November 28, 2002
Happy Thanksgiving

We are off to my parent's house for Thanksgiving dinner.

I hope everyone has a great holiday and enjoys it with people they love.

Posted by michael at 02:58 PM
November 27, 2002
Universal Geekage

Some have said the my weblog roams in the area of the geek fringe. This may be true. It has also been said that sometimes my technical posts need translating. This also may be true.

But I see that every hobby out there has it's strange lingo.

Consider what I saw when looking the description for a bike. A bicycle, not a motorcyle mind you...

New lightweight A1 Premium Aluminum comfort designed anatomic frame.
Shimano Acera 21-speed with 11-34 MegaRange drivetrain.
New Body Geometry therapeutic soft triple density grips.
Super-soft Comfort Plus mattress base spring saddle.
Specialized 700x38c Nimbus EX tires with Flak Jacket puncture protection.
Specialized 700x38c No-Flat Airlock tubes.

Nimbus? I thought Nimbus made brooms for flying?
Flack Jacket? What does a Flak Jacket have to do with a bicycle? Will someone be shooting at me?

Those bike geeks are weird.

Posted by michael at 11:59 AM

I was at work, not working, when I saw this on Yahoo! Most Popular:


Posted by michael at 09:08 AM
November 26, 2002

They mentioned someone I kinda know in the Wall Street Journal. Lukas "Lukwam" Karlsson is a friend of James "Trikster" Ho, cousin of my wife.

The article discusses Tivo profiling and how it can lead to some strange results.

I've noticed the same thing where I need to counter-program Tivo to get it to stop recording programs I don't want. I don't want Spongebob Square Pants.

On a different note, here is an interesting article on predictions from 1992.

Posted by michael at 04:11 PM
November 25, 2002

Several loyal Cruft readers have asked questions recently. I will answer.

Q: Ya'll boil crawfish out there??
A: See the story.

Q: tooth fairy LOOT? what are you trying to do?
A: Don't blame me. My idea was for shiny coins only. Scarymommy is the one that insisted on a present. This time it was the Spirit DVD, a pack of sugarfree gum, and two gold dollar coins.

Q: What's the BTU rating on the burner?
A: After extensive research by Top Men, it have been to be 1.21 gigaBTUs.

Q: are those phillies blunts? what are the co-ordinates?
A: Yes, Phillies Blunts we were supposed to smoke on this geocache, but we had already broken several rules and I didn't feel like starting a forest on fire. The new cache is posted.

Q: Your power failed and THEN your UPS thingy failed too?
A: No, we were upgrading the UPS thingy and it broke. We were on the power generator at the time. We didn't lose power, but we did stay up to 2AM fixing the UPS thingie with the replacement whatchamacalit.

Ok, that should answer your questions for now. If you have more, let me know.

For all those concerned, I am working on my holiday greed list, so save your pennies and keep on the alert.

Lastly I would like to remind you TANSTAAFL.

Posted by michael at 09:01 PM
November 24, 2002
Err, what time is it?

A productive day...

This morning I prepared an ammo box to place for a geocache. I put some good stuff in it.

I placed the cache with the girls at a local park. I'll post the URL once the cache is approved.

We headed down to my parents house for a visit. I spent a large part of the day trying to move my mother's contact database from ACT 2.something on a Umax Mac clone running Mac OS 8.something to Outlook XP on a Dell running Windows XP. What a pain. Trying to explain the issues of data conversion and field parsing to my mother is tiring. Mom cares about the end result, not the method to get there. I did my part, I got her contacts into a modern platform. She can export the database into anything whe wants now.

Other computer support I performed include running Ad-aware on my dad's machine to clean out Gator and some other spyware. I did the WinXP service pack one on my mom's computer. My pay was dinner.

Zoe lost a tooth today while we were at my parent's house. She was quite proud of herself that she pulled it out herself.

When we returned home, I was sent out to get tooth fairy loot. I just happened to go to Target. I just happened to stumble across a turkey fryer on sale. I just happened to buy it.

You ask, "What do you need a turkey fryer for?"

Ah, it's not just good for frying turkeys. It's good for brewing beer and boiling crayfish. I have big plans.

Later. I need to go rub blinding ointment into my eyes.

Posted by michael at 10:38 PM
So I didn't go to bed after all
I will cause a war unless you pay me ONE MILLION DOLLARS!
Posted by michael at 12:57 AM
November 23, 2002

Thanks to Metsfan for the link to Second Spin. It's a cool site where you can buy used CDs & DVDs.

I have a good day puttering aorund and went to the park with Mira. Who could ask for more?


Posted by michael at 11:37 PM
How do I spell?

I'm sitting here with Mira. She's on her computer, I'm on mine. She's asking me how to spell everything so she can write an email to Bear in the Big Blue House.

LAst night I had to put this special ointment in my eye. Says on the tube "For Corneal Edema". The doctor said when you put it in, your vision will be very blurry for a couple of hours. I put the stuff in and amazingly everything was very blurry. I went to sleep.

In my chat with the doctor, we discussed that if I had to they could do the cornea replacement and then do Lasix and I would have perfect vision. Cornea replacement surgery is not a simple one week recovery like laser surgery. It would probably take six months to a year. I think I'll give it a few more years for the surgeons to hone their skills. Patience. I just have to have patience.

On the gaming front:

I haven't had a good gaming session in a week. Between family, Comdex, and the busted UPS, I haven't had a chance to play many games. Squidly has helped to get me to play with his clan, but I just haven't had a chance.

I guess I should make up a ToDo list so I can get all my RL stuff done and find time for gaming.

Styrofoamkitty is having a bad day.

After a week hiatus, Lukwam is back with a triple post.

Lastly, this will make my brother wonder what's going on.

Posted by michael at 09:59 AM
November 21, 2002
Catching up

OK, trying to catch up...

First, it appear that has awaken from a long slumber. Now that he's working, he has plenty of free time to update his weblog. Conversely, Lukwam, who is out of work, has not updated in almost a week. Kids these days...

I wrote up the latest Geocache I did in Vegas.

Next, I wrote up my visit to Comdex 2002.

Lastly I picked up a bottle of Glenmorangie Sherry Wood Finish 12 Year Old Scotch today. Most tasty. Michele and I enjoyed a drink before dinner.

Now this is a information filled post. Drink deep of the original content. G'night.

Posted by michael at 09:51 PM

I'm finally home and it's almost 3.

The problem at work is fixed and the safety of children's TV is assured.

The morning wakeup will come quickly...

Posted by michael at 02:55 AM
Long day

It's past midnight and the UPS is almost working. Almost isn't good enough.

Hopefully within the hour we'll be able to switch back. Until then, it's time for coffee.

In other news, I want some turducken.

Posted by michael at 12:14 AM
November 20, 2002
Ruh Roh

I'm at work and our UPS is busted. The UPS is the big battery that protects us against power failure. The upgrade/maintenance for it failed.

There's a guy driving to Fullerton as I type to get a replacement for what we think is the problem board. IN rush hour traffic, we are talking about a 3 hour round trip.

Until then, we are running off our generator. We have about 40 hours of fuel. It could be a long night.

Posted by michael at 05:59 PM
November 19, 2002
Back in SoPas

I'm back home. I was happy to see the girls. Michele was tired. That's what 48 hours of non-stop girls will do to you.

It is book fair week at Zoe's school, so I read two of the new books to the girls before dinner. We've been reading stories like Cinderella and Rapunzel and so the girls want to pretend to be the heroine. They insist that we 'be mean' and order them around. I tell them to go scrub the floor, and they pretend to scrub the floor, giggling all the time.

Michele insisted in making dinner and refused to let me pick something up. I'm sure she was concerned with my eating habits in Vegas, because tonight's dinner had lots of spinach in it. Michele believes that spinach will heal all that ails a person. The meatloaf she made was good and I was happy to dinner at a table where I could hear no bells ringing.

A bit later I turned on my computer and found I had 222 emails waiting for me. I was gone around 56 hours without checking email. Thanks to Spamassassin Pro 143 spam emails were automatically placed in my Junk Email folder. Only 4 spam emails survived the filtering and were still in my inbox. SpamAssassin missed less than 3% of the spam and didn't make mistakes with false positives. Buying that software is money well spent.

For those that are truly voyeuristic, the remaining 79 emails consisted of 57 Delt mailing list emails, 3 geocaching emails, and 19 miscellaneous emails.

I have a bunch of photos from the trip, but I don't have the energy to write them all up now. You'll have to do with this for now:

Martell, MSN Butterfly #1, Me, MSN Butterfly #2

Posted by michael at 10:05 PM
November 18, 2002

I'm at Comdex, sitting in the hotel waiting for breakfast. THe New York, New York hotel has broadband to the room for $10 for 24 hours. I tried wardriving, but I'm up on the 26th floor. I can see two access points, but I can't get a steady signal to attach. I tried...

At the Keynote address, Bill Gates spoke about the Microsoft vision for the future of computing. The Tablet PC was a big thing, and they talked a little more about it. THey also showed the smart monitor. The difference is best described this way: The Table PC is like a cell phone, you can take it with you most places and it will work. The Smart Monitor is like a cordless phone in your house that works great near home, but doesn't is you go too far away. People are going to like these things.

They also showed small devices they called SPOT. Small wirelessly connected items with personalized info. What they showed were small clocks that could recieve data from elsewhere. One of the examples was a smart alarm clock. I thought it was a dud. I did like the smart key chain. I'm the kind of guy that needs a keychain to remind me of times & places I have to be.

Gotta go, time for breafast...

Posted by michael at 09:27 AM
November 17, 2002
Vegas Baby!

I'm off to Vegas for Comdex in 20 minutes.

It's WiFi, Tablet PCs, and strange Japanese accesories for me until Tuesday.

See ya...

Yes, I did pack the cantenna into my luggage! I'll wardrive the casinos!

To keep you in suspense, here's the latest part I acquired to use in my wardriving fun. Michele thnks I've gone off the deep end.

Posted by michael at 09:24 AM
November 16, 2002
A new drink

Tonight we were at the Diggs house for Emily's 7th birthday. Obviously, a child's birthday party is the right place to invent a new drink.

I present to you the newest alcoholic sensation.

Vodka + Red Licorice Soda = The Red Vine

Believe it or not, it tasted good.

Posted by michael at 09:54 PM
November 15, 2002
The bisquits are baking

OK, a quick post while the bisquits are in the oven.

A while ago, I posted a few entries about wanting to know a good method to wash my old Dodgers baseball cap. Many loyal Cruft readers sent in suggestions.

As an unexpected side effect I get hit several times a day by people looking for how to wash baseball caps via search engines. Rather than disappoint them, I thought it would be good to write up this page and answer their question clearly.

Please enjoy How to wash a baseball cap.

In other news, Michele updated her weblog. She's on a shocking one post per month pace.

Posted by michael at 07:16 AM
November 14, 2002
Welcome to Planet Irata!

Yesterday, my package from Avon arrived.

The device was supposed to have 10 playable Atari games inside the joystick.

Believe it or not, it did.

I wrote up a short review on the Atari 10 in 1 Joystick.

In other news, I finished my book Declare last night. I really enjoyed the last half of the book. Tim Powers is quite an interesting author. The first part of the book reads like a John LeCarre spy novel, full of tradecraft and politics. The second half delves into the fantasy world of djinn and globe spanning conspiracy. Good stuff if you ask me!

Today at the office, I got my hands on a Tablet PC. Oh my. These things are going to be in high demand once the public gets a look of them. Business PDAs are doomed. These Tablets are what people are going to want with them when they are in a meeting.

Posted by michael at 10:19 PM
No Soup For You

So I had these great plans for my update tonight and whatnot.

Then I fell asleep on the couch after the kids went to bed and woke up around 11:30.

No quality post tonight, I'm afraid.

Until, get your dose of

Posted by michael at 12:26 AM
November 12, 2002
Red Licorice Soda

I was at the supermarket today and while looking for Diet Vanilla Coke, I saw this:

Of course I had to buy it. After chilling for a few hours and once the kids had gone to bed, I cracked it open.

Sure enough, it tastes exactly like Red Vines licorice. Exactly.

Admit it, you wish you had some.

On the wireless front, I need to make a correction. 'tmobile' is not Boingo. Here are the differences:

Boingo is a company offering wireless access in hotels, airports, and cafes. Boingo is led by Sky Dayton, founder of Earthlink. Access costs $8 for a day, $25 for 10 days of the month, and $75 for unlimited access per month.

T-Mobile Hotspot is a company offering wireless access in Starbucks and airports. T-Mobile is the combination of Voicestream and Deutche Telecom. Access costs $3 plus 25ยข/minute, $30/month unlimited local access, $50/month unlimited national access.

Make sense?

BTW, here's a picture of my antenna in the car window as I wardrive:

On another turbo-geek note, I broke down and went with the guys from work to Best Buy after lunch. I bought both Episode II (Widescreen) and Lord of the RIngs (Extended Edition). I know, I'm weak. But I have a feeble excuse... Michele had never seen Episode II and she is watching it now, as I type for the first time.

Long day. Tomorrow is longer. Time to rest.

Posted by michael at 10:03 PM
November 11, 2002
One eyed post

I forgot to mention that I finally got a chance to watch the movie Legend of 1900. I had caught part of the movie on TV and wasn't able to find the DVD for a while. Recently I noticed the netflix had it and added it to the queue.

I enjoyed the movie. It has some great moments, but felt like a bit was missing. Roger Ebert has a good review of it. It's definitely worth a viewing.

My toying with wardriving continues. From my office I can hit 15+ WAPs with the new antenna. I also realized that Starbucks turned on a Boingo access point in the lobby of our building. I need to do a little more research to see what the BOingo system is all about. If you are wardriving and come across the SSID of 'tmobile', it the Boingo system.

I'm pondering songs for my next MeFi swap. I need to be original. No more leaning on my old standbys.

Posted by michael at 10:19 PM
BF1942 for $19.99

Battlefield 1942 is available at newegg for $19.95.

That is below any price barrier you could hope for...

Buy it now!

Posted by michael at 12:38 PM
Late night geek

I'll make this brief, it's late, Michele's sick, and the bed is calling my name.

I finished my page on building a cantenna for 802.11 wardriving.


Put this t-shirt on my Hanukah/Christmas/Festivus list. I need it.

Posted by michael at 12:45 AM
November 09, 2002
Rainy Day

The rain continues to fall here in LA. Last night I made cookies with the girls.

Yes, it looks like play-do, but it's not. The cookie dough comes in various colors and you get to mix the dough into different shapes before you bake it. The girls & I had fun. Unfortunately, the cookies didn't taste so good. I spinkled sugar on the second batch and it was much better.

I didn't leave the house today. I spent the morning building an antenna for the wardriving. Yes, I've got the bug to try out wardriving again. I'll write up the story tomorrow.

In the mean time, someone please buy me this space suit.

Posted by michael at 10:24 PM
November 08, 2002
A glorious day

Today started out wonderfully. It was raining all night and when I awoke, the rain was still pounding. The girls climbed into bed with Michele & me to snuggle and listen to the rain fall.

One of the strange attributes of Southern California denizens is that we actually like it rains, especially the first big rain of the year. I can't explain why, but it happens. Even people born elsewhere begin to feel this way after living in SoCal for a while.

Yesterday, that the infamous 4x4 lunch, I even talked about the joy of climbing up the ladder in the rain to clear the leaves from the rain gutter.

Today I had the pleasure of actually doing it. Much to Michele's chagrin, I climbed up the ladder in my good raincoat and tossed the leaves blocking the drain onto the lawn. The satisfying woosh sound told me it was going to be a good day.

Work was OK. My meeting load was at a minimum and I was able to actually get some work done. I had a good trip at lunch to the electronics store and then to Poquito Mas.

The book I'm reading,
, is really getting going. After 200 pages of Ludlum style spy tradecraft, the magic side of the story is kicking in. It's cool stuff. I'd say more, but that might ruin it.


Cool graphic from Amazon, eh?

Posted by michael at 08:09 PM
November 07, 2002

Today after a trip to Ikea on the lunch hour, Brad, Chris, Pat and I stopped at In 'n Out Burger for lunch. In my last two visits, I have consumed 3x3 burgers. At the suggestion of Brad & Chris, I tried a 4x4. That's a burger with 4 patties and 4 slices of cheese. in 'in Out will make them as big as you want. Brad and Chris tried the 3x3s and were also surprised how easy it was to eat those.

Amazingly, the burger went down smoothly. The 5x5 seems easily doable.

Where will the madness end?

Posted by michael at 10:31 PM
November 06, 2002
Gotta get back in my groove

OK, it's been a rough couple days, but it's time to update ye olde weblog.

The Election: What can I say that hasn't been said. I'm disappointed. I'm frustrated. Others have written good things about the effects of this election so I won't go over those points here. It simply sucks...

Today I was trying to figure out why I had the sinking feeling in my gut. The reality is that as a highly paid white married man with children, the direct effects of the GOP control of government won't target me or my family. I'm the kind of person they want happy. I thought to myself, "Why do I care about this so much?" "Why can't I just let this go? I'll never need an abortion or Medicaid, or hopefully Social Security."

Then the answer came to me. It's not that I disagree so much with the ideas. I do disagree, but not to dramatic levels. The real issue is that the Republicans appear to me to always, ALWAYS, lying about the real reasons behind their policies.

It's the thought that our government is run by a group that surrounds themselves in deception and duplicity that fills me with dread.

They are lying about the reason to invade Iraq.
They are lying about the environment.
They are lying about privatizing Social Security.
They are lying about the Patriot Act.
They are lying about tax cuts and the economy.
They are lying about widespread corporate fraud.
They are lying about role of religion in government.
They are lying about the War on Drugs.
They are lying about EVERYTHING.

If they simply told the truth behind what they were doing to the public, I might not feel as if the wool was pulled over the country's eyes. My fear is that the Republicans have just run an elaborate con game on the country and the country is to oblivious to realize this.

After I expressed my loathing of Bush & the GOP to a Republican friend, he told me, "Now you know how I felt for 8 years when Clinton was President." Payback is a bitch.

My brother and many others are pissed at their fellow American citizens for not voting. Personally, I wish every citizen did vote, I don't think we can lay the results of the election at their feet. People have the right to not use their rights if they want.

Enough of the political talk. It's not my strong suit. I lost $40 betting on the election. I need to stick to the things I know to get my mind and body back in good shape.

In an all too common "wow, it's a small world" occurance, Styrofoamkitty was reading my weblog and saw my South Pasadena t-shirt. Long term Cruft readers know that I live in the tiny town of South Pasadena, surrounded on all sides by the behemoth cities of LA, Pasadena, and Alhambra. It seems that Styrofoamkitty used to live in So. Pas. during her high school years. Currently she lives somewhere near DC in my brothers group of DC bloggers.

She mentioned the street address of her old house and it's on my way to work.

Here's her old house:

It's a tiny, itsy-bitsy world with the net tying us together.

The Gaming Front:

I've been playing Battlefield 1942 and the RtCW mod Wild West. I enjoy them both greatly, and they help get me into an alpha state in my mind. The relaxation I get from gaming helps me stay sane. Sounds strange, but it's true.

The blood patch for Battlefield 1942 makes a big difference in gameplay. I'm hoping they make it part of the next game patch.

Here are a couple funny links I saw on Metafilter that you might enjoy:
Anakin's Switch
Dems Strategy Working

Michele is home from the last of six quilt shows this year. I am happy to have her home for a while. Once again I get to enjoy being in the study with her, me on my computer, her making art (currently making beaded necklaces), and the both of us listening to Loveline on the radio. If only I could get her to update her weblog.

Speaking of weblogs, I was reading Anita Rowland's weblog and saw this post about a public weblog discussion. Too bad it's in Seattle.

I was reading SeaDoc's weblog and saw a cool link to screen shots from Longhorn, the post-XP operating system from Microsoft.

Lastly, one good thing that came out of my lunch meeting was hearing about I think there is no limit to the details of celebrity life that America wants to know about.

OK, time to play some BF1942.

Posted by michael at 09:06 PM
November 03, 2002

I had a nice post going until while searching for a link I wiped this page clean.

Fuck it, I'm going to bed.

Posted by michael at 09:55 PM
It's gunna be a long night

The Halloween candy finally caught up with my 6 year old, Zoe. About 30 minutes before bed, she complains about an upset stomach.

15 mintues later, she throws up a blue candy/dinner mixture. My mother-in-law is in town, so the eating rules have disappeared.

She says she feels better and climbs into bed. An hour later I hear a noise from her room. She's on her hands & knees puking on the bed. I clean her up, toss her into my bed, pull off the sheets, put on new sheets, put her back in bed and start a load of laundry.

A couple hours later, I hear her again. She's puking into the trash basket next to her bed. Still a bit of blue in the puke. Clean her up, clean up the the trash can, etc. She drinks a little water.

An hour later, she walks out of the bathroom and proceeds to puke up the water into the toliet while I hold her hair out of her face. She rinses out her mouth, but I don't let her drink any more water.

It's not even 1AM yet. It's gunna be a long night...

Did I mention that my wife was out of town? :)

Posted by michael at 12:51 AM
November 02, 2002

I have broken the great conspiracy!

After visiting the fifth store of the day looking for Diet Vanilla COke, I finally found it at Ralph's hidden behind the Diet Coke w/ Lemon.

Is it all I hoped it would be? Yes.

The kids are asleep in bed. Time for me to go play BF1942. Later...

Posted by michael at 09:35 PM

Stopped at yet another store looking for the elusive Diet Vanilla Coke.

No luck.


Posted by michael at 01:28 PM

I'm currently sitting with Mira on the couch. She's watching Inspector Gadget and I've got the laptop. We are both under the blanket and it is quite cozy.

What a week. Birthdays, Halloween, and lots of news.

First of all, go visit my new friend, Metsfan, at his weblog. He needs the hits for incentive. A few comments would hurt either. Tell him you love Windows, he's a big fan of Windows.

It also appears that Mrs. Diggs is posting a bit, and so is Martin. Alas, my wife appears to be taking month-long breaks between entries. My single brother has attracted women groupies to his site by talking about candy often.

This week Jam Master Jay was killed. For those that don't know, Jay Master Jay was one of the founders of RUN-DMC, an early rap band that Matt and I used to listen to while growing up here in LA. I was reading a message board when I saw a post about him being killed. I checked several news sites and didn't see any confirmation. Gabe, the poster, lives in Queens and insisted it was true. He runs weekly Shoutcast radio show and decided to rebroadcast the local radio program that was talking about the news. With a couple clicks, I could hear the local New York radio over the internet. I could hear the DJs talking about it and choking back tears. The people from the message board were also in an IRC channel discussing the news. We got tired of listening to the radio show and Gabe began playing various RUN-DMC songs. Since I am the old-school rap listener, I was able to call out the assorted old tunes that the young guys didn't know about. It was interesting that this sort of instant community is possible due to the internet. The world just keeps getting smaller.

I laughed when I saw the site, I thought it was hilarious. It was only a matter of time before buyyourowndamntampons appeared in response. Reading these sites makes me wonder why people get married.

OK, time to go take a shower. Zoe's soccer game is at 11 and I need to get the ball rolling. I need to invent a way to drink coffee while in the shower. I'd be rich. Better yet, a way to write your weblog while in the shower...

Lastly, Here's an image of my home network that drew up. Why post this? Because I'm a geek and I think it's cool.

Posted by michael at 09:22 AM

Yes, I know I should have updated this tonight...

But I didn't.

I fell asleep on the couch, woke up, played BF1942, and now I'm going to sleep.

Tomorrow. I'll update tomorrow...

Posted by michael at 01:03 AM
November 01, 2002
Head Explode

I am currently on a work conference call. It's muted, so they can't hear me type.

I have these kinds of calls all the time, and usually I'm OK with it.

Today, for some unknown reason, I want to reach through the phone and strangle them all and make them shut up. The urge is great...

I'm sure this is some sort of stress reaction to the current wife-out-of-town, mother-in-law-in-town situation.

And, I still don't have any Diet Vanilla Coke. But this person is taunting me! Why am I being punished.

Posted by michael at 09:21 AM