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 physician.equipment 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.