I Can't Afford My Gasoline

Driving into work today, filled up the tank like I do every morning (takes half a tank a day, and I don't like it to drop below a half tank). After I fill up, I notice the gas price went up 20 cents since last morning. TWENTY FREAKING CENTS!!!! Was that really necessary? Did they have to pay more off of the tanker this morning? I don't think so!! And will they lower it again later on? Hell no.

This sums it up perfectly.


Google Talk

Yep, everybody's talking about it. Nothing revolutionary, it's another IM client, but integrated into Gmail so if you want to send invites, you can hook right into your Gmail contacts.

Ken over at Ars Technica takes a look at Google Talk. Short summary: Minimalist will love it, people that like all the bells and whistles probably won’t.
Google Talk is clean and easy to use. It's also absent almost every feature found in other IM clients. Want to send a file? Pshaw! Want to have a group chat? You're too social! Want to view your previous chat sessions easily? Get outta here! Want little emoticons? Skins? Go bug somebody else!

Keep in mind, tho, that this is still in Beta. It has a way to go. But the one thing that really struck me was the VoIP clarity - better than I've heard over AIM at least.

Well, it's fun to play with anyways.


Bangalore, India. God Help Me.

So... India.

At my job, I provide operational production support for two product lines now, chat (AOL Chat and AIM Chat, as well as a new chat line in the making) and now another new groups product. For both lines, the development and QA team are based in Bangalore, India. Since I'm the only lucky SA to have such an arrangement, I knew I would be traveling out there with my boss.

So today he mentions that he would like me to stay out there longer. Like 2-3 weeks. Ugh. Minimum is 10 days anyway (takes 2 days to travel, each way) so we're only talking an additional 4-11 days. But still. Three freaking weeks away from my family?? I just don't see how I can do that. I sleep like crap when I'm not at home anyway. Last time I traveled, out to CA while with NEGT (then PG&E NEG), I was gone for about a week. And slept horribly the whole time.

Now this is halfway around the globe. And if I would have thought of an Asian locale I'd want to visit, I'm pretty sure India would have been at the bottom of my list. Japan would have been cool, China maybe, definitely Australia or New Zealand (OK different continents, but same hemisphere) but India? No. I was watching reruns of The Amazing Race on GSN last night, they were in India, and the whole time I was thinking "Holy crap, what am I getting myself into... am I really going over there?"

I am so not a people person. I barely like the concept of people. I am perfectly happy communicating solely via email and IM. The notion of "shaking hands and kissing babies" and my boss puts it, is a good one theoretically, but just not my cup of tea. Especially in India. (No pun intended.)

Good God, wtf am I going to do over there for so long all by myself? In an area even more crowded than NYC?

Few silver linings exist. Yes, I would rack up the frequent flyer miles. And there's the possibility that I could, on the way back, make a few-day layover in London and meet the family there, that would be fun if we could swing it financially.

20+ hr flight. They'd damn well better let me fly business class.

I'll have to talk this over with Donna. I think maximum I might do two weeks, including travel. It's not until October, but with everything involved... gotta get the itinerary first, then mail it and my passport to get my visa, in time to process it and get it back... I hope my business AmEx application goes through. I really don't want to pay for all this myself, even if I do get reimbursed.

I feel an ulcer coming on...


Scientific Laws of Battlefield 2

1. If you spot an enemy before he sees you, chances are you will die.

2. The probability of killing someone is inversely proportional to how much you want to kill him.

3. For every good thing done, something bad happens.

4. If you see a bunch of easy targets in front of you, you will miss all of them and die.

5.You have a better chance of throwing a handful of sniper rifle bullets and killing the enemy, than shooting them at him.

6.For every one enemy you kill with mines, you will kill 2 friendlies and they will both punish the TK.

7.Idiots have a unique pheromone receptor which can sense a friendly arty strike. Once initiated they run to the center of the strike like moths to a flame, thrust their noses in the air and put there finger on the PgDn button ready for the climax!

8.Thou shalt always respawn into an arty strike or a massive unfriendly assault and die before you can do anything.

9.A dune buggy slowly slipping down a gentle slope is the most brutal and deadly thing in the game if you're standing in its path.

10.When fleeing from an enemy, you will be shot to death, inches away from your cover.

11.When a gunner in a helo, chances are u got the worst pilot u can think of

12.When you have no money chances are your joystick will go funny.

13.If someone with an ak101 happens to glance at you, you will instantly die of fear.

14.No matter what weapon you carry, it will take over half a magazine to attempt to kill the guy that take you out with a three round burst or less.

15.Holding right mouse button when throwing a grenade changes throw length from feet to inches.

16.Even with the dexterity to balance the blade of his knife on his finger, a soldier will constantly miss when lunging to stab a stationary enemy.

17.Somehow, a man can take a 50.cal sniper round to the chest WITHOUT DYING.

18.Your pistol is a much better sniper rifle than your .50cal rifle

19.A crescent wrench can fix anything

20.You can raise a flag in a tank.

21.Seconds before you get your hard-earned Flag-Capture Point, an Enemy will pop up and kill you, giving the Capture Point to your Team-Mate.

22.After shooting an enemy Tank to low Health with your APC, your Gun will overheat and a Team-Mate will grab the kill, leaving you with not even a Kill-Assist.

23.You will never be able to swim away fast enough from an accidently drowned Jeep.

24.Claymores only kill foolish teammates.

25.If you want an enemy to abandon an armoured vehicle, run at it from the rear and let them see you doing it, they'll jump out.

26.No matter what, defibulators cure all

27. The pinnacle of aviation technology cannot help a bomb hit its target

28. All vehicles have electrical armour plating, as when u touch it, you're dead

29.The more you press the 9 key to deploy a chute, the less likely the chute will deploy

30.You spawn right next to the enemy tank.

31.If you want to be a sniper you should choose Anti-Tank Class.

32.Just as you detonate the C4 on the UAV trailer, two to three teammates will drive up in a jeep right next to the detonation site.

33.No matter how much you shoot a guy parachuting down, he will never take any damage. And, when he gets down you are out of ammo and he kills you.

34.You are killed after a 10 minute run to an enemy flag, right before you reach it.

35.Water is extremely flammable and will cause vehicles to explode.

36.If your in a group and run into a single enemy, you WILL die first.

37.Confucious say: When commander drop supply crate from sky, look up or you will endure headache until next spawn

38.Confucious say: Man with handful of wheat will hit enemy more than with M229 SAW.

39.Spawning is more like a race to the heli.

40.A tank that's motionless while capturing a flag will wait until you run up behind it to plant C4 before the drivers cat steps on the S key and kills you.

41.Just after you found a great Spot to snipe from, while taking careful Aim at a Group of Enemies - you will be knifed from behind.

42.After taking a few well-aimed Shots at an Enemy, he will spin around and kill you with a single round from his MP5.

43.You must be the fattest person in the army as you cannot fit through a 3 foot wide gap between the bamboo

44.After throwing a pack of C4 on top of a smoking tank, and pulling out detonator, the remaining C4 (in your pocket) will magically explode...every time.

45.If you are capping a flag alone in a tank the one enemy that manages to spawn in time will be a spec op...

46.If you are capping a flag and once it goes neutral you hear arty guns firing in the distance, run like #@$%!!!

47.If you need tank support, drop a mine on the road and a friendly tank will show up in no time...

48.If you respawn as an anti-tank the tank will have either disappeared or magically spawned many enemies' who know exactly where you respawned

49.When in need of medical aide call for a supply drop, the crate will be there in no time to crush you to death, thus ending your need for medical aide

50. Asking a Commander for ammo means he will send Artillery with the assumption you catch them and throw them at the enemy.


What is History? (And other facts of life...)

History is the fiction we invent to persuade ourselves that events are knowable and that life has order and direction. That's why events are always reinterpreted when values change. We need new versions of history to allow for our current prejudices. (Calvin and Hobbes are wise beyond their years.)

Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant, filled with odd waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don't always like. (Lemony Snicket)

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Champagne in one hand -- strawberries in the other screaming WOO HOO!

98% of us Americans are hard-working people. It's the other 2% that give us a bad reputation. Then again, we did elect them.



The events of this weekend, well of my Grandmother's passing away, has gotten me to thinking of the usual topics one would think. Life, death, living. I haven't had a blood relative die since my Grandpa Graham died from lung cancer about 20 years ago. So I'm not all that used to death. My wife has had all her grandparents pass away, some fairly recently, so she's a little more accumulated to it. If one could ever be.

I'm still debating whether or not I should make the effort to fly out to CA. Things are still up in the air. My Aunt isn't going to tell my Grandpa that his wife is gone until she gets out of the hospital herself, so the funeral is in stasis. I believe she will be cremated anyways.

Wouldn't that suck to be the absolute last to know about something like that?

Anyways, I had this awesome teacher back in high school, Doc Szymkowiak. He was my Spanish teacher, multilingual and funny as hell. Like a second father to me for awhile, I always valued his advice and full outlook on life. But he had gout problems, and when I was in college he passed away. I didn't find out about it till much later, my parents assumed I knew and let it drop at dinner one time. I was pretty devastated, and always guilty I couldn't have gone to his funeral. So part of that is what is driving me to consider flying out to CA.

But what is a funeral really for, anyways? They almost never end up being a celebration of one's life, and why should we really be mourning a person's passing on to a new and better life? Isn't that inherently selfish of us, to cling to their memories in such a negative way?

Are we truly honoring them in such a fashion?

I can use three days of bereavement leave if I want to, already gotten the approval from my boss. And I suppose we could swing the ticket price. Would the rest of my family out there think less of the family on this side of the continent of none of us show? Does that opinion really mater all that much to me?

Do I really need the stress of all this? Am I doing a disservice to my grandmother's memory by putting so much emphasis on the symbolism of this earthly life, where instead I should be celebrating her ascension to a new level of existence?

I think I'm developing another migraine.


Sad News Tonight

Talked to my Mom tonight on my cell phone, while at my in-laws house. My Grandma Krail died today. Since she was 85 she was too old to get the anti-clotting medication after her hip replacement surgery, and she died in her sleep from a clot.

My Aunt was in the hospital for some sort of emergency surgery of her own and when she woke up still drugged, my Uncle told her. She called my mom right away but still too out of it to know what was going on. The thing is, my Grandpa doesn't even know yet. My mom will call back when my Aunt is eating dinner, hopefully can get more out of her.

She can't fly out there either, with her knees. But apparently my Grandma will be cremated anyway.

I don't know how long my Grandpa will last now, they've always been very dependent on each other, and I know it's been hard since they were moved into a nursing home.

Last time I saw them was when I travelled out to California, they still lived in San Francisco just as they had all my life. That was three years ago this November. But I still remember them, so full of life, when I was younger.

But right now I'm just feeling old. And mortal. And more than a little depressed.



Game Tweak Guides should be your first stop anytime you install a new game. Or even if you have been playing one for awhile. OK, if you're a gamer, just check the site out. I've had good luck with the Battlefield Vietnam Tweak Guide, Half Life 2 Tweak Guide, and Star Wars Battlefront Tweak Guide. I used the Battlefield 2 Tweak Guide when it first came out, I need to revisit it since it's been dramatically updated now.

Firefox Improvements

Firefox is, without a doubt, the best browser on the market. No contest. What makes it shine are the extensions and tweaks that can be applied to customize your browsing experience and personalize how you want to control the information presented to you.

The Firefox Web browser is quickly becoming one of the most prominent Web browsers available. The fact that it is cross-platform makes it a comfortable browser for users who have to use more than one OS. There are, however, a number of hidden "gems" that you can enable that make Firefox even more powerful than it is "out of the box."

To increase the speed of opening Web pages, there are two options you can tweak. The first is to enable HTTP pipelining, which allows Firefox to request multiple files simultaneously rather than one at a time. To enable this, type about:config in the address bar. Scroll down the list until you find network.http.pipelining and set it to true. You can also enable network.http.proxy.pipelining as well.

Next, search for and then set "network.http.pipelining.maxrequests" to some number like 30. This means it will make 30 requests at once.

To speed up rendering speeds, you can tell Firefox not to wait the default quarter second before drawing Web content. The option to look for here is the nglayout.initialpaint.delay, but it may not be displayed in the preference list by default.

If not, right-click on the screen and select New | Integer. Type nglayout.initialpaint.delay as the preference name and the number 0 as the value. By default, Firefox uses a value of 250 (milliseconds).

Finally, the last gem is not a preference modification but an invaluable extension that is extremely useful for anyone doing Web development. In Firefox, click Tools | Extensions and a new box will open. Click on Get More Extensions. In the new page that opens, click on Developer Tools under the All Extensions sidebar. Jump to the last page and install the Web Developer extension. Once the extension is installed, restart Firefox and you'll see a new toolbar with a number of options that include the ability to quickly validate HTML and CSS, view image dimensions, outline tables and table cells, and a lot more.

Sources: BroadbandReports.com Forums, TechRepublic.com, and MetalRules Forum courtesy of Paul from EDL (thanks dude).


BF2 Prima Content

There is more Prima Guide content at the official BF2 site that is worth a look at...
With the time you've spent playing Battlefield 2 over the past few weeks, chances are you've found yourself on a dysfunctional team at least once. This can usually be attributed to the new chain of command system that players are getting familiar with. While it's impossible to force your teammates to play as a unit, there are a few steps you can take to encourage cooperation.

The guide mainly focuses on playing in a squad and some nice tips. Read the entire posting here.


More BF2 Stats

Found the BF2 Stat Sig site that seems to be actually getting stat updates (for now).


ROTFLMAO - SW3 Edited Version

This is great reading. Just don't take a drink until you're done... Found out about it from my usual favorite forum. Choice quote, right from the beginning:
Oh no, the hangar has shields up!

HAYDEN shoots something next to the shield and they deactivate.

The thing that powers the shield is on the outside of the ship?

HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN Yeah, it's pretty stupid. It's like a life support system being in a box on someone's chest.
That bugged my inner geek something fierce, I'm glad someone else noticed and it's not just me...

EDIT: Ok, one more, these almost made me fall out of my chair.
Samuel, I rented the original Star Wars trilogy from Blockbuster. I'm pretty sure Ian McDiarmid is a Sith Lord.

Then it's time to get medieval on some ass.

Let me come with you.

No, go your room.


What have I done? (pause) I submit myself to your will, Ian.

That was fast. Well, now that you have taken a single, somewhat justifiable step toward the Dark Side, there's no turning back. Go kill all of the Jedi in the temple, including the children.

Right, go kill the children. Got it.

Well, kill everyone, not just--

On my way to kill all of the children now! Whee!


If WW2 was fought by Gamers....

Oh the stuff you find on the internet nowadays... this is from an old find, I got it linked off of BroadbandReports.com.

*Hitler[AoE] has joined the game.*
*Eisenhower has joined the game.*
*paTTon has joined the game.*
*Churchill has joined the game.*
*benny-tow has joined the game.*
*T0J0 has joined the game.*
*Roosevelt has joined the game.*
*Stalin has joined the game.*
*deGaulle has joined the game.*
Roosevelt: hey sup
T0J0: y0
Stalin: hi
Churchill: hi
Hitler[AoE]: cool, i start with panzer tanks!
paTTon: lol more like panzy tanks
T0JO: lol
Roosevelt: o this fockin sucks i got a depression!
benny-tow: haha america sux
Stalin: hey hitler you dont fight me i dont fight u, cool?
Hitler[AoE]; sure whatever
Stalin: cool
deGaulle: **** Hitler rushed some1 help
Hitler[AoE]: lol byebye frenchy
Roosevelt: i dont got crap to help, sry
Churchill: wtf the luftwaffle is attacking me
Roosevelt: get antiair guns
Churchill: i cant afford them
benny-tow: u n00bs know what team talk is?
paTTon: stfu
Roosevelt: o yah hit the navajo button guys
deGaulle: eisenhower ur worthless come help me quick
Eisenhower: i cant do **** til rosevelt gives me an army
paTTon: yah hurry the fock up
Churchill: d00d im gettin pounded
deGaulle: this is fockin weak u guys suck
*deGaulle has left the game.*
Roosevelt: im gonna attack the axis k?
benny-tow: with what? ur wheelchair?
benny-tow: lol did u mess up ur legs AND ur head?
Hitler[AoE]: ROFLMAO
T0J0: lol o no america im comin 4 u
Roosevelt: wtf! thats bull**** u ***s im gunna kick ur asses
T0JO: not without ur harbors u wont! lol
Roosevelt: u little biotch ill get u
Hitler[AoE]: wtf
Hitler[AoE]: america hax, u had depression and now u got a huge fockin army
Hitler[AoE]: thats bull**** u hacker
Churchill: lol no more france for u hitler
Hitler[AoE]: tojo help me!
T0J0: wtf u want me to do, im on the other side of the world retard
Hitler[AoE]: fine ill clear you a path
Stalin: u arsshoel! WE HAD A FoCKIN TRUCE
Hitler[AoE]: i changed my mind lol
benny-tow: haha
benny-tow: hey ur losing ur guys in africa im gonna need help in italy soon sum1
T0J0: o **** i cant help u i got my hands full
Hitler[AoE]: im 2 busy 2 help
Roosevelt: yah thats right biznitch im comin for ya
Stalin: church help me
Churchill: like u helped me before? sure ill just sit here
Stalin: dont be an arss
Churchill: dont be a commie. oops too late
Eisenhower: LOL
benny-tow: hahahh oh **** help
Hitler: o man ur focked
paTTon: oh what now biotch
Roosevelt: whos the cripple now lol
*benny-tow has been eliminated.*
benny-tow: lame
Roosevelt: gj patton
paTTon: thnx
Hitler[AoE]: eisenhower hax hes killing all my ****
Hitler[AoE]: quit u hacker so u dont ruin my record
Eisenhower: Nuts!
benny~tow: wtf that mean?
Eisenhower: meant to say nutsack lol finger slipped
paTTon: coming to get u hitler u paper hanging hun ****socker
Stalin: rofl
Hitler[AoE]: u guys are fockin gay
Hitler[AoE]: ur never getting in my city
*Hitler[AoE] has been eliminated.*
benny~tow: OMG u noob you killed yourself
Eisenhower: ROFLOLOLOL
Stalin: OMG LMAO!
Hitler[AoE]: i didnt click there omg this game blows
*Hitler[AoE] has left the game*
paTTon: hahahhah
T0J0: my teammates are n00bs
benny~tow: shut up noob
Roosevelt: haha wut a moron
paTTon: wtf am i gunna do now?
Eisenhower: yah me too
T0J0: why dont u attack me o thats right u dont got no ships lololol
Eisenhower: fock u
paTTon: lemme go thru ur base commie
Stalin: go to hell lol
paTTon: fock this **** im goin afk
Eisenhower: yah this is gay
*Roosevelt has left the game.*
Hitler[AoE]: wtf?
Eisenhower: **** now we need some1 to join
*tru_m4n has joined the game.*
tru_m4n: hi all
T0J0: hey
Stalin: sup
Churchill: hi
tru_m4n: OMG OMG OMG i got all his stuff!
tru_m4n: NUKES! HOLY **** I GOT NUKES
Stalin: d00d gimmie some plz
tru_m4n: no way i only got like a couple
Stalin: omg dont be gay gimmie nuculer secrets
T0J0: wtf is nukes?
T0J0: holy ****holy****hoylshti!!!111
*T0J0 has been eliminated.*
*The Allied team has won the game!*
Eisenhower: awesome!
Churchill: gg noobs no re
T0J0: thats bull**** u fockin suck
*T0J0 has left the game.*
*Eisenhower has left the game.*
Stalin: next game im not going to be on ur team, u guys didnt help me for ****
Churchill: wutever, we didnt need ur help neway dumbarss
tru_m4n: l8r all
benny~tow: bye
Churchill: l8r
Stalin: fock u all
tru_m4n: shut up commie lol
*tru_m4n has left the game.*
benny~tow: lololol u commie
Churchill: ROFL
Churchill: bye commie
*Churchill has left the game.*
*benny~tow has left the game.*
Stalin: i hate u all ***s
*Stalin has left the game.*
paTTon: lol no1 is left
paTTon: weeeee i got a jeep
*paTTon has been eliminated.*
paTTon: o ****!
*paTTon has left the game.*


BadMonkey on Ars added the following:
*poland has joined the game*
*poland has been eliminated*
poland:F*** U F***ING SPAWN CAMPERS!!!