Monday, June 29, 2009

Scientific Discovery and Cloud Computing

I'm thinking I might need to create another blog (or two).

Originally, I started doing this blog mainly for spouting off random opinions about things that tend to bug me. If you are hugely patient and maybe slightly insane you can go back to when I first started and most of my postings are political opinions mixed with some subtle and not so subtle bashing of the religious industry.

Occasionally, I'd throw in something regarding computers. I spend a lot of time with computers and I tend to solve a lot of problems because of it. I'm always surprised at how ignorant people are about computers.

I've also seen that themed blogs seem to do better than non-themed blogs. Random blogs are attractively challenged. People follow blogs because they are interested in the topic. Random blogs have no topic.

I've been watching SciQ Sunday sporadically on the Science Channel. It always gives me interesting ideas that I could blather on about in a blog. But I normally ignore the temptation until it goes away. I think last week or maybe the week before last they were talking about "Cloud Computing" which I've heard of before.

Instead of writing up a small post about it, it got me to thinking about how much I could write about computers. So maybe I need to create a blog dedicated to computers. It might lead into my authoring career. But I can't think of anyone that admits to reading this blog who would be the least bit entertained by a technical computer blog.

Then, yesterday, SciQ had a show on about (and I am paraphrasing big time) wavering interdimensional membranes and how they can be used to explain the unexplained. Without reading up on it and realizing that I don't have a physics degree, there were some oddities about the whole SciQ explanation that I found unpalatable. Here again, I thought it would be interesting to explore my ignorance in a public forum, but I decided it was not fit for my random blog. My random blog, although called random, has probably disintegrated into more of a random opinionated brain candy forum.I said something last week about advertising my ignorance by way of sharing something I've learned that probably everyone and their dog already knows. A couple of weeks ago, it was brought to my attention that hen eggs are not fertilized. I always thought there was a rooster and a hen. The rooster does his business and the hen lays eggs which undisturbed will turn into chickens. It took me until I was an old man to find out that hens lay eggs with or without a rooster. But only eggs after being fertilized by a rooster can become chickens. It's quite sad. I remember being scared of cracking open an egg for fear of finding half of a chicken.

Friday, June 26, 2009

My Irritation Knows No Bounds

Because my creativity is lacking the motivation to come up with anything blogworthy, I've decided to just write about my day. It's an attempt to irritate my plethora of readers.

Today, I woke up tired. I hate waking up tired, but I seem to do it a lot lately. I think it has to do with my wife's new job and the strange hours. It may also have something to do with the new monotony that has invaded my daily routine. That was redundant. Just in case you weren't paying attention.

Work was dull. I had to interview someone. I wasn't impressed. Sometimes I think I am too hard on interviewees. I expect intelligent semi-perfection and I hardly ever see it. The ability to think would probably be adequate. It's alarming how many people lack the ability to think. Even college graduates can give you text book answers to questions, but when you ask them a question that requires creative thought, they fall flat. Book smarts may be adequate to get a degree, but they are not adequate to pass one of my interviews.

After work, my always entertaining buddy called me and asked me to join him for happy hour. I met him at Buffalo Wild Wings. We had some entertaining conversation and some good drinks. He was worried that when his girlfriend arrived, it might dampen the fun. In hindsight, I think he was preparing me for his ineptitude and trying to pass the buck.

She was all for going out. He, on the other hand, was one big whiny baby. He forced us to go back to his house where he said he needed to take a nap. His girlfriend and I made plans to go to an improv comedy club in Fort Worth. He said he ate too much and needed to take a nap before heading out. I could see it was a ploy for him to be a low qualified party pooper, but I gave him the benefit of a doubt and allowed him to take a 30 minute nap.

He finally said, "You guys can go without me." This doesn't seem like such a big deal, but for some reason it was very disheartening. It's the first time we had been out in several weeks. It was like the end of an era. I feel that things will never be the same. We didn't go without him.

While he was sleeping, this camp where my oldest daughter is hiding out kept calling me. Well, they called me twice. The first time they called, it was to ask if they could give her Tamiflu because one of the kids at camp had come down with Type A Flu. Type A flu is a big category. Swine Flu is Type A. It's the most common and most serious.

After my buddy had been passed out for about 15 minutes they called me again to let me know my daughter was running a temp of 102 and they figured she had the flu. This time they were calling to administer Tamiflu not as a precautionary measure but as a treatment. They also advised me that I needed to come pick her up.

I don't really know where she's at. I know it's some place called Skyranch but her mom took her there. She was scheduled to go pick her up tomorrow morning anyway. I guess now she'll be making a midnight rendezvous. They said they tried to call her first and couldn't get her on the phone and my number was listed as backup. Luckily, I guess, my youngest daughter had her phone so I was able to get in touch with the woman.

It was stressful. A comedy club would have been a nice respite.

As it is now, I am at home writing on this boring blog while my youngest daughter watches TV. She would rather come stay with me than ride with her mom to flu camp. Smart girl.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Idiot Psychiatrist Update

Last year (well May of 2008), I wrote this post.

I wrote it just after having to visit my daughter in the emergency room after she was prescribed medication from a supposed "ADD specialist" by the name of Dr Neil Jacobson.

I don't care how smart you are or how smart you think you are, you can't prescribe a 13 year old girl drugs of any kind after a 15 minute consultation. Actually, you probably shouldn't be prescribing anyone drugs after a 15 minute consultation unless it's a harmless antibiotic or pain killer.

Since the incident with Neil Jacobson I have talked to other psychiatrists. One woman told me that she never prescribes drugs on the first visit and the first visit will last a minimum of one hour so she can get to know her patients.

I think I missed my opportunity to take Neil Jacobson to small claims court. I don't know that it would have been worth it. It might have been an interesting experience though. In my optimistic mind, I feel I did everyone a public service via my blog posting.

People who are interested in getting references about Neil Jacobson can go to www.google.com and do a search for Dr Neil Jacobson and my blog posting almost always comes on the first page. Bing, not so much. I even put up a one star review on maps.google.com.

To this day I still get random visitors form the DFW area that are searching for references for the good doctor. I also still get an occasional comment which brings me to the reason for this post. I have anonymous confirmation of my suspicions.

Here it is:
Just found this post. Wish I would have seen it before I visited Dr. Jacobson. Visited him twice now and am not going back. He randomly prescribed me meds without really listening to my issues at all. I tried it and it made my problems worse, so I went back and he prescribed me two more meds. He said to try one and if it didn't work, try the other one. One of the meds is for a condition that I don't even have. All this guy does is write scrips in hopes that he will hit the right one eventually.
I'm really frustrated that guys like this have the power to give medical advise and drugs so irresponsibly. Dr. Jacobson gets my douchebag of the month award.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Weeklies are Over

My Alliteration list officially ended this week and I've been thinking of something to follow it up with.

I kind of wanted to come up with something that was finite (like the alphabet list). It should have a specific end in site.

However, the only thing that keeps coming to me is a weekly edition of something I learned recently that you'd think I should have known many many years ago. Sadly, it appears to be an infinite list.

Like Durango is fond of mentioning that I did not know that the city of Fort Worth used to be an actual fort. Perhaps I didn't care. Or it just never occurred to me to ask the questions. But when Durango and I were pedaling from the stockyards to downtown Fort Worth, he enlightened me after I probably finally asked the stupid question like, "What is this doing here?"

I used to be scared of showing my ignorance. It made for a very quiet Gar. I never said anything or asked any questions for fear of seeming ignorant. If I didn't know something I'd just sit back and listen quietly figuring the answer would eventually come to me. I had to pay a counselor to learn that it's okay to ask questions.

Maybe every Friday or Saturday I could come up with a list of seemingly obvious things I learned this week. I've had some real winners over the past few weeks that would amuse some. I can use them as filler for my smart weeks. Like the chickens.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

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

I left out the V's and no one told me. I must tell you that it makes me a bit disheartened that no one brought this blatant omission to my attention.


Vomitous Vat of Vociferous Viper Vile

Alliterator Animal Sh*t List: The Index

The index, as promised last week...
Atrocious Amounts of Alligator Anal Algae
Boatloads of Baleful Brown Buffalo Butt Boogers
Boundless Buckets of Buzzard Bowel Bullets
Chewy Cheesy Cheetah Chocolate Cheek Chunks
Dark Dank Dingy Dump of Dog Diarrhea
Elegant Elephant Entrails Earp
Freshly Fermented Fish Fecal Farts
Great Grimy Gooey Gobs of Greasy Grungy Gorilla Grunt
Humongous Hunks of Hyena Hiney Hockey
Icky Iguana Intestinal Ice
Juicy Jot of Jaguar Jowl Jelly
Kantankerous Krumblings of Kangaroo Krap
Loathsome Loads of Llama Loafs
Massive Mound of Musty Moose Manure
Nauseatingly Nasty Newt Nuggets
Overwhelming Oodles of Odiferous Orangutan Offal
Powerfully Pungent Penguin Poo-Poo Pellets
Quite Queasy Quail Quap
Randomly Ricocheting Rancid Rhinoceros Rectum Rounds
Soft Stinky Stallion Stool
Tough Tiny Turkey Turds
Unsavory Undulating Urchin Under Uglies
Vomitous Vat of Vociferous Viper Vile
Wicked Woozy Walrus Waste Wafers
Sh*t
Xylocarpous Xenopus Xenocrystic Xylan
Yesterdays Yellowing Yowling Yak Yuk
Zangy Zesty Zebra Zingers

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Insurance Might Be the Root of All Evil

We've all heard that the love of money is the root of all evil. I believe that's in the Bible somewhere, but I'm going to skip that lesson today.

I've opined before that I think religion might be the root of all evil. Well, actually here, here and here. I guess I opined that a lot.

Today I discuss insurance. You could argue that religion is nothing more than insurance against eternal death (or something). Seems like a stretch unless you write it down and think about it.

Obama and his congress have started talking in earnest about the health care system. I've even heard reports that we'll see stuff as early as this year. They might even roll out a new health care system before Microsoft rolls out Windows 7!

I like the idea of the government taking a bit more of an active role in health care. Like it or not it is one of those things that we are all going to need at one time or another. I have Type I Diabetes and therefore my medical bills are a lot higher than the average Joe. Health insurance for me simply levels the financial playing field a bit. I'm the one that uses the portion of Joe's monthly insurance dues that he pays even though he's not sick (yet).

However, I hate what insurance stands for. Insurance has become a tool for living dangerously. It has removed the necessity of thinking ahead in our day to day lives. We can act rashly without fear of financial consequences.

Not all insurance is evil. Insurance against unavoidable disasters is necessary. You never know when a storm is going to blow your roof off or Mr. Dumbass is going to break into your house and alleviate you of all your possessions. However, if we couldn't get insurance against theft, it would probably encourage us to lock up the doors and perhaps buy an alarm system.

I believe health insurance is a bad idea. In fact, I believe it's a very bad idea. No one wants to get sick. All health insurance does is make it a little easier to eat that blood thickening cheeseburger or smoke that lung polluting cigarette. If you didn't have health insurance you'd strive to stay healthy.

They should pass a law that says you can only get insurance for something you physically possess. You can get insurance on your house. You can get insurance on your car. But health insurance? This is insurance on what? Shouldn't your creator insure your body? Maybe we should quit giving money to religions until we get a better warranty.

However, if you get sick, you should be able to go to the doctor without worrying about breaking the bank. The government should supply guaranteed loans like student loans to pay for these things at a low interest rate. This would require you to shop around. When you have a cold, you'll go to the clinic that's offering the special, "unclog your nose for $5". You'll go in, they'll check your vitals, unclog your nose and charge you $5.

Would it not be more economical for the government to make sure everyone has some form of access to a health facility without having to worry about finances than by giving everyone health insurance? Why do they keep harping on "affordable health insurance for everyone". Maybe I am taking the term "insurance" more literal than what they a meaning.

Purely from an economics point of view when you buy health insurance you are paying for the insurance and you are paying for the health care. Everyone is going to need health care anyway so why do we add the extra layer. Just pay for the health care.

You still have to keep the health care market open though so you somehow have to make the medical profession compete to keep costs down. There are several ways to do this. Imagine if the most the government would allow a doctor to charge for cold type symptoms was $100 for the evaluation. Would you go to the doctor where you have to wait in line at their clinic or call the doctor that makes house calls?

Malpractice Insurance is an abomination. The first thing I'd do if I were to overhaul the health care industry would be to do away with malpractice insurance. The gives unsympathetic doctors the ability to do whatever they want without fear of financial consequences.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Swine Flu Epidemic

Epidemic: Spreading rapidly and extensively by infection and affecting many individuals in an area or a population at the same time.

I have yet to meet anyone that knows anyone that has the Swine Flu and I live in Texas. You know, that area just above Mexico.

When does the Word Health Organization decide to do things like name something epidemic or pandemic or whatever they name it? Do they do it when they need governmental money and donations? As in, "We need to find the scary sounding virus of the day so we can fill our coffers."

I read somewhere that there have been about 29,000 cases of Swine Flu reported in the last 2 months. Of that, I believe that 144 or so have died. So WHO has named it an epidemic.

In 2005, 1.1 million people died from diabetes. That adds up to about 91,000 per month. That's not "infections" that's "deaths".

Let's put our money where the crisis is.

Of course, with an aging population it's probably better for the governments of the world to let nature takes it's course and cull the population a bit. It would certainly cut down on retirement benefits.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Abspewtulating Neologisms


My new word today concerns what we will call the United States of America in about 2 years.

It will be the Obamanation.

Thanks. I'll be here all week.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

North Texas Storms vs West Texas Storms

Unfortunately, I've lived in Texas all my life. Except for a 3 month stint in Chicago and some equally short stints in Germany, I've always hung my hat in Texas.

Some of my fondest memories of my childhood are standing outside with my dad and watching the storms roll in. West Texas is pretty much a desert so you can see for miles in any direction. I remember tales of watching a tornado hit Monahans from Kermit (about 20 miles away).

When you live in the desert, you can taste an approaching storm. The dry arid air takes on a wet almost sweet quality. The approaching storm moistens the air. In West Texas it also briefly kills the permeating oil smell.

Given that history, I have a fondness for thunderstorms. I can barely imagine living in a place where I don't look forward to the first thunderstorm of the year. Rolling thunder is like white noise that allows you to sleep peacefully.

Last night in the DFW zone, it was ridiculous! I stole the picture from Durango. He posted a series and made a video because when he can't sleep he blogs. Being spawned from the Pacific Northwest he probably doesn't have the same unbridled affection for thunderstorms that I do. Here is his video. Keep in mind that I live a short distance west of Lewisville and a little north of Hebron while listening to the television in the background. The recording actually starts a bit after the storm past over Flowr Mound.



It all started at about 6:30 PM. I was upstairs playing games on my computer when I decided that my computer speakers had acquired a defect. They were making some kind of whining cyclical pulsing sound. I paused the game. I looked under the desk. It was at this point that I realized the noise was coming from outside. The town of Flower Mound had their sirens at full volume.

I walked outside. In the DFW zones, you can't see the storm clouds approaching. There are too many buildings and trees. When I went outside last night, holding onto my Dos Equis Amber for comfort qualities, the tree tops immediately started swirling and the sky was taking on a greenish gray quality. This is never a good sign.

I went back inside and arranged my bean bags in my closet under the stairs. I found my little LED flashlight that is waterproof and you can wind it up for power. It's a handy little flashlight. It's very bright and I can wear it around my neck.

I turned on the TV and they had the weather tools in full force tracking this storm through Grapevine. Helicopters were in the air giving me live shots of the approaching storms. The weatherman was watching the video trying to point out potential funnel clouds. The last thing he said before the lights went out was, "There are flashes of light around the Grapevine Mills mall indicating electrical lines getting knocked out. This could either be from high winds or a possible tornado."

I went to my closet for 5 minutes.

When the electricity came back on, I turned back on the TV and they were saying that the front of the storm was approaching Coppell (our eastern neighbors). Flower Mound had survived the tornado producing clouds.

I went back upstairs and continued playing my game. The thunder continued to roll in its relaxing symphonic fashion. Fun was had by all.

I went to bed at about midnight. At 3 AM, the orchestra started practicing Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture complete with canons in my bedroom. No one can sleep though this. It all started with a lightning strike that exploded an oak tree across the street. If I remember I'll try and take a picture when I get home from work. It's kind of surreal.

By 5 AM the thunder had taken on a quieter symphony once more and I began to drift, but I had to get up and go to work at 8. The sounds of the rolling thunder at 5 was literally musical. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

It's now just after 11 AM and another thunderstorm with 60 mile per hour wind just rolled through. Like I said, I enjoy Texas thunderstorms, but this is ridiculous!

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

This is the end, my only friend, the end. Next week I'll post an Index so you can easily click back to your favorite one. Everyone has favorites.

Zangy Zesty Zebra Zingers

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Creating New Words

I make up words a lot. I discovered today that new words are called Neologisms. You have to go to Wikipedia to get a more detailed synopsis.

My favorite is when something tastes really good, it is leckerlicious. Lecker is German for delicious.

Anyway, today at work, we were taking a break and decided that there needed to be a word for the process of creating a new word. What do you call it when you put sounds together to create a new word? Is there already a word for it?

We created the word abspewtulate. To abspewtulate is to create a new word.

I was just in the act of abspewtulation when the tornado sirens went off and the wind started blowing and the electricity gave out. Luckily my computer and Internet are on UPS. I have 30 minutes to finish writing this post!

I briefly had to go downstairs and hide out with my bean bags in the room my kids like to call, "The Harry Potter Closet". It's the closet under the stairs.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Moving to a New House and Updating Information

I moved last year (around August). As most of you know, when you change addresses there are a whole myriad of things that must be done. You have to send out change of address cards. You have to update billing addresses. You have to turn on utilities. You have to turn off utilities. You have to get insurance. You have to get lawn service. You have to get phone numbers. And on and on and on.

Well, in today's world, sometimes you also have to update email addresses. At my old house I had Charter for my ISP. I also used Charter as my main email service. gar@charter.net was my email address. I bought a domain. I've had the domain for about 5 years.

In all the hustle and bustle I forgot to tell the domain that I was moving. At my new house I have Verizon instead of Charter. When I moved I decided that I didn't like having to change my email address so I purchased a semi-permanent email address by purchasing the hosted domain (digigar.com). I just changed all of my forwards from my old (now temporarily defunct domain) to my new digigar.com domain.

The old domain (which expired and I'm not going to tell you what it was), sent my expiration notice to gar@charter.net which I never saw. Now I am not getting 75% of my emails. It expired on June 5. It's amazing how fast services gets turned off in the digital world that we live in. It's also amazing how much you miss these services when they are gone.

I've now sent off lots of emails and raised lots of alarms (and paid some money) to get my old domain turned back on! Here's hoping for success.

Why do I tell you all this? Because if you sent me an email since June 5th, I might not have received it. You may have to try and try again. It will be rectified.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

UP at the Cowboy's Stadium

I've never been a fan of people getting kicked out of their houses for commercial expansion. A home is where the heart is and sometimes no amount of money can relocate someone's heart.

I recently took the kids to watch the new movie from Disney's PIXAR called "UP". I'll try really hard not to spoil anything for you. In fact, I'll stick with the first couple of scenes.

This man and his wife build a house and live there for their entire marriage. When the "Jerry Jones" comes to build his new commercial empire, the guy refuse to sell his house. It has too many memories of his wife. In fact, his house has become his wife after she died.

The "Jerry Jones" in the movie is younger and wears sunglasses a lot and doesn't say much. I think Durango said something about Jerry's speaking ability just recently.

At one point they are building their empire all around the guy's house. He's politely ignoring the noise when a guy working for "Jerry" comes and offers him 3 times the previous price. But the old man can't seem to put a price on the memory of his wife. He finally tells the negotiator that "Jerry" can have his house... when he's dead.

I was living in Bedford when the Northeast Mall of Hurst decided to kick people out of their houses to expand the mall. I thought that was a travesty. I remember one old man going through his house showing all the murals his children had painted on the walls over the years. That was before they destroyed it for the new Northeast Mall parking garage.

But I hate football stadiums. We have over 100 football stadiums in the DFW zone. I think football has played a role in messing up the school systems. Even the higher education school systems whore themselves out for the commercial profits of football. It's definitely not worth destroying someone's heart and memories for a bigger stadium. Especially when there's open farm land within an hour.

If you're willing to pay $100 for a ticket and $14 for a hot dog, I think you can afford to drive an an extra hour for the game.

But, in all honesty, is this a Texas thing? Or is it just a Tarrant County thing?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Something Positive

There is an online comic called Something Positive. Ed has commented several times with links to some of the comics posted there. I just recently started getting my daily dose of it.

I read through their bios and it seems that one of them has some background in the DFW zone that Durango loves so much.

Today's comic was about Euless. I pasted the comic here. I'll probably get in trouble for it, but it was the only way I could think of to show people what great fun it was since all of my readers are lazy and they won't click on any of the links unless encouraged to do so by a graphic. I encourage all of you to go sign up for their RSS feed for your daily dose of sarcasm.

The bottom of this particular strip reads: "Get to know Tarrant County...And hide from it".

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

After last week's fun with X, I was tempted to go hit the dictionary line by line in search of fun Y words. I opted out. I decided to go with the original from 1985.

Yesterdays Yellowing Yowling Yak Yuk

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

All Your Eggs Belong to US

What is that old idiom, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket"? Meaning, I assume, that if you drop the one basket, you will lose all your eggs.

And yet millions of Americans are forced into doing this very thing. Besides the self employed, how many people have more than one job that can pay their monthly expenses?

Today I was listening to the GM executives make all their apologies leading up to the mass layoffs that are sure to continue as GM goes through bankruptcy proceedings.

And it occurred to me. Why are employees forced to put all their eggs in one basket? Couldn't an auto worker spend one week at a GM plant and the next week at a Ford plant?

People get bored of doing the same thing every day anyway. What if you could have two careers. What if you could be an Astronomer at the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis for one week and the next week be a store manager at the McDonald's in Alpine. If either job evaporates, you will have the other one to fall back on while you patiently look for another.

Granted companies would have to hire and train twice as many people, but at about the same monthly rate. Instead of paying 1 person $100k/year they'd pay 2 people $50k/year. If done right, it would be less risk to the company. After all, they don't want to put too many eggs in one basket either. I can't tell you how many times one of my employers warned me about documentation in case I got hit by a bus.

Theoretically, it would help the economy because if we lived like this we'd never hit bottom. We'd possibly hit 50% for a spell, but it would be much more difficult to hit zero. As they say, "one is too close to none".