Sunday, January 31, 2010

Avatar: A Review in Preview

image I think everyone and their dog has seen this movie twice.

I saw it for the first time tonight. I saw it at the IMAX theater in Colleyville at the Colleyville Cinema + Grille. The folks there were really friendly. I guess it’s been a while since I’ve been to a theater where the staff seemed to give a damn. That’s my ad for the Colleyville Cinema + Grill…”they give a damn”. I should go into marketing.

I like the little floating jellyfish things the best. The fact that he swatted them like flies at first. He didn’t realize that were cute little spirits sent to color him special.

The movie was, in a nutshell, about the evil human military with only a few good nuts left against the crazy wacky indigenous blue monkeys and the insane crazy scientists out to save them. Maybe that was too many nuts in one plot.

But, instead of trying to be textbook about it, let me tell you what I really thought. The graphics were amazing from the very start. I didn’t like the military guys. I suspect that it was intended to be that way so I followed along.

Did I mention I really like the floating jellyfish spirit things?

The horses with 6 legs reminded me of something out of The Nutcracker or something. They almost seemed out of place even in the fantastical setting.

I liked that they were one with nature. I mean it was a fantasy. I’m thinking about growing a long braided pony tail to see if I can use it to commune with my sick tree out front. Really.

image I liked that they had fangs and growled. The howling I can live without. It just seemed goofy. Growling good, howling bad.

But my most favorite part of the movie? The clothes (or lack of). I’d be willing toimage try my hand at spending more time outdoors if we could all be skinny, athletic and dress like that. It would be hell on the adult entertainment industry, but I don’t think it would matter. We’d quickly forget about it (the industry that is).

I almost forgot. I promised my children that I'd tell you about the two little boys wearing the native American head dresses with the little orange feather. They each had a little orange feather. One of the little boy's feathers dropped out of his paper head wrap thing. I went down stairs and picked it up and returned it to him so he wouldn't miss it. My kids thought that was awfully nice of me. I was just trying to improve my karma.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

They Infuriate Me

The only reason I can come up with that these people continue to broadcast these mass emails is because gullible people respond. Please, please, please stop responding. My junk email filters are pretty good and most of the time this stuff gets filtered right into the waste basket. Unfortunately, good stuff also sometimes gets thrown away. So in the interest of good emails everywhere that accidentally get thrown into the junk mail bin, please, please, please quit responding to crap like this:
Dear Partner,

This is my third time of sending you an e-mail without any reply, I told
youabout a deal on an investment account total 10.5million USD of late
Mr. Alfred who shares the same last name with you.

My proposal to you is that since I have exclusive access to his file, you
willbe made the beneficiary of these funds. On verification, which will be
the details I make available to Bank holding funds, my company through our
lawyerwill instruct the bank to make payments to you. You do not have to
have known him. I know this sounds a bit heavy and complex but believe and
trust me as itis achievable. For your assistance, I propose we split the
funds in half andshare it equally. This practice is not unusual in the
banking sector here inChina. The other option is that the funds will
revert back to the state, whereit may be shared by State officials.

Nothing ventured is nothing gained and that success and riches never come
easyor on a platter of gold. This is the one truth I have learned from my
privateinvestment clients, We should act swiftly on this if you are in
agreement andplease get back to me immediately, I am contacting you
independently and no oneis informed of this communication.

Please do keep this confidential,I await your prompt response.

Best Regards,

Chui Lee


PS: I'm easily infuriated lately. Just ask Durango.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cadillac Sky

image I listen to Pandora about 4 hours per day at work.  I’m such a big fan of Pandora that I pay my yearly subscription fee.

The other day, a song came on by Cadillac Sky which was titled, “Wish I Could Say I Was Drinking”.  It made such an impression that I decided to buy the album.


Turns out they are going to be at the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth on March 3rd.  I’m thinking I’ll have to buy a ticket.  It’s not much fun to attend concerts alone, but it’s also difficult to find folks that enjoy the music as much as I do.  There is, of course, also the trip to the Flying Saucer pre-concert.  It’s conveniently located across the street from the Hall.image

So, who’s with me?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dental Hygienist Hammering Hamster Mom

If you haven’t heard this yet, you can read it here.image   I’ll try and summarize for the people not wanting to read it from CBS…

Let’s call this little guy on the left Herman.  He’s the pet hamster of a young boy.

This woman from Georgia was disappointed in her 12 year old son’s grades at school so she forced him to smash Herman’s little head with a hammer. 

It kind of reminds me of that little poem.  How did it go?

there was a bird,

with a yellow bill,

sitting on,

my window sill,

I lured him in,

with a piece of bread,

and then I crushed,

his little head

But that’s simply a funny tangent.  It just sprang to mind uninvited so I shared it -- uninvited.image

Lynn Geter is the woman’s name.  I think CBS probably had to look around a bit to find the most wicked picture of her they could find.  She looks like a real winner.

She was arrested on a number of charges after her son told his teacher what happened.  I wonder if he told his teacher or he bragged to his teacher.  The world may never know and I’m not sure that it matters.

Now I like putting myself in people’s shoes before I pass judgment.  So, now I’m Lynn and I’m trying to get my 12 year old kid to do their homework and they aren’t doing it.  They aren’t making good grades in school because they refuse to study.  I’ve tried for months to make my kid do better in school, but they refuse to do what I’ve asked them to do.  I’m at the end of my rope and I finally say, “Ok boy, go get the hammer.”  Cuz, by golly, if I can’t get you to crack open a book and learn something, I bet I can force you to smash in Herman’s little head with a hammer.

Ok, dream sequence over.  It’s not working for me.  I can’t come up with any justification at all.  This mom and her son have serious issues.

As I get down to the bottom of the article I read that Lynn is a dental hygienist.  I don’t know about you, but I go see my hygienist every 4 months and there is a large amount of trust that goes on there.  They are digging at my gums with sharp instruments!  I have an appointment with my hygienist this Friday.  Maybe I should ask him how he feels about homework and hamsters.  I’ll be real nice and make sure and open nice and wide when told to do so. 

Monday, January 25, 2010


I have an acquaintance that has been nagging me for quite some time. It's gotten to the point that it is no longer funny.

I have reached into my bag of tricks and discovered one of my favorite angry songs. This one is for you:

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Public Service Announcement about Viruses

Computer Viruses to be exact. Let's discuss the difference between Computer Viruses and the Flu.

You can try and prevent the flu through doing things like washing your hands, staying away from public areas, and not putting things near your face that haven't been disinfected. You kind of have to work to "not get sick".

Computer Viruses are named badly. They aren't like viruses at all except they make your computer sick. With Computer Viruses you almost have to work "to get sick". Computer Viruses would be more appropriately named Computer Hangovers and here's why:

They are caused by you trying to install one piece of free software too many. My daughter gets computer hangovers all the time because she likes trying to watch "free" movies before they are released. You go do an Internet search for "watch avatar 3d for free" and you'll get lots of offers. 9 out of 10 of them probably have a hangover attached. The other 1 just installs spyware which is very similar just not quite as malicious.

Of course, companies like Symantec and McAfee don't want you knowing this because their business model exists based on public fear. I've never used anti-virus software and I've never had a computer virus. You just have to follow one simple rule: if you don't trust it 100%, don't download it, don't run it, don't open it, and definitely don't install it.

Windows Vista and Windows 7 have vastly approved upon this rule. Everytime something tries to change your system Vista will open up a dialog asking you if you it's okay. You can go one step further and make all "user" accounts unable to say it's okay without a password. This way if you have children who are trying to get free movies, when the virus tries to install itself, they'll get the "is it okay" dialog and it'll ask for a password which you, as the parent, have intelligently not shared.

Normally, once you are infected by spyware or a virus, it's not worth the time and trouble to fix it. You'll be 50/50 at best and most of the software is good enough that the act of removing it will debilitate your computer. You'll end up spending 8 hours trying to remove it, 4 hours making sure it's completely gone and the next 2 hours crying about wasting 12 hours.

I'm not good at removing viruses. If your computer has become debilitated from a nasty hangover, you can sometimes revert to "the last known good configuration" and this will sometimes get you back up and running. If it doesn't, you will probably have to find your installation CD/DVD (which most people I've found have no idea that such a thing exists) and reinstall. If you realize that Win XP was installed with a disc and you have access to it, you should follow these instructions...

To get to the "last known good configuration" screen, just start hitting F8 as soon as you power your computer on. It actually is a boot menu just after the BIOS screen flashes by, but I find it's safer just to tell people to start tapping the F8 key as soon as they turn on their computer. You should get to a boot menu that looks something like this:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Reversing Ages

As my eldest daughter quickly approaches the driving age of 16, I've decided that perhaps Texas should reverse the drinking age and driving ages. The current drinking age is 21.

I firmly believe it would be better if the drinking age were 16 and the driving age were 21. That would give you plenty of time to learn to handle your alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a 2 ton motorized death trap.

It would also be cheaper for the parental units. A bottle of beer ($2), a new car ($20,000), a used car ($2000). And what about all you youngsters out there? Wouldn't you rather drink than drive? I know I would.

History of Blogging and a New One

Durango somehow convinced me to start this little escapade into pain and suffering. And after almost 2 years, I continue to do so (suffer pain).

In honor of Durango's inspiration I began a search of other misplaced Washingtonians (since Durango is always singing dirges about his lost homestead).

I've decided to add "there's sand in my latte" to my list of blogs to try and keep up with. Wish me luck. I know they don't post as much as Durango, but every little bit helps.

I actually discovered this site from Ghost and I've been silently reading the stories and viewing the pictures for a while now. Sometimes with a bit of envy.

My BFF just escaped Washington to go live in India. There must be something in the air up there. Washingtonians fleeing to Texas, Dubai and India. I'll have to get to the bottom of it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Silencing My Windows Home Server

My new Windows Home Server box runs all the time. I've got it plugged into a UPS and it just hums. Or, it did. Today, I silenced it.

I've been using an old HP Pavilion a820n as my Home Server. I had it sitting around. It's not the best case. I had fun trying to fit two hard drives in it. But, it's a stable machine. And, until today, it was a loud machine.

I did some web searching to try and figure out how to quiet a loud computer. Experts agree that the CPU fan is the loudest component.

Today, for the low, low price of $35 I replaced the cooling fan and heat sink on my CPU and now the case went from blow dryer loud to so quiet I can hear the hard drives tinkering.

I'm quiet (nudge nudge) proud of myself.

If your computer is so loud you can't hear yourself think, just replace the CPU fan and/or heat sink. You'll be glad you did. Don't forget to shop for the right one for your socket. Mine was a 775.

Hitler's Political Commentary

I stole this video link from The Whited Sepulchre who stole it from Instapundit who might be surfing youtube for Hitler videos. I don't know how these guys find this stuff.

It is by far the funniest politically motivated video I have ever seen.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Texas Gubernatorial Election: First and Probably Last Post

I accidentally got sucked into watching a rerun of the first GOP debate. If you are up for some punishment you can click on that link and watch it in all its glory.

First, some background: I'm not a Republican. I look at Republicans as the moral police. They like telling me what I can or can't do in the privacy of my own home. Too many religious zealots for me to put myself in their party of corruption.

I can't stand Rick Perry. His mastery of behaving like an idiot and still getting elected knows no bounds. I've sent several emails to Kay Bailey Hutchison . One of her "staff" actually called me once to defend Kay and to offer me help. When I told her what I needed help with, she said it wasn't possible. I don't like Kay's moral radar and the thought of her being governor and enforcing her brand of morals on me is causing me to lose sleep at night. Given the choice between Rick and Kay, I pick Rick.

Enter Debra Medina. I didn't know who Debra Medina was until I was forced to watch the first part of the debate last night (I really couldn't stomach it all). I think I quit watching when someone started quizzing Kay about abortion.

Debra Medina is all about Property Rights. If you are against Urban Drilling, you should probably at least look at Debra Medina. I agreed with just about everything she said. Her gun thing is kind of alarming though.

It makes her sound extremist. I can see her point if I squint real hard and tilt my head slightly to the left, but I've got bigger fish to fry. And that squinting is too much work. I really don't want anyone except criminals carrying guns into the mall. I think it minimizes the chances of Hank going ballistic when he sees his wife Sandy flirting with the 19 year old check out clerk in Spencer's Gifts.

I've been accused of "throwing my vote away" because I've voted Libertarian. I believe that the only way you "throw your vote away" is if you don't vote at all.

I hope with all my heart that Medina wins the GOP nomination. I like her stance on property rights a whole lot. I'm not holding my breath. The problem with this is that she'll never win the nomination. Only Republicans vote in those primaries and Republicans wouldn't know a good thing unless it was written down in the Book of Matthew Chapter n, Verse x.

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Quiet Weekend in One Word: Californication

image I sadly regret that I watched the entire first season of this Showtime series over the weekend.  This lead me to several interesting epiphanies (not all of which I can comfortably share).

The first one is that I get depressed on the weekends because this boy needs sunlight and he doesn’t go outside.

The second one, caused by the show, is that you need some bad times to be happy.  The old saying, “if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger” (or makes it hurt when you pee), is very true.  And some of its honesty is subtle.

I need more sunlight and some more bad times so I can truly be happy.

If you haven’t watched Californication, you need to.  It’s raunchy.  You won’t be able to watch it with naive people in the room.  Or people in the room with whom watching creative, shocking, sexual humor may make the room uncomfortable.  That’s why I watched it by myself.  It’s rare that I make myself uncomfortable by proximity.

And during a couple of the episodes he’s getting paid to write a blog for an LA magazine (called Hell-A).  Until he finds out who owns the magazine.  Then, he kind of quits.

I wish I could write like these people do.  The dialog cracks me up.  I keep thinking if I practice enough I’ll get better at spewing forth verbiage in an entertaining fashion.  Then, I wake up.

Friday, January 15, 2010

OPM and Libertarians Want to Eliminate "The Man"

The timing of this post couldn't be any worse, but oh well.

I have a little over 800 CD's in my collection and sometimes I listen to a CD and it reminds me of something that happened...well...before I started to blog.

The lyrics to "Heaven is a Halfpipe" by OPM always take me back. It brings back memories explaining why I'm not religious. It's a stretch for people to understand unless they can take a walk around inside the besieged neural pathways of my brain and are able to converse with my abused synapses. I've tried to explain it before and I always get laughed at so I quit explaining.

I just smile to myself and enjoy the song. Go here to read the lyrics. Watch the video here and listen to the lyrics. My favorite verse?
"...if you wanna come to my heaven
well we're all gonna have a ball
and everyone u know is welcome
'cause we got no gates or walls..."

That verse has so many meanings... I listened to my OPM CD again today and thought I'd share that little tidbit. If it means nothing to you then that's okay. Oh yeah, here's the video:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Two HD Antennas Fix My TV Problem

A few months ago (perhaps as many as 6), I decided to do away with my TV service. I was giving Verizon $75 per month for super duper digital FIOS TV and I never watched it. After some careful observation, I noticed that my wife also infrequently watched it.

Some more research revealed that when we did watch, we were watching things like House on Fox or Castle on ABC. All of these channels are broadcast for free over the air. I was paying Verizon $75 per month to watch TV that I could be watching for free with the right equipment.

However, I'm not always home when House is on or Bones is on or Castle is on. Part of that money was also being spent to allow me to record shows on my DVR so I could watch them later when it was convenient for me to do so.

Finally, one month (about 6 months ago), I decided I had had enough. I first bought a little low budget indoor digital antenna and hooked it up directly to my TV. Sure enough, after a little simply aiming and configuration, I was able to pick up a host of channels including Fox, ABC, NBC, & CBS. I was watching my weekly shows without incurring a monthly cost.

Next, I built me a computer. I think it cost about $300. It had a 250 gig hard drive, an AMD X2 processor, HDMI audio/video output, and a TV tuner card. I also installed Windows Vista.

With this computer setup, my antenna and windows media center, I was able to start recording my weekly shows. Media Center has a nice interface for setting up your TV, configuring the picture and recording shows. If you have been using Windows Media Center, but haven't used it to setup your display, you should go home and do so immediately. When I first ran through it, I had no idea that guy's shirt could possibly have pearl colored buttons and be wrinkled! It was incredible.

I bought a nice outdoor antenna and put it in my attic. The antenna looks like the one pictured, but I'm not nearly as good a handy man as whoever took this picture. My antenna leans up against a piece of wood and is nestled down in the comforting folds of the attic insulation. I understand that this is not optimum, but I am also lazy (top right).

After using this setup for a few months, my wife and I were both home when the computer started recording House on channel 4. Suddenly, my wife was overcome with a desire to see what was on channel 8. She tried to change channels and it said something like, "if you switch away from channel 4, the recording will be interrupted." It was diplomatically correct for, "hey Stupid Ass, you only have one tuner card."

Week after that, I ordered another tuner card for my computer. I didn't like Media Center calling my wife a Stupid Ass. When the tuner card came in, I had to get a cable splitter to split the cable signal before going into the computer because now I had two coax inputs (one on each card).

Now, I could record two shows at the same time, or record 1 show and switch channels at the same time. I'm not real sure why Media Center limits you to two tuners, but it does. This also was the beginning of my problems. Shows started sporadically stuttering. It was very irritating and my spousal unit lost her happy TV watching glow.

At one point my non-optimum attic antenna installation fell over. I thought maybe the problems all coincided. I happily went up into the attic and "repaired" the fallen antenna.

This, unfortunately, did not fix my problem. Things got better. The stuttering happened less, but it was still there. I started doing research.

Someone, somewhere, mentioned that in a perfect world, each TV would have it's own antenna. Now, I have my little attic antenna just feeding directly into the splitter where Verizon used to be coming in. All 3 of my TVs are coming off the splitter. Adding antennas is a cheap solution for me to try. Remember I bought a proof of concept antenna early on? It was still laying in the middle of my living room floor (lazy). Abandoned since it had been replaced by the outdoor antenna in the attic.

Last night I grabbed the unused antenna from the middle of the floor and hauled it up to my attic. I fed the big outdoor antenna directly to the line going downstairs to my computer. I fed the "proof of concept" antenna into the splitter to feed my upstairs TV's (less distance to travel). This miraculously cured all my woes. I now get a crystal clear signal on all my TV watching devices. The world is a happy place once again.

And I'm not paying any monthly charges for TV...

Best Musicians in the World

I may be getting this quote slightly wrong, but a few years ago I went and saw Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. If I remember right, Rhonda Vincent opened. The one thing I remember about that concert, besides the great music, was Victor Wooten (one of the best bass players I've ever seen) saying that "bluegrass musicians are some of the best musicians in the world".

If you've never gone out and listened to some bluegrass or even listened to a band that's brave enough to claim bluegrass then you are probably tone deaf or missing something. This video will make you love Steve Martin even more than you already do. He's good and he's modest.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cancer Clusters

If I decide after 5 years to drain the pool in my backyard and then the next month a neighbor's kid gets diagnosed with cancer. Then a few months later the kid across the street gets diagnosed with a similar type of cancer. I will come to one sad, but necessary conclusion. I am going to quit draining my pool water. I'll think of some other way to empty my pool. I don't know if draining my pool water caused it. Heck, I can be fairly certain that the simple act of me draining my pool didn't cause it. I know no one can prove it. But, I'll be damned if I am going to take any chances. If my neighbors start getting sick after I did something that I normally don't do, then I'm going to cease and desist as quickly as possible. I don't want to take any chances.

I live in Flower Mound. Texas health officials are coming in next month to do an investigation into the possibility that there have been an unusual number of cases of childhood leukemia since 1998.

From Wikipedia, "The Barnett shale has acted as a source and sealing cap rock for more conventional oil and gas reservoirs in the area. It was thought that only a few of the thicker sections close to Fort Worth would be able to support economic drilling, until new advances in horizontal drilling were developed in the 1980s. Techniques such as fracturing, or "fraccing", wells, used by Mitchell Energy, opened the possibility of more large scale production. Even with new techniques, significant drilling did not begin until gas prices increased in the late 1990s."

It's time to quit taking chances. And that's all I've got to say about that.

Friday, January 8, 2010


When I was 11 and started writing Basic programs on my Vic 20, I quickly decided that I wanted to write games. I went to college to get a Computer Science degree and quickly discovered that if you want to write games, you have to be in the right place at the right time. I never got into a position where I could write games.

Now, I'm old and decrepit and I don't even like writing software any more. I like designing software. I like playing with new computer systems and new technology, but I prefer to leave the actual coding to the youngsters.

But, I still like computer games and I can see where some game companies do a much better job of writing code than others. Blizzard (for example) seems to do a very good job of writing the software. They seem to have stable releases, balanced game play, and most of all... maintainable code. Big companies always seem to undervalue maintainable code. They want to immediately reap the profits of a new product, but never look ahead at how much it'll cost to maintain a hastily released product. I see FunCom as a prime example of hastily released unmaintainable code.

Recently I've discovered BioWare. I realize they've been around for a while, but I found out about them because of Dragon Age: Origins. If you haven't played this game yet, you should. I went out and bought the DVD, but I highly recommend going to the EA Store and purchasing it there. If you purchase it and download it directly from EA, then you don't have to have a disk in the drive to play it (which is very annoying). While you're there pick up Mass Effect for $9.95. It's a steal.

The BioWare games are polished and they seem to have a niche. Mass Effect, for example, would be considered a science fiction role-playing game on the surface. But the dialog and the graphics and the effects make it almost a movie. You've got a theatrical science fiction role-playing game where you control the dialog. If that wasn't enough, they add a first person shooter quality to it as well for the combat system. They've even recently released Mass Effect 2 although I haven't purchased that one yet. For the elderly amongst you, their games are like those books you might have read when you were a kid where at the end of every page or chapter you are given a list of options and you turn to a different page, depending on which option you pick, to continue reading. The story plays out in variations based on your decisions.

Dragon Age is just like Mass Effect except fantasy rather than science fiction. Also, Dragon Age is a little more about strategy. They've added more strategy and removed the first person shooter aspect. My favorite part about Dragon Age was creating the tactics for your party members. You control one person, but the characters not in your control are programmed via tactics that you pick out. Like you can have your mage heal allies that have less than 50% health. Or cast fireballs at enemies that are clustered in groups of 4 or more.

What I don't understand about all games though is why they don't borrow more from each other. Is it for legal reasons? For example, why can't MMORPG's, like Age of Conan, allow you to hire computer controlled party members to which you can assign tactics? Now, suddenly when you log in to an MMO, if there are no groups available to play with, you can just get NPC's...

And why can't the combat system in Dragon Age use the melee system brought to you by Age of Conan and the guys at FunCom? It would actually bring a little bit of FPS game play to Dragon Age.

In any case, Dragon Age is the best RPG I've played since Wizardy. And they have already announced an expansion pack...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Political Movie Reviews of Avatar

Of the blogs that I frequent, there is one that is always pointing me towards entertaining reading material. I wish I had more time to read these blogs. If I had more time to read bloggings by others then perhaps more people would appreciate my meandering works of fiction.

Kudos to The Whited Sepuchre for always trying to enlighten me with other points of view.

This particular post made me think about rescheduling my day to give me more time to follow this Englishman's posts. I'll have to think on it.

Here is a link to an Avatar Review (if one can really call it a review). I've never seen the movie, but apparently it brainwashes the masses about the evils of global warming in spectacular digital 3d.

But go read it directly at the Counting Cats in Zanzibar to get the full, energetic, unrated review in person. I'll wet your whistle (edited for my G rated blog):

"...I mean how the bastarding f*ckulence can that c*nt Cameron spend the best part of a quarter of a billion making a movie to lecture us on over-using resources. Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity might have demonstrated that spacetime is curved but it took this utterly profound collection of epic wank-shafts of Hollywood to prove everything else is just bent."

Stupid Email Warnings

I am always getting these various email warnings about phone scams, home invasion scams, credit card scams, etc. I get to the point where I just delete them without reading them. But, today, I got this one and it struck close to home so I thought I'd share it...

Women often receive warnings about protecting themselves at the mall and in dark parking lots, etc. This is the first warning I have seen for men. I wanted to pass it on in case you haven't heard about it. This will only become more commonplace.

A "heads up" for those men who may be regular Lowe's, Home Depot, Sam's or Costco customers. This one caught me by surprise. Over the last month I became a victim of a clever scam while out shopping. Simply going out to get supplies has turned out to be quite traumatic. Don't be naive enough to think it couldn't happen to you or your friends. Here's how the scam works:

Two seriously good-looking 20-something girls come over to your car as you are packing your shopping into the trunk. They both start wiping your windshield with a rag and Windex, with their breasts almost falling out of their skimpy T-shirts. It is impossible not to look. When you thank them and offer them a tip, they say, "No," and instead ask you for a ride to McDonalds. You agree and they get into the back seat. On the way, they start undressing. Then one of them climbs over into the front seat and starts crawling all over you, while the other one steals your wallet.

I had my wallet stolen August 4th, 9th, 10th, twice on the 15th, 17th, 20th, 24th, & 29th. Also September 1st & 4th, twice on the 8th, 16th, 23rd, 26th & 28th, three times last Monday and very likely again this upcoming weekend.

So tell your friends to be careful. What a horrible way to take advantage of older men. Warn your friends to be vigilant.

Wal-Mart has wallets on sale for $1.99 each. I found cheaper ones for $0.99 at Dollar Tree and bought them out. Also, you never will get to eat at McDonalds . I've already lost 11 pounds just running back and forth to Lowe's, Home Depot, and Costco.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Windows Home Server and Magic Jack

I'm not a fan of advertising. Normally, when you see the TV ads like the ones for KaBoom! I don't buy the product simply because of the goofiness of the ads.

With that said, I went out and bought a Magic Jack yesterday. I'm not really going to use it as my main phone until they offer me the ability to transfer my existing number, but at $40, I figured what the heck.

My first project was installing it on my Windows Home Server (since it's running 99% of the time anyway). Magic Jack doesn't work without being plugged into a computer. It's a voice over Internet device that simply plugs into a universal serial bus port on your computer and it has an RJ11 jack for your telephone. You plug the dongle into the USB port, you plug the phone into the dongle and voila, you get a dial tone.

Windows Home Server is not listed as a supported OS on the Magic Jack website. I wish they'd get rid of that corny video.

My first thought was that I'll just plug it in and see what happens. I did and it didn't. The instructions say, plug it in and it will install itself. I did this on my Windows 7 machine and it worked fine. On my Windows Home Server not so much.

I discovered that if I opened up "My Computer", there were two additional devices. A magicJack removable disk and a magicJack CD Drive. If you double-click the CD Drive, it fires up the auto installer and installs the software, putting a magicJack shortcut on your desktop.

Unfortunately, for me, at this point, it cratered because it couldn't find an audio device. I'm not real sure why this requirement even exists. To use the phone service, you don't need an audio device. But, I decided not to fret. My problem was that I was using Remote Desktop to get to my WHS box and Remote Desktop audio driver is not supported. Easily fixed, by reconnecting, but this time changing the Remote Desktop program to play audio "on the remote computer".

My next challenge was the registration. Windows Home Server is very strict about Internet access. Since it is your home server is doesn't want trackers or any kind of harmful software getting to it. It's default settings are very strict. I recommend leaving them alone. It's safer. In order to bypass this setting I simply registered the device on my Windows 7 box. It seems that the registration information is associated with the device (it may even be written to the device). Register it on your XP machine or Vista machine or Win 7 machine and then move it back to your WHS machine. It comes up and asks for your email and password the first time you use it, but after that you are golden.

If you know how to do Internet searches, there are sites that show you how this little dongle can be setup to control all the phones currently in your house (by basically taking the cable from the dongle and wiring into your switchboard). I'm going to try just back-feeding it as soon as I get my other account closed. It won't be as elegant, but I really don't want to put my WHS box in the garage nor do I want to buy a dedicated netbook just for MagicJack.

There are also sites that tell you how to configure MagicJack as a service on a Windows Server box so that you don't have to be logged in for it to work. That's how I have mine setup now. As long as my WHS box is running, I have phone service.

One thing kind of cool that I don't see mentioned very often is that this device gives you a USA phone number. So you could be in India, for example, and have a USA phone number where family and friends could call without incurring an International long distance charge. It costs about $25 per year. The first year is included with the $40 purchase. That includes caller ID, call waiting, voice mail and free unlimited long distance to anywhere in the USA, Canada and Mexico.

Voice Mails come as an attachment in an email to the email address you used when registering.

Bad Weather in Dallas

I’m going to go out on a limb here and may get badgered for my sheer ignorance, but it might get cold in Dallas for the next few days. Woooo. Living on the edge.

Monday, January 4, 2010

USA Voters Resolution

Okay, this is my last new years recommended resolution and then I'm done.

Albert Einstein said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

How many years has the US Congress and Senate been made up of Republicans and Democrats. Every two years we decide we don't like the government and we switch our votes. After two years of dealing with Democrats and their flagrant big government money spending attitude we say, "I'm not voting Democrat this time, look where it's got us". So we side with the Republicans. After two years of dealing with Republicans and their flagrant big government money spending attitude we say, "I'm not voting Republican this time, look where it got us". So we side with the Democrats.

My recommended resolution for US Voters this year is to not vote Democrat and not vote Republican. I don't care who you vote for, but do something different. Quit being insane.

I personally have voted Libertarian for the last 10 years. Here is a good list of politcal parties in the USA. Go do some research and pick out your favorite. The Monster Raving Looney Party sounds interesting. I may have to go check them out.

Government's Resolutions

I need to get all of these resolutions out of the way before everyone forgets that it's a new year.

I've decided to make an easy one for the government.

The government should resolve to produce all new bills and laws using technology prior to 1870. That should be easy enough for our inept government to remember and adhere too.

The thought of a 2000 page law producing idiot sitting in front of a computer should strike fear into the hearts of anyone he or she represents.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Media Resolutions and Stupid Asses and FoxNews

I mentioned before that I thought that the news media needed to make a simple resolution this year. Here it is: quit personalizing criminals. Criminals, from this point forward, should simply be stupid asses. They shan't be terrorists, they shan't be jihadists, they shan't be radicals, they shan't be anything but stupid asses.
In order to prove my point, I have copied a posting from FoxNews (my least favorite place for the news) and doctored it up to follow my new resolution for the media.
Oh yeah, this idea all came about because after Christmas, I was at my folks (who are unfortunately addicted to FoxNews) and I saw this news guy apologizing for pronouncing Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab wrong...
Anyway, here's the story (in bold).  My alterations will appear in italics.

“This could have been catastrophic,” said Rep. Pete King (R-NY). “Fortunately we were lucky on this one.”



The United States has just dodged another major terrorist stupid ass attack.

It was eight years ago this week that Richard Reid another stupid ass tried to knock an American Airlines flight out of the sky by igniting explosives in his shoe. And authorities say a 23-year-old Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab stupid ass of Nigeria carried the same malevolent intentions.

Intercepted cell phone calls didn’t foil Abdulmutallab’s this stupid ass’s attempted terrorist stupid ass attack. Nor did spy satellite tracking devices, clandestine CIA operatives, a military surge in Iraq, the interrogation of al-Qaida stupid ass operatives at Guantanamo Bay or efforts to build e a “civil society” in a part of the world that exports terrorists stupid asses like some nations export electronics.

No. Abdulmutallab’s This stupid ass’s effort was thwarted the same way Reid’s the earlier stupid ass’s was: by average, alert, brave people who just happened be sitting close to seat 19A aboard a transatlantic flight.

Pandemonium erupted on board the jet as passengers hurdled seats and tackled Abdulmutallab the stupid ass in the aisle. One burly traveler placed the suspect stupid ass in a headlock.

These people aren’t Navy Seals engaging a band of pirates off the Horn of Africa. They aren’t Army Rangers raiding a cave in Tora Bora. They are everyman. Butchers, disc jockeys, stockbrokers, truck drivers, housewives, retired grandparents, erotic dancers.

Homeland Security expert often describe police officers, firefighters and paramedics as first responders. That’s accurate. But in the war on terrorism stupid asses, the true first responders are everyday folks flying overseas, catching a bus or hopping the subway.

“We are forever indebted to the heroic passengers and flight attendants who sought to subdue the suspect,” said House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) in a statement.

The message subsided in the years since September 11th. But Delta flight 253 bound from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day is a stark reminder: the U.S. is at war. And will continue to be so for some time.

Like it or not, we’ve all been deputized for the first line of defense. That’s why New York City subway placards ominously remind riders “If you see something, say something.” The messages often accompany a picture of an unattended duffle bag, stashed underneath a subway bench.

And like the days shortly after 9-11, the days of fear are back.

Let’s face it. Folks grew lax in their vigilance in the years following September 11th. The stupid ass shoe bomber incident unfolded within months of the strikes in New York and Washington. People were on guard then. But with the exception of last month’s massacre at Fort Hood (where the jury is still out whether the shooter was a terrorist stupid ass or just someone who flipped his lid), it’s been years since something of this magnitude hit the U.S. Sure, there were attacks in London and Madrid. But over time, many Americans grew inured to the threat. We take off our shoes at the airport. We don’t carry tubes of hand sanitizer on board any more. We wave at the friendly police officer guarding the steps of the U.S. Capitol, a high-powered rifle with a scope strapped across his chest. The reason we endure these exercises is buried in the depths of a consciousness. We know the reason. But in the moment-to-moment reality, we’ve mostly forgotten about what happened.

Christmas was a wakeup call.

Bennie Thompson plans a January hearing to investigate the episode “whether directly related to al Qaeda stupid asses or not.” The top Republican on that panel, New York’s Pete King, says the syringe-liked device, reportedly taped to Abdulmutallab’s the stupid ass’s leg, appears to be “something we haven’t seen before.” And King suggests that routine screenings may not have detected what Abdulmutallab the stupid ass was sporting.

Shortly after 9-11 and the stupid ass shoe bomber, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman half-jokingly suggested that flying naked was the only failsafe method to ensure that someone stupid ass wouldn’t smuggle a weapon on board. Barring flying au naturale, security officials don’t have many alternatives but to be reactive to each new manner of attack. That’s what prompted the rule three years ago that limited liquids passengers can tote on board. If terrorists stupid ass’s next attempt to crash a jetliner using a copy of Sports Illustrated, you can bet security officials will place that publication on a no-fly list. If they try to hijack a plane with a Twizzler, that’ll be off-limits, too.

The U.S. has been extremely successful in protecting the country from another major attack. American intelligence and military forces have also performed exemplary work eliminating the threat posed by the “old-school” al-Qaeda stupid asses, capturing and killing many of its leaders and key followers.

In Arabic, “al-Qaeda” (stupid asses) means “The Base (of stupid asses).” But these days, stupid ass al-Qaeda is less an organization and more a movement. And now, it has “franchises,” much like a fast food chain. McDonald’s franchisees are encouraged to concoct some of their own dishes. A McDonald’s franchisee in Pittsburgh created with the Big Mac. Another franchise owner in Cincinnati dreamed up the Filet-O-Fish.

Stupid ass Al-Qaeda franchises don’t receive orders from anyone. They’re just expected to invent their own new ways to kill, maim and devastate.

Which is precisely the problem with this stupid ass Abdulmutallab. He reportedly told authorities he has ties to stupid ass al-Qaeda. But how tenuous are those connections? And with stupid ass al-Qaeda as a movement, security officials cannot be expected to be 100 percent successful at deducing and then averting every potential method of attack someone can cook up.

More will emerge about the Detroit episode. Bennie Thompson says his January hearing will “get to the bottom” of the incident.

But regardless of the steps Thompson or anyone in government takes, they’re not the ones who can protect the U.S. One of the best defenses are average people. Just like observant passengers who suppressed Richard Reid the earlier stupid American Airlines stupid ass and now this stupid ass Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab.

“Al-Qaeda doesn’t take a holiday. Neither should we,” said Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), the leading Republican on the House Homeland Security panel.

This is the awakening. And the Christmas Day flight from Amsterdam to Detroit is proof that the battle rages. And it’s just as hot as it was on September 11th.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Ash Koley and Phil Deschambault

I've posted before some videos concerning my attraction to angry music. You can do a search at the top of this little blog to find other angry music I've mentioned.

However, in 2010, I've decided it's time for an influx of feel good, happy music. I've never been a fan of sappy music even though sappy rhymes with happy.

To that end, I'd like to introduce you to a band called "Ash Koley". It's actually a two person band comprised of Ash Koley and Phil Deschambault. From their Myspace page (which contains a blog), it reads, "...Phil writes an almost-finished song, then Ash puts her voice on it and finishes it off."

My happy song for today is "Don't Let Your Feet Touch Down". Enjoy.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Decade!

I've decided to make a New Decade Resolution for the news media. It's an easy one. I'll share it after I've had time to mull it over some more. Just something for my multitude of patient and loving readers to pine for.

I may also make some New Decade Resolutions for the voters of the USA. That post can also wait. I'm thinking it'll irritate a lot of people with its sheer ignorance.

I may also make some New Decade Resolutions for the money spending, law writing, doing nothing good, government of this great land. Of course, that may be a waste. I'm not sure they can resolve to do anything except spend more money and make life in the USA as miserable as possible.

Sorry, I've been at the parent's house all week and they have all their TV's permanently tuned to FoxNews.

And, of course, you are wondering what my resolutions are. Well, I've resolved not to make any resolutions for myself. So far, I'm doing very good.