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


Eye Doctor
So, I went to the Eye doctor yesterday. It was enlightening. The doctor has a new toy. he has a camera that takes a picture of the inside of your eye. I don't know how it works, but it works pretty well. It only gets the back wall, so my surgery areas didn't really show up. It was still cool. My doctor also showed me some examples of diseases and how they look in the pictures. Scary stuff.
My summary is, other than where I had surgery, my eyes are quite healthy. Even where  I had surgery, the problems are isolated, hens the surgery. Yay me!
Nat wants to go in next week for a check up. She mentioned that she just may be ready to get some glasses. Don't tell her I blogged this. She will kill me. I don't know what the problem is. I've worn glasses all my life. Someone out there enlighten me.
The doctor let me walk out with a sample pare of contacts. They work great. I'm going to wait for a couple of days to make sure they work for me and order some. I miss waring contacts. They are a hassle, but I can just plane see better with them. I plan on ordering another pare of glasses eventually. I'll get them from that online place I used before, or maybe Wal-Mart. I'm definitely not spending a lot of money on them. They will hopefully only be a backup.


Can't type. Eyes dilated.


I'm hearing a resounding yawn at the release of the new Microsoft OS. Most people have the same plan. If they get a new computer and it comes with Vista, that's OK. No one has plans to upgrade really. I don't blame them. So far, the biggest advantage I've read about is a one click presentation mode for laptops that disables the screen saver and beeps and such. Thats .... nice. There are some security updates. That is handy too, but not much more than you could get from third party folks.
The 64 bit support is supposed to be better. No one cares about that until it doesn't work.
The only thing that I really miss from Windows is playing games. I don't have time to play games anyway. Pretty much everything else I can get done via Linux. It is getting to the point that I do not need to mess with too much to get things to work any more. It was really bad a couple of years ago. Everything you wanted to do required massaging the code a bit to get thing to work on your box. Nightmare. There are easily a dozen projects out there to allow Linux to run Windows games.
In Linux, some programs like Adobe and Open Office take ages to open up. This is because the whole program is running when you click on the file or evoke it from the command line. In Windows, many programs have a pre-loader that just sits there eating up environment resources waiting for you to click on something that they pay attention to. This approach does make applications like Office and Adobe pop up faster upon a click, but enough applications do this that it causes a general slow down of the computer. You can't even tern most of the m off. You don't get the choice.
So, I click on programs and it takes a while in Linux for the application to pop up with my data file. I have to remind myself as I sit there twiddling my thumbs that I will not suffer as much slow down or crash time because of this. I think in the long run it is faster the Linux way. Though I understand why MS has made the choice it has. People notice the initial delay more than a general slowdown. It won't be much longer that computers run so fast that it won't make much of a difference. I hope that is the case any way.
People say Vista has a new look, but from the screen shots it doesn't look that far off. I still like Mac OS feel better than any other I've used. Gnome sucks only slightly less than KDE so I stick with it on Linux. One of the guys at work got a Mac and told us stories of getting nEdit to work and other programs that he was used to using from Linux. it sounds like a snap if you find some good examples on the net. Apparently there is quite a following of Mac OS for hackers willing to share their talents at getting things to work.
Birth Announcement

Well other then the rats life is good.  We had the baby.  Cheyenne Jazmin Laurel [last name censored] born 1/11/07 at 100mph in the front seat of the truck.  And when I say born she was out and on mom's chest completely born at 100mph.  The birth went well and mom and baby did and are doing wonderful....the truck is finally just about back to normal.  Had to call a crime scene clean up company to get some stuff they use.  Worked really well. 
James (proud papa)

Oh, the rats. That is an interesting story too. A rat died in a buddies cubical at my old work. It got stuck in a trap in the hall and drug itself bleeding to his filing cabinet. Pretty damn disgusting. They had squirrels in the celling at one point. I wonder if they ever fixed the hole.
James, it would have made an even better story if she were borne in the back seat of the Camaro at 100 mph.


No clear winner

No clear winner is emerging from the deadly fighting in Gaza between the Hamas and Fatah movements, a sign that neither is strong enough to knock the other out.
The bitter rivals have been buying, smuggling and building weapons for months trying to gain an edge, but they have held back from all-out battle and find themselves in a stalemate.
That leaves many Palestinians with grim hopes that a power-sharing deal still can be worked out between the Islamic militants of Hamas and the more moderate President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah.

Imagine that, no clear winner in a fight in th emiddle east. You know, that article makes it sound like the writer would like one side to get it's ass kicked just to have something else in the news. I agree. I would love one side to really pull the stops and just anialate the other side just so there would be some freash news.
So, the Palastinian people are at each other's throats trying to decide who will lead them to victory distroying Israel. This kind of thing shouldn't even make the news any more. This was behind other stories like Mided Reviews for Clinton in Iowa, Ripple effect of Windows Vista Rollout and Racial strife at Quaker school.
Money is waisted on the young
Watch the after math first.

Happy to be alive, but still spouting stupidity.

Then watch the actual wreck.

Proof that some people have more money than brains.

Internet Panic
So, I wanted to hop on the internet last night about 3:00 am to check what year that car was on my blog. (by the way, I think it is a 56 Victoria) Only, the internet was down. No lights on the modem and no web pages on any of the computers. This sort of thing has happened before. I remember really hoping it was just some glitch that would take care of itself. This is not out of laziness. This is because I dread calling tech support for DSL.
I use Linux. No one at the tech support for DSL has herd of Linux, nor do they have any scripts ready to deal with Linux. I could write them some, but they don't care. These people are Americans somewhere in this country. I can tell by the accents. They mostly sound like idiots fresh out of high school who are kicking it back at this job until something better comes along. I mean hell, they get to sit the whole day. That is a great benefit.
I miss dealing with the tech support in India. The tech support we had at my old job was lacking most of the time. I would come in early to call tech support before the U. S. people started picking up the phones. The folks in India would not depend solely on their book of scripts to get them through. If you had some odd ball case, they would at least understand what you were trying to do and hear you out. This is because they had been to college. Where the Americans had not. I never asked, I could just tell. I can just tell that the infants I get here in the states, for the most part, just don't care if my problem ever gets fixed. I have to use Nat's machine because it has Microcrap as an OS and go through the script "No, I don't get any web pages." "No, I can't get a connection." "Yes, I hooked it straight up to the computer, not through a modem." When I started the conversation with "I can't DHCP an IP through the DSL modem. any more. It worked yesterday and every day for a year before that."
Thank goodness it just came back up today. I was genuinely worried I was going to have to deal with those idiots again. I wish the phone company would just outsource the jobs. It isn't like the Americans really want them anyway. Hell, half the applicants are probably illegal immigrants any way.


We need these in the states

We need these in the states. I would like them place around our neighborhood and only vehicles that belong here are aloud through. I want another set at the end of my driveway.

Atempted Murder on YouTube

Just how many counts of atempted murder are there in this video?

Question for the masses
Can someone tell me what make and model this car is?

Good Save

This guy gets more cheers for saving his ass than he would have making the top.


There is just no other word for it.

Just plane fun

Balloon tires get you further off road than a big engine. Of course, both doesn't hurt a bit. Besides, these guys seem to get the idea. They are just having fun.

I'm sold

I don't car if I can't understand a word the announcer is saying. Watch to the end.


The Man at Home
Elle's father, Ted, is headed to war in Iraq week after next. Most of the people who know Ted don't really picture him as the Marine kind of guy. The only time I've hung out with him, he seemed like a "slider". That is someone who slides along in life until something happens. Then they scramble to cover. That isn't a bad thing really. I do not mean it as an insult. I've been a "slider" too.
I am Elle's step father. Ted was not ready to  be a dad. I'm not sure I was either. I'm not sure any one is except my friend Adam. It seems like he spent his whole life making himself ready to be a dad. It was pretty cool when he and Laurie finally adopted Cecilia. They make great parents.
Nat and Ted made a wonderful, beautiful little girl. People say "How did you two make such a great kid?" Nat and Ted both seem to hate that. I would too. I have to say it scares me that Elle seems so low maintenance now because I can tell she will be preppy when she gets older. I can soooo see her as a cool kid or whatever the equivalent is in a few years. I am practicing cleaning my shotgun in front of an audience.
I've said before that it seems I should have been a soldier. I am disabled. I cannot go. I feel left out. I feel I should have gone and fought.  The funny thing is, I'm a woos. I far prefer to avoid fighting. I would rather swallow my pried and avoid a fight.
I read military blogs. I watch videos from the war. I pay attention to the MSM because you have to read between the lines to figure out what is really going on. My over all opinion is "It's a war zone." Things get done. Sometimes good people die. Bad people get away. The thing about a war is that the situation has gone too far for talking to resolve the issues. Things have gotten out of hand.  The U. S. is sending troops to Iraq and the whole Middle East is sending troops to fight us there. There have been reports of Egyptians, Syrians, Chinese, and God knows who else being captured or killed trying to fight us there.
Yet, here I am. I sleep at home every night. I get hot meals regularly. Even when I go "camping" it doesn't resemble camping much. No one is shooting at me (mostly). Yet, I'm a provider for a family. I do my best to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads.
Ted is doing his part too. In a broader sense he is protecting his family. I'm not belittling what he is doing. It is an important contribution. I would rather the fight be taken to some foreign land than be fought on the streets of the U. S..
Nat works as hard as I do just keeping things a float. I don't know how families do it where both spruces work full time. It is like climbing a haystack. It is wonderful when Nat can run an errand or help a friend of ours while I'm stuck at work. It really does take two people to keep the family going.
So, yes, we all have our parts. I enjoy being a family man. Nat complains that I spend too much time on the computer, but hey, that's part of being me. I should not let myself feel like less of a man because I am not on the front lines. But ... I do. A little bit.
Weather and Racers
It's funny. Last night was clear and cool. The racers were out in force. Running up and down the road. It was a Thursday night. That didn't seem to make any difference. Don't these people have jobs? Then I remembered the weather report. Friday morning (this morning) was clear, and beautiful, but this evening is supposed to be cold and wet. I'll have to remember that the Racers watch the weather channel.


I've become a pill-popper. Through this whole winter, I've been sick. I remember a week where I said "I haven't felt snotty all week." Then I got all snotty shortly there after. This has been a real problem since last year. I think moving to the sticks and mowing my own lawn have made things worse. I've had this constant cough since I moved to Houston at the ripe old age of five or so. This year has been particularly brutal.
Every morning I wake up and start coughing. I hack up a lung, spit it into the toilet and start take a warm shower where I proceed to hack up the other lung. It has gotten to the point that I don't like taking showers on the weekend because of the coughing.
At some point, I start popping over the counter (OTC) drugs to dull my symptoms. I take the following.
# Decongestant - make things move around better.
# Antihistamine. - keep the body from making more.
# Expectorant - loosen what is already there.
These medicines all work together very well. That is the trouble. They multiply each other's affects. You have to be careful particularly with antihistamines. You can screw up your urinary system pretty good if you are not careful. I take low doses of all of them when I mix them up. I chase them down with a analgesic or two some days.
All this makes me feel like an addict. I can tell days that I don't take this stuff. I clog up and can't breath. I'm sick of being sick. I don't know what to do about it. I've been to doctors. I've tried everything I can think of. I need a lung transplant or something. My body is just not meant for Houston weather.
My last doctor hinted that I might have asthma.  That would suck. There is just plane nothing you can do about asthma. I fear being diagnosed because it will fuck my insurance for the rest of my life. The president is about to do that for me with his new pay for it yourself insurance. I suppose we are all just supposed to shut up and die like good little nobodies. I hate the way this country treats it's people sometimes. Most of the people who run things have enough money to not care how the system is broken. We should make our elected officials live like us poor folks for a while before they can get any power. Yup, that will happen.
It makes me angry that I have to deal with insurance when I'm sick. I don't worry about getting better, I worry about getting over charged because I'm the only sucker who has insurance. No one else bothers to pay their medical bills, so I have to take up the slack.
I better leave it at that before I start really ranting on the subject.
Wasabi Funyons
Wasabi FunyunsI found Wasabi Funyons at the Exxon at Westheimer and Dairy Ashford. They were all I dreampt of. I still think they should be all over the place. I hope the company doesn't think no one wants them because no one can find them. Well, now you know.


Wonderful News

docinthemachine writes with news of felines getting human retinal implants. The cats were afflicted with a version of retinitis pigmentosa, a disease that also blinds humans. The implants are 2-millimeter-wide chips surgically implanted in the back of eye. Each chip's surface is covered with 5,000 microphotodiodes that react to light, sending electric signals along the eye's optic nerve to the brain. The article makes clear that the implants don't allow the cats to see — what they get is impulses of light. The hope is that the electrical activity in the optic nerve will encourage new retinal cells to grow. The article notes: "The chips, which provide their own energy, have shown encouraging results in clinical human trials, in some cases improving sight in people with retinitis pigmentosa or at least slowing the disease's development. Narfstrom said chips have been implanted in 30 people."

This is wonderful news. Retina problems are the most common reason for blindness. I keep hearing little bits here and there about new things in the field of curing different kinds of blindness. One of these days, someone is going to get a new retina or eye. I know too many people who suffer like this. I'm not going to soft cote it. Not being able to see sucks.
Give them a hand

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Why don't I have this kind of free time? This looks like someone's class project. I think they did a pretty good job.


Ken's Birthday
So, it wasn't that big a surprise. It was fun. I think we had more fun keeping the tarp under control than partying with friends. Well, Maybe not.

And then there was smoke.

The boob crown

The Handcuffs ... followed closely by forced tickling.

The biting of toes.

Then we went dancing and then we went to I-Hop. I was too ill to eat. Poor Nat had to take me home. I hadn't drank more than a single shot, but I was coughing all day. Imagine that, me coughing.

All the pictures here
Will it help me with my web surfing?

"There are always those who are willing to take things one step further than others. A group of guys known as OC Team Italy is one of them. They recently pushed an Intel Pentium 4 631 to over 8000MHz using an ASUS P5B with modified voltage regulation and liquid nitrogen. Overclocking is cool and all, but this extends beyond what some would perhaps call useful. Still a milestone though."

It used to be so cool when someone would get a chip to go some screwy-fast speed. This time they double the going rate of 4 GHz and I just don't care. Computers are not about speed so much as can it help me do my homework faster and better? Or, can I play games on it without skipping? They will pretty much all play moves and music. They will all play You tube videos. They will all pretty much do anything with a spreadsheet or email or PowerPoint or most any other office task. Some computers will still not play all the games, but who cares. They do most of the stuff. And they don't need 8 GHz to get it done.


Suburban Death From Above

Home built blimp

I'm trying to think of a good use for this at Faire. We  could paint it up like a dragon or something like thatl. It could only be a blaast flying around faire blowing fire at people. <giggles like a little girl / mad scientist>


I called one of the banks I use this morning. They have some information incorrect. I wanted to get it changed. Well, I can't do it over the phone. I can't get into the web page until I go in to the branch and correct the data. I'm not even sure that will work. I can withdrawal all my money and close all the accounts over the phone, but not get a single piece of data changed. That tells me the information is more important than the money to them.
I remember a couple of years ago one of the news shows did an expose on how easy it was to open an account and start using it as ID without any real paperwork or very much effort. I bet this embarrassed the banks in to the opposite direction.Now you can't do much beyond pay bills and move money around online. Even at that, moving money from one institution to another has become a chore.
Just how bad has online and phone bank fraud gotten? it is a bit like the new sealed plastic containers holding merchandise on store shelves. you know the ones. They are a full millimeter thick plastic that you need a pare of tin-snips to get through. You will ruin a pare of sizers trying to cut into them. Half the time I end up cutting myself on the exposed plastic while attempting to free the bobble I've purchased that isn't worth anything for resale. This too is a response to people steeling from the stores. Someone will slip an item out of the packaging and in to their pocket. odds are, the anti-theft device is on the packaging. Make the packaging a pain it the ass to open and you make the device harder to steal.
So, once again, the honest, law abiding citizen pays for the actions of criminals from both ends. We pay for the more expensive packaging and the longer time it takes to get our data changed with higher prices at the end of it all. We spend more time trying to get our item or service than the criminals would spend in jail (on the whole).
There is just too much shit to worry about these days. Humans are not getting dumber, we are just getting more and more overwhelmed.


Brrrr ...
Elle all bundled up


Rotten Door
So, Nat calls me yesterday and says the "bottom of the back door fell off." That sounded pretty ominous. It was the plastic sweeper thing that is tacked to the bottom of the door. We stopped at Home Depot and got a new one. I really hate that place.
I had to cut the strip to fit with a hack saw. It looks like that is what the last person did too. The bottom of the door is wet and rotten. I was trying to pop the new strip in place with the door still up, but it just wasn't in the cards. Once I got the door down, I figured out that the damage is pretty bad. There was basically no wood left to screw in to. I went and got some longer nails and used them. There is still a gap under the door. I crammed in some sponge insulation, but it still sucks.
We are going to need a new door. Nat didn't like that one anyway. She doesn't like the glass in the door. I agree. I would rather have a solid door too. It will cut down on the light in the living room a bit. That is a good thing in my book.
I need to find someone who can recognize termite damage. Before I get rid of the door I really want someone who knows what they are talking about tell me that was or was not termites. I need to do some maintenance on the back door area and the little step we have out there. Nat noticed a piece of wood in the front flower bed. I nearly cried and hoped it hadn't fallen off the house. Fortunately, it was just a stick.
My buddy says the only way he was able to salve his back door sealing problems was to put in a storm door. That sounds like a great idea. I may have to do the same thing at some point. He mentioned an over-hang might work too, but I have no protection from the North East which is the direction that all the northers come in from in my neck of the woods. I like the storm door idea, but I do not look forward to installing the damn thing.
It is so wonderful being a home owner.
Lunch Conversation
Coke Zero
We covered the different diet additives to diet soft drinks and their after tastes. Most diet soft drinks taste OK to me at the first moment. The after taste leaves me feeling like I just licked the inside of an oil pipeline. If I swig it and don't let it sit in my mouth very long, it tastes better. Well, not so much better as it won't make me retch. I need to cut them out anyway so perhaps I can use diet sodas to kill the desire for sodas in general.
Economic downfalls of the minimum wage
# Once you raise the minimum wage, you automatically (or so it seems) raise inflation.
# Some countries tie it to inflation. Thus, if inflation doesn't go up, neither does the minimum wage.
# Some countries have no minimum wage. They have a welfare system that keeps people at some kind of minimum.
The chick who died in a contest "Hold your wee for a Wii" and the fallout
# What the fuck were they thinking?
# A nurse called in to warn them, but they blew her off.
# Manslaughter or wrongful death? That is the question.


Unix on the Mac
I'll have to do some homework. I've heard from one of the guys up here who bought a Mac recently that the Unix on the system is pretty cool. They do not use Xfree86 so if you want to use things like nEdit or other GUI programs, you have to build and install that first.
 I've always had a soft spot in my geek heart for Mac. I wish I had the drive to get one. They just plane cost too frigging much. Now that they come with an Intel processor, SATA drives, and standard stuff like fire wire and USB, there just isn't enough unique about them to worry about paying the extra money. The OS is nice, but you are still in the Apple sandbox. The hacker community is on the ball making how-to instructions for getting a bunch of stuff to work.
I'm still not sold.


Kryptonite Evening
Nat and I went to the show. We saw "The Good Shepherd". It was OK. I was not impressed with the direction of the show. It didn't flow well. I enjoyed myself though.
We were sitting in the theater just before the beginning of the show and I Jen calls me. I didn't take the call because it is just plane wrong to take calls in the theater. I sent Jen a page saying we were in a movie. She texts me back that "Going dancing call us later."
... Dancing, I haven't gone dancing in so log. Nat and I ended up going. and having some fun. Ken bought me a drink called Kryptonite. It is served in a small pitcher with a glow stick in it. I also had a shot of tequila. I didn't even feel the drinks. That is the way it goes with me. I drink a bit and nothing. I drink a bit more and feel slightly buzzed. I drink one more thing and get sick. I suppose it keeps me from binging or something like that.
It was a fun evening. We need to get out more like that.
Tape to MP3
Firebox tape thingIt seems like the geeks that be are coming up with a gadget to fill just about every niche. It turns out I've had a couple of people look for this one. It is a box the size and shape of a CD/DVD-ROM that fits in one of bays in a standard computer case. The software clams to rip straight to mp3 and it has auto-reverse.
I have friends who have called me late at night looking for something like this. They need one for records too. That mite prove difficult to put in a half hight cradle.


Finger Memory
I know for a fact that memory is linked on an as needed basis to every nerve in the body. I know this because there have been several times I've had to go back and sit down at my desk to remember why I got up in the first place. I have had to dial an imaginary dial pad in mid air when someone asked me a phone number.
I remember using a locker for weeks in high school and walking in one day to realize that I have forgotten my locker combination for no good reason. That tells me that even though I use it on a daily basis, it is not in the conscious part of my mind. It is not being touched when it is used in a way that will keep the memory alive. The process of retaining information is like web of points. If one point drops off the web the other points around it will try to reconstruct the missing point. Something is not truly forgotten until all the surrounding points are gone too.
This is deductive reasoning. Our minds love patterns. Our whole lives are built on recognizing patterns. In speech, writing, music, mathematics, every thing we do to communicate is pattern driven. One produces a pattern and someone else is supposed to pick up on that pattern. We have to recognize patterns in patterns.
It makes programming almost impossible. We need to come up with a program that learns patterns and the proper way to fit into those  patterns. It is more of a mesh than a cut and dry "When A, Do B" situation. People say "I need to find myself." all the time when what they are really looking for is their place in the web of society. Just don't tell them that.
By the way, a classic liberal may say "I want to find myself." Where a classic conservative might say "I want to find where I fit." That is what I bet any way.
I have a theory that dreams are just the brain's way of pinging all the nodes on the network and keeping them alive. That is why they are so off the wall most of the time. Well, they seem to be in my head anyway.
I bet that all memories are constructed the same way, even if they are accurate to reality or not. I remember throwing a ball. If I play it over and over in my head I can't help but let it change a bit. Details fade away. It is very easy to change the physical memory. For example if I threw the ball to a friend, I can picture myself in the exact situation throwing to another friend. If I play this over and over, the original memory is blurry and the new one seems more real.
This scares me when thinking of eye witness testimony.
There is an episode of Friends where Fibi blames Ross for something. She treats him like shit most of the episode only to walk through the experience that made her mad. Once she does this, she hops from memory to memory in order. Then she realizes it was a dream. The only thing that makes her realize it was a dream is her concuss logic. This is fiction, but it kind of proves my point. I know when I first wake up from a dream, I'm in "la-la land". There is no reality or dream. It is all just there. I have been known to talk in my sleep. I've worried people with what I say. When waking up from my dreams I have found that I'm not always playing myself in them. I've woken up thinking I was someone else for a bit. That is dangerous. I have no idea what that means, but it scares the hell out of me. What if I get stuck there?
So far, so good.


Crippling listening
I listen to NPR in the mornings on the way in to work. Sometimes I keep listening while I start my morning. It ends at like 09:30 or so. The station 90.7 I think it is goes to classical music at that time. I search through the channels until I hear news or music that I like. that is hard to find in this town. I have landed on this other station that plays a show called Democracy Now. I've heard of this before. it is a leftist (as in pinko liberals) show that sits there and attacks Bush for a couple of hours. I have heard conservative blogs say the liberal media really has it in for Bush and will never let up. The conservatives are right (no pun intended) on this count. I heard the current president of the United States called a "criminal", "insane" and worse about ten times each in ten minutes. I don't mind bias really. That is what freedom of speech is all about. They had no basis for their hatred. They were not stating facts. They were just complaining and spouting allegations.
Democracy Now was interviewing some soldier in Iraq who was clearly not pleased with his situation. He spoke of a friend who was hit in the face with a sniper's bullet. No one could fire back because no one knew where the shot came from. I hate to say it, but that is a fact of war. The things he complained about sounded like the same things every one complains about in a war zone. You know, "We are getting shot at and no one wants us here." Well, I'm glad you and your fighting buddies are over there defending my right to speak and warship freely here in the States. I wanted to call in and thank him for his fighting efforts regardless of his signing some petition saying the U. S. needs to abandon Iraq. They don't air opposing opinion though.
I just can't take the rhetoric for long. They only aim at people who blindly hate the establishment. There seems to be a large group of people in our midst who need a cause to fight. They pick the government because that is the closest authority. You can't sue God. You can't complain about religions cranking out terrorists. You have to respect all opinions. No, you just have to tolerate other opinions. You do not have to respect them. It is funny that the very group that spouts off about intolerance every time some known terrorist has a toe stepped on are the first to prevent opposing points of view.
It is no wonder there is a long list of people who are willing to blow themselves up for cause. They must have had do listen to modern radio or something.


So, the server that hosts our home folders had a melt down this morning. No big deal. It was back up in record time. Something I noticed though is a couple of servers never quite recovered. It boiled down to NFS would not let the dead connection go in order to re-establish them. Now my real problem was that I could not get in to VNC. VNC's problem was that it could not read the password file in user_a's home folder. The real solution to this is to put the VNC password file somewhere other than the user_a home folder.
I bet if it were on the local drive, I would have been able to login and look at my data. As it was, I was screwed. The best solution to this is to avoid using NFS. I've been told that NFS started as a stateless connection protocol. In other words (and we all need those other words to understand) NFS doesn't make a connection between two computers until a request comes through. A connection is made and when the request is done, the connection is dropped. Well, this sounds like a great idea until you have conflicts that require file locking and crap like that. So, some loose cannon decided to duct tape in some file locking code in NFS. Thank you open source. This fixed his problem, but screwed the rest of us.
I'm not sure what the alternatives are. SMB, I use it at home and it seems to work better than NFS, but it still has serious drawbacks. Besides, the moment Microsoft says "We are going to encrypt all share traffic for security reasons." SMB is out the window. So I've heard anyway.


Orange Juice Crisis
So, we are driving along in the car last night. Elle is singing to a song that is not on the radio. Nat is describing her day to me. I'm sitting there staring out the window wondering what makes the world go round. There is a bottle of windshield wiper fluid rolling round the trunk. We accelerates "vmm vmm thunk" against the back of the trunk. We stop even gently "vmm vmm thunk" against the back of the back seat. I ask Nat to pull over so I can move it to the inside where it will most likely resit bursting and soaking the entire car. This goes without a hitch. Great job every one. That's teamwork. Then, not a mile down the road. I hear another "plop plop thunk" come from the back seat. It is distinctively a plastic cup with lid. I know this because I'm a dad now and we develop a sixth sense that tells us when the thermostat has been messed with and we can  identify the sound of something falling before it has hit. Useful.
We have a Carola. Small car. I reach behind my seat and there is absolutely nothing. Logic says It is behind the other seat where Nat stores her entire life or it is under my seat. Under my seat is also where the stereo amplifier sits. Nat stops at a stop sign. There are a bunch of cars behind us. Picturing myself opening the back door and orange juice flowing out onto the street. I get out, open the door, pat Elle on the head and look around the floor board. No sign of the cup. Nat says "It is probably under your seat." Sure enough I grope under the seat expecting a sopping wet carpet and possible an electrical shock. Nope. The lid stayed on the cup. It was dry as I could tell.I stuck it back in Elle's little cup holder and told Elle "Hold on to that." As I sat back in the car, I realized something amazing. No one honked.
Moral of the story. If you quickly jump out of your car and start messing with a kid in the back seat, people just instantly give up and try to get around you. This info could come in handy at some point.
The cost of soft drinks is going up. I need to ween myself off the damn things. This is just one more reason. The main reason I drink them is for the caffeine. There has got to be a better way. I remember the stock exchange has a rule that only water can be brought in to the trading area. Someone came up with the bright idea to caffeinate a bottle of water and made a killing.
I get sodas for free at work. I hate that. It is like they are giving away free cigarettes or something. Well, it is not that bad.
(I'm drinking one as I type.)


A different dispute
This dispute reminds me of all the religious problems in the world. I'm not sure I can draw all the parallels, but here goes.
At work today I over heard a heated debate about how to declare variables in C. The standard method is:
Variable = Value
This is just how it is done. There is some name for this notation. I refuse to learn the name for now. The compiler will accept the following notation in many cases.
Value = Variable
This is unorthodox, but the variable will contain the value provided. There is one advantage to this notation in reality because if the variable is not set up properly, the compiler will give a far easier to trace error.  The lines split along predictable faults. The young hot-dog programmers wanted the new and "improved" method where by the older programmers said stick to the "industry standard" because it makes the code more readable and one day the compiler might not accept that particular method of assignment because it is not written in the standard.
Both are valid arguments. Who do you suppose will win. Well, the only winner here is the rift between the two factions.
This reminds me of the differences between factions inside a given religion. We warship one way because it will attract the faithful to service, No, we warship some other way because it is more orthodox. Catholic <> Protestant, Sunni <> Shia This is what it all boils down to. The people making their arguments have no idea the much larger battle they are fighting.
I would say a prayer "Please God, help us (all of us) get our shit together and stop killing each other over which end of the egg to crack." but I doubt it would do much good. I guess I haven't filled out the correct form.
Jen Rathbun News Letter

Hope you had wonderful holidays!

This Friday, Jan. 12, I'll be sharing the stage with some great singer/songwriters.  The showcase will feature Dan Ennis, Michael Pope, Willie B, and me, backed up by Jeff Hoofard on percussion.  The show starts around 9 pm, and it's at one of my favorite places, JP Hops House.  The Hops House is on Hwy 6, just north of Westheimer.

On Saturday, I'll be on stage with my dueling piano partner, Mark, down in Galveston at Whiskey's All American Pub.  We'll start around 9:30 pm.  The show is all-request and is one of the funnest sing-alongs you'll participate in.

See you soon!


Reprinted here (hopefully) with permission.


Train vs Dumbass

A 13-year-old boy had just finished painting graffiti near railroad tracks when he was struck and killed by a commuter train, authorities and friends said Saturday.
A Long Island Rail Road train hit Ari Kraft between stations in Queens during the evening rush hour Friday, police said.
Friends said he often created large murals with inscriptions like "Remember 9/11" -- under the tag name "Corporal."

So, let me get this straight. The train sneaked up on this kid, leaped from the tracks just long enough to blind side him. Then tried to sneak away. Somehow I doubt that.
Just a guess. The train goes by that spot at roughly the same time and at roughly the same speed every day or so. I would like to know how many fences the kid had to traverse, how many signs he had to pass to get to that spot.


$400 is cheaper than $150 according to Microsoft

Forget windows, folders and boxes that pop up with text. When students in Thailand, Libya and other developing countries get their $150 computers from the One Laptop Per Child project in 2007, their experience will be unlike anything on standard PCs.
"In fact, one of the saddest but most common conditions in elementary school computer labs (when they exist in the developing world), is the children are being trained to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint," Negroponte wrote in an e-mail interview. "I consider that criminal, because children should be making things, communicating, exploring, sharing, not running office automation tools."

I'll bet Microsoft doesn't want this thing making it's way into the hands of children all over the world. I envision Microsoft giving away computers to schools and organizations that will guarantee that MS products are the tools that make their way in to impressionable hands. Apple tried it many years ago. They failed. So will MS. People hate the U. S. enough to hate the highest prophet company there in.
But, what do I know. I just think these things are cool. I wont one. It sounds like it will do most of the crap I need on a daily basis from a laptop.
Oh, Some countries say the $400 PC from MS/Intel is better for kids because it is the standard. I think they will use this device to get a better price on the WinTell box.
US Attacked: No one cares

In a story that should have rang alarm bells in very newsroom across the nation, armed Mexican entered the United States and attacked unarmed National Guard troops working at a border patrol post near the US-Mexican border. The troops had to retreat to safety.
Not surprisingly, the news story received scant coverage by the mainstream news media and hardly a mention on the Fox News Channel. It's a story that should outrage all Americans including President George W. Bush.
Unfortunately, President Bush and his Administration did not even comment on this vicious attack on unarmed US troops as well as the unbridled assault on American sovereignty. During a press conference held on Friday afternoon by Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, there was not one word about this unprovoked attack on soldiers.
The US Border Patrol is conducting an investigation into the attack. Investigators are attempting to determine who the armed men were, what they were doing and why they approached the post before returning to Mexico.
A Border Patrol agent, who requested anonymity, says that the well-armed intruders were drug traffickers who are fully aware US National Guard troops are prohibited from carrying any type of weapon and have been ordered not to confront lawbreakers coming across the border. The Guard troops are not allowed to apprehend illegal entrants, as well.

I fall back on one of my previous posts. Nothing is going to change until they start kidnapping teenage white girls off the streets and having their way with them on TV, nothing is going to be done.
Finally! some useful information on the internet.
So, I'm watching Fist full of Dollars (in English). The perfect movie for a wet Saturday afternoon. When it was over I brought up Octopus II. It was a bad B movie. It would have been far better if they had just not taken themselves seriously.f they had gone the camp trail, that would have been a much better flick. Then I watch a movie about an EMT. It wasn't bad. Then I pop up a Mexican zombie movie. Very funny and more fun to watch than the octopus movie even though I could not understand a word.

Different Note
The grass is too wet to mow. I went out front and hit a couple of spots with mower that were starting a revolution. The dog is out back wining like a hyena. I went out there and figured out that the back yard is not horrible. There are no Huns at the gate. There are no lakes of flaming daemons. Yet, she sits at the back door and whimpers with those little high pitched barks. We had a little talk "You should frolic or romp or roll in your own shit. Whatever you dogs are in to these days." She would not hear of it. She is of one mind.
I never
I've never set foot outside the U. S.
I've never been a saint.

I do not have a criminal record.
I am white.
I am male.

I do not have a college degree.
I am lost most of the time.

I have few secrets.
I am free.
I am in debt.
I work for a living and will probably never retire.

I am angry.
I am tired.
I am afraid.

I regret.
I argue.
I agree.
I give up.
I strive.
"fuck you!" wins a few.

I remember snow.
I laugh, cry, smile and hide.

I'm an American.
I am one.
I am only a slave to the weather.

I never.


No, the other kind of tick. So, there I was, walking around the house without a shirt on. Nat stops me and says "What the hell is that?" pointing at my upper right chest. I can't quite get a look at it because My head doesn't bend that way. "It's a TICK!" she announces like Roger Rabbit's wife when she spots the tank of dip. Neither of us know the proper method for removing ticks. Nat calls Bill. He is a hunter and likes camping. He said to get a good pair of tweezers and grab it by the head. Then pull. Make sure you get all of it or go to the doctor and get it lanced. I'm pretty sure Nat got the whole thing.
How disgusting is that? I wonder where I picked it up. It could have been anywhere. I wonder if I brought it in on my boots or jeans and it found it's way up from there. I suppose it could have been much worse.


Lunch Topics
# The Wii has a bunch of other consoles it will emulate. The games are not that expensive. It has USB ports but no one has tried to plug in a USB keyboard or mouse.
# Ken had the opportunity to buy a PS3, but he already had an X-Box 360 so what is the point really?
# People are sick of the controllers that have a million buttons. The Wii is great for us old farts.
# TiVo is worth the pain in the ass.
# Cable and satellite DVRs suck compared to TiVo. (this from people who have both) Warner Cable DVRs are the worst any one here has ever seen.
# No one really knows what a Duck Tail hair cut looks like.
# Surfing the net on a Wii is kind of a pain without a keyboard, but it will play YouTube videos.
# Finally, someone asked if there were X-rated Wii games yet.
# How fun the old classic games are still. The Nintendo 64 games look better on the Wii than they did on the original console.
# If you could use the Wii to download music and put it on your iPod, they would have the perfect system.  I said that, but no one listened.
# Some of us wake up every morning to this day cursing the name of one of our coworkers who recently retired.


Right vs Left
It's ironic right wing is associated with conservative people and left wing is associated with liberal people. It's funny that I feel funny calling people liberal. It feels like I'm using a bad word. I'm in Texas. liberal is a dirty word here.
I noticed Elle, my 4 year old daughter, has a built in need to control things around her. Both her environment and the other children in her class. I noticed the other kids do the same thing. It is something that just happens automatically. That made me think about myself and the other folks in my world.

Over Simplification
Conservatives manipulate their environment.
Liberals manipulate people.

Still too Simplified
In the beginning, there were people. These people were hunter gatherers. There were other separation that was needed though. Some people had to lead and others had to follow. That is one. Another is the need for those who change things starting at their environment, and those who start change based on the people around them.
Big deal. So, what does this have to do with the price of tea in China? Short answer, I have no idea. Long answer. I have no idea. It sounds like useful data to keep around. It will help me control the environment and people around me.
It always helps knowing how people are motivated.

If the Republicans want to manipulate the Democrats, they should Skip the idea of changing the playing field or rules people play by in order to help the game be more fair. They should keep in mind that the fucking trickle down theory makes absolutely zero sense to a right brained person. Tax cuts make no sense. That is because to a Democrat a person is born, not maid.
When Democrats want to manipulate the Republicans they should skip the whole idea of helping people directly. That is because to a Republican, the a person is made, not born.

Conservatives say that people are responsible for the decisions they make. If a person is not aloud to make decisions, they are being denied something.
Liberals say that people should be celebrated for the individuals they are. There for, they are going to be the same person whether or not they die at birth or at 110.

Religion vs Government:
I can change my mind and change religions. I have to move to change governments. One is based on ideology and the other is based on geography. Both are ways to peacefully control each other.

Religion is the original method of controlling the masses.
Conservatives need the rules that religion provides to maintain a steady environment. By providing a level environment people will find their way.
Liberals need the rules that religion provides to maintain a steady self. Not just themselves, but each person's self.
They both need family and friends. They both need to express themselves and they both need the pursuit of happiness.

War is a strange beast. it takes on a life of it's own.
A war on foreign soil is a way to manipulate the environment. This will not make sense to a liberal.
Talking to the criminals in charge of a country in stead of kicking them out is a liberal idea and will never make any sense to a conservative.