Saturday, September 30, 2006

Hollywood at Last!

The guy who lives above me is a very nice guy, and appologizes profusely, but it's 1am and his carpet guys are still up there working. They also filled up our dumpster with carpet offal. I'm going to go freebase some Benedryl...

Signed,
Van Johnson

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Product that should be, and now is:

Hair Coloring for... down there.

Finally, I am one step closer to my dream of having calico pubes.

Hey,

  • Welcome back to CO! Did you bring me back that harem I asked for?

  • What's the deal with Bill O'Reilly? I mean come on! This guy is clearly delusional, and what offends me the most is that people believe every word he says. Like certain family members of mine. Trot forth the ills of the world, blame it on the liberals and Profit!

  • Should a so-called journalist be calling himself a "culture warrior"? I mean, the secular progressives ("commies") aren't allowed to be biased, but he is. Because, he's right. Of course.

  • He was railing on about this police officer who was killed by our open borders, leaving a wife and five kids fatherless. I went and did some research, and that seems incorrect. Or, through the Fox News journalistic lens, A BALD FACED LIBERAL-MEDIA LIE. Yeah, he was killed. And by an illegal. But I don't see anything in there about five kids. And I don't see anything in there about how the perpetrator's behavior would have been different had he possessed a green card.

  • And what about this: explain to me what's wrong with being a secular progressive? I mean, I think I get who he hates. The various uninformed lefty windbags who hate America. But those people are rarely secular, and not progressive at all. But when you've resorted to name calling, I suppose accuracy doesn't really matter. I mean secualar means worldly rather than spiritual. That seems like a valid choice people might make. And progressive means moving forward, advancing. Heaven forfend!

  • Tuesday, September 19, 2006

    Another thing...

    I don't know what fancy rhetorical device this is, but I've heard a lot of it lately, and I'd like it to stop. Modified ad hominem?

    1: The sky is plaid colored.
    2: No, it's blue.
    1: No intelligent person can say anything but that the sky is plaid.
    2: Stymie!

    (Not really stymied, but this sort of passive ad hominem forces the "defender" to raise the stakes. You either give up and let 1 win, or you argue with the proposition, forcing yourself to appear unintelligent in the eyes of 1. Or you attack the line of reasoning, and then you're the guy who "kicked it up a notch" but making it personal. 1 was just generalizing, and if you took offense, 1 is very sorry for your lack of comprehension.)

    I Hate Talk Like A Pirate Day

    Yes, I do. They had the guy who supposedly invented this day on the radio, and I've got news for him: a Lucky Charms accent with "arrr" thrown in isn't talking like a pirate. I'm not exactly sure what is correct, I just know that isn't. You demean yourself, the Irish, breakfast and pirates in continuing this idiocy.

    On the Penn radio show the other day, Penn was talking about the Pope's recent PR disaster for having quoted some arcane text. Then it got into the discussion of whether Islam was an inherently violent religion. And I think that sort of discussion misses the real issue. It doesn't matter. Religion is one person telling other people what to do. Usually with some basis in a book somewhere written a long time ago.

    An analog of the current situation, as I see it, is the KKK of the early to mid 1900s. They grew in power, teaching a perverted version of Christianity, to the detriment of anyone who wasn't exactly their type. They ruled with violence anf fear, and regular people were too busy with their own lives to do much but try not to offend the nuts. But whitey, Christianity, Indiana or the cross insurance industry aren't to blame for the KKK, the nuts in charge were. They preached hate and induced others to commit hateful acts. That's who is to blame.

    Methinks the lady doth protest too much. What happens when a kid gets caught sneaking cookies out of the cookie jar? Does he say, when confronted, "I just felt like having one"? Probably not. He'll come up with a litany of protestations as to why it's perfectly OK for him to do what he's done. He'll try to change the subject, he'll try to deflect blame elsewhere, and maybe he'll lash out. He'll try to manipulate the situation in such a way so that he appears to be the victim. It seems like the same thing "on the mideastern street" as reported. Pope reads from a book, people go nuts. "Oh that pope, what horrible things he says. He drove us to this effigy burning. If only it weren't for him, everything would be fine." Yeah right. The real answer is that the haters (which are going to exist in any society) know what they're doing is wrong, and are trying to justify it to themselves and others. Hate, like misery, loves company.

    Friday, September 15, 2006

    Illinois!

    Some hard core history here.

    Wednesday, September 13, 2006

    Etc.

  • Got some new lights in the bedroom and office. Sylvania's "Daylight" fluorescent tubes, in the 48" size. Not a pretty fixture, but the full-spectrumness of the light makes me happy in these gloomy October days. Note: I had gotten some kind of daylight bulb in the compact fluorescent form factor, and the light from those briefly made me blind. In the bad way. If I'm in the other room and look to the light spilling out of the room, it looks like what you'd see coming in the windows on a bright morning.

  • Ran out of gas the other day. The gauge failed to function. I thought it was at a quarter tank for a while. I should pay attention to [some of] the things I think of. Died on I-88 about a quarter mile from an exit. Got it to start briefly, long enough to get halfway up the exit ramp. Walked to the top of the ramp, in the center of a huge shopping district, and couldn't see a gas station. Back to the car. I rummaged through the junk in my trunk (ha!) and found the following items, which once dumped into the gas tank stretched my gas supply enough to get it back started and drive the 3(!!) miles to the nearest gas station I could think of: A bottle of Techron and a bottle of rubbing alcohol.

  • I forgot the rest.

  • Sock garters!

  • I remember now: got a fantastic haircut today. The place was immaculate- like a weird immigrant's living room, right there in a strip mall.

  • According to the internet, Krusty's T. Clown's daughter Sophie was voiced by Drew Barrymore. Did not know that.

  • Also.

  • I am really enjoying my Beyond TV setup. I now have purchased the software, and have it running two tuners. Record one show while watching another, or record two and watch something previously recorded. Why is this better than Tivo? I can upgrade the hard drive to a larger size easily and no monthly fees (or insane $300 lifetime subscription, or whatever it is now). The main downside is that it's a computer rather than an appliance- doesn't bother me, but some folks might not like dickering around with another damn computer in the house. But I really like the DVR/PVR concept- no more screwing around with video tapes. Same freeness that one gets from switching to CDs from cassette tapes. Downside, you can't just run to Walgreens and buy more video tapes when something cool is on and you're out of space on the machine. Have to delete something off the machine to make room. But still, I'm really enjoying it.

  • Science!

    Fiber optic gyroscope!?!

    Surprisingly, Wikipedia has a terrible article on it. I may rewrite it.

    In fact, both to show off my cool blockquote formatting, and to preserve the bad text, please behold the below:
    A fibre optic gyroscope (FOG) contains a coil with a long (up to 5 km) wound optical fiber (3). Two light beams travel along the fiber in opposite directions. An optical system with a beam splitter (2) directs the beams on a photodetector (4).

    When the attitude rate is zero, the phase shift between the two beams is 180°; they cancel each other and the output photocurrent is minimized.

    FOGs provide extremely precise rotational rate information, in part because of their lack of cross-axis sensitivity to vibration, acceleration, and shock,and are designed both on open-loop and closed-loop technology. The FOG typically shows a higher resolution than a ring laser gyro but also a higher drift and worse scale factor performance. It is used in surveying, stabilization and inertial navigation tasks.

    With the attitude rate oriented along the fiber (around the coil's axis), the original phase shift is changed. This change occurs because of the increase in the light path for one beam and decrease in the path for another beam. As a result, the photodetector's current responds to the increased illumination and becomes larger.
    I'm hoping that's an English as second language sort of thing.

    Sunday, September 10, 2006

    Remembering September 11, 2001

    My memory is slightly fuzzy on the first bits. It was going to be a slow day at work, so I slept in a bit. As was my practice at that time, I had the TV set to go on around 7 to the WGN news. I'm pretty sure I woke up just before, or as, the second plane hit. Whatever time it was, it was before they started replaying the hit(s) over and over and over for the next three months. I started calling people to tell them to turn on the TV. I also threw a tape into the VCR to record CNN, while I continued to watch WGN. They leveraged the terror nicely by keeping a live shot of the Sears Tower in the lower corner of the screen.

    When the plane hit the Pentagon, that's when the freakout began. I said to whoever I was talking to on the phone, "oh my god, the WTC was just a decoy for the real thing." At the time there were reports flying about the various planes that were in the sky heading for DC. In fact, on one of the channels, a live reporter got chased away from the White House by dudes with automatic weapons. Then there was the report of the Capitol being on fire. Finally, CO's last day for a defense contractor was that day, and I worked myself into believing that he could have been in the building doing a debriefing or something. I was unwell until I heard from him later.

    I remember thinking how surreal it would be to see the NYC skyline with two abandoned, charred hulks just standing there after they got the fires out. I remembered that the buildings were designed to take a hit from a 707, and I wondered whether they would repair them or dismantle them. Almost vomited when the first tower came down, because at the time the news was speculating on just how many people might still be in the building. Tens of thousands killed on live tv.

    One 'cool' thing about the day was when WGN inadvertantly broadcast Air Force One taking off from Florida or Louisana. It's generally accepted that you don't broadcast it taking off for security reasons- don't want anyone to know what the plane can do. Being a high-anxiety type of situation, the plane pulled out all the security stops. I swear, that thing went straight up. On any other day, it would have been the most unbelievable thing I'd seen that day. As a sidebar, I don't blame the President one bit for being "unavailiable" for most of that day. He can run the country from that plane, and the Secret Service's job is to keep him alive. Heck, as I remember the stories, he wanted to go right back to Washington and they advised against it. You can't have the President of the United States in harm's way, no matter what you think of him.

    I also think that he was at his strongest and most natural later that week while standing on the rubble pile. He was comforting to me, and not just because he promised to blow something up.

    Anyway, everyone knows the story from there. Insomnia, constant CNN watching, terror, paranoia. I do remember the erie lack of planes in the sky for a week.

    Then there was that plane crash in Queens on Nov. 12. I was driving on 355 when I heard the radio report and all those two month old wounds were briefly reopened.

    So where are we now?

    The high hard one

  • Did the brakes on the Dodge over the weekend. Turns out I like my brake pedal like I pitch in softball- high and hard.

  • I used Autozone's DuraStop brand parts. Pads and rotors for both front wheels was $45. While I don't know how long they will last, I am impressed with the stopping power. Took no time at all for the pads to seat in, and I noticed a definite improvement. That is in contrast to the Contour, where when I did the brakes last year, I used a more expensive fancy brake pad. I've never been happy with the performance. They work fine, they just don't have a good feel.

  • On the way home from the above Autozone, my car got hit by a golfball flung off the fine links of the Blue Island Park District's "Meadows" golf course. Hit about 6 inches away from the edge of the roof of the vehicle. The manager was nice about it, but gave me the impression that they weren't going to do much about it. Sort of gave me the vibe that it was my problem to go find the golfer who did it and make him take care of it. I intend to get an estimate from one of those paintless dent repair places, and hopefully they'll take care of me. At the very least, I want some free golf. And let me tell you, that made a heck of a noise when it hit. Think of that cartoon sound effect of a bucket on someone's head being hit with a pipewrench.

  • Friday, September 08, 2006

    Good Eatin'

    No, not another picture... I was bored tonight, and had a chicken breast in the fridge. I took it, pounded it flat, breadcrumbed it, and fried it in olive oil. Fairly slowly. Meanwhile, chopped some garlic together with some spinach. When the chicken was done (golden brown, like a schnitzel), I took it out and dumped in the garlic and spinach to cook for a moment. Then dumped in some spaghetti sauce and llet those cook up together. Dumped that on the chicken. Boy, was that good.

    Happy Anniversary!

    40 years ago today, Star Trek was first broadcast. Read here for excerpts of a strange interview with Nimoy and Shatner.





    Wednesday, September 06, 2006

    Good Lookin'!

    I've always been a big fan of Liza Weil.

    From a Gilmore Girls rerun:

    Tuesday, September 05, 2006

    Australia!

    No funeral plans were announced but state Premier Peter Beattie said Irwin would be afforded a state funeral if his family agreed.
    That's Australia in a nutshell: a guy who wrestles alligators gets a state funeral.