Friday, July 29, 2005

Mike's Blog in G, by YoHahn SomeGuy

I've sworn off conventional radio because it makes me want to kill people.

I'm not willing to pay for satellite radio.

So I've been listening to the local classical station. You know, it's all soothing, and maybe I'll learn to appreciate something cultural.

I've made some observations during the last few weeks of listening to classical -

A) There's not a lot of new stuff. Mostly it's the latest amazing violinist's interpretation of something someone wrote 500 years ago.

B) In 400 years, will we have a hundred and fifty different versions/remakes of "Baby Got Back"? I hope not.

C) Most of the music sounds the same to me, which you can say of any station I suppose. It's just my ignorant ear, which doesn't have the knowledge to properly appreciate what I'm listening to.

D) The DJ's talk as if they're all well-dosed with some prescription sedative.

F) I'm enjoying the classical guitar pieces, perhaps just because they're more clearly different from the other works.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Thanks, Short Attention Span!

I walk around the block during breaks and lunch.

There's a little shopette in the complex, which I pass on my way out of the buildings. It sells everything from coffee and iced cream to muffins and cookies.

As I walk past, I think "Maybe I'll get a muffin and a Frappucino on the way back in".

And 99% of the time, I forget about getting a snack until I'm back in the elevator, on my way up to the office.

ADD be praised, my waistline thanks you.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Don't Try This At Home

Along with the nominally legal ideas that occur to me, there are a lot of wild, illegal schemes that pop into my head. Nonviolent ones, of course. I'm all about live and let live.

...Though I really would love to go postal at work some day with a t-shirt gun...

I'll never actually commit a crime, but it's entertaining to consider. Ok! So this idea is something I like to call "Sack O' Money". I've been thinking of using it in a story.

What Tom - the thief character - would do is: observe the actions and steps followed by the armored car collection officer, their schedule and protocols.

One guy stays in the truck, and the other guy goes into the retail store and brings out the loot.

Tom would probably have to get a job at such a retail store, to be able to observe the necessary steps. At a guess, the real armored car guy walks into the back room, signs a form on a clipboard, collects the Sack O' Money, and goes his merry way.

What a great heist! No yelling, no guns, no scaring people, nobody tries to be a hero. All Tom needs is a uniform and a bit of information. Does the guy sign his name and provide a specific numeric entry on the form? If so, he might simply be able to look at yesterday's pickup entry, and copy the number.

Is there a safe word? "The surfing is great in Chile this time of year..." the head cashier says. "Only if you like sushi." The officer says back. Probably no safe word or phrase.

So Tom buys a uniform at one of the uniform outlet stores, and buys or fakes any required arm patches reading "Wells Fargo" or what have you.

An accomplice would be following the actual armored car, and appraising Tom of its location. At least 15 minutes before its arrival, (too early and the money bag might not be ready) Tom heads to the back, tells the staff he's there for the Wells Fargo pickup.

"Where's Frank?" The cashier asks.
"Sick today." Tom replies.

And Tom walks out with Sack O' Money!

Location would be important - a place where Tom could quickly round a corner and be out of sight, and into his vehicle would be best.

Which day would be important. The Tuesday after a three day holiday weekend would bring in the most cash.

Type of store would be important. A large bookstore or electronics chain would make enough money for a worthwhile hit, $20,000 or more. It would have to be large enough and laid out so the cash room had no windows that could see the armored car was not waiting outside.

Some sort of quality disguise would be necessary, since Tom would seen up close and would be likely caught on camera.

It would be a good idea to remove the nondescript getaway vehicle's license plate and replace it with a false one - the fake license plate could be put into one of those slightly yellow plastic plate protectors, making it harder to tell from a real plate.

Of course, Tom would get greedy, try the same scenario a few times, and get caught in the end.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Unfinished Sympho...

I like really big personal projects. The wide-open possibilities appeal to me strongly, and it's all about the potential, what I can do with it, where it might lead, what I'll learn in the process.

Then I get into the actual work of it, and the project rarely gets completed. Not because I'm lazy - so much as the next idea comes along, and I'm enticed away as if by a siren song.

Often, I get a few books on the subject matter and learn enough to realize why my idea won't work, is far too expensive, or has already been done - which is fine, I researched the concept.

But still, it would be nice to finish a project more often. I'll make it a mid-year's resolution.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Quantum Cable Theory Untangled

I moved my work desk about six feet on Friday - there are some new people starting, and it makes more sense with the new layout, especially since I'm not part of this company.

(I'm working at an office in Los Angeles, doing work for a company in San Francisco, actually employed by a temp agency based in Pennsylvania). Yes, my life is a series of odd situations.

As I moved all my computer components (I run 4 PCs at the same desk), I was once again dismayed by the quantity of cords and cables necessary to run modern technology.

I thought this was the wondrous 21st Century, the wireless age, the freakin future, already!

I've been toying with an idea for a few years now. For patients with artificial hearts, the power is transmitted through the skin, without wires, using an external and internal coil - this is called transcutaneous energy transmission when used in the body.

A magnetic field between the two coils transmits the electricity. Similar to the gaps between nerve connectors (sans the chemical component).

There are also versions of magnetic coil transmission with everyday appliances, like electric toothbrushes and shavers - anything that might get wet and therefore unfriendly to open electrical contacts.

We can and do beam electricity through skin and plastic. Why don't we have PowerDesks? The desk would have numerous transmitting coils throughout the desk top. The base of the computer monitor, speakers, mouse, etc would have receiving coils.

No cables.

At most, you plug one thing - the desk - into the wall or floor, and arrange your desk as you like. Often, we have to arrange appliances on a desk so the cords will reach. No longer a problem.

There are still the data lines for the monitor, mouse, keyboard, and etc. Wireless mice and keyboards are already prevalent, and monitors may already exist.

It makes sense, however, that if we can transmit electricity itself to the appliances via these coils, data should be possible as well. A datastream is just a series of codified pulses. This means no data lines for any of your desk appliances, including the phone.

This technology could also be applied to entertainment centers. I don't know about the rest of you, but I have two power strips plugged in behind mine, with a frightening tangle of electrical and a/v wires just begging for the slightest spark to kill us in the night.

The use of electricity transmitting coils as a viable technology would require appliances designed with this power source in mind. Like any new technology, it could take a good ten years before manufacturers and consumers catch up. There would be the inevitable period of adaptors and connectors. A portable power mat, instead of built-in to the desk top.

My one concern with this technology is that we might be bathed in strong magnetic fields even more so than we are now. Wouldn't this be a health risk?

The fact that it's used in patients with artificial hearts would make me think it's not a problem... But the dose in artficial hearts would be very small, unlike the dose from a power-transmitting desk top.

Even if the artifical heart dose were a problem, these people are close to death anyway, and the side effects of the magnetic field are probably less heinous than an infection (from using power cables through the skin).

I suppose you'd have to build a prototype desk and appliances, then test how much leakage there was to the environment, and what effect it would have.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Fans = Summer Life Support System

I’m watching Anacondas: Search for the Blood Orchid, which I would never do unless it came on spontaneously after something else. Which it just did.

One of those bad movies you allow to run in the background while you pay half-attention and veg out on the couch, go to the kitchen and make lunch, then go give yourself a hair trim and take a shower, and return in time to catch the last of the movie, which ended just as you expected it to.

Another hot day, but I really can’t summon the will to go out into the world and find an air conditioned place to hang out. Cindy’s at work, and going out alone feels pointless.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Ben and Jerry for Sainthood!

Ben & Jerry's now offer these cute little singles, the iced cream equivalent of a tequila shot. They even come with their own little spoon!

Cherry Garcia, my favorite flavor, clocks in at 220 calories - a very respectable portion of iced cream. Not a sufficient portion, to be sure - since I can happily devour half a pint in one sitting with sticky-faced enthusiasm.

I'm glad to see these smaller portion sizes, because I've been ranting to
Cindy for a while now that it's not so much that everything tasty is bad for you, it's that the portions are totally out of control.

Smaller portions should be more readily available. Interestingly, you can find a mini bag of Oreo's at the drug store, but not at the grocery store. The normal sized
bags of Oreo's contain 51 cookies.

Who is going to slowly portion their huge pack of Oreo's? The package does not lend itself well to being resealed, so it seems Nabisco expects us to devour the entire package within 1 to 2 days. So I like the small sized Ben & Jerry's, and hope to see more of the same.

I also have an idea about portion control, because sometimes I'm in a very snacky mood and have little self control. Usually I'm fine, but on some days I'm weak, and the cookies they come a'callin.

The PortionSafe(TM).

The PortionSafe(TM) would essentially be a series of sturdy drawers linked to a time lock. Each drawer would be sized to hold a small quantity of cookies, chips, pork rinds, whatever your weakness is.

You come home from the grocery store, and portion out your evil snack cakes into the various drawers. One drawer = one recommended serving size.

Then you close the drawers.

The time lock feature will only allow you to open one drawer of your choice a day. This does not mean that on Friday you can open five drawers. One drawer every 24 hours.

There could also be a PortionSafe(TM) version for the fridge, a version for Beer and Wine, and a version for the freezer. And the accessories! Downloadable DrawerTones!! Don't get me started.

And if you really just gotta get in to one of those drawers RIGHT NOW, you can call the PortionSafe(TM) Hotline (only $2.99 a minute!) and we can unlock a drawer electronically, ala OnStar.

It would be so funny when your kid locks your car keys into a PortionSafe(TM) drawer just before you have to leave for work.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Honk if you're...thorny?

I couldn't think of anything to blog about yesterday... Maybe it was just the heat, I dunno. I was busy at work, where I'm usually not busy, and where I usually post my blog. So there you go.

I was walking around the block during lunch yesterday - as is my custom - and someone driving by in a car did the 'Hey Honk'. Since there was no one else around, I assumed it was meant for me.

I looked, and it was four landscaping guys, in their work vehicle. Had they read my blog about genetically engineered grass, and wanted to offer me some props? It seemed not. They drove away.

I'm still waiting for the day when the ladies of the world see me as honk worthy. When I was single, I was told "once you're taken, the ladies will find you irresistible." But I've been taken for nigh on a decade now, and nothin.

Now it's "Daddies with babies are super hot." So it seems I have to breed in order to be desirable. Kinda awkward, that.

I'm not hoping to cheat, but it would be flattering to turn an interested gal aside with "Sorry, I'm married."

I'm one of those people who is getting better looking with age. I have a hodge podge of lopsided features that is slowly becoming worn smoother with the erosion of time.

My luck will be, when I turn 80 I'll finally start getting propositioned, when I don't care any more or can't do anything about it if I do.

Ate Too Much

I ate like 4 pieces of pizza, and then followed it up with coffeecake and icecream.

So. Very. Full.

It tasted really good though.

Round Table's Garlic Supreme Pizza is to kill for. And I will if it ever comes to that.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

It's Still a Young Industry

There's a big hoopla right now about Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, and now the ESRB is getting blamed for being toothless.

It's true, they are. They really don't have the resources to accurately rate a game. The ESRB grew out of the valid need to rate games by age group. It works for movies, why not games?

That doesn't mean a 16 year old doesn't want to see an R-Rated movie, and he likely will find a way to get in. It's the same with games.

The ESRB is non-profit, and still really finding its way. It's a nominal service that is supposed to address an important issue - making sure mature materials are not as easily accessed by minors. The ESRB needs a lot more funding, and in the end it will have to come from game developers themselves.

I've worked in the industry for a few years now, I can say that the ESRB makes it very easy for game developers to sneak questionable content past them.

The whole row over San Andreas doesn't really qualify, since the code in question was disabled, and so not intended or accessible for viewing by the public. But if you can hack into the code, you can find all sorts of remnants that are otherwise inaccessible.

This is just the one of the first high profile incidents with remnant code. There will be many to follow, from all sorts of games that have been out for years - now that it's seen as a newsworthy topic. Much will depend on the end result of this one case.

I've filled out many ESRB submission documents, and they read like tax forms. It's all very iffy wording and if-this-but-not-that-and-goto-line 42.

You tell THEM which age bracket you qualify for. Then they can agree or disagree.

You pop a tape in the VCR, record a few hours of gameplay footage, (not necessarily the racy or gory stuff) and send it with the forms to the ESRB. A few weeks later, you get your stamp of approval.

This is not an accurate way to rate games. Developers should send the game to the ESRB, and their own staff of testers should play through.

With a game like GTA San Andreas, it could take a few weeks (or more) of play (and that's eight hours a day) to complete the game and all its mini quests and unlockables. That's the only way to know what content is in a game.

To do this, the ESRB would have to charge developers a lot more than they do now for evaluations. With games costing what they do to produce, (millions) spending a few thousand dollars per game for an accurate rating seems nominal.

an update on this issue.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Missed Opportunities

When I was a kid, I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy. I was all about escapism back then, and in some ways I still am. I was always more comfortable alone, reading a book than I was socializing with people.

(Cause, you know, a person might say something I'm unprepared for. Can't have that).

One day when I was twelve, I was reading some 'average kid becomes wizard' fantasy fun, and the kid in the story was asking his mentor how the power came to him, where all the magic came from.

He was told that he was brave, and had heeded the call of someone in need, and this selfless act earned him the right to wield such power.

"I want to help people." I said out loud.

Just then, JUST THEN, as the words came out of my mouth, the doorbell rang. I nearly jumped out of my skin. I went not to the door but to a room nearby, where I could peek out the window and see who was at the door without being seen myself.

It was a woman - the new neighbor from next door. Hmn. She'd never just rung the doorbell before...

And I didn't answer the door. I let her walk away.

No magical powers for me.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Shame on you, Norton AntiVirus!

I got a laptop a few months ago, and I have much fun surfing the web from the couch. I hadn’t bothered to pay for the subscription for Norton Antivirus, so my coverage lapsed after the first month.

I kept meaning to renew my subscription, but never got around to it. Until today, that is. I was merrily surfing the web, when abruptly a Norton message popped up.

I thought it was gonna be the same message as usual: “Hey Mike, Norton Antivirus rocks, yo! Your subscription has lapsed, and that aint a safe way to roll, aiight? How about you click here and we get you fixed up with some AntiViral goodness?”

But no.

This was a “Holy Shit, Brah! You’ve got some serious funk in your hard drive. I’m talking Clap, Smack, Finger, and Fist, dude. User BobJoy42 has got his busy hands all up-skirt and in your personal data. If you don’t subscribe now, your laptop aint got long to live.”

(Actually, it said I had 4 different viruses, but you get the idea)

So I go ahead and fork over the $35 to ransom my sweet, innocent young laptop from the groping fingers of BobJoy42.

I pay, I do the LiveUpdate, and then run a full system scan…

At the end of it, ZERO viruses found.

Perhaps the 4 Horsemen weren’t viruses, but AdWare of some sort. I run two different AdWare and SpyWare scans, from different providers.


Sigh. This is not the kind of behavior I expect from Norton. That kind of bullshit scare tactic is something I’d expect from a SpyWare hacker asshole.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

My Butt Hurts

I've been spending my Saturday working on our family website - it needs a complete overhaul. I don't know how I ever thought it was attractive or well laid out.

What was I thinking when I first designed it?
Have I grown so much in the last year?

We hear a lot about ergonomics and how important it is.

But in the end, chairs are damned uncomfortable. We really weren't meant to sit for hours at a time. Perhaps our short attention spans are not the result of growing up as an MTV generation; But the need of our bodies, more than our brains, to keep moving.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Yo, Detroit!

Hopefully, cars will be driving themselves soon. Humans are much too distracted to be good drivers. We're thinking about where we're going, what we'll do tomorrow, how great last night's shagging was, and how great tonight's shagging will be.

And cell phones. Don't get me started on cell phone use while driving. They're the worst evil since
Grand Theft Auto. In fact, I'm driving right now as I type this, and listening to my cellular voicemail, (sans headset) impressed with the fact that I have not yet spilled any coffee.

So I look forward to the days when my car is a robot, and I can sleep or surf the web on the way to my destination.

Until then, I have an idea that might help the people who are actually paying attention to the road and the cars zipping about on it - another indicator light.

I know, there seem to be quite enough lights and indicators on a car as it is, but there's one missing. There is an indicator for every behavior and motion except for one...

The Go Light. It's the Brake Light's tawdry sister (Does she... Go? I bet she does, I bet she does, wink wink nudge nudge say no more) and this light would indicate when the gas pedal was being pressed.

The Go Light would be green, and on the front and back of the vehicle, (as the brake lights should be) and would be handy in all sorts of situations. Often, when I need to make a small decrease in my speed, I don't press the brake, I just let off the gas.

The driver behind me doesn't know this, and if they're not paying attention - and with no brake lights to catch his eye - he might bump me, because let's face it, only rare drivers allow enough space between themselves and the car in front of them.

On those occasions when you have to make a left turn just as the stoplight is changing to red, it would be nice to know if the oncoming traffic were speeding up to beat the light or coasting to a stop.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Rock Garden For Me!

Mowing the grass is a pain in the ass, as has been well demonstrated of late.

I work in a large complex of buildings with elaborate landscaping throughout. There's a team of guys who does nothing else but tend this landscaping, which has to be tiresome for them.

Growing up, one of my chores was to cut the grass, trim the edges, rake, and etc. I always swore that when I had my own house, I'd get rock landscaping, astroturf, or just pour concrete and paint it green.

Sure, I'd miss that 'fresh cut grass' smell, but that's what neighbors are for. I'll bet you can buy that scent in a can, too. I could spritz the rock garden with it.

The main problem with grass is, you have to cut it at least once a week, and my folks have been known to cut the grass twice a week.

What a huge pain! Having the right tools reduces the annoyance, since you can get mulching blades for the mower that minimize your need to rake or bag (which we never had). But still, who wants to waste time in this way? Dooce agrees with me, so I must be right!

(If you have a lovely and elaborate garden, and gardening is a hobby you enjoy, great. I'm talking about the constant need for those of us non green thumbs to cut the grass so the yard doesn't look like hell.)

I live in an apartment, so I am spared the chores of yardwork, Saints be Praised.

But as usual with my brain, it mutters "There's gotta be a better way..." as I walk past the guys toiling in the hot sun to mow, rake, edge and trim.

Yeah, there are robot lawnmowers, but you need to be in the yard to watch them, make sure they don't kill a dog or maim a child.

How about attacking the problem more directly? Dwarf Wheat is a great example of how the size/growth pattern of a plant was modified to great result.

Why not engineer a type of grass that grows only to three or four inches tall, and stops there? Like the hairs on your arm, they would grow to X length and then stop.

This would save billions of tons of lawn waste being added to landfills every year, and think of all the lawn-mower related accidents that would be saved.

Most lawn mowers run on gasoline, so there would be a lot less pollution from that source.

A lot of landscaping people would lose their jobs, or have their duties minimized to trimming bushes and trees. But do they really enjoy mowing, anyway?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

No Sir, I Don't Like it.

I was never into sports as a kid. My family wasn't into sports, either - which is probably why I don't go to games, or watch them on TV. Sometimes I'll catch part of the Superbowl, but that's more for the commercials than the game.

I like watching the Summer Olympics though. When it's not showing footage of swimming. And when aren't they? Just can't get into watching swimming. Can't connect with it. But I digress.

I think my main complaint with sports is how chaotic all the player trades are. How am I supposed to develop a life-long love for The Lakers when in five years, half the team is made up of different members than when I started? Coaches and managers change, teams change to whole different cities, new teams appear out of nowhere.

Imagine if the same thing happened on TV. CSI Miami abruptly moves to Moscow during season three. During the first season, Mandy Pantinkin plays Rube on Dead Like Me. During season two, it's suddenly Alan Arkin as Rube. Don't get me wrong, Alan kicks ass, but he's not Mandy.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

It's All Input

I was daydreaming while walking during my lunch break. I walked past a secretive-looking van, and entertained myself with conjecture...

The door of the van flew open, and a guy yanked me inside. Without a word, he shot me point blank in the head. I looked down at my body, blood covering its face, tongue lolling black-comically.

I said to the man: "What the hell did you do that for?"
"I need you in ghostform. Come on, we don't have much time."

It seems I had been recruited for a supernatural task-force...

Yeah, my imagination runs away with me. The problem is, sometimes I can't tell if the ideas are something I've read, seen on tv, or otherwise liberated from its true source.

My brain doesn't know the difference, it just wants to be entertained.

Monday, July 11, 2005

I Wish I Were Jack...

I have a lot of free time at work, most weeks. I'm employed in the position I'm in largely due to a loophole in upper-management understanding. They have no idea what it is I really do.

Yeah, that's not just a season-theme on Drew Carrey anymore.

I'm very familiar with our product - it's certain that I know this product better than anyone else on the planet (weird, that) and can answer most questions off the top of my head, whereas most folks would have to work through the product for hours to glean the needed information. I do have a function, it's just not needed every day. Maybe four hours a week, not forty.

But as I said, most of the time I'm free to do whatever I please, which is one reason I have like nine blogs.

The idea that I should be doing something useful with this time gnaws at me. I could be learning a foreign language, a programming language, some marketable skill, or at least writing.

I have done a lot of writing, I've written about 100,000 words worth of a novel that will never see the light of day but was good practice for future work that might actually sell.

I feel as though there's a parable somewhere in my situation:

In the year 1203AD, the Emperor of Japan sent four scholars to a newly discovered island. These scholars are well paid, and instructed to divide the island between them and to make a detailed study of everything there for one year.

When the scholars arrive, they discover that the island is much smaller than it was originally charted - the cartographer made a mistake. The island is only about 20 feet in diameter, and has a total of four palm trees near its middle.

There are no rock outcroppings or interesting elements. A tiny bit of sand and four trees.

Bob (one of the scholars) wants to return to the Imperial Palace immediately and inform the Emperor of the mistake.

Jack wants to study the island thoroughly for a week, and then return a full report.

Tom suggests that they should kick back and relax, enjoy the year of relaxing in the shade. Maybe work through some old notes and write a few articles for Archeology Today. Write some haiku. Study a few reference scrolls. Meditate.

Larry wonders if there is a test, trap or subterfuge at work. Perhaps their honesty is being questioned, or there is treasure on the island, and if they do not find and report it, they will have proven themselves lazy - or worse, thieves! It would be foolish to think the Emperor sent them by mistake. They should do their best to study the tiny island for the prescribed year.

So in this proverb, it seems that I'm Tom. I'm the weak-willed opportunist. But the Emperor has lots of gold in those coffers, and the year will be over in September...

In a few years, when I have kids, a mortgage, bills up to here, and two full time jobs, I can look back at this job as a brief paid vacation in a thirty to forty year endurance test of constant working.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

I need to try harder

I try to be good. I go to the gym, I walk daily, I try to watch what I eat. But it's hard.

Snacking is really appealing. Sometimes it's a symptom of boredom, or programming (like associating movies and popcorn) or a social behavior (just like smoking or drinking can be).

In the end, it's my own fault and I have no one else to blame. I need to be more disciplined.

This discipline thing is still a new piece of software, however - on a biological time scale. It is not in the Human hardware to say no to a tasty meal.

And everything that's terrible for us is what we crave most, because an ingredients like fats are very nourishing, and rare for a species that spent most of its evolution eating fruits and scavenging the rare carcass. High octane fuel sources like fats and carbs are very desirable by the body.

The body doesn't know I can hook it up with Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough every day for thirty years. It follows its standard procedure and stores those 500 fat calories for future use - there's no telling when I'll eat again. (news flash to my spare tire - probably in two hours, no worries).

So I have to be smart enough and willful enough to choose my diet carefully - and 'diet' is not something you do for a month - diet is what you eat every day.

But we're not hard wired for discipline - it's new software, and it has a lot of bugs in it. I need a
patch to update my software, and I'm the only one who can do it, one step at a time.

Though it would be interesting to be able to tell the body not to store anything. I mean, I take a multivitamin every day, and consume more than enough calories to sustain myself. But surely that would have bad consequences of some sort - especially if you had to go a few days without eating or drinking.

Another option to circumvent this storage (if I should find myself with a deficit of discipline) would be to take a freaky, surgical approach. Right now our throat ties directly into the digestive system.

What if a gastric bypass of sorts could be installed - it would lead from the esophagus to the very end of the digestive tract - for politeness purposes, let's just say "near the exit". Perhaps a tissue sample of the esophagus could be taken, and a long esophagus duplicate could be grown in the lab.

Once surgically implanted in your body, you could switch between these two tubes at will. Perhaps through practiced muscle control, or perhaps through an implanted device.

So you'd eat a sensible breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and allow them to be digested normally. But all of your snacking could bypass the digestive system altogether. And it would smell a lot better on the way out...

Friday, July 08, 2005

Neat Little Web Toy

I came across a really cool site today, that allows you to make a jigsaw-like puzzle out of any picture.

You can use your mouse to move the pieces around - two matching pieces will merge together.

Here is a puzzle made from a picture taken on one of our recent trips to Portland.

Pretty nifty!

You can make your own puzzle here.

Blog Potion Number 9.5

I tell myself that this blog is just a journal for personal use, and it happens to be online, and sometimes people happen to comment.

But really, it's all about the comments. It's odd how some days you can get many comments, and other days none. You say to yourself - I was extra funny today, what's the problem?

Or you have an off day and write what you think is a lackluster post, and you get nine comments. You try to analyze the topic, the tone - what was it you did right that day? Or were people just in a chatty mood? Day of the week? The weather? Nothing good on TV?

Was the post too long? Too short? Should I create a 'reasons I the reader did not comment' poll? Would non-commenting types really bother to take a poll?

I'm not alone. Many bloggers enjoy feedback. Perhaps I could start a paid subscription service - for X amount every month, I will read your blog daily and post a goodly comment. Hmmn. A while back, I jokingly considered starting a blog printing/binding service, so people could have snazzy hard copies of their blogs. I think many folks would enjoy that - Litany mentioned converting hers to book form the other day, and reminded me. Mebbe it could be one business with multiple services.

Looking at the StatCounter info, I see that my months ago mention of the keywords "showering naked gym" gets hits every day, though (thankfully?) these folks are not commenting. If I want more hits, I suppose I need to talk about getting all soapy, sudsy and wet and scrubbing myself at the gym, surrounded by naked men and their hairy backsides. (that should get me some hits, hoo yeah) Hmn, no thanks.

Perhaps I need to compose a formula which would dictate the use of popular subjects then in the news, establish the optimum post frequency - twice a day would be good, best post length, eye-friendly quantity of line breaks/new paragraphs, links to always high quality web sites, a topical variety of subject matter - say three separate but somehow related subjects, each of which would appeal to different people and encourage different commenter. And pictures - cool pics that tie in and emphasize my exquisitely lucid points and objectives.

What am I trying to run here, FHM?

Screw it, I'll just keep rambling.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Blame the Media! Brilliant!

The ever angry and always funny Maddox has a few choice words about the blogging community. I can agree with many of his points, but he never gets around to complaining about the truly annoying blogs.

Paulius offered some good insight on blogging recently as well.

In researching my Snippets blog, I can spend a lot of time clicking 'Next Blog' to little result. Most blogs seem to be auto-populated product-selling ad pages, which I have no time for. If I want to research a product, I'll search with Froogle.

The media is the largest culprit in making blogging a tiresome subject. It's not as if posting one's thoughts and opinions to the web were new ideas or activities.

A lot of blog content is silly people rambling about their silly lives (like this blog), and loving every minute of attention that they get in the comments.

It's a good thing to keep a journal, be it paper or virtual. If only for our own perspective, looking back and looking forward. It's all about not taking yourself too seriously. And if someone else gets a chuckle out of it, that's cool too.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


All right, all of you scions of the British Empire - this is notice!

In reading your fun and interesting blogs, I've begun to absorb your word use.

I found myself thinking "Get a load of this bloke." yesterday while driving home, when a lorry driver cut me off. What?!

Next thing you know, I'll be saying "What's all this, then?" and "Bloody Hell!" and "Could you loan us a fiver till Tuesday?"

It's got to stop!
So I won't be able to read your blogs any longer.

Nuff said, yeah?
Right then. Off you go.

A Noble Endeavor, What?

I want to write an epic novel where the main character dies in the middle of Chapter 2, and the next five hundred pages of the book are blank.

Deep Thoughts, Wow Golly

During the day at work, I take a walk while on each break. I have a desk job, and I get stiff and achy.

Southern California is really the place to be for consistent, pleasant weather. I can walk in June or January, and the weather's fine no matter what. This is not the case in Ohio, which is one reason I'm glad I no longer live there.

It's really refreshing to get out of the office, get some fresh air, enjoy the birdly chirping, the valets watching soap operas on Telemundo, and corporate snobs chilling on the patio of PF Chang's. I'm lucky enough to work in a pretty area, and there are lots of trees and flowers and shrubs.

I was walking the other day, happily kicking a pine cone.
Like you do.

You know how when you're on a laid-back walk, and you encounter a pebble or other rolling item, you kick it, and catch up to it, and kick it, and catch up to it.

Eventually, the rolly thing bounces out of bounds somewhere inconvenient. You could go chase it down, and return the rolly thing to the sidewalk, and continue kicking merrily.

But you rarely do. It's too much work.
Or another pedestrian comes along, and you feel silly, so you stop.

So many of the things I want to do, attempt and/or don't manage to finish are like that. I don't want people watching me do it, or it's too much work.

Why am I depriving myself of the joys of kicking, singing, dancing, and living?

One day I'll be dead, and so many pine cones will have gone unkicked. I'll really feel silly then.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

It's Contagious!

I contracted a virulent strain of 'The 3's Meme' from Laziest Girl, darn it. I'll have to start wearing gloves and protective goggles as I mouse through her blog...

Three Nicknames
- Babydu
- Turkeybutt
- PillowMan

Three Things I Like About Myself
- I'm open minded
- I have no interest in fads/trends/fashion
- I have hazel eyes

Three Things That Scare Me
- Drowning
- Blindness
- Lonliness

Three Everyday Essentials
- Altoids
- Lots and Lots of Water
- Internet Access

Three Things I'm Wearing Right Now
- Sketchers sneakers
- Jeans
- Those new Hanes underwear- super comfy waistband, yow!

Three Fave Bands Growing Up
- Nine Inch Nails
- Sinead O'Connor
- Depeche Mode

2 Truths and a Lie
- I've lived at the Grand Canyon
- I own a pebble from the Moon
- I'm a published author

Three Things I Can't Do Without
- Discovery Channel
- Early morning alone time
- My iPod

Three Things I Can Certainly Live Without
- Thoughtless people
- Noise
- Smog

Three Places I Want to Go On Vacation
- Kate Winslet's Lap
- Italy
- The UK

Three Things I Want to Do Before I Die
- Have kids
- Walk on the Moon
- Visit the North and South Poles

Monday, July 04, 2005

Wheelin And Dealin?

While at the gym the other morning (yeah, I talk about the gym a lot - I don't get out much, I go to work, the gym, and an occasional bookstore - at least I won't miss the wild days of my youth, once I'm a parent - I'm a thoroughbred homebody).

Ahem. While at the gym the other morning, I was on a machine near the wall of windows that faces the parking lot. So I was looking out the window, watching people park badly, and cringing.

There's a Bally's guy who does cleaning, and he was out sweeping up the litter from the parking lot. He parks his car in the member parking every day, which is slightly irksome, since as anyone who's parked at a gym knows, parking is at a premium. But whatever.

He's a chatty sort, so I don't think anything of it when a woman comes out of the gym after her workout and starts talking to him.

Then they go over to his car, an he opens the trunk. Then he carefully dons latex gloves, and opens a small cooler - the size you might keep a kidney in during donor transport.

He pulls out of the cooler a white vial - or more likely a bottle of pills. He's not being surreptitious in the slightest. It's as if he's selling her a Beanie Baby - and not even a rare one.

He appears to take a long sniff of the closed bottle, and they keep chatting for a few minutes. She's got some money in her hand, and he holds his goods, she holds her money, and they chat for a good five minutes. Chatting, or bartering? She sniffs the bottle, he sniffs the bottle, and finally she pays and departs with the bottle.

So what the hell is this guy selling? Even if it's just vitamins, what was with all the sniffing? Does he market custom perfumes? What's with the latex gloves? If they are perfumes, perhaps he just doesn't want to smell like lilac all day.

Were they prescription drugs from Mexico? Probably vitamins, since they were so laid back about the whole thing. But I doubt that Bally's employees are authorized to peddle nutritional supplements to members on the retail property.

Perhaps he wore the gloves because his hands were a bit grimy from cleaning the parking lot? Possibly.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

I Did It! I Did It!

It's pretty typical for me to come up with a 'clever' idea for a gizmo or gadget.

I think about how it would work, and how it might be built, and that's usually as far as it goes - I entertain myself with the concepts.

For once, I actually built something. It's an ice-cooled air conditioner, built of rubber and copper tubing, pvc pipe, an aquarium, and a water pump.

We don't have air conditioning in our apartment complex, and the windows are the wrong type for a window model. The free rolling portable models are too expensive.

My sweet wife is very patient with my ideas, but if I started building a pile of gadget components, she might voice some concern. Since I did not want to concern her, I bought the supplies slowly, over a month. I spread my purchases across several pay checks. Copper tubing first, then the pump arrived - ordered online and shipped to my work, aquarium, tubing and pvc last. She never suspected, aha hahaa haa haa!

When assembly was complete, I took the aquarium into the kitchen, cleared the area, filled the tank with water, and very slowly and carefully plugged the pump into the wall.

Carefully now...
Goggles on, fire extinguisher at the ready...


It whirred peacefully.

I waited a good minute, sure that it was waiting to spring a catastrophic system failure on me, as soon as I relaxed.

It whirred peacefully.

I'd expected eight different leaking connections and a grease fire. (And it doesn't even use grease) It works! Exactly as I designed it. Granted, it's an extremely simple design, but I was still very pleased.

It was a silly little project, but it was fun - and should come in handy.

I has hoping to surprise Cindy with a full demonstration on a hot night, but it's not really hot enough. Darned fickle summer weather, with its unseasonable chill.

Friday, July 01, 2005

My expectations are the problem

I get irritated by little things. Almost any little thing, really. I very rarely get angry, but I'm always ready to be annoyed, furrows and frowns at the ready.

People really don't like to be frowned at, and will change their behavior but quick, let me tell you.

If only!

Say I'm driving down a residential street, and there are cars parked on both sides of the street. As I try to drive down this street, three different people abruptly back out of their driveways directly in front of me, and then take their sweet time getting out of the way.

That's annoying - my internal impatience yells "Hey, I'm driving here!". But of course, a lot of people need to go to work at the same time, so it's likely that other drivers will delay me. It's not the drivers fault that parked cars are blocking their view of the street. Did I not expect to encounter other drivers on the road? Did I expect to have the world to myself?

If so, I should move far out into the desert and build a hut.

The expectation of certain results can be applied to almost everything that gets on my nerves. Things happen. The unforeseen will delay or derail my progress. Should I expect delays?

That's a pessimistic viewpoint, and I'm an optimist. So instead of expecting delays, I should try to go with the flow, and not have expectations.

Very Tao of me, yeah.
I need to focus on the whole 'go with the flow' thing.

Active Vision

Ok - no job interview after all. I'm relieved and disappointed.

The HR woman got back to me about exactly what their need for "scripting" was.

Here's a quote: "They think that you might want to practice with something like Unreal script or NWN scripting."

Get this - this just boggles my widdle mAhnd - they suggest that I practice scripting, and then set up the interview when I'm ready.

What the huh?? I mean, that's amazing and all, but surely there are hundreds of qualified people, at least a third of which would kill or maim their own mother to work for Activision.

I'd be stupid not to put forth some effort and learn the skill and go for the interview. They're bending over backwards to be helpful.

There's something very odd about this whole situation.

Magnificent New Blogs!

I've been thinking about separating my blog into subjects for a while now, and I finally got around to it.

Now there are many unnecessary categories!!
Seven Blogs! Seven times the Fun!

Check out the links to the right.
Isn't it just so exciting?