November 28, 2004
Busy with a new World

Last Tuesday I went with the guys from work to pick up a copy of World of Warcraft, the new MMORPG from Blizzard.

Long time Cruft readers may recall that I played one of the first MMORPGs, Ultima Online, for four years. In early 2001, I stopped playing Ultima regularly. I simply got tired of the stress from the virtual world. In the game I had been a vigilante, a Guild Leader, and even the Mayor of an imaginary town. I realized I really didn't need the stress, despite the fun. The fun is recounted here in my stories.

I tried a couple other games but never got hooked. I decided to give World of Warcraft (WoW) a try. So far I've been having fun and enjoying all aspects of the game.

Here are a few pictures of the game so you get an idea of what it's like.

Here I am (I'm the short Gnome) fighting an irate Mountain Buzzard

Flying on a griffon to the city of Ironforge

For more pictures and funny stuff, click more to see the rest...

Paying my respects to the King of the Gnomes

I love the name of this guild

You can walk on water when you are dead

The game simulates a real city, even children walking with their teacher

Lying on a bear skin rug
Early MMORPGs didn't let you do things like lie down, WoW lets you do many things like this

Sitting on a griffon's head

Sitting on kegs of beer

Sleeping on a candelabra

As you can see, there's a lot to do in the new world. Hopefully my blogging won't suffer much. ;)

Posted by michael at 08:34 PM
November 25, 2004

Today is Thanksgiving. I've been up since the wee hours getting the turkey & brisket into the smoker for dinner tonight.

On Thanksgiving people often consider what they are most thankful for in life. That question is easy for me.

I am most thankful for the health of my children. All other things pale in comparision to the fact that my daughters are healthy and free from disease, birth defects, or injuries.

Unfortunately, many parents are not so lucky with their children. So on this day of Thanksgiving, I urge you to consider them. is an organization devoted to helping children with HIV/AIDS. Through Angelwish, you can give directly to the children with this awful disease and make this holiday season a bit better for them.

Angelwish allows you to find children's HIV/AIDS programs near you and send gifts directly to the children. They use Amazon's gift service to allow the gift you buy to go directly the hospital where the child will recieve it.

I've donated several gifts to Miller Children's Hospital - Pediatric and Family HIV Center, a hospital here in Los Angeles. It's simple, you choose the hospital you want to help and follow the link to Amazon and choose a gift to send. With the gift option, the package goes directly to the hospital, not to a middleman.

I have never asked for donations on this site. There is no Paypal button or link to my Amazon wishlist. If you want to support my site, please consider donated a gift to a child with HIV/AIDS now. Also, please consider linking to Angelwish and urging others to donate to them.

Thanks and I hope you have a great Thanksgiving, I know I will!

Posted by michael at 01:36 PM
November 21, 2004
How fast do painkillers dissolve?

I got into my science groove this weekend and did a little experiment.

Now you too can know, How fast do painkillers dissolve?

Posted by michael at 09:54 PM
November 19, 2004
Lowly dogs, bow your heads

Pay attention denizens of Los Angeles, I have news that affects you! Spread the news!

Last May I went to see GWAR perform. I had a great time and afterward had several people say, "If I would have known, I would have gone with you."

I am giving all you fair warning that GWAR is coming to Los Angeles on December 3rd, at the Key Club in Hollywood.

Hear me now, you WILL go see GWAR when they come to town "to play heavy metal and split some fucking skulls!" Bowing down to GWAR as our masters is an experience not to be missed.

You cannot resist the call of Oderous Urungus, Flattus Maximus, and Beefcake the Mighty! Buy your tickets TODAY. Do not delay or hem and haw over this. You simply must attend the GWAR concert.

I do not want to hear any bullshit about your plans to watch TV or snuggle with the missus. Reserve December 3rd as a night of mayhem, skull splitting, and getting covered in strange colored fluids in a mosh pit.

Posted by michael at 01:10 PM

When I say I have a lot of meetings at work, this is what I am talking about...

In my office, there is a quote on my wipeboard. It says, "Meetings: Where good ideas go to die."

Posted by michael at 08:28 AM
November 15, 2004
Just a Geek

I finished up my latest book, Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton tonight. Since I'm still waiting for Halflife 2 to finish downloading, I thought I'd take some time to write up a review.

Just a Geek - Wil Wheaton

This is the first book I've read, where I actually know the author and about him outside of what's in the book. I've met Wil several times but wouldn't consider him a friend, more of a casual acquaintance. We've had some beers, chatted, and bumped into each other several times at various events in LA, but not much more than that. He's a good guy but from our emails back & forth and insanely busy guy as well.

Most of what Wil wrote in his book was not a surprise or relevation to me since I'd been reading his blog for a long time. Wil's writing on the blog can be a bit scattered and loose when he gets excited and I wasn't sure what to expect from his book.

Pleasantly, I was happy to find a fairly tightly written book about what was going on with Wil for the last several years, showing both his public face and his private turmoil. Much more than a simple rehash of blog entries that some other 'famous bloggers' have foisted on the public.

The book deals with his coming to grips with life and becoming comfortable in his own skin. He give names to his inner voices like 'Prove To Everyone' that had him second guessing himself constantly. This was a little hard to for me to empathize with, since my self-confidence level is high. (Remember, I'm that ENTJ guy) But I know that lots of people have real trouble dealing with concerns over what other people think about them. I'm sure Wil's story hits home for a lots of people.

He never launches into 'poor me' mode when looking at the past in the book. He looks back as a man that is finally free of the demons of the past and ready for pretty much anything.

The one thing I've was expecting him to discuss in his book was noticably lacking, his relationship with his fans.

Wil is a celebrity and most of the times I've seen him, he is dealing with fans trying to get his attention. The net makes it even easier for people to try to connect to celebrities and Wil has left himself wide open. I can't imagine the onslaught of email and requests he gets from people constantly looking for his attention.

He had an entire community going on his site forums (bka The Soapbox) that grew beyond what he could realistically control. The community was so tight, that it now survives outside of Wil's direct supervision. Several of the people he thanks in the book are people that he met in his Soapbox forums.

Following his schedule, I can see him getting busier and busier and sweeping more and more people in as his fans. To me the interesting story would be how he deals with the adoration, the requests, and the stalking that most celebs deal with. It's a side of life that we civilians rarely hear about other than after a famous person gets into an embarassing situation. Wil's in the unique position to pull back the curtain a little and show people what a celebrity has to deal with.

Now that would be a book.

Posted by michael at 11:47 PM
November 14, 2004
Computer Fair

Today I went the Pomona Computer Fair with James and his friend Mark. Mark had been there before and directed the way.

The computer fair was packed with every imaginable computer part, cable, or device you could want and then some.

I didn't really have anything I need for our computers, so I was just browsing. The prices were as good as anything you might find on the net. Some places didn't charge sales tax if you paid cash, saving a bit of dough here and there.

If you are building a new computer or need a specific part, it's a great place to pick up exactly what you need.

This was the coolest computer case I saw. Completely impractical, but many points for style.

Posted by michael at 10:39 PM
November 13, 2004
Dave Winer, Fuck You

Dave Winer, Fuck You

Maybe if you devoted half of your whining energy to doing a modicum of research on this thing called the 'internet' you might not be so miserable.

Go back to the hole you crawled out of, no gives a fuck that YOU chose a shitty hotel.

Not even Doc has your back on this one...

Posted by michael at 01:04 PM
November 11, 2004

everydaycarry, originally uploaded by Argyle.

On Flickr, there is a great tag to watch called whatsinmybag where people with purses dump them out, snap a photo, and use notes to describe what's everything is.

I would love to participate, but I don't carry a bag or purse. I do have a set of things I would call my 'Every day carry' items.

So I propose a new flickr tag called everydaycarry where those without bags or purses can post and describe what they wear or keep in their pockets during the day.

Posted by michael at 07:24 AM
November 10, 2004
Are you sick of haikus yet?

Too bad...

Red light on the phone
Another damn thing to do
Please take out the bulb

Posted by michael at 08:03 AM
November 08, 2004
Don't be jealous

Last week the signs went up on my street that said "No Parking" "Tow-away" "We're fargin' serious and we got backhoes".

I had known that something was going to be dug up since the USA guys had been out writing on the street, identifying the underground lines.

Sure enough, they came and this was the scene in front of the house next door.

Yep, they are running fiber optic cable to my street. And the main junction box is about 50 feet from my front door!

Fiber to the home baby!

I talked to the guys doing the work and they says it's a telco, probably Verizon that has contracted them to do the install. I'm guessing that within 6 months or so, it will be lit up.

For those not so tech saavy, fiber to the home is a new kind of data connection like a cable modem or DSL, except the speeds are much higher. The expected minimums for fiber are 15 Mb/s download and 2 Mb/s upload. That's TEN times faster than the typical DSL line.

Posted by michael at 03:55 PM
What's Wrong With Bloggercon

What's Wrong With Bloggercon [via Adam]

Stowe Boyd absolutely nails this.

Posted by michael at 10:08 AM
November 07, 2004
The Man Who Would Be King

One of my most favorite movies is The Man Who Would Be King, a movie based on Rudyard Kipling's novel, that starred Sean Connery and Michael Caine as British soldiers that march into Afganistan and carve out a kingdom.

Several months ago, we were 'testing' a conference room at work that had HDTV for an upcoming presentation and The Man Who Would Be King was on in HD. I extolled the virtues of the film. It looked damn good in HD.

A few weeks later, Brad presented me with a book about the real life inspiration for the story.

The Man Who Would Be King (The First American in Afghanistan) - Ben MacIntyre

The book is a history of Josiah Harlan, an American adventurer that went to the heart of Asia and literally become king. In the early 1800s, there were still many places on the globe that were hard to get to and where western civilization had little influence.

Harln left from Pennsylvania to travel the world ended up in India. At the time, India was under the control of Britain. To the north was Afganistan, a place of warfare and tribal control. To Harlan, this was a place to make his own name.

The book goes through the details of exactly how he did this. At one point Harlan was the Prince of Ghor, a huge area. The claim exists today and hs great, great, great, grandson was recently made aware of his royal lineage.

The story is interesting, but the book is a history textbook. I can be a bit slow, but for an avid reader of history like myself, it is a good choice. I needed a break from the spate of sci-fi I had been reading.

Posted by michael at 05:25 PM
November 04, 2004
Latest work haiku

Written during a two-hour 'town hall' meeting today:

Same old meeting food
Brings folk to the long ass talk
Food comas for all

Posted by michael at 02:19 PM
November 03, 2004
Thought for the day

"The Americans will always do the right thing... After they've exhausted all the alternatives."
- Winston Churchill

Looks like we've got four more years of alternatives...

Chin up people, we will make it through this.

Posted by michael at 09:14 AM
The people spoke

Well, the election is over but the counting is not done. It's not over till the fat lady sings says my father, but the truth is that the voting didn't go the way I had hoped.

I was wrong in hoping that a strong turnout would break Kerry's way.

I was wrong that Bush's base wouldn't increase.

I was right that the vote wouldn't be close. Unfortunately it's something like 3 million votes for the wrong guy.

Yesterday, I was cautiously optimistic about the voting when I heard of the turnout. When I got home from work I surfed the net around 7PM and there was no real news at that point. Knowing that nothing was to be gained by fretting over the TV news, I played games for a couple hours.

To try to get my mind off the idea of losing, I watched the Daily Show and headed off to bed around 10:30. The results wouldn't be known till the wee hours, so I didn't even check the net or the TV news.

Once in bed, the thoughts of the election raced in my head so I woke up the sleeping wife and made some hot monkey love to get my mind off of politics.

Around 5AM my eyes popped open and I could lay in bed any longer. Heading up front, I put on CSPAN and was disheartened. Bush had a huge lead in the popular vote and it was down to calling Ohio, even though Bush led the tally in Ohio.

Well, the voters spoke. I'm sure it will be debated what happened for the next four years, but as of today, I know how the Dole supporters felt in 1996.

Damn this sucks...

Posted by michael at 06:41 AM
November 02, 2004
Your duty today is to vote

The Flag on Election Day, originally uploaded by Argyle.

For over two hundred years, American have worked and fought for your right to vote.

Today, your duty is to vote.

Other things can wait, your country needs you today and you must answer it's call.

Posted by michael at 10:06 AM
For the Record

I support Kerry
I oppose Bush

Check out the results at Technorati.

Posted by michael at 09:53 AM