Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Who really uses guns for self defense anyways???

Some folks don't believe that people actually use guns to protect their property and lives. When I send them to the Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog they almost always tell me that they had no idea that these things were happening so often. I assure them that for every story that makes it to a paper somewhere, there are ten that didn't.

So, the Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog is being added to the list of blogs I frequent, (or "blogroll" if you feel so inclined) I have no doubt that it will make a fine addition, and promise that it is worth reading.

Needs more chlorine

I took a dip in the blog pool earlier, and it looks like the it needs to be skimmed for debris...

Dear Blog,

How are you? I am good. Today I went to work today. Coworker was there and he was a jerk, but I had lunch and it was okay. I thought about clouds today. It was fun. After work I stopped to get gas for my Ford echo, and I just had to buy a chocolate bar, and i ate the WHOLE thing! Im so bad! I won't tell anyone though. You wont tell anyone either because you are so good at keeping secrets! Oh! I almost forgot, popular TV show is on tonight and I can't wait to see it! it's the hilite of my day!!!!!!!!!!

Oh Blog, your my best freind!

*sputtering and drooling in a corner*

Yes, I realize that I didn't use any form of SMS-style shorthand, but the only way I could keep from suffering a mild stroke while typing that was to keep from using that which plagues certain corners of teh intarweb.


Legal internet access

Well, I have my first *cough*legal*cough* internet access. I decided a bit ago that someone in my position should try to have more of a net presence than I've been trying to maintain (or NOT maintain), so now that I've got an IP I can call home, I plan on making some of my scripts and programs available to the public. Sadly, my impressive scripts and programs are not mine to publish; this leaves only my personal scripts which are (usually) quite ugly, and usually just proof of concepts that serve little purpose. Oh, and the porn scrapers...

My previously clandestine approach to teh intarweb, it seems, must be replaced with a cautious presence. This will afford me a few headaches related to the red tape of my work, and adjustment to my... er... conduct... But the it's important enough for me to spend the time on it.

So I'll ease into non-anonymity slowly, and see where it gets me.

More channels = More happiness

Well, we've got cable now. This is the second time I've had cable, the last time the house with the room I rented had cable. I don't much care for teevee for a number of reasons, though I do watch movies TV shows on DVD. I guess I just don't care for the medium, even though I sometimes enjoy the content. Commercials, obvious plots, formulaic shows, or anything else that insults my intelligence (IE: most of what's on TV) draws a short fuse from me. Aside from those things, I don't like sitting down, and getting up an hour later, and having nothing to show for that hour. If I was well entertained (which is usually a long shot), more informed, challenged, moved, or even a bit nostalgic, I don't mind as much. If I've managed to keep from thinking, and have spent an hour of my life that I'll never get back in front of a flickering box I feel unproductive. Hmmm, "unproductive"... now you're probably picturing me as one of those people who sits in front of the tv with stacks of things around them to do and busy themselves with. That couldn't be farther from the truth. I believe that some shows are worth watching, and that if it's worth watching, it's worth your undivided attention. If you're dividing your attention, what you're watching clearly isn't worth your time.

Don't get me wrong; being able to shut off your brain and be entertained for an hour or two is great, but there are really better ways to unwind.

I watch TV, but try to avoid it if possible, (it's not possible when House, 24, or Lost is on) which is why I don't think cable is really worth having.

More channels simply means more opportunities to waste time. Sure, more channels means a better chance of finding something worth your time; but this is still just entertainment we're talking about. I could probably find enough quality shows to keep be occupied for days, but would I? Would you?

I've thought more about this since deciding to post on it, and speculated that perhaps I was approaching this incorrectly. Maybe cable is more than a purveyor of simple amusement, maybe cable has a fuller offering. I can listen to music, watch some shows on-demand, and get a wider selection of movies than the rabbit ears offered. Maybe I need to really see what it has to offer before I arrive at my conclusion...

I don't know. Whatever. It's just teevee...<

Ghost in the Shell

While I'm talking about Ghost in the Shell

No anime I've ever

This isn't just a bunch of funny stories that have a minor plot in common, this is basically an anime movie in episode format.

This anime doesn't insult your inteligence. And that's huge.

This anime requires you to

Magnetic Fields - i

Magnetic Fields - i

My girlfriend picked up this album, and it is very strange, sad, and beautiful. I really don't know what else to say about it, but you really need to listen to it.

Ain't technology great? -_-;;

For being such a high tech kind of guy; people are often suprised to find that I'm never running in circles after the newer better smaller faster unneccessarily-featured white rabbit of new technology.

I used to be like that; but wised up around when I started to understand purpose of Linux. (It was not a coincidence)

The old maxim is; If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
The engineer maxim is; If it ain't broke; fix it till it is!

What prompted this? Well, we got cable last Saturday, and I thought that I should see what's on teevee in the morning. After a few minutes of flipping through hundreds of channels of crap, I settled on the Oxygen network to watch Xena (I couldn't stop laughing; how could I NOT watch it?) Half way through Xena, I decided to hit the cartoon network on-demand section, and as I was thumbing through the selections the cable box crashed... So now, my teevee is rebooting... Let me say that again; My television... is... rebooting
Sweet fancy Moses.

Soon we'll be downloading firmware updates for our toasters, and logging in to our refrigerators.

Less is more, people.

Less is more.

PS: on demand centeral is still down; but I can see the specific on demand channels. I'm going to watch some Ghost in the Shell.

Monday, October 30, 2006

You like my costume? What costume?

I'm growing my hair long and am a bit lazy about taking care of it. I usually have my hair buzzed very short, and enjoyed not thinking very much of my hair. Now that it's long, I've found myself wearing my hat more often than I usually do.

My hat is a short-brimmed, tan/green non-adjustable cap with a crest-style bird silhouette on the front. When I wear it; I regularly get accused of looking like Fidel Castro. The fact that I haven't been managing my facial hair has left me with a beard that hasn't helped me avoid the comparison. In fact, it has done just the opposite.

The Saturday after attending a Halloween party costume-less the cable guy mentioned that I looked like Castro. This prompted the usual polite laugh, and me dropping the subject. While my girlfriend was at work that day, she realized that I should be Castro for my costume. Brilliant. Why the hell didn't I think of that? Every one else thinks I look like him, I might as well grab a cigar and just get it over with!

So I brought my hat and cigar to the party on Saturday, and whenever anyone asked who I was or where my costume was, I'd take the cigar out of its tube, and bring it to my mouth. By the time it was half way to my mouth, everyone would yell "Castro!" and I'd smile, and suck on the cigar for a bit. This happened so consistently that I was really surprised at how many people got the reference so quickly.

Do I really look that much like Castro???

Who needs a flashlight?

Last Friday myself and a few others were navigating to the back of a warehouse at a customer site when we had to pass through part of the darkened warehouse. Our guide warned us that the we'd have to make our way back through the dark, and as soon as we entered the darkened area I shined my Surefire E2 at the ceiling to give us all enough light to keep from walking into or tripping over anything. Our guide chuckled and said, "There we go!"

When we were out of the dark my boss turned and asked incredulously, "You really carry a flashlight with you all the time?" To which I replied; "Yeah, but I've thought about quitting it. I mean, when am I really gonna need it?" The people with us laughed a little bit, and my boss shook his head and said, "Yeah, I guess I didn't really think about that before I said it."

I can't count the times my flashlight has helped me find something odd in a dark place, increased my visibility as a pedestrian, or given me piece of mind by illuminating an otherwise dark area. People complain that they don't want to be bothered with flashlights that they'll rarely use. When you can pick up an enormously tiny E1E with batteries that keep for over 10 years, and clip it to your pocket or beltloop and forget about it, there's really no reason why you should be caught without a flashlight.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Must be tough to be a republican

Bush signs port security, online gambling bill

So this gets pushed through congress as a (literally) last minute addition to a port security bill, and the president signs it.

Why not make the bill stand on its own? Maybe because a huge percentage of people want to be able to gamble online, and it would never make it on its own. But never fear, just tack it on to an unrelated bill that no one in their right mind would vote against.

But what does port security have to do with online gambling? What? Huh? Oh. Nothing.

And why strike this blow that will only inconvenience casual online gamblers? Because it's October, and you need to give gamblers a reason not to vote Republican. Oh wait; Republican congress... Well, it's not like you can just open the US market to the industry, and regulate and tax the hell out of this billion dollar industry right? Oh wait; you can but won't. Well, it's not like making it harder to gamble online will only drive the industry underground where it can't be controlled and will fund crime syndicates... Oh wait; history shows us that it will... Well, it should be ok because there aren't that many people who gamble online. Oh wait; there are millions... Well, it's a good move anyways because the subjects can't be trusted to spend their own money responsibly, or regulate their own finances. Oh wait; the bill excludes fantasy football and horse races...

It must be hard to stand behind the party of personal responsibility and limited government when they're for regulation and back-door banning. I'm glad I'm a Libertarian, and have just decided to change my party status officially.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Yet ANOTHER record high day on Wall Street

I blame Bush.

Is this the real life? Is this just 50 cent?

I was over at Josh's place, and he's got this up.

50 Cent + Queen = OMGWTFBBQ!?!?

That's some crazy shit Josh; thanks for sharing!

Rabbit Toys

People seem surprised when they hear that Ava, our house rabbit, plays with toys. She has a few cat toys (cylinders with bells inside, a wire ball with a bell inside), cardboard tubes, small boxes, loose fabric, empty toilet paper rolls, and a beach ball. (The beach ball was kind of a surprise)

Rabbits love to chew, so toys that they can chew on or eat are the best (check any non-edible toys to make sure they haven't have pieces chewed off. If pieces are missing, try to locate them. Just because they were chewed off doesn't mean they were eaten). Beyond simply chewing, if you can come up with something that they can chew on, and is small enough to be carried they'll carry these toys around in their mouth. They will also try to move "furniture" like their litter box, or food dish.

Loose fabric such as sheet or towel is also a source of entertainment for rabbits. I'm not sure exactly what Ava's doing, but she lifts and moves the cloth in her mouth, and kneads it with her front feet. She seems to play with the cloth when it's bunched up, and has plenty of folds and corners to grip in her mouth. She also likes to run into, and push into dangling fabric. Once again, I'm not sure what she's doing or trying to accomplish, but she seems quite content to push on the fabric with her head so that it slides to either side of her face.

The beach ball was some kind of promotion for something. It was hanging from our doorknob by a rubber band, so we brought it in with no intended use for it. Eventually it found its way to the ground, and we noticed Ava pushing it around with her nose. She'd push it forward, and chase it to push it more, but would usually wind up laying down next to it. She gets excited if you bat it around, or spin it in front of her and does little jump shakes or runs in circles. She's quite attached to the beach ball, and will only lay down in the middle of the room if she's next to the beach ball.

Ava and her beach ball, with a small box for playing with and chewing.

Completed mostly free light table

As I said in my earlier post, I wanted to freely obtain a fluorescent light bulb to make this entire project cost-free. I waited, and waited to no avail. (Though I did spot a discarded microwave and coffee maker. Both very tempting...) A different requirement necessitated the purchase of some fluorescent lights, so I bought a 3 pack. So, the light table wasn't completely free; but it was close enough!

It's pretty self-explanatory, but I used some thick posterboard for the base, and hot glued the fixture to the board to keep it from sliding around to places less prepared for the mild temperatures generated by the bulb. I bit a chunk out of the housing for the cord so it would go back together properly.

Seems to be working rather well!

Ain't recycling fun?

Some Californian license plates

I try to keep the camera in the car with me so I can take pictures of stuff like this.

Nothing amazing; but mildly entertaining.

Currently stuck in my head...

Lemon Demon - Telekinesis

A strange song with an odd beat that seems to have gotten under my skin...


Brain is red lining,
Million topics through my head.
Damn you prednisone.

I was warned that prednisone had a caffeine-like effect; but for me to be pinging hard 8 hours after taking it is just nuts. At least now I know what to expect...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Duh... Boobies?

Saw an ad at the theater for American Pie presents: The Naked Mile



If you've seen the preview for this movie, you'll notice that there are more computer-added "CENSORED" bars than actual film. It's basically a "Girls Gone Wild" commercial.

The idea that there were some folks sitting around thinking up movies, and one of them said, "Hey, how about a movie that has college kids, drinking, and breasts!" Fucking Brilliant!

Why bother making soft-core porn if you're not going to call it soft-core porn? And while we're at it; why don't I just make a suggestion to change the title:


I think that should just about cover the bredth of the audience you wish to target, and might actually bring in more bodies than a movie with a title made up of more than two words. plus the red attracts the attention of those with short attention- hey look at that...

More pr0n

Gotta give the people what they want!

The recent arrival.

My XD sporting some new Hogue grips.

The kids.

Remember; guns don't kill people. Dinosaurs kill Hippos.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Response to Defiant Infidel

Defiant Infidel posted the following comment to my post Dances with Leaves

Draw it and then paint it, ET. One of my best buddies in Halifax, NS, (who is an astonishingly talented artist) told me once that the picture will always exist in the "mind's eye".

It was the day after I had missed a classic and cherished scenic picture from atop a sand dune in the Arabian desert, at 2AM alone under a full moon. There were camels strewn about below and multiple oil wells with burning flames above their off gas vents. I had just succeeded in sticking a Range Rover on its' frame with all four wheels dangling in air on the pinnacle of the lengthy, highest dune for many miles around. I carefully put the camera on a tripod with the truck in the foreground and used a flash to light the vehicle, then left the lens open for extended, bracketed exposure times to pick up the golden expansive background.

The next day, I learned with great disappointment that there was no film in the camera. How I wish I could paint that. I left the area very soon after, before another full moon and perhaps an opportunity to redeem myself. I have since located the exact (it is very large and distinct) dune using Google Earth, but I know I will never return. So it is mine to keep, but not share.

Use your God given talents to create and share your view with others, my friend. You were permitted the view for a purpose.

I began to write my return comment, but the more I wrote, and the more I thought about what DI said; the more all of this seemed important enough to post. I hope he doesn't mind my reproduction of a comment to post for all to see. Things like this renew my faith in the internet as a medium for more than bitching about politics, talking about guns, or other such drivel. Enjoy.

How you wish you could paint that??? My friend, you've painted that scene into my mind perfectly. What's really amazing is as that picture exists in your mind, it will never exist the same in anyone else's mind. I'd contend that every person who reads your painting sees it even more beautiful than the last, until actually committing your portrait to canvas could only lessen it's magic.

Scenes I've captured in my mind grow more beautiful with age, and were I to have a picture or capture their veneer I would know that they could never be more than that two dimensional box of canvas, paper, or photograph. Their scene would be forever preserved in that box and I could never forget; but they would never become more magical than they were when I witnessed the beauty with all my senses. They could never grow as they could if they were remembered with the beautiful, sad impermanence in a vessel incapable of such preciseness that might be found in the lens of a camera or the contrast of color or the sharp line of ink.

So it is always with a heavy heart that I force these beautiful things into such harsh boxes, and force them to become something more or less than they ever really were. But sometimes, it's the only way they can be communicated to others, and to let their beauty spread, and change hearts.

I suppose it's selfish to keep some of these scenes to myself, but whenever I get the feeling that I can reproduce them, I only end up angry and frustrated. I just don't have the heart, and don't know if I ever will.

Commenting on comments

I saw there were a few comments since I went offline last Thursday; I've started replying to those who left them, so take a look see if I had anything pertinent to add to your comment. (While that would be quite unlikely, I invite you to look anyway)

Sheepdog Duty

It was a dark, and stormy night... Not really; but it was dark.

I was awake. Not just awake; DAMN awake. Damn prednisone. No wonder the bottle says that I should take it in the morning... It was about 12:30am as I lay in bed trying pry my eyelids from their full and upright position. I became increasingly aware of a helicopter that was flying in passes around our neighborhood, lower and lower. After a while they started broadcasting something over the loudspeaker to the homes they were flying over. I couldn't make out the whole message, but it included locking doors, and calling 911, which made it obvious to me that someone dangerous was around, and that we should lock our doors, and report any suspicious activity. I walked to the window, cell phone in hand, and parted the shades.

A number a years back when I was in middle school, the police were looking for someone in my our neighborhood. He was eluding the police by hopping the walls between backyards. My mom woke from the noise, and saw someone hiding in our backyard. She called 911, and the police who were searching over 500 feet down the street rushed over to apprehend the loser. The police found marks on our back door where he seemed to try to pry the door open with something. People avoiding the police are scared and desperate, and that memory pushed to the front of my brain as I stared out the window at the circling helicopter, and the darting spotlight.

I watched for some time, keeping track of the flight pattern of the helicopter, and where exactly the spotlight shone. After about 20 minutes, I was relieved to see the spotlight hover over one spot for some time, and see flashing blue lights against the high walls of the building near the spot. This told me that they had found who they were looking for. I returned to bed, and uttered a vulgar word as I heard the helicopter resume it's previous flight pattern, and loud speaker message.

I was 110% awake now with no prospect of sleep in sight. I stared down a side street we had a good view of from our second story apartment for any activity. Then I realized that it was silly to have such a limited view to watch for suspicious activity or threats, so I thought of a better position. Right outside our front door. Our complex is like two rectangular areas stuck together (like a big, square eight) All the doors faced inward, to the pool areas. Standing at our front door would give me an elevated view of the entire square, and all four entrances. I put on some clothes and a jacket, shoved my cell phone in my pocket, and grabbed my flashlight.

And there I was. 1 in the morning. Standing in front of my door, looking out at the still, dark quad. Cold, alert, and a little nervous; but it just felt right. I looked at the helicopter circling overhead, shining it's spotlight here and there, and felt pride knowing that this small community didn't have someone hundreds of feet in the air making passing glances at their neighborhood to ensure their safety; they had someone standing right there, watching and listening for anyone who might do harm. Someone connected to them, who shared their fate, who wasn't afraid to stand up and say, "I'm hopped up on prednisone, why don't I do a little guard duty?" (I joke, of course, but I don't recall seeing any other drugged up blokes out there that night)

After about an hour of keeping watch, and the occasional walk down to view the other quad, the helicopter left. I knew that one of three things had happened; they'd either found their man and were returning triumphantly, or they ran low on fuel from the diligence of their search and left, soon to return and resume their post dutifully watching over those who relied on them for their safety, or they got bored and gave up. So, after giving them the benefit of the doubt for about 20 minutes, I gave the Huntington Beach Police station a call, and guess which of the three they had chosen? I don't think I even have to tell you. So, this was about 2am, Homeboy McLoserpants was still wandering around our neighborhood, and Huntington Beach's finest were probably gearing up for their 3am nap. (Don't deny it; I've known a lot of police officers from quite a few different departments, so don't you even start.) So I zipped up my jacket, then unzipped it, after I remembered how it prints when zipped up, and decided I'd give Mr. McLoserpants an hour to get settled. (hopefully in some bushes somewhere, and not someone's house)

From 2 to 2:45 I walked the full length of the complex, parking lot and all a number of times, and shined my Surefire E2 at all the dark spots I could find. For the last 15 minutes, I settled back down in front of my door to wait out the last bit of my watch. Some time during that 15 minutes I head some people approaching, and gave them a quick look and a nod. They seemed a little wierded out, so I decided to talk to them a little.

Me: You guys just getting in?
Female: Yeah, do you live here?
Me: Yup, right here. I heard the helicopter looking for someone, so I figured I'd just hang out to make sure no one shows up.
Male: Yeah, we heard the helicopter earlier, but it looked like they caught someone by the corner. There was some kind of accident there, and they have a lot of cops and crime tape up by the offramp.
Me: It looked like they caught someone, but after they finished, the helicopter started circling again with the spotlight.
Male: Is the helicopter gone now?
Me: Yeah; they left about an hour ago. I called up to see if they found who they were looking for, and it turns out they just kinda gave up.
Female: They gave up?
Me: Yeah, they couldn't find 'em so they stopped looking.
Male: I think there's someone dead over there with all the cops. The car was really messed up.
Me: If there's a large area closed off, it's probably a crime scene, as opposed to just an accident.
Male: I was just thinkin' there's probably a body down there.
Me: Well, I just want to make sure that no-body comes in here.
That last bit was a little corny, but he was getting annoying.

At 3:01, I went back into the apartment, and in about 30 minutes I was asleep. On to the next adventure...

The next day my girlfriend saw a neighborhood watch poster in the laundry room, and brought it in for me.

Art imitating art imitating grapefruits imitating art

"The beard's coming in nicely!"

"Beard? Oh. I really need to shave..."

Never met a dead man

Last Wednesday I had a bit of a sore throat, and light cough. I wasn't worried about it; I went to work and just tried not to speak too much. The next morning I was having cold symptoms and my throat was much worse; it felt like it did a few years ago when I had a serious respiratory infection, and tonsillitis. I decided that I probably should have taken it easier Wednesday, and called in sick so I could put myself into a Ny-Quil induced coma for Thursday. The Ny-Qoma is the way I take care of persistent maladies. Having plenty of fluids available, and sleeping all day is almost always enough to knock out whatever bug I've managed to contract. Thursday night I felt a little better; but was sure that a full night's sleep would get me to 100% for Friday.

Early Friday morning I woke up coughing violently and wheezing. My cold symptoms were strong, and my throat didn't hurt as much, but the coughing fit was quickly changing that. After a while the coughing subsided to labored breathing and wheezing, and I noticed I was sweating even though I didn't feel hot. I tried hard to relax so I could go back to sleep, and when I started to feel light-headed while lying down, the only thing I could think was that it would be a good opportunity to slip off to sleep. I did.

I awoke to another violent coughing fit, and decided that I should probably quit being a hospital-avoiding punk, and seek professional help. Clearly, this was a little more than what I'd dealt with before. So, I drove myself to the walk-in, and rolled my eyes as I plunked down the $20 co-pay so someone could look at me and say that I have a cold, and that I need to "get some rest, and drink plenty of fluids!" At this point I couldn't talk or take deep breaths without starting a coughing fit, so I pantomimed my way through the initial questions, and into the waiting room. Before I go into a recount of what happened after I got to the waiting room; let me relate to you the experience I'm used to receiving after I get into the waiting room...

The wait is between 30 and 90 minutes, and after your name is called, you are brought in where they weigh you, ask your birthday, and take your blood pressure. After this; you are put into a room where you will sit for 20-40 minutes until a nurse comes in, and asks you some more questions and takes your blood pressure, temperature, and shoe size. Then you wait another 15-30 minutes until a nurse practitioner (or doctor, if you're lucky) sees you, squeezes your throat, and tells you to "take it easy" for a bit. Sometimes they'll ask you to get a throat swab or blood tests after which they'll find "something that might be something... or it might not" and prescribe you something to calm your malady enough for you to sleep it off. At which point, I roll my eyes, tear up the prescription and toss them with my receipts for $40 in the trash on my way out the door. Weak sauce. I hate the hospital.

Now that you know what I've come to expect from a trip to the hospital, you'll understand why I became a tad concerned when the following happened...

When I entered the waiting room, they called my name ahead of two other people before my butt even warmed the chair. They took my weight, temperature, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation. Then the nurse helped me to the room where shortly after I sat down and started looking around, I saw that I had two nurses setting stuff up, and three doctors discussing about what they need to do first, second, and third. They got me breathing through an albuterol breather, which got me coughing pretty badly for about half the treatment. I explained to the doctors between coughs and wheezing part of what had been happening the past three days, I wasn't sure if they could understand any of it. One of the doctors kneeled down in front of me, and said "You have asthma." I wasn't sure if she was asking me or telling me, but realized that shaking my head "no" would be a good way to answer either possibility. She turned and left the room with the other doctors, and talked with them about me in the hall. After a while it was a little easier to breathe, then I started coughing again at the end of the breather treatment. All this time I was sweating like it was 100 degrees. The doctors returned, discussed me some more, and started another albuterol breather, set up the oxygen saturation monitor, gave me a shot of cortisone, and set up an IV. I was still sweating, and now I was shaking uncontrollably, but I was starting to breathe easier. They left the door open, and the different doctors stopped in to check on me very frequently at first, then less frequently as the treatment progressed. When the treatment was over one of the doctors walked in, and closed the door.

"Good, it looks like you've stopped sweating. Can you talk?"
Well! You had us pretty worried there! We were all set to call 911!
Aren't I in a hospital? I feel much better.
You're in a clinic, and you feel much better because we had to do some quick work to get you breathing again. We needed to make sure that we could regularize your breathing before I could treat you. In about 4 hours what we gave you will wear off, and you'll be right back to where you were when you got here. Did you drive yourself here?
If you ever get like that again, you need to call 911. I can't think of an ambulance in the world that wouldn't have taken you like you were when you got here. Do you have a history of asthma?
You were having an asthma attack. I got worried when I saw that you were sweating so profusely. Sorry to keep you waiting, the cortisone takes about a half an hour to work, and I wanted to make sure you could talk. So, the coughing started yesterday or today?
I was coughing before, but not like this morning. What about me sweating?
When you have an asthma attack, your body has to work very hard to keep you breathing, and though it doesn't feel like it, your body get very fatigued doing that. Sweating is one way to tell that your body is over working itself to keep you breathing. If you're like that for too long, your body gets too tired to keep you breathing and you stop. Then the toxins start to build up in your body because you're not breathing them out. When did you start coughing this morning?
Early in the morning. I was sweating like I was too. -So, I could have stopped breathing?
Yes, what did you do after you started having the attack this morning?
After a while the coughing stopped, and I could get back to sleep. That was an asthma attack? I felt light-headed.
You felt light-headed after the attack? And you were still sweating when you feel asleep?
The next time that happens; you need to call 911. Really, you're lucky to be alive. The only thing that probably saved you is that you didn't know you were in serious danger, and you were relaxed enough to keep breathing.
... Never met a dead man... I truly don't know where this came from, why I said this, or what it even means, but it was the only thing I could say. I think it's an episode of Family Guy. How'd that get in there?
Well I have, and now that you're stabilized we're going to do some tests, and figure out what's going on. We're going to do some blood tests, and some chest x-rays to make sure you don't have pneumonia, because your oxygen absorption is a little low. Go ahead and lay down for a bit and try to relax. We'll see if it gets any better before we start the tests, and don't worry about the shaking; when you get back-to-back doses of albuterol, you get the shakes, they'll go away on their own.

So, I lied down, tipped my hat forward over my eyes, and couldn't think about anything. I thought that I should reflect or introspect, or do some other kind of meaningful activity. But all I could do was lie there with a blank mind.

I got the blood tests (god, I hate needles), and the chest x-rays, and they determined that I didn't have pneumonia. I had some kind of viral or bacterial infection that probably worked its way in between the more minor maladies. I got laryngitis and bronchitis which facilitated the asthma attacks. They put me on a broad-spectrum antibiotic, prednisone (a steroid), and gave me an albuterol inhaler. When the doctor started explaining exactly how I should take these drugs, I wasn't sure what to make of them. I was never really a drug-taking kind of guy. When the doctor finished explaining to me how to take the medicines, and handed the prescriptions to me, I stopped her.
Wait... So... I really have to take these, don't I?
"If you don't you'll be right back to how you were before you got here. But if you still don't want to, you could always just keep a cell phone on you so you can call 911 when you get your next attack."
Ok, I get it.
"You should probably get those filled as soon as possible, because what we gave you is going to stop working in about two hours."

So, I got my prescriptions, and I started them that day. I'm still not a drug-taking kind of guy, but I AM a breathing kind of guy...

As if I still wasn't convinced, hours after my prescriptions were filled, I began to get out of breath, and used the inhaler which helped a little bit. Then I took the prednisone which seemed to help a lot more.

Kind of took some time off...

No updates over the weekend. I haven't even been on the 'net since Thursday.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Reunited (and it feels SO good)

I'm not too proud to admit that I've popped off to my car once or twice to look at my recent arrival, and can neither confirm nor deny that I fondled it the second time, when no one was looking.

... Yeah. I've got it bad.

The death of recess

Bruce over at mAss Backwards tells us that a school has chosen to ban tag from being played at recess.

Children are competing in some manner, shape, or form?! Sweet fancy Moses! We must put a stop to that!

Nylarthotep notes in the comments; "Can you imagine a JV football team in that district?"

Kickin' ass with Hogue grips

Last Saturday, I picked up a universal Hogue grip from Turners to put on my Springfield XD.

I wanted to shoot better, and thought it would probably help. (and if it didn't, I was only out $10; plus, I could try the grip on future handguns) It took me about 15 minutes to get the grip on and adjusted, and I took a knife to the back of the grip so it wouldn't hold down the grip safety. (I was a little worried that the cut for the grip safety would compromise the strength of these very tight-fitting grips, but I noticed no widening of the hole, or loosening of the grips yet) When I finally wrapped my hands around the new grip on my gun it felt very odd, but I knew the true test would come from a visit to the range.

When I hit the range I picked up some black silhouettes for the first time, knowing that white silhouettes would allow me to see my groups, and cause me to subconsciously aim toward them.

As soon as I started shooting I noticed that the noticeable kick on the whitebox 9mm I use for target shooting was lessened at least 20%. They say that in order to manage recoil, you need only get as much flesh on the gun as possible, and now, it seemed the Hogue grips were making that possible! I enjoyed minimal recoil and quick sight re-alignment for the rest of the visit.

I don't know if it was the black silhouettes, or the grips, or a combination of the two, but I shot better for those two hours than I've ever shot before. After I got comfortable with the grips, I started knocking out the X, since I was never one to waste silhouettes, I put them out to the maximum distance (50 feet?), so I'd have to work harder to keep the shots in the X. After I got my trigger control down, I started knocking the X out of the targets at the maximum distance, shooting off-hand. I fired off 100 rounds total, but half or a third were fired one shot at a time at the max distance. I'd shoot, draw the paper in to see where I hit, mark the hit, then put it back out, and shoot another one. I was "in the zone" as they say. It rocked. I can't wait to get back to the range soon to see if I've retained this ability.

I'm glad I can shoot my XD so well, since I know I'm going to spend a bit of time learning to shoot my 1911 well.

Don't wander off...

Last Sunday at the mall, I was warned, "Don't wander off." (as I am apt to do) I was inspired and put a quick sketch into the small moleskine I keep in my back pocket. As we continued through the mall my mind stuck to the sketch, and I wound up making some additions, and notes to the quick sketch.

Later, when I got to my sketch book at home, I began drawing the scene, and wound up with proportions that required I sketch additions to another page... then another. After staring at my work for a bit, I retired to bed, and dreamt about my scene. The next morning, while thinking nothing of my sketch I picked up my sketch book, and pen, and wound up with another addition to the sketch. I need to get this out of my system.

The more I though about doing a full sketch, the more I saw it as less of a sketch, and more of a painting... This was a problem, because while I'm rather skilled at sketching in pen and pencil, the last time I actually applied color to something was probably in fifth grade summer school... It was a rose, it was water color, and it looked damn good. I know very little about color, and even less about controlling the medium. This was a problem, because this scene demanded color.

I know that in order for me to do the scene justice, I'll have to be skilled with color. I suppose it was only a matter of time before I was forced to dip my toe into paint, (not the recommended method) and I'm surprised at how skittish I am about the prospect.

I'm also a little bothered that I won't get to see the truly finish scene for some time. Oh well; such is art...

Is anyone else hot?

The state has determined that I have sufficiently cooled (+1 day), and can gain ownership of my legally purchased property.

I'll pick up my 1911 on my lunch break.

I wasn't sure if I should bring 8 rounds of .45 with me to work until I asked myself the obvious question; "What good is an empty gun???"

4 o'clock won't come fast enough.

Dances with leaves

I hate to get all American Beauty on you guys, but...

A strange thing happened on the way in to work. I got on the offramp and as it was turning, I could see in the empty lane next to me something that amazed me.

It was windy today, and the lane had a bunch of round, flat leaves on it. The wind caught the leaves, and caused them to roll along the lane on their sides. Most seemed to have their stems, and caused them to hop up as they rolled. The sun was barely off to the side, so when the leaves rolled vertically they were black, and randomly flashed orange as they caught the sun. The wind shifted as I drove by and they all changed direction slightly at the same time, like a school of fish, or a group of sparrows.

I had the camera in the car, but there was no way I was going to reach for it, turn it on, take the picture, while the offramp straightened out of the turn. And even if I did; I wouldn't expect it to come out at all. So I just watched the leaves for what seemed like 4 seconds (thinking about it now, there was no way it was 4 seconds; it would have had to be about 2 seconds or less. Though when I replay the scene in my head; it takes 4 seconds)

So as I drove by, in the lane next to me a herd of black and orange dots galloped along the asphalt, and turned away slightly as I drove by.

Thinking about it now, it seems very strange. But at the time; it seemed very magical.

All right, that's enough of that; lets talk about guns, and explosives, and... er... cars!

Friday, October 13, 2006


I'm going to start my weekend a little early. Early to the tune of 5 minutes! (rather, it would have been if I hadn't spent 7 minutes finding that picture)

Don't tell the boss!

Ownage Explaination

I've received a few e-mails regarding Parlee Posit #1337. People are wondering how someone could steal passwords so easily, and if doing so really is as easy as is implied in the (entirely fictional) posit.

Normally, I would go into a techinical explaination of exactlly how this takes place. However, I feel compelled to answer that a magician never reveals his secrets...

Lucky for you guys, I'm not a magician.

Here's a short comic I prepaired illustrating exactly how one preforms a man-in-the-middle attack to hijack, monitor, and modify traffic. Enjoy!

I think that was clear enough. The hacker would tell the victim that he was the gateway, and after that, the victim would send all internet-bound traffic to the hacker, who could do anything he wanted to the traffic before forwarding it off to the real gateway for processing.

... Aw, what the hell!
*ExistingThing vanishes in a puff of logic*
(actually he just goes to visit Tam's site)

Fourty reasons to ban guns

40 reasons to ban guns

I found this on a forum, and didn't want it to take up too much space on the front page, so I posted it way back in time so you could go there if you wanted, or not if you didn't.

Some highlights:
7. An intruder will be incapacitated by tear gas or oven spray, but if shot
with a .357 Magnum will get angry and kill you.

8. A woman raped and strangled is morally superior to a woman with a smoking
gun and a dead rapist at her feet.

12. The 2nd Amendment, ratified in 1787, refers to the National Guard, which
was created 130 years later, in 1917.

13. The National Guard, federally funded, with bases on federal land, using
federally-owned weapons, vehicles, buildings and uniforms, punishing
trespassers under federal law, is a "state" militia.

14. These phrases: "right of the people peaceably to assemble," "right of
the people to be secure in their homes," "enumerations herein of certain
rights shall not be construed to disparage others retained by the people,"
and "The powers not delegated herein are reserved to the states
respectively, and to the people" all refer to individuals, but "the right of
the people to keep and bear arms" refers to the state.

20. Guns are so complex that special training is necessary to use them
properly, and so simple to use that they make murder easy.

33. We should ban "Saturday Night Specials" and other inexpensive guns
because it's not fair that poor people have access to guns too.

Natural Cycles

Yesterday, when I left for work at the same time I do every day, I saw a cop had pulled someone over. I don't think I've EVER seen a cop on my 15-17 minute rides to work. I thought it was odd, and got a good look at the cop as I passed.

I've always been of the belief that all things happen in cycles and patterns. No, not just in nature, I believe that ALL things happen in cycles and patterns. The right, the left, the zeitgeist of a society, how often you bounce your knee while sitting at work, how often your dog poops (and where!); all things.

It's hard to explain exactly what made me believe this, because I don't really recall anything particular "making" me believe it. It was just one of those beliefs/ideals that were always with you.

A while back I got a speeding ticket while speeding back from a day of paintballing. At the time, my girlfriend and I went paintballing every Saturday at the same place. We left at a certain time, we arrived at a certain time, and we left at a certain time. Every time I would speed there, and speed back. I never saw one cop (and I'm a very attentive driver, you gotta be when you speed so much!). The day I got the ticket, we met with a few friends after paintballing, and wound up leaving hours later than we normally did. I sped along; noticed the cop, knew his intent was to give me a ticket, complied, and took my medicine. He said I got the ticket because I was speeding; But I knew why I really go that ticket.

When I was in Vegas for Defcon, my interest was piqued in roulette. I watched some of the tables for about an hour, and marveled at the semi-consistency in the numbers. The tables all had scrolling displays that showed the last 15(?) numbers that came up. There was some minor level of consistency in almost all of the tables, but one table with an older gentleman at the helm had a confusing consistency. Red, red, black, red, red, black. The entire time I was there, the pattern only broke once. He mentioned that he had been doing this for over 20 years. I watched until they changed him out, and the pattern returned to semi-chaos.

A few weeks ago, I was driving out to the desert with my Dad, and I told him about the roulette spinner. I speculated that since he'd been doing it for so many years that his spinning of the ball was probably pretty consistent in force, pressure, and stroke. That fact coupled with the fact that nothing is truly random, meant that he was probably deciding to initiate the spin at similar times subconsciously. The flicker of green from the zeros in certain places on the wheel caused his neurons to fire in certain sequences at consistent times, which caused a pattern to emerge. Surely, after he became aware of the pattern, his mind would endeavor to create the same pattern, and had the physical consistency to do so. I marveled that there were so many random variables, and yet, there was still consistency. Nothing is truly random.

This talk of patterns and cycles lead me into my speeding ticket. I told him that I thought the reason I got the ticket, was because I violated the pattern that had worked for me for months and months. At the time, I expected skepticism from him, but to my surprise, he told me a corroborating story. He told me that when he was working on the streets, new people would always catch more crime in progress, but it would always die off after a number of weeks. He said a few cops speculated that there was some kind of subconscious pattern that the officers followed while "randomly" looking for crime. He said that there was no way to easily enumerate or validate any kind of pattern, but the only way this could happen, would be if there was a pattern in what the cops did, and what the criminals expected. At the time, he didn't think very much of it. Later he transferred to a job in the Sheriff's MTA department. This department didn't have any set "beat" or people randomly checking any places besides on the train platforms, yet they had jurisdiction over all the places the trains go, and everywhere in between. He said that when they drove through different neighborhoods in response to something at a distant station, their deputies would often stumble on to crimes in progress. He said that when they arrested the criminals, and turned them in to the local station, the cops would often be surprised that something like that went unnoticed by cops who regularly patrol these areas. Some of the arrests were of criminals who had been eluding the police in that area for weeks or months. He said that he knew that there had to be patterns in all police patrols, and that his department's deployment to different areas was random enough that they broke those patterns, and found criminals who were usually good at avoiding the patterns. The cops patrol in patterns, and the criminals criminalize in patterns. When a new cop, and pattern, was introduced to the system, and the criminals' patterns wouldn't inversely match, and they'd get caught. After some time, the pattern of the system would change, and only criminals of the new pattern would keep from getting caught.

This morning when I left for work at the same time I do every day, I saw someone else pulled over and, being just as surprised, got a good look at the cop. It was the same guy. Must be new.

I'm sure there will never be a way we humans can understand the infinite complexities that cause these patterns, but we sure can try to recognize when they're working, and when they're not.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


SayUncle has some great posts on the recent failures of the ATF

Normally such public failures would give me hope that change would be on the horizon; but then I remember that this is government...

GOP ad by producer of Scary Movie series

A must watch!

Saw this on Larry Elder's site; hit Drudge HERE to get the story behind it.

C'mon guys! It's time to take off the gloves!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

9/11 redux/republican plot

Small aircraft hits NY, not terrorism: official

Ok, I'm going to beat DailyKos to the punch. This is CLEARLY a Republican plot to divert attention from the scandal surrounding Foley, and force Americans into a "fear cycle" to get them to vote Republican!

Surely this plane was redirected by a Matrix-style hack of flight navigation controls by the CIA to fly the private plane of their enemies into buildings to accomplish three goals at once! Has any one seen Rosie O'Donnel today?

I'm not sayin'; I'm just sayin'...

*waits expectantly for DailyKos to post similar article*

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tactical tupperware

Gutei's Finger

Whenever anyone asked him about Zen, the great master Gutei would quietly raise one finger into the air. A boy in the village began to imitate this behavior. Whenever he heard people talking about Gutei's teachings, he would interrupt the discussion and raise his finger. Gutei heard about the boy's mischief. When he saw him in the street, he seized him and cut off his finger. The boy cried and began to run off, but Gutei called out to him. When the boy turned to look, Gutei raised his finger into the air. At that moment the boy became enlightened.

Monitor a webpage for updates

Yes, more Linux scripts.

I was participating in a flame war online discussion on a forum, and wanted to know the second someone replied to my forum post. So while I was hitting F5 over and over like an idiot I realized that computers are supposed to do dull, repetitive tasks, not me! So, I hacked together a few of my other scripts and came up with a kluge of a solution that worked.

I was able to continue working on my projects, and be notified immediately if someone replied to my troll flame-bait well-worded response. And there was much rejoicing...

More recently, I wanted to track a package that I was supposed to be shipped to me quickly. (f'ing UPS) I dug up that old script and couldn't believe that I'd actually used the wasteful code I'd written! I quickly started on a more elegant solution.

First we find out how many lines are on the page:
[XXXX@XXXXXXXXXXXXX ~]$ lynx --dump 'http://page-to-check'|wc -l

Here we're using "Lynx" which is a text-only web browser. Since it only gets text, we don't have to worry about leaching a large amount of bandwidth. (in the case of the UPS tracking, I was pulling around 55K every 10 minutes, which is probably just fine, especially considering that I'm only going to be doing it for a short while) I'm using lynx's "dump" function to dump the page to the screen, instead of opening the page in the window for me to view and navigate through. I'm then taking this output, and sending it to the "wc" program using a pipe (|) ("\" with shift). The "wc" program is a word count program that will count the words in a file or from input, I'm using the "-l" switch to make it count the lines from the web page that lynx dumped for us. The line count is 193.

Now that we know how many lines it was we last checked it, we can make a loop that checks to see if the line count has increased, and notifies us.

[XXXX@XXXXXXXXXXXXX ~]$ while(true); do if [ `lynx --dump 'http://page-to-check'|wc -l` -gt "193" ]; then kdialog --sorry omgpancakesdangerous; fi; sleep 600; done

I've bolded the part I've already gone over, and the program output. The while(true); do means to do the following forever. if [ checks if the command we ran previously (bold) has an output that is -gt greater than 193. If it does then it will run kdialog --sorry omgpancakesdangerous which will send a pop-up box to the user with the text "omgpancakesdangerous", because they are. fi; closes the If statement, and sleep 600; tells the script to wait 600 seconds before trying again. The done at the end is the end of the while(true); do loop, and will start the script over again at the if [ statement.

Important note on choosing a wait time:
There is little difference in the speed you set it to. Having it check every 5 seconds versus every 60 seconds is really not that much longer considering how quickly one minute passes. Think about how often the pages updates, and how long you'll have the script running. If you want to check a forum to fire a response back ASAP, set the wait time for 60 seconds. If you want to see if your favorite blog has made any updates, set the wait time to 1 hour. There's no need to check a blog for updates every minute, and checking a forum thread for updates every hour is a bit slow. The point here in moderation! If you set a short wait time, you should only let the script run for about an hour. Don't check a site every 60 seconds for two weeks! Bandwidth costs money. Leaching unnecessary bandwidth from a site will increase costs for the site owner, and most webmasters don't take kindly to impolite scrapers (scripts that "scrape" content off a site over and over) Keep in mind how much bandwidth you're using; if you're scraping pictures off a site over and over, you'll definitely get noticed since pictures take up a lot more data than just grabbing the text. If you're rude, or wasteful, you may find your IP address blocked from accessing the site at all!

BE NICE! Think about the nice webmasters who are running the site you're using. They don't want to have to block you, and you don't want to have to be blocked, so be nice and play by the rules.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Lather, rinse, hole-punch

My XD is squeaky clean!

I spent about three hours (or more, I really lost track of time) taking my XD down to the polymer to clean each part with the TLC they deserved. I was careful, and didn't have to endure one of those "*SPROING* Oh $&%@! Where the $&#@ did that spring go?!" moments.

It was damn interesting (and impressive) to see exactly how everything works, and finally clean the gunk out of the places I can't get to on a basic field 3-piece strip.

I even went so far as to go to the office supply store to buy some compressed air to get all the parts immaculate!

Anyways, it's damn clean, and that makes me happy! [imagine smiley here]

Fourth gun purchase

I was still unsure about what to buy coming into the weekend. I hit the range Friday night, and wound up talking to a few other people. One told me that I should get the SP101, but was clearly biased for revolvers (which is fine). I went to bed that night decided on the SP101.

The next day I hit Turners on the way to Grant's for Guns to see if they had anything particularly interesting on sale. I checked out their snubbies, and a nice gentleman was kind enough to give me his input when I told him I was interested in revolvers. I eyed the numerous 1911s behind the glass, and departed for my objective.

I got to Grant's, and as I entered, I regarded the STOP sign with the same contempt I exhibit every time I walk by it on my way it. I don't much care for Grant's for a number of reasons, but the SP101 I had been eyeing was there; and only there. The next closest was Fowler's Gun Room, and they were near $100 more. They were busy, so I waited patiently, and eyed the SP101 and the Springfield GI in an effort to undermine my decisiveness. After a few minutes a clerk appeared and asked me the equivalent of "You buyin' anything?" I resisted the temptation to reply "Not anymore!" to one of the reasons I didn't enjoy coming to Grant's, and said, "Actually, I'm trying to decide between the SP101 and the GI 1911..." To which he replied... Oh, wait. He didn't reply. He walked to the far side of the counter and started reading a magazine. I shot a few daggers at the top of his head (the rest was buried in the magazine), and returned to my indecision.

A customer was talking to another clerk, and was interested in "Something that would scare someone away, but not hurt them too much." It was hard not to inject myself into his conversation, "Why don't you just buy a airsoft shotgun then!" (I would have been happy to sell mine to him!). I was a little annoyed that the clerk didn't make any recommendations or suggestions to keep this ignorant man from making a poor decision (or at least recommend that he buy a 12 gauge and load it with rock salt) (OUCH!). During their conversation the Handgun Safety Certificate came up, and I realize that I wouldn't be able to buy either gun without mine.

Then came the usual drive home to pick up my HSC, which came with the usual bout of second-guessing. Why do I always seem to do these things?

I'm not sure exactly how, but by the time I got home, I was decided on the 1911, and my annoyance at the clerk had worked itself into contemptuous indignation. I ruffled my feathers and puffed out my chest, and said to myself, "ANYWHERE but Grant's!"

I did some quick internet searches on the Springfield GI to solidify my new resolve (lest I re-resolve) (de-resolve?), and started looking for my HSC. (now where the hell did I leave that...?) After about thirty minutes I located my HSC, and headed to Turners to pay a little more ($40+) to avoid Grant's... I walked up to the case and found that the spot that the GI usually fills was notably bare. I inquired as to whether or not they had any in the warehouse, and they said that they do not, and don't know when they'll get more. Bugger.

I sat in my car for about 20 minutes calling different places for prices, finding them all at least $50 over Grant's. Sure that Grant's would take advantage of their lower price by adding to their fees, I called... They didn't. Double bugger.

So, finding my righteous indignation waning, I drove back to Grant's with the reluctant intention of buying the 1911. (though, admittedly, worried that seeing the SP101 might change my mind yet again)

I was relieved to find the clerk I dealt with earlier was not there. I approached the counter and caught myself eyeing the SP101; I quickly announced my intentions to buy the 1911 before I had a chance to change my mind. Whew. The new clerk gave me a look and asked incredulously, "Do you have an HSC?" To which I replied; "Of course." unwilling to let him ruin my experience. Man! I really don't like these guys. Though, as near as I can figure, my indignation was for sale for about $80 (after tax and DROS).

When the clerk asked me if I had a safe, I said that I didn't, but could provide a receipt for a lock purchased within the last 50 days; to which he replied, "I don't think it works that way." Funny, it's worked that way every time I've bought a gun in the past. "I'm fairly certain that there's no problem as long as I can furnish a receipt that proves that I've purchased a gun lock within the past 50 days." I argued, being forewarned on their policy regarding locks, and prepared to make a stand. He flustered for a bit, and just when I began to think I'd get my way, he said he'd have to talk to someone else and excused himself. (Well, he didn't excuse himself, but he did leave. Doesn't anyone believe in courtesy anymore?) He returned a short while later and said that if I wanted to buy a gun from them, I'd have to buy their lock. *ahem* Noting that his statement left question as to whether that was their interpretation of the law or if it was their (vexing) policy, I repeated to myself, "$80... $80..." and asked how much their lock was. "$15" He replied without looking up. I suddenly became acutely aware that my right eye was twitching. "$65... $65... That's nearly enough to pay more elsewhere simply on principal..." Were it not for a combination of the fact that he was handling (dangling)the pistol right in front of me, and the jealous looks I was getting from other customers (and clerks) I would not have been able to take a deep breath and sigh the reply; "Fine."

I'm always impressed with the nonsense one must go through to exercise their constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

"Have you ever been declared by any court to be a danger to yourself or others?"
"Are you a felon?"
"Are you buying this gun for someone else?"
"Are you buying this gun for a felon?"
"Are you telling the truth?"
"No-- I mean, yes!"
... Yes?
"Aren't you not telling the truth about not lying?"
I-- GAK!-- HERK! *aneurysm*
"Have you ever eaten the lemon out of a section of a lemon merengue pie and left the merengue on top?"

After answering all those idiotic, unconstitutional questions I was glad there was a "cooling down" period!

I paid the whole price at the register (they don't allow you to pay part now, and part later) (strike seven... teen.), and realized that the pickup date was 11 days from that day instead of the state-mandated 10. Apparently they avoid all that "On this date, after this time of purchase" convenience by simply adding a day. Man, if I wasn't buying a sweet gun for a good price I'd be SO out of here. Not that I just HAVE to have my gun on the 17th and can't wait until the 18th, but I was in no mood to deal with any more of their "policies."

So, with that unpleasantness behind me, I can look forward to the 17th 18th, and start reading up on all this 1911 business...

Well, that was long winded. I hope you all enjoyed it... ??? Hello? Guys?

Currently stuck in my head (and now my ear)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Custom Knife Show a go-go! (wtfz?)

Last time I hit the knife shop the gentleman there flaged me down, and handed me a brochure for the Custom Knife Show they were running in Huntington Beach. (I suspect I spend too much money there...)

It's at the Huntington Beach Hilton (on the beach), and is $15 for admission.

I'm considering leaving my wallet at home, as I have a notable weakness for quality knives...

Mind that MAC address

I spent a good part of this morning trying to change wireless access points. The one I usually use lost internet access, so I changed to another one, and found that that one had also lost internet access.

I began to think that the internet might have gone out for our area, when I realized that the mac address of the access point I was connecting to was the same as the one of the access point I usually use... Even though I told my card to use the new ESSID, it was defaulting back to the first one, and not updating the ESSID in the list; so it looked like it was using the new ESSID, but the mac address of the AP it was connected to was that of the old ESSID.

I changed all the default settings and even screwed with the channel, but couldn't get it to consistently use the new ESSID for more than a few minutes. Strange.

At least I figured out what it was doing; it was even stranger when I seemed to be connected to the new network with settings from the old network!


I express... concern... at the fact that my "Protect the Child Molesters" post came up when someone searched for the term "kill sex offenders" in Google's blog search... That hatred leads to vigilante justice, and still ends at the bottom of the slippery slope...

I realize that the post could be bit unpopular, but I failed to consider the kinds of traffic it might send to my page...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Principal Perspicacity


Something is burned into the floor here. You read: --more--
"Providence pronounces proceedings plainly; 'Potent, paranoia promotes proficiency positively parrying perplexing, progress-prohibiting persistance. Prominently posturing primitive, puerile pith promotes plight preceding premature passing.' Percieve patently; percipitate prestige."

Parlee Posit #8746

In which ExistingThing dispenses enlightenment; lets listen in...

...We can't solve all our problems with force, the world already hates us for what we've done in Iraq! We all just need to sit down; and work this out!
Excuse me, but I couldn't help but overhear your proposed solution to terrorism.
See, he gets it! I was just saying that we all need to sit down and talk until we're blue in the face! We can solve this conflict with words, not bombs!
Indisputably. Though how would you start the conversation?
Well, I'd let Bin Laden know that the loss of human life is unacceptable for either side, and that solving this by talking is the sane way to deal with this disagreement.
Well said. Now, how do you deal with Bin Laden's statement that there can only be peace if America converts to Islam, or accepts second-class citizenship?
All that's just tough talk. Like I said, we'll talk till we're blue in the face; we'd have to reach a solution!
Excellent plan, though I don't think your friends are convinced.
They don't think Bin Laden can be reasoned with, they think he just wants us dead or converted.
How simple-minded. Say, would you care to engage in a mock peace talk to show your friends the power of words?
Sure, I think they could use the enlightenment!
Quite. Now, I'll be Bin Laden, and you be a Democratic head-of-state
Ok... Mr. Bin Laden, I think that if you take a step back, you'll find that our two people are not so different. We need only come to a mutually-beneficial understanding to end this loss of life.
Mr. Bin Laden, violence begets violence, and --
I don't think--
Ok, that's --
We're supposed to --!!

There was a slight pause, and then the room thundered, and filled with a shimmering light. A sudden silence fell, and the man's eyes grew wide. Through the blinding light you could see knowledge fill the man's eyes, and sense his grasp of reality strengthen. In a flash, all old thoughts were revisited with new clarity, soundly defeated, and expunged from his mind. He closed his eyes, and reopened them to a new world full of sublime perceptibility. He was enlightened. Though, sadly, as this new level of cognizance spread to the corners of his consciousness, this brain gave way, weak from years of liberalism and cognitive dissonance, reducing him to a vegetative state, and simultaneously increasing his IQ.

Disclaimer: A posit is, by definition, postulation. This posit has been provided for entertainment purposes only. Any similarities to actual events are entirely coincidental (no matter how many witnesses were there that day), and smack of paranoia on your part, if I do say so myself.
*ExistingThing vanishes in a puff of logic*

Protect the child molesters!

Disclaimer! This is, upon review, a tad alarmist; so take it with a grain of salt. It's really only meant to open avenues of thought.

No, don't protect the child molesters! They're not people! They do bad things so they don't deserve to be treated like the rest of us! Not convicted? He just got a good lawyer! WE KNOW WHAT HE DID!

When using examples of unconstitutional treatment I regularly use child molesters as the victims. This always elicits perplexed looks from the person I'm talking to. Their eyebrows irk into odd shapes and they think loudly enough for me to hear, "Are you actually defending child molesters?!"

Of course not. Child molesters are the lowest of the low, and should die slow, tortuous deaths; but they can't. Because they have rights too. And they should ALWAYS have rights, because once one group of people doesn't have rights, more are sure to follow.

Why choose child molesters? Because EVERYBODY hates child molesters. And since everybody hates them, who cares if the constitutional lines get blurred a bit, right? I care. And you should too. Because it'll be child molesters one day, then drug dealers, then drug abusers, then Jihadists, then gun owners, then religious fanatics, then Christians, then, then, then, then... Until it's too late, and everyone has given enough power to the government to protect them, constitution-be-damned, from these terrible people, that the people won't be able to control the government.

Headlines you'll never read:
"Community outraged at unconstitutional treatment of suspected child molester"
"Protesters rally for fair treatment of KKK members"

Let me be clear, once again. If someone molested a child; they should be tried to the fullest extent of the law. But if they didn't, they should not be. Sadly, this is not always the case (on both accounts). No one likes child molesters, but we have to make sure our hatred of some people doesn't blind us to the fact that they have the same rights that we do.

The harbinger of these grim milestones are raids.

Raids are great. The police bust in, take care of the bad guys, get the goods, and make the world safe for democracy. They look great in the paper, praise the police agency, and can earn high accolades for politicians. Hence, everybody wants to do them whenever they can. Raids are based off some form of information (hopefully!) that leads the police to believe that someone at some residence is committing some crime, and needs to be stopped. Raids use the element of surprise, so they can't be expected to announce themselves, or make otherwise make you aware they wish to forcefully enter your residence. But that's OK right? I mean; everyone gets a hard-on when they get the chance to nail a child molester/cop killer/serial rapist/melon baller/(your occupation here), and when everyone's got their ninja suits on, they can't be bothered with things like paperwork, warrants, or correct addresses!

Heaven forbid an "informant" blurts out your address, or someone plea bargains with your name and address (or just a random one that happens to be yours), or they just plain have the wrong house. Were any of these things to happen, (or a number of other possibilities) you'd find yourself on the receiving end of one of these foaming-at-the-mouth, masturbatory, no-knock, "high-risk" raids. Just hope they don't accidentally kill your unarmed, hand-cuffed, subdued child.

But it's OK right? Just because they beat up that sex offender or rapist or car thief or funny lookin' guy from down the street, doesn't mean that it'll happen to me!


Lets go for a ride on the slippery slope, shall we?

As peoples' resentment of certain groups of people leads them to tolerate some infringement of rights, the definition of these groups will begin to fuzz, and include more people. The hate will spread to nearby groups, and groups not even closely related (but still perceived as "evil"). As people become more angry at these groups, they'll demand crack-downs, and aggressive pursuit of these "criminals". Which will lead to accidents that will be dismissed by the public, and defended by the prosecutors as necessary evils to rid the community of these terrible groups. Politicians will stir up anger in order to stir up votes, and soon, when nothing will slake the hate of the public, it will be too late. A state of emergency will be declared, and we'll be left with the most extreme of leaders who maintain their power by maintaining the anger, fear, and hate that keeps them in power.

The slope is slippery, and I sure don't like child molesters either, but we have to manage our hate, lest we begin to fear someone hating us.

James is back!!!

Hell in a handbasket is back up!
His past (awesome) posts were not up when I looked, I suspect they'll come up soon. James would never deprive the internet of his amazing posts. (any longer than he already has :-X )

Upgrade denial

I rather enjoy NOT upgrading. Part of it is recalcitrance at the idea of something new and therefore better being shoved down my throat. If I have a program, and it works, I'm done. New version "features" have to be pretty impressive for me to change something that works.

Unfortunately, this has left me to suffer some minor annoyances with software since the new version doesn't specifically fix the issue. Not a problem... Well, not too much of a problem... Ok, so my Firefox sucks.

I'm rather demanding of my computers; I leave windows open for days (sometimes weeks), have many of them refresh automatically, leave processes running in the background for months, fill all 7 of my desktops (and consider adding more) and frankly; expect it all to work. For the most part, everything works. My version of Firefox, however, crashes chronically. It could have something to do with the fact that I use it on sites specifically made for IE, or that I usually run it with over 50 tabs spread across different windows, spread across different desktops, but frankly; I expect it to work.

After weeks (months?) of putting up with finding my desktops devoid of Firefox windows indicating that it crashed sometime in the previous night, I finally became complacent with the issue. I loathed my Firefox, but I lived with it.

Recently I attempted to add some Firefox extensions only to be told that my version was out of date. "^&*@ I hate upgrading." So, I ran the upgrade, and fixed some issues with the extension compatibilities, and realized that this version (1.5.0 linux) of Firefox was quite a bit faster than my previous version (1.0.8 linux), and seemed to use less resources. A quick stress test was rather successful.

Time will tell if it will handle the beating I will no doubt deliver during day-to-day work, but I'm eager to find out.

I guess I should try not to ignore (seemingly) meaningless upgrades as much...


Ok, I'm having trouble deciding which comes next...

Ruger SP101
Springfield 1911 GI

Both are candidates for carry, since the Ruger is a nice snubby and is practically built to be carried, and the 1911 is a single stack with such a slim profile.

The practical side of me says that I already have a shotgun, carbine, and an auto pistol, so the next logical choice is a snubby revolver. The rest of me says "WTFZ GET TEH 1911 YOU BASTARD!!!!!!!" (surely, a compelling argument) But the sp101 I have in mind is still damn sweet.

I'm at a loss.

Monday, October 02, 2006

"Big Tobacco" Hatemongering

I hate the word hatemongering. It's an alarmist word that rarely fits its use. But for this, I make an exception.

A review of the latest anti-tobacco ad
Scene: Open slowly zooming into an office, with a voice over indicating a job interview is in progress. Cut to inside the office where a balding executive interviews a prospective employee across a large desk.
Executive: "You're resume is impressive, but I want to know if you can think on your feet... Here you've got your affluent gay couple, disenfranchised African-American, and a potato salad... (it doesn't really say that, I just can't remember what it says) Who would you market our new cigarettes to?"
Interviewee thinks for a moment then spots a picture behind the executive, and points to it: "How about those guys?"
Executive: "Those are my kids. You'd market to my kids?"
Interviewee: "... I just-"
Executive: "That's just the kind of out-of-the-box thinking we're looking for!"

Gee guys, after watching that ad, I'm not sure WHAT to think of "Big Tobacco"... While the ad was about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the back of the head, I think they could have gone a bit farther. Let me take a crack at it...

Scene: Hell. Red colored, cave-like walls, with fire flaring up from the ground, the wall layout is similar to that of the previous ad. The camera slowly zooms towards an open door with a voice-over indicating a job interview is in progress. Cut to inside the office where Satan, prince of darkness, interviews a prospective employee across a large desk made of human bones.
Satan: Now that we've finished dining on the souls of unborn children, we can continue the interview. Now, as an employee of "Death-Bringing Tobacco," who would you market our cigarettes to?
Interviewee: CHILDREN!
Satan: Of course, but how would you do it differently?
Interviewee: I would use candy flavors, bright colors, cartoon characters, ice-cream trucks, and prenatal nicotine injections!
Satan: I'm getting a boner just thinking about it! You're hired, and if I may add; we sure like getting children addicted to cigarettes!
Interviewee: Hahaha! We are bad men!
Satan: Muhahaha! We're worse than child molesters!
The two laugh maniacally for a few seconds.
Satan: Lets go punch babies, and cut the legs off puppies!
Interviewee: I brought my brass knuckles!

I think that would just about sum up the intent of the commercial. I realize that everyone wants someone to hate, and people don't have a problem hating someone unpopular, but some of these commercials take it a bit too far.

I'm smart enough to know fear/hatemongering when I see it. It's childish, it's uncalled for and, frankly, insulting that they think they can convince people with these ads.

I don't smoke (unless I'm on fire), and have no strong feelings about the tobacco industries, but I don't like to see groups (smokers) being beat up simply because what they do is unpopular. Honestly, the only convincing reason I'd have to take up smoking would be to piss off the Californians around me. I can't think of any better way to exercise my right to do unto myself as I please than by doing something hazardous to myself!

If you've got an argument, use facts to make the point. Making unbelievable situations up to prove your point is a good way to lose credibility.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Monitor for Sale

15 inch screen, fair condition, slightly shotgunned.

$15 OBO
Sold as is!

(pinky not included)