Friday, February 27, 2009

Random Weekly Tidbits of Information

My good friend Ed is on Facebook. Friend and fellow blogger Durango is also on Facebook. That Whited blogger guy is also. I like the idea of Facebook, but I am afraid that the megalomaniacs who run Facebook are trying to get everyone addicted to it so they can start charging $20/month after they get you to agree that everything you put on there belongs to them.

Anyway, Ed is away on business in some foreign land. The other day he posted on Facebook that he was eating little bananas. To which someone replied, "Post some pics" or something to that affect. People are always demanding pics on Facebook. It's irritating really. Anyway, Ed posted the above pic. It made me laugh out loud in my office full of co-workers which could have given away the fact I was perusing Facebook rather than working. I hope not. I don't know if you'll get as much joy from the picture as I did because you probably don't know Ed like I do and you didn't get to actually see the whole setup, but I thought I'd share anyway (just in case). I don't know who to give credit to for the picture. Maybe Ed doctored it himself.

I read in my history book last night that Alexander the Great was 32 years old when he died. You're not even allowed to run for president until you are 35.

My boss told me yesterday that some of our customers were considering using that Dragon Speech software that I always hear Durango going on about. My boss told me that after much evaluation they determined Dragon is not fast enough. Basically, you have to talk slowly for Dragon to keep up and they can type faster. I wonder if Durango has had better luck.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

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

I've gotten strange requests in the middle of the night from eastern countries to continue this list at all costs.

In honor of that request I bring you:
Loathsome Loads of Llama Loafs

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Taking Stuff For Granted

I have had, in the last three days, so many blog ideas that I've had to pace myself. Of course, in the process of pacing, I've also forgotten. It's akin to that old adage, "If it was that good, I'll think of it again." I think I misquoted that.
But, I never write anything down. I've decided to put a few of my topic ideas in this post so that I remember them for the future:
  • I want to write a post figuring out why the USA is great.
  • Recently, Ed gave me the idea of comparing Obama to methadone and Reagan to heroine. I think that it has potential. I've simplified.
  • Several things recently have made me contemplate the "It's not my fault" syndrome and how it relates to the current economy and music.
But today, I ask the question, "Why do we take stuff for granted?" Do you take things for granted? Or do you question?
I think of myself as a questioner. I question everything I see. But today someone brought to my attention something that I don't know that I've ever questioned.
We deal with it every day.
If I ask you why February has 28 days most of the time and 29 days every four years except when the year is divisible by 100, blah blah blah...
I'm sure I'd get a remarkable number of answers.
But take that one step further and ask why the calendar is split up into 12 months?
To make things simple, let's say that a calendar year is the length of time it takes for the earth to complete one revolution around the sun. We'll say it's 365.25. That's not exact, but it works for my example.
Why do we have 12 months with different amount of days? Why can't we just have 10 months with 36.525 days in each month? What would we call the months? Gotta keep the good ones and adjust your birthday accordingly. I never like June and July because they both start the same. Let's leave out June. September, October, November and December all end in "ber" so we can remove one. For the lovers of Christmas, Halloween, and Thanksgiving we'll remove September. Our new months will be January, February, March, April, May, July, August, October, November and December. I'll put you in charge of adjusting your birthday.
My birthday will now be February 8th. Let me know if you need any help. I might be able to write a java script to automatically adjust for you.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Capitalism, Nationalism, Socialism, Oh My!

My favorite friendly Singaporean Blogger recently brought to my attention that we Americans don't know what half of this stuff is or we define it differently in order to make us feel better. I tend to agree.

There is this big deal about Socialism going on right now. If we nationalize our banks we'll be one step closer to Socialism. If we nationalize health care we'll be one step closer to socialism. For some reason, socialism is a bad word. At what point do we quit "getting closer" and just admit that we are abandoning capitalism for socialism. Perhaps there is no line. It is just the way you look at it.

I've spent lots of time in Germany. I've spent 1 or 2 weeks in the Netherlands. The Netherlands is, I think, admittedly socialistic. Germany is leaning that way a lot more than the good old USA.

The main thing I missed about capitalism while over there was the ability to go to Wal-Mart at 3 AM. When you wake up with a stuffy nose and your medicine cabinets in the house are empty, you can cruise to the local 24-hour pharmacy and buy what you need. It's a bit harder to do that when socialism is involved. You also have a lot more choices in the USA. I had a very difficult time locating Maple Syrup in Germany. And Diet Dr Pepper? Forget about it.

The main thing I miss about socialism when I'm back home? Those bastards gets 6 weeks or more of vacation per year. I think the Dutch all take the month of August off work. It may be July. They work no more than 8 hours per day and 4 days per week. I don't do drugs, but the Netherlands was nice because I knew if I ever decided I wanted to, I could. Of course, it might be that on Sunday, the coffee shops would be closed. I'm sure they only work 8 hours per day and 4 days per week as well.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Why am I Sad?

This video made me happy. So I thought I'd share. Being happily married to a German woman who I met in Germany and got to know by making long distance calls to Germany at 3 cents a minute and even was able to video conference with... Sometimes, we forget.

Switching Gears and Software Jobs

Today, for personal enjoyment and with complete disregard for my masses of forgiving readers, I'm going to complain.

There is a lot of ignorance in the world when it comes to computers, the power of people to learn and what it means to be a software engineer.

When I was younger I applied for a job at a game company in Dallas (Ensemble Studios). I didn't beg for a job. I have kind of always dreamed of getting into a position where I could design games for a living, but I didn't let that into my application. I knew I could do it. I just felt sorry for them trying to get started and hiring the right people so I thought I'd send them a little note letting them know that I'd be happy to take a job over there and use my expert skills to catapult them to greatness. They responded back that I was lacking "game" experience, but if I could send them some demonstration of my work, they'd be glad to evaluate my qualifications. Their loss.

A couple of years ago Amazon flew me to Seattle to interview for their "Distributed Systems" department. Amazon apparently cruises for applications and calls the ones that look good. They called me three times and were impressed enough with my knowledge that they flew me out there for an interview and to tour the facilities. They've gotten a customer out of it. I was impressed with them. I came back home and immediately opened up an account with Even though I wasn't qualified for the position they had in mind they still took a chance with me. They flew me up there and I talked to them for about 6 hours. They said that I was one of the best interviews they had to turn down. Not in exactly those words, but close. I figure they had already made up their mind on someone else when I interviewed. Either that or I asked for too much money.

Last year I applied for a CTO job at Travelocity. That's out of my league experience wise, but I knew I could do it. I have no lack of confidence when it comes to technology jobs at software companies. Anything I've done in software has turned to gold. I feel sorry for these companies that peruse someone's application looking for a particular skill.

If you are lazy, you can skip that introduction and just start here!

The software guys that are good can do anything and learn anything and become experts in some stuff so fast that after one week you'll think they've been doing it all their lives. That's the kind of computer intuition I've been blessed with.

I can go sit down in front of a terminal with a book and 8 hours and start making whatever is controlling the terminal sing. Unfortunately, companies don't ever advertise for this. Today I was looking at a job and they said, "Experience with Postgres required". It was a project management position. So, I didn't apply. Their loss.

If companies want to hire good software/computer folks, then they have to change the way they write job postings and/or they have to change the way they interview. Once, about 10 years ago, I fudged my application a little because the company I was applying for "required ORB experience". I knew what ORB was an acronym for, but that was about it. They called me in for an interview. The first guy I talked to was just another nerd like me so I got him to open up to me about how they used ORBs in their development. By the time I got to the manager who had to make the hiring decisions I fed him full of good ORB knowledge based on the first nerd. They made me an offer.

I guess I'll have to go into business for myself.

Friday, February 20, 2009

When Capitalism Goes Bad

Today, ladies and gentlemen, I bring to you a topic that I know almost nothing about. It should be no different than the last 10 months.

Capitalism: an economic system based on private ownership of capital.

I think by private ownership it is opposed to government ownership. However, we supposedly, have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

If capitalism is private ownership based, then the stock market is very un-capitalistic. What does it mean by "private ownership"?

Isn't corporation ownership with a CEO in charge nothing more than a government? Hell, it's kin to an oligarchy. Where do you draw the line?

In America, capitalism has gone bad. Some people blame it on the government (which seems to be is tinged with a touch of undeniable irony). Capitalism is "survival of the richest".

The CEO's are getting $100+ million dollar bonuses. They have nothing to desire any more. If I'm the CEO of GM and I get a $50 million bonus, then it doesn't matter to me what happens after that. Who cares if 50,000 people lose their jobs. I've got my $50 million. I'm happy. Now, the government comes along and gives me $7 billion. Worst thing I have to fear is my guilty conscience which I'm not going to have. If I had a guilty conscience I wouldn't be in this position in the first place.

The government doesn't have a choice though. When an entity like GM threatens to "dissolve", the government sees unemployment spike, income tax losses and lots of unhappy Americans driving Corvettes without warranty. They prop up the company because the company has become too big to lose.

Capitalism only works well in a land where all the owners have a conscience. That land doesn't exist. The guys at the top don't care. With wealth comes power and a disregard for those not in your league.

What is the answer? Can you have one person run an organization without an exorbitant salary? They've talked briefly about limiting executive compensation. Others will argue that even this is heading towards socialism. Maybe socialism is not so bad.

What we all want is freedom. Unfortunately freedom from the government is easier to obtain than freedom from corporate America. Every American has the right to vote for their government representatives. We can vote them out. To be able to have a meaningful vote in corporate America, you have to have wealth. In order to have that kind of wealth you must set your conscience aside for greed.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Idea Thievery and the KISS Party

Most of my trivial blog material comes from other blogs or stuff I hear folks blathering about on the radio. Today is no different.

I think I've mentioned my new political party before. So far the membership is one. It's the KISS Party. I don't have any way for you to join. Thus the reason for my small membership. I'm sure if I supplied the means, the number of members would be in the millions.

Anyway, back to the blogs. I don't follow many blogs. I'll get too many ideas and then I'll explode. Today, one of the blogs I follow had me take a "Liberal Test". His blog is mentioned down on the right column somewhere with blogs that I follow. It's not the one from Singapore and it's not the one from Durango. I'm link lazy today. It's a new thing.

I took the Liberal Test, but I applied my whacky random experimentation to it so that it would be more interesting. When I was taking the test, I tried to make the answers based on the KISS Party Principle. Some of the questions are worded in such a way that it's hard to apply the KISS Party Principle, but I tried to take a hard line approach.

Oh. In case you were too lazy to read about the KISS Party, it's main principle is that "people should be allowed to do anything they want as long as they aren't hurting someone else."

I scored a 50% which I think was very good for the KISS Party founder. We're gonna ride the fence with the best of them. Take the test here.

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

Kantankerous Krumblings of Kangaroo Krap
Sorry. I told you last week it was bad. Have a nice day.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Random Irritants

Yesterday, I was starting my car to head for work and noticed the gas light was on. That irritated me.

I drove to the gas station to get gas. There were 4 pumps. 3 cars pulled up right before I arrived and took 3 of the pumps. The other pump had plastic over it indicating it was out of order. That irritated me.

One lady driving a big ol' truck couldn't decide what she wanted to do. She sat in her truck for 3 minutes with the engine idling before getting out to start the flow of gas. That irritated me.

One man driving a Suburban seemed quite efficient at getting the gas flow going, but then he went inside the store to shop. That irritated me.

A lady driving a shiny new red Mercedes was at the other pump. It looked like she was going to be first to finish, but she wasn't being efficient. I think she might have been working on her hair so that the pump wouldn't be scared of her or something. That irritated me.

The guy that went into the store finally came out, but his Suburban was still drinking so he checked it and quietly slipped back inside the vehicle. I guess it takes a while to fill up a 40 gallon tank. That irritated me.

The woman with the truck kept looking at me as if she coulnd't figure out what I was waiting for. That irritated me. I was giving her dirty looks.

But, the lady in the shiny new red Mercedes was the worst. She finally got into her car and started it. I was revving up the engine ready to go take her spot when she decided she needed to make a very important phone call. If looks could kill, she'd be dead.

Finally, at the end of 10 minutes of pure hell, they all left at the same time. The guy in the Suburban slightly ahead of the rest. I took his spot.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Self-Pacing My Life Away

Today I was told by someone that they were going to participate in a "self-paced" study program.

After much self-paced soul searching, it occurred to me that this is a marketing gimmick that means absolutely nothing.

Let's look at the definition of pace. There are lost of definitions, so I'll just take a simple one. "To set or regulate the rate of speed for".

If you are in a self-paced program that means you can learn as fast as you want? Or as slow as you want? Is there something magical about that? You can regulate your own speed? Is there any time that you don't?

When my boss tells me something needs to be done at the end of the week does that mean I am no longer self-paced? The pace is out of my control? I don't think so. I'm still self-paced. I may get it done in 4 hours. I may get it done in 3 days. It depends on my pace so it's still self-paced. He just imposed a deadline (which I may or may not keep depending on my pace).

What does it mean to be in a self-paced study program? Does that mean you pay $100 and get to spend as much time as you want learning a 200 page text. You come back after 4 years and tell them you finally finished?

I took a self-paced driver's education course once. At the end of each section it would put this timer up and say, "You have to spend 10 more minutes on this section before you move on to the next." I assume it was self paced because I could start the next section whenever I wanted. However, the state had already told me I had to complete the course in the next 30 days so it wasn't self-paced at all. It was just marketing.

It you take a 6 month long study program that is self paced then it's not. You've got 6 months to learn as much as you can. They probably charge you an extra fee and you can read the book as fast as you want. If you don't finish at the end of 6 months then you are just out of luck. Is self-paced only for the people that can go fast. As in, "it's self-paced so you can learn as fast as you want!"

Where is the difference? When I was in school I read ahead. When the math teacher said, "this assignment has to be done by tomorrow", I would try and get it done before the end of class because I didn't want to take it home. I was self-paced and I didn' t like homework.

If anyone sells you something that is "self-paced" and you buy into it, then you are a moron and you are probably one of those people that expects the government to take care of you.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Twilight, the Vampire Movie

My oldest daughter has been telling me that this is the best movie ever. She has actually read the books. It's the first time I've ever seen her actually sit down and read a book.

She likes the movie better than the book because the movie has Robert Pattinson in it. He's apparently very cute. He played the part of Cedric in the Harry Potter series. The first character to die. I guess he had to die so he could be a vampire.

It's an interesting story this Twilight thing. It's interesting for several reasons. First of all, I think it's cool that they all live in Washington and they live in the area of Washington that's rainy because they don't like sunlight. It's interesting because the main vampire family are vampires because a Medical Doctor (vampire) turned them into vampires to save them. How would you like to be on your deathbed, but given the option of living forever as a vampire?

It's also cool that they are self-described "vegetarians". They drink animal blood (never humans).

It would be really interesting to see this premise brought out in a non-teen-love story movie. Because even with all these cool ideas, they still have to have the teen love story which was very distracting. I had to avert my gaze every time someone got googly eyes.

But, it was good enough to make me want to read the books. Or at least the first one. Kudos to Stephanie Meyer for her imagination in creating this book and making it irritating enough that my teenage daughter would read it too.

My first vampire love story was Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore. I think I read it about 10 years ago. The girl is the vampire in that one.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Paying Taxes

My mom always told me that I don't have to go to church, I get to. She'd further say that there are only two things I have to do: die and pay taxes.

In this most recent bid to borrow ~$6k from each and every tax payer to stimulate the economy, I'm wondering what happens if we just quit paying taxes.

What if on March 1st, every American alive fixed their tax forms at work so that no taxes were removed. Those that don't work for someone can just quit paying taxes. I'd strongly advise getting any return you have coming before doing so.

What would happen? Would there be any bad consequences to you personally? And don't say the IRS would come throw you in prison. If no one paid their taxes, the IRS couldn't afford to do so. They are almost $11 trillion dollars in debt.

I can guarantee you it would stimulate my economic package. The 5% pay cut I just got would turn into a 20% pay increase. I'd definitely buy more. The state of Texas which relies on sales tax would benefit.

It seems like the only organizations that would detriment from such a move would be the central government and all the billionaires they are giving their stimulus to.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I'm Not Stupid, I'm an Aquarius

Some time ago I posted about the fact that I discovered that Dick Cheney was an Aquarius. It made me finally understand the man.

Today, I discovered that Sarah Palin is also an Aquarius. Her birthday was yesterday (2/11).

This leads me to the new T-Shirt I'm going to have made. It will say, "I'm not stupid, I'm an Aquarius". Let me know what size you need and I'll have one made for you. I need to get an idea of how many I need to order before I can price it. I might send one to Sarah and Dick for free. Maybe I'll get some publicity out of it.

Sorry, had to do some research. I'm thinking $15 a piece. What do you think of this design?

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

I really debated about throwing this whole weekly list into the toilet. The J's have always been difficult. I don't remember the original. Although I remember Jaguars. I think perhaps my dad changes it every time I ask him. He assumes with chaotic repetition eventually something funny will happen because it does most of the time. The K's are not much better, but we must continue, for eventually we get to the T's (the letter that started it all), the P's (one of my favorites) and the M's -- not necessarily in that order.

Juicy Jot of Jaguar Jowl Jelly

Strange Astrological Coincidences and Only Children

I think I mentioned before that Obama is left handed. I'm left handed too. I like left handed people.

The last left handed president we had was Clinton. Obama and Clinton are both left handed. They are both Leos. They are both only children. Well, depending on your definition of only children. I'll let you do your own research there. Suffice it to say that both of them had half-brothers or sisters. I think Bill's half brother was 10 years younger than him and Barack's half sister was 9 years younger. Another interesting thing comes along here. Both of their younger (half) siblings were also Leos.

You should go do some research on only child syndrome. You should go do some research on Leos. It's not all pretty. I'd write it all up for you but I'm afraid you'd just think I was being a brat.

Hillary Clinton is a Scorpio. Her predecessor in her current job, Condoleezza Rice, was also a Scorpio. How many secretaries of state have been Scorpios? That's not something I feel like researching at this juncture.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Personal Note with lots of Cool Opinions!

My blogger has been busted for about the last week. No, it's not a software problem. It's more of a personal thang. Durango has been harassing me about my grammar and spelling so I've decided to litter them throughout each post to give him a reason to read closely. You can play along too if you like. Actually, I'm not purposefully littering (not all the time). But, it'll be fun regardless.

There are certain people that come along in one's life at interesting points of time. It's like they appear out of the blue. You spend a weekend with them or maybe you spend a day here, a day there for a month or two and then they are gone. Not really gone as in dead, but they kind of fade from the front pages. You hear from then now and then, but it's never the same.

Nine years ago I was going through a divorce. After my separation and for some time after my divorce I was in the required rebound relationship. It wasn't really a healthy relationship, but at the same time, I think I needed it to prove to myself that there was someone (besides my ex-wife) who could tolerate my presence for any length of time. I'm a bit eccentric. I was married for 10 years before this event. I got married when I was 21 to a woman I'd been dating since I was 19. I had two kids and I thought the world, as I knew it, was over. Thus, the rebound.

Two people came along near the end of my rebound relationship. Well, one a couple months after. The first one was Durango. He, unwittingly, helped me end the rebound relationship. He also started trying to get me to get my haircut. I once had really long hair. We spent a lot of time out doing things I had never done before and we talked a lot.

Anyway, I attribute my haircut and my getting past my rebound to Durango (that's his stage name -- I can not give away his true identity on this blog). But, after my rebound and before I got my haircut I was doing the online dating thing. I believe and were the big ones at the time.

I put down on my profile that there was some people trying to get me to cut my hair. Of course, I put other stuff too as well as a picture. A girl (well woman -- she was older than me) sent me a message telling me that I looked good with long hair and I should basically do what makes me happy. If I want to keep my long hair the naysayers could just take a walk.

Can I go back to the woman/girl thing a bit? When I meet people they are either guys or men girls or women no matter how old they are. I hang out with guys that are 70 and men that are 27. It's a maturity thing. Some girls are 40, and some women are 22.

I met Lara when she was 33. She was born February 10, 1969 and I was born February 14, 1969. She was and still is very pretty. If it wasn't for her, I never would have met my wife. I had a bit of a self-esteem problem when I was 33. I had Durango telling me to cut my hair and I had women telling me to get lost. Lara helped me realize that there were eccentric beautiful women in the world who could put up and actually be attracted to my quirkiness. She was a confidence boost that I severely needed and she was really nice and insightful. She was going through some relationship woes at the time too. It was just one of those shared moments that had a lasting impact. I don't know how else to describe it.

So, these are two people I met by accident who made a profound impact in my life (Lara and Durango). I think Lara was actually Michelle or something when I first met her. It's part of the quirkiness that attracted me in the first place.

In 3 days, I'll turn 40. Since I turned 21, I've been wishing people would just forget about my birthday. I was born on Valentines Day and I've hated it for many years. So I don't know why I broadcast to the world when it is except maybe as a self-serving excuse as to why I posted this particular note.

On Saturday I'll turn 21 for the 19th time. And I wouldn't be married to my beautiful, angry, quirky, funny, German Frau if it wasn't for all the other quirky people I've met on the way here.

There's another guy who stuck around and didn't fade at all. If it wasn't for him I probably wouldn't have met Durango or Lara. He recently told me my 40's would be better than my 30's. I don't know if that's possible. We're going out on Friday. Maybe I'll see you around somewhere.

Monday, February 9, 2009

History and Me and Education

I've started reading "The Columbia History of the World".

Durango the Misplaced Washingtonian had some mean things to say.

All but one of my history teachers in Junior High and High School was "a football coach forced to teach History" in order to get through some kind of governmental red educational tape. We had to have coaches so our football teams could excel. Education be damned.

Ray Evans was the only history teacher that ever taught history. And, looking back on it, I remember his class more than any other in that era. His son later taught a damn good English class as well . I remember learning about poetry via Bob Dylan.

I'm enjoying my current history book. Unfortunately, Durango the Misplaced Washingtonian thought that it would help me change topics (I spend a lot of time rambling about religion). The latest chapter I read was about early India. Yes, I'm into the beginning of civilizations. It starts out with the beginning of the Universe, then the beginning of Earth, then the beginning of life, then the beginning of man, and then civilization.

Civilization starts out with Sumeria, then Egypt, and then India. They kind of go in order from which earliest evidence has been discovered particularly with regards to "written" evidence. People have been writing for a long time.

But, back to my topic. All these civilizations practiced religion in one form or another. It was a little early for the Bible. The intelligent and powerful men became leaders. They used religion to unite and sometimes frighten the sheeple. When a new leader took over Egypt, he'd say that his battle power was because of his dedication to the "sun god" and he'd give the sun god a name. Then, he'd have his writers write stories about the sun god and what would happen if you didn't offer him proper respect. Not very many people could read and write back then so writers were hard to come by. Only the rich and powerful could afford them. Soon the legend of the sun god would be true and all would fear and worship him.

This is why, I think, I don't do well in history. I read all of this stuff and my mind begins to wonder or wander. Egypt was a hard country to invade because of the geography of the area. All of their gods seems to deal with agriculture and war and power. You worshiped their gods and offered up sacrifices in order for something that this particular god offered.

India was different. India is in a bad location. It was invaded all the time. There was constant conflict. Eventually, the powerful rulers that survived more then 50 years started preaching tranquility. Thus, the birth of Buddhism and other religions of that nature. The smart rulers realized that if they used the sun god from Egypt it would cause strife. You need your people to be peaceful so that they can be ruled. Of course, this peaceful stuff only worked until the Huns discovered your peaceful little asses.

It got me to thinking how important religion is to all this empire building and tranquility. The most powerful nation to date was founded upon the principle of "freedom of religion". I may be overstepping things a bit there for dramatic purposes. Did the powerful and intelligent back then see that freedom of religion was the way to go in order to have an empire that would last? Or did they realize that having freedom of religion would attract the most intelligent from around the world? History is a lot of theories, but they don't really know exactly why someone did what they did. This kind of thing is almost never written down. They write the consequences, but never the why unless the why is obvious. You can't go back and read Napoleon's thoughts.

USA is predominantly Christian. It makes me wonder where that catch phrase comes from, "the meek shall inherit the earth". That little ditty right there promotes an empire with people that are humble and non rebellious. A world without religion might just be a scary place.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Only In The Belt Buckle

A local news anchor for a program called "Good Day" was semi-forced to apologize for this dress. It showed off too much cleavage.

Thus, the title. I've got nothing else to say. Go Megan!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

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

I almost forgot the letter I. I bet some of you wish I had, but I did not.

For the I's have it.

There is a lacking of disgust that starts with the letter I so it's a bit disappointing.

Icky Iguana Intestinal Ice

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Government Jobs

Today, I've decided that I want to work for the government.

So that I can increase my credentials and maybe get Obama's attention, I have decided to stop paying my taxes. Maybe he'll give me a cabinet position!

I Love All Aquarius

I have a funky history concerning astrology. For some reason, it's quite entertaining to me. I think it's one of my eccentric Aquarius quirks.

Anyway, today on the radio, they said that Dick Cheney had a birthday last Friday. I didn't know he was an Aquarius. Suddenly his stubborn insanity makes sense. I attributed it to being socially inept and perhaps a bit under qualified for his job. But now I know he was just an Aquarius.

We experiment. We play games (but only games that we understand and are willing participants). Sometimes I'll be at the airport and a couple will walk by having a heated discussion. I'll be sitting by myself and giggling because I've created a story (my game) about their discussion in my own little head and have made it quite entertaining.

Sometimes, I experiment with people. I'll say stuff that is random, but sentimental to see how they react. I'll say mean things to see how they react. Everything is doused with a bit of sarcasm because in my stubborn Aquarius mind, people that don't get sarcasm are not intelligent. You can't argue with me. I'm always right. I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.

Now I know that Dick shot that guy while hunting as an experiment. He was already being blasted by the media so he thought, "how low can I go?" I'll keep doing things and saying things just to see how much I can get the media to despise me. Is it possible that I am so powerful that no one will suspect me? It's all an experiment. Now that I understand Mr. Cheney, I love Mr. Cheney. He should have advertised earlier that he was an Aquarius.

Heating Up The Earth

I recently blogged about Al Gore and the fact that he might actually be a doofus.

I didn't get too many people agreeing with me. Someone who I love and adore politely corrected me.

So, I'm going to re-evaluate my position. Yes, we are adding to global warming. It wouldn't hurt anything to cut back. Al Gore still irritates me with his over dramatic political rhetoric that he spreads whilst flying around in his jet.

But, that's not why I'm here. I was presented an interesting article that talked about global warming in a fairly polite form. It's here. Part of it talked about new gases that could and probably will pose more of a threat to the climate than CO2. You should probably read it.

One of the new gases that they are saying they have seen is methane, but they don't know where it comes from. Therefore, I find this article rather amusing.

But my favorite article about man's impact on the climate is from a Time article written in 1974. I know that if you've gotten this far, you are probably tired of reading articles, but the 1974 article is the best. It goes to prove that the media is out to make things sound more severe than they are in order to sell papers. If you get the public all up in arms about something, then the papers that talk about that "something" will fly off the shelves. Or maybe we really are going to freeze to death.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Spyware and Malware and Viruses, Oh My!

I couple of years ago I built a computer for my daughter.

Last weekend she brought it back because, "it was running slow".

Those have become my least favorite words: "it's running slow". I have several computers at the house. None of them are technically slow. My oldest daughter complains that her computer is slow when is slow. I gave up trying to explain that it's the website, not the computer.

But, my youngest daughter's computer was running slow. It was infested. I'm still not entirely sure what all infested it and I'm not sure I killed it all. I gave her one of my other computers to use and I'll re-install this one from scratch.

But as a warning to my multitude of happy readers I am here to tell you not to download stuff off the Internet. I've said this before. Only download it if you trust the site you are downloading from. This malware infestation is coming because kids think they can get stuff for free. My daughter, just the other day, was wanting to watch Twilight. The Twilight movie is not out on DVD. It used to be at the theaters, but it has recently been pulled. It's in that "in between" stage. It's not showing at the regular theaters, it's not yet at the dollar theaters and so it's not on DVD. But, she wanted to watch it. So, she searched for it on the Internet. This is where the majority of people go wrong. There are good bargains and good deals on the Internet, but if it's not right, don't download it unless you really know what you are doing. "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

As an experiment, go to and do a search for Twilight or something to do with Twilight Movie and watching online. I guarantee you'll get some promising results. And when you go to the site, they'll say something like, "Watch the high definition version of Twilight now for free! All you have to do is install our extra special viewing software!". Then, if you are obsessed like my daughter was, you'll be clicking on "Download", "Install", "Run", "OK", "OK", "OK", and before you know it, your computer too will be "running slow".

I've got this computer at home that I'm about to install Windows 7 on. I downloaded the Beta yesterday and will probably install it today. But, just as an experiment and to learn some things, I decided to try and get all the Spyware, Malware and Viruses off the computer mentioned above.

It's not easy. I'm not convinced I was successful. The first think I noticed was the pop-ups. No matter which browser I used, I was getting popups. That was insane. I also noticed that XP Service Pack 3 had not been installed. I know when I built the computer, I had enabled "Automatic Updates". The Automatic Update feature had been turned off. I turned it back on. As soon as I turned it back on, something turned it back off.

I know a bit about computers so I went and looked at the registry. In the RUN entry there were some dll's getting loaded using rundll32. This is dangerous. Plus that were named odd things like, neguzon.dll or some such thing. There were at least 3 entries. I wrote them down. Then I looked at it again and one of the entries had changed. Apparently they had a random name generator that was generating random names and renaming or copying the dll and editing the registry entry. This was some pretty fancy stuff. So I downloaded "Spyware Terminator" from Snapfiles. I download all my stuff from snapfiles. They haven't infested any of my computers yet.

I downloaded Spyware Terminator because it had the best rating from Snapfiles. I was impressed with it. It immediately verified what I had already found. It has a real time scan that warned me when things were getting added to the registry without my permission and allowed me to block them. Unfortunately, after messing with it for about an hour, the only thing I can say for sure, is that it gave me lots and lots of information. When I asked it to quarantine or fix the stuff, it seemed to suffer defeat.

So, I downloaded the one a friend of mine at work talks fondly about. It's called Spybot Search and Destroy. I don't think it comes with a real time monitor. At least not in the free version. However, doing the system scan revealed all the bad stuff. When I told it to remove the bad stuff it said, "300 entries removed. 221 unable to remove. Can I remove on reboot". That's not the exact phraseology, but it's close. I told it that it could do whatever it needed to do.

What it does it put a bunch of commands in the RUNEX portion of the registry. The best that I can tell, these things get run before anything else. So it added 221 commands to the registry to get executed upon reboot. When I rebooted, it did its thing, but not without some funkiness. Some of the commands didn't work for some reason so I ended up having to push "OK" to the windows error message about 100 times.

When it was done, I tried the Automatic Updates again. It got further, but it was still being disabled. I don't know why. I tried to install the SP3 that I had downloaded earlier. Previously, it would try to install, but then give me some strange error about 1 megabyte of hard drive space and bail. After running the Spybot Search and Destroy I was able to install SP3. I'm still not sure all the bad stuff is gone, but it doesn't matter. Next is a grand erasing of the hard disk during the install of Windows 7. The beta expires sometime in August, but it'll be interesting.