Dear Abby,


Dear Abby,
A couple of women moved in across the hall from me. One is a middle-aged gym teacher and the other is a social worker in her mid twenties. These two women go everywhere together and I've never seen a man go into or leave their apartment. Do you think they could be Lebanese?

Dear Abby,
What can I do about all the Sex, Nudity, Fowl Language and Violence On my VCR?

Dear Abby,
I have a man I can't trust. He cheats so much, I'm not even sure the baby I'm carrying is his.

Dear Abby,
I am a twenty-three year old liberated woman who has been on the pill for two years. It's getting expensive and I think my boy friend should share half the cost, but I don't know him well enough to discuss money with him.

Dear Abby,
I've suspected that my husband has been fooling around, and when confronted with the evidence, he denied everything and said it would never happen again.

Dear Abby,
Our son writes that he is taking Judo. Why would a boy who was raised in a good Christian home turn against his own?

Dear Abby,
I joined the Navy to see the world. I've seen it. Now how do I get out?

Dear Abby,
My forty year old son has been paying a psychiatrist $150.00 an hour every week for two and a half years. He must be crazy.

Dear Abby,
I was married to Phil for three months and I didn't know he drank until one night he came home sober.

Dear Abby,
My mother is mean and short tempered. I think she is going through mental pause.

Dear Abby,
You told some woman whose husband had lost all interest in sex to send him to a doctor.
Well, my husband lost all interest in sex and he is a doctor. Now what do I do?

Pic(s) of the Week 20071228

Ah, the dangers of public profiles such as Facebook. If you can't read the text, click on the images for full-sized versions.


Santa Delivers 37,000+ Copies of Constitution to Bush

Posted by Jen Nessel, Center for Constitutional Rights at 3:12 PM on December 20, 2007 on AlterNet.

December 20, 2007, Washington, DC - This morning, Santa Claus (in the person of noted constitutional lawyer Bill Goodman) drove his sleigh to the White House to deliver thousands of copies of the U.S. Constitution to President Bush.

Americans from all over the country - more than 37,000 of them - asked that a copy of the Constitution be delivered to the President in their name and cordially requested that he make time in his busy schedule to read it.

"While I was going over the list of who's been naughty and nice," Mr. Claus said, as he prepared for his visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, "I heard from many people who feel the President hasn't been doing a very good job of upholding his oath to 'preserve, protect and defend' the Constitution."

Responding to an urgent request from the Center for Constitutional Rights, Claus stepped in to bring messages from Americans who felt the President might need a refresher course in the Constitution. Citizens want to remind President Bush that the Constitution forbids torture and spying on Americans without a warrant, requires that prisoners get a fair hearing of the charges against them before a real court and makes the government's treaty obligations, such the Geneva Conventions, the law of the land.

"These Constitutions will make great holiday reading," Claus continued. "I want to be sure that the President has plenty of time to look at them before he decides on his New Year's resolutions."

The complete text of the letter that accompanies the Constitutions is available here.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.


NVIDIA nForce 780i, 3-way SLI

Wow. I just got this email this morning. I had no idea this technology was coming, shows how out-of-touch I'd gotten. As if dual-SLI wasn't speedy enough...
Gaming With 3-way NVIDIA SLI Technology

DirectX 10 games are here. Are you ready? Bring your competition to its knees with NVIDIA SLI gear - the powerful combination of an SLI-Ready NVIDIA nForce motherboard and multiple GeForce graphics cards.

Now with support for three cards*, you can crank up the image quality settings, maximize your resolution, and tilt the scales in your favor with up to a 2.8X performance hike over a single-card rig. With SLI technology in your arsenal, you'll be ready to play the latest hyper-realistic DirectX 10 games the way they're meant to be played.

*Select configurations only. Currently available using an NVIDIA nForce 680i or 780i SLI motherboard and either three GeForce 8800 GTX or three GeForce 8800 Ultra graphics cards.

And they've got some serious mojo mobo to go with it...
Introducing NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI MCPs

Maximum Performance, Ultimate Control

NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI media and communications processors (MCPs) are the must-have platform for Intel Yorkfield CPUs this holiday season. Maximize your rig's performance with 3-way SLI technology. Achieve ultimate control with the real-time component monitoring and tuning features of the first platform designed for ESA-certified components. And experience spectacular DirectX 10 gaming with the best platform for GeForce GPUs.


Learn More about 3-way NVIDIA SLI Technology


Pic of the Week 20071219

Going to be very busy this week, wrapping things up (no pun intended) prior to Christmas. So here's the pic of the week, a tad early. It's been around awhile.

What way is she spinning?

If clockwise, then you use more of the right side of the brain and vice versa. Most of us would see the dancer turning counter-clockwise though you can try to focus and change the direction; see if you can do it. (Personally I always see her turning clockwise, but after awhile I can get her to spin the other way.)

uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies

uses feeling
"big picture" oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
risk taking


Why is it...

...the train only runs 20 minutes late when the wind chill is 10 below freezing.

My unmentionables have been frozen in carbonite.


Merry Christmas Daddy

Last night I was sitting here at my computer in the study when I heard a loud BANG out front and the sound of tires pealing out. I go out and find the inflatable Penguin deflated with holes and a very large tear in it. Great, the damn neighborhood teenagers have struck again. Awesome. Merry friggin' Christmas.

So after we got home from the Girl Scout outing to the Belle Boyd house (Confederate spy) Carrie is helping me finally string up the icicle lights around the house when she notices the Penguin was down. ("Medic! We got a large balloon penguin down, need bandages stat!") I'm not about to tell her the reason why he's been mortally wounded, so I just explain that he's got a hole in him and won't work.

Carrie proceeds for the rest of the half hour we are out there to declare how awful it is that the poor penguin is hurt, and people will think we're crazy to leave something broken in the yard, the penguin is just her favorite and I just HAVE to fix him, and did you know Daddy that Christmas is my favorite time of the year? (Yes sweetie, you are your mother's child.)

We wrap up and clean up outside, get everything put away in the garage and pull in the cars in anticipation of the inclement weather. And after she goes inside with her parting shot (Merry Christmas, Daddy!) I stand there looking at the roll of duct tape. Well, crap. I'm freezing, tired and dirty, I just want to go inside and warm up and enjoy the time with my family (the girls were soon to depart for a movie and a night over at their friend's house).

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the next 20 minutes or so were spent sitting on the cold ground, cussing at the bloody cute penguin and the damn dung-eating punks of the neighborhood and doing a field surgery proceedure with the roll of duct tape.

He's looking a little worse for wear but he's fully inflated and waving merrily at the neighborhood again. (C'mon punks, is that the best you got for me??)

Oh, yeah. Merry Christmas. ;-)

Slim Down and Speed Up Linux

While Linux is pretty efficient with a computer's resources out of the box, there are still ways you can make it run leaner and meaner on your desktop. Using a little bit of know-how, a willingness to run a few terminal commands and a mind for efficiency, you can get every last bit of power from your Linux box, or get more life from an older system. Read on for a roundup of ways to slim down and speed up Linux that any level of user can implement.

The Guild Christmas Raid Carol!



Those damn kids!

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were when they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning... Uphill BOTH ways... Yadda, yadda, yadda.

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!

But now that I'm over the ripe old age of thirty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damn Utopia! And I hate to say it but you kids today you don't know how good you've got it!

I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have The Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!!

There was no email! ! We had to actually write somebody a letter with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox and it would take like a week to get there!

There were no MP3's or Napsters! You wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the damn record store and shoplift it yourself! Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ'd usually talk over the beginning and @#*% it all up!

We didn't have fancy crap like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal, that's it! And we didn't have fancy Caller ID Boxes either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your mom, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, a collections agent, you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

We didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like "Space Invaders" and "Asteroids" and the graphics sucked! Your guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!

When you went to the movie theater there no such thing as stadium seating! All the seats were the same height! If a tall guy or some old broad with a hat sat in front of you and you couldn't see, you were just screwed!

Sure, we had cable television, but back then that was only like 15 channels and there was no onscreen menu and no remote control! You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your ass and walk over to the TV to change the channel and there was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying!?! We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little bastards!

And we didn't have microwaves, if we wanted to heat something up we had to use the stove or go build a friggin fire ... Imagine that! If we wanted popcorn, we had to use that stupid Jiffy Pop thing and shake it over the stove forever like an idiot.

That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled!!!!!!!!!

You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980!

The over 30 Crowd

Pic of the Week 20071214



Call Of Duty 4 “Connection Time Out” Fix

Been getting connection errors in CoD4 Multiplayer? Finally found a solution...
A quick remedy for this connection problem is to set the timeout to be longer in your CoD 4 multiplayer config file, found in the profile folder of your player. For example, mine is: C:\Program Files\Activision\Call of Duty 4 - Modern Warfare\players\profiles\string\config_mp.cfg Yours could be C:\Program Files\Activision\Call of Duty 4 - Modern Warfare\players\profiles\YOURNAME\config_mp.cfg

Open the file up in notepad or any other text editor (I use ConText), and add this line: seta cl_connectionAttempts “30″ - this will give the connection 30 seconds, and normally fixes the problem.


An Optimal Route

The proven optimal route to visit all 24,978 cities in Sweden. This is supposedly the largest solved TSP (travelling salesman problem) so far. (Image found on Gamers With Jobs, credit to user nossid.)

(Click on the above picture to animate it.)



LAN party come and gone. Had a blast - actually I'm still here at Rob's, stayed the night rather than drive home at 2:30am. But yes, good times were had by all. I'll give people a couple more hours to stir before I start packing up.

In the meantime, I give you The Mom Song and Pachelbel Bedtime.


Dell's World of Warcraft Laptop

Oh, sweet. Makes me almost want to get back into the game again... must resist the temptation...
Dell has released a high specification new laptop complete with World of Warcraft branding (Horde and Alliance versions available). With a starting price of $4,499 it's not cheap, but does feature SLI graphics and AGEIA PhysX technology (a laptop first). RAID and solid state storage are also options.

Unfortunately for purchasers, the laptop won't boot on tuesday mornings until early afternoon, and some days you just won't be able to log in.

Samsung to Produce Faster Graphics Memory

Posted 2007.12.03 on Slashdot: Samsung has announced a new line of GDDR5 chips that will supposedly be able to deliver data at speeds of up to 6 Gbps. In addition to faster data delivery the new chips also claim to consume less energy than previous versions.
Samsung said the new chips consume 1.5 volts, making them about 20 percent more efficient than GDDR 3 chips. Samples of the GDDR 5 chips began shipping to graphics-processor makers last month, and Samsung plans to begin mass production of the chips during the first half of next year. GDDR 5 memory should first appear in high-end gaming systems where users are willing to pay a premium for better graphics. Samsung did not disclose pricing for the chips.

Blizzard and Activision Announce $18.8bn Merger

I don't how the heck I missed THIS story:
The BBC reports that Blizzard and Activision have announced an $18.8bn merger. Activision's CEO, Bobby Kotick, will become the head of the joint company, while Vivendi, Blizzard's current parent company, will become the largest single investor in the new group. Even with the size of the merger, the combined company will still be smaller than the industry giant EA. 'As part of the merger plan, Blizzard will invest $2bn in the new company, while Activision is putting up $1bn. The merged business will be called Activision Blizzard ... Vivendi will be the biggest shareholder in the group.'

Game Journalist May Have Been Fired Over Negative Review

Posted back on 2007.11.30 at Slashdot: It started as a rumour post on Kotaku and a Penny Arcade comic strip: reviewer Jeff Gerstmann was fired from the gaming news site Gamespot for giving the co-op action title Kane and Lynch a low score, and snarking on the game in the review. The catch? The firing was dictated by games publisher Eidos, who didn't appreciate the veteran reviewer's tone in the piece. Their ad campaign (spread across the entirety of the Gamespot site) may have been used as a bargaining tool of some kind. Joystiq has a lengthy, detailed summary of this event and its implications, which is no longer technically a rumour. Gerstmann confirmed to the blog that he has been let go from the C|Net-affiliated site, but as of right now can't talk about the details.
The ramifications of the story, if true, are huge. Readers should fairly expect there to be an inviolable firewall between advertising and editorial in journalism, and game journalism (yes, that includes "just reviews") is no different. While our industry has had its fair share of accusations of impropriety, nothing so far has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. Giving a publisher the power to fire a senior editor is a line no outlet should be willing to cross.

The Joystiq story continues to be updated, and Tycho has put up what the PA guys heard about the tale in text. Joystiq also has an additional post about the story, with a brief (noncommittal) response from Gamespot.

Pic of the Week 20071207

Well, got the install disks burned and verified, ready to ship. Delta tarballs pushed out. All caught up except for junk I don't wanna mess with on a Friday afternoon, especially the day before a LAN party. So, how about we catch up on some Slashdot?

But first, let's run a pic for the week:

Where's Waldo?
Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?


In A Stunning Development, Telling Horny Teenagers To Save It For Jesus Proves Ineffective

Gee, no one could've predicted this.
In a troubling reversal, the nation's teen birth rate rose for the first time in 15 years, surprising government health officials and reviving the bitter debate about abstinence-only sex education.

The birth rate had been dropping since its peak in 1991, although the decline had slowed in recent years. On Wednesday, government statisticians said it rose 3 percent from 2005 to 2006.

The reason for the increase is not clear, and federal health officials said it might be a one-year statistical blip, not the beginning of a new upward trend.

However, some experts said they have been expecting a jump. They blamed it on increased federal funding for abstinence-only health education that doesn't teach teens how to use condoms and other contraception.

Some key sexually transmitted disease rates have been rising, including syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. The rising teen pregnancy rate is part of the same phenomenon, said Dr. Carol Hogue, an Emory University professor of maternal and child health.

"It's not rocket science," she said.

I think the pic says it all.

And though I dread having the conversation with my girls (not the birds and the bees, already had that with Katie, but I'm dreading the birth-control talk) when they hit teenagehood we're having one. And dammit, if my dad could buy me condoms, I could do the same for my kids.

We'll see what my wife says. LOL


Google Calendar

Brian Graham, this is a reminder for

LAN Party

2007-12-08 12pm - 2007-12-09 2am
(Eastern Time)
Rob Willis' house (map)
Calendar:Brian Graham

More event details»

View your calendar»

Bush White House Tries to Redefine "Truthful"

There are some blog posts you come across, where merely paraphrasing or linking to it just wouldn't do justice. This, my friends, is one of those. So I'll repost the whole thing. This came from AlterNet, written by Steve Benen, and originally appeared on The Carpetbagger Report.


The problem with Bush's fairly transparent lies about the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran isn't just that they're obvious; it's that they're clumsy.

Asked when he learned about Iran's halted nuclear-weapons program, the president said it was "last week." White House officials then conceded it was actually in August.

Asked about the August briefing, the president said the Director of National Intelligence told him there was "new information," but "didn't tell" him what it was. White House officials then conceded Bush was told that the August briefing included a discussion about Iran possibly having suspended its nuclear program four years ago.

Asked about any warnings he may have received in August about toning down his rhetoric on Iran, the president said, "[N]obody ever told me that." White House officials then conceded Bush was told to "stand down" when it came to Iran, advice the president chose to ignore.

This isn't complicated. When Bush says one thing, and then White House officials tell us that reality is something different, then necessarily what the president told us wasn't true. Now, this could qualify as a lie (if he knew the truth at the time), or it could qualify as incompetence (if he just doesn't know what he's talking about), but it really has to be one or the other.

Unless, of course, you're the White House press secretary.
"OK, look. I can see where you could see that the president could have been more precise in that language. But the president was being truthful."

I can enjoy rhetorical parsing as much as the next guy, but in no way is it possible to characterize obviously-false remarks as "truthful," unless the Dana Perino changed the meaning of the word when no one was looking.

It's gracious of Perino to concede that Bush could have been "more precise," but precision isn't really the problem here. When "last week" is "last August," Bush is being more than just imprecise. When not being aware of new information becomes being aware of new information, those are opposites, not shades or degrees.

Also from the briefing, CNN's Ed Henry, building off a report from the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh, brought a new angle to all of this.
Q: Can you just clarify one more thing? What day was the president actually briefed on the NIE?

PERINO: I don't know. I don't know.

Q: Well, because Mr. Hadley left the impression that it was last Wednesday.

PERINO: Oh, on the NIE, specifically?

Q: On the NIE.

PERINO: Yes, last Wednesday.

Q: Last Wednesday? OK. But there have been reports that the president briefed Prime Minister Olmert last week, maybe on Monday.

PERINO: I don't know.

Q: Did he brief Prime Minister Olmert? And how could he brief Olmert on Monday about a report that he found out about on Wednesday? Can you...

PERINO: I don't -- I will check.

And just for the fun of it, I thought I'd mention that according to the standards Ken Starr established in 1998, if a president is caught lying -- even in response to a reporter's question, whether he's under oath or not -- it's an impeachable offense. That's not my standard; it's Ken Starr's.

Just sayin'.


Personally, in terms of qualification (lie vs. incompetence) I'm just as likely to believe that he's a fracking moron.


Top 10 point and click Games

Top 10 point and click games based on graphics, difficulty level and overall enjoyable gaming experience.
A point and click game is a video game that uses a point and click interface, i.e., a game that requires the player to use a mouse to move around and to interact with the objects. Many point and click games are manifest as escape the room games, often with elements of puzzle games or adventure games. Online point and click games are often produced using Adobe Flash.

Includes links to play the games; nice for some casual gaming if that's your thing.


MPAA's University wiretapping product taken down for violating copyright

Posted by Cory Doctorow on boingboing.net:
The MPAA's "University Toolkit" (a piece of monitoring software that universities are being asked to install on their networks to spy on students' communications) has been taken down, due to copyright violations. The Toolkit is based on the GPL-licensed Xubuntu operating system (a flavor of Linux). The GPL requires anyone who makes a program based on GPL'ed code has to release the source code for their program and license it under the GPL. The MPAA refused multiple requests to provide the sources for their spyware, so an Ubuntu developer sent a DMCA notice to the MPAA's ISP and demanded that the material be taken down as infringing.


The Problem with Christmas

The problem with Christmas is not the batteries. The problem isn't even really the stuff. The problem with Christmas is that no one much likes it anymore.

If you poll Americans this time of year, far more of them regard the approaching holidays with dread than anticipation. It has long since become too busy, too expensive, too centered around acquiring that which we do not need. In fact, it's the perfect crystallization of the American economy -- the American consumer experience squeezed into a manic week, a week that people find themselves hoping will soon end so that on Jan. 2 they can return to the mere routine hecticity of their lives.



The Constitution

They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it has worked for over 200 years, and we're not using it anymore.

Guild Episode 5 is Up!

Sweet! Straight from Felicia Day:
We’ve posted the latest episode of The Guild: Rather Be Raiding! Hope you guys enjoy it, it’s my favorite one yet, personally. The cheese conversation makes me laugh so much, it’s one of the reasons I even wrote the thing in the first place!



It's pretty rare that I can't fall asleep at night. I mean, when my body is used to getting up at 4-5am, it lets me know that its ready to crash pretty early. Even if I do try to be a night owl at times still.

So I have no idea what was up with me last night. No pun intended. I lied awake in bed for hours. My youngest was in bed with us for a time as she couldn't sleep (scary book) but she fell asleep first. Carried her into bed. Then Donna falls asleep. And I'm still lying there. Nothing is working, no counting sheep, dreaming of peaceful meadows, nada. I get up at midnight, thinking I'll read a bit until I was tied enough. Finally went back to bed at 2am. I think I fell asleep by 2:30am.

And then got up at 5:15am.

Somehow I'm operating on under 3 hours of sleep. Not quite sure how, actually. Caffeine? I drank a Diet Mountain Dew this morning to get me to the train (remarkably, didn't sleep past my stop, and kept waking up the whole trip, so nope, no sleep caught up on there), and I'm drinking another now. I am armed with my trusty Bawls Mints.

At some point I fully anticipate walking hallucinations.

Speaking of which: This morning on the Sirius Big 80's channel (thank you God for satellite radio) they were talking about the sold-out Motley Cruise. Yep, a cruise with big-name hairbands and personae like Vince Neal, Ratt, Skid Row, and Slaughter performing. On a cruise ship.

Could there be anything to top that in ultimate coolness?

Well, true there is this:

Hm. Yep that would do it. Heh, the Emperor on the cowbell. LOL. Wait, what were we talking about again?

I'm actually working on a genuine article to post. Well, two really. I need to do my own review of Call of Duty 4. The multiplayer side, as I haven't finished the singleplayer yet. Or I could just rip off another person's review (well, not rip off, I just repost and give credit, but it's still a wimp-out). But I was mentally making a list of things I have actually accomplished in life. We'll see when I can get to it. Especially as I've got an afternoon filled with meetings, and I need to get home on time so Donna can get off to her work.

So, no hallucinations yet.

Though my Yoda figurine keeps looking at me funny...


Pic of the Week 20071130

In honor of my ongoing trials and tribulations with Donna's Vista laptop. From the geniuses at Ctrl+Alt+Del.


How to Cure PackRat-itis

Sweet, and new site for decluttering. The more I read, the more I get motivated. A lot of what the article mentions I've already read on Zen Habits, but some good points are made and a few nice tips as well. I'll have to keep an eye on this site.


My brain is feeling fogged up today. I'm not exactly bored, I mean I still have a bunch to do at work, getting installs together and mailing them out, lots of other administrative minutiae... but I'm just not feeling the motivation. Some of that may be due to digging into Facebook. I tell ya, I joined just as a lark since I knew people on it, but it has truly become a fabulous time-waster. Much more so than Myspace, which just seems juvenile in comparison. As a bonus, I hooked up with my cousins in California, who I haven't talked to in ages, and a friend from high school that I haven't heard from since we graduated.

I'm not sure what's attracting me to Facebook... It's nice to have feedback I suppose, and be noticed by others - I got all warm and fuzzy when Felicia Day left a comment on my blog - but even aside from that there are so many peculiar social tools and outlets on there, I've barely scratched the surface. Personally, I like the mini-bar. I sent out Fuzzy Navels to all my friends. W00t.

This weekend, time to get the Christmas decorations up. I was pondering the idea of cutting back a bit on all the exterior lights and blow-ups and deer and such... but then our new redneck neighbor got his out this past weekend, in all its technicolor glory.

It is ON now.


Hello Facebook

Well, took the plunge finally. What the hey, I just didn't have enough coverage between my blog here, MySpace garbage, and LinkedIn...

Gas Pumping Tips

These seem like they may make sense... I may try to follow them (I do the third one anyways) but I wonder if a site such as snopes.com would rebuke them (I didn't see anything there)...

1) Only buy or fill up your car or truck in the early morning when the ground temperature is still cold. Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the ground the more dense the gasoline, when it gets warmer gasoline expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening... your gallon is not exactly a gallon. In the petroleum business, the specific gravity and the temperature of the gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum products plays an important role. A 1-degree rise in temperature is a big deal for this business. But the service stations do not have temperature compensation at the pumps.

2) When you're filling up do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to a fast mode. If you look you will see that the trigger has three (3) stages: low, middle, and high. In slow mode you should be pumping on low speed, thereby minimizing the vapors that are created while you are pumping. All hoses at the pump have a vapor return. If you are pumping on the fast rate, some of the liquid that goes to your tank becomes vapor. Those vapors are being sucked up and back into the underground storage tank so you're getting less worth for your money.

3) One of the most important tips is to fill up when your gas tank is HALF FULL or HALF EMPTY. The reason for this is, the more gas you have in your tank the less air occupying its empty space. Gasoline evaporates faster than you can imagine. Gasoline storage tanks have an internal floating roof. This roof serves as zero clearance between the gas and the atmosphere, so it minimizes the evaporation.

4) If there is a gasoline truck pumping into the storage tanks when you stop to buy gas, DO NOT fill up -- most likely the gasoline is being stirred up as the gas is being delivered, and you might pick up some of the dirt that normally settles on the bottom.

Let me know what you think - crackpot ideas or possibly ways to help you get the most value for your money


2008 LOLCalendar

Yep. Doesn't get much better than this. Why bother going out and buying some boring calendar when you can download this one for free? Yes, that is exactly what you read, a LOLCalendar, full of cute kitty pictures with ridiculous captions.

Sheer genius, I tell ya.

Give Thanks

I know at times I can get a little down on the state of our nation, the direction we're heading in, and the incompetence of the leadership. But let me be clear on one thing: Even though I may vehemently oppose our continued presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, and despair at the curtailment of freedoms here at home, I do fully support the men and women of the armed services and those who put their lives on the line, whether overseas or in my home town.

This week America celebrates Thanksgiving, a holiday filled with friendship, family, and gratitude. We pause to give thanks for our prosperity, our liberty, and the many blessings that run deep through our great Nation.

During this time, let us not forget the brave men and women of our Armed Forces who daily put their lives in danger to ensure our freedom. As we sit down with family and friends on Thanksgiving Day there are thousands of soldiers, sailors and Marines around the globe who will not see their loved ones this holiday season.

This week, to honor their sacrifice and send them just a small token of appreciation, you can text a thank you message to our military members, letting them know they are in our hearts and prayers throughout the holidays. Text 8 9 2 7 9 and say thank you. The “America Supports You” program run by the Department of Defense will tally the number of text messages and let the troops know the volume of gratitude expressed by their fellow Americans.

Please take a moment to send a text, forward this in an e-mail to your family and friends, and say thank you to the men and women who daily fight in defense of our liberties. Visit www.AmericaSupportsYou.mil for more on this and other programs that support our troops.

God willing, they can all be home soon.


Top Ubuntu Linux Games

If you’ve switched to Ubuntu (as I have) or any other Linux distribution, you may consider the following free (and in most cases open-source) games, as they’ve been favorites of mine for some time now... Excellent round-up of some FPS, RTS and RPG games I didn't even know were available on Linux. And not just single-player, but some you can hook up online with some opponents!



Calif. Court Rejects SUV Mileage Rules

A federal court in California yesterday rejected the Bush administration's new fuel economy standards for light trucks including SUVs, ruling that the government failed to take into account the effects of carbon emissions and their possible link to global warming.



The Bush Administration Plans to Blame You for Iraq

Well, I was gonna be done for the day, but then two things happened. One, the powers-that-be are late in getting me my builds so I can get cracking on them nefore tomorrow's installs. And I really don't feel like dealing with test bed issues. And then two, I can across the following article. I think I found a new and fun site to keep up with...
The world's finest military launches a highly coordinated shock-and-awe attack that shows enormous initial progress. There's talk of the victorious troops being home for Christmas. But the war unexpectedly drags on. As fighting persists into a third, and then a fourth year, voices are heard calling for negotiations, even "peace without victory." Dismissing such peaceniks and critics as defeatists, a conservative and expansionist regime -- led by a figurehead who often resorts to simplistic slogans and his Machiavellian sidekick who is considered the brains behind the throne -- calls for one last surge to victory. Unbeknownst to the people on the home front, however, this duo has already prepared a seductive and self-exculpatory myth in case the surge fails.

The United States in 2007? No, Wilhelmine Germany in 1917 and 1918, as its military dictators, Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg and his loyal second, General Erich Ludendorff, pushed Germany toward defeat and revolution in a relentless pursuit of victory in World War I...

Excellent article, well worth the read. Not exactly a reactionist fare, but it does make you wonder what new lows Georgie will sink to... And you can sign up for cool newsletters from the site as well. Some interesting environmental stuff, I'll perhaps blog more on them after receiving a few emails.

Pic of the Week 20071115

In keeping with my new Thursday schedule, here's today's Pics of the Week. Yes, plural. It's a two-for-one bonus feature.

So, I go where now?

Talk about directionally-challenged...

Developing the Habit of Blogging

So it would seem my usual trend of blogging is to report on a news bit or repost another person's blog, sometimes with an attached comment or opinion on my part. Not terribly insightful. Sometimes I still fall into the trap of thinking my opinions aren't really worth much to others, and certainly my blog doesn't have the high viewership of, say, Zen Habits or Felicia Day, so does it really matter what I post? Existentially, why am I even bothering with this?

I read an interesting post today, made by Leo Babauta who writes on Zen Habits. Anyways, the article, 8 Rules to Develop the Habit of Blogging, made me think some about why I write here. Do I really want extended viewership? Do I want to lay a framework to make money off of blogging? Or as I read somewhere (darned if I can recall the source), do i just want to keep a positive flow of information attached to me online? (Ever try Googling yourself? It's easier for me as I've used the same handle since the internet was in its infancy...)

Looking back at my posting rate, I seem to be at least keeping to (mostly) a weekly schedule; meaning I will get at least one post per week, averaging about 5 or so. The one failure is keeping to a Pic of the Week schedule; I think instead of running this on Fridays (when I'm in the midst of hectic installations) I will be doing them on Thursdays in the morning, while I'm still waiting on my builds to be delivered. Sound like a plan?

For the rest of Leo's article, I'm going to digest it a bit and see what I think of it. I like the idea of reading more blogs for inspiration, yet I don't always have the time to do so... The trick is coming up with some original thoughts on opinions, by themselves or in response to another blog/news bit. And I still need to decide on the path I am following here.

In closing, for a random bit of coding trivia, see if you can decipher this:
$DO || ! $DO ; try
try: command not found

Got it yet?


If Taglines Were Honest

iPod: It’ll break in a year, but by then you’ll want the new one.

Apple: You think you need it, we know you just want it.

Samsung: Didn’t you mean to buy Sony?

Ikea: One day you’ll be able to afford real furniture.

Hummer: Get the attention you’ve always craved. While filling up the gas tank again.

Taco Bell: You’re drunk and we’re still open.

Zipcar: So convenient that you’ll ignore the high rates AND the dog hair.

Southwest Airlines: On your marks, get set, find a seat!

UHaul: We don’t guarantee availability because we can get away with it.

PopTarts: Until you realize how disgusting they are, we’ll keep making them.

Ben and Jerry’s: Whoah, dude, did you eat that whole thing?

Krispy Kreme: Less filling, just as fattening.

McDonalds: Always a good idea. Until afterwards.

Starbucks: Long lines, high prices and the best legal high available.


Pic of the Week 20071107

Click on the thumbnail for the full image. How I love Doonesbury. (And what liberal trend I've been displaying lately...)

The $500 Gaming PC Upgrade

Building a powerful PC for gaming doesn't have to be expensive. In this article, FiringSquad spends $500 on a gaming upgrade, and compares its performance to that of a high-end Core 2 Extreme PC. The Core 2 Extreme rig is faster, but you may be surprised by how well the $500 PC is able to hang with it in Crysis, Call of Duty 4, and Unreal Tournament 3.

Just in time for an upcoming LAN party - if only I had any discretionary funds whatsoever... my poor gaming rig is starting to show it's age after 2.5 years...

Just to cut to the chase, here's what they settled on:
GeForce 8800 GT (EVGA) $249.99
Athlon 64 X2 4000+ $75.90
Gigabyte GA-MA69GM-S2H $79.99
OCZ PC2-6400 Platinum Revision 2 Dual Channel $79.99 ($44.99 after mail-in rebate)

I've always liked the Asus motherboards, that's what I used in CrazyHarry, but the Gigabyte sounds nice. However, it's not SLI like the MSI K9AG Neo2-Digital they also mention (which they say sells for $5 less...) Also, I already have the RAM, but I may need the faster speed for a new motherboard.
Again, this is an upgrade article, you’ve clearly already got a hard drive, optical drive, case, keyboard, mouse, monitor, and OS, or else you wouldn’t be reading this site. If you can, you might as well recycle those components and upgrade them as soon as your budget allows.

I'm pretty happy with my opticals, and my trusty Raptors in RAID0. They still burn something fierce!

Schneier On the War On the Unexpected

Following up on my post yesterday, Slashdot discussed an essay by Bruce Schneier, The War on the Unexpected. (It originally appeared in Wired but this version has all the links.):
"We've opened up a new front on the war on terror. It's an attack on the unique, the unorthodox, the unexpected; it's a war on different. If you act different, you might find yourself investigated, questioned, and even arrested - even if you did nothing wrong, and had no intention of doing anything wrong. The problem is a combination of citizen informants and a CYA attitude among police that results in a knee-jerk escalation of reported threats... After someone reports a 'terrorist threat,' the whole system is biased towards escalation and CYA instead of a more realistic threat assessment... If you ask amateurs to act as front-line security personnel, you shouldn't be surprised when you get amateur security."

And another related article in time for Christmas on Anti-Terrorism and the Death of the Chemistry Set:
A recent unfortunate casualty of anti-terrorism laws is the home chemistry set. Once deemed the gift that saved Christmas, most Slashdotters probably remember early childhood experimentation with one of the many pre-packaged chemistry sets that were on the market. Unfortunately the FBI has decided that home chemistry sets are a threat to national security and they are rapidly disappearing from the market entirely. Those that remain are shallow boring versions of the old kits.

Yeah, I bet those Sea-Monkeys are just plotting something nefarious...


Our Failure as a Country

As I read this article, entitled "Every day diplomacy," I was simply at a loss for words. I'm still struggling to bring my emotions into a coherent form other than anger, outrage, disappointment... sadness that we are screwing this country up so beyond repair that my children, my nieces and nephews, will either live under a dictatorial police state reminiscent of either the Gestapo or the KGB, or they will have to undergo a bloody revolution to overthrow said government.

What the bloody hell is so illegal about taking a picture?

Some things really struck me: The uncaring and abrasive attitude of the conductor; same for the police; and yet the outrage of the fellow passengers who actually stepped up to try and help this visiting gentleman. Yet, as one commenter asked, "...I wonder what would have happened if all of the passengers had refused to let the police take the man off the train..."?

Welcome to the Brave New World as handed to us by dear George W. Beware the Terrorists. Fear the lurking danger. Terror. TERROR. Good God, you can't read anything news-related or browse a news outlet site without coming across the word. Spread the fear, the uncertainty, because it will make us a stronger nation, right?

If we had these same restrictions in place, with a nation fearful of its own shadow, does anyone really think the tragedy of 9/11 would have been prevented?

Elections coming up. How will you vote? Keep the status quo, or tell the government that we will not surrender our liberties for such a vaporous promise of security?

Or will it even matter? Would either party actually institute change? Does anyone connected with the government actually listen to what the people want anymore, or just assume they know what's best for the people?

"...Same as it ever was..."


Happy Guy Fawkes Day!

Or, as this excellent Harper's Magazine article puts it, "Happy Counterterrorism Day". In it the author discusses three lessons from Guy Fawkes Day (after providing the historical context) which would apply for 2007. Funny enough, they all boil down to George W. Bush's presidency...
Torture was a weakness, not a strength of the Government. In twenty-three years, this would be the accepted wisdom of a society sickened and revolted by the official use of cruelty and of torture. In one hundred and seventy years, a nation would be born committed to suppressing it forever. . . or, as it turns out, until the arrival of George W. Bush.

But the biggest lesson I think is the one which seems to habitually elude the masses:
It is not the People who should fear the Government, but rather the Government which should fear the People.

And then we sign away more and more of our freedoms... all in the name of "security"... sigh...

The Car of the Future

I didn't think I'd ever encounter another car that I could love outside of my Prius, with its high-tech interior and exterior, terrific gas mileage and ecological friendliness.

I was wrong.

Today I came across a gas-electric hybrid car (the Aptera) that, for $29K, will get 130-1000mpg. And looks like a freaking UFO.

How cool is that??

It's a plug-in hybrid, meaning that, unlike the Prius, you plug the car into an electric socket to recharge. But, unlike many other all-electric rechargeable models, the Aptera will run on gas after the battery is depleted (after about 120 miles).
So why pick a number at 120 miles? Well, it's more than double of most available plug-in hybrid ranges that achieve over 100 MPG. It's three times the distance of the typical American daily commute. It's a meaningful distance that represents the driving needs of 99% of Americans on a daily basis. Sure, it's asymptotic, after 350-400 miles it eventually plummets to around 130 MPG at highway speeds where it will stay all day until you plug it back in and charge it up.

Oooh, yeah only 130mpg, that's sure to be a deal-breaker... considering the Prius gets realistically about 50mpg max.

So, looking at the chart here, my daily commute from home to Monocacy Station in Frederick and back (about 90 miles) would be... about 300mpg.

Friggin' sweet.


The Microwave Diet: 8 Great Frozen Entrees

Stock your freezer with healthy versions of your fave take-out treats--ones that are delicious enough to keep you driving right past the fast-food palace. Honest, they exist. Just check this list, tested by a bunch of tough-to-please tasters.

  • PIZZA: Lean Cuisine Brick Oven Style Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza
  • ENCHILADAS: Amy's Black Bean and Vegetable Enchiladas
  • BURRITO: Cedarlane's Low Fat Beans, Rice, and Cheese Style Burrito
  • PANINI: Lean Cuisine's Chicken, Spinach, and Mushroom Panini
  • THAI NOODLES: Seeds of Change Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles
  • RAVIOLI: Lean Cuisine Butternut Squash Ravioli
  • MAC 'N' CHEESE: Smart Ones Macaroni and Cheese
  • SOMETHING DIFFERENT: Kashi Lemongrass Coconut Chicken

Read the full article for details on each entree.

Toyota looks to next-generation hybrids

As I have mentioned before, and as I will tell anyone who even looks remotely interested, I love my Prius. I've never been much of a car nut really, and my automotive skills are sadly lacking (ever hear of the time I killed a BMW by pouring cold water on a hot engine block?), but I am deeply enamored of what is essentially a big computerized geeky toy. So I came across this article which peaked my interest today:
The Prius was a big step forward for the future of green cars. Up next for Toyota and its rivals: Far more powerful batteries for next-generation hybrids, plug-in electric cars and eventually zero-emission fuel-cell vehicles powered by hydrogen, which combines with oxygen in the air to form water... Toyota showed a "concept" plug-in Prius made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic that's about a third of the weight of the current Prius and doubles mileage... The third-generation Prius could include a new lithium-ion battery more advanced than the current nickel-metal hydride battery, allowing more power to be packed into a smaller battery...

Drool. Now give me a hybrid minivan packed with the features of the new Caravan, and I'm definitely grabbing that up...


The Guild: Episode 4 - Cheesybeards

It's up! W00t!

Top 23 Snacks for All-Night Gaming

Gamers need to fill their bellies too:
The weekend is coming and you and your friends have an all-night gaming session planned. You know you're going to get peckish or even hungry at some point, but not enough for full meals - which would leave you dull afterwards. What do you eat instead?

Here are a variety of choices, many of them fairly light but deliciously satisfying. We can't promise every item on the list is healthy, and some require a touch of preparation, but they're all worthwhile just the same!

Now if I could just get a LAN party together to try some of these out...


Vista Vs. Gutsy Gibbon

An interesting story ran last week, with one of the best analogies I've heard yet regarding Linux (Ubuntu) vs. Vista. Slashdot gave the account of one Rupert Goodwins writing in ZDNet UK. Goodwins has 7 computers running various versions of Windows and Linux, and explains why he chooses to do most of his work on the Gibbon.
So here's the funny thing. I've used Windows since 1.0. I've lived through the bad times of Windows/386 and ME, and the good times of NT 3.51 and 2K. I know XP if not backwards, then with a degree of familiarity that only middle-aged co-dependents can afford each other... Then how come I'm so much more at home with Ubuntu than Vista? It boils down to one abiding impression: Ubuntu goes out of its way to get out of your way... Vista goes out of its way to be Vista and enforce the Vista way.

The Orange Box Review

"PC Gaming is dying," the analysts tell us. "The Massive genre is the only viable business model left," websites report. That they're off the mark is obvious to anyone that's actually played a PC game in the last few years; games like Sam and Max, Battlefield 2, or any of the numerous puzzle titles available online prove the flexibility and strength of the PC platform. Then, every once in a while, you get an offering like the Orange Box. A value-packed storm of content from Valve, this single sku offers five complete games at an amazing price. That would be great, even if the games weren't any good ... but they are. They're very, very, very good. Read on for Slashdot's impressions of Half-Life 2: Episode 2, Team Fortress 2, and (the cake is a lie) Portal.

Driver Update Can Cause Vista Deactivation

More fun times with Vista, as reported by Slashdot last week:
After weeks of grueling troubleshooting, I've finally had it confirmed by Microsoft Australia and USA — something as small as swapping the video card or updating a device driver can trigger a total Vista deactivation. Put simply, your copy of Windows will stop working with very little notice (three days) and your PC will go into "reduced functionality" mode, where you can't do anything but use the web browser for half an hour.

The Development of Ecologically Sound Jet Fuel

Researchers at Princeton University are currently working on two projects to reduce jet travel's role in global warming. The first one, a major project funded by the U.S. Air Force with $7.5 million, is focused on developing computational models that accurately simulate the burning of jet fuel, a complex process not well understood today. The second one, funded by NetJets, a company providing business jets, will help to develop new jet fuels with near-zero net greenhouse gas emissions.


12 Reasons

Just a quickie before I run to catch my train, I couldn't resist. i keep seeing Diggs for "10 reasons why same sex marriages will ruin America" and other such rubbish. The I came across this, nicely done tongue in cheek.
1. Homosexuality is not natural, much like eyeglasses, polyester, and birth control are not natural.
2. Heterosexual marriages are valid because they produce children. Infertile couples and old people cannot get legally married because the world needs more children.
3. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children because straight parents only raise straight children.
4. Straight marriage will be less meaningful, since Britney Spears's 55-hour just-for-fun marriage was meaningful.
5. Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and it hasn't changed at all: women are property, Blacks can't marry Whites, and divorce is illegal.
6. Gay marriage should be decided by the people, not the courts, because the majority-elected legislatures, not courts, have historically protected the rights of minorities.
7. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are always imposed on the entire country. That's why we only have one religion in America.
8. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people makes you tall.
9. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage license.
10. Children can never succeed without both male and female role models at home. That's why single parents are forbidden to raise children.
11. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society. Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and we could never adapt to new social norms because we haven't adapted to cars or longer lifespans.
12. Civil unions, providing most of the same benefits as marriage with a different name are better, because a "separate but equal" institution is always constitutional. Separate schools for African-Americans worked just as well as separate marriages will for gays & lesbians.


Gmail gets IMAP!

This is a really cool feature I've been waiting for - though it looks like I may have to wait just a day or so more for it... Gmail has quietly started rolling out IMAP access to your email. Why is this such a cool thing? Well, as the downloadsquad explains:
Why is IMAP integration a good thing for Gmail? POP was a stepping stone, but IMAP pushes Gmails benefits over the top. With IMAP, users can now access their email via a desktop application like Outlook or Thunderbird, read emails, make changes, delete, and have the changes made across platforms. So if you now log into your Gmail account, the message which you read in Thunderbird, will now be marked accordingly. No more wasting time trying to sift through emails that had already been answered.
Oh yeah. I'm psyched.

If IMAP settings don't show up yet in your 'Forwarding and POP IMAP' tab log back out and check again. If still no joy just give it time; Google will be rolling it out to everyone over the next few days.

EDIT: It's up on their official blog now too...

EDIT #2: Turn Thunderbird into the Ultimate Gmail IMAP Client. Sweet. But I'm still waiting for my IMAP... ahem... (tap tap tap)



Stumbled across a new cool blog. EcoGeek - the name says it all for this tech oriented blog. EcoGeek specializes in writing about environmentally friendly technology. If you’re looking for info on anything from solar iPods to electric cars, this is the place.


Gutsy Gibbon is out!

I know, it's an odd name for a Linux release. But today, Thursday October 18, Ubuntu 7.10 (codenamed "Gutsy Gibbon") has been released. Already a nice review up on Wired (Ubuntu's New 'Gutsy Gibbon' Brings Linux Out of the Jungle). So go grab it already, or if you have a slow connection, order a DVD or two for free!


Caught In The Act

Last one. I promise. Definitely worth a read for the Dads out there. I can't count the number of times I've been right in his shoes. From the blog Dad Gone Mad (I have GOT to read more of his posts, what a name for a blog):
Here’s how you know when you’re completely hosed:

When you arrive home after an especially disgusting day at the office, two whiny, clingy, catastrophically tired children greet you at the door. They grab hold and hang on you like a wet towel on a hook. When you finally unlatch their superheroic kung-fu grasps from your legs, you walk over to kiss your wife. As soon as your lips separate from hers, she says, “Don’t forget I’m going out tonight, honey. You’ll have the kids to yourself.”

See? Hosed.

A smart man would have run for his life. A man with even a shred of inclination toward self-preservation would have negotiated some sort of mutual understanding with his wife – an agreement that a personally offensive requirement such as this would need to be properly “appreciated” upon her return. But I am neither smart nor a particularly strong negotiator. I silently acquiesced because for some stupid reason I still feel an obligation to be a father – even in times when all I want is a beer and the remote control – because I just can’t get past the fact that I love those kids with the white hot fury of 7,000 suns. And lemme tell you, it’s a real inconvenience sometimes.

She left. She got into her minivan and drove away, abandoning me there with Marty McWhineypants and his lovely assistant, Sally Snottybottom. They kvetched all night. Daddyiwantsomegrapes. Daddycanyoureadthistome. Daddycanwehavedessert. Daddydaddydaddy. And when I sat on the floor and played Legos with them, it was never enough. The airplane wasn’t big enough. The monkey’s leg fell off. The house had no windows. “Fix it, daddy!”

By bathtime I was cooked. I hadn’t eaten dinner, hadn’t checked my email, hadn’t done a thing for myself. And still: the whining. The first three times I asked them to get undressed the response was this:


The fourth time was different. I didn’t ask.


My tone was sufficiently assholish to motivate action. Forty-five seconds later they were butt-naked, freshly pee-peed and standing under a running shower.

I left them there for a moment. I needed 30 seconds of peace – enough time to throw together a PB&J and fire up the computer. I began to wonder to myself how stay-at-home parents endure this all day. How do they stay sane? How do they—

Hold it.

It’s too quiet.

It shouldn’t be this quiet. This can’t be good.

I set down my sandwich and stormed back to the bathroom, all the while girding myself for the carnage I knew I’d see when I got there. “If they’re drawing on the shower door with my shaving cream again, they can forget about ever seeing the sun again.”

When I got to the bathroom, I looked inside and saw something that rocked me to my core.

He was washing her hair.

I stopped, backed up a step and watched in silence. They didn’t know I was there.

He spoke softly to her. He told her it was time to rinse (a step he knows she hates) and instructed her to turn her back to the water. He helped her bend her head back to let the water cascade down the back of her head. He positioned his right hand on her back for support and his left hand vertically at her hairline to prevent the spray from going into her eyes.

I felt a tear run down my right cheek. My chest wanted to explode. How do they do this? How do they become so special? And how do I forget that they have this incredible capacity to love each other?

Fatherhood plays tricks on you. It sets you up to pound your chest and raise your voice and demand compliance from your children. You learn to presume guilt. And then, without warning, it pulls the rug out from under your anger, leaving you out of breath in a blubbering state of gratitude.

I love that about it.

Ann Coultier gets Hacked

I know, I know I said I would stop today. But it's actually a pretty slow day for a change. Granted, there's lots I could be doing, but without anyone breathing down my neck at the moment to put out yet another fire, it's nice to relax just a teeny bit for a change.

So anyways. This is pretty funny. I've never been a fan of Ann Coultier (bigoted-nazi-woman) but it would seem she's been living a lie... or so it says on her site. I'll post it in its entirety here as it may not stay up too long... and make sure you read to the very end...
An Open Letter to Readers
by Ann Coulter
October 15, 2007

Dear Readers,

I've been participating in a charade for nearly eleven years, now. Quite frankly, I'm sick of it. You have all been a part of a sick joke that I began considering shortly after first getting on the air. At first, it was quite interesting to see how people would react when I would use twisted logic and poorly masked bigotry.

But eleven years is a long time to be living a fake life, and I can no longer tolerate this falsity. Even someone as fake as I tires out eventually.

Here's the truth, I don't care what people believe. Jews don't need to be "made perfect" as I so arrogantly proclaimed to Editor & Publisher not a half week ago. I don't even care if people are Muslim. Granted, I don't know much about the religion or the people, but they are people. This is something that we cannot forget, they are in an abhorrent situation. These people are in need of education. Perhaps if we did not participate in causing them misery, they would not hate us so.

In fact, does it really matter whether we are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, or even Pagan? We are one nation. One. We should not let petty differences separate us, we are all American, and should act in that manner.

And with that, my precious viewers, I bid you adieu. My career as a media figurehead is over.


Ann Coulter

P.S. - Oh, and Bill O'Reilly is also just acting.

Haha, did it again. Oh, those silly web admins...they just embarrass themselves.

(Admins, check for an e-mail address in the CMS. Find it. I know you will.)

Not that's some creative (and surprisingly literate!) hacking. Bravo.

Anatomy of a Black Hole

OK, I was going to stop blogging for the day. But this is just too cool to not pass along.

This is an interactive demo on the anatomy of a black hole. It's not just highly instructive and informative, but just hand-down awesome. Go check it out.

Blog Action Day: Help the Environment

So I'm a little late to the party on this one. Blog Action Day was yesterday, October 15th, where bloggers of the world united to discuss the environment and how we could better it. My new favorite social site, zen habits, had a really good (if verbosely titled) article up, 5 Ways Save the World, While Getting Fitter, Saving Money, Simplifying, and Becoming Happier that's worth a read. Some of these things I do; while I can't exactly bike or walk to work, much less anywhere close by (though that will change with the new shopping centers opening up on my corner, sigh) I do drive my lovely Prius which helps both emissions and sound pollution. Not to mention the 50mpg is nice with today's gas prices. But we do recycle, in a county which seems fairly recycling-unfriendly (at least they do staff a center for us to drop off to, but we got spoiled in Frederick with curbside pickups). We're trying to take more nightly walks - when we're home together at night. And we're certainly using more and more florescent lightbulbs wherever we can.

The blogger dashboard had a post, Environmental Blog Roundup with some more sites to peruse. Lots are solely environmental blogs - I think that's awesome. The more activism we can have, the better.

I'm gonna go check out The Lazy Environmentalist - Sustainable living made easy. Sounds right up my alley.

Quake Wars Linux Demo Released

Well, id went and made lots of Linux users very happy campers. A demo for Enemy Territory: Quake Wars has been released for Linux, it contains the same single mission as the Windows demo did. It played very well on my gaming rig at home; I wonder how it would look on my workstation at the office? Hmm...

A Look at Ubuntu 7.10 "Gutsy Gibbon" RC1

Screenshot tour from lifehacker:
Experienced Ubuntu users know what to expect from this Thursday's release of Gutsy Gibbon, the love-it-or-hate-it code name for version 7.10 of the popular Linux distribution. It's not a major "Long Term Support" release, it's not a radical re-thinking of the system, but it is another step toward a Linux system that "just works."

Still, there's a lot that's new (or at least now included by default) and very cool here—native support for dual-monitor setups, integrated Firefox tweaks and extensions, instant printer configuration and, of course, more of the Compiz eye candy that's helping Ubuntu look less like the dowdy younger brother of Windows and Mac. I downloaded, burned and installed the Gutsy release candidate over the weekend and took a few pictures along the way.

CD orders are also available - it's nice how you can request free Ubuntu install discs (even if they take a few weeks to arrive)!


Pic of the Week 20071012

15 Free CD/DVD burning alternatives to Nero

From another blogger, "instant fundas" (looks like a fun blog, I'll have to peruse it some more):
When it comes to CD or DVD burning, the software most people tend to use is Nero. But Nero isn't the be all and end all of CD burning solutions. There are other softwares as well that perform much better than Nero in terms of resource usage and speed. Here is a list of 15 free burning softwares that you can use in place of Nero.



I've become a huge fan of the site zen habits. The daily articles there are tremendously uplifting, and I keep getting these awesome ideas, and even enacting on a few. Like clearing off my desk, both at work and at my workstation in the study. God, what a good feeling just to not have a cluttered desk. And just taking it a little at a time, like clearing off my endtable. The minimalist ideal is slowly taking hold - I just don't need so much junk. Now to convince the rest of my family (who are as much packrats as myself)...

Anyways, one of the recent posts at zen habits is "Ask the readers: Best tips for decluttering?" which has a long list of excellent tips. I pounced on the email inbox tips I found amongst them. It would take awhile to go through them all, but infinitely worth it. I have so much purging to do...


New Look!

So, whattya think? Little more techie, little more sophisticated? I was reading an article on "41 Reasons Why Your Blog Probably Sucks" (yeah, I know it does) and that got me looking around for a new template. I like this one.

Breaking News: Battlefield 3 Leaked Info

It's not often I blog on the cutting edge of breaking news. Wow, I feel so trendy. Anyways, breaking news over at Digitsl Battle on some leaked Battlefield 3 info:
A tipster sent us PDF document which looked like an outline of features for Battlefield 3. The three page document is apparently prepared for investors which should get it by December of this year. It details basic features of BF3, and are as listed...

Follow the link to read more. I'm gonna be really, really pissed if this turns out to be Vista-only... grr...


School Humor

This is hilarious - no wonder some people were offended! This is the message that the Pacific Palisades High School California staff voted unanimously to record on their school telephone answering machine. This is the actual answering machine message for the school. This came about because they implemented a policy requiring students and parents to be responsible for their children's absences and missing homework. The school and teachers are being sued by parents who want their children's failing grades changed to passing grades - even though those children were absent 15-30 times during the semester and did not complete enough school work to pass their classes.

The outgoing message:
Hello! You have reached the automated answering service of your school. In order to assist you in connecting to the right staff member, please listen to all the options before making a selection:
To lie about why your child is absent - Press 1
To make excuses for why your child did not do his work -Press 2
To complain about what we do - Press 3
To swear at staff members - Press 4
To ask why you didn't get information that was already enclosed in your newsletter and several flyers mailed to you - Press 5
If you want us to raise your child - Press 6
If you want to reach out and touch, slap or hit someone - Press 7
To request another teacher, for the third time this year -Press 8
To complain about bus transportation - Press 9
To complain about school lunches - Press 0
If you realize this is the real world and your child must be Accountable and responsible for his/her own behavior, class work, homework and that it's not the teachers' fault for your child's lack of effort: Hang up and have a nice day!
If you want this in Spanish, move to a country that speaks it.



Word Riddle

Okay you brainiacs, here's a brain teaser for you.

What nine letter word in the English language is still a word when each of the nine letters is removed one by one?

Answer: Startling.

Wanna see how it's done?

Microsoft Should Abandon Vista?

An editorial written by Don Reisinger over at CNet's News.com takes Microsoft to task for the outright failure of Vista. He suggests that Vista may be the downfall of the company as, despite years in development, Vista was delivered to market too early. His suggestion? Support those who are running it, but otherwise ditch Vista and move on.
'Never before have I seen such an abysmal start to an operating system release. For almost a year, people have been adopting Vista and becoming incensed by how poorly it operates. Not only does it cost too much, it requires more to run than XP, there is still poor driver support ... With Mac OS X hot on its tail, Vista is simply not capable of competing at an OS level with some of the best software around. If Microsoft continues down this path, it will be Vista that will bring the software giant to its knees--not Bill Gates' departure.'

My wife's new Dell laptop came with Vista. I helped her get some of it set up, but the basics of navigating around ("Where'd Windows Explorer go?") has proved increasingly frustrating to her. Not to mention the damnable prompts every time you try to run something ("Are you sure you want to run this?"). I'm about ready to wipe it and start over with my copy of WinXP Pro. At least her old laptop, now mine, I can install Ubuntu on and have a decent experience.

In related news, Microsoft has decided to extend XP's life by 6 months.
Despite Microsoft releasing Windows Vista more than nine months ago the adoption rate has not been as Microsoft hoped. Bowing further to pressure from OEMs and consumers, Microsoft has extended the life of Windows XP, which was due to end sale by OEMs on January 1 next year, to a new date of June 30. Asked if this was an indication of a strong demand for XP, a Microsoft representative sought to downplay the extension, stating 'We wouldn't term it strong, we would describe this as accommodating a certain element who needs more time.'

Pah, yeah right.