Thursday, August 29, 2013

Durango's World

My blog used to be called Random Ramblings. Or Gar's Random Ramblings. Or maybe it was the Random Ramblings of Gar. I don't remember.

Upon the recommendation of a friend, I changed it to Gar's World which seemed, I don't know, easier to remember.

A couple of weeks ago, my blogging mentor and nemesis, Durango, decided to create a Durango World blog. At first I thought he was joking. I thought perhaps he was just coming up with something to belittle my new blog title.

I did a search for the Durango World blog he mentioned and I couldn't find it.

Well, he's finally started writing and I must say: I like the Durango World blog more than I do his Durango Texas blog. I read post after post today without slowing down or growing bored. I even felt inclined to comment a couple of times, but I decided to write my own post instead.

I don't know how much he actually reads my posts but he took one of my little asinine spoutings and spun it into gold with this particular post about Obamacare.

Anyway, come to my little blog site once a day, look on the right column and click on Infamous World of Durango. I'm quite impressed, but don't tell him that.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Necessary Randomness

As you may or may not be aware, I got married on August 17th.

Last week I was in Jamaica on my honeymoon so no blogging.

However, I shall share with you some stories and an interesting thing or two I learned while in Jamaica.

First of all, I've always claimed that mosquitoes don't like me for one reason or another. I almost never get bit. I'd like to update this information. Texas mosquitoes don't like me. Jamaican mosquitoes think I'm the best thing since sliced bread. I've got bites in places mosquitoes have no business going and can't be scratched without public ridicule and persecution.

On a somewhat completely unrelated note, I recently discovered Google's Blogger has been sending all my comment information to a defunct email address so it was never getting read (by me). I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to any commenters I failed to sarcastically respond to. And I'm rather pleased now after being quite sad about the lack of comments. There were a whole mess of comments I never saw! How exciting is that? I briefly thought about responding to all of them, but I rejected the idea and instead fabricated an arbitrary cutoff date. Sorry again.

Football season is about to start back up! While in Jamaica I kept crossing paths with a large man from Washington DC who was always wearing a Redskins baseball cap. One fine day, after two or three too many Rum Punches, I confronted the Redskins fan.

"Hello Sir," I said with a smile, "I see you are a Redskins fan. Well, I'm from Dallas, and I'd like to offer you Tony Romo in exchange for RG 3."

He looked at me, kind of snickered and said, "Are you kidding? We'd never do that! Tony Romo is our best player."

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Green Mile

On Saturday, I'm getting married again.

When I was wee little child I never imagined getting married more than once. But, as I learned early on, "Shit Happens".

It's funny how things work. Now that I'm about to get married for the third time all kinds of interesting tidbits come about. My doctor recently asked me if this is, "three strikes and you're out". I told her, "no, third time is a charm". She went on to say something else about my second divorce seemed easier than my first divorce and I said, "practice makes perfect'.

It was after my first divorce that I went to counseling. The best thing I learned from my counselor was that it's all about perspective. I wish I had learned that when I was 20. "Change your way of thinking; change your life". You are not going to a movie by yourself, you are going to the movie you want to watch and not having to share your popcorn.

Now my life is an ongoing game of perspectives.

I have a friend I've known since I was about 11. We were both kind of nerds in a small town. We played Dungeons and Dragons together religiously. We put computers together back when the only things going were Apple II's, Commodore 64's and TRS 80's. He was the best man at my first two weddings and he's flying in from India to hold my hand during this wedding as well. Some things never change.

In case you've been reading my blog for longer than I've been writing it, I play this game with astrology. You can read about it here.

I'm an Aquarius. I was born February 14th. My future wife was born February 11th. When I was 5, 6 and 7, I used to hang out with a girl down the street. She was born February 8th (I think -- it was sometime in February - she canceled her Facebook account so I can't look it up). My first kiss was from a girl born on February 9th. After my first divorce, I became really good friends with a girl born February 10th. Which is saying a lot coming from a guy who has few friends. One of my few girlfriends (I think I had 3) in high school was born January 29th.

The best man at all my weddings? He was born January 23rd.

We're all Aquarians. We're all happy.

The other day I was reading my daily dose of useless news when I came across a headline about Shakira's abs. Shakira was born on February 2nd. The reason her abs were on the news was because she had a baby on January 22nd. Her boyfriend (the child's father) was born on February 2nd. I feel like Sharika and I have a common bond. We surround ourselves with happy Aquarians.

I doubt I shall be blogging again for a while. I'm packing, cleaning and entertaining guests, getting married on Saturday and going to Jamaica next week. I'll have better things to do.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Laws and People and Things

I've been kind of toying with this idea for a while. I don't really think it's blogworthy or blogready, but I'll write about it anyway for practice.

If you peruse my site at all, you'll know I do a lot of complaining about stupid laws. In fact it was one of Texas's stupid laws that got me banned from Adsense.

I spend a lot of time asking why? Why can't I buy liquor on Sundays? Why can't I smoke pot? Why can't I carry an open beer around at the park (this may be a Texas thing)? It's even doubly troubling when you consider I supposedly live in the "land of the free".

I remember about 12 years ago, I went overseas for the first time. My company sent me to Amsterdam (The Netherlands). People walked around with beer. There were shops where you could buy pot. There was occasional cussing on the radio. Nobody threatened to fine me if I didn't "buckle up". I didn't stay until Sunday. It's possible everything including the red light district closed down on Sunday. But, I was impressed and felt a little brainwashed by the "American Dream".

So, why all the laws? If you think about it and we all just behave like decent human beings, how many laws could you do away with? You could do away with handicap parking for example.

Handicap parking is a law because we don't think about anyone but ourselves. If we were decent people, we'd park in the space furthest from the door and walk. Because as a considerate person, we would know that there are other people who need to park closer because they are sick, have little kids, are pregnant, or just can't walk. Why do we always have to get the closest spot?

Even with handicap laws like they are, why do you get the closest spot? I see people combing parking lots to get as close as they can to the front door. Why do you have to be closest to the door? Walk a little bit. Get some exercise. You'll live longer.

If we lived in a society capable of thinking of others, the parking spaces furthest from the door would fill up first.

Why does the government tax us for social security and welfare? Shouldn't that be normal? We gladly support the idea that we all have unalienable rights. We all expect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That's not free.

We curse the government for taxing us, but would we guarantee others who are less fortunate those "unalienable rights"? Shouldn't we just freely take care of them?

It would be impossible to pursue happiness if you were born with an incurable disease or managed to get one as a youngster. Therefore, I'd opine that being healthy is a right. We have the right to be healthy. Even in Texas where we don't have the right to buy alcohol within 300 feet or a church.

For some real reading, here is my Durango link for today. It's a story about his parents and the American Dream of drinking beer in Death Valley.

Monday, August 5, 2013

One of Its Feet are Both the Same

I'm going to tackle an issue or two that will get me in heaps of trouble.

No one is better than any one else. They may be better at football, better at basketball, better runners, better thinkers, but they are not better people. People are people. When a person looks down at someone else for any reason they should be taken for a long walk off a short pier. If they look down at someone because of where they were born, or, for all that's stupid in the world, the color of their skin, they should just be shot.

Having said all of that, no matter how much you hate the President or think everyone is out to get you, would you please, please, please do a little research before believing the first thing you read? I know it's easy and you are busy, but please take a little chill pill and look before you leap.

Back before Facebook, when people would just send emails to all their friends in an attempt to thwart the end of the world, these things would drive me crazy. I got the story about how the American Government was removing "In God We Trust" from our money more times than I can count. Now, I'm of the opinion they should remove the text from our money, but that's just me. In real news, any American money that does not have the words, "In God We Trust" would ironically be worth a lot more money than its Godly counterpart.

Now, we've got Facebook where the ignorance and gullibility apparently run unchecked and rampant. I read through some of the stories and I think to myself, "I know these people. Do they believe this or are they just spreading it around to see which of their friends believe it?"

Do they "share" the stories and then secretly laugh at all the gullible people? Or are they part of the gullible ignorance that spread the story in the first place? Some are harmless. Some are full of spite and craziness and could cause a lot of harm if they were remotely comprehensible.

In the last week (and I don't look at Facebook often), I've seen at least three that have caught my attention. I'll share them with you now:
  1. The first was a video showing "NSA Can Hack Your TV and Watch You". This was the lesser of the three evils. It's a video showing how anyone can hack your Webcam. The title is just misleading and not only can NSA do it, but any geek with spare time can do it if you don't set your home network up correctly. Obviously, most TV's don't have webcams although I suppose it might be getting more popular. I see no reason to put a camera on top of my TV.
  2. The second was a link called "The Shocking Ingredients in Beer". It doesn't even seem to be a halfway legitimate source (if anything called Foodbabe can be considered legitimate). It's just full of misinformation that only takes a couple of minutes to see. The comments are my favorite. Of course, people swearing off Coors Light doesn't really bother me. I did learn one thing though. I didn't realize Miller and Coors had merged. That proved to be true. The rest of it? Not so much. I think the Food Babe is trying to get her boyfriend to quit drinking.
  3. And my favorite story was from The European Union Times. A most bizarre reading experience. I didn't even make it all the way through. And the amount of hatred in the comments. Wow! Even the title made me go, "really?". It's, "Switzerland Warning Against Obama Regime Stuns Russia". Really? And people share this on Facebook? First, do some research on The European Union Times. It's an outfit that randomly generates crap to get Internet search hits and thus traffic and thus money for advertisements. The more inflammatory the better. Here's a good link to Rational Wiki (which I thoroughly enjoyed). I had two Facebook friends post this story. It kind of made me nervous. Not because of the article, but because people actually believe this crap.
In other misinformation, Durango the magnificent wrote that he created a new blog today. It's called Durango World. I don't know why he didn't just call it Durango's World for a blatant copyright violation! But, in trying to find the blog in question, I come to a site about Dodges.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Asus Routing

In case you didn't know, I'm one of those nerdy people who does nothing by the book when it comes to technology. I roll my own way. An example is the fact that I don't pay for cable. I have over the air antennas hooked up to a computer in my living room. I've blogged about that before.

A few years back I took an old beat up 10+ year old HP computer and installed a SATA RAID controller and two 1.5 terabyte hard drives to setup a Windows Home Server. This was pretty cool because Windows Home Server kind of "automagically" backs up your network for you. I proceeded to RIP all my old CD's onto my Home Server and setup my TV Computer to double as a juke box (streaming music from my server). Life was good.

Just this last week, one of those trusty 1.5 terabyte hard drives failed leaving my Home Server quite unhappy. I should mention that the failed drive was a Seagate. Seagate if officially on my shit list. I've put together dozens of computers in my lifetime and have had exactly 2 hard drive crashes. Both of them were Seagates. This is my third Seagate to crash and this drive was the "free replacement" for my previous Seagate to crash.

I bought a new router a while back. It's an ASUS RT-N66U. It has two USB plugs in the back. I didn't really know it when I bought the router (I bought it for the 5 GHz WiFi), but you can plug external hard drives into this router and set it up to act as a file server.

When my Home Server crashed, I ordered a 1.5 terabyte Western Digital Passport (external drive) to plug into the back of the router and take over "music server" duties. Basically, my router paired with the external drive was going to take over the job of my old HP computer (minus some of the nifty bonuses like automatically backing up stuff).

I plugged the Passport into the router today and it recognized it, but failed to "mount it". It would tell me the Passport was there, but it wouldn't let me see any of the folders. This was bad.

Initially, I thought maybe it was a power problem. Unlike most external hard drives, the Passport gets all of its power from the USB. Maybe the Asus simply does not supply enough power?

After a bit of research and some monkeying around, I am here to tell you that the Western Digital has some kind of security thing setup on its external drives and the Asus Router is not happy with this configuration. One guy said you can download a "Western Digital Security App" to disable this roadblock. I don't like downloading apps even though it sounds like this is something you can probably get directly from Western Digital.

I plugged the USB drive into my laptop, opened my trusty Cygwin command shell and did an ls -a on the drive. Sure enough, there was a suspicious looking folder called, "$RECYCLE.BIN".

I did rm -rf $RECYCLE.BIN and was greeted with a "Permission Denied" error. So I did a chmod -R a+rwx $RECYCLE.BIN and then the rm -rf $RECYCLE.BIN was successful.

I took the Passport back to my Asus Router and now everything works as it should and I'm happier than a kid in the candy store!

In case you're coming here for the link to Durango's bloggings, he hasn't done anything worth while today :). And now, neither have I!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Since Yesterday

Don't get too excited about my new blogging style. I'm already getting bored with it. I have some very serious matters to bring to your attention before I am done though.

I'm not going to do it today.

Yesterday, after my doctor's appointment, I spent about an hour trying to order something online. I didn't know what it was called.

You know that clasp that are on some hats? The one where you push it in and make the draw strings shorter or longer, then let it go and it keeps it there? I've also seen them on backpacks to cinch stuff closed and I've seen them on lanyards to make them smaller.

I searched the Internet for "clasps", for "spring loaded clasps", for "spring loaded friction clasps", all the way to "the little things you use to alter the chin straps on aussie caps". I was a search engine fool, but I couldn't figure out what they were called and I needed one.

Well, I am here to tell you that those little effers are called "cord locks" and I ordered 10 of them for $5.95.

My most favorite Durango blogs are when he blogs about me. But, today is going to be a twofer. I can't very well leave you with a link to another blog that's mostly a quote of something that I wrote yesterday. A few days ago Durango blogged about some Trinity River Tubing Boondoggle Craziness.

What really got my attention was the koozie. Today I've been scouring the Internet for a beer shirt that says, "Let me hold your cans". Or maybe, "Can I hold your cans while you pour my beer?". It was inspired by the koozie. But, alas, I've been unsuccessful in my endeavors. I guess I should have attended the boondoggle. At least I would've gotten a free "Let me hold your cans" koozie.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Practice Makes Perfect

Blogging helps my communication skills. Since sometime last year, I quit blogging as much. I think I got burnt out after the crazy Presidential election or something. Today, I had an epiphany that this blogging stuff (even if no one reads it), helps with my writing skills and I am in dire need of help with my writing skills.

Mostly it helps because the Grammar Police Chief (Durango), is usually kind enough to point out all my mistakes. And, to be honest, Durango is a mighty fine writer. He writes more than I read every day.

In summary, I will use this blog space as writing practice. I'll pretend no one is reading it which is more than likely true anyway and spew forth all kinds of opinionated drivel coinciding with what I've done for the week or for the day.

At the end of each post I'll link you to my favorite current post by Durango so you can read something written by a professional writer and hopefully ease the pain. Don't skip to the end though. That wouldn't be fair.

My big event this week has been my trip to the doctor for my yearly exam. When I turned 40 I started getting prostate exams once a year. I didn't like that. When I turned 41 and a half someone decided that yearly prostate exams aren't necessary until you are 50. If I could find the person that made this decision I'd send him or her a thank you card.

My doctor told me to quit drinking (beer). I told her I drink to alleviate stress. She said, "Yeah, but drinking can make your blood sugar go out of whack." She may have used more educated verbiage. I said, "I guess I should quit eating too then." She didn't think it was funny and started blaming my second ex-wife for my drinking.

She asked if I was still single and I told her I'm getting married again in two weeks. She asked, "So, three strikes and you're out kind of thing?" I said, "No, third time's a charm kind of thing."

She said, "Why are you anxious?" On my little questionnaire I put down that I suffer from anxiety. I told her, "I've had anxiety problems all my life. It's another reason I drink." She said, "Well, you need to quit drinking, but I did notice you handled your second divorce better than your first divorce." I told her, "Practice makes perfect".

I think it was Durango who accused me of using too many cliche's. Instead of trying to fix the problem I just have accepted it and made it my own.

I think it was last week sometime, the bottom edge of the shower got in the way of my toe so I kicked the hell out of it. It made my left middle toe turn purple for a few days, but it's almost completely healed now. There is just a little discoloration under the nail. Anyway, she commented, "For someone who has had diabetes for 30+ years you have really good circulation." I said, "Thanks! It's because I drink beer."

Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit! Here's Durango discussing the language of Southern Belles. The video is worth watching as well. I like the one who is demanding some sugar. She makes me happy.