Forced celebration

Dec 31, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Final thought for 2007: what do you think this is a description of?
"After being searched and wanded with a metal detector, their backpacks are confiscated and they are herded into pens where food and drink are prohibited and there are no bathroom facilities."

Guantanamo Bay?

No. It was a description of the New Year celebrations under way in Times Square, NY, as described by our local Fox TV news. To top off another year of American stupidity, a million revelers are forced to practice the ten second countdown to midnight five times, on the hour, for five hours before the big moment. I guess they can't count backwards from ten?

Happy New Year to anyone who reads my blog. You can look forward to another year of complete bollocks on this very page in 2008 :-)

There and back.

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It's New Year's Eve already, and for the first time in as long as I can remember, we've not got anything planned. I should be in Holland with Menno and the boys, blowing stuff up with illegal fireworks, drinking Stroh Rum and Belgian White beer, eating appelflap and poffertjes dusted with icing sugar....

Anyhoo, we're back, obviously. The trip to England was great. Well - seeing family for Christmas was great. England itself has completed it's circuitous voyage around the bowl and finally gone right down the shitter. The country is just plain broken. The flights there and back were awesome though. We got to travel in business class on BMI from Vegas direct to Manchester and bugger me sideways with a bargepole, the Delta flights to and from Vegas actually delivered our bags. I was stunned. But I digress.



The business class cabin on the BMI A330 is basically like first class on most other airlines. 80-plus inch seat pitch with fold-flat bed-seats. For the first time ever, I slept on the flight to England, and managed to spend the next day properly awake until late into the evening.

Mum and dad are fine, as is their adopted cat, Joey. They insist that he won't be sleeping inside. But this time last year, they insisted they weren't going to feed him and that he wasn't going to be allowed anywhere other than the kitchen. He now has his own basket in the dining room, and some deep shag pile carpet to frolic in in the living room....



They've gone to a swanky hotel to see in the New Year - dad's treat to mum for their anniversary.

Paula and I, on the other hand, had some retail therapy at Ikea this afternoon.
It just doesn't seem like the end of the year.
It's odd.

Ah. Christmas in England.

Dec 24, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Miserable, rainy weather, trains cancelled, rail workers on strike, police and firefighters on strike, airlines and airports on strike, mail unions on strike, failed postal deliveries, online vendors not managing to deliver in time for Christmas, murder, death and destruction in the news, rampant petrol prices, drunk teenagers vomiting in the streets - sleeping in their own faeces, and rank corruption in the government. Yes, it's Christmas in England! Sorry - it's "Festive Seasonal Celebration" in England, because we can't call it Christmas here either.

Still - it's nice to be with family.

End of year anthem.

Dec 19, 2007 | | 0 comments |

By a happy coincidence, I stumbled across the track which is going to round out the year for me in 2007. It was in A State Of Trance episode 328. It's a Daniel Kandi remix of Out There by Dave Masters & Robert Nickson feat. Justine Suissa. The original track came out in 2003. This is a massively updated version and is exactly the sort of upbeat, sunny-sounding end-of-year anthem that will close out the year in Trance Music nicely. Here's a low-res sampling from ASOT. To get a feel for it, skip to 3 mins 30 seconds.



Bloody windows !!!

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AAaaaaargh!
So I go to use Adobe PDFMaker this morning - an application that has been available on the toolbar in Word ever since I installed Adobe, and it's gone. View->Toolbars doesn't even show it as an option any more. So off I go, googling to find out what's happened. Turns out the update that I bitched about in my blog on monday arbitrarily decided I didn't need PDFMaker any more, and disabled it. I had to rummage around in the Word help->about menu and found something called 'disabled items'. Sure enough, there it was, disabled. I re-enabled it, and of course, it wouldn't work without closing Word and re-opening it - just like everything Microsoft does which is totally incapable of making a change in a running application.

Why? Why do this to users? What possible benefit could there be to disabling toolbars in applications without telling the user how, why, or where to re-enable it?

I can't believe I'm going to say this.

Dec 18, 2007 | | 1 comments |

Hold on to your hats:

I agree with something Bush is doing.

He's going to sign part of the energy bill that outlaws incandescent light bulbs. Sadly, it's a phased approach which won't really start to hit until 2012 by which time some other busybody could overturn it. But - it's the closest Bush has come to demonstrating any understanding of an energy policy.

I'm stunned.

Outlawing incandescent bulbs.

The biggest improvement they could make in Windows.

Dec 17, 2007 | | 2 comments |

Apart from removing all the bloat and taking out all the unnecessary "improvements", the biggest thing that could be done to Windows is to give it X-like window focus. ie. to stop other processes from stealing the focus away from the window you're working in.
Our corporate overlords demanded a bunch of patches be installed this morning, so I set them going and got the message that I could carry on using the PC because all this guff would be installed in the background. Except that stupid install windows kept popping up dialogue and notification windows, stealing the focus. At one point, apparently mid-typing, one of them not only popped up, but utilised the space bar as the 'cancel' function. So mid-sentence, as I was typing, I hit the space bar as this installer window came up and cancelled whatever it was doing. A minute later, the same thing happened but this time the thing stole focus, intercepted my keystrokes and arbitrarily rebooted my PC, deleting everything I'd been working on.

Genius. Bloody brilliant. Give a gold star to the retard at Microsoft that thought this was a good idea.

I just don't understand why we have to put up with shit like this. It really can't be that difficult to make an operating system that just works.

10,135 vertical feet

Dec 16, 2007 | | 2 comments |

Yay!
First day's skiing of the season. I did 10,135 vertical feet at Solitude today. The weather was great, the snow was great, and there were no crowds. Sweet.

Why Wii?

Dec 15, 2007 | | 1 comments |

I just don't get it. The local stores have all run dry of Nintento Wii consoles now. Why are people buying these things? They're warmed-over Gamecubes with a cute controller. They're nowhere near as powerful as the Xbollox360 or PS3, and they suffer the usual Nintendo kid-game syndrome where everything is SuperHappyFunFunKiddieMarioSunshine. On top of that, the controllers suffer from the usual motion-sensing problems of magnetic and infra-red fields. Why are people paying $250 and putting up with substandard Nintendo crap?
Don't get me wrong - I used to be a total Nintendo bigot. I owned all their consoles because each one was the best one at the time. But they lost me with the Gamecube. There they had the perfect high-performance machine, and barely any 'real' games for it. The crowning moment of their doom was Zelda. All the previews showed bloody brilliant hyper-real, photo-textured, real-time illuminated super-gritty Zelda in full on action and battle sequences, against photorealistic backgrounds. Amazing. But when it came out, it was a toon-rendered kid-friendly super happy sunshine piece of shit.
Sorry Nintendo.

Hummer helps ? Riiiiight.

Dec 14, 2007 | | 0 comments |

I just saw the new Hummer advert on TV. It's a series of headlines: seas rise, cities gripped in ice storms, floods, hurricanes lashing the shores. All stuff which some would argue is caused by global warming. The headlines gradually give way to small print stories about Hummer owners banding together to help stranded motorists. This all fades away and you're left with "Hummer Helps".
Wow.
Where to start? They're advertising that the Hummer helps to destroy the environment I guess. I mean what else could they mean? They can barely squeeze out 10mpg so they're helping by contributing to global warming.
Of course I know what they're trying to do - they're trying to say that when Doomsday comes about, you'd better be in a Hummer. I don't know why though. They're only re-badged, re-bodyworked GM SUVs. There's nothing even remotely tough or environmentally friendly about them.

Things that make you go 'hmmm'....for the girls.

Dec 13, 2007 | | 1 comments |

Daniel Craig it is, then:

Her name is Rio.

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The full album cover.

Pop Quiz

Dec 12, 2007 | | 4 comments |

Pop quiz. This is a stripped down version of a famous album cover.
Which album (and artist(e)), and for 10 extra points, who was the original artist.
I'll add more components to the image over the coming days until I get a right answer :-)

LG's new fridge...

Dec 10, 2007 | | 1 comments |

Guess what the big new feature is on LG's new fridge? I just saw a commercial for it, and the earth-shattering development - ? Power doors.

What? We can't open and close the doors on fucking fridge now? Come on - that's just unbelievably retarded. That's like these stupid power doors and tailgates on vans and high-end cars.

If the human race has really got to the point where we can't even open and close doors any more, there's not much point in continuing to evolve is there?

Things that make you go 'hmmm'.

Dec 9, 2007 | | 1 comments |

I unashamedly read FHM magazine (for the articles, obviously :-)) and each month there's a collection of fun stuff, articles, jokes, tech and hot women. Only sometimes they're not so hot. Sometimes the airbrushing is too obvious, sometimes the plastic surgery or pneumatic tits are overpowering. Sometimes the botox, expressionless face or pumped-up lips are just wrong. But very occasionally, they'll feature someone that makes me go back and look at the photoshoot again and pore over the images like a spotty 15-year-old.
Living in America, I have no idea who Abbey Clancy is - apparently she's famous for bonking someone who's actually famous. Either way, this made me go "hmmm." This is the female equivalent of Colin Farrell or Brad Pitt for my wife....



Self-righteous old bastard.

Dec 8, 2007 | | 0 comments |

I dropped Paula off at the shop this afternoon and turned up the next street to loop around and go back home. I was barely touching 20mph when this doddering old coot who was cleaning the snow off his car threw a snowball at me, mouthing off about something.

I stopped, wound my window down and backed up the two car lengths that I'd gone past him, and asked him what his problem was.

Old coot : "You need to slow down!"
Me : "From 20? The speed limit up here is 25!"
Old coot : "You were doing at least 45, maybe 50"
Me : "You know that's funny, because my speedometer said 20. Would you like to step into my car and I'll show you what 50 looks like up this road?"
Old coot : "You were doing 50. I watched you!"
Me : "You measured that with a radar gun did you?"
Old coot : "No. I just know."
Me : "And that gives you the right to throw a snowball at a moving car, almost causing an accident does it?"
Old coot : "You deserved it."
Me : "For what? Listen you old bastard. If I'd been doing 50mph, how would I have been able to stop on a slippery road in two car lengths? Did you think of that?"
Old coot : "You were speeding, you deserve to be punished!"
Me : "Whatever. You're mental. You shouldn't be allowed outside you old bastard."

I drove off before I was taken with the urge to get out kick the shit out him.

Snow by the foot.

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We had probably 6 to 8 inches of snow at our place overnight, and the ski resorts were reporting 2 feet of the stuff at 21:30 last night. Solitude had 22" by last night and a further 13" this morning. Methinks next weekend will be my first ski weekend.
If I can't fight off the urge, I might go tomorrow....

The rain before the storm.

Dec 7, 2007 | | 0 comments |

It's been raining all night and it looks like we're setting up for another huge snowmaker this weekend. The resorts are already getting dumped on but the weatherguesser said it was going to turn to all snow by tonight down here in the valley, and to expect up to 12 inches on the valley floor.
Batten down the hatches :-)

Slowest Subway ever.

Dec 5, 2007 | | 0 comments |

I'm still alive!
I swear I was waiting at Subway so long tonight I could actually see my hair growing. The two kids behind the counter couldn't have had less interest in their jobs if they'd been dead. I gave up in the end and drove to another one. The funny thing is that when I drove back past the original one I'd been waiting at, the guy who'd been in front of me was still in line waiting. So I managed to drive a 5 mile round-trip and get served in less time than it would have taken me to keep waiting there.

Eesh.

Darwin strikes again. Parent wants to blame driver.

Dec 2, 2007 | | 0 comments |

On the news tonight there was a story about a 15 year old girl who was killed last night when she tried to cross I-15, at night, in the snow, on foot. That's a classic Darwin trifecta if ever I heard of one, and the outcome was exactly what you'd expect.
Here's where it got weird though : in the press conference, the distraught mother said she wanted the driver to own up to his or her responsibility in the accident and come forward.

Wait - what?

No. I'm sorry. The driver in this accident is in now way, shape or form responsible for anything. You walk across 4 lanes of 75mph traffic at night, you die. Simple. I have sympathy for the family of the dead girl, but I have no sympathy for anyone trying to blame the driver for this death. This was 100% the responsibility of the girl who dies. Shit - if it was an 18-wheeler that hit her, the driver probably doesn't even know it happened.

Rednecks in the snow.

Dec 1, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Well winter has finally arrived properly. The ski resorts aren't panicky any more and with the fresh snow, it's Mor(m)ons on ice this morning.
And the odd redneck. I was parked outside Petco waiting for it to open, in a totally empty parking lot. A blue pickup pulled into the parking lot, orbited once, then parked right next to me, then the 400lb ape wearing special-school-shorts got out slamming his door into the side of my car so hard that the Honda actually rocked. Meanwhile his wife with three teeth who looked like the product of eight generations of inbreeding was hauling her rolls of fat out of the other side of the truck in what looked like a nightgown. The ape looked at where he'd dinged my car, then closed his door and went to walk into Petco without saying anything, so I wound the window down and called him on it.

His reply : "Dude don't be such a stupid fucker. You need to mellow the fuck out."

??

Okay fine. I was going to accept an apology but I guess he didn't want that, so instead I told him it was impressive that a redneck with an IQ as low as his could walk and breathe at the same time, let alone drive, and that perhaps next time, an apology would be better than just spewing insults.

His reply : "Whut?"

Oh, right. Too many syllables. I dumbed it down to redneck-ese : "Dude, next time just apologise".

"Fuck you buddy" and off he went, his heffer of a wife shambling behind him.

I checked the Honda - good job I got the plastic panels as that's where he'd dinged it. Any other car would have had a nice crease in the sheet metal he hit it so hard.

I just don't get people like that. Why is it so difficult for them to apologise? Why did he park right next to me in an empty parking lot. Come to think of it, why did he not have enough courtesy to not slam his door into my car? Is it really that difficult for these people to be polite? It's retards like him who are the downfall of society. I don't understand why the rest of us should simply stand by and let them get away with the shit they do. Why can't we round them all up and put a gun to their heads? It would be for the common good.

Best quote of the day.

Nov 29, 2007 | | 0 comments |

On the flight back today, as we were pushing back from the terminal, I heard a woman talking to her daughter and husband on the row behind me. The daughter was complaining that her Cinderella doll couldn't see because the hair band was over her eyes, so the mother sorted that out and then said "And why does Cinderella have so many frickin' accessories?"

Made me laugh.

Sheikra video

Nov 28, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Some ripping, hacking and googling later, here's the video from that coaster. I'm front row, far right seat (when sitting) - far left from the front.

Aaaaaaaaaa

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I believe that's what I was uttering at this exact moment:



It's hard to tell from the photo but we're doing probably 70 or 80mph at this point, having just done a 90 degree, 200ft vertical drop. Everyone's shorts in the front row give the speed away, and that would be me, on the far left of the front row. This is Sheikra - the floorless dropcoaster at Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, where I spent the day doing my own thing. Every time I come down to this damn trade show I forget to schedule a free day and every time I get on the plane to go home I say "buggger!". Not this time though.
I rode all the coasters, but I rode this one the most - I lost count. I was expecting Kumba or Montu to be the fave, but for me, this Sheikra thing was the dog's winkie. The weather was great - slightly clouds and mild - and the queue time for all the rides was zero. It was brilliant to be able to just walk up and get on.
Having said that, I'm knackered.

Pounding the floor.

Nov 27, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Another lengthy day of pounding the floor, making notes, taking photos and videos at the show today. At least Bob was with me for the afternoon, and then we took in a conference meeting that we were scheduled for. Legs tired, feet sore. Sitting down now.

Day 1 in the bag.

Nov 26, 2007 | | 0 comments |

It's so nice not to be doing booth duty this year. I had to help with one of our other booths where we had our equipment but that only took half an hour or so which was fine. In the afternoon I was able to schmooz, make notes, take pictures and shoot video.

Well - when I say 'take pictures' and 'shoot video', it has to be understood that both of the above happened on a cellphone so the results won't be stellar. Still - better than nothing.

Travelled without Delta...

Nov 25, 2007 | | 0 comments |

...bags came with me. In the ongoing saga of not using Delta unless I absolutely have to, I was pleased to arrive in Orlando tonight complete with my luggage. So I'm here for the big trade show, but I'm not on booth duty this year. Which is nice.

Wow it's quiet.

Nov 23, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Judging by the fact that I appear to be the only one in the office today I can only assume that everyone else thinks today is a holiday. It used to be in the old company, but not in the new one. Still - it means I ought to get a lot done today if there's nobody else here.

Thanksgiving was good yesterday. Good friends, good dinner, lots of laughs and no big arguments. Couldn't ask for more. There was lazing around, eating, video games and board games:





New blogger template.

Nov 22, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Well it took some work, but here it is - my new blogger template. Mmmmm. New hotness.

And worst headline of the day.

Nov 21, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Also from Fark:

"Send a word of thanks to American troops who won't be home tomorrow because they're defending us in Iraq."

Umm. M'kay. I'll bite. Defending us from what?

I'd love to support the troops by bringing them home. Not by deliberately sending thousands of them into harm's way based on a line of political bullshit spun by Hitler Jr.

Great headline of the day.

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On Fark.com today : Oil rises to over $99 a barrel due to refinery problems. Apparently the oil doesn't flow so easily when the pipes are stuffed with cash.

Giving the answer away.

Nov 20, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Two days now and nobody has even ventured a guess at the second lyrics question. To give the game away, here's the composer / performer at one of his last ever live gigs in 1994. Well worth a listen - classic electro / synth. Mark Shreeve was one of the last of the old guard. Along with Edgar Froese, Christopher Franke and Peter Baumann (Tangerine Dream) and to some extent, Kraftwerk, they were the dying remnants of the glory days of Moog and Korg, Fender Rhodes and Yamaha DX-7's (look them up). Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk are still around, but not in the same shape or form they once were. Mark Shreeve formed RedShift in 1996 and they're still knocking out albums once a year. The music has moved on and I've stayed behing; I still love this style of electro but it's a love/hate affair. Classic synth has no middle ground. It'll either bring a smile to your face, or make you sit here and think "what the....?"

Enjoy then - Mark Shreeve doing the last live version of Storm Column - the second track from his Legion CD.

English Tea.

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I forgot to mention this. On saturday we had English Tea at Elizabeth's. It's the new bakery and tea room that has opened up next door to the London Market. Brilliant little place - they do bacon butties and beans on toast amongst other things. So we had lunch there.

80's flashback.

Nov 19, 2007 | | 1 comments |

Two new lyrics questions for you today, both from the 80's. One very high profile, one much more difficult.

Q1 : Band, song:
You can see I'm single-minded, I know what I could be
How'd you feel about it, come and take a walk with me?
I'm looking for a partner, regardless of expense
Think about it seriously, you know, it makes sense


Q2 : Artist, song:
Call
Me
Legion


Because Q2 is so damn difficult, I'll give you the album cover (left) and the single cover (right)....

Mmmm. Dual-core hotness.

Nov 17, 2007 | | 0 comments |

It took about 6 hours yesterday, but today, I'm running on my new PC. The most difficult part was imaging the old master IDE drive to the new master SATA drive, because I wasn't prepared to do a fresh Winblows install. The image went OK but then it wouldn't boot, so Jacob helped me through the recovery console to the fixboot and fixmbr commands. Then it booted but wouldn't quite load into Winblows so I ended up having to do a repair install. That worked quite well, and most of the rest of the time was taken up with Winblows Update bringing everything back up to speed.
So now I have a dual-core 3Gb AMD 6000+ processor with 2Gb of RAM and a shiny new Nvidia 8600GT PCIx16 card.
Sweet.

There's something you don't see every day.

Nov 16, 2007 | | 0 comments |

A truck dragging a tree down the road escorted by three police cars.
Amazingly, despite the lights and the obvious lack of traffic (we'd all pulled over), the white car in this picture and the red truck a bit further on, almost drove into the tree before realising it was there... Typical Utah drivers.

The cost of War : $1.6T - yes 'T'.

Nov 14, 2007 | | 0 comments |

As in 'Trillion'. Full story.

This picture sums up the contempt that Bush has for the people he's sent to be maimed or killed in Iraq. "Get fucked up in Iraq, get a T-shirt". And yes, it's a genuine photo. Here's the original on Reuters website. I don't like using the 'C' word, but in this case you can't help but agree that Bush is a total Cunt.

Batten the hatches - I'm upgrading!

Nov 13, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Aaaaarr mateys. Batten down the hatches and secure your ears. This weekend will be filled with excitement, frustration and swearing as I upgrade my PC's internal hardware for the first time in over 2 years. New motherboard, new memory, new graphics card, new hard drive, new processor. Why? The new Quad-core CPUs just came out so the dual-core ones are dirt cheap. Memory is at rock bottom prices and I picked up a sweet deal on an Nvidia 8600GT.

I know it ought to be simple but history has taught me that it rarely is, complicated by the fact that this time I need to clone my old IDE drive on to a brand spanking new SATA unit.

All the goodies should be here on friday. Wish me luck !

Caturday

Nov 12, 2007 | | 0 comments |

The caturday / lolcat thing is getting pretty out of hand now, but there's still some good ones that come up from time to time. Here's a couple from google and fark this week.



Bloody politicians

Nov 11, 2007 | | 2 comments |

I don't agree with what Google have done here, but I agree even less with the whining-baby attitude of the people who complained. Google changed their logo from Sputnik - celebrating 50 years of spaceflight - to a Veteran's Day theme because bloody politicians complained.
First - it's a storm in a teacup, and second, Google is a worldwide brand, not an American brand and certainly not a GOP patsy. Conservatives claimed that it was "unpatriotic" to have the Sputnik logo.

Full story

This is part of a larger and more worrying trend - Bush and his cronies have hijacked "patriotism" in the same way they now instill the "if you're not with us you're against us" mantra. You know what - the most patriotic Americans are those calling for an end to the Iraq Adventure - those who want the soldiers brought home and out of harm's way. The non-patriots are the buck-toothed redneck cretins who support Bush and somehow think that this is a "war" they can win. Yee-haw.

God Bless America where it's Patriotism Uber Alles. Zeig Heil Bush.

Commercialism gone crazy.

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I know advertising is rife in America, but you'd think they'd draw the line somewhere. Apparently not. I parked in the Gateway parking garage this afternoon to discover advertising on the painted lines between the parking stalls.

Seriously - see for yourself. I'm not sure this qualifies as "drawing the line somewhere" though.

Last time up Wolf Creek for the year.

Nov 10, 2007 | | 0 comments |

The weather today was bee-yoo-ti-full, so I took off on the Tiger to go up to the top of Wolf Creek, probably for the last time this year. The shadows are getting long, the winter sun is getting lower, and the snow is persisting on the side of the road now. We're only one good storm away from this little gem being closed for 4 months.
120 mile round trip later and I'm home again with a mile-wide grin. This Tiger is the dogs bollocks. I love it. Best motorcycle I've owned so far and it's still giving me the grin factor.



Speak English

Nov 8, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Our local Fox affiliate have been running a story at the moment about Mexicans who can't get help when they need it because the emergency services don't speak enough Spanish.
I've got to side with the majority on this one - if you move to a new country, make the effort to learn the bloody language. Since when was it our responsibility to learn their language? When I lived in Holland, I had to learn Dutch - I didn't expect to be able to speak English. Shit - I figured that out when I was 4 years old - you don't have to be a genius.
England is having the same problem right now with Paki's and Indians. They're refusing to learn English, only in their case, the overly politically correct government is caving in and going to force the English to learn Paki and Indian. That's absolutely unacceptable and the wrong way to solve the problem.

Propaganda Remix

Nov 7, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Brilliant!
www.antiwarposters.com
Micah Wright has taken old WW2 propaganda posters and updated them to reflect the current anti-Bush thinking. They're amazing. Well worth a visit.

Becker, no vouchers, no bond

Nov 6, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Good news - the $192M bond for new police and fire HQs was voted out. It was tight - 50.4% against to 49.6% for. Now maybe they can force the church, the businesses and specifically the big box stores to chip in instead of making homeowners pay for all of it.
The school vouchers program was voted out, which is a shame, because it was the only logical choice for decent schools. I guess the empire-building teachers would sooner have ridiculously large classes instead of actually educating the kids.
The 50/50 vote for me is Ralph Becker as mayor. He has a lot of grand plans but hasn't followed through on any of them in the past. His nickname was 'blueprint man' for a reason :(

Bank card services - clever, but wrong.

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As I'd secretly suspected, the woman I spoke to at bank card services on saturday after discovering my bank card had been cloned, was wrong. Their system is clever enough to figure out that the 15 transactions in Georgia weren't me, but when she told me that the transactions wouldn't clear because I'd reported them as fraudulent, she was wrong. This morning, I'm $1500 out of pocket because of it. Not good enough. When I report transactions as fraudulent, the should block the transactions. They didn't, and worse, they lied about the fact that they could.

This isn't going to end well for Zions bank.....

Another reason not to shop at SprawlMart

Nov 5, 2007 | | 0 comments |

I called SprawlMart's credit card fraud department this morning to get some info on how my card had been used, and it turns out that they don't particularly care about credit card fraud involving other banks - they only care if it happened with a SprawlMart own brand card. In other words, they're quite happy to take money off stolen cards and not give a damn, and then they're quite happy to be totally unhelpful about the situation. Quality.

Honestly I don't understand why that place exists. They spread like viruses, paying off planning departments, paying off councils and cities so they can put huge (and largely useless) stores in the places guaranteed to most piss off local residents, which in turn makes the housing market in the area plummet. They sell the cheapeast, lowest quality shit I've ever seen. Their stores are filthy and full of half-dressed white-trash. They barely pay their employees minimum wage and the they cost regular tax payers up to $2.5billion in the form of federal assistance programs each year. (by failing to provide their workers with affordable health care - they've already cost American taxpayers $210billion)

I mean seriously - what's the appeal of working or shopping there? Is it that you can merrily use stolen credit cards without worrying about being caught? It must be something like that because otherwise I just don't get it. But then again, I don't understand the appeal of NASCAR racing either and I've often heard it said on a NASCAR race day that the aisles of SprawlMart must be empty on those days.

Terminator 4 / The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Nov 4, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Colour me excited. I just saw an advert on Fox with a pair of terminator eyes and the flashing image of Sarah Connor. It seems Fox are doing a TV show come 2008 with Terminator 4: Salvation following in 2009. If you go to takebackthefuture.com, there's a countdown timer which is counting down. Currently it's at 1261 but I can't figure out if that's days or hours. Whatever - the date on the trailer was Jan 14th 2008.

Proposition 1 - Just Say No

Nov 3, 2007 | | 0 comments |

On tuesday, one of the things on the ballot is proposition 1. Salt Lake City wants $192M to build a new police station and to do it, they want to increase every homeowner's property tax by $115 a year above inflation and re-assessment, FOR 20 YEARS. That means that in 20 year's time, on top of everything else, everyone will be paying $2300 more per house. That's more than double my entire property tax and you just know that once the government gets used to that escalator, they're never going to get rid of it.
The problem (apart from that it doesn't cost $192M to build a police station) is that no commercial properties are going to be taxed, no hospitals, no landowners, no apartment complexes and no church properties. In other words, homeowners would be punished for owning a home, and all the other people who would benefit from more police presence, would be getting it for free.
Vote no. They claim they've "explored all the avenues and possibilities" which is total bollocks, because they've not even considered making everyone pay the tax instead of just homeowners.

Heuristics 101

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I discovered this morning that whatever heuristic software my bank use to detect fraud works really well. My card stopped working and when I called the bank they told me it had been blocked because someone had tried swiping it at a SprawlMart in Atlanta. ie. my card has been cloned. I told them to flag it as stolen and cancel the number and issue me a new card, which they're doing.

So +1 to Zions Bank and -1,000,000 to the thieving fucker who thought he could get away with it.

A character assasination.

Nov 1, 2007 | | 0 comments |

We got on to the topic of the old Evans & Sutherland CEO at lunch today - and how he ruined the company, and as my blood pressure rose, I started wondering just how bad he was. Let's examine, shall we. The following shows a long-term stock graph taken from Google Finance. The arrow points to the date when he joined E&S.



At that point they had about $90M in the bank and 1400 employees and the stock price was teetering around $32 a share. When they finally sold us off (the simulation division) to Rockwell Collins - where I now work - this is what had happened:


  • He presided over 39 consecutive quarters of loss

  • He took the company from +$90M in the bank to -$240M and put us in a position where nobody would loan us money any more

  • The stock price had plummeted to around $4

  • He bought RealImage - a profit-making company - and turned it into a loss-making venture

  • He bought AccelGraphics - a profit-making company, laid off all the employees and turned their graphics card business into a loss-making venture

  • He sold 5 buildings and hundreds of acres of real estate

  • He laid off 1200 employees - that's a full 85% of the company


During this staggering reign of incompetence, his salary went up 40% year on year, as well as giving himself bonuses (this is all in the public record). He filled the board of directors with close personal friends who wouldn't ever get rid of him. In the layoffs, he repeatedly laid off engineers who were trying to turn the company around. Why? Because he simply would not admit he was wrong. He refused to believe that qualified engineers knew more about engineering than he did. He was best described like this: "He's like the pilot of a 747 who is down the back trying to fix the coffee machine whilst the plane is nose-diving into the ground."

At lunch, there was some debate about whether a great many people hated him, or simply disliked him. I cemented that argument by pointing out that at one of the reunion get-togethers, there was a pinata of him that was reinforced with rebar so that everyone could give it a good beating. That's not "dislike". That's "hate". I don't care if you're his friend or not - nobody can make excuses for what he did to that company, it's employees and their families.

Halloween Fun

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Halloween was fun last night. My EL-wire suit worked really nicely. We blacked-in the front porch and replaced the porch light with a blacklight. We had skeletons, skulls, cobwebs and spiders all over the place to decorate it, as well as gravestones and a fog generator in the front garden. The gag was simple: Paula sat inside with the front door open and I hid in the blacked-out section. When the kids came to the door, I turned around, turned on the wire suit and used an upside-down can of compressed air to generate a loud "pssshhh" sound and a blast of cold air.
Brilliant !!!

Our next door neighbour was in his camo suit and jumping out at kids from between his ornamental trees, and our new neighbour Rick across the road had a similar gag - his wife sat outside to lure the kids in and he hid in a camo suit in a bunch of leaves so he could jump up and pull off the scare. Next to him, Sean had his full-on Scream outfit on as well as his compressed-air-powered ghost hooked up to his tree.

It was brilliant - all you could hear all up and down our street was kids screaming and running. We kept hearing parents and minders saying stuff like "we've heard this is a good block" or "do you want to go down there? It's the scariest street in the block." We also heard a lot of people had come in from quite a long way away because they'd heard we did some good scares. Which is good, because most of the streets around us are totally dead.

Here, then, some video of the wire suit. Listen to the audio in the background - you can hear kids screaming and stuff, and right at the end you can hear someone saying "look out for that guy laying there" - he's just seen Rick, across the street.

Next year? I think we're going to go with a huge blacklight dot-room built in the drive ....

Actually, I was joking.

Oct 31, 2007 | | 0 comments |

A about a week ago, when California was on fire, I said to my wife : "I'm surprised CNN hasn't managed to link this to terrorism." I was, of course, joking. Well it seems the government bugs in our house picked that up and transmitted it to FauxNews who ran with the story. They went on air and managed to link the wildfires in California with Al Qaeda. They made up some bullshit story about a captured operative telling government interrogators that Al Qaeda were planning to set forest fires.



(blinks, in disbelief)

Ok look. This has to stop. This constant crap-mongering by the news channels to try to keep people afraid is ridiculous. More worrying is that nearly 50% of the country probably actually believe this bullshit. It's amazing how people can watch CNN and FauxNews can do so without realising that they're essentially watching the equivalent of 1940's Nazi propaganda (but with higher production costs). Open your eyes! Most of the mainstream cable news channels are simply Whitehouse-run propaganda machines trying desperately to keep the public scared to death because the Bush Regime is telling them to.

For the Bushies out there, there's a couple of things you've clearly forgotten:


  1. Terrorism exists all over the world, but it's not to blame for every single mishap.
  2. You cannot win a "war on terrorism" - it's impossible. To argue otherwise is an admission that you're clinically insane and should be removed from public circulation before you do something dangerous.
  3. Terrorist attacks have persisted long after 9/11, long after the US invasion of Iraq. Bush and his stormtroopers haven't made a single bit of difference.
  4. It could be successfully argued that Bush has in fact just made it worse.


I think Lynne Cheney said it best when she exposed her true views on the Daily Show. Jon Stewart pointed out that the terrorist attacks haven't stopped, and that to claim that "fighting them over there so they won't attack us over here" is a flawed idea. Lynne Cheney then let slip "We're talking about American interests". In other words, they really could care less about the attacks in Spain, London, Africa etc. As long as America's allies are being attacked and not America itself, that's just fine according to the current mantra. This is all part of the El Busho mantra that "we haven't been attacked since 9/11 because of Bush's actions". Umm. Ok - I see where you're going here. How about this - "we haven't been attacked since 9/11 because the amount of Nigerian spam in our inboxes has quadrupled".
You simply cannot link two facts together and use one to explain the other. Especially when one of them isn't even a fact. (the "not being attacked" part, I mean)

All eyes on San Andreas please.

Oct 30, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Excuse the pun, but hot on the heels of all the wildfires, tonight there's been a 5.6 magnitude quake just north of San Jose. Good news - no damage or injuries reported. Bad news - it's the Hayward fault - the trigger fault for the San Andreas.

Best windows error, ever.

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I got back to my PC a couple of minutes ago to find this error message floating on top of all my other windows:



I love the last bit - simply "windows error". No duh!

Note to cyclists

Oct 28, 2007 | | 0 comments |

You are road users - the road signs and lights, especially those pretty red stop lights apply to you too. You're not immune you self-righteous two-wheeling fuckers. So next time one of you jumps a red light and cycles in front of me to give me the finger, you're going to become roadkill. Two tons of metal vs. arrogant cock on a bicycle will only end one way.

Looks like the price of Seagate hard drives is going up then.

Oct 26, 2007 | | 2 comments |

Well done Sara Cho and Michael Lazar - you complete and utter wankers.
Because of these two incompetent's inability to read a label, they've won a huge lawsuit against Seagate because they claim they were robbed of disk capacity. They claim they thought that a 1Gb hard drive would have 1,073,741,824 bytes of available space on it, not 1 million a different of 7 percent. This comes down to English language vs. computerspeak. Until today, everyone in computers understood that 1 gig did not mean 1.07 million bytes - it meant a million. So when you bought a hard drive advertising 100Gb of space, you actually only get 93Gb of usable space. Now, because of these two twats, it has to be spelled out in words of one syllable or less, and Seagate have to cough up a class action lawsuit refunding 5% of the cost of the 6 million drives they've sold in the last 6 years. I qualify, because it's a class action suite and because I've bought 3 Seagate drives in that time. Unlike Ms Cho and Mr Lazar though, I won't be applying for my pound of flesh because, unlike Ms Cho and Mr Lazar, I have standards. They clearly have no standards, no common sense and no regard for anyone other than themselves. Because of them, the price of Seagate hard drives will go up - they're not going to simply absorb the cost of the lawsuit - they will recover it from consumers. You know what - I bet they're using the cash to fund their next case which will likely be against the OS manufacturers because when you format a "100Gb" hard drive, you lose even more space.

So well done Cho and Lazar, you utter, vacuous bastards. People like you need a bullet between the eyes. You should have used your fucking brains instead of your lawyers. Christ on a bike. I bet those two would sue a car manufacturer because their car didn't perform to EPA standards! Or sue Kelloggs for being 0.01 of a gram light in a box of cornflakes. (they robbed us of one flake!)

Fucking retards.

Hard drive settlement Hard drive settlement

Oct 24, 2007 | | 0 comments |

According to some study published today, adults in the UK now drink the equivalent of 11.4 litres of pure alcohol every year. That works out at 189 bottles of wine (nine per cent proof), 37 bottles of whisky (40 per cent proof) or 1,137 pints of beer (3.5 per cent).

That's basically 3½ pints of beer a day. So given that a lot of people drink a lot less than that, and a lot of people don't drink much at all, that means that for the average to be 3½ pints a day, some people must be downing nearly 3 times that much to compensate for people like me who perhaps have 10 pints in a year.

As shocking / entertaining as this is, it's not making my cold feel any better :p

Not the message Jeep intended?

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I've just seen the new Jeep Commander advert on TV - shows them driving around in an oversized sandbox with oversized spades and buckets. The message I got from that advert is "the Jeep Commander is a child's toy".
Methinks they ought to have thought that through before airing it.

Smitten down with a cold.

Oct 23, 2007 | | 0 comments |

First one of the season I suspect. Felt like a light head cold yesterday morning. This morning, feels like someone broke into my head with a tube of caulk and gummed everything up. So I'm staying home, rather than spreading it around. I'm doing my best to stay away from daytime TV because that'll just tip me over the edge.

Cellphones on planes again.

Oct 22, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Boy they just won't stop pushing this will they? Again the topic of cellphones on aircraft has come up. I really don't think the technology and cellphone companies quite understand the ramifications of this. Flying is a fucking miserable experience as it is thanks to El Busho's "war on terror" and the airlines incessant need to make us all fly in 22 inch seat pitch. To allow cellphones on aircraft is just going to tip people like me over the edge. You know what - I don't care if I get arrested for threatening someone at 30,000ft. If that's what it takes to publicise what a damn stupid idea this is, then that's what I'll do. The first person who strikes up a cellphone conversation next to me on a plane is going to find their phone taken apart and shoved up their ass with extreme prejudice.

Gizmodo story

Portal

Oct 21, 2007 | | 0 comments |

If you don't have Valve's Steam game delivery system on your PC, you really ought to install it and play something called Portal. It uses the Half Life 2 game engine but sets you in an experimental lab with a portal gun - a gun that can be used to fire wormhole entrance and exit portals into just about any surface in the room. It's a first-person puzzle game where you have to take into account the physics of putting an entrance portal in the wall and an exit portal in the ceiling (for example). It's like being stuck in an Escher painting.

First snow of the season.

Oct 18, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Whilst it's been snowing up in the mountains for three weeks now, we had the first significant snow of the season down low last night. An inch or so where we were - enough to slide off the roof and scare the cat :)

A rain day.

Oct 17, 2007 | | 0 comments |

3cm of rain overnight, hail this morning, lashing rain and low-lying clouds right now. Ah yes. Winter is on the way, at last. The leaves are all changing colour and dropping on to the roads giving us a nice slippery mess, and the local Utah drivers are all behaving like it's the first time they've ever seen rain.

There's a couple of guys over from Horsham this week and we went out to PF Chang's last night. I'd never eaten at one of those places before but the food was really good and it was in the sizes of portions you would expect for one person. ie. it wasn't mountains and mountains of the stuff. Not only that but we were able to book a table (the only place we've found in Utah where you can), and the food came at a good pace, rather than all being heaped on to the table while we were one mouthful into our starters.

+1 to PF Chang's.

Nice autumn sky

Oct 16, 2007 | | 0 comments |

My webcam photographed this a few minutes ago. Nice.

The Flying Gin Palace is ready to go.

Oct 14, 2007 | | 0 comments |

It's been a long time coming but Airbus hand over the keys to the first A380 to Singapore Airlines tomorrow, with the first scheduled flight due on October 28th.

Wow. It's finally going to start making money. We'll see if the Airbus gamble has paid off.

HL2 Episode 2.

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Mmmm. Half Life 2 Episode 2 is available on Steam today. I know where the rest of my sunday is going :)

Name that tune.

Oct 13, 2007 | | 1 comments |

Hmm. Seems the last lyrics test was a little too obscure.
Here's something marginally less obscure.

Title and artist(e) please, then download it and play it loud, coz its wonderful electric.... :-)


I get high on a buzz
Then a rush when I'm plugged in you
I connect when I'm flush
You get love when told what to do
Wonderful electric
Wonderful electric
Wonderful electric
Cover me in you...

Scanning in old memories.

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I bought a new scanner last weekend with a view to finally scanning in all my old 35mm negatives, to bring them into the digital realm. It's been quite the eye-opener going back through all the old pictures. The scanner's doing a bang-up job and the resulting pics are nowhere near as spotty as the ones I was getting out of the old film scanner.
If you're lucky I'll post an old pic of me with h-u-g-e hair.....

Scooby-b-gon

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Behold the power of our local TV station's car ads. I put the scooby up yesterday and noon, and now, it's gone.
I guess I'd better find a replacement quick :)

Time to sell the Scooby :(

Oct 12, 2007 | | 0 comments |

The time has come, then, to sell the Subaru. We're looking at a Toymotor Yaris for Paula - smaller car, newer, much better gas mileage. The Scooby just isn't being used like a Scooby should be. We've got a couple of cars lined up to look at for buying, but the dealer lowballed us way too much on the trade in last night and wouldn't come up any. So we're going to try craigslist and the KSL ads and see what happens.

Pedestrian culling.

Oct 11, 2007 | | 1 comments |

We saw this on the back of a bus yesterday and I took particular offence to it. I absolutely do not hold with the common myth that it's always the driver's fault when a pedestrian gets hit. Especially in the case of the example they've chosen on this poster. If some idiot pedestrian wanders across the road without looking, concentrating on their iPod or cellphone, and they get hit by a car, it's called Darwinism. The argument is always "as a driver it's your responsibility to avoid an accident." That's true, but as a pedestrian, it's their responsibility to not jaywalk into the road like a total cock and get themselves killed. You simply cannot levy all the blame on the drivers.
This sort of advertising just persists the arrogant attitude that as a car driver, we're responsible for everything bad that happens to pedestrians. You know what? By the logic implied in this advert, I could drive on the sidewalk and mow pedestrians down left right and centre and it would be their responsibility for me hitting them.
Of course that's a fallacy - the sidewalks would be empty in real life because all these morons are wandering around in the bloody traffic!
Now if that poster had said "hang up your fucking cellphone and concentrate on actually driving", I would be totally in favour of that.
The real problem here is that putting a poster like this on the back of a bus assumes that it will be read. That's a faulty assumption given that 99.99% of drivers can't see any further ahead than their own windscreen.
Oh and before anyone gets all high-and-mighty trying to take the moral high ground about me taking a cellphone photo whilst driving, you'll notice it's taken from the passenger seat, by my passenger, and we were stopped which is why we're so close to the bus.

Name that tune again.

Oct 6, 2007 | | 2 comments |

Time for another name that tune. I've put almost the entire track here because this one isn't that easy...


I remember when you said that I'd be the only one,
Here I'm alone,
Don't be afraid,
Amen, amen, amen, amen, amen, amen, amen if you feel alone.

I remember when you said that I'd be the only one,
Here I'm alone,
Don't be afraid,
When I close my eyes you're all I see, the only one,
Here time has gone,
I'm not afraid,
I hear your voice,
I call your name,
I say a prayer,
Amen,
Down on my knees,
I feel you breathe,
I know you're there,
Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen.

I remember when you said that I'd be the only one,
Here I'm alone,
Don't be afraid,
Amen, amen, amen, amen, amen, amen, amen if you feel alone....

I remember when you said that I'd be the only one,
Here I'm alone,
Don't be afraid,
When I close my eyes you're all I see, the only one,
Here time has gone,
I'm not afraid,
Amen.

Cold and wet. But not really snowing.

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Well the storm is here. Not so much of a storm as a typical English day though. Dark, low-lying overcast clouds and constant drizzle of rain. I suppose it might be snowing in the mountains but it's just not cold enough down here in the valley.

Oh - about yesterday's DVDs. Redline - cheesy. Super cheesy. "Push for cheese" cheesy. I'm a fan of bad films but this one was just awful. It was partly saved by the presence of the pneumatically inflated Nadia Bjorlin (whom I'd never seen before but appears to have been separated at birth from Tiffani Thiessen) but apart from that - well - it was sort of like the Garfield movie ethos applied to The Fast And the Furious. Nadia - bork bork bork....



Grindhouse on the other hand was highly entertaining, especially the hanging-on-the-hood car chase at the end. Now that was impressive.

The chill before the storm?

Oct 5, 2007 | | 0 comments |

There's a definite nip in the air outside today. There's a big storm coming in and with the way it feels out there, I wouldn't be surprised to see snow down to the valley floor in the next couple of days.
So to pre-empt that, I mowed the lawn last night and cleaned the bike this morning. I don't have to go outside all weekend now if I don't want to :-)
So this afternoon I'm going to veg' out with Redline and Grindhouse on DVD. Mmmmm. Cheesy.

Christ in a box!

Oct 4, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Now I'm not even vaguely religious, but when a major deity's son turns up in a box in our elevator in the morning, it's good enough for a picture. The best bit is the "Fragile Do Not Drop" notice. I guess he was out on a bender last night and didn't know when to stop turning water into wine. Some alka seltzer will take care of that.

Either that or it's the second coming, although you'd have thought it would have been a bit more grand than just stuffing him in a box and fedexing him to a simulation company.

Wellmark PPO - the art of never paying for anything.

Oct 3, 2007 | | 0 comments |

I suppose it was inevitable. I've come to the end of the line with the healthcare "insurance" company. They basically said "take drugs for the rest of your life or pay for it yourself" (although in a far more roundabout way).

I don't know why I bother paying the premiums. In fact I think I'll just opt out completely next year. There's clearly no point in having health insurance - it doesn't pay for anything. Well - nothing modern at least. I'm sure if I was to hack a leg off with a pitchfork and use pig's urine, dung and other dark-ages "medicine" they'd pay for it. But procedures that have only been in accepted use since 1980? Forget it.

134mph, touching down, and bitter cold.

Oct 1, 2007 | | 0 comments |

We're back. The rides this weekend were great. The weather was much colder than last time around - obviously. Friday's ride was down to Escalante over Hell's Backbone, then off to Panguitch through Red Canyon and back. There was a great long stretch of newly resurfaced road somewhere out in the boonies where we did some speed testing. My GPS showed a max speed of 134mph. Sweet.
Coming over Boulder mountain on the way back we had to contend with 50mph side winds from the oncoming storm, which made some of the corners interesting. However, I discovered that apparently I do have the speed, stones and skill to get my Tiger all the way over, as I touched a toe down in a long sweeping right-hander on the way back. Scared the crap out of me - I had no idea I had it in me :-)
Saturday morning we took off down route 72 and then were going to do Fish Lake. We got to the turnoff and looked at the mountain ahead only to see it covered in clouds dumping snow and rain. Brett and and pretty much said 'fuck it' and went back to the cabin whilst Mark, Mike and Scott took off towards the storm. 10 minutes after we got back to the cabin, they pulled in - they didn't get that far before they got caught in the weather. So saturday afternoon was a bust - snow, hail, rain and wind. Because of that, I decided to ride back sunday morning instead of trailering the bike back as I'd originally intended. Mark, Brett and I took off about 9:30 and it just got colder and colder. We stopped for breakfast in Salina and Mark happily announced that it had been -1°C as we came over a couple of the passes, which explained why it felt so cold. The rest of the ride home was a bit warmer but not much.



Ready to ride.

Sep 26, 2007 | | 1 comments |

We're off. Well - almost. At noon tomorrow Mark and I will be on our way, riding down to Torrey. Mike will be meeting us down there in the van with a couple of his mates, with three bikes on the trailer this time. Hopefully we'll have some good weather for three days of riding along with some fun at the expense of the girls in the Torrey Subway again. Personally, I'm looking forwards to Hell's Backbone....

September 26th 1983 - Stanislav Petrov saved your life.

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Why?
He prevented all-out nuclear war.
Wikipedia
Wired

Thank you, Mr Petrov.

Sicko.

Sep 25, 2007 | | 0 comments |

It seems I'm stuck in my very own Sicko movie. My health insurance are refusing to cover the cost of a treatment for my heels because they (faultily) consider it to be investigational, as oppose to an actual procedure. I've escalated it to our benefits provide now to see if they can see some sense.

Rain and snow!

Sep 24, 2007 | | 0 comments |

We've had a weekend of rain in the valley, which was great, but more importantly, snow in the mountains. Lots of it, and down to 6,500ft. It very nearly snowed on the benches yesterday. Doesn't look like there's any more rain forecast for the next 10 days though so I suspect that most of the snow will melt again.

Scariest article ever.

Sep 22, 2007 | | 0 comments |

The top ten reasons why Bush will invade / bomb Iran

If this happens, it'll be the last mistake any world leader ever makes. Bush is too immature to resist using nukes and with his doctrine of "pre-emptive war", you just know he's going to try to turn Iran into a glass parking lot with his "Fuck the rest of the world" attitude.

I would say "I dare you" but I don't, because Bush is retarded enough to actually do it. He has no concept of consequences, and doesn't understand that if he does, Russia will evaporate most of the major cities in America for him.

We can't afford for Bush to serve out the rest of his term. Something has to be done to remove him from power, and fast, or we're all going to regret his pitifully low IQ and Texas attitude towards life. Let's not forget he went on TV this week and told us Nelson Mandela was dead.

You can't win a war on terrorism - anyone with any common sense knows this and only a fool could truly believe a war on terrorism is winnable. Unfortunately, Bush is that fool. The only thing missing from that list is point 11 : Bush thinks it's The End Days. He's turned into a religious nutcase and it using God as his excuse now. That makes him no better than those he seeks to destroy.

I guess now we know the real reason he wanted the Divine Strake nuclear analogue test in Utah - it wasn't for Iraq, it was to see how large a nuke he could afford to drop on Iran.

Yay! It's Christmas. Wait - what?

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Home Depot have won the grand prize for jumping the gun this year. We went in for some bits and pieces yesterday and lo and behold, they have their Christmas display up. Three months and three days before Christmas, they have all the inflatable garden ornaments, fake trees, lights, displays and ornaments out on display. Normally that doesn't happen until we're getting close to Thanksgiving and that's still two months away. We've not even got to Halloween yet!

No more insects between the fingers.

Sep 21, 2007 | | 0 comments |

I picked up some BMW R1150GS handguards this morning and spent an hour or so wrangling them on to the handlebars of the Tiger. They actually fit really well, and with the cutouts for the cables, all the electrical, throttle, brake and clutch cables fit neatly through the handguards. Everything still moves nice and freely so I don't think I've buggered up any of the cables. The nice thing is that it means the handguards will collect the dead bugs now instead of them getting wedged between the fingers of my gloves. Plus, on cold mornings, the wind blast is now diverted over and around my hands just like it was on the beemer.
It's odd that Triumph don't do 'official' handguards for the Tiger. Everyone on the forums is busily fitting KTM and BMW ones, so there's a definite market for them.
But what do I know? I'm just a consumer.

Driving like a total cock.

Sep 20, 2007 | | 0 comments |

As a motorcyclist I'm used to being invisible on the road, but this morning took the cake in terms of outright wankerness. The same guy cut me off three times and nearly ran into me once. The first two times I was trying to change lanes, and as soon as I indicated, he pulled out behind me and closed the gap. The third incident happened when he tried to change lanes into me without looking, and the last time he cut me off was again changing lanes only this time I was behind him and in the process of passing him having changed lanes when he veered over to cut me off. So if that was you in the white Mercury Mariner, coming up Foothill drive this morning, here's some advice. (1) Stop texting on your cellphone whilst driving - you're not that important. (2) Stop driving like a total cock - you evolved to have eyes, and your car has mirrors and indicators for a reason. And (3), I hope the bodyshop charges you an arm and a fucking leg for the huge dent I kicked into your passenger door when you were attempting to kill me for the fourth time.
Fucking wanker.

Late nights.

Sep 18, 2007 | | 0 comments |

We have a big demo coming up tomorrow so we did a late one tonight. At lunchtime the demonstrator was essentially in pieces. Bob was trying not to stab mike under the floor whilst routing new wires under the cockpit and I was trying to get the demo assembled with three mismatched views, so stuff kept vanishing into the channel boundaries. We managed to extract mike who seemed to be able to get into an impossibly small space and by mid-afternoon we were running on all cylinders. Demo is, for the most part, ready to show now though.

Ooh. Meaty.

Sep 16, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Even the chair of the 9/11 Commission now admits that the official evidence they were given was 'far from the truth'.

Make it stick this time.

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Vegas police have arrested OJ today following his gun rampage a couple of days ago. Let's hope they make the charges stick this time. He's already guilty of one murder and with gun in hand, was probably on his way to a second. He claims he didn't want to involve the police in the return of what is allegedly his, because he was setting up his own sting operation.
Clearly this man doesn't understand what it means to be a civilian.
I hope he gets dealt with just like any other normal person under the same circumstances. The good news is that with Johnny Cochrane out of the picture now, OJ can't rely on him to get him off this time.

Nice legs

Sep 14, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Like most blokes I'm especially appreciative of the female form. I went to log in to PayPal this morning and noticed a new banner on their front page, and my initial reaction was "great legs!". I'm not sure quite how these legs relate to an online payment company but I'm appreciative of them being there.
Here - see for yourself:

iPod touch, and iPhone unlocks

Sep 13, 2007 | | 0 comments |

I'm pleased to see two things this week : the iPhone software unlock is now known to work in 40-plus countries with hundreds of providers, and there's a new iPod which is essentially the iPhone minus the phone.

I just don't get why Apple tried to lock the iPhone to AT&T. They're not known for making bad business decisions but that was a good one. Why would you make something as (apparently) desirable as an iPhone and then slap such a stupid restriction on it?
Moving the technology into the iPod touch, however - genius move. Except it'll suffer the same problem as the iPhone, which is a constantly gucked-up screen covered in smudges, scratches and grease from grubby fingers.

Emboldening the enemy?

Sep 11, 2007 | | 0 comments |



So it's come to this then. With the last of the British troops leaving Iraq, Bush is finally admitting defeat. He's going to announce tomorrow that he's pulling 30,000 troops out of Iraq. It's the beginning of the troop drawdown we all expected (about bloody time). It'll be interesting to see how they spin this. When non-Bushies talked of troop reductions and such, they were always accused of 'emboldening the enemy'. Now Bush is going to talk about it and actually do it, that means he too is 'emboldening the enemy'.

Of course the spin will attempt to make it seem like something totally different, but the fact is this - he was wrong, he's going to eat humble pie, and he's presided over only the second US defeat in miltary history, the first being Vietnam.

Things you see at Albertsons

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I nearly got into a fight last night. As I was walking into Albertsons, our local supermarket, this guy in a huge black Chevy somethingorother drifted across in front of me and parked right across the doors to the store on the 'no parking' area. As he got out, I couldn't stop myself, and I said "which part of no parking didn't you understand?" Apparently he took offence because he then spent a considerable amount of time trying to defend himself. He told me he was just going in for a coffee, so I said "why don't you just go and park properly first then?". Then he accused me of being an SUV-hater, at which point I flipped out my keyfob and blipped the alarm on my Element to show him I had an SUV but was perfectly capable of parking it. In the end, I pointed out that not only had he blocked me going into the store, but he'd blocked two people coming out with shopping carts too, and that perhaps if he used his eyes or brain in future, he wouldn't have to put up with people telling him what a dickhead he is. He really didn't like that at all, and got back in his giant black phallic symbol and screeched out of the parking lot nearly running over one of the Albertson's staff on the way, whilst kerbing one of his terribly expensive chrome spinners at the same time.
What a tool.

This follows on from last week when I saw a similar thing only with a giant old American Land Yacht. I was going to say something until I saw the owner come out of the store. Easily in his late 90's, he scanned the parking lot with his coke-bottle-bottom glasses and then saw his car double-parked right next to him. He then felt his way along the hood, shuffling sideways until he got to the driver's side door. He then felt his way along the door trying to find the handle, opened it, and spent a good minute trying to lower himself into the seat. At this point, his spritely 80-something year old wife came around and lifted his legs into the car for him before returning to the passenger seat. He fumbled around for a moment trying to find the steering wheel and gearshift, then took off over two kerbs and a grass divide in to a gentle drift down the wrong side of the road down 21st south.

I don't care about civil liberties, and human rights, and 'freedom' and all the other bollocks that Americans hold so dear but don't understand; if you can't see the fucking car, you sure as hell should not be driving it ! Driving is a priveledge, not a right. As a nearly blind 90-something-year-old, that guy has no right to drive a car. He could run over 20 people and never even know it.

Darwin, take a bow. Parents - listen and learn.

Sep 10, 2007 | | 0 comments |

This is a great article. Overprotective parents never allow their children to cross the street on their own, so the kids never learn to look out for cars, and drivers become less accustomed to seeing them in the road. When the kids then run into the road, they get run over.
Now if only we could get pedestrians to understand that a red crosswalk light means keep the fuck out of the road.
As a driver, motorcyclist and pedestrian, I fail to understand why it's always the driver's responsibility not to run over pedestrians who amble into the road. Why is it not the pedestrian's fault when this happens? Why are they not responsible for their actions? Frankly, if you're dumb enough to walk into traffic, and don't understand what 2 tons of metal will do to an ugly bag of mostly water, you'll get what's coming to you.

Times article.

A bad omen?

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When we got back from Vegas, we discovered the power had been out at some point while we'd been away, for about 9 hours. It went again last night around 23:00 for about 7 hours this time. With winter coming, power outages in calm weather are a bad omen in this neighbourhood. I hope this doesn't mean Utah Power have fucked up the system again.

Multiple trips to Home Depot.

Sep 8, 2007 | | 0 comments |

I discovered this morning that the power outage while we were away blew up our old mechanical sprinkler timer. I took it apart this morning to discover the timing motor was dead. The spare is $49 plus shipping and I figured I could get a whole new timer for $60 so it seemed like a no-brainer. So we now have a new digital RainBird timer. Now I'm no dummy, but this thing requires a degree in astrophysics to program. I think I've got it how I want it but it's not intuitive at all. Still - at least it has a battery backup so it maintains the clock when the power is off.
Anyhoo - that was the first of many trips to Home Depot today. The rest were for stupid things like wire and batteries that didn't come with the new timer. Go figure.

The Red Rock

Sep 7, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Aaaahhhhhhh.
Apart from the drive to Vegas and back, the last few days have been spent blissfully doing nothing. Zip. Nada. Well - lying around the pool at the Red Rock Resort perhaps, but does that really count as doing something?
The hotel was everything we remembered from last year when we visited it during Ray and Marie's wedding. We got a room on the 18th floor with a great view of the pool area. The room itself was excellent, of course, as was the whole resort / hotel. The casino was fun, and their player's club is a pretty good deal, getting you discounts off merchandise, food and drink right from day 1. The staff were courteous and friendly and the girl who served us poolside each day looked astonishingly like the wife of a Dutch friend of mine, only with black hair instead of red. And a little younger. And totally hot.
We had a square bed / cabana at the poolside yesterday. Should have been 50 bucks for the day but because it was off-peak and none had been reserved, we got it for nothing. It was lovely being able to just lie there and watch the world go by, with the occasional dip in the pool. Didn't want to come home :(
The photos here are of the pool from our room, and from our square bed / cabana.



Miss Teen South Carolina's Slow Motion Train Wreck

Aug 30, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Wow.
The Miss Teen USA pageant this year has thrown up a clear winner in Miss Teen South Carolina.

The question: Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can't locate the US on a world map. Why do you think this is?

Her answer: I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because - uh - some - people out there in our nation don't have maps, and - uh - I believe that our education like such as South Africa and - uh - The Iraq everywhere like, such as and - uh - I believe that they should, our education over here in the US should help the US - uh - should help South Africa and should help The Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future for our children....

WTF?
I'm not sure if she was having a stroke, or trying to copy Dubya, or trying to demonstrate the aforementioned dumbness instead of answering the question about it. Take a bow Lauren Caitlin Upton; you win, hands down.

I liked the comment on the radio this morning. It was like she leaned over and grabbed the steering wheel and turned it hard to the left. "Hang on guys, it's going to get a bit bumpy."

Totally hot, but dumb as a post.

Eurotrash on Monte Cristo

Aug 26, 2007 | | 0 comments |

SquidNey and I went for a ride today - turned out to be a 260 mile ride - to help break-in the Tiger. Me on the Triumph, him on his KTM. Eurotrash. We rode East Canyon, Trapper's Loop, Monte Cristo, down into Evanston and then back along the Mirror Lake Highway. We dodged two rather ominous looking thunderstorms.
The Tiger is amazing. It has so much power and torque that I barely came out of 6th gear. Overtaking was a breeze - didn't require anywhere near the setup or planning that it did on the GS. I loved that BMW but all indicators say this Triumph is quite the bike. My grin meets at the back of my head at the moment.

RRrrrraouw.

Aug 24, 2007 | | 0 comments |

Picture is worth a thousand words.
'Nuff said.

It's here!

Aug 23, 2007 | | 0 comments |

The Tiger is here. I get to pick it up tomorrow :-0

Meanwhile, the guy who bought my GS sent me a couple of photos of it loaded up for his trip back to Canada. Neat...



T minus 2 days

Aug 21, 2007 | | 0 comments |

As in 'T' for 'Tiger'. It should be at the dealer on thursday, ready to pickup on friday unless I hear otherwise...

I'm getting excited now.

Oh the Irony.

Aug 20, 2007 | | 0 comments |

When talking to a Canadian acquaintance of mine about how difficult it is to get Americans to understand irony and sarcasm in humour, he said "Americans are actually very ironic, they just don't know it."

Case in point: our new overlords. The printers here at work now print a header page for every printout, and at the same time, we've been ordered to use the secure shredder recycling bins for all paper we don't use. So 99.9% of the paper that goes into the shredder bins are the single-line header sheets that now come out of the printers.

Ironic.

And very wasteful. We waste 1 page in every 2 printed, and pay people to securely shred blank pieces of paper. If we didn't outsource the shredding, and didn't print the extra sheet, surely that would save money? My ethical training has me confused now :-)

Delta direct to Europe?

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At last it looks like we're getting a direct flight to Europe from Salt Lake City. Although this morning, it now looks like flights - plural. Delta have said they'll announce within the next two weeks which cities they're going to fly direct to in Europe from SLC.
Pity it's Delta. The direct flight is a fantastic idea, but doing it in 30-inch seat pitch whilst your luggage goes to Mexico isn't my idea of a fun time.

Black

Aug 19, 2007 | | 0 comments |

I've just become acquainted with Black, the EA first person shooter for the PS2. Holy snot. It's gun porn. Totally destroyable environments, great sound and graphics, immersive gameplay. The AI is a bit wooden but the rest of the game makes up for that.
Smoke, dust guns, bullets everywhere. Stuff blows up properly when you lob a grenade. Glass breaks, doors blow apart. You can even chip away at the stone on corners of buildings to reduce the enemy's cover (or shoot out the metal plate they're standing behind etc etc).
It's a hoot to play, and it makes all the other first person shooters on the PS2 look a bit poor in comparison.
The good news is that it looks like they're doing Black 2 for the PS3. If it looks this good on a PS2, I can't wait !

More mine trouble.

Aug 17, 2007 | | 0 comments |

I wasn't going to comment on the Crandall Canyon mine collapse over near Huntington. But the time has come to have my 2¢ worth.

One : the CEO is a liar and a crook. You only need to listen to him spouting off on TV to know that. He still blames the original collapse on an earthquake, despite geologists and seismic experts from all over America being able to prove otherwise.
He still claims they weren't retreat mining, which it now turns out they were.

Two: I've considered that they've been looking for corpses pretty much since day 1. It's horrible to say, but I think it's the truth. I can't imagine what it's like for the families, and I hope by now they've come to terms with the fact that it's more likely they've lost their loved ones.

Three: I've also said that they've been endangering the rescue crews with shoddy, high-speed tunneling and no roof supports, trying to find the buried miners. Well last night, the bleeding obvious happened - the new tunnel collapsed killing 3 rescue miners and injuring another 6.

Come on guys - we're well past the point of no return now. When the rescuers become the rescuees, that's when it's time to call it quits. The rescue effort itself effectively multiplied the number of dead by 1.5 which is simply unacceptable. Cut your losses, close the mine, and pray to your deity that the original 6 miners were killed quickly.
I hope for the sake of the families that the bodies get found one day, for closure, but by the same thought, hope they never get found so their families can remember them the way the were. I can't imagine bodies crushed by tons of falling coal would be a pleasant image for anyone.

The Angry Wasp

Aug 15, 2007 | | 0 comments |

I've done it. I've ordered the new Tiger. The Angry Wasp will be here sometime next week. Then, this will be me ....



I got an email from the guy who bought my Beemer today. He made it back to Canada without too much hassle, until he hit a deer. The bike survived with a broken light and a broken beak but he was able to keep riding it all the way home without any problem and because of the ABS, he didn't lie the bike down.

So long Beemer. You served me well.

Aug 13, 2007 | | 0 comments |

That's that then. The GS is no longer mine. I received cash for it this morning, transferred the title, and the new owner is now riding it back to Canada where it will find its new home.
So long R1150GS. You served me well.



Now on to the business of buying a Triumph Tiger....