Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Green Anaconda

Don't you just love it when a song get's stuck in your head?

Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @

Try this one:

Green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda HAPPY green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda NEW green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda YEAR green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda green anaconda

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Splotchy Contribution

From Splotchy:

Here are the rules:
Here's what I would like to do. I want to create a story that branches out in a variety of different, unexpected ways. I don't know how realistic it is, but that's what I'm aiming for. Hopefully, at least one thread of the story can make a decent number of hops before it dies out.

If you are one of the carriers of this story virus (i.e. you have been tagged and choose to contribute to it), you will have one responsibility, in addition to contributing your own piece of the story: you will have to tag at least one person that continues your story thread. So, say you tag five people. If four people decide to not participate, it's okay, as long as the fifth one does. And if all five participate, well that's five interesting threads the story spins off into.

Not a requirement, but something your readers would appreciate: to help people trace your own particular thread of the narrative, it will be helpful if you include links to the chapters preceding yours.


The bus was more crowded than usual. It was bitterly cold outside, and I hadn't prepared for it. I noticed that a fair number of the riders were dressed curiously. As I glanced around, I stretched my feet and kicked up against a large, heavy cardboard box laying under the seat in front of me. (Splotchy)

Rivulets of sweat began cascading down my face and I hurriedly wiped one from my brow before its salty bitterness could burn my precious, precious electric eye. No, the fright couldn't simply be attributed to my allergy to cardboard that always resulted in patches of bloody pustules and mottled skin akin to a poorly applied KISS® -- see, Gene? Put your lawyers away -- makeup job nor the fact that a fair number of the riders were curiously dressed like a toupee-less, yet masterfully make-upped Chaim Witz nor the fact that motionless tentacles were protruding from a number of randomly punched holes in the cardboard box that bore the hideous label Contents, frozen spawn of Old One, 72 oz. nor the realization that I had forgotten my glasses and couldn't see not whom, but what, was slowly shambling down the aisle towards me, its apparently glistening appendages slopping on the possibly filthy floor of this potential deathtrap of a bus recklessly driven by an attractively miniskirted, yet maniacal, maniac, her lapel bearing a button barely visible underneath a swath of jet-black hair and emblazoned with I worship Dagon, ask me how!, which I never did by the way.

No, the fright couldn't simply be attributed to any of those mundane things. My wind wandered, dreaming up all sorts of misadventure where I stared death in the face and he stared back and then we had a series of staring contests of which I think I won nearly 40% of them, an excellent number against an entity bearing a head-lopping scythe, don't you think?

I stared out the window, and the undulating, slowly shifting, tree-saturated landscape stared back. I won that contest but quickly remembered the old saw about looking into the abyss and having it stick its tongue out. I pulled my electric eye back into the bus and stared ahead instead.

Next, a cavalcade of nervous fumbling and rummaging through my pockets to make sure I had an extra nine volt battery. I did -- the apparently glistening appendages slopping ever closer amidst a cacophony of bizarre, intermittent noise -- so I knew I wouldn't have to worry about my electric eye running out of juice until I got back.

Which, of course, turned out to be the case, for how else could you be reading this erratic, poorly-written account of horror, unless you stumbled upon the abandoned wreckage of the bus and were rifling through my strangely mutilated corpse severely underdressed for the freezing weather and found this sheet of crumpled and charred paper riddled with poor penmanship along with my wallet that contained a drivers license, library card, work ID, three singles and a bus ticket!

But you didn't because I'm not dead, for I just handed the bus ticket to the shambling beast which indeed was slimy for it -- and it, despite its general human visage, was the most accurate description I could muster -- was close enough that I didn't need my glasses.

"Last stoop fer yew vis'turs."

Ahead in the distance, beyond the cardboard box's melting water -- at least, I assumed it was water, and you know what they say when you assume: Nyarlathotep tears you a new one, chump -- pooling at my feet, the creepy troupe of riders and the inhuman coughing of it, bathed by the light of the red moon, I saw the low, yet eerily distinct skyline of Arkham. (Randal)

Arkum hums with a high electric whine, a noise that is like tinnitus to the nth. The man with the monocle who was so strangely dressed coughed on me as the bus lurched to a stop. I hope it wasn't the virus. Now I hunch my shoulders against the freezing wind that hugs the frozen ground. I have two cloptomiters to go before I'm home and it's dark but for the purple neon gloom, looking like a distant nuclear disaster but is merely low light bouncing off the distant metropolis along with the nearly unbearable high whine. And then the wind blows it back upon itself and for a few moments of relief I almost hear silence. I can barely see the ground beneath my feet.

What was I thinking when I dressed for the day? My feet are freezing. Thank the dog for the electric eye. I can see the faintly pink glow of my signature footprint along this well trod strip of stone. But it seems eerily empty for now. Odd. This time of night is usually humming with voices coming out of the dark. All I hear is the high city hum and the wind. Several layers of skirts fly up from a gust of wind and I almost topple backward. These tall rubber boots on their platforms are wonderful in a crowd, extend the stride, and strengthen the buttocks, lifting its heft of weight into the air like a pillow. But skirts?

I hear the dog once and know I will turn left half way up the lane to my bunker. His voice always rings out once when I reach this spot and even without the eye I turn left, arm raised, palm flattened upward to make contact with the wire of the compound. I trail my gloved fingers along the fence until I feel the gate. Here I must remove my glove and place my naked palm against the freezing surface of the palm ID pad. And it slides open almost silently. I enter and hear it slide shut behind me. It locks with a hollow sound that makes me shudder with pleasure. Now small photocell lights flank the path like little pale full moons.
I have a single bunker. I am gifted in certain arts. I can talk to the mad and read their minds. I can smell danger. And I am old. No small accomplishment in these times. So the dog, as he calls himself, and I live together in a cube of concrete with a pyramid roof alone, in silence, but for the sound of my own voice softly talking to myself and his rare great bark or low growl.

He doesn't rise when I come in. But I hear him panting softly in his dark corner. The room is only warmed with his body heat. All the fuel was burned long ago. But food will be brought for both of us. He could so warm me better if we slept together but he will not. So I wear all my clothes trying to keep from shivering. I would never ask to sleep in his bed but have invited him into mine. Often. No luck.

And now before my fingers stiffen in the cold I must answer the questions sent to me by the mad. Only the mad understand the mad, but not all the mad have my gift to hear their inner voices. We are all somewhat gifted. Some of us have visions, hear voices, but I can only listen to the inner voice, the one that never says aloud what it most fears.(Utah Savage)

The irony of hating that Will Smith movie where he was the only pure human he knew of makes me laugh until I cry only once a day usually, but this makes the second time today.

I'd like to be able to distract myself from this existence as I sometimes can with some maudlin or quirky tale that was uploaded to this confounded eye, but for the time being I just place it on its charger, wondering yet again what renewable substance has been able to sustain the charger's life these 25 years. If I knew that, would I be freezing here like this?

I wish someone, anyone, could or would answer that question. I wish Lilith were here to ponder it with me.

Yes, there are the halflings, but they really are not very good company. The electronic portions of them seem to override most of their humanness. But, compared to those the blogoscopic entities have fully infiltrated, they are a veritable schmorgesborg of spontaneity. I am not sure if I should admit that my insane mother was right and that my "specialness" would "save" me in the end, but those like me are few and far between these days.

What was once a blessing, my telepathic tendencies, has become such a curse that I would no doubt kill myself were it not for Lilith. My only hope is to find her. (Freida Bee)

My human part slept while my body electric recharged its high capacity 9 volt battery and spare. Visions and algorithms of chaos and order merged into organic patterns that ultimately morphed into circuit boards with dendritic hierarchies of contacts and junctions. The damn things recurred every night in increasingly complex ways. Start with a fern and a laptop and merge them at ever deeper levels to the nth degree, then throw in the spikes of fear and uncertainty that only occur in dreams and that is close to what I experienced.

My circuits were designed explicitly to increase my ability to absorb the impossible, but they can only do so much. When a person is strolling along on that perfect day only to become a witness to Fishmen devouring the sanity of best friends and professors; well, it is just too much for even electronics to bear. A cleft formed between my organic and electronic parts.

I rambled through Arkham analyzing the meaningless life forms carrying on what they believed were normal lives. What dupes! My electric eye could see the sub-nanometer band, viewing parasites feeding on the souls of so many, sapping them of confidence and ambition. I tried to feel some compassion, but the firewall stopped me and I felt nothing.

When I finally found Lilith, she was horrified at the abomination I had become. I was crestfallen and it seemed as though I choked on a thousand copper wires trying to maintain a semblance of humanity. Humanity was losing and I couldn't stop it. I knew then that she would become bait in my quest to vanquish the Old Ones. (Don Snabulus)

I had to approach the matter delicately. Mere lack of humanity would be no excuse as far as Lilith was concerned; she was so particular about such things. When she moved she always did so with purpose. Every step, every breath, every twitch in the nether regions, every time her arm flexed in that characteristic way it always did whenever she scratched her left eyebrow (which always annoyed the spit out of me), it was all part of her routine. As far as I knew she was still as much in the flesh as when she was born, but there were often times when she seemed more mechanical than I. Her wires were of a different sort from mine; they were woven from ego rather than alloy.

I remember clearly how I struggled to find the words. Unfortunately, when the implants had gone in, my imagination had gone out. Improvisational eloquence used to be second nature to me, but like a thesaurus that had accidentally gone through the wash, I was left only with so many incoherent smudges in my mind. I stammered and quickly shoved the stammer into yet another box of meaningless small talk. But she was too sharp for that.

"Huh!" she said. Strange. It wasn't a "Huh?" of curiosity; rather, it was a "Huh!" of idiotic amusement.

"Huh huh!"

I asked her what was wrong, and I got only more "huh"s.

No, that was wrong. I remembered that day clearly. She hadn't said or done any of that. The memory was all wrong. My recollection of that day had somehow become corrupted. Had they found me out? Were they using some nameless telepathic conduit into my soul to twist my memories into a blasphemous abomination?

"Huh huh!"

No, wait. It was even more wrong, for I knew I was no longer thinking of that day. So the "huh"s weren't coming from my memory at all, then. They were in the Here and Now! I immediately suspected the dog, but when I glanced over at him he was (unfortunately) sleeping peacefully. Where, then? Where was it coming from?

"Huh huh huh!"

Then it came. That sudden, sharp impact. It sent a jolt through my senses far greater than any psychic flatulence Yog Sothoth had ever lobbed at me. It was total; it permeated me, became my reality, shifted my reality...

And then I woke up. And I saw HIM. There he was, that sorry, bloated, empty-headed, buzz-cut argument against evolution. He was standing there in front me, retracting the hand he had just used to pop me on the head. In his other hand he held...NO!!!

My precious, newly-bought book!!! My beloved tome from the alien gods!!!! It was in the flabby paw of that vile creature!!!!!

"Huh huh huh!" he farted from his mouth. "What's this, you little fag?" He looked at the book with a look that spoke of pure vacuum. "'The Best of H.P. Lovecraft'? Who the f*** is that?"

"Give that back, Bob!" I cried, dismayed at the wimpy sound of my own voice.
(Moody Minstrel)

Really, Bob wasn't his name, but it amused me to call him that. His name, if uttered correctly (virtuously impossible by other than just a few halfborgs) would drive even the strongest willed into utter madness. Even the most frivolous thought of his name in your mind would strike a pain so profound, that you would surly be struck dumb and blind.

I saw Bob turn the book over in his hands several times, as if handling a smelly fish, before setting it down again carefully on the table by the door. As Bob turned his gaze to me, I felt a new chill run down my legs. "WHO THE F*** IS THAT!!!!", he screamed at me, spittle spraying my face like a sloppy afternoon rain. "HUH HUH HUH HUH HUH HUH!!!!!"

At that very moment, it dawned on me the reason I had even left the bunker, the sole purpose of my trip on the bus, endangering my self... no! my soul! to the fury of the Old Ones. Somehow Bob's touch had disoriented me, and sent my thoughts reeling towards panic, fear, and lust?!

The WORD. Not so much a word in the literary sense, but a spoken sound accompanied by a rapid series of pictures in the mind. With practice, it can be used as a terrible weapon, but even in its most primitive state, can be used as a shield against evil. For some, it would be nigh-unlearnable, but for one with an electric eye and a 40 Dodecabyte memory, it is possible. Oh no! The eye!

I flung myself from the ice covered chair that was my bed, and rolled across the floor towards the charger. I knew I was likely to fail, Bob being so close, and having seen the book, but I had to try. For the dog at least! Yes, I was doing this for the dog, for though I could endure an enternity of torment, I could not bear to see the dog come to harm.

Bob continued to scream incoherently for seconds at the empty chair, before his thousand eyes were able to comprehend my futile motion. As he realized my attempt of escape, he found such great amusement that he started to (oh the horror!) laugh! If I had not already been mad, the sound of it might have delivered me there faster than microwave popcorn. Instead, it was merely a reminder of how important my task was, and gave me the strength to proceed.

I thrust my good hand at the charger, and grabbed at the eye, but it was slippery with cold, and shot up into the air!! Noooo!! I fell to the ground, and a shadow flitted past my vision towards the airborne eye, grabbing it in a spitty mouth. All hope was surely lost, and I felt sorry for the dog and the pain that was coming.

But the light changed, and for just a moment, I thought I saw an angel. Indeed it was an angel, as the boot sequence for the eye includes a splash screen of an Angel representing the company by which it was designed. I looked quickly around to see that the dog has somehow recovered and installed the eye in my socket, and was sacrificing life, limb and mind to keep Bob from proceeding. I did not hesitate to launch the sequence of pictures, and speak the WORD.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Day in the Life of a Turret

Okay, so there's this truly awesome game called Portal. The game is very different from your average shooter, and the script writing is VERY WELL DONE. I guarantee this game will make you laugh more than once, and besides that, it's damn fun. If you have a PC that can handle Half-Life 2, GET THE ORANGE BOX!

Anyway, if you've played the game, then you have to watch this. It's pretty funny if you understand all the inside jokes. I imagine its not quite as funny without having played the game:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

John Williams is the Man!

I don't think there is much to say, except watch, listen, and enjoy:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Freaky Freakies!

Remember THIS cereal?

There's even a website! I was reading about how a friend of mine can draw the origins of a SciFi RPG he created, all the way back to the Freakies, and I thought I'd search around to see what was on the internet.

Man I sort of remember them, but this video just creeps me out. I may even have collected these things, but if I did, they are long gone now. Probably died in the same bon-fire that my younger brothers used to destroy all the Star Wars figures we had.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Justin Timberlake on Saturday Night Live

(Whoa - two posts in one day!)

My understanding is this is a couple year old skit from Saturday Night Live, but I hadn't seen it until just this week. I was laughing pretty hard when I saw this, and it actually got funnier the next few times I watched it. The subject matter is adult, but the bad words are bleeped, and there's nothing explicitly shown (it was on network TV after all). Still, if you are at work, you might want to wait until you get home to check it out:

ps - According to my wife, Justin Timberlake is the blond guy. I wasn't hip enough to even know he was famous.

Moving an Offscreen Window in XP

About a month ago, I setup a second monitor on my work computer. It's sweet: I can drag windows off my main monitor, and over to my second monitor. This is especially useful when I'm firing off a process that I want to keep an eye on, but I want to keep working on my code. Much better than switching back and forth between my IDE and the process window, and a lot less distracting.

Because I work from home at least one day a week, it wasn't long before I logged into my work computer from home, and discovered that the windows were still lost on the second monitor! Since I only have one monitor at home, I have no way to get to those windows.

Okay, so I tried a couple of things: the most obvious solution is to close the application, and restart. Unfortunately, for like 99% of the applications out there, it remembers it's last window placement location, and returns to that location on next launch. I tried using ALT-TAB, but that just changes focus to the window without moving it.

Doing a Google search, there's actually a lot of helpful advice out there. For the most part the solution is this:
  1. Right-click the window's taskbar button

  2. Select Move

  3. Tap an arrow key

  4. Move the mouse

Well, that's great advice as long as the window you are trying to move HAS a taskbar button, AND the right-click menu has an ENABLED move option. If either of these two things is missing, this advice is useless!!

Back to Google, and some more fine tuning of my query, and some trial and error, I found a solution that worked for me in every case I've tried it:
  1. Use ALT+TAB to find the window you want to move


  3. Press the 'M' key

  4. Tap an arrow key

  5. Move the mouse

Whew! That was harder than it should have been! Hope this helps you!

ps - I know somebody will point out the "Tile Windows xxxx" options as a possible solution. Despite thrashing all my windows at once, it actually only ends up tiling windows that have task bar buttons. If you have a window that doesn't have a task bar button (like CCTray) the only solution I'm aware of to recover the window, is the one I give here.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Judgment Day is Coming

Okay, so I came across a weird news story about a "life-like" robot that was unveiled recently. The link includes a video of this thing in action... sort of. (Personally, I think the thing moves and sounds like crap, so I guess they still have a lot of work to do). Anyway, there's a quote in the article:

And robotics company Cyberdyne Inc are set to start making it on a mass scale on Friday.

Cyberdyne? Interesting - I wonder if that's the SAME Cyberdyne from the second Terminator movie, Judgment Day? If you look at the actual Cyberdyne Inc. website, it does appear that they are building cyborg-like devices.

Will the robots rise up against the humans in the future? Is Judgment Day upon us? Should we be concerned??!?!?

(ps - I'm not REALLY concerned. Mostly I feel bad for the Japanese girl that was the model for the robot, because either she's got to be "weirded-out" by the robotic clone, or upset that her body is going to be mass manufactured. Man, her teen years are going to suck.)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Praying Mantis

This morning, I went outside to retrieve our empty garbage cans, and found this sitting on the handle:

To give you an idea of scale, his body from head to tail is about 1.5 inches long. He was hanging out and catching bugs that were buzzing around the empty can. I never saw him catch anything, but when I went out later to show the kids, he had some kind of gnat in his "pincher arm", which he discarded while we watched.

I remember the first time I saw one of these around here. My reaction was: "we have these here?" They come in two different color varieties that I've seen. Green and brown. It's possible the color is a difference in gender, or maybe even seasonal.

When I was young, I had this book about bugs. In it was a section on the Praying Mantis, and I loved reading about them. The thing I remember most, was a drawing of a little boy in Mexico catching a praying mantis, and tying a string around its neck like a leash to keep it in his room. Now that I've seen one, I'm thinking that either the picture is an exaggeration, or the Praying Mantis' get bigger the further south you go.

These guys are a rare treat that we see every month or so during the summer. It's fun to see how they move. I especially like their little head. You can wiggle your fingers on different sides of him, and the head spins around instantly to look. I guess they got to have that kind of speed to catch the little gnats that they do!

Anyway, I'm glad I finally got a picture of one. Usually when I see them, I'm at someone else's house, or they are on the outside of an upstairs window screen where you can't get a good picture. This guy stayed put for 30 minutes, so I had time to take pictures, and show them to each of the kids as they got ready for school.


Monday, September 29, 2008

I added a new link to my "Blogs I Dig" links section here. I normally avoid political commentary on this blog, but the author of stands about as close to my own positions, I thought it worth mentioning.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

If I Was A Duck

I don't know the origin of this poem, but my stepmother put it on her webpage to accompany a picture of me in the water, and I thought it was pretty damned funny:

If I Was A Duck

If water was Mountain Dew and I was a duck
I'd swim to the bottom and drink my way up
but water ain't Dew and I ain't no duck
I just gotta float
Now Don't that Suck?

I dunno - maybe she wrote it! I'll have to ask her.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy Talk Like a Pirate's Day!

Yarr, ye scaliwags!! Leave ye yer cot, and git down ta swabbin the deck, ye no good scurvy dogs!! Yo ho, and shiver me timbers, it be Talk Like a Pirate's Day once again!

Also, be sure to set "Pirate" as your preferred lingo in Google, especially if ye be a gentleman or lady 'o fortune! Tis right civil of them to add that option!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Jony is Online!

When my brothers and I grew up, we spent many hours playing with our stuffed animals. We gave each of them names and unique personalities. One of the longest lasting personalities among our animals, is an old "Smokey the Bear" stuffed toy named Jony.

Jony, the son of Smokey the Bear, was an inventor, entrepreneur, wizard, and all around wise guy. He had the ability to be anywhere, anytime, and always has plenty of cash on hand. A lot of things happened to this bear during our lifetime. His body got so worn, that my mom decided to make him some new clothes: new blue jeans, and a silky red shirt. At one point, he "died" and my brothers buried him in a shoe box in the back yard. A week later, they decided that he hadn't really died, and dug him back up. When my youngest brother got married (it was his bear), my wife and I made him a little tuxedo, so he could attend the wedding.

Anyway, we still talk about Jony, and he still has a place in my brother's home. Recently, Jony started a MySpace page, complete with pictures of Jony in all sorts of situations. If you don't have a MySpace account, you can't view them, but here are a couple of examples:

(PS - I just checked, and it does appear you can view the pictures without an account now... weird)

Jony has even appeared on YouTube, recently. If you haven't seen the original (not-original?) Jeff Peckman alien video, see it here:

Wait, what was that? An alien? A puppet? Look again with the colors enhanced:

Hey, it's just our lovable old Jony! Hey Jony!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

3rd Annual Portland Pirate Festival

With Talk-Like-A-Pirate-Day just around the corner, I decided to visit the official website, and see what's up. After some amount of surfing (yarr, sailin?), I found that Portland, Oregon (my home town) is having their 3rd Annual Pirate Festival:

Dang, I wish I still lived close enough to go, because you know I'd be all piratey and stuff! Yarr, and shiver-me-timbers! Maybe one of me mates will attend, and keep their shifty eyes peeled for me. Avast!

Then again, maybe I'll just order a commemorative T-Shirt. Whoa, maroon is a fairly... unseemly color for a pirate, isn't it? Wouldn't be good to be a marooned Pirate wearing a maroon commemorative T-shirt! I mean, look at the guy modeling the T-shirt: he's about the furthest from being a pirate as I've ever seen! In fact, he's so far from being a pirate, he's actually an Opposite Pirate!!

Guess I wont be getting the shirt either. (ye scurvy bilge rats!)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Garfield Minus Garfield

What happens when you take a Garfield comic, and strip away the main character? You get the online comic:

The mission of the comic?

Garfield Minus Garfield is a site dedicated to removing Garfield from the Garfield comic strips in order to reveal the existential angst of a certain young Mr. Jon Arbuckle. It is a journey deep into the mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and depression in a quiet American suburb.

Some of these are actually quite hilarious, and strangely sad. What does Jim Davis think about it?

Garfield creator Jim Davis was intrigued by—and pleased with—the concept. “I think it’s an inspired thing to do,” Davis said. “I want to thank Dan for enabling me to see another side of Garfield. Some of the strips he chose were slappers: ‘Oh, I could have left that out.’ It would have been funnier.”

In any case, I'm keeping this one in my bookmarks.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Eight Eight Eight

Eight. My favorite number since my neighbor told me his was Seven. I didn't want to copy him, so I decided that Eight would be my favorite. After all, it's snowman shaped, and I like the snow. It has no sharp edges, matches the number of bits in a byte, is 2^3 (both prime numbers), and is the total number of fingers most people have on their hands (not counting thumbs, of course). The can of Mt. Dew I'm drinking right now has 12 oz, but it's my second can, so I've nearly finished 24 oz, which is 8 * 3.

Today is August 8, 2008, which can be correctly described as "eight eight eight", which means today should be my most favorite day ever. Hmmm, nothing special about today, except maybe that the Beijing Olympics is starting. Google has a neat graphic to commemorate this fact:

I'm working from home, which is always nice (I eat lunch with my family, instead of in my never-the-right-temperature office). I fixed two software bugs already this morning, and I'm on the verge of fixing another. Isis stock price is up 8% (well, 8.25% to be exact), and that would be nice if I had shares to sell. Still, it means the company is doing well, and that's good for job security.

I hear a lot of people are trying to have their babies or get married on 8/8/8. There are those that are even shooting for 8am or 8pm, as the recorded time for the event, so that they can be 8/8/8 @ 8.

For me, 8 is still just my favorite number, and no, my ATM PIN is NOT 8888.

Friday, July 25, 2008


(Click the pic for full size view)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Our Pool

In June, we had this sudden urge to have a pool installed in our backyard. It's something we've wanted to do for years, but until recently, it's only been a dream. I'm not sure what changed, but we decided to take the plunge (pun intended) and do this thing!

After hearing a few quotes, we decided to go with Indian Summer Pools. The owner/salesman/CEO was very knowledgeable, and appeared to have a VERY good rapport with his previous customers. He lives in the area, and has connections with several friends of ours. We knew that he was the best choice, and boy were we right!

Here's what our backyard looked like BEFORE (click on the picture for a bigger version):

Actually, I took this picture AFTER the grass had been removed, but before anything else had been done. Notice the tree coverage - we have a couple of Eucalyptus trees growing there. What a pain! Every time there's any kind of wind, branches go flying, and that's no little thing! These branches are DENSE and HEAVY! I was afraid it might hurt somebody someday, so I asked that both trees be removed before the pool was put in.

Anyway, 5 weeks after the picture above was taken, this is what it looks like now:

Can you see the difference? I know it's sleight, but it's there, especially in regards to that big wet thing in the middle! ;-) Seriously though, we jumped in the pool for the first time on Friday (July 11, 2008), and we've been swimming ever since. That rock like thing in the center of the picture is actually a grotto/waterfall, and a great place to launch yourself for a cannonball!

The pool itself covers 460 sq ft (+52 sq ft for the spa), and goes down to 7 feet deep. I think I heard that it holds 22000 gallons of water. Want to see more? I photo documented the whole process, from excavation to finished product here if you are interested. Now if you don't mind, it's like a hundred degrees outside, and I'm going to take a dip!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Global Disease Alert Map

Here's a google map EVERYONE can enjoy:

Want to know where the latest Cholera outbreak is? Wondering which kids really have the Measles? Maybe you just suspect the guy across the street as having Anthrax. Now you can check it all out in one easy to use interface. Fun for the whole family!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Bill grogan's goat

I was humming this song from summer camp today, and it made me want to see if I could find the lyrics. Well, I did, and now I'm singing it proudly at the top of my lungs in my office:

Bill Grogan's goat
Was feelin' fine
Ate three red shirts
Right off the line

Bill took a stick
Gave him a whack
And tied him to
The railroad track

The whistle blew
The train drew nigh
Bill Grogan's goat
Was doomed to die

He gave three groans
Of awful pain
Coughed up the shirts
And flagged the train

That's all there is
This story's done
I hope you had
A lot of fun

Saturday, June 21, 2008


I don't know who Julie is, but this video probably doesn't look anything like her:

All I know is, this is the weirdest thing I've seen on You-Tube for a long time. For some reason, it makes me laugh more and more every time I see it, just because it is so WRONG!!!

(oh, don't ask me why the author of this perverted video tweak chose to use a dog barking as the soundtrack, but it definitely adds to the creepiness!)

WARNING: I would strongly recommend AGAINST watching the "suggested" videos that follow the video above. They show a bunch of deformed people and babies in an unfriendly light. I almost didn't post this video for that reason alone, but since the "Julie" video is not real, figured I'd be okay as long as I posted a special warning. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Friday, May 02, 2008


Arrr!! Today be International Scurvey Awareness Day!! So eat a lime already!!

- Cap'n Dewbeard

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Pleasing Government Commerce

I heard about this on the radio, and thought it was pretty funny. Apparently the Office of Government Commerce in England ordered the new logo to:

...signify a bold commitment to the body’s aim of improving value for money by driving up standards and capability in procurement.

For £14,000, here's what they got:

... but if you turn it sideways ...

... you get a whole 'nother meaning! I doubt they'll be erecting any signs with the new logo anytime soon. ;-)

Monday, April 14, 2008

German Engineering vs Terrorists

This is worth sharing:

Dude, sucks for him!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Silverlight Einsteinchen

You'll have to install Microsoft's "Silverlight" to see it, but that only takes a second. This website (click the title above) has a bunch of little videos starring a very strange looking character. Einsteinchen demonstrates the theory of relativity in a way that most people can understand. There are 12 videos in all, and they are quite enjoyable.

Now that I've watched them all, I think I'm ready to build my own time machine!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Time Machine Works!!

I've gone back in time, and am writing this blog entry TWO DAYS BEFORE my "Silverlight Einsteinchen" entry above. Sweeet!!! Now I'm off to buy a lottery ticket. He he he.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Racist Swim Team?

My oldest daughter had her first home swim meet yesterday, and it was a blast. Lots of different races, and lots of kids competing. I got recruited as an official timer for the second half of the meet, which I guess is a normal thing for parents at these things.

Anyway, they are supposed to post the results on their website at some point, so we can see how they did. I know that she did good in the freestyle, but it was hard to know how she compared to the other girls that raced in the other heats. I went to the website, and though the results aren't yet posted at the time of this writing, I noticed an interesting bit of text on their home page:

As a reminder, the Home Meets are intended for WHITE swimmers only.

Sheesh! Harsh enough! I swear I saw kids of all races at the meet!! I'll be sure to make sure THAT doesn't happen at the next one. "Hey, THAT kid isn't WHITE!!! Get her out of the pool!!!"

Um, wait. I think they mean something else. Let's see what the whole paragraph says:

Thank You to all the upper level TMEC swimmers that come to the Home Meet to help out and cheer on your fellow swimmers trying to acheive RED times!!

As a reminder, the Home Meets are intended for WHITE swimmers only. Once a swimmer has achieved a RED time in any event they may not swim in that event at the Home Meets unless they have aged up and need to achieve a RED time in the new age group.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I see. It's a racing thing, not a race thing. Huh??!?!?!


Thursday, March 06, 2008

Wii Head Tracking

This is VERY cool. I have a Nintendo Wii, but I would never have imagined I could do what this guy did with his:

If I didn't have like a million other hobbies I'm firing up right now, I'd consider trying this out myself!

Click on the title to go to Johnny Lee's Wii Remote webpage to see other cool things.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

R.I.P. Gary Gygax

I just learned that Gary Gygax lost his last few hit points this morning. For those of you that don't know, Gary Gygax was one of the co-creators of Dungeons & Dragons, and was one of the biggest influences in my young life. I still remember breaking open my "Basic D&D" box, cutting out the die chits, and playing a D&D module (B1?) with my next door neighbor. I never had so much fun in my life, and I still look back at those days with much fondness.

Thank you Gary Gygax, and may you find a new treasure type in the next existence!

Update: No, a 70th level cleric did not resurrect Gary Gygax, but Order of the Stick did do a nice tribute to the dragon lord:

Check it out!

Friday, February 22, 2008

AMD Dual Core Optimizer

Ever since I bought my AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core, I've regretted it. Don't get me wrong: I love AMD chips, and have never had a problem before this one. Turns out, that the AMD Dual Core just doesn't play nice with a LOT of things, and this just KILLS all kinds of applications, games, movies, etc.

The typical problem is this: you start an application, and it appears to run very very slowly, or jerky. You get impatient, and pull up the task manager, which takes FOREVER. You discover that your application is utilizing 100% CPU ON BOTH CORES!!! DAMN!!!

My most recent problems have occurred within a cool game called "The Movies", and in Microsoft's XNA Game Studio. After doing some searching, I came across something called an AMD Dual Core Optimizer. The heck is that? Apparently, it helps control the behavior of the chip, when software vendors decide to go around the windows API, and do direct calls (which apparently is the reason for the issue).

Well, I can tell you, I installed this puppy, and all is wonderful again! My XNA is working (mostly), and "The Movies" appears to be playing nice again. If you have an AMD Dual Core, I recommend taking a look at the link above. Be sure you know what chip you have before installing anything though: I can't be held responsible for anything that you might do wrong!! (whew, disclaimer out of the way)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

BPPV is the cool acronym you can use, but it still means dizzy dizzy dizzy.

About three nights ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and the room was spinning around me. Unusual, but not the first time its ever happened to me. A couple of years ago when I had a sinus infection, I was quite dizzy for several days, until I finally got smart, and got some antibiotics.

The odd thing this time around, is that I knew I wasn't congested. I decided to ignore it, and go back to sleep. The next morning, I got out of bed, and the room spun out of control. Before I knew what was happening, I was lying on my back in the middle of the bed, trying to focus on the fire detector on the ceiling. Round and round and round it went for a few seconds, and then everything settled down, and I was back in control.

I got up slowly, and though there was still a little dizziness, it went away quickly. The rest of the day I was fine, and had no further episodes. That is, until I went back to bed that evening. Once again the room spun out of control, and I'm left feeling disoriented and light-headed.

This has continued happening to me now for three days. Of course I'm worried, so I decide to make a fool out of myself, and head to the Urgent care clinic. I explain my condition to the doctor, and he surprises me by immediately recognizing it as a form of vertigo.

To test his theory he applies a technique that is called a Semont maneuver (see link above for details). Essentially, he has me sitting facing the wall, and then lies my head back, and then quickly turns my head to the right. That does it! I'm swimming in vertigo for a good 10 seconds before I land.

The doctor explains that this indicates the problem is in my right inner ear. To prove this, he repeats the procedure, but turns my head to the left. To my surprise, there is no dizziness at all. After allowing me to sit up, and suffer the dizziness again for a few seconds, he explains that I have a mild case of BPPV or Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.

The cause? One common cause is the formation of small crystals of calcium carbonate in the inner ear (also known as "Ear Rocks" - dude, I have Ear Rocks?), and the motion of these particles mess up the normal sensation of balance. One of the most common things that leads to this is a head injury, but since I've not had any such injury, this is unlikely. It is also possible that a virus is infecting my inner ear, though this is less common.

The cure? Its very likely it could go away on its own. Still, the primary treatment for BPPV, is physical therapy. The article linked above describes the therapy (Semont and Epley maneuvers) and is probably what I'll have to undergo, once I have a chance to see my primary physician.

Of course, that's going to have to wait until I return from my trip to Washington DC to install software for clients. Wait until they find out I have Ear Rocks!! Dude!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

TV Tropes Wiki

I came across this website quite by accident (click title above). It catalogs cliches present in our TV and Movie culture, and then gives sample representations. For example, a Squick is described as a "negative emotional response, more specifically a disturbed or disgusted one.". The movie Labyrinth contains a Squick, which the author describes as "a 15 year-old being romantically pursued ("let me rule you!") and watched over by an stretchy pants-wearing goblin king (David Bowie at 39)".

Take a look at some of these others, which define the plots of many movies, tv shows, and even entire series:

Here's something funny that happened when I first visited the wiki. I tried to go to the home page, and I got this message:
The database hates you right now. The entry might exist or it might not exist. We would clear this mystery up for you, if we could get to the database. We tried to look it up, but the database puked up an error.

I thought that was pretty darned funny.