Sunday, September 29, 2002

A Trek perv or just a guy?

The last Wednesday night I saw the Carbon Creek episode of Enterprise, the new Star Trek series. I watch a good portion of the first season and while it's entertaining, it's not quite the same.

One thing they haven't been one bit ashamed to do is show off their sexy Vulcan, T'Pol, played by Jolene Blalock. One of the very first episodes had her oiling down with some anti-whatever cream, like anyone paid attention to anything but her after that.

Well they did it again. They had her naked, at least from the waist up, behind a white sheet and back-lit for a nice silhouette. It was a short scene, roughly 13 seconds, but it was enough for my jaw to drop. I'm still shocked they'd show that on TV, much less Star Trek.

Perhaps I'm a bit out of the times with network TV. I don't watch sitcoms or dramas or any of that stuff. I tend to watch educational shows. But I like the occasional sci-fi.

For the record, I had NO problems seeing her boobies, even in outline! So does this make me a Trek perv? I know a few guys who are, they debate who is the sexiest Trek woman and such. I mean the shows always have had good looking women in them and use a little sex to help sell the shows. I mean just look how short the skirts are in the original series.

Or am I just a guy titillated by the tease of the naked female form? I'd like to say this is the case. Oh well whatever! LOL

So here is a frame capture from the episode in question. As you can see I added my own caption. I'm also including an unedited version for those who wish to partake in the humorous adaptation of this image. I'm sure you all can come up with numerous humorous variations.

And for those interested I also have an MPEG video clip of the scene in question. It's roughly 12 seconds long and about 11 MB in size, so if you don't have broadband, it may take a bit. I removed the sound to reduce the size a bit.

Enjoy your Trek perv fix. hehe

MY Sunday Drive

Joni wrote a loving article about the beast, 2002 Hummer H2. So I thought I'd counter with a short review of a more civilized, but still tough bugger, The 2003 Volkswagen Touareg.

It's slated for release here in the US in the second quarter of 2003 with a price tag starting at $35,000, so you'll have to hold your horses.

Speaking of horses, this baby has lots! The Touareg will be available with a 3.2-liter VR6 engine and a 5.0 liter V10 TDI engine. The VR6 engine has a power output of 220 bhp and develops up to 225 lbs-ft of torque. The world's most powerful passenger car diesel engine is the V10 TDI with unit injectors and bi-turbo charging. It has a power output of 313 bhp and develops an impressive 551 lbs-ft of torque at 1800 rpm! Talk about pulling power! Not only can you haul around damn near anything you'd want to, you could also pull yourself out of a nice mud bog in style. The Hummer? Only 360 lbs-ft. Well it beats the city driver VR6 engine, but can't hold a candle to the V10 TDI.

Before you start bad mouthing the TDI engine you should go drive one. They are no louder than their standard fuel cousins. They are clean, not blowing out big puffs of black sooty smoke. They have just as much get up and go as their cousins too. Lastly, unlike older diesels, you don't have to wait for the glow plugs to warm up. The electronic controls is this engine keeps it ready to roll in all weather. I can't honestly comment about it's extreme cold weather capabilities, but I can't imagine that it couldn't handle a vast majority of the weather conditions here in the States. A side note, there are very few TDIs sold in Canada.

With all this horse power you want this thing to be able to play hard. It can. It only has 11.8 inches of ground clearance, but can ford a stream or large puddle up to 23 inches deep. That's nearly two feet of water and or muck! With door seals designed to keep water out, waterproof headlights and connectors, a special guide for the intake air and engine ventilation, and sealed jointed shafts, the Touareg has little to worry about from a splash in the water.

Ever been on a hill, with a manual transmission vehicle and have to gun it so you don't stall or roll backwards from a stop? The Touareg doesn't have to worry about that. When starting up an incline, a hill-starting assistant in the manual gearbox provides support by holding the vehicle in position. Once the driver then engages the clutch, the braking force is successively reduced until the Touareg is securely in motion. On steeply declining grades, the engine/braking-torque support in the ESP system prevents undesirable vehicle acceleration. Cool huh?

The inclines can be pretty steep too - 45º! Ok so that 15º less than the Hummer, but even at these angles your tires and surface make as much difference as pure power. Given the right conditions I bet the Touareg can do 60º. Personally, I'd avoid those inclines! LOL

Luxury? “Functionality and stylistic elegance distinguish the spacious interior
The interior space and comfort are also first class. On the one hand, the Touareg interior is a prime example of well-designed functionality. On the other, it realizes an ambience whose elegance and contemporary styling used to be available only in the most luxurious sedans. As first introduced for the Phaeton, the Touareg is optionally available with a four-zone Climatronic, which even enables individual left and right climate control in the rear set. Another Touareg option is the keyless-access system (standard feature of the V10 TDI). With it, the driver always keeps the key - equipped with a transponder - in their pocket. The Touareg recognizes its driver via the transponder, releases the door when the driver touches the handle, and starts with the push of a button."

Ride? “In the premium model, the Touareg V10 TDI, a CDC (Continuous Damping Control) air suspension with continuous Skyhook damping control insures a degree of driving comfort - both on- and off-road - previously unachieved by off-road vehicles.” We've all riden or driven 4x4s before. We all know they are not exactly comfortable. VW made strong efforts to give the driver and passengers the best of both world's.

This thing is fast too! Reported to have a top speed of 155 mph (engine not reported). But even at these speeds it's going to be safe. With air suspension the ground clearance drops from 11.8 to 9.3 inches and another inch after hitting 77 mph. While this is hardly the stance of a sports car, it'll give the Touareg much better control by bringing its center of gravity down.

This is a pretty SUV to be sure. I dislike SUVs with a passion and here I am gushing about one! Of course it's a VW so I can't say anything bad about it. *grin*

Inside and out this bad boy has looks and muscles. While the Hummer is definitely more geared towards the outdoors, like the Land Rovers, we all know that the rich folks with more money than brains will buy them and drive them all over town like its some kinda status symbol. The smarter ones will be driving Touaregs and pulling them out of the mud when they get stuck. Hehehe



I just spend the last half hour writing a great entry and Blogger up and croaked and I lost it all. UGH!!!

Saturday, September 28, 2002

My Desk @ Work

Earlier when I was in at work I took this picture.

I won't go into the same level of detail that I did in the last one. As you can see my desk at work is much messier than the one at home.

You don't see the far right end of my desk either. There is another monitor, keyboard and mouse there for when I'm working on other peoples computers or rebuilding them. There is also another shelf full of manuals and binders of CDs, both application and driver disks.

You can see my webcam that I have at work there too. It sits next to my squishy head stress thingie.

I have various cartoons on my cork board. My whiteboard is usually where I write things I need to take care of. I mozaic'd out some info that I felt shouldn't be shared.

I'm the only one in the company with a scanner, well except the CEO, but no one is going to be knocking on his door to use his scanner. Sometimes I actually scan legitimate work documents to put into Adobe PDF format, contracts and the like. But most often I have people wanting me to scan their photos for them. I don't rush on this stuff. I had one woman at work get tiffed at me one day. Sheesh! I'm doing YOU a favor lady, back off. I made her wait another two days. hehe

I'm proud but a little disappointed that I'm the only person at work who recycles. I mean it's not that hard people. We have recycling drop off zones all over town. I recycle cans, plastic bottles and glass here at home. I don't read the newspaper so that's not a factor. I want to get a paper shreader so I can recycle my paper too. But since most of it is mail, I want to make sure my personal info is properly destroyed, thus the desire for a shreader.

Before you think me paranoid, I just must say that I'm bad enough for my credit rating and such. I don't need someone else helping!

My computer has a white spot because my CD burner doesn't have a black face like my computer. Can you tell i'm all choked up about it too?

Heck if you see something that you are curious about ask me. I'll be happy to fill ya in.

Man I hate programming

I was playing with the comments system to see if I could get it to work with my art galleries. Ugh!

Sure I could make it work after fighting with it for hours and hours, basically rewriting the whole thing, but ya know what? I'm not that into it. I looked for some software online to do it for me, but the best ones are all expensive or don't offer the tools I want. Of course they say, if you can't find it, write it, but I have better things to do.

I think Monday I'll talk to the code monkeys and see what they think. I can't imagine it'd be difficult, it's just a matter of putting it all together. Ugh, it's giving me a head ache.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

I am terrible with money

Well I don't typically do this but I'm going to simply bare my mistakes to my peers, family and world.

The mistakes have to do with my terrible irresponsibility with money. I'm no gambler or anything like that. I couldn't even if I wanted to be, I never have any money! There is the problem. I make a reasonable wage, certainly nothing to be ashamed of. I live pretty well too. I have a nice apartment and car. I wear decent clothing. I enjoy a nice meal out often. I have nice toys. There is part of the problem. I buy these things but little is saved.

I have stated and still hold that I want to buy a house or plot of land by my 30th birthday. That's less than two years from now. I have a LOT of work to do. I only just opened a savings account today.

This all stemmed back at least two years ago as well. I knew even then I needed to save. But like I said I'm financially irresponsible and I was worse then! I got over the credit card thing years ago, thankfully, but I'm still paying those debts. I'm doing well on that now, but that was a hard lesson to learn in itself. But that's another story.

Without anyone or anything to suggest I save my excess money or be more frugal, I have and still do, to a certain extent, spent my excess money frivolously. I'd see a good bargin and buy the product. Not because I needed it, but because I wanted it. I'd justify the purchase by pointing out how much I had saved by buying it then, as I would have purchased it anyway. That argument if flawed, but I bought it. I didn't want to think any different and no one was there to say otherwise.

Even now I fight with myself about if it's cheaper to eat in or out. Please keep in mind that I'm a single guy cooking for myself. Go to the store and try to plan meals for one. The meat departments don't often package for the single person. That said, I have found great deals. I buy frozen chicken breasts in a resealable bag. I also found a box of individually sealed 8oz steaks. If you buy the breakfast steaks and pork chops, sliced up they make good stir-fry meats. I do cook for myself in the evenings, with very few frozen dinners, but my lunch is still often out some where with co-workers. I have gotten better at saving on food though.

Back to the point at hand. I argued with myself for a long time that I wanted to put every spare dime towards paying off my credit cards. I was putting a lot towards them, however I was still blowing a lot too.

Things over this past summer got tight too. That is what is primarily responsible for me cooking more. I realized I was spending way to much on food. I also realized I was buying beyond my means. I decided to ask Melly for help. (note she has helped me with my finances many time prior as well, more about that in a moment.) I told her that I would tell her about any purchase I was planning to make prior to making it. Not only would this help me from impulse buying, but she would also remind me that I should be saving that money.

That is what happened today.
There is a website, DoveBid, that auctions off large corporate capital, either excess or bankruptcy liquidations. The last couple of days they had the Enron auction! They had all kinds of neat stuff. Big 50 inch Plasma screens, tons of computers and monitors and other stuff. Well a group of us at the office looked over the asset list and noticed that they had a lot of 12 18 inch LCD monitors up on the block. We thought, hey if we can get them for $200 a piece, that would be awesome! And truly it would be. Those things are not cheap. They range in price from about $800 to $1200, depending on quality and brand. I told Melly what we were up to and she suggested that I should be saving that money. And she was right. I immediately knew that she was right. What did I need an 18” LCD monitor for? I have two 17” monitors already! So they are CRTs rather than flat panels. So what? LCDs don't do well with games either I hear.

It was the right thing to do and I'm glad Melly said something. In all reality I knew before she said anything that I didn't need to be doing that. I just needed her to tell me. I needed her guidance. She then proceeded to yell at me for not opening a saving account yet. Frankly I deserved it too. I didn't like it much. Not because she was yelling at me so much as that she was speaking the truth and I didn't like having to own up to my own weaknesses. Part of me wanted to bite back, but I knew that I would only be taking the frustration I had with myself out on her and that wouldn't be fair. It's not her fault I'm a lamer when it comes to money.

She has been trying to get me to open a savings account for some time. At least a year if not more. I tried early on, but I was denied for some reason and I didn't have the interest to check into why. So I let it drop. Then about 2 months ago I tried again, via the phone with a local bank. They were going to open it up for me right over the phone with me. I was quite pleased at how easy it was going. I had money setup and ready to go. Then I got a shocker and was told I was denied. Huh? How are you denied for a SAVINGS account? I was stunned and disappointed. The lady I talked to suggested I go to ChexSystems and request a statement of why I was denied. Now this isn't a credit report. This is something totally different. This is something banks use. I'm not exactly sure how it works to this day.

In any case, the ChexSystems statement had a notice from my old bank from over 2 years ago. It said, “Unstatisfactory Handling – All Debts Paid”. It suddenly dawned on me what this was all about. I switched from this bank to an Internet bank, to help me do automatic payments (has saved my butt!). Well there was still an outstanding check and it bounced. At this same time I moved. So my bank didn't have my new address. I admit totally, that this was my fault. It was my responsibility to make sure the bank had my new address and that all checks were cleared and the account was zeroed out. I didn't do either. About 6 months later I get a letter from a collections agency about the account. I promptly paid the debt, but the damage was done. I had no idea of the consequences.

That bad mark will remain for another 5 years. The only way to remove it is if the bank chooses to. I asked them to and they refused.

Apparently it's some FDIC rule, though Melly and I argued and researched this rule and never came to a decisive conclusion, and no bank would accept my savings application because of that bad mark. Not even the smaller home-town type banks. As long as they were FDIC insured it was a no go. Many people, Melly, my parents and my boss, suggested I go down to a bank in person instead of calling on the phone. I think they were right, but I think I was refusing out of principle. My being there face to face should NOT matter. I suspect it would have made a difference though. I don't like it, but tough shit for me right?

My mom suggested Credit Unions. She did this about a month ago. I didn't look into it like I should have. So when Melly today told me I should save instead of doing an auction for monitors, I told the guys I was out of the pool (they went for about $700 a piece as it turns out, way more than any of use were willing to pay.). I immediately did a search on Google for credit unions in the area. I thought I was doing a pretty good job, but I got pretty discouraged quickly when I saw that most of them had membership requirements that I could not meet. I must have just totally missed the one Melly found.

This situation put a LOT of stress on Melly. She doesn't mind helping me with things, but I believe she feels that this is a very basic thing. How can I be so irresponsible with my money and expect to achieve the dreams I talk about? She is looking at the future. Us together. How can I support a family the way I treat money now? She shouldn't have to be my accountant or my financial adviser. She might not mind if I was more responsible, but I treat money with such abandon, that I think she is afraid that when we are together I will do the same with her money. I can understand her concerns. Even if I didn't mean to do those things, it still would be a serious strain on our relationship. Money always is a relationship strainer.

She left for lunch to cool off. I couldn't blame her. I went to lunch too. When I got back she had found and called a local credit union for me! She found one that I could become a member of simply by making a small donation to an Autism charity. I had no problems with that at all! I didn't even care what the interest rate was.

I told her that I promised to do it tomorrow. Then I stopped myself and thought, wait, what are you doing? You have been putting this off until tomorrow too much. That's why it hasn't been done yet. I cannot keep putting things off. I then told Melly I would go check with my boss to see if I could do it right then.

Since my boss knew the situation I was fighting with he was gracious enough to let me go do it right then and there. Good thing it was a slow day. It took me longer to find parking and walk to the bank than it did to actually fill out the paper work and get all setup. So I have an account now. Yippie!

Except there this wasn't quite the time to break out the noise makers. Melly brought up a couple of very good points when I got back. One, I should have been saving, even if it wasn't in a bank. A twenty here and there in the back of a dictionary or something wouldn't have been at all difficult. Hell that would have helped offset my car problems!

The second thing was, why did she have to find this bank for me? Why couldn't I find it? Why did she have to make the long distance call to the bank? The only answer I could give her is that I was feeling beaten down. Money and it's institutions baffle me. I've never learned how to make it work. It's not a good excuse, but when you don't know what you are doing its hard to stay on task. I wasn't feeling like I was getting encouragement. I was going through the motions but I honestly was so discouraged by the whole thing that at lunch I decided that perhaps a small safe in the closet was my only option. Hey I even considered savings bonds!

She shouldn't have had to do that leg work for me, but I'm infinitely thankful that she did! Without her help I would probably sitting here now wondering how I'd do this.

I NEED help when it comes to money. That's why I went with my Internet bank. I can schedule all my bills to be paid every month without a hick-up, given that I don't over spend. This has been a key for me paying off my credit cards. I'd be doing good, then I'd miss a payment and the last two months worth of payments would be eaten up by fees. Now my credit is improving and the cards are nearly paid. Even my other bills are paid this way. I write ONE check a month and that is my rent. I'd pay that electronically too if it was an option!

If it wasn't for that online bill payment system I would in the same spot I was 2-3 years ago. Struggling to keep my head above water.

I hate money. There are only two things I HATE in this world, racists and money. But unfortunately we have to live with both. I can ignore the ignorant racist idiots, I cannot ignore money.

Thank you Melly! Thank you for all your patients with this. I AM getting better and I will continue to become more adept with my finances. I promise!

My Desk @ Home

Ok so this is a blatent rip-off of Sugarmama's
idea. So? ;)

  1. Webcam - I don't use this as much now that I figured out how to get my webcam software to accept my TV input. Generally when I'm at home I'm pretty grungy, so I prefer to leave it off anyway. It's on a tripod for a better angle. This tripod also works with my camera.

  2. Lucky Bamboo - I have has this for about 6 months now. I really like it, but so does my cat, Sophie. She keeps eating the leaves! So I moved it up on top of my monitor in hopes that it's leaves will begin to grow back.

  3. MP3 CDs - When I was ripping a lot of my CDs to MP3 and downloading my old favorites, I would burn them onto CD to take to work with me. Now they are mostly just used for archive purposes, incase my hard drive crashes.

  4. Game CDs - I have a lot of games, but I don't play them all and the ones I do, not so often. I have a few that are over 5 years old!

  5. Wacom Drawing Tablet - This was one of my birthday presents. Ok so I bought it with my birthday money, same difference. For those who don't know, this is a digital pad, with a pen like stylist that you can use to digitally draw with. Think of those digital signiture tablets they have at some stores now. It's like that but about 1000 time better.

  6. Microphone Headset - This is basically just a pair of head phones with a microphone boom. I use this to talk to Melly online. It was well worth the investment.

  7. Dual 17" Monitors - I have a dual-head video card in my computer. That means I can drag windows and my mouse from screen to screen. It's like having a really long monitor with a bunch of plastic in the way. It's a bit weird at first, but once you get used to it, it's a great thing. It's specially nice with applications like Photoshop or Illustrator which will have a drawing area with over-lapping pallets. With two screens you can move the pallets to the other screen and have one reserved strictly for drawing/painting.

  8. DBZ VCDs - These are my Dragon Ball Z (DBZ) Video CDs (VCD). I have two created thus far, but I have enough recorded episodes, recorded using my TV capture card, to create probably 5 or 6 more. I can fit 3 episodes on a CD. It's not bad, but the quality isn't fantastic. This is mostly just a pet project. I like the show a lot, but I'm not going to sell these. They are for my enjoyment.

  9. Home Built PC - I made my own PC about a year and a half ago. Its not bad. There are a lot of toys in it. I can't complain, though of course I'd love a faster one.

  10. Joystick - No snide remarks about this. I use this when I'm playing Unreal Tournament or Quake 3. This in combination with my mouse makes me a pretty deadly warrior. But I'm no gaming god. I actually bought it for a space flight simulator that I never play.

  11. Hardware Firewall - Zone Alarm, BlackIce, Norton....bah! They ain't got nothin' on this bad boy! It also lets me do VPN (Virtual Private Networking) into the office network.

  12. Cable Modem - A company perk, along with the firewall. The BIG boss pays for my Internet access so I can remotely access and administer the servers and desktops from home. My boss is so cool.

  13. Cell Phone - My $50 cell phone. It has crappy range, but for the price I can't complain. I don't have a regular land-line. This IS my phone.

  14. Watch/Car Keys - I take my watch off and remove my keys from my pants as soon as I get home.

  15. Optical Mouse - Possibly the best computer invention ever! I don't know how I was ever able to put up with a regular balled mouse after using this for over a year now. Plus the red laser is STILL cool. If you haven't tried out an optical mouse, do yourself a favor and do it. They are getting a lot cheaper now too. You can get an optical IBM mouse from CompUSA for $19.95! That's a good deal.

I hope this didn't look like I was bragging about my stuff. If I was I would have mentioned all the goodies in my computer. LOL But seriously, i just thought you might like a little peek into my world. Hope you enjoyed your stay.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Linky link link

I added some links to the Cry Little Sister site for Melly. They are sites that Melly picked as helpful or inspirational. I've actually never seen any of these sites myself until tonight. If I was feeling better I'd stay up and read some, but I'm fearful that I'm coming down with something. Be forewarned!

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

What I Do

I know a lot of you have NO clue what I really do for a living. So I thought I'd share this big project I'm working on.

Our company develops, sells and supports Human Resources and Payroll for mid-sized companies. This is no QuickBooks. Anyway, we use CRM (customer resource management) and help desk software to keep everything in line. We used to keep all this data stored and accessed from an IBM AS/400 mid-frame system. A mid-frame isn't quite a main-frame, but it's more powerful than your basic Windows server. These machines are specifically good with databases.

They system was fast and strong, but the software had not been supported for a couple years and custom support was costing us a great deal. We had big ideas for our data, so we decided to upgrade. I say we, but basically the CEO and VP of Sales made this choice on their own.

I knew something was going on, but at the time I was still pretty new to the company and didn't have the clout to push my way into it. I wish I could have.

The sales person/vendor REALLY over sold the products. He also over sold his abilities. He did the data conversion for us and screwed up a number of times.

Data conversion is necessary because one application will treat data in different ways. For instance. Lets say the original application stored phone numbers with no special punctuation, ie. 5551234567, but the new application wants all phone numbers to be stored as (555) 123-4567. Those extra characters have to be inserted at the time of import. It only gets more complicated!

So we lost data here and there as this guy converted. I can't honestly say I would have done any better, but it was poorly planned and executed. This was the case through out the whole project.

I was not brought on-board until it was about 95% done and then I was expected to maintain the system. Well since it was such a poorly designed system I was busy for nearly 6-9 months! Things have gotten to the point where no new bugs crop up, but we have a slew of bugs that we cannot fix and the developer can't address.

Why cant the address them? Well that's the other problem. Because of our “needs” a great deal of customization was done to the system. Most of those customizations were done to attempt to emulate the old system as much as possible.

That brings us to now. The developer of the product we are using now, was bought out shortly after we came on board with them. They continued to develop and support the product. However, the parent company also bought another competing product that is much much better.

So far this product, out of the box looks like it'll give us about 90-95% of our desired functionality without any customizations! But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I have been looking at our systems and processes and seeing a great number of inefficiencies. It's my job as a systems engineer to find solutions to problems. This was a significant problem I saw. Not only was data being entered in half a dozen locations, but important information was not being shared. This has caused some anger because some individuals think others are hording info. Now I will not say they haven't been hording, but the current system doesn't have the necessary checks and balances to make certain responsible parties are responsible. The systems currently in place are perfect for pointing fingers and shifting blame. Obviously a problem.

So I started researching applications that would give us the tools to fix some of these problems. Granted you cannot fix bad processes with technology. It just doesn't work. However, I have a plan of attack that will change those processes.

Because the current product had so many problems because of customizations, I have decided that we should implement this new CRM with as few custom mods as possible. The new company President agrees. We also have a new Sales Manager. Fresh blood, new ideas and flexibility. They bring some powerful tools to the table. Are the managers who have been with the company awhile going to like some of these changes? Probably not, but if they are for the good of the company, then it's the right thing to do. Sometimes its the right thing to stick with how it's always been done, but in this case it isn't.

The next phase is to work on the data conversion. Needless to say this is THE crucial point. There can be no screw-ups here. But I have plenty of time. I have forcasted 9-10 months for this project.

Through the Fall I will work on the data conversion.

Through the Winter I will work with departmental “super-users” who will be key in creating the new processes and data flows. They will also help design the interface to fit our needs. (note: this isn't considered a customization as the application is designed to be modified in this manner.)

Through the Spring I will work on training and any final testing. This would be the time we may or may not decide to purchase a new server for the system.

Finally sometime in the early part of next Summer we'll go live with the new system. The old system will remain alive for a short period of time, but in a read only mode. This is only a precaution, but should not be needed at all.

I'm taking my time with this because of the problems with the last implementation. It went live during the 4th quarter. For our sales team that was a big problem. Prospects they had been working with for months were difficult to find (because they were unfamiliar with the system) and important notes or information was lost or wrong.

If I can pull this off seamlessly, with no data loss and good training, then I'll be the hero who fixed a MAJOR part of the way our company runs.

It wasn't my intention to put myself in this position, but this is a career make or break project here. This is the biggest responsibility that I've ever undertaken, from a business point of view. I'm scared, but more excited. I'm maturing not only as a person but as a business person.

I didn't mention much about the support team. They like this system because they will be sharing a database with the sales team, so communication will be tremendous. Currently there are a lot of phone calls and e-mails sent back and forth for information. Stuff falls through the cracks. I'm gonna fill those cracks.

I covered this quickly, but without going into a 100 page dissertation on the project, I couldn't cover everything. There are many little branches to this project. It will touch every department and almost every employee.


Specific information was left out incase the big bosses would prefer this info not be too public.

Ta Da!

I think it goes without saying that I've changed up a few things on my site. *grin*

The basic structure is identical, i just played with the colors and formating a bit. Nothing major, but fun never the less.

I tried to fix Sugarmamas code so that it would work on Mozilla, Netscape and Opera. Unfortunatly it wouldn't work without making some fairly significant structural changes. I tried to IM her since I saw her online, but lo-and-behold she forgot to turn it off when she left work! Luckly her wonderfully sarcastic "away" message let me know that I was talking to myself, "i'm away from my computer enhancing the lives of others with my presence". Oh well.

As you can probably notice I also changed my blog/website title. A couple of you had linked to me as MAJik Marc, and I saw that one day and thought magic marker...MAJik MARCer! Cool! So I finally got around to making the change. I still have to convert a majority of the site, but I'm going to wait until I'm sitting in front of the server. I can do mass changes easier there. Do a simple Find and Replace. God I love Dreamweaver!


I've been inspired to play with my website some more. :)

What do you think?

Monday, September 23, 2002

Blog Templates

It seems like its blog template redecoration time around here. What the heck right? It's a lot easier and cheaper than redecorating your living room. The visuals can give viewers an idea about who you are or help set a mood. There are good and bad designs. I'm guilty of both and am constantly adjusting my own site. Why not right?

I'm not going to get into the middle of the ensuing battle over Acidmans blog template, but dude, I had nothing to do with it, just so you know. BTW, why are your comments links up sometimes, but not others?

Sugarmama returned my offer to assist fixing her blog template to work with Netscape/Mozilla & Opera with basically a middle finger to those web browers. That's no skin off my back. I teased her about it, mostly because she was being a brat, but then at the end of the day she said I could if I wanted to. I replied that i didn't want to any more because of her previous "insolence". I was of course joking. She replied by calling me a Ho, then added the "nkey" to make me a honkey. I really suspect she was just playing, but she went offline before I could find out. Brat! :P

Anyway, I've liked the changes I've seen in everyones blogs. It's fun. I will assist if I can, but only if asked and only if it is for YOUR blog. ;)

Without you

I know this will sound sappy, but oh well, don't read any further if you don't like sap. :P

I miss Melly. I know we aren't physically together, but we still get to spend a lot of time together, either online or on the phone. Maybe it sounds smothering, but I could spend every moment with her. Sure I say that now, but I'm not dumb, I know everyone needs personal time, but when we are not together, like tonight, I'm lost.

I sit here watching TV or playing online but it's just not the same. Watching TV I want to snuggle with her. Playing online...well I know I wouldn't spend as much time online.

I guess I'm just saying without my love, I'm not a complete man. Funny thing is I never expected to feel this way. I like it. :)

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Worse News For SugarMama

I went ahead and downloaded Opera, another web browser. I checked out my blog and those others in my blog list. Again Sugarmama's has trouble. Actually Opera renders it almost unreadable. That's not so good. If you want I'll be glad to help you fix that, if we can.

Oh just an FYI, Opera and Blogger don't play nice, so don't try them together. It's not fun.

More Design

I did some additional design changes to Mellys blog. Luckly I didnt use layers or style sheets so it looks great in Mozilla. *grin*

Her links will be coming soon.

That was easy

Well things are about as fixed as they are going to get. For those wanna-be web designers out there, layers give you temendous flexibility and you can do some amazing things with the, but they are a serious pain when trying to get them to look the same in Internet Explorer & Mozilla/Netscape. They render differently and you'll get a nice "close but no cigar" situation.

Mix in CSS and you're asking for more trouble. It can be done but you have to test and plan ahead and don't let the browsers work around your code. You have to make sure everything that is supposed to be marked up IS. One simple change in my CSS fixed a major issue with my page. The different browsers will simply treat the code different. Leave something out on one and it works, but it'll mess up the other.

Another unfortunate gotcha is using font size. Font size 2 will give you about 12 pixels in IE but only 9 pixels in Mozilla/Netscape. Who's right? Actually they both are. So you're better off using pixel heights when defineing font size. The browers have to display this size the same.

The bottom-line is, when developing a page, start simple and test often with all the browsers you feel should be tested against. I recommend Internet Explorer and either Mozilla or Netscape 6/7. Mozilla and Netscape use the same rendering engine, so they should, in theory, be identical. Keep adding and testing, adding and testing. When you run across a trouble maker, play with your options until you fix the problem or consider another solution.

Sorry to those whom I have gone over their heads. Don't sweat it. If you aren't a developer you won't need to worry about this stuff anyway.

To my fellow bloggers, Sugarmama is the only one who is having Mozilla problems.

Hard Hat Area

I'm working on my blog right now. Please be patient with me if you notice errors. I'm trying to get this dumb thing to work right with Mozilla and Netscape. It looks fine with IE, but with the growth of the alternative web browser market, its time for web masters to pay more attention again.

Saturday, September 21, 2002

Cry Little Sister

You all may have seen this blog in my listings but never really knew what it was about nor did I talk much about it. Until today I wasn't even sure I should mention whos blog it was. I've been given permission to let you all know. Its my sweeties blog, Melly. She has decided to blog for herself. I suspect she will not want a comments section, though I have not asked. Like I said, it's more for her than anything.

She asked me to redesign it for her. I like the results. I went with the bamboo theme because bamboo is a very positive item and it has an asian taste to it and fits Mellys' sense of style. At least that I know of. I hope she likes it. :)

I don't plan on making it a habit to create Blogger templates, but this was fun!

Oh I have also moved her up to the top of my blog list, because she is my #1. :)

Friday, September 20, 2002

I'm home

I'm too tired tonight to go into stuff now, but I am home and my car is back and in 100% working order. My total out of pocket for all my car problems: $185. It's not cheap, but less than I expected.

I'm going to bed. I'm wiped out and I have the whole day tomorrow to spend with my sweetie, so I need to be well rested. :)

Thursday, September 19, 2002

At a Conference

Sorry I've not posted in a few days, I'm doing IT at our companies users conference. I'll detail my days and let you know how things whent in a few days.

Monday, September 16, 2002

Just an FYI

Two things:

1. If you don't like what I say or just think its fun to dig on me. That's cool. I have thick skin and let stuff roll of my back easily. However this does not apply to Melly, my girl-friend. Leave her out of any commentaries please.

2. Mozilla, like Netscape trashes my website. Not badly, but it doesn't look right.

Ok this was more about #1. I won't go into the details of it. Those involved know what is going on. I have not desided exactly what I'll do if problems persist, but I may remove all blog links. Also I will side with Melly. I care about her more than anything in this world. No one and nothing is more important to me. I would drop this website without hesitation if she asked me to do so. I do this for fun. As soon as it becomes something other than that it becomes pointless.

I hope this can just smooth over with little issue and we can all just move on.

Car Update

Well it turns out there is nothing wrong with the alternator. I took it to a shop to be rebuilt and they said, hey, it works fine. That means the problem is else where in my electrical system. Ah hell.

I'm currently waiting for the tow truck to come get it and take it to them so they can inspect the rest of the system. I actually feel pretty good about this place. It was a shit hole in a crappy part of town, but ya know, sometimes those are the best places to go.

We'll see how things go tomorrow, but as of right now, i'm still without my car. What a pain.

I took the opportunity to clean some of the grime and dirt from the engine area while I was at it. I also inspected my belts,hoses and boots. Everything is looking pretty good. No obvious signs of decay or wear, but as any car owner will tell you, sometimes you can't see the problem until it blows up.

Sunday, September 15, 2002

See! Proof!

Find out what kind of driver you are!

You are among the most intelligent and best mannered among all drivers. When you are in a hurry, you may push it a little, but you never race. When you are relaxed, you don't impede others by driving like a turtle. You are mindful of others and occasionally downright nice, but mostly you keep your wits and keel.

See I told ya! Now get out of my way slow-poke and use your blinkers! LOL

What Kinda Robot Am I?

Click here to find out what robot you really are

Hey thats cool. :)

Stupid Auto Parts

Well i called all the local auto parts stores that were open. NONE of them had the alternator in stock. Napa said they could order one, but I'd have to pre-pay and it would still be 3-5 days before it came in. But they were charging $275 with trade in.

I'm going to call around more tomorrow morning, including the dealer, though I'm sure they'll be over priced. I descided I can wait on ordering online until tomorrow if that's what it comes to. They wouldn't process the order until tomorrow anyway, so I'm not going to get it any faster.

So that's where things stand right now. I'm a bit surprised that no one had that part in stock. Like I said, I'll do some more calling tomorrow. This is a city of 2 million, certainly SOMEONE has to have one in stock.

Thanks go to Joni who gave me some websites to check out. :)

Saturday, September 14, 2002

Go Big Red!!

Well my Huskers are playing Penn State tonight. Actually so far Penn State is being the better team. The Huskers need to get their defense in line or we'll lose.

On a related note, I have figured out how to make my webcam software use the signal from my TV card, so you can see what I'm watching (the game right now) when I have it on. neat huh?

Hopefully you'll see my Huskers turning things around! *fingers crossed*

Nebraska Huskers

It just figures!

Last week I signed the paper work that would make my leased car my own. I refinanced it to buy it. And what happens today??

My alternator dies!

So now my poor car is sitting in my apartment parking lot after barely making it back from the Sears Auto Center. I thought the battery was just dead. It was, but my alternator is shot too. It's only putting out 6.7 volts. It suppposed to be putting out 14 volts!

I'm none too thrilled about it. The only good thing is that this didn't happen during my rush hour commute Monday morning. Bad thing is, its the weekend! I can't it fixed until Monday. My boss is out Monday! I have a lot of work to do Monday! When he's out I often take on many more responsibilities. AND our company has its annual Users Conference next week. My boss, by the way, is out on business, not pleasure.

Ok so now I have to figure out...

  1. How to get to work? All my friends and co-workers live in other parts of town. I'm out here on my own.
  2. How I'm going to get my crippled car to a shop? I'm not sure if my insurance will cover the tow, but if they do, great. If not I'm not looking forward to paying to have it hauled to the repair shop. I was barely able to make it home on battery power. I wouldn't even dare risk driving it to work or the repair shop. It's staying right where it is.
  3. Can I find a new alternator online? I've been having a hard time thus far. I'm so used to finding computer parts everywhere. Suddenly auto parts are scarce on the net. What gives with that? My car uses a Bosch alternator. That's pretty normal. The voltage is 14V, rather than 12, so that's a little different. If you know where to find part #: 028 903 028 D, please let me know!!

God this sucks. This is exactly the crap that I was avoiding when I leased to start with. Now I just signed a 4 year auto loan. Oh boy oh boy, car ownership sure is a wonderful thing!


I think i'm going to have to reengineer my commentary system. It works rather well on the "front-end", but not on the "back-end". That means the system you all see and use works and looks good, so I don't want to change that. However the back-side is the database and code that runs it. The database can probably handle what it is dealing with now, but the code doesn't work well for it. There is no filtering or archiving going on. In otherwords, if I don't manually delete entries or move them to an archive database, they will stay accessible forever!

I have to admit that this is a bit of a daunting task for me. I'm not great with databases. Luckly I have those resources at work, but those guys are pretty busy working on our new .NET application. Perhaps they'll enjoy the change. I'd do most of the work myself, but their thoughts and feedback would be a tremendous help.

The reason I'm kinda freaking about this is two reasons:

  1. I cheat and view all comments at once. Rather than clicking each comment link and seeing if someone said something I just view this page. It lists all the comments in the order in which they were made. Unfortunatly it lists the article by Blogger number, which isn't a lot of help to me. It also lists ALL comments, from today to the first comment ever made. I have a fast server, so it doesn't take too long to display all this, but I'm really only going to be interested in reading perhaps the past weeks worth of comments. Maybe I'll make an interface so I can choose date ranges.
  2. I want to put my commentary system on my other pages as well. I'd like to give site visitors the ability to comment about each piece of art and my tutorials. Since the current system uses Blogger codes to work I will either have to fake the codes on my gallery pages or build a totally separate system. What do you all think about this idea? Do you think it would be a worth while exercise? The art site that I post to from time to time, Renderosity, has a nice commentary system and gives people the ability to rate pictures too. If I put that in place then each blog entry could be rated as well. Not sure if that's a good idea or not yet. I'll have to think about that some more.

This is a big project! I was hoping to work on it this past week, but things at work have been VERY VERY busy and they will be next week as well, so when I get home farting around on my website isn't something I'm really all that interested in. Maybe I can do some of that this weekend. Keep your eyes peeled!

Added Links

I've been meaning to add some more links that I visit often.

The Straight Dope (still active) - With a slogan like, "Fighting Ignorance Since 1973 (It's taking longer than we thought)" it's gotta be good! People write in questions about wierd and obscure things and they are answered with wit, sarcasim and as much accuracy as possible. Good reads! (Updated daily)

Webopedia (still active) - Use this site when I use computer terms that you are unfamiliar with. It's a good site for basic definitions.

Hacking Truths (404, dead) - Knowledge is power. When it comes to hackers and security, you have to know what the hackers know to stop them. This site and its author, Ankit Fadia, give people the knowledge to arm themselves against hackers. This site doesn't have it all, but when you consider that probably 90% of all hack attacks are armed with just as little knowledge, you can protect yourself against a majority of those "lamers".

I've also added a couple blogs.

True Porn Clerk Stories (dead link) - I had this link up one other time, but she moved servers on me and the link was broke. Ali has gotten things back up and running. In reality this isn't what we have come to expect as a blog, which is some what disappointing, but her stories are entertaining none the less.

Life In Louisiana (not updated since 2006) - Joies' blog. She commented on my site a week or two ago and she seems cool so I figure what the heck. LOL She better appreciate this! :þ *grin*

Updated Link Status 06/09/2011

Friday, September 13, 2002

Dinner Mmmmm

I watch a lot of Food Network. It's entertaining and I learn how to cook better. Well I watch a lot of Emeril. He had a dish the other night that sounded good so I gave it a shot.

It was a mushroom and chicken, with bacon dish with cheesy rice on the side. I just went from memory, but I wasn't too far off from the recipe!

I'm not sure if it was the cheesy rice or just the richness of the mushroom-bacon-chicken gravy, but whoa mama was that filling!

Would I make it again? Yea. But I wouldn't make the rice myself. I think I'd just do the, "in the box" rice. I don't mind tossing out Rice-a-Roni, but that small block of cheese wasn't cheap so I'm not just gonna toss it.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

VW Beetle Convertable

I wasnt going to blog tonight, but I hit the VWVortex site and noticed they have an article about the new 2003 convertable Beetle. Now there have been chop shops all over creating these since the "new" Beetle was introduced, but this one is straight from Wolfsburg and it looks sharp I must say. Now it isn't my particular taste. Frankly it looks like a college girls car, but that don't not take away from it's very clean look.

If you haven't heard much about the new VWs, I invite you to take a look at VWVortex. I think you'd be surprised at the quality and skill that goes into these cars now days. They haven't always been known as a high quality car maker, but that is changing. Just look at the number of VWs you see on the road.

Here are some new models that are in the works. Most should make it to the US market in the next year or two.

VeeDubs rule! *grin*

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Oh yea...

My updated stats: I'm doing better!

Analysed requests from Wed-04-Sep-2002 11:08 to Wed-11-Sep-2002 19:53 (7.36 days).

Average successful requests for pages per day: 109

Failed requests: 433 (MORONS)

Distinct files requested: 482

Distinct hosts served: 184

Data transferred: 12.088 megabytes

Average data transferred per day: 1.641 megabytes

Web Stats Demystified...hopefully

I previously posted some of my stats for my website and I got questions from Joan about what they

Successful requests for pages: - Someone clicked a link and they got what they wanted. A good hit in otherwords.

Average successful requests for pages per day: - Obviously the average amout of "good hits" I get per day.

Failed requests: - This means those page hits that result with codes in the 400's (error in request) or 500's (server error). They come about for a variety of reasons, but the most common are when the requested file is not found or is read-protected. I have a lot of these in my log because there are still idiot webserver admins who have servers infected with Code Red and Nimda! Yes, BOTH viruses are over a year old!! HEY MORONS! FIX YOUR SERVERS!

Redirected requests: - those with other codes in the 300's, indicating that the user was directed to a different file instead. The most common cause of these requests is that the user has incorrectly requested a directory name without the trailing slash. The server replies with a redirection ("you probably mean the following") and the user then makes a second connection to get the correct document (although usually the browser does it automatically without the user's intervention or knowledge). The other common cause of redirected requests is their use as "click-thru" advertising banners.

Distinct files requested: - This is simply the number of actual files downloaded. When you hit a website you are downloading a number of files. First is the HTML file itself. But once that file is read, it will load the various graphics and other necessary files in the background. It's transparent to users, so most people don't consider that when they hit my home page they are downloading at least 8 files and more than that if I have posted any pictures.

Distinct hosts served: - Each device on the Internet has a unique IP address. When the log says "distinct hosts" it's really saying distinct IPs. If a user is on dial-up and gets a new IP address every time they go online, they would be a unique/distinct host every time they visited my site.

Data transferred: - This figure gives me an idea of how much bandwidth my website has used (total per the number of days in the logs). Used with the Average Per Day (see below) I can show my boss and his boss that my website does not eat up much of our T1 line at all. 1.6 MBs per day is NOTHING! I bet as a company we average over 1 GB of data transfer every day. Granted we are a software company and we give our customers updates via an FTP server we host, but still, looking at that figure, I'm only 0.01% of the total usage.

Average data transferred per day: - See above

I hope that helps Joan.

Some definitions were copied from the Analog website (the log analizing software I use.)

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

The day is done already??

Well I was hoping to get some stuff done on my website tonight, but alas I have run out of time. I'm not staying up until 11pm tonight.

I did get my hair cut today. MAN am I glad too. I was getting pretty shaggy. Perhaps it didn't translate on the webcam, but it sure did for me every time I washed it, brushed it, whatever. It was so heavy it was making my neck sore! LOL ok i'm exagerating.

I had a handful of people saying to leave it, but I've learned to ignore those people. I wasn't happy with it and that is what really matters. If you like me with longer hair thake my picture into Photoshop and fix it!

I'm kidding, though if anyone does that I'll be more than happy to post it on here, given that it's decent of course.

time to call it a night.

Monday, September 09, 2002

Windows XP Warning!!

If you are running Windows XP (Home or Professional) you NEED to go to the Windows Update site and get Service Pack 1. Not later.


This is a VERY VERY VERY bad security hole. Details are slim right now to keep the spread of hacker websites and e-mails down, but you can read a bit about it here. Mr. Gibson is a well respected computer security guru who works for The People, rather than the big corporate giants.

In short this security hole will allow a hacker to put a simple html script on a webpage or HTML e-mail document that would delete files off your computer. What files? Depends on what they target. Every Windows XP Pro machine has a folder in the C: Drive called Documents and Settings. The hacker could configure it to delete all those files and possibly folders. I'm not 100% certain it can actually delete a folder. But that's just an example.

Consider this senario. A "hacker" website has this script on their website to target common Anti-Virus applications. Then they deliberatly infect their "toolz" they have made availible for download with backdoor Trojans. Tada...they have compromised that system.

This is so serious customers, both consumer and business owners alike, should really be raising a storm to Microsoft. This is UNACCEPTABLE! A small bug here and there, ok we don't like it, but we can tolerate it. Make it this easy for hackers?? I don't think so!

Ya know those new Macs are looking better and better every day...

I'm going to bed

It was kinda a blah day today. I had a Photoshop class and I learned some stuff, but when I got home I just wanted to watch cartoons.

I played around with the techniques a bit but not having a project in mind I was just messing around mostly.

I got my friend San and my sister birthday cards/presents today at lunch too. I really really don't like picking out cards. No i remember why I don't usually send them!

Humm...what else...

Well Goku is still fighting Frieza on Dragonball Z. Who will win!? (Duh!) Yea I like the show, i'm not a super freak fan like some people, but hey it's pretty cool. I record the episodes with my ATI Wonder-TV video capture card and then, after editing the commercials out, burn them to VCD. It's kinda a fun hobby and it keeps me and computer busy. I need to clear my video hard drive though. It's starting to fill up. Video can eat up a 30 GB drive in no time.

Alright, that's it, I'm hitting the sack. I actually have to WORK tomorrow. Oh well better than being bored I guess, unless I'm bored at work. uhoh!

Website Stats

Ok since everyone is bragging about their stats, I will too. LOL

Analysed requests from Wed-04-Sep-2002 11:08 to Mon-09-Sep-2002 06:37 (4.81 days).

Successful requests for pages: 414

Average successful requests for pages per day: 85

Failed requests: 316

Redirected requests: 13

Distinct files requested: 297

Distinct hosts served: 107

Data transferred: 7.809 megabytes

Average data transferred per day: 1.622 megabytes

85 per day isn't too shabby. I can live with that. Keep in mind that these stats are for my WHOLE site, not just my homepage/blog. That's an important distinction. I have about 120 MBs of graphics and photos in my gallery. Now that Google has taken notice of my site I'm going to start beefing up those pages as well, so hopefully I'll be racking up more hits. Muahahaha!

You can look at the full stats of my site any time by going HERE. The stats are updated about ever 12 hours at 8 AM/PM, but I offen will update it during the day as well just cuz i'm bored. It's not dynamic I'm afriad. But there is a wealth of info in there. Kinda fun to look at.

Saturday, September 07, 2002

Kung Pow

I rented this movie thinking a good spoof would be just what I needed. I still think that. It had a few funny moments, but over all it was kinda dumb. On the plus side it is reasonably acceptable even for the younger crowd. It's rated PG-13, but knowing todays kids, you might get away with 10-12 too. There were a couple mild adult jokes, but over all it's pretty clean. Probably more so than most prime time sitcoms. I'd give it a 2 out of 5.


We'll I took a nap after learning how the world would end, now I'm kinda bored. My sweety is out at a conference for the next week and I miss her already! So I have to keep myself busy. I think I'll run down to Block Buster and see if there are any movies worth renting.

Da Goddess has been giving me grief about plugging AcidMans site so often. Well now I learn she has TWO (1 | 2) of them and wants me to plug hers. AND help her tweak the HTML on one of them.

I need to wear this T...


I'll see what I can do Joanie, but no promises. What i've seen suggests it may be already optimized.

Since I only have a hand full of readers I have to keep you all happy. Well no i don't, but it keeps me busy. LOL


I watched some cool shows on Discovery about how we are all DOOMED!!

One was about Mega-Tsunamis.
The synopsis was: Discover a geologic force capable of generating skyscraper-sized waves. Huge landslides create these walls of water. The next one might send a monster wave across the Atlantic and straight for the East Coast of the United States.

They were talking about a volcanic island in the Canary Islands called, La Palma. They stated that the tsunami would take about 8 hours from time of creation to reach the east coast. That believe that the wave would reach inland as far as 11-12 miles. Umm...Bye bye Miami, New York, Boston, Baltimore, Bahamas, etc. It'd be a mess.

Oddly enough while looking for more information I found these kooks. Hey if you aren't paranoid enough about the ned of the world, read this site for a bit. They'll fix ya!

One dude thought terrorists would use the La Palma Volcano as a weapon. Dropping a bomb into it, to help things along. But this is an ACTIVE volcano. The bomb would have to be stratigically placed deep within the volcano itself to do anything, if it would be strong enough at all. By what the Discovery show stated, the sliding of the western half of the summet (which would cause the tsunami), would be because of the warming of the trapped rainwater in the surrounding rock. Think of a potato in the microwave. If you don't poke the skin and the internal pressures get too much it's going to crack and break open. Now imagine a mountain doing that. A terrorist bomb would not be able to "start" this reaction.

Another guy suggested making an opposing tsunami on the East Coast. Two problems with this. One, where are you going to find the equivilant 1-trillion tons of rock to slide into the ocean right on the coastline! Two, the contenental shelves are shaped differently and our wave would not have the same intensity. Three, We have 8 HOURS to match the size, get the tragectories correct and then fine 1 trillion tons of rock! Four, umm...what about our neighbors on the otherside of the pond who would have to deal with OUR wave? Like Ireland, Portugal, the whole West Coast of Africa maybe even parts of France and England.

Anyway, enough about that one. The other show was on Super Volcanos. It's synopsis: One of the world's largest supervolcanoes, much more powerful than Mt. St. Helens, lies under Yellowstone National Park. The last eruption in Sumatra 70,000 years ago pushed mankind to the edge of extinction; scientists think the next is overdue.

Ok, 70,000 years ago we were rock swinging savages. Not much has changed, but we do have the technology to save most of us. BTW, I don't think your Sharper Image air filter will really be able to keep up with the ash. (I still want one though!) The show talked about ash 2 meters thick (nearly as deep as I am tall!) Yellowstone would become, quite literally, Jellystone. Some estimates suggested that anyone and anything within about 1000 Kilometers would be wasted. The heat would melt surrounding snow capped mountains. Imagine the floods, avalanches, rock and mud slides! Forests would be flattened, the mid-western crops would be destroyed. Etc etc etc. Pretty much hell on earth for ground zero and the areas within that 1000 KM circle. The rest of us would have to deal with ash falling from the sky for month if not years, toxic fumes, food shortages as the midwest provides food not only for the US but for must of the world. The gobal temperature could drop 5 degrees or more, stuck in a volcanic winter. Think its cold in the winter now SugarMama? Even the South would get thick blankets of snow. Something usually reserved for the more Northern states.

This is far more scary than the tsunami. This would effect the entire human race. Those countries and people whos lives are soley dependent on their agriculture would fine their crops stunted by the colder temperatures and poor sunlight. Many animals, crops and people would die from lack of food. More modern nations would survive, but economic and social structures would fail. Especially here in the US where nearly a 1/3 of the country would be damaged by the eruption. We can feel some what fortunate that those states are sparcely populated, but needless to say, they'd be empty for quite some time.

It would take decades for the world to get back to normal. More or less this is what we would have had to put up with after a nuclear war, without the radiation. It's a pretty chilling thought.

Luckly, this isn't likely to happen any time soon, but we ARE due for an eruption. So...who's up for building on the moon now? LOL

Washin' the Car

I spent a couple hours washing and detailing my car this morning. Its needed a good wash for awhile now. She sure is pretty now that shes all clean. I love my car. Isn't she a beauty? Especially considering the car is nearly 4 years old!

Well that was pretty much the highlight of my day. I took some cans down for recycling and got a Chalupa at Taco Hell. They hey have potatoes now too. They weren't too bad. Looks like they are trying to copy Taco Johns, but since there are no Taco Johns in Nashville I guess it's ok. Taco Johns must be more of a Northern or Mid-Western thing.

Friday, September 06, 2002

Rant on Bad Drivers...again

Ok I've bitched about it before, but after reading AcidMans pet-peeves post tonight I was reminded of the idiots I had to deal with today and yesterday and every flippin day!

I don't know if it's a Southern thing, a city thing or if I just notice it more now, but I would venture to guess about 80% or more of the drivers on the road don't bother to use their blinkers! Another 5% use them but leave them on so you have NO idea where they are going and when.

Isaw that today. A truck put one on to exit the Interstate. Great! Wonderful! Then after driving around and off the ramp, it was still on. At this point the road becomes two lanes, both going the same direction. The right lane veers off, the left goes straight.

I drive a little silver VW folks. It's not a big car and the silver can blend in with the concrete under the right lighting conditions. The guy (or gal) was driving a large freight truck. I wanted to be in that right lane, he was in the left lane, with his right blinker on still. I had no idea if he was going to come over or not. And I wasn't going to take the chance of being smashed between a truck and a barrier wall. No thanks!

Hey I forget my blinker sometimes, especially on gradual turns that don't trip the switch. But come on! This was a potentially dangerous situation. I have learned not to trust other drivers, so I did the right thing by staying back, just in case, but I shouldn't have had to do that.

As for those who don't use them. START USING YOUR BLINKERS!!!! The auto makers didn't just put them there to make a nice rythmic clicking noise to amuse or annoy you! They tell other drivers where you are going!

Oh your hands are full? One hand on the wheel, the other on the phone? Well get a damn headset for your phone before you hurt someone! They have made cell phone so small you can forget about holding them between your hear and shoulder, so headsets are the only safe way.

That still isn't great though. People need to pay attention more. I'm SHOCKED at how few accidents there are every commute, especially in the mornings. Hell I've been known to not be on top of my game in the morning commute and I'm not on the phone AND I pay close attention to the traffic around me.

Do people think that because they are in SUVs they are oblivious to danger? I see more SUV drivers who look more like they are on a Sunday drive in the country side during the afternoon commute. Here we are speeding at 60 to 70 MPH, with clearly not enough room to stop if someone breaks hard, much less if you aren't paying attention and they are chatting away on the phone, not using their blinkers and cutting people off.

Speaking of getting cut-off, why must people rush to block someone coming onto the Interstate from an on ramp? I mean it's not like I snuck in around these guys to get in front of them. It's not a race, but Nooooo...they don't want to let you in front of them. You might get one whole car length in front of them!!! Heaven forbid!! Slow down jack-ass! One of these days that lumbering SUV with the cell phone talker is not going to see you there and merge right into you. And you'll BOTH deserve what you get.

I'm by no means a perfect driver. As I said I can be a bit out of it in the morning. One morning when there was a dumb ass going onto the Interstate, using the on-ramp at 35 MPH (Its an ON-ramp you idiot! Speed up to freeway speeds!) I got a little pissed being stuck behind him. So when we got onto the interstate I wanted to get around the fool as quick as possible, he was still going only 55 in a 70 zone. Oh yes, he merged right onto the interstate at that speed, even though there was a long stretch of ramp to get up to speed on still. We had three lanes on our side. He was in the far right lane and I was right behind him. I was gunning for the middle lane. I made a quick glance and was gonna go for it and WHOA MAMA! There was a car that had been in my blind spot, in the middle lane. Had I kept merging over it would have been a mess. At 60+MPH a kiss like that is gonna hurt. I quickly thought to myself, "Ok Marc, is it really THAT important to get to work 5 seconds sooner?" Umm...NO. I backed down and took the rest of the commute nice and easy.

Road rage got me. It's a bad deal, but it still effects a lot of people, even the best drivers. Makes everyone a dumb ass. Still, I'm less of a dumb ass than most of the drivers I commute with!

Amendment to my answer to Joni

Melly pointed out to me that she was the one who found DNS2Go for me originally, so I must give credit where credit is due. I wouldn't even know of it without my sweet wonderful cyber-princess uber-geek mama! ;) hehe Love ya honey!

Caffeine Junkies!

I know there are lots people who are totally caffeine freaks! Those who eat caffinated mints, Bawls, etc. I drink SoBe Adrenaline Rush myself.

THIS however takes the cake, no pun intended. Hey at least its all natural! LOL


I need to get this T-shirt!

Something tells me AcidMan will be on my case again over this one. LOL ;)

Thursday, September 05, 2002

Search Phrases!

Well since installing the Analog web log analyzer I've had 5 search engine hits. One of the things that was bothering me about the web counter I have is that it cannot see what people are doing past the main page. I wanted to see if people were visiting my art galleries and tutorials (ok ok i know there are only a few so far). Well Analog does this for me. So here is what I have thus far...

making fire in photoshop - This one is pretty self explanitory for those who know what Photoshop is. For those who don't, I'll refrain from belittling you, it is the premier digital image editor. At about $600 you can understand why this application is so wildly pirated, especially as popular as it is. Adobe has released a cheaper version called Photoshop Elements. It's actually a very good product and only $120.

As for making fire, this is something many add-on products promise to give. A one click "fire" filter. Well they never really work very well. The one I did uses a stock copy of Photoshop and its filters to create very convincing fire. It's application can be a bit tricky, but hey, what do you want for nothing?

I took at look at some of the other tutorials that came up when I used that search phrase in Google and they couldn't hold a candle to my blaze! Heh! ;)

majik face 2 face - I must admit that this one confused me until I put it in Google. There is a really cool Drum 'n' Bass artist that goes by the name J Majik. He has an album called "Face 2 Face". So you see it all makes sence now. Ahhhh... The person who stumbled across my site stuck around and checked out some of my art too. That rocks!

artwork fire - Someone looking for fire artwork. Hey why not. Fire is beautiful and powerful. Most fire fighters will admit how fire is awesomely powerful and beautiful in its raw savagry. I was number 16 in the Google list on this phrase. I can take that. :)

terragen arizona - Terragen is a 3D landscape generating application. It's quite powerful and will generate some very near photo-realistic images. This person found my Arizona Sunrise picture. I hope s/he enjoyed it. I was #2 on this phrase! Whoohoo!

art drawing blog - I'm kinda surprised about this one. Talk about a vague search phrase! This turns up 13,200 hits on Google. But guess who's #1 baby! Yeah! *grin*

Ok so I don't have any freakish and/or perverted search terms in my list...yet, but I thought I'd share this. I'm happy with the results so far. I can now see what is working (or not working) and why. I already have some ideas. Maybe I'll try some this weekend.

To Answer Joni's Question

Joni came to me with the following problem:

Okay, Marc. You posted a comment about running your own server. I found out that the tech. guy at RoadRunner lied to me. The first thing I figured out when I logged into RoadRunner the first time (in their top ten FAQs) was "no CGI scripts," and "no telnetting." Geesh.

So. Is there a way to make my box a network and just run the damn thing from there? Help me out here...

I responded with:

You can certainly run your own server using Windows 2000/XP Pro or Linux. I don't do Linux so I can't help you there. Nor do I run CGI on Windows, so I'm not a lot of help there. I do all my stuff with ASP, VBScript and Access databases. Those are hardly big time web tools, but they work for me.

Anyway getting back to the point at hand...

Make sure you read your TOS (Terms of Service)very carefully. Most broadband providers disallow servers of any type from their residential customers. Sure you can try it, but I know here they periodically scan the IPs looking for servers. My server is running on my T1 line at work so that's not an issue for me. The CEO was totally cool with me running my site on the companies equipment and net connection. I feel EXTREAMLY fortunate. Hell I'm piggie-backing one of the company domain names too! LOL My address is: If you use; you'll see what I mean.

Back to your situation...

You CAN run a server, but it can be tricky with your ISP. Also you will need to use: DNS2Go. ( It used to be free but it seems as of Oct 1st, they are gonna start charging for it. Bummer. Their software basically looks at your servers dynamicly allocated (from the ISP) IP address and sends it to the Deerfield DNS servers. You register your domain with them or use one of theirs. So when someone tries to hit your domain, their DNS servers say, it's over here, then thier software redirects the web server to your computer.

It's a pretty clever idea I must say. Every web surfer has to brounce through a dozen or more servers before they get to you anyway, what is one more?

Now your ISP may provide an extra fee for allowing you to run a server. You'll have to check with yours. Comcast here in Nashville requires that you sign up for a business account which is over $100 per month. For some that may be worth it. For a blog? I doubt it.

I know this isn't the answer you wanted. Technically it can be done, but the ISPs rules may not allow for it, in a cost effective way.

All is not lost however! There are a LOT of hosting sites that will give you all that you want and need. Do I have any suggestions? No I'm afraid I don't. You will be lucky to find a host that will allow Telnet access, since this is a favorite way for hackers to get into systems, but there will be a few here and there.

Another option is co-locating your server. This is where you send off or lease a server that is all yours to do with as you please, to a host that maintains the server and provides a certain amount of bandwidth per month. One place in Sacramento was charging $300 per month. That may price it right out of contention.

The long and the short of this is, it's not going to be easy nor cheap to pull it off. I think the only reason I am getting the sweet deal I am is because I'm the Network Admin and I work damn hard for the company. I think its probably considered an unofficial perk. I suspect one of these days it'll fade. When that day comes...well I'll figure something out. LOL The Net changes so quickly, who knows what will be availible by then.

I really hope Joni can find what she's looking for.

What a happy family

When I was a teen I didn't really know how to vent my teenage
angst. Being a mild mannered person and the fact that I didnt want to face
the wrath of my parents, I stayed away from crime and other delinquent activities.
So I turned to art. Ok weird I know, but I used art as a release for my angers
and frustrations. I continued through college and still do a bit to this day,
though now I express my love for Melly more than demons and stuff.

Anyway, I found this picture this past weekend and I scanned
it in. It's one of my best drawings. It was done 100% with ink only. I did
not use a pencil at all. No outlines or tracing.

Click here to see the
full picture.

Monday, September 02, 2002

Are we suprised?

What revolution are You?
Made by altern_active

Frankly I was hoping for something a bit more interesting. Oh well, whatever.

I know I've not posted in a few days. I'll work on it this week. I mean, what do you want? My life isn't that interesting. Wanna hear about my adventures in washing clothes? How about how I cleaned the kitchen. Whooo!!! Hold on! It gets even better! I watched a bunch of TV!!!

Ok so I'm being sarcastic. I did those things sure, but I did some other things. I guess I still value my privacy a bit yet. Not that I did anything that I wouldn't share with the world, but there were no particular moments worth sharing.

I guess you could consider my Beef Pot Roast pretty significant.

I don't know how big the roast was, maybe a couple pounds. I cut a few holes in it and stuck garlic cloves in. This is better with a pork roast I've found. Anyway, I then seared it on all sides for color and flavor. I dumped in my crock-pot a can of beef broth, the roast, some onion, red potatos, carots, tomato, and mushrooms. I then added about a cup or two of water to make sure it was all covered. Seasoned well with sea salt, celery salt and fresh ground black pepper. I then let it cook for...umm...about 15 hours. It was awesome! The beef just fell apart. Like I mentioned the garlic cloves were a bit much, but I still think they were necessary for flavor, just next time I'll put them in the broth, not the beef.

That's it. Pretty easy.