Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Finally Fixed My HDMI Audio

In case you haven't heard, I'm a geek. I love gadgets. I bought myself a blu-ray player for Christmas.

Back at the end of November I put together a computer to watch streaming video on. Basically, it's a computer that sits in the living room next to my TV and streams movies from Netflix, Bones & House episodes from Fox, etc. If you can stream it, I watch it there. I even use it to listen to Pandora while showing slide shows. It's been quite handy.

I purposefully bought a motherboard that had HDMI output for video and audio. This makes it easier to select which device I want to watch using my new Onkyo SR606 receiver. It has 4 HDMI inputs and 1 HDMI output (for the TV).

I could not get the digital audio to work. I've been reading stuff on the Internet and trying different things for a month now and yesterday I finally got it working and I give 90% of the credit to the avs forum site. It's got an incredible amount of good information. Just search for your problem in detail and you'll find help. I actually found it by googling for "Onkyo 606 hdmi audio vista". I had to do a lot of reading, but I finally found the silver bullet.

The Solution

I read on the site where the display driver should be detecting your display device as HDMI. I opened my ATI Control Panel, went to advanced settings and sure enough. Mine was being detected as DVI.

Then I read how there is some communications going on between devices. The Onkyo Receiver should be telling the computer what it is. Onkyo is blaming ATI and ATI is blaming Onkyo. There are some interesting fixes involving messing with EDID settings in the registry. I chose to ignore these. Some other folks talked about changing which HDMI Input port the computer is plugged into. For my particular receiver, I should be using port 1. I was currently in port 4. This seems to be a problem with Onkyo. Why would 2 HDMI ports behave differently?

So, I plugged the computer into port 1 and rebooted. Miraculously, the ATI Con
trol Panel now showed my monitor as an HDMI device. I switched the audio settings over to HDMI and now I have sound and audio going over HDMI. Incredible! Just for a sanity check, I moved the HDMI back over the port 4. It continued to work until I rebooted the computer. Then, it quit again. There must be something mis-communicated during initialization on port 4.

I reprogrammed my receiver so that port 4 is now DVD and port 1 is now computer. All works well and I can stream audio/video from my computer digitally using one hdmi plug. I'm quite happy.

First image is my TV in the fireplace. I don't understand why all homes in Texas have fireplaces. It never gets cold enough long enough to enjoy them. I turned mine into an entertainment center. This might be future blog fodder.
2nd Image (on the left) is the back of my TV Computer. It's hard to see, but the big black cable directly above the green one is my HDMI cable. It runs to the TV. The green plug is actually analog audio that I was using up until now!
3rd Image (on the right) is back of my receiver. It was dark back there and I was lazy and the picture is blurry. I was trying to show the 4 HDMI Input ports. The white one is port 2. The one all the way to the left is port 4. I basically switched port 4 with the hdmi plug directly to the right of the white one.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Nicole Johnson, Former Miss America and Diabetes Advocate

I normally don't like berating individuals. But, I was at my parents and my mom was showing me this brochure from TCOYD (Taking Control of Your Diabetes). They were going to have a big shindig in Amarillo this year and she thought I might be interested. I was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes so long ago I don't remember the date, but I think it was January, 1980.

The big "whoopee" picture in the middle was of Nicole Johnson's luncheon. You can actually see the brochure here. Let me talk about the good stuff first.

Nicole has taken a lemon and made lemonade. She's written books and she speaks at these conferences to educate people on living with diabetes. More power to her. I got the picture from her website.

But this write up in the brochure irritates the heck out of me. Maybe the writers of the brochure snuck this stuff in without letting her read it. Or perhaps as well as having diabetes she also has drama queen syndrome (DQS).

It starts like this:
Nicole Johnson was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1993. A sophomore in college at the time, she was told she would never have a career, be a mother, or continue with her blossoming interest in pageants.

Now, I was diagnosed in 1980, she was diagnosed in 1993. I was 11, she was 19. No one ever told me never. What the heck? When I was 11 I wanted to be an astronaut. They told me that was unlikely, because the military doesn't accept diabetics, but they expected it to be cured soon. After I talked to the doctors for a while I started reading (they didn't have easily accessible Internet back in 1980). But, I read about how the pancreas works, what they think causes diabetes, how I was going to have to eat differently, how to count meal exchanges, what happens when you get too much insulin, what happens when you get too little and how I can expect to live a normal healthy life.

Never have a career? Get over yourself. I mean really. Never be a mother? It's true that pregnancy causes strain on the kidneys and diabetics have to be careful of things like that. But, who would tell someone that? You can adopt. And I'm sure with the right care and modern science, it's not as big as risk as it once was. Not be in pageants? You must be joking. Is she just fear mongering to sell tickets? Or did she leave out some important details? The wording implies that it's because she has diabetes. If I had read this kind of crap when I was diagnosed, I would have harpooned someone.

I'm sure she hopes millions of children diagnosed with Type I Diabetes will read her new book, "Living With Diabetes", but I hope they read my blog first. Maybe since she's so happy to write and share with the world she should interview and write a book about someone that is almost 92 years old and was diagnosed when they were 9. They'd probably have a happier outlook and have some really useful tips.


I've always thought of myself as a positive person. A "glass is half full" kind of guy. A lot of times when you look in the mirror, you apparently see through rose colored glasses.

In the past couple of years I've been called pessimistic and a control freak. Talking to people that have known me for a while, I've apparently always been a control freak. I used to be more subtle in my manipulative ways, but they were always there.

But, the pessimistic negativity was just recently brought to light. I've got all these ideas for starting businesses, software ideas, inventions, etc. I always shoot them down before I even start. I think it stems from being overly careful. I don't like failure. With little risk, I can try stuff all day long, but when you start talking about risk, I start thinking of why things will fail. Or reasons not to risk it.

I want to be filthy rich before I die. I don't care if I'm only filthy rich for a year or even a month. I just want to see what it's like. Perhaps I should start playing the Texas Lottery. It's minimum risk, but also minimum hope of success.

So, anyway, this starts sounding like New Year's resolution material. Obviously, you can't make a resolution to become rich. I can make a resolution to try. Or perhaps I could make a resolution to do something (like implement an idea) that may lead to riches. So, I did a quick search on resolutions to see if I could find some guiding light. I'm so afraid of risk, that I normally don't make resolutions.

Someone wrote these for Obama. He's already filthy rich. One of them is: I will let Sean Hannity and anyone else who wants to, regardless of political persuasion, buy me a beer.

Here are 5 "easy to keep" resolutions. Read "low risk". One of them is: Carve out 15 minutes for quiet “me” time. I think I can do that one! But why stop at 15?

Here is this one for entrepreneurs. This might be right up my filthy rich alley. I think I'll do number 7: Read more, learn more.

The guy that said my haircut was bad 7 or 8 years ago has mentioned I should read more history books.

Maybe I should just make a resolution to take more risks. Worst case, I won't have to make resolutions for 2010.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Alliterator Animal Sh*t List: The Letter 'C'

As most of you know I normally do these on Thursday, but since tomorrow is Christmas, I'm going to post the letter C a day early and withstand the temptation to use the word Christmas anywhere in the alliteration.

C's are not one of my favorites.

Chewy Cheesy Cheetah Chocolate Cheek Chunks

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Hard Hitting in the Lion City"

I normally don't have a lot of time to read other blogs. I spend too much time leveling my characters in Age of Conan.

I posted a while back about the possibility of a server merge in Age of Conan (something still "in progress") and an entity with the handle of "Ghost" posted a comment. Anytime someone leaves a comment I always go check their blog.

Ghost's blog was called "Hard Hitting in the Lion City". Apparently this entity lives in Singapore. At least if you believe everything you read in someone's profile. There is no picture for the profile and not a lot of information.

But anyway, today, I finally broke down and spent about 30 minutes perusing some of the posts. There are no pictures anywhere, but the topics go largely political with some comics and video games stuff thrown in for good measure.

Thus far, it's the closest match to what I do here. Except it's supposedly in Singapore and according to the dates this person has been doing it for a lot longer. It may just be that I get a kick out of reading an "outsider's" opinion of USA politics and also see some of the issues they are facing in their locale. It's always an interesting perspective. If you find one that's not by a professional journalist (read by millions), then the syntax may not be polished, but it adds a personal flare.

I don't have the readers to make a difference to Ghost's blog, I'm thinking I'll add it to my list. What do you folks think?

Extending XP Out of Vista Ignorance

Normally, I'm not a big supporter of big business. I buy AMD processors to keep Intel honest. I use Linux whenever possible to keep Microsoft honest. Competition leads to better prices. In my small way, I feel that I am feeding the competition by going with the underdogs whenever it is feasible to do so.

Having said that, I believe Microsoft is getting a really bad rap over Vista. Corporate America is not using it. Information Week reports that only about 10% of American businesses have made the switch and perhaps 4% of UK businesses.

What does this say? It says that 90% of American businesses and perhaps 96% of UK businesses are completely ignorant about Vista.

I've been running with Vista for over a year now. I've even made the jump to Vista 64 on one of my systems at home. Aside from a few hiccups when trying to do some pretty interesting customizations, it has been flawless. In my opinion, it's even better than XP. Once you get over the 2 hour learning curve, things are easier to get to with less stuttering. In other words, it's more intuitive and runs smoother.

It's kind of ironic at the company where I work (we also have not made the move to Vista and have a most aptly ignorant IT department), they are implementing all kinds of spyware/anitvirus software to cut down on the Internet traffic. Incidentally, most of these antivirus packages are more of a detriment than the actual viruses they supposedly protect you from. Vista has things built into it to protect from this kind of stuff. One of IT's complaints is about Vista's security features that are "built into the kernel". Apparently these features break some older software. I don't even feel the need to comment on that logic.

Microsoft has said they will continue to sell XP until July for certain vendors. It was set to cutoff at the end of January. They have a new Windows 7 coming out in 2010. That'll be about a 6 month window where the big PC manufacturers may not have the OS inventory to sell to their corporate clients with ignorant IT departments.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Restraining Reward Cards

I hate reward cards. I tell you this because I moved last summer and the closest pharmacy to my house is a CVS Pharmacy. The closest grocery store to my new house is a Krogers. The 2nd closest grocery store is a Tom Thumb. All of these places have something in common. They all offer you "special" savings and "rewards" if you have their "Reward Card"!

This is basically a card you display each time you buy something so that you can pay $2 for that gallon of milk instead of $5. Of course, you could go to Wal-Mart or Target and get it for $1.50 without a freaking card, but who wants to drive that far. And by using your card and spending over $100, you get a "reward". Normally, something mundane like 10 cents off per gallon on one tank of gas.

In my area we have a history of reward cards. It started with Tom Thumb I think. It was such a smashing success at Tom Thumb, that eventually Krogers followed suit. Krogers used to be my favorite grocery store. I quit going there when they introduced their card. I called their headquarters to voice my complaint. "We'll still have low prices, " they promised, "Even without the card." So, I went in one last time. When I saw the milk I used to buy for $2 a gallon was now $5 a gallon, I walked out and have never returned. I switched to Albertsons.

Albertsons and I had a good relationship for a long time. Then, one day, they introduced the card. The guy at their headquarters was a little more honest. "We did a survey," he explained, "And our customers said that they wanted a rewards card." The survey probably said, would you like to be rewarded with frequent flyer miles and gas discounts for shopping at our grocery store? Who, in their right mind, would say, no? Of course, they left out the part of the shopping card that goes along with it.

Albertsons was the first store to face a "Rewards Card" backlash. They've since abandoned the card.

CVS Pharmacy has a Rewards Card. I've only made the mistake of going in there once.

I honestly don't want some marketing guy at corporate headquarters for Tom Thumb monitoring my shopping habits and noting that I bought 2 six packs of beer and a Barbie Doll on Saturday night.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Shoe Throwing Crime

In case you've been living under a rock (which I didn't see you there if you were), some guy in Iraq threw his shoes at George.

I'm thinking this is pretty funny. But then I was reading about how much trouble this shoe thrower is in and I'm thinking, he should have aimed better and threw harder and accounted for elderly politician duck rate (EPDR).

So, anyway, to amuse myself I was checking to see how many people have been killed or seriously injured by a thrown shoe. I came across this:

On the night of the murder, Zassoukhina had yelled and kicked at Kiseljev's bedroom door for 40 minutes before he opened it and they started fighting.

Justice Dunford said that during the fight Kiseljev hit Zassoukhina over the head a number of times with the shoe's heel before realizing she was dead.

But this wasn't good enough for me, so I searched some more and found this:

A 200 pound woman in New York has been charged with manslaughter. She allegedly sat on her boyfriend and beat him to death with her size 12 high-heeled shoe. Anna Rhinehart, 40, was also charged with criminal possession of a weapon - her shoe.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Alliterator Animal Sh*t List: The Letter 'B'

I've been waiting for this moment now for 7 long days, but it has finally arrived. Today's letter is: "The Letter B". It's like Sesame Street! Here's last week's entry if you missed it.

I had a crazy guy who calls himself Ed chime in with an entry for the B list. I'll put the historical entry first and then follow up with Ed's. He didn't include a picture. Sometime probably in June I'll post all 26 alliterations. When there are choices I'll go with the ones with the most votes. Since millions of people come tracking through here daily it may be difficult at times for me to keep a running count.

But, without further nonsense we have:
Boundless Buckets of Buzzard Bowel Bullets

I couldn't find a good picture...

Ed's entry:
Boatloads of Baleful Brown Buffalo Butt Boogers
I may have to change Butt to Bowel. It seems like, although I will have to verify, that back when this list was written there were certain rules as to which words one could use. As in you can't use the word Sh*t. There might have been another rule regarding common synonyms for butt or ass. Generally, they should all be tame enough that a 1970's 6 year old could read them and not get the big eyes that say, "I'm not supposed to say that". It's all about getting kids to talk about animal feces without saying anything "naughty".

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Life's A Game

A hypothetical situation for you.

You are given an opportunity to play a game. The rules for the game were written over 2000 years ago in a language you don't understand. However, someone has translated the rules for you. Actually, they've been translated into English several different times in various forms of readability and credibility. There are thousands of interpretations of these rules.

In the last 2000 years or so a small percentage of people in the world have followed the rules correctly. The majority of people have either misinterpreted the rules or failed to even try and interpret the rules.

However, if you follow the rules correctly, you will get to live forever in peace and happiness with no worries. If you follow these rules incorrectly, you live forever in pain and torment. Forever is a long time. It's a huge risk. Do you play?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Financial Packages and Bailouts

A while ago I did a post about what I thought of the bailout.

I've changed my mind a little bit. Well, I haven't really changed my mind, but at some point you have to quit fighting the herd head on and just assume some things are going to happen no matter how hard you push.

We, the people, are bailing out huge companies to save the jobs of thousands. Unfortunately, the top execs of these companies still get to live a life that most people in the world can't even imagine. They take their 10 billion dollar loan and give themselves a 10 million dollar bonus for getting the loan. Or perhaps take their 10 million dollar bonus after saving the company money by laying off 20,000 employees.

I've decided that if we, the people, have to bail out these companies, then we, the people, should get stock in the companies we bail out.

If there are 200,000,000 taxpaying Americans and we gave the banking industry $700,000,000,000, then we should all be getting $3500 in these company's stocks. Merrill Lynch is around $10 per share. That's quite a few stocks. If the company turns around like they are supposed to with this great bail out plan then we can all cash in on it.

Now they are talking about bailing out the auto industry. General Motors is asking for about $20,000,000,000. That's only about $100 per taxpayer, but their stock is trading at about $4 per share right now. That means I should be getting 25 shares of GM stock if they get my "loan". If they really, "turn things around" like they are promising, then I should be able to sell those shares at some point. Earlier this year their stock was selling for around $30 per share. So, when they "recover" I can sell my stocks for $3250! It would almost pay for the banker bailout!

Of course, I'm simplifying. If they had to give up that much stock for the loan then their stock price would tumble. But, it doesn't sound to me like any of these companies are taking much risk.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Alliterator Animal Sh*t List: The Letter 'A'

I think every Thursday, I will try and entertain you with a list that my dad started some time ago. Feel free to help out as we go along. Some of them are better than others.

Basically you go down the alphabet and think of an animal and a creative descriptions of its shite.

The first one is:
Atrocious Amounts of Alligator Anal Algae

You get extra points for finding an almost equally disgusting picture.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Vista Running Slow and Locking Up Computer

I'm a freelance computer support guy. So, today, I am going to bore the lucky readers who are entertained by my mindless meanderings and try to help some people out.

My brother recently built a new system that I recommended. He also installed Vista 64.

It ran for about 2 weeks and then after an automatic update and some various software installs it started to "lock up". He'd have the hour glass (which, in Vista, looks more like the glowing spiraling circle of doom) and windows that were "not responding". He'd spent a couple of days cruising online forums trying to figure out what was wrong, but to no avail.

I have a theory that Windows Vista is a pretty nice operating system, but it's geared towards pre-built systems (like the Dells, HP's, Gateways, etc.). When you build a system yourself, you have to take the extra step to enforce Vista compliance (like chipset drivers).

Your custom built machine might have an NVIDIA chipset or a VIA chipset or an AMD chipset, etc. In my brother's case, it was NVIDIA. I told him to go to NVIDIA's website and download all the latest drivers for his chipset. Then, you do Windows Update from within Vista, but you tell it to "Check for Updates" (link in the upper left corner I believe). Instead of doing the express update, you tell it you want to pick. Generally, driver updates are considered "optional". There might be a way to change this. I'm not sure. Long story short, make sure you periodically go through your "optional" updates to make sure you don't need them.

After my brother did all of this, his Vista 64 system has been running fine.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Holiday Season Degrades Into Smudge

When I was a kid I liked Christmas. I think it started going down hill when I was 11. When I was 11, I had Type I Diabetes although I had not been diagnosed yet. It would be diagnosed in January.

I didn't enjoy that Christmas. My parents always overspent on us kids so the gifts were quite nice, but the memory that always haunts me is having to get up every hour to go to the bathroom. I'd try to time it so that my mom and dad had time to secretly arrange all the gifts without me "accidentally" seeing them while sneaking in to the rest room to relieve my strained bladder.

Then, a few days before Christmas 9 years ago, my ex-wife told me she wanted a divorce.

I think she was mad at me because I never put Christmas lights on the house. "It's too much trouble", I would tell her, "and I don't want to end up in the hospital after I fall." I have little dexterity and heights make me extremely nervous.

Ironically, her first Christmas with her new husband was spent paying hospital bills after he fell off the roof and broke his arm. I normally don't get joy from someone else's pain. But that made me smile.

Anyway, now Christmas time is just a time to avoid disappointing anyone. I don't expect any gifts. I'd feel better if no one bought me any. I always buy myself something. This year I bought myself a Blu-Ray player. I can hardly wait to unwrap it!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Confessions of a Sinner

I have a confession to make. I like Obama. I went to the Libertarian election watching party on election night. It was an interesting event.

I try not to watch commercials or listen to any of the rhetoric leading up to the election. I don't believe you can know a person based on what you see on TV. It's too greased up by the public relations people or skewed for optimum drama by the news.

I've never liked George W. Even when he was governor of Texas, I didn't like him. However, if he ever invited me to have dinner at his ranch, I'd probably be left with a different opinion. It would be something fun to blog about regardless.

I always liked Bill Clinton. I've lied once in my life that I can remember. And I did it because I was too ashamed to tell the truth. Getting a hummer in the oval office by Monica would be embarrassing for me to talk about or admit.

Maybe I am a Democrat disguised as a Libertarian. I've had Type I Diabetes for 27 years and socialized medicine scares the hell out of me. Losing my job and therefore my insurance also scares the hell out of me. I talked about my health care solution before though. I'll probably never live long enough to retire and yet I put a big chunk of money into Social Security every year. I should be able to use that money to cover my expenses for diabetes since diabetes will prevent me from retiring anyway.

But, I'm rambling again. Obama seems smart. I watched him with Bill O'Reilly and he was impressive. Is it because he's taken speech lessons and knows how to communicate in a seemingly ligitimate, caring fashion? Can he really do the things he has said he will do? Can he go through government spending line by line and really eliminate wasteful spending?

I've decided I'm going to like him. I've tried really hard not to. But, it makes me happier when I decide I like him so I like him. I can only be negative for so long. If he fails on the budget cut backs and messes up my health care, it'll make the disappointment all the more severe. Is there such a thing as a Democratic leaning Libertarian?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Terrorism in India

I've come to see my parents for Thanksgiving. I often do this. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

My parents have, I think 4 TV's in this little house and they are all locked onto Fox News. I don't normally watch TV and I definitely don't like watching the news. Of course, after seeing how well received Durango's TV blogs are, I've about decided I'm in the wrong line of randomness.

So, anyway, when I woke up this morning, the media was all over this thing that happened in India where these cowardly boys came on shore and took over several hotels to kill innocent people.

This kind of stuff irritates me so much I lose any sense of rational thought that I pretend to have. The only reason I can think of that they do things like this is for media attention and we are proud to provide it. And lots of it! It doesn't accomplish anything else.

I think, they should quit calling these guys Jihadists or Terrorists or whatever the name of the day is. I try to run a rated PG blog, but in my opinion they should start calling them CDAMFWHSTMTFD. It's kind of hard to pronounce. It stands for Cowardly Dumb-Ass Mother F'ers Who Have Spent Too Much Time F'ing Donkeys.

I mean these guys go into these hotels and try to take out all British and Americans? Do they have something against speaking English? I assume they had to speak English to get their point across because you don't meet too many American's that can speak CDAMFWHSTMTFDish.

I'd almost be willing to watch the news if I could find a channel that would never use the term Terrorists. Even if they could just swap it out with "Stupid asses" or "Monkey boys". Let's see how that works. From here:

Mumbai, Nov 27: Even as the Army and NSG commandos gained an upper hand at the Taj, fresh firing broke out between the security forces and monkey boys at Nariman house and two blasts were heard from inside.
One injured monkey boy is still holding out at the Taj, with almost all guests having been rescued.
The remaining monkey boy is reported to be injured and is trading fire with the security forces trying to bring him down.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Naked, Rich and Famous by McDonalds

So, there is the married couple from Arkansas who have become famous seemingly overnight and it seems they may even become rich. It only took a little nudity and stupidity to get there. I have so many opinions of this story I don't know where to start. I'm all atwitter.

If you haven't heard, you can read it here, or you can just look at my witty and opinionated summary here.

Basically, the couple seemed to have a steamy relationship. She was sending him cool naked pictures of herself in various poses to his cell phone at work. This is pretty cool. I don't recommend people sending naked pictures via email or over the air to cell phones because no telling how many people will get to see them en route, but still. If your wife loves you enough to send cool naked pictures of herself to you while you are at work. More power to ya.

In my wicked imagination, I see him ordering a Big Mac at McDonald's and sitting down to eat
when she sends him the best one yet! Then, in all the excitement and mayhem that ensues, he leaves his stuff at the table and races home to see if his wife is still in the exciting pose. They make mad passionate love before he realizes that he left his phone at McDonald's.

He quickly washes his hands and calls the McDonald's where some horned up teen answers the phone and affirms that they have indeed found the man's phone and "will keep it safe" for his impending return to fetch it.

Of course, the teen had already notified his friends who had notified their friends who had finally found someone with a cool website and they had bluetoothed the information to someones phone so as to keep it for future perusal.

The guy posted them to his website for the world to see. According to the story, he also posted the cell phone number from whence the pictures were taken.

It wasn't long before the man had his phone and was receiving text messages and phone calls commenting on the photos. I'm guessing his wife was pretty hot!

For some reason this was embarrassing to them so they had to change jobs and move to a new location and this is where the story takes a strange twist. You see, up until now, I had never heard this story. I never knew their names, "Philip Sherman and Tina Sherman", and I never knew their shame. Up until now this was a local story about a local couple that were treated pretty poorly by one or more horned up teens.

So, this embarrassed couple, after changing phone numbers, jobs and houses, decides to sue McDonald's. Did they not realize that this would make the story national? Now every man and his dog is Googling for these pictures. They've sued for $3,000,000 over something about invasion of privacy, loss of income and general turmoil. Heck, this story is probably worldwide. There are probably guys in Beijing trying to break through the Chinese crackdown on the Internet so they can see the photos.

I wonder if they realize how many people running the computer systems for whichever wireless provider they use have seen these pictures and shared them with their friends and family? You can't send emails. You can't send text messages and not realize that any number of people can see it. It only takes one to put it on the Internet.

My wife is really hot. She's the sexiest woman I've ever met. And I've got some good pictures. I don't store them on my phone and I don't send them via email. But, hey, if McDonald's starts handing out $3,000,000 for stuff like this, I'm going to go get some extra cell phones. I've got some ground to cover. I'll blanket the area with lost cell phones at various stores. Eventually someone will find one and put the pictures on the Internet! It'll be the easiest $3,000,000 ever!!!

Radio Stations and Spreading the Ignorance

Today, I was listening to the radio as I often do on my way to work when they asked that extra special trivia question that you hear once or twice a year. "Who was the first President to be born in the USA?"

The answer of course is Martin Van Buren. He was born December 5, 1782 in Kinderhook New York. Interestingly, the President after him was not born in the USA.

This of course, got the DJ's talking ignorantly about the constitution and about how it says in there that all Presidents must be born in the USA so how was it possible that up until Van Buren, they weren't and the one after Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, also was not. So, they ignorantly conjectured that these guys had been born in Europe somewhere and had come to the USA prior to the creation of the USA.

All the Presidents of the USA were born in the USA or in a territory that would eventually become part of the USA. William Henry Harrison was born February 9, 1773 in Charles City County, Colony of Virginia. George Washington was born February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Colony of Virginia, British America.

Anyway, I don't know why this is interesting to me. I think I would have been a lot better at history if they would have personolized it rather than made it all about dates and number. I like people. I like knowing when they were born and where they lived. I've been reading lots of historical fiction lately. It gives history a personality. I did a blog a while back about birthdays and Presidents.

I also got hit a few times with a civics quiz I was asked to take. I finally broke down and took it. Is civics based on history or math or common sense? Some of the questions were obviously historical. Others seem rather mathematical or logical. The historical ones I surprisingly got mostly right. The mathematical and logical ones I missed. I assume the correct answers were based on history rather than logic. I scored a 77 . I'm not telling anyone else. I'd be the lowest scoring Libertarian. Very embarassing.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What Every Fantasy Addict Wants in the Next MMO

I'm still playing AoC (Age of Conan).  In fact, after this weeks episode of old age and kidney stone debilitation, I've been playing it more than ever.

And because I've been playing it more than ever, I've come up with several ideas on how to make a "next generation" game.  I'd like to share these ideas with you now, in the comfort of your cozy chair, in front of the display of choice.

First of all, kudos to the guys that made and are updating Age of Conan.  The game has a common sense quality that I really like.  In most MMO's you are always just craving to "win".  It's why I normally develop burn out.  You get tired of "grinding" to the end game.  Age of Conan has a good story and it's presented in a very good way.  Just this week I was playing and I realized that two people can mine at the same time.  WoW (World of Warcraft) doesn't allow you to do this.  When you are grouping with a buddy, you have to take turns "hitting it".

But, when I play MMO's, I am all about exploring.  A lot of times you'll come to something you want to explore but can't because you are unable to survive solo.  How come MMO's can't give you a tavern where you can go recruit NPC's (non-player characters) to come with you?  Age of Conan already does this to some extent.  There is an NPC that comes to help with one of the villa quests.  But, I'd like to be able to go and pick and choose 1 or more NPC's to accompany me on my travels.  Granted, you wouldn't get all the experience, but at least you'd get to see everything.

This situation would be doubly nice if you could use characters you've already created.  What if I could borrow my other characters to go with me into a dungeon?  Then they'd all get experience.  I would be in control of the group.

Another thing that has irritated me with all MMO's and I don't know why someone hasn't already fixed it is the idea of a server in its current incarnation.  It would be nice if I could buy a game that would allow me to make a set number of characters.  Each of those characters could have a "mode".  A mode would be something like play style (PvP, culture PvP, PvE, RP PVE, RP PVP, etc.).  PvP is Player vs Player.  PvE is Player vs Environment.  RP is roleplaying.  A player brought up in a PvE environment can't switch over to a PvP environment.  It's not fair to the hardcore PvP'ers.

Each time I log in with my character, I could choose which world I wanted to play on based on population and mode.  Do I want to play on a sparsely populated world (because I just want to do some solo questing) or do I want to play highly populated world because I want to see lots of people.  However, all the "worlds" would have access to all the other worlds for things like auctions, group searches and battlegrounds.

Someone on another world could see that you are looking for a group and invite you to their world for purposes of the group.  It would make the necessity for server merges and population problems go completely away.  Sure there would be people with the same name, but in this day and age, there are so many options for a character that they will still all be unique.  When you are looking for a character named Arturus, you'll see "Arturus the Cimmerian Ranger", "Arturus the Aquilonian Assassin", etc.  Most of the time it doesn't matter anyway.  Quit enforcing the unique name policy.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pain, Suffering and Failure to Blog

My wife is out of town. She left for Germany on Monday. In celebration of living by myself for two weeks I decided to go out with my buddy who has a knack for getting me into trouble. Or maybe a knack for convincing me to get myself into trouble.

Tuesday morning I was sick. I didn't drink that much, but I somehow convinced myself that I over-indulged. By 9:00 AM, I had decided that my Monday night beer had just coincidentally coincided with the onset of a 24 hour virus. By 3 PM I was sure of it.

Tuesday night, I woke up twice during the middle of the night for a bathroom break. I never do this. The second time I woke up, I was alarmed. Perhaps I had poisoned myself on Monday night and it was a slow acting poison that would eventually kill me.

Wednesday at 6 AM, my back hurt so bad I could no longer sleep. There was nothing I could do to ease the pain. I sat in a hot tub. I stretched. I massaged. You name it, I tried it. I even took some Ibuprofen.

At 7 AM, I called the local hospital to see if they could send someone by to pick me up as I needed to go to the hospital, but I was unable to drive. They told me to call 911. "It's not an emergency", I complained. "I just need to go to the hospital, but I can't drive."

"Sorry," she said, "We don't have a pick-up service."

At 7:15 AM, I called 911. The 911 operator was very kind. I asked him if they could keep it discreet because I didn't want all of my neighbors asking me questions.

By 7:20, there was a firetruck and an ambulance in front of my house with sirens blaring and full light show in progress. I must admit it was fast. I don't know why they felt they needed to come with everything they had.

I convinced the ambulance folks that I wasn't dying. I just needed to go to the hospital and I couldn't drive. So, they hooked me up with an IV and asked me which hospital I wanted to go to. I had 2 choices. I chose the Baylor Hospital in Grapevine. It was a very good choice.

By 7:45 I was in the emergency room at the Baylor Hospital. Everyone there was very friendly. They even called me back today (Thursday) to see if I was doing okay.

I'm on Vicodin which is probably why I'm rambling. I have a 4mm kidney stone which doesn't sound like much, but I wouldn't wish it upon anyone. The feeling a 4mm stone makes while it meanders through your urinary tract is not at all pleasant.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Problem with Health Care is Insurance

It seems that the answer to "everyone must have health care" is to make sure everyone is insured. I'd argue that insurance is the problem.

In a country as rich as ours, no one should have to suffer. A person who has a heart attack shouldn't have the stress of paying for it after it's over (depending on the circumstances). A person who does crack until their heart explodes probably shouldn't be getting handouts, but how do you prove that. We're innocent until proven guilty.

If your plan is that everyone should have health care and you implement that plan with Medicare (insurance), then you are already in the wrong playing field.

The first thing you do is eliminate malpractice insurance. This is the insurance all doctors get to cover their asses in case they get sued. If a doctor is sued for malpractice then the fine should be appropriate. After that, it should be tried as a criminal case. If the doctor is proven to be practicing medicine and is incompetent, then they should be made to quit practicing medicine and perhaps serve some hard time. They shouldn't have insurance so that they can keep blundering along. As a patient, I could choose to go to a doctor's office where they had a million dollar pay out policy. "If we mess up your diagnosis we'll give you $500!". "If we cut off the wrong appendage, we'll give you $1,000,000!". Why would you go anywhere else?

If you are diagnosed with an illness that is terminal. And by terminal, I mean, it'll kill you if it's not treated. Then, your treatment should be free. Perhaps, your treatment can come out of your own social security. You've been paying for your "retirement benefits" since you started digging ditches at the age of 16. Now, you've been told, you probably won't live past the age of 70 and you'll have to take shots of insulin every day. Well, let them dip into their social security benefits to cover the necessary drugs to let them live. They won't get to retire anyway.

Our current health insurance system is like paying an extra $600 per month for your car so you can get the oil and brakes changed for free. If you have a cold and you think your doctor can help you recover quicker, is it too much to expect to pay $100 at the office? It probably wouldn't be that much after you do away with malpractice insurance, health insurance and medicare. The doctor's offices have to cover their costs as well.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Franklin, Marijuana, Privacy & Freedom

Benjamin Franklin once said, “They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security”.

But, Gar says, “How much privacy would you give up for more freedom? .

Currently, certain drugs, commonly known as, “fun drugs” are illegal.

Would it be worth it, to you, to be able to smoke pot freely if the government implanted a tracking device in the fatty tissue of your buttocks?

What if the government agreed to get out of the marriage business in exchange for you accepting this tracking device?

What if the government agreed to cut your taxes by 50% in exchange for this tracking device?

What if the government agreed that it could cut its expenditures by 75% in exchange for every American having this device?

I don’t give a rat’s ass about privacy.  The government can watch me spank my monkey all day long for all I care.  Who needs privacy?

However, personal freedom is very important to me.  It irritates me that I only live once and there are certain things that the government tells me I can’t do.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Carnival Cruise: The Excursions

The cruise started at 4 PM on Day 1. Day 2 was what they called an "ocean day" or "fun at sea" day. Day 3 was the first excursion. Is was into Cozumel. Cozumel had the most options as far as "paid excursions". It seems you can pay money, either ahead of time, on the boat, or once on shore to go on planned excursions to safely navigate the tourist trap that is Cozumel.

The excursions start at about $50 and go up from there. They have horse back riding, Segway riding, playing with dolphins, submarines, etc. I didn't purchase any excursions so I can't give you more details. I know some of them were rather extravagant and sounded interesting albeit a bit overpriced. I think it was cheaper if you didn't prepay at the ship and paid the hosts directly. I know the Submarine excursion was $91 per person at the shop and $99 per person on board the ship.

Anyway, enough about excursions. We just decided to go navigate the well oiled tourist trap that was Cozumel. I don't think I ever saw Cozumel. By the time I walked a mile towards the city I had been accosted so many times by cab drivers, people trying to sell me scooters, people trying to rent me cars, people trying to sell me shirts, people trying to sell me hats, and people trying to sell me hotel tours that I had had enough. In hindsight, I probably should have rented a cab into downtown Cozumel. However, other people on board with us said that downtown was more of a tourist trap than the area where we were at. It almost embarrasses you to be from the USA.

We went back to the beach and found a bar serving Mexican food and snacked and drank and watched other people from the boat do line dancing. I'm all about watching people. I love talking to new people. When I am lucky enough to find an inteligent person, it's doubly good. At the bar I found that one of the waiters (I should mention that anyone that can speak two or more languages gets kudos in my book) was into different beers. I got him to recommend me some Mexican beers. He brought me some that were rather tasty. Some I had had before. Dos Equis Amber, Negra Modelo are beers I have had many times. He brought me one called Victoria which was quite good but that I had never had.

You have to be back on the ship or it leaves without you. They give a few calls on the intercom to see if anyone knows where you are, but I think you only get 15 minutes or so. I'm not sure. I bet there is a booming comuter airline business that can shoot you over to Progresso so you can meet your ship the next day. The ship leaves Cozumel at 6 or so and the next morning you are at Progresso.

I liked Progresso a lot better which is proof positive that you should never ask people you work with about ports of fun. Everyone here at work said that Cozumel was a lot better and they wished (for the most part) that they had stayed on board during the Progresso phase.The reason I liked Progresso is because it was less of a tourist trap. It still was, but it wasn't as "Americanized". People were more genuine. They still tried to sell you everything they had, but you could tell they were people and not tourist traps. I had fun talking to some of them. A lady kept trying to braid and bead my wife's hair which my wife adamantly refused, but I turned the tables and asked the lady why she was only asking the women. At the end, I paid her $6 to braid and bead my hair. Only one strand. She said she would do all of my hair for $20 but I wasn't feeling that adventurous.

In Progresso, the bars had an "all you can drink" special for $35. I assume this was all you can drink before the ship leaves. I didn't participate in that although it was tempting. I got one of the waiters at the beach bar in Progresso to share with me some very good tequila. That was before I got the hair beaded.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cruising and Jammin'

I still have another installment or two of my Carnival Cruise experience.

Today, I got my semi-regular newsletter from Boneypony.

It seems they are joining many other musicians on a cruise from 2/28 to 3/7. If there is any way I can get on this ship I will. I don't know all of the musicians, but I know enough of them.

I've got some John Hiatt stuff and he'll be there. I've got lots and lots of Shawn Mullin's stuff and he'll be there. I have all of Bonepony's stuff and they'll be there. I've got some Patty Griffin stuff and she'll be there. It would be like the best concert in the world on a cruise ship.

Of course, somehow I am finding out about it late. They started doing a layaway type thing back before August and final payments are due in December. Prices start at around $800 per person. I wonder if my wife would let me go by myself.

The cruise is put on by something called Cayamo. I haven't read yet whether it's an annual thing or what. Maybe I could start saving up and go on the 2010 cruise. I wonder if they'd have the same artists. If you decide to go and have lots of money to invite a partying friend, send me a note!

Monday, November 10, 2008

New World Order

A friend of mine, from Seattle*, sent me this cartoon today.  I thought it was laugh out loud funny.  I assume most people will find it insulting in one way or another.

I've already shared it, and people, that know me, are offended by it.  It makes me question my sense of humor.  Does stuff like this irritate more people or make more people laugh?  And how many of those people laugh for the wrong reason?  Is there a wrong reason to laugh?

I have no idea why the text turned blue.  I choose to leave it.

* I chose to designate simply because there are others from Seattle.  I know it makes no sense.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Forgiveness and Blame

Today is the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht.  I don't really know why we strive so hard to remember dates like this except maybe to remind us of past travesties so that maybe, just maybe, nothing like it will happen again.

I'm not a historian and I obviously don't know all the events leading up to November 9th, 1938.  You can read the history on the link above.  We have a habit of blaming "people" for stuff like this.  It creates racism in the worst kind of way.  Because this particular travesty happened in Germany, Germans should be punished.   This way of thinking is bad, bad, bad.  You could argue that this type of thinking is what lead up to the travesty in the first place.  Because they were blaming the Jewish people for something that maybe one Jew did or maybe one Jew was blamed for, or maybe just instigated by someone controlling the media.

After the past 7 years, we have to be particularly careful of this kind of attitude.  There is a growing hatred and suspicion regarding people of middle-eastern descent or Islam religion.  There are persons who claim to be Islamic that have done horrible things, but we can't blame the people.  People, for the most part, are good regardless of their background.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Germans & Obama

I know, I know. I said no more politics. But, a friend of mine from Germany sent me this email today and for some reason I liked what he had to say. So, I'm going to have to just paste his email here (corrected for grammatical errors). His English is better than my German, but I correct a little anyway. Also add some links for references to previous articles. And some self-gratifying comments of course.

Good web site! (that's a quote)

To make it clear, I am one of these 78%, but i didn't hate Bush or the Republicans. I think, bringing back a hope to the American people, is worth more than every other political success like a friendly Iraq (which will not happen within the next 50 years). All power is from the people and not from the government or military or money (money is just an advantage for 1% of the people). The strength is a united folk and having trust in this. That's the message from Obama, I think. That's the reason I would have voted for him. Hope makes people think about new goals and not hide behind expired success-stories. Which is my own, my European, view of USA.

Hope is a necessary step, but Obama needs to remember the Americans that hope for a "change" doesn't reach any goals . The tools to reach his goals will hurt (the remaining 99% of the people with less money) and will take time. I hope for you guys you will give him the time.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Buddha Clause

I have some history to share. I used to be very scared to ask questions. For some reason, I had a psychological hang up about proving my ignorance. If I didn't ask questions then no one knew I was ignorant. I figure if I could listen for long enough the answers would eventually come to me.

This worked out fine for a long time. When I was 31 I went to a psychiatrist and she demanded that during my work week I ask stupid questions. Even if I knew the answer, I was supposed to ask the question. I think she was trying to prove to me that people aren't as judgmental as I thought they were. I don't know exactly, but it worked.

However, I turned it into a game. I'd try to get strange answers. Sometimes, you ask some completely stupid sounding, off the wall questions and you get funny answers. I encourage you all to try it sometime.

Today, I was having lunch at my favorite Vietnamese food restaurant in this area and they were preparing for Christmas. They already had their Christmas tree out and lit and everything. Behind the counter there was a green looking Buddha toting a bag on a stick sort of thing slung over his shoulder.

So, I went up to the girl behind the counter and said, "So, what is he supposed to be? Like a Buddha Clause or something?"

She said, "No, that's just Buddha."

I said, "But he's got the gift bag. Is he bringing gifts? Does Buddha do the whole gift thing?"

She said, "Buddha brings everything."

This is my life lesson for all of you today. Even when things seem to be at their worst remember that "Buddha brings everything". It's great!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Barack Obama, Germany and Libertarians

Libertarian Party
I went to a Libertarian election watching party last night. It was entertaining. I think there were 50+ people there. All the tables were full. I saw a friend of mine from a company I used to work at about 8 years ago. He had been roped into coming to the party while I came on my own volition.

My wife and I stayed until about 9:30. There were several Libertarian candidates that had over 5% of the vote. I saw some that had as much as 18%. That doesn't sound like much, and I can in no way profess to know much about politics in Texas, but I think that keeps up on the ballot in 2010.

I should make a side note here that I plan to make this my last political post.

Then, as I was leaving, I saw why the Libertarian party (in its current incarnation) will never be electable. There was one of the candidates standing at the bar, talking very loudly to the bartender about politics. He was charged up and she was egging him on. He was so passionate about it that it reminded me why I laugh at religious zealots as I slam the door. As far as I know she was bored and started talking to this handsome guy at the bar and now she thinks that Libertarians are akin to those religions that go door to door trying to push their idea of heaven down your throat. Or maybe an Amway salesman that won't leave you alone. I tried briefly to set things right, but he wouldn't let me talk. He was so loud and overpowering that it was ridiculous. I didn't even like him and he was spouting stuff that I mostly agreed with. Maybe he drank too much. I don't know, but that kind of crap doesn't work. And, as I gave up and walked away, I realized that this is the way Libertarians are perceived. I started going back through various discussions with my friends and I realize that they all told me the same thing. Libertarians are too extreme. They are anarchists. They are insane. This guy at the bar was propagating this image very well.
He'll be our next president. The first time I heard him speak was his acceptance speech. Did I mention I don't watch TV? He's a good speaker. Bill Clinton was also a good speaker. Ronald Reagan was also a good speaker. I don't remember enjoying hearing the Bushes speak.

After his speech, the phone rang. My grandparents-in-law in Germany were listening too. It's kind of interesting because they don't speak English so they were getting the translated monotone version of the speech, but my grandmother was in tears. I think Germany loves Barack more than we (Americans) do. Someone was telling me that 78% of Germans would have voted for Barack. I know when I was was there back in 2003 every German I met couldn't wait to explain to me how much they hated Bush.

In closing, I hope and pray that Barack will be a good President. If he accomplishes half of the things that he sets out to do, I will call it a success (well, depending on which half). But, people have such high hopes for him and the higher they are, the harder they fall. He seems like a smart man. I've never gotten to personally meet any President. I hate that I have to rely on the media to acquaint me with them. I'd like to be able to meet the President for dinner and drinks and get to know who they really are. I'd rather have drinks with Clinton than Bush though. Although I suspect George would come off more personable than he is portrayed by the media.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Carnival Cruise: In The Gulf

I really couldn't decide how I wanted to progress with my Carnival Cruise experience.  It was a 5 day cruise so  I could have gone day by day.  There were interesting events happening on a daily basis.  But, I decided to categorize it in a more random fashion.  It makes me happy.

I'll tell you about the boat part.  You're on the boat in the Gulf of Mexico for 3 out of 5 days.  The other 2 days you
are at Mexican ports.  So, this part of the story involves being on the boat.

You see lots of people doing various things to keep from getting sick on the boat.  My wife was popping Dramamine to try and stay happy.  I must say that I loved the boat.  It rocked me to sleep at night and gave me the perfect excuse for stumbling down the walkway after having too much to drink.

I did Kamikaze Karaoke.  This is some strange event where these two big burly scrawny nerd looking guys come out into the crowd and harass people who have drunk too much to come up and sing a song (conveniently set up next door to the margarita booth).  Then when you get up there, they ask you what kind of music you like and play something completely popular, but completely opposite of the type of music you like.  They made me sing, "I Will Survive".  My wife told me later that they could not have picked a worse song for me to sing.  She's always very supportive.

You start drinking mixed drinks almost as soon as you get out of bed.  I swear you are eating scrambled eggs and toast and the waitresses are coming around asking if you would like the mixed drink of the day.  Alcohol is about the only consumable product that costs extra.  I swear they water it down because when you get up at 10 AM and have the Mexican Momma, followed by a few Stella Artois and then end up with a wholesome helping of Margarita Madness, you'd think there would be more sickness and drunkenness.  I saw no nudity the entire cruise.  With all the alcohol, I would have expected some amount of drunken flashing.

They also have comedians.  Actually, I believe only one at a time.  They must switch comedians at the ports.  The first comedian did a family show and then the next night an "adult only" show.  He was funny, but his family show was actually funnier than his adult show which didn't seem quite right.  Then, after Progresso, there was another comedian.  We only saw his adult show.  I don't know that he did a "family" show.  I liked his show better than the first one, but I was into the cruise by then.  It was the last night of the cruise.  I was laughing at all kinds of things to make up for missing out on the nude drunkenness that I felt sure we'd witness.

They have bingo.  I think they said that there were nearly 2000 people on board and over 400 children.  I didn't see too many children so their "Camp Carnival" must be real good.  Either that or they secretly spike their drinks with Benadryl.  I didn't participate in Bingo or Camp Carnival.

There were lots of nationalities on board.  The number 77 pops into mind.  I can hear the Italian Captain saying with his Italian accent that, "There are 77 nationalities on board this ship".  I know my favorite two waitresses were Russian.  We went to a piano bar every night and listened to a German play the piano and sing various piano type songs.  I don't remember enjoying him too much.  There was a tall woman from South Africa at the Information Booth.  My wife kept making me go talk to her.  I don't know why.

Our room was in the very back of the boat on the upper deck. If you look at the picture we were always looking out one of those windows on the left.

I spent a lot of time looking at this:

Anyway, the boat was my favorite part.  Next time I'm going to take 14 day cruise across the Atlantic.  My wife has already told me I have to go by myself.

Regions of the USA

I think we should divide up the USA.  We've corrupted this world as a solitary empire for long enough!  We'll divide the USA into 3 distinct regions (pardon the graphic).  We'll create the region that wants the government to take care of them.  We'll call it the Democratic Region.  We'll create the region that wants God to take care of them.  We'll call that the Republican Region.  We'll create the region that can take care of themselves.  We'll call that the American Region.  Bet you thought I'd say the Libertarian Region.  That's what you get for thinking.

Age of Conan Server Merger

Ha!  I'm done with politics.  I read an interesting article about all these bloggers shifting to politics during election season because they get lots of search hits on their blogs.  I refuse to be a part of that.

I'll run for President next time around.  After I get the government contract to implement my online voting system.  I'm going to change the world.  Or at least the USA.

Oh yeah, the server merger.  I'm still playing Age of Conan.  I find that I get a lot of people searching for MMO comparisons.  Why they end up on my blog is a testament to the randomness of Google searches!

Age of Conan has, for some reason, tanked as far as a player base.  I normally don't like a lot of people on the servers I am playing on.  It's distracting because they tend to get in the way.  But, in other situations you needs players to group with.  Sometimes groups make the game more fun.  I went for about 2 weeks without playing at all and when I got back all the groups I had been playing with had dissolved.  Sad but true.

I'm not exactly sure why this happened.  Perhaps because World of Warcraft is coming out with an expansion in a couple of weeks and everyone has decided to shift back to that populated universe.  It would be nice if Blizzard would come out with a mature type game like Age of Conan.  Somehow, Blizzard has a gift for creating games that everyone and their dogs play.  And World of Warcraft is easy enough for Rover to enjoy.

This post is so random I'm sure I've scattered off my handful of readers that have stuck with me through all my gyrations.

Anyway, the idea of a server merger is to merge together two or more lightly populated servers to make one server that is more populated thus earning the acronym MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online).  I wonder if there is a minimum number of players required to earn that title.  I wish I could have a MMB (Massively Multireader Blog).  I don't know though.  That might cause too much stress.  I don't want to disappoint anyone.

Or maybe I do.  Sometimes I think I should post something really off the wall just to see if anyone is reading.  I used to think I was posting something really off the wall only to discover I was being quite tame.

If I don't post for a couple of weeks does that make my reader base decline similar to an MMO?  I was gone from Age of Conan for a couple of weeks and when I got back the player base was down significantly.  Was it my fault?  If they ask nicely, I'll help them with the server merge.  I am quite the systems architect and problem solver extraordinaire.