oh my god! dick cheney is verbally attacking people who've changed the policies he's worked decades to put in place. somehow that doesn't provoke the desired reaction in me. cheney pissed off? heh. we must be doing something right then. sheehs. go hunt some ducks, dick.
love and science
i have always like the xkcd guy. this one
is about love and science. it's pretty ouch. did you know you can mouse over the comics and a tool tip will pop up with a bonus punchline? that one is: "You don't use science to show that you're right, you use science to become right." it's a wonderful point. can't shake the feeling that there's a way to rephrase it to be a better sound bite. ideas?
do you know the rules for foreclosures? i don't. i've never been through one. i've been hearing some very strange things. some are surely urban legends. but like the good successful meme there's a ring of truth to them. and the stories make good blog material. so here we go. many home loans are under water. ie the current market value of the house is less than the outstanding loan amount. this is kinda bad. the bank doesn't want to foreclose on the property. they don't want the loss on their books. they'd rather hold out for a stronger real estate market. they're hoping to lose less money that way. so they don't foreclose. and apparently foreclosure is their only option. the bank can't garnish wages or seize bank accounts. weird huh? now. the owner wants to get rid of the property. but they can't sell it unless the bank gets paid. but they can't find a buyer willing to pay that much. and they can't cover the difference themselves. which sounds bad. until you realize they get to live in their home without making any payments. which is kinda cool. well, almost no payments. they must keep paying their property taxes. cause the government can garnish wages and seize other assets to get its money. which leads to the problem. suppose the "owner" has fallen on such hard times they can't even afford to pay the taxes. ouch. in some places in the country, they can't legally abandon the property. and they can't force the bank to foreclose. everyone's stuck. neat huh?
the latest sunspot cycle is a little bit late. but it's at least started. yay. a few hundred years ago the sun decided to skip a bunch of sunspot cycles. and the world got cold. i don't like the cold. so i accept this news with a profound sense of relief. i really really don't want to see another little ice age. or year without a summer. that'd suck. with a capital suckity suck suck.
i make the menu. the beautiful and talented alisa does the cooking. i'm pretty sure this is not a fair deal. but she seems happy with it. there are a few exceptions. for example, i char animal flesh on the grill. for the past few months i've been doing this by artificial light. cause the sun goes down early in the winter. but one day it was still light out when i started. yay! winter's ending. spring is coming. hoo-fucking-ray.
the other days the boys were being boys. they were doing all the boy things that boys do that drive their mothers nuts. the beautiful and talented alisa was coping. barely. during one lull she lamented about these forces of chaos. and how she needed less chaos on her life. a lot less. i suggested a law pass filter.
the line goes like this: there are more people alive today than have every lived and died in the history of the world. not sure if it's quite true. but it brings up an interesting thought. where are we going to bury all the corpses? ha! have i found a solution for you. the screw coffin
is gonna make someone so rich. i'm sad it isn't going to be me. sigh. order yours today.
"contrarian manifesto" is a wonderful sound bite. it also happens to be a position on government with which i completely agreed. link
kudos to the author.
so the other day the schedule flopped around so i did the cooking. twice cooked potatoes were on the menu. i did my best. they weren't very good. i sorta missed a step. the first step. it was kinda hidden in the recipe book. 6 potatoes as per #439. course i read that as 6 potatoes. recipe #439 is for standard baked potatoes. the next steps are to cut the potatoes into boats and scoop out the pulp. okay so there i am with a raw potato wondering how the heck they just scoop out the pulp. cause it wasn't anything like pulp. but that gave me an opportunity to play with knives. so i managed. anywho. like i said. they weren't very good. but we ate them. there's a hypothesis that i do this sort of thing on purpose so i don't have to do any of the cooking. usually it works like a charm. but sometimes i have to choke down some crap along with everyone else.
pluto was in the news again. hubble (i think) took some pretty pictures of it and it's moon charon dancing in the heavens. kinda pretty. kinda sad too. if you think about it. i mean they are like lovers forever constrained to just dancing. a plutonic relationship, if you will. they will never touch. never meet. to never merge in some sort of happy cosmic climax. a union that would be greater than the sum of the parts. perchance to achieve the recognition afforded to eight others in the solar system. but alas. it is not to be. they are destined to forever be victims of pared planethood.
this year's super bowl was pretty good. i like the fact that both teams went for it on fourth down. even when it failed it worked. someone's been studying the mathematics of football. it's about freakin time. we watched the game in 42 minutes. which i'm sure means something. i love my replaytv. we then watched the commercials. lame. i remember laughing at a few of them. but i can't remember what they were. so obviously, they failed.
so i downloaded itunes for windows. and copied my 7 gig collection to my pc drive. it sounded like crap. i have nice speakers under the desk. they should sound great. but they weren't playing. at all. the sound was coming out of the built in piece of shit speaker. no wonder. sound works fine on the mac side. weird. googled. seems i'm not the only one with the problem. the most common suggestion was to install the latest sound drivers. the second most popular was to roll back to the drivers on the leopard or snow leopard disk. wee. i didn't feel like doing either of those. one person said the speaker jack in the back was a piece of crap. and he taped the thing sideways just enough that windows could detect it. sigh. so i got the led flashlight and crawled under the desk. the cable was half unplugged. i pushed it in all the way. and voila! sound. woo hooty! sure glad i didn't play driver shuffle.
shortly after we bought our house, we replaced the existing lights with track lights on a fancy dancy touch dimmer switch. there they sat out of mind for 16 years. mostly. we changed a few bulbs. and sometimes we talked about whether we should use 40 watt bulbs or 60. really kinda wanted 50. especially now that i'm getting older and need more light to make out the tiny little letters that seem to have become fashionable. then one day a light burned out in the kitchen. it was a $5 light bulb. good grief. upon examination i can only conclude that the extra $4.35 comes from the metal cone that's inside the bulb. ostensibly to direct more of the light down out of the recessed can. it was dark again in the big room. and i thought about those track lights. they don't have reflectors. heck the inside of the lamp is black. so i got some tinfoil and made a cone. dang. it was a LOT brighter. but ugly. then the beautiful and talented alisa suggested painting the inside silver. i just happen to have some silver spray paint. so i tried it. much better. then i tried white primer. it worked even better. so i painted all of the lamps white on the inside. now we get 30% to 40% more light in the living room from the same wattage. go green.
i've been sticking to my diet pretty well. except for the 3000 calorie day. and the 2500 calorie next day. oops. apparently i've been a tad grumpy about it. but i'm real close to my target of 12 pounds since new years. the stupid thing is... according to bmi... after i drop that last half pound i'm still overweight. i'll have *another* 12 pounds to go to get to the normal healthy category. i think it's crap. yeah i wrestled at 163. but man. bmi doesn't take into account body proportions. the beautiful and talented alisa has the same length inseam i do. if i had her proportions i'd be 6'6" and coulda played in da nba. limbs are a wee bit skinnier than trunks. so on the bmi scale folks with lots of limbs are naturally below target. and folks like me with more trunk and less limb are naturally above. i'd be a healthy weight if i was 6'2". maybe i can find some 3" heels in my wife's closet. there go. done!
the beautiful and talented alisa squeezed me some fresh orange juice. it was delicious. it was especially delicious after getting up at the crack of dawn and trimming trees 'til night fell. though i exaggerate. about the trees. not the oj. it really was delicious. i love that woman so much. she was crafted by a divine hand especially for me.
astrology is bunk. there's no way you can predict my future based on when i was born. period. astrology is a trick of the human mind that i find fascinating. it "works" often enough that people are convinced there must be something mystical and/or "scientific" to it. part of the trick is that it doesn't work for everyone. if it works for you but not others that makes you feel special. like you've got something they don't got. it's superstition. but it's a good kind of superstition. my horoscope today is (paraphrased): look forward to something good but watch out for this minor annoyance. i didn't actually check my horoscope today. when blogging that whole concept of today gets a bit fuzzy. fortunately it doesn't matter. the details vary every day. but the gist is always the same. astrology is either designed to or has evolved to give people an emotionally positive boost. and that's a good thing. you will discover something interesting today. people will try to crush your dreams. politely ignore them.
b and i invented a card game called crazy aces. it's like crazy eights. except in the first round aces are wild. then kings, queens, jacks, etc. the round ends when one person plays their last card from their hand. they are the winner of that round. the loser is the one who has the most cards. the loser gets to make a new rule for the next round. if someone draws the last card from the draw pile and can't immediately go out then the round is a draw. and no one gets to make a new rule. it got kinda silly. even with simple rules. here are some we used: play a 2 and the next player draws 2 cards and loses their turn. 3's mean turn over the draw and discard piles and exchange their roles. 4's meant skip a turn. 5's meant cut the deck, draw two, and play. wild cards make you draw 4 and lose your turn. we didn't actually finish. but i figure it's got lots of potential. like 6's mean recite a poem before playing or draw 2 and don't play. 7's mean do 10 push-ups. course the strip version kinda gave me naughty dreams of collidj dorm life.
so when we were walking out of fry's with our brand new tv, the nice man asked if it was for the super bowl. i said no. it's actually for the olympics. he said a lot of people take home a brand new tv the day before the super bowl and return it the day after. i was appalled. at first i was appalled at such unethical unscrupulous behavior. of others. then i was briefly appalled that someone could think i was such a scumbag. which kinda gave me a giggle. finally my brain settled on the ultimate retort if i was going to do that, i would have gotten a much nicer tv. sheehs. unfortunately, that particular witticism arrived on the scene long after we had left the store. sigh.
speaking of work. i started a really cool project i can't tell you about. but it's really cool. you can trust me on this one 'cause i'm a technomancer. and making cool stuff is what i do.
so to test a product for work i need a tv in my house. the last tv i bought was 23 years years ago. it was s 35" tube. it's a nice tv. and it helped a collidj student establish credit. thanks lee! anywho, tv technology has changed somewhat. we bought a nice 40" samsung. it has the features we wanted: more screen real estate (15% more), low power 140 watts (was 275 watts), low latency game mode (kinda bogus), composite video input, hdmi input, cable input. it's a little wider, a little shorter, and a whole lot thinner. it was on sale at fry's for $1000. and came with a free blu-ray player. which we'll never use. anyone want to claim it before i give it to a stranger? now we just have to decide where to put the new tv. and what to do with the old tv.
i hate microsoft so much
microsoft released a thing called powershell. which is pretty cool. cause the dos cmd shell is a dinosaur. anywho, we use powershell at work to run scripts to build some parts of our products. which is pretty cool. except for one small thing. when you first install windows, powershell won't run any scripts. under normal circumstances i'd call that fucking brilliant. and call that sarcasm. in fact i did. then i discovered it gets worse. much worse. i hate microsoft so much. okay, so a little googling shows the magic incantation. launch powershell and type: Set-ExceptionPolicy Unrestricted. fails. launch powershell as administrator. success! sorta. the work scripts still won't run. exact same error. i hate microsoft so much. go watch the superbowl. this represents how much time i wasted before google answered my prayer. no really. go do something fun for 3 hours. back? good. it turns out there are two (or more) powershells: 32 bit and 64 bit. and this is the fucking brilliant part: they use different registry keys. so you have to pop up the windows menu. type in powershell. windows will give you a list of candidates. right click on each and every one of them. run each as administrator. Set-ExceptionallyStupidPolicy on all all of them. i hate microsoft so much.
i recently finished the night angel trilogy by brent weeks. it was good. it's your typical fantasy fare. orphan boy is secretly the most powerful creature in the universe. but there's a twist. kind of a major twist. he kills people for money. many interesting characters examine that whole good/bad thing. is a good person who does evil things a good person? or an evil person? is an evil person who does good things a good person? or an evil person? the characters behave reasonably. even if why isn't revealed until much much later in the books. it's not a walking book. unlike lord of the rings. every chapter you have to figure out where you are. and when. and pay attention. cause side plots are unfolding right under your nose. one thing i never liked about tolkien is the interesting wonderful things that happen don't get very much print. or even none at all. these books don't have that problem. i stayed up late gulping the first one. with amazing things happening every chapter the most amazing of all must be at the climax. right? obviously. except it overextends and collapses into a scooby doo, fifth element, star trek kind of ending. love conquers all. they wave their magical wands and the world goes from ultimate tension to complete peace and harmony. like an integer rolling over. 253, 254, 255, 0, 1 2... hrm. i'll have to count chapters and see if mr weeks has an 8 bit number fetish. anywho, it was a great read for me. i fully expect to have forgotten everything about it in a few years. unlike tolkien where i wouldn't be surprised by yet another insight ten years from now.
did you know that waterzooi is a classic stew from flanders? i didn't. i had to look it up. my sister in law lived in flanders for a bit. and she never heard of it. much less knew how to spell it. which is okay. cause the mirizza girl did. now she gets to compete in a statewide spelling bee. congrats and go girl go!
voluntary manslaughter 2
fortunately, it wasn't an option. thank gods. reference
the antivaxxer movement started long ago. but it really got going when one andrew wakefield published results linking autism and vaccinations. it turns out wakefield really is the kind of lying cheating scumbag worthy of the vitriol one normally finds associated with global warming researches. he's been found guilty of unethical behaviors like performing procedures on children he wasn't qualified to do. without the knowledge or consent of their parents. didn't disclose he was being paid by parents to find a link. and generated results that have not been duplicated. yet folks still believe in him. why? i believe the answer is chili. my son loved chili. then one day he ate chili and got horribly sick. human bodies are hard wired to make associations like this. to him chili is poison. eight years later he still can't abide even the smell of chili. it's really no wonder parents make the mis-association, my kid got vaccinated, then got a horrifying disease. we're hard wired that way. usually that trait serves humans very well. but sometimes it fails spectacularly. normally i wouldn't care if idiot parents made decisions that kill their kids. but the decisions of those idiots could very well kill other people's kids. skip the flu shots if you want. but give em the pricks.
the other night we had mirizza's for dinner. a while ago we had dinner guests. we made pizzas. except one guest didn't want a boring old pizza. so she got creative. and we named the dish after her. a mirizza is pizza dough in a smaller pizza pan. with a little olive oil. no sauce. toppings of choice. and huge quantities of cheese. they're pretty darn yummy. so darn yummy in fact i can easily imagine a chain of restaurants called mirizza's.
don't feed the bears
there's a bit of truth in what bauer said about feeding the poor. though he probably could have found a more tactful way of expressing the point. course if he had he wouldn't be getting quite so much free press. and folks wouldn't have quite so much material for their blog boxes. we as a nation need to seriously rethink our strategy of giving people fish instead of teaching them to fish. i advocate tasteless nutritious gruel and bunker style housing. putting two unemployed and unemployable teenage parents and their two kids in their very own apartment at no cost to them is a recipe for disaster. there's a park near here where people feed the cute fuzzy squirrels. they quickly turn nasty and aggressive and have to be destroyed. people are not wild animals. unless you feed them like wild animals. we have to treat people like people.
taxes have at least three purposes. the first is to finance the government and fund things we need. like police and infrastructure. the second is to redistribute wealth. if one guy has all the wealth, he has all the influence. and all others are as powerless as slaves. taxes can put the brakes on the accumulation of extreme wealth. which leaves open opportunities for everyone else. the third reason is to discourage people from doing bad things. vice taxes. like on cigarettes and pollution. i lobby for health care by taxing sugary foods and salty foods. seriously. it'd do way more for the overall health of americans than anything else.