Today


Friday, March 10, 2006
  A new day is upon us...
A new day in blogging, ushering in a new era of information and exciting new frothing-at-the-mouth rants!

Yes, today garrettsocling.com is live! Because pollywogs.com was taken...

New things to note: you can sort by catagories (if you like my rants, check out the rants catagory, if you like just the personal posts, check out the personal catagory).

Etc etc etc.

Best thing, everything from this site is imported, so you don't have to worry about checking both sites...I'll leave this here for historical records (so future generations learn a little backstory about the dictator who changed the course of history).

You'll need to 'register' for the new site to post comments, please let me know if you have any problems with that process.

Why did I do it? Hard to say really, mostly I was feeling limited by the blogspot.com editor, had to fuck around a lot with the formatting when pasting quotes and links, never did like the layout, felt beholden to a third party, finally, I had shitloads of bandwidth and storage thats paid for and isn't getting used, so hello and welcome to the future!

Any ideas for domain names beyond my current ego-centric one? Leave a comment in the open thread at the new site :)
 


Wednesday, March 08, 2006
  A letter to the editor: (most of the local papers)
Again and again, our checks and balances have failed us.

Again and again, the 'other' branches of government rubberstamp the actions of the executive branch (calling a spade a spade, the port confrontation was a 'dustup' or a'puffing of the chest' over an irrelevant item...a farce and distraction, if you will).

To sum the situation, to cut through the spin and the talk, what we have is an adminstration without accountability, which says and does as it pleases with zero regard to the law or the constitution, and which has displayed their incompetance at the job of representation and governance, more concerned with fufilling the agenda of the PNAC (google it, they've followed the playbook TO A T) and providing a rich swath of tax money into their corporate assciociates and the Military-Industrial Complex.

Is this any way to run the greatest nation on Earth? The bastion of democracy and liberty, the home of the free and the 'American Dream'? Is this what our nation has come to?

We know what is wrong. Now it is time to make it right!

I think everyone wants a competent and credible government which puts the people first...not a government following the script of a Republican think-tank, drawn up by elites out of touch with reality, a playbook that has led us FAR down, so far that it will take years to repair the damage that they have done through their inaction and mismanagement.
 


Tuesday, March 07, 2006
  Another 'Government can suck my dick' entry
More horseshit, this time relating to censorship and invasion of privacy:

Part One

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/3/6/215013/1763

Gee, I'm sensing a pattern here.

Bill O'Reilly (www.billoreilly.com) - OK

Cost himself a pile of money by making sexually explicit phone calls to a female coworker while masturbating.

Rush Limbaugh (www.rushlimbaugh.com) - OK

Oxycontin addict, used his maid as unwilling drug mule. Currently not in jail for some reason yet to be explained.

G. Gordon Liddy Show (www.liddyshow.us) - OK

Felon.

Quite the standards, there. Color me shocked that they're allowing Republicans to use uniformed troops as props at campaign events, in direct and unambiguous violation of military rules.

Basically, if you are a soldier, you can be exposed to the Republican media, but not the liberal media. HOW THE FUCK DOES THAT WORK? Who decides (big brother) what they can and cannot see? Man, that shit climbs up my back and makes me want to punch someone in the nuts.



Part Two

http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/2006/03/holy-mother-of-god.html

They were told, as they moved up the managerial ladder at the call center, that the amount they had sent in was much larger than their normal monthly payment. And if the increase hits a certain percentage higher than that normal payment, Homeland Security has to be notified. And the money doesn't move until the threat alert is lifted.



So, the government is allowed to just run ramshod over your personal finances now?
What. The. Fuck.
I know, if I paid off a credit card and someone (thank you Big Brother) fucked with the transaction, I would raise HOLY FUCKING HELL, with the local newspapers, state government, congressmen, senators, there wouldn't be a limit to the amount of shit I would stir. If they want to monitor someone whom they suspect of terrorism, they can get a fucking warrant. If they want to block a valid transaction of a genuine honest US citizen...at what point do we have to march on Washington to restore the Consitution?

WELCOME TO CHINA, CIRCA 1984!
 


  "Volkswagen is doomed unless..."
I read a news article today. It made me think. Specifically, it made me think WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE???

Volkswagen is doomed unless unionized workers at its expensive German plants accept sharp cuts in costs and jobs, Europe's largest car maker said on Tuesday
"Unless in particular the traditional German plants are restructured, no long-term future for the Volkswagen Group would be conceivable, even if all the other parts of the Group reach their earnings targets," finance chief Hans Dieter Poetsch said.

Why? Why is it doomed? Why is there no long term future for 'the Volkswagen Group'?

Pischetsrieder added he was confident Volkswagen would achieve its 5.1 billion euro ($6.10 billion) pretax profit target in 2008.
There is nothing fucking wrong with a company that clears $6.1 billion pretax profit. Volkswagen is not fucking doomed.

Volkswagen repeated that up to 20,000 jobs at its struggling VW brand were at risk over the next three years due to a restructuring program aimed at boosting productivity, reaching full capacity and reorganizing its car parts operations.

It said it had to consider closing at least some car parts operations, but added three such plants in Germany were safe. Losses in the high-hundreds-of-millions of euros at its traditional western German VW plants, the highest labour costs in the industry and an earnings collapse in its two key foreign markets, the U.S. and China, have kept VW reeling.

Volkswagen reaffirmed it expects higher operating profit this year, but only before one-off effects, which were impossible to quantify as yet.

Right there is the problem. Shareholders demand ever higher profits (and companies promise it, lest their all-imporant stock value drop even slightly), year after year, regardless of whether this is possible or even healthy for the company, the industry, the nation, the people, or the future. Fucked. In. The. Head. Lets slash jobs, jettison experienced workers, 'ohs nos, losses in the high hundreds of millions'...doomed with a net profit of $6 billion.


 


  So I had a nightmare last night...
Thanks to the Academy Awards, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and plastinated corpses...

Cutting a long story short I often dream what I call movies, basically it was Tim Burton and his wife in a hotel room dressed slightly old-fashioned (I think pretty similar to what they were wearing at the awards). He was some sorta deranged scientist, but the character his wife played didn't know it. He was 'armed' with a bow, which he said crowds of people made him feel like shooting, which he proceeded to do at random out the window. This distressed the other character.

He called her over, and he began examining a book (I just got a chill, please excuse me for a second). The book had a naked woman lounging unconcious. I was a third party in the scene, I don't know my characters identity, but I was very close in proximity as the following happened. He said a phrase aloud, something akin to 'clearing the journal'. At the time I thought he was talking about the book he was reading, but the female character fell unconcious. He then said something else aloud about a soul, and removed a small, very disturbing object (reminded me of a small, plastinated head) from the womans head. At this point, very alien and disturbing music swelled mimmicking him crying aloud about the soul, and I was so freaked out that I woke up. I looked at the clock, and it just turned 3am. I immediately got a chill and thought of Emily Rose. I spent the next hour trying to tell myself that having chills while sweating was a normal reaction to being freaked out, and trying NOT to think that, if there was any time that you'd be vulnerable to the predidations of roaming spirits, it would be 3am after having a nightmare...I don't really believe in the supernatural, perhaps that is why this morning I'm here writing this blog rather than beginning a downward spiral which ends either in an institute or strapped to a bed with a priest over me...heh...
 


  A letter to Specter, Santorum and the Express...
So, Bill Frist is threatening to restructure the Senate Intelligence Committee to strip it of oversight responsibility if it (gasp) even dares to investigate Bush's violations of the law.

Today, March 7, the Senate Intelligence Committee will vote whether to investigate the domestic wiretaps that the president has already admitted were performed in defiance of the FISA court.

Seems like an open and shut case. Why is Bill Frist defending a president gone amok? If I were a check and balance against the threat of one branch of the government swelling with supreme power, I am sure I'd do everything in my power to ensure that no one branch swelled with so much power as to overstep the laws drafted, enacted, ruled and enforced.

I know, as a consituant, I have a heck of a lot less power than one of the three branches of our government. I'm all for anything which keeps them in check. I don't want to live in China, nor in 1984.
 


Monday, March 06, 2006
  New Website Is Live!

http://www.pcspecialties.com/pcs

Alrighty, its not quite ready for release, but it is actually a website
and not just a static image. Once all of the content is up and running,
I'll change the way the domain names point to force all traffic to the
new sister sites of PCS and VacDry.

Thoughts, feedback, opinions at this late stage?



On a related note, Pearl Jam is releasing their new single 'Worldwide Suicide' for free for the next two days from their website:

http://bootlegs.pearljam.com/

Might be a little busy at first, keep trying (I'll have an alternate download link after a while). No DRM, so feel free to spam your friends with it!

(I promised it was a related note) ...Pearl Jam's website at http://www.pearljam.com is new too, pretty nifty, its worth surfing around for a couple minutes.
 


Sunday, March 05, 2006
  Left and Right just don't cut it...
Your political compass
Economic Left/Right: -5.88
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.56

I took this a couple years ago, and was about the same spot (right next to the Dalai Lama).

I was thinking of having a compiled map of people I knew, but lost motivation.

Feel free to visit the site, find your own leanings, and then post them in the comments here. I'm interested! Only six pages of questions, takes about five minutes.
 


  A good interview...
http://youtube.com/watch?v=gCelxz0uf6o

The insane Larry King interviewing Jon Stewart. Pretty good stuff!

More interesting clips here:

http://onegoodmove.org/1gm/
 


Saturday, March 04, 2006
  Don't fly on small planes if you contest the establishment
http://www.alternet.org/story/14399/


Somewhat off topic, I went to Washington DC on Thursday with my parents to meet with laywers. Since a minor ice storm was going down when I woke up and we had to leave, things became delayed. One delay led to another. Before you knew it, it looked like we wouldn't be in DC until after lunch. Luckily a lady in front of us overheard our dismay and mentioned how easy it was to take Amtrak from Philly to DC. And indeed it was, fast easy and cheap. $60 each gets you there in 1 hr 30 mins...sounds like a long time? Try flying between the cities...standing in line to check in, dealing with luggage and then security, taking a bus from one terminal to another, waiting more (because sometimes it only takes 10 minutes to go from 'outside' to 'on the plane' and other times it takes a good two hours, see earlier blog entries...). Finally, you are on the plane, and you get to wait longer, waiting for asshats with all of their worldly possessions crammed into suitcases they are trying to stow overhead, waiting for baggage mishandlers to manhandle your goods into bays in the belly of the plane, waiting for permission to taxi onto the runway, waiting for permission to use said runway, and then actually flying somewhere. On the other end, hopefully you don't have to wait to land, but you do often have to wait to use the gate, wait for all the asshats to retrieve their worldly possessions while you clutch your book to your chest and wonder what the hell they needed two suitcases stowed above their heads for...finally, you are outside and you step off the plane to meet some refreshed and happy people who spent a comfortable and relaxing 1 hr 30 mins taking a train instead...

Man were the train stations beautiful. Both 30th Street in Philly and Union in DC, GIGANTIC open halls, pillars and arches, Philly was art deco and very well maintained, DC was almost a neo-classic...the main hall was large enough to park a couple 747's inside, end to end and on top of each other, with room to spare. I really wish Amtrak ran up to Williamsport, they run to Harrisburg, christ, a $60 ticket for a 2 hour ride to Philly would be sweet...no god damn hassles, no god damn security (can you remove your shoes sir?), no god damn sitting and waiting (or running trying to catch the flight). Really beautiful, compared to the dump shithole sprawl of metal buildings with fruity awnings that is Ronald RayGun National...
 


Thursday, March 02, 2006
  Another day, another point-blank lie...
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060302/ap_on_go_pr_wh/katrina_video

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/3/1/194716/0679

http://www.crooksandliars.com/2006/03/01.html#a7356

The story?

Bush and the rest of the administration knew what was likely to happen, had time to prepare, and completely ignored the problem.

Why? I don't have a good answer, beyond 'Bush doesn't care about black people'. Maybe since Haliburton got a lot of the reconstruction contracts, Bush and Co. saw it as a positive?

Regardless of what Bush said after Katrina, and what he may say as damage control after this story 'comes out', the fact is he knew, and he lied straight to our faces.

Shouldn't that type of behavior, from the president, be considered grounds for impeachment? I remember someone else getting heat for a much more personal lie...
 


Wednesday, March 01, 2006
  Pick a number...
Did you guess 20?

Thats how many packages of unopened toothpaste we have. I can't keep track of which ones I like, other than the orange stuff.


Did I ever post about our cats names? I think I did already... Anyways... We have three. One white, one grey, and one black. Originally named Mimmy, Little Guy and Oy, respectively. As time went by, we morph their names without reason or thought.

Mimmy has (is) also Pep, Pepper, Peppy, Pep Pep (in the attic), Mimmy Peppers, Mimmy Bitcher, Pepperoni, etc etc

Little Guy has (is) also Guygie (guy gee, sounds sorta like maybe), Guyger (sounds like diver), McGuyger, My Guyger, Bitch Boi, Rhygie, Rhyger...I should start calling him Bambi, eh?

Oy is mostly known now as Bear, Pooh Bear, Oy Lee, Oy Lee Bear, Pooh, Punkie, Jabba, Berto (like Oberto beef), Bertoli (like the pasta).


I'm reading a new book, 'Crashing the Gate'. I ordered an advanced copy from dailykos.com, and I'm finding it a very interesting read so far. Depressing for sure, but its important to know what you are up against...


For the record, my shit is fine, I take fiber for the colon health benefits (I don't want to give a doctor any excuse to stick a cold squirmy up my bum, or look up it, or insert implements, etc etc etc).
 


  So whats the recommended fiber intake per day these days?
25 grams? Have you ever examined the fiber content of most of the foods you eat? It is fucking hard to get 25 grams...(music) which is why I started taking Fiber Choice, the easy way to add fiber to your diet. (/music) Oddly enough, both Kelley and I enjoy taking these sugar-free fiber tablets, you chew them up and they taste delicious, no gritty horseshit, just yummy. Contain inulin, which isn't bran fiber, its a soluble fiber which some plants use to store energy, but we can't digest (I think there is a little dextrose in each tablet, about 8 calories?). Three tablets equals six grams, but I can't help myself from snacking on a couple extra here or there...you don't even take water with it, just chew and then grab another...mmm....
 


Sunday, February 26, 2006
  Speaking of raping and shitting in the mouth...
The Aristocrats!

I must have felt it coming...basically, the movie is a straight documentary about a joke, its interesting but unless you are depraved, don't bother watching. Personally, I thought is was pretty good (see title).


The Mpemba effect
THIS has bugged me for years. I've always known it was bullshit, it only works through minutia and details which must specifically occur and which basically take it from interesting to a technicality.

The 'reason' my intuition is 'wrong':

What's wrong with this proof is that it implicitly assumes that the water is characterized solely by a single number -- the average temperature. But if other factors besides the average temperature are important, then when the initially warmer water has cooled to an average temperature of 30° C, it may look very different than the initially cooler water (at a uniform 30° C) did at the start. Why? Because the water may have changed when it cooled down from a uniform 70° C to an average 30° C. It could have less mass, less dissolved gas, or convection currents producing a non-uniform temperature distribution. Or it could have changed the environment around the container in the refrigerator. All four of these changes are conceivably important, and each will be considered separately below. So the impossibility proof given above doesn't work. And in fact the Mpemba effect has been observed in a number of controlled experiments
I added the italics and bold. Notice the phrase? Other factors? JESUS FUCKING CHRIST...I have two buckets of water, one is tiny and one is huge. I drop some liquid nitrogen in the small bucket and it froze first. The impossibility proof doesn't work...give me a break. Of course if you alter the conditions of each volume of water BEYOND the temperature in an extreme enough fashion, it might be able to create specific and controlled conditions where you can utilizes specific processes which might enable the warmer liquid to cool faster than the cool liquid. Lets boil the water, remove the dissolved solids and gasses so that each container has DIFFERENT water in them, fashion a very specific container which maximizes surface area to volume, maximizes convective possibilites and also maximizes evaporation so that the end quantity of water is as small as possible, and then fashion the environmental chamber with conditions which will wick and conduct this extra heat and water vapor away as quickly as possible while constantly introducing new cool and dry air.

Yea, my intuition was waaaay off base...

The full explination, summarized:

If you take warmer water which isn't the same physically as the cooler water, and put it in a different container in a different environment from the cooler water, under certain specific conditions it might freeze faster.

1) Evaporation: if the hot water evaporates signifigantly more than the cooler water (assuming extremely specific conditions regarding environmental humidity and ambient temperature, surface areas of the water masses, etc), there is less of it and it might freeze faster simply because it has less volume. Very stringent and specific starting conditions?

GIMMICK

2) Dissolved Gasses: if the warmer water has fewer dissolved gasses (due to the fact that various dissolved gasses are liberated on heating and boiling), it might freeze faster due to 'changes the properties of the water'...but as far as why it might freeze faster, there are only guesses?

Not only a GIMMICK, but a wild guess with no good theory!

3) Convection: water density changes due to temperature, and these different temperature and density portions of a given volume move about (you can watch cold water pour off ice to the bottom of a glass of iced tea which is sorta neat). The 'hottest' part of the water would be at the surface, which supposedly would give off the most heat. Further assuming that the surface is the area giving off the most heat, it is possible that the warmer volume will maintain a 'hot top' as they call it throughout the cooling process, creating a faster cooling voume of water. Again, you need very specific conditions, specific volumes and container shapes, specific ambients temperatures and humidity creating specific cooling at specific sections of the water...

GIMMICK

4) Surroundings: The warmer water may affect the local conditions of the environment (the example they give is melting frost in the freezer which may increase conduction through the container, which could potentially REALLY increase the cooling to the warmer container).

GIMMICK


Here, all along I thought that this was a scientific experiement with conditions as closely controlled and monitored as possible. Actually, its an experiment where the idea is to create conditions as favorable to the outcome as possible to 'prove' that hot water can freeze faster than cold water. Can. Under extremely specific conditions for reasons STILL not fully understood to 'actual' scientists who have examined this phenomenom (I'm not terribly excited by the research done to date).

Terribly, terribly misrepresented. Its not counter-intuitive that, when you load the dice, they fall the way you want them to...

I'd want to take cold water, hot water, and do it for myself before I'd sign off completely on it, but under most real world (outside of a kitchen or a lab) conditions I'd say this would NOT happen. That said, I think that ice cube trays and frost free freezers would be an ideal replication of the conditions you'd need to re-create this. Extremely cold and dry, with good air movement to constantly remove the warm water vapor and evaporate the remaining liquid away, with small volumes of water relative to their surface area, typically rounded bottoms and smooth edges for good convective flow, and potentially a little bit of frost on the bottom for the warmer fluid to melt, increasing conductive heat flow while the cooler tray remains insulated by a layer of ice crystals.



Finally, do you need some new wallpaper? One or two of these might make a nice desktop, most are too small tho...
http://visi.com/~reuteler/leonardo.html
 


Thursday, February 23, 2006
  May I see my casefile?
I wonder if its thick and juicy?

I wonder if it also contains a copy of the rant I emailed to the White House in the spring of 2001 about the follies of maintaining an army geared towards fighting a third world war against the USSR when the true dangers of the future were terrorists and rogue nations. I want a copy of it...I sent it about 2AM, I was pretty much foaming at the mouth by the time I was done. I'm sure writing hostile letters to the president gets you flagged.

What am I talking about? Oh, the usual...'King George' breaking the law, violating (no, not violating, raping and shitting in the mouth of) the constitution.

(thanks go to thedailykos.com for the heads up)

This administration's disdain for the Constitution really knows no bounds.

A controversial counter-terrorism program, which lawmakers halted more than two years ago amid outcries from privacy advocates, was stopped in name only and has quietly continued within the intelligence agency now fending off charges that it has violated the privacy of U.S. citizens.

The names of key projects were changed, apparently to conceal their identities, but their funding remained intact, often under the same contracts.

Isn't it handy when all these things fall into place? Congress discontinues the program, but its activities can easily be carried on under the cover of classification at the NSA. And even more conveniently, this program just happens to have components that could aid in the warrantless wiretapping of American citizens.

Tom Armour, the Genoa II program manager, declined to comment for this story. But in a previous interview, he said that ARDA -- which absorbed the TIA programs -- has pursued technologies that would be useful for analyzing large amounts of phone and e-mail traffic. "That's, in fact, what the interest is," Armour said.

How much longer is this Congress going to stand by to see its will subverted, its power eroded? How many more times can this administration thumb its nose at Congress before our legislators wake up to the fact that they are becoming increasingly irrelevant? With BushCo sycophants Frist and DeLay in charge (and make no mistake, DeLay is still in charge, even if just behind the scenes), it's not going to happen any time soon.



So thats how it is...and now I hear that the government is going back through the National Archives and 'reclassifying' information as they see fit without telling anyone what or why. Ahh, yes, the sweet sound of history being re-written and covered up, so todays 'facts' turn out to have been true all along. Twenty-five years from now, we'll all remember the Bad Old Days before Father Bush took the nation under his wing and Protected Us from ourselves and the Bad People in the world who were out to Harm Us, and the Glorious Rebirth of our nation in the years that followed into the new Kingdom of Christ and Cheney, where everyone loves Father Bush and sleeps safe as long as their smile is 100% honest...



On a lighter note, would you like to witness (after the fact) the evolution of a song? First, a brand new Pearl Jam song, they have a new album coming up soon (I've got NPJAA for sure), this is a little taste I guess :

http://www.musiccherry.com/archives/2006/01/gone_a_new_pear.htm

This was a day or two before the concert we went to, apparently Ed had written it in the hotel a day or two prior. Apparently Ed didn't think it would make the album. I did get the original demo copy (from the hotel room) as this years Christmas single, but I haven't dusted off the record player to listen to it yet. The other side of the single was 'Little Sister' with Robert Plant recorded late last year at a Katrina benifit. Coming full circle (as full as my circles go), you might remember that I saw the hillbilly in the redneck bar play 'Last Kiss' and 'Little Sister' back to back a couple days after the concert (probably better than PJ, tho maybe it was the alcohol...) if you read that paticular blog entry. BTW, did you hear the guy holler 'You're gonna die' at Eddie at the end of the song? What a jerkoff...

http://www.musiccherry.com/archives/2005/11/pearl_jam_light.htm

This link has two copies of 'Light Years'. A demo and the studio version. I don't really care for the studio version...but I fucking adore the demo. Strange how amazingly far the song traveled from where it started to where it ended. I wonder what they said in their heads during the process where the answer they came up with was 'lets scrap this and do it completley differently'.
 


  This is very, very scary...
http://www.familywatchdog.us/search.asp

Unforntunately it doesn't work in Pennsylvania. I stuck in the only address I knew out of state, 90210 : 9641 Sunset Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

You click on one of the dots, it gives you their full address, crime, photo, etc etc.

This is a very good idea. The website suggests you write to your representatives if you live in a state which doesn't provide the data for use in this database.

This map makes me wonder what a map of the US would look like if you had all of the various released criminals plotted. Sorta like one of those 'maps from space at night' but awash in a multitude of colors?
 


Wednesday, February 22, 2006
  Support slavery today, from the convenience of your own home!
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/198202/diamond

...huge diamond mines were discovered near the Orange River, in South Africa, where diamonds were soon being scooped out by the ton...British financiers...quickly realized that their investment was endangered; diamonds had little intrinsic value...feared that...diamonds would become at best only semiprecious gems.

7 pages long, thats my kind of article...my own opinion is to imbue something understated and personal with signifigance, and imbue a rock which symbolizes 'pulling the wool over' (whether we're talking about denying Africian nations the wealth of their own natural resources, the virtual slavery under which the rocks are harvested, or the century long marketing campaign that has brainwashed the masses) with the correct perspective.



 


  Confessions of an internet slumlord...
A while back I went on a domain name purchase spree. I snagged a couple domain names which are directly or tangentially related to our business. I find it very strangely fufilling to 'secure' domain names. I (basically it comes down to 'renting') secured eight domain names for the next four years at a cost of I think around $60 if I remember correctly. It seems like such a bargain, I feel like 'more more more'...so strange...

I found contemplating these feelings didn't seem to reveal too much, so I did the next best thing, decide to bare that part of my soul online...

You can view my acquisitions here:

http://www.pcspecialties.com
http://www.vacdry.com
http://www.pcsvacdry.com
http://www.pcsvacuumkilns.com
http://www.pcswoodtechnologies.com
http://www.vacuumdrykilns.com
http://www.vacuumkilns.com
http://www.vacuumkiln.com

Someone hacked into my Mambo and Joomla sites (http://www.pcsvacdry.com is an example of Mambo), so I changed some things, locked others down, and hopefully by the end of next week we'll have an initial 'new' site at at least one or two of those domain names for testing purposes.


A while back I recieved an email about closed loop fuel sources (see post about smoking weed with Willie Nelson, below) and that sorta jogged something in my head. I started looking around and found out that Brazil is nearly energy independant, practically free of the need of foriegn oil and nearly free of the need for oil for use in cars in general. HOW did a fucking third-world country do what the Bush administration and the rest of corporate America said isn't possible here for fifty years or longer?

By growing sugar cane...

You might be aware of the US meme regarding how evil ethanol is in gasoline because they charge the same price but you get less miles per gallon during the winter. They add ethanol because up to a certain percentage modern cars can adapt for it on the fly with no harm (other than a slight reduction in MPG). If a car is designed from the beginning, it can run on anything from straight gas to straight ethanol without a problem. Sound high tech? Ford has had the capability to produce these cars for nearly a hundred years (the idea being that farmers in the middle of nowhere could make their own fuel for their Model T's, and more recently has produced E85 capable vehicles). Brazil got off their ass and builds locally the same 'flex fuel' type of engine. Owners can choose to pull up at a pump and gas up with whatever they like...and while straight ethanol gets slightly less MPG, it ALSO COSTS LESS THAN HALF AS MUCH. That is WITHOUT subsidies or incentives.

Reference:
(flex fuel vehicles) run on gasoline, alcohol or any combination of the two and now represent nearly 20 percent of the new cars sold in Brazil.

Back in the mid 1990s, Brazil ended its ethanol subsidies. Nevertheless, with world oil prices hovering around $55 a barrel, the price of ethanol today is only half that of gasoline. Since its inception, Brazil's ethanol program has displaced imported oil worth $120 billion. This is comparable to a savings of almost $2 trillion for a U.S.-sized economy.

Over the past three decades Brazil has worked to create a viable alternative to gasoline. With its sugarcane-based fuel, the nation may become energy independent this year.

After nearly three decades of work, Brazil has succeeded where much of the industrialized world has failed: It has developed a cost-effective alternative to gasoline

Thats right. Brazil did it...and we can too. Again, the best part is its a 'closed loop', there is no new carbon released into the atmosphere: the sugar cane (or any other plant) captures carbon dioxide and sunlight to create the sugar. You burn that sugar back into the atmosphere, where it is re-captured, wash rinse repeat. Quite unlike digging up billions of tons of carbon which had been saftley squirrled away millions of years ago, and then burning that...

I'm not finished, but thats all for now...


 


Monday, February 20, 2006
  A couple good T's

Because "blow me and then put another cartridge on top of me once I'm in the NES" wouldn't fit.


You bought 1350 lbs of this shirt but you can only carry 200 back to the wagon.


I didn't see a vagina up-close until I was 18. Today, at 22, I've seen at least seven of them. My name is Jakob Lodwick, and I sell T-shirts.


Not only is this shirt funny, but it's also factually correct. Volunteering, by definition, does not pay.


Another day, another website selling witty teeshirts. I think I'm going to have to throw away a lot of plain-jane teeshirts and get something with a little kick...
 


  Getting back into the swing of things...
And I quote:

"I think that “never smokin’ weed with Willie again” is a bad idea."

http://www.eonline.com/News/Items/0,1,18336,00.html?fdnews








my how quickly they grow up...I don't know what they put in the puppy chow...



Thats what a $25,000 chair looks like...


I don't have much today...slim pickins...still trying to find my groove...been too busy working to do much surfin for tidbits...and, I think I can start to relax because I have a feeling those cocksuckers are going to jail here soon...

SOMEONE GRAB A BROOMSTICK, RUMSFELD NEEDS INTERROGATED!


On a lighter note, did you catch the Arrested Development finale? 'you forgot to say away again'...'three openings to fill'...at least it went out on a high note!
 


Friday, February 17, 2006
  Further down the spiral...
4:08AM EST, Thursday

heading home...

its been a long two weeks on the road. it will be good to go home.

everything has gone exceedingly well, I can't complain one bit. the business, the pleasure, the food, the beer, it has been a very busy but plesant diversion.

I'm actually over the southern pacific at this moment. I'll probably update the blog once or twice more before uploading it after I get home, so keep in mind the time as you read.

Final notes on NZ:
You can't go wrong with beer here. They have enough microbreweries and botique brewers, they makes something for everyone.

The mixed drinks is a very different story. I've had very weak drinks (no one can make a damn white russian in this country) and very strong drinks (every rum and coke I've ordered (after describing what goes in it) I've had has been 1) excellent and 2) fucking strong. At the airport I had three rum and cokes while reading the new Michael Crichton book 'State of Fear' (jury is out on the book, I'm only 1/2 through). Each of those drinks cost $3.50. Each one, the lady poured the rum into a shotglass until it overflowed into the cup, easily 1 1/2 shots. A small glass. I'd guess 50% rum, 50% coke. 'The bomb' (can I say that on an airplane?). Here on the plane, I asked for a rum and coke (in economy, free drinks!!! fucking qantas is 'the bomb'). The stewardess brought me a glass half-filled with rum and a little ice. And a small coke. Ugh...is too much of a good thing the perfect amount?

They have a half-dozen movies playing, but i'm not really interested in johnny cash or penguins. I guess I should sleep soon. fucking dill hole in front of me has his seat the whole way back, I'm rather jammed in here at the moment, but I can still read the screen. oh well...here's hoping we don't end up at the bottom of the ocean (well, the laptop would end up there, I'm sure I'd be pooped out much higher)...




8:30PM EST, Thursday

cranky...

fucking hell, travelling all day takes it out of you. I'm currently sitting in a little bastard concourse outside of the main Dulles terminals. I guess a little United spur for smaller planes. Let me tell you, even though the trip wasn't as interesting from LAX to Washington, it went a hell of a lot faster. Something about the wind and travelling against the rotation, seemed like it took three hours, four max. Wached 'Good Night, and Good Luck' (I think it was called, with George Clooney). Good, but seemed a little short. Worth watching, if only for the historical aspect.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Way ahead. Lets take a little trip back to LAX...

So, everything was bowling along, customs took about 20 seconds, got my luggage in short order, called Kell to let her know I was back in the states, everything was firing on all cylinders. Then, I got to the 'easy check-in', as the automated process is called. Got to the end and because I had one checked bag, the whole process was fucked. I could just feel it unraveling...

So, I go stand in line for about 1/2 hour, waiting to hand a little barcode to a service represtative, who prints my tickets in about 15 seconds...why couldn't that be done electronically? Anyway, I head upstairs for security, and FUCK you should have seen the line, it was tremendous. There was an aussie behind me who was worried about missing a flight, but they kept culling the line for 'just in time' serivce. Eventually, I was culled and it seems that having me in a position to actually commence caused some harmonic balance to fall farther out of alignment. You should have seen the clusterfuck of people being 'confused' about a line. You're new to the line, you go to the end. These asians (japanese probably) couldn't speak a whit of english, kept fucking the line up by trying to cut ahead, the two representatives were barely able to maintain order, a true knotted clusterfuck (clusterknotfuck hereafter). All of this happened with me in the front of the culled line, who should have gone next because our planes were boarding...finally, order was restored, some business guy got a kick out of my 'are you going to eat those tots' t-shirt, and some really old foreign people 'cut' (with official assistance) right in front of me. Couldn't speak english, slow and old as hell. Old guy went through the scanner, it went off, he couldn't figure out they wanted him to back up and go again. Time just ticked away...finally the security guy noticed that I HAD MY SHIT TOGETHER if the rest of the world was willing to play ball, and let me through.

I made it to the boarding gate (luckily it was pretty much as I remembered it from the last time through) as the last of passengers were submitting their tickets...when again, the world slowed to a crawl. Apparently, EVERYONE NEEDS to bring about three suitcase sized carry-ons with them, so after about 2/3 of the passengers had boarded, they rand out of room to stow. (Did I tell you about my theory on improving my mood during air travel? Sort passengers so those with no carry on sit closest to the door, those with underseat stowables are behind them, those with one suitcase go 3/4 of the way back, and the shitheads who feel the need to not check 1/2 of their baggage can sit the whole way in the back). Where was I?

Oh yea, out of room. Again, asians couldn't figure out what was going on, and were clusterknotfucking everything (I don't have problems with asians, just asians who clusterknotfuck my life). This one guy was flirting with getting thrown off the plane, but he could speak english. Dunno what his problem was, he and his wife had four carry-ons, two of which were suitcases, one dufflebag and one backpack. Kept saying about how they could stow them under the seats. Honestly, at that point, I was looking for some action. Unfortunately, somehow, reason took hold and I inched my way through assholes stowing their lifes possessions above their seats towards mine. This is where the real fun started, actually...

Stow my modest carry-on which contains anything I'd need overnight, and then some, and realize I'm sitting next to Andre-the-fucking-mailroom-clerk-The-Giant, and the Unibomber. Seriously, this guy was nothing but shoulder and elbow. And an inconsiderate prick as well, didn't give a flying fuck that he was all over my seat. I'm not going to go there anymore, some things are best just to let go of...The unibomber wasn't as bad, just scribbling his manifesto in typical non-linear fashion. Think: scraggly hair, scraggly beard, sheaf of papers, and a pen. Hunched in the other direction (Mr. Arms and Legs wasn't saving it just for me), probably jotting that because I was reading 'State of Fear', I was just another pig who deserved the package I was destined to get or something...

So, luckily the flight went very fast. And the movie was good. And my book was good. Meh, once I got into Dulles, things turned around, no hassles here yet. But I hear over the intercom that people going to Allentown are fucked because the plane is very late...This little terminal, considering these people are waiting to flights to State College, Allentown, Charlottesville, Savanna, etc etc...it looks like a refugee camp...packed. (I later found out, there is a pretty good storm system rolling across the country, looks like a typical summertime coldfront, hence the delays)

Did I tell you that everyone is coughing? It some sorta sickness...sounds like a cold...bird flu, anyone? My immune system is compromised with the lack of sleep and whatnot...

Thats pretty much it. I'm all done. Getting pretty tired...boy am I looking forward to Kell, a nice ride home, a warm soft bed, and some good sleeping in with nothing to do...its 8:52, plane boards soon, departs at 10. Maybe I'll go double-check that my baggage was checked the whole way through. Or fuck it. If the place wasn't so terribly busy, I'd go get something to eat. Meh...

I hope you enjoyed my 'creative' blog, I don't imagine it continuing like this after I get back. This takes a lot of downtime (literally nothing else to do), and I usually find a diversionary way to spend my downtime.

So, what am I looking forward to the most now that I'm back? Mostly Kell, she had it a lot worse than I did, she didn't really have much to do these past two weeks. I'm sorta looking forward to a little TV, didn't watch any other than a little rugby and just enough cricket to be confused. Sorta scared to check my email, its been close to a week. Probably got packed up and is bouncing stuff...

Sometimes, I imagine that I could write a novel. I think, 'I WANT to write a novel, I feel like I have lots of things I'd cover'. But, this is already like pulling teeth, and I have lots of stuff to specifically write about. I think I'd get about two pages into it and loose steam. Perhaps if I secluded myself and drank a lot, thats the usual prescription, isn't it? In order to be creative, you need to remove distractions, have plenty of formative time in front of a word processor, lube up the creative cogwork, and see what spits out. Maybe when I retire here in the next five or ten years...did you see that? I think I just say breakfast flying by...I tried my hand, got about a paragraphs worth but just don't know what to do to fill up the pages...

OH!!! NO FUCKING WIFI HERE!!! THIRD WORLD COUNTRY!!! What is wrong with these asshats? Its old technology and its very cheap to provide.



2:42PM EST, Friday

Guess who's back, back again...back and well rested...
 


Monday, February 13, 2006
  Getting sleepy...
Where to begin...

Hopefully, as you read this a new batch of photos has been uploaded to Flock for your viewing pleasure.

Today feels about two or three days long already (10pm local time at this moment, Sunday Feb 12th).

After nailing down all of the little gremlins and wrapping up yesterday, we slept early in order to wake at 6am to catch a bus. Actually, I napped till about 3am, from then on I woke up every half-hour or so in order to not be startled to death by my cell phone, which I had set an alarm for with the ring tone of 'Psycho' (you know, the knife-stabbing music, very very loud...turns out excellent subconcious motivation to awake well ahead of time in order not to hear it...).

So...6am shower, then a mile walk to the bus stop with a daybag packed (my carry-on is my laptop, loaded it up with a change of clothes). 7:30, on a little 14 person bus and a four hour drive over the mountains down here. The east coast, as you might have seen, is 'relatively' dry. Going up the hills, it gets a little drier, looking somewhat like Arizona. Rather suddenly, it begins sprinkling and the hills are noticably greener. A little further on, and you realize those aren't shrubs on the hillsides, its a rainforest. We stopped in the little town where you might have seen the 'Keas', a paticularly evil breed of parrot known for tearing the weatherstripping off of cars (and according to the local we met, the kidneys out of sheep). A sandwich and a Smirnoff Ice later (the lady working the counter said it was the earliest she's ever seen someone drink, at about 10:30am...and here I thought NZ was serious about their alcohol (as long as its past noon I guess)), back on the bus. We have a couple good pics, but it doesn't really convey the wetness.

Arriving in town (actually, passing through Greymouth onto a smaller town of Hokitika (Hokitika being the third largest city on the west coast, about the same size as Jersey Shore...)), we secured our room at a local hotel. Another hotel with no internet service...apparently the English don't bring laptops (the local said English are among the most numerous tourists, along with Asians). Had lunch in town (if the locals tell you Whitefish is a delicacy, tell them thanks but I'll have something else, reminded me of squid bleh), met up with the local Jon (who owns a mill here in town, works with a lot of Red Beech, hopefully our next target here in NZ). Jon took us out on a quick tour of the area...first to the lake and small forest path, and then onto the gorge and swinging bridge. I've never been in a tropical rain forest before (driving through the one in Hawaii doesn't count, I didn't get to get out and walk around very much), I really liked it a lot. The sense of isolation is profound: there is no air traffic overhead, no highways, no sound other than birdcall (and not much of that). Just ancient, virgin rainforest, looking exactly the same for thousands of years. I liked it a lot.

Kell and I played phone tag for a while, but it wasn't bad once I got in touch with her. Cell phones are amazingly useful, how did we ever get on without them? Being in touch no matter where I go, priceless...

Had dinner at a local restrauant, tried monkfish in a filo pastry and a coconut cream sauce. Not bad, but not the best fish I've had (the top two being from Tierras del Sol and Degree). Guess what else I had. Go on, use a wild guess. Pumpkin soup. Yep, imagine pumpkin pie, but instead without the sugar and in cream soup base. Actually, with some salt and pepper it wasn't bad. My horizon was expanded tonight, for sure. I hear pumpkin is quite popular cooked in a variety of manners round here.

Sorry I don't have my A game tonight, I am feeling the effects of not getting enough sleep (I know my A game is disjointed and difficult to follow...).

Onward tomorrow, back on a tour bus to reverse our trip, back to Christchurch to sleep, then on a plane to Napier with a short layover in Wellington. We're having an impromtu and informal semi-board meeting, since nearly everyone will be available. That should wrap it up here in NZ. I might have one or two additional blogs left in me, definately more pictures, but I don't think much more thats interesting...

Hope you've enjoyed following me around!
 


Saturday, February 11, 2006
  Lazing on a sunny afternoon...in the summer-time...
Sometimes when I blog, I have a theme, and if I have been thinking about it a bit and have had a beer or two, I can usually ramble pretty well. If I have a theme and haven't been thinking about it, and haven't had anything to loosen my mental lips, the posting is usually terse. If I don't have a theme...you have this!

Everything took a strong turn for the better today. An hour or so ago, around six PM local, we pulled a couple samples with Rick (the operator of Southern Veneers) thinking we'd show him how badly the kiln had ruined a good portion of his wood. We pulled the top two layers, the ones we had looked at yesterday, and he mentioned that the cracks were there when he sliced it, he was intending on using it for backing, in his opinion it looked pretty good. We pulled samples from lower, the 'good' veneer which was actually going into flooring and (very, very much to our suprise) it looked absolutely fine. We were hoping that veneer was nearly impossible to damage with our process (even wood as difficult as Red Beech), and it turns out that even with all of the little mistakes, problems and hiccups, the wood was fine and drying well. Talk about a load off the shoulders. And, a nicer upside having Rick there to see that it wasn't as bad as we had been saying!

Earlier, while I was nailing down problems and adjusting the programming to deal with 'this and that', I'd make a revision and load it into the kiln. Once I was reasonably certain it worked the same in the PLC as it did in my head, I headed into the computer to monitor. I set the laptop up and spent some very quality time with Kell. It is really, really nice having Skype, a microphone and a little webcam along with a broadband connection, it is...as good as it can be when you are as far from home as possible without going into outer space...If you have any reason to make long distance calls, or hell, even local calls, and you have a computer and a broadband connection, may I recommend skype?

Skype.com - free and 'it just works', no 'screwing' around
Microphone - $8 and 'it just works'
Webcam - $13 and it mostly just works. Cheap webcams are still sorta hit-or-miss...this one (while available) is perfecly serviceable...

Now, ask your friends/family who are long distance calls to do the same. Connect, talk, enjoy...for free :)

Where was I? Oh yea, I wanted to play some Canasta so I re-introduced Kelley to it. I'm pretty sure she'd played once a long time ago, but after one or two hands she was stealing the pile from under me and going out like a demon. Experience still managed to prevail (I got a good headstart heh).

Canasta >:)

So, did you guys get the Bush administration pulled down yet? I noticed on TV that lying is taking its toll of the fucker, he's looking older every day. With Libby passing the buck, I see Bush 'revealing' how 'successful' he is in 'protecting' us from 'terrorism' with some smoke and mirrors about LA. Remember, the things they go out of their way to tell you are the things you should LEAST believe.

I forgot to add links for downloading that song last night didn't I? Hopefully I'll remember to add links for that and links for the above items, eh?

Its amazing how two beers just allows me to run on and ramble like this. Hopefully you've found it as interesting to read as I've found it interesting to thinke...err...

A few final notes on New Zealand (with lots of pics coming tomorrow, internet connection allowing):

No handguns. Shotguns are alright, but it is amazingly difficult to acquire and purchase a handgun. Please reference THESE stastics comparing the death-by-handgun rates of NZ vs the US. Apparently, if you even register to purchase a handgun, the police run a backround check including interviews with those close to you. Now, in the US, if they had a handgun buy-back, and prevented the mass-manufacturering of new ones, and carefully restricted imporation, and strongly regulated ownership, and confiscated and destroyed illegal guns...after five years, please tell me what would happen. Go on, take a wild guess...

There are quite a few //more// SUV's and a handful more trucks down in the south island vs. Auckland. Apparently, its because it snows once a year (which EVERYONE takes as a free day, off work and school, etc etc). The lucky bastards, while it might snow once, they said that typically the weather will bounce right back to 60'F (20'C is actually what they said, who knows what 20'C is...).

These people are serious about drinking. As I might have said before, they don't sell beer in cans (well, if they do its only a very small fraction). They thought it quite amusing when I mentioned you have to ask for bottles specifically in the US. You go to the grocery store and they literally have isles of beer and wine (wine just catching on here in the past few years).

Christchurch is on the east coast of NZ. In the space of 5 miles you have an amazing varitey of microclimes. On the planes is a near-subtropical environment (mixed species including Palms) streching for miles, but as you head towards the hills the coves and cliffs protect some places from the southerly winds. In those locations, protected from the cold, you have a positively tropical envrionment. The suburb of Summer looks straight out of Hawaii. Right up the hill from Summer, over the mountains, the forest gives way to Pines and local flora. Down the other side of the bay (into the flooded Caldera of a long extinct volcano) the climate is much colder, temperate like Pennsylvania. Rick mentioned that, while they do maintain the port and a small town simply due to the deep water and practical access, no one really wants to live there because its so damn cold in the winter (probably 20'F, with what they are used to here...). All within a 5 mile drive from the ocean, to the cliffs and foothills, and over the mountain, whatever you are looking for (except a tropical beach, while they do have a couple golden sandy beaches, the water is relatively cold).

NZ has apparently nearly the highest UV anywhere outside of Antartica. Did I mention that previously?

Rugby is actually rather interesting once you gather the rules. The play is nearly continuious and well thought-out. The more I see, the more I think 'hey, thats not that bad, no wonder its so popular!).

No snakes, no real land mammals (a few small introduced), no toads, only a few frogs...New Zealand (if it weren't for the introduction of rats, possums, stoats and the like) would be virtually bare of animal life. Birds made it over, but apparently NZ has been cut off from any real mainland for a very long time (or had the animal life wiped clean at one point). The only thing dangerous here apparently is a spider which can give you a nasty bite (think Brown Recluse, but not deadly, just toxic / eat your flesh).

On that note, I'm off. If no one is watching, I might use the trampoline.
 


Friday, February 10, 2006
  A late night...
Had some hiccups with the installation, left me with some time to browse the internet, and I found these tidbits:
Abducted American journalist Jill Carroll appeared in a video
broadcast on Kuwaiti television Thursday, urging the U.S. government to meet her
kidnappers' demands. "I'm here. I'm fine. Please, just do whatever they want.
Give them whatever they want as quickly as possible. There is very short time.
Please do it fast," she says. Carroll, 28, was kidnapped January 7 in western
Baghdad after attempting to meet with an Iraqi official.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/02/09/carroll.video/index.html

The thing is, 'she says' is bullshit. She is reading off a card. While I am sure she is pretty sure she is going to die, she is saying those things because they have a gun literally to her head. My opinion on this is that the journalists are doing her a disservice by printing the story in such a sensational manner.

And, the best news I've had in a while:

Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter"
Libby, told a grand jury he was "authorized by his superiors" to disclose
classified information from an intelligence report to reporters, according to
the special prosecutor in the CIA leak case.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/02/09/cia.leak/index.html

Yes, that's right. Bush and Cheney authorized classified information to be leaked for their own personal political agenda, in order to bolster their failing lies by undermining their critics. Perfect. Great. Liars and crooks, throw them all in jail.

 


Thursday, February 09, 2006
  A day in the life of...
Wednesday, Feb 8th, 2006, New Zealand (GMT+12:00)

You know what I just realized? I don't have to be online to blog. I just have to be online to //post// my blog...

I thought I'd share with you my 'typical' day on the road:

I've been getting up pretty early, atypically early for myself. While I've never been a morning person, I'm not sure if it is simply a residual effect of the jetlag or from eating fresh fish more often than not, I find I've been very aware and awake at a very early time. I've woken up around 5:30 unprompted, looked at my cell phone and thought 'I'm wide awake and I've only slept 7 hours...' Usually it doesn't matter how much or little sleep, I still feel less than refreshed in the morning...but I'm rambling...or just beginning, depending on your point of view (insert evil laugh)...

After showering, I usually have two slices of hearty toast slathered with butter and a cup of tea. The bread in New Zealand (did I mention this before?) is very interesting, I gather white bread isn't very popular. We've been going on site around 7:30 give or take.

Work is about a two minute walk away. The small (independant: most things are independant here, downtowns flourish, mom-and-pop is what it is all about. Chains and franchises are few and far between...I like it!) motel we are staying at is directly across the two-lane from Southern Veneers. Its strange, we are only a mile or two from downtown Christchurch, but the breeze is usually fragrant, smelling of flowers and trees. A picture wouldn't do it justice...where do I start? New Zealand is the land of a thousand fences. Everyone has a fence of some manner around their property. Looking up and down this street, you'd see hedges and brick walls and lots and lots of tidy driveways. They are usually high enough to be a bother to jump over while still allowing pleasant glimpses of flower bed and small, tastefully designed houses.

Crossing the street, things get 'boring' fast. I find the job stimulating, interesting, and fufilling, but the details are rather dull. For instance: we swiched pressure transducer models recently. We also added a frequency drive to a pump. Either/or would have been fine, but the combination created a very strange effect where while the freq drive is running, the chamber pressure is read about 100 torr too high. Why? I couldn't remember. Took me about 20 minutes of thinking 'this is so familiar' to remember that I had discovered that I needed to isolate the chamber from the sensor, apparently the chamber is absorbing some type of electromagnetic radiation from the freq drive or pump and somehow altering the electronics in the sensor. Insert a $0.50 plastic coupler between the chamber and the sensor, easy fix. Repeat this strange type of problem about 15 times, along with the prerequsite 20 minutes of pondering, becoming frustrated and dawning realization and you have a typical day...

During 'work' (mostly troubleshooting while co-ordinating what I guess what you'd call the 'project manager in training' and the sub-contractors) I try to find time to check email and send one to Kell.

After work, we've been treated to dinner mostly, while the past two nights we've been on our own (see 'bad pizza', previous post). Its a shame I'm contributing to the rape and pillage of the ocean, I really enjoy eating fresh fish. And driving my car. And conspicuous consumption. Et al...must keep hypocrasy to a minimum...focus...

After dinner I go back across the way and (thanks to the wonderful miracles of modern techonolgy) talk with Kell for a while. Skype allows us to talk like we are next door, even though I couldn't possibly be farther away (until we install a kiln on the moon I guess). Honestly, if you find that you are spending any money on long distance calls, please let me introduce you to Skype and a nice (yet very reasonably priced) microphone. The quality is BETTER than a phone call. By far...

Kell and I chat and catch up, I usually keep her up past her bedtime since the sun is just starting to set here. I rather enjoy 'competing' live against her at jigzone.com. Something about the pressure of hearing her click puzzle pieces together while simulatenously feverishly assembling them myself...fun stuff!

The day wraps up in my hotel room. Here I am. Before I forgot the plug adapter at the previous hotel, I'd play a little Sims 2. Mostly I read, perhaps a magazine interpersed with little notes from Kelley, sometimes a book (working my way through '20th Century Sprawl: Highways and the Reshaping of the American Landscape', a little dry but interesting). My Nomad MuVo is indespensible. I've only got one thing on it, but its in constant rotation: Pearl Jam, Wachovia Center Philidelphia, 10/03/05, all 30 songs. It was a good time and translated well to the recording. May I recommmend a song from that concert? Hard to Imagine.

While reading and enjoying the music, I'll sip on a couple beers. I've found one to my liking: Monteith's Golden Lager, brewed about an hour from here (three or four hour by bus/train). I think it'd go over well in the States, a mild beer with little/no bite, think Coors Light with just a hair more flavor.

Well thats it. Cell phone says 10:20pm, that means its time for sleep. I hope you've enjoyed following me through my virtual tour. I'll try to get a new set of pictures. If the weather clears up, maybe we'll spend a little time downtown tomorrow, Christchurch really is a beautiful city: they went the extra mile. If there is a bridge, it is elegant. If there is a wall, it is ornate. If there is a stream, it is landscaped. If there is a park, it is fragrant and be-fountainted.

Good night!
 


  Notes from the Road
Hello!

Got our first New Zealand kiln commissioned, up and running today, huzzah!

New Zealand 'New Yorker Pizza' is no New Yorker...they forgot the grease...

Did I tell you about the minivan with the 4" fart can exhaust? These Kiwi are serious about modding their cars...

Been pretty damn busy, going to keep up. If I get a long break, you'll get a big update!

50 cent is coming to this city tomorrow night, Christchurch is going to be gangbanged. Will they ever recover. If you saw the city, you'd wonder how fiffy'd fit in...

Off to the west coast this weekend I guess, to meet a prospective client.

Sorry about being so boring. I promise I got a good one in me, stay tuned...
 


Sunday, February 05, 2006
  Auckland redux
Looking deeper:

There are zero SUV's, and only a very very small numbers of trucks of any kind (count on one hand). Lots of Japanese cars, a few European, count on one hand US cars (I saw one Chevy Cavalier with Toyota branding oddly enough). Mostly small cars, lots of BMW (saw at least two M3's), a couple Nissan Skylines, lots of modded cars.

Auckland is almost entirely built on extinct volcanos...

Uploaded another 50 or so pics to the Flickr set, check em out.
 


Saturday, February 04, 2006
  Captains Log, Supplemental...
Five beers and a $25 Long Island Iced Tea later...

Auckland is a very nice city. Think the 'nice' part of downtown Pittsburg, spread over a much larger area, combined with a large portion of wharf and dockside ambiance. The city proper is very modern, while retaining a smattering of historical buildings well maintained. Placed on a isthmus as it is, along the fringes you get the feeling of Baltimore's Inner Harbor or costal Boston: very informal (yet expensive) oceanside cafe's with a heavy dollop of sailboats and excursion tours.

The weather is nearly perfect, being high summer. Sunny, I'd estimate a good 75'F with a tentative breeze wafting off the ocean occasionally.

We had a beer at 'The Hog's Head', a microbrewery, but the waitress was so inept we had to find somewhere else to eat dinner. We settled on Degree', as it was busy and seemed to have the right atmosphere. I had the 'Fish of the Day', a fresh catch which happened to be snapper. I ordered it with a cajun seasoning and it was absolutely 100% perfect. After much soul-searching, I decided to have the aforementioned LIIT...$25ZN/$16US...not quite worth it but still a damn fine drink.

Ahh, this is all fine and well, a descriptive monologue, but where the fuck are the pictures!?! I thought you'd never ask...

Flickr Slideshow

I'll be updating that set with new images throughout the trip :) Some pics from the 'sky tower' tomorrow :)

Let me resume bitching about people charging for wifi (if you don't mind): this hotel, posh and ritzy as it is, charges $25NZ a day for wifi FOR 100MB. I blew through 100MB in about 10 minutes, between Skyping with Kel and checking email. Ended up with a $30 bill so far for internet (and you know uploading those pictures is just going to hammer me harder in the ass...).
What...
The...
Fuck...
 


Friday, February 03, 2006
  Hello from New Zealand
So...I made it.

No free fucking wifi in any of the airports we went through : PAY at State College, PAY at Dulles, PAY at LAX...what the hell, is it 1996? Bandwidth costs like 0.001 cent per MB, and the equiment for the WiFi equipment is 1) cheap and 2) reliable. Bull shit. So, no blog from the airports...

I'm writing this from the Rydges Hotel in Auckland NZ. New Zealand has a little 'tropical' look to it...there are a lot of exotic trees mostly, and morning glorys seem to run rampant, in a very attractive way. The people have a charming and quirky 'not-quite-british' accent that sounds very friendly without the british formality. The hotel is nice, the first room they showed us was a suite, but I'm not shacking up with my parents. This double-sized bedroom is very clean and tastefully done, the comforter doesn't make me dizzy looking at it (as American hotels love to use amazingly brash comforter paterns!). They have a little snack drawer and a minifridge stocked with beer and whatnot, $6NZ each (about $3US). Room service for a burger and fries is $15 (about $8 US). The prices are very reasonable for how posh it is. Maybe no one told them how badly you get raped in the US...

Speaking of getting raped in the US...its painfully obvious that US airlines blow goats. United is bankrupt (somehow) and the meal from WDC to LAX cost $5 in economy. Everything, except for soda, cost money. In Quantas, from LAX to Auckland, NOTHING cost money. Headsets, sleep socks, a sleep mask, a wide (like fucking Pay-per-view on steriods (I watched 40 Year Old Virgin again :)) range of movies, BEER, wine, dinner, snacks, coffee, tea, breakfast...all free. That flight wasn't terribly more expensive than the one across the US...what are US companies doing wrong that foreign companies are doing right?

My flight across the country, I sat next to a producer of documentaries (among other things), Maria Berry with Wild Eyes Productions. It was a facinating way to spend the time, she had interviewed the leader of Hamas and the current president of Boliva (among others), seen and done many interesting things. She was coming back from WDC after sucessfully selling two new documentaries (Inside al Qaeda and Inside the Taliban, if I remember correctly!) to the National Geographic Channel. On my other side was a large Russian business man who didn't wear deoderant...

My flight across the Pacific, I sat next to an engineer who works for SolidEdge, I guess represents the company in New Zealand. He was older and a native to New Zealand, pretty interesting to talk too.

I'm pretty beat. Spending 12 hours in economy blows. Trying to sleep, even with some Ativan in your system, is nearly impossible. I'm thinking I got a good six hours of heavy napping in. Everytime I'd get comfy, something would start hurting, feet, legs, head, back...sigh...

Getting into and out of countries is absurdly easy (at least as an obviously white male). I think they're relaxing a lot of the draconian things they were doing. I didn't see anyone getting a full body cavity search!

Well, I'm off. I haven't brushed my teeth, done much of anything for over 24 hours. I have two days of downtime here (its Sat, 9AM...Sunday is a major holiday here, nothing going on till Monday morning!!!!).
 


Wednesday, February 01, 2006
  So this is it...
My final blog entry. (I can't tell if I am jinxing myself or not)

(aka Wed. afternoon open thread)

Kelley is on strict orders to wait at least 3 months to re-marry.


Nice that Immix uses GSM phones, and the V180 is a quadband. I'll be able to get a prepaid card at a 7/11 in NZ and have basic communications.


We finally have a hard copy of an abridged version of our manual. It has taken so freaking long. (Imagine me speaking very slowly, deliberately, and with a feverish gleam in my eye while you read that last sentence...) No wiring chart, no schematics, no operating instructions beyond the PLC, no schedules, no FAQ...(sob)...Staples printed it, they did a reasonable job for $30 a piece I guess...


I need to find a converter in the airport, at least changing the plug. I'll be traveling about 24 hours, 19 in the air, through State College to Washington, DC, to LAX, to Aukland, to Christchurch...and on the way back I get to do it by myself as my parents are having a one week layover in Hawaii...you know that show Amazing Race? It sums up everything I hate about traveling. If there is one thing I hate worse than horses, its probably traveling. Something about not knowing exactly where to go, what to do, how you are going to do it...makes my stomach do somersaults...I feel like I'm going to be playing the Amazing Race...


Its hard trying to shut down a business for two or three weeks. Its amazing how many loose ends you collect, how much you have to remember...its also sorta liberating, making a short list of 'things I have to worry about when I get back'. Knowing I don't have to think about them for two weeks at least is great...


I guess I've run out of nervous energy. Heading home soon to pack. Like I told Kel, the most dangerous place and time to fly is takeoffs and landings, especially with smaller airplanes and airports. Meh, knock on wood, let the good spirits out :) (and here I thought touch wood was just a dirty phrase that I found amusing as a teenager...)


Excuse me there for a second, the power went out, had to troubleshoot some shit...turns out my m0n0wall box (looks like something you'd find here) had a keyboard come loose, and I didn't tell it 'halt on no errors' (meaning, fuck the keyboard), so I sat here on my thumb wondering why my internet didn't work.

Ok thats it thats all he wrote!
 


Tuesday, January 31, 2006
  Starforce is malware...
Don't buy any games which install Starforce.

Reference...
(why I really posted)

Games that use Starforce

>:)

Sorry its been so quiet here, been 'hella' busy. I'll try to post again before I die in a fiery plane crash here Thursday...
 


Friday, January 27, 2006
  A Letter to the Editor...
...of the Pittsburg Post-Gazette (I didn't use the title below tho...heh):

Keeping the pressure on our own local homegrown cocksucker :

In a video from 6/28/05, Santorum is seen saying the following:

"Thank you Grover, and I appreciate your help and support on this and many other issues..."

And yet today I read:

"I had absolutely nothing to do--never met, never talked, never coordinated, never did anything -- with Grover Norquist and the -- quote -- K Street Project."

What IS the truth? Either he knows him very well and has an apparent long standing working relationship, or he's never met him before in his life.

You wouldn't think bald-faced lying would be allowed in the government, you'd think they'd have to take an oath or something...

You'd also think that breaking that oath would be the very definition of treason...


Referring to this and this

Thanks to the dailykos.com for keeping the fire in my heart, so I can keep the fire under their asses...
 


Thursday, January 26, 2006
  A letter to Rick Santorum
Hello.

What is 'the K-Street Project'? As a constituant, whom you are elected to represent, what should I know about it?

Thanks,
Garrett
Reference
 


Tuesday, January 24, 2006
  How to make your own crack...
Ok, its not crack, but its nearly as good!

http://dilldoe.blogspot.com/2006/01/chocolate-jolt.html

Take your chocolate and stir it with your butterknife or spatula till all the chips are melted. Then sprinkle your coffee grounds into the chocolate and mix. Add as much as you want, good ratio is 2 parts chocolate to 1 part coffee (or 3-2 for more coffee). Mix it well and spread it out on the wax paper to about 1/8" thickness.



Update 1/26/05 : Used coffee beans, put about 30 beans in a pestle, added them to melted andes mint baking chips, chilled, enjoyed in 1/4 servings (one for K & I last night, one this evening). Not as much of a kick as I hoped, probably ground coffee would work better (denser baby!). I'm thinking French Vanilla coffee...mmm...dark chocolate chips...mmm...round two is comin up!
 


  Roundup, or a 'midday open thread' as its known...
Neat stuff they did at Penn State:















That is what a shockwave looks like, pretty normal occurance, every sound or object moving through air disturbs the air to some degree...just that it is normally invisible. Neato, thanks to teamdroid.com for the find.

read here (a little dry tho)



We need more executives like this
:

Top executives of Google have once again agreed to be paid annual salaries of $1 each in 2006, counting instead on stock options and grants of the company's volatile stock for their pay.
read here

Note that Google stock is down, a good time to buy? As always, hard to say... I wish I had $10k to throw around at the time of the IPO, I'd have $30k of play money here one year later...



Impeachment

1) They knew it was illegal...
2) Congress struck down decriminilization of a lesser crime...
3) They are counting on us not remembering...

The first thing that struck me when General Hayden made the ignorant observation that the Fourth Amendment didn't include a probable cause standard was that someone needed to tattoo the Bill of Rights on his chest, backwards, so he could read it every time he looked in the mirror in the morning. The second thing that struck me about his insistence that a "reasonable suspicion" standard prevails over probable cause for the spying program was that this Administration and the Congress already rejected a reasonable suspicion standard.

In 2002, Republican Senator DeWine introduced an amendment to the PATRIOT ACT that would have lowered the FISA warrant standard for non-U.S. citizens from probable cause to "reasonable suspicion." The DeWine amendment, S. 2659, was rejected in Committee. Glenn Greenwald has a must-read, excellent post on the DeWine amendment here. DeWine's amendment would have lowered the standard ONLY for non-U.S. citizens. The administration expressed serious misgiving about the constitutionality of DeWine's amendment. In the end, his amendment did not pass.

The admission that Bush's spying program uses a "reasonable suspicion" standard rather than a "probable cause" standard is explosive and damning. Why? Because the Bush administration knew--indeed, took the position--that a reasonable suspicion standard with respect to non-U.S. citizens was probably unconstitutional. Yet the administration now applies that same unconstitutional standard to United States citizens?


read here


Cool stuff I did to my car recently:



A TWM short-shifter with the 'classic' stainless steel knob (1 pound) in a satin finish.



 


  A letter to Sen. Specter
I can't believe you let Alito through.

ALREADY, Congress can't control the president. The public can't control the president. The media can't control the president.

He breaks laws, he lies UNDER OATH to the CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, to the entire WORLD, without consequence.

The last bastion, the last independant, the last check against the emperor Bush is aiming to become...

What happens when a terrorist attack 'conviently' occurs near the elections? If a new war is 'needed' or 'breaks out'? Do you think Bush is going to relinquish control when he has the perfect justification for taking his reign and extending it indefinately (can't change leaders during war, eh Bush?).
If he doesn't stand down, who is going to stop him?

Not ALITO.

Are you? Will it be too late by then?

Will you regret your decision when Roe vs. Wade is overturned? Will that even make a difference if Bush has supreme powers and is above the law, with no end to his term in sight?

How about this? How will Alito rule in this instance?

"Sources said a prelude to the impeachment process could begin with hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee in February. They said the hearings would focus on the secret electronic surveillance program and whether Mr. Bush violated the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Administration sources said the charges are expected to include false reports to Congress as well as Mr. Bush's authorization of the National Security Agency to engage in electronic surveillance inside the United States without a court warrant. This included the monitoring of overseas telephone calls and e-mail traffic to and from people living in the United States without requisite permission from a secret court.

Sources said the probe to determine whether the president violated the law will include Republicans, but that they may not be aware they could be helping to lay the groundwork for a Democratic impeachment campaign against Mr. Bush.

"Our arithmetic shows that a majority of the committee could vote against the president," the source said. "If we work hard, there could be a tie.""
http://www.insightmag.com/Media/MediaManager/impeachment.htm

We are being taken down a very dark and unknown road. The responsibility lies with those who have the power to change it.
 


  Lazy Monday...
Some kids with too much time on their hands...except...for 11 year olds, its not half bad...

http://www.youtube.com/w/Lazy-Monday?v=rkcqPbTxTWY
 


  An Iraq Veteran's story
I've been home for about 4 months now and thought I had forgotten all the things that had gone on Iraq. Unlike a lot of other stories here, I wasn't a front-line troop, but as we all know that doesn't mean I was out of danger, and it doesn't mean that I didn't see the disorganization, rampant waste and corruption that is part of the fabric of our operations in Iraq... We went to Iraq in November of 2003. We went with flak jackets as armor, and with 5 unarmored humvees.

We had 6 out of 29 people who were scheduled to get out of the Ready Reserves in the year over there. I myself was scheduled to get out in January 2004. Because of some desperate need to get us into country ASAP, we weren't given an in-briefing. No rules of engagement, host-country sensitivities, etc. We were flown directly from Germany to Baghdad International Airport. When we arrived no one seemed to know what to do with us. Our unit was cut apart and shipped around the country. I served with the 101st in Mosul, the 1st Armored Division and around Baghdad.

In the Green Zone officers would ride in their newly leased SUV's, windows up, air conditioners on, 1 or 2 people max, while enlisted would ride around in humvees. To my knowledge the SUV's were rented at $90,000 a year, but if destroyed would be replaced without cost. If the Army has humvees, why do we rent SUV's? Ostensibly it was to fit in with the locals in non-military vehicles, but anyone in a brand new SUV in Iraq with tinted windows was obviously a foreigner. And most of these vehicles were only driven around the heavily fortified and defended Green Zone.

Besides that, there were contractors for everything. And sadly, often these contractors would work alongside Army personnel who were trained to do the exact same thing, but paid about 1/3rd as much. Once again, if the Army already has something to do the job, why do we need something else to do it, and pay them more? Finally, the saddest thing was the PSD, or Private Security Details. Mercenaries, or civilians paid to bear arms and armor. Doing the exact job of the military, but once again being paid many times what the military was paid. Although many of these civilians were highly trained or specialized, there was enough talk among soldiers who wanted to do their time, get out, and then join these civilian security companies, because they were such a better deal. Not only does this prove how poorly treated our own troops are, but hiring these people actively increases our own recruiting problems. All three of these issues just point to one underlying, glaring point: we were not ready.



http://troopnet.iava.org/publicView.jsp?supporter_KEY=4783457

Pretty insightful, and sad. To think of the waste, the money stolen directly out of our pockets, by those crooks who were 'elected' into office. The entire Iraq operation is simply a money pump, a way to launder the money from OUR PAYCHECKS through an intermediary (government budget) and into the hands of the
Military Industrial Complex.

May I recommend a new movie that came out recently? 'Why We Fight': here and here


 


Sunday, January 22, 2006
  Must...itch...ass...
Mood-altering cat parasites make women friendly and men into jerks
A parasite that causes rats to sacrifice themselves to cats may also change human behavior, making women more outgoing and warmhearted, and men more jealous and suspicious. The Toxoplasma bacteria is shed in cat feces, which are eaten by rats; infected rats become fearless in the presence of cats, which makes them easier to catch, which, in turn spreads the disease to new cats.


You can sleep uneasy tonight thanks to boingboing: http://www.boingboing.net/2006/01/22/moodaltering_cat_par.html

I read quite an interesting article on a parasite that causes ants to climb to the top of grass stalks in order to be eaten by cows, and so on and so on, in a Discover magazine one day...parasites are amazing creatures, considering how insignifigant they are...mind control, my pinworms made me do it!
 


  A fresh wind has blown into town...
A new face among the crowd, a fresh view with unique beliefs, standing tall among the masses??? Yes, it could only be:
Lemming Thoughts on Parade
 


  Two peas in a pod...

They are vehemently against abortion, they resist progressive woman's rights. They view homosexuality as a crime against nature and God, some advocate the death penalty as an option for it. Separation of Church and State is despised by these folks; they insist the nation is founded on the principles of their religion, and they work hard to bring that de facto theocracy about. They deplore strong language, gay characters, and sexual content on TV and in the media. And they ignore the Geneva Convention when it suits their ideological purposes, including provisions against torture or due process. They're anti-stem cell research, pro-creationism, and generally distrustful of science. These folks are easily whipped into a state of frenzy with ideological manipulation to the point where they will commit violence, or at least tacitly endorse that violence is acceptable, if it advances their Divine agenda. They then take great pains to justify that violence, including unprovoked attack of civilian areas, under certain conditions, with convoluted theological gymnastics. They are almost to the man pro-death penalty ... Am I railing against the religious right again?

Could be, but my target here is actually Al Qaeda and related fundamentalist Wahhabism; the source of terrorism, the scourge of our planet, the Axis of Evil.


http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/1/21/224645/582

extremism, in any form or manner, should be shunned, and personally tempered if you have the internal fortitude...all things in moderation.

just look what happens when you get so self-righetous that you think you should tell everyone around you how to live their lives...you end up a terrorist...or a politician...if there is a difference anymore...
 


Friday, January 20, 2006
  My dad sent me this one...
http://www.419eater.com/index.htm

I used to do this all the time with those people who said they needed to get money out of some african country. I didn't realize there were so many people out there who felt like me and (stranger yet) acted like me...

I can't remember the last time I got one of these emails tho...I think most ISP-side filters have become too extensive to allow them through anymore. (Kelley says 'why do you pay $12 a year for spamcop email? its like my community service to the larger internet community...)
 


  Who needs a little more god in their diet?
Dear Cecil:

How come people always say "Jesus H. Christ"? Why not Jesus Q. Christ or Jesus R. Christ or something else? Does the H really stand for something? My future peace of mind depends on your answer. --W.B.T., Chicago

Dear W.:

The H stands for Harold, as in, "Our Father, who art in heaven, Harold be thy name" (snort).

Actually, I've heard numerous explanations for the H over the years. The first is that it stands for "Holy," as in Jesus Holy Christ, a common enough blasphemy in the South, abridged to H by fast-talking Northerners. Other colorful Southern epithets include Jesus Hebe Christ and Jesus Hebrew Christ, which abbreviate the same way. The drawback of this account is that it is so boring I can barely type it without falling asleep.


http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_033

Kelley wanted to know...


 


This statement is false.