Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The Lazy Blogger

I meant to blog during Thanksgiving, but for some reason, I never got around to it. As well, work is cranking up a bit (as it always seems to do around the holidays, what's up with that?), and I'll be traveling later in December, so this coming month will probably be light on updates.

Anyway, I went down to Cincinnati to my parents house for Thanksgiving. While there, I went to see my brother run in the Turkey Run, or whatever they call it, Thanksgiving morning.



The runners get ready





Although my brother posted a good time, I didn't have the heart to tell him that they guy in the tiger suit beat him.





The suspension bridge. I thought the lack of cars meant that the bridge was closed because of the race, but no.


I'm going to take this opportunity to vent about the current sorry state of PC computer games (as opposed to Mac games, ha!). I spent the better part of the evening Wednesday getting a game to work on my dad's PC. The problems it exhibited were the same kinds of problems I'd had getting Return to Castle Wolfenstein (greatest multiplayer ever!) to work on my PC. Unsurprisingly the video card manufacturer was the same: ATI, who is well known for great hardware and crappy drivers.

This whole situation brought on my inevitable comments about how much better consoles are than PCs as gaming platforms. Sure consoles suck at RTS, FPS, and to a lesser extent MMORPG games, but computers worse at all the other genres that the console can do. The game (which I eventually got working by laying down different revs of the ATI drivers like lasagna) was entertaining enough, but not hardly as entertaining as even Devil May Cry, which I can play through (on easy, I suck) in the time it took to fix that PC game! The faults with computer gaming could be forgiven if PCs didn't have a shorter lifecycle and cost ten times as much as consoles (for a cheap gaming system).

On a seperate note, kudos to my chef (non-running) brother for whipping up some tasty Thanksgiving day viddles, he went all out!



Tuesday, November 23, 2004

H-1B Exemptions Sought

I've written about this topic before, and I'm still rather ambivalent. On one hand I think that the U.S. should seek to have the best and brightest from around the world immigrate here. On the other hand, immigration policy in the U.S. absolutely sucks, and I have a hard time believing that the whole H-1B thing (which allows companies to hire 'temporary' foreign tech workers instead of native Americans) is little more than a corporate welfare sop to tech companies. This article didn't exactly reassure me:
The software companies joined manufacturers and several universities in warning Congress last week that U.S.-educated experts will be forced to work for the country's competitors because the H-1B quota for next year was reached last month.
Jeez, if that doesn't sound like a hollow threat, I don't know what one is. Is that all the industry has? I guess screwing over the tech workers native to the U.S. in order to save a buck has nothing to do with it?
'Long term, we should look at the education aspect and why we are not producing enough Americans to fill these jobs...'
Well genius, maybe keeping wages depressed with the hiring of foreign workers has something to do with.
While continuing the fight to retain the cap, Courtney said he fears that the prospects for raising it next year are good. Despite a high level of unemployment among skilled American IT workers, they have not developed political clout.
And there is the rub. No lobbyist means you'll get screwed over. Oh, and where are the Democrats on this issue? Those champions of the little guys? In typical fashion, they're lining up with the rest of the corporate suck ups to empty their bladders on the people they purport to represent.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Business Shenanigans

It's after stories like this that I have to re-convince myself as to why socialism doesn't work (see Cuba). I guess Kmart stock went through the roof when Sears said they were going to pay en exorbitant price for some Kmart property. Continuing from Christopher Byron:
After all, here was a CEO [of Sears] who had just agreed to buy $575 million worth of Kmart real estate, for cash, from one of Sears' largest shareholders [who is also the CEO of Kmart]. Yet now he was preparing to sell it all back - along with the whole rest of Sears, to boot - for Kmart stock instead of cash, and at what amounted to a discount of fifty cents on the dollar.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

The ConAgra Way of the Gun

(That's right, it's time for another recycled article. For anyone who is curious, I'm pulling these articles off the old web site I hosted off a machine at my house that was hooked up to a DSL line. Of course, except for Mr. Kendall, no one else ever bothered to read them, which was a good thing since 90% of my bandwidth was dedicated to downloading anime boots doing work from home).

Not too long ago, Ohio finally passed a law to allow citizens to carry concealed firearms. Now it goes without saying that this caused much consternation in more ignorant liberal corners of the state; and of course I happen to live in one of those corners. The immediate concern was that people who weren't previously given to carry firearms, would all of the sudden get a hankering to bring them into work.

The concern is all the greater at my current workplace. The place was subjected to bomb threats a few years ago after a management mistake cost many workers a pile of money and their jobs (to be fair, it wasn't the current management team, and many other workers got rich off the mistake). I personally wouldn't blame management from carrying firearms, and I would think them all the wiser for doing so, but of course they had better ideas.

What could best be described as panic ensued at my workplace when the Ohio state house passed the concealed carry bill. Form letters were written up for employees to sign; form letters which made it abundantly clear in no fewer than five paragraphs not to bring firearms or illegal(duh) weapons onto the property. I'll have you know I signed that and turned it in with as much haste as the non-compete agreement a previous employer tried to...I mean, made me sign, yeah, that's the ticket! As well, signs kind'a (well, exactly) like this one were posted all over the property:

Image Hosted by  ImageShack.us

Now of course my first logical thought was something along the lines of "now that'll stop those raving lunatics looking to shoot up the place!" My second thought was something like "could they have found a lamer firearm to put a line through? I mean no Glock or HK?"

Unfortunately, the sign led to a grim chuckle when, months later, some raving lunatic went in and shot up the ConAgra plant he worked at in Kansas. The pictures outside of the scene were all like this:

Image Hosted by  ImageShack.us

Image Hosted by  ImageShack.us

Well would you look at that! Didn't that loon bother to read that sign? I mean, it says no firearms; he could've brought a knife in or something though I guess.

Of course that stupid sign is small solace to family members who had a loved one gunned down that day. In their memory, I've made a slightly better sign that I promise will be every bit as effective:


Image Hosted by  ImageShack.us


Thursday, November 18, 2004

Another fine Japanese product

The lack of noise on this product tells me that it's existence is common knowledge among Japan-o-philes, though this is the first I've heard of it; The Girlfriend Lap Pillow:


(Hat tip to Octopus Dropkick)

Japan #9 - Sirens #2

(At the end of August/beginning of September I took a pleasure trip to Japan. I meant to have all the blog postings done in the first week, I'm now on track to have it done within 90 days of the trip.)

Okay, I admit it, I'm a sucker for a pretty face, and there was no shortage of pretty faces in Japan. As a result, I couldn't resist squeezing off a few shots. The one's below are a bit of a mish-mosh, but more wacky outfits are to be seen!



Nothing says "Athletic Sexy" quite like high heeled Converse sneakers.



A broken ankle waiting to happen.



Everyone at the station couldn't resist squeezing off a shot of this freaky git up.



A young lady in a kimono makes a phone call.



Ladies at a Kyoto shrine



And of course, geisha!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

DSL woes

How about a little computer lingo fisking? A special my ISP is running, SBC Yahoo! DSL Pro - Incredible Speed, Incredible Price:
SBC Yahoo! DSL Pro is ideal for online gaming...

Well, besides getting illegal bootlegs, that's about the only thing it's good for. Computers themselves are much the same way. The computing power required by the average computer user was met about 1998, the only reason to get a new system anymore is for service reasons or gaming.
...working from home...
Sounds like a good thing to blow money on.
...downloading feature-length movies...
And there's such a plethora of places to get legal movies from over the net! I hope you like watching trailers for Ben Afflect's latest turd of a movie!
and just about anything.
[i.e. 'legal' music downloads]
With all that speed, you'll be able to do more online and do it faster than ever. It's incredible how much time you can save."
You mean how much time you'll blow. It's great how the ISPs throttle down the bandwidth and then come around as great saviors that are ready to give you your speed back for ten more bucks a month!

Monday, November 15, 2004

An evil sandmich

Ah the Royal Red Robin burger! It comes with lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, and a quarter pound patty topped with a fried egg and bacon. I had them throw on another patty and some jalapeƱos for good measure.


Friday, November 12, 2004

Smoke 'em if got 'em!

These two PCs are the same model. The one on the left was used in an office, while the one on the right was used in a smoking booth that passed itself off as a guard shack.


Thursday, November 11, 2004

Saucy!

I love how people of the Caribbean have absolutely no sense of political correctness when it comes to race (and probably everything else for all I know). When we were in the Dominican Republic, a tour guide, like all the tour guides, was talking about the varied racial makeup of the natives in a manner in which westerners are unaccustomed (and mostly uncomfortable with, unfortunately). We were traveling with a darker skinned Brit (think Vin Diesel) and the tour guide said "well look at you, I'll bet your father is black!". I about choked on my rum and coke!

Well, while my mom and dad were down on one of the islands, they picked up a killer hot sauce for me. You can tell by looking at the label that it is not made in the States:



The Palestinians don't love their children

Doing the old 'next blog' thing I came across this blog. I didn't really take issue with the comments posted, but I did post this comment that elicited an interesting response (as a note, my comment will probably be deleted any minute since hard lefties don't accept criticism).

As well, though I feel bad for the plight of the Palestinians, if I lived in Israel and I had relative, especially a child, who was butchered by those animals, I would be all for killing every last one of them. And don't give me that 'violence begets violence' BS. Whatever moral qualms one might have about nuclear bombing, it certainly stopped the Japanese from trying to kill us. Maybe if Israel had wiped out a Palestinian town or two, this whole peace thing would be a done deal.

The Palestinians should thank their lucky stars they have the Jews as their enemy; any other ethnic group would not deal with them so kindly.

As for old Arafat, I'm dreaming that his tombstone will be a urinal.

(Update: I was confused about being labeled a 'Zionist' in the comments section in the mentioned blog. I couldn't get my head wrapped around it until I figured out that:
  1. How labeling someone a 'Zionist' is a de facto justification for the odious behavior of the Palestinians is beyond me.
  2. I don't think one need be some ardent supporter of Israel to come to the conclusion that behavior of the Palestinians is unacceptable. I've always been fairly agnostic on Israel: it's not my country and I don't live there, and I leave it to that the country's inhabitants to come to their own decisions that are in their best interests.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The Incredibles


The Incredibles


Yeah, I caught The Incredibles over the weekend. Although my son wanting to see it provides the excuse, I'm quite the sucker for Pixar movies, and this one didn't disappoint. I don't feel like going over everything that's already been pointed out, but I do want to touch on a couple points:

  1. This movie was a little bit more violent than Pixar's previous offerings. In one section a character relates some darkly humorous stories about the demise of some previous heroes. As well, some of the later fights left little doubt about the fact that some of the henchmen won't be 'henching' ever again.
  2. This movie was also more adult than previous Pixar films. When the Holly Hunter character suspects her husband may be cheating on her; the artwork and Holly Hunter's voice acting are just about enough to tear your heart out. I'd never thought about it before, but Frederica Mathewes-Green pointed out that "Most kids' entertainment is about kids. Pixar movies are about adults."
  3. It's become almost a default fact that the artwork in Pixar movies is second to none and this movie certainly fits the mold. In a way though, it's almost too good. Several times I had to remind myself that I was watching an animated movie, but it was kinda counter productive. Although the chase scenes were amazing, they probably wouldn't have been made any differently if the movie was live action. Especially since The Matrix came out, the lines between some live action movies and out and out animation has blurred quite a bit.
  4. Although I don't think anyone agrees with me, Monster's Inc. is still my favorite Pixar film, that was a film that featured scenes and techniques that exploited the animated medium. I literally got chills in the theater during the 'door chase' scene towards the end. The Incredibles is difficult to compare to Pixar's earlier offerings, but I'd probably say that it ranks a strong second.
  5. Despite what the Internet will tell you, the character below did not appear in the film:


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Canadian 'Health' care

From an article on the increasing dire straits that the medical system in the Great White North finds itself:

Ottawa has in the past withheld health care funds to provinces experimenting with for-profit clinics and new federal Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh took up his job in July with a vow to "stem the tide" of privatization.

Now if healthcare is 'free' why would for-profit clinics be needed. An often unpublished fact about the Canadian medical system is that if a good or service is offered by the system, it is illegal to acquire that good or service outside of the plan. Why the people of Canada thought that a monopoly, and a government monopoly at that, would provide better care than the private sector is beyond me. As well, from Mark Steyn:
One thousand Americans are killed in 18 months in Iraq, and it's a quagmire. One thousand Quebecers are killed by insufficient hand-washing in their filthy, decrepit health care system, and kindly progressive Americans can't wait to bring it south of the border. If one has to die for a cause, bringing liberty to the Middle East is a nobler venture and a better bet than government health care.

Muslims in Denmark

From Rod Dreher (emphasis mine):
Holland now has an alarmingly large, alarmingly radical Muslim subculture to deal with, and the people there are just now waking up to the sobering fact that multiculturalism -- the idea that all cultures are equally good, and that making distinctions among them is racist and immoral -- is a lie. A frustrated Dutch friend e-mailed on Sunday that the papers are full of journalists telling people that they need to dialogue with more sensitivity with the Islamic extremists among them. Wrote my friend, 'What [barnyard epithet]! No matter how nice we put it, they will still want to kill us.'

Monday, November 08, 2004

Cr8zy!

Talented tech pundit John C. Dvorak wrote a column knocking blogs, probably because they helped nullify main stream media attacks on Bush. How about a quote?
Almost everyone on the Net is anonymous. When you see someone on the street handing out a flyer, it is usually not hard to determine whether he or she is a lunatic. Not so with the haughty blogger who, by hiding behind a good online template, is actually taken seriously. A blogger who stays hidden long enough may even become famous. I know, not every blogger is a whack job—but that's the point. How can you tell?
Well, I don't think I use a good template, but I still don't want anyone thinking I'm a lunatic. So here for your viewing pleasure is me on a fairly normal day so that you can be rest assured as to my sanity level:


The Questing Cat

One more dig at Kerry before he fades back into obscurity. From The Questing Cat, a soldier stationed in Iraq (emphasis and foul language in original):

Those trauma plates [in 'flak' vests] are a big piece of ceramic, stiff and heavy, but comparatively light weight. A piece of steel with similar protective value would simply be too much to carry. It is contoured to curve around your body on either side. Shrapnel hitting it will generally either imbed into the plate, or more likely deflect off. The plates are expensive, and can crack if mistreated. Each one has a serial number, and costs hundreds of dollars. They are worth every fucking penny.

A sergeant in my unit was hit months back, in the elbow. Shrapnel absolutely destroyed his joint, but made a clean entrance and exit through his elbow. I only found out recently that the piece that did it actually deflected from his chest, off his trauma plate.

Same deal with the kid here. He could have had a sucking chest wound, where I would have to try and help him while he slowly drowns on blood from the inside. All those horrible scenes in movies where a guy vomits blood in movies...yeah, that’s a sucking chest wound. I know how to treat it in theory. Of course in theory I know how a nuclear reactor works, doesn't mean I should build one. He could have been killed outright. Then what would I have done? Get a body bag?

The only parts hurt on this kid were parts not covered by his IBA. That shit works, I'd buy stock in it. I will gladly continue to wear my plates and stop complaining.

This shit has me so freaked out. I'm not scared for me; I'm scared of what could have happened. I am so glad this kid had his plates. Long before any of us got there, those things saved his ass. They save lives all over Iraq.

Thanks again Kerry, you shit, for voting against them.


Friday, November 05, 2004


Snack time at Sandmich's office.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Rough and Tumble

The fabulous Mr. Kendall takes Dr.Degenaro to task over some political characterizations. I'd only like to point out the following quote for now:
Now, make no mistake about it - American electoral politics has always been pretty rough-and-tumble. In that respect, at least, the election cycle just ended was hardly unique or even very remarkable.

I'd much rather have rancorous campaigns than put up with the near worthless parliamentary system practiced in much of the rest of the world. The parliamentary system isn't immune by nature to this kind of thing, but the fact that everyone can vote for their own kook and get representation relieves some stress in the competition.

UPDATE(11,5,2004): As a note, I mean no disrespect in stressing Dr. Degenaro's title, I mean to stress the fact that I'd gotten it wrong lo these many months. I've gone back and corrected the articles I'd gotten wrong, apologies.

Campaign Dynamics

In response to information I had posted in an earlier post, Gabriel at The Sanity Prompt didn't think there was any way that Bush/Rove wouldn't bring this information up:
I can't believe that a campaign operation as skilled as GWB-Cheney '04 would miss this opportunity.

To which I replied:
The Republicans haven't run a good campaign since 1994, and there weren't that many before that. Republicans absolutely suck at campaigning. The fact that they've succeeded as well as they have is a testament to the bad ideas espoused by the left.
Of course after the election Gabriel called me on this:
Still think Republicans can't run a good campaign? I think this one was a work of strategic brilliance. Not only do they win, they win by clearly stating exactly what they believe. Kudos.
I will admit to being happy with the election results, but I'm of a mind that it should not have been as close as it was. Imagine back after September 11th I said that the Democrats would nominate a northeastern, liberal, gigolo senator who lied about his military record, slandered veterans in an effort to improve his political viability, sided with every tin horn dictator who had it in for the U.S., and ran regular polls to find out what his opinions are. Even if you were given to side with said candidate, would you honestly think he had a prayer of getting more than %40 of the vote? Ann Coulter writes (yeah, I know...):
Of course, we could have done it a lot earlier on election night but for "Boy Genius" Karl Rove. It's absurd that the election was as close as it was. The nation is at war, Bush is a magnificent wartime leader, and the night before the election we didn't know if a liberal tax-and-spend, Vietnam War-protesting senator from Massachusetts would beat him.
If Rove is "the architect" - as Bush called him in his acceptance speech - then he is the architect of high TV ratings, not a Republican victory. By keeping the race so tight, Rove ensured that a race that should have been a runaway Bush victory would not be over until the wee hours of the morning.

Now, to Gabriel's credit, I'd like to point out the following:
  1. I was amazed that Bush talked openly and frequently about Social Security reform. He wasn't just touching the third rail, he was dancing on it. And it wasn't just this issue, but several issues that Bush touted that should've been turned into campaign killers.
  2. I think, at least for me, it's difficult to assess the mindset of the Kerry voter. Here in northeast Ohio, I was amazed at how fervently union thugs pushed for Kerry. Are they so self destructive that they'd vote for a candidate who has said he won't work as hard to defend America and will make an effort to pass regulations that will kill their industry? Of course unions, like many other lefty special interest groups vote out of a 'gimmie goodies' type of premise. They could care less about the ideology, as long as there's presents under the tree (or someone else's presents are taken away). It's probably quite unrealistic of me to expect any mass conversions of these constituencies.
  3. The press really skews the results. If they had gone after Kerry with the same ferocity that they used to go after Bush, this election would've been over at the end of September.

Additionally though, Republican ads were rarely as effective as the Left's and Bush did nothing to crack down on the violence directed at Republican offices (imagine if the NRA had organized protests that resulted in the destruction of Democratic campaign offices).
There's only so much Rove/Bush could do, I guess; but at least living up here, I saw one too many an outrageous charge by Kerry, et al. go unchallenged.

Update (11,5,2004): Mark Steyn agrees:

But he’s [Bush] very poor at selling them [ideas] to the American people, and what seems obvious to him isn’t necessarily that obvious if you’re in one of the many cities with a reflexively anti-Bush monodaily. It should have been a bigger victory, and Republicans need to examine carefully why it wasn’t.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Muslim Mango Pudding

(Yeah, another page port, enjoy!)

I love those little Asian jelly deserts they sell in better stores (you know, the ones that also sell squid). This site has some pics of some Asian jellys; my thanks to the Federation of Canadian Idiots for the link (and before you get to feelin' all high and mighty, the U.S., U.K., and Ireland want you to know they have just as many idiots as the Canadians).

So anyway, I'm munchin' down on these bad boys (while trying not to choke on them like a bloomin' moron), and I glance at the back of the package and am shocked to see that there may be secret ingredients in the pudding that may make me a Muslim:

I decided to do a web search to make sure that there was no 'Jim Jones' goodness in my snack. I, of course, found out that this is just a symbol from some organization in the Philippines that certifies it as being 'Kosher' for Muslims. But additionally, I found an article with some interesting notes on Islam in the Philippines. Firstly, let's find out who is behind the Muslim terror network in the Philippines, it's not a big surprise:

Khalifah, Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law, lived in the Philippines from 1986 to 1994 when he ran the International Islamic Relief Organization, a Saudi Arabia-based charity group. Khalifah is said to have given funds to the Abu Sayyaf. Al-Lahim joined the IIRO Manila office after Khalifah left. [Emphasis mine]

Okay, okay, but how did so many Muslims get into the Christian Philippines to begin with?

The massive number of workers in the Middle East boosted the ranks of Filipino Muslims. Lacar estimates the number of converts from 1970 to the present to be more than 100,000. Abdul Rahman Linzag of the Islamic Dawah Council of the Philippines (IDCP) observes though that some convert for convenience. In the Middle East, workers who switch to Islam enjoy benefits that non-Muslims don’t [like living!].

Well how bad is Saudi Arabia? Fortunately, Derb over at NRO found this long article that details how nasty a place it is. How about a taste, it's almost as good as Muslim pudding!

The self-effacement of an entire sex, and, in consequence, of sexuality itself, was the most unnerving feature of Saudi life. I could go through an entire day without seeing any women, except perhaps some beggars sitting on the curb outside a prince’s house. Almost all public space, from the outdoor terrace at the Italian restaurant to the sidewalk tables at Starbucks, belonged to men. The restaurants had separate entrances for “families” and “bachelors,” and I could hear women scurrying past, hidden by screens, as they went upstairs or to a rear room. The only places I was sure to see women were at the mall and the grocery store, and even there they seemed spookily out of place. Many of them wore black gloves, and their faces were covered entirely—not even a pair of plummy, heavy-lidded Arabian eyes apparent. Sometimes I couldn’t tell what direction they were facing. It felt to me as if the women had died, and only their shades remained.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Halloween pics

A former coworker of mine always puts a lot of time into setting up a snazzy Halloween display and after several years of promising to do so, I finally got off my butt and went over to check it out. While I was there, I saw plenty of kids running for their lives from the setup. Here's a couple pics...

Skulls a pleanty!

Coffin with fog

Working gullitine (with wood 'blade')

Butchers Block

Entrance

A vote for Kerry is a vote for Osama

Don't believe me? Ask Osama yourself! From lgf:
This message was a warning to every U.S. state separately. When he [Osama Bin Laden] said, 'Every state will be determining its own security, and will be responsible for its choice,' it means that any U.S. state that will choose to vote for the white thug Bush as president has chosen to fight us, and we will consider it our enemy, and any state that will vote against Bush has chosen to make peace with us, and we will not characterize it as an enemy.