Sunday, December 31, 2006

Broccoli Loaf

I was in the mood for a broccoli loaf tonight. So I made one.

It's easy, and it's really good.

Start with your favorite hamburger loaf recipe (Okay, maybe I'm being pedantic, but it's only meatloaf if it's made with ground beef, ground pork and ground lamb.)

Here's what I use:

1 egg
11/2 lb. hamburger
1/2 med. onion, chopped
3/4 cup cornflake crumbs (the recipe actually calls for breadcrumbs, but I think cornflake crumbs give it a better texture)
1/2 cup catsup
1 tsp salt

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

beat egg with fork, mix in remaining ingerdients until well combined (use your hands, but wash them first)

lay out a piece of aluminum foil, about 18 inches long.

Put hamburger mixture on foil and pat into a rectangle, about 8" by 15"

Put eight half-slices of VelveetaTM on hamburger ( leave at least an inch margin all the way around)

add a layer of chopped broccoli (if you use frozen broccoli, thaw it to room temperature first, if you use it still frozen, the center of the loaf will still be raw after baking)

roll the loaf by lifting the aluminum foil and rolling the hamburger as you go.

Seal the ends and edge of roll. Place seam-side-down in a loaf pan. pat loaf smooth.

Bake for 1 hour. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.


Saturday, December 30, 2006


Check out the link in the title.

This made me laugh so hard I started to choke.

If you don't get the punchline (or do get it, but don't think it's funny), you probably aren't a geek or nerd.



Tom introduced me to this really cool game last weekend.

I have made it to level 23 of 25, and there I am stuck.

I have several solutions that require one more mirror or one more refractor.

In this one, for example, I have a refractor at the end, but I need a mirror instead.

It's pretty frustrating. But the game is cool. Check it out. (the title is the link)


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas aftermath

Well, I'm back in Green River. The drive back from Greybull was much better that the drive up.

It was good to spend time with my parents and my brothers.

However, I'd like to say something about gift-giving.

Buying gifts for children like Maggie and Jonas is easy. Buying gifts for adults can be very hard. That is why places like let people make wishlists.

I refuse to take the blame for a lame gift. I put a lot of effort into finding something I think will be appreciated, but without a wishlist I am probably working with insufficient data and really only guessing.

(Salutation of your choice) (Occasion of your choice).


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas survey

I usually don't bother with these, but hey, it's Christmas.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Mulled Cider or Wassail

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Santa? Uh, sorry Virginia, I hate to break it to you, but...

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
I go elsewhere for Christmas and don't decorate.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
See above

5. When do you put your decorations up?
I don't. See above

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
Blueberry bread pudding.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
Get togethers at Gary and Sue's.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
What Marie said. ("I don't think I ever really believed in Santa. I do remember getting gifts from him, but my Mom never "promoted" Santa because he was not the real reason for the season.")

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
See decorating comment above.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
A bit of both. Hey, you try driving over South Pass in the snow. If it's even open.

12. Can you ice skate?
Used to be able to a little. It's been a while

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
Dad gave me this really cool electronics experiment lab one year. Of course, I lost most of the pieces within a few months.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Meh. I could do this stuff without a trumped up reason.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
See favorite holiday dish.

16. What is your favorite Holiday Tradition?
Don't really have one.

17. What tops your tree?
Enough with the decorating questions already!

18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving Christmas gifts?
Giving, but really only to Maggie and Jonas.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song?
I have two. "Christmas at Ground Zero" and "The Night Santa Went Crazy"

20. Candy Canes?
Oh yeah.

21. Favorite Christmas Movie?
"The Most Horrible Chrismas Ever" (Invader Zim Christmas episode)


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Hobby fun.

The Master of Magic saved game editor is nearly done.

My new favorite tactic:

Walk nine spearmen units up to a city. Save the game when they are able to move. Run editor. Change spearmen to Great Wyrms. Attack the city. Save the game. Run the editor. Change the Great Wyrms back to spearmen. Continue play.

I need a way to cut the Styrofoam for the shrouds (also called ducts). I have a rotary saw attachment for my Dremel, and it will work, but it makes an awful, awful mess of Syrofoam dust (I know. I tested it). I could buy a hot-wire foam cutter, but I couldn't find any that were quite the way I want. So I'm making one.

There a lot of websites that tell how to do this, but come on. It's a wire carrying an electric current on a support frame. It isn't brain surgery.


What insane historical figure are you?

I'm Ludvig II, the Swan King of Bavaria!
Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

I'll take credit for Neuschwanstein and Herrenchiemsee. Those places are pure genius.
He wasn't a bad guy for a lunatic, either. Okay, when he was fourteen he tried to behead his younger brother, but hey, you should have seen the things I did to Phil and Tom when I was fourteen.


UPDTATE: Tom scored as Nikola Tesla, dammit.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Project, Master of Magic editor, and the BP Christmas party

Okay, I went to the BP Christmas party, instead of going to see Stonecircle (which I would have much rather done). I had already committed to the party and am trying to convince BP to hire me directly (they are looking for an automation technician). So I decided I'd better go. It was pretty much what I expected. Mediocre food. Boring speeches. Lots of alcohol. I hung around through the dinner and speeches, but took off as soon as the actual "partying" started. I don't drink, and drunk-watching is not my idea of fun.

I had managed to kluge together a working editor for Master of Magic saved games (all except towns and units) when I thought of a better way to do it. So I scrapped the whole thing and started over. I am now back to the point I was before.

It's still pretty kluge-y. If I were to do it right, I would write my own Windows components for the specialized functions of the program. I could do that, but it would take more effort than I want to put into this. So I used pre-packaged components and hooked them together with event handlers.

Is it efficient? No. (But more so than before)
Is it elegant? No. (But more so than before)
Does it work? Yes.

I may have to make a custom dialog box when I add the capability to edit units, but dialog boxes are easy compered to most other components.

Finally, The Project.

I have been telling myself I'd do this for a couple of years, but now I actually will.

There's this r/c flying platform, the Dragonflyer. It is pretty cool. I decided to build something similar myself. There are a couple of websites dedicated to this same kind of hobby project, so it isn't like I'm doing anything particularly original.

That isn't the point anyway. Neither is having one.

The point is to build one.

I will be documenting my progress (probably very slow, as I have a job that takes up most of my time), with pictures, too.

The size will pretty much be determined by the rotors that I get. Ironically, the only matched set of counter-rotating rotors that I could find were replacement parts for the Dragonflyer. So that's what I ordered.

Unlike the Dragonflyer, mine will have ducts around the rotors. This will increase the lift they generate. I, being the kind of guy that I am, plan to make my own ducts from Styrofoam and ultra-light fiberglass. I also plan to make any special parts I might need the same way.

I have vague plans to mount a camera, too. But that will not happen until I'm satisfied with the flyer itself.

Anyway, that's as far as I've gotten for now.

I have ordered rotors, Styrofoam, fiberglassing stuff and motors.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Save game editor

I started writing code for a saved game editor for Master of Magic this morning. So far you can change your wizard's name.

Hey, it's a start.


Friday, December 01, 2006

Wintersmith, redux

I put "Shadowmarch" on hold to read "Wintersmith."

Anyone who reads this blog (or just happens to know me) is aware that I often gush about how much I like a book (or movie) then give all sorts of reasons not to like it.

That's because I have a very hard time explaining why I like something, so I point out problems to highlight that I liked it in spite of them.

I really don't want to do that with "Wintersmith." Mostly because there were very few bits that were disappointing.

Terry Prachett is one of the few authors that can make me laugh out loud in public. Douglas Adams was another. Surprisingly, Robert Ludlum can, too (yeah, I didn't know he wrote comedy either until Dad gave me "The Road to Omaha")

In "Wintersmith" this happened:
1: Whenever a Feegle said or did, well, anything.
2: When Prachett made an unexpected reference to a joke from an earlier chapter (*werk*)1

You don't need to have read "Wee Free Men" or "A Hat Full of Sky" to enjoy "Wintersmith," but it will help to have done so, because there isn't much introduction to the characters.2

Like the two previous Tiffany Aching stories, this is written for a younger audience (I'd guess 10 to 14 or so), but it is still a great book for any age. As far as I can tell, the only real difference between these stories and Prachett's other Discworld books is that the main characters are younger (Tiffany has a dictionary and looks up any words she doesn't understand 3).


1 You'll get this once you've read "Wintersmith"

2 Except for Miss Treason (a witch) and Wee Dangerous Spike (a young Feegle)

3 Of which there are very few, as she sctually reads it, too.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


The celtic group Stonecircle has a concert in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Dec. 9th.

I wish I had known about it last week. If I had, I would'nt have committed to attending BP's Christmas party that night.

If I had a date, I'd say screw the party, let's go to Salt Lake City.

I may anyway, but I doubt it.



The copy of "Wintersmith" that Tom got (and had Terry Prachett sign) for me arrived today.

Thanks again, Tom!

I didn't know that it's a Tiffany Aching story. Bonus! Nac Mac Feegle! Crivens!

I am currently reading "Shadowmarch" by Tad Williams, so it may be a while before I get to "Wintersmith."


Friday, November 17, 2006

What a load!

Here's a steaming load that you may find laughably pathetic. (The title is the link)

I found it while reading the weekly commentary by James "The Amazing" Randi on the JREF site (see my sidebar).

I have a serious suggestion to pseudocience peddlars.
Enroll in a remedial grammar class at your local community college.

Especially this guy, that site is actually painful to read.

And that navigation sidebar. Nestled in among all the purported uses of this thing is a link to the "teachings of Jesus." Apparently this device duplicates Jesus' healing touch. You, too, can be the Messiah (or at least an Apostle)!

It cures everything. Bee stings, liver failure, pulled muscles, sleep apnea, you name it.

It works on horses and dogs, too.

I can't make this stuff up. Apparently someone can, though.

I wish they wouldn't.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Okay, now I'm pissed

I updated my McAfee VirusScan software Sunday. To do this I had to update Interet Explorer, because VirusScan won't update with Firefox, or any other browser. The whole thing was a royal pain in the ass.

And the icing on the cake: Even with Firefox's popup blocker active, I get popup ads.

When I have time I'm switching to PC-cillan.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Do You Want the Terrorists to Win?

Your 'Do You Want the Terrorists to Win' Score: 96%

You are a terrorist-loving, Bush-bashing, "blame America first"-crowd traitor. You are in league with evil-doers who hate our freedoms. By all counts you are a liberal, and as such cleary desire the terrorists to succeed and impose their harsh theocratic restrictions on us all. You are fit to be hung for treason! Luckily George Bush is tapping your internet connection and is now aware of your thought-crime. Have a nice day.... in Guantanamo!
Ahh, Republibabble.


Do You Deserve Your High School Diploma?

You paid attention during 100% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

I think this speaks for itself.


What American Accent Do You Have?

Result: The West

Your accent is the lowest common denominator of American speech. Unless you're a SoCal surfer, no one thinks you have an accent. And really, you may not even be from the West at all, you could easily be from Florida or one of those big Southern cities like Dallas or Atlanta.
This is kind of funny. When I was travelling around the UK, I got complimented on my accent ("Very smooth, not at all hard to understand like most Americans"), but when I was working in Jamestown, NY (about an hour from where I grew up in PA) several people were able to place me by it.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Babbling Idiot Alert!

So I was starting at a piece of pumpkin flavored cheesecake earlier and contemplating the nature of temptation.

If you don't want something, it doesn't tempt you.

Temptation is wanting something, but knowing that there are reasons why having it is wrong.

Consider Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13, and (briefly mentioned) Mark 1:12-13.

Satan challenges Christ to prove his divinty by turning stones to bread. Now, Christ has been fasting for 40 days and nights. I think the possibilty would already have occured to him. Plus, he just survived over a month with no food or water (no masturbation either, if you want to be pedantic) so it's pretty clear that he is more than human. No mention is made whether or not he is actually hungry. So this may have been some temptation, but it can only be attributed to Satan if Christ is a moron.

Satan challenges Christ to put his divinity to the test by jumping off a cliff. Again, not temptation. Christ has just been bapitzed by John the Baptist, has received proof in the form of a dove, and is confident in his divinity. He has nothing to prove. Especially not to Satan.

Finally,Satan offers Christ the world. Still not temptation. Christ is at the beginning of his carrer and full of the "Spirit." At that point, his mind is filled by his "mission" and it is very unlikely that he is interested. Also, Christ knows this is Satan. If someone you know (who isn't rich) offers you a million dollars to do something vaguely unpleasant, does it even cross your mind that the offer is serious? Does the offer tempt you? No, of course not.

If you want to talk temptation, right around Matthew 26:36-56, when Christ was asking God if he really had to go through with it, Satan should have shown up and said, "Hey, kid, I can get you out of this."

That would have been temptation.

Anyway, back to the cheesecake. It was delicious.


Sunday, November 05, 2006


I just finished watching the BBC production of "Gormenghast." It was cheezy in that special way that only the BBC can manage. Still, it was pretty good, just the same.

It didn't live up to Mervyn Peake's books, but it would have had to have been many tmes longer to do so (the production was around four hours anyway).

It only covered Peake's first two books, "Gormenghast" and "Titus Groan." I didn't read "Titus Alone" anyway, so that's okay.

The BBC did a pretty good job with the huge, run down castle itself. And you may even recognize some of the actors: Jonathan Rhys-Myers, Stephen Fry, Christopher Lee (yes that Christopher Lee), Fiona Shaw, and a few other not-quite-complete unknowns.

All in all, I really did like it.



I picked up a video game yesterday with, get this, an Epilepsy Warning!

Epilepsy Warning

Please read before playing

A very small percentage of individuals may experience epileptic seizures when exposed to certain light patterns or flashig lights. Exposure to certain patterns or backgrounds on a computer screen, or while playing video games, may induce an epileptic seizure in these individuals. Certain conditions may induce previously undetected epileptic symptoms even in persons who have no history of prior seizure or epilepsy.

If you experience any of the following symptoms while playing: dizziness, altered vison, eye or muscle twitches, loss of awareness, disorientation, any involuntary movement or convuslions - immediately discontinue playing and consult your for your ship.

I assume that "eqipment for your ship" thing is a mistake in printing.

Anyway, I've never had a seizure. It might be fun.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dies the Fire

I picked up a book called "Dies the Fire" by S.M. Sterling.

I'm not very far into it, but it's well written and interesting.

The book starts with "the Change." All of a sudden, modern technology stops working. Explosives don't explode, electrical conductors don't conduct, that sort of thing.

Don't overthink it. I did. I still am.

As a plot device, the Change serves to reduce people to their most basic natures. What would you do if civilization effectively vanished, and you had to find a way to survive? Start a farming community? Become a warlord?

The author seems to think that many people would revert to medieval attitudes, if not even more primitive ones. Seems like a pretty low opinion of humanity. I kind of agree.

But I am still stuck on the Change.

Is there still lightning? If so, then static charge and discharge still happens. Time to repeat the experiments of Franklin, Ohm, Faraday, etc. and work out the new laws of electricity. Biological electrochemical process still work just fine (otherwise there'd be no story). Electricity can't be gone, the rules have just changed.

The same goes for explosives. Nitroglycerin, nitrocellulose (smokeless powder) and presumably other nitric acid based explosives don't explode. They still combust, just at a much slower rate. Black powder hasn't been mentioned, but I suspect that it will also turn out to burn more slowly. I see experiment potential here. The ratio of carbon to sullfur to potassium nitrate determines black powder's efficiency as an explosive. So start by varying the ratio. Again, biological processes still work. So the rules of chemistry can't have changed too much.

Like I said: overthinking the story.


Sunday, October 29, 2006


Okay, I'm not quite sure how "MirrorMask" got on my Netflix queue. I don't remember putting it there, and when the DVD arrived, I was terribly confused.

That said, this is one of the coolest movies I have ever seen. The screenplay was written by Neil Gaiman, and Jim Henson was involved somehow, too. (No muppets, though)

It's strange, it's surreal, it's awesome.

The main character is a juggler in her parents' circus. Then things start to get weird.

I can't describe it. It just has to be seen.


Update: obviously Jim Henson himself couldn't have been involved, as the movie was made in 2005. Jim Henson Studios did the special effects. Still, no muppets.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

"The Prestige"

I saw the movie "The Prestige" today. It was okay. It was directed by Chistopher Nolan ("Batman Begins") and Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale starred. Michael Caine played a supporting role. And Scarlett Johansson, never forget Scarlett Johansson. The acting was really good. The drama was gripping and tense. There wasn't really much action, but the movie was still never boring. The plot was excellent. I really hate movies where huge, fancy effects attempt to make up for a crappy plot (or a total lack of one).

I had one real problem with this movie.

In a movie about stage magicians, where everything is done with illusion and misdirection, the trick at the end is real. Why?

The thing I liked best about the movie was the rival magicians' obsession with figuring out the other's tricks. Throwing in real magic at the end was extremely disappointing.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

I am no longer going insane, I have arrived.

I just did something completely weird, even for me.

I was walking past my desk, and for no apparent reason, picked up a pen, and did an impression of Burgess Merideth as 'the Penguin.'

How bizarre.


Some people need to get over themselves

Ok, I was just reading some comments on a random blog, and I realized that one had a familiar theme.

What kind of jackass leaves a comment on someone's personal blog that accuses that person of making trivial, meaningless posts?

It's THEIR blog! They can make posts about whatever they want. If they want to rant about something that they find annoying, well, that's what a personal blog is for.

If, for example, I start actually caring about politics and want to make serious, deep posts on the current political climate, I'll start a blog specifically for that.

If, on the other hand, I only make such posts when an issue happens to touch a nerve, it will go on my personal blog, along with anything else that happens to stike my fancy.

So I just want to say, in advance, to any person who thinks my blog is to insignificant to exist:
"Go fuck yourself."


Lazy Saturday; Strange Dreams

It's Saturday, and I'm really bored. For the first time in a long while, I actually have nothing that needs doing. It is amazing how fast I lose interest in my normal activities when I am not procrastinating over something important.

I had some weird dreams last night. I usually do remember my dreams, but I don't talk about them because they are either about as interesting as my waking life or really out there.

Most of my dreams fall into the category of anxiety dreams - about things that no longer apply to my life. For example, I dream about not remembering my high school locker combination (or even which locker is mine). I never dream about these sort of things when they actually apply, only years after the fact. Apparently my subconscious mind is a cesspool of imagined neuroses.

The rest of my dreams are narrative, kind of like watching a movie and starring in it at the same time. They are almost always in science fiction or fantasy genres. I don't talk about them because I am aware that I am already on the fringes of what society seems to consider "normal," and telling them would carry me way over the edge.

Last night's dreams were strange for me, in that I think most people would consider them pretty normal.

The first one was about attending my twenty year high school reunion (it's in 2010). I didn't go to my ten year reunion, and have no plans to go to the twenty year either. In my dream no one recognized me with the beard. Oddly enough, the dream reunion was about as dull as I would have expected a real one to be.

The second one involved my friend Kevin preaching at me (I am an atheist, he is not). And also me somehow coming into posession of a huge, rundown, creepy house (I mean Gormenghast huge, rundown and creepy). Enough said.

Well, I'm bored again. Time to find something else to do.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Couldn't stop tinkering

I couldn't stop tinkering with the root basin program.

New features:
All mouse control: no keyboard means no illegal input to crash program.
Reset coordinates button: returns bounds of image to initial values
Save image: save the basin image as a JPEG.

screen cap of program

saved images

I may do the same for the Mandelbrot program sometime. I've been in hardcore geek mode the past few days. I even started to re-read "The Fractal Geometry of Nature" by Benoit Mandelbrot. Yes, I own a copy. I've had it since high school.

I told you, I'm a geek.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006


I've perfected both the Root Basin and Mandelbrot programs to my satisfaction.

I got rid of the black specks completely in the Root Basin Program.

I added a feature to both that lets you select the zoom area with the mouse.

They're pretty cool now.


Monday, September 11, 2006

I found the problem

The black specks showed up because I was too precise in my routine to determine which color the pixel should be.

I am not sure what caused the overflow error, but I can avoid it by offsetting 0+j0 from the exact center of the image.

Check these out:

Oh yeah, I solved the slowness problem, too.

Those black specks are actually kind of cool. I may put them back in.


Ooh, pretty...

Here's an enlargement ot the corner I posted yesterday.

You can really see the fractal nature of the bounadry between basins.

I still don't know why I'm getting those black specks.


Sunday, September 10, 2006


I've been trying to rewrite my old root basin program in Borland C++ Builder 6.

Right now it sort-of works. It's slow as hell, I get floating point overflow errors, and for some reason some points don't compute right (the black specks in the image). I'll keep working on it off and on.
Here's what I managed to get so far: (it would take days for the entire image to draw, so this is just one corner)

Here's a sort of extrapolated image:

I got frustrated and wrote a Mandelbrot program instead. It was easy. Here's the result:

I once wrote a Mandelbrot program for my HP-20S graphing calculator, because I was bored in class. It isn't that I'm all that good, it's just that a Mandelbrot program is that easy.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Atheist video

I came across a link to this video while reading the commentaries on the JREF site. (see sidebar)

There are also two responses.
I didn't see much sense in them. The bad grammar is entirely within expectations.

For example there was that old chestnut, "Well, those people aren't real Christians TM."
From an atheist viewpoint, there is no substantial difference between a nut who actually believes, and a nut who only claims to believe. We aren't psychic, we can only go by the stated motives.

Am I the only one who finds the accusations of quote mining to be highly ironic?

However, neither "Atheist" or "Re: Atheist" (either of them) are going to have an effect on anyone not already in agreement. There is no common ground to bridge the gap. Theists will say, "So what." to the information presented in "Atheist." Atheists will say the same to the response videos.

Still, it was pretty cool to learn about famous atheists.
Not that a "Who's Who" list of atheists really matters.
It isn't what you believe that counts; it's what you do.

And, as "Re: Atheist (2)" ends: "For more information on Christians, see the Bible in its entirety." Yes, please do, just don't forget the "in its entirety" part.

(Please spellcheck all hate-mail)


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Nerd test.

I am nerdier than 98% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Wow, I couldn't believe this result, so I went back and made sure my answers were honest.

They were. Who knew?

I am 98% loser. What about you? Click here to find out!

Not surprising, given the result of the first test.

My computer geek score is greater than 80% of all people in the world! How do you compare? Click here to find out!

Again, wow. Just because I recognized Seymour Cray.


Monday, July 24, 2006

Something old is new again.

Granville Sewell, a mathematics professor at the University of Texas El Paso, has published a "A Mathematician's View of Evolution," a refutation of the Thoery of Evolution that contains no math. None.

Okay, there really is nothing in the title that requires this article to have any actual math in it.

Sewell is a mathematician, and this is his opinion about evolution.

I guess I'm just foolish to expect a mathematician's opinion to be mathematically sound.

I was going to go through it and refute his points one by one.

I just don't have it in me.

His points are (three) old creationist crap and (one) new creationist ID crap.

"Blah, blah, incomplete fossil record, blah, blah, irreducible complexity, blah, blah, bullshit computer programming analogy, blah, blah, violates the second law of thermodynamics, blah blah."

All of which have been answered (many times) elsewhere (many places).


Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I salvaged three fairly old notebook computers from the trash at work today.

A HyperData (never heard of them) something-or-other
A Compaq LTE 5100
and a Toshiba T4600

I haven't had a chance to determine what condition they are in. Possibly this weekend.

Nor have I really thought about what I'll do with them. It was a spur of the moment grab.

If they are in (or can be returned to) working condition, I may make Linnux machines out of them.

I welcome any suggestions. Phil?


Friday, June 23, 2006

Good news, everyone!

New episodes of Futurama. All glory to the Hypnotoad!


Monday, June 19, 2006

Warning: Squemish readers may find this post nauseating. Proceed at your own risk. You have been warned.

Does anyone remember the episode of The Young Ones in which all four roommates contract extremely mucusy colds? I believe it was entitled "Sick."

That very accurately describes how I felt all weekend. I considered calling in sick for work, but didn't for two reasons.

1) I am genetically unable to admit debility. If you know (or are) my family, you understand. If I can get drag myself out of bed, I can will go to work.

2) I am slightly paranoid. I worry somewhat that if I call off on a Monday, I will be branded a slacker.

I was slightly nauseous all day.

My nose seemed to be improvising on the theme of The Exorcist

My throat gleefully ignored the Robitussin and Halls, and became very sore from coughing.

I did manage to not throw up until I was walking to my car at the end of the day. Not having actually eaten anything solid since early Sunday, this wasn't much of a problem.

The problem is that the sneezing/coughing phase of a cold is, I think, the time when it is the most contagious. I should call off, if not for my own health, for the health of my coworkers .

I tried that argument this morning, am berating myself with it tonight, and will most likely try it tomorrow morning as well.

It didn't work today, and I don't see it working then, either. I guess I'm just a terribly selfish person. At least I feel mildly guilty about it. That has to count for something, right?


Sunday, June 18, 2006

More B5

I am now on the second DVD of the third season.

Much like on Star Trek DS9, it seems that someone decided that a space station show doesn't have enough plot potential (this was true for DS9, but I disagree for B5). So Captain Sheridan and company now have a warship.

It is still a very good show, and this season seems to have less woo-woo than the last one (at least, what there is is attached to some sort of rational thought). The political maneuverings of EarthGov are a little too obviously Nazi-esque, but it is a TV show, so I don't expect a lot of subtlety. Especially not with Harlan Ellison as conceptual consultant.

I still don't understand why psychic powers are acceptable to popular science fiction. I know that they allow for creepy Orwellian plots, but Orwell managed just fine without them.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Babylon 5

I recently finished watching the first two seasons of Babylon 5.

I almost didn't rent the second season. The first was pretty good, but not great.

It would have been a mistake. The second season was really, really good. It could have been better. I don't understand why psychic powers are acceptable to popular science fiction, but I can tolerate it if the story is good. I wish B5 had avoided the mystical prophecy crap, though.

The first season mentioned the Mimbari prophecy, and hinted at the return of the Shadows (an extra ancient race). The Narn apparently have a similar prophecy.

That's all well and good. The Mimbari prophecy could just be a warning about the Shadow that got mysticized over the millenia. But it isn't (The Narn 'holy book' still could be). It becomes clear that it is an actual prophecy, and that Captain Sheridan and Ambassador Delen (formerly Setai Delen) are the Chosen Ones.

Okay, yes. I liked Buffy and Angel. But I like my fantasy and my science fiction separate. I hated the 'magic cum science' in the sixth season of Buffy, too.

Anyway, I'll be taking B5 season by season. It's good, but if the woo-woo (as James Randi callls it) gets to be too much, I'll drop it.


Monday, June 12, 2006

Low sodium diet

I seem to be embarking on a low salt diet. Not for any health reason, although it probably isn't a bad idea. I just keep forgetting to buy salt when I'm at the grocery store.


Saturday, June 03, 2006

New computer

I bought a Dell Inspiron(tm) notebook.

It came with a lot of crap I neither need nor want, so I took some time removing stuff.

The hardest thing to get used to is the display. I was using 800x600 on my old computer.

This one is 1680x1050. It's kind of strange.

I like it a lot.


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Yet another quack "alternative"

It seems that there is a chiropractic clinic in Rock Springs that offers "Cold Laser Therapy." This is also known as Low Level Laser Therapy (3LT)

This amazing treatment apparently provides relief from a great number of problems, including joint inflammation and carpal tunnel syndrome. It also has (supposedly) the ability to accelerate the healing of wounds.

Now, when I see a claim that one process can relieve a whole slew of problems, alarm bells start sounding in my head. So I did some internet research. Here is a quote from one site that is for 3LT,

Photonic energy is absorbed by the photo acceptor sites on the cell membrane, triggering a secondary messenger to initiate a cascade of intracellular signals that initiate, inhibit or accelerate biological processes such as wound healing, inflammation, or reduction of pain, and cell growth.

I do not know the original source for this quote, but it exists verbatim on all pro-3LT sites I visited.

Okay, the above site provides some references (which most others did not), but the obfuscatory language on this site alone was almost more than I could handle, and most of the references are to books or articles about "alternative" procedures like homeopathy and accupuncture, which have already been debunked as serious medical treatment. (I just had a vision of angry comments defending "alternative medicine." I would like to introduce these potential commenters to two concepts: "the placebo effect", and "double-blind testing.")

Here is what Aetna (a major heath insurance company) has to say about 3LT,

Although the results from large, uncontrolled, open trials of low-energy lasers in inducing wound healing have shown benefit, controlled trials have shown little or no benefit. The analgesic effects of low-energy lasers have been most intensely studied in rheumatoid arthritis. Recent welldesigned, controlled studies have found no benefit from low energy lasers in relieving pain in rheumatoid arthritis or other musculoskeletal conditions.
(Emphasis mine)

I have satisfied myself that this is quack therapy. But you shouldn't just take my word for it. Go ahead and do your own research if you want.

Seriously, do a Google (or Yahoo) search on "Cold Laser Therapy."


Ahhh, that takes me back.

Check this out.

It reminds me of the many hours (and quarters) I spent playing scrolling, beat-em-up games in the arcade (does anyone else remember how cool the flame-punches in Double Dragon were?).

I think the plot here is actually more coherent. If you remember those games, you'll know what I mean.


Saturday, May 20, 2006

It turns out that I need a new computer after all

My computer can't run "Call of Cthulu."

I have had this problem before.

It is because of the crappy on-board video on my motherboard.

I could just get a good video card, but between them, Dad's problem (he got a printer, but can't connect it because his computer doesn't have USB ports) and this make a wonderful excuse.


I'm still alive

Here is the intended text from my last post:

Time to get a new keyboard and mouse

This is getting ridiculous. I am not this crappy a typist. My keyboard's messing up again. If it's the trainyard or not really doesn't matter. I'm getting new ones tomorrow.


Anyway, I did get new ones. Problem solved.

I have said before that I am not much for games. I may (or may not) have mentioned that I hate first person shooters (FPS).

I do, however, really like the writings of HP Lovecraft. The same urge that makes me rent cheesy movie adaptations made me buy "Call of Cthulu: Dark Corners of the Earth" today. I will report my probable disappointment later.

I am getting a notebook computer. I do not even need a new computer, let alone a notebook, but I am getting one anyway. I will take this computer to Greybull next weekend and replace the computer in Dad's clinic with it.

There's not much else happening in my life. Just work.

Well, I really need to clean my house.


Sunday, April 16, 2006

timetoget ewkeyboard an muse

this is etting idiculous i amn this crappy yit. y keybors meing upagai. I t'sh rainyardor not rel de'lnt matrrrr.I' getig newones tomrow.


Monday, April 10, 2006

Lamp surgery

Some time ago, I bought a floor lamp for my bedroom. My nightstand is very small, and the alarm clock and phone don't leave room for much else.

So, floor lamp.

Problem. The whole point of a bedside lamp is to not have to get up to turn it off. The floor lamp is tall. I can't reach the switch while lying in bed. Kind of defeats the purpose.

Solution. Today, I remembered to bring my tools home from work. It took me about five minutes to cut off about two and a half feet and reconnect the wires. I now have a very short floor lamp. It looks pretty weird, and I can't have it on if I'm standing (I can see down into it; it's like a bare lightbulb), but now I can reach the switch while in bed.


Sunday, April 02, 2006

Was it designed?

Certain ID proponents (who shall remain nameless) have pointed to Mt. Rushmore as a clear example of design, therefore "proving" that they can detect design in nature.

Mt. Rushmore was designed by humans. There is a lot of evidence that someone designed it (and constructed it, by recognizable means). Historical records and rock shards with tool marks (people sometimes take these as souvenirs) to name two.

But that argument has been covered other places (here, here and here for example) and anyway it still wouldn't be very strong evidence for ID.

There is, however, a structure that looks designed, and was for centuries believed to have been designed. The Giant's Causeway. Then some scientists came along and explained how it, in fact, formed naturally. It seems Finn MacCool didn't do it after all. Actually, it (and similar formations) had been thought to be natural for some time, but the mechanism of formation was not well understood.

Stick that up your "explanatory filter."

The point is, most humans can reliably recognize human design because, being human, we typically understand how humans design things. Artifacts designed by humans are not arguments for a non-human designer.


I totally forgot.

Thank Bill that WinXP automatically adjusts for daylight savings time.

If I hadn't noticed that my computer clock was an hour ahead of the rest of my clocks (stove, alarm, and watch), I'd have been an hour late for work tomorrow.

That would have sucked.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

You gotta love it.

I just got a phone call. Check it out.

Me: Hello
Woman's Voice (WV): How are you today, sir?
Me (not recognizing voice): Who is this?
WV: I'm calling on behalf of ICR, a national research foundation..
Me (interrupting): What does ICR stand for? (I already knew)
WV: It's a national research foundation..
Me (interrupting again): That would be NRF. What does ICR stand for?
WV: It's just a name for a national research foundation..
Me (interrupting yet again): I'm not interested. (I hang up)

Cold calls for donation rely on the person called believing that you represent a worthy cause.

In order to maintain that belief, this woman apparently was not allowed to tell me she was calling on behalf of the Institute for Creation Research.

That's understandable, too. I'd sooner shoot myself than support that crap.


Monday, March 20, 2006

The Geek makes a brief appearance

I bought the anime series Mospeada on DVD.

Not Robotech. Robotech remains a cherished part of my youth, but the fact is: I can't watch certain episodes anymore. The dialog is terrible. The plot just doesn't make sense.

The DVD's I bought are the original anime series. They are in Japanese, with English subtitles.


Sunday, March 19, 2006

Time Travel movie

I just saw this movie, 'Primer.'
It's about these two engineers who accidentally build a time machine.
It's very disjointed, and I think I'll need to watch it again to form any real opinion about it.
Although it isn't a comedy, it had what I think is the funniest time-travel one liner ever.

"Man, are you hungry? I haven't eaten a thing since later this afternoon."


Friday, March 17, 2006

Of Mice and Trains

Soon after I moved, I noticed that my wireless mouse and keyboard were occasionally not working right.

-- Interesting note - Right now some girl is walking past my house yelling profanities at someone. From the context, it's probably her boyfriend. Ahh, young love. --

Anyway, mouse and keyboard. At first I thought the problem was with the units themselves. Batteries? Nope, still happened. Both going bad at the same time? Possible but unlikely. Receiver going bad? maybe. I was trying to answer some questions before any in depth troubleshooting, (That wireless communications technician certification has to be good for something.) When I noticed something. When they are acting funny, I can always hear activity at the trainyard across the street.

My mouse and keyboard both operate at 27 MHz. Does anyone know if trainyards use this frequency (or a close one) for control or communication?

It's very annoying. I may have to try to find some that use a different frequency.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

In which sci-fi crew do you belong?

You scored as Serenity (Firefly). You like to live your own way and don't enjoy when anyone but a friend tries to tell you should do different. Now if only the Reavers would quit trying to skin you.

Serenity (Firefly)


Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)


Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)


Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)


Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)


Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)


SG-1 (Stargate)


Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)


Moya (Farscape)


Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)


Enterprise D (Star Trek)


FBI's X-Files Division (The X-Files)


Which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with


Sunday, February 26, 2006

Math and Science Quizzes

Okay, no one took the evolution quiz. Try these instead.

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 9/10 correct!

You Passed 8th Grade Science

Congratulations, you got 8/8 correct!


Saturday, February 25, 2006

Sorry about this, Phil

I like Windows Media Player.


Monday, February 20, 2006

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I can't get it out of my head

As you may know (from earlier posts), I saw Star Wars: Episode III yesterday.

There is something about it that bothers me. The fact that it does bother me bothers me even more.

It's that damn droid general (General Grievious, hence forth GG). Why the hell would the writer's make it cough and wheeze?

Since no one is reading (or at least commenting on) my blog, I have to make up arguments myself. Don't worry, I have no friends here, so I do this a lot anyway. (Maybe you should worry)

Towards the end, when GG is fighting Obi Wan, we see that it (GG) has organic parts (flesh around the eyes, internal organs), so you might believe that is the reason. But its throat is mechanical. Why build a voice box into the air intake when an electronic speech synthesizer seems more efficient? With the voice box you'd need a tongue and lips (or something similar) to produce speech. All the synthesizer needs is a speaker.

Darth Vader's doctors (technicians? mechanics?) apparently went with the synthesizer option (because you can hear him breathing while he talks). This makes sense in light of his burns. His throat and lungs were probably almost destroyed. We have seen that, in the Star Wars universe, mechanical prostheses are used instead of biological replacements. The dramatic change in his voice also supports this.


What is a "low," and where is he laying it?

"Record Jackpot Winner Probably Laying Low"

This is a headline from Yahootm News.

Can anyone see the problem?
Neither could the journalist or editor, apparently.

It should be "lying low."

How do I know?
Because I had English Grammar in elementary school.

"Lying" is a verb that uses the subject as its (the verb's) object.
i.e. : The book is lying on the table.

"Laying" requires a separate object. The subject does it to something.
i.e. : He is laying the book on the table.

Do you see the difference?
Am I a jerk because I think professional writers should know how to write?


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Episode III, afterwards

My final verdict. It sucked, just like the other two prequels.

It never did get much better. I did find a couple of good things to say about it though. Yoda looked pretty good. So did the wookies.

The plot was obvious and unoriginal. It seemed to me that a lot of dialog was rehashed from the original trilogy. If this was Lucas' way of relating to it (the original trilogy), he failed. It only made this movie seem hackneyed.

I still would have said the movie was okay, except for the ending. It went on too long. We didn't need to be shown the twins being born and given to foster parents. We know that happened. We also did not need to see Darth Vader rise from the table (complete with Frankensteinian lurch) and the "NOOOooo..." shout (talk about hackneyed. At least he didn't drop to his knees). There was a scene that would have been a perfect ending. Anakin is lying burned. Darth Vader's mask is lowered onto his face. Cue John William's "Imperial March" (just the first bar). Fade to credits. Everything after that was unnecessary.


Star Wars: Episode III

I rented Revenge of the Sith, because a lot of people have said that it is much better than the first two. So far, it is not. I am about 15 minutes into it, and have to stop to make this post.

I have a few complaints.
The acting is very stiff. It sounds as if the actors are reading from a malfunctioning teleprompter.
The CGI is cartoonish. The old movies had more realistic looking space battles.
The droid general coughs and wheezes.
The droid general coughs and wheezes.
The guns on the droid flagship are lasers or some kind of energy weapon, yet they have recoil and discarding shells.
The internal gravity on the droid flagship apparrently depends on spatial orientation.

I tried to find something good to say about it, but so far I can't. Hopefully it will get better, but I don't believe it will.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

on the scientific method

I have read several claims recently that there is no such thing as "the scientific method."

Here is one such claim from some (IMO*) crackpot.
Here is another from someone who seems (also IMO) otherwise rational.

I have to weigh in on this.


These two examples, and all others that I have read, create a strawman, "The Scientific Method," (insert dramatic chord here) which they then define as a "special way of knowing things" that only scientists can, and must, use. This strawman is easy to knock down. That's the whole point of strawmen.

"The scientific method" is just a name given to the only process that has been observed to consistently produce reliable knowledge. It doesn't matter if you are a professional scientist or not. No special training is required. This is not a "special way of knowing." In order to really know anything, you follow the scientific method. It is not dogma, it is a process that everyone follows, consciously or not.

You may find it described in many ways. If those descriptions are honest, they will boil down to the following steps:

  1. Observation - Observe some aspect of the universe.
  2. Hypothesis - Form a hypothesis that is consistent with what you have observed.
  3. Prediction - Use the hypothesis to make predictions.
  4. Experiment - Test those predictions by experiments or further observations.
  5. Refinement - Modify the hypothesis (or the experiment) in light of your results.
  6. Repeat - Go to step 3. This is an ongoing process, repeat ad infinitum, nothing is ever proven except pure mathematics.

Sometimes a hypothesis is confirmed so often that only a complete idiot (IDiot?) would try to refute it.

Sometimes you observe something so obvious that you do not really need to go past step 2.

  1. Observation - I see water falling from the sky when I look out my window.
  2. Hypothesis - It is raining.
If you claim (2), any rational person who also observes (1) will agree with you.

However, let's go through the whole process:
  1. Observation - I see water falling from the sky when I look out my window.
  2. Hypothesis - It is raining.
  3. Prediction - If I step outside, I will get wet.
  4. Experiment - I step outside. Result - I don't get wet.
    Further Observation - There is a roof over my front stoop.
  5. Refinement - The hypothesis still seems sound. In this particular case it is the prediction and experiment that need to be refined. Remember, well designed and carefully conducted experiments are vital to accurate testing.
  6. (3) Prediction - If I step beyond the bounds of shelter, I will get wet.
  7. (4) Experiment - I walk to the sidewalk. Result - I get wet.

There is really no need to go any further with this simple example. The statement, "It is raining." is not really a hypothesis, it is an observed fact.
(scientific) fact
a controlled, repeatable and/or rigorously verified observation.
(scientific) law
a statement of an observed regularity among facts, often expressible as a simple mathematical relationship.
(scientific) theory
an integrated conceptual framework for reasoning about a class of phenomena, which is able to coordinate existing facts and laws and sometimes provide predictions of new ones.
Go to this site for a detailed explanation of the difference.
This is where I got the above definitions.**
Anyway, using this process (the scientific method, in case you have forgotten) is the only way a person can actually know anything. Without it, you don't know, you believe.

If I ask, "How do you know?"
and you reply, " My parents (my teacher/the Bible/my goldfish) told me."
then you don't really know, you believe.

We all conflate belief with knowledge. If we didn't, our educations would be pretty meaningless. The important thing is to consider the reliability of the source. But I'll leave that for another post.


UPDATE 6/18/07: over a year later, the 'rational' link is dead but the 'crackpot' link is still good. Go figure.

* This is often IMHO, but my opinion is most definitely not humble.
** Yes, I am aware that this is the same site referenced above with a false denial of the scientific method. The irony is not lost on me.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Massive online games may have a new monster: the IRS

I heard (on NPR) an interview with Julian Dibbell, author of Play Money and this article. I don't know if I have this exactly right, and I don't care enough to check. You can if you want. I just thought it was funny, especially if it actually happens.

Here's the deal.

MMORPG's have become very popular. Some people are so obsessed that they pay real money for powerful items, or even characters.

Once real mony changes hands, the item in question now has fair market value (FMV), and FMV could be determined for all other items, based on their relative values in the game. This is where the IRS comes in. I'm pretty sure the IRS believes that no exchange of money should ever happen unless they get a piece of the action.

But that isn't all. The IRS has barter laws. Whenever items or services with FMV are traded, the IRS is supposed to get a cut. (I don't think this is strictly enforced, if at all)

So every time items are traded online, the trade is taxable, and the company running the game should issue a 1099 to both players. Every time.

The IRS also has laws covering prizes. So when a player gets an item for defeating some monster, guess what? 1099 time!

I wonder if selling items at shops could also be taxable.

I think the IRS should run with this, it would be a big new source of income for the US government.

Good thing I don't play MMORPG's. Have fun with that, Tim, Caleb, and Paul.


UPDATE: I read the above article. I do have it right. Cool!


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

on Beliefs

Phil put a post about things he doesn't believe on his craziness blog. Here is the list. Remember these are things he does NOT believe. Text like this are my comments.

  • in Space Aliens --- I am open to the possibility of extraterrestrial life, if he means alien abductions, or any other kind of visitation, then I agree

  • that the moon landings were staged (so I do believe that we actually went to the moon) --- I agree, check out Bad Astronomy for a thorough refutation of the Moon Landing Hoax

  • that the Holocaust never happened (It most certainly did) --- again I agree, read Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World or Michael Shermer's Why People Believe Strange Things

  • that drugs are harmless (I don't like any form of chemical body/mind manipulation including most pharmaceuticals) --- I agree, drugs are not harmless, but 'no drugs' is at least as harmful

  • that violence, pornography, and vulgarity on tv, in movies, and in music is harmless (it has a major impact on behavior - and I don't just mean for kids - it affects all people) --- I only sort of agree, I think these things are symptoms, not causes

  • that promiscuity can be safe and harmless --- see my previous response

  • that abortion is different than murder --- sorry, I have to disagree on this one

  • that everything is all well and good with the world --- I agree, but I don't think it's really that much worse than it ever was, there are just more people and much better media coverage

  • that technology makes our world a safer/cleaner/better place --- Wow, I really disagree here

  • that people are basically good (perhaps more on this later) --- I agree

  • that Satan is not real --- I disagree, I think people created the idea of Satan to shift blame off of themselves. If they did it on their own, they're evil; if Satan made them do it, they only had a moment of weakness.

  • that Demons and Angels aren't real (perhaps more on this later) --- I disagree, most claims of angel (or demon) sightings are virtually identical to claims of alien abduction, again, read Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World or Michael Shermer's Why People Believe Strange Things

  • that Jesus was a good teacher, but not the Messiah and not Divine (definitely more on this later) --- I disagree, I'm not even convinced that the Biblical Jesus was all that great a teacher

  • in Buddha --- I do not believe in his divinity, but as a person Buddha is at least as plausible as Jesus

  • that Muslims worship the same God as Christians - or that Islam is another path to the same God --- Really? According to the Koran the Islamic nation was founded by Ishmael, the son of Abraham and Hagar. He also appears in the Bible, as the son of Abraham and Hagar. The last we see of Ishmael in the Bible, God promises to make a great nation from him. (Gen. 21:18) Jesus (thus Christianity) descended from Abraham through Isaac, Abraham's son by Sarah.

  • that there is any path to God/salvation other than through Jesus Christ --- Whatever. *yawn*

  • that the medieval Crusaders had God's blessing --- I agree, but clearly for a different reason

  • that God advocates violence towards non-christians today --- I agree, but again, clearly for a different reason

  • that Islam does not advocate violence or that it is a peaceful religion --- This applies to any religious fundamentalism

  • that "the experts" know what they're talking about --- I agree, argument from authority is always suspect. *cough*PatRobertson*cough*

  • that being published in a magazine or writing a best selling book means that you are right --- I agree

  • that you are right because any number of other people agree with you --- I agree

  • that non-experts must be wrong if they disagree with the experts --- I agree

  • that there is any living person who does not make mistakes --- or ever was

  • in the theory of Evolution (more specifically biological Macroevolution) --- Yeah, right. Remember Behe's smirk and handwave dismissal of a pile of research data? Whatever.

  • that the Earth could have maintained a habitable environment for millions or billions of years --- Why not? Really, I'd like to hear the evidence for Young Earth Creationism. Real, hard evidence, not just some pronouncement from thousands of years ago. Remember that argument from authority thing? Why is that ancient creation myth true, and all other ancient creation myths false? This page also has a bunch of flood and afterlife myths.
Random thought - In the late 1700's and early 1800's religious fundamentalists were vehemently opposed to lightning rods. Apparently they were "an attempt to thwart God's will."

I'm sorry that many relatives of mine who might read this will be very offended. I'm not sorry for my beliefs, just that some people will be offended by them (and maybe take this post as a personal attack. It isn't).


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A random thought


1) Abraham and Sarah left Canaan because of a famine. They came back.
2) Isaac (son of A&S) and Rebekkah left Canaan because of a famine. They came back.
3) Jacob (AKA Israel, son of I&R) and his sons left Canaan because of a famine. They didn't come back.
4) God told Moses he would give the Israelites a land "flowing with milk and honey." What land was that? Canaan.

Think about it.


He had someone else call.

Right after I finished the last post, some woman called for Carolyn. I could hear "SG" in the background. I'm not sorry to say that I don't regret that I was extremely rude.


Phone moron

This is a phone conversation I just had:

Me: Hello?
Some Guy(SG): Carolyn? (This Carolyn must be scary masculine, if she sounds like me)
Me: I'm sorry you have the wrong number.
SG: Carolyn isn't in? (Oh, no)
Me: There's no Carolyn living here.
SG: When will she be back? (Unnghhh...)
Me: Wrong number.
SG: I need to talk to Carolyn. (If I were telepathic, this guy would have had an aneurism about now)
Me: You called the wrong number. Please do not do it again. Goodbye. (I hung up)

Are there really people this stupid in the world? Yes, there are. I used to work at a convenience store in State College, PA. Not a day went by when I didn't get depressed thinking that all the idiots that came through would have (or had, a lot were PSU alumni) better jobs than I ever would. I have a really good job now, but I bet it's still true.


What's up with my spam filter?

A lot (and I do mean a lot) of spam has been getting through to my gmail inbox since I moved. My email address hasn't changed, and I can't see why my IP address should matter. Weird.


Monday, February 06, 2006

Lunatic fringe

I was listening to the radio while driving between wellsites the other day. There was this guy being interviewed about the State of the Union address. He started out sounding like a pretty normal political commentator. He was soon sliding into the lunatic fringe, then dropped way, way off the deep end. Go here and see what I mean. Be sure to check out the crap advertised in his sidebars. I wish that I could believe it's all a joke.


Current state of my life

I got my first paycheck here Friday. So I went to Wells Fargo (it's less than a block from my house - yes, that is how I chose my bank) and opened an account. Moron that I sometimes am, however, I didn't think that I might need some cash for the weekend, and that my new account wouldn't be available until early this week (tomorrow in fact). So although I have plenty of money in theory, I am, for all intents and purposes, broke. Until tomorrow. I could probably go to the grocery store and cash a check, but I still have a little money left in my account back in Greybull. Not much, but enough that I can get the stuff I need for supper tonight and lunch tomorrow. I have been living on PB&J and Ramen soup for over two weeks now. I am looking forward to some real grocery shopping after work tomorrow.


Friday, January 27, 2006


I just saw on IMDb that there is a live action movie adaptation of Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn in the works. An animated version was made in 1982. It was very good. (PSB wrote the screenplay, and the producers stuck to it) But I didn't think it quite did justice to the book. I hope the live action version is at least as good.

Dan once introduced me to a game he called "Who would you cast in the movie?" The idea is to decide what actors you would want to play characters in a movie adaptation of a book. Dan was using the Wheel of Time series. (I don't remember his choices) Not too long ago, I was doing this with The Innkeeper's Song (a book by PSB that I'd really like to see made into a movie, as long as it's done right). It's pretty tough, and I haven't gotten very far. In fact, the only definte choices I made are as follows:

Lal : Gina Torres - she proved in the Matrix sequels and Firefly that she can play a convincing warrior

Lukassa : Anne Hathaway - she's cute and I bet she could do creepy really well

Nyateneri : Natasha Henstridge - she also would be convincing as a warrior

Soukyan : Brad Pitt - his coloring is similar to Natasha Henstridge, and he's a good actor

Assassin #3 : Jet Li - no question

That's all I have so far. Other important characters would be: Tikat, Rosseth, The Man Who Laughs, Karsh, the Fox (man-shape), Assassins #1 & 2, Marinesha, and Arshadin. The Griga'ath, the Others, and Old Nothing would be CGI of course.


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Cat's Laughing

For those of you who don't know the group Cat's Laughing (probably most of you), you are missing out. I won't go into detail about them here. Go to Green Man Review if you want to know.

Here is an mp3 (also on Green Man Review) of the song "For It All." Most of their songs are this good. My personal favorite is "Black Knight's Work." Plus Steven Brust and Emma Bull wrote some pretty great books.


10 point evolution quiz

Are you as knowledgeable as a 16 year old British kid is supposed to be?

Find out here. I scored 9 out of 10. But only because I mistyped 'Mendel'. Oh well.

This is a revision (study) guide for the GCSE's. Think Harry Potter's OWL's. (only, you know, real)

Surf around the site and take the quizzes for other subjects.

Really, how's your education?

Oh yeah. These Mormon guys came to my door this morning. I got rid of them pretty fast, but in hindsight I wish I'd asked them a couple of questions.

1) What's up with the fig tree incident? (Matthew 21:18-22 and Mark 11:12-14,19-25)
2) How do you reconcile John 5:31 with John 8:14?


Friday, January 20, 2006

Back online!

My phone was activated today, and with it, my DSL connection.

Thanks to everyone who congratulated me on my new job. My first week has been pretty good. The guys I work with are cool. The job itself is great. Now I just need to manage to survive until my first paycheck, two weeks from today. I may need to borrow Febuary's rent from Dad.

I spent most of my time off so far exploring Green River. I think I'll like it here.


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

You never realize how much crap you have until you need to move

So I started packing my stuff tonight.

When I moved here (a year and a couple of months ago), all of my stuff could fit in my (small) car. Other than a couple of pieces of furniture that I intend to keep, it almost still could. Of course, that's after deciding that quite a bit of stuff is trash.

That's ok, though. This time Dad's truck is available.

If you can't figure it out, I got a place.


Sunday, January 08, 2006

one a.m. and once again I can't sleep.

First the good news.

I got that job in Rock Springs (actually it's in Granger, and I'll be living in Green River, but the main office is in Rock Springs).

I start on the 16th.

I'll need to find an apartment this week. Shouldn't be a problem, though.

I'm really very happy. Not that anyone could tell. Just take my word for it. I'm very happy.

Wow, I just deleted a huge, rambling post because it was getting downright maudlin. If I didn't know better I'd think I was drunk (I'm not, I don't drink. I'm just loopy with fatigue). Really, you don't want to read that stuff. I started this blog as a place to vent. I think I'd better not. People think I have enough issues as it is. If they knew the truth, someone would have me committed. (I don't know, that might be nice. All my needs met, no stress, Thorazine. Hmmm.. No, better not.)