Saturday, May 24, 2003

Just a quick note to say "Good morning!" and to say that I'm going to be visiting with family today, but I'll be back later. Yesterday's activities were subdued but fun. We rented Drumline, which is pretty cool if you're into drums and marching bands in general and such, or incredible displays of rhythm and precision. It was kinda cool. I'll fill you all in later, but I've got a computer to fix and family to visit.

Be patient. I've been told that the new domain will be up on Monday (Tuesday, at the latest), and unfortunately my birthday tends to fall near Memorial Day weekend, so I'm not going to piss them off as my first act.

I'll talk to you all later.

Friday, May 23, 2003

Congratulate me, today's the day, and I am now exactly 13,514 days old. 37 years, in case you were wondering. For those who are wondering about my math (37 x 365 = 13,505, after all), I can only remind you of the 9 leap years that have happened since that day during Lyndon Johnson's Administration.

An interesting exposure was released last night of the Earth as seen from Mars. The picture was taken by the Mars Global Surveyor, and shows a nice image of our home planet.

It looks like the rumors are flying that Uday Hussein, Saddam's eldest son, may be considering surrender to Coalition forces. He's scared of what might happen if the Iraqi citizens find him first, and with good reason, but the Coalition troops are basically saying, "You want to surrender? Whatever..."

We've got 25 of the top 55, and we're going to find him (or what's left of his body) on our own, sooner or later. So about the only thing we have to offer in exchange for his peaceful surrender is the choice of which arm the needle goes in. He's got a tribunal waiting for him, and the indictment is already pending with multiple "Crimes Against Humanity" charges. Of course, he is also the one who was the head of the Iraqi Olympic Committee, who was accused of torturing and killing Iraqi athletes who didn't win.

This news comes alongside news of a discovery of a truck carrying 2,000 40-pound bars of gold, worth an estimated $500 million. Let's make it clearer. That's 40 TONS of gold. In the back of a truck. Combine that with the estimated $1 billion dollars in cash found earlier, and I have to wonder why we haven't heard all the complaints about how the sanctions were killing children, therefore the United States must be evil because it supported those sanctions (even though france, Russia, and other nations might not have been so scrupulous). There was a warehouse found stuffed with sufficient medical supplies to stock all fifty of the hospitals in Baghdad for a year! There were warehouses full of food found in Basra, where the locals had no idea what was in them.

So will one of the "Not In My Name" crowd please explain why we were wrong to have gone in? if you can? Explain how life would have been better with the children's prisons, the State-sanctioned torture and rape, murders of whole families, and the leaders skimming off billions of dollars while the people starve to death... If you can?

Finally, news of a personal nature. I have been told that my loving wife is trying to make arrangements with one of the web hosting companies to arrange for the web domain, so that I can get away from BlogSpot, and onto my own domain on a real server. Chances are good that it will happen today, but it make take until the first of the month to get the site up and running. I'll post here with links just as soon as I get confirmation that the page is running the way I want it. Patience is a virtue, but it's tough to be patient sometimes, especially when it's something as cool as having my own domain.

I told you it was coming...

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Good morning! I'm sitting here watching the press conference about the bomb blast that occurred yesterday at Yale's Law School in New Haven, Connecticut. While investigations were going on, and authorities have admitted that it was a deliberately planted explosive device (rather than an accidental explosion resulting from, say, a gas leak), no one was hurt and there are no indications of any terrorist involvement. While that could (conceivably) change, I think a terrorist cell operating at Yale university would have been noticed by enough people to have presented their observations. Four different police forces (FBI, ATF, Connecticut State Police, and New Haven PD) plus the dozens of reporters would have found someone to tell their tale if there was a tale to tell. So I'm comfortable with the probability level that it wasn't Al Qaeda.

In other news, SecState Colin Powell is praising the french for supporting the resolution to lift the Iraqi sanctions. I know that some language tweaking had to happen, but I haven't read the text of the UNSC resolution to know what changes france, Russia, and Germany demanded to vote 'Yes' to this lifting of sanctions. We shall see how things go, but it is a promising start. I still won't buy anything from france, and they're definitely still on "Double Secret Probation", but they're allowed to cast the vote.

I'm downloading the old School House Rock songs to give to my nieces (who should be starting school this fall), and I think they would be pretty helpful. I remember the songs as being eminently hummable, and factually helpful, so I figure it couldn't hurt, right? It may even help them. I just don't remember there being quite this many...

For those in the New York City area, this week is Fleet Week, so remember the rules: If they're in uniform (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard), you buy the beers. Good luck on the "12-ounce curl" competitions, guys, and be careful out there.

Last chance to submit your ideas for the looks of the new website. And for that Loyal Reader who had sent in the graphics for the new logo (a few different options), I hope he would send them in to me again, because I can't find them anywhere. I've looked all over both hard drives with no luck, but I do not remember deleting them. So if he still has them, I'm hoping that he will send them along again.

Hope you folks have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Good morning! In surprising news, it looks as though the Saudis have foiled their own version of 9/11 by preventing three armed men "who were acting suspiciously" from boarding a plane.

I'm presuming that the suspicions did not arise from the fact THAT THEY WERE FREAKIN' ARMED!! Maybe it's a standard of practice over there for people to fly around with guns - loaded guns - in their possession, rather than locked up in the baggage compartment, I don't know. Then again, given that the Saudis like to blame foreigners for these acts and that these men were Moroccans, and that they do not shirk at a little torture "physical encouragement to induce confessions" (their human rights records rivals that of several members of the UN Human Rights Commission), I'm just a little leery.

In personal news, my birthday is approaching quickly, and the Great Domain Shift will follow soon thereafter. Big news, at least for me, and some other stuff (I know that I'm supposed to be getting a new pair of jeans from the eldest daughter - yippee! - and I've already gotten a card with $10 from the in-laws). I've also finished up most of my archiving. I've got one more large directory that I'm trying to figure out, comprised of 12 different files, all of which are just a little too large to fit on a 700MB (well, technically it's 703.1MB, but who's counting?) CD-R/W disc. It's going to be an interesting challenge, since the 12 files would fit easily onto 13 discs, on a strictly space-measuring definition, but none will fit onto a single disc. That's why I asked for a CD backup software (thanks, David! I haven't given it a try yet, but that's scheduled for later this evening), because they're going to have to span between discs, and I didn't have 500-600 of those little 1.44MB floppies sitting around.

I've been busting my ass trying to get my computer archived, above and beyond the operating system (which I already have archived), and the main programs and freeware (which I can go get again). I have many, many .pdf files (thanks, again, David!), hundreds of sound files (I like to personalize the sounds on my computer), and many dozens of intriguing documents and pictures I have found amusing or interesting enough to hang onto. Once I get my own web space, I'll start sharing some of them with you, since BlogSpot doesn't allow file storage on its free service.

Plus some stuff going on in real life that could prove most helpful that I cannot go into, for several reasons. Just be happy because there is a great chance that things are finally starting to look up. We may actually climb up enough to reach bottom. Have a great day.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Good morning, one and all. I'd like to welcome you to this week's episode of "This-or-That Tuesday", where we are all challenged to another potpourri edition, so let's get started, shall we?

1. Large or small family? I had two brothers and two sisters, plus two other older half-siblings, so I came from a large family. I think that is why I would prefer a small one.
2. Potato chips or pretzels? Potato Chips. With dip.
3. House or apartment? House. I like having a pet and most apartments don't allow them.
4. Zebras or giraffes? Giraffes. I'm still fascinated by watching them take a drink.
5. Candles or potpourri? Candles, but none of those smelly ones. If I want incense, I'll burn incense.
6. Flowers or trees? Flowers can give shade, so I'd prefer trees. You also can't hang a swing from a flower bush.
7. Right or left-handed? I'm right-handed, along with more than 90% of the population, so no big surprise there.
8. Model trains or dolls/stuffed animals? I'm not sure I'd like all those small parts, so stuffed animals (no dolls). The fact that the wife likes 'em too is just a bonus.
9. Comedy or drama? Both, but if I had to choose, I prefer to laugh.
10. Thought-provoking question of the week: The city of Boston has recently banned smoking in all restaurants and bars. Would you want to see such a law passed in your city/town/country, or not? The People's Republic of California has already banned smoking in restaurants and many public venues, so it's already too late for me, but I voted against it when it was on the ballot. I don't smoke anymore, but that doesn't mean that people who smoke should be treated like second-class citizens. What happens when they say that anyone who drinks a dairy beverage (to keep from offending Vegans and animal right's activists) must do it outside?

Well, we are getting closer to my birthday, and I'm biting nails and beating my head against my monitor, trying to arrange this switch-over to my own domain (my wife assured me just last night that it was going to happen, but she hasn't given me any details as to where or how, and since it's going to have to go through me, I'm a little confused, but she has managed to surprise me before. Her nephew is also a computer tech (and when we get to discussing computer stuff, most eyes tend to glaze over), not to mention her eldest daughter's husband is also a major computer enthusiast, so I guess she does have options. We shall see.

Have a great day!

Monday, May 19, 2003

Just a quick note to help spread the word.

Bill Whittle, who writes like I wish I could, spinning straw into gold, and plucking pearls of wisdom out of the mud of human history, only to craft a masterpiece of rhetoric, has done it again.

His latest essay, "Magic", is an example of, well... precisely that. Go. Now. Read it. And don't forget his name, because his book becomes available later this year, and it will be worth every penny. Bill's essays should be required reading for every citizen.
Well, it looks as though we might have ironed out our plans for the next six weeks. I have my hearing at the VA offices in Los Angeles (teleconferencing with the Board which will be in Washington, D.C., no less), scheduled for next month, and my advocate (who deserves a major raise for getting all this done) has said, "I've never been one for accepting conspiracy theories of how 'the VA is out to get' someone, but after seeing what has happened in your case, I'm certainly willing to stipulate the possibility."

We have the facts on our side, we have reams of written evidence, we have phone logs, we have at least three Congressional inquiries (including the one just to locate my freaking file!) on file, and the attempt at Governmental Policy 101 ("Cover Your Ass") with what was termed "a fresh look" (by the same people, start to finish - even though the original Occupational Evaluator had gone into business for herself, they sent me to her new offices) turned out to be a huge black eye, because I had scored so far out on the right-hand edge of the bell curve (nothing worse than the 95th percentile) that any reasonable person would see the potential, and begin to wonder why the only things they could come up with was "Inventory Clerk" or "Telemarketer".

I'm not going to go down the whole list of self-serving ways that I would qualify, because you either already know it, or you wouldn't believe it (for one reason or another), and it's not important here, but the only thing I won't get to do is punch that lousy son-of-a-bitch in the nose, although I will take great pleasure in putting a big black spot on his personnel record.

Now, in other news, Press Secretary Ari "Mr. Congeniality" Fleischer has finally decided to step down. He had said for many months that he was planning on doing so as soon as things calmed down a bit (but before the re-election rush), and considering that he has stuck it out through the 9/11 tragedy, two wars, and the travails of being a newlywed, I'd say he's done pretty well despite the 24-hour news cycle and the Bush Administration's habit of keeping a tight lid on information. I wish him well in his future endeavors.

Lots of changes coming in the next several weeks for my real life, and things are going to be happening at a fast and furious clip. Buckle your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride!

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Still working at getting things down, and I'm making progress. I've discovered, however, that when you're downloading large files, it pays not to overtax your operating systems. My computer has developed a nasty habit of locking up when I ask it to do too much, or for too long, and it's approaching the freeze-up point when I ask it to keep major programs all active at once. I'm postponing checking these files for viruses (virii?) until they're completely downloaded, and sometimes just scrolling with my mouse is enough to cause a conflict, and - boom! - the computer is frozen, requiring a hard reboot, and everything has to be rebuilt, and a lot of luck and a little voo-doo dance may be needed to re-establish the same connection. And if I can't manage to re-connect, I have to start the whole thing all over again, usually from scratch. I'd welcome any suggestions. (I already have Go-Zilla, but this is WinMX.)

I'm also looking for a good CD-R/W freeware backup program. If anyone wants to send me a pointer, please feel free.
Good morning, folks, and welcome! Just a very brief entry for now. I will be back later, but right now Real Life calls me. Insistently. So check out the folks in the blogroll, and check back later today. Thanks for your patience and understanding.