Monday, March 29, 2010

Socially Single Tasked

I don’t mind saying that I have a hard time in social situations.

Last week, I started out on Monday by going to a Leo Kottke/Los Lobos concert by myself.  When I go to these things, I always have dinner and a couple of beers at the Flying Saucer in Fort Worth because it is across the street from the Bass Performance Hall. 

For the record, Leo Kottke was better than expected.  Los Lobos was worse than expected.  I’ll always be a fan of someone that can play guitar like Leo and be able to keep the audience chuckling with his sarcastic humor and anecdotes from past experience (while he tunes his guitar).  I think the drummer for Los Lobos was having trouble keeping time.  It felt like half their songs were dragging.

On Thursday, I found myself at the Windmill Lounge in downtown Dallas trying to become better acquainted with some new acquaintances.  I had been in that area before, but at the Tin Room.  The Windmill Lounge is a nice small pub.  Small pubs are fairly intimidating to us socially challenged folks, but I stuck it out.  Anytime I started feeling uncomfortable, I just talked to some random person.  Well, it wasn’t quite random.  There’s always avoiding the large angry man with the tattoos or the old lady who drank too much and is fondling her neighbors.

You think I jest about the old lady, but I do not.  Unfortunately, when I went up on stage to sing Johnny B. Goode, she felt it was necessary to come dance with me.  I think security hauled her off.  I know she was gone when I finished.

All in all, last week was crazy.  Thus, the lack of blogging.  I think I can only do one social thing at a time.  I can’t be virtually social and (what’s the opposite of virtually?) social at the same time in the same week. 

This week seems to be starting off virtual, but no promises.  My mother-in-law is flying in from Germany on Wednesday.  She wants to go to Daddy Rabbits Pub on Friday.  My wife, of course, conveniently has to work.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Here is Adele doing a Sam Cooke cover, “That’s It, I Quit, I’m Moving On”.  I told you a while back I had the blues.

I always like including the original…

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sarcasm Font

On the first day of spring, of the year that fears of global warming have reached a fevered pitch and calls for a sarcasm font have fallen mostly on deaf ears; it is snowing.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Opposed to Stubbornness

image My last two posts have been anti-HCR (health care reform).

They have been posts mostly out of ignorance.  Although something about Pelosi really does irritate me.
Obama still hasn’t earned my trust.  In my opinion there were many, many simple promises he made that he should have kept, but did not.  It scares the hell out of me that he’s going to reform health care.  Too many more promises were made that, if history is any indication, he won’t bother keeping.

Having said all of that, stubborn people get my blood pumping more than any other type of person.  There should be a law against stubborn people in the government.  Of course, then we wouldn’t be able to blame bureaucracy when things don’t get done fast enough.

Today, I watched several videos and debates on the health care reform bill.  One thing I noticed with every video I watched.  The stupid stubborn people were opposed.  The intelligent well spoken open minded people were supportive of the bill.  Well, not supportive of the bill, but had good explanations of why they would vote for the bill even though it’s not perfect and is, in fact, severely lacking in certain areas.  Pelosi wasn’t one of them.  I can’t watch videos of her without throwing stuff at the monitor.  My monitor is unscathed.

image I found a person I dislike more than Pelosi.  His name is Bart Stupak.  He’s a Michigan Representative.  He’s a stubborn ass.  He’s basically voting no because the bill doesn’t specifically outlaw abortions.  3000 pages and this is his sticking point.  That’s like saying I refuse to watch the Harry Potter movies because the extended version of The Sorcerer’s Stone is 159 minutes and I refuse to watch any of it unless it’s 160!

The strange thing is, he’s managed to convince a handful of his buddies to agree with him.  So they are all refusing to watch the Harry Potter movies because in their holier than thou opinion the Sorcerer’s Stone should be 160 minutes!

Anyway, then I started watching the people that are supporting the bill.  Granted, these are politicians and everything they say has to be taken with a grain of salt, but they argue intelligently.  I like intelligent arguments.  They don’t agree with the bill 100%.  They are a bit upset that the first movie is 1 minute short, but that’s okay.  They are looking at the bill as a whole.  The good, the bad and the ugly and have decided to go with it.

image I found myself admiring Dennis Kucinich, Representative from Ohio.  I only watched one interview.  He comes across kind of uncomfortable in front of the camera, but he has logical reasoning.  It’s not stubborn.  It’s thought out.

All the Republicans come across as pompous asswipes.  I’m not fond of pompous asswipes either.  They talk and all that comes out between the lines is, “We don’t like Obama and we can’t read and this costs too much.”  It’s quite irritating.  Come up with a new argument besides, “The democrats made us do it.”
I won’t lie.  I’m for smaller government.  However, I also believe that health care is a fundamental right.  You can’t expect to be happy when you are in poor health and we’ve all signed up to a pursuit of happiness.  Do we need governmental help in obtaining this right?  I’m not so sure.  I do know, however, that bad health is not something that we ask for.  It would be nice if you didn’t have to worry about the cost of that ambulance ride or that cancer treatment.

I won’t call this a complete reversal, but it’s close.  The representatives voting yes seem considerate and thoughtful.  The representatives voting no seem stubborn and/or pompous.  I’m teaming with the intelligent and thoughtful crowd.  After they pass this thing, may they all hold hands and figure out how to quit spending so much money, and decriminalize all victimless crimes (which may end up saving money).

Pelosi and Barack = Pinky and the Brain


Pelosi, are you pondering what I’m pondering?

Well, I think so Barack, but if we can’t pass the bill how will we know what’s in it?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Opposite of Warm Fuzzies

Watch this:
Then watch this:
Then help me come up with something that is opposite of the warm fuzzies.
I like to have warm fuzzies before I drop $29 on lawn care.  I’m not sure what should be required before dropping trillions on health care.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Another Lesbian Fatality

image Last week I wrote about a Mississippi teen who got her high school prom cancelled for wanting to take a date of the wrong gender.  And today, I hear about this:

I hate reading about stuff like this.  I truly don’t know how people can be so stupid.

We have the best military in the world.  They put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms.  Or so I’m told.

Apparently, in this “protect our freedoms” military, you are not free to be gay.

The stupidity knows no bounds.

Jene Newsome was a sergeant in the US Air Force where she had served for 9 years.  That is, until they found out she was gay.

If that doesn’t leave you feeling a bit sick, you might be an enemy of this “land of the free”.

Why the cops felt the need to out her to the military in an attempt to throw her under the proverbial bus of stupidity is another line of questioning.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Investing Genius

This just in: The USA government purchased controlling interest in GM and immediately purchased Toyota's for their retired CIA agents.  After being stealthily manipulated, the Toyota's were used in high profile "accidents" to discredit the leading car manufacturer in the world.  GM stock is expected to go through the roof thus paying for many poorly budgeted plans by the evil investment holding company: your government.  All hypothetical of course.

Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?
I think so Brain, but if Jimmy cracked corn and no one cares, why does he keep doing it? 

I'm in Amarillo.  My bloggings shall suffer appropriately.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lesbian Fatality in Mississippi

image This “fatality” is synonymous with “epic fail”.  I think you have to be into video games or something.

She wanted to go to a prom with her lesbian date and wear a tuxedo.  I’m not real sure what the problem was.  Does the school have a problem with gay folks or does it have a problem with girls wearing tuxedos?  Or does it have a problem with this girl, in particular, wearing a tuxedo?

All I can say is she forgot the most important rule:  It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission

She made a big deal out of it by asking permission.  When she was denied, she threw a fit and got the ACLU involved.  The school decided that the prom was too much trouble and cancelled.  She, of course, claims the cancellation was nothing more than retaliation because now everyone hates her for getting the dance cancelled.

Some kids will hate her.  They were probably just looking for an excuse.  When kids want to do something and you don’t want them to and the temper tantrum ensues then 9 times out of 10 the adult will say, “Fine, we just won’t go then.”

I don’t care one way or another about the gay thing.  Who people like and who people love and who people have sex with doesn’t concern me in the least.  I think it would have been cool as shit if two guys or two girls would have attended one of our proms together.  I think it would have been a lot less cool if they would have thought it necessary to ask permission.

Perhaps the feds should just outlaw small schools.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Technical Support

Someone sent me this today.  I can’t decide whether it’s funny or sad.







But which country do you get when you have a technical problem with your computer?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Healthcare and Unemployment

Train the unemployed to be health providers for the uninsured.  Think about it.

Pinky, are you pondering what I’m pondering?

I think so Brain, but how are we going to make pencils that taste like bacon?  Or maybe we should make bacon that tastes like pencils.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Debugging System Crashes

image I am running Windows 7 64bit at home.  Before that I was running Windows Vista 64.  I played a hodgepodge of games.  Too many to go into.  Lately I’ve been replaying the Supreme Commander and Forged Alliance campaigns.

Last time I played them, it was on the same system, but running Vista.  Now I am replaying them on Win 7.  It started crashing.  Not just crashing, but locking up my computer.  It starts with a screen flicker (like shadows vertically scrolling down the screen) and then a troubling static like thumping noise coming through my speakers.

I downloaded some temperature gauges.  From past experience this seemed like a thermal problem.  My case temperature was 54 C.  That’s a little on the warm side, but not horrible.  My CPU was running 65 C.  That also seems hot, but not beyond the allowed range.  I’m running an E8400.  Then, I looked at my GPU’s.

I’m running, in SLI mode, a Superclocked EVGA 8800 and a Superclocked EVGA 9800.  Both of these guys were over 80 C.  One was at 90 C.   This seemed excessive.  I started looking at cooling solutions.

It seems to be documented rather well that the EVGA video cards run hot.  Once, many moons ago, I tried to replace the heatsink and fan on a video card.  It was an unpleasant experience.  I would rather not do that.  I discovered that EVGA had a little utility to manage their video cards.  You can set things like “fan speed”.

I tested this and discovered that it has lots of settings.  I could even slow down my Superclocked cards.  However, I was interested in cooling so I set the fan speed to 100%.  This made the cards run cooler initially, but they’d still get hot.  I guess the default is a variable fan speed.  The hotter the card, the faster the fan.  They idle at about 35% which is quiet.  100% fan speed is pretty loud.  Alas this didn’t help me.  And there was no way (that I could see) to change the defaults.  You have to run the utility and change the settings every time you boot.  You can automate it to a certain extent, but it didn’t give me the warm fuzzies that I was hoping for and that game was still locking up.

I bought a Zalman CNPS7700 CPU heatsink and fan.  I did some of this in parallel.  This thing is huge.  I was hoping it would cool off my CPU which would keep the case cooler, which, in turn would keep the GPU’s cooler.  It did all of that.  And last night my computer locked up (again).  Back to the drawing board.

I realized that when it locks up, the vertical shadows always appear on the display and there is the noise from the speakers.  I did two things.  I have an ASUS P5N-D motherboard so I went to Asus and downloaded the Win 7 64bit audio drivers.  And I changed the graphics settings on the video game to not synchronize with the refresh rate of the monitor.  Voila, this fixed it.  I think it was the sound drivers all along.  The motherboard has an integrated Realtec system, but it was using Microsoft drivers.  The refresh was always causing flickering.  It was just more pronounced when the computer was locked up because of the audio driver.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Review of Cadillac Sky

image I can’t say enough good things about these guys.  They are what I’d call a progressive bluegrass band or a band that has bluegrass roots, but a rock attitude and a whole lotta swing thrown in for good measure (pun intended).

I’m reminded of a radio program I listened to not too long ago where they were comparing the acts of today with the acts of yesteryear.  “In the 70’s”, they said, “We had bands like Led Zeppelin”.  “In the 80’s, U2”.  “The 90’s brought the Grunge like Nirvana and Soundgarden.”  “The 2000’s have brought us nothing except cookie cutter bands made for guaranteed commercial success.”

Well, the people that said this have not been looking hard enough.  They don’t look for the guys that do the national bar tours.  They play small venues and hide underneath the radar.  They are the bands today that don’t fit the cookie cutter mold.  Just like the Led Zeppelins of yesteryear. 

When you go watch Cadillac Sky, and I highly recommend you do, watch how much they enjoy the music.  They are not simply putting on a show.  They are having fun.  There is laughter.  There are pranks.  There are even some tears.  They are excellent musicians who have found something they do well and they have fun doing.

They come on stage and they have a drum set which seems out of place for a bluegrass band, but it is rarely used.  At one point, the guy playing the drums had a mandolin around his neck so he could play the mandolin and switch to the drums as necessary.  Sometimes playing both at once.

The banjo player also spends some time behind the snares and cymbals.  The bass player plays a stand up bass and also spends time behind the synthesizer.  They all seem to play various stringed instruments.  Their standard set is mandolin, guitar, bass, fiddle and banjo.  Most of the time the mandolin player is doing the singing, but even that’s not 100%.

Bluegrass has some strong roots in gospel and Cadillac Sky doesn’t leave that out.  Their song “Sinners Welcome” almost made me uncomfortable :). 

They’re lyrical genius will have you laughing for one song and silently reminiscing during the next.  It’s like watching a movie that is a perfect melee of drama, comedy and tragedy.

The…well…let’s call him the Chief Guitarist, David Mayfield, is a large part of the show.  He just has that type of presence.  He’s also a relatively new comer to the band.  He did a song that was really moving.  The last verse was memorable when I heard it, but then I quickly forgot the exact text.  He told me he’d email me text, but hasn’t done so.  I had to write my address on a piece of paper and I am very left handed.  I can’t even read my own writing.  The last verse was something long the lines of thanking my parents for being my best friends.

I couldn’t find any real good videos, but this one shows off their comedy side.  The sound quality is not very good.  But I think it’s good enough for Random Ramblings work.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Fort Worth’s Corruption

I am reminded of the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Two cities destroyed by God with fire and brimstone because Abraham could not find 10 righteous people in the city.

I don’t think Fort Worth is that bad.  However, the last few years have to give you pause.  They simply have to.  Perhaps the Fort Worth citizens need to elect a new government to repair the damage?  Perhaps the fact that Fort Worth still has the same mayor after most of this corruption was uncovered is a testament to the depth of the corruption.

I’m not going to do research, I’m just going to name the few that come to mind because they’ve been brought to my attention.  I’m quite sure there are others.

Obviously there is the Rainbow Lounge raid which, no matter how hard I try to spin it, just sounds like a bunch of macho cops trying to make themselves feel good by raiding a gay bar and putting one of the patrons in the hospital.  And if that’s not bad enough they have brought charges against the guy they sent to the hospital (for assault).  So they beat a guy so badly that he has to spend time in the hospital and then charge him with assault.  Here comes the fire Fort Worth.

Then there is the recent activity of Steve Doeung (try to skim all 5 pages of that story – it’s eye opening) who my co-bloggers have been planning rallies for.  Steve wants to keep his house even though the city of Fort Worth and the natural gas companies want to take it away.  At one point, the Fort Worth police ticketed Steve for code violations because he had stuff in his front yard.  They want to condemn his house.  When he doesn’t move quick enough they ticket him.  And here comes the brimstone Fort Worth.

And finally, I just saw this yesterday.  A Fort Worth family is suing the Pour House because they allegedly “overserved” a gentleman who proceeded to drive 70 miles an hour in a 35 before colliding with Sonia Baker.  She was killed.  It’s a sad story.  The guy driving the car?  The car was an unmarked police car and the guy driving the car was a Fort Worth police officer.

The Fort Worth Police Department says that the officer started drinking earlier while on-duty as part of an unauthorized undercover bar detail.  That’s not a typing error.  He was an unauthorized undercover cop on bar detail.  What’s up with that?

The Pour House was host to a birthday party where this officer along with a group of his colleagues were in attendance.  I’ve never served alcohol.  But shouldn’t the police (off duty or not), be a little bit more responsible than an 18 year old waitress?  Is an 18 year old really gonna have the stones to stand up to a group of Fort Worth Police officers and say, “Sorry, you guys have had too much.”  I mean not too long ago they put a guy in the hospital for being gay!

Maybe Mayor Moncrief will be Lot’s wife.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Flying Saucer and Fort Worth Rabble Rousers

As many of you may know I went to the Cadillac Sky concert last night in downtown Fort Worth.  At some point in the next couple of days I’ll post a review of that excellent show in all its glory.  I am already regretting that I didn’t take some videos, but there are plenty of videos on youtube already.

At the Flying Saucer I sat next to a man from Virginia.  He said he worked for the government.  He was a beer connoisseur.  It’s almost necessary when going to the Flying Saucer to at least know something about beers.  He could make recommendations on almost every beer they had.  I was most impressed.  It reminded me of Ed.  That’s happening a lot lately.  He gave me some tips on where to go if I’m ever in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, or Portland.  He highly recommended Portland.  Apparently, I need to get out more.

Whilst talking to the Federal Beer Connoisseur, a gentleman sat down on the other side of me and asked what I was drinking.  I was drinking a Franziskaner Heffe-Weisse Dunkel (they had it on tap).  He ordered the same.  It reminded me of someone telling me that this is a good beer shared amongst friends.

He started settling in to enjoy his beverage by going through his jacket and pants pockets to… look for stuff?  Rearrange things to find his wallet?  I don’t know why he did it, but everything was in plastic bags.  He unwrapped his cell phone and a small digital camera.  The guy from Virginia asked him if he was planning on going swimming.

“No,” he replied, “just being careful in case they decided to bring out the hoses.”

As careful as the Virginia guy was not to disclose exactly what he did for the government.  This rabble-rouser from Fort Worth was equally secretive about what he was protesting.  When I asked he just showed me business cards from the chief of police, the district attorney and someone else.  I quit paying attention cuz I got skeered.

There I sat between a Fort Worth rabble-rouser and a secretive federal employee.  I was merrily entertained and I really need to get out more.  At 7 (after about one and a half hours of this entertainment), I made my escape to go see Cadillac Sky…

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

I hate it when this happens.  On March 22, Los Lobos & Leo Kottke are playing in Fort Worth.  Here are videos…

On March 23, Joe Bonamassa is playing in Fort Worth.  And I’ve got the blues…

I’m leaning towards Joe, but it’s a difficult decision.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Nolan Chart

image There is a quiz called the Nolan Chart.  I’m not particularly fond of it.  Libertarians use it at rallies to attempt to recruit members.  In that, I would say it is rather successful.  If you can get people to take it.  I’ve taken it two or three times and it always tells me I’m Libertarian.  Interestingly, the first time I took it, I leaned liberal, now I am leaning conservative.  I suspect it’s because of the current party in power.  I always lean away from power.

Libertarians have a “small government” approach that I’m very fond of.  I believe that people should take care of themselves.  The only time you need government is in doing things that individuals can’t do for themselves.

Anyway, I almost got off topic.  The Nolan Chart phrases its answers in such a way that you’d feel foolish (at times) to pick the wrong one.  Or maybe that’s just me.  As an experiment, I’d like all my various politically affiliated readers to take the test and let me know where you sit in the political jungle (it’s also interesting for people not living in the USA).

Even if you don’t want to let me know where you stand or what you scored, take the test anyway.  One thing it does do is make you think.  What is the government’s role?

If all else fails, at least take the time to look at the graph above and note that Libertarian does not equal liberal.