humorous spam in comments

I get many, many spam comments since converting to wordpress. I have it set so that I have to approve them so that I don’t cover all my pages with small dick ads though. I read this one today and it made me chuckle:

I enjoyed the article and thanks in greetings to posting such valuable poop advantage of all of us to be familiar with, I caste it both auspicious and enlightening and I mesa to examine it as commonly as I can.

That came from user “Ray Ban Store”, which is odd ’cause I would think English would be the first language of anyone devoted to sunglasses. Surely that wasteful accessory is purely American?

Evanescence has a fan, and she is pissed!

While looking through my junk mail to find the one with the little tid-bit that became my last post, I happened across this one from (there was actually a name before the 1989, but I don’t think I really need to share it. Just wanted to make sure and note that it was an aol address -which my email filters all of into the junk. When you think about it, how often do you actually want to read anything that comes from an address?). It seems that my post on song remakes struck a nerve or two with her (I know it is a her based on the screen name, that or a really unfortunately named boy).

I am going to throw the email up here not just because I find it hilarious…Okay, truth be told, that is really the only reason I am posting it. I don’t get much site related email -particularly now that you can comment on posts- and this one is really good, in that hate-filled, flaming way. Oh, and to note that I am going to copy and paste it, so the whole thing should be taken with a huge [sic] :

Your a fucking idiot. Emanescence is the best band there is right now eveyrone else just beats on there instruments and screams Emanescence plays perfect melodys and Amy Lee is the greatest singer of lal time. At least you can understand what she is saying when she is singing heart shpaed box. I dont know who y ou think you are claiming to be a music expert and callign emanescence the worst band in the history of music just because they are the first rock band that ever had a woman for a singer. YOu must be some kind of shovanistic asshole pig. How can you make a judgemnt on a band that you dont even know do you even think before you open your mouth?

your a fucking moron!

Okay, where to start? First off, she managed to misspell the name of her favorite band not once, not twice, but three times -even neglecting to capitalize it once. Sure I was beating on them when I made the post about their cover of Heart Shaped Box, but at least I took the time to look up the proper spelling of their name. But if I want to start faulting her for her spelling, there are much bigger (smaller) fish to fry. Seriously, my grammar is horrible, but the sheer number of mistakes in that thing makes me cringe. What are they teaching kids in school these days? Obviously they aren’t learning their homonyms.

She made two very valid points in the email, the first is “Your a fucking idiot”, I couldn’t agree more. The second is “Your a fucking moron!”, again, I concur. Beyond that, she seems to be suffering from the same bit of ignorance that we all have when we are that age (assuming she was born in 1993): she seems to think that the history of music started when she was about 5. Before that the world was devoid of music of any sort, and it took her listening to the radio to start the musical ball rolling. How else could she make the claim that Evanescence was the first rock band to have a female singer? Depending on the definition of “rock band”, I could probably name at least a dozen that came before her -some of which were entirely female bands. I mean, Courtney Love is still in the headlines a lot (and not for the best of reasons), and she is female (I think), and she sings in a rock band. Just looking at a couple that I can think of off-hand, Doro Pesch was the singer for the band Warlock, and running a close second (right behind Lita Ford) for the 80’s rocker chick I would most like to bang.

As for the claim that Amy Lee is the greatest singer of all time, we are all entitled to our opinions. I don’t think she is a bad singer, in fact, I really do like her vocals. Evanescence has some great songs, and her voice is a welcome departure from some gruff dude barking out senseless lyrics. I actually really like the song Bring Me to Life for exactly that reason. A really melodic voice with some heavy music behind it works well, and it isn’t what most bands are doing (unfortunately, it is what Evanescence is doing, over and over and over…). I think it works fabulously in this particular song, it does not, however, work in Nirvana’s song. To be fair to Evanescence though, I will say that I would have the same bitch no matter who it was that covered that song, if they were to try to turn it into a fucking religious hymn.

The part in the email where she says “I dont know who y ou think you are claiming to be a music expert and callign emanescence the worst band in the history of music…” kind of took me by surprise, since I have never made any such claim. I never claimed to be an expert on music, nor did I claim that Evanescence was the worst band in the history of music. I did say that their remake was the worst remake in the history of recorded music, and I stand by that. As for being a music expert, I would never claim to be one. I am just a guy with a website. I like the type of music that I like, and I realize that I am far too biased to make a fair judgement on any other type. If a barbershop quartet remakes Seasons in the Abyss, though, you can bet it is going to piss me off.

Also, it is a sad, sad world that we live in if she is really only thirteen and already knows what a chauvinistic asshole pig is (even if she hasn’t quite gotten the spelling of it down). One would like to think that a girl wouldn’t learn that until her late teens, alas, I suppose that the men in the U.S. seem to pound that point home at their earliest opportunity. It’s good to see that she isn’t willing to take that off of a man, even though I think she picked the wrong man and the wrong fight for it in this instance.

She goes on to ask the question: “do you even think before you open your mouth?” Well, the simple answer to that is: Nope. That actually gets me in trouble a lot of the time because my brain already sent my mouth a message, unfortunately that generally happens long before my logic banks kick in. It does make for some wonderful, quick-witted retorts, but it also leads to making jokes at really inoportune times. That goes double for anything I post here. If I think it, it is likely going to hit the screen in all it’s unedited glory. What is the point of having a website if not to speak my mind?

I am not without emotion though, so I must say that I am sorry., I am truly, deeply sorry that Evanescence did the worst remake in the history of recorded music. But that was their choice, not mine.

Random email

I got a forwarded attachment today from someone I don’t know. Of course I opened it, how else do antivirus companies stay in business? Actually it was just an email, but it did have a cute little story in it, which I thought I would share:

An old man lived alone in the country. He wanted to plant a tomato garden, but it was difficult work, and his only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man described the predicament in a letter to his son.

Dear Vincent,
I’m feeling bad. It looks like I won’t be able to put in my tomatoes this year. I’m just too old to be digging up a garden. I wish you were here to dig it up for me.
Love, Dad

A few days later he received a letter from his son.

Dear Dad,
Sorry I’m not there to help, but whatever you do, don’t dig up the garden. That’s where I buried the BODIES.
Love, Vincent

At 4 a.m. the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Dad,
Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That’s the best I could do under the circumstances.
Love, Vinnie

Yes, cute in that Reader’s Digest reader submitted way. You know that someone took a long time coming up with the little story. Which is really too bad, since if it had been written a bit differently the ending might not have been so predictable. But it was worth a chuckle anyway.

More on music

In a previous post, I was talking about a really cool music service. I ended that post with some offhand remark making it sound like it was about as accurate as astrology (not be confused with astronomy. One is scientific and has data to support their findings, the other is astrology).

I Just googled to find Hitler’s date of birth, which happens to be April 20, 1889. I was thinking that I would make some comments about how many other children were born that day, none of which went on to be the monster that Hitler was, thus proving that astrology is absolute and total crap (which it is). But that search, the one for Hitler April 20 brings up some of the weirdest conspiracy theories I have ever seen (sure other events happened on the same day in history, but come on).

To follow that weird, astrological, imminent doom type metric, I was actually married on the 14th of April in 2001. The 14th of April, it turns out, was a pretty bad day for history. I console myself by noting that while Lincoln was shot on the 14th, he didn’t actually die until the 15th. While the Titanic struck the iceberg on the 14th, it didn’t actually sink until the 15th. Also, the 15th of April is the day that the government demands that you pay your taxes, thus proving that it is the 15th of April that is cursed. The 14th will likely just be a really bad day.

That digression aside, I was talking about music. I actually got a comment regarding it after I made the post, and a phone call from a friend. The friend recommended Yahoo’s version of it (sorry, I can’t bring myself to use any of the services offered by the only survivor of the dot com bust), the commenter recommended I actually went to that site, but didn’t download the software (.fm is something I have never heard of), but they do have a search engine that led me to a few more bands that I have never heard of, who, it turns out, kick ungodly ass.

That Pandora site is still the best one that I have found, previous caveats being noted.

Shitty game still generating feedback

For those of you who may not have read any of my previous posts about it, I made a silly game in Java several years ago. It is called Lightz Out. I ripped off everything about the game directly from a handheld toy called Lights Out, which was manufactured by Tiger toys. When I say that I ripped everything off I mean it quite literally. I copied all fifty of the boards (which was quite a challenge, as it required that I solve them all), the audio on the applet was recorded directly from the game, I even programmed the same first two moves for help.

I did that all just to see if I could. I am not a programmer by any stretch of the imagination. In fact I knew so little about how to do it that everything that happens in the game is handled in the paint method. That meant that I actually programmed probably at least a thousand lines of code that would not have been necessary had I actually known what I was doing. But, I did make it work, and people are still playing it, and emailing me about it. I doubt that will happen for very much longer though, as even on my PC it is no longer playable, since everything is happening in the paint method, and since this computer is so much faster than the one I used to program it, the lines all blur when I try to screen it into the picture, and they never come back. I guess if I was viewing it in larger resolution that wouldn’t happen, but even at that I would probably go blind from the incessant flickering.

Usually when people email me about the applet it is because they have to program something for a computer science course in college and want to see the source code. I am almost embarrassed to send it to them, even when I do it is with a huge caveat. They still probably just look at it and wonder what in the hell I was thinking when I tried to do it the way I did, that is what I think when I look at it most of the time.

The most recent email I got about the game was yesterday. This one was unique in that the person enjoyed the game, but thought that I had made it far too easy. He was wanting to know if I had plans to add more difficult boards. I sent him a lengthy email that basically said no. The entire point of the applet was to see if I could make an exact online copy of the handheld game. I succeeded in that (well to a point, as it doesn’t seem to work all that well with faster computers) and have no intentions to ever look at the source code again, it depresses me.

The next thing that I decided to program in java was a cribbage game. I got as far getting images for all of the cards into it and the initial deal. It was at precisely that point that I realized I would have to program AI for it so that you could play it alone. This meant two things, first the computer would only be as good as I am at cribbage, as I would be programming his choices based on the cards he was holding. Second, there are 14,658,134,400 different ways the six cards can be dealt to the computer, that is a lot of possible hands to program. Even after assigning numbers to the cards based on suit, possible 15s, possible flush and possible run, then making it line up the cards based on the highest possible point value, I was still left with millions of possible combinations to program. Not that I am a quitter or anything, I didn’t actually give up on it, no, no, I have just put it on the back burner for the last five years… I wonder if I actually even have a copy of the source to that one anywhere, the unfinished code for that one was at least five times the size of the finished code for lightz out.

Let this be a lesson to me you; never decide to become a programmer if you have never had a day of training in your life. It will save you a lot of headaches and wasted time.

Feedback; Terri Schiavo; Dinner

The screwy work schedule went about as predicted in the last post. However, it was my wife’s birthday yesterday, so even though I was off work at a very reasonable hour I was not able to post. Her parents, her brother, and her brother’s significant other took us out to dinner. More on that later.

•I got an actual email! An email based on the content of the website, praising the site, and most of all completely unsolicited! I will quote it in its entirety, suppressing the name of course:

I like your site! I have spent much of my work day trying to read as much as I can. I really enjoyed Meeting Arthur Witles! Can’t wait to read more!
Keep up the great work!

I know that my wife played a role in getting the web address to this person, but still, isn’t it this type of simple praise that keeps me typing away? Well, of course it is, else I might have just skipped out on posting tonight. I do appreciate any feedback, as I am sure anyone with their own webpage does, but it seems that few people ever actually take the time to send an email whether they agree/disagree with what you are saying. In my case I know that I usually just never send emails to websites assuming that they will never be read, responded to, or taken seriously. If that is what is keeping you from emailing me, I can assure you that I read all the email, respond to all of the email, and take all praise in stride. I do assume that any criticism is coming from completely whacked out psycopaths (if you think my opinions are wrong then you are obviously clinically insane), but I answer them as well.

There was a bit of a mistake in that last paragrah. When I said that I read and respond to all emails I forgot to mention that I don’t really read the ones that come in with subject lines that read like V|I|A|G|R|A.

(A lengthy phone call from a friend ended the post here yesterday. I am going to continue it today on the same page, if I can get back aboard the train that my thoughts were riding yesterday).

•The wife’s birthday was on Wednesday and her parents had arranged for us all to go out to dinner. We just went to the place we always go to, only this time we, or I really, opted for the outdoor seating since it was a pretty warm evening, not to mention that it put us in the section of our favorite server. The food was excellent and a good time was had by all.

At the start of the dinner, I asked the waiter to bring me a beer, but to put it onto a separate ticket. I was not entirely sure who was going to be paying for the meal or how it might be split up, so I didn’t want anyone else to have to pay for my beer, when the beer is four dollars a pop. When it came time to pay I looked at the check while everyone else was talking and decided to pay for it myself, both everyone’s meals and my beer tab (as the meals added up to about sixty dollars, which was just what I had gotten paid to install a couple of sinks in one of the rentals that my boss owns). I asked my brother-in-law if he would cover the tip if I paid for the meal, and while he offered to split the meal many times, he finally agreed. I did force him to tip a full 20% (which seems excessive to a lot of people, but you must understand that servers in the state of Arizona get paid less than minimum wage and have to claim that they were tipped at least 10% by every customer, lots of people don’t tip even 10% which really screws the server over. When I get good service the tip is always 20%).

The thing that I found funny about this was that then the parents-in-law offered to pay for the meal. I remember a Father’s Day meal that I had planned to pay for, but when I returned to my seat from the restroom, they had a calculator out to figure out who owed what (which was why I bought the beer separate this time, makes those calculations easier). This time I didn’t decide I was going to pay for it until right at the last minute, and, as I found out later, my wife’s parents really did want to pay for it -both because it was their daughter’s birthday and to thank me for fixing their pc several weeks ago. Oh well, I decided to use the money I had made on the side to pay for the meal and I feel pretty good about it. There will be many other opportunities for someone else to snatch the check away from me in the future.

It seems that paying for the dinner was observed by the gods of monetary karma. The next day I bought a lottery scratch ticket, something I do maybe once a month or so usually and purely for entertainment; I really don’t consider it my retirement plan. The ticket I bought was of the three-dollar variety, going by the name of Slingo(on the occasions when I do buy scratch tickets I usually always buy the two or three dollar ones since there is so much more to scratch off, some like crossword puzzles, some like bingo, it takes you a few minutes of anticipation before you eventually lose your money). I scratched that ticket off a little bit at a time while I was reading web sites, it was a twenty dollar winner. Soon after scratching the ticket I realized that I had forgotten to buy cancer sticks while I was out earlier, so I took that scratch ticket and another ticket that I have had laying around for months and went to a different store than where I bought the initial ticket. I tucked the twenty bucks from the ticket into my pocket, but used the three dollars from the other ticket to buy yet another Slingo ticket. Which turned out to be a ten dollar winner. It seems that the gods of monetary karma really did want me to split that dinner bill with someone since they gave me back half of the money the next day. At any rate, it sure was nice to scratch off two tickets and end up with actual cash. Usually I just end up saying “well there went three bucks”.

•The aforementioned lengthy phone call, the one that cut yesterday’s post so short, was with a friend that I talk to kind of infrequently, yet who is the closest of all of my friends. What made the call go so lengthy was our discussion of the Terri Schiavo fiasco.

I had my mind made up on this a long time ago. The woman had been immobile and virtually brain dead for a decade. Let her die for God’s sake. I know that I wouldn’t want to be kept alive in that state, and certainly not to be paraded around as a political wedge tool. Of course the only person in the entire universe that knew of her actual wishes died when she did. The whole issue just seems such a non issue to me that I couldn’t understand why any rational human being could oppose letting her die. Then my friend brought up a few issues (a couple of which I don’t want to get into) that I had never actually thought about.

The first issue is that maybe she never told either her husband or her parents anything about what she would want if she became so horribly disabled. I can see that as a possibility. Then each side invents conversations where her will was spoken when it never actually was. While I see that as a possibility, I still think that it would be more humane to let her die than to fight about the legalities of it, especially since her conditon hadn’t improved in a decade.

The second issue is one that is extremely complex, far too complex for me to try to delve into, but I will just scratch at the surface. My friend’s contention is that the brain damage had completely wiped out any memory of her former self; that she was alive without knowing that she had ever been an active, walking, talking, functioning person. She is alive, she is not in pain, she has no memory of a “better time” in her life, this is her reality. This could all be completely true, the only way that you will ever know is to end up in the condition that she was in. Perhaps you really do have a mind like a newborn child where everything seems so new and wonderfull, unfortunately you will only know this once you get to the state she was in and at that point you no longer have the capacity to make a decision about your life or death.

The third issue is about moving on. My friend’s assertion is that since she wasn’t in pain it was doing no harm to keep her alive. Her husband had finally given up hope and started to move on with his life, while her parents had not yet made that decision. Again, this is a pretty deep philosophical issue, but, on the surface it is a selfish issue on both sides. If the husband has truly come to terms with the fact that his wife is never going to get better, that she is going to be in this state until her life is taken by some process of aging, why doesn’t he stand by her side and let her live? On that same note, if her parents have reached that same conclusion, why not just stand by her side and let her die? In the case of the parents I am sure that the reason they want her to live is simply love; they love their daughter unconditionally and want her to be there as long as possible (regardless of mental or physical capacity). In the case of the husband I am pretty sure that the reason he wants to let her die is out of mercy; he knew her when she was a vivacious young lady with a thirst for life and simply can’t stand to see her like this. The husband was able to make the decision to just let her go, the parents can’t. Does that make either of them right or wrong? If so, who should be the judge of that?

The fourth issue is where my mind started to itch a little bit. Have you ever read a “living will”? I have, my mother made one when she saw her mother slowly dying in a hospital room, and gave copies of it to all three of her sons. While I am sure that there are no surviving copies of that sheet of paper, I am pretty sure that we will all remember exactly what it said. One of the lines in it read, roughly, “In the case of serious injury affecting brain or nervous system function no extraordinary means should be used to prolong my life.” That line is saying, in effect, that if she is ever in a coma and not able to live on her own that she doesn’t want a bunch of machines hooked up to her to keep her alive. But, should a little tube that gives you food and water be considered extraordinary means?

I am currently not sure just how to judge this one. Making a person starve to death/die of thirst over a 13 day period seems inhumane, but, keeping that person alive for a decade without any sort of cognizant existance seems wrong also.

John Saul; Watches

Well, Yesterday’s post actually resulted in two emails. While I would like to think that it was all a result of myself writing better, or perhaps more controversial, things, that is certainly not the case. Both of the emails were asking me the same question: If you don’t really like John Saul, why have you read so many of his novels?

I expected this question to come from Flux at the BlackChampagne website when I originally wrote the message to him. When he didn’t actually ask the question, I kind of gave up on looking for an excuse to give him. Then, when two people emailed the question that Flux never asked, I was forced to start to try to come up with a reason why. I have found that reason, basically put, I don’t know.

The year was roughly 1991, I was riding with my oldest brother from Oregon to Arizona. Speed limits at the time still being in the 55mph range on much of the road, while being 65mph on others, it was taking us a while to get there. The only tape that we had in the car, at least the only one that I would agree to listen to, was Europe: The Final Countdown. That was what we listened to for about 20 hours of driving time and it really, really, really got old.

My mother, while we were at her home in Arizona, offered us a book-on-tape version of Saul’s first novel “Suffer the Children”. Being that myself and my brother would rather die than to listen to that godawful ‘Europe’ music again, we took it and plugged it in as we were leaving Phoenix. The strange thing is that I am not able to find anywhere on the official John Saul website that there was ever a ‘book on tape’ version of that story…ever… I know that this was the story that I listened to, and I know that it really did sound fresh, but I was also about sixteen, and I didn’t really know anything about anything. Of course that knowledge (the knowledge that you never knew anything in your teens) really only starts to come to you much, much later.

Probably about four years after the previous incident, I realized that I actually wanted to read the works of Saul. It was certainly not an ‘epiphany’, or anything of that sort. I just happened to check out a book at the local library, by Saul, and read it. The book-on-tape versions of the books are either far better, or I have really low standards. At the time I was living with a dear friend, and we would kind of juggle the books to make sure that we were both able to read them before they had to go back to the library. It was during that period that I read every novel that Saul had ever written.

There are certain requisites one must reach before becoming a ‘good author’. Saul, in my opinion, did not meet a single one of those requisites. What Saul did do was keep me reading his books.

So, here we are, many years later. I have read every book that Saul had written, prior to the “blackstone chronicles”, of course I read that all as well. The thing is that some combination of age/experience in life tells you what is going to happen long before the question ever comes up. I, now, have an autographed copy of Saul’s latest novel. I will read it, every page. Not just for the story, but for the fact that a very dear friend bought it for me.

The other question, via email, was regarding the dual watch photos that I placed in yesterday’s update. The question was; “are you sure about the prices you attribute to each watch?”.

The answer is pretty simple, “NO”.

I have never bought a Rolex, ever, and I don’t plan to…

This person’s issue was with my saying that the ‘armitron’ was under a hundred dollars, while the Rolex was over a thousand… Well, it turns out that I chose the wrong ROLEX to pick on. The Armitron watch in the photo is still under a hundred dollars, the ROLEX watch is (prior to my previous beliefs) only about 800. Thank you for clearing that up. So that, the Rolex, watch will keep time only 8 times better than the three-dollar watch that you can get at the local 7-11. To follow that up, your average cheap-ass-watch can keep time, being off by only thousandths of a second, for years. The more expensive watches have to be repaired by ‘jewelers’, the name itself cost money.

Buy the cheap watch and there will be no need to negotiate later,.

Appliances; Feedback; Pogo

This is going to be a pretty late post even by my standards. To the point that it will likely no longer be the 12th by the time I get it finished and uploaded. Not that I think anyone reading my site is actually looking for late breaking news or anything, just that I was going to skip the post today, but decided to go ahead and type something up shortly after 10p.m. That being said, this might not live up to the high standard of journalistic integrity that you have come to grow and love…somewhere…definitely not here, but it likely won’t even hold up under my, much more realistic, ideals concerning site content. Reading further will be your choice, not mine…

I got some feedback about the site today, but not in the typical fashion. Someone actually came into the store to tell me that he had felt exactly the way that I did when I took customer service to a whole new level. This was not a person who happened upon the site by accident of course, I had given him the URL a couple of weeks ago but had no idea that he was actively reading what I was posting. While I did enjoy the fact that he could relate to the story, I now understand why it is better to let people that you don’t know read the posts if you are going to be getting into stories regarding your work or other personal affairs.

Not that I am going to let that stop me from bitching about local events or anything, just that I am going to make sure that the actual names of the persons involved are not used. I mean if I were to quit bitching about the idiots I have to work with where would I find the same quality of idiot stories to tell? Dubya is too easy a target, btw.

The reason that I was going to be skipping the post today was two-fold. The first reason is that I have been playing yet another silly game over at The game that I was playing tonight was ‘Tri-Peak Solitaire’. I think that every gaming site out there has a version of the game, I chose to play this one since it adds to my total token count. I have played the game extensively in the past, but rediscovered it after I got tired of Phlinx. So I had to clear the board six times to get the ‘bonus spin’, and I proceeded to do that about 4-5 times. It took a bit of time, time that could have been better spent doing other things, but then again that is true of most endeavors.

The other reason is certainly not something that I would care to go into in this venue, but something that was far more important than the silly game that I spent so much time playing. The immediate concern was for the happiness of my wife, which is priceless, but also shattered today by conditions that were ‘kind of’ beyond her control, but that she should have seen coming. Much like standing between two railroad tracks, you may not see the train when you take that position, but a train will eventually be going that way. There likely aren’t a whole lot of options if you are the one between the tracks either.

Sure the reference is pretty vague, but that is all that I am willing to commit to at this time.

So we got our new washing machine today. It sure looks nice, all sleek, like something that is very sleek, and white. It is much more streamlined than our old washer, but then one has to ask one’s self if they are going to base a washing machine purchase on said machine’s aerodynamic qualities. I am not going to throw the thing out the window, I doubt that my wife is either, even as sleek as it looks I don’t think it could fly. Even if it could fly it is not sapient and would likely just sit there in the laundry room, hovering. That would be pretty cool though; view the amazing, flying, washing machine.

I suppose the “Consumer Reports” mag. has been a bit lax in the last few years. I mean what, they didn’t even test the aerodynamics of large appliances? If and when I do decide to throw my refrigerator at the kids in the lawn, I want to know how well that sucker flies! If it is going to fall after ten or twelve feet based on the fact that that was the height of the window it was thrown from, that is stuff I need to know! If no refrigerator can be thrown that distance with a man of average strength throwing it, that is something that I also need to know. If two of the top body-builders in the world can not make the thing get air-borne, that is something that I should also know. Every appliance does what it is supposed to do, if they didn’t they would never be sold. I want FEATURES, like the refrigerator flying around and smacking the heads of kids who piss it off. Damn it, Features.

Also, I have taken the liberty of ripping off the latest “Guadalupe Squares” from 98KUPD. It seems that they get less and less funny the more that you listen to them. By that I am not meaning to listen to one over and over again, more that the originality of it is totally gone and they are redoing stuff they did only weeks before. It still is pretty funny, and you can hear the latest one by downloading this file. I think this may have been their longest game ever, and while it was humorous, I would not recommend you waste the tiem on it if you do not have a cable modem.

Feedback-PC Vs. Mac; Childhood

Well the most unfortunate thing happened this morning, I woke up to find that Viacom and Echostar had reached an agreement and my channels were back on the air. I suppose that should have me rejoicing since I can now watch South Park, but the thing is I had another lengthy bitch that I was going to get into yesterday about the issue and now that the issue is resolved it would be a bit pointless to write about it. Fear not, I have more, even less interesting things to talk about today!

First, there was a sign on the bulletin board at my local post office that I found pretty amusing. It said, “New construction company looking for someone who can read a tape measure and not show up for work drunk or high” There were of course phone numbers hanging from the bottom of it, and several had already been plucked off. I noticed that they weren’t even saying how much the job paid, I guess that one must assume that the type of people who would apply to an ad like that would probably be happy with minimum wage, or an amount close to it. I am happy to say that for the first time in my life I actually think that I may be a bit over-qualified for that job.

Yesterdays very short musings resulted in two emails, this time with a bit of an argument regearding the Microsoft security alert that I bitched about yesterday, the first one said;

Hey. I was just reading your website and caught your quote about Windows vs Mac when it comes to security issues. I just wanted to share with you an opinion that I have become very comfortable in believing. If you think about it, the ratio of Windows users to Mac users has got to be an ungodly large number. The hackers know this as well as anyone else. When you get a guy sitting behind his desk making a malicious program, most likely the main thing on his mind is to harm the most number of people, and would therefore not even bother writing a virus for other platforms. You always hear news of MS finding this or that security issue because they most likely have a huge team working solely on security, where as the Mac guys are probably sitting back in their chairs laughing at the pains that having a monopoly brings.

Just when I logged into my email to cut and paste that line, I had received the second email, which said, in part;

There just aren’t enough OS X users around to make a statement if a virus is released. We’re only 5% of the market.
Having said that, my friend who works in Mac support for a major university says that OS X is incredibly stable and most importantly, safe. According to her, it would take years to hack through some of the encryption codes the OS uses.

I read both of those and I really think it is a bit funny at the approach each person is using at presenting the same argument. The first email is obviously from a Windows user, and his angle seems to be that no one cares about Macintosh, but they would be just as easy to hack if someone put their mind to it. That may or may not be true but the fact is that you just NEVER hear about any problems with the security on Mac machines. I mean any type of security even like stolen credit card numbers and bank info and all of those type of things seem to only happen on Windows based systems.

After reading the second email, which is from an OS X user, it seems that the mac users concede that their is such a small base of users that even if their security ever failed it wouldn’t make headlines. I am not sure if that was really what the emailer was trying to get at, but that is kind of what I got to after having read both emails. The thing is that there is nothing further from the truth than that.

I strongly believe that if a single OS X system anywhere on the face of the earth encountered security issues, Microsoft would be on it like maggots to rotting flesh. Macintosh has been a thorn in the side of Microsoft for decades and the thought of them not attacking mac if even one person ever had security issues is ludicrous. It would be in every Microsoft commercial and ad campaign from here until the end of time. If you are thinking, no, Microsoft would not attack them for something like that, since they have had so many problems of their own…Sober up…

Do you remember a couple of years ago when Macintosh starting doing those commercials where real people told the story of why they switched from Windows based PCs? Microsoft immediately started hiring actors and giving them false stories to read about why the switched from Mac back to the PC. I can’t find any articles about it right now, but I seem to remember that they got in a lot of trouble for not specifying that the people in the commercials were actors and not actual Mac users. Now if a company will openly break the law when faced with someone else talking about the shortcomings of their product, I would bet my nuts that they would take every advantage of the shortcomings of their competitor’s product. The mere fact that they have not yet been able to do so is, I think, the best advertising the Mac has ever had.

One other thing of note to put up here. I was looking through my site stats today and noticed that I have a referral from a googlebot and two search strings that led to people clicking my site. Woo-hoo google has finally found me! I feel a bit sorry for the people who searched for “comedy central is gone” and “nail gun movie -massacre” as I probably didn’t have quite the information that they were looking for on my site. But, you see, that is why I chose to name the site even though was available. I really didn’t think anyone would click on a link to since it looks like it is probably just a personal page, where could really be anything. Except animal porn.

A thought occured to me today as I was again thinking about children. More specifically I was thinking about everyone and their sister asking my wife and myself why we don’t want to have children. I had long thought that it was just some internal drive that some people have and some don’t. I don’t mean like libido, but some sort of maternal/paternal thing that some people just have more than others. I had often noticed that more affluent couples seem to have less(if any) children than poorer couples in the same area and had surmised that more money meant more joy, so they did not need children to brighten up their lives. I don’t really think that I believe that anymore.

The next series of thoughts involved a child’s upbringing contributing to whether or not they would, in turn, want to have children. I really believe that far too many people are having children because they are not happy about the way they were brought up. Like when you were a kid, and at some point you said, “when I have kids I won’t treat them like this.” to your parents -come on, you know you did- some people just seem to take that to the next level and have children so they can spoil them just to piss off their parents.

Sometime while thinking about upbringing, I think I found the reason that I don’t want to have children. Life -much like shit- happens. Most of the time you don’t have control over your current situation, it is more in the reverse, your situation has control over you. If you are buying a house, buying a car basically being a consumer, you are bound to your job as if it was your own skin. If you lose that job for whatever reason, you have to find other work. If other work is far away from your current location you really don’t have a choice, you would have to sell your house and relocate. That is why I don’t want to have children.

I really hated my childhood after about the third grade, and by no small coincidence that was when I started moving around a lot. I am sure that many people have had to experience being the new kid in school and were able to overcome it. That never really happened for me. I was always the new kid, over and over, new friends that I would lose in a couple of months, learning from different school books, it was just horrible. Here I will do my best to list my scholastic career:

1st grade: Riverside elementary
2nd grade: Fir Grove elementary
3rd grade: Fir Grove elementary
4th grade: Eastwood elementary, Benson elementary, Tombstone elementary, Benson elementary, Cochise elementary
5th grade: Cochise elementary
6th grade: Rose elementary
7th grade: Riddle middle school, Fremont middle school
8th grade: Fremont middle school, Winston middle school
9th grade: Douglas High
10th grade: Douglas High
11th grade: Douglas High, Roseburg High
12th grade: Roseburg high, Douglas High, Roseburg High

With the exception of the last two years, all of the different schools that I attened were due to moving about with my mother or father. Of course the grammar school years are when you are supposed to be developing all of your social skills, and I was doing quite well with it, right until the fourth grade. When it all went to hell. If there is anyone still reading this, I will break down why the moves were made from school to school to the best of my recollection -and, as per what my parents told me at the time.-

Riverside closed down after my first year there, it was quite close to a very busy street and a river, and the parents had a vote and it was closed. Half of the kids went to Fir Grove, half of them went to Rose, varying by region. My parents divorced while I was in the third grade and my mother drove me to Fir Grove for the remainder of the year, but we moved very close to Eastwood over the summer break, so that is where I started school the next year. After about two months of school at Eastwood, I got a note that I was supposed to go to the office and I was in horrible fear about what I had done, but it turned out that I had been pulled out of the school by my mother and we were moving to Arizona.

We found a house in a place called Dragoon and it had bus service to Benson, but the house was condemned after we had lived there for a month or so and we moved to Tombstone. Only about six weeks in Tombstone I think, and the house that had been condemned in Dragoon was repaired to where we were able to move back in, so back to Benson. Benson quit sending a bus to dragoon since they were only picking up 3 kids and it was a forty-minute round trip, so the parents started car-pooling us to Cochise. I spent a few months and then an entire year at cochise, but 1st-8th grade there were only 52 kids in the whole school, so not a lot of friends to be had.

I spent my entire 6th grade year with my father and went to Rose, some of the friends that I had had in the first grade still went there, but we knew each other only in name, and it was not quite what I had hoped it would be.

Seventh grade was spent with my mother in Riddle, I don’t remember exactly why we started going to Freemont from there (yes I do, it was because Freemont had a free lunch program and Riddle didn’t) so I spent the last six weeks or so there. Eighth grade started with Freemont, but I went back to live with dad which put me in Winston, where I graduated with my class and spent the first two and a half years at Douglas high with them. That was when it was my fault that I moved so much.

I didn’t actually move after that, it was just that I was working full time after my dad died, and I was missing too much school. If I missed more than 12 days in a semester I would not get credit, but Roseburg High and Douglas High are only about 15 miles apart, so if I got close to the 12 days per semester I would transfer to the other school which would give me a clean slate.

That is something that I would not want to put a child through. If I were wealthy enough that I would never have to worry about something like that, I would surely have a different opinion about children. But I am not, and I don’t.

Meta; Childhood anecdote

I got an email today from one of the few people who have the address to this site. He offered me a bit of constructive criticism, he iced it over so well that I wasn’t really sure if it was actually criticism at all, but my logic prevailed and I saw his point(s). I have added them to my mental library and I will try to remember them when I start repeat the errors that I knew (even before he pointed out) I was making.

The biggest thing that I took from this email was not something it said, but something it made me remember. I have always had some pretty strong opinions on things and I often would write up rants to post on the free sites that I used to maintain. What would then happen is I would realize that some of the content was too controversial to post on a free site. The difference between the user agreement on a free site and a site like this is monumental. Here as long as I don’t post kiddy porn I am golden, on free sites an image of myself holding a cigarette could get my site banned. So the few rants that I did post were as edited as your average government area 51 files (by me for fear of retribution).

Unfortunately, I do not have anything really worthy of a rant today. What I do have is a story from my childhood that I had not thought about for about 18 years. I am sure it won’t make for captivating reading, but it is a story that I have never told anyone and for some reason I am feeling an urge to write it down. Bear with me.

I have to include a brief intro here which will really do no justice to just what my mother had to overcome to raise us as children:

My parents divorced when I was quite young, either six or seven, and my mother had never had a full time job. This was back in about 1981 I think, and the job-market for divorced mothers was not exactly booming. Minimum wage was set at 3.15 an hour and that was what she was working for when she took her first job. The only house that she could afford was one that was on the farm where she was working, it did not have indoor plumbing. Well, it did have a sink and a shower, but it did not have a toilet, we had to use an outhouse -try that in December in Oregon sometime-.

The divorce agreement between my parents was really pretty simple. She wanted sole custody of the three children, he wanted every material possession. She agreed to those terms because at the time my father was a very abusive alcoholic (later he was just an alcoholic and gave up on the abusing, but at the time I am damn sure it was in my best interest that she agreed to those terms.). Anyway, my father was on temporary disability at the time due to an injury at work, so his child support payments were set at 124 dollars per month for three children. None of this has been exaggerated, we were dirt poor.

Now to the story from my youth.

Where we were living at the time, the school did not have a cafeteria, the kids would either eat packed lunches or go to the restaurant across the street that had the $1.50 a day student special. We, of course, had the sack lunch. The lunch consisted of a sandwich (which was literally two pieces of bread and a single slice of deli-sliced meat), a few corn chips, and some Kool-Aid. That was what we could afford, so that is what we ate, but it often left me feeling really hungry by the end of the day.

I missed the bus home from school one day. We lived about a two hour walk from the school, and it truly seemed to take about 3 weeks when you were actually walking it. I was so hungry by the time I left school that I really thought I might die on the way home (in a 12 year old’s mind a lot of things can be fatal though, where was rhetrospect when I needed it). We didn’t have a phone at the time, and even if we did I didn’t have the dime I would have needed to call.

I began to trudge my way home, after only a few steps I figured I may as well put my jacket into my back-pack since I was certainly not going to be that cold after the two-hour walk. Shortly thereafter, I could see the ‘Bay’s Family Market’ IGA store approaching. My first thought was that I could go in there and see if anyone I recognized was shopping (that was pretty likely with the size of the town, like 4500 people), but I didn’t recognize anyone except for the store clerks. I hung my head down and started to make my way back to the door, when my stomach began to growl, then I passed the display of Tortilla chips. I bet you know where this is going…

I walked for about an hour wearing my jacket and a back-pack with a whole bag of tortilla chips in it. I was so scared that my mom, or the store, or anyone would find out, that I was crying the entire time I walked. About 2/3 of the way home there was an underpass (for water, not cars, only a few feet wide and a few feet high), I went into it and gorged on tortilla chips. I doubt that I even ate 1/3 of the chips, but I was so full that I could not eat another. I curled the top of the bag over, then left them there in that underpass. Feeling full, but very guilty, I managed to make my way home.

My brothers were both there when I arrived. They were both also quite hungry, but had eaten a slice of USDA cheese (which was meant only for sandwiches, not for eating plain -in our house, unfortunately we didn’t have any bread at the time) to sate them. They looked like they felt just as guilty as me, for eating a slice of cheese when they were really hungry (mind you, it is not that mom wanted us to be hungry, but we had nothing, and the little that we did have could be used to make meals, unless the ingredients were eaten prematurely). I wanted to tell them of the bounty of tortilla chips that I had left under the underpass, but I was still so in fear that I would get in trouble that I just went into my room and cried some more.

When mom got home from work, she made some ‘home made bread’ and a soup of nothing but broth and barley. It was enough to sustain us, but it tasted like crap compared to the bounty of chips that I had left there on the underpass. I wanted to tell her about the chips, I wanted us to all be able to eat them, but I knew it was wrong to steal them, and so did mom. I bet that if I had told her what I did she would have made me take that bag back into the store, apologize to the owner, and offer to work off the price of the chips. Then I would likely have been grounded.

Well, this has probably been a bit depressing for anyone who may read/have read it, so I will just say this. It was so much a part of my being to know that taking that bag of chips was wrong that I didn’t even look for them in the underpass when I missed the bus the next day. I have never again seriously thought about stealing anything because that just leads me to thinking about crying in my room when I could as easily offer the forbidden items to my family.

Long story short(er), I think that even though she had to go through a lot to raise us, mom sure did a hell of a job of putting in the morals. She also had a few great quotes; “Just because we are poor doesn’t mean that we are filthy.”, “Poor people aren’t all beggars.”, “Shut up and sit down you deviant little son of a bitch.” – I especially like the last one, since she is really insulting herself…Unless no one knows who my real mother is…