August 27, 2006
Pluto is a Planet Protest

Last week, the International Astronomical Union ruled that Pluto was not a planet.

Obviously, they are wrong. Not one to sit around and stand for injustice, I was determined to protest this decision in public.

With help from Mister P. in making the large sign, Martin for help document, and my daughters, Zoe & Mira, for moral support, I made my protest.

Pluto is a Planet Protest from Michael Pusateri on Vimeo.

I began my protest on the street corner of Fair Oaks and Mission in South Pasadena, near my home.

Martin makes a valid point. If Pluto is vulnerable, what's next?

I convinced this group of teenagers to help with the protest. They saw the truth in my message.

Next, Martin and I decided to spread the word into Downtown Pasadena, where there was a lot more foot traffic.

People were a little surprised but also happy and amused to see our public protest.

Overall, a hugely positive response to the protest. People were laughing and smiling constantly. Tons of horn honks, waves, and thumbs up. The one thing I didn't expect was how tired my arms got holding the small sign over my head. Next time, I need a headmounted sign...

Posted by michael at 09:06 AM | Comments (16)
August 16, 2006
Hey Mr. Terrorist
Hey Mr. Terrorist. Fuck you!

I know what your thinking, "I've got those Americans scared to fly on airplanes."


Tomorrow I'm taking my family on a long international plane flight and we aren't scared at all. We are going to have a great time, smile, eat, drink, and laugh a lot, then come home safe and sound.

I refuse to be intimidated by your pathetic attempts to terrorize me. It will take great deal more to scare Americans than what you've done so far. In fact, I doubt you can really scare us. You might make us more determined or angry, but we certainly aren't scared.


An Average American

Special note to American readers:

If you are one of those nervous nellies that has their undies in a bind over the latest plots and is considering avoiding air travel due to these wingnuts, stop it.

We are Americans.

We stood up against the mightiest country on Earth to win our independence 200+ years ago.

We stood up against the Axis powers to defend the very concept of freedom in World War II.

We stood up against the Soviet Union staring down nuclear oblivion to win the Cold War.

Yes, some of our leaders have poor judgement we do some silly things like take off our shoes in airports and invade the wrong country, but the average American knows the truth. America and our founding principles will endure any assault or act against us.

So stop being afraid. Stop wringing your hands and worrying. Stop watching the fearmongering passed off as news.

When you see our Fellow Americans acting scared, it's your duty to tell them to stop acting like children. It's embarassing to see some of these confused people actually changing their plans out of irrational fear of these cowardly terrorists.

President Roosevelt said it best, "So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

Life is good. Go out and live. Give the finger to the terrorists.

Posted by michael at 07:35 PM | Comments (15)
August 15, 2006
Tie Tuesday

Today is Tie Tuesday. Are you wearing yours?

Posted by michael at 09:06 AM | Comments (5)
August 13, 2006
Zoom Movie Review

My oh my the things we do for our children.

Yesterday I took the girls to see the movie Zoom, about a group of young superheroes. I should have done a little research before heading out to the theater and avoided the movie.

The movie is basically a set of product placements strung together with a few music videos stretched out to 83 minutes. The product placement is so blatant, that characters actually visit a Wendy's restaurant and discuss how much they like Wendy's food how eager they are to get some. Heck, there's even a robot character named Mr. Pibb.

Worse probably is the fact that we only get to see the young heroes use their power once or twice. Truly disappointing, even for children. Actors Tim Allen, Courteney Cox, Chevy Chase, and Rip Torn are pretty much wasted talent with this script.

The waste of acting effort and my tickes can be entirely blamed on a lackluster script tha must have been computer generated by a studio exec. Let's see Star Talent + Cute Kids + Super Powers = Profit. Too bad they forgot to add in a Good Story.

Posted by michael at 10:20 AM | Comments (4)
August 11, 2006
Tie Tuesday

I read in today's LA Times about the backlash toward casual attire at the workplace.

When I started at work a little over ten years ago, ties were common and I wore one on mosy days. Now, it seems that even socks are optional and anyone wearing a tie must be asked "Gotta big job interview?"

I like the idea of a Tie Tuesday where people are encouraged to wear a tie to work, one day a week. I've got a bunch of expensive silk in my closet that needs to get out more.

Posted by michael at 06:43 AM | Comments (6)
August 07, 2006
The $300 PC

A few months ago, I found myself in the position to buy a new computer for the girls. Over the years, I've built our PCs from scratch, slowly upgrading them as needed. I thought for sure, the cheapest way to get a new computer was to buy the components and put it together myself.

I was quite surprised when I found this wasn't true.

I went to Newegg, one of the best online shopping sites for computer gear and started pricing everything out. I easily started getting the total over $450. I even looked at a Mac Mini to run Windows on, but at $599, even it was expensive in compairision. I looked at the Walmart computers, and they were cheap but fairly low power.

I checked the Dell site, and was surprised to see the Dell Dimension B110 for $299. It's got to be bad, I thought. Not true. For a web surfing computer, the specs are impressive. 2.5 GHz Celeron processor, 80 GB hard drive, DVD-ROM player, and 256 MB RAM. That price includes Windows XP and even a monitor. It's a full system for $299. With an online coupon, you can even get free shipping.

Sure it's not much to look at, but for the price, you can buy a lot of stickers.

Inside is pretty sparse, but the slots and ports are there to expand if you want. If the Intel Extreme Graphics 2 video doesn't cut it, you can slap in a video card into the PCI slot. I added a 512MB memory stick (bought via Newegg) to bump the total of 768MB of RAM. XP runs pretty damn smooth with that much RAM.

I did have to spend about an hour deinstalling all the crapware that Dell installed and loading Grisoft AVG and Firefox. For an extra $10 I got an actual WinXP install disc and for another $14 a copy of Webroot Spysweeper. Not getting a monitor pretty much covered those costs.

The girls are happy and I've had absolutely no problems with the computer so far. It's quiet and stable.

One more surprise I found on the Dell site was the $78 laser printer. When buying it with a computer, the 1110 laser printer is only $78. Hard to believe these things used to go for thousands. Again I was surprised at the good quality of the output and the printer itself. There are a couple drawback though, as it doesn't come with a USB cable (Dell wants $25 for one!!) and the toner cartridge goes for $68 . But with the minimal amount we print, this cost is actually in line with comparable printers that go for twice as much.

I still intend to build our performance computers from scratch, but if I need to buy a beginner system, I'm going to look at buying rather than build.

Posted by michael at 10:48 PM | Comments (5)
August 02, 2006
The cap trick for Mentos/Soda experiments

Always curious Mister P. asked how I made the Mentos drop in to the soda bottles. I promised that I woudl draw him a picture. A day late, but here's how I did it.

The trick is to keep the mentos above the soda until you want it to explode. First you drill a hole in the cap of the soda cap. The larger the whole the bigger the stream that comes out, the small the whole, the longer the stream lasts.

Then drill a hole through the center of each mentos wide enough to fit a paper clip through. Feed the paper clip through the cap, then the mentos. Next, bend the end of the paper clip slightly to prevent the mentos from slipping off, but not too much that you can't pull it out.

Carefully screw on the cap/mentos to the full soda bottle and you are ready for action.

Once you pull the paper clip out, move out of the way.

I didn't invent this method. I read about it somewhere, but I don't remember where.

Posted by michael at 11:38 PM | Comments (8)
Mentos + Soda + Girls

How to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Posted by michael at 08:50 AM | Comments (3)
August 01, 2006
Protecting an iPod

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about polishing the screen on an iPod.

Today I put the screen protector and skin on the iPod. I had bought some protection from Gelaskins. The Gelaskin people have put together a ton of cool art for use as the cover for your iPod.

First I placed the transparent screen cover on the iPod. Not hard to do, but the Gelascreen doesn't exactly match the screen area of the iPod and I had to fiddle with it a bit. Once it was on, it looked great.

Next, I put on the Gelaskin cover for the rest of the iPod. The Gelaskin covers the front and back. You have the option to cover the clickwheel as well to get more of the artwork. I found it a little difficult to line up, but in the end it looked good.

Posted by michael at 11:17 PM | Comments (2)
Birthday T-shirt

My brother sent me this fine t-shirt.

Found on the Mule Design site, they say it best:

He did it 3 feet away from the President. He did it hard and he did it strong. And afterwards he walked over and shook the man’s HAND. THAT’s how freedom works, people.

Everyone in the American press is a pussy.

If you don't get this, go watch Colbert praise the President.

Posted by michael at 11:01 PM | Comments (0)