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


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


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.


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.