Tuesday, May 31

Jury Duty, a Laptop, and a Firefly

Multnomah County decided in its infinite wisdom that it was time for me to do my civic duty. Consequently, I found myself sitting in the jury room of the county courthouse at 8am this morning. Fine. My employer pays me when on jury duty, so it's no great imposition. It is, however, excruciatingly boring sitting in the room with a couple hundred perfect strangers with nothing to do but wait for a judge to ask for a jury.

The last time I was called, two years ago, we were called to serve for a week at a time. Back then they had no way for any of us to hook up a laptop or anything, so I ended up doing a lot of reading and quietly pounding my head on the wall out of sheer boredom.

This time there were three critical differences. One, they only require us to show up for a single day (woohoo!). Two, they set up the jury room with some basic laptop-friendly amenities - namely network access and a wireless access point. Three, I came prepared this time: laptop, wireless card, and the DVDs for Firefly (loaned to me by a friend to whom I will be eternally grateful).

By far the first reason is the most important. But the third proved to make what could have been an excruciatingly long day pass relatively quickly. Hell, I even managed to reboot a misbehaving server between episodes.

And, as usual, my name was never even called. The only judge I saw was the one who comes in at the beginning of the day and gives us the little introductory pep-talk.

Friday, May 27


My apologies to my Opera using friends. My annoying "quit using IE" nag was incorrectly detecting Opera as MSIE. Opera is a fine browser that should not be persecuted for being smart enough to masquerade as MSIE so that it can access sites that insist on using IE-only code.

The nag has now been fixed so that it properly detects Opera and does not harass you unfairly. I hope your eyes aren't bleeding too badly ....

Those of you who are still seeing the obnoxious orange box to the right shouting "STOP!" well, I mean it! :-)

Thursday, May 26

Ahem ....

I was just looking over the logs here. How is it that a full 60% of you reading this blog are still using Internet Explorer?

I hang my head in shame and relinquish my propeller cap of geek-ness. To think I have allowed so many of my friends to continue to use a browser so rife with security vulnerabilities that those of us in the tech business call it "Internet Exploder" (similarly, Outlook is known as "LookOut"). Microsoft's Internet applications are a worm/virus writer's/spammer's dream: zero security and root-level administrative access to your entire computer. I hope you don't do your banking on it ... do you? You might as well be standing across the street from the bank shouting out your social security number and account numbers on a bullhorn.

If you are using Internet Exploder to read this page right now: (and yes, I know who you are!)
  1. Install Firefox (http://mozilla.org) and set it to be your default web browser.

  2. Never ever touch that evil blue "e" on your computer again!

Hint - this site is designed to render on standards-compatible browsers. It does not look right on Internet Exploder and I will never fix that, since it would require me to completely kludge the code and enable friends to continue to use that disastrously insecure piece of garbage. Go get a real browser before I have to do something really drastic!

Tuesday, May 24

Speaking of conservative scum ...

Anyone wanna bet John McCain's sudden conversion to "moderate centrist" and taking the lead in the so-called "Group of 14" is nothing more than groundwork for another run at the White House in 2008? Does he really believe nobody's gonna notice he's further right than Attila the Hun? This "centrist" crap is nothing more than a fig leaf. Of course, the US electorate has already shown just how mind-bogglingly stupid it is in the last few elections, so maybe he'll get away with it.

On the other side of the aisle, Lieberman is showing once more that he's got a red suit hidden under that blue power tie. Joe, why don't you quit pretending and come out of the damn closet.

The worst part is that the deal is little more than total capitulation by the Democrats, yet it is still being hailed as a "compromise" and a victory for the center.


The D's caved. George II gets his judges and the D's just rolled over and let it happen.

Followup to "Hammer"

Last week NPR aired Pete Seeger's response to the brazen misuse of his song "If I Had a Hammer" by those neocon scum: NPR (RealAudio clip)

He was remarkably kind, saying he found it "hilarious" and "If you want to keep from crying all of the time you have to laugh."

Being much less forgiving, I agree with one of the other letter writers referring to DeLay's musical abomination as a "fight song for hammering the public into conformity" and wanting to "vomit" when she heard it. Amen.

Sunday, May 22

New favorite drink

We were down at the Blue Monk for some great live jazz last night. They have a drink there called the "Cilantro Tini" which has found its way into my heart. Ginger-infused vodka, lime, and chopped cilantro. Guaranteed to cure the common cold, spicy yet .... oh it defies description. Just go try one already.

Wednesday, May 18

Now We're Cooking With Gas, Part Deux

Since Kaphine asked ... here's a pic of the new/old stove (pre-installation).

How geeky is that? I'm posting a pic of my stove on the web ...

Tuesday, May 17

Now We're Cooking With Gas - AKA -The Curse of the Easter Bunny

My wife and I are cursed. Expensive things seem to happen to us on Easter Sunday. Usually they're things that we'd considered doing at some point when we had the money, but the Curse seems to be of a precipitatory nature that causes us to, uh, accelerate our timing on said expensive activity.

One year, we'd gone to Fred Meyer on that fateful spring Sunday to do some shopping. We're backing out of a parking place when BANG! a SUV decides to back into us and turn our little econo-box sedan into a hatchback. Gotta love those behemoths that are so tall that their bumper completely misses the bumper of a normal car completely. Totaled my poor econo-box. Yeah, a 5mph collision totaled it. So we ended up buying a new car. Thanks, Mr. Evil Easter Bunny!

Another Easter Sunday, we were walking up the street after buying some flowers. We saw someone pounding a "For Sale" sign into the front yard of a cute little house. A and I look at each other and say, "I bet we could buy that house" and poof a week later we're umpreen thousand dollars in debt and moving into our first house. The Curse of the Spring Leporidae strikes again!

This Easter, we swore not to leave the house. We can't afford to! So A offers to make muffins and tea for a leisurely breakfast. She turns on the oven and starts mixing up the batter. BANG! The element in the oven fails. Rather spectacularly, at that. We just sorta looked at each other. The Curse has struck again. Unwilling to venture forth and tempt the Curse any more, we decided to not go stove shopping.

We've wanted a gas stove since we've lived in this house. We have gas service, but for some reason the stove that was there when we bought the house is electric. It's old and tiny (apartment-sized) but it gets hot and we were too broke to buy new appliances anyway. So we were more than happy to count our blessings and be happy with the stove we had. Off and on we look at what it would cost to buy a new stove, goggle at the prices and go back to being happy the stove we have still gets warm. Then one burner failed in a rather spectacular shower of sparks (that also incidentally melted the switch that controlled it and blew half the breakers in the house). Being a very old stove, parts are not readily available, so we lived with three burners for a while. Then one of the other burners started working only on certain settings. Then the third burner started getting flaky. Then the Curse struck and killed the oven. So we were stuck with a stove that had one fully-functional burner and a broiler.

Enough. We need a new stove. Now.

But we can't afford the stove we want. A, rightly so, is adamant about buying the right item, not just the one available right now, even though the right now may be the best we can afford. Then A has an epiphany. "What about Craigslist?" says she. "Hmm ... that's an idea," says me. A week's worth of sifting through the posts we found a beautiful 1940's vintage O'Keefe & Merritt gas stove for sale on Craigslist a mere 12 blocks from the house. OK, so it's 15 years newer than the house, but 1926 stoves are likely as not to be wood, not gas. Sorry, not going that authentic!

A borrowed pickup, a few miscommunications, a trip to the hardware store, and no singed hair later, we now have a REAL STOVE in the kitchen!

A is tickled, as am I.

Now I just need to figure out how to shut off the gas to the pilot lights so we don't have to leave them lit.

Ahh, Craigslist is a beautiful thing.

Monday, May 16

Too much serious stuff in here lately

Time for something totally frivolous. It ain't easy being green, you know.

Thanks RSG

You scored as Yoda.



Anakin Skywalker




Clone Trooper


Obi Wan Kenobi




Mace Windu


Darth Vader




General Grievous


Emperor Palpatine


Padme Amidala


Which Revenge of the Sith Character are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

Friday, May 13

Let's toss a little depression into the mix, eh?

So the word for this morning was "disgust". I think the word for this afternoon is "depressing statistics". OK, so it's two words, so sue me.

What's so depressing, you ask? This.

Thanks to Worldwide Pablo for ruining my mood for the rest of the afternoon. ;-)

If I Had a Hammer

I am thoroughly disgusted.

This morning my alarm clock went off and NPR's Morning Edition started its daily attempt to jump-start my morning-phobic brain. At first I was not sure what I was listening to ... some sort of 60's protest flashback? Some guy with a banjo was singing "If I Had a Hammer". Except it sounded different, like they changed the lyrics or something. Then I realized the clip was from the entertainment at a dinner in honor of .

Oh shit. "The Hammer". Cute. Really fscking cute you neocon scum. Now I'll never be able to hear that song again without thinking about the unethical bastard who is up to his lily white neck in the brazen usurpation of our government and hijacking of our nation. You've forever corrupted an innocent little bit of American culture for your own selfish and completely immoral gain.

A minuscule thing really, compared to the hundreds of thousands of lives you've destroyed in Iraq and the millions of people back home you've screwed over in favor of your corporate masters and the untold damage you've done to our world in the name of short-term gain, but still ... yet one more thing that has been forever tainted by your self-serving greed.

Thursday, May 12


Last night I was sprawled on the couch trying to ignore the aches and pains of my virus-riddled body reading a book. One of those nice light, "aliens invade the world and enslave the human race" sorta books. I figured I could escape far enough into the book I'd forget how much like a drooling zombie I felt and how much I did not want to go to work the next day (one of those idiotic mandatory all staff meetings they make us all drive to Salem for).

So I'm reading along and the mean nasty aliens decide they want to go hunt a whale off the Oregon Coast, Tillamook to be exact. I perked up a bit. It's always fun when a place you know turns up in fiction. Naturally, the locals are all upset that the evil overlords want to harpoon a whale. So they get their signs and picket the dock. A few decide to sneak out there and actually attack the whaling boat, hoping to kill some of the evil alien overlords. Of course, the plot fails and the mean evil aliens decide they need to teach the locals a lesson. They decide to raze the nearest city to the ground.


So I find myself in a bit of a dilemma. Does it make me a bad person to vicariously enjoy a fictional account of the reduction of the very same rats' nest of political vipers on the capitol mall to smoking rubble?

Wednesday, May 11

Failing server + biological virus = life sucks

Do you have any idea how hard it is to deal with crashed servers when one can't breathe or sleep or stay vertical for more than a few minutes at a time?

Mental note: NEVER get sick when a server decides to take a dive.

Thursday, May 5

Woohoo! I'm a Commie!

Thanks to Toad for this delightfully entertaining little tidbit.

I am:
"You're a damn Commie! Where's Tailgunner Joe when we need him?"

Are You A Republican?

Sunday, May 1

Qwest, you're fired!

Yup. You're outta here. Go whine at the camera from the back of some taxi cab, I'm done with you.

After far too many years of Qworst fscking up our bill, publishing info in the phone book that they were not supposed to, overcharging us, generally lousy service (including lying to us on more than one occasion), not switching our long distance carrier even after I went through that painfully long verification process ... I'm fed up. Done. Finis. The End. The landline is going away. Picked up two new cell phones on Friday. Our current number will be ringing on one of them by the end of the week.

For the same amount we spend every month on one friggin' phone line with voice mail from Qworst, we can get two cell phones with nationwide long distance and enough minutes for the (relatively small) number of calls we make from Cingular. No brainer. Checked this weekend, the phones work just fine from A's office in the basement of the house - nice strong signal. The phones were free since neither of us needs any of the fancy bells and whistles like a camera phone or wireless web access (pfft!) and if I ever someday decide to replace my aging Palm IIIxe, I can use a Trio with the service and not have to carry a separate PDA.

Qworst, you're outta here. Go to hell.