Sunday, December 28, 2003

Past Future

I wanted to find some futurists predictions for 2003 and wonder why those things have not happened, however that research turned out to be more difficult that I initially expected. Everyone seems to have predictions for technology, but those are rather boring. It's not like they are predicting transplanting human brains into robot bodies next year. Now that would be cool, to write about. Alas, nothing quite like that. So I'll write on what I would have expected of the human race by now.

Space: What happened? We were supposed to be flying back and forth to the moon and looking at the other planets in our solar system. I don't believe Arthur C. Clark was wrong in predicting us going to Jupiter in his book, "2001: A space odyssey". We had the technology. We had the know how. We simply didn't do it.

It's all politics of course. If a congressman or senator cannot see fancily benefit in a project, within the time-frame of their stay in office, why should they support it? 'How would it affect my state.' Narrow minded fools.

It will take us awhile to show profit from setting up camp on the moon and later other planets, but it's well worth it. Our planet will not last us long the way we are going. Our world population is going and our available land is shrinking. The Japanese are planning mega-skyscrapers that are small cities in themselves, to help with their population problems, but they are already short on land. What about those countries who have lots of uninhabited forestland? Will countries like Brazil continue to destroy the planet until it's completely full of people and devoid of any other life? As pessimistic as it may sound I believe we will. There are some who would work to prevent this, but as a race we are selfish and short-sighted.

Education: Perhaps I'm being ignorant here, but what is going on with school funding being cut? Why are we cutting one of the major things that keeps America a world power. Do we start outsourcing our brains now? We already send a majority of our tech support calls and computer programming jobs to India or we bring them over here. I know the US is a capitalist country and hell I'm even going for a Marketing degree. I'm not blind, but do we reduce our education in this country until we have a bunch of unskilled idiots running around? We've gotten rid of a vast majority of our manual labor jobs, to 3rd world countries or immigrants who will work harder for less money have the jobs that are still in the US. So what will all these poorly educated people do? Will they try to get Venture capital to start another Internet company with no business plan? Oh wait, that's already happened.

Perhaps TV will become nothing but reality TV for the rich to watch the poor and uneducated struggle. Oh wait, that's already happened too: "Cops" and "Jerry Springer". But it's not all the rich and educated' fault. The poor and uneducated have to want it too. They have to work hard to better themselves or they will never make it out. No one hands out free tickets in life. It's better to work your ass off than have it get stuck in the couch.

I digress...

The European Union: What a mess. I studied it quite a bit about 5-6 years ago when it was newly formed. (It's history) In those days it was reasonable that nationalistic tendencies would hinder some aspects, but that eventually the benefits of a unified Europe would become clear. Well it's nearly 2004, 12 years since the creation of the EU and still nothing has changed. Still countries want to be their own. And after the Iraq mess this spring, France and Germany have been looked down on by the other members, especially the UK. They may have some economic unity, but they are still the same countries they have been for over 200 years. Still distrusting of their neighbors, their brothers and sisters. It's really very sad. Hell England won't even adopt the Euro, which has been out for 2 years now and was established long before that even. A unified currency for all EU members to make trade between the members easy and to create a competitor to the US dollar. Not that I want the US to fall behind, but if all the EU members would truly work together they could very likely give the US a run for world dominance and importance. I fear that they are just so stuck in their old ways that it may be another 100 years, if the EU survives that long at all.

If the EU works and takes off, I believe other countries will do the same. The US, Canada and Mexico could easily move the NAFTA agreement into something more, but I suspect that'll never happen. Americans are too nationalist, though for all intensive purposes Canada and Mexico are already part of the US.

Many other country groups may find it difficult as well as history will always get in the way. Culture is important, but there is no reason why the countries cannot work together as one. Here in the US, there are definitely 'groups'. The Yankees and the Southerners may have old bad blood and even will growl at one another, but for the most part its just that, all bark with no bite. There is no reason other countries could not do the same culturally. Most countries have only minor differences to begin with.

I'm no fool. I know this is something that'd take decades, perhaps centuries, but it is something that'll have to happen for the human race to survive. The planet has to unify. As all the movies suggest, perhaps it'll have to be an alien attack or comet or something like that, to bring the world together. We are ALL one race people. Color and culture are minor in the grand scheme of things. When humanity opens its eyes and looks beyond itself and it's little yard in the galaxy and universe, perhaps we'll start to see some improvements. An advanced race looking down on us would shake its head in disappointment. We are barely more than animals. We have potential, but we aren't living up to it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Happy Holidays!


Hope you all have a wonderful holiday, regardless if you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or any other winter holiday that I'm not familar with.

Hope you like the tempory theme I've applied. I should have done this a couple weeks ago. Oops!

Sir! Yes Sir!


When playing Unreal 2 XMP (Extended Multi-Player), there are some things necessary to win.


  • Play as a TEAM! Sure this sounds like it would be common sense. It's a squad-based team game. You have Techs, Medical/Rangers, and big heavy Grunts. Each have their own unique skills, strengths and weaknesses. If everyone is a Tech you're loosing valuable skills on the field.

  • Communicate! This is crucial! If you don't talk to your team mates, make plans and let everyone know what's going on, you WILL loose. There are teams out there that communicate on and offline about how to win a map. They know how to get around and how to take advantage of weaknesses in NOOB defense.

  • Defense! Not everyone can go after the generators, the vehicles and the artifacts. Sure those things are fun, but someone has to hold down the fort. Remember, the goal to win is to collect all the artifacts. If you have no defense, you'll loose quickly.

  • Know your team mates! I'm not saying be best buddies with them, but know what they are good at. Ask and learn. If they are good at defense, don't send them in after the artifacts. If they can't drive very well, don't put them behind the wheel of the Raptor.


Here are some strategies I've seen, as I and my team got crushed:


  • Take advantage of teleportation points. There are a couple maps with bunkers that have transporters in them. They give shelter and a quick and easy way to make it across a map safely. Use these advantages if you can. If you notice your opposing team using these methods, defend against them. Install mines, auto-turrets or energy shields to stop them.

  • Stick with your buddy. Buddy up with a partner in all aspects. If you are defending, one can watch your back as you're setting defensive items. If your on offence, one can watch the other's back while hacking generators or deploy points. Also on the offense, going for the artifacts, two members is better than one. If there are defenses, two players will fair better than one. If the defenses are weak BOTH players can grab an artifact! So even if one dies on the way back, there is still a good chance you're team will score one. All the vehicles can take two people, and one even can hold three. Take advantage of this. One person driving alone is a waste of energy and that driver is a sitting duck. If there is someone manning the turret, at least they can shoot back for you.

  • If 1st person driving isn't your thing, try hitting F11, when in the vehicle. This will put you in third person perspective, making driving, especially they Raptor, a bit easier. One word of caution however, the flame thrower on the tank (The Juggernaut) will NOT respond to mouse control in this view. When you exit the vehicle the perspective will switch back to 1st person. My experience has been that this setting is remembered by your installation, so you don't have to hit F11 every time you get into a vehicle.


These are just the things I've seen or discovered myself in playing the last week or two. I've not been playing a lot, but I have been playing close attention to how the other teams play. It's the cool cucumbers that win a lot. Don't panic. Plan your attacks. And work TOGETHER! I can't stress that enough. If you're a n00b (newbie) and wanting to play, hop in and ASK how you can help. (Use the Y key for team speak, rather than T. T will tell everyone you're new and ready for a butt whoopin') If the team isn't willing to help you learn or isn't communicating with you, consider another server.

If anyone who reads this has some helpful advice to add, please leave a comment below and I'll post a copy of it. Hope this helps! See you in there.

My Server (when running): MAJIK

My Player ID: SkinAy

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Zipit


There are days when you're better off just shutting your mouth and leaving it shut. Today was such a day for me. What a shiity day.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Happy Dance!


I did it!! Straight As for the semester! Whoo hoo! My 1 credit hour course I got an A- in, but my two full credit (3 hours) classes I got 4.0s in. Yea baby!

I was scared about going back to school. Boy has that changed! I'm loving this.

Now excuse me as I go do the "Snoopy Dance" in my living room.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Finals are Finally Over


Time to relax for about a month. The fall semester is officially done for me. I took my Statistics final this afternoon at 5. I'm still not certain how I did. I either did really well, using the right equations and interperating the information properly, or I totally bombed by misreading the questions. I think even if I failed the final I'd still pass the class, but I'd prefer to walk out of the class with an A.

My understanding is that grades are supposed to be posted Wednesday, but I can't be sure. As far as i know it's purely hirsay from other students.

I think I did get an A in my Business Law class. That was a lot of work, but it was still a very good class. It was 4 intense weeks of going to class from 6pm to 10pm every Friday night and 9am to 5pm every Saturday. There were 3 exams and an inclass presentation. As I got an 87% on the first Exam, 91% on the second exam, and a 92% on the presentation, I'm feeling confident that I've scored equally well on the final. The professor also grades on the curve, usually bumping everyone from 1 to 3 point up. So I feel very good about getting a A. Again, time will tell.

All in all I'm feeling very good about the semester. Yes I took a night class this summer, but this was the first full semester back in school in a few years. It was also my most sucessful.

I've been very impressed with the teaching staff at Belmont University. They are quite compedent. I had a doctor teach me this summer. I had an attorney teaching me this fall, this spring I'll have a nother doctor teaching me. It makes me feel good about the school that they really work hard to get the best people in there to teach. Even my stats teacher, dispite not being a doctor, was very good. He obviously cared about teaching and helping us understand. He was also fair without being 'easy'. Funny, as an adult I appreciate these things much more than I did when I was at the University of Nebraska, way back when. There we were taught by grad students and teachers assistants more than the tenured professors, and those guys were as borning as hell.

Ok I'm babbling. So I have until January 12th to kick back, relax and enjoy the holidays, as well as some time with my sweety. That'll be nice. Hopefully it'll be a nice stress free time. Then its back to school. I'll be taking Marketing Fundamentals and Microeconomics. Fun fun!

Monday, December 08, 2003

Semesters End


You can tell it's near the end of the semester. The other students, who are traditional students, rather than an adult program student, such as myself, are getting loopy and not being able to focus as well. We had our last official statistics class tonight. We reviewed for the Final which is a week from tonight.

At first it looked like no one was going to show up. There were the few that haven't missed any classes, or perhaps one or two for legitimate reasons, such as myself (Kidney Stone). I suspect that is the group that will do well in the class.

I and another guy who's a bit older, 26, kinda chatted quietly while the late teen/early 20s girls jabbered like a flock of noisy birds. Don't get me wrong, they are nice enough, but I don't care about Survivor, Paris Hilton, personalized sneakers and the like.

Tonight was slightly different though. Many were talking about their grades and what they'd have to make on their various finals to pass. I can laugh about it now, but I probably did it too, my first time around. Now I don't care. I'm keeping sufficient mental note as to my general grade and that's good enough.

I believe with Statistics I'll get a B for sure, but if I do well on the final I could get an A. While a younger student would look at that and say, "Well gee, I'm doing fine, I'm gonna slack off. " Not me. I did that before. If a little bit of studying can get me an A vs. a B in the class I'm going to do it!



My Business Law class is a totally different situation from my Statistics class. I'm doing well in there also, but the students are all adults, so we don't have the same, "It's almost winter break!" mentality. I think there is one traditional student in the class, but you wouldn't be able to tell by looking. They may be 'traditional' in the technical sense, but is really an adult who is just going to college for the first time. I bet that's quite an experience!

I had to give a 2 hour presentation Saturday afternoon for the class as well. It ended up more like 2 hours and 20 minutes, but that was primarily because the prof. got a little long winded with his explanations for the various items I spoke on. That was kind of frustrating. But I understand why he did it. He wanted to make sure everyone fully understood.

I think I got my group and A out of it, but we'll see. There was another group up after us and the third is presenting on Friday. I think he would be willing to give more than one A, but I suspect he'll give the best group an A and then curve the rest down. I think we were better than group 2, but group 3 could be pretty good. They have some smart people in the group.

One of my group members thought it was pretty funny and brave of me to more or less tell the instructor to shut up on one of his longer running explanation. As soon as I saw an opening I took it. I don't think he was mad, but I needed to keep things rolling. I didn't want to spend all day on it.

We also had an exam Saturday morning. I'm not sure that was very fair considering I spent 8 to 9 hours preparing for the presentation and then have an exam to prepare for as well? Luckily it wasn't too hard and my memory kicked in where needed. So if I did well on that, that'll be sweet. I scored an 87% on the first exam, so if I score similar on this one, that'll be good.

He has stated that he'll grade on a curve at the end, so I'm thinking, even if I have a high B, I could still end up with an A in the course. That'd be sweet.

Boy this is a far cry from those Cs, Ds and Fs I got my first time through college. Granted it's only the first few classes, but I'm also much wiser in the ways of the world so these things make more real-world sense now than they did way back when. I also understand the importance of hard work and diligence that I didn't back then. Plus my social life doesn't include as much drinking! LOL ;)

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Ennegram


This is not just a 'toy' test. It's a legitimate personality test. Quite interesting.

Enneagramfree enneagram test

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Immortal


Have you ever thought about what it would mean to be immortal? I mean really considered it for all it means.

I'm not talking about vampires or people like the Highlander. Both of those examples require sustenance to survive, so does that mean they are not truly immortal? Can an immortal being even have a physical body?

Consider for a moment the physical law of conservation of energy, which states that matter/energy cannot simply vanish, it must be converted to another from. So if an immortal does not eat or drink, where would they get their energy to do anything? They would harvest their own bodies until the body had no more to give, starving to death. Wait, you are immortal, you cannot starve to death, so what happens? Does your body absorb energy from the sun, from heat, from all those other things around you? Perhaps. Perhaps you do eat and drink, but again then you are not truly immortal if you must rely on sustenance.

Does this mean humans cannot be immortal in the physical body? I argue that is correct. Our bodies are weak and begin to die as soon as we are born. They are amazing pieces of biological engineering, but we simply do not have the physical make-up for immortality.

As our cells die, others multiply to fill the loss. It's really quite remarkable. However, just like coping a copy of a copy, etc., soon become unreadable, so does our genetic code in those cells. They begin to create flawed cells more often. Those cells die quicker than our body can replace them. Or worse yet, a cell looses control and begins to replicate itself without stopping. That is what cancer is. All for our cells to replace themselves indefinitely without error and you have a lesser form of immortality.

You still must feed your body to live, but if given the fuel it needs your body will live for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years, assuming it does not take on fatal damage. After all you're still susceptible to guns, knives, car accidents, etc.

Now what do you do? Aging would come to a halt. Old age is a direct result of the slow deterioration of the cellular makeup of our bodies. Without our cells going down hill, we'd in effect stay eternally young. Those who are old already may even find themselves growing young again, though it would take years. Think how long it took to get old. Do you really think you'd become young again over night?

But if you are the only immortal, what about those around you? They'd continue to age and die. As you stayed a perpetual 25-30, your wife, husband, girlfriend or boyfriend would age and wither. Do you harden your heart and discard emotion? Or do you learn to love again...and again...and again. Learning more how to loose than how to love. Or do you kill yourself unable to continue your ultra long life without your true love?

What do you do with your life if you choose to keep it? Over a few centuries, or perhaps only a few decades, you'll realize that most of life's pursuits are trivial and meaningless. Knowledge is one of the few endeavors worth taking. Money is nothing to an immortal who can simply wait to get what they want. Power may be compelling at first, but even it would become boring eventually. What is it to rule the world when all you rule will die and wither? All but you. Material goods are simply toys and have no real value in the end. Only knowledge.

There are many more thoughts and questions. I'd love to hear how you'd answer some of the ones I've given thus far.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Operating Systems


I have been playing around with Redhat 9.0 Linux on a laptop at work for the last couple of days. Mostly as an experiment and for the experience and learning process. I'm typically a Windows guy and I'm not ashamed of that fact.

The OS install from the CDs was pretty painless and Redhat has done a very good job at cleaning up the interface and making it as user friendly as possible. I commend them for that.

I did a standard desktop install, which I suspect is what came back to bite me later.

First it took me 3-4 hours just to get it to recognize a network card that it liked. The laptop didn't have a built in network card so I had to fight with it. Eventually I got it. I can see now that a majority of it was user error and unfamiliarity. Thus still no points off for Redhat/Linux.

However, then comes the software. I was able to get XMMS installed successfully and pretty easily, thankfully. I was also able to get Mozilla (web browser) upgraded from version 1.2 to 1.5. I had to install it as root, but I think that's normal. It didn't put any icons any where so I had to make my own, a fairly straight forward process once I figured out where all the files were installed. But still, the average Joe isn't going to figure that part out. That was my first negative point. The second negative point and I think a problem with the particular build of Mozilla I installed, not Linux, is that the fonts were not anti-aliased, so very small text was a mess of blocks, rather than text.

For my next test I pulled a CD of MPEG1 videos and put it in the drive. I figured, hey, it's MPEG1, no problems here, it's not a proprietary format like many of the AVIs or QuickTime movies. BZZZT!! Wrong. It wouldn't even try to play under Gnome. It simply said there was no associated player. Under KDE it tried but there was no audio or video.

Ok, I thought, I'll just download a media player. Here is where the real pain started. I found mplayer. Lots of good reviews and stuff. I found the RPM at RPMFind.com and tried to install it. First I tried just running the install from the GUI. That worked for XMMS, so I figured it would here too. Nope. Nothing. No error. No install. No nothing. Hummm... I tried rebooting. I tried different versions. Eventually I found an old newsgroup article with the terminal run command. I ran it to find I was missing some necessary libraries.

Ok so I downloaded the libraries and attempted to install those. The first one went fine. The next had 3 more library requirements. The next had 2. Those were downloaded to find that there were additional libraries needed as well. Oh and then I found that there was a library already installed on my system that was newer, so it wouldn't install, but the other libraries needed the older version, so I couldn't install them at all.

I spent 2-3 hours on this. Just to watch a simple MPEG1 movie file. That's really pretty silly. Silly that it requires that much effort and silly that I wasted my time on it.

Until these sort of issues are resolved Linux, even one of the best like Redhat, will not hit the main stream. Windows may not be perfect but it's mature. I could probably fine a hundred or more media players freely available on the net that would install in 5-10 minutes, with no special requirements and they'd run my MPEG1 movies no problem.

Linux is still a uber-geek's OS. It's powerful, I will grant it that. Some people would are thrilled to death that they can control every piece and part of the OS that is installed. Who am I to suggest otherwise. However, most users just want something that'll work. Windows XP is VERY stable even Linux bigots have to admit that fact. Is it bloated and a resource hog? You bet it is! But today's computers have more than enough power to get the tasks of the everyday user done. A user isn't going to notice the 20% increase in resources on their system that Linux would give, especially if all they are going is surfing the web, checking mail and playing solitaire. They WILL notice the fact that many applications on the net, provided by the name brands, don't support Linux. A Linux guy will argue that there are TONS of Linux apps out there. And he/she would be right, but how easy are they to install. Most require at least an intermediate level of understand with Linux to use. Most people don't read the "read me"s, but that's what Linux requires in a majority of cases.

Linux is a good OS, but it's not for everyone. Like it or not there is a very good reason that Microsoft has a near monopoly on the average desktop operating system. They have the only one that your grandma or your dad can use without having to call you for support all the time.

Linux itself has become pretty user friendly. Once the rest of its software base gets there too, we may actually have something that could compete with Windows. It's no wonder Redhat and Lindows (perhaps others as well) are able to get away with charging for their install packages. If they work with a simple double click then its worth it. But is it really when your computer already has Windows on it?

Time will tell and I'll keep periodically testing it out. But there is only so much time I'm willing to waste trying to install a simple application.

Search my site


I've added a search feature to my website. You'll notice the search field to the right, under the archives list.

Granted I don't have a lot of content on my site, but the search tool is free, so why not?

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Dude has too much time on his hands


Humm...wish I had time on my hands. Oh, what am I doing blogging then? Ummm... I'm not. It's your imagination.

Anyway, here is a blog that seems like it could be amusing. Thanks to Jenn for helping me find this blog.

Now I'm off to work on my Biz Law take home exam. Blah...

Monday, November 24, 2003

Weather...the next day


Ok so maybe I shouldnt have said anything. Now its 36 degrees and my fingers are still chilled to the bone. Damn. Me and my big mouth.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Weather


I'm not complaining but what is the deal with the weather? I have my windows open right now. It's in the high 60s. It's November 22nd! Back when I lived in Nebraska snow could be a possibility. At the very least it would be jacket weather. It's not even that. I'm wearing a simple t-shirt and I'm totally comfortable.

I like the nice weather, but it really has be spooked. The winter, when it finally hits, could be really really bad or extend deep into Spring.

Or perhaps I'm just being unnecessarily paranoid. Time will tell.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Dedication


To my love whom I believe is feeling like this:



Assemblage - Light
I stand in a barren void that's featureless
No sight or sound can penetrate at all
Though silent storms may try to tear me down
When dusk descends, I'll still be standing tall

CHORUS
To the ones who want me on my knees
You cannot control my destiny
There is light that flows throughout my veins
And there is darkness for the ones who bring me pain


Unrelenting, unforgiving hopelessness
Pummeled from all directions for days on end
Can't turn the other cheek, it's far too bruised
Can't play the part of saint, I won't pretend

CHORUS
To the ones who want me on my knees
You cannot control my destiny
There is light that flows throughout my veins
And there is darkness for the ones who bring me pain


Daylight breaks and shatters empty skies
Has nothing changed for better or for worse?
The cycle just repeats itself again
Can't tell if I am blessed or I am cursed

CHORUS
To the ones who want me on my knees
You cannot control my destiny
There is light that flows throughout my veins
And there is darkness for the ones who bring me pain




Unfortunatly I'm one of the people who brings her pain sometimes. But I hope my love can wash away the pain in time.

Class


I start my 4 week business law class tonight. It goes from 6pm to 10 pm on Friday and 9am to 5 pm on Saturdays. It's only 4 weeks, but this is going to be intense. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Linkie Loo


Some people who linked their blogs to mine and now I'm going to return the favor. I didn't even know some of these blogs existed. I guess more people read me than i realized. *sniff sniff* I feel so loved!
Broad at Bat
Jenn Martinelli: Blogging in Boston

Ok so that's all besides the ones I already knew. Well better than a kick in the pants!

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Things that make you go hmmmm...


I've watched Duck Dodgers on Cartoon Network a few times since it began to air in August of this year. One of the things I noticed is that they made the Martian Queen quite the sexy cartoon woman.


An odd thing occurred to me though. The Martians don't have mouths. So why would a Martian woman have breasts? I mean without a mouth there is no baby suckling. Thus nipples would not be necessary, nor would breasts as milk would not/could not be delivered in the human way.

Yes I can imagine you are reading this thinking, "What is wrong with this guy?" But I pose to you that many other cartoon watching adult men have thought the same, they just don't have the balls to say so. So before you call me a perv, watch yourself for hypocrisy. ;) LOL

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Statistics Exam

I rocked my stats exam. I screwed up a couple questions though. Questions I should have gotten right, had I not made dumb mistakes. I can't complain about a 90% though.

The first problem was simply a calculation error. I had all the variables correct, I just hit the wrong buttons on my calculator when figuring the equation. (BTW, I don't us a statistical calculator. I actually figure through the equations.) It was a disappointing mistake. I asked my professor about it after class, because I was confused as to why my answers were so far off. Once we both realized it was just a calculator error we both thought...DUH! Well I suspect that's what he was thinking. Perhaps he'll give me back a point or two, but i'm not going to expect that.

The second problem was a legitimate mistake that I don't deserve any points back on. It's a case of second guessing my first answer and being wrong. If I had left the problem alone I would have gotten it right, but I second guessed myself and screwed up. He didn't take as many point off for it as he should have so I should be thankful. Makes me kick myself though because that's an age old rule. Go with your gut, it'll very often be the right answer.

Ah well. Like I said, I can't really complain about a 90%.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

What did I say?


Apparently I said something to piss of Acidman or he made a mistake. I've been blocked from leaving him comments on his blog. I can't imagine what I would have said to be blocked so I must venture to guess that it's a mistake.

For the time being I'll assume it's an "oops" and he ment to block someone else. If not, I'll have to remove my link to his blog. I mean why advertise for someone who's not interested in hearing what I have to say?

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Centennial Park Photos


Click here for a larger ViewAfter work one day, late in May I took this photo of the pond at Centennial Park in Nashville. I'm not sure what urged me to stop and take some photos, but I did.

The history of this pond is quite interesting. I won't go into all the great details as there are way to many for the scope of this blog, but it was part of the 1897 Tennessee Centennial Exposition.

At the time it was larger and allowed for boat rides. Today it's a much smaller pond and there are no boats. There is no swimming either. They do let people fish, though I doubt there is much to really catch. Though I've been told they stock it.

Many families like to sit along its west bank and feed the geese and ducks. During the summer it is a busy place with lots of activity.

The pond or "Lake Wautauga", as was it's long forgotten name sits near the Parthenon.

Click for Larger ViewThese were some pretty flowers near the pond. The park and recs department of the city does a pretty decent job of keeping the city parks clean and full of life. Sure we have a few bums sleeping here and there under a tree, but what do you expect. This is a city of 2+ million (Nashville and surrounding area) and growing.

Thankfully Nashville isn't growing as fast as Atlanta has. If you've driven though Atlanta you know what I mean. Some of those roads are very narrow. They have squeezed as many lanes as physically possible without cars rubbing, into existing roads. There are a couple roads here in Nashville like that as well and I hope they are expanded soon.

The big lacking that Nashville has is public transit. The busses seem to work pretty well, but lets face it, most white collar workers are not going to take the bus. However a train would be used I suspect. We're not big enough for a subway. I also believe the city geology prevents that. I'm no city planner though, so what do I know?

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Country Side Photos


Click for Larger ImageAlong Highway 100, just outside of Pasquo, Tennessee. There are a few old burnt out houses. They look like they've been there for years. Rotten, over grown with moss and other vegitation. They are eye sores to some, but they have a very unique and interesting charm.

I find it curious that they still exist at all though. They are far enough out of the Nashville area that the property/land values are much more reasonable. It seems suprising to me that the land hasn't been reclaimed. However, the plot is right next to a busy highway, with only about 10-15 yards of space before
a steep hillside interupts. Due to the nature of the surrounding geography, simply cutting into the side of the hill may not necessarily be a viable option.

Most likely it'll rot until the area becomes more populated. On the other side of the highway is a good deal more flat space. I wish I had more history of this house. But it's probably less exciting than our imaginations can come up with.

Click here for larger Image.This barn is located a bit further west than the burnt out old house. Not by far though. You can see there is much more land to develop on this side. Currently however it's a farm. Hopefully it will be for many years to come.

I found this barn over a month ago when my family was in town, staying at a Bed & Breakfast, not far from here.

I really wanted to get a picture when the leaves were more colorful but situations did not allow me to take a picture until today.

I wanted to take additional photos of Nashville and the surrounding area, but it was such a beautiful day I just ended up driving around for a few hours. Just pick a road and see where it goes. The surrounding Nashville area is a maze of roads and highways. It can be confusing due to the hills and valleys, but that makes it all the more exciting.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Visitors


I know my website is visited a lot, I can see the logs. I see the search key words that people use to find my site too. Many times I've written something that is dead on to what they've searched for, but I'm left no comments.

What's the deal? Why do people visit without commenting? I don't expect every person to comment every single time. But ...ah screw it. It just sounds like I'm bitching because I don't have any comments.

I guess what I'd like to see is SOME kind of response to my website. I mean what is the point? Yes friends and family enjoy some of things on here, but I'd like to hear from the general public too.

I'm probably inviting Trolls and other negativity, but at least it would be SOMETHING.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

I've taken alls I can take...


Guilt. Anger. Frustration. Depression.

All emotions, feelings that I have been battling lately. But why? What happened to me?

I was dealing with my past, with how the divorce of my parents at the age of 5 or 6 affected my life. And it DID affect my life. Dramatically.

At first I thought it was an abandonment issue. While I'm sure that is true to a certain level, I don't believe that is the major impact on my life. Guilt. Guilt has made me work hard to please everyone in my life all my life, especially loved ones and those I care about. My mother left me. As a child, regardless of why she chose to leave, left me feeling as if it was my fault. I was to blame in my mind. Because of that I did all I could to satisfy my father. I couldn't risk upsetting him, he might leave too.

When I was around women I had to be extra nice and sweet and do my best to be a good guy. When I had a crush on a girl I would do everything I thought she might like or want but then feel so disappointed when she was interested. I was sure it was something that I did. I was sure that I just wasn't good enough.

Eventually those feelings became so ingrained in my life that I can look back on my life and not see where it didn't have a very strong role in how I reacted to the various situations in my life. Like it or not guilt and blame, self imposed as well as imposed by others shaped my actions and opinions. I suspect most people were not intentionally trying to manipulate me or make me do things I didn't want to. That doesn't change the fact that it still affected me.

Have there been people who DID take advantage of me? You bet there were. I may not have been aware of them all, but there are a few that stand out loud and clear in my mind. I can forgive those who did so unintentionally, but not those who did so for their own gain with no regard for the cost to me. As far as I'm concerned they can go to hell.

I've grown to realize that I'm tired of feeling guilty. I'm tired of feeling as if I'm to blame for all the bad things that happen around me. I'm not perfect and I make mistakes, but so what? So does everyone else. I do my best to make up for the damage done, but sometimes I just don't want to face it. When all my life I've felt like I was to blame for everything I don't want to accept that I AM to blame. I have to take responsibility for my actions, that's the adult thing to do, but what I have to learn is how to see when is something really my responsibility and when is it not.

Now that I'm aware of these things, when I am forced to look at myself more critically I get angry. I get angry because I'm tried of feeling guilty. I'm tried of feeling taken for granted and taken advantage of. I'm tired of getting disappointed looks from people when I tell them I can't do something. Maybe I don't want to do it. Maybe I can't do it because I'm too busy. Maybe I can't handle the extra emotional burden it puts on me. I'm tried of having to explain why I said no. Those questions of 'why not?' suggest that I should do what they ask and I should feel shamed and guilty for not jumping at the chance to help them out. No dammit. If I feel like explaining it I will. Other wise just accept my answer and drop it.

I recognize that the limitations I've set on myself regarding how I respond to people are of my own making and I have no one to blame but myself. I also have no one but myself to fix them. Yes I can and do seek counseling of a trained professional. This person can help me focus my emotions and my thoughts into a coherent mass. But I still have to do the work.

Many people around me will be confused and some will not like what I have to do. But ultimately I will be a happier and more powerful person. I have to be ME. Not the me that everyone wants, but the me that is really who I am. Even if at the time I am a dumb ass or I'm angry or I'm selfish. We all have negative tendencies that we don't like. I've been trying to cover mine up for a long time now, usually pretty successfully, but when the negativity finally erupts to the surface it is highly destructive to myself and those closest to me.

I realize now why I have kept so many people at a distance from ME. If I am isolated from people then I don't have to worry about them making me feel guilty. Sometimes I don't want to do the right thing. Sometimes I want to be a selfish bastard who hordes all the cookies. Sure I know that if I shared with others they may give me some milk in return, but there are simply times when I don't want to. I have denied myself that. I have denied my 'dark side' from having any say, letting it grow and fester inside of me, ready to pop its ugly head out of my chest like some nasty little alien.

I do not want the negativity to take over either. By my nature, who I really think I am, I AM a nice guy. I don't like hurting people, I really don't. Perhaps some of that goes back to the guilt, but I'd like to think that I'm a peaceful man, not a mean bastard waiting to come out. Actually I know I'm not. Does the negativity scare me? Yes it does and it should! Anger can be used constructively or destructively. I need to channel that energy into writing or art or something that allows me to release it without hurting others. Anger is good and natural. I honestly believe that. Pretending your not angry when you are will only cause your blood to boil all the more rapidly.

I think it goes without saying that I'm growing and become a better and happier man. But right now my frame of mind is, "I've taken alls I can take, and I can't takes no more!" To those friends and loved ones that read this. Look at this as a positive thing, not a negative one. I hope you like the me that is being born, I can already tell I will.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Big O! Show Time!


Wow! Last nights final episode of Big O was pretty wild. Oh and for you who don't know, Big O is a cartoon on Cartoon Networks Adult Swim line up. It's not adult-sexual, its adult-complex plot. The plot twists and turns and confuses more than any story I can think of. Frankly it makes me wonder sometimes if it was done on purpose or if I'm just not quite smart enough to 'get it'.

Last night was episode 26, the last of Seasion 2. Will there be a sesson 3? Something makes me doubt it. While there were a LOT of loose strings left untied, the primary story line seems to have run dry. I think they could continue, but it wouldn't have quite the same impact. Then again, perhaps I'm way off base. I know I'd watch if they did create another season.

For those who haven't watched the show the following might seem confusing.

Here is what I've deduced from last night.


  1. Papa Tomato farmer created a VR world or something similar to a Star Trek holo-deck. Either that or it was handed down to him. He became the 'author' of that world, building it from his own memories, both good and bad. Perhaps there WAS a big megaduce war, as one would get the impression from Rodger Smiths flashbacks. In either case, the father (Wainewrite?)
  2. One of the early images in the episode showed an android. Were many of the people in Paradime City androids? We had been given the impression that many of them were clones.
  3. Angel and Roger Smith are something other than the false world in which they have been pawns in. They were before and are now after it. Perhaps they are the androids, more advanced than Dorthy. More like a Terminator, with a human exterior and a robot interior. Roger seems to have lived for many more than the 40 years that Paradime City existed. He knew Father Wainewrite when he was younger and Roger had not aged a day. Angel and Roger also have an emotional bond that seems deeper than just romatic love. As if they knew each other prior to the events in Paradime City.
  4. Rogers fight for his own individuality seems to be a very important focus. He refuses the physical bond between himself and Big O (his megaduce). It's obvious by the scars on Angels back that she did not. They are both megaduce pilots, though Roger seems to be able to do so with Big O in a partnership of mutual respect, honor and the desire for justice. Dispite the best efforts of Roger Smith he IS still but a pawn in the play that was designed around him. He was/is a powerful figure in that story due to the fact that he doesn't just play a part that was written for him. He's an active participant in moving the plot, whomever the viewers are.
  5. Dorthy coming back from the 'dead' was quite interesting as well. It suggests, with the plot, that memories are not important to living, they are just stories built from the past to help us understand the present and the future, butthey are not required to live. Having no memories, such as in the case of Smith and Dorthy, gives them the freedom to be who they ultimatly are without being trapped by the memories of their former lives, 40 years prior. Dorthy was left in a more difficult situation loosing her core memory-bank. Obviously she had some extra memory some where else.

    It was equally interesting that she was able to merge with Big O in the way that Roger was unwilling to. As if she was built for that purpose. There was a building connection between Big O and Dorthy for a number of episodes as well. Big O was not just a big robot that Roger controlled. The Megaduce had its own AI, it's own 'soul'.


Bottom line is that the final episode of Big O has opened more plot doors and holes than it closed. The story is not finished. We have not learned very much at all. It was the close of a chapter, but not the book. Many more details are yet to be discovered. The question is will we be allowed to discover them, or will we be left in this limbo?

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Who stole my team?


Where are the Huskers at today? There is some mediochure team playing in their place today.

Defense is doing well, but not like last week. I will give Texas some credit for being ready to play this game. Obviously Nebraska wasn't ready.

One quarter to go, but I don't see how the Huskers could possibly come back. The Longhorn defense has destroyed the Nebraska offensive line and shut down the running game. When we try to pass the line is broken and Lord get sacked. Even then Lord isn't the best passer.

We need some good defensive turn overs. Some defensive scores would be nice too. Pretty bad when we have to rely so heavily on defense. The poor guys HAVE to be getting tired.

What is the deal


What is going on with our weather? It's going to be about 80 degrees Fahrenheit for the next 3 days and still in the 70s after that.

IT'S THE FIRST OF NOVEMBER!

I like nice weather but this just doesn't feel right. I'm actually a little concerned with how the winter is going to be now. Is it going to be mild and then kick our asses in March and April? It's just not natural.

Friday, October 31, 2003

Happy Halloween!


We have a costume contest in our office every year. I didn't dress up, but many of my coworkers did. This dude is in my department. His costume won 3rd place. He always has some good creepy costumes every year.


Creepy Clown!

Yes I did a little post work. I added the background. But the evil clown look is all his. Muahahahaha!

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Hackers Part 2


Well apparently they think they can still get in. hahahaha!

Here is one attempt:

21:25:55 217.82.245.135 [20]USER anonymous 331

21:25:55 217.82.245.135 [20]PASS Ugpuser@home.com 230

21:25:55 217.82.245.135 [20]MKD 031025232433p 550

21:26:00 217.82.245.135 [20]MKD 031025232438p 550

21:26:00 217.82.245.135 [20]MKD 031025232439p 550

And another, this one is a bit more specific. I wonder who 'AK' is?:

17:36:57 81.60.105.239 [25]USER anonymous 331

17:36:57 81.60.105.239 [25]PASS ANONYMOUS@ON.THE.NET 230

17:37:13 81.60.105.239 [25]MKD /com1.aux.lptr.lock++#####++tag+++++for++++++++ak+++++/+ 550

17:37:38 81.60.105.239 [25]QUIT - 226

I don't get it...:

23:56:09 212.194.141.155 [39]USER anonymous 331

23:56:09 212.194.141.155 [39]PASS Pgpuser@home.com 230

23:56:11 212.194.141.155 [39]MKD 031028005455p 550

Only four attempts since I locked things down. Not too bad.

06:43:25 67.68.198.22 [40]USER anonymous 331

06:43:25 67.68.198.22 [40]PASS Xgpuser@home.com 230

06:43:27 67.68.198.22 [40]MKD 031028014211p 550

Ok after a little research I've discovered the "_gpuser@home.com" user password is generated via the application called Grim's Ping. It's basically an application that port scans for FTP server with annoymous upload enabled. Technically it's not a hacker tool because there could be legitimate free public FTP servers, but really I can't see that being a reality. The reality is that it searches for misconfigured FTP servers. Once a user finds an open FTP server, you can bet it'll be used for warez, as mine was.

So that means really only the user at IP 81.60.105.239 really made a personal effort to connect to my FTP server. The others just used a free app. I suspect Mr./Ms. 81 actually used a similar application previously and simply had not realized I locked the FTP server down yet.

For the fun of it, here is where these lUsers came from:

IP: 217.82.245.135, ISP: Deutsche Telekom AG, Country: Germany, City: Unknown. The user is on dial-up

IP: 81.60.105.239, ISP: Retevision SA, Country: Spain, City: Madrid Not 100% certain about city

IP: 212.194.141.155, ISP: T-Online France - Club Internet, Country: France, City: Lost after Paris Sprint ISP

IP: 67.68.198.22, ISP: Bell Canada, Country: Canada, City: Toronto

Well that was fun. Time for bed. Night night.

Archives


I've changed my Archives format from weekly to monthly to save on space. My archive list was getting a bit long. I hope this helps.

I also fixed some messed up links on my UT2003 skins page.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Blogrolling


I removed some blogs from my list this afternoon. They were either no longer active or rarely updated. To those individuals, please don't take it personally. But the purpose of the links is more for MY convenience than anyone else's. If you're not writing, what's the point of me going there?

Out of curiosity I looked at the others lists. A couple of them were VERY long lists. I wonder, do these people read all those blogs regularly or is it just a cross-linking kinda thing. I've read various blogs where the author was a self proclaimed link-whore. I know the more cross links you have the more visible your website/blog will be on certain search engines, but I still don't get it.

My website has a bit more content, aside from my blog such as my art, my webcams, my Unreal Tournament 2003 Skins, and tutorials, so more visibility to my site would give the world more access to those items, but many blogs are just blogs with their only content being their writings. In some cases that's more than enough. There are some exceptionally entertaining writers out there. But in other cases you wonder why they even bother.

I guess all in all this is just one mans opinion. I put blog links on my site because I choose to. Because I am entertained by the blog I've linked to. Maybe that makes me a link-prude.

Comments?


As you may have noticed, I've finally re-added comments to my site. After reading an interesting post by Mike from Hunkabutta, I desided I should get this working again. I've outsourced my comments rather than using my own hosted comments too. That worked ok, but was a bit problematic at times.

Haloscan will probably have issues now and again too, but at least people can comment now. I'm beginning to wonder if anyone besides Melly and John read my blog. Hopefully one day John will get his blog up and running. Slacker! ;)

Potent Lyrical Content


For a long time I listened to music more for the music itself and the lyrics really didn't do much for me. Of course this was probably poison from the chart topper radio stations, who play the flavor of the week. Many, not all, but many of these groups have weak lyrics.

The last couple of years I really got into Industrial and EBM (a off shoot of Industrial) music. I used to listen a bit to the older stuff way back when and even when I started listening to the newer stuff I wasn't really listening to the lyrics as much as I was the music.

The I discovered a few groups, with the help of Digital Gunfire, that actually have cool music as well as very intellegent lyrical content. Often the mood is dark, but sometimes very optimistic. They are real emotions that most mainstream groups will stay away from. They are adult emotions instead of teen emotions, complex and powerful.

Even if you don't like electronic music the lyrics are still very strong on their own, poetry if you will. To me that makes the music even stronger.

I'm certain there are many other generas that have good strong adult (not adult in the sexual sense) lyrical content. Industrial happens to be the one I'm enjoying for now. As it's not very accessible to many people I felt it would be some what helpful for me to suggest a couple of groups; VNV Nation and Assemblage 23.

Lyrics Links: (for those who'd prefer not to listen to electronica but still want to know what i'm talking about)

Saturday, October 25, 2003

OMG!! This is too funny!


Go here to see one of the funniest pictures i've seen in awhile.

Thanks to Joanie for pointing the way to the site.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

What a f'n week


I've had the week from hell this week. Ok I've had worse, but it still SUCKS!

I was pretty depressed this afternoon, but eating some dinner and watching VH1's "I love the 80's - Strikes Back" has helped. I'm sure the beer has too.

No I'm not going to go into why I've been having a shitty week or why i'm depressed. I don't feel like talking about it. So there. :รพ

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Exam


Monday I had a statistics exam. I really did not feel prepared for the exam at all. I should have studied a lot more.

The test was tough and I used the entire time allotted to us. When I finally handed it in, I really didn't feel very confident about my chances of passing. I figured if I passed it would be just barely.

Well we got our exam scores tonight and I managed to get an 80%! I could barely believe that. I still have a hard time with it. I wonder if he gave me partial credit for trying my best and leaving brain juice on the paper as I strained and wringed my brain trying to fnd the knowledge to do the problems.

A few of the problems I got wrong were big "DUH!"s, but I was suprized at the number I DID get right. All in all this was a pleasent suprise. About the only good thing that happend for me today. I think I'll celebrate with some beer.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Hacked


Well they didn't deface my website, but they did take advantage of a gapping hole I had left in my FTP server. I have to take full responsiblity for the hole too. I installed a webportal package called DotNetNuke. In doing so I broke some security settings I had in place.

I wasn't really happy with DotNetNuke and thus abandoned it, but I never reset my security. Shame on me. I certain know better.

One of the groups, Chaos-Crew left their signature, thanks guys. One pecker apparently didn't know what he was doing yet and made a HUGE mess of his/her directory structure. It may have been on purpose, but whatever.

I just formatted the drive and restored a backup. I put in place other security measures to prevent this from happening again, but I won't go into those.

I will say however that I blocked their subnets on the firewall. Sure they could spoof them and use another address, but that makes it more work. They were just using my server as a Warez server, so they'll probably just go find some other poor saps computer and hijack it.

Needless to say I'm a little irritated, but I also look on things like this as a challange. They had no other access to my system, near as I can tell, so it was rather benign. They helped me find a bad security hole that I had not fixed, now it is. Thanks guys. What would we do without you wonderful hackers trading your Dido and German version of the movie Terminator illegally on our servers? What I found rather funny too was the copy of Norton AntiVirus 2004 on my server. Gee don't you trust each others files? LOL

I think...Therefore I am


Famous line isn't it. But have you really thought about it?

It's a philosophical proof in a sense. We cannot prove anything without a doubt but or own existence and only that because we can think about it. I won't go into the details of that, primarily because I'm rusty on the philosophy myself.

A similar proof is that there is no specific color that equals red, because every individuals eyes will display color just a little bit different. So we as a society agree that some shade is red, with a high level of variance. But what about those who are color blind. To them red doesn't exist at all. It's simply a shade of gray (or something in that area) that they have been forced to learn as red. But distinguishing between red and blue and green when they are all the same luminosity can be difficult, if not impossible.

The point I'm trying to make is that thinking actually makes reality much more ill-defined. If colors don't exist, because they are simply a construct of an individuals visual perception, how could anything exist? I hate to dive into the popular media philosophy, but our reality could very well be Matrix-like. Our brain requires our five senses to communicate with the outside world. Those senses can fool us and/or be manipulated. Just ask anyone who's taken a hit of LSD.

So who's to say the world we live in is any more real than the world of cyber space or the worlds in our dreams? These are common questions that many people have asked, but I wonder, 'If thinking is required to exist, then animals and/or brain-dead humans don't exist, except in my own mind?'

I believe thinking actually makes your existence even more dubious. Or rather, the world we exist in is.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

WHOOHOO!!


Yah baby! The Huskers whooped Texas A&Ms butt, especially the Husker defensive team. Nice come back from the humiliating lost last weekend.

Nebraska Huskers - 48

Texas A&M Aggies - 12

An important note: the last 6 points that Texas A&M scored was on the Husker 3rd,4th or 5th string, late in the 4th quarter. The Nebraska coaching staff was trying to give every player a chance to get on the field.

Way to go Huskers! Yea!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

From Biggest to Smallest



The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida has put up a very interesting Java applet on their site. It begins as a view of the Milky Way Galaxy viewed from a distance of 10 million light years and then zooms into towards Earth in powers of ten of distance. 10 million, to one million, to 100,000 light years and so on and then when it finally reaches a large Oak tree leaf. But that is not all it zooms into the leaf until it reaches to the level of the quarks viewed at 100 attometers.

http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/java/scienceopticsu/powersof10/index.html

This is a fantastic representation of how magnificent the Universe is and how vastly infinite it is both in the macroscopic and the
microscopic level.

Please note: I did not write the above information. I copied it from an email that I got from a buddy of mine. I suspect he got it from some news site. I felt it was worth sharing. If the original author and copy write holder wishes for me to take this down I will be more than happy to do so. I suspect that Florida State University would not have a problem with the link however.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Lost a fan


I'm afraid one of my favorite bands has really disappointed me. KMFDM, an industrial band that's been around since the 80's, has released a new album, WWIII. Unfortunately it's been released under Sanctuary Records, a member of the RIAA. I'm not certain why they jumped ship from Metropolis Records. Metropolis isn't a member of the RIAA, they have some great artists working with them and they are great with their customers. Apparently they and KMFDM had some kind of disagreement. That's really too bad.

Because I am boycotting the RIAA I will not be buying this album. I will not be stealing any of the songs from file sharing applications either.

KMFDM will be playing in Atlanta, the closest show to me, in November, but I'm not even sure if I want to go to that now either. I really feel like a jilted fan.

I will be removing the KMFDM link banner from the right side of my home page as well. Sorry guys. Love the music, but I won't be buying your CD.

Until artists can be DIRECTLY compensated for their music, I'll be sticking with Indi-labels and net radio (Digital Gunfire).

Monday, October 06, 2003

Final Kidney Stone Episode


Ok time to finish this up.

After a failed attempt to blast the kidney stone and going for another scan the next morning, I was asked to return to the Urologists office with my scans. The radiology lab and urologists office were in the same building so this wasn't a big deal. After analyzing the scans they found that the stone had moved down the ureter a good amount but because of the swelling and stretching my ureter had already experienced, they felt it would be best to manually remove it rather than hope it would pass naturally. It has already been over a week at this point.

They admitted me to the outpatient surgery center and they took me back, put me back into my little hospital gown and put me in bed. After all the fun paper work and IV crap they wheeled me up into pre-op. That was a bit spooky. Before I was already out before this point and in a different building. I could hear heart monitors all over and doctors and nurses in scrubs were walking all over the place. Since it was early and I was kinda tired anyway, I closed my eyes and tried to sleep. That didn't work very well. Eventually they gave me my anesthesia and poof I was out.

When I woke I was in my little recovery room. They had othroscopically removed the stone. And yes they went in without and incision, so you can guess where they entered. All you guys can cringe now, though I suspect the women would as well. They replaced the stent as well. Or at least I think they did. They may have used the same one, but I don't think they did. The piece of suture hanging out of me was longer. Yes I had a piece of suture hanging out of my penis and it was taped to be secured. Anyway, I'm sure you all enjoy that picture.

Ok so I got dressed and...well I hate to admit this, but I've waited so long to post this that I don't recall who picked me up. They took me downtown to the Hilton. Pretty swank huh? Actually the company I work for was having a Users Conference at the Hilton, so my boss suggested I stay there. I shared a suite with him.

The company always gets the operations staff rooms since we have to be there early to setup the rooms. Yes I'm part of operations and normally I would have had a big part in the setup of the conference and I missed it all. I was and still am diappointed I missed it. It's always a lot of fun.

Dave, my boss, felt that it would be best for me to stay there so that I'd have someone on hand to take care of me if I needed help. It really was a good idea. I mostly slept on the couch and watched TV. I had not discovered how comfy the bed was yet. Actually I slept a good part of the night away like that, on the couch. The next night I slept in the bed. Man that was sweet.

Room service for food and no worries about cleaning and stuff. It was great really. I can look at look at it now and see how great it was, but at the time I really could barely appreciate it. I was pretty hoped up on pain killers most of the time. They made me sleepy and just generally "blah". I didn't feel like doing much of anything.

Friday (Sept 26th) at about 3 or so I was given a ride home by one of the admin girls who lives out my direction. She's a really good person. She went to the store and got me a few things, soup and bread among a couple other things. It was just what I needed. I had no desire to cook, so cans of soup were great.

I just took it easy all weekend and Monday. I was feeling a bit better at this point. Sunday I let the pain killers wear off a bit to see how things felt, but the stent and attached 'string' were very uncomfortable. My appointment to have the stent removed was for 1:30pm on Tuesday the 30th of Sept. However, due to issues at the doctors office, they had to do it sooner. So I was scheduled to be there at 10:45am. Finally at 11:15 or so the doctor came in, asked me to drop my drawers. He suggested I remove the tape, which had attached itself rather well at this point. It wasn't too painful, but it was a delicate operation and I'm sure it was more comfortable for us both for me to do that part. After I did that he came back into the room, asked me to lay back and take a deep breath. He said release it slowly and by the time my breath was done the stent was out. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was, but I DID take a pain killer that morning, just in case.

That stent was about a foot long with curly Qs on each end! It was only about as thick as a piece of spaghetti, but still, yikes.

The doctor highly suggested I go home, take some pain killers and take it easy as the stent removal would likely irritate the ureter and it could potentially swell and duplicate some of the discomfort I had experienced with the stone. Needless to say I wasn't interested in that! I had planned on working that afternoon, so I stopped in the office and let Dave know that I was going to take the rest of that afternoon off.

I went home and chatted with Melly a bit and napped. I did feel a bit of discomfort so I'm glad I took my doctors advice this time.

Wednesday I went to work. I was a bit down and dragging still but by Friday I was feeling much better.

Thankfully today I'm feeling 100% again. Many big thanks to everyone who helped, especially Melly, John and Dave. Thanks also go to those who sent their well wishes to me. Hopefully I'll never have to go through that again!

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

More about the Kidney Stone


Well now that the ordeal is finally all done, I should explain all that happened.

Well since the last posting regarding my kidney stone I've had quite the exciting time. I didn't take any of the pain killers that they had given me, but Sunday night I really wished I had. Saturday I had a couple of small pain attacks, but nothing too bad. But Sunday night I got hit hard again. I was really worried. The ER doctor on Wednesday said the stone was at the end of my ureter, near the bladder. That kinda pain wasn't good. I was worried that it was blocked. I had the ambulance take me to the emergency room again. John met me there and kept me company as they ran bloodwork and another CT scan.

This scan showed that the stone was up close to my kidney. Ok so did the first doctor not know what he was doing? The stone couldn't have gone back up. This doctor sent me home again and told me to take my pain killers. That night was a night of pain and not much sleep. I got sick a few times. I lost my dinner twice. Once before I headed to the emergency room and then again later after I was home, having ate again. I spent as much time in the bathroom as I did in bed. Finally about 3am or so I grabbed one of the couch coushns and laid down in the bathroom. That worked. I was feeling ok in the morning so I took some more pain killers and slept much of the day away.

Tuesday morning I woke up and I was feeling pretty good. I had some cran-grape juice, but nothing to eat. I was feeling like I could go to work, so I drove in.

About half way to work I started to feel the pain again. It started at a small and manageable level and then began to slowly increase. By the time I got to the parking garage I was in some pretty bad pain. I parked my car and didn't get any further than that.

I called up to the office and I had some water brought down to me. It wasn't too long before I got sick. Luckily I had the sense to get out of my car before that. Oddly after being sick the pain often subsided. I was taken home and I tried to rest, but for the next two hours I was in terrible pain. Finally after vomiting nothing but water, with some blood in it, I called the urologists number that the ER doctor had given me. They looked at the CT scans and what had been going on and quickly determined I needed to go in for surgery. The prognosis was that the stone was stuck and was causing swelling of the ureter and surrounding tissue near the kidney. That was what the pain was from rather than the movement of the stone itself. Luckily after that last vomit the pain subsided and the pain killers did their work for the rest of the day.

Wednesday (Sept 24th) morning I had to get up early. I had to be at the surgery center at 6:30 am. This wasn't too bad. I did the normal paperwork stuff and laid in my bed with my IV waiting for the surgery. The anesthesiologist gave me a couple pills to help reduce queezyness after the operation. After that I don't remember anything else until I woke up after surgery.

The procedure was to be: The were going to take a double J stent and push the stone back into my kidney where they'd then use Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy to blast the stone into sand, which would pass much easier. Unfortunately when they went to find it they couldn't see it on the scopes (whatever they used) to blast it. They sent me to the urologists office. They told me to come back in the next morning early and have another CT scan done.

More to come later...

Life in Tokyo


If you haven't checked out Hunkabutta yet, you should read the entry from Sept. 29th. Mike and his wife are from Canada but live in Tokyo. Mike is a great photographer but dabbles in a number of other things. Right now he's trying to get a job as a wedding pastor at Tokyo Disneyland. You'll have to read it.

I enjoy reading about his point of view, as a westerner, in an eastern megalopolis. Plus I think the Japanese are kinda neat anyway, so this is another perspective that most people wouldn't ever get.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Angelic?


I'm not 100% sure about this, but hey the results MUST be true right? lol


Heaven
You come from Heaven. You're the purest of pure, a
saint. You're probably an angel sent directly
from Heaven.


Where Did Your Soul Originate?
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Underworld and Movie Critics


I just got home from seeing Underworld, a movie about vampires and werewolves and their age old war. Yea I know it was news to me too. I didn't know about this "war" until yesterday and it was most likely a promotional 'documentary' for Underworld, as there were a large number of clips from the movie supplied to this show on the AMC channel.

All in all I liked the movie. It was a nice combination of Matrix and Blade with fleas mixed in. The vampires weren't nearly as romantic as those in Interview with a Vampire or as super powered as in Blade but they were more convincing as 'real' people. If you've seen the goth crowd you know how corny they can look. Way over done with black nail polish and lipstick, dripping with piercing and tattoos. The vampires here, while still 'goth' were much more fashionable.

The lyconthropes (werewolves) were convincing as well. Grungy hairy guys you really wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley, or any where else for that matter. Their 'change' was the staring CG trick in the movie. The bodies gurgled and contorted with realism, rather than looking computer generated. They are finally starting to seamlessly blend the CG into the movies were you don't even notice it any more.

The story was good, not great, but different from all the other vampire fair. Was it exceptional? No. There was the usual melodramatic love lost and ancient desires. I give the writers credit for throwing in the werewolves to mix things up a bit but we need a new vampire. The classic is great, but rarely done correctly. The current generation of vampires are geared very much towards the goth crowd. The characters act as if a goth kid today became a vampire, not as a real vampire would. Of course I wouldn't know so I could be wrong. Perhaps some vampire will come visit me tonight and drain me. LOL

Vampires are a kind of leach but at least they have some dignity and charm. The movie critics on the other hand have none. I was visiting Rotten Tomatoes and I was appalled at the reviews this movie got. While it's no rich piece of art, it was a quality movie that entertained. Isn't that what a movie should do? The points I made in my review are valid, in my opinion, but I present them in as a critique. If you read some of the reviews on the Rotten Tomatoes site you quickly see that many of these reviewers just trash the movie. I fear they have become jaded and cold after having to sit through too many straight to video releases that probably did deserve a thrashing.

While it is not right of me to defend someone else's movie I will say that movie critics are in general a bunch of self-absorbed, self-important twits that need to reevaluate why people go to the movies in the first place. Many of us are not going to see high art. Yes seeing a quality movie that provokes emotions and new thoughts is great, but do you honestly think the vast majority of movie goers (many who are in the 13-25 age bracket) want to see that in every movie?

Movies are a type of escapism entertainment. Movies are competing with video games, many which have the same weak plots and great special effects. It's my opinion that people want something fun that takes their minds of the daily hum-drum. When was the last time you thought about vampires and werewolves fighting, while at work? (Those responsible for this movie are exempt from answering that question.)

Bottom line... The movie was good enough to get me fired up enough to write this. You make you own opinion.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Stoned


Yesterday (Sept. 17th), at about 8:35 a.m. I had a nice little experience. I had just sat down at my desk at work. Fired up my email, my IM clients and the webcam. I IMed my sweety to let her know I made it to work safe and sound. While waiting for her reply I got a real ache in my left side. I was thinking it was gas or something. I was near my kidney. The pain didn't subside as it would have with gas. I started to get concerned. The pain was growing and not going away. My first thought and concern was, "What if its my appendix?" I didn't think the appendix was in that area, but I wasn't sure and I was starting to get scared.

I started to wonder what to do next. I was kinda embarassed to yell for help if it was just gas or something. But the pain kept on getting worse. All this thinking seemed longer than it was, probably less than 30 seconds. I IMed a guy in my department. I knew he was right across the hall I saw him as I went into my office. I'm not currently sharing an office with anyone, so I was on my own. I typed to him, "please help". He replied but I didn't read it. I laid on the floor hoping the pain would reduce, but it didn't. I realized I needed help at this point, real help. I started yelling for Eric, the guy across the hall. He came in after a couple of yells and found me writhing in pain on the floor. He got the receptionist to call the ambulance. I don't know how long it took or who all came in to check on me. My eyes were closed in pain. I was able to answer everyone's questions though. Dave, my boss was trying to cheer me up with jokes and dumb questions. I knew he was trying to help so I didn't yell at him but god I wanted to tell him to shut up. LOL I didn't though.

The fire department was the first to arrive. I'm not sure why they came at all, but that's alright too. They had been fighting a fire that
morning and I could smell burnt wood on them. I opened my eyes and saw fire boots. Actually I noticed the boots before the smell. I remember thinking that was odd, but it didn't occur to me at first. It did give me something aside from the pain to think about.

Finally the EMTs showed up. One of their questions was, "On a scale of 1 to 10, how bad is it?" Of course I'm thinking, "How am I supposed to know how bad a 10 is?" I've experienced some pain in my life, but this was unique. I splashed some dishwasher detergent in my right eye about 6 years ago. THAT hurt like hell, but it was a quick burning pain. What was going on in my side was a strong constant pain. I remember being asked if it felt like a stabbing pain. I replied, "I don't know I've never been stabbed!" Bottom-line, it hurt like hell! I was on the floor, not wanting to move, my hands clenched in fists and my eyes closed.

The EMTs helped me to my feet. I was surprised I was able to walk. I was OK and it didn't make the pain worse, or better for that matter. I guess the floor was just as good a place as any to be in pain. Safer too, no worries about falling and hitting something.

They asked which hospital I wanted to go to. Where I work I'm literally blocks away from three hospitals and a fourth one is only a few miles away. Like a guy is supposed to know this question when he's in pain? I guess I should have had my hospital of choice in my head before getting hurt. Well I just picked the closest one.

Once they got me into the ambulance they got me on an IV drip. I'm pretty sure it was just saline. The first dude tried to get the needle in a vein on the top of my hand but screwed up. He was going in at too high of an angle. The second guy fixed it up higher on my forearm. That hurt too dang it! Actually the ache in my side had subsided a lot by this time. From a 10 it had gone to maybe a 8, then a 6. By the time I got to the hospital emergency room it was almost gone. They were telling how my heart rate and blood pressure were fine, which made me feel better.

The nurse at the hospital took some blood and gave me a non-narcotic pain killer. She also asked for a urine sample. The standard fair. The doctor came and saw me after a bit and told me he was fairly certain it was a kidney stone. He then told me they were going to give me a CT scan to be sure.

In between these things John came down to the hospital to keep me company. That was great. He kept my spirit high. I also called Eric at the office and asked him to let Melly know, via IM, I was ok and that I had a kidney stone. Just as another nurse came in to wheel me off to the CT scan Melly called. I couldn't talk but for a second but I could tell she was very worried. I let her know I was ok but I felt bad I couldn't talk longer to reassure her.

I was feeling odd about being wheeled in a wheel chair. I was feeling pretty ok at this point. I didn't say anything to the CT scanning room. The scan was pretty boring. When I was done and the nurse was going to take me back I suggested that I could talk, she gently told me that wasn't an option. She said that she didn't know what I had been given and I had and IV. As I was currently under her care I was her responsibility and she wasn't about to have to deal with the paper work if I got hurt because she let me walk. I didn't feel so guilty then. Was I ok to walk? Yes. Could she take that chance? No.

After awhile laying in my bed chatting with John the doctor came back in and let me know that it WAS a kidney stone and the pain I had experienced was the passing of the stone from the kidney to the bladder. He drew me a little chart that showed where the stone was, right at the end of the tube. It wasn't yet in the bladder. He felt it was small enough for me to pass without sonically blasting it to dust.

To wrap up, I've been home since they discharged me from the hospital around 11:30. I assumed at that point that I'd pass the stone fairly quickly. They gave me a little strainer to pee into to catch the stone. I STILL haven't passed the damn thing! I can still feel it in there too. That bothers me. I'm starting to get worried that it's still in the ureter, stuck. I'll call the urologist that the emergency doctor suggested tomorrow morning if I'm still dealing with it. I've been giving it time as they say it can take 24 to 48 hours to pass. Well tomorrow morning will be 48 hours. I'm tired of dealing with this. Ugh!

I'm ready to have this little mineral baby already!

Informative Links


National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearing House - Kidney Stones in Adults

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Junk Yard Wars


I had an odd dream this morning that I was participating in a "Junk Yard Wars"-like contest. We had to build a mountain bike and race it. Any of you who have really mountain biked or spent any time in a bike shop that specializes in mountain bikes knows that these are no Huffys. You have to pay $1000-1500 (and significantly more for some) for a bike that is even competition ready. Any thing less will ride, but the racer will be handicapped and possibly plauged with mechanical failures, something you don't want while screaming down the side of a mountain at 50-60 mph on 2 1/4 inch wheels.

So in the dream these guys were handing me pieces and parts from old beat up ten speeds. One guy handed me a frame that was so flimsy it wigged when you held it. I asked him why in the world he thought that frame was even remotely what we were looking for. His reply was that it didn't need to be that strong! So I asked him if he wanted to be the one riding it. Then he tried to recover saying that the frame would absorb the shocks. Yea, once, as it crumpled up like a ball of aluminum foil.

so we desided to weld our own. Build it from scratch. I know nothing about this process, but in my dream I sure did. It was kinda funky looking still. Next we had to find wheels and all the other parts. About then I started to wake up. When I did I realize just how dangerous it would be to ride a cobbled together mountain bike. It's doubtful they would gain any significant speed, or if you did you would have little to no control. Breaks would give out, chains would fall off, tires would blow, etc etc. None of those things would be good.

It wouldn't be so dangerous with a cross-country course, but that wouldn't be nearly as fun. lol

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Unreal Tournament 2003 Skins


Google must have found my UT2003 skins page. This month I've gotten over 100 hits from search engines looking for unreal 2003 skins. I'm pretty pleased over all. I made them primarly for myself and Melly but I'm happy that others are downloading them as well. My Viking robot skin has already been downloaded 21 times this month. Sweet!





Sunday, September 07, 2003

oh yea


I forgot the main reason I blogged tonight! I was going to say that I don't believe i'll be blogging as much due to the time that school will require. I very much want to do very well in my classes this time around so I'll have to study better.

Busy Busy


Well I started my first full semester at Belmont University. I took a summer class, but this is my first 'official' semester. It's weird being back in school again. I walk on campus and see fresh faced teens running around. I know that i'm about ten years older than most of them and in a totally different place in my life than they are.

I remember those times. They were innocent and fun. The first taste of freedom that quickly became the more bitter taste of responsibility. I hope for their sakes they don't go through what I did. I didn't know what I wanted to do for the first two, ok ok 7 years. Yes I took class after class with no direction for nearly 7 years. I took a two year track for computers, but that school was closed, leaving me to go back and try again.

Anyway, finally after all this time I realized that I must go back to school. I need the education that returning to school provides. I've been working in IT for the last 7 to 8 years now, but I've come to a bit of a dead end. My tech skills are fine, but my business skills are limited and weak. So I'm working on a business degree.

I'm taking Statistics and Business Law this fall. I skipped stats the first time around, but I can't this time. Oh well, it'll suck, but I can get through it. The business law class doesn't start until November. It's a 4 week accelerated weekend class. I've heard from a number of people that it's a fun and interesting class. I hope they are right.

Going back to school has really made things extreamly busy for me though. Ok "extreamly" may be the wrong word, but I've not quite adjusted yet. As the semester progresses it'll get easier. I hope!

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Entertaining SPAM


This is a piece of spam I recieved this morning. Normally I just delete them quickly, but this one caught my eye. It's still spam, so you spammers don't take this as an invitation to send more, but here it is, without SPAMMING everyone in my address book:



Hello,

I'm a time traveler stuck here in 2003.
Upon arriving here my dimensional warp generator stopped working. I trusted a company here by the name of LLC Lasers to repair my Generation 3 52 4350A watch unit, and they fled on me.
Since nobody in this timeline seems to be able to deliver what I need (safely here to me), I will have to build a simple time travel circuit to get where I need myself. While it might be hard to find parts in this time to build anything decent, I need easy to follow schematics from the future to build one which is safe and accurate that will not disrupt the time space continuum with both forward and backward capability accounting for temporal location settings (X, Y, Z, n), which can be built out of (readily available) parts here in 2003. Please email me any plans you have. I will pay good money for anything you send me I can use. Or if you have a dimensional warp generator available, and are 100% certain you have a (safe secure) means of delivering it to me please also reply with a secure way to contact you. Contact Info Removed by Me (Marc)

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Idiots


Why is the world so full of idiots?

Let me rephrase that. Why is the world so full or inconsiderates?

Yesterday on the way home I had to stop at the store to get some milk. Well being that it was 5pm and the mad rush to get home, the parking lot was full. This particular store has a very small parking lot. To help they setup a row of parking spots a little smaller than normal and thus appropriatly marked them as 'compact only'. My car, a VW Jetta, fits fine in these spots. But the Ford Explorer and the FULL-sized Chevy van that I had to park between clearly did not! The Explorer wasn't as bad as the van but it's still not a compact vehicle! The vans wheels were literally ON both yellow dividing lines. I had about a foot and a half from my car to that van when I got out. Luckly I'm a slim guy.

I got out quickly, so I didn't have to worry about door dings or anything, but that kinda crap pisses me off. There were other full-sized parking spots just a bit further out. But no they had to be lazy. Grrr!

Then as I was backing out, having watched for other traffic, an SUV came down the lane and nearly hit me because the driver was totally in their own world. Uhh, it's a parking lot. People are pulling out all over the place. Don't you think you should be PAYING ATTENTION!??

Finally, I got a call at about 10:15 or so last night from my boss. The office isn't responding. The phone system isn't working and he cannot connect to some of the servers. I use my VPN connection to check on things. I was able to get to my PC, but not the servers. I thought that was odd. Normally the servers will stay up, due to battery backup, much longer than my own PC. Dave asked me to drive in and check it out. When I got there the building was lit up and everything seemed fine. How odd. I get to our offices and things are working, but I hear the beeping of the battery backups. It was only a handful of outlets. We had blown a circuit. Ugh! My servers were on that circuit, so they stayed up as long as they had backup power, but that's typically only 30-45 minutes.

While talking to Dave about this, I find out that we had a carpet cleaner in last night cleaning the carpets. The jerk blew the breaker and left it! We have no idea at this point how long it was off. As far as we know he never called anyone to get the breaker reset. I had to do it when I got there. Luckly we have a key to the maintainace room on our floor. The power in our building is antiquated and overloaded. Actually the whole neighborhood is overloaded. It's a good thing we are not a 24/7 business that would have lost revenue on this. As it was, Dave and I spent about 3 hours on it, plus my cost of fuel and the potential costs of our customers or prospective ones who were trying to access the FTP server for application updates or marketing materials.

All the moron would have had to do is call the building manager, who could have called the maintainance man and us and things could have been up and running again in no time. As it is I suspect we were offline for a minimum of 2 hours. May not seems significant to some, especially since we have little hard costs, but it's more the principle of the deal. The guy should have called something. No instead he walked away from it like a child who broke something. Take responsibility for your actions! Even if you ARE and idiot.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Blah


I thought I should write something, but I really don't much feel like it. My sweety is going to be out of town for a few days and I'm already missing her. Boy I'm love struck. Not that I mind that, but this missing her stuff is rough. My only consolation is that I have to work really hard all week. I probably be at the office until 11pm Wednesday night. So it's a bitter sweet deal. I'll be so busy that I won't miss her so bad, but I'm still going to miss here and I'll be working all night. Ugh! Sounds worse now that I've written it down.

I think I'm gonna play Unreal Tournament 2003 and blast some 3D dudes. Nothing like a little slaughter to relax a 21st century man. *rolling eyes*