Friday, October 20, 2006

Second Week

Seems sometimes I hardly have time to post..

Well, the second week is almost to an end. She's more tired, now. This is just simply amazing, though. Even though I do more now, it really isn't too bad.

Sorry for the short post. Its just that... well, theres not a whole lot going on!

Monday, October 09, 2006

A New Life

As many things in life, things change.

A new series of posts from now on. I'm now one of the many who is experiencing and has experienced having a new life develop before their eyes. I just found out my wife is pregnant. This will be our first child. I'm estatic.

Periodically, I will be posting entries about this wonderful and amazing journey.

Week 1, Day 1

It happened. It finally happened. We just finished a cruise, and during the cruise suspected that something may be up. So, upon returning home, we stopped by walgreens to pick up the test. I had just read a letter in the mail that was going to require attention, and was bad news. Fine. I can deal with it.

She took the test, and in a few minutes my world changed: it simply read "Pregnant". I was scared, especially because of the coorespondence in the mail, and now a baby, too. How can I deal with it? This wasn't how I wanted it to be. I wanted the moment we found out to be a spectacular rush of joy, not terror. But, I was a bit terrified. I had a financial obligation that I needed to make good, "or else..." and that stung, especially in light of this news. I didn't sleep too well, and was quite fidgity. We called my parents and her parents to tell them the good news. Deep inside I can feel the happiness, but it is overshadowed by the other news.

Day 2

Having reconciled arrangements to pay back the debt, I'm confident we can do this. I now find myself wondering about this new person, new human being.... Someone who only a scant few weeks ago didn't exist at all! What will they be like? What will their personality be like? Whose looks will they resemble the most? All these questions will be answered in due time.

Its wonderful! I'm going to be a dad!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

And the "useless product of the year" award goes to ...

USB Batteries!

Thats right! you, too can plug four batteries into four available USB ports on your handy laptop, leave it on overnight (connected to wall power, since few laptops are capable of running full-on for 5 hour straight) and have a fresh set of batteries in the morning!

Hmm, I have several sets of NiMH batteries and a 15min charger at home. Its small, easy to pack and takes minutes to charge, and the batteries run for 1/4 the price of these. Heck, the charger costs as much as 1 battery. Oh, and don't forget: My batteries are 2500mah, these are 1300mah. You'd be better off stocking up on Alkalines.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

There's a rabbit under there... somewhere

This blog post came up, and... HOLY COW! There's a rabbit under there somewhere.

This thing resembles some sort of tribble!

Photo by Betty Chu

According to Wikipedia, its an english angora rabbit. The beast has to be miserable in the summer time.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Reading an article on Snopes, I'm reminded of a time when I was chosen from the audience to be part of a magic trick.

I was not in on the act. I was just as dumbfounded as the remainder of the audience. And then it came: The act was performed aboard a cruise ship. Which meant everyone who had seen me at some point had a chance to corner and question me about the trick.

My response: "No. I don't know how he did it, but it certainly was cool."

There are probably people to this day who thought I was part of the trick. Not every magic trick has a preselected participant in the audience.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Cell Phone Slamming

I suppose word hasn't gotten around yet, so I'll be the one to break it to everyone:

Check your cellphone bill ... Look at it carefully. It seems the new form of slamming is particularly insidious. Send junk to your phone and bill you for it.

I have not subscribed to any monthly service whatsoever, and yet, I keep getting a $10 monthly text message. An advertisement is all it is, but they get to charge me $10 for it. No more.

Look for it: 21277 Text Alerts, Provider: Mobile Lifestyles

Friday, May 12, 2006

Gasoline Price Excuse Calendar #2


Yep. The reason gas prices are so inflated right now is taxes.

(Keep in mind that taxes are only 15% of the total price you see at the pump and they haven't really changed at all)

Here's a little hint: They wouldn't have raked in nearly as much dough as they have if the reason truly were taxes.

I think they're running out of good excuses, or at least plausible ones.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

I was hoping it would never come to this


Due to some scum, I now have word verification turned on.

SPAMMER BE WARNED: I will be contacting your ISP. have a nice day :)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Why would anyone in the right mind purchase this product.

A gem from the article:

"The weird thing is, it smells like a chocolate Pop Tart. That's the best way I can describe it. It really does have a chocolate scent to it," explained Shane Compton of Hewitt's Garden Center.

I do not think I want my flower bed smelling anything like any sort of pop tart.

Some things are just ... TMI

At a local restaurant, we're enjoying our early dinner. A waiter answers a cell phone, and takes the call outdoors. No biggie. It didn't even phase me.

What happened next, however made me uncomfortable: He proceeded to explain to us the reason for his taking the call.

I didn't care. I didn't want to know. The right thing to do would have been not to say a word. In short, I don't really care about a complete stranger's dating life. Really. I don't. Revealing your excitement about the call was a far worse sin than simply taking the call and saying nothing about it.

I don't like feeling awkward when I'm on a date with my wife.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Massachusetts Says to Lower Middle Class: "Up Yours"


They approved the mandantory health insurance bill. This means that every citizen in MA will now be requred to have insurance, or face penalties. I'm sure the insurance companies are salavating over the new business this will bring. What concerns me is the fact that a family of 3 at 38,000 is at the top end of the "sliding scale" for affordable health insurance. This is fine, if you are married and have children. What is the top for those who do not have children? What about people who can "afford" insurance by their definition, but have an illness such as dabetes? I'm sure someone making $40,000 per year would be just fine having to shell out around 700-800 per month on insurance.

I'd make it a point to have employers be required to offer insurance to their employees, rather than requiring the individual. Have the insurance based on the wages the individual is paid. Penalise those who employ people but don't offer insurance. Leave the individual alone.

While they have penalties for employers, it doesn't apply for very small businesses (nor should it apply), so the worker in those businesses will either have to find another job or go out on their own for health insurance (which means that person will not get the deep discounts offered for groups, believe me, it becomes a significant chunk of your income that way, especially if you're making $12/hour or less.)

Norton Antivirus Upgrade Path

Today's Dilbert just about sums up my user experience with Norton Antivirus. I take it Scott Adams is a Norton user as well.

Flash back to the heady days of 2005:

Again, after some severe procrastination, I decided to update my virus definitions. Norton's site wanted to charge as much for a year's worth of virus updates as it did for the new version. Guess which choice I took? That's right. The new version. Great. After about 24 hours of frustration, pain and agony, resulting in some bizarre steps that could have been construed as ritualistic, I finally got the upgrade on, but not without seriously ripping apart the program to the point where it was no longer operational. A distant memory, now, but it was a horrible user experience. Software installation shouldn't be painful.

Fast forward to last weekend:

After much procrastination, I decide to purchase another year of virus definitions. Click the purchase button, expecting it to helpfully take me to a website where I can purchase the update, but instead I get a nasty dialog demanding that I give it a code. So, figuring I cannot go on without the code, I go digging. I find 3 candidate numbers and dutifully punch them into the little white box. None work. What the hell? All I want to do is get another year of definitions. Why won't it let me continue with the purchase? So, I click on a button it recommends if I don't have the code. It lists about 2 dozen different phone numbers, depending on which part of the world you live on. I ask my wife to grab a phone for me, and proceed to dial, only to find out their number has changed! Gah! It took me a while to notice the hyperlink. Well, well. That link takes you to the purchase site.

I could have saved half an hour and some pain and agony if the program had directed me to the purchase site first, then asked for the code.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


At a local interchange, they can't seem to get the signs right. There's a problem with the signs going from the northbound lanes of one freeway to the other freeway, It used to throw me every time, until I stopped paying attention. Now, at the same interchange they've put up new signs, which don't make any sense. Anyone not familiar with the area or the interchange has the potential for either missing their exit or winding up in a serious accident when they make the mad dash to exit.

I really wish the bozos putting up freeway signs showing the lanes that exit and where to would do the job right!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Texas has gone toll happy

We have 2 toll roads in the Dallas area, and I have to commute using one of them. Not bad, but its going to get bad. There have been plans to make what used to be a highway into a toll road, and now under the threat of taking 10 more years to complete, instead of 3 more years, a project that was once considered a freeway will now be a tollway.

Now, the question is: Once they've paid off building the road, and improving the local roads with the money from the tolls will the state let go of their cash cow? Keep in mind these projects (the 161 project specifically) are being handled by private companies who are interested in one thing, and one thing alone: The bottom line.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Sweet sweet irony

This post by Raymond Chen just cracks me up.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


After reading a thread, I got some crazy ideas in my head to make this post.

On Kids and Guns:

One of the posts mentioned that the child should be told in no uncertain terms that guns are for adults only.

Human Nature 101: Label something as forbidden to you or people of your group will do nothing more than make that object highly desirable.

This does not prevent a kid from playing with a gun. Now, at the risk of my wife being very upset with me when she reads this post, let me share my view:

I grew up in a family that had guns. My grandfather collects guns, as does one of my uncles. This culture eventually culminated in one intriguing Christmas present: A BB gun. (Not a Red Rider) Upon receiving it, my dad sat down with me and went over every single part of the weapon, how to work the safety switch, and various other serious things, notably:

  • Don't point it at anyone for any reason at any time, Regardless if it is loaded or not. As far as you know, the gun is loaded. Same goes for the safety switch, even if the safety is on, don't do it!
  • When walking, point it at the ground, Keep your hand away from the trigger.
Even though this was simply a BB gun, it was meant to be taken seriously. An accident wouldn't have been a tragedy in the least, but with a real gun it most certainly would have.

Both of those points were well taken. I also understood the consequences for breaking any safety rules.

Because I was disciplined, and followed safety correctly, I had the privilege of using real guns, and eventually a bow and arrow. I knew how much force they had behind them. The gun simply because of its recoil, the bow because of the amount of force to pull and hold the string.

I've been in situations where another kid had access to a gun, pulled it out and started playing with it. I didn't stick around, and made it clear to that kid that I wasn't sticking around because the gun shouldn't be out, and he was reckless in handling it. I don't know how I would have handled that situation had I not had exposure earlier in life to guns. Further, I don't know how I would have reacted if guns were described as being for grown-ups only, but I do know how I reacted to certain "Adults only" magazines as a kid.... ;)

As an aside, I don't own a gun today. I don't intend to own a gun, and don't really want one in my house. Nothing against guns or people who own them, I just prefer not to have one. Would I give my kid a BB gun? Maybe. Anything more than that? Probably not. I'd let him or her fire one at a shooting range, just for the experience, but only after a long talk and a couple thousand copper balls.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Fuel Price Excuse Calander

Today's Entry: Switching from Winter formula to summer formula

Previous entries include such zingers as:

Impending Hurricane. Must raise prices.
Exploding Refineries.
Transient Electrical Distrubances in the pricing system caused by sunspots

The last one is a joke, but can you really tell the difference?

$2.50 per gallon when they're pulling record profits on a commodity that everyone needs is just plain sickening.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Tin foil hat time

Well, Is it?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Tired of Spam? Try this.

I remember getting a link to this from somewhere, but after deleting a mailbox full of badly written spam (and reading the subject lines and wondering how many of these spammers got past 4th grade composition) I decided to revisit this site.

Spamusement, they call themselves.

Running low on ideas

So, today

I'll make a post about nothing .

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Simpsons

Maybe its just me, but this is too strange. Do not adjust your monitor. Yes, the video is the title sequence to the hit show "The Simpsons" but, with a bit of a twist: They're real people!

I haven't had a chance to actually view the video yet, but looking at the stills, it should be very eerie to watch. FWIW, I'm an avid Simpsons fan, so, I do have an opinion: Marge is a bit... off, she needs the 3ft tall blue beehive for it to look right. Homer is nearly spot on. Bart, Lisa and Maggie are not exactly what I was expecting, but then, real people who look like Simpsons characters just don't exist.

I'm unclear whether this is going to be a new series, a title sequence/couch gag, or if it's just a video floating around the internet, and whether it will be seen (on TV) in the US.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Neat! I'll be eagerly awaiting it

I stumbled across this wikipedia entry describing a game going by the name Spore. The game was created by Will Wright, the creator of Sim City.

Anyone who knows me know I used to be very involved in the Creatures community, and I've always had an interest in artificial intelligence, and artificial life. Spore seems to me to be a very interesting concept. Its not out yet, but was previewed at E3. I'm wondering what its hardware requirements are going to be. This might be one of the few games that will prompt me to get a new graphics card for my computer (despite the fact that I have a rather current processor and main board, my display adaptor actually lags behind a couple generations...)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Saturated Fat and Trans Fat

Recently, the government has made a requirement for food labels to show how much trans fat is in a product. I have known for years that margarine was not a healthy substitute for butter, due to the partially hydrogenated oils. This article goes in depth to explain the different types fats, their links to heart disease, benefits and pitfalls of those fats. Interestingly, polyunsaturated fats are another one you should avoid, with a couple exceptions (Certain omega-3 and omega-6 acids are essential, and you do need them to maintain good health)

I feel somewhat vindicated that trans fat has finally been given the attention it deserves.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Magic Cures

Reading this comic made me think for a moment. My wife uses the product (airborne) they are alluding to. She seems not to have caught as many colds or the flu since she's started. To me, it seems silly. I don't get sick frequently anyway, and all it is is Vitamin C in a fizzy potion. You can get that in your diet, or failing that, take a small pill. Better than trying to choke down a citrusy Alka-Seltzer.

So many things out there are said to cure all of life's problems. Just look at the vast array of weight loss supplements to see for yourself. In 1 hour of TV viewing, I see at least half a dozen commercials for some "magic pill" that will "melt the pounds off in an instant", only $39.99 per pill and because its so expensive, you absolutely have to be serious about your weight loss. Sure. All the magic pills in the world won't fix the one problem: You're locked into a cycle of unhealthy eating, fad diets, more unhealthy eating, expensive magic pills, another fad diet (South Beach this time?) and back to more unhealthy eating.

Here's a hint: If you're serious about your weight loss, you'll lose the weight. Losing weight is simple: Take in fewer calories than your body needs. Its that simple. No magic pills, no special diets. Eat what you want, just don't go overboard. It works. I'm seeing the results of it, now. As an added bonus, its sustainable!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Weight Experience

At one point in my life, after a divorce, I was at 135lbs. I was actually within my healthy weight range. I soon sparked a relationship with a wonderful woman whom 2 years later would become my wife. A the time I met her I was out of a job, but managed to get a job a few months later due to a confluence of lucky things coming together at once.

Again, I was comfortable in my newfound position, I was employed, and I could afford to live normally again. I (inexplicably) put on more than 50lbs in what seemed like an overnight timeframe. My girlfriend didn't care, and hardly seemed to notice. Worried tha this gain may have been caused by a metabolic issue, and not just simply uncontrolled, unabaited gorging on fast food (Its cheap, close, convenient and easy...) I visited a doctor to explain I had put on weight and not sure why.

The response floored me. He simply responded: "What? You want me to put you on a diet?"

If I wanted to be "put on a diet" I certainly would not be wasting my money on a Dr's appointment. He checked my vitals, gave me some aweful blood pressure medication that totally screwed up my electrolyte balance, and sent me on the way with my requested blood tests.

Everything came back normal, My cholesterol was normal, no metabolic issues. At this point, I was on a quest to figure out a non-metabolic reason for my gain. I tried a few diets, succeeded only a little before deciding that I was deprived and fell of the wagon. Eventually my girlfriend, then fianceƩ introduced me to Weight Watchers. She just joined, because she was getting married, and wanted to thin down for her pictures. I stuck with it for several months, but fell off the wagon (About 1 year and 1 month ago) I just simply lived my life, shrugged, and accepted my situation. It didn't dawn om me until we had a physical recently how much I had gained. Again, greeted by another unfriendly person in the medical profession and his scale.

I stepped on it. I Blinked. I looked at it with one eye, then with the other. It couldn't be. I couldn't possibly be over 250 lbs. No way! Not me!

It was no wonder why I was having difficulty putting on my shoes and socks, and even doing simple things such as bending and stooping to get at something off the ground. This time, I'm determined to fight this and get back to where I need to be.

Although I was and am obese. My cholesterol was always in control, and my general condition was good. Until I dropped that first 15 lbs I had no idea what I was missing. I can't wait to see whats in store for me. As far as BP goes, once I got off the meds for depression and stopping smoking, that too dropped, but I was still 260 lbs.

I still hold a grudge against that doctor, though and only had 1 visit. I'll never visit another doctor like that. Whether I'm fat or thin.

I had a taste of what it was like to be at a healthy weight. I want to get back there.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

6 Things you really don't want to know about fast food

This article goes through some facts about fast foods. Some is not surprising, some is shocking. Over all, its not really that shocking, chicken picks up beef from the grill and is processed into a chicken-like substance, shakes have gelatin in them. I did find the fact that fries are "meat" flavored surprising, but what I found disgusting was the health violations. I would certainly hope that most reasonable establishments are a bit more food safety conscious than the ones described.

Another article paints McDonald's fries in a bit darker light. I don't know how much truth there is in this, but it may explain why no one I know can make home made fries as crisp.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I'm lucky. I don't struggle with this

One thing I know many people struggle with when trying to eat healthy is fruits and vegetables. I've never had to struggle with this. I like most of the "healthy" foods. This is one thing that will make my weight loss strategy work, I think.

I'm not without my struggles though: My nemisis is dairy, Skim milk is a good way to get dairy servings in, the other stuff is either too high in calories or fat, so I tend to avoid it. I don't like milk. I simply can't drink it without wanting to gag. But, I enjoy cheese, and yogurt. Essential oils are another struggle I have. I don't want to waste points on them (I'm using Weight Watchers, which assigns points to everything)

Every day I see a message on Weight Watchers' message boards from someone complaining that they don't like veggies. There are alternatives, of course, Eat fruits, but they typically have points (though, are a far better choice than say, a butterfinger bar) and for those who don't like fruits and veggies? Drink plenty of water rather than reaching for a snack or go ahead and try something new, you might be surprised!

Another struggle I have: Eating out. I love Mexican food, but it's so high in fat that it makes it very much not worthwhile. Of course, I'm going to a taste test today for a Mexican resturaunt, which gives me coupons for free food. What will I do? Enjoy the opportunity to voice my opinion, and savor the fact that I won't be paying for dinner out for a long time.

Central Market


Yesterday, I had to pick up a spice blend that I couldn't find anywhere, chinese 5-spice (made of star anise, fennel, Szechuan peppercorns, cinnamon, and cloves. All but the star anise and szechuan peppercorns are easily found. So, I decided to try Central Market. I'm totally impressed, I'll have to make more visits. The produce section is huge, quite literally one third of the store. Every kind of fruit and vegatable imaginable.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Returning to the much neglected, much ignored Blog.

Okay, back to blogging.

I started this account more than a year ago, and haven't added anything. So, why not return to blogging? and here, since I already have the account?

Anyway, to start, I think this will be less technical, and more me this time around. Heck, I need some sort of outlet, somewhere where I can put stuff down. So why not?

There are some subjects want to discuss: The whole sort of general mish-mash of the world, my weight loss journey, a sprinkling of technical stuff, and well, anything I feel like, really.

Anyway, what better way to start than to state I've started working on my weight loss for the last 3 weeks, I've already dropped approximately 12lbs, and since changing the way I eat, I feel much better. More on this later...