Friday, August 31, 2007

Tribute to Schofield Barracks

I was born and raised in Hawaii. I lived there until I was 20. That is to say I lived there until I had the cash to get out of there. Hawaii is incredibly beautiful and the pace of life is healthier than in most places in our country. But I got out because the mind of Hawaii is small.

My folks were very liberal. Both were truly ahead of their times. While everyone else in our town who was white was sending their children to private schools, all five of us were thrust into the public school system. Both the students, children, administrators, and education board considered this system to be a white man's system shoved up the ass of a working person's life while the white man and his offspring insulated themselves and lived life from far off.

It was this world in which I was submersed K through 12. My brother John spent as much time in that system as I did (except that he graduated after his junior year in high school). My other siblings managed to escape sometime in junior high and managed to enjoy private school for a while.

OK, I need to stop for a moment. Those of you who haven't enjoyed this cultural peculiarity cannot really appreciate what I am talking about. I'm very liberal myself, yet I will say without hesitation that my years in that public school system as an extreme minority were some of the most negatively formative years of my life.

But when I was in sixth grade things changed for a while. This was in '67-'68 and my dad who was in the reserves was called up to go to Viet Nam. This was met with lots of emotion all around naturally. But as part of the deal my folks worked out, we moved to Schofield Barracks on the island of Oahu (best known for Waikiki and Pearl Harbor). We spent nearly a year there. I enjoyed the only adolescent year of my life. I was not judged because of the (white) color of my skin. I instantly made friends. I didn't have to stand up on the bus on the way to and from school. I was human.

And I remember having terrible nightmares when the time to go home (with my habitually depressed mother whose husband was still in 'Nam) approached. All the loathing and fear of that jail sentence came rolling back to my subconscious mind. By the time 7th grade started I was a basket case, and rightly so. I had re-entered hell.

So I found an article today with a Schofield Barracks connection, and I immediately felt the old nostalgia for the place. The story is sad. It's a war story about young people who die for nothing. I don't know if it makes it better or worse that these people died from mechanical failure and not from war itself. Either way they would still be alive if not for the war.

And I feel some camaraderie with these people on this US Army Base who gave me a good year in my youth. You have my true sympathy for your lost ones.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Who Would'a Thunk? I love my job.

My first two and a half weeks (exactly) of work at my new job consisted of me sitting on my ass trying to look busy, and occasionally succeeding. I've written about that at some length below. In fact I sent links to everything I've written about this job to my sister Mary and was surprised to see I had 6 posts.

Suddenly at high noon yesterday I sprang into action. My boss and the system developer discovered some major discrepencies in the new system we will be using "any day now." I was put to the task of taking care of everything we needed to do on our end (which was most of the work). Everyone seems happy with my work so I'm glad. We're still getting a couple of logic errors and the true geeks are going to have to disect the code to fix them I'm sure. That's what came up today. At the end of the day yesterday, the system was left nearly empty with data backups waiting to be re-imported. By the end of today, everything is loaded but not everything is working.

I think I'm going to love this job. It's been a long time since I loved a job. A very long time. In retrospect, I've always allowed people to promote me to a supervisory or management role and I just really hate managing. Oh give me a system to manage and I'm great. Just don't make me have to manage, directly or indirectly, personnel.

I will flat turn down any such further offers from here forward. I will not be a manager. And I will be a very effective and happy employee. I blog more when I am happy so that may not necessarily come as good news to you.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Spell Cuba

Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe PĂ©rez Roque proposed in a speech this week to the third Forum for Latin American and East Asian Cooperation (FEALAC) in Brasilia, to launch a program aimed at eradicating world illiteracy (read the story here). He stated that the reality of 800 million illiterate adults and 80 million children who do not attend school is an unforgivable situation. He said that there “can be no development without human capital and no freedom without culture.”

But Cuba is our enemy and therefore cannot be taken seriously. Surely they harbor ulterior motives. After all if the United States government cannot be bothered to move on behalf of the illiterate and the poor in this nation, how can Cuba seriously expect to take on this task world wide, even with the combined help of other third world nations? I’ll bet Cuba doesn’t even have plans to hire Halliburton.

Not a Google Advertisement

I have my home page set to Google News because a) I'm a news junkie and b) Google News has more news feeds than I can find anywhere else (more than 4,500 in English according to their own press). I like the fact that all stories are grouped with anywhere from three to six links to additional stories on the same subject from different sources. And in addition to that there's a link by each story that will take you to all stories on that subject.

Admittedly the story that catches your eye is always the one listed at the top complete with tag lines and by lines. I tend to read these the most because, as I said, they catch my eye the most. Nonetheless I do read the alternate stories as well. I read from sources with nominally similar political leanings to mine. I read from some who have no stated (or implied) point of view. I read those who agree with my take on this world, and from those whose view of the world makes me sick. In short, I attempt to see a story from several points of view. This is part of the informative process and I like it.

I was browsing Google News last night and I noticed a header reading "Recommended for Yar." Oddly one of the three stories listed under this header was something about Britney Spears. I'll admit to the occasional gander her way but I make no habit of reading celebrity news. Nonetheless my curiosity over "recommended" stories was piqued and I clicked on the adjacent link reading "Learn more." And I did.

Google is offering a clever new service whereby they use their vast database with knowledge of the Internet and knowledge of you to match up your news interests with what's out there. Google's computers evaluate your choice of stories and your choice of venues and determines which stories, delivered by which sources, you will most want to see, and presents them to you on a small platter. They tell you (as you are learning more) that this can be so much better than having a news smorgasbord spread out in front of you. It will save your time and make sure you actually find the stories (written in your favorite slant) you really care about.

This could save me so much time and indecision. It could mean I won't waste my time reading meaningless blather (assuming they fix that Britney Spears thing). It could free me to be a lean, mean, news-reading machine.

Rupert Murdoch must be seething for not thinking of this first. I'm sure Google geeks just think this technology is cool; tailoring the Internet to the user is their first love. I'm sure Google marketing loves it, seeing the possibilities of steering readers to sites with the most Google advertisements. But any conspiratorial aspirations probably end there. The thing that makes me pause (actually I screech to a tire-burning stop), is the potential for abuse. I mentioned Rupert Murdoch at the top of this paragraph because this sounds like his wet dream. Intentionally or unintentionally people who subscribe to this wonderful new service will be fed filtered news, eliminating the serendipitous nature of garnering news on the web.

So Google is offering a tailored news service that totally disregards any alternate views or stories that don't fit in a narrow band of interest. I'm not saying Google is doing this for any nefarious reasons. But others are going to see the benefits. Look how well Faux News has used similar methods to create millions of mind-numb robotic mimics (a recent survey found that Fox News watchers are some of the least informed Americans [people who watch Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are the most informed {beating out even NPR}]).

I have decided not to opt for Google's new service. I considered creating an alter-persona to test it out and get a real comparison. But I doubt I will; it would be a pain in the butt as I would have to regularly read news under both personas. I love reading news, but I do have a life.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ferry Well

There's a new "Superferry" serving the Hawaiian Islands. This story says it's the first-ever such service in Hawaii. I do seem to remember a failed ferry service back in the early 70s', consisting of hydrofoil boats. Am I mistaken or does anybody else remember?

Anyway, local environmentalists have sought an injunction against the service claiming there was no environmental impact study done and that the impacts of the service could be significant. The state supreme court agreed. Surfers off Kauai prevented the ferry from docking for an hour on it's second voyage.

The company that operates the ferry (Hawaii Superferry Inc.) ran maiden voyages despite the supreme court ruling, as nothing stipulated they hault service. Meanwhile they are arguing that cruise ships have long used these same waters without having to submit to this scrutiny.

As an ex-native, I fully appreciate the value of alternate inter-island commute vehicles. One of the toughest things about living in Hawaii is the inability to leave - even to go next door to a neighboring island - inexpensively. Based on the prices for the ferry service ($240 plus for passenger and car), the status quo will remain, at least with regard to price. It may be that passenger service alone will be more reasonably priced.

I've taken ferries in the Pacific Northwest. I never spent that kind of money - and those trips did include our car. I've seen whales breach (is that the right word - when whales clear the surface?) in front of the ferry. I never considered at the time that perhaps they were endangered by the ferry itself. You think so? Could be.

I like ferry commutes. They are much more comfortable than airplanes, and usually much less expensive. I sympathize with the environmentalists in Hawaii as well as with their supreme court though. As our planet gets smaller and more fragile in the face of the viral presence of humans, we need to continue to examine and question the means and methods we employ for our civilization's welfare.

Still I guess I secretly hope the ferry service gets a pass.

Our Hero

On a Lighter Note...

While I maintain this blog primarily as a means of airing my views about things both important and trivial, I occasionally wax vehemently political. I know a few people who visit this blog whos views differ dramatically from mine and while I would love to convince you that my politics are superior to yours, I know I won't.

And for those of you who fit this bill, I would still like to welcome you to read my less polarizing posts. To wit, here is one such post.

I previously posted regarding our plans for our back yard. I have several such posts and I'll let you find them for yourself rather than linking to them here. The rendering at the right shows this composite plan (click on the image to see it larger).

Bonnie and I were out Saturday and visited an open house down the street (we like to see what houses are selling for what in our neighborhood). It was a lovely house and we particularly liked a garden pavilion they had semi-permanently attached to their patio. Our backyard plans have included a structurally attached canopy over our patio, but this new idea has us intrigued.

This rendering shows what we have in mind (click on the image to see it larger). It also shows our new (as yet unbuilt) shed and deck plans. I think there are upsides and downsides to this pavilion. I'd love to have additional input. Feel free to comment.


At long last Alberto Gonzales is gone (or will be as of September 17th). Neither he nor the White House have given any explanation. Not that any explanation they give would fool us. In retrospect I can't believe they bothered to give an explanation when Karl Rove "quit." Both men went from being political assets to this despotic administration, to being political liabilities. End of story.

That is not to say they won't be well rewarded for their service to the fourth Reich. Like Scooter Libby both Rove and Gonzo will be presented with care packages stuffed with Get Out of Jail Free cards, invitations to join lucrative lobbying positions and/or corporate boards, and membership for life in the Good Ol' Boy's Club. That Gonzo made it from Mexican immigrant parents to this position in life is a testament to what graft will buy you.

OK, so hurrah Gonzo is gone. Shit! He was really the Dem's best chance at nailing Bush and Cheney. Actually Libby, Rove and Gonzo were the Trifecta. And while each of them can still be investigated (though some argue that Libby is currently actually immune to such), I now anticipate any Democrat led investigations to fold like a house of cards. Double shit!

Just so we have the record straight, I am not out to see Bush and Cheney get their just deserts for vengeance's sake. Yes, I am petty enough to want to see them go down just so I could laugh and cheer for months on end. But that's not the reason I've advocated (and signed petitions, and written to Congress) for impeachment. Like many other Americans I am appalled at how our Constitution has been compromised and flouted by this Administration. I know citizens around the world are appalled at what America is becoming, but what they don't share with us is the sense of betrayal we feel here as our most sacred document is being pissed on.


Friday, August 24, 2007

I forgot to give this post a title. You're getting sloppy Yar.

This is what I started to write last night, only to be distracted. I'm sitting right now at my desk at work on my second Friday on the job. I finally received my computer this Tuesday and I was excited. Here I would be put to work at last.


I'm still waiting to get to work. I have found things to do here and there but largely I am just twiddling my thumbs. Now I can twiddle my thumbs on the computer instead of twiddling my thumbs ... with my thumbs.

I've installed several free utilities and other programs on the computer here. None of these has impressed me yet. I have a couple of programs at home I would like to install here but they have multiple installation prevention. There is one program I use that I don't exactly have a legitimate license for. I won't install that here at work. No no no.

I sit and listen to web-streamed programming as I "work" on my computer. I listen to progressive radio program The Stephanie Miller Show first thing in the morning, and then I listen to Thom Hartmann on Air America. After him I either listen to Randi Rhodes (also of Air America) or I stream KINK FM. KINK is a station Bonnie and I found in Oregon when we lived there. We really like the mix of music and the progressive hosts. And we don't have anything like that offered locally. We used to catch a station called Radio Free Santa Fe but I think they were bought out by Clear Channel or somebody and turned into a parking lot.

I'm supposed to get busy by the end of next week (please dog!); right in time for a three-day weekend. Go figure. I hope to never have time at work to post here again. Cross your fingers with me.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Meanwhile Back at the Ranch

I started this post much earlier this evening and then went out for dinner with Bonnie and Brandy. Now I need to regroup my thoughts and start over. The title makes no sense here but I'll leave it and come up with something new when I post.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Great Excerpts from Pet Diaries

I got this from my niece Mindy. I have no idea where it originated, but it is funny.

Excerpts from a Dog's Diary

8:00am - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9: 30am - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10: 30am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00pm - Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00pm - Milk Bones! My favorite thing!
7:00pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

Excerpts from a Cat's Diary

Day 983 of my captivity. My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am.


There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow - but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded.

The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe . . .

. . . for now . . .

Monday, August 20, 2007

Leahy Caught Doing the Right Thing

Thom Hartmann is always reminding people to call out our politicians (no matter which party) when they "get caught" doing the right thing. When Pat Leahy caused the White House to be subpoenaed over illegal wire taps and then was summarily ignored, I admit I was skeptical if there would be any follow-up by the Democrats. But today Patrick Leahy, Vermont Senator and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he would hold the White House in contempt if they failed to respond to the subpoenas. He said he would prefer cooperation but that he felt the Whitehouse was currently in contempt and had been provided enough time to reply already.

Thank you Senator Lehey. I don't know how this is going to end but people of courage are going to be the ones who make a difference.

Beth's Blog: Countdown On NBC#links

I like the statement: 'NBC SVP Phil Griffin (said), "The world has changed, and I think people have come in line with the smart, focused approach [Keith (Oberman)] has on the show."'

Beth's Blog: Countdown On NBC#links

Saturday, August 18, 2007

My Dues at Work

The ACLU has filed suit with the FISA court over the extraordinary surveillance powers given this administration. And the court has ruled the government must answer the ACLU. Further, the government must explain any continued withholding of facts. The government has been given until August 31st to respond. The ACLU in turn must respond to what the government gives them by September 14th.

I don't know if any further rulings have been made or can be inferred if the ACLU challenges the government's response. I would have to assume the court would hold the government in contempt if they fail to respond, but I have no idea what if any the effect of holding the government in contempt would be. That is unless they simply hold key players in contempt (whom would they choose do you suppose). And contempt can mean jail time.

I don't know how this will all work out, but I want to congratulate the ACLU for this unprecedented move. If Congress lacks the moral courage to find out and make public the truth, the true freedom fighters will need to step in. I think this bodes well for our democracy.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


A recent AP story posted in (check it out) tells of a Chinese couple who have applied to name their child “@”. Apparently there are some 129 surnames that account for 87 percent of all surnames in China, and people are looking for ways to distinguish their children with unusual first names. Last year 60 million Chinese people had names that use unfamiliar characters. The story does not expand on what these unfamiliar characters might be.

Of course there is no Chinese alphabet. Instead the Chinese use thousands of calligraphy characters. That may mean that the alphabet we are used to would contain what the Chinese would deem unfamiliar characters.

However I do believe the inference of the story is not that simple. I assume the unfamiliar characters referred to would be such things as #, %, *, & and so on. This could make for the following story:

“&*% you!” ^%# yelled at the driver who had just run the red light, almost creaming ^%#’s BMW. The other driver in the recklessly driven delivery van, with a sign reading @{->}~ and Sons Pork Fritters emblazoned on the side, flipped ^%# the bird and screamed, “&*%$ yourself!” Both drivers, distracted and hot under the collar, proceed to collide with separate vehicles, Officer :”:”: reported. Injuries were minor, however a small truck carrying typewriter keys rolled over spilling #^%~*%+*(&%’%^#$#=$&’s everywhere.

What was the symbol by which “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” became known as for awhile? Where is that @ these days?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

U.S. Weighing Terrorist Label for Iran Guards

WASHINGTON, Aug. 14 — The Bush administration is preparing to declare that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps is a foreign terrorist organization, senior administration officials said Tuesday.

If imposed, the declaration would signal a more confrontational turn in the administration’s approach to Iran and would be the first time that the United States has added the armed forces of any sovereign government to its list of terrorist organizations.

The Revolutionary Guard is thought to be the largest branch of Iran’s military. While the United States has long labeled Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism, a decision to single out the guard would amount to an aggressive new challenge from an American administration that has recently seemed conflicted over whether to take a harder line against Tehran over its nuclear program and what American officials have called its destabilizing role in Iraq.

According to European diplomats, Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice has warned of the move in recent conversations with European counterparts, saying that a delay in efforts to win approval from the United Nations Security Council for further economic sanctions on Iran was leaving the administration with little choice but unilateral action.

A move toward putting the Revolutionary Guard on the foreign terrorist list would serve at least two purposes for Ms. Rice: to pacify, for a while, administration hawks who are pushing for possible military action, and to further press America’s allies to ratchet up sanctions against Iran in the Security Council.

Read the Whole Story

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Job that Wasn't Ready

So today was my first day on my new job. Actually let me back up a minute. I went in last Tuesday for what was supposed to be several hours of computer training. This promised to be a yawn fest but turned out to be a big fat nothing. About half a dozen others and I were informed, after waiting about 20 minutes, that the class would be cancelled; they had "hoped somebody would email us" so we wouldn't have wasted our time getting there and waiting. But it seems while they had managed to procure computers for the class, alas they had no monitors.

OK, you need to understand something. The class (and the terrible communications and the terrible management) all belong to The Client. My erstwhile classmates all worked for other companies, all of whom work for The Client. I was hired on because The Client desperately wants my new employer to have the consultant manpower they feel they need. But last fall after a layoff, the client got rid of hundreds of CRT Monitors. Now that they need monitors (something they have seen coming for months) they have decided flat screens are the way to go. Cool. It would have been really cool if somebody had thought to order them.

I'm not complaining. I've worked many years with this client. I would have been shocked to have seen this work better.

But back to the present: My new boss confirmed with me after last Tuesday's fiasco that I would still be showing up this Monday. I affirmed I would and I arrived this morning. Naturally I assumed he had a work-around. I figured he'd throw me into some assistance work (pen and pad have sufficed for me through many estimates), or something and I got there with my sleeves figuratively rolled up (I wear short sleeves even in the wintertime, so my sleeves can only be rolled up figuratively).

I asked my boss what I would be doing seeing as how there was no computer there and all, and he said (with a very British, and very straight, face), "Look busy."

It turns out I have an indefinite period of time during which I am going to try to absorb as much as I can without actually working on anything. There's a guy who's been there at least a month who is still in that boat.

So I am going to learn as much as I can. When I can't learn any more without hands on experience I'm going to come up with creative things to do so I can help. Or I'll be lucky and the computer (along with its monitor) will arrive soon and I'll just be swamped.

It's all OK. I'm not the kind who lets myself stay bored for too long.

We watched a rental tonight - Like Water for Chocolate. It's one of those movies I've been meaning to see forever. I'm that way with subtitles: I dread them and then always love the movie (well usually anyway - some movies are just bad). Like Water for Chocolate is like Big Fish in Spanish. The women are all such wonderful characters and the men are perfect caricatures. I really liked this movie.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Eyes Have It

Addendum: Mike writes (click here) about cameras that take 1,500 megapixel photographs. Strap one of these babies onto my head and give my eyes a break. Thank you for the information Mike.

Have you ever blown up one of your digital photographs so you can see the pixels, or a film photograph so you can see the graininess? Some are grainy or pixelated even without having to be blown up much. The better the camera (or the better the film) is , the better the resolution of the photo is. No brainer.

This past winter I found myself driving across the Arizona desert and marveling at just how much information the eye was able to take in. On a part of the road with a clear view of the road and terrain 20 miles ahead, I was able to take in probably something like 400 square miles of desert in one glance. And all of it in rich vivid detail. I started thinking about photo resolution and realized that our eyes are pretty damn phenomenal. Of course you can't blow up what your eyes see to observe the graininess of your vision, but a photograph couldn't possibly have taken in all that my eyes could see in the Arizona desert with anywhere near the same level of detail.

I've often wondered since then just what the resolution of our eyes is. I remembered vaguely that our eyes have what are called cones and rods and that these are the light receptors. I had no idea how many of these there were nor what their function was. I assumed one type sensed black and white while the other sensed color, but that was as far as I considered.

I decided this morning to read up on it. I found an in depth article on this ( A Big Look at the Eye ) which told me everything I wanted to know. Our eyes are each 120 mega pixel receptors. The highest resolution digital camera is 39 mega pixel by Hasselblad (this gets debunked above). Most consumer cameras are in the 6 to 8 mega pixel range. Most professionals use 10 to 12 mega pixel cameras. So our eyes are each 3 times as sensitive as the most sensitive camera made (although I wouldn't be surprised if NASA and spy satellites have better), and up t0 20 times as sensitive as the cameras most of us use.

The eyes have 120 million rods and 7 million cones. I read that and figured the rods must be for color since there are lots more colors than there are shades of gray. I was wrong. each of our eyes has a retina with 120 million sensors of shade. These sensors are extremely sensitive - apparently much more sensitive than any sensor in your camera. The 7 million cones are sensitive to color. Cones can see red green and blue - though there are far fewer blue cones for some reason and it is theorized that the brain must compensate for this.

The rods see shades of gray but they see these shades best in blue light. They can't see in red light at all. This explains the apt use of red instrument readouts for night vision. At night your rods are busy in their hyper-sensitive night vision mode and red glowing instruments can't be seen by the rods so they don't lose their sensitivity as they would if they saw white light. It also explains why roses are brighter than green leaves in daylight while the green leaves are brighter in twilight (click here).

Rods are one thousand times as sensitive as cones to light. On the other hand cones provide much higher visual resolution. But cones are more sensitive to movement. Guess that's why we get spooked by something moving in the bushes at night. And rods are more predominant in our peripheral vision so we can see dim stars at the edges of our vision only to have them disappear when we look straight at them.

Our eyes are pretty complex. I've mentioned a few of the things I read that intrigued me. I'm still just as fascinated by our eye's ability take so much in. I think I would really hate to be blind.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Just Felt Like Posting a Piece of Art

I just realized it's almost 4 in the morning.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Please Comment

A few posts back (No News Is ... No News) I presented my comprehensive plan for landscaping at the homestead. Part of this plan is to fill in a space parallel to the sidewalk with pavers and planters. This 60 foot long space used to be filled with ugly box headges that we had removed a couple of months back. Now it's just dirt (or weeds, depending on when you drive by). We want to do the work on the sidewalk pavers this summer or fall.
So here is the question: I came up with a cool pattern Bonnie and I both like, but it will take an incredible amount of paver cutting. I love doing the masonry work, but this will take me into the next decade. So I came up with a new pattern that takes only a moderate amount of paver cutting. Let me know what you think (click the picture to see it bigger). I really do want some other opinions.

Team America, @#% Yeah!

Yeesh it's good to be back this side of yuck. I spent half of Thursday last week all the way up until Saturday night/Sunday morning sick. This was some nasty bug that snuck in from somewhere (where's Homeland Security when you need them?). This terrorist bug envied my freedom and tried taking it by force. I'm happy to say my belief in The American Way brought me through. I didn't end up needing any antibiotics, but I finally understand why the doctor tells you when prescribing antibiotics to stay the course.

So back to my neo-facist life of social irresponsibility.

Almost as soon as I got my confirmation of being hired I went and made a purchase I've been jonesing for a while. I bought myself a real computer. I've been struggling for a while with a Toshiba laptop that works well playing Pong. I had a half-way-decent Dell desktop but I gave it to my nephew Aaron as it seemed he needed it more than I did at the time (Brandy tells me Aaron has a My Space page now so I guess that proves it).

When I bought the laptop - to replace the one that was stolen when our house was broken into on my birthday last year - it seemed pretty spry. In retrospect I guess I would be spry too if all I had to do was display enticing icons for AOL and Yahoo. I took the laptop to the UK and used it to arrange routes on my Garmin Street Pilot and to save digital photos to. It totally smoked at these tasks. Of course neither of these tasks is processor intensive, but what the hay, it convinced me it was all the machine I needed and I magnanimously offered the desktop to Aaron.

And have regretted it almost ever since (Aaron, in case you are reading this, I don't regret giving it to you, I just regretted having given it up).

But now I've got a Velocity machine with Core2 Dynamic Duo whatsis. It's fast and it has Vista (which is cool but requires some changes in how you work), but most importantly, it has a clear Plexiglass side that lets you see the motherboard and cooling fans and wires and drives and there's no dust in there yet! The Velocity company also likes blue neon. The auxiliary video card cooling fans are bathed in blue neon glow; the mouse has neon blue racing stripes; the keyboard keys are lit with blue as well.

I had to go through some major configurations to get my favorite programs to work right. That took almost a week. I got it all figured out and running like a top just about the time the Al Qaeda bug hit me. Good thing I have my own weapon of mass distraction.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Open Letter to Hillary and Barak

Mr Obama and Ms Clinton;

With all due respect to both of you, please stop fulfilling Karl Rove's wetdreams with your spats. Talk about unpresidential. You two need a summit meeting if you are to avoid hurting the Democratic party. The issues at stake here are much bigger than the both of you.

Thank you.