|Saturday, March 25th, 2006||"Every time congress makes a joke, it's a law, and every time they make a law, it's a joke." - Will Rogers|
This version of my website has officially come to an end.
You can find the newer (And far easier to update) version here: http://www.lasivian.com/
As a result some things may not (And probably will not) work anymore on these pages, but they should be on the new site.
|Friday, February 3rd, 2006||The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." - F. Scott Fitzgerald|
Piracy at the MPAA!
For those of you that haven't already heard a small-time director made a movie called "This film is not yet rated", about the ratings system used by the MPAA. When finished he gave a copy of the movie to the MPAA's lawyer, who prompty copied it.
The MPAA says that the subject matter made it allowable since the director followed some raters around in their private life, but even then how do 2 wrongs make a right?
|Wednesday, February 1st, 2006||"Liberty is the right to do whatever the law permits." - Charles de Montesquieu|
State of Diversion
So, Bush gave his yearly State of the Union speech last night.
I think the Republican issues he's been trying to push lately are starting to strain the middle and lower classes of voters, who aren't seeing much going to them out of his choices. Hence for the most part it's simply become a "let's try and rally the voters" speech for him, and there's not much to rally around right now.
|Tuesday, January 31th, 2006||"It's a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word." - Andrew Jackson|
My New Job
So, last tuesday I started work at "Desert Documents" and left Hartson Kennedy in the dust. (I'll miss the free scrap laminate, but I think I can deal with it).
The place is alot longer commute (ten miles longer), but it's really nice. The lunchroom has a massive fridge, two dishwashers and even a stove with an oven. The computers could be a little better but they're not bad.
The office is quiet, I mean library quiet, so I can sit with my headphones on and just do the brainless work they want me to do. (Yes, those of you that know me realize this won't last long, so i'm still searching).
Could be worse I suppose.
Alito now "Justice Alito"
All of us that want personal freedom, religious tolerance, rights to our privacy, etc should get ready to jump ship, it's listing hard to the right.
I think this is a very bad thing personally, but in truth it will be up to the voters to decide that. The least Bush could have done is make sure we got a woman to replace Sandra.
As for the Democrats i'm nearly as unhappy with their spineless attitudes as I am with Bush. They just sat back and let Bush cram Alito down their throats. This should have been a knock-down, drag-out fight. If the party positions were reversed you can bet the Republicans would have fought to the end.
So the news today has been totally put aside for US Politics, and the fact that Coretta Scott King died. (The widow of Martin Luther King Jr. for those not with it).
And during these news stories they go on and on about the civil rights movement, and the millions rallied around the Kings. And this got me thinking.
The African Americans have the King legacy to rally around.
The Central & South Americans have Cesar Chavez to think of.
The Native Americans have their reservations, so they're pretty much their own nation and only deal with us when they want to. (They're allowed to be bias under law)
The Indians have the memory Ghandi to bring them together.
And the Causcasians have .. ..
.. Hrrm, nobody.
So, when you really look at it, how can you fault people that rally around the wrong White leaders (Hitler comes to mind) when there aren't alot of modern White leaders worth following, and when it's not "politically correct" for them to even act as a group?
Someone goes postal... again
Well, it's been eight years since we had a workplace shooting incident at the U.S. Post Office, but given how rough the work environment is there I suppose it was just a matter of time. (You might not know this, but postal employees are a union, but forbidden by U.S. Federal law from going on strike).
What's worse is on the radio this morning I heard "Authorities are looking for the shooter, HE is believed to have shot 6 of HIS co-workers to death", but in the end it was a woman that did the shooting. I suppose that's just typical bias tho, we kind of figure by default that violent acts are going to be carried out by men.
|Sunday, January 29th, 2006||"Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh." - George Bernard Shaw|
The Middle East
Damn, what a week. We had Hamas sweep the Palestinian elections, which was egg on Bush's face. Unfortunately I see very bad things in the Palestinian future, i'll explain why.
We're doing the "All stick, no carrot" approach. Bush especially says "We will not deal with any government involving Hamas unless it renounces violence", ok, but you're not saying you will deal with Hamas if they renounce violence either. This is the problem that comes up when you have a black and white view of terrorism.
If we don't offer Hamas a carrot for renouncing violence they will just go to Iran, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, etc. to get the financial backing they need.
This is the most disgusting credit offer i've ever seen. I think this card would be maxxed out as soon as you opened it just from the fees it imposes.
A lovely example of how people in the US are getting slammed by credit card companies, we badly need to teach young people how to manage money so they don't fall for these traps.
|Thursday, January 19th, 2006||"There is a coherent plan in the universe, though I don't know what it's a plan for." - Fred Hoyle|
Had a countertop fall on me at work, doesn't look or feel good. This is what happens when you give a two-person job to one person.
So the new Pluto probe lifted off today to limited fanfare.
Personally I think it was a bit of a stretch, we're going to fly for 10 years, in order to get a 9-hour flyby of Pluto. (Yes, you heard right, it won't be able to slow down when it gets there so it'll see Pluto for a whole 9 hours then keep on going.).
Are the people working on this project now even going to be in the same job to see the flyby in a decade? And how much are we paying to monitor the thing as it flys there.
A slower craft that could go into orbit around Pluto seems like a much better proposal to me.
|Friday, January 13th, 2006||"Civilization is a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities." - Mark Twain|
So I went in to work at 7am, and I left at 9:30am. They had nothing at all to do and too many people trying to look busy while doing nothing.
I hate trying to "look busy".
I must be a glutton for punishment.
After I came home I ended up climbing up into my attic to re-run my COX cable line so it didn't go all the way around the house anymore.
Of course it's all a plan to make it easier to replace COX cable TV service with Dish Network down the road.
Also ended up on the roof painting the ductwork that goes from the AC unit into the rooftop. Hopefully it'll make the air coming in a little cooler since the duct gets full sun for about 8 hours a day and was bare metal.
|Thursday, January 12th, 2006||"A pessimist is a person who has had to listen to too many optimists." - Don Marquis|
Well, Aerotek found me a "job" at a cabinet making company here in Glendale, Hartson Kennedy.
Lemme tell you, the place is a dump.
We work from 7am till 3pm, we get two five-minute breaks, and one 15-minute lunch. There is one microwave in the "lunchroom" for forty people. On top of that there is no sink, just a PVC pipe with a plastic valve on it. (No, I haven't bothered to see if water actually comes out of it).
We work in pathetic conditions. Multiple chemicals are being used regularly, but no safety equipment is provided. Machines are not locked out while we're told to change cutter blades. We're expected to be able to lift a 4x8 sheet of plywood over our heads (But not the girls, only the guys have to do heavy lifting, mind you Aerotek said there was no heavy lifting). All of this violates their internal safety training we had to go over for four hours our first day.
Mind you the front office area of the building just got remodeled and is spotless, and they have very pretty trucks to haul their product in, but not one of the machines works "correctly" they all need little tweaks or such to make them function. (I mean the tablesaw that cuts ALL their countertops doesn't even cut straight).
As i'm sure you've guessed i'm looking for a new job.
Well the Fiva units work pretty nice for snagging networks around town. (Tho I went through 3 PCMCIA wireless cards before finding one netstumbler liked, Orinoco is the only way it seems under 98SE).
Here's a map of my travels (the green dots are open networks, the red ones are locked).
I don't often throw out "recommended reading", but I think this is worth noting.
I'm sure alot of you have already read Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut, if you haven't I recommend you do. It's a smashing display of what a world of "true equality" would look like.
I feel we fool ourselves trying to say everyone is equal and therefore nobody needs "help" in life.
I consider myself well above average in some ways, and far below in others, *shrug*
You can read it here.
Today 349 people died during a "crowd crush" in Mecca, Saudi Arabia during the annual "Haj" pilgrimage.
This is not the first time this kind of thing has happened, the Haj attracts millions of pilgrims each year. A fire in a tent camp killed 343 people in 1997. And in 1990, at least 1,426 people died in a stampede in a tunnel.
When are the authorities there going to realize that when they don't take major proactive steps to control crowds this big lots of people die?
Medicare "Part D"
Yes, the Medicare Prescription Drug plan is called "Part D". Personally I think it's well named, with the "D" standing for Disaster.
Yes folks, let's make a horribly complex plan to give seniors drug coverage. Let's make sure that the drug companies still get huge profits. Let's make sure to give it a stupid meaningless deadline and punish people that sign up after that point.
This is a serious "WTF?" thing for me. The setup is built to benefit corporations and screw seniors, the only good thing about this that I see is that seniors remember when people mess things up for them, and they vote with a vengeance.
As one pharmacist said, "The people that wrote this thing don't even understand it".
|Tuesday, December 6th, 2005||"There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval." - George Santayana|
The Aerotek position at Modern Industries was a bust. It paid well, but every morning I got to go to work and get abused by my boss.
Now, I might be wrong here, but something tells me it's unprofessional to call your coworkers "stupid" or "Idiot".
I was called in to be a technical advisor, but I never got a chance to advise, the paranoid HR manager who was my boss kept wanting it all done EXACTLY her way, but she was only there for 5 minutes a day to explain how she wanted things done.
It was almost like she would vent her frustrations with her work on me no matter what I said, attempting to place the blame on me for minor mistakes. Perhaps she should have hired a robotoic follower, rather than a skilled technician who is used to solving problems.
I finally got sick of the abuse and gave my two-week notice, after which I was immediately walked out.
Casio Fiva MPC-500
I bought 2 of these older (P200mhz, 96m RAM) tablets off Ebay for $160 ea. and they're awesome.
Small enough to take anywhere easily, cheap enough to not worry about destroying, powerful enough to handle TOPO! and a wireless card.
Delay is Down for the Count
Tom Delay seems to take confidence from the fact that his actions "were not illegal at the time". Now there is a fair chance that will hold up in a court of law, but don't forget he has to run for re-election while dealing with a trial, and the opinion of the voters takes alot less effort to turn against you.
Also, where should we move the trial to? They want it removed from Austin, but on the same note where the hell do they really think they can find jurors in Texas that are NOT highly politically biased?
|Friday, October 28th, 2005||"Tradition is what you resort to when you don't have the time or the money to do it right." - Kurt Herbert Alder|
Good News - Well, the job through Aerotek panned out finally after a two hour and fourty minute interview. I'm helping in the HR department of Modern Industries now. It's better than my last few previous positions by leaps and bounds. Wish me luck.
Seismograph - Looking for ideas on the best commercial serial seismograph in the $200 range for hobby-type application, any ideas? Thanks.
Geocache Ho! - Now call me sadistic, but i'm working on making a solar-powered self-positioning geocache that can maintain a stable position in the open ocean. Making it will be easy, making it cheap will be nearly impossible.
Scooter Skedaddles! - "Scooter" Libby seems to have suddenly dropped out of the Bush administration, could it be perhaps because he was finally nailed for doing something criminal? EGADS! Now if we could only clear out the rest of Washington that broke the law. Oh, wait... nevermind...
|Wednesday, October 5th, 2005||"The only normal people are the ones you don't know very well." - Joe Ancis|
Bleah... - Not much to say at the moment. The job goes on, as does the job search. Hoping to hear back from Aerotek or the Community College system soon.
Pyrophoric Metal - I'm trying to figure out what metal would spark best when struck against a stone. I'm not much of a chemist tho, if anyone has any ideas let me know, thanks.
|Tuesday, October 4th, 2005||"Reality is nothing but a collective hunch." - Lily Tomlin|
Henry Rollins - The show was pretty good, we managed to get front-row seats, but unfortunately they were mostly behind his back since Rollins favors the left side of his stage, and it was a 3/4 house setup. The show is definately worth seeing.
Serenity - Well, I saw Serenity twice over the weekend and I liked it quite a bit. Here's hoping the box office returns are good enough that movies two and three that were planned get made (It made $10 Million over the weekend, less than most folks were hoping for. But on a good note production costs were only $39 Million).
Work - Well, I ended up taking the job at Wells Fargo. It kinda tanks the morale since we have to learn all about the companies benefits so we can support the employees that call about them, but we're all temps that get no benefits. On the good side i'm able to take the bus in to work now. (The cost is 1/4 what it would cost for gas & parking if I drove).
|Thursday, September 29th, 2005||"Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact." - George Eliot|
Job Search Woes
Ok, so i've been out of work for awhile, and all manner of odd things have happened.
First I got what seemed a perfect job with First American Title in Phoenix. They wanted someone to be a general PC tech (My favorite type of work). Richard Freeman who I worked for thought I was doing a spectacular job while I was there. But there was a problem, Timothy (The guy in charge of the whole company) thought my long hair was unacceptable and fired me, even tho women there had hair much longer than mine.
Discrimination sucks lemme tell ya.
Job Search Woes #2
Next up we have Wells Fargo.
They wanted me to come in to an interview on Tuesday at 2:45pm. So I did so. They liked me, and called me at 3:30pm to offer me the position. They called back at 4:30pm to say they changed their mind. Saying that I was overqualified for the position. If that's not crazy enough they called me back at 9:00am the next morning saying they changed their mind again and could I start on Monday.
I'm hoping another opening i'm waiting on comes up before that. Crazy huh?
Henry Rollins - Off to the Henry Rollins spoken word show tonight. I'm going to head down four hours early and sit in line at the theatre for a good seat. Wish me luck.
|Monday, August 10th, 2005||"I did not know that we had ever quarreled." - Henry David Thoreau, when urged to make his peace with God|
In the grand view of sickness and treatment I think there are alot of problems that need drugs. But recently I heard an ad that said they were looking for study participants with "Restless Leg Syndrome".
Now could it just possibly be that the restless legs in question just want to move a little more than the 30 minutes that people walk these days?
I think your body is telling you something.
|Sunday, July 24th, 2005||"History repeats itself; that's one of the things that's wrong with history." - Clarence Darrow|
WTF is going on here? Lemme tell you...
Yeah, no updates for almost 2 months, sorry.
Was worried about Godaddy yanking my free hosting if i got fired(Godaddy employees get to use free services while they are employees there for learning purposes, but if they fire you they delete all your services immediately). Eventually they did, they weren't fond of my attitude because I wouldn't take their crap anymore.
My GF put an apple and a paring knife into my lunchbox one morning and security found it, HR decided they would just fire me under the "no weapons" policy to be rid of me (Took them three days to decide this tho, yeah that's zero-tolerence, right) they tried to push me into quitting and taking 2 weeks pay or they would fire me (Blackmail?). Oh well, not the first time i've been unemployed, probably won't be the last.
BTW, Godaddy's 1-800 number for technical support that they don't give out (They only put it in their advertisements) is 1-866-godaddy (1-866-463-2339).
My commentary on Godaddy? Mixed, in some ways they were a good employer, most of the time I worked there oversight was light. Near the end it got more micromanaged. They were motivated mainly by greed and thought all of their workers would respond favorably to throwing money at them (Unfortunately money is not a big motivator for me). If you happen to call tech support you'll note that every call someone tries really hard to sell you something.
Change of Services
Anyway, my hosting is now on my own machine on my cable line, which isn't the fastest way to run a website, but it is one of the cheapest ways to have sixteen gigs of crap online.
The detailed site address is http://lasivian.dnsalias.com:7500 altho there are lots of forwards, http://www.lasivian.com, http://www.techrealms.com, etc.
The box was already here from when I needed a relay to do work under Unix from Godaddy. They had heavy firewalls so I had to change the port to SSH into.
My lack of FreeBSD knowledge meant I just spent the last 24 hours making it work, BUT IT WORKS NOW!
Pardon me while I go treat my bleeding ulcer.
The Supreme Court
Ok, so O'Connor is retiring. That surprised me.
But frankly what shocked and annoyed me was that Bush's pick to replace her was a white man.
So, I got hooked on Henry Rollins and his "Spoken Word" tours. It's not really standup comedy, more like a social and political commentary from one of the few open-minded outspoken individuals I know.
He's got the guts and the desire to be honest about how he really fels about everything. He deserves and gets my total respect, and i'll be going to see him playing a gig in September at the Celebrity Theatre here in Phoenix. Hopefully I can stick around after and have a word with him without looking like too much of a stupid slobbering jackass.
I managed to dig up his e-mail on the internet (No, I won't give it to you) and he actually replied (At least I give him the benefit of the doubt and figure it was actually him, it didn't feel like a "canned answer").
I swear where was he when I was younger and needed a role model.
|Monday, May 30th, 2005||"The fetters imposed on liberty at home have ever been forged out of the weapons provided for defence against real, pretended, or imaginary dangers from abroad." - James Madison|
My best friend was sitting around with us last night and we were all terribly bored. She offhandedly mentioned that we should go do a "Wal-Mart Scavenger Hunt". Perplexed I asked her to explain this.
She said it was played one of two ways:
#1 - Each team must get one item for each letter of the alphabet and be the first to return to the starting point. IE. Apple, Banana, Cucumber, Etc.
#2 - Each team gets ten random items of their choice from around the store. Each team exchanges items with another and exchanges a member of their teams. The teams now rush to return the items to where they came from and be the first to return to the starting point.
She also mentioned that you could do "Basketball and turkey bowling". Basketball bowling with quarts of oil, and turkey bowling with two liter bottles of soda.
At least you can do these things until you get kicked out of the store.
Joe "Leadfoot" Arpaio
Glad I don't ride with our Sheriff.
"Sheriff Arpaio faults car for his accident
By Richard Ruelas - AZCentral.com
May. 30, 2005 12:00 AM - Sheriff Joe Arpaio insists this is not interesting.
That the citizens of Arizona won't care to read about how he totaled his county-issued car at a Fountain Hills drugstore.
How he says the car lurched forward uncontrollably, ramming over a curb and a giant boulder before mercifully coming to rest inches from a busy street.
Arpaio was not injured in the wreck.
But he was shaken up a bit. Especially in the confidence he had in his Crown Victoria, which he alternatively referred to as "stupid," "garbage" and a "lemon."
A diagram of the wreck shows the sheriff jumped the curb at the end of a parking space, heading straight into a plant and climbing over a boulder. That impact blew out the front tires and broke the drive shaft.
The car came to rest on the sidewalk of Palisades Boulevard, one of the main streets through the town of Fountain Hills.
A simple explanation would be that Arpaio hit the gas instead of the brake. But he bristled at that suggestion.
"Nooo, naaaah," the sheriff said, shaking his head vigorously before I could even finish asking him the question.
We were in the parking lot of another shopping center, this time for a news conference on safe driving. "I'm a big supporter of traffic safety," Arpaio told reporters.
The campaign was needed, the 72-year-old sheriff said, because students were getting out of school and "young people, sometimes they have a problem behind the wheel."
Arpaio insists he did not have any problems behind the wheel.
He says his wreck was caused by something mechanical.
"I've had problems with that car," he said about the 2001 model that sustained $7,227.21 worth of damage, mainly to its undercarriage and wheel support. "I was never happy with that car."
The normally media-friendly Sheriff's Office kept quiet about the April 2 accident.
His office also was hesitant to release the report after I filed a public-records request. Lt. Paul Chagolla, a department spokesman, questioned why I wanted the report and dismissively told me it was on a "list of priorities."
When the Sheriff's Office did give up the report, it also included several pages of repair records, seeking to bolster Arpaio's claim that the car had mechanical failures.
Highlighted sections of work orders show the car, over the past year, had its transmission rebuilt, leaking fuel gaskets replaced and brake pads and rotors changed out.
But nothing would explain what Arpaio described: a car that suddenly zoomed forward unstoppably.
"It lurched and I couldn't stop it and I just kept going," Arpaio said.
That's what he told his deputy who investigated the accident, which occurred about 10:30 a.m. on a Saturday.
A log of radio traffic shows the state Department of Public Safety showed up at the scene, but the Sheriff's Office kept the investigation.
"Mr. Arpaio said he had pulled into the parking lot of the Osco Drug store and was going to park his vehicle in a space on the north side of the parking lot when his vehicle would not stop subsequently striking the curb and stopping in the landscaping," the report says.
The car was towed to Five Star Ford for repairs. A notation on the repair log asks the mechanic to check for "throttle sticking," meaning whether the accelerator cable was frayed or whether something was making the car act as if the gas pedal were being pressed.
A notation from the mechanic says that portion of the car showed no problems.
Mark Salem, a Tempe mechanic who hosts a weekend radio show on KTAR-AM, laughed when I read him those notations.
I initially told Salem everything about the incident except the driver's name. Salem has worked as a mechanical expert for insurance companies for the past 15 years.
He said he has done about 25 cases of "mysterious acceleration" and none has a mechanical reason.
"The inescapable conclusion is that these definitely involve the driver inadvertently pressing the accelerator instead of, or in addition to, the brake pedal," he said, adopting the well-polished manner he uses in court testimony.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a study of "sudden acceleration" accidents that reached the same conclusion.
That theory is further bolstered in Arpaio's wreck by a mechanic's notation that the "over rev limiter" was activated.
That system, Salem said, starts shutting down the car, cylinder by cylinder, if the engine is turning dangerously fast. It also means, "the foot was to the floor."
Still, Arpaio is sticking to his story. He didn't make a mistake. It was the car's fault.
"Maybe I should have gotten a new car (before this happened)," he said. "What do you do? Give up the car? Give it to someone else? Make it their problem? No, I'm not going to do that."
In the parking lot, after the safe-driving news conference, he pointed out the 2002 Crown Victoria he's driving now.
He said this is a much better car.
"I'm a straight shooter," he said, before he got in his car and drove downtown. "You've got to appreciate that."
Yes, but just to be safe, as he pulled out of the parking space I was off to the side. ."
|Friday, May 27th, 2005||"What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?" - Henry David Thoreau|
Israel and Palestine - I seem to recall after Abbas was elected Sharon and Bush Said: "Stop the terrorist attacks and we'll talk". To my knowledge there haven't been any attacks in months and Hamas has announced it will not attack during the Gaza/Shomron Disengagement Plan. But now the Bush/Sharon tone has changed to "Dismantle Hamas and Islamic Jihad and we'll talk". I see little reason to doubt that next it will be "Accept our current borders and we'll talk" or worse. The west talks about freedom, but I guess that doesn't apply to the Palestinians.
|Thursday, May 26th, 2005||"Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life." - Herbert Henry Asquith|
Lifesaving - I don't know if anyone remembers the big stink over installing citizen-available defibrillators at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport. The argument was that they could be used incorrectly, or the instructions were too complicated. But recently they just saved their 12th life.
Politics - So the Republicans and the Democrats have come to an agreement on judicial nominees and fillibusters. Frankly I don't think the Republicans can be trusted when it comes to a Supreme Court nomination (Which is likely to happen in the next few years). I think it would have been better to have a showdown now and let the Republicans deal with the drawbacks of their voting down the fillibuster. I bet now that the Republicans will whip out the "Nuclear Option" when a supreme court nominee comes up, if they play that card then they won't care about the democrats response. (Clinton filled the last vacancy in 1994, 11 years is a long time for the republicans to recover from the fallout of playing dirty to get their way on the court).
|Wednesday, May 25th, 2005||"Reality is the leading cause of stress for those in touch with it." - Jack Wagner|
The meaning of life
I think i've found the crux of my social and emotional issues finally, and it's simple really.
Life is boring.
It's just one big "to-do list" of things we don't want to do, but that society wants us to do. We strive to feel wanted and useful, but in the end all of life boils down to just trying to find one more thing to entertain ourselves with to break the required monotony of making a living. (Some people are more easily entertained than others). For me it takes a great deal to keep me interested, unfortunately in most of life I can't hold that level of excitement, and frankly I don't feel like I should have to settle for less.
Like mom said "You can do anything you want in life", it's all those other people that want you to follow the rules that get in the say.
|Tuesday, May 24th, 2005||"The only difference between saints and sinners is that every saint has a past while every sinner has a future." - Oscar Wilde|
Bush's approval ratings dropping - President Bush's approval ratings for handling the economy, Iraq and Social Security have fallen to the lowest levels of his White House tenure, according to a USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday. (Aww, i'm just heartbroken.) Congressional approval is down to 36% too. Bush's overall rating was 46%. (About 45% more than how much I approve of his policies.).
|Monday, May 23rd, 2005||"The ability to delude yourself may be an important survival tool." - Jane Wagner|
Le Sigh - Really wish I had a better idea of where to go with life. Nothing seems to motivate me most of the time. Sometimes i'll get a crazy idea or feel creative but usually it's just the same old "Nothing matters". I guess this is why people have kids, to feel like they have some reason to keep going on. (I think i'd rather shoot myself frankly) The part I love the most is nobody cares about anyone elses issues. I try my best to help everyone else with any damn problem but nobody seems interested in mine. I suppose that is part of the problem in itself.
|Wednesday, April 27th, 2005||"We are born princes and the civilizing process makes us frogs." - Eric Berne|
Vehicles - So i'm debating if I should fix up my 1989 Dodge Dakota pickup (About $700 for a new mirror, tires, windshield) Or buy a used 70's jeep that I want to fix up and put my money into that (Which is going to be alot harder to find), any opinions?.
About time the Republicans learn that they don't have a 100% majority and have to play nicely with others. My opinion? I think it was an obvious tactic to stall any investigation of Delay and soon he'll have to step down for his actions.
"G.O.P. Will Relent on Ethics Rules, House Speaker Says.
By CARL HULSE - New York Times
Washington, April 27 - Saying that an ethics impasse needed to be resolved to provide a chance for Representative Tom DeLay to clear his name, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert said this morning that Republicans were ready to relent on rules changes that have left the ethics committee unable to do any work.
"I am willing to step back," Mr. Hastert told reporters after a closed-door meeting with House Republicans. "I think we need to move forward with the ethics process."
Mr. Hastert, who defended the rules changes forced through earlier this year by Republicans as an attempt to protect the rights of lawmakers, did not specify what he would do and said he would outline his plan later today in a letter to Representative Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader.
But he and others indicated that his intention was to reverse three rules opposed by Democrats, an action that would require a vote of the full House. Without naming Mr. DeLay specifically, the speaker alluded to the furor surrounding the majority leader over overseas travels, fund-raising and contacts with lobbyists.
"There is a member, especially on our side, who needs to have the process move forward so he can clear his name," the speaker said. "Right now he can't clear his name." Mr. DeLay has offered to meet with leaders of the ethics panel to resolve questions surrounding his travel and Republican members of the committee said last week they were willing to investigate the majority leader.
Republicans have been saying that the ethics fight, combined with the attention that has been focused on Mr. DeLay over fund-raising and travel irregularities, has not only become a distraction but also a political liability that they want to defuse.
"Obviously it is an issue that we very, very much want to address," said Representative David Dreier of California, the Rules Committee chairman, who would not discuss details of the leadership strategy.
The Democrats have clearly been able to exploit the deadlock over the ethics panel, painting the Republicans as unwilling to investigate or police their own. The changes were denounced as violating the panel's bipartisan tradition, making the Republicans appear as if they believed they were above the law.
Republicans have asserted that the changes, drafted by the speaker's office and pushed through by the Republicans in January, were designed to better protect the rights of lawmakers. But their counterparts quickly complained that they were instituted after the House ethics committee admonished Mr. DeLay three times last year. "We fumbled the ball badly," said one senior Republican official who spoke anonymously because he did not want to be viewed as critical of the leadership.
Other officials said the leadership was considering a floor vote on whether to revert to the rules that governed the handling of complaints until early this year. Republicans could also allow individual up-or-down floor votes on the three rules at the center of the dispute to see if allowing a new debate and vote would eliminate Democratic objections.
"They have to cauterize this," Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said Tuesday afternoon, referring to the ethics fight. Mr. Hoyer said he was contacted last week by the Republican whip, Roy Blunt of Missouri, about ways to resolve the stalemate.
Representative Alan B. Mollohan of West Virginia, the senior Democrat on the House panel, which is evenly split between the two parties, said Tuesday that he too had received signals that the Republicans wanted to settle the issue. He said he would welcome an acceptable resolution. "I just want to emphasize that it is really important that they hit this standard of a bipartisan ethics committee and bipartisan process," he said. "That is the premise to a valid ethics committee."
Under the new rules, complaints could be dismissed after 45 days if the panel did not agree on how to proceed, a change critics said would give lawmakers an incentive to delay complaints until they were dropped. Another rule allows the same lawyer to represent both the subject of a complaint and witnesses and a third would give new notification and appeal rights to lawmakers who are to be named in a panel report.
Mr. DeLay faces questions about whether recent overseas trips were underwritten by a lobbyist in violation of House rules, an accusation he denies. He has offered to meet with the leaders of the ethics committee to resolve the questions, and it appears likely that if the committee takes up the matter, it would look into his travel as well as questions about trips by other lawmakers.
In an effort to resolve the impasse, Republican members of the panel offered last week to begin an immediate inquiry into Mr. DeLay's travel if Democrats were to drop their opposition to the rules. But Democrats rejected that offer.
Republican officials say that reversing the rules is a sensitive matter with House Republicans, who last year overturned a party rule in order to allow Mr. DeLay to remain leader even if he was indicted by a grand jury. They reversed course under public pressure a few weeks later. The officials said the leadership wanted to be certain of the sentiment of Republican lawmakers before urging them to change course again.
Some Republicans acknowledge that the way the rules were changed with no Democratic involvement has left the party vulnerable to accusations that it was seeking to hamstring the panel after it admonished Mr. DeLay three times last year. "
|Thursday, April 21st, 2005||"Winners never quit, quitters never win, but those that never win and never quit are stupid." - Demotivators|
The New Pope - No big shock there, the only good thing at the moment is that he's already seventy eight years old and won't last long. Let's hope he really angers a majority of the faithful.
Web Work - Been working on a new website for my Dragonswords.net Clan: www.clanlight.com (Now dead) (It's been taking forver, but I want to do a decent job. Anyone know PHP and want to give me a hand? heh).
|Tuesday, April 12th, 2005||"Where there is a lull in truth an institution springs up." - Henry David Thoreau|
The Pope - Not like his death wasen't going to happen eventually. It seems every news outlet forgets that only 1 in 6 people is catholic, not 6 in 6. I hope the next pope is more liberal too (Yeah, I know, I might as well be throwing rocks at the moon).
|Thursday, March 24th, 2005||"If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve the man but deteriorate the cat." - Mark Twain|
Mudding, yet again - Well, i'm back into the "wasting time online" mood, but playing Asheron's Call or City of Heroes again seemed kinda halfass really (Didn't feel like it was worth paying for anymore). So I went looking for a free MUD to waste time on. It's been about 15 years since I last played on Blue Facial MUD (Now defunct more or less I must sadly say). Personally I like Mercs so I came up with Dragon Swords. Not the biggest or the best, but it seems friendly enough (Hence worth a free mention here, heh). Their site is here.
Scary politics in Florida.
This makes me feel ill.
"Capitol bill aims to control 'leftist' profs. - Law aims to allow students to sue for untolerated beliefs.
From the Independent Florida Alligator - By James Vanlandingham
TALLAHASSEE - Republicans on the House Choice and Innovation Committee voted along party lines Tuesday to pass a bill that aims to stamp out "leftist totalitarianism" by "dictator professors" in the classrooms of Florida's universities.
The Academic Freedom Bill of Rights, sponsored by Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, passed 8-to-2 despite strenuous objections from the only two Democrats on the committee.
The bill has two more committees to pass before it can be considered by the full House.
While promoting the bill Tuesday, Baxley said a university education should be more than "one biased view by the professor, who as a dictator controls the classroom," as part of "a misuse of their platform to indoctrinate the next generation with their own views."
The bill sets a statewide standard that students cannot be punished for professing beliefs with which their professors disagree. Professors would also be advised to teach alternative "serious academic theories" that may disagree with their personal views.
According to a legislative staff analysis of the bill, the law would give students who think their beliefs are not being respected legal standing to sue professors and universities.
Students who believe their professor is singling them out for "public ridicule" - for instance, when professors use the Socratic method to force students to explain their theories in class - would also be given the right to sue.
"Some professors say, 'Evolution is a fact. I don't want to hear about Intelligent Design (a creationist theory), and if you don't like it, there's the door,'" Baxley said, citing one example when he thought a student should sue.
Rep. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, warned of lawsuits from students enrolled in Holocaust history courses who believe the Holocaust never happened.
Similar suits could be filed by students who don't believe astronauts landed on the moon, who believe teaching birth control is a sin or even by Shands medical students who refuse to perform blood transfusions and believe prayer is the only way to heal the body, Gelber added.
"This is a horrible step," he said. "Universities will have to hire lawyers so our curricula can be decided by judges in courtrooms. Professors might have to pay court costs - even if they win - from their own pockets. This is not an innocent piece of legislation."
The staff analysis also warned the bill may shift responsibility for determining whether a student's freedom has been infringed from the faculty to the courts.
But Baxley brushed off Gelber's concerns. "Freedom is a dangerous thing, and you might be exposed to things you don't want to hear," he said. "Being a businessman, I found out you can be sued for anything. Besides, if students are being persecuted and ridiculed for their beliefs, I think they should be given standing to sue."
During the committee hearing, Baxley cast opposition to his bill as "leftists" struggling against "mainstream society."
"The critics ridicule me for daring to stand up for students and faculty," he said, adding that he was called a McCarthyist.
Baxley later said he had a list of students who were discriminated against by professors, but refused to reveal names because he felt they would be persecuted.
Rep. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, argued universities and the state Board of Governors already have policies in place to protect academic freedom. Moreover, a state law outlining how professors are supposed to teach would encroach on the board's authority to manage state schools.
"The big hand of state government is going into the universities telling them how to teach," she said. "This bill is the antithesis of academic freedom."
But Baxley compared the state's universities to children, saying the legislature should not give them money without providing "guidance" to their behavior.
"Professors are accountable for what they say or do," he said. "They're accountable to the rest of us in society ... All of a sudden the faculty think they can do what they want and shut us out. Why is it so unheard of to say the professor shouldn't be a dictator and control that room as their totalitarian niche?"
In an interview before the meeting, Baxley said "arrogant, elitist academics are swarming" to oppose the bill, and media reports misrepresented his intentions.
"I expect to be out there on my own pretty far," he said. "I don't expect to be part of a team."
House Bill H-837 can be viewed here. (Saved here for historical reasons, the original bill can be seen here) "
(UPDATE: I am happy to report this bill died on May 6th, 2005 when the Florida legislature adjourned.)
|Tuesday, March 8th, 2005||"A gentleman is a man who can play the accordion but doesn't." - Unknown|
International Women's Day - Nice idea, but how about equality for all? I demand an International Men's Day. Or maybe perhaps we should just have Mother's Day and get rid of Father's Day if men don't matter. Sign my petition here: Petition for an International Men's Day.
|Monday, February 28th, 2005||"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new" - Albert Einstein|
It's amazing how little information I found online regarding this tablesaw. Even the Black & Decker website seems to not acknowledge it exists.
Anyway I bought one and i'm kind of lukewarm on it. It's got a good milled-steel table (My main requirement) but the housing under the table that attaches the legs to the table is made out of plastic, and the legs are semi-circular extruded aluminum, so attaching any wheels but the ones Black & Decker made for it is tough. (I made a 2x4 base for mine and put my own wheels on that and tied it down with steel straps, I use four wooden "doorstop" blocks to secure it in place. I need a better way to lift it off the wheels, but I have yet to find one that it good enough.) You can only get their wheels via mail-order or from one of the Dewalt or Black & Decker outlet stores. The Dado-blade table insert is also only available via mail-order.
The blade that came with the saw isn't "bad" but it's hardly the best. I recommend a good 40+ tooth blade (I use a 60 tooth for almost everything myself).
All in all it's not too bad, depends on your needs. It's not the most precise saw out there but it's hardly the worst, I figure i'm paying for the steel table, theoretically you could always make your own base and legs if you really wanted.
I noticed as well that Lowes.com is no longer showing this tablesaw. The page is still there but it's not linked, you can see it here. I don't know if this means it's going to be discontinued or not, supposedly it's a "newer" product, but the lack of info doesn't back that up at all.
In the end, buyer beware.
|Sunday, February 27th, 2005||"Men are reasoning rather than reasonable animals." - Alexander Hamilton|
I love that Halle actually showed up to collect her award, hopefully other winners will be inspired to do the same.
US President George W. Bush and Halle Berry were named worst actor and actress of 2004 at the Razzies, an irreverent spoof of the Oscars.
Berry, "honored" for her role in the action-flick flop "Catwoman," actually showed up to collect her "award".
"Thank you so much. I never in my life thought I would be up here," Berry quipped, clutching the golden plastic rasberry (whence Razzie) in one hand and the Oscar she won in 2002 for "Monster's Ball" in the other.
In a take-off of an Oscars acceptance speech, Berry thanked the French director of the film, Pitof, and her manager.
"He loves me so much that he convinces me to do projects even when he knows that it is shit," joked the actress, clad in a low-cut gown.
On a more serious note, she said her mother had taught her to accept criticism at a young age.
"As my mother told me, I take it graciously, I take your criticism," she said.
The Razzies were awarded late Saturday at Hollywood's Ivar Theater, just a few hundred meters from the Kodak Theater, where the golden statuettes will be delivered Sunday.
The Razzies have been poking fun at film industry award ceremonies for 25 years.
Very rarely do "winners" show up to accept their Golden Raspberry awards.
"Do you think he's here?" a presenter asked with mock seriousness after announcing Bush's win as "worst actor" in Michael Moore's documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11."
Just like the Oscars, presenters wore evening gowns or tuxedos, and reveled in the suspense of opening little envelopes to reveal the winners.
But they have also been known to smash a cassette of the offending film with a hammer of a well-aimed high-heeled shoe.
And they read withering extracts from the movie critics. "Catwoman" was drubbed as worst picture, worst director and worst screenplay of 2004.
US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and pop singer Britney Spears were named worst supporting actor and actress for "Fahrenheit 9/11."
In a passage from the Bush-bashing documentary, Spears can be seen vigoroulsy chewing gum and saying "I think we should just trust" the president.
Moore's Bush-bashing doucmentary was snubbed at the Oscars and did not win a single nomination in any category.
The Razzies were started 25 years ago by John Wilson, a self-described cinematic cynic. Wilson has put together a jury which today comprises 650 members -- industry professionals, fans and critics -- in 40 US states and 15 foreign countries.
"Oscars have become as nasty as politics. It is the same people to orchestrate the campaign. The one thing that I was disappointed that there isn't a thoroughly enjoyable bad movie this year," Wilson told AFP a few days before the ceremony."
|Saturday, February 26th, 2005||"It's so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and then don't say it." - Sam Levenson|
Alterations - Added the Total Annihilation page and fixed a bunch of errors. See what you think.
|Friday, February 25th, 2005||"I don't want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying." - Woody Allen|
Stupid Criminal File
Burglars need police's help to get car keys back
"Associated Press Feb. 25, 2005 07:10 AM
COPENHAGEN, Denmark - When two Danish burglars realized someone had stolen the keys to their getaway car, they reacted like honest citizens and called the police.
Police said they were only too happy to help, and arrested them after they confessed to breaking and entering.
The men, 18 and 20, broke into a summer cabin late Wednesday near Kaldred, 55 miles west of capital Copenhagen. advertisement
As they carried their haul to the car, they were confronted by a passer-by, who witnessed the break-in and insisted that they return the stolen property.
To ensure they couldn't get away, the passer-by took the keys from their car, and refused to return them.
"The two young men then called us and said they needed our help getting their keys back," Chief Superintendent Asger Larsen said Thursday.
He said the two realized that without the keys, they would have to leave their car at the scene, which would put the police on their trail and lead to their arrest anyway.
"It's a pretty straightforward case for us, since this time, the thieves actually reported the robbery," Larsen said."
|Monday, February 21st, 2005||"Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it." - Henry David Thoreau|
Burnout - My usual depressive stage, nothing new here. Life comes in waves of highs and lows, anyone that tries to tell you otherwise is smoking something illegal.
Special Quote of the Day - "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." - Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005)
|Saturday, February 19th, 2005||"Sure there are dishonest men in local government. But there are dishonest men in national government too." - Richard M. Nixon|
Saturday - Sucks to have to work weekends, but at least I only work Monday/Tuesday/Friday/Saturday so I get alot of down time.
|Tuesday, February 1st, 2005||"We have to distrust each other. It's our only defense againt betrayal." - Tennessee Williams|
Sigh - Another day, another meaningless update.
|Monday, December 20th, 2004||"I have not a word to say against contented people, so long as they keep quiet. But do not, for goodness sake, let them go strutting about, as they are so fond of doing, crying out that they are the true models for the whole species." - Jerome K. Jerome|
"I don't know why she did it" - I tire of people being so amazingly naive when horrible events happen. Recently a woman was murdered, and her baby was cut from her womb. While obviously disturbing let's look at it factually. Multiple sources support the claim by the woman that she recently had a miscarriage. And I would bet money that she's a loner with no friends or close family to support her in such a troubled time. So her emotions took hold and she did something amazingly stupid. But how many people are going to bother to put aside their emotion over such a case to view it logically?.
|Thursday, December 16th, 2004||"Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition." - Timothy Leary|
Christmas Coming Soon - Sometimes I think the US economy would crumble to dust if people didn't give gifts on Christmas. (Or maybe right now it would just ruin China, heh).
Top Court Finds for 'UK's Guantanamo' Suspects
Let freedom reign.
Britain's top court delivered a severe jolt to Prime Minister Tony Blair's post-Sept. 11 security policies on Thursday by ruling against the detention of foreign terrorism suspects without trial.
The Law Lords ruled 8-1 in favor of nine Muslim men whose imprisonment under draconian anti-terror legislation -- some for as long as three years -- has become a cause celebre for rights activists who call their predicament "Britain's Guantanamo Bay."
"It's a very firm, hugely clear message by the Law Lords to the government saying people are being held illegally," said Kate Allen, head of Amnesty International's UK branch.
The ruling is a setback for Blair's government, which believes severe measures are necessary for the wider interest of the "war on terror."
It came the day after Home Secretary David Blunkett, architect of Britain's anti-terrorism policies, resigned amid a scandal over allegations he abused his office to help a lover. His successor Charles Clarke now has to decide the immediate fate of the nine prisoners. A Home Office spokesman said they would remain behind bars while parliament looked at the law, which gives police powers to detain indefinitely, without trial, foreign nationals suspected of being involved in terror activities.
Crucially, it does not apply to British citizens, a point that was stressed by the Law Lords. "The measures are unjustifiably discriminatory against foreign nationals," Lord Thomas Bingham, head of the 9-judge panel told parliament, announcing the decision.
The detainees, mostly in London's top security Belmarsh jail, include Syrian cleric Abu Qatada, whom Britain calls the spiritual inspiration for the lead Sept. 11 attacker.
"It is a stain on the character of this country ... It is our version of Guantanamo Bay," said Jeremy Corbyn, a left-wing legislator in Blair's ruling Labour Party. The prisoners' lawyers say some of the secret evidence justifying their detention may have been obtained through torture at Guantanamo Bay or in U.S. bases in Afghanistan.
London argues detention without trial is the only way to deal with foreign suspects who refuse to leave voluntarily but cannot be deported because they face death or mistreatment in their home countries.
"Extraordinary events will lead to derogations from the practices we observe in times of peace and tranquillity," Attorney-General Lord Peter Goldsmith has said.
But the Law Lords, a panel from the upper house of the British parliament, ruled that was incompatible with Britain's civil rights' tradition.
"There are no adequate grounds for abolishing or suspending the right not to be imprisoned without trial, which all inhabitants of this country have enjoyed for more than three centuries," said Lord Leonard Hoffmann.
Wyn Grant, Warwick University professor of politics, told Reuters: "this is a very major setback for the government strategy on these matters.
"Blair's analysis is that other parties of the center-left in Europe have been outflanked by the right on security issues and therefore he has always been very anxious to prevent that happening in the UK.""
|Thursday, November 25th, 2004||"I never know how much of what I say is true." - Bette Midler|
US Students lag behind in math - Scientists say US students are "Below average" in math. I don't know what they're thinking, 2+2=5 right? (Personally I hate math with an insane passion)."
Students fight for right to bare all
Conservative values trying to cover up.
"BENNINGTON, Vermont (Reuters)
Students occasionally parading buck naked around Vermont's Bennington College campus has been a tolerated, if peculiar, part of the university's student culture here since the 1960s.
Now Robert Graves, hired this year as Bennington's dean of students, has embarked on a crusade against public nudity -- one that has run afoul of the school's free-spirited students.
Students have long enjoyed an informal policy allowing them to go naked on campus. Whether it was as a topless sunbather lounging on the lawn or students running naked at an annual bonfire party, college officials turned a blind eye.
But when a student strolled around campus naked this summer during an orientation session when parents were visiting campus, the new dean reprimanded him.
More than 200 students, a few of them naked, marched across campus in October to protest against what they saw as a crackdown by the administration on freedom of expression. While the impending onset of the New England winter has put a temporary pause to the dispute, students are preparing for a springtime assault.
Lindsey Gage, a Bennington senior leading the fight to preserve what she concedes is an unwritten policy, said she has grown accustomed to public nudity since enrolling here.
"It is never lewd but a natural sight," she said.
American liberal arts colleges do not get much more liberal than Bennington. Nestled in Vermont's Green Mountains, the school has a nontraditional approach to education in which students draw up their own curricula.
"Bennington does not expect students to conform, but to transform," the college's Web site proclaims. A little respect?
But Graves has drawn the line at being naked.
"Bennington College is not a clothing-optional campus and we don't live in a clothing-optional society," Graves told Reuters, adding he realized he had "ruffled some feathers" by going after unclothed campus denizens.
"There is not a nudity policy and we don't condone this behavior. We are a public campus," he said. "There has to be a level of respect here."
Respect has nothing to do with it, countered sophomore Allison Zoll. As someone who has taken part in events with the college's nude activities club, which hosts clothing-optional picnics and outdoor games, Zoll was adamant that there was nothing wrong with going bare.
"It's not hurting anyone," she said.
Bennington students are not alone in their undress. Streaking -- that is, running naked -- has long been a staple of American campus life.
Recently, students at Hamilton College in New York turned the pastime into a sport by forming a varsity streaking team and traveling to rival schools to cavort in the buff.
The Hamilton team streaked a dozen colleges in the Northeast earlier this fall and posted results on its Web site.
Despite being banned from Wellesley College, an all-women's school near Boston, and escorted off the grounds of Connecticut College, team members declared the tour a "massive success."
Back across the border in Vermont, there's nothing competitive about nudity at Bennington. Students are too busy trying to preserve what they think is a right, and that suits some local residents just fine.
"Oh to be in college again," sniffed Stuart Hurd, Bennington's town manager. "More power to them. We are too uptight about public nudity in this country.""
|Tuesday, December 7th, 2004||"People always call it luck when you've acted more sensibly than they have." - Anne Tyler|
Shopping - Sometimes I think it's silly for people to buy presents months ahead for Christmas. Then I try to go to the mall in december and I stop laughing at them. Until January at least.
Overtime - I have to admit, it's SO much easier to work overtime at the beginning of your shift rather than the end.
Disposable Cellphone Faceplate that Blooms
I want one of these. Totally awesome.
"AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (Reuters)
Scientists said on Monday they have come up with a cell phone cover that will grow into a sunflower when thrown away.
Materials company Pvaxx Research & Development, at the request of U.S.-based mobile phone maker Motorola (MOT.N), has come up with a polymer that looks like any other plastic, but which degrades into soil when discarded.
Researchers at the University of Warwick in Britain then helped to develop a phone cover that contains a sunflower seed, which will feed on the nitrates that are formed when the polyvinylalcohol polymer cover turns to waste.
"It's a totally biodegradable and non-toxic plastic," said Pvaxx spokesman Peter Morris.
"This is the first product that we've made public. We're working with blue chip companies and will introduce several products next year," he said, adding it would be used in electronics, horticulture, ammunition and household cleaning.
The company's new plastic, which was created over the past five years but was in development for longer, can be rigid or flexible in shape.
Some 650 million mobile phones will be sold this year, and most of them will be thrown away within two years, burdening the environment with plastics, heavy metals and chemicals. A biodegradable cover can offer some relief for nature, Warwick University said.
Motorola said it had not yet decided if it would introduce a model built with the new plastic, and that it would take until at least the second quarter of 2005 to get a commercial product.
"(To improve) the quality (of the plastic) is something we're working on," said Motorola project manager Peter Shead, adding the new plastic may be used in snap-on covers first.
Many young consumers buy cheap and interchangeable plastic covers to personalize their standard phone."
|Friday, November 26th, 2004||"The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself." - Sir Richard F. Burton|
Cingular finally buys out AT&T
I figured this would be a great thing when it finally came to pass, I could get a Cingular rollover plan, maybe a good deal on a new phone to move from TDMA to GSM. Heh, boy was I wrong on this one.
I went to my local AT&T Store and asked them about new options. They said the cheapest phone for a Cingular plan was $19.00 (Not too bad I figured). Next I was told that I would have to pay a $25.00 fee on each of my two phones to change to GSM service, and a further $18.95 fee per phone to activate my Cingular service.
This isn't exactly what i'd be offering to existing customers who have been with AT&T for over 3 years. Verizon and even Cricket are looking pretty good right now.
Pushing out the Middle Class
Here's one of the results of unrestrained capitalism. (Added a map here so you can tell where they're talking about)
(By Mark Shaffer, Republic Flagstaff Bureau, Nov. 26, 2004)
"PRESCOTT - The locals call it poverty with a view.
And whether the view is rugged Granite Mountain here in Prescott or the towering San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff or the sharp escarpment of the Mogollon Rim in Payson, Arizona's mountain communities all have one thing in common: Working Joes can't afford to live in these increasingly tony places anymore.
Hyperinflation in housing prices, caused primarily by moneyed California retirees and Valley second-home owners, is pushing lower-middle-class people farther and farther beyond city limits.
During the past three years, the median price of a home in Flagstaff has skyrocketed almost $100,000, to $257,000, nearly $80,000 more than the Valley. In Prescott now, the median price is $244,000, and it has jumped about 15 percent in the past year. And in Payson, Pinetop-Lakeside and Show Low, the median price of a home is nearing $200,000.
The effects are many.
Nearly half of Prescott's municipal employees live outside the city limits. Turnover is constant in state and local government jobs in Flagstaff, and Northern Arizona University is facing a daunting challenge attracting professors. Police agencies in the Rim country have pretty much abandoned trying to recruit from the outside and have focused on locals who already own homes with equity.
And private industry for the most part has turned a blind eye to the uplands region because of the high cost of land and the disappearing workforce.
Middle class leaving
"There's virtually no middle class or service people left in these communities. And, when the workforce goes away, there go the services," said Kathern Mitchell, director of Prescott's Affordable Housing Coalition Inc., which has been facing an uphill battle to build 37 small homes in Prescott that would be sold for about $135,000 each.
Bob Riley, executive director of the Kingman Airport Authority, who has been instrumental in attracting 70 companies and 2,000 employees to the northwestern Arizona city in the past 25 years, said the mountain cities are facing some major decisions.
"The decreasing labor force is a huge issue," Riley said. "These cities are going to have to make policy decisions about whether they want to diversify and have jobs. Sure, retail development helps sales taxes, but sales-tax generation through retirement growth is a short-term gain. And these cities have all this displacement, but is this new influx here to stay or is it here for short-term gain and then leaves?"
Prescott resident Scott Swanson, who works for a concrete manufacturer and has a small home-remodeling business on the side, has elected to stay regardless of the financial fallout.
Swanson, 38, a single father to 13- and 11-year-old sons, says he would be doing OK on his $30,000-a-year salary if he wanted to move to the Valley. But, in Prescott, he lives in a tiny, rented mobile home and can qualify only for a $120,000 housing loan. In other words, a small mobile home in north Chino Valley and a 40-mile roundtrip commute daily.
"I work with eight guys from Mexico on my crew. They are living with eight or 10 other guys in two-bedroom apartments to make ends meet," Swanson said.
Higher housing density
Jim Lamerson, a jeweler and Prescott councilman, said the city will have to ease up on requirements for open space and allow more housing density.
"We've got all these people here now from somewhere else who have a lot of money and a 'not in my back yard' attitude," Lamerson said. "All they do is tell us that everything we do is wrong. We've got to stand up against these people and do what's right to make this the city it needs to be."
In Flagstaff, no studies have been conducted to determine how many second-home owners there are in the city. But the anecdotal evidence indicates there are many.
The Ponderosa Trails subdivision, near the intersection of Interstates 17 and 40, was intended to be a family community and had a public school platted within the area.
But there were so few families who bought that a small charter school was built instead.
Kevin Brown, superintendent of the Flagstaff Unified School District, said school officials a decade ago had projected 14,000 students within the district by 2000.
Four years after that date, there are barely more than 11,000 students in the district, Brown said.
"It's hard to have families in a city where a 7,000- to 8,000-square-foot lot costs $125,000. We've lost many small builders because there's nothing for them to do," said Jean Richmond-Bowman, executive vice president of the Northern Arizona Building Association. "There's also no land to build on."
The accelerating cost of living also has wreaked havoc by way of turnover in jobs in the public sector.
Duane Shimpach, director of the Coconino County Juvenile Court system, said that one recent year showed a 113 percent turnover in personnel.
Workers within state agencies in Flagstaff, such as the Department of Economic Security, say that many positions turn over three or four times a year as workers, attracted by the area's beauty, quickly determine they can't stay because of the cost of living.
The state's annual human resources report does not list turnover by individual offices.
Hard to recruit police
The difficulty in making ends meet in Payson and other northern Arizona mountain communities means that police agencies try to recruit people already living in the areas, Payson Police Chief Gordon Gartner said.
"We only had three applicants for two entry-level openings which were paying $30,000 a year," Gartner said.
"People see how difficult it is to get by financially, and you really have to do a lot of recruiting to get people in here."
In large part, that's because the average price of a house in Payson has more than doubled, from $90,000 to $182,400, during the past decade, said Cliff Potts, a Payson real estate agent.
"That's going to be going up a lot more because there are more higher-end homes going in now and, those have been selling for an average of $281,000 this year," Potts said.
"Payson historically was a vacation community with long-term families and a lot of mom-and-pop businesses.
"But that's all changed because there's no affordable workplace housing now, smaller businesses can't stabilize because they can't get and keep good help, and they can't compete with our Super Wal-Mart, either."
Even when the mountain communities try to plan ahead and make it possible to attract middle-income types, they hit roadblocks, Pinetop-Lakeside Mayor Larry Vicario said.
"We passed an ordinance which permitted 20 units per acre of housing mixed with small commercial in one part of town," Vicario said.
"That really angered a lot of people, and they did a referendum and repealed it on November 2. There's a prevailing opinion that anything even similar to apartments is just slums and bad people."
Vicario paused for a few seconds.
"Unless we can change attitudes, it's going to become an even richer man's paradise," he said."
Black Friday - So did you go out and face the throngs of insane shoppers? I always wonder how each year people keep going out into the fray on this one day more than any other.
|Thursday, November 25th, 2004||"People ask for criticism, but they only want praise." - W. Somerset Maugham|
Thanksgiving - Sorry, I don't play the guilt game. I love how people say "You should feel thankful for all you have". As if somehow it was all handed to you on a silver platter. "Yep boss, i'm sure thankful you allow me to work for these measly wages, would you like to spit on me again? thank you sir.
Christmas Wish - I'd love one of these gadgets. It's a fully functional 1ghz computer with a 20GB HD, but it's only 5x4 Inches in size. It's only $1800.00, heh.
|Sunday, November 21st, 2004||"The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read." - Oscar Wilde|
Ok, guess I was wrong. - Google just closed at $169.40, the initial offering was around $100.00, and I predicted it wouldn;t be a good investment. I still don't think it'll be a good long term one. Let's see how good my vision is, heh.
Amtrak reports 1.3 Billion Dollar loss for Fiscal 2003. - Why is it that the US is the only developed country without government-controlled passenger rail service? I mean I would have to drive three hours to a smaller city (I'm in Phoenix) just to get on a passenger train.
Politics and Media
So Friday The Washington Post ran a sixteen page paid insert in its paper. The insert (view PDF file), which sought to dissuade readers of the links between the gay rights and civil rights movement, claimed homosexuality was proven to a choice, rather than genetic.
It relied on a study by Paul Cameron, an anti-gay doctor who was thrown out the American Psychological Association in 1983 for misrepresenting the findings of studies, and has since been disowned by most of the evangelical right. Using the same study, it also claims that gays with long-term partners and without AIDS live on average to be 41, and says that banning gay marriage would avert "an emerging public health crisis."
And guess what I doubt 99.9% of the people reading that insert are aware of: Cameron has been censured by the Nebraska Psychological Association, the American Sociological Association, and the Midwest Sociological Society.
Not what i'd call a reliable source of scientific information.
President Bush finally takes action. - So while in Chile the secret service guards with Bush were stopped by Chilean security and not allowed to follow him to a dinner party. Bush reaches into the quarreling mob and yanked out the agent saying "He's with me". Finally after four years and 2 presidential campaigns we see an actual show of public action by The President. I'm sure it'll be one of many to follow as Bush makes use of his lame duck term. Let's just hope they're all as benign as this one.
Comment - Sorry for posting so much politics, but there's really not much else happening in the world worth noting right now. Maybe there will be a big terrorist strike in Washington soon and we can move on to something more useful.
|Saturday, November 20th, 2004||"We use ideas merely to justify our evil, and speech merely to conceal our ideas." - Voltaire|
Elections - So Bush wins, much to the delight of the conservatives. (IE. the rich and the christians) But what nobody in the red states, or Bush, seems to realize is that Bush barely got more than 50% of the vote. Once again the country is split, yet Bush says he'll bring the two halves of the country together. If you look back at how he did that with the very divided nation after the 2000 elections, (IE. He did nothing) there's no reason to be hopeful now.
Phoenix's Housing Industry - A recent Arizona Republic article stated that one out of every 3 dollars generated in Phoenix comes from the housing industry. This is all driven by massive expanses of cheap land, high demand and a large volume of cookie-cutter homes being built. I wonder which one of these 3 things will run out first, then maybe we can keep some of the desert instead of paving it all.
Science or Snobbery?
"(By Leon Jaroff, TIME Magazine)
At a park called Dinosaur Adventure Land, run by creationists near Pensacola, Florida, visitors are informed that man coexisted with dinosaurs. This fantasy accommodates the creationists' view that the Earth is only 6,000 years old and that Darwin's theory of evolution is false. Among the park exhibits is one that illustrates another creationist article of faith. It consists of a long trough filled with sand and fitted at one end with a water spigot. Above the trough is a sign reading "That River Didn't Make That Canyon." When visitors open the spigot, the water quickly cuts a gully through the sand, supposedly demonstrating how the Grand Canyon was created, practically overnight, by Noah's flood. That's nonsense, of course, but what else would you expect at a creationist park? Certainly, one might think, this couldn't be acceptable at, say, a National Park, right? Think again.
Two-thirds of the way across the continent, some four million people annually visit Grand Canyon National Park, marveling at the awesome view. In National Park Service (NPS) affiliated bookstores, they can find literature informing them that the great chasm runs for 277 miles along the bed of the Colorado River. It descends more than a mile into the earth, and along one stretch, is some 18 miles wide, its walls displaying impressive layers of limestone, sandstone, shale, schist and granite.
And, oh yes, it was formed about 4,500 years ago, a direct consequence of Noah's Flood. How's that? Yes, this is the ill-informed premise of "Grand Canyon, a Different View," a handsomely-illustrated volume also on sale at the bookstores. It includes the writings of creationists and creation scientists and was compiled by Tom Vail, who with his wife operates Canyon Ministries, conducting creationist-view tours of the canyon. "For years," Vail explains, "as a Colorado River guide, I told people how the Grand Canyon was formed over the evolutionary time span of millions of years. (Most geologists place the canyon's age at some six million years). Then I met the Lord. Now I have a different view of the Canyon, which according to a biblical time scale, can't possibly be more than a few thousand years old."
Vail's book attracted little notice when it first appeared in the NPS stores in 2003, until a critical review by Wilfred Elders, a respected University of California geologist, brought it to light and took apart its pseudoscientific claims. That led David Shaver, who heads the Geologic Resources Division of the Park Service, to send a memo to headquarters urging that the book be removed from the NPS stores. "It is not based on science," he wrote, "but on a specific religious doctrine...and should not have been approved for in NPS affiliated book stores."
The presidents of The American Geological Institute and six of its member societies also weighed in, expressing their dismay to the Park Service. Noting that the Grand Canyon "provides a remarkable and unique opportunity to educate the public about Earth science," the scientists urged that, "in fairness to the millions of park visitors, we must clearly distinguish religious from scientific knowledge."
But when Grand Canyon National Park superintendent Joe Alston attempted to block the sale of Vail's book at canyon bookstores, he was overruled by NPS headquarters, which announced that a high-level policy review of the matter would be launched and a decision made by February, 2004. So far, no official decision has been announced.
Even worse, according to the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), an organization that includes many Park employees, papers obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that no review has ever taken place. Indeed, PEER claims that the Bush Administration has already decided it will stand by its approval for the book and that hundreds more have been ordered. "Now that the book has become quite popular," explained an NPS flack to a Baptist news agency, "we don't want to remove it."
Even more troubling, PEER charges that Grand Canyon National Park no longer offers an official estimate of the age of the canyon, and that the NPS has blocked publication of guidance intended for park rangers that reminds them there is no scientific basis for creationism. The group has been increasingly concerned about what it calls the Park Service's "Faith-Based Parks" and the agency's seeming indifference to the separation of church and state Among other moves, for example, NPS has allowed the placing of bronze plaques bearing Psalm verses at Grand Canyon overlooks. PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch is indignant, "If the Bush Administration is using public resources for pandering to Christian fundamentalists, it should at least have the decency to tell the truth about it."
Is this religious bias, as some creationists charge? Hardly. It's more than likely that the majority of scientists, environmentalists and others protesting the NPS stand are themselves intelligent, rational Christians who are convinced by overwhelming evidence that the Grand Canyon is no Johnny-Come-Lately. The creationists have demonstrated again that they are scientifically illiterate, and out of step with the 21st century."
|Wednesday, August 11th, 2004||"I'm still waiting for someone to credibly explain the difference between an action figure and a doll." - Don Device|
Cloning - British scientists were given the go-ahead today to clone human embryos for medical research. Now if only we could get the conservative US folks to do the same. I think we'll need to wait till all the old voters die off frankly.
Killer Cough Syrup
Ok, so you can go to jail for not reading the
"Colorado - Robert "Raffie" Henderson, an Aurora father who admitted giving a lethal dose of cough syrup to his children, was sentenced to six years in jail today.
Henderson's defense attorney cried during the entire District Court proceeding. At the conclusion of the sentencing, the lead prosecutor ran out of the courtroom crying. Henderson kept his head bowed and stayed speechless during the proceedings.
In May, he made a plea bargain, admitting he gave his children the cough syrup and pleading guilty to second-degree assault and two counts of criminally negligent homicide. Under the terms of the deal, Henderson could not get more than six years in prison. He could have been sentenced to 48 years in prison if he had gone to trial on the original charges.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Robert Chappell said in May that there was never any suspicion that Henderson wanted to kill his children. "We do believe Mr. Henderson made a serious mistake in judgment," Chappell said.
On Aug. 8, 2002, Henderson gave adult cough medicine to his 5-year-old son Robert "Killian" Henderson and 4-year-old daughter Rhapsody Henderson at the family home in the 16100 block of East Bethany Place in Aurora.
Henderson said he gave the children the medicine so they would go to sleep. The children did not have a cold or cough at the time. They were found hours later unconscious with foam on their mouths.
Arapahoe County Coroner Michael Dobersen testified in preliminary hearings that the children died after a lethal dose of several ingredients in over-the-counter cough syrup.
Henderson's attorneys said that the reports were sloppy. They claimed an El Paso County forensic toxicologist investigating the case destroyed some of the evidence. Prosecutors argued that further testing showed the initial results were accurate.
Henderson will be eligible for parole in four years or less because he has already served 1 1/2 years in jail."
Idiots in the news
This is what we call "Poor Policework" here in
"Scotland Yard police officers have been granted more time to question nine of the 13 men arrested in co-ordinated anti-terrorism raids across the country last week.
Magistrates have given the police until tuesday to hold the men when detectives must decide whether to release them or apply for a further extension. (UPDATE: They applied for another extension, and were given a week) The nine men, aged between 19 and 32, are being held at Paddington Green high security police station in central London.
Scotland Yard said yesterday that two of the original 13 were no longer being questioned under the Terrorism Act, but remained in custody after being re-arrested on suspicion of possessing forged identity documents."
So in short they moved too quickly to arrest these guys and didn't have the evidence they needed. Glad it's at least a little harder to hold people without charging them in the US. (Tho not much) I think this round of arrests was politically motivated, it coincided perfectly with the increase in the "Terror alert level" on the east coast of the US.
|Tuesday, August 10th, 2004||"If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail." - Abraham Maslow|
Commander & Thief - So Bush is coming to Phoenix to hold a rally. I have a futile hope that I can avoid the roads when he arrives. (Since they close the damn things to give him the whole freeway... in both directions) I attempted to call the airport to check when Air Force One lands.. "I'm sorry sir, we can't give out that information". Undaunted I try the police department to check road closures.. "I'm sorry sir, but security risks will not allow us to not mention the route the president will be taking". Maybe I should check again and see if he's really even coming, but then I doubt anyone really knows for sure, it's probably classified.
|Sunday, August 8th, 2004||"You can't make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it." - Art Buchwald|
Homes in Gilbert, Arizona were evacuated today
after radioactive materials were found inside one of the homes. What I find
truly hilarious about this is that radioactive materials (In the form of raw
Uranium) can be found laying around in the Arizona desert. I suggest we
evacuate the whole state, I mean it's the perfect place to build a dirty bomb
Oh, BTW, here is Where to find Uranium in Arizona .
Or you can get this special report: " SR1 URANIUM PROSPECTOR'S GUIDE, by K.A. Phillips & M.N. Greeley, 1979. A guide for the independent prospector searching for occurrences of uranium. Chapters on mineralogy and geology of uranium and prospecting methods. 34 p. $6.00 "
From the Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources.
Kerry Ads - So, let me get this straight. His commanding officer signs a document saying Kerry did not deserve his war decorations. He then retracts that statement. Later he retracts his retraction. Clear as mud, yep.
GOP Picks 19-Time Inmate for State Race
The article speaks for itself:
" TACOMA, Wash. (AP) -- Republican leaders in Washington state were happy to have a contender for state auditor when they accepted Will Baker's last-minute offer to challenge a popular Democrat.
They didn't worry too much about who he was or how he spent his time - until they realized a considerable amount of his time was spent in jail.
Now party leaders are scrambling to remove him from the ballot, days after naming him as the Republican choice to oppose Democratic incumbent Brian Sonntag's bid for a fourth term.
"We didn't check him out," state GOP chairman Chris Vance said. "If I could, I would withdraw the letter putting him on the ballot as the Republican candidate - but it's too late."
On Friday, state election officials denied the party's request to remove Baker from the ballot, saying that would require court action.
Baker, a 41-year-old roadside flower salesman and self-styled political activist, has been arrested at least 19 times since 1992, mostly for refusing to stop speaking at Tacoma City Council and Pierce County Council meetings. He was last released from jail less than two months ago.
Baker declined to be interviewed by the Tacoma News Tribune, but when asked about his candidacy he said, "No one's asked me to withdraw."
When no Republican candidate emerged for the state office by the July 30 deadline, Vance said Baker called GOP leaders and volunteered.
In haste, the party accepted Baker's offer without thoroughly examining his background.
"He told us that he was a conservative activist," Vance said. "We did just a minimal amount of checking." "
|Saturday, August 7th, 2004||"Well, if I called the wrong number, why did you answer the phone?" - James Thurber|
Well, well - The depths of human stupidity never cease to amaze me. It's always fun to make a logical argument, and watch masses go into an emotional defense. I suppose that's what Capitalism does to people tho, just try playing "Project-entropia" sometime. Time to add a little chlorine to the gene pool.
So much for free speech in Iraq
"Iraq's interim government has ordered the Al-Jazeera television network to close its Baghdad office for one month. In a statement, the Interior Ministry said: "Al-Jazeera has accepted to be the mouthpiece of terrorist and criminal groups thus contributing to attempts to impair security." A spokesman for the station told international reporters the closure was regrettable."
Not much better here in the US, tho at least we can say things like: "The Communists had Pravda. The Republicans have FOX " .
Sure signs of workplace burnout:
1. Sunday evenings depress you.
2. The quality of your work has suffered, but you don't care.
3. You arrive consistently late to work.
4. You call in sick when healthy.
5. You've become emotionally distant from your coworkers.
6. Your job has taken a toll on your mental and/or physical health to the point where friends and family have expressed concern.
7. Upon hearing rumors of layoffs, you pray, "Please, God, take me!"
8. You don't have enough work to keep busy, but lack motivation to seek new assignments.
9. Time drags and you constantly watch the clock.
10. The lights around your desk or workspace burn out frequently.
If you experience any of these symptoms and you vote republican, enjoy the hell you created for yourself. Should you experience these symptoms and vote democratic, please visit your local union office to re-negotiate your contract. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and you vote Socialist or Libertarian stop fooling yourself.
|Thursday, August 5th, 2004||"Anything you have to acquire a taste for was not meant to be eaten." - Eddie Murphy|
Google gobble - So, Google already issued 13 million in illegal stock to current and former employees. Frankly I doubt it's going to be the great IPO everyone thinks it is.
I know some people perfect for
Plucked from the International Herald Tribune:
"English Heritage, guardian of various historic sites in Britain, is advertising for someone to be the nation's first court jester since 1649. An ad appearing in Thursday's editions of The Times laid out the qualifications: "Must be mirthful and prepared to work summer weekends in 2005. Must have own outfit (with bells). Bladder on stick provided if required." Auditions will be held Saturday at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire. The jester's position died along with King Charles I, who was executed by Oliver Cromwell's supporters in 1649."
I would try for the job, but I like my head to stay attached to my shoulders, thanks.
WTF is wrong people?? - So people are killing each other in the Darfur region of Sudan. Yet politicians sit around with their thumbs in their ears saying "Is this really genocide, or is it ethnic cleansing? ". Frankly I doubt the folks in Sudan dealing with it really care what you call it.
74 Year Old Man Executed - James Barney Hubbard died today in Alabama via lethal injection. Apparently he had developed cancer, emphysema, hepatitis and dementia during his 27 years in prison. Sounds like they could have let him have a few more appeals and nature would have done the job pretty soon on it's own. Personally I think executions should be televised, people should see in living color how their tax dollars work in the justice system. Bet you didn't know 60 years in prison is far cheaper than all the automatic appeals a death sentence brings on.
Microsoft urges automatic update - To help distribute its largest security update ever, Microsoft is asking hundreds of millions of users to turn on a function called "automatic updates". I don't know about you, but I think letting Windows do anything automatically is about as risky as giving a pyromaniac the keys to the dynamite shed.
|Wednesday, August 4th, 2004||"She got her good looks from her father. He's a plastic surgeon." - Groucho Marx|
Missouri, Land of the Oppressed, Home of the Cowards. - Well, gay marriage is now illegal under the Missouri State Constitution. Frankly I don't really care how you stand on Gay Marriage personally, it doesn't hurt you, nor me, it affects a group of US citizens that want equality. What's next, are we going to repeal equal rights for blacks? I for one will no longer do any business with companies in Missouri.
Damn, I have the wrong hobbies. - Why is it most people that enjoy hunting, fishing & prospecting are also heavily conservative (As well as old), and don't want to hear diverging opinions concerning their enjoyments? I'm sorry to put it so blunty guys, but you're driving off many young people new to those hobbies.
100 DVD-RWs - Passed the milestone of having burned 100 DVDs. They're damn cheap now. Why RWs? Why not? I hate burning coasters, I can easily erase an RW.
Seems my Grandmother is dying. She has cancer in
both her lungs. Twenty four years after doctors figured she was dead of breast
cancer (She proved them wrong). I don't think she'll escape this one, tho she's
seen alot of life at something around 88 years old. My father wants me to go see her,
but I think i've made it clear I'll only go if she asks to see me, otherwise I
have nothing to say. Why am I bitter you ask? Let's just say they think only of
themselves, so they shouldn't be shocked when I do it.
"Everyone dies, it's just a matter of when"
Oil prices up, Gas prices stable - Now i'm not a big one to believe in conspiracy, but let's face it, when was the last time you heard of oil prices increasing without gas prices doing the same? We all know quite well that gas prices go up like a rocket at the slightest nudge, and fall like a feather in a gale wind. What do I think? That the people in the oil/gas business are keeping prices low in order to make the economy look better to keep Bush in office (The Bush family has a VERY extensive history in the oil/gas industry). If you don't think that's the reason PLEASE let me know what your explaination for it is.
|Tuesday, April 27th, 2004||If you have to ask yourself "Am I happy?", it's a sure sign that you're not.|
The Web in Phoenix - It's amazing how difficult it is to find people online in a city with over a million residents. Most want nothing to do with anyone they don't already know. Like one big "us and not you" club, depressing isn't it? Chakraology was nice enough to not tell me to go to hell, so her and her website chakraology.mypiece.com earn an honorable mention here.
Life in General - Hrrm, I guess i've been spouting alot of political BS and not much personal information lately. Life goes on here. Still looking for work, but with 2 tenants now the bills are getting paid without my income. (I feel SO damn lazy lately, gotta fix that). Hopefully the job market will keep improving.
Sneakernet - I'm looking for someone local to trade movies with btw. Let me know if you're interested, thanks.
|Monday, April 26th, 2004||"Hell, there are no rules here, we're trying to accomplish something." - Thomas A. Edison|
Tannon - Ok, it was really friggin wierd. I was at the movies with Sarah and Jennifer my Ex & Friend. We were there to see "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (Damn good movie by the way, I liked it. Anyway after the movie we were in the lobby watching the trailers and chatting and Jennifer spies Tannon standing in the (nearly empty) lobby. It was kinda hard to believe since he lives 30 miles away across town. Apparently he had wandered out of "13 going on 30" to get away from the odd females he was dragged there to meet (And the movie).
Bush & Sharon
I found this on aljazeerah.info, It seemed well worth a mention. It's totally unbelievable
to me that Bush is as popular in America as he is.
"Try to imagine the following situation; Ariel Sharon walks into the Oval Office and says, "George, I need your help. I need you to reverse US policy for the last 37 years, trash the Road Map and toss 242 on the burn pile. Also, I'm hoping I can convince you to ignore UN resolutions on the Palestinian Right of Return and tell the world to go to hell."
Bush, of course, immediately agrees and both leaders throw their arms around each other in a long embrace.
Then, just as Sharon is just about to leave the Oval Office he turns on his heels and says, "Oh, and by the way, I'm no longer responsible for my pledge to keep Arafat alive."
So, let's imagine a more reasonable scenario.
Sharon meets with Bush who already understands from his advisors exactly what Sharon wants, and has already agreed to approve his plan. At the same time Sharon mentions how he feels that Arafat's presence is still a destabilizing factor in the territories and he thinks that Arafat should probably have an "accident" like Sheikh Yasin.
Bush then mumbles something incoherent about Arafat being a "terrorist" and both men seem to be on the same page.
Sound a little more believable?
The problem arises when Sharon decides to open his big mouth and boast about the fact that Arafat is now a target for assassination. The public immediately recognizes that he got the "go-ahead" from the Bush Administration. This forces the Bush people to backtrack and offer a feeble denial through some inconsequential representative from the State Dept. (They didn't even have the decency to have Condi Rice or some other high ranking official deny the allegations until public opinion forced them to offer a tepid disclaimer.)
This is just more proof that the assassination of Yasir Arafat is tacitly endorsed by the White House.
No one in the Muslim world has any doubts about this, nor should anyone else with an ounce of common sense. Both Sharon and Bush are fully committed to the politics of murder. Whether it's a matter of butchering civilians in Fallujah or blowing them up on the streets in Gaza, it's all the same. Just more grist for the mill.
Undoubtedly, Sharon is probably mad at himself for opening his big mouth and ruining his chance to kill the elected leader of the Palestinian people. Now he'll have to wait a few weeks while the dust settles before he can go ahead with his odious plan.
When he does, everyone will know he got the "green light" from Washington. "
So, Hong Kong isn't allowed to vote anymore
I give it about a year before we see China telling Hong Kong citizens they can't protest the government.
"The Chinese official sent to Hong Kong to explain why China won't allow direct elections in the city said Hong Kong citizens lack "maturity" and don't understand their constitution, the South China Morning Post reported. "
|Monday, April 26th, 2004||"You can't make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it." - Art Buchwald|
No taxes on Broadband? - So let me get this straight. People in areas not serviced by broadband will be able to pay no taxes on the service they can't get already? Yet another election-year joke from Bush. What Broadband needs is a little more deregulation and alot more coverage. It'll be taxed eventually just like telephones, since frankly once you have a Voice-over-IP phone, why do you need an old copper land-line? And of course who is going to pay for things like 911 routing on VoIP lines hrrm?
Taxes in general - So we move on to Taxes. Someone told me the other day: "If I try to make more money, why should I pay more of it in taxes? There is no reason to try and make more money if i'm just getting taxed more." Someone explain to me how making more money makes you more special than the poor people. I'd love to understand this, but frankly i'm one of those poor people and I doubt it's going to make sense to me. But then I suppose it goes along with the lack of ethics we've come to see in the US doesn't it?
Stay Home if you're Sick
A new study suggests that it's not worth it to drag yourself to work if you're not feeling well, you may be costing
your employer less by staying home. (Not like I haven't been telling people this for years)
"The Associated Press reported that people who go to work when feeling lousy cost their companies about $255 each per year -- and that doesn't take into account the cost of sickening fellow employees.
Cornell University researchers say the problem of "presenteeism" makes itself evident when sick employees have to repeat tasks, have difficulty concentrating, and are slow all-around. The study says this harms productivity.
The study doesn't quite define what "sick" is, but it "doesn't mean people should stay home sick at every sniffle," Ron Goetzel, director of Cornell's Institute for Health and Productivity Studies, told the AP. "
Drink-driving speech sends teens to hospital
This is from the Australian Press. I like their tactics, heh.
"A woman who was lecturing high school boys on the perils of drunk-driving knew she had driven her message home when some teenagers in her audience began to blanche, buckle and heave.
More than a dozen boys at a Roman Catholic high school in Chicago fainted during a speech Thursday in which crash survivor Marti Belluschi described in grisly detail the injuries she suffered in the wreck and the facial reconstruction surgery she required afterwards, the Chicago Tribune reported on Friday.
Seven boys who felt faint and queasy were taken to hospital following the incident. "I nearly vomited a few times listening to her," said Danny Bowery, 14, who returned to school after being checked out in hospital. "Definitely, I got her message."
"They were dropping like flies in the gym," Brother Konrad Diebold, president of St Patrick High School, told the daily. "I saw one of them throwing up in a bucket."
The school invited Belluschi to talk to its 1000 students as part of a week-long drink-driving awareness campaign timed to coincide with its prom night, this Saturday. She spoke without the help of any visual aids.
Earlier in the day, the boys witnessed a simulation of a fatal drunk-driving crash staged by city firefighters, police and emergency medical personnel. "
|Wednesday, April 21st, 2004||"England and America are two countries separated by the same language." - George Bernard Shaw|
I doubt anyone is going to argue this. I for one am sick of seeing European cars
get 60 miles to the gallon and the best we can do here is 25. (If you doubt that a European car gets 60 miles to
the gallon just look up the Mercedes "Smart"). Total crap if you ask me. The oil companies and the
vehicle makers are in this together to screw over the US market. If you want proof just check the price of gas
on this graph
I got this from phoenixgasprices.com. Notice how it spikes on 8/12 of 2003? That's when the gasoline pipeline broke that carries gas from Tucson to Phoenix, driving gas up to almost 4$ a gallon in Phoenix. Of course what does that have to do with the price of gas in Miami or Seattle? Nothing, but the gas companies figured if it's high in one place, let's make it high everywhere! *sigh*
Phoenyx - Well, I can stop sweating now. The Phoenyx CD we bought sold on Ebay today for $250.00. (Yes, for one CD, shocking huh?). I bought it a few weeks back for $202.50.
Winamp 5 - While digging for a normalizing plugin I noticed that Nullsoft has released Winamp 5. Totally bypassing a v4 they seem to have realized that v3 was a disaster. The new v5 will work with new or old skins and accepts plugins. (FYI, if you want my take on MP3 normalizing send me an E-mail)
|Tuesday, April 20th, 2004||"Those who welcome death have onyl tried it from the ears up." - Wilson Mizner|
Walter Cronkite - On April 5th Cronkite published a piece called " Secrets and Lies Becoming Commonplace ". I am glad to see the media is finally get a toehold against the campaign of secrecy the Bush administration appears to be putting forth.
The Job Market - More than 8000 applicants tried to get 525 jobs at a local Wal-Mart that opened up recently. I guess those $6.75 an hour jobs are the highly trained openings Bush was touting. Definately a sign that Arizona's population is growing faster than the local job market, and there appears to be no solution in sight. Personally i've been out of work for 2 months now, and i've been away from the market i'm actually skilled in (PC troubleshooting and repair) for four years now. I don't see any of Bush's policies on creating jobs helping me out in the future one bit.. *shrug*.
Complaints - Recently i've noticed alot of complaints coming in against my open-minded viewpoints. Well, let me take a second here to remind you of the First Amendment, and the fact that nobody is forcing you poor closed-minded slobs to read this.
|Sunday, April 18th, 2004||"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." - Galileo Galilei|
Kill Bill - Well, I watched both of the Kill Bill movies today. I loved it right up to the end, but I found the final fight lacking. Needless to say I still look forward to Inglorious Bastards, Tarantino's next movie due out in 2005.
Helen, sweetheart of the internet - I love this comic . I feel alot like Helen in how I can't get along with anyone. :P
|Friday, April 16th, 2004||Marriage is an institution of love and since love is blind, marriage is an institution for the blind.|
New House Photo - Here's the latest of the work on my house. I've started to repaint the nasty adobe color with a grey that I find much more acceptable. (The front wall is going to need a sprayer, it's too rough for brushes or rollers). The beams on the front need to be covered with some lattice, but I can't afford it yet. Yes, that's my truck in the driveway..
My License Plate - Some folks have asked for a shot of this, so here it is. I picked that for my plate a few years back, i've seen "LOGIC1" since, so I guess I should be glad I got to it when I did.
The Gay Marriage Debate - I find this site to be the best explaination i've seen so far about how the conservative worlds argument against gay marriage is full of crap. (Personally i'm a fan of any type of living arrangement, so long as it involves alot of up-front honesty).
Gersh Kuntzman - Read this column by David N. Berkwitz (Gersh Kuntzman is the name he writes under). The line about how No athiest can get elected to public office is particularly poignant.
|Wednesday, April 14th, 2004||"This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer" - Will Rogers|
Bush The War Criminal - When George Bush & the rest of the United States Government systematically denied POW status to captured Taliban combatants in the 2001-2002 war in Afghanistan, it was in violation of the third Geneva Convention. Read it for yourself here: The Rules of War - Howstuffworks.com . (Not that he would have gotten my vote the second time around anyway).
|Tuesday, April 13th, 2004||"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." - Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943|
Speak your mind - The 2004 Muzzle awards are out today from the Thomas Jefferson Center. They're given to those who are not in favor of free speech. Check them out here: www.tjcenter.org
$202.50 for one CD - So Sarah wants a CD by "Phoenyx". Problem is it's been out of print since 1991 and never been re-released. So it ends up costing us over 200$ for the thing, YIKES!
|Monday, April 12th, 2004||"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted." - Aldous Huxley|
Shinai Combat - As far as the shinai (bamboo sword) fights at Encanto Park on Wednesday nights go I guess i'm out. The only shinai fighters out there now fight without helmets, which I find completely unacceptable. Oh well.
Sabre Fighting - Well, it seems there are sabre (slashing) rapier fighters in AZ after all. There's a group that meets at ASU on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 8pm to 11pm at the Student Rec. center. Here's hoping for the best.
Gasoline - Friggin TWO DOLLARS A GALLON and up here now. And the Feds say the price will stay high until Labor Day. Damned annoying, I wish I had some kind of alernative, but the Phoenix area isn't exactly big on public transportation. We're supposed to be getting a light rail system, but the nearest station to me will be 8 miles away. Someone remind me what my taxes pay for again?
|Friday, April 9th, 2004||"Even if you do learn to speak correct English, whom are you going to speak it to?" - Clarence Darrow|
Iraq, One Year Later - So it's been a year since we overthrew Saddam, and the death toll? 692 Soldiers & over 10,000 Civilians. Makes you feel good to know we sent our soldiers off to die at Bush's whim to kill the guy who he said, "Tried to kill my Daddy".
Howard Stern - Now to set the record straight Stern disgusts me, I think he's revolting. But that doesn't alter the fact that I must admit the FCC has no right at all to fine him and Clear Channel for his broadcasts. Which then have caused Clear Channel to remove him from 6 of their stations. Did the First Amendment vanish while I was sleeping?
|Thursday, April 8th, 2004||"The trouble with being punctual is that nobody's there to appreciate it." - Franklin P. Jones|
Asheron's Call - Well, i'm on hiatus from Asheron's Call again. I was hoping the latest meetup would actually happen, but there weren't enough people interested (Sometimes I think i'm the only one interested in all of AZ) Anyway, it leaves me more time for trying to organize some backpacking trips.
COMBAT! - Finally, I have health insurance again, so I can go try and beat people up on the rapier field.. mwahahahaha!
My Sword - Here's a shot of my rapier hilt. Just got done adding the chainmail on it (Folks like to try to hit my fingers through the hole). The brass end cap is another custom add-on, it's lead-filled and weighs 15 ounces to counter-balance the blade.
Employment - There's nothing quite like getting an excellent job, then getting let go 5 days later. I suppose the good side is I can collect unemployment.
Politics - It seems quite a few of the people I know are planning to move to Canada if Bush gets a second term, frankly i'm tempted to join. Let's hope the Democrats can keep enough wind in their sails to get to the whitehouse.
AT&T Wireless & Cingular - Some folks are well aware that AT&T's wireless network (Who I have my 3560 Nokia cellphone with) does not support TDMA, yet Cingular's does. Which is the only way the 3560 can download ringtones, and no, it doesn't have a data cable (Tho you can adapt one from another model Nokia), unless you want to build one yourself. But I think i'll be going to another network before they get the merger done in november of 2004.
|Saturday, June 7th, 2003||"Once, during prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water" - W. C. Fields|
Damn telemarketing! - Ok, I don't mind most telemarketing calls, but I am seriously beginning to get tired of Chase Manhatten Bank calling me damn near every week. Apparently they are calling from Barbados and don't care if you say "Do not call me". Lately i've just started telling them if they want my money maybe they should bring those call center jobs back to the USA.
Treasurenet.com - Lately i've been hanging out on the Treasurenet.com forums, now if it was just cooler so I could go out and hunt more, sigh.
Politics - Well, seems the lack of WMDs in Iraq is starting to hurt Bush, along with the fact that the Israel/Patestine peace deal isn't going according to plan. He's certainly not a very good foreign-affairs man is he? Maybe he'll just try and invade Palestine because they won't play ball with the Israeli demands. (Personally I think they pushed so hard to replace Arafat as the head of the Palestinians because they couldn't push him around, however Hamas has gotten too powerful to control, this is finally getting interesting, heh).
Bleah - I need to find a new site to put these pages on, I really want to get some PHP stuff going. Along with getting another domain up. Too bad like everything else in life it takes money.
|Tuesday, May 28th, 2003||Don't hate me because i'm awesome, hate me because your girlfriend thinks so.|
General Drivel - At least my recent unemployment has allowed me to update the site much more often (Hardly what i'd call a worthwhile exchange of my time tho). Now, if I can just get all the bugs worked out.
Shuttles - Not the space kind mind you. Sarah and I got 2 Shuttle PC chassis awhile back, they worked fine until one fried a firewire card and the other won't run a 2 gig Athlon at full speed. Now to RMA them, but who wants to RMA the PC you're using currently and have no PC to use. (Too bad they won't do cross-shipment).
Yet more politics. - Now Bush says it will most likely be at least a year before they're done searching for WMDs in Iraq. (Of course before the war started he was in no mood to let the weapon inspectors do their job for months, much less years, but of course now that he has his revenge it doesn't matter, right?). It's a lovely smokescreen to cover the fact that even the liberated Iraqi scientists say there were no WMDs. Gee, can you tell i'm happy to not be part of any organized political party? BTW, i'm not a democrat either.
Site Changes - Added a few new pages, the first shows a few of my nifty toys that different people have wanted to see is up now, the second is a site of Misc. Video Clips that I like, and the last is just for weird things that I wanted to share. The Chainmil page also got added. It's not new, just a rework from my old website.
Domains - Well, some semiconductor & nanotechnology company went and registered my old domain.. major suckage. Tho it wasen't really the perfect choice for me. I'd like one that's easy to remember and understand when spoken, and isn't too long, any suggestions? (I'd love to have Chaos.org, but it's been taken for quite some time.. sigh).
Major E-Mail Change - I've taken the drastic step of automatically filtering aol.com/hotmail.com/yahoo.com/lycos.com and many other free e-mail systems out of my incoming mail. I found most of my incoming spam was from those domains, and it is amazingly easy for the spammers to make throwaway e-mail accounts with those services. If you use one of them currently I strongly suggest you drop it, the for-profit ones are hardly expensive, and not nearly as questioned as the free ones.
|Thursday, May 1st, 2003||"Democracy is the substitution of election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few." - George Bernard Shaw|
YIKES!! - Again months pass between updates, i'll try and catch everyone up on current events..
Work, or the lack of it. - Well, I told you all last August that I found work at a little company that mails out religious materials well they let me go in Febuary. Their reason? A previous employee wanted to come back to work there, and my job was no longer needed. The real reason I suspect? The bitchy british owner couldn't handle the fact I thought for myself and I wasen't a Christian. Note: If anyone knows of any jobs in Phoenix let me know (i'm not picky at the moment, heh).
Politics.. egad what a mess. - So... Bush got his war (Even tho there has been NO evidence of Weapons of Mass Destruction found). Yet now he makes light of how we liberated the Iraqi people (Well, if that's the reason we're going to war now why don't we set our sites on every country where someone is beaten, tortured or murdered unjustly.. which is only about one-third the countries in the world) . And he's moved the Republican National Convention as close to September 11th as he dares to milk the terrorist attacks for as much publicity, votes and tears as he can. All of it makes me want to vomit, the dark ages of America are ahead of us if we don't stop this landslide.
Site Changes - Well, I added the AD&D Page and the E-mail contact page, fixed alot of links and got a .css style page up finally.. (Yeah, like anyone but me really cares, lol).
Fastq is History - My Fastq e-mail is no longer active, just FYI.
|Saturday, August 3rd, 2002||"If you had any idea what was going on in the minds of the seemingly normal people around you all day, you'd run for your life."|
Time flies - Lots of changes lately, hopefully for the better, heh.
!!! NEW E-MAIL !!! - Well, the greedy bastards at usa.net want 39.99 a year just for E-mail (I was using it as a forward anyway, and they refuse to give me an account just to forward mail) and that's way more than i'll ever pay to just have a pretty e-mail address. So this is my new one:
Work - Found new work in Febuary at a little company that mails out religious materials (hell no I don't believe in the crap, but i'll mail it to stupid folks for money).
Antisocial Dysfunctionality - Sarah is still around, maybe I'll keep her. Other than that social life is slowing down... I'm hoping Arryana and Current from EFnet #mensa will come provide some fun eventually.
- a month back I
bought a house, 3 bedrooms 2 baths, built in 93, it's 1000sq feet of
house on a 12,000sq foot lot (yeah, that's 1/4 of an acre). Now I
just need to pour a slab and get working on an RV for travel. (BTW,
this link opens a new window)
Tip of the day - Fight for what you want or stop bitching that life isn't perfect.
|Monday, November 26th, 2001||"Vegetarian: Indian word meaning "Lousy Hunter"|
WOW! - Damn, no updates in a LONG TIME eh? Well let's see..
Jobwise - On a professional note I worked for Discover card for a month, then NDSC downtown for a month (They finally fired me saying I was working too slow AND not being detailed enough in my work, of course they agreed I put in as much effort as possible, go figure) so i'm back to being unemployed at the moment.
Social - Ran into Sarah a few months ago at Tannon's place while watching a screen saver for 4 hours (Don't Ask) and she's quickly become quite the love of my life... *content sigh*
Fun Fun - Well, I started playing Asheron's Call again... for better or worse.. Life seens to be pretty good at the moment, I just need to find work :)
|Sunday, August 19th, 2001||""RAM DISK" Is NOT an installation instruction!"|
Info - Not much to say for updates.. I got stood up (twice) saturday night... women suck.
BOO! - Hi Summer :) nothing personal but HPs suck.. *grin*
|Sunday, August 12th, 2001||Tact is for people that aren't witty enough to be sarcastic.|
Changes - Several new ramblings have been added, and there are more pictures of me and some panorama images of my computer room on the Lasivian page.
Odd things - Well, 96.9 KMXP (The Mix to you folks in Phoenix) is playing more 80's music, so they're back on my good side for now. My apartment complex raised my rent (ACK) which really sucks. I'm looking for a way to hook an external hardware RAID array to a notebook PC, any ideas? thanks.
Life - It's come to my attention in a very brutal fashion that i'm going to have to deal with being single until I move out of this shithole (otherwise known as the Phoenix area). Wisconsin looks good, Wyoming maybe, Washington (Not DC). Suggestions? Small towns are better than large ones to me.
|Friday, August 3rd, 2001||If ignorance is bliss, i'm happy to be miserable.|
Creation Day - I'm now founding a club for outdoorsy folks in Arizona, if you want more info let me know.
Jobs - Well, I now have a part time job, but since it's for the Department of Defense I can't tell you about it or i'd have to kill you :)
|Tuesday, July 31st, 2001||Wise man say: "If da Foo shits, wear it"|
MY GOD MILDRED, THE SKY IS FALLING! - Ok, after finding the 1899 Morgan dollar Monday night i've decided 2 things.. that #1 i'm going to recruit more people under 40 to the things I love if it kills me.. and #2 i'm going to go to the Arizona Treasure Hunters club next month and be DAMN sure to give them a piece of my mind on their crappy attitude, wish me luck.. muahahaha
Gripe - I wish I was a cat.. life would be so much easier.. eat, sleep, drink, sleep, use the litterbox, sleep, repeat...
|Sunday, July 29th, 2001||"Error in Reality.com, Please reboot world"|
Happenin Schtuff - Not alot to speak of.. added a new "Finds" page to the treasure hunting stuff, if you want a copy of the Excel template let me know.
Tip of the day - Careful if Blockbuster gives you a free DVD, the last one I got was a chocolate freebie... needless to say my DVD drive didn't like it much.
|Sunday, July 22nd, 2001||Is it life, or is it Memorex?|
New News - Yeah, I know.. no updates in a long time because i'm lazy.. well sue me :). I finally sold out my Asheron's Call accounts to the tune of $1500,00 after it's all said and done, and my White's XLT metal detector is already on the way (i'm trading one hobby for another). I'll be adding some Metal Detecting pages here before long.
Tip of the day - Never french kiss a light socket, at least not while the power is on.
|Thursday, April 12th, 2001||Faith: Believing in something you know is wrong.|
Tip of the day - Make sure and give a woman hell if she tries to ask you out and she's married, she'd do it to you if the situation was reversed.
Question - Has anyone read the new book that McVeigh wrote? i'm curious what it's like, let me know, thanks.
|Tuesday, April 10th, 2001||Someone stop the world, it's spinning too fast, I want to get off!|
Backgammon Night- Yep, Backgammon tonight at the George and Dragon, anyone else going? let me know.
|Monday, April 9th, 2001||MONDAY! ACK!|
Taxes- Don't these things just suck? Most of us overpay the government, then we have to demand our money back once a year :P What the hell does the government waste all that money on anyway?
|Sunday, April 8th, 2001||Yep, it's another day|
New Pages online- Up and running, hopefully better than the old ones. I warn you, it's still in progress, so if you find any bugs let me know about it, thanks.