Saturday, March 31, 2007

America - The Quizzes

You Belong in the USA

People either love you or hate you
And you really don't care what anyone thinks
Big and bold, you do things your way

You Are 90% "Average American"

You are average because you don't think people should be jailed for using marijuana.

You are not average since you have (at least) a college degree.

You Passed the US Citizenship Test

Congratulations - you got 9 out of 10 correct!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ukrainian Swimming Coach Attacks Daughter

From the Denver Post:

Melbourne, Australia - Ukraine team official Mihail Zubkov was suspended by world swimming authorities today for assaulting his daughter Kateryna, a swimmer, at the world championships.

FINA's temporary ban bars Zubkov from working as a coach or official under its jurisdiction until a final decision has been made, following an appeal by his lawyer.

In TV footage captured on Tuesday, Zubkov was shown scuffling with his 20-year-old daughter, Kateryna Zubkova, at Rod Laver Arena.

Zubkov, who is Kateryna's coach, was stripped of his accreditation at the event and banned by Australian officials from making any contact with his daughter. He is due to appear at Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Thursday, where police will seek to extend an intervention order - forbidding Zubkov from going within 200 meters of his daughter - until he leaves Australia at the end of the week.

What an asshole that guy is!!


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

So Sick

I am so sick of Sanjaya. Whew!

I never watched American Idol before this season, but my fifteen-year-old cousin got me into it while she was visiting from Panama. At first Sanjaya was kinda funny, but it's getting out of hand now. He seemed a little arrogant on the last show, like he's believing his own hype.

Still, I kinda hope he goes all the way and wins so Simon is totally pissed off. That's worth seeing.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Return of Danny Almonte

Just when I thought we'd never again hear from Danny Almonte, that Dominican kid that pitched a perfect game in the Little League World Series when he was too old, here's the latest -- he's finally signed a minor league deal.

From CBS
MARION, Ill. -- Pitcher Danny Almonte, who gained notoriety for playing in the 2001 Little League World Series at the age of 14, has signed a deal with the Southern Illinois Miners.

The 20-year-old Almonte is the ninth pitcher to join the Miners.

"There are not too many young lefties with his quality of stuff sitting out there," Miners manager Mike Pinto said in a statement Tuesday. "He has a 90s-plus fastball and an excellent slider. From our conversations, Danny is a quiet and shy young man who just wants a chance to showcase his talents."
He may yet find his way to the Bronx.


Monday, March 26, 2007

What's up...

What's up with this guy's head??

This is Dr. Joshua Perper, the medical examiner for Broward County, FL. He just released the autopsy report for Anna Nicole Smith today and told everyone what we already knew -- she overdosed.

I couldn't stop staring at his head. It looks like a horn!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Family Watchdog

If you want to creep yourself out, go to and check out the list of registered sex offenders in your zip code.

According to this site, there are 876 in my neighborhood. WTF? That has to be wrong.

UPDATE: Okay, I read the map wrong. There are only 25 rapists within a 5 block radius. Twelve of them live in the same building. The 876 figure may be for the entire borough.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Orlando's Big Day

Orlando's first birthday is coming up! His party theme is the Disney movie Cars. We ordered a bunch of stuff from Birthday Express and got a Lightning McQueen cake pan from Wilton's. Cute!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Anti-Hillary YouTube Video Maker Revealed

You've all seen this video by now. Yesterday it was revealed that the person behind the ad was tangentially associated with the Obama campaign after all.

From ABC News:
The presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was rocked by revelations Wednesday night that one of its contracted employees was the creator of a scathing YouTube video against his opponent Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., despite Obama's insistance that he had nothing to do with it.

Phil de Vellis, until Wednesday an employee of the company that handles Obama's Web site, boasted in a posting on the Huffington Post that he made the ad, though he claimed neither the Obama campaign nor his former employer, Blue State Digital — which does software development and hosting for Obama's campaign — was aware that he had.

"The specific point of the ad was that Obama represents a new kind of politics, and that Senator Clinton's 'conversation' is disingenuous," de Vellis wrote of the critical ad that uses an Apple computer TV ad to make Clinton appear like Big Brother. "And the underlying point was that the old political machine no longer holds all the power."

"This ad was not the first citizen ad, and it will not be the last," de Vellis wrote ominously. "The game has changed."

The admission threatened to besmirch Obama's pledge to run a clean campaign that doesn't attack his opponents, not to mention statements Obama made earlier this week about the ad.
It's great to have intelligent people trying to pitch in, isn't it? BTW, I'm not feeling Obama at all. More about that some other time.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Monday, March 19, 2007

Template Update

I'm too tired to think of anything to blog about tonight, so I updated my blog template and I'm writing about that.

Okay, that was cheesy, but a post is a post.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Microsoft Bribes Companies to Use Search

From John Battelle's Search Blog:
...Microsoft is offering its large enterprise customers free service and product credits if those customers push Live search inside their enterprises. Called "Microsoft Service Credits for Web Search," a Powerpoint overview of the program sent to me states:

"Employees search the web daily with tools from Google, Microsoft, or Yahoo. OEMs and web sites are already earning credits based on searches that their users bring. Now, your organization can earn credits for Microsoft web searches and redeem them for Microsoft or preferred partner deployment and training services. More searches earns more credits towards the services you value."

The value is non-trivial - the presentation estimates companies can get from $2 to $10 per computer annually, plus a $25K "enrollment credit". For sites that have tens of thousands of computers, that can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in free stuff from Microsoft. Most large enterprises spend millions on Microsoft services and software each year. It's not hard to imagine a CFO getting slightly moist over savings like these.
So sleazy! In other words, Microsoft can't create a better search product, so they're paying folks to use their inferior shit.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Foreign Films

I swiped this idea, with some modifications, from jali's house. Below are some foreign films worth seeing. They aren't ranked in order of preference, or any particular order.

Rabbit-Proof Fence: An Australian film about some half-aborigine children who escape from an orphanage and go on an impossibly long trek to reunite with their family. Very sad.

Lagaan: An Indian film about a group of villagers who respond to a British wager and form a rag-tag cricket team. If they win the match, their villages will avoid the crushing British taxes for three years. If they lose, they'll have to pay three times as much. The film runs about four hours, so be prepared.

Dirty Pretty Things: Murder complicates the lives of illegal immigrants struggling to survive in London. Very sympathetic characters.

The "Up" Series: Starting in 1964 with Seven Up, British director Michael Apted began what has to be the longest-running reality series. A group of seven-year-old children were filmed and interviewed and every seven years a new film is released showing how they're doing. In the most recent movie, the "kids" are now 49-years-old.

Most of them turned out about the way you'd expect -- the wealthy kids with the benefits of good schooling ended up with good careers. The biracial kid whose mom put him in a boys home for a year when he was seven (because it was embarrassing back then for a white girl to have a black kid) ended up working factory jobs and running a forklift. There were some surprises, such as how badly all of the girls ended up emotionally regardless of economic background. And one guy from a solid middle-class background dropped out of university and began a long downward spiral into homelessness before being rescued by another subject who was the son of a missionary.

Once Were Warriors: A drunken, out of work, violent father. Two sons in gangs. A battered wife and her young daughter try to hold the family together. Sounds like any of a number of inner-city American movies, but this one takes place in New Zealand. Stars Temuera Morrison, long before his role as Jango Fett in Star Wars: Episode II.

Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love: Nope, not a porn movie. Actually, pretty damn depressing. A wealthy woman and her servant, whom she treats like shit, grow up together, grow apart, and have really bad luck with men. Stars Naveen Andrews (Sayid from Lost) as a mean asshole.

Friday, March 16, 2007

"Mail" The Force Be With You

The U.S. Postal Services is helping celebrate the 30th anniversary of Star Wars by unveiling R2D2 mailboxes.

They're so darn cute! People are gonna deface them or steal them. You know this.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Drive: The Next Big Thing

Yo, I may regret saying this, but I'm getting a vibe about this upcoming new show called Drive that's going to drop on Fox on April 15-16. I think this could be the next Prison Break.

Here's the teaser from the official site:

The next time you’re cut off by crazed drivers on your way to work, give them a little slack. They could be racing for their lives.

DRIVE is an action-fueled drama following a diverse group of Americans competing for their lives (or the lives of their loved ones) in an illegal, underground cross-country road race. Some of them have been coerced into joining “The Race”; others have sought out The Race themselves, hearing rumors of the $32-million prize. Each has a reason to compete. And each must win.

This could be the shit. Or it could be Cannonball Run. Or that cartoon with Muttley in it.

Learn more...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Return of Sammy?

Texas Rangers' Sammy Sosa follows through on a single to center in the third inning off a pitch from Chicago White Sox' Gavin Floyd during a spring training baseball game in Surprise, Ariz., Tuesday, March 13, 2007.

Sosa says he feels like a rookie again after a season away from the diamond. Sosa had two hits and two runs on three at-bats with an RBI in the 12-8 loss to the White Sox. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Monday, March 12, 2007

First Podcast. Not.

Nope, I'm not anywhere near close to doing my first podcast. I assembled all of my gear and I wasn't getting any response from the mic. That was so irritating. I didn't want to pack all this stuff up and send it back, so at 4 p.m. I dashed off to the nearest music store (Guitar Center) and had a chat with a salesman. He couldn't really diagnose the problem, but I ended up buying yet another piece of gear ( a mobile pre-amp), and when I got home, that worked.

So, I really might have to ship the mixer back. which I really don't want to do, 'cause that's gonna be a big hassle. I don't want to ship back the mic, 'cause the mic is fine, but it was part of the package deal.

I've been messing around for the last two hours using GarageBand and figuring out recording levels. At first there was an unacceptable amount of background hiss, but I think part of that is coming from the wireless router!

I couldn't understand why I was only hearing vocals through one ear until it dawned on me that to record in stereo, I would need two mics. :) I also accidentally discovered some filters that made my voice sound like a robot. I thought I would need some expensive program to do that when all along I already had it for free on my Mac. Cool.

UPDATE: I'm glad to say I've got the Alesis mixer working. Whew. I have no idea what to do with most of the buttons and knobs, however. I now realize that I probably could've gotten along with something with fewer inputs, but this was the one the podcast books recommended. Hmph.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Got my gear!

My Podcast Starter Kit gear arrived on Wednesday!

It consists of:
Now I need to test this stuff to make sure it's working...

There was a good article about authors who are podcasting their work in the NY Times on March 1. I like Scott Sigler's work. Lots of amusing profanity and over the top characters. I'm currently listening to The Rookie and I enjoyed Earthcore, Ancestor and Infection.

Several times a week Mr. Sigler, 37, steps into a walk-in closet in his San Francisco home. He reads into a microphone that connects to his computer via a sound mixer. Hanging shirts envelop him, masking ambient sound.

After being snubbed by publishers for years, Mr. Sigler began recording his first book, “EarthCore,” in 2005. He offered it as a podcast in 22 episodes (roughly 45 minutes each) that he posted online and sent free to subscribers for downloading. Before long, Mr. Sigler had 5,000 listeners; by the time he finished releasing his second novel, “Ancestor,” last January, he had 30,000, as he does for “The Rookie,” which is playing now.

With initial printings of novelists’ first books running as low as 2,000 copies, Mr. Sigler has a substantial audience, enough finally to attract a small Canadian publisher, Dragon Moon Press, which published “EarthCore” in 2005 and will release “Ancestor” on April 1.

Mr. Sigler also recently signed with a New York agent, Byrd Leavell of the Waxman Agency, who expects to park his latest, “Infection,” with a major publisher.

Others have turned to the Internet to build their audience, including Cory Doctorow, who offered the text of “Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom” as a free download in 2003. But Mr. Sigler is among the vanguard of authors stapling their literary aspirations to the iPod.

“A lot of no-name authors like me are getting massive grass-roots exposure, and some of us are going to percolate to the top and get on the best-seller list,” Mr. Sigler said.

His site has links to his podcasts.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

March Forward

Well, as everyone is by now aware, we're setting the clocks forward three weeks early this year. This is supposedly supposed to save us energy, but I wonder how much money was spent by the companies that had to create and install software patches to cope with the change in the Daylight Savings time date?


I'm pretty sure my computers will handle the change without a hiccup, but it looks like I need a patch for my Palm Zire PDA. I may need them for my cellphone and my older TiVo too.

What a pain in the ass!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Babylon 5: Lost Tales

Looks like Babylon 5 is returning to the screen. Cool! That was a kick-ass show. I got into it late. Many people told me how good it was, but every time I watched it, I invariably caught the worst show of the season. Then they started running it on TNT (or was it TBS?) five nights a week and I finally "got it."

Article about the production of the show here. They used to use Amigas to do the effects! Amazing.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Saucy Email Exchanges Revealed In Astronaut Case

From Access Hollywood:

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 6, 2007) -- Astronaut Bill Oefelein was in orbit aboard the space shuttle in December when he was sent a steamy e-mail from a girlfriend awaiting his return: "First urge will be to rip your clothes off, throw you on the ground and love the hell out of you."

Fellow astronaut Lisa Nowak apparently discovered that e-mail -- and some other romantic messages to Oefelein -- before she set off on her bizarre, 900-mile road-trip to confront her rival for Oefelein's affections.

Click here to view the e-mails.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Lewis "Scooter" Libby - Wiki Style


Gotta love Wikipedia. They've cleaned up his entry already, of course.

Image swiped from Wonkette's blog.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Vazquez Gets $34.5 Million, 3-year Extension From White Sox

From Excite:
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -Pitcher Javier Vazquez and the Chicago White Sox agreed Tuesday to a $34.5 million, three-year contract extension through 2010.

Vazquez will get $12.5 million this season, the final year of his current contract, and $11.5 million in each of the following three seasons.

The right-hander, who went 11-12 with a 4.84 ERA with the White Sox a year ago, is 100-105 overall in 10 major league seasons. He pitched three innings Tuesday against Colorado, giving up four runs and six hits.

Big waste of money, if you ask me. His record clearly shows he's a .500 pitcher, averaging 10 wins, 10 losses. He started the year well for the Yanks in that year I'd like to forget (2004), but he tanked in the second half.

Er, wasn't he the one who gave up that bomb to Johnny Damon in the 7th game of the ALCS?


Monday, March 05, 2007

Man wanted for trying to revive father's corpse

KARACHI (Reuters) - Pakistani police are hunting a man who dug up his father's two-year old corpse and took it home in a hijacked ambulance to try to bring him back to life.
We used to do this all the time in D&D. What's the big deal?


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Demande D'Informations

Vous vous appelez comment?
Quel est votre nom?
Quelle est votre profession?

[My job has me in an eight-week French class. I'm doing my homework for tomorrow's class. I don't like this book. This is some kind of total immersion class, so nothing is translated. This is not helpful, in my opinion.]

Un informaticien vietnamien
Une standardiste espagnole...

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Return to Star Wars Galaxies

About a week ago I got an email from my good friends at Sony Online. It seems they want me back in the online game Star Wars Galaxies.

I quit the game about a year ago, but in truth I hadn't played for a good six months or more before that. I really loved that game when I first started. I've always sucked at video games, but this was the perfect game for me. It was structured in such a way that you didn't need to be "twitchy" to enjoy it. It wasn't all about having a fast trigger finger and looting corpses. There was many a night in which I never fired a weapon. Instead I often spent hours surveying the land for raw materials, setting up harvesters, crafting clothes, food and medicines and selling my wares in the public bazaar. I really enjoyed that.

Sometimes I just liked to go sightseeing. You got badges for visiting famous sites, so I visited Ben Kenobi's house, the Lars homestead, the escape pod of R2 and 3PO, etc.

And when I did feel like fighting, that was fun too. One of my favorite spots was a place nicknamed Creature Village, located on a Corellian moon. I would go out there either solo or with a few buds and we'd take up sniper positions and tag the giant sludge panthers that roamed the abandoned city's streets. On a good night you could quickly level up in marksmanship, medical and brawling skills.

Ah, the good old days.

Then they fucked it up.

They decided to change the combat system. Why? I don't know. Suddenly, creatures I could kill solo a week before -- like a bantha -- were kicking my ass. My armor no longer offered the same protection. I was forced to drop some skills. And so on. People started grumbling, then people started leaving. My friends dropped off one by one.Sony tried to appease people by making it easier to be a Jedi, but that unbalanced the game. Not to mention that in a game set in the Imperial era, it made to freaking sense to have Jedi and padawans openly chilling in cantinas or chopping people down in the street.

I eventually quit, really for economic reasons, both in the game and out. $16 a month wasn't really a lot, but it certainly could be used elsewhere, especially since months would go by without me logging on. In the game, the economy was haywire. I couldn't make a living selling clothes, weapons and armor anymore through the bazaar and finding a place to set up a store was tough. Withing the first two months of the game coming online, the main cities were ringed with a perimeter of fancy player-built malls. Since I was primarily a street vendor, I was shut out. I thought about cutting a deal with some guys to put up a vending machine in their mall, but I couldn't deal with the politics of joining a guild. Let me tell you, I learned more about economics through SWG than I ever did in any class.

So, now Sony wants me back. When I quit they said that my characters would be deleted after 90 days, but they lied. The characters are still there. They're offering me 21 days free. What the hell -- I'll do it. I always regretted not taking more screen captures of the nice scenery, so at the very least, I'll do that.

I wonder if my house on Dantooine is still there or if it fell into disrepair and was condemned?

We'll see.

BTW, I hate to admit it, but I'm psyched about the Lord of The Rings Online game debuting in April. Yes, I'm sure I'll regret that one too.

Friday, March 02, 2007

I will podcast... Soon!

Okay, I'm off to a bad start with regards to blogging every day this month, but this bullshit post counts anyway. So there.

As if I actually have time on my hands, I've decided that I'm gonna start a podcast. I went to a podcasting seminar that was a total joke last Saturday, so I figure if these people can do it, why not me?

I'm purchasing this starter kit from BSW Audio recommended by the Podcast Gear Guy's blog.

Soon you will all hear my lovely, strangely accented voice.

Be afraid, be very afraid...

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Back on the blogging track

I've really fallen off on blogging. I let things slide so much I didn't post any New Year's predictions in January or celebrate my blog anniversary or my birthday in February.

I'm making a promise to myself to blog every day this month. We'll see how it goes.