Yet Another Photo Post...
Yes, I know it's something o'clcok in the morning. I just got home from playing poker. The nicotine of two cigars and the mental adrenaline of driving 40 miles home have got me a bit wired. I'd just stare at the ceiling if I got into bed now.
I played poker at Brad's Place. I had a good time. It was fun to get away from the usual things, meet some new people and drink beers.
We do play for money, but the buy-in is $20 so it's not that much to win or lose.
Here is a picture of the biggest pot of the night. It was the last hand and people were going for broke. The game was 7 card - Pass the Trash - Hi/Lo.
We played at nice tables with real chips. Brad even hung nice lamps over the tables.
This is the final pot. The greens were $2, blues $1, reds 25¢, whites 10¢. The final pot was over $70 and split between Brad & Dave. Nice.
Here's my cashflow during the evening.
While I like to play poker, I'm not a good player. I tend to stay in much longer than I should and it drains my chips. I won several good hands, but lost too many others. I walked away down $20 but it was a good time.
I hope I get a chance to play again soon.
Time for bed now...
Zoe finished the single player game of Super Smash Brothers today.
I'm so proud.
I've got 22 minutes to write this up before leaving to pick up Michele at the airport.
Here are a few photos from Christmas Eve. We had a small party for our friends with children to help pass the time until bed for the children.
We decided to make both ham and turkey for dinner. You are looking at a 15 pound turkey and a 12 pound ham. I used the Alton Brown recipe for brining and cooking the turkey. I made a Coca-Cola ham glaze for the ham.
Here I am with my Dad cutting the ham. Note the sweet electric knife I picked up earlier in the day.
In the middle of the party, the washer stopped working. Michele had been washing so new blankets for the the first time and the lint from them blocked up the pumps. In the middle of the party we drained the washer, disassembled the pump, removed the lint, and put it all back together. What a pain in the ass.
The offending ball of lint.
After the guests left, the presents came out. Here is the tree just before we went to bed.
The next morning, Santa had come! He ate cookies, drank milk and left presents for the girls.
More stories & pics later, I gotta run.
I just read an interesting article about the future of the Apple Mac OS.
The Mac OS on a x86 platform would surely put some competition into the computer industry.
Time for me to begin cleaning the house. Michele's plane lands at 5ish in 8 short hours. Last night I was working on some text and pictures and I accidently hit the reset button on the case. Ouch. You'll have to wait for later to see it all.
It's about 6:15 and I'm sitting on the couch with the laptop. Zoe is playing on the new Gamecube and Mira is watching, eating cookies. We had a busy day with lunch at Philipe's downtown and the afternoon at the Natural History Museum. Mom, Dad, and Matt met us for lunch and were with us for the rest of the day. The girls have been here recently, but we saw a few new exhibits at the museum. There were special exhibits on Dogs and Baseball. We also checked out the regular animals and history of California halls.
The girls had a great time, but all the walking took it out of them and they both fell asleep in the car as I drove home.
I haven't updated in a while. The party on Christmas Eve, Christmas, and Michele's trip have made my free time a scarce thing. Michele went on a short trip to Cincinnati for her 20th high school reunion and she left on Dec. 26th at 6AM. I've been with the girls since.
I did get away for a bit while the girls were with my parents and Matt, Martin, and I went to go see LotR: The Two Towers at the Cineramadome. We even enjoyed Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles for dinner afterwards. I made my first visit to Amoeba Records. Pretty cool place. I picked up a Flaming Lips CD and a Fatboy Slim CD.
Gotta go, Zoe says it's my turn on the Gamecube. More later.
The presents are open, I'm drinking coffee, Michele is wearing her new watch, and the kids are eating chocolate and playing with their toys.
Merry Christmas to all. Even if you are not religious, please enjoy the spirit of love & giving.
I've got to scoot now, I've got to review the Fry's ad for tomorrow's big sale.
In two hours I need to get the turkey for tonight's dinner in the oven. Michele is in here now trying to keep me out. Doesn't she understand I need to get my cooking groove on?
I'm attempting to cook the turkey & ham in the same oven. 27 pounds of meat to be ready by 4 o'clock....
Today I announce a new word, Rantosphere. The word 'blogosphere' is tired and old. Rantosphere will take the reins of the internet meme buzzword train for a while.
It must be a new word since Google has zero hits for it and thinks I mean rotosphere.
The rantosphere is the collective group of web sites and weblogs that mainly focus on ranting about various issues.
Bow down before my intellectual prowess.
Since am the inventor of this word, I can choose the licensing of my word.
I hereby declare that this work, Rantosphere, is licensed under the Creative Commons ShareAlike License.
I was reading about Lessig's Challenge on geekandproud. While I like the idea of increasing support to groups that fight for the civil liberties, I'm not sure this one is clearly thought out.
These kind of campaigns tend to have some sort of goal or end. Even the kings of money raising, public radio, don't raise money around the clock.
I don't see a end or limit to this challenge. Are people really choosing to double the effective cost of of all audio-visual media, telecommunications, and internet access? Are they willing to do this forever or is there an end in sight? The repeal of the DCMA? The repeal of the Sonny Bono copyright extension act? The collapse of the RIAA/MPAA?
Let's look at the size of a monthly commitment to Lessig's Challenge in my case:
$80 - internet access
$50 - home phone
$80 - mobile phones
$20 - Netflix
$30 - (2) CDs
$20 - (1) DVD
$30 - Set of movie tickets
$35 - DirecTV
There's probably more, but let's add this up. It totals $345. That's a lot of money I just don't don't see people being able to follow through with this kind of spending forever. It sure would nice for the EFF, but I think it is unrealistic.
What's the right level of giving? I dunno. I should probably think on it a bit more. I'm going to go watch the Lessig presentation before commenting more.
I'm in the bathroom watching the girls take a bath. I'm sitting with the laptop on a small stool while the girls jabber on.
Yesterday while at Fry's I saw two pieces of software that I had to have. The first was a copy of Railroad Tycoon for linux. It was $4.99. $4.99. Even though WinXP is my main gaming platform, I couldn't resist having the game for five bucks. There were several other games there for linux, all cheap, but I thought this one would be the most fun.
The second thing I saw was DVD X Copy. Supposedly, this software can make a duplicate of a DVD, even if it is a dual layer disc. All you need is a DVD-ROM and a DVD burner.
It's no big secret that my employer doesn't like this type of thing. They have filed many, many lawsuits to stop this kind of software.
A while ago, I played with various DVD rippers to see exactly how easy of difficult it was to rip a DVD. The process generally was three parts. First was the actual rip where the MPEG data was pulled of the disc and placed on a hard drive. At the time, the 4-10 GB of space needed to store a DVD was costly. You had to devote a significant portion of your hard drive to storing the files.
The next part was converting the high quality MPEG to a lower quality MPEG for storage purposes. A program like TPMG could crush a full DVD into two 600 MB files. 600 MB files would fit on a CD-R or be used to create a VCD. The conversion process was long, usually several hours long. In my tests, I'd start the conversion at night, leave the computer on, and by morning the conversion was complete.
The visual quality was a little less than a VHS tape. The final step of burning the file to a CD-R as a VCD took time and resulted in two discs for each movie. All in all, you were probably talking about a 6-10 hour process to go from a DVD to a workable low quality duplicate. I felt that the general public wouldn't take to this. It simply took too long and required several technical choices. I could tell that someday, the process would be simple.
[break while I get the kids out of the bath]
It appears that someday is today. The DVD X Copy software says that they can *copy* a DVD in less than an hour. Technically, all the pieces are there and it should work that quickly. With DVD burners now going for < $200 and blank DVDs going for around a dollar the opportunity for individuals to copy DVDs is here.
I haven't tried a burn yet since I don't have a DVD burner yet. I'm waiting for the post-Xmas sales. I'll post here when I give it a try.
My industry is going to have to deal with the reality of this situation. The genie is out of the bottle.
For years, people have been able to copy VHS tapes, but it hasn't killed the VHS market, because most people don't want to take the trouble to copy something. I don't think this will lead to widespread copying either, but there are some people that will do it.
I read somewhere else a comment about the idea that people won't buy things they can get for free, the writer says that if this was true then public libraries would have killed off book publishing long ago.
Enough for now. I have work tomorrow and I've got a few things to do tonight.
No great news today. I spent the day with my father-in-law and my wife's cousin. We did a little shopping at Fry's. OK, I did a lot of shopping at Fry's today. Just a couple more things and I'm done.
I was hoping to squeeze in a geocache, but no luck. The rain came down before we had a good chance to get out there.
We made gingerbread houses at the Diggs tonight. The kids and adults all had a good time. Pictures when I get a chance.
Last night I watched two new shows Conquest and Mail Call on the History Channel. They were actually both very good. I've got Season passes for them now.
I'm yawning now, so I'm going to post this and go wrap presents.
The girls have terms for the types of days. There are school days and home days. They don't say vacation day, holiday, or weekend. They say home day.
I'm having a home day today while the rest of you wrestle with last minute work issues before the weekend. Muah-ha-ha-ha.
In a previous post, Dee asked in the comments about Burger King tacos. She suggested that BK tacos were going away. The Horror!
I called the local Burger King and they assured me that the tacos were here to stay. Still a bit concerned, I called the Burger King Customer Support line (305) 378-3535 to find out the truth.
I spoke to Nicky at Burger King and she said that there was talk of stopping the sale of tacos at some stores. She said that there were no specifics, but that she could confirm that in some locations, the tacos may be stopping.
I may have to organize a protest. Let me ponder...
On the political tip:
Trent Lott is resigning as Senate Leader. Thank you, thank you. I take full credit for this thanks to my fabulous 'send him a pen' idea.
OK, enough weblogging, I'm off to have fun.
I went shopping last night for gifts. On a Wednesday night, Best Buy was quite crowded... I had a list of what I was looking for, otherwise I would have been sucked into the aisle after aisle of DVDs, games, and other cool stuff.
My father-in-law was along for the trip and he was dsitracted by the plethora of techno-goodness.
We stopped by Zany Brainy to pick up stuff for the girls and got a ton of good stuff. Itold my father-in-law that Michele woudl not approve of my choices. He didn't believe me. So we bet a dollar on it. Of course, Michele disagreed with the majority of my choices and I won the dollar.
Okie, dokies. I feel asleep early yesterday night. This resulted in a serious lack of websurfing and nazi-killing....
My brother Matt did a cool new flash animation for his work. Check it out. Matt's skills are impressive.
Mister P's fun with his automobile continues. If ever there was a man that needed a wife to straighten him out, it is Mister P.
I was reading about the Creative Commons site today. I'm not sure I understand it fully, but I'm sure someone will explain it to me. From what my cursory glance reveals, it's a method to declare rights to your works in varying levels of control over what people can do with the content. Traditional copyrights are pretty black and white in what people are allowed to do. The Creative Commons people appear to offer shades of grey.
That's enough for now. I need some sleep.
The holiday is approaching at light speed. My daughters are quite excited. They already had the fun of Hanukah and now they get to enjoy Christmas.
We decorated the tree yesterday. Much fun was had and we had the traditional 'how do we put lights on the tree' arguement.
Yes, we hung real candy on the tree. There are wrapped candy canes and chocolate icicles. We are indulgent parents.
A while ago I posted about #houseofmovies on dalnet. As a result, people often emailed me asking the same question. What is the song in the beginning of the movies. I didn't know. It's interesting music, but not a mainstream tune.
Today I was in the kitchen and I heard the song come out of the computer. I was streaming off of a shoutcast server. I looked down and saw the name of the tune. Breakdown by Tantric.
Most of you regular readers won't care, but once google vacuums the site, this answer will be available to those that search for it.
I'm sitting on the couch in the living room. The Christmas tree is here with me, unadorned.
After putting the kids to sleep, I caught the second half of Ocean's Eleven. Then I caught the last 20 minutes of LotR. Now, Apocalypse Now Redux is on. It's the final scenes when Willard is with Kurtz in the camp.
It will be over soon. If Last Temptation of Christ is on next, I'll get no sleep tonight.
No links tonight. I did a geocache today, but I haven't written up the story yet.
I've decided to Help Trent Lott Resign.
I'm sending him a pen so he can sign his resignation.
Read the page and see if you want help as well.
Spread the word. Spread the idea far and wide via weblog, email, and carrier pigeon.
We picked up a Christmas Tree tonight. I washed it down and it's outside drying off for tomorrow's decoration.
Firefly was cancelled by Fox. This completely sucks. There's a glimmer of hope at fireflysupport.com but the chances are slim. I told you all to watch the show.
I would have paid large amounts of cash to be in the back seat for this encounter.
Ethan has completely reworked his web page. Looks way cooler than mine now. Please post a comment. He feels unloved.
And a hearty welcome to Dean as he begins his weblog experience. The site still has that new car smell.
No energy for a long entry.
I got this in my email today about a PNG vulnerability:
Twas the night before Christmas, and deep in IE
A creature was stirring, a vulnerability
MS02-066 was posted on the website with care
In hopes that Team eEye would not see it there
But the engineers weren't nestled all snug in their beds,
No, PNG images danced in their heads
And Riley at his computer, with Drew's and my backing
Had just settled down for a little PNG cracking
When rendering an image, we saw IE shatter
And with just a glance we knew what was the matter
Away into SoftICE we flew in a flash
Tore open the core dumps, and threw RFC 1951 in the trash
The bug in the thick of the poorly-written code
Caused an AV exception when the image tried to load
Then what in our wondering eyes should we see
But our data overwriting all of heap memory
With heap management structures all hijacked so quick
We knew in a moment we could exploit this $#!%
More rapid than eagles our malicious pic came --
The hardest part of this exploit was choosing its name
eEye Digital Security
Who says hackers don't know literature?
Alrighty there loyal readers, how the fuck are you? I'm doing well, but that's probably do to the scotch and too many cookies tonight.
Mister P has declared war on a 6 year old girl. I wonder who will win.
Speaking of Mr. P, here's the story of the power of the blog. A few days ago, Mr. P posted a rant on his weblog about the Trio network. Amazingly, he got a response from Hyperactiveman, who just so happens to be working on the rework of the Trio logo. He has promised to keep the comments in mind as he helps design a new logo. A rant out on the wild internet ends up actually having an effect. Amazing.
Star Trek comment: Tonight's episode of Enterprise included a firefight, spaceship chases, dilithium hydroxl, T'pol as a bloodthirsty judge, alien sex in the jungle, and a fist fight. Not one stupid ethical dilemma!
A rare thinking bit:
I was reading Doc Evil's weblog and read this post. Go read it. At first, I thought, wow that's pretty cool, meeting someone who isn't a freak and having a chat. I wondered if it would ever happen to me.
In his post, Doc asks, "I wondered, after Greg was gone if some of my peoples who aren't black go through these same types of things. When they see another yella, another, vanilla, or whatever comin' their way, do they harden up? Are they not acknowledged as another human being on the street?"
At first, I thougth no way. White men aren't allowed to act like that. Can you imagine two white men talking in a public place about how white men need to network and stick together? That's the realm of skinheads and the Klan. White males enjoy tremendous advantanges in American society. The very idea of white men banding together fills many with dread. I can't say I blame them. Groups of white men have done some pretty horrific things in the last 500 years.
So I thought to myself, "Self, this is an experience that you will probably never have." There are many things in life I won't experience and this is one of them I thought.
And then it struck me. White men do have a way of achieving this sense of community. We don't band together by race. There's no reason to and society doesn't much like it. We band together by our hobbies.
We band together around sports teams. We network together around cars. We nod to each other when a hot chick walks by. We group up around technology, be it stereos, power tools, or computers. A man can talk to any other man when they are standing in the same aisle in Home Depot. The normal barriers are gone. Race doesn't matter. All that matters is how cool that Sawzall would be if we bought it. All that matters is our team going to win the game. All that matters is the size of the hooters on that woman.
So, if I'm walking down the street and I see someone with a GPS unit, I'm going to stop and talk to them, just like Greg did with Doc. I'm a geek and I need to give other geeks my respect. Lord knows we don't get much of it from the world.
To my geek brothers out there, much respect. While the rest of the world thinks we are strange, we know that we keep the wheels of society turning. All those nimrods out there that can't stop their VCR from flashing 12:00 and think "Math is hard" are wrong. D&D was fun. Star Trek, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings are great. Faster computers do make you cool.
And if you disrespect us, we'll crash your fucking computer, deprogram your cell phone, and make you read the instruction manual yourself.
I know i didn't update yesterday. It's not my fault, blame the Lord of the Rings DVD. I spent too much time watching it last night. When I finally sat down at the computer my energy was gone.
Today seemed long and I don't know why. I had a busy weekend, but not overwhelmingly busy. I couldn't get started today.
I did get alot done. My inbox is empty, voicemails cleared, my expense report filed, and my email inbox is down to 30+ messages. For a corporate dude such as myself, these are good things to get done. Tomorrow I need to talk to a few people to get things rollling along.
I saw a post on Yahoo that reports the rumor that Microsoft will offer software for Linux soon. Could it be?
Alright, sleep calls me. Time to peel these plastic discs from my eyes and crawl into bed.
Let's see, where to begin...
First, I'm glad to see that Brad is out drinking.
Now, to what I've been up to:
Last week we went on a geocache after I picked up the girls from school. You can read the story of the Gamble House Micro geocache hunt. I'm still finding acorns around the house.
On Friday I picked up some of the foul tasting Harry Potter - Bott's Beans. You can read about the Bott's Beans Tasting
On Saturday I did a lot of yard work, and ended up building a new fence for the side of the house. Here are the images. I'm quite proud of myself.
On Saturday night I went to see Eqilibrium with Martin. Travis had told me about it, and it looked good. It's kind of Farenheight 451 meets Blade 2 meets Minority Report. Travis wrote up a good review that I basically agree with. I was hoping for better, but the movie wasn't as bad as some these days. I would had a bit more of the cool 'gun-kata' action and a little less staring into mirrors.
I'm not sure why the movie was shelved for two years. I would have thought that movie would have done even better after the Matrix, before the rash of films starring the bulletime/wire-fu techniques.
In summary, it's worth the $8.
Today I did a bit more yard work and played with the girls. Based on Cruft readers' suggestions, I stopped by the library and picked up Masters of Deception and The Skystone. I also took the time to watch an hour of the extended version of Lord of the Rings. I tried to explain the Ringwraiths to Zoe, but in the end we settled on a definition of 'scary bad guys on horses'.
That's enough for now. G'night.
OK folks, last night was a great episode of Firefly. The episode 'War Stories' included smuggling, ambushes, torture, firefights, lesbian sex, and even three-way sexual tension all wrapped up in a tasty sci-fi wrapper.
Watch the damn show or it's gunna get canceled. Friday's at 8PM. Set you Tivos. Tell your friends. Post on your weblog. Write letters to Fox.
Sign up for the Official Firefly Fan Club at fox.com
Sign the Save Firefly Petition.
Fireflysupport.com has the most info on how you can help.
Fireflyfans.net has the best general information on the show.
OK, I'll take 5 minutes to update during a work break.
In the parking garage, I saw this license plate (thanks MisterP to for taking the picture):
This guy is an Everquest player and proud of it. While I am suprised at the blatant geekage, I do appauld his bravery to cross his virtual and real lives.
Elfmage, whereever you are, Bravo.
Next, I saw on Slashdot today that that are slamming Phil Lelyveld. I work with Phil and he's a good guy. He's not a lawyer like they accused him of being. I don't see eye to eye with him (and our company) on how to handle the issues surrounding digital content and consumer rights, but he does believe what he said. There's no reason for the personal attacks and slams directed at the man. Attack the message if you disagree, but don't attack the man. I gave Phil a call, but he's out of the office today. I'd hate to see what his email inbox looks like.
I'm running a text ad at BBspot. Brian, who runs BBspot, has committed himself fully to running the site and quit his day job. I believe in supporting sites I visit & enjoy and so I bought a text ad. In a couple days, I'll see how many clickthroughs I get.
I'm now running MT 2.51.
All hail Ben & Mena Trott!
THe search function is now working again.
The story takes place after 'DoomWar' the typical civilization-ending, few survivor, scenerio, common to many books and films. The protaganist stumbles across a mail truck and in hopes of scamming his way to food and shelter pretends to be a postman. This little lie leads to much bigger things. The book is significantly different than the film after about 1/3 of the way in. The basic idea of people who have sacrificed much already being called to sacrifice even more is common. It's defintely a good book to read if youare tired of the more complex sci-fi & fantasy novels that are steeped in technology.
Now I need a new book. Suggestions?
I worked on my holiday greed list last night, but it's not ready for public consumption yet.
In other news:
Mister P has got his weblog rolling at fever pitch. It must be the holiday season.
The All-new Trikster is also blogging again, mainly due to the fact that he is working now and bored.
Metsfan continues to persue his goal of weblog apathy.
My brother Matt was visiting and I sprung on him my great idea.
Layaway is when you give store a deposit on an item, make payments on the item on a regular basis until you have paid the full price. Once you pay for the item, you get it.
My idea is for online retailers to use layaway for purchases. They already have the ability to do electronic checks that pull money from a savings account.
Imagine that you want that new $1,200 laptop. You don't have the $1,200 and you don't want to put it on credit due to interest payments. You got to Dell and select the layaway option. You agree to let Dell pull $100 out of your bank account on your weekly payday for 12 weeks. The $100 doesn't put a big crimp on your budget, and in 3 months, you get the laptop.
Some people have the discipline to save money themselves into a savings account, but many don't. Layaway would be a great way for people to buy big ticket items without falling into the credit trap.
Companies would benefit from layaway since they'd have your money before they gave you the product. The interest they could earn would be huge.
You read it here first.
I had great plans for tonight to work on things, but my energy is minimal. THere's a big meeting at work in the morning, and I need to be rested.
The computers are logged in, I have over 200 emails, Monica just came in with a list of phone messages, there's an inch of paper in my inbox, and the red voicemail light on the phone is blazing like a road flare.
Looks like I have some work to do.
Ready? Here we go.
After a several day posting hiatus, I am back. I'm not quite back in the groove, but I'm back.
Thanksgiving was fun. We enjoyed the traditional roasted turkey and a smoked turkey as well. I brined the turkey and Martin smoked it. It was kind of fun to start smoking the turkey the night before. Martin, Casey, & I drank a few beers and poked at the fire for a while. It was nice for me since I went home and went to sleep. Poor Martin was up tending the smoker all night.
My father loved the smoked turkey, so I expect we'll be smoking another one next year.
I finished reading Vanishing Act last week. I really enjoyed it. It was a solid read with a good story arc and plenty of surprises that kept me guessing as to what would happen next. Thomas Perry's writing about the underworld is fantastic. I still think Metzger's Dog is his best story, but this one ranks up with Butcher's Boy and Sleeping Dogs.
On the linkage front, go read this Being Daddy. It's funny 'cause it's true.
Geocaching front: We went geocaching on Sunday. Here's the story of the Where the Wild Things Are cache. I did another geocache today, but I haven't written it up yet.
Children front: As a Hanukah present, we took the girls on a trip to Build-a-Bear. People without children may find this strange.
Technology front: I picked a new toy for Michele. One of the drawbacks of the MSN Companion we have in the kitchen is that it does not play audio. I bought a modded Virgin Webplayer as a replacement. It has a hard drive and Windows 98 installed and is a full computer. After a few minutes of fiddling, I had it playing MP3s and streaming audio. Michele is happy.
Television front: In the last 3 days, I have watched 5 episodes of the Sopranos. I had let them build up in the Tivo and to the point that I was way out of date. I am super-saturated with Sopranos at this point. I think they are going to leave us hanging in the finally and not wrap up any loose ends. All I can say is that Paulie Walnuts is crazy.
Over the last several days, there were several other things that I considered post-worthy, but right now, I am too tired to remember them. More later.