Friday, November 17, 2006

New Album: Democustico

Got an e-mail from DanceTracks Digital, which included a link to an album from Far Out Recordings called Democustico. Gave it a listen for a few minutes from their website and liked it. Went to Napster and there it was. I'm streaming it now, a nice fusion of Brazilian samba, folk, Indian vibes, London beats, and global breaks and noise. Highly recommended!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Can I Get That Squirrel Made into a Gravy?

As we gear up for another season of holiday shopping, we grit our
teeth, head to the mall ...and take our lives into our hands dealing with
traffic, parking, crowds, harried salesclerks ...and killer squirrels.

At least, that's what Marcy Meckler had to deal with at the Old
Orchard Mall in Skokie, Ill., one Friday morning in December 2004. (A
tough punk squirrel, that is.) She says she stepped out of the Tiffany &
Co. jewelry store at the open-air mall and was making her way toward
Nordstrom's when, she says, she "had a squirrel jump up and attach itself
to her leg." Startling, to be sure, but "while frantically attempting to
escape from the squirrel and detach it from her leg, [Meckler] fell and
suffered severe injuries."

The injuries were not described but Meckler's lawsuit, filed in Cook
County Circuit Court with the help of attorney Glenn Guth, says they will
cause her to "in the future endure pain and suffering in body and mind."
The suit demands damages in excess of $50,000.

So how in the world is that the mall's fault? Mall owner Westfield
Corp., "by and through its agents, employees, servants and security
personnel, was aware of the longtime presence of the said squirrel on the
premises and allowed the squirrel to remain on the premises, despite the
fact that the squirrel had previously attacked and harassed other
customers, a fact known to Westfield," the suit says. Worse, the suit
alleges mall employees "encouraged the squirrel to remain on the premises
by feeding and caring for the squirrel, despite the dangerous conditions
that arose from allowing said animal to remain on the premises." Even
that may have been OK, except, the suit complains, the mall failed "to
warn the plaintiff of the squirrel's presence."

Yep, Westfield surely knew there were squirrels in the open air mall
area. And I'll bet they even know for a fact that birds fly by overhead.
Heck: even bees, which some people are deathly afraid of, probably visit
the flowers planted around the stores. Some of those people have severe
allergic reactions to bee stings, too, and could literally die from it.
AND YET THEY DIDN'T WARN anyone of these things. Bah. All wildlife "could
be" dangerous sometimes, but most of it is fine if we just leave it the
hell alone and admire it, rather than harass it. Yet Meckler's suit
demands that they must harass it.

We share this planet with other living things. If we killed everything
else to keep from inconveniencing petty, spoiled brats who spend their
days buying bling, the planet would wither and die. So we deal with it if
we want to go out in the world. Malls can't -- and shouldn't -- control
scurrying wild animals any more than they can stop birds from crapping on
windshields as shoppers' cars sit in the valet parking lot. But maybe we
can do something about why-me crybabies who expect someone else to pay
for overreacting to normal situations, even when they fall down and go
boom. Significant monetary fines for filing frivolous actions comes to
mind....


SOURCES:
1) "Mall Sued over Squirrel Attack", Chicago Sun-Times, 15 August 2006
(no longer available online)

2) "Lawsuit: Shopping Center Aided Attacking Squirrel", Sun-Times News
Group Wire, 14 August 2006
http://StellaAwards.com/cgi-bin/redirect5.pl?77a

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Amen to That!

From a bumper sticker:

"Yee-Hah" is NOT a valid foreign relations policy.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Crazy Bumper Sticker

"Some people are like Slinkies... not really good for anything, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs!"

Friday, October 06, 2006

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What's on my playlist now?

Randy Crawford 's Feeling Good with Joe Sample.

Very nice.

50K

Well, I just broke 50K miles on my li'l red TT.

If mom moves to one state over next year like she wants, I'll be putting *a lot* more on it.....

Monday, October 02, 2006

New Intel Corehowmanyaretherenow Commercial

If you've seen the commercials, the hotties are um, hot, the dancing is great, and the music is, well, wow. Reminds me of my joy at first hearing "Days Go By" by Dirty Vegas for the Mitsubishi Eclipse.

The first one is Mr. Dabada -- Carlos Jean is the hep cat with this jam -- and did I say the dancers are hot?

The second is Ice Cream by New Young Pony Club -- more laid back, more suggestive.

Check 'em out!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

What a Mess This Foley Scandal Is!

So, Foley is suggestive with an underage page. At least he didn't have sex with the kid, unlike a certain Republican back in the 80's who actually *had* sex with an underage girl page. And a Democrat who around the same time had sex with an underage boy. Both were censured by the Congress.

Ah, mores back then were quite different from today. A teacher who had sex with a male student went practically unpunished, while today they'd be calling for her head.

Oh, and for those that keep comparing the Clinton/Lewinski scandal to this -- remember, Miss Monica was well into her twenties, and had done that before. It's a TOTALLY different animal from a child who may/may not know any better.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Seen on a bumper sticker

It's 95% of the lawyers making the other 5% look bad.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

But I used to have good eyes, REALLY!

So, you watched movies on a 13" portable TV. Too big.

Then you watched movies on a 7" portable DVD player. Too big.

Then you watched movies on a 4" PMP. Too big.

Then you watched movies on an iPod. Too big.

Not blind enough yet?

Well, now you can watch movies on demand on your 2" cellphone screen. Yep, you can. Really.

Check it out.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Digitally Imported and Groovin'

http://www.di.fm

If you've not been here to see the streaming radio music they provide, you're truly missing out on a good thing. They offer free streaming at lower quality in 3 formats, but for only about $5/month, you can be a premium member, support their great stations, and get streaming music at like 128k and 192k quality!

There are over 30 stations to listen to, and they all work (unlike some other radio portals where a good number of the links don't respond). My favorites are Deep House, Smooth Jazz, Country, Hit 70s, and Classic Electronica.

Even better, they've optimized their webpage for mobile devices so it's extremely easy to select a station. I'm connected most of the time to their stations either with my tablet or my cellphone. (Of course, I'm also connected to XM64--The Groove when I'm not connected to di.fm.)

Definitely recommended as a site to keep your good eye on! Try it out!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Well this is messed up!

Today, we have a $9.2 trillion budget deficit.

To break down the national debt into comprehensible numbers means that every American carries a “birth tax” of $30,000.....

Some 40% of the deficit is owed to China.

(from OMB)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

West Texas Cowboy - Joke

A West Texas cowboy was herding his cows in a remote pasture when suddenly a

brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud towards him. The driver, a
young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL
tie,
leans out the window and asks the cowboy, "If I tell you exactly how
many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?"

The cowboy looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his
peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure, Why not?"

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer,
connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a NASA
page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite navigation
system to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to
another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and
exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany. Within
seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has
been processed and the data stored. He then accesses a MS-SQL database
through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with email on his
Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech,
miniaturized HP LaserJet printer and finally turns to the cowboy and
says, "You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves."

"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves,"
says the cowboy. He watches the young man select one of the animals and
looks on amused as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then the cowboy says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly
what your business is, will you give me back my calf?"

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says,
"Okay, why not?"

You're a Congressman for the U.S. Government", says the cowboy.

"Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"

"No guessing required." answered the cowboy. "You showed up here even
though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already
knew, to a question I never asked. You tried to show me how much
smarter than me you are; and you don't know a thing
about cows........

Now give me back my dog."

Friday, September 01, 2006

Suing over iPods? 14 year olds!?

So I don't know whether to file this under stupidity or lack of personal responsibility or poor parenting. Maybe I should file it under all three!

Seems an iPod was loaned, the iPod was returned, but the unsupervised iPod was stolen, and now we get to see the whole thing play out in court. Too sad (if it weren't sooo funny).....

Friday, August 25, 2006

Need a new way to remember the 8 planets in the solar system?

Use this mnemonic of the first letters to remember the order of the planets in their new configuration (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune):

My very exotic mistress just showed up naked.

(Could've been said by Prez Clinton, eh?! )

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Definition of OCD

A Stanford Medical research group advertised for participants in a study of obsessive-compulsive disorder. They were looking for therapy clients who had been diagnosed with this disorder.

The response was gratifying; they got 300 responses the day after the ad came out.

All from the same person.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Who Are YOU A Fan Of?

Two boys in Boston were playing basketball when one of them was attacked by a rabid Rottweiler. Thinking quickly, the other boy ripped a board off a nearby fence, wedged it into the dog's collar and twisted it, breaking the dog's neck. A newspaper reporter from the Boston Globe witnessed the incident and rushed over to interview the boy.

The reporter began entering data into his laptop, beginning with the headline: "Brave Young Celtics Fan Saves Friend from Jaws Of Vicious Animal." "But I'm not a Celtics fan," the little hero interjected. "Sorry," replied the reporter. "But since we're in Boston, I just assumed you were."

Hitting the delete key, the reporter began "John Kerry Fan Rescues Friend From Horrific Dog Attack." "But I'm not a Kerry fan either," the boy responds. The reporter says, "I assumed everybody in this state was either for the Celtics or Kerry or Kennedy. What team or person do you like?"

"I'm a Houston Rockets fan and I really like George W. Bush", the boy says.

Hitting the delete key, the reporter begins again: "Arrogant Little Conservative Bastard Kills Beloved Family Pet."

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, um, uh, what's next??

The number of planets around the Sun could rise from
nine to 12 - with more on the way - if experts approve a radical new
vision of our Solar System
.

Nice!!


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Batteries Exploding All Around You? Try Aluminum!!

Found some articles about using aluminum (or aluminium for you Europeans) combined with air to support fuel cells. Most are old (early 2000's), but here's a fairly technical, more current article about using this process.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

"Creative Evolution"? Protect the Kids' Futures Instead!

The people determining the curriculum of our children in many states
remain scientifically illiterate. And Kansas is a good case in point.

(Need a NYTimes login? Check here.)

Friday, August 11, 2006

New Writings from Archimedes Revealed

Check out the scanning of the Palimpsest. Be sure to check out the video of the scanning and of the project's background.

Quite fascinating, especially if it reveals new mathematical theories and formulae!

Coolness: NASA Shuttle Wing Video

Most interesting, about 3 minutes into it.

Enjoy!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

XM 64 - The Groove . . . Is Groovy!

Hadn't listened to this station before. GEE! Listen to what I've been missing. Right now, my favorite song You're Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else by The Jones Girls has just come on. Plus they've been playing some disco from back in the day!! It bills itself as old school R&B. Definitely highly recommended as a new favorite station.

XM 64 - The Groove

73.5% Increase in Fat Babies?!

And medical folks say it's raising alarms. I WOULD HOPE SO!!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Why Can't They Just Increase the Minimum Wage?!?

Geez, all this jockeying for position. Give the people a break. Damn Republicans. Bring back the Dems.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Great Quote!

I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.
Fred Allen

Monopoly ditches cash, goes plastic

Can you believe it? A Visa card for Monopoly. Go figure!

See more about this.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Lance Bass of `N Sync -- Who Knew!?!

Lance Bass, band member of 'N Sync, says he's gay and in a "very stable" relationship with a reality show star. Bass, who formed 'N Sync with Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick, tells People magazine that he didn't earlier disclose his sexuality because he didn't want to affect the group's popularity.

More at Yahoo! News.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Seen on a bumper sticker

Modern aircraft have heaps of redundancy built
into their design. Why do you think they have TWO wings for example?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

More Bumper Stickers

Now that food has replaced sex in my life, I can't even get into my own pants.

Marriage changes passion. Suddenly you're in bed with a relative.

I saw a woman wearing a sweat shirt with "Guess" on it. So I said "Implants?" She hit me.

How come we choose from just two people to run for president and over fifty for Miss America?

A good friend will come and bail you out of jail...but, a true friend will be sitting next to you saying, "Wow...that was fun!"

I signed up for an exercise class and was told to wear loose-fitting clothing. If I HAD any loose-fitting clothing, I wouldn't have signed up in the first place!

When I was young we used to go "skinny dipping," now I just "chunky dunk."

Don't argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.

Wouldn't it be nice if whenever we messed up our life we could simply press 'Ctrl Alt Delete' and start all over? AMEN, AMEN !!

Wouldn't you know it... Brain cells come and brain cells go, but FATcells live forever.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Starr Jones - House Hunter?!?

It appears that Starr Jones is hosting House Hunters on HGTV tonight.

Ah, wee, now we're cookin'!!

Google Wants All Your Data? Cool!

So, Google is working on a project called Platypus that seems to be the same as GDrive. The idea is that any work you do on a computer gets synced to your Google storage, any work that you do on the web gets synced to your computer, and if a computer crashes, the data can be downloaded from Google in a heartbeat. This is great if you work on many different computers and want the data to be the same on all of them.

This is future, and for now, Orb is doing fine for me, to allow me to get my files from home whereever I'm at.....

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Joke

A visitor to a mental hospital asked a doctor how they decide whether to admit a new patient. "We fill up a bathtub and offer them a spoon, a teacup, or a bucket to empty the tub." The visitor nodded. "And a sane person chooses the bucket?"

"No," said the doctor. "A sane person pulls the drain plug. Would you like a bed near the window?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Ted Stevens, Alaska Republican . . . and Moron

Here's an interesting post from John Dvorak of PCMagazine fame re Net Neutrality. If you don't know what this is, or how important it will be to your Internet access, read on:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1985071,00.asp

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

CNN Expose on North Korea

Did you see the report? Hidden camera, journalist talking, recordings of beatings, and all..... The conditions are horrible, yet NK leadership keeps telling the world how utopian life is there.

CNN sent a query about the conditions shown on the film to the government. Their reply: How can anyone be sure that the filmed footage was of North Korea?

This from a government out of touch with reality, IMO. Remember that satellite they tried to send up a few years ago, but it didn't even get into orbit? Well, to this day, they claim it is in space and broadcasting speeches from government leaders.

Too sad.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Gordon Biersch Brewery -- Beer Sampler! WooHoo!

If you're ever in Tyson's Corner, check out this restaurant in the mall. Really good food, sure.

But the beer sampler was my favorite. I tried it and found several really good beers that they make on the premises. What they do is bring a booklet with 6 beers listed, and along side the booklet, they present the beers in individual shot glasses. Gave me a chance to sample their wares, and also to order one that I really liked. One was a "coffee" beer that's really good.....

Check it out at http://www.gordonbiersch.com/restaurants/ -- or better yet, get up from behind the computer and check it out in person.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Dump the Don't Ask Loophole

Seems that hetero guys and gals are using the Don't Ask, Don't Tell loophole to get outta the armed forces. Many are stationed in warzones such as Iraq.

Yet another reason to get rid of the stupid rule.....


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

High Pitched Tone

Hear that?

No?

Well, your kids can. The newest craze is to use ringtones with really high-pitched tones that young ears can hear, but that us older folks can't.

Ingenious, if you ask me.....


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Bush Bounce?

CNN is saying that the Rove issue resolution (not even something under Bush's control) and Zarqawi's death could help his poll numbers. Hopefully the American
public isn't THAT gullible.

Bush policy still sucks.....

An Extra Special Crackberry!!

Seen in Las Vegas, USA, at the Nextel store:



(Source: engadgetmobile.com)

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Country's in Worse Shape Than It Was When He Became President Six Years Ago

Poll Gives Bush His Worst Marks Yet

Unhappiness about gasoline prices and Iraq have created a grim political environment for the president, according to the latest Times poll.


Thursday, June 08, 2006

Tossing Out the Election-Year Bones!

Interesting article on Slate: The Gay Panic Button - Why pressing it won't work this time.

http://www.slate.com/id/2143208?nav=wp

Saturday, June 03, 2006

We Are Small and Insignificant

Wow.

How humbling.

The Joshua Tree National Park is huge, the boulders are huge, the vistas are huge, and the trees are ancient.

Me with one of the Joshua Trees:



The size of the boulders that push up out of the Earth during seismic events are indescribable. Look closely and you'll see a person (in a white shirt) on the boulders in the lower right-hand corner:



We were about a mile high at the Keys Point, and when we looked out over the edge:



The plants were diverse, bushes were green, and some plants had yellow and purple flowers. They didn't seem to care that we were about a mile up and in the middle of the desert:



I have videos of the Joshua Trees. There are literally thousands of them in fields around the park. Like the 4,000 windmills we saw the other day, the view of them just goes on and on.....

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Princess of Monaco HERE?

So the latest news in Palm Desert (just down the street) is that Monaco's Prince Albert has a daughter here. The kid's poor school has been swamped all day with the press, tying up traffic, and making a nuisance of themselves. Seems they were trying to get a picture of the kid, but they didn't - she left the school in a heavily window-tinted SUV under the protection of the Sheriff's office.....

The Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum, Part 2?

Oh, and another quick detour:

The NYT reports on deep core samples from the Arctic Ocean showing that 55 million years ago—during a big global warming period—the sea was downright toasty and much warmer than scientists have long estimated. That suggests current simulations aren't accounting for some mechanism in global warming. "Something extra happens when you push the world into a warmer world," said a researcher from the Arctic study, "and we just don't understand what it is."

(Source: Slate)

The desert here in Palm Springs is hot enough now! It doesn't need any further help, especially from the Arctic - well, no, wait, maybe if we could bring some of the arctic coolness here.....

Profile in Fairly Steady Disillusionment

Taking a momentary detour from vacation:

In a recent Rolling Stone profile, one of America's leading historians sizes up the Dubya. It's kinda long, but has lots of info.

Seems that a friend's Iraq stay has been extended by several months. Also seems that Bush has moved about 1500 troops "temporarily" from one place to another. I'm sure THEY've been extended, too. Lie after lie after lie.....

Get Out and Vote 2006 and 2008

The San Andreas Fault

Live from Palm Springs:

We toured the Fault today for a few hours with a tour company. It was very interesting to see all the different rock formations, actually see where the Japan tectonic plate and the North American plate are pushing past each other, and see some wildlife.

Getting out of the Jeep to walk around:



Our tour guide:



Me in my gear:



Hanging out in a crack:



Here's a great shot through the Fault to another mountain range in the back:



Ending the tour, the sun sets over a ridge:



There are hundreds of photos that I took, but these are just a sample.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Don Quixote Would Be In Heaven

Check out this windmill farm just outside of Palm Springs:



Pretty impressive! They're really tall, the highest at about 150feet, and there are smaller ones about 75feet. Seems each of the big ones generates enough electricity in a day to power an average home for about a month.

The Heat Is On

Here's the next few days' weather forecast in Palm Springs:



Luckily the humidity is going to be about 10% the whole time. We've been drinking a lot of liquids and Shawn's been eating like a freakin' horse the whole time. It's impressive to see him eat about 3 meals at a single sitting.....

Thank You for Smoking

Live from Palm Springs:

We went to dinner at this great seafood restaurant called Fisherman's Market & Grill. The food was great, and plentiful. We sat outdoors, with the warm breeze blowing over us as the sun set for the evening:



So, there's a movie theater called Cinemas Palme D'Or (how chichi is THAT?) in one of the shopping malls (a Westfield, like the one in Silver Spring). We went there to see Thank You for Smoking. It was pretty good - full of irony, some comedy, and overall quite entertaining.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Cartoons and Mr. Magoo

Live from Palm Springs:

We're having a discussion at dinner about cartoons. We're coming to a conclusion that guys who watched Mr. Magoo as kids seem to have stopped watching cartoons at an early age. Those who didn't like Mr. Magoo (like me) still seem to enjoy cartoons as adults.

Whaddya think? Does this hold for you? Add a comment and let us know in an informal poll!

Internet Addiction?? Nah!!

Live from Palm Springs:

When I picked up my latest cellphone, I didn't realize how handy the high-speed modem function would be!! I've been able to be on the internet the entire time I'm here at anytime I want either using just the phone to look up something when we're out and about, or when using my laptop at the condo for full-fledged activities.

Even better, I've figured out how to share out the connection so that me mates on this trip can have their computers on the internet at the same time. The connection is only 230kbps, so things are a bit slower than cable modem, but it's been amazingly useful for us all to be doing our own thing at the same time. Because the local network I set up uses the internal wireless modems on each machine, we can be in our own rooms, or surfing on the patio, or all playing with our computers in the living room.....

Palm Springs Aerial Tram

We went up in the Palm Springs Aerial Tram yesterday. Being scared of heights, I went anyway - me mates in this voyage said I was a trooper for hanging in there. Uh, yeah. We went up about 6:30pm to take advantage of the light, with the idea to look at the night-time scene coming back down. It was magnificent and scary - this is the scene looking back down as we were going up:



The new round tramcars rotate on the inside so that passengers can stand in one place and be rotated 360degrees to see the entire view. The entire trip was about 10 minutes, and the tram rotated fully twice during the trip up. They said we were moving about 21mph.

We started from the bottom at about 2600 feet (where it was about 85degrees) and at ended up at the top at about 8500 feet (where it was about 55degrees). The view from the top, as the tram docked, was beautiful and even scarier:



We had dinner at the Elevations restaurant, where the food was excellent. Going up the stairs to the restaurant was a chore. Because the air was so thin, we got out of breath pretty quickly. On display in the restaurant was some of the mountain wildlife. They didn't move, so I guess they were stuffed:



It got even colder as the sun went down (into the 40s), and we caught the 9pm tram back down. The lights of the different cities was amazing.....

We Are In Bake Mode

The Palm Springs weatherman just said that the weather was so hot and dry here that we are in "bake mode." Never heard THAT on the East Coast!

Doesn't feel like 100degrees, but the humidity is only like 7%, so that's probably why.

Can't believe they're mowing the lawns outside of the condo in the middle of the day.....

Sunday, May 28, 2006

We're HEEeeere!

The weather here is beautiful. The landing yesterday evening was pretty turbulent because the winds were moving about 40mph. There were sandstorms everywhere. Take a look at the palm trees blowing in the wind at the airport:



By the way, the first airport building was pretty much totally open when we came off the plane. The building was really just an outdoor area with a roof. Weird. As we walked through to the second building to get our luggage, here's the view of the mountains with the sun setting:


Here's the welcome sign in the second building (this one was enclosed):



By the way, subtract 3 hours from the posting times while we're here to get the local California time.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Off to Palm Springs!

We're on the way to Palm Springs, California! Turns out a neighbor, Vanessa, is from Palm Springs. She had lots of recommendations for things to do.

Pictures to follow!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

USO Today

We did USO support again today. We were trying to finish up all the painting and stuff from the last time. Empire Carpet came in to give us an estimate to recarpet the entire house. Everything's shaping up nicely!

ASD's photographer of all our events took a group photo of us. Hopefully I can get a copy soon and post it here.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Quote - Conscience

There is only one way to achieve happiness on this terrestrial ball, and that is to have either a clear conscience or none at all.

-Ogden Nash, author (1902-1971)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Potato Chip Bags

Ever wonder why there are so few potato chips in those huge bags? Turns out that there are two reasons: (1) the bags get a squirt of nitrogen before sealing to help protect flavor and inflate the bag, and (2) the inflated bag helps keep the chips from getting crunched when they're packed in their shipping boxes.

I never knew that!

(Seen on the Food Network)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Bumper Sticker

Where there's a will . . . put me in it!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Aloha, mon, friend of batty boy going to Hawaii

Interesting writeup about what the author calls Caribbean carnage. Seems these little hotbeds of intolerance are alive and kicking!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Teena Marie is 50 YEARS OLD??

Man, do I feel old now! I can't believe it, and she still looks stunning! Her new album is pretty good, and she still has great vocals.

Quote - Happy

We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same.

-Carlos Castenada

Monday, May 08, 2006

Got a GPS-Enabled Phone?

Starting in the Fall, you'll be able to use your phone as a navigation system by using Mapquest. I can't wait! It'll work in the car or even when walking around.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Cameron Column: Yoga Puts Me in a Bad Position

SICK!! Do you hear me? This is too funny! Mr. Cameron is a great comedian. I always laugh at his antics, but this one made me pee a little.....

_____________________________________

Yoga Puts Me in a Bad Position

Copyright 2006 W. Bruce Cameron

Experts tell you that to stay in top physical condition, you should keep your strength and cardiovascular workouts in even proportion with your stretching exercises. For years I have done this, keeping all three at the same level, which is to say, zero. But when a newly opened yoga studio sent me a letter telling me I could come in for a free lesson, I was eager to go because it stated the program would be tailored very specifically for my personal needs, which I took to mean there would be a wine-and-cheese party afterward.

Yoga is a Sanskrit word for "smarter than the average bear." It is based on the belief that if you lie twisted up on the floor, one arm behind your neck and the other sticking out between your legs, ankles on opposing shoulders, your knees grinding into your backbone, you will find yourself in a state of mental and physical serenity that only a chiropractor can fix.

When I arrived at the yoga studio I was disappointed to see that I wouldn't be able to take a lesson after all, because a new Mexican cafe had opened up across the street and was giving out complimentary samples. One has to have priorities in life, and my priority is free food. While I was in the restaurant, however, I ran into two yoga students who enthusiastically sold me on the number-one benefit of yoga: Each lesson ends with a nap! It's called "kielbasa," I think they said--the instructor turns off the lights, gives everyone a blanket, and lets you lie there like a kindergartener at rest time.

I told the woman at the yoga center that I wanted the lesson that ended with the nap that sounded like sausage. Within a few minutes I was led into a large gym and guided to a flat mat on the floor.

The instructor was a painfully slender and fit woman whose arms and legs glowed with fake muscle tone. "Before we begin," she announced, "are there any special needs or requests?"

"I'm not sure if it is a need or a request, but I'd like a pillow," I told her.

She laughed--apparently this wouldn't be "full service" yoga kielbasa. "Let's begin," she said, and within minutes was talking us through a series of complex exercises like this: "Take the outer part of your inner right thigh and push it toward the center of your lower left knee, opening your hips" I fell to the floor as if I'd been tossed from a moving bus. "Now reach for the ceiling," she coaxed softly. "Try to feel your rib cage shatter, as your ligaments snap and your muscles shred. That's right. Feel your organs fail and your brain stem swell."

This might not be exactly what she said in her quiet, evil chant, but it is how I interpreted it. Then she had us bend at the waist, feet and hands flat on the floor, at which time it occurred to me that I'd eaten a bean burrito for lunch--and that I was just moments away from having it occur to other people as well.

The sensation was similar to what happens when you swallow an air hose and then become a professional contortionist. Nearly sobbing with effort, I concentrated on not becoming a human Hindenburg while the instructor continued her sadistic drills without any hint of the promised Polish sausage.

"Up down," she commanded. "Ache hurt. Pain die." (Again, this might not be exactly what she said.)

Finally she had us twist ourselves into a position for which the word "impossible" was invented, and I experienced what I suppose might be termed "explosive decompression." It sounded like a tuba player being sat on by an elephant. Everyone looked at me in alarm. "It's okay, I feel a lot better now," I assured them. The people closest to me were so relieved they had tears in their eyes.

By nap time nearly all the students had left, which I thought was rather odd. After all that work, why wouldn't they stick around for kielbasa? It was the best part!

_____________________________________

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Where do your gas dollars go?

Got this note, included in my Mobil credit card bill:

The biggest component of the price of gasoline - recently around 60% - is the cost of crude oil. Worldwide, crude prices have more than doubled in the past two years, causing gas prices to rise.

Refining, transportation, and marketing account for another 20% of the pump price. Then there are federal and state taxes: currently about 20%

Today, the U.S. has around 170,000 service stations. ExxonMobil owns - and sets pump prices - at less than 1,000 of them. The vast majority are independent businesses, whose gross profit per gallon is around 5% - that's less than 12 cents, based on the average price in January.

Of course, the prices you pay at the pump goes up and down. This is due to supply and demand: for crude oil globally, and for gasoline locally. But the way the money is split - between governments, suppliers, refiners and station owners - has hardly changed in 25 years.

During 2005, we invested an average of almost $50 million every single day to meet future oil and gas demand. Since 2001, we have invested $74 billion, on six continents, in projects designed to secure long-term energy supplies. In fact, over the last fifteen years, we have invested more than we have earned. Naturally, our earnings go up and down with the business cycle. But our commitment to plan and invest for the future does not.

Hmmmm.....

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Portia de Rossi Gay!?

Never knew that, but I just read that she's hooked up with Ellen DeGeneres!

She was great on Ally McBeal!


Gene Robinson, Anglican Bishop, Speaks

"The notion that my love for my partner somehow undemines another person's marriage is just idiocy. Isn't it?"

By the way, he's gay.

(Source: Washington Post)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Computer Books Based on Pictures

Interesting concept. Several free books offered (like Microsoft Office, Linux, XP, and Open Office).

Oil Cartoons




(Source: Slate Magazine)

Democrats Introduce New Net Neutrality Bill

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday introduced a bill aimed at preventing broadband carriers from discriminating against competing Web content or services. Compare this to the Republican horror of last week.

Case for My New Phone

The standard case that came with my new phone is pretty basic. I've found that a great case for the XV6700 is the standard case that came with my Archos 4100 (which has been safely residing in its Executive case). Take a look at these pics:


It's perfect for me: compact, easy-to-carry, and its has a belt loop on the back of the case.


You can see that it holds my phone, plus my Plantronics headset is attached to the closing strap for easy portability.

My only issue is with the belt loop; because it's attached to the case on both sides, I can't easily remove it without taking off my belt. That's a minor issue, though, since I rarely attach stuff like this to my belt. On the other hand, the belt loop is stretchy (like the closing strap) so it's easy to slip onto two fingers for a better grip on the case.

My friends say that I'm obsessive about collecting bags and cases, but here's an example where holding onto one of these really paid off.....


The DaVinci Code

Finally getting around to reading this book. Pretty good so far. I'm trying to get through it with speedreading, but there's a lot of dense places where I have to slow way down. I've only gotten through about 160 pages in about an hour and a half. What's that, less than 2 pages per minute? That's pretty slow for me - guess I need more practice.....

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Seen on a bumper sticker

Low IQ is not an excuse.

Amen to that!!


2006 Honolulu AIDS Marathon

Ha! Betcha thought I was gonna run in the marathon, eh? No chance! Over time, gravity will pull all my body parts Earthward - no need to help it along.....

However, James (a co-worker) is running in the marathon. Check out his link, and donate freely!

Linux v. Windows

Man I was frustrated last night. Tried to install a PDA app using ActiveSync. The app wouldn't load because the account I was using wasn't an administrator of the machine.

I had like 30 windows open in the middle of some research and wasn't about to log off, so I tried to find the runas command on the file. No go. Don't know why - just another stupid Windows "issue" I'm sure. Microsoft wants people to not use admin accounts for daily use, yet they put up roadblocks all over the place if the logged in account is a regular user.

I finally gave up and closed all the open windows, logged in as an admin, and provided admin rights to my normal login. AT THAT TIME I FOUND OUT that if I tried loading the app in Active Sync logged on as an admin, that just created a whole other set of issues because the PDA wasn't attached to that account, blah BLAH blah BLAH blah BLAH. Made me wanna have a STROKE!!

Oh well. I logged in as myself with my new admin privileges and installed the app. Fuck it - I'm gonna leave the admin privileges there.

I tell ya, when they have pen input for the tablets completed (which I read they're working on), Windows on my home computers will be so history.....

Caught up with a friend yesterday

I hadn't seen her for probably a couple of years, since she moved to New Mexico from the East Coast. It was nice; we stayed in an IM session pretty much all day, just casually chatting and randomly IMing. She's happy to be back in her homeplace, found a good job working with international clients, and has an office space overlooking the mountains. My view overlooks a bunch off office buildings. Nice, but not nearly as good as the mountains.....

Monday, May 01, 2006

Operation USO

So in addition to the Veteran's Home renovation this past weekend, we have the upcoming Operation USO: Care Package project. We'll be working as a group in a "stuffing party" to assemble care packages. No details yet, but it should be in May or June.

These, of course, are dedicated to my Military Buds, far-flung though they may be! (Hi, Maykel! Hi, Sandra! Hi, Dave! And everyone else, too!)

Napster is already paying for itself

I've listened to Bruce Springsteen's new album, The Seeger Sessions, today. Highly recommended! I downloaded it from Napster last night, along with a couple other albums. And some albums last week, and the week before. All for $15.00 - based on what I downloaded, I would've spent like $80 at iTunes or the other music stores.

I don't know how they do it, but I'm enjoying the freedom to pick and choose these as I wish. If they suck, I trash 'em without having to worry that I've wasted money.

I'm slowly getting over the I have to buy the music so that I own it on my hard drive and it's mine all mine issue. As long as I subscribe, the music IS mine, all mine.....

Bush Survived!

Says he at a Congressional Dinner last night: "Ladies and gentlemen, I feel chipper tonight. I survived the White House shakeup."

Says me: "How unfortunate."

Get Out and Vote 2006 and 2008


Sunday, April 30, 2006

Phone as high-speed modem

Remember that new phone I got recently? Well, today I got it running as a high-speed modem for my Tablet. No longer do I have to search for a hotspot to connect.

If I've got cell signal, I've got Internet.

NICE!

Ouch! I Ache!

Erin warned me yesterday afternoon.

"You'll ache tomorrow," she said.

"Why do you say that?" I asked.

"Because scraping old paint off of ceilings and painting overhead uses a lot of muscles that aren't used often, except when working out of course....."

She was right. I ache. I slept a lot of today away. I took a long soak in the tub with really hot water. Had dinner with Mom. I feel better. Just a little.

I'll be fine tomorrow, really.....

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Another reason to get the Republicans outta the Congress

NO to net neutrality!? What in the world are they thinking? (Well, obviously, nothing.)

Can you tell I'm snippy, having just awoken from my nap?

Today's Home Renovation

What a busy day. I just woke up from a nap. We worked on the Veteran's home for most of the day. It was a lot of work and I was tired. Here are some snaps:



Friday, April 28, 2006

Google Sketchup

Google has released Google Sketchup, the first Google version of the 3D modeling software they acquired recently, and it's absolutely free. (They'll make money, I'm sure, from the Pro version that they also offer for $495.)

RFID tags used to teach languages

Here's a very interesting way to teach languages to kids (and could be very useful to adults as well)!

Plantronics Headset

So I got the Plantronics headset. It's great!

Being very small, it has a holster that it fits into, which fits into my shirt pocket with a clip (and sits right next to my pen in my pocket). Even better, it vibrates when a call comes in, and when I pull it out of the holster, it answers the phone! YOWSER! To hang up, I put it back into the holster! SUPERB!

Unlike the Motorola, it doesn't turn off when charging, so it's always on and available. Plus I don't have that dorky Motorola bulge in my pants pocket where I would carry it (that was so that I didn't look like a goofball walking around with it on my ear all the time).....

Highly recommended!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Meetings to Plan Meetings

So I was having meebo.com withdrawal because I spent the whole morning preparing for a meeting and then attending the meeting, wherein we talked about our current projects and planned our strategy to have more meetings. Fun!

We were scrambling yesterday because we had tried for a week or so to find two sign language interpreters for one of our colleagues. We finally found two (Anne and Jayne), and they both came today to the meeting, but Anne had to leave early. Now, my interpreting sign is ok (a lowercase ok, not an uppercase, gee-whiz-my-sign-language-is-great OK!!), and Anne left about an hour before the meeting ended, meaning I had to pick up the slack.

I don't mind supporting my colleagues, you see, but I was following the pros. As Jayne and I switched off, I think she felt pity for me trying to keep up with all the technical computer jargon because she would rest for about 10 minutes (seemed like an eternity to me) and then switch with me for about 20 minutes. Finally she had to leave, so I was left to my own for about 30 minutes. Whew! But I learned a lot of different computer technology signs, so it was a good time.....

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Orb Orb Orb

Went to orb.com and downloaded Orb to the PC where I use Napster, and store all my music and pictures/video. Added the three folders (one for Napter's subscription DRM'd music, another for my purchased music, and the pictures/video folder). In the office, I can get to all the content from my desktop via Netscape without installing anything here. I can do the same with my XV6700 cellphone by browsing to the same website. SCHWEET!!

But with XM Radio on the cellie, I probably don't need more music available ..... wait, yes I do!

Women-Only Subway Cars

Here's a news story to take note of. Seems Rio de Janeiro joins Tokyo and Mexico City to provide a safe place for women from harassment. Don't hear much about that problem in DC, but our trains aren't quite as crowded as in other cities.....

meebo.com

There's an ongoing discussion about the icons used in the meebo interface. I agree with the posters who say that use and availability of this excellent product is more important than the visual (the "prettiness," if you will). Meebo's focus is dead on: fast and efficient text messaging among many different IM products. On the other hand, I disagree with those who say that Meebo should allow downloads / webcams / superfluous activities - that would prevent it from being usable in more security-conscious offices and companies. If meebo supported downloads, I'm afraid quite a few people who use it now would be unable to continue, and that'd be a shame.....

Be sure to check out meebo.com sometime. It's free, web-based, and very fast. (Oh, and I have no interest or stake in that product, other than we use it in the office every day. It's great for communicating and leaving messages with colleagues, and especially for communicating with Deaf folk.)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Gee: Wonder what THEY're listening to?

Helping the Armed Forces

Our company is going to help the organization Serving Those Who Serve this weekend. We've been assigned a home of an injured service member and his family. Our mission is to help renovate to allow handicapped accessibility. We'll be painting, cleaning, installing stuff (though I won't be helping with that - as clumsy as I am with hardware, I'd just make the situation worse. ) I just sent an e-mail to volunteer for painting and clean up detail. I'll post pictures if we have time to take any.

Lucy Liu - Still Stunning After All These Years


Just read in the Washington Post that Lucy Liu is 37 years old. Can't be. Seems she's hooking up with Jackie Chan to do a movie, and she'll be his granddaughter. She can pull it off too.....

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Near Future Is Here!

There's a new serial novel I've been reading, The Unbinding, by award-winning novelist Walter Kirn, on Slate's website. Installments of the novel have appeared roughly twice a week since March (and I think it continues through June). Previous installments are available to catch up, so I was able to get caught up this past weekend. It uses Macromedia Flash, so you'll need that installed, you need to be connected to the Internet to get new content so it's not for reading on the go. Highly recommended!

Marriage Quote from Dennis Miller

Never ever discount the idea of marriage. Sure, someone might tell you that marriage is just a piece of paper. Well, so is money, and what's more life-affirming than cold, hard cash?

So true, so true.....

Bluetooth Headsets

So, I've dropped mine like 827 times, and it still works. It's very light, so doesn't pick up a lot of momentum as it's falling from my highly stable and secure grasp. (My new phone, by the way, survived a tumble down the stairs the other day - good thing there's a lot of rubber-type padding cover on it!! PLUS I got the insurance for good measure!)

Anyway, I was looking at the state-of-the-art for headsets, and found a couple I like, one from Plantronics and one from Nextlink.

It'll probably be the first one based on what I've read on the web.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Flash Memory Store

Take a look at http://www.flash-memory-store.com/. They have lots of memory. I ordered a 2G mini-SD card from them (a card which I haven't been able to find in *any* local bricks and mortar store) for my new XV6700 phone. I ordered the second-day delivery to my office, so it should be here on Tuesday or Wednesday! I'm gonna load it up with Napster music!!

May 1, 2006: Don't bother. It's been almost two weeks. I can't get anyone to respond to my inquiries about where's my order. There was some issue with charging my credit card, but they're hiding from me for some reason. I went ahead and ordered from amazon.com, and it'll be arriving in a couple of days. THEY didn't seem to have a problem with my card.....

Vanessa's Birthday

Vanessa (not my neighbor Vanessa, but Shawn's and Cai's Vanessa) had her birthday party today at Bambule, across from Mazza Gallerie in Upper Northwest Washington, D.C.

Great buffet! Great conversation! Lots of laughs! Met a few new people, one from California, who was surprised and mentioned how raucous we are when together. And that Marcus - he's just off-the-hook!

Everyone looked great as always! Can't wait for the next wildness.....


Friday, April 21, 2006

New Phone

Well, I guess I dropped the BBerry too many times because now it won't tell me there's an incoming call. I get voicemails, but I never get the notice to let me know someone's calling.

I stopped by Verizon's website to see what they have, and found the XV6700 Pocket PC phone. It's got PDA/ e-mail/ slideout keyboard/ txtmsging/ XMradio/ camera/ camcorder/ Wi-Fi/ Bluetooth/ EVDO/ PDQXYZ/ and, oh yeah, cell phone. I did some on-line research, found lots of positive reviews, and picked it up last night. VERY nice!

Don't have a clue yet what the e-mail address is, but it comes with manuals (yes more than one, CD-wise). Guess I'll just fumble around with it like a good techie should until I have a $5,284 cell phone bill or I figure it out (hopefully the latter comes first).

It works with my Bluetooth headphone, it works with my home wireless network (so it will also work with hotspots around town), and it works with Verizon's high-speed network when a hotspot isn't available. There was an issue with getting the wireless network radio and the telephone radio to work at the same time, but a simple registry change fixed that! (Why it's disabled by Verizon I can't figure.)

I downloaded a piece of software from Handango that allows me to stream my XM radio stations to the phone. I haven't played with it yet (I'll do that this weekend). Can hardly wait!!

An Friend from Back in the Day - Dead

Percy Robinson, 43

Percy N. Robinson died March 8, 2006 in Virginia’s Inova Fairfax Hospital as a result of kidney failure, according to his friend and former partner Jerry Marshall. He was 43.

Robinson, known as "Robbie" to his friends, was born June 20, 1962 in Clinton, Md., to Margaret and Percy Robinson, both of whom died when Robbie was a young boy. He grew up in the area, graduating from Clinton’s Surattsville High School. He completed his education at Salisbury Stage College in Salisbury, Md.

As an adult, Robinson lived and worked in Alexandria, Va., as call center manager at the Alexandria branch of the Pension Benefits Guarantee Corporation.

In his spare time, Robinson enjoyed collecting interesting bowls and serving platters that he would use for informal dinner parties for his friends. Although he hated flying, he loved to travel. With an avid interest in photography, Robinson collected images from the Netherlands, Great Britain, France and many other locations in Western Europe. After his death, his friends found more than 9,000 photographs of friends, family and his voyages in his apartment. When not traveling or taking pictures, arguing a point was Robinson’s favorite pastime.

"Friends say he should have been an attorney," Marshall said. "He had lots of longtime friends. Most of the friends he had, he had for 20 or more years."

Robinson is survived by his brothers, William Hill of Teaneck, N.J., Romero Crusor of Cheverly, Md., and John Robinson of Leesburg, Va.; his sister, Gail Queen of Clinton, Md.; several nieces and nephews; and many good friends.

He was buried in his family plot in Chicago, Ill., on Friday, March 17, 2006.

Instead of flowers, please send donations to Food & Friends, 219 Riggs Road, NE, Washington, D.C. 20011, or www.foodandfriends.org.


Terrible. I lost track of him when he started travelling. He was only a year or so younger than me. Makes me stop and think.....

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Archos AV4100 Player and Plays for Sure

I've had one of these for awhile and they're great for music and video on the go. I called tech support today to see if they're going to create a firmware update that would add Plays for Sure (to hook into the subscription services). The tech said there were no plans for it, but I asked him to send a request to the engineering folks. He said he would, and if they collected enough requests, it would be researched. IF YOU OWN one of the AV4XXX series, be sure to call them at 1-877-300-8879 and let them know to update the firmware! The AV5 series already supports Plays for Sure but it's too expensive so I can't get that one.....

Hectic Today

It's been kinda hectic today with all my projects and some new ones getting added. I keep giving my Intern, Calvin (I call him my Intern, but he really belongs to the Government, but he's assigned to me), stuff to do, and he gets it done pretty quick. Doesn't need lots of attention or hand-holding (which is good since I'm a very hands-off type of manager).....

Monday, April 17, 2006

Funny Blackberry Tag Line

Our office has a standard tag line that's appeneded to all outgoing BBerry messages. One customer changed his to:

Sent from my Boysenberry Wireless Handheld.

Of course, that made me think of my favorite IHOP pancake syrup...

Civic on the Road

Today I saw one of those new Civic hybrids. Nice! Good shape!

Bells and Whistles

Saw this on a forum where people were discussing how cars, computers, TVs have lots of options these days, and how is the regular non-technical person supposed to keep up. Someone answered that they should read the user's manual; someone else responded with this comment:

If you are going to buy a device that has all the bells and whistles, don't be surprised when it starts whistling.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Interesting Brunch Sandwich at Plato's

Went to Plato's in College Park for dinner with mom. Great college place. Open 24 hours in case I get that late night craving for something I don't have in the fridge.

Saw this sandwich on the menu: Grilled Egg Royale. It's fried eggs, grilled mushrooms, tomatoes, Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing, grilled rye bread

Gonna try this soon!!


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Benjamin Franklin Says....

"A good conscience is a continual Christmas."
I just LOVE Christmas!!

Mercedes Radar Auto (non)-Brake System?

If you want to see an amusing tech product demo, you should see Mercedes radar guided automatic braking system. They demoed it to journalists from BBC's Top Gear on a foggy day. The car ran on down the road towards a large object, completely failed to see it until far too late, and smashed into the side! Can't find the video anymore, though.....maybe they're too embarrassed!

Google Calendar

Just started checking out the Google Calendar (http://calendar.google.com, natch). Looks pretty slick. Integrates with Gmail using your already existing account. Can send invites to people, and they can see parts of your calendar that you want, even if they don't have a Gmail account. Just what I've been waiting for.....

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Martin Solveig, Kings of Tomorrow, Petalpusher!!

Napster has it! Rocking Music is a REALLY great EP.

And Kings of Tomorrow and Petalpusher. <happy sigh>

Quick check . . . Nope, Rhapsody says they're still trying to get permissions.

Done.

<uninstall> Rhapsody </uninstall>

http://v5.meebo.com

Great product, been using it for a few weeks now. It's free for now, and in alpha testing (but it seems to be an extremely stable alpha). It stays under our Security Team's radar for IM products because it's totally web-based, doesn't download applets, doesn't allow file transfers. (I told them about it upfront, that we were going to test, so no surprises there!) The v5 in the URL seems to get better response in our environment - read about it on the forums.

Meebo makes it easy to communicate with my deaf co-worker and friends (both deaf and hearing). We're also using it internally as a message board, so if someone's away from the desk but logged in, I can leave a message. Great timesaver, and messages don't get lost in the ever-present flood of e-mail.....

Use Renu with MoistureLoc?

Seems there have been reports of infections when using it. I'm stopping today until they figure it out!

(Source: Washington Post)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

BusinessWeek Edits, Sensitively

Yep. BusinessWeek edited me. Not too bad (they took off that last bit about the blowjob and the call to arms), but I'm glad I saved my rant (April 9).

Making Us Happy with a (Recycled) Joke

The President, First Lady and Dick Cheney were flying on Air Force One. George looked at Laura, chuckled and said, "You know, I could throw a $1,000 bill out of the window right now and make somebody very happy."

Laura shrugged her shoulders and replied, "I could throw ten $100 bills out of the window and make ten people very happy."

Cheney added, "That being the case, I could throw one hundred $10 bills out of the window and make a hundred people very happy."

Hearing their exchange, the pilot rolled his eyes and said to his co-pilot,  "Such big-shots back there. Hell, I could throw all of them out of the window and make 256 million people very happy!"

Stretch Cooper? For Real?

It's a stretch Cooper sighted at Cannes.

(Source: MSN)

Spotted: A Solstice, But Where Is the Sun?

Pontiac's new Solstice is nice from the front but what happened to the back? Did they run out of ideas?

I'm really waiting to see the Sun (from the Saturn Division) - a much better back shape (in the brochures at least).

The roofs of both of these fold into the trunk (leaving TWO cubic feet of space). If it's anything like the Benz coupe that does this, there will only be enough room for a handbag, no serious luggage for a weekend getaway. Too bad.....

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Is there no end to the spying?!?

Who will be next?

The Defense Department has released some documents describing domestic spying on student protests against U.S. military recruitment on campuses in New York and California. The documents came in partial response to several Freedom of Information Act requests lodged by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which seeks to end the military's ban on gay personnel.

(Source: PlanetOut)

U.S. Drawing Down Troops from Iraq?

I hope so. That means my military buds will finally come home:

The WSJ goes Page One with "clear signs" the U.S. is "gearing up plans" to draw down troops in Iraq. U.S. forces are already pulling out of some cities and moving into supersized compounds, well-removed from, well, basically Iraq. About 30 smaller bases have been closed or turned over to local forces.

(From Slate Magazine)

Heard of Layo and Bushwacka?

I hadn't. But their latest, called Feels Closer, was one the Napster recommendations last night, so I listened. It was really good, especially the first few tracks - very clubdanceable. If you like progressive music, house music, electronic music, jazz, funk, rock, reggae, hip-hop, or....well, the list goes on, you need to check this one out. I'm definitely going to see what else they've done.

Today's the day that Napster releases their new recommendations list. Probably another 50 albums to listen to - yippee! I almost made it through last week's recommendations...almost.

Napster Wins!

Oh, by the way, I received an e-mail from Rhapsody tech support to try and resolve the problems I was having with the player and the files. There were about 10 downloads I had to install. Fuck it - I'm going with Napster. They've been rock solid and I've not had any problems with them AT ALL.

Yeah, I know, the sound files are only 128kbps,* but at least they've been consistently available to me, and that's MUCH more important.

* Interestingly enough, a couple of the albums I downloaded tonight from their weekly Tuesday new music update were 160kbps and 192kbps. So maybe that's a sign...

Monday, April 10, 2006

I Saw 'im Out of the Corner of My Eye, and I Smoked 'im

I know . . . it was naughty and totally childish, but I had to do it. I hadn't done it in awhile, and wow it felt goowud (not just good, but goowud).

You see, I was driving home from the subway. There's this great S-curve on-ramp to the highway, and I've occasionally tested my TT by moving through it as fast as I think safe. At the end of the curve is a merge with traffic coming from the other side of the grassy knoll. (Well not exactly a merge because we each get our own lane, as they come out of their U-shaped curve to meet with the end of my S-shaped curve. But I digress.)

I saw 'im out of the corner of my eye, coming around his curve just as I was entering mine. He was moving fast in that little rocket on steroids. I guess he saw me because I heard his engine rev way up. I of course obliged him with a rev of my own, and I smoked 'im. He never caught up with me, becoming just another pair of headlights in the sea of headlights behind me on the highway.

I promise, I won't do it again.

(Re)publican

From today's "A Word A Day"
(http://wordsmith.org/words/publican.html):

publican (PUB-li-kuhn) noun

1. A tax collector.
2. An owner or manager of a pub or hotel.

[From Latin publicanus, from publicum (public revenue), from publicus
(public), from populus (people).]

In ancient Rome, the state farmed out the collection of taxes. The right to collect tax was auctioned off to the highest bidder. Tax collection agents, known as publicans, employed lower-level collectors who made best use of their license. For their severe extraction of taxes, publicans were widely despised. Now, if a publican is a tax collector, what is a republican?

Nine Inch Nails, for Real ?!?

One of the Napster recommendations was to take a listen to Nine Inch Nails' EP called Every Day Is Exactly the Same. Couldn't figure that one out - I'm not a hard rock / goth / industrial fan. Anyway, I listened, and I was shocked. The songs are quite clubdanceable, not at all what I expected. This one's a keeper.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

"What Bill Is Thinking" Article

I'd never head of the Clinton Global Initiative. As of this writing, it appears he's raised around $2.5 Billion (with a B!) to help fight world problems.

More interesting are the comments that others left about the article. I left this comment, only to find that Business Week would publish it in a few days (I guess if they find it acceptable):

I hadn't heard much about this, so it's obviously very low-key (and obviously not the grab for attention others mentioned). I say more power to him and to Ms. Clinton. Yes they had issues, no one should deny that. But compared to the current administration's focus on fighting the rest of the world (a current example is this week's talk of bombing Iran - how ridiculous is that?) and KILLING my military friends in the process, those were small issues. (Let's see, how much time and money were wasted investigating what basically amounted to a headjob? What about the REAL issues out there...). Come on, people, now, we need to vote this current group out, starting with Congress this fall.

Music Subs Take 3, Chacarron, Rube Goldberg, and Herbie Hancock

Now I'm getting stupid DRM errors in Rhapsody. I hit the <OK go out to the server and get my damn license so I can play this newly downloaded music and make it quick> button probably 823 times, but it won't do anything. <ctrl><alt><del> Task Manager / Kill Rhapsody. Contact customer support again.

Oh, and while looking for the error on Rhapsody's website, I came across these two little video tidbits. Don't ask.

Oh, and I've heard two songs from Herbie Hancock's latest album, Possibilities. John Mayer does a song called Stitched Up that is quite good, but the real shocker is A Song for You by Christina Aguilera - I didn't know she could sing like that! The gyrl has pipes!

Music Subscriptions Take 2

So I'm playing with the Rhapsody service. On initially opening the window, it was *very* cluttered and confusing compared to the Napster view. I've played with it more and now it seems okay, though the window still seems busier than the Napster view.

The Rhapsody player allows me to rip any new CDs at 192kbps (my preference) whereas Napster is limited to 128kbps. Also, the downloaded music from Rhapsody is 160kbps whereas Napster is only 128kbps, so it will have more detail in the sound (yippee!). But that fills up my portable player faster (aw shucks).

I can't figure out how to get rid of the Rhapsody player bar on the main screen like I can with Napster. Napster's can be pulled away from the main window, giving more space to the main view. The Rhapsody mini player that I can get to pop up by touching a corner of the screen with the pointer is good to control Rhapsody when I'm in another application.

The tabbed view of Rhapsody (where I can only see Play, Burn, or Transfer one at a time, not all at the same time) makes it harder to copy something from the Play menu to the Transfer menu so that it will copy to my U10. With Napster, it's drag and drop for most everything. Maybe there's a different interface that I don't yet know about.

I wasn't able to tell Rhapsody to put its music into another folder. I want to separate the subscription music from my purchased music, but the folder for Rhapsody wouldn't hold in the preferences. Napster allowed me to do this so that the Napster music is in a "Napster" folder.

Napster links with XM Radio so I can stream stations from XM in the main view. (And it has the added advantage that it doesn't time out like the XM Radio player from the XM website.)

More as I play.....

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Pictures

As I was trying to figure out my picture to display, I came across this one from 2000.

It was for a company presentation where they took pictures of all the major participants in this event. I don't remember being that young...

Music Subscriptions

I'm trying Napster's and Rhapsody's free trials. They are two of those music subscription services where for $15 a month I can download music to take with me. (They have another service for $10 a month, but you can't load the music to a portable player.) At first I was skeptical. But something happened today and I think I'll hold onto one of them, don't know which one yet, though.

I read a good review about an artist named Van Hunt. Seems he released an album but it hasn't done very well. Could be it's not been advertised?? -- I certainly haven't seen it. Anyway, I went to Napster and took a look. Lo and behold, there it was! I downloaded and actually quite like it, so if I want, I can buy it from the Napster site for 99cents each track. It reminds me a lot of Prince. You should check it out: Van Hunt, On the Jungle Floor (30 second clips from Amazon).

Anyway, it was an interesting experience. Quickly, I was able to check out some new music from an unfamiliar artist. I like that. I didn't have to go to the mall to listen to it, didn't have to search the web for snippets of music, I just picked it from the list. It downloaded to my portable and I listened. Great!

As to fees, I'm not sure about the $15 a month forevermore to access the music I download. HOWEVER, if I went out and bought two CDs, or if I downloaded 20 tracks, I'd pay more than that anyway. I have a lot of purchased music on my Archos, so using this service could be a great addition to my purchased music. Both services' interfaces allow me to mix the purchased music and the downloaded music seamlessly, so I don't even have to know the difference.