it."

Well, it seems Clinton is upset by ABC's bullshit docufiction airing next week. I don't think the Bush people like it either. ABC is catching it from every angle. They should. What they are going to put on the air is complete bullshit. It is designed to upset people. it is designed to be bias to the political bent of the ABC fuck-heads and director. I'm telling you their agenda should not be aloud. If it were a documentary, it could be construed as political speech. By calling it a drama they hope to put their opinions in to millions of peopl's heads without getting called on it. I hope their is an injunction or something. Maybe a mandatory "This is complete fiction" disclaimer over the middle of the screen would suffice.
Today's Linux Thoughts
# How do people get any work done without multiple desktops? I use multiple desktops at home and work now. I cannot imagine doing things that require multitasking or looking at things from multiple angles without multiple desktops. If I do go back MS-crap any time soon, I'm going to track down one of the multiple desktop programs. I wonder if Vista supports anything as useful.
# Unix has a philosophy of stopping you from doing things until you have privileges. MS seems to be the other way round, at least on home machines. As much as I hate it when security stops me from doing something stupid, I love it when security stops other people from doing something stupid. The Unix way produces far fewer support calls.
# Unix requires mounting of drives. This is true most of the time. That is, the GUI does this for you sometimes now. I can understand why programmers resisted auto-mounting for so long. They wanted consistency. I want my frigging flash drive and CD-ROM to show up on the desktop when I insert them. MS to this day uses drive letters as mount points. This concept is thirty years out of date. Macs have never had drive letters because they came into being in 1984. I have run into problems on support calls where people have used every available drive.
# I have had people who use Linux every day ask me if you can hook a DVD burner to one of the Linux machines. I answer that I have burned hundreds of data DVDs at the house. The only throw aways I've had have been my fault. I can't wait until the next generation of DVD/whatever comes out. I want some real space to put stuff.
# The only feature I miss from MS Windows is a simple function of the start menu. If you hold down the shift key, or was it the control key, you can click on more than one program at a time and they will start without closing the menu. That is pretty much it.
The thing is, if I were a good enough programmer, and had the gumption and drive, I could join the Gnome project and make that feature happen. Try that with MS. I doubt you get far. I may find out who to send that wish too, because I really do miss that one  single feature.

It's Fall. When did this happen in September before? The last day of August was actually pleasant. This is South East Texas dammit. It is supposed to be sweltering until October. Then it is to be rainy until mid December. Then we get nut-shrinking cold for a couple of weeks. Then January and February are mild with a cold snap here and there, then it rains every day at 4:00 pm for six months give or take a hurricane. Then it all starts over again. If this is global warming, I'm not sure I have been listening to the right cynics.


I had a thought today about a rhyme I learned most of my life ago. Mother Very Early Made Jelly Sandwiches Up Near Pluto. It is the rime I used to remember the order of the planets. Mercury Venus Early Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto. now, there is no Pluto. Someone came to their senses and made it official that Pluto is not a planet. I remember in the sixth grade our teacher telling us Pluto was really too small to be a planet. If Pluto is a planet, then our moon should be a planet too.
Oh, well. It is just one more thing from my childhood that I have to surrender to progress. I carried a pocket knife to school every day. Not for defense or anything, but just because it was handy to have a blade on a daily basis.
I'm going to start sounding like one of those old crotchety types any minute. "Back in my day ..." It is not inevitable. I can make myself stop, for now. If any one has a new rhyme to remember the planets, please let me know. I will probably not remember it for a day, but there is always the internet to look things up on now days. That is a vast improvement over "my day".


When freehand drawing I prefer a wood pencil. When drawing via a ruler or writing (site), I prefer mechanical. I recently purchased some cheep .7mm mechanical pencils. I like the thicker lead for writing because it is easier for me to read later. I like .5mm for drawing lines, but what are you going to do? Anyway. These pencils suck so bad that I'm thinking of donating them. They leaver is on the side and takes a huge effort to click the lead. The lead comes out at the wrong length no matter what. Nearly one quarter of the lead is waisted in these crappy pencils because of the way the mechanism is set too far back. Once the end of the lead is past the mechanism, you have to use another lead. In this pencil, that happens with a quarter of the lead left. Far too wasteful.
Oh, and they only seem to have .5mm lead available in the office. I need some new pencils. I should have known. They are a bunch of designers and engineers. I bet half of them secretly hoard .3mm pencils in their private stock. yes, they make .3mm pencils. I saw them when I was at Ridgway's. I think Texas Art Supply had them too.
It amazes me how touchy some people get over pencils. I like drawing and shading with color pencils. I cannot draw freehand so I don't even own any. Nat and Elly both have sets. I bet if I asked really nicely they would loan me a couple. Nat seems to prefer paint and pens to pencils. Elle likes anything that leaves a mark at the moment. I like drawing with a ruler. I've done some drawing on the computer before. I didn't do a half bad job with CorelDRAW Draw back in the day. Maybe I'll whip something up.
I remember when I worked at Ridgway's. A mother of two walked in on a Saturday with the whole family in tow. She wanted to copy a pretty pencil drawing of a rabbit. It was all grays, but it looked like it would jump off the page at any moment. The normal guy who did the color copies was out for the first time in a long time on a Saturday. We struggled to make a fair copy without smearing the picture. pencil is very delicate on most paper. We brought her back and made some copies, but we did not charge her. They didn't do justice.
Ridgway's was geared to the business world. We had no idea how to preserve artwork. I have no idea if things have changed. I doubt it. They were in it for volume. I haven't set foot in a Ridgway's in ten years. I wonder who still works there.


One story fits all
Steve Irwin is dead. It appears that every blogger on the planet has to mention it at least once. So, Here is my bit. I didn't like watching his show. I could have decked him when he had his infant child anywhere near a crocodile. It reminded me of Michael Jackson dangling his baby over a balcony.
I'm not sure what the big rally is all about. Steve Irwin was memorable and a relatively big celebrity in Australia, but not here in the states as far as I can tell. I'm sorry he is dead. I'm sorry his kids will have to grow up without him. I'm sorry his wife has gone through so much with him, though it sounds (in the one interview I saw with her) that she loved it. It sucks, but it is done. Be more careful around nature.
I got spines in my foot when I walked around my back fence the other day. Poor Nat had to pull them out with tweezers. I learned to ware shoos when outside around here. Hopefully people learn from this.


A watched file never downloads. It's funny. The aMul program is faster than Overnet or eDonkey only because it is more stable. There is less down time so far. I have had more stuff come in within a shorter period of time. The file I'm waiting for has, of course, taken it's sweet time making it here. It isn't even a particularly good movie.
Not Funny
I read today's Dilbert and I don't find it funny. I've seen this kind of thing happen. At my last job, I was invisible. I did my job. I excelled at my job. I was good enough at my job that no one knew what I did because they didn't have to know what I did, because I was there to do it and I did it well. I felt like I got the same treatment that is in today's Dilbert.
My first review comes up soon at my new job. It is a six month review and I have no I'd how things are going to go.
Then I go to today's User Friendly. It is a joke about how MS forces users to listen to a sound at the boot of the new OS. The joke is that MS will then ask you if you want to buy the song for $0.99  I can envision MS pulling that kind os shit. And why shouldn't they take advantage of their monopoly of 90% of the market? I mean, they are just doing a better job than every one else right?
It has been a bad day for comics. FoxTrot was funny. If I were a girl, I would hate it.
Spit Kits

London bus-drivers carrying DNA kits for catching face-spitters
London bus-drivers are being equipped with DNA sample kits with which to capture spittle when irate passengers spit on them.

If you go around spitting on people, you deserve to get busted. I applaud the DNA kit thing. I'm scared that they have a national database of genetic prints to identify people, but that is another rant.


Good thing about Craig's list, you can get rid of stuff you don't want or find annoying.
My Ear Popped
I'm sick. I have to blow my nose all the time. I try so very hard to not allow my ears to pop while I blow my nose.This morning, my left ear popped without warning while I was blowing my nose. It didn't hurt or anything. It kind of felt good really. It felt like a release of pressure.  This is bad because up to now I've avoided the dizziness that comes along with my sinus infections. That happens when the sickness gets into my ears Well, Now I bet I have that to look forward too. It is unfair. I tried so hard.
I don't want to go to the doctor again. I went last month and took antibiotics. It didn't help at all. I took every single one. This is all brought on by allergies. I get sinus infections a couple of times a year. I take antihistamines daily. They do nothing. I need to move to a dryer climate. That is not going to happen. I'm stuck in Houston, the city with the worst air in the nation. If I had any say, I would call for the evacuation of all citizens with any sort of respiratory disorder from South East Texas.
I want some Vicks. I remember that stuff doing wonders for my sinuses in the past. I need to get some cough drops. I may hit Target at lunch.
Dog vs Cat
It is a story as old as the written word. Dogs and cats living together, ANARCHY!!!
First an introduction.
Tiger is a ten year old, fat, lazy yellow with tiger stripes, easily annoyed cat who loves to wine about the things that annoy him. He likes sleeping on the back of the couch, middle of the hall, in front of the TV, in Natalie's chair, and eating.
Molly is a two year old, black, hairy, Corgi mix with a heavy frame and short legs. She is hyper most of the time, clingy the rest. She loves to go outside and come right back in. She is intelligent, but stupid sometimes like the rest of the family. She enjoys eating Tiger's food and (blekkk!!!) poop from the litter box.
I could write a book abut the couple of weeks they have cohabitated so far. It has been mesmerizing to watch them learn each other's way. Molly will walk by Tiger, now too lazy to move out of the way, and give him a kiss just in passing. Tiger tolerates the first kiss, but will swipe at Molly if she stops and persists.
If Tiger just sits there Molly will not really push issues. However, if Tiger takes off to get away from her, Molly will run after him. This of course makes the situation far more interesting. If Elle is paying attention at the moment she too wants to run after them both. This prompts Nat to jump up and haller at all of them to stop. What a mom thing to do. I sit back and chuckle at the whole situation. Not out of meanness, but out of loving the family interaction. We have all come together to chase each other around the house for no good reason.
Tiger meows when he is annoyed. Molly barks only when she things something is a miss.
Tiger walks by you and expects to be petted. Molly runs her nose under your hand and passive aggressively demands to be petted.
Tiger is the old crotchety fart. Molly is the fun loving ball chaser.
They are both needy.
I suppose we are all needy. We need each other
Bleach vs Mouthwash
I'm sick, as I've hammered into the ground lately. I still have to brush my teeth. Using the same tooth brush without cleansing it in some way must be bad for the whole situation. So, I'm going to soak it in something that should kill the germs. I would have normally used bleach. yes, I would leave my tooth brush soaking in a cup of bleach over night and then rinse the dickens out of it before using it again. Nat blew a gasket when she heard of this practice. She suggested mouthwash. I understand her concern. I just don't think mouthwash will kill the kinds of germs that bleach will. It will save some water in the morning.
Does any one out there have a better idea?