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


Surface Tension
Ever have something stuck inside that wanted to come out. But, you don't know what it is. it is a bit like someone banging on a door. you can't tell who it is. All you know is someone wants on the other side. There is a banging in my head. Some idea wants out. Every time I sit down to jot down some notes, nothing floats up from the depths. I'm left with the surface of the sea and no idea what lies beneath.
Then comes a heavy base riff from a dark song by a dark band. The base pounds low and loud. Louder than the knocking of the idea. It stirs the water in my mind. The waves reveal the tops of mountains. Will this help? Is this how drugs help people who call themselves artists? I'm glad I'm a programmer. We only need caffeine and video games to stir things up.
As the sun sets on a clear blue ocean a sailer might see what is under a calm surface for just a moment. The under side of the water just might reveal it's world. Then the sun falls. The image is gone. Until the next time.


Ride home
It is so cute when Elle sings along with the radio.
Elle - "I love this bar ...."
Nat and I - "Aw, that's cute."
Elle - "Save a horse ride a cowboy."
Nat and I - "HEY!!!!" click.


Amazing Grace (the movie)

All I have to say is they better not mess it up. I love this song. I sing it in the shower. I sing it walking down the street. I sing it to God and the weeds. Looking at the preview, there is just too high a pedestal to climb.


Crowd and Conflict
No kidding it was a record crowd this year at the cook-off. Every place was packed to the teeth. To invoke an old colloquialism "every swinin' dick in town" was at the cook off.
I have great respect for the folks that put up all the booths and run things. It was just plane nuts. Nat went Friday and had a great time. We went Saturday night. We got out there too late. Most of the food was gone. It was still a ball. We didn't even wonder around much. Nat and I went to the carnival looking for hot dogs. We found a place, but I just couldn't wait in line. I'm kind of glad I didn't stay because I would have probably decked the guy in line behind Nat. I took off and found my way back to the general area of the booth I was looking for. I found the kiosk that had the list of names and a map of booths. I waited and waited for every one else I got up to it and then someone else came along and i walked away like I found what I was looking for. I came back and the same thing happened again. I waited and returned, and finally got a few moments with the map alone. I studied it and noticed that I was about 30 meters from my destination. I had been walking around right past it. I'm surprised no one noticed me walking around aimlessly. I found my way back to the place where all my friends were hanging out.
I was just lucky that the name of the booth was low on the list. Otherwise I would never have been able to read it. The "You are here" arrow was right at the middle of the map. Otherwise I would have been unable to tell where I was. So many things pointed to the fact that I should have brought my frigging bag. I would have had my little binoculars. I would have had my camera.
Let me explain why I didn't have my bag.
So, did I mention that the place was crowded? Yes, I must have. Well we drove around five different parking lots. Nothing. We tried the parking lots at the site. Nope. Ken found a place on a side street two full lights away from the dome parking lot. Oh, on the other side of the dome. We parked. and Ken drove every one back to the dome and dropped every one off. I road back with Ken and we walked from the Wellness Center to the Cold River booth. I looked all around the reliant Center, I finally found Hepburn street. It is to the upper  right. We cut through the park and walked down behind the apartment complexes. Fortunately, Ken got a ride back to the cars from Niki. He and Niki came back and got every one at the gas station.
Ken and some of the others wanted to go to an after hours club. Thank goodness the folks we gave a ride to (Elias and Wisper) Just wanted to play the fogy card like us and go home. That is not the end of our adventure.
As Nat came around the back side of the mall, she noticed blinking lights in the distance. She said "It looks like they are right in front of our house." She cuts a left a block early and we snake through the neighborhood. As we pull around the last corner, our house in sight, there are the lights. They are indeed right in front of our house. We both thought for sure it was the racers again. A young boy died a few months ago just a block down. That would not be the cause this time.
Nat and I walked over and asked some people about it. There was a stabbing and possibly a shooting. You know how these things go through the old telephone game. Nat found a great little article about the whole thing this morning. Life Flight flew at least one away. There were at least four ambulances. There had to be a dozen cop cars.
It took me an hour or more to wind down after Nat and I decided to come in for the evening. She and I wondered what probably started the whole thing. Then, we went to sleep.


My mobile phone has been messing up lately. Turning off or locking up. The other day the alarm didn't go off and I nearly over slept. I've swapped phones with one of Nat's old phones. She has a newer phone. I'm just trying to fix my problem without spending any money. This phone is almost identical to the one I had. The only differences so far have been cosmetic. I think it is physically a little bit bigger, but not enough to notice.
Switching was easy. There was a 'save to SIM' option for all the phone numbers. Other than that, I just popped the backs off the phones and moved the little card from one to the other. At least that part is easy. So far so good. I've used the phone a couple of times. I remember Nat having some trouble with it so the idea is not perfect.
I would love to get one of those cool phones that does everything. I saw a lady on the bus the other day playing a game or something on her phone while she waited for her stop. She got a call and did something else on that little computer.
I made a list not too long ago about the perfect PDA and all the features it should have. I still can't do my taxes on it, but I'm sure someone chained to a coke machine in a dungeon is working on that.
I have a friend who says if he had the opportunity to go back in time and kill one person it would not be Hitler or any evil leader for that matter. It would be the person who came up with the concept of big endian - little endian. He has spent most of his career sorting out problems with this concept.
The real trouble is that one way or the other has no real advantage. just pick one and go with it. It is a bit like having having a log series of telephone cords. These cords all have two prongs and can plug into the next cord either way. At any given moment, a million people are accessing these cords and moving them around. The conversation that comes out of the cords is forwards only as long as all the place where the conversation hops from one cord to the next are all facing the same way. Or, the combination of flips just happens to accidentally flip the conversation back before it is  heard by the recipient.
The conversation I heard yesterday ended with some one stating that many people just plane avoid the issue because there is no way to win and make every one happy. There are so many dynamics and so few people are dealing with the issue that it will never be solved. It will always be an annoying back-burner issue that no one wants to deal with.This is just another layer of craziness that will never get "fixed".
Sickly lungs run in my family. Right at the end of last year my father ended up in the hospital for pneumonia. I have been battling bronchitis most of my life. I had a pretty bad bout last year. I only recently got over another cough. That is the trick though, I never really get over the cough. Just ask any one who hangs out with me. I cough all the time. I've noticed several people around me who do the same thing. My friend says he and I have the same sounding cough. I have isolated it to the diaphragm cough. That is the one where you take in a big breath and let it fly with a burst of air while constricting the throat. This is different from a normal cough only by intensity and the distinctive sound of someone's head nearly flying off from pressure.
This last time I went to the doctor, I got a chest X-ray. My lungs looked relatively clear. The top of my lungs looked over expanded according to the doctor. I think that is a symptom of coughing your whole life. He says it sounds like I have asthma when he listens to my lungs, but my breathing test shows I have plenty of capacity. My lungs are not knotted up enough to diagnose asthma. My body is reacting to some kind of allergen. Heaven knows what.
So, I'm on a new batch of pills and a powder based inhaler. They are antihistamines. No antibiotic or steroid this time. That is a good thing. I think the inhaler is doing the trick. The pills are not doing anything I don't think. I heard on NPR the other day that doctors are starting to recommend that people flush their nasal passages with a salt solution designed for the sinuses. Not nasal spray, the kind that flush the area. That sounds disgusting, but it sounds like what I need. When I get my check next month I'm going to look for the stuff they talked about and give it a shot. it doesn't sound pleasant, but I'm up for it. Besides, it might work. One of my friends said it worked for them. I'm sure I'll blog about it.
Nat and Elle keep coming down with a cough too. It has got to be Houston. We have crappy air here. I've been coughing since I was a kid. I moved here when I was a kid. It comes and goes. It is amazing how tired it makes me. I wonder if the treatment above will help the snoring any.


Quiet Bigotry
I was listening to NPR this morning and between their self promotion of digital radio I noticed a new term (new for me) being used to describe Iraqis killing Iraqis. Sectarian Cleansing. The war stirred people up and moved them around. They had to move on short notice. Some just plain had to flee. People who came to Baghdad took over houses that were abandon. The Iraqi police are going to crack down on squatters. NPR calls this Sectarian Cleansing like they support segregation of religions groups.
In order to better mock NPR, I've come up with a few new terms of my own to help identify groups that need killing cleansing.

Sectarian cleansing: People of the wrong religion.
Ethnic cleansing: People with the wrong family tree.
Chromoptic cleansing: People with the wrong eye color.
Ryonoic cleansing: People with the wrong shaped nose.
Tonedefnic cleansing: People who like bagpipes.
Humorothic cleansing: People who tell bad jokes.

You get the idea. Besides, I like bagpipes.

I remember in high school a teacher who was Jewish had to tell a student that calling a Jewish person a Jew is OK. He had apparently only heard the term as derogatory  I bet he had heard all the jokes that started something like "a [ethnic slur], a [ethnic slur 2] and a Jew walk into a bar." How did that happen? People hate Jews so much that the proper name for the religion's followers has itself become a slur. Is this a South thing? I wouldn't doubt it. The term "jew" used as in haggle helped kept a candidate for Texas governor from winning the election several years ago. Well that and comparing the weather to rape. The guy was a redneck.
This kind of thing is what I've always called quiet bigotry. The kind of bigotry that keeps people from communicating. The kind of bigotry that stops people from finding their way in life. It is just plane ignorance. I felt like this is the sort of thing that I heard on NPR this morning. Just plane ignorance.


Ubuntu Box
I have a web server sitting next to my desk at home. It is the machine that holds my home page and many of the pictures seen on my blog. It is an old PC from my parent's place. I put Ubuntu on it. Something happened to the Ubunto CD so when I try to do apt-get updates, I get errors. I'm downloading the new Ubuntu CD which should allow me to upgrade and hopefully fix the apt-get problem in the same swipe. Hopefully it will not affect the web server or data on  the drive.
I'm thinking hard about fixing Nat up a computer to replace hers. I cannot bring myself to buy Windows again for the same machine that we already had windows on so I'm probably going to make her use Linux just because it is all I have right now.

iPod bikini
ipod bikini
From Geekologie. I figure this goes along with one of my recent posts. hehe .. hehehe.


Great News for people with Eye Trouble

A bionic eye that can restore sight to the blind should be available commercially within two years, scientists behind the revolutionary technology announced yesterday.
The artificial retina has been cleared by US regulators to begin trials on between 50 and 75 people suffering from two of the most common causes of blindness, opening the way for millions more to benefit from similar implants in the future.
If the research progresses well, a device could be on the market early in 2009 at a likely cost of about £15,000, said Mark Humayun, Professor of Ophthalmology at the Doheny Eye Institute, part of the University of Southern California.
Professor Humayun said that it would also work better for people who have been able to see as older children or adults, than for those who have been blind since birth.

Well folks, this is the real thing. This is the beginning of the end of most kinds of blindness as we know them today. They are right to call it a bionic eye. That is exactly what it is. This one is promising because it is not trying to fix the eye or retina. It is replacing them both entirely. The fact that it is wireless is good too. I cannot imagine catching a wire plugged into my brain on a nail and ripping it out.
Honestly, this is the announcement I've been waiting for all my life. It is not miracle. It is not a one stop fix everything technology. It is not and probably will not surpass the ability of the human eye for a long time. But it is a start. It is the key step that many new innovations will use as a starting place.
I knew that as America gets older something like this would happen. When it comes to medical advances, numbers matter. I picture people warring these things in public in a couple of years. I picture a couple friends of mine warring them too.
No one will ever win this fight.

There is no more widely believed proposition in world politics today than that solving the Arab-Israel conflict would contribute to world peace as nothing else could.  It doesn't matter where you stand on the conflict.  Republicans and Democrats, Western European democratic leaders and Arab despots, the EU, the UN, Israeli leaders, Jews of the world - for all of them, solving the Arab-Israel conflict is the holy grail.
Let's begin with Israel where it is not hard to see why solving the Arab-Israel conflict spells catastrophe.  The only way Israel can achieve peace is to disappear.  The Arabs make that clear, no matter how much the rest of the world and indeed the Israelis shut their ears.  The Hamas government on Israel's border makes that crystal clear, without any of the peace-in-English, war-in-Arabic obfuscations of the Arafat era. The conflict is not about territory occupied since 1967, but about all the territory Israel occupies.
If solving the Arab-Israel problem is the path to perdition, what policies can productively be pursued  in respect to the Middle East?  Deterrence? Exploiting divisions within Islam?  Military action?  Supporting internal dissidents within individual countries?  Sharply curtailing Muslim immigration to the West?  A crash program to develop non-mid East energy sources? A combination of these? Other possibilities? We are in for a long struggle against a resurgent Islam and there are no Five Easy Steps to End the Islamic Threat. This said, it is past time for some genuine realism to be brought to bear in thinking about the problems of the Middle East, not the false kind James Baker represents.  Putting the idea of solving the Arab Israel conflict in the diplomatic trash bin should be the first order of business.

I'm telling you there will never be peace in the Middle East until one or the other side is wiped out.

iPod gadget

iPod DildoOhMiBod is a sleek, sophisticated new generation of vibrator that combines elegance of design with the excitement of your favorite music. The audio enabled integrated microchip allows the OhMiBod to vibrate to the beat and rhythm of your music while you listen.

Mom! Don't follow that link.
Every one else, it is a pretty cool idea. It is not just for iPods. It will work on pretty much any headphone jack. That makes it compatible at both ends.  =]

Customer comment (from the site above)

I actually gave the OhmiBod to my best friend for her 21st birthday and she absolutely loves it! She said it works great with Madonna's new CD and she's not sure anything she could ever get me will match up to it, so she thinks she'll just get me one for my birthday too.
So thanks a lot. It was a huge hit!


I added the functionality to my music script to create a fantastic file. I've filled out the list a bit. I also added a simple duplicate finding routine that checks for duplicate file names. It only does the file name at the moment. Some duplicates slip through, but not nearly as many. I've spot checked the duplicate file and sure enough the files are there more than once. The sheer number of duplicates is frightening. 12556 duplicates out of 53537 total files including non music files. That is like one fourth.
There is an interesting side affect to removing duplicates. I notice the more obscure songs play more often. Mostly common stuff gets copied over and over. That moves their play time up artificially. This is not such a big deal. It does affect which artists I put in my fantastic list. I stop and think to myself "I'm going to hear them more often." This keeps Weird Al among others out of that list.

-------- Summary -----------------------------------------
Total files processed   > 53537
Good files in playlist  > 32633
Bad files out of list   > 6557
Fantastic files         > 3882
Number of Duplicates    > 12556
Elapsed seconds         > 520.85
Files/second            > 102.787750792

-------- Info --------------------------------------------
Good file               > kelly_good.m3u
Fantastic file          > kelly_fan.m3u
Duplicate file          > kelly_dup.dat
Log file                > kelly_log.log
Directory processed     > /mnt/music

Fantastic list
"Alanis Morissette",
"Anna Nalick",
"Alison Krauss",
"The Black Crowes",
"Bonnie Raitt",
"Bjork", "bjork",
"Butthole Surfers",
"Concrete Blonde",
"Cowboy Junkies",
"David Allan Coe",
"Dave Matthews",
"/The Doors",
"Dixie Chicks",                                 # Amazing artists, lousy politics.
"Fiona Apple",
"Eric Clapton",
"G Love and Special Sauce",
"George Thorogood",
"Johnny Cash",
"Kittie", "kittie",
"Kid Rock",                                     # Marginal
"Linkin Park",
"Lisa Loeb",
"Lucinda Williams",
"George Thorogood",
"Matthew Sweet",
"Mazzy Star",
"Moldy Peaches",
"Natalie Merchant",
"No Doubt",
"Norah Jones",
"/Prince",                                      # Yah, I like prince. =\
"Primus", "primus",
"Rolling Stones",
"/Sarah McLachlan",
"Sheryl Crow",
"The Scabs",
"Tracy Bonham",
"Tom Petty",
"Tom Waits",
"Ugly Americans",
"Veruca Salt",
"Willie Nelson",
"ZZ Top"

Bad list
"/U2",                                          # Fuck U2.
"/Rush ",                                       # I'm tired of Rush.
"/Classical/",                                  # Not at work.
"pimsleur", "Pimsleur",                         # Not unless I'm in the mood for a lesson.
"/Luca Turilli",                                # Just annoying.
"/jazz", "Jazz/",                               # Just because Jazz drives me nuts at work.
"Barry White",                                  # I like Barry White, but not at work.
"Destiny's Child",
"/George Clinton",                              # So 80s and he came out in the 90s.
"/Damnation_History",                           # Religious nonsense.
"FetenHits",                                    # Too many shitty songs.
"Cradle of Filth",                              # Blekh!!!
"/Starship",                                    # Over plaid.
"Quad City",
"Love Tractor",
"grand Funk railroad", "Grand Funk Railroad",   # Soooo sixties.
"Matisyahu",                                    # Not my taist.
"Motley Crue",                                  # Reminds me I had long hair once. =[
"/Living Colour",                               # I didn't laugh at the show aether.
"Bombtrack (live)",                             # This track is both preachy and messed up.
"More Bounce To The Ounce",
"Boyz II Men",                                  # Too happy.
"Kansas", "/Yes/",                              # Too ... much like Rush.
"Menudo",                                       # Give me a break.
"Less Than You Think",                          # Sounds like a busted washing machine.
"/Moby",                                        # Who?
"Funk Box",
"/Emperor",                                     # Makes me want to burn kittins.
"Radiohead and U2",
"/Spice Girls",                                 # You have got to be kidding me.
"Arular [2005]",                                # Because they support terrorism.
"Culture Club",                                 # Oy!!
"/N.E.R.D.",                                    # Yeesh
"/In Flames",
"/Killswitch Engage",
"/Project 86",
"/Ultimate Fakebook",
"/Urge Overkill",                               # There are like nine copies of this song.
"/Silent Hill 2",
"/Dimmu Borgir",
"/Liars Academy",
"/Element Eighty",
"Deftones - 10 - Mx",                           # A mile of blank in the middle.
"/Iced Earth",
"/12 Steones",
"The Beta Band",
"- Moby -",
"The Mighty Mighty Bosstones",                  # I just don't like the guy's voice.
"/Dimmu Borgir",                                # Makes my throat hurt.
"Disgustipated",                                # Another disturbing distracting song.
"Mohammed Rafi",                                # Distracting. Too early sixties surf movie.
"Funkalicious",                                 # I've herd it.
"Funky Homosapien","funky homosapien",          # Just, no.
"To All the Girls I",                           # Yuck.
"/Bill Evans",
"/Anthology 1992-2002",
"/Basement Jaxx",                               # Too dancy again.
"08 - Ignoreland"                               # One of the copies skips like mad.
"Red Red Wine", "RedRedWine",                   # The reason I wrote this script.
"Tool - Aenima - 14 - (-)Ions",                 # This song is disturbing.
"/John Frusciante",
"13 - Proud Division",                          # Song is messed up.
"Built This City",                              # This song is so over.
"Tripping The Light Fantastic",                 # Too dance-ish.
"/Dio",                                         # Who ever listened to Dio?
"2525",                                         # The most depressing song ever written.
"/GRP All-Star Big Band",                       # Not my bag.
"Saturday Night Live"

It is cold today in Houston. There was a record low over night. It is about ten degrees colder this morning than it was yesterday. It feels warmer. That is because it is below freezing. The moisture has moved out of the air for the most part. The wind is not blowing very hard. The sun is just came up over the Target parking lot. It is supposed to get up to the fifties today.


Glasses Came in
Nat and my glasses came in. I like mine. They are about half as large as I thought, but they work. I mean, they are small. That does make them light. They look OK. I intend to only use them as a backup for the contacts so we will see how it goes.
They fit under the safety glasses. They ride kind of high so I can look under them to read easily. That is a good thing. I'm tired of bifocals. It is nice to have something comfortable to change in to when my contacts get the better of me.


Well Done

This took some effort. Well done.
Big Hole in the Water
No, not a boat. Just a cool looking drain hole. How often can you say that? I had to link to it. I want some better prospective. I want them to shove a pickup down it or something.
And off again

They landed it yesterday just to do some normal maintenance. Here it is taking off again, the next day or two later. It appears to be from a flat trailer behind a pickup truck.
I went to the doctor. I do not have asthma, though I do have some kind of long term bronchitis. I looked at the x-ray and saw no clouds or anything. You could see the little tubes at the bottom mostly. That means they are clogged with glop. The doctor gave me the same treatment that one would take for asthma. I'm supposed to call him back in a week and let him know how it goes with this medicine.
So, I stop taking the stuff I was taking over the counter. The only thing that was working was the expectorant. I am tired of coughing. That is the truth. I know Nat is tired of my coughing. I'm sure my coworkers will be happier if I stop coughing.
I'm sure I'll blog the results.


Good News

A study conducted by UCLA's Department of Psychiatry has revealed that the kind of face a woman finds attractive on a man can differ depending on where she is in her menstrual cycle.
For example: If she is ovulating, she is attracted to men with rugged and masculine features. However, if she is menstruating, or menopausal, she tends to be more attracted to a man with duct tape over his mouth and a spear lodged in his chest while he is on fire. No further studies are expected.
email from Anna

Sounds about right. Kind of goes along with my assessment of the Dixie Twits the other day.
Look Ma! No Wheels

I've always had a thing for aquatic planes. I have no idea why. They just seem cool. I stumbled across this video here. Pretty cool. Those Canadians are nuts.


Dixie Twits

In 2007, the Dixie Chicks received:
    a Grammy for "Best Country Album" for their album "Taking the Long Way,"
    a Grammy for "Song of the Year" for "Not Ready to Make Nice,"
    a Grammy for "Record of the Year" for "Not Ready to Make Nice" and
    a Grammy for "Album of the Year" for "Taking the Long Way."
Am I the only one who suspects their much better showing in 2007 may have more to do with finding the right (or rather, left) friends than with finding some previously-hidden talent?
Shamlessly lifted from The Jawa Report

Do you remember the beautiful talented girls in high school who you really wanted to fuck, but after the first three minutes of hanging out with them, you wish to God they would just .. shut ... up!
Computers Suck
Nat's computer died. It made a "ieieieieeieieieieiei" noise when she turned it on last and then quit. I suspect the power supply, but when I replaced it that didn't work. It is not an identical power supply, but what are you going to do. The computer is an eMachines. I've heard nothing but nightmares about the brand. It is out of warranty. Basically we are screwed.
If I have to replace the motherboard in Nat's machine, I fear I will have to buy a new copy of the OS. This is because of some recent Slash Dot articles that basically complain about exactly that. You have got to be kidding me. It is no wonder they are so cheap. They suck. I've heard warnings for years not to buy them. I didn't have any say in this purchase. I'll have say in any subsequent purchases.
Nat has been using my computer. This is kind of cool. She has been using my machine for a couple of days now and her only complaint is that it is slow and some videos will not play off the net. There are a bunch of plugins that wont work either. I can occasionally get Java to work in Firefox under Linux, but it is hit and mis.
Pretty soon Elle will need her own computer. i should have one running right now. I'm just lost for an OS. I can't get the drive in the machine that we have for Elle to work. Something about missing bits here and there. I refuse to buy another copy of Windows for both Nat and Elle. That is just not going to happen. I would be rewarding Microsoft for making shitty OS software. I'm just going to have to figure things out.
I would love to put Linux on both machines. Nat wants Windows features. Elle needs children's software. There are no titles for kids that I'm aware of for Linux. That means Windows in both cases. It makes me sick. I've never gotten any program of any substance to work under Wine or Crossover Office. Those packages are still in the "play with it until it works" stage. I don't have time for that crap. I need it to work out of the box.
I cannot really blame developers for not supporting the "other OS". Even developing for Mac is a pain in the ass. If it requires X amount of effort to develop a package for Windows. It will take X *1.5 to develop for Windows and Mac. It will take X * 2.2 to develop for Windows, Mac and Linux. It will take X * 2.8 to develop for Windows, Mac, Linux and OS/2.
You have to not only redevelop parts of the program. You have to rethink what you are doing in so many cases. Then, you have to have the same features on all the platforms to keep from getting sued. Some features are a snap on one system and a pain in the ass on others.
The world of software development is glad that Microsoft controls the vast majority of computers because they have one target to aim at. Now IBM is coming up with a Single Desktop solution to make Windows, Mac and Linux software run seamlessly side by side on one PC.Great. That doesn't salve the problem of developing for each OS unless IBM is the one who wins.
It doesn't fix my problem. I need a computer that Nat can and will use. I need a computer that Elle can and will use. I don't have much money. I barely have enough money to make ends meet. What do you suppose I should do?


Went Dancing
Nat and I went dancing. We went with Ken and Jen. It was someone's birthday. Nat will have to fill in the details. It was a particularly good time. We should have taken the camera and video camera. We are going to sneak them in next time.
We saw two sets of racers on the way home. One set in the parking lot of the club. The normal set at Kroger up the street. I'm really getting sick if this. Some one drove through our front yard. It looks like they parked in our driveway and took off through our front yard at some point. I'm going to keep my shotgun close for the next tress passing prick who decides to damage my property.
Oh, right. Back to the party.
Had a great time. Took a few pictures, but with someone else's camera. So, no pictures =[
God I'm tired. I'm off to bed.
Hey Ken, it didn't work.


Birthday Dinner
Nat made the best birthday dinner for me Thursday night. She went through all kinds of trouble to make things perfect.

good dinner

Good dinner

She knows I love General Tso's chicken. Nat ate the sushi and I ate the chicken and noodles. It was wonderful. It is a magical memory. I hope Nat knows this meant a lot to me. I wonder if i didn't want anything from any one else so her gift would feel like more.


Way off

You scored as Peter Pan. Your alter ego is Peter Pan. You are a child at heart. Anything you believe is possible, and you never want to grow up.

Peter Pan


Donald Duck




Sleeping Beauty


Snow White




Cruella De Ville




The Beast




Which Disney Character is your Alter Ego?
created with


How to install software
It never fails to amaze me how may ways there are to install software. Even one one OS there are so many solutions. They all have their problems and most of them are simply lacking.
There are two concepts regarding installing software. There is the package manager. If you are on windows you just said "a what?" because Windows doesn't do well with package managers. At my old company, they wrote their own package management system  They called the software shelf. It was a web page that linked to all the installs. It aloud you to install sanctioned software packages and upgrade as you went.
Well, most other operating systems have these package managers built in, or available. They use repositories that hold the individual packages as needed.
The other concept is the one most folks are familiar with. It is the single package install. This is where you put a CD in the drive and it comes up asking you a bunch of questions and installs some software. Or, you download a package from the net and install it on your system. This is very hard to maintain. Things get broken when packages conflict. Things get broken when one package removes a shared file. Things get broken when different versions of things conflict.
If you bought a computer and stuck it in the closet and ever turned it on. It would run just as well in five years as it did that first day. When is the last time you had a computer go five years without having a melt down somewhere along the way? The above problems along with a few others are the reason computers get slow and start breaking as they are used.
If you never install or remove any software, the computer will run better for longer. If you lock the users out of the engine compartment, the can't destroy things as easily. But people need to upgrade and keep up to date virus detection, spam detection, firewall, ad removal and other kinds of software on a daily basis. These are layers upon layers of things that can go wrong.
In Linux, there must be ten different ways to bundle up software for distribution. I use YUM/RPM. I also use apt-get/DEB to a lesser degree. There is the one in Linspire. I'm not familiar with it. SUN has their own on Solaris. I hear it is lacking. YUM is the package manager and RPM is the method of installing the individual packages. Apt-get is the package manager and DEB is the method for each package. None of these are compatible with each other. They claim to jump the gap, but there are always troubles in my experience.
Why doesn't Windows have a package manager? Well, they do, kind of. Windows has an installer with no repository support  tha I'm aware of. It is the Windows Installer. However, when you base your existence on commercial proprietary software, no one is going to agree to put their install in a repository with every one elses stuff. There could be a repository for open source software for Windows. That will not happen because Microsoft would have to support it in some way. If MS decided not to (which they have because their investors won't allow it) it will not happen. I bet you could get YUM and RPM to work on Windows with some work. You could make repositories that are for win32 and win64. It sounds easy enough to me. Well, easy to some one who knows it well enough.
When I want to update mys system at home to the latest software versions of just about everything, I type in the following command.
sudo yum -y update
sudo apt-get update
Those commands will update the minor version of most software packages. If I want to cut a bit deeper, I use the word "upgrade" in stead of "update" and a further leap of version numbers will be taken.
When I want to uninstall a package the command is something like the following.
sudo yum remove <package>
That's it. The package manager worries about all the required packages and libraries. Sometimes there is a dependency that needs to be resolved. That is a pain. Nothing like it was before YUM or apt-get.
That is it. All the software on my box that I installed using YUM gets updated in the background while I get on with my day. Somethings things go hey-wire, but any time you make changes stuff freaks. I have to say, it is much better than keeping everything up to date by hand.
So, who keeps the repositories up to date? Right now it is the community of Linux users who sign up and give a few hours a week to the cause on their own time. I believe Linspire has paid people doing it. Red Hat may have people on staff who help out. I bet most of the companies involved in enterprise systems contribute in one way or another. It is the high end users out there who do the trudge work though.
To install a piece of software you first must decide if there are any prerequisites required. These are called dependencies.  On Windows and other non repository systems this is pretty much a manual step. you don't know until you try to install or, for the love of God, read the instructions. If you are on a repository system (YUM or apt-get for example) the package management software tries really hard to install all the dependencies and their dependencies and their dependencies before installing the package in question.
In Windows (and other closed source projects) most programs include the dependencies in the install package. This can cause conflict. It is referred to as DLL hell. In open source OS projects most of the dependencies are not included because of licensing. Open source says you can freely distribute a package unless you make it part of another package that you sell. Thus, most. open source projects have a long list of all too separate dependencies. Without a package management system you are in trouble.
A good example is a sound editing program that I installed on Windows many years ago. it could not support MP3 directly because of lichening. MP3 is a proprietary format and you must pay to use it in your program. When you clicked on "save as mp3" a dialog box popped up telling you to got to and download a specific DLL file and put it in a specific spot. They could not put it there for you because that would be redistribution. You had to go get it yourself.
I'm sure any one who has made it to this point is a confirmed geek. Let me guess, Nat, my parents, and most random people have dropped off before this point. Maybe Adam and Ken (Viper) made it this far. None of my other geeky friends read my blog. Let me know in the comments.
Back to the subject. . . There is no silver bullet. Every single method of install and removal has problems. They mostly have the same problems. Don't put on enough, take off too much, or break something that was working. There is a movement in the world to have a one folder install called zero install. All dependencies would be linked from withing the folder and to run the program you would just double click the folder. When time comes to remove the program, you delete the folder.  it is very easy to find the dependencies that have no folders pointing to them. You could choose to remove them or leave them there. This is a Utopian idea that might actually work. it would eliminate DLL hell and would make the  Windows Registry redundant. It would make the dependency torture easier. If you need five different versions of a library on your system, just rename their folders and point your link point to that one copy. Hard drives are cheap.
Absent Minded Programmer
So, someone comes in to my office. I take off my earphones to talk to them about something related to work. When they leave I look around for where I laid my earphones. They are not in the normal five places I do find the cord and follow it.
They were around my neck.
Lunch Conversation
It was mostly about the case of the psycho astronaut who allegedly tried to kill a romantic rival.
# No one has spoken to the male astronaut's wife. He was married too.
# One of the night show people asked what kind of car she was driving would go 900 miles without stopping for gas or to pee. Is it one of those special NASA cars?
# Someone interviewed by the news asked "What is with Clear Lake raising all these crazy women?" I have to agree.
# The local news last night said they were having "over night coverage" of the situation. They stuck a camera in the window of an SUV while it pulled into a garage. "She is probably laying down on the floor of the SUV ..."  - Bastards.


Jihady Joke
How may Jihady does it take to take over the world?
One to be radical. And the rest to do nothing.

hmmm, not very funny is it.


Backseat Poltergeists
So, Elle said she didn't want to go to school today. That never worked when I was a kid, but it did with Nat this morning. She missed Elle from the long weekend without her. Nat and Elle were on their way to Nat's mom's place. Things were running smoothly. Then, from the back seat comes "Mommy, I ate too much."
Then came the sound that every parent' knows all to well. A sound deserving of it's own paragraph.
Nat tells me Elle did a pretty good job of confining the torrent to the back seat. I picture Elle's head spinning and puke spraying all over the car like a vomit lawn sprinkler, but I'm assured that was not the case.
Nat had to stop at Target and get a new booster seat. The old car seat is in the trunk festering as I type. That is going to be a fun clean up this evening.
Reminds me of a story from my childhood. I was enjoying a bag of marshmallows. Yah, marshmallows. Well, I vaguely remember my mother telling me not to eat too many, but you know kids. I ate my fill, snapped my fingers and went to bed. Sometime later, in the middle of the night. I stumbled into my parents room and said something very profound. Something every parents hears at least a dozen times.
"Mom, I don't feel so gooBWAAAAAKH!!!"
My father didn't miss a beat. From the dark, without even being fully away he says "Somebody just threw up." Can't put nothing past the old man.
Well, I puked on the carpet again and my mom rushed me to the bathroom. I assured her
"I'm finBWAAAAAKH!!!"
I knelt corrected.
Ah, payback is a bitch.
New Contacts
I like these new contacts. The prescription is a bit stronger. I'm getting to the point with glasses that the world looks fish-eyed around the edges. None of that with contacts. Everything is just clear. Well, clear as long as the contacts are sitting the right way. I have astigmatism so the contacts mus sit with the correct bit pointing up. About every hour I have to give them a nudge to point them in the right direction. I've tried blinking different ways and looking in strange and stressful directions, but nothing really works. You just have to nudge them with your finger.
I had to order some new lenses. I have a new prescription anyway. I really do see better with contacts. I can read signs sometimes while riding in the car. I still can't make out the menus behind the tellers at fast food places. I think I get the most out of the vision I have with contacts.
I have to ware glasses with the contacts to read. That is kind of back-asswords, I know. I like getting up out of my seat and walking down the hall able to recognize people. and not trip over my own feet. Bifocals have warn their welcome thin. I'm just plane tired of only seeing half of everything. Someone needs to come up with a real cure for focusing the eyes. Either thin out the human lens or come up with auto focusing lenses for glasses or contacts. I don't care how you do it. Make them zoom while your at it.
One year
It has been one year today since I started the new job. I suppose I can't call it a new job now. I've made it past a mile stone. the job is hard. Thats good.
So, I could lament over the past year. I could compare and contrast the two jobs. No one wants to hear that. The biggest difference is going from a fifty thousand person company to a roughly fifty person company. It is nice working for a medium company. I got closer to the folks I work with. It helps that I knew most of them before I worked here.
We have lunches together. We do things outside of work with each other. It is more of a village feeling.
However, When I used to work for a print house, I never felt the way I do here. The print house was a sweat shop. We kept getting new managers and they kept throwing up their hands and leaving. We were disgruntled. No one worked there because they wanted to. The only people who seemed to enjoy their job were the delivery people. They worked on contract and were paid pretty much per delivery. The rest of us just hated to be at work.
Maybe it was the smell. That place had a bad smell from all the chemicals we used in the different process. Now that I think about it, that may have had something to do with it.


George Carlin Rules

New Rule: Stop giving me that pop-up ad for! There's reason you don't talk to people for 25 years. Because you don't particularly like them!  Besides, I already know what the captain of the football team is doing these days:  he's mowing my lawn.

New Rule:  Don't eat anything that's served to you out a window unless you're a seagull.  People are acting all shocked that a human finger was found in a  bowl of Wendy's chili. Hey, it cost less than a dollar. What did you expect it to contain? Trout?    

New Rule:  Stop saying that teenage boys who have sex with their hot, blonde teachers are permanently damaged.  I have a better description for these kids: lucky bastards.

New Rule:  If you need to shave and you still collect baseball cards, you're gay.  If you're a kid, the cards are keepsakes of your idols. If you're a grown man, they're pictures of men.

New Rule:  Ladies, leave your eyebrows alone.  Here's how much men care about your eyebrows: do you have two of them?  Okay, we're done.

New Rule:  There's no such thing as flavored water.  There's a whole aisle of this crap at the supermarket - water, but without that watery taste.  Sorry, but flavored water is called a soft drink.  You want flavored water?  Pour some scotch over ice and let it melt.  That's your flavored water.

New Rule:  Stop messing with old people.  Target is introducing a redesigned pill bottle that's square, with a bigger label.  And the top is now the bottom.  And by the time grandpa figures out how to open it, his ass will be in the morgue.  Congratulations, Target, you just solved the Social Security crisis.

New Rule:  The more complicated the Starbucks order, the bigger the jerk. If you walk into a Starbucks and order a "decaf grande half-soy, half-low fat, iced vanilla, double-shot, gingerbread cappuccino, extra dry, light ice, with one Sweet-n'-Low and one NutraSweet," .  Ooh, you're a huge jerk.

New Rule: I'm not the cashier!  By the time I look up from sliding my card, entering my PIN number, pressing "Enter," verifying the amount, deciding, no, I don't want cash back, and pressing "Enter" again, the kid who is supposedto be ringing me up is standing there eating my Almond Joy.

New Rule:  Just because your tattoo has Chinese characters in it doesn't make you spiritual.  It's right above the crack of your ass.  And it actually translates to "beef with broccoli."  The last time you did anything spiritual, you were praying to God you weren't pregnant. You're not spiritual.  You're just high.

New Rule:  Competitive eating isn't a sport.  It's one of the seven deadly sins.  ESPN recently televised the US Open of Competitive Eating, because watching those athletes at the poker table was just too damned exciting.  What's next, competitive farting? Oh wait. They're already doing that.  It's called "The Howard Stern Show."  

New Rule:  I don't need a bigger mega M&M. If I'm extra hungry for M&Ms, I'll go nuts and eat two!

New Rule:  If you're going to insist on making movies based on crappy, old television shows, then you have to give everyone in the Cineplex a remote so we can see what's playing on the other screens.  Let's remember the reason something was a television show in the first place is that the idea wasn't good enough to be a movie.  

New Rule:  No more gift registries.  You know, it used to be just for weddings.  Now it's for babies and new homes and graduations from rehab. Picking out the stuff you want and having other people buy it for you isn't gift giving, it's the white people version of looting.    

New Rule (and this one is long overdue):  No more bathroom attendants! After I zip up, some guy is offering me a towel and a mint like I just had sex with George Michael.  I can't even tell if he's supposed to be there, or just some freak with a fetish.  Don't want to be on your webcam, Dude.  I just want to wash my hands.    

New Rule:  When I ask how old your toddler is, I don't need to know in months.  Not "27 Months."  "He's two," will do just fine.  He's not a cheese.  And I didn't really care in the first place.

These rock. I'm not sure where my dad found them. They are new to me. I don't know where to put the link so I'll put it to George Carlin. Sounds good to me.
Anna hung out at the new house and watched the game. She went dancing too.
Josh hung out at the in law's place for the game. Sounds like he has some pretty cool in laws.
Trip had a village over to his place for the game.
Rob from work had a party with coworkers.
Nat and I hung out at the house and missed Elle. She was in Kansas seeing her father off. He shipped out to Iraq just before kick-off. That really took the wind out of my sails. He is about the  closest person to me who has gone to Iraq. I have some friends over there and some friend's relatives. Elle is near and dear. Her father is there for important to me.

Elle just made it back a few minutes ago. Nat is in the kitchen making tacos for dinner. Elle keeps asking if she can help. There is something on TV. The cats are hanging out at Nat's feet waiting for something to drop. The dog is locked up in the cage, or she would be there too.
Sounds like a family.


Super bowl Sunday
Yesterday, I poisoned my back yard. I sprayed for weeds and bugs. I'm not sure it did any good.
Nat is dressing up the cats. It cracks me up that the young one can't walk in cloths, even if they don't cover his feet.
The dog is going nuts because we are not dressing her up too.
I'm putting off doing taxes. I'm not sure what to do with all the paperwork. I need a tax person.
Ted ships out to Iraq today.
The Super bowl is at 5:00. I'm probably not going to watch because, I just don't care.

We went to Sam's. and got a load of food for the month.
Hold your hat, because we have the windows open. It is a banner day in Houston.


Car woes
So, Nat took a left the other day and the car makes this grinding noise in the right front. I'm thinking constant velocity joint. I'm also thinking "They fucked up the car last month when the fixed it." Well, it turns out the wheel well wall (say that a couple of times fast) came loose on that side. it had enough damage that they replaced it. Of course it did. $104. In mechanic speak that meas it was a $10 part.
I would love to kick off a rant about mechanics. I would like to call them every name in the book and say that someone needs to come up with binding arbitration for mechanic shops. Someone needs to outlaw the BBB's practice of not taking complaints aimed at members (so only crooked companies should be members). I would make some innuendo about actually doing something about the situation. However, you and I know I will not do anything about it. that is why mechanics get away with this crap. I wish I were the kind who would sue. Then again, that sounds like a bunch of effort. If I were that motivated, I would have fixed the damn thing myself.
Nothing is covered by the stupid warranty we got. The only good warranties have done is make car manufacturers fix a couple of chronic issues. For example, Honda had CV joint problems for a couple of decades. Every small car they made would blow the CV joints at 60 - 80 thousand miles. This was no skin off Honda's nose because their warranties only went to 36 thousand at the time. in the nineties, many of the warranties went to well over 50 thousand miles. Honda finally did something about the design of their CV joints. They seem to last longer now. I knew a mechanic in the early nineties who made a very good living fixing Honda CV joints and automatic transmissions. That was all he did.
There were no warranties on cars until the Japanese got into the market. None of the things that go wrong with the care a ever covered. I remember a friend in the late eighties who had an RX7. It had a bumper to bumper warranty that only covered moving parts in the drive train.  RX7 has a Wankel engine. There are only 4 moving parts in the frigging thing. They will never go out. The rest of the car will rot away and the moving parts in the engine will still work. Things like bumper mounts and door handles are not covered.
It's getting to the point of institutional deceit. That is where the lies become so ingrained into the fabric of the business that people don't even call them on it any more.
Didn't I say I was not going to rant? I better stop now.
Bad Precedent
I've noticed some fallout from the Mooninite scare in Boston. It seems that the police were very upset about this kind of thing going on. It seems there is a rebellious streak showing amongst the youth. Has there ever been a time where the younger people didn't want to piss off the older people? Several other cities didn't freak out. What's up with Boston?
Let's recap. A bunch of hippies want to promote a goofy (and funny) TV show by leaving light-bright boxes all over the city. This is a promotional stunt just to get attention. Hey, that's great. Those boxes are just about the size of a Claymore  mine. They have lights and batteries visible. They could very much be mistaken for bombs to someone who doesn't know what a bomb looks like. Isn't that one of the rubs though? What does a bomb or mine look like?
If I were a cop, I would worry the next time someone says that those blinking boxes all over the city are just a promotional gimmick and not to worry. People walking past will know instantly they are not dangerous.
These guys were just trying to get a message across. Think about it. All the terrorists want to do is get their message across.


What a couple of morons

he men, Peter Berdovsky, 27, and Sean Stevens, 28, had been hired by a marketing firm, Interference Inc., which had been hired by Turner Broadcasting. They placed 38 of the devices on buildings, under bridges and in other spots around the city, and each earned $300. The devices, featured flashing lights in the shape of a character from the cartoon show “Aqua Teen Hunger Force.”
Other cities made sure that the devices were being taken down Thursday. In New York, the police contacted Interference Inc., which told them that at least 20 devices had been placed in Brooklyn and Manhattan. The police found two devices, at West 33rd Street and 12th Avenue, stuck to metal panels under an overpass, and said they believed that the others were removed by passers-by.

Whatthe hell where they thinking?!? Yes, lets put up scary boxes in the subways. I hope these dopes get the book thrown at them.