20 Nov 2005 @ 2:11 AM 

Here’s a new revelation from staying up to watch SNL for the first time in years – at the very first minute of Sunday morning, the local NBC affiliate plays a craptacular public access Christian show. It’s a teenager, sitting in a chair, extreme closeup. He’s ranting about what God wants you to do, and he doesn’t seem to have practiced much. Lots of “um” and such.

I really need to go to sleep now.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 20 Nov 2005 @ 02:11 AM

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 15 Nov 2005 @ 8:28 AM 

If you’ve been hiding under a rock, you may not know that television shows are being pushed into new directions lately. It seems that a lot of plans were just waiting for a catalyst, and Apple gave the world that catalyst with the video iPod. Now, AOL is going to stream old shows. Some stories are claiming up to 300 shows will be available, all of them episodes you can’t get on television right now. The two that jumped out at me: Babylon 5 and Spenser For Hire. Oh, yeah, that old Avery Brooks “Hawk” character is gonna be cool to watch again.

I’m betting that AOL’s push is a play to guage interest in specific shows, to help them decide which to release on DVDs or put back in syndication. Imagine the business meeting, “We know Welcome Back Kotter will be a hit for you, because 800,000 people watched it just last week.”

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 15 Nov 2005 @ 08:28 AM

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 09 Nov 2005 @ 10:57 PM 

Unsurprisingly, the “I hate gays” amendment passed overwhelmingly here in Red Neck Texas. If something is already illegal, why bother with amending the state constitution? Is it just a way to say, “no, really – we hate gays?” Of course, the way the Texas constitution is written, an insane number of things require amendments rather than laws – we’re up to 437 amendments, I believe.

California – what the hell is wrong with you people? You rejected every proposition, even the reasonable ones, just because Arnold liked them all? And, um…San Francisco banned all gun ownership? Damn, even the SFPD thought that was stupid. I realize that nobody needs a gun to go hunting on Fisherman’s Wharf, but that doesn’t mean the Second Amendment is irrelevant. What part of “shall not be infringed” is unclear?

If people don’t like a particular part of our legal framework, they’re perfectly welcome to attempt changing it. Just don’t circumvent it, eh? BTW, this applies equally to people finding legal loopholes to allow torture and indiscriminate imprisonment as it does to people who hate gays or guns. Some days, it’s hard to think of people as a group having anything like brains (Kansas, I’m looking at you!).

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 09 Nov 2005 @ 10:57 PM

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 05 Nov 2005 @ 3:25 PM 
It would take 173.17 bottles of Bawls to put you down
After 210.95 cans of Diet Mountain Dew, you’d be pushing up daisies
Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 05 Nov 2005 @ 03:26 PM

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 23 Oct 2005 @ 12:58 PM 

I went grocery shopping this morning, as I usually do on Sundays. I thought I’d go ahead and pick up a six-pack of 1554, but then I realized that when I moved to San Angelo I’d moved to the 18th Century as well. Can’t buy alcohol until noon on Sundays. I have this good-looking cake recipe I want to try this week, which requires raspberry liquer in the mix. Not only can’t I buy that until afternoon, I can’t buy it in the grocery store. Although they’ve recently made it legal to sell hard liquor within the city limits, nobody is doing so as yet (licenses not issued I’m guessing). OK, fine. I know I’m stuck in Bibleland (thank you, Poppy Brite, for that term), but at least the liquor stores outside the city limits are available, right?

Not on Sundays. I don’t know whether it’s a law that they be closed or just that nobody goes to the sinful liquor vendors on church days, but they’re all closed until tomorrow. Guess I’ll make that cake another day.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 17 Sep 2006 @ 07:53 AM

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 16 Oct 2005 @ 7:14 PM 

Althought the traditional Bavarian recipe I have been using for Black Forest Cake has always been a hit, this month’s Cuisine Magazine included an alternate recipe. So, that’s going to work tomorrow. Well, I’ll keep a piece or two home, but most of it goes to my coworkers – I don’t need that much chocolate.

This recipe omits the chocolate mousse and cream cheese frosting, replacing both with more layers of whipped cream and cherries. And, the cake is noticably moister than the European norm. Unfortunately, it has to set overnight so I can’t taste it, but it sure does look good. Mmmm… chocolate and cherries….

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 16 Oct 2005 @ 07:14 PM

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Linens

 
 15 Oct 2005 @ 5:20 PM 

This definitely qualifies for the category of Random, but what is a blog if not a place to spew completely trivial shit?

I have three sets of sheets for my bed; they are all green. I have two blankets; the one I prefer is green. I have two comforters; the one I prefer is green. Those final two preferences are not because they are green, but due to deficiencies in the alternates.

My couch and love seat – guess what color they are? Somehow, I ended up with a theme. Even Alex’s play room is painted green.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 15 Oct 2005 @ 05:20 PM

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 03 Oct 2005 @ 10:25 PM 

Although my previous Korean meal experiment, galbi, didn’t work out so well, I decided to give in to the begging and make Bulgogi tonight. Much better reception. Now I’ve got to keep him from making me put it on the menu every week. He likey. Like a little piggie.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 03 Oct 2005 @ 10:25 PM

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 30 Sep 2005 @ 10:11 PM 

Something which strikes me on occasion is how, when I speak to my coworkers or others with any brains at all, and the topic drifts to politics or economics, there is a sameness. Almost everyone I converse with is generally reasonable, with a few blind spots (we all have them). Almost nobody claims that Tom DeLay is a good example, and almost nobody claims that Mike Moore is anything but a self-aggrandizing propagandist. Nearly everyone agrees that the unfettered capitalism of the late 19th century which led to the Robber Barons was a bad idea, and almost everyone also agrees that the total socialism practiced in Cuba is not exactly an economic boom.

Yet, all these reasonable people go to the polls every two to four years and vote for people who are anything but reasonable. How in the world do we get ideologues and idiots in office, when most people are basically decent human beings, with the minor difference in opinion about things like the proper role of government in our lives? It’s astounding, especially when you consider that the American governmental process is remarkably transparent compared to many other countries. If this is the best of all possible systems, I’m glad to be living in it.

Of course, another issue which recurs is a growing lack of personal responsibility among individuals. Blaming the government for the failures of the past month is easy. Now, what is that pesky phrase in the Constitution? Oh, right – We the People. We, the people, are considered to be the sovereign rulers of the United States. We, the people, should not be waiting for the government to Do Something when things go awry. We, the people, comprise the country and if our elected representatives aren’t doing something, we need to. This lack of personal responsibility spreads through the public school system as well, with the consequence that parents seem too willing to abdicate all requirements that they raise their own darned kids, preferring the strangers of a major institution to take care of that rather personal issue. Mystifying.

Good night.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 30 Sep 2005 @ 10:11 PM

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 25 Sep 2005 @ 4:02 PM 

A pro-war rally got less than a thousand participants, days after the 100,000 anti-war rally nearby. That’s gotta hurt. There seems to be a real lack of logic on the part of many people, though. This woman, for instance:

“Our troops are over there fighting for our rights, and if she was in one of those countries she would not be able to do that,” Vigna said.

Yeah, exactly why it’s ok for Cindy Sheehan to be able to say any damned thing she wants to. She can claim to be the reincarnation of Frank Sinatra – it doesn’t matter. The fantastic thing about our country is that people are allowed to be stupid or controversial or anything they want.

I don’t agree with everything that Cindy Sheehan says, but I spent 12 years in the Army defending her right to say whatever pops into her head. Good for her. And good for Rush Limbaugh the drug user, and good for G Gordon Liddy the convicted felon. Good for Dr Laura, the therapist with no credentials in psychiatry. Good for Mike Moore, who conflates opinions and facts and hopes nobody notices. Good for Jonny Depp for bashing the country that pays his salary.

Good for all of them – they can all be as stupid as they want to, and that is what makes America great. To tell any one of those Americans that they shouldn’t say what they are saying is the treasonous thing. That attitude of restricting speech with which you don’t agree is Unamerican. If you don’t like it, stop listening!

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 15 Apr 2006 @ 10:30 AM

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 25 Sep 2005 @ 11:35 AM 

“Today Christians stand at the head of [our country] … I pledge that I never will tie myself to parties who want to destroy Christianity .. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit … We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theater, and in the press – in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past years.”

Who would say such a thing? Is it Swaggart? Is it Robertson? Bush? Maybe it’s Tom DeLay?

Give up?

Think Germany, late 30s, short Austrian man. Yeah.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 25 Sep 2005 @ 11:35 AM

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Orkut

 
 14 Sep 2005 @ 5:50 PM 

Didn’t someone once say they’d send me an invite to Orkut? I don’t recall ever getting it, and I feel so left out.

OK, maybe not. I wonder if Orkut is any better than the MySpace and Friendster zones of “what is the point” land.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 14 Sep 2005 @ 05:50 PM

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 11 Sep 2005 @ 12:22 PM 

Anti-TCPA Image

In case you don’t know why the “Trusted Computing” concept is an inherently bad one, please go view the short video that was recently pimped on BoingBoing. It explains a bit, and hopefully it’s enough to get people to look into it more.

Trusted Computing is not a new idea, and it’s been growing lately. It’s all part of the same RIAA/MPAA mindset, the one that says, “Consumers are crooks and must be controlled by the copyright holders at all costs.” The technology industry (well, Sony anyway) stood up for your rights against commercial interests over 20 years ago, and for that we have VCRs, and MP3 players, and burnable CDs, and TiVos and all the wonderful things that allow you to control your own media that you’ve legally purchased. Now, the technology industry has largely been purchased by or merged with the entertainment industry. So, who will stand up for the customer?

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 26 Jun 2006 @ 07:37 PM

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 04 Sep 2005 @ 12:40 PM 

I watched the Video Music Awards (OK, they were on while I was blasting aliens nearby) the other day. Several times during the broadcast, MTV played commercials which claimed that the recurring meme that “MTV Doesn’t Play Music” is actually a falsehood, an urban legend. Glancing at their schedule on Zap2It this morning, I find that MTV does play music videos. At 5 am. Twice per week. For an hour. That can’t be right, I thought. Maybe some of these other shows with hip and happenin’ names are actually music videos.

Turns out, MTV After Hours plays videos, from 2am to 5am each weekday. And MTV Video Wakeup plays videos from 5am to 8am each weekday. And we can’t forget TRL, which plays about one video per 15 minutes of mindless yammering, and only one hour per day anyway.

So, what do we end up with? On weekdays, there are music videos from 2 to 8 in the morning, which is convenient if you’re a vampire. And then there are videos interspersed with screaming teenaged girls at 4 each afternoon. Being as generous as humanly possible, that gives a grand total of 40 hours of music during a seven-day period that has 168 hours broadcast. Less than 25% music on Music Television.

During those hours when I could watch television, the schedule is filled with endless hours of reality shows and Laguna Beach. Yay.

For those of us who have jobs that require we work and sleep normal hours, this is very entertaining. I guess you could Tivo the videos on some sort of low priority, so if there’s nothing you want to watch on, you could zone out to videos. Otherwise, the “urban legend” is true, at least insofar as it applies to normal people who sleep when it’s dark and work during the week – MTV really doesn’t play music.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 04 Sep 2005 @ 12:40 PM

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 02 Sep 2005 @ 6:31 PM 

Saw a fellow this afternoon, filling up his RV at the local gas station, with a boat on a trailer following. I can just imagine the dedication to his vacation he must have, to be paying (at that station) $3.01 per gallon for regular.

One of my cow-orkers today referred to the 89-octane fuel as “high test” gas. I offered to help him knead the yellow coloring into his oleo if his arthritic senior citizen hands could use the break. So he said he wasn’t being anachronistic – it’s a Californian thing. “Hey, I am from California, I think I’d know, buddy.”

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 02 Sep 2005 @ 06:31 PM

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 27 Aug 2005 @ 4:16 PM 

The article LPO: Caring for Your Introvert isn’t new, but I just bumped into it via Neal Stephenson’s page. Here’s a short excerpt:

Are introverts arrogant?

Hardly. I suppose this common misconception has to do with our being more intelligent, more reflective, more independent, more level-headed, more refined, and more sensitive than extroverts. Also, it is probably due to our lack of small talk, a lack that extroverts often mistake for disdain. We tend to think before talking, whereas extroverts tend to think by talking, which is why their meetings never last less than six hours.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 27 Aug 2005 @ 04:32 PM

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 21 Jul 2005 @ 7:49 AM 

This morning was some sort of Asshole Contest on the drive to work. No less than three pickups (gotta love Texas) attempted to prove which of them was the biggest jerk – swerving through lanes, avoiding blinker use, causing as many other drivers as possible to slam on the brakes…

It’s a good thing I don’t live in L.A. these days – I’d be a living Road Rage poster boy.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 21 Jul 2005 @ 07:49 AM

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 19 Jul 2005 @ 10:22 AM 

I’m not surprised by recent revelations regarding Karl Rove, as anyone with a brain could see it coming a mile away. I’m somewhat surprised that he actually got caught, since this administration is absolutely fantastic at keeping things hidden.

I’m disappointed in two groups lately – politicians and the intelligence professionals I know. Politicians are disappointing pretty much as a matter of course in recent decades, and increasingly so with each passing year. As the whole Iraq War/Wilson/Plame controversy rages, it shows a distressing willingness on the part of a political party to put the harming of another political party above the safety of American citizens and the intelligence network we work so hard to build.

When Valerie Plame was outed as a covert agent, it didn’t hurt just her career. It hurt the ability of this country to gather intelligence which was vital to supporting the War on Terror. If the War on Terror is the most important thing in the minds of the current administration, why would they harm our fragile human intelligence collection ability just to score public relations points with the press? It’s astonishing, it’s disgraceful, and it’s par for the course in recent years.

I’m also disappointed in some of the people I’ve known for years in the intelligence community. It’s hardly a surprise to most people that the military and (by extension) the intel community are largely Republican. What might surprise some people is how many of these supposedly intelligent and highly-trained people are able to go along with the most convoluted justifications for the poor behavior of some politicians. Just because the President is Republican doesn’t mean he can do no wrong. Nixon was a Republican and he didn’t get forced from office by Democrats, but by his own party.

Yesterday I was privy to a conversation wherein two intelligence professionals, each of whom had more than two decades of experience in the Mideast area, were discussing how absurd it is that the Democrats are so obsessed with Karl Rove leaking Plame’s identity and blowing her cover. Why shouldn’t the Democrats be obsessed with this? We should all be obsessed with it, because it is part of a bigger campaign to discredit the press, abuse the intelligence community, and falsify materials to further an agenda which is not supported by facts. Intelligence professionals should be interested in truth and not in political agendas. To apologize for someone leaking classified material and damaging our ability to collect intelligence on Bad Guys is, in my mind, onconscionable.

This goes for any political party, by the way. Sandy Berger swiping classified material from the National Archives is just as slimy as Rove outing Plame. Anyone who is that cavalier with classified material should go to jail and never be trusted by any other American again.

I’m also disappointed to hear the President say that he will fire anyone in his administration who is convicted of a crime. Last year, it was anyone who was involved in leaking classified material, the year before that it was anyone who was involved in the leak of Plame’s identity. Nice to see that he keeps raising the bar on what will constitute an offense worth firing someone. Of course, this is a President who has fired nobody ever, as well as never once vetoing a bill. Sounds like he doesn’t want to make tough decisions except in the case of throwing our military on a bonfire.

I leave you with one thought. Take it any way you please.
The oath of enlistment that I took when I was active duty includes the phrase, “I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 19 Jul 2005 @ 10:22 AM

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Jippy

 
 05 May 2005 @ 12:00 PM 

jippy table

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 29 May 2005 @ 11:25 PM

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 04 May 2005 @ 10:49 PM 

Once again, the challenge is to identify the lyrices without resorting to Google. Anyone?


Yo, I used to check out lyrics upon the format
Build with skill with technique. Computer A-DAT

My lyrical form is clouds on your brainstorm
I get hyped think thought flow. Acrobat, sink the track, pump the track

Dance missions,clubs like spores react by. Strong visions
And hurrying more. Reflects on the dancefloor

Flow it up and having now people showing up
Packing crowds jam packed venues
Needles collapse, while atmosphere continues

Sprinkle that,
Winnin’ like that, movin’like that, hittin’ like that
The melody is phat

Yeah, I’m on the energy source
The cosmic force

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 05 May 2005 @ 06:45 AM

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