i'd like to thank everyone for all the snarky email re yesterday's post. look around you. most people are hypocrites. probably even you. how many people are willing to admit it even to themselves?
i am a hypocrite. i bitch and moan about the lack of enthusiasm at baseball practice. it's almost as if the players would rather be at home in their "basements" playing video games. totally frustrating for timmer the coach. on the other hand. i work for onlive. whose goal is to make it ever easier to play more video games. sigh.
we hit a milestone this month. b is now 5' tall. woo hooty. soon he'll be taller than his mother. he's practically not a kid any more. course he'll always be my little boy.
shopping can be one of my least favorite activities. i really hate shopping just for the sheer joy of shopping. i need to have a goal. i need to make progress on the goal. fortunately, the beautiful and talented alisa is of like mind. gawd i love that woman. anywho, last month we were shopping for a tv stand. we bought a new tv a year ago. and it needed something nicer to sit on than a crate alisa made when she was in collidj. we found something nice and on sale in palo alto. so we bought it. along with a really nice matching buffet thing to go with it. they arrived this week. i spent last night moving the tv accessory and gaming stack from the floor and the crate to the new stand. the stack is actually pretty small as tv stacks go: replay tv, nintendo 64, dvd player, av switch, and of course the onlive microconsole - sorry tv adapter. which has got to be the stupidest name in all of creation. ever. for some reason, adapter makes my juvenile mind think of sex toys. anywho, there's a vcr too. but it isn't actually connected to anything else. which is exactly how it was in the crate. apparently we don't use it any more. anywho, everything worked right the first time. much to the shock and pleasure of the observers. i had budgeted extra time to make things actually work after being hooked up. so i spent this temporal windfall making things pretty. i zip tied many of the cables together and out of sight. most of the stack is plugged into a hard power switch that's discreetly accessible between the stand and the fireplace. cause yeah, we really are that anal about conserving electricity. sorry - we really do consider the leakage current of all of our electrical devices.
i have time scheduled with the company's patent attorney today. i have no idea what we're supposed to be talking about. i'm currently working on a bunch of things that could be patentable. i have worked on many things that could be patented since the last time i talked to the patent attorney. heh. okay. hopefully the person who scheduled the meeting will be able to give me a clue. huh. actually. hopefully they won't. then i can file a patent on anything i want. hee hee. what should it be? meeting's at 2pm pst. so hurry.
i mentioned yesterday my kid's cub scout pack got a new used pinewood derby track. it's massive. which is kinda cool in a way. it can put up with the abuse scouts will dish out. like jumping over it. like jumping half way over it. like knocking into it. like yanking on the start cord so hard the whole thing shifts a few inches. that's actually the nice part. we let the scouts take turns starting the races. the bad part is the thing is frikken huge. volume wise it takes up more garage space than a smart car. which will make storage an issue. i think next year we should make a backdrop. this will serve two purposes. coloring a new one will give the scouts something to do while waiting for all the other scouts to arrive. it will also remove the temptation to jump across the track.
yesterday was our cub scout pack's annual pinewood derby. last week we didn't have a track. or a plan for a derby. but the pack leader somehow pulled a monster huge 6-lane track out of his truck. and the race was on! i've been the pwd chairman since b started scouting. he's now a boy scout. g has one more year to go. then we're done with that piece of american culture. woo hooty. anywho. there was no electronic timer. so a set of judges went a bit cross-eyed trying to determine the place order of the six cars. it's an interesting math problem to figure out which cars to race when. you want every car to race in every lane, once. and you want every car to race every other car. and you want the none of the currently racing cars to be on deck. fortunately, there's a program on the internet that does a pretty good job. though it expected us to run 96 races in one hour. we ran 30. but then we had to take a couple of eyeball breaks. and pizza. and photo ops of the pack with the cars. most of the cars were pretty fast. none were slow. g's finished fourth. just out of the money. and guess what. two of the top three appeared to have significant adult contribution. which i'm fine with. so long as the kid was at least there. the point of scouting after all, is to get dad to spend time with his kid.
how easy is it to twist stats to your advantage? easy peasy. the cbo released a report estimating that half a million or so employed people will be able to retire because they can now afford health insurance. apparently, before obamacare they only kept their jobs so they could keep their insurance. somehow this got twisted into obamacare will cost half a million jobs. wtf? half a million people will *choose* to retire and leave their jobs. that's very different from saying half a million jobs will disappear. those jobs will still be there. ready to be filled by people currently collecting unemployment. leaving fewer people unemployed. seems like in practical terms, obamacare will lower the jobless rate. cause retired people aren't looking for jobs. they're retired. and don't count as unemployed. as an added benefit, companies can replace high wage senior people with lower wage junior people. younger cheaper to insure people. which should have a double good effect on the company's bottom line.
the house is currently trying to repeal obamacare. what's the point? i mean really. what. is. the. point? a repeal has no hope of getting through the senate. much less past the president's desk. overriding a veto seems really unlikely. so again, what is the point of wasting so much time effort and taxpayer dollars on something doomed to fail? especially something that been getting more and more popular as people find out what's actually in it for them instead of having their knees jerked by someone with a tiny hammer. now obamacare isn't perfect. for example, it's health insurance instead of health care. insurance is 4x more expensive than care. but it's what the powerful insurance lobby wanted. so it's what we got. wee. obviously i don't like it. but sheehs. most of the provisions haven't kicked in yet. give the baby a chance before you throw out the bathwater. sheehs.
ads kinda suck. i like how they give me content for free though. so i guess they're not all bad. though some ads are worse than others. way worse. the popups suck so bad they're not even worth mentioning. the pseudo popups are just as bad. any time the ad covers up what i want to read i make it a point to never ever do business with that company. sheehs. get a frikken clue. the nice polite ads on the side don't bug me much. course they're the easiest to ignore. the animated ones sometimes distract my eye. but usually cause they're interesting. i appreciate targeted ads. i recently googled for tv wall mount. got a lot of ads for them shortly thereafter. which was kind of amusing. just how many tv wall mounts do they think i'm going to buy? some ads just miss though. like the ads promoting some school with an article about the school being sued by a student cause they're a bunch of fucktards. but then there are the insidious ads. the ones that inspired this post. the ads that are inline with the text. they look like text. they almost read like text. but they're like little trip wires. not cool. very not cool. oh that fark link headline sounds interesting. oh wait. it's christian science monitor. and i'm just not in the mood for those ad line mines. sorry. no eyeballs for you today.
blood libel refers to lies told by christians about jews. specifically that jews would steal christian children for sacrifices. it's very strange for a politician to remind us that christians such as herself are lying sacks of shit. i guess democrats are the lying christians and palin is the innocent jew. which kinda makes my head hurt. but okay. the other weird thing is the ancient accusation was false. whereas the modern one is more/less true. ms palin really does use violent rhetoric. which really does push what's socially acceptable towards barbarism. which makes people think it really is okay to shoot people in the face. which it's clearly not. at least not in a civilized society. to say ms palin is innocent is the same as saying the tobacco companies are innocent of causing lung cancer. you can't prove that cigarettes caused this particular death. you can't prove that rap music caused this cop to be shot. but you sure can prove it in a statistical sense. take away tobacco and fewer people die. same with the rhetoric. she's guilty. same as some rappers. same as big tobacco. same as iran when they chant death to america. it's pretty much the same thing.
are you smarter than a pigeon? consider the price is right game. three boxes. one randomly selected box has a yummy pigeon treat hidden inside. the others are empty. pick a box. one of the other boxes is shown to be empty. again, pick a box. you can pick the same box or switch your pick to the other box. what do you do? every pigeon figures out they get twice as many treats if they always switch boxes. but one in three people do not. ie they never learn. which strikes me as quite remarkable. clearly nobody is stupider than a pigeon. they must have outsmarted themselves somehow. ie they never get their mental model to match up with reality. which makes one wonder. is there some sort of evolutionary pressure to stay the course (or wander off into the weeds) when all available evidence is to the contrary? could be. yeah things are bad here and look better there now but if you go there you'll die when things reverse again. hrm. or maybe it's a herd mentality thing. ie mindlessly follow the leader no matter where they go. like hitler. or jesus. and the assumption is most leaders will be from the critical thinker group. could eliminate energy wasted arguing. and provide each "smart" person with an extra hand. works for me. so in a democratic group of 99 people, a coalition of 17 "smart" people plus all 33 "followers" can rule the other 49 "smart" people. which would be just fine if those 17 are altruistic folks dedicated to the betterment of society. like say the founding fathers. it'd be just awful if they're a bunch of greedy bastards. like say the tax cuts for the rich crowd.
okay so yesterday i bashed mac. today we're back to bashing windows. old habits die hard. the pc was sleeping. how does one wake it up? move the mouse. okay. after a few seconds the mouse lights flicker. flip the hard power switches for the monitors. wait for them to fire up. okay. now it says press control-alt-delete. well first, it's a mac keyboard. so there's no alt key. one can try the option and apple keys. there's only two combos. not too bad. the control key is the same. but here's where we run into the difficulty. delete doesn't mean the key labelled delete. it means the key labelled del. got it? it's a different key between the regular keyboard and the numeric keypad. don't ask me where it might be if the keyboard doesn't have a numpad. anywho. so on a normal mac keyboard, control-alt-delete means control-option-del-not-delete. except on my keyboard. i edited the registry to swap the option and apple keys so the alt and windows keys would physically be where they are on windows keyboards. so on my keyboard control-alt-delete means control-apple-del-not-delete. got it? after that it's a piece of cake to guess which of several users you're supposed to use. and the password of course. then you'll be in business.
yeah i pick on windows a lot. it's like freezing ice. sue me. as if macs are perfect. in windows you tap alt and type the name of the program you want to run. on the mac, you have spotlight. which will happily tell you that textedit is a word processing application that ships with mac os. which while completely true is in practice fucking useless.
a contronym is a word that is its own antonym. learned that the other day helping g with his homework. his assignment is to give a synonym and an antonym for each of his vocabulary words. later i was boasting that i make it a point to use literally to mean to the letter as opposed to its common usage meaning figuratively. and i realized literally is its own antonym. the beautiful and talented alisa and myself came up with three more. then i googled. there's quite a list. including some obvious ones. and some seriously obscure ones that i didn't count. remarkably, our original four were not on the google lists. theory to a layman is unproven. to a scientist, it's proven. inflammable to a pompous ass means will burn. to a redneck, it means won't burn. bomb means both good and bad. bolt, fast, and left all mean stay and go. dust means to add fine particles and remove them. cleave means join and separate. garnish means add and take away (like wages). mean means average and exceptional. stars out means they're shining. lights out means they're not. oversight means to make and to prevent errors. sanction means to approve and disapprove. screen means to view and to hide from view. seed means to add them to a field and to remove them from a tomato. strike means to hit something but miss a pitch. transparent means visible government but invisible glass. weather means to wear down and not wear down. my unbending fingers are moving or not.
lotta folks are blaming palin for the shooting in arizona. people want to make sense of something senseless. as if palin had mind control powers that she could make a suggestion and someone would kill her enemies. heh. she wishes! she was relatively quiet after the shooting. i think she was testing to see if she really did have mind control powers. i imagine her inner circle is people who would do exactly as she told them. hop on one foot. bark like a dog. so the first experiments testing her new found jedi mind control tricks would be successful. elation! but the magic doesn't work on random passers by. fail. depression. the short cut to world domination didn't pan out. ah well. back to work. days later.
unless you've been in a snow cave for the past week, you know that someone suffered a psychotic break and killed a bunch of people at a political meet and greet. there are two features of life in the united states that made this possible. the second amendment to bear arms. and the presumption of innocence. together they mean that we sane people can't legally take guns away from crazy people until after they've abused the right to own guns. by say, going on a mass murder bender, for example. there's going to be renewed talk about gun control. but in the end nothing will change. there will be more such tragedies. and some folks will say this is a bad thing. and it might be. but this is how the system works. there's a bunch of public figures thinking but for the grace of god it might have been them with a bullet in the face. and maybe they'll have a second thought or three before passing yet more bills that make people unhappier. crazy people. armed crazy people. legally armed crazy people.
it's weird to have a governor. ahnahld was the gahvinatah when my brain cells solidified. he'll always be the gahvinatah.
i'm on a diet again this year. 1.8kg down. 4kg to go. target weight this year is 84kg. heh. 84kg sounds a whole lot lighter than 185 pounds don't it? there ya go. one reason to switch to the metric system. 'sides. a liter is more beer than a quart. there ya go again. the perfect reason to switch. timmer for president.
dang. i think bongo the dog who is really a cat needs a new nickname, stinky. damn that cat's shit stinks. light a match! heh. i wonder if you can actually teach a cat to light a match. seriously though that's some nasty stuff comes through that animal. i lit a candle yesterday. and i like wrestled and had humans who could stink up a bathroom. but jeezum crow. my beautiful and talented alisa lit a second better smelling candle too. vanilla i think. b complained about the stink when he cleaned the litter box. so it's not just me!
i haven't been skiing at alpine in a while. buncha stuff was different. i vaguely remember the rfid lift passes. those are pretty cool. when they work. g had two in his coat pockets. which i think was confusing the poor thing. it is after all, just a glorified cattle gate. heh. anywho, the meadow chair had strange looking circles on the backs of the seats. are they solar panels? nope. magnets. specifically, electromagnets. apparently they put steel vests on little kids. then stick them to the chairs so they don't fall off. or jump off. heh. get rid of the bench, increase the speed and height and i'll ride the thing all day. it'd be like disneyland.
intra galactic empire
the basic premise of seti is that if there are intelligent civilizations out there they would be using a particular frequency to communicate across stellar distances. so seti has been listening to the hydrogen frequency for non-natural signals for some 50 years. a recent statement was that they would find something within the next 20-30 years or they won't find it at all. in which case there's something wrong with their fundamental assumption. ya think? heh. okay suppose i ran an intra-galactic empire. start on earth. over thousands of years i'd colonize my neighbors. which would be a sort of fire and forget thing. ie we keep sending colony ships until we get word back that one succeeded. sending energy from here to there is extremely expensive. there's no way we'd send communications as mundane as email. call your mother. heh. won't happen. communication would be limited to scientific and technological discoveries. possibly even the exchange of astronomic information. heh. imagine what astronomers might do with telescopes that have baselines of several lightyears. holy haleakala. we'd do that so we know where to colonize next. anywho, the communication would be a very tight beam. maybe using the sun or a planet to focus it. regardless, the signal is going to be extremely directional. simply because we could not afford the energy to broadcast in all possible directions. so the odds of earth lying in the path of an extraterrestrial communication are exceedingly small. that doesn't mean et's aren't out there. it just means that the seti search in its current form isn't going to find them.
how many misconceptions
did you hold to? enjoy. and a big fat shout out to xkcd
for the reference.
two mornings in a row i was happily just surfing away on my computer when all of a sudden, click. everything goes dark. the first time i figured the power went out. but the clocks were still going in the rest of the house. weird. when i got back i powered up and everything was normal. the second day seemed the same. but i discovered the culprit. somehow the switch on one of the power strips got a little twitchy. and just decided it should now be open. weird. heat maybe? dunno. i twiddled with it. told it it was a good switch. and focused lots of positive energy on it. am hoping it's better now. course there's no way to know until tomorrow.
why can't the clock in the windows task bar show seconds? did microsoft really think that no one would ever want that feature? dumbass thing. the only reason anyone pays money for this hunk of junk is because everyone pays money for this hunk of junk. wee.
we had a tiny christmas tree this year. we were afraid the kittehs might try to climb a full sized one. we put it on the glass table. instead they tried to eat it. it was too small for lights. so we hung lights all over the big room ceiling. they were attached to the rafters with the hook tack thingies usually used for telephone and internet cables. anywho, b was on the step stool with a pliers removing them. or trying to. the pliers slipped out of his hand and landed smack on the glass table. cracking it. inside. weird. the crack doesn't go all the way through to the top or bottom surface. both are still perfectly smooth. i'm guessing the table top has three layers. the outer layers are more flexible. the inner layer is strong but brittle. the outer layers hold the inner layer together when a twelve year old drops a pliers on it from ceiling height. i've had that table for some 23 years. good design. science is our bitch.
i had a list of stuff to make over christmas. the spoiled kittehs of course needed a cat tree. this one stretches 3 meters from floor to celing. it has six landings. and room at the top for a little house like structure. it's still under construction. gluing the scrap carpet to the platforms takes all of the clamps we have in the house. so we're doing one platform per day. slow. the other thing i made was a clothes hanger. we pull clothes out of the dryer before they are completely dry. then we hang them up in the garage when it's warm. and in the library when it's cold. like now. the problem is, we often run out of places to hang. we have two bookcases firmly attached to the wall with a 10 cm gap between them. i made a cam with a hole in it that just fits between them. the curtain rod goes in the hole. the weight of the clothes levers the cam up. the pivot side of the cam has a no slip pad on it. the other side has slippery tape. so the thing rotates and jams itself more firmly into the gap. it's an invention. gonna patent it. i'm gonna be so rich.
my cat allergy induced asthma seems to be calming down. i didn't take any medication yesterday. didn't really need it. seems like the inhaler thing is what's doing the job. as opposed to the claritin. course a sample of one is not very useful. hopeful this trend will continue and i won't need to dope myself any more. yay.
we have some lovely kitchen hand towels. they don't absorb dirt so they stay forever clean. which is kinda cool. but they don't absorb water either. which makes them pretty fucking useless as towels. sheehs. who was smoking what when they thought that was a good idea? i keep moving them towards the microwave and away from the sink. they make pretty good hot pads for draining steaming vegetables. the real hot pads tend to absorb water as it pours out. which conducts scalding heat to my phalanges. so i guess they're not completely useless.
yeah okay so i tried to apply a windows update to my mac book pro. fail. fail writing osloader.ntp or some such nonsense. prayers to google found the problem. windows is trying to write to a read only disk. pretty fucking cool i think. they don't try to write to cd rom style removable media. so apparently they check for that. but specifically that. and not something general and smart. like can i write to this hard drive. sheehs. the solution is to rename c:\windows\system32\drivers\applemnt.sys or something like that. reboot. now windows can't see the mac partition. so the update succeeds. crikey. and this is the best selling os in the world? niiiiice.