Saturday, April 29, 2006

Jacobs Field Tour

Here's a couple shots from a tour I took of the Cleveland Indians' ballpark...


In the gift shop they sell the rather more politically incorrect hat from the '40s.



A limited edition, giant Slider bobble head can be had in the gift shop as well. It'd only set you back $275 to desecrate your house with this.



I sometimes question the quality of my Kodak digital, but then it goes and takes a shot like this.



A view from the Terrace Club where lunch can be affordibly had on rare occasions.

More unamuzing pics here...

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Benevolent Dictatorship

A bit tech-nerdy, but this is amazing:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/express/default.aspx
Microsoft has a version of their software development package which they are giving away for free. Combine this with the free version of SQL, the boatloads of documentation and training that can be had on their site and it will look like Microsoft is trying to roll and smoke the freeware zealots out there.

Since would be developers can pick this skill up on the cheap, what will be the first product they think to develop with when assigned a task at work? Microsoft has been well skilled in this backdoor attack on it's competitors by flooding the workplaces of America with people who are skilled with their products. In this manner they have reversed the traditional business model and are giving the 'blades' away for free so that they can sell more 'razors'.

"But Sandmich", you say "what about the Linux folks? The razors are free with them." Yeah, but instead of getting razor blades, you get a block a medal and are told what a great thing it is that you don't have to have some working razor blade that was pressed by 'THE MAN'. That's great if you have the equipment to press them yourself, but a waste of time for the rest of us.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Old School RPG

Back in the day, RPGers had any number of options, but it seemed to boil down to the sci-fi offerings of Palladium books, or the Tolkien-esque D&D stuff from TSR. I took a liking to D&D, but of course TSR has long since been sold and has been limping along under Wizards of the Coast. Palladium, I figured, had bit the big one along with any other number RPGs when electronic RPGs squashed their market. You can then imagine my shock when I saw an appeal from the owner emploring for help in saving his company from the impact of some horrific theft of some sort.

My first thought was "you're still in business?". However, I'm glad to here that they're still around and that there's enough interest in old RPGs to keep a couple companies going. I've long since lost the interest and the time to play even electronic RPGs (to which for some wierd reason I never developed an interest in), but I figure I might pick up one of their prints in my part to keep them going, or use this last chance to pick up some of their art.

For you L&O SVU Fans...

...(of which I am not one).
From here:
Obviously, a big reason the media (e.g., the NYT, which seldom deigns to give much coverage to local crimes, has run almost 20 articles on this North Carolina brouhaha) are gleefully repeating the allegations by the drunken black stripper / car thief that she was gang-raped by white athletes is because white-on-black gang rape is vanishingly rare in the United States. (In the FBI's annual National Crime Victims Survey, none of the approximately 10,000 black women surveyed from 2001 to 2003 reported being victims of a white gang rape.) In contrast, black-on-white gang rape is, apparently according to the NCVS, a much more than daily occurrence in this country (although small sample sizes for gang-rapes make it hard to be definitive about the size of the ratios). White-on-black single rapist crime, while not unknown, averages only 900 cases per year according to the FBI survey of victims. In contrast, there are 15,400 black-on-white single rapist crimes per year, according to the NCVS.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Catgut


*chuckle*

I just need three more before I can build my own.

I think it was Jack Handy who said if you have cat, then you have a box of crap in your house. (Or in my case, a small warehouse)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

And now for something, completely different...

...satellite porn.
From Maxim:

Here at Maxim, we like things big: power tools, cupcakes, over-the-top stunts in honor of our greatness. Like this enormous cover of smoking mega-hottie Eva Longoria. Constructed near Vegas out of vinyl mesh to celebrate our 100th issue, this colossal babe can be seen from outer space using Google Earth. Or just click the link [requires Google Earth] below, and get ready for a UFOs-eye view of gigantic hotness.

More Illegal Fun

I've read innumerous hit pieces and comments against Japan's very restrictive immigrant policies, and I'll bet they're kicking themselves in the head and ready to change their ways after the many reconquista marches around the U.S. I love how the marchers were all prone to bad mouthing Bush even though he had put out one of the most lenient proposals. Shows what pandering gets ya' I guess.

I love this bitty as well (from here):
We actually know quite a lot about immigrants from Mexico, which is what the current political controversy is largely about. In the view of Mexicans in Mexico, on the whole, those who emigrate to America are people who don't have what it takes to make it in Mexico. So, they come to America where life is easier. In contrast, almost nobody from the middle or upper classes in Mexico leaves Mexico. They like it there.
I've never sought a straight answer, but a handful of Hispanics* have given me a 'spoiled babies' vibe whenever the topic of Mexicans come up. It's easy to see why; many another country would kill (literally) for Mexico's location and resources, but the Mexican economy seems to be adept at little more than abusing and exporting its people; and then bitching about it.

Anyway, I'd imagine that many other immigrant communities bear no great love for the Mexicans since it appears they're out to ruin it for everyone.

*(Although I'd love to say that I've broached this subject with a wide variety of a large number of Hispanics, it's not exactly something you bring up in casual conversation. Kind'a like black people and O.J./Rodney King).

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Rollin'

My mom and one of my sisters stopped by and we whipped up a little sushi...

Thanks to my sister this was the first time I'd had homemade spicy tuna rolls, oh yeah! Soooo time consuming though, and the platter was only for four people! I wish I was blessed with a near by grocery market that sold the stuff. The local chained stopped carrying it recently after they came to their senses and remembered that they're in sausage and potatoes country.

This past game night I decided to make a little treat as well...


This ship has sailed

Unfortunately for my game play, I concentrated on the sushi instead of the 'terrorists'. The dog didn't mind helping out though...


Mouth full of maki

Friday, April 07, 2006

NASA Dreamin'

A little while ago, I attended an event put on at the local NASA facility. They call them their 'third Saturday' programs since they have a different event once a month on the...third Saturday. I had avoided attending several of these events, but I finally took this last one in since it was going to be focused on the Martian lander missions, which have been all but forgotten in the mainstream press.

The first discussion focused on Martian geologic history and the possibilities of previous life on Mars and future terraforming. Though interesting on some level, this lecture didn't particularly peak my interest. Mars is a very, very crappy place so any permanent settlements would be almost wholly dependent on Earth. As far as life on Mars, I'd heard a different NASA scientist at a different point in time say that even if something was found that they might not ever be able to completely discount the possibility that it had still originated on Earth (though if I had to guess, this guy was sick and tired of answering questions about the non-existent Mars 'face').

During the second presentation, the presenter went over current and future projects and pointed out the big drawing board project in which a probe would launch soil samples back to Earth. He pointed out that the price tag for this project was closing in on one billion dollars and he then went on to make a point which I'd never heard before.

Robots are a rather stupid substitute for a person and can gather 'science' at a snail's pace compared to what a human could accomplish. The speaker's point was that if we were going to spend $1,000,000,000 on a mission, wouldn't it be worth it to spend 25%-50% more and send people and gather 250%-500% more hard science. At that point NASA would view it as sending a very expensive, though extremely efficient (work wise) robot.

The earlier speaker had conceded to a loud mouth in the audience that it probably wasn't worth sending people into space and future robots might be able to handle most of the tasks set out for them. I for one, as a person who take a fancy in things technical, believe this to be purely wishful thinking. Barring some unforeseen major advancement, computers will never be able to get around being linear computing machines, because that's what they are. Computers will always be a poor substitute for humans in situations where fresh thinking is a requirement. (As an example, the speaker pointed out that only about 5% of the surface of Mars is viable for landing robots where as a person could land a craft darn near anywhere).

On a mildly related note, there was a space enthusiast girl in the earlier session that the speaker was amusing. In one of his pictures of a climbing astronaut he had said that it was an artist’s rendition of the first man to repel down this Martian cliff, though he was sure to correct himself to the delight of the young lady that it could be the first woman to repel down the cliff. Of course the Sandmich's first thought was "...a mixed gender, isolated crew on a two year mission? No doubt she's not only the first woman to do such a thing, but the first pregnant woman".