Car; Politics

Today is my wife’s birthday, Happy Birthday! She just turned way younger than me. There will be a time when I am like 104 (well I smoke, so let’s be honest, 64) and she will declare that I am still just robbing the cradle, since she is eternally 25. Why is it that most men will lie about their age to add years while women do the same to subtract years? That will be tomorrow on “springer”.

• I wanted to help out my mom, so I gave her our old car, it was an ’86 Chevy Nova, it still runs, but won’t drive because of some problem with the engine that can not be fixed even by the manufacturer. I gave that to her since 1) the tires were the same size as the tires on one of here cars. 2) they had the same bolt pattern. 3) it has been sitting here for like a year or more just looking for someone to pick it up.

I have never in my life given away a car that you could turn the key to start, until now. This car still starts, idles, the air-conditioning works pretty good (though you have to keep your foot a bit on the gas pedal to make it do it while idling). The only problem with the car is that the second you try to use the gas pedal to accelerate it dies. It doesn’t actually die, it just starts to spew out really nasty smoke, and it won’t move. If you let it run for about ten minutes (long enough to get the engine up to operating temperature) the idle goes to a normal idle level and you can drive it, but with the thickest dark-blue smoke that you have ever seen billowing out behind it.

I did tell her that she might not get anything more than the tires and the battery from the car, and I think I was pretty much right. Those are probably the only parts of that car that can be swapped over to whatever decent car that they have. I could also be wrong, though, as my mother lives right next door to a pretty good mechanic who could make that car live again. I would like to see that happen, as my wife spent like 900 dollars on it, then spent over 2,000 dollars to replace the shocks, struts, CV joints, alternator, radiator, brake master cylinder. Hell, there were so many parts that she had to replace that the old Nova might as well been brand new. Actually, if they were to replace the rack and pinion, everything would be brand new, except the engine, and that is where the problem is.

I don’t know how much the price of a toyota motor has gone up in the last 10-12 years, but you used to be able to get a complete one for about 700 dollars. If that is still the case, my Mom will have gotten a car that she can drive for the next ‘indefinite term’ absolutely free. Yes, I would love to be able to just buy her a Ferrari, but we both have to scrimp and scrape to get what we have.

We all have something in common here, right, you pay taxes, I pay taxes. Why don’t we start to take charge of what our tax dollars pay for? That would seem, what, almost Democratic. The people in the U.S. should be able to vote for every measure that goes through the house or senate, because it(the fact the the average person is not represented in any way) is being exploited. The ‘house of representatives’ is at least a pretty good view of that area’s take on something. Then we have to send it to the senate. Hundreds of thousands of votes being weighed by two guys (per region) before they cast their vote. How is/could that be the voice of the people?

I know that this has all worked in the past, and that it was actually to the advantage of some former presidents. I just want to know why. The system of checks and measures is there only to keep the president from abusing his power. When the president does, invariably, abuse his power, you have to again start talking about why he had the power in the first place. Dead discussion.


So after speaking about my personal issues with DiabloII yesterday, I went ahead and searched the forums for some info. I have never used a guide to build a character, and was a bit set back by what I saw there. The first Paladin that I ever built was totally reliant on his ‘thorns’ aura, which works right until you get to Nightmare mode. Having wasted 20 points on thorns already, I started pouring the rest of my points into ‘fanatacism’. Fanatacism is a good aura, in doses, or with a well built character…I was in neither position…

That character became the first ‘mule’ that I ever had, and he was already in nightmare so he could take items from the characters that I was trying to build at the time. I do not regret that character, though I do certainly regret that they did not tell you in the user guide that thorns is going to be useless the second you step into ‘Nightmare’ and laughable by the time you reach ‘Hell’.

The online character that I was playing yesterday had 27 skill choices remaing (after having put all points possible into fanatacism and vengeance), and I was wondering why I died all the time. It turns out that there is a very simple answer to that question. The answer is ‘Holy Shield’, that it is a skill from a tree that I did not ever use (the skill I mean) and it certainly made my ability to live in ‘hell’ increase exponentially.

The difference between 1,300 and 6,000 defense is pretty notable. That is about the defense that I got once I poured most (not all) of my remaining stat points into Holy Shield. I did have to place a half a dozen or so pre-requisite points also.

Then it was time to go back into ‘hell’ and find that damn tower, mostly for pride. It took some time to find the damn thing, and when I did, I noticed that they have done a bit of rennovating since the last time I has seen it.

This is what the Tower level one used to look like. Notice the use of nothing, to show that it really is something. Notice the use of negative space to show that it really doesn’t exist, and may have been a sham since the day they drew it up. Marvel at the way that it is just so tiny that no character would be able to move around in that area. After you are done with all of that get back with me. Ir has cleared areas for the people that hate the innovation, and it has cleared areas for those who love the innovation. I think this place is pretty solid.

Well, here is a view of the same level in the 1.10 release.

They must have knocked a wall down to get to that, eh?

Dogs; Diablo

Our puppy, Zelda, took it upon herself last night to start chewing on a pair of glasses that my wife had just bought, instead of the normal rawhide things that she is allowed to chew on. She has drug some of the wife’s high heels out in the past and chewed on them also, but dogs and shoes are pretty much linked by the oral tradition of our society, so that is to be expected. But, eyewear? There is just the tiny little piece of plastic on each arm, why would a dog find interest in that? A pair of slippers I could understand, especially if they were fuzzy, but glasses? What the hell was that dog thinking?

That is rhetorical, of course, and something that I may have been better off not to mention since I am the one trying to say that dogs are the more intelligent pet. The thing about training a dog is that there is a point where a puppy who can’t really understand discipline turns into a dog that knows that what it is doing is wrong, and you have to figure out at what point that happens.

Just like children, dogs go through a teething process. It is a bit different because the dogs will continue to chew on any item available until their teeth have completely grown in. I am assuming that this is because of their base animal instinct, knowing (however subconciously it is) that they must have strong teeth to tear apart their prey. I am speaking only from observation and have done absolutely zero research into it, but that is what I theorize from what I have seen.

Having been a dog owner since I was very young (3 or 4 years old at best), I have found that certain things do not help in teaching a dog what it should and should not chew on. Like the glasses, if you find them on the floor and they have been chewed on, showing them to the dog and smacking the dog seems to make it just hate them and want to chew on them the very next time it is possible. On the other hand, if you catch the dog chewing on something that they should stay away from it just takes a quick smack on the snout and the word “No” spoken firmly to make them never touch that item, or any similar item, again. I think that is why our puppy only drags her high heels out of the closet, since she has been smacked for dragging sneakers outside but has yet to be caught with a heel.

One other odd thing that she likes to chew on is bras. There is nothing crunchy on a bra, even the underwire ones only have a little piece of metal below the cup. I didn’t know that dogs would really chew on metal, but there are several old soup cans in my back yard that can prove that they do. We do try to keep rawhide chews available for her all the time, but those things can get expensive when she is going through one every day ( I mean like a bone, not just a strip ), and even then when it is gone she will start chewing on things like the laundry detergent bottle that is in the room they stay in while we are not home. With a bit of luck, and patience, she will grow up to be a much better dog than most pit bulls get credit for, unless she decides to start eating the wife’s jewelry next, in which case I will call a buy a gun and call a taxidermist, and then she will truly be a very good dog.

D2 talk below, may as well turn away now if you don’t play it.

Well, I spent entirely too much time playing Diablo today. Or to be more precise, Diablo II: Lord of Destruction version 1.10. Way too much time. It started out innocently enough, just screwing around with the new single player character that I created shortly after the release of the patch, but then I decided to go check on the on-line characters that I have remaining. I lost about 80% of my on-line characters through lack of play while I was playing everquest waiting for them to put out the patch for Diablo. The sad part is that had I sold some of the gear that I had over ebay I could be a couple hundred dollars richer because of it, instead, it is just gone.

I had a level 67 paladin that had just killed Baal in nightmare before I put the game on the shelf for a couple of months. He is one of the few characters that I still have remaining. I had not really tried to do anything in hell level since the patch was released, so I figured I would give him a go, just to see. They certainly have increased the difficulty in hell level. I am not saying that is a bad thing, just that it was obvious from stepping out the game that they had.

There are Super-Unique monsters galore. It wasn’t too bad going through the first couple of zones, I was able to survive using only potions and running like hell a lot of the time. Blood Raven was a lot more difficult than I remember her, but it has been a long time since I have faced her on hell level. Even longer since I have faced her on hell level with a melee character. It wasn’t that it was particularly hard to kill her, but it was significantly harder than it was prior to the patch.

The theme of having tons of Super-Unique monsters continued through as far as I got in act 1, and they are pretty tough sometimes. It wasn’t until I got to the Black Marsh (beyond the Dark Wood) that I started to get my ass handed to me pretty regularly. I happened upon four Super-uniques that were in about a four-screen range of each other. Two were Shamans, and were taken care of pretty easily, the other two were the two guys I am going to put pictures of below.

Any time they are stone skin and immune to physical a melee fighter has to cringe, but the lightning immunity made it even worse for me, since my weapon only does lightning damage. Luckily, this is the character that I had built to survive against physical immune creatures, so he has vengeance maxxed also, but this was still a pretty tough battle. My mercenary died a few times, and I got way too close a time or two myself. Then I decided to do the tower.

The tower might as well be a hack that was added to the game later, judging by the number of people that actually do the quest, but that could also be said for the majority of act 3, so who’s to say. I died in the tower. I am not sure if this guy had died before, but he died in the tower, on the first level. There were, again, at least four super-uniques on the first level of the tower. The fourth pack that I encountered were the ones that killed me, I did not have time to see what exactly their attributes were, but one had curse and spectral hit. I died with a full belt (16) full rejuv potions. Dead before I could hit a button. Thank god I don’t play hardcore.

I have read a lot about people thinking that the patch is too easy, or too hard, I think that it is just about right, you really have to think about your actions, and pay attention to what you do. It is certainly not a cake walk, but if you play it right it can be done with less than elite gear. So instead of bitching about how it is too hard or too easy, I am gonna say that they got it just about right. You have to really TRY to beat monsters at the higher levels, while you can just beat them up at the lower levels. Isn’t that the whole point of a game? To make the beginning easy enough for novices while having an ending that challenges the most seasoned player?

If I ever happen upon a game in my lifetime with the infinite replayability of D2:LOD, I will probably never have to buy another game.

PC; Radio

Strange, I had thought of a ton of stuff that I wanted to talk about while I was at work. As I sit here now, my brain is every bit as blank as the monitor in front of me. Perhaps I should start to do these before I take my daily dose of Percocet?

Well after typing that last paragraph I saved and then went to surf, got an idea about something to write about, and wrote at length about a woman’s age determining whether her perfume smelled more like flowers or pesticide. Then I got the happy blue window of death, and lost it, so I am starting fresh, trying not to piss off the old woman that lives in my pc.

Strange thing about computers, it really is an old woman at this point. It was certainly not cutting edge even when I bought it, what four years ago, but now it is just barely clinging to life. I have upgraded as much as is possible, more so than possible in the case of the hard drive as it took me several hours to get the damn thing to register the 40gigs that it is on a system that was only made to recognize as much as 12gigs. I don’t remember how I did it, I remember having to search the internet extensively to find the ways to circumvent the counting problems. Not something that I would be likely to do again if I were to buy a pc. Not that I would have a problem doing a memory upgrade or anything like that. There is no way I am going to pay someone 50 bucks an hour to swap out a cd drive or install memory when I can do it myself in like 3 minutes, but I don’t think I want to have to deal with any major things like the aforementioned hard drive when I buy a new pc. The hardware is just so cheap now that you can get a pretty good dell system or even compaq for 500 dollars. I say pretty good, since they have quintuple my processor speed and even more than that as far as system bus.

I am reluctant to buy a new pc for only one reason and that is that all of the parts, that I horribly overpaid for, that are in my system would not work in a new one. Of course all of the parts would be a lot less expensive now, so I should just go ahead and do it. I mean there would be no reason to keep a horribly outdated 32mb pci 3-d accelerator anyway. If I were to buy a new system I could just use this one for cd burning, that is something that it does pretty well, but it makes it impossible to do a damn thing other than watch the pretty spinning disc. There would even be the possiblilty of networking the two computers to play a bit of diablo with the wife, if she still had the interest. As it is now I don’t know if she does or not since I spend so much time on the machine that she rarely ever plays any games on the pc.

Then there is also the issue of the missed work due to a neck injury, which makes even a twenty dollar purchase seem a bit excessive, let alone putting out that much money for a new system.

§ I don’t have any idea what this symbol actually means, but it looks pretty cool, and I am going to start using it to break between ideas instead of just using a line. I am hoping that it will make my little site look better as I found it a bit strange to have single paragraphs seperated with hr lines. If it turns out that I don’t like it, it too will fade away. I just looked at that symbol on the screen and totally hated it, so it has faded rather quickly. I am going to use a more conventional dot instead.

• After having screwed around after losing my initial post, I decided to go check out the “new look” of That is the rock station of choice in the area I live, and it has been rated the number one rock radio station in the U.S. many times, but I am not sure exactly what rating system it was that gave them that honor. The good new is that I found that you can download some songs from the site, songs that were played live at the station, but you have to be a member of the “u-crew”. I went ahead and signed up, hell what is the worst thing that can happen, they send me spam? (though they let you click on whether you want to get email from them.)

I was also quite happy to see that they have downloadable replays of the “Guadalupe squares” (I wish that I could link to that, but you must be a member to access it) , this is an often hilarious, sometimes disgusting thing that they do every friday. As the name implies it is like a rip-off of Hollywood squares, but they often throw the rules out the window so that they can play more clips from the celebrity impersonators. The jokes are generally quite poor in taste, and some of the celebrities are done quite badly, but I think that is exactly what they were aiming for.

Like a lot of things, it is just not possible to explain something like the “Guapalupe Squares”, so I have instead uploaded one of them to this site for your listening pleasure. This is, of course, material that is copyrighted by I am not entirely sure if I am breaking the law by posting it here, but I think that once you hear one of these little shows you may want to download one every week. This is not their best one by far, it is just the most recent. You can download it Here.

You could, of course, just sign up for the “u-crew” and get them for yourself, and I would highly recommend it. As such, if you happen to notice that I have not updated this page in a week or so, assume that i have been arrested for putting that mp3 on my site. That being the case, try to find it in your heart to send my some K Y Jelly so Bubbas love for me doesn’t hurt so bad.

Mad cows; Writing

Well, I just wrote a quick email to the author over at BlackChampagne regarding his blog about a kid getting expelled for a story he wrote. I am just going to cut and paste that into the bottom of this update since it is better than anything I had planned to write about today anyway.

Not a lot to talk about today, the family is fine, thank you. I have not been to any news sites for the last couple of days (sometimes it is good to just turn off the world for a few days), and the only depressing thing in the local news is the visit of the President to the valley, that is unless you count death and rape as depressing. I think most of us are so hardened from watching so many movies that those only bother us if it happens to us, or someone we know. Of course I am just a tad cynical.

The reason that I find it depressing that the president is visiting my state is that the only reason he is doing it is for one of those “charity fundraising” events. Pay for a plate to watch him talk about how good he is. This is expected from politicians to be sure, but when that politician has a war chest so big that he is already slamming the opposition in televison ads, eight months before the election, it is just a terrible display of just how many backers (powerfull ones) he already has. But, that is political and I do not want to get into it so I will try to find a tangent.

Just did a quick check of news for some inspiration. The world is going to hell. More specifically, the U.S. part of the world is going to hell. The USDA is trying to keep companies from testing all of the cattle that they raise for mad cow disease. Their logic seems pretty sound, so few cattle have the disease that it is not necessary to check all of the cattle. Isn’t that just a bit backwards? Just to make a point, and I do not know the actual numbers, let’s say that one in eighty people has the HIV virus. Would it make more sense to check every 80th person or to check every person? If you roll a single six sided dice, for instance, the odds that it will fall on the number one are only 16.67%, if you are looking for the occurances of the number one would you check just once every six rolls? I mean really, WTF are they thinking? The U.S. is slaughtering some 37 million cattle a year, the USDA wants to test 270,000 and call it good enough? Then they only want to test the ones that they have to drag to slaughter, since they can’t walk, and do 20,000 random tests. Yeah, that should be a pretty accurate measure, random tests for .05% of the cattle that are slaughtered, how could there possibly any error? Hell, if you did a random test for HIV on just one out of 1850 people, that virus might not exist, right?

I’m rambling again, I am gonna call it a night.

The following is an email that I sent after reading this blog over at Blackchampagne. It might make more sense if you had read that first, no guarantee.

Just a quick note on the story about the kid getting expelled over a story. I also wrote some crap like that when I was young, like late teens. I read one of my old stories the other day while looking for one worth posting on my site -it seems that most of what I have written is far from the literary gold I thought it was when I wrote it- and found one that I had written first person about a serial killer. It was just sick.

I didn’t get into any sex or child rape or anything quite that unsavory, but it was very gory and graphic. Why I felt the need to make the killer cut open each body and force their right arm under their ribcage (putting their own hand on their heart, in theory) is something that did not do anything for the story, it was supposed to be his ‘trademark’, but looking back on it I know that my only intention was to make it shocking and gross. Unfortunately, it did not make it shocking, nor did it really make it gross, it just made me wonder what the hell was going through my head when I did it.

I really think that the reason that I did stuff like that when I was younger was either because I had never read anything like it, so I assumed that I was the first person that ever thought to try it, or that I didn’t have enough life experience to know how to write an interesting scene, so I used gore in the place of captivating descriptions. It was probably a little bit of both.

I guess that is why most people who did write a lot of short stories never go back to them later. Honestly someone like Stephen King probably wrote a lot of really horrible gory crap back when he was in high school, then found that it was just too poorly written to even try to salvage. I am much worse off, with a file cabinet full of probably a couple hundred ten or twenty page stories that have a good idea as the basis, but writing quality that would not even pass in a creative writing course. Out of all of them that I have read recently I can only find a few where I think the idea is good enough to even try to do a complete rewrite. And it would be a complete rewrite, I would not even have the story in front of me as I was doing it, since the idea is the only thing worth preserving, not a single word from the actual pages.

The only good that I have found in reading my old stories is that as the ink gets darker, the stories get better. They were mostly all done on a manual typewriter a long time ago and the ink is badly fading. I had thought that I would start to retype some of the oldest ones before they just faded away, but after reading them again I think it may be better to let them fade. It seems that they are so much better in my memory than they are on the paper that I could redo them if I really felt the urge, but there is no way that any of it could ever make it to a publisher so what would the point be.

On a side note, I remember having asked you about a problem that I was having opening some old stories that I had saved to disk but no paper copies of. I was finally able to open them using the “Quickview” program. The entire story would then appear as a single line of text that was Extremely long. All punctuation in them was either missing or just strange symbols, after a bit of experimentation I was able to just cut and paste each one into word pad and do a find and replace for the symbols. That resulted in almost coherent sentences, but as these were the oldest of the stories that I did on a computer they turned out to be just slightly better than the rest of the crap I was talking about. I almost wish that I would never have figured out how to open them, so that I could believe that they were some sort of literary masterpieces forever lost to the world, instead I see that they are more like literary slightly-polished turds. Depressing.

And finally a story from my time in high school. I had to do an essay, I am not sure if I chose the subject or if it was assigned (not that it matters) and the subject was mythology. Now Oregon is not exactly in the bible belt, but there are a lot of really white, really nervous people in charge of the schools up there that had a problem with which particular mythologies I was discussing. I chose to compare Christianity and Satanism. It took me a week or so to get my hands on a copy of the Satanic Bible, my school and local library refused to send upstate to borrow a copy and that led to me having to drive all the way to the University of Oregon to research it. That book is absolute crap, nothing like I thought it would be. I figured it would be much like the Christian bible but the other side of it, in reality it is just a guy telling a story, more or less.

My essay then focused on the practices and customs of Christianity. I left the title the same “Comparing Myths: Christianity vs. Satanism”. Just to be an ass (mostly because I was pissed off at the lengths I was forced to go to read the satanic bible) I started most sentences with, “In Christianity you must” followed by whatever ridiculous, cracker eating crap came next. I sure wish I still had a copy of that essay, it was one of the best that I have ever written, lots of details about what one MUST believe to say that they are Christian.

Because I had to compare the two mythologies, I had to put down something for Satanism, I did, the last line of the essay, “Satanists mustn’t.”

I thought I put together a pretty good essay, but it resulted in me being suspended from school for three days. They say it was because I didn’t follow the guidelines and actually ‘compare’ the two mythologies, I say that was impossible since they wouldn’t get the book for me to compare Satanism to anything (I never told them that I actually had read that book and it swayed me to do the essay the way I did).

It is really bizarre the way the schools handle such mundane things. But what can you do?


Addiction; My dad

I had intentions of actually doing something useful with my time today, but as it turns out, Diablo was a lot tougher than I have ever given him credit for. The other thing that is strange about this game is that it is like a time warp. You can sit down one minute, stand up about four minutes later, and find that you have just pissed away six hours on it. I suppose that the mindset that a serious gamer has when he tries to do ‘just one more’ quest is very similar to the way that the alcoholic needs ‘just one more’ drink. They are both addictions, they both must be sated to make the user happy, and they both ruin families and leave shattered homes in their wake. Though I would like to think that your average Diablo player doesn’t abuse his wife or children as the average alcoholic does.

I could certainly never be a mouth-piece for either side in the addiction category, since I seem to be addicted to both video games and alcohol, but it is certainly an issue that someone should try to tackle at some point. Is it really worse to drink your life away in the real world, or spend your life manipulating pixels to your own end? Each action will result in you dying too early, each will also result in the lack of people that you know (I am not counting on-line contacts there), both addictions are extremely unhealthy, but only one has counselors in place to handle it.

Any addiction is a bad thing. Relying on any substance/stimulus to give you pleasure is always going to result in an addiction. Regardless of what that thing may be you will just want more and more. Eventually the addiction will consume you, and you will die wondering where the hell your life went. If there is any sort of an afterlife, you will look at the time that you spent doing this or that, and wish that you had spent it with your friends and family. At some point it will hit you that you were never able to make time to see your Aunt in Cleveland all those years, yet, somehow you were able to clear your schedule to make it to her funeral. She had been asking you to visit for years, but with work, and your time on-line, you just never found a chance to make it up to her place. That is a shitty position to be in, ehh?

My father taught me a lot and most of it was wrong. One thing that he told me, that I will never forget, is that, “It is better to regret something that you haven’t done than to regret something that you have.” I had really believed that all my life, but I don’t think that I do anymore.

Case 1:

I was sixteen, and I was watching my father die. He had been at home for two days after being released from the hospital, and he was in bad shape. The Hospital had released him to the jail because he had a warrant for his arrest (never found out what that was for, but it was probably a ‘DUI’). The jail would not hold him because he was in a condition where he needed medical attention, so the jail released him to go get medical attention. He ended up at home. He had a punctured lung, which happened to make it past the hospital that day, two broken legs, one broken arm and a broken pelvis. He was casted from head to toe.

This man, the man who started my life, the man who would not walk out the door without cologne, he was going poo in a coffee can (that I had to empty) for those last two days. I knew that he was in a bad way, I wanted to call an ambulance, but he forbid it. I pleaded for him to let me call an ambulance. He would not let me.

Just barely sixteen years old, I watched my father die, knowing that I could have prevented it if I had just disobeyed him and called for medical attention even an hour sooner. There was no one else there, I was the only one that could have done it. God damn it, I let him die…

I think about that damn near every day, it was my fault. I basically made the decision to let him die as opposed to having him be mad at me for calling the ambulance that could save his life. When the ambulance did arrive, he was unresponsive and I didn’t even stay in the room to see if they could revive him, I started calling the relatives to let them know that he had died. I did that while they were still working on him, I knew that he was dead. He made a noise three or four minutes before the ambulance got there that I have never heard in my life, it has never been replicated in a film, it was just a noise that I knew was his last breath. I certainly hope that I will never hear that noise again, as that will mean that I am next to yet another person who is dying. My only hope is that if I do hear that noise again, I will be able to help the person.

Possibly, that is why I think that is better to regret something that you have done, at least you didn’t kill your father.

Site stats; Dad

Well, I have decided that I am going to start taking wednesdays off. I just don’t have the energy in the evening to write anything here after getting off of work late. Officially, next week will have no post for wednesday, while I am putting this one up just to let my legion of fan know (no, those weren’t meant to be plural).

One thing that I did find a bit disappointing was that the things I wrote about yesterday I really thought would make one of the few people reading email about. Most particularly that I used the wrong name for who is chef on South Park (I changed it before I uploaded it to the archives). I was pretty sure that everyone who actually views this site would know his name, so I was expecting someone to correct me, didn’t happen. Oh well.

That brings me to another issue, that being the site statistics that are available through the hosting service. They give you a lot of information, but not a damn bit is very useful. Say I have 69 hits one day, but only 3 visits, and 12 pages. How does one determine from that how many people actually visited the site? Could those three visits have resulted in 69 hits? It is all a bit odd. I am going to take the time tomorrow to get a third party counter that will actually just tells me who loads the front page, it seems to be a lot more accurate for trying to see how many people actually hit the page on a given day. It is not like I am expecting the number to be over five, but something that I am curious to know.

That will be all for today. Just to take up a bit of space, I am going to throw in a picture of my father with myself and my two brothers.

That is, of course, my father in the back, he died on Christmas eve in 1990. My two brothers are on either side of him. The little guy in the front, the one with Way too much hair, and a really bad ‘bowl cut’ would be me, your humble webmaster. Possibly a lot more humble after digging this photo out. Something that I just noticed while looking at this photo, doesn’t it look a bit like all the noses in the photo are superimposed? Hmmm. maybe it is just me, but it does look a bit odd.

Anyway, that is all for today. I will be back tomorrow with more compelling reasons why you should just never read my site.


Well I don’t have anything really planned for writing today, so I am going to go into a brief talk about the weather, and how it relates to yesterdays evaporative cooler talk. Throw up a couple of probably rhetorical questions about things that were going through my mind today, and then type just a few paragraghs about South Park. That is the plan anyway, we will see what actually happens as it goes.

The weather in Arizona is notoriously hot, most of the time. The last week has been even more than us locals could bear. This is the time of the year when the temperatures are usually in the mid 70’s with occasional jumps into the mid 80’s. That is what we call ‘Spring’, it usually lasts for about three or four weeks. This year it lasted exactly one day. I am not even slightly exaggerating when I say that two weeks ago it was cold enough overnight that it would put frost on the windshield of your car, this Sunday we broke a record high, before 11am, it was more than 93degrees before 11am, that is too damn hot! No one should have to see weather like that in March, it’s just not normal.

I am not sure if I ever actually did write about the temperature on the site ( I did email a few people about it) but I would have been wrong if I had. I thought that we had record breaking temperature all last week, and it turns out that we only tied the record on two days, broke it two days (by 4degrees on Sunday) and were just very near it all the other days. So to be technical it wasn’t record breaking stuff all week, but I am gonna call it that because it sure as hell felt like it.

When I started to write about the evaporative cooler yesterday I was going to talk about this a bit because it just sucked for me, but that is my luck. The hours that I spent on the roof working on that cooler were from 11am to 3pm, the hottest part of the day. The roof is painted with an elastomeric coating that is almost day-glow white, (very few houses down here use shingled roofs because the asphalt composition that can take extreme lows in the temperatures will turn to dust in four or five years down here. Most all of the new housing is going with those terra cotta ceramic type roofs, since they last a lot longer, while most of the old building opt to go with the ‘spray foam’ since most of them don’t have enough structural support to hold up the ceramic shingles. It is quite an odd site to look at the houses on the street, which appear to be covered in snow, then you realize that it is 120degrees, and you are in Arizona.), which reflects the sun way too well, and adds to the heat index as well. It is usually 20 degrees hotter on the roof of this place than the reported temperature, so call it about 110 while I was up there working. I drank at least a gallon of water in those four hours and ended up with a pretty severe sunburn.

This time I was at least smart enough to keep all of my clothing on while working, that usually kills me most years. When I start to get too hot I throw my shirt aside, allowing the rays to pour down on my chest and back, then the burn usually will all but immobilize me for a day or two. Sunburn only really hurts me when it is on the pasty portion of my skin (chest and back) while I can burn my arms and they will peel in a day or so and then my skin is a couple of pigments darker. Same with my face and legs. In fact the only part that really hurt about the sunburn was on the back of my neck, where my t-shirt didn’t cover, and even that doesn’t really hurt anymore. I guess it went well for what I was doing. But I certainly wouldn’t recommend that any idiot climb up on a white roof and work there for the four hottest hours of the day, especially in Arizona, especially when the heat is record breaking. So why did this idiot do it? Funny you should ask.

Every year I service these coolers, there are two of them, each has 8 grills and hold a total of 16 pads. Every year I hope to be able to complete the both of them in about ten hours, each year I also miss that goal because of unforseen circumstances (the worst was one year when I actually had to run about 75 feet of new water supply line because the old line was so horribly corroded that it was pouring more water onto the roof than into the coolers.) This year I wanted to get one of the damn things done by the day I said I would have it done, and by God I did, that is why I was up there in all that heat. I got it done on Sunday just like I said I would. That is the first time in the nine years that I have been servicing those coolers that I got either one of them done on time, that is the only positive that I can take from the experience.

Now, what really pisses me off is that I really did that all as a matter of pride, to finally get one of them done on time. Now I hear on the news that we are going to be back in the mid to low 80’s for the rest of the week. After I did all that work when it was damn near 100, that just sucks! The good news is that I only have one cooler left to service and I should be able to work on it an hour or so in the evenings this week, when it is like 80 and the sun has already set to the point that I won’t be able to get a sunburn. So I should have the second one done by this weekend and hopefully that will result in me not being so wiped out when I sit down to type. But who knows.

What is the actual point of the traffic choppers on radio stations? I am usually at work when they are on and listen to them because I don’t really have any options. The ones that I hear on the station that I listen to day in and day out are exactly the same. Something like, “Slow and go on the 60, the ‘stack interchange’ is backed up to ‘x’ point, slowing on the 202 near ‘x’ offramp”. The same every day, well sometimes the x is a different spot, but it is all the same. It may just be the station that I am forced to listen to, but I would think it is probably similar with most stations here in the valley, and probably in every major metropolitan area in the U.S. If you do that commute on a daily basis you probably know that it is going to be ‘slow and go’ at whatever point, know that the ‘stack interchange’ is going to be backed up to the ‘x’. The things that would concern you would be things like, oh accidents, cars broken down in the middle of the freeway, godzilla running amok. These things all happen of course, but it seems that they are always on surface streets (90% of the time at least according to the one that I have to listen to).

Then when something does happen, say a collision with a rollover and fatality (that is going to shut down the entire road for quite some time) they don’t go into that at the end of the song, no, they wait until they do the official: This traffic report is brought to you by ‘whoever’. Would the average person rather hear a bunch of pre-scheduled traffic updates that are the same crap brought to you by whoever, or just have the one or two that really matter, and take an extra five minutes of commercials per hour to counter that? Curious question, let me know what you think.

Lawyer’s commercials. Why is it that every damn accident/injury lawyer’s commercials all have these people in them that sound so staged? Do they really think that the average person can not read a cue card? They put things on the bottom of the screen that says “actual clients”, as if one could mistake them for actors? I could read the ingredients off the back of a shampoo bottle in a live auditorium and make it sound more like something that I had spoken off of the top of my head than the idiots that they get to try to read that crap. Maybe that’s what they’re going for though. They want you to think that if they can get 250,000 dollars for this guy that can barely read you would fare a lot better? Or maybe they are just trying to emphasize the point that the people are not actors (that certainly needs no emphasis) that they had hired? Again, I just don’t know.

In a retail situation, why do certain people think that the rules don’t apply to them? Pick any rule you want, there will always be someone who thinks that it doesn’t apply to them. I even tried that once when I wanted to return a game that I had already opened and installed, when it didn’t work I took it back. They had a policy of “no returns on video game purchases”, so I just sucked it up. I knew that that was the policy, I explained that I had not been able to register the game, so it was still brand new, they said no, I walked away. I didn’t make a scene, scream that they were raping my children by not giving me back the twenty bucks, I just walked away. I didn’t even ask for them to call a manager who could come out and clarify the store policy, then not give me back the twenty bucks, while making everyone behind me wait longer for their (possibly) legitimate claims.

I suppose that I am a bit more tolerant of people who do this, since I do work in retail. We really want every person to be happy when they walk out the door, but sometimes it is a bit much. For instance, there is a little platform at the register (where I work) for people to place their checkbook while they write the check. On top of that platform is a HUGE sign that says: “There is a $25.00 fee for all returned checks”. That should be pretty simple to understand. I believe that it costs us about $18.00 up front for the returned check, then whatever amount it takes for the time and resources to actually get the person to pay up. The number one claim is that it was a banking error that made the check get returned (that translates to, I didn’t have the money in their that day, but three days later I did), and that is not an acceptable answer. If the bank made a mistake they are always quite happy to rectify it, else you would bank elsewhere, but for some reason these people always expect us to believe it. On occasion, we will actually try to verify the funds for the check while the customer is still there bitching about it being a bank error and find that they still don’t have enough money in their account to cover it, another bank error, of course…

There was this one woman that was so brazen that she offerd to write a check for the amount from a different account, at a different bank, with check number 101, we of course called to verify funds, and there was yet another bank error since the money wasn’t in that account either. This was all over a four dollar check. It could have been a bank error, in fact I think it likely that they had pulled her monthly fee before they processed that check and that is why it bounced. It is not her fault (if that did happen) but it is certainly not our fault either. Her problem would be with her bank (if they do not cover her check when she has overdrafted by a dollar or two she probably has had other instances where she has done it. I overdrafted my account by 613.52 by mistake last month – forgot to deposit a check- and they covered it, didn’t even charge me, but I would have paid the 27 dollar fee that the company posted for returned checks because that was what I agreed to when I wrote the check in the first place).

South Park:

Just going to be a few random musings about the show ‘South Park’ here. The first is that I just can not really believe what they are able to get away with. There are many times that I am watching the show and thinking to myself “how did they get that by the censors”, but I guess the censors are a bit more lenient to shows that do not air on abc, cbs and nbc. Honestly the censors for cable networks are just about non-existent. South Park deals with a lot of issues, has very fresh writing, and can get away with doing whatever the hell they want. Must be a golden position to be in. They can do no wrong, well, they can, but the network will air the show anyway. That is why I really do adore the show so.

Point in the first, they have a kid called ‘token’ who is, of course, the only black person in the entire show, well that is not true, since they also have Chef who is played by Isaac Hayes, but token is the only black kid, and the show is mostly about the antics of the four kids. In one episode, Eric Cartman tells Token to go get a ‘Bass Guitar’ out of his basement. Token says that they don’t have one, but looks anyway at Cartman’s urging, and yes he did have a bass in the basement. Cartman tells him to “give me a ‘bass-line'”, token says that he can not play bass, and Cartman says, “God damn it, Token, you are black, you can play bass.” Token tries it, and yep, he can play bass, he says, “God damn it!” and we go to the next scene. There is no way that that would have ever aired on a network tv show.

In that same episode, Eric Cartman spoke a line that I will never forget, well sang it really, and that line was; “I want to get down on my knees and start pleasing Jesus, I want to feel his salvation all over my face”. There is no way that you are gonna get that line by a network censor.

In the most recent show, the kids all buy weapons at a local fair and think that they are ninjas. Whenever it is just the kids in the shot, it shows them all in their ninja gear and larger than life, when their parents (any parent) is around, it is back to lame 2-d animation. They certainly show with the episode that they would be able to make it a much more believable animated series if they want to, but I don’t think that they would stoop to that level. It is what it is, and it is the funniest thing that I have ever seen because of it.

The thing that I really love about the show is that in the aforementioned episode they made two referrences to the Mel Gibson movie “The Passion of the Christ”, only a couple of weeks after it came out. And, at the end, they made referrence back to the “wardrobe malfunction” when one of the kids is actually seen naked. This is only weeks after the things happened, and why I love it so. The animation may seem a bit dated, but the ideas and morals that they are using within the story just seem so dead-on that you have to watch more.

God I love South Park.

Coolers; Pets

Well, again, there was nothing new posted here yesterday. I would like to blame that on a lot of things, but the fact is that the blame should all go directly onto me. Sunday is, after all, the only day of the week when I don’t have to go to work, so I should certainly be able to stab out a few paragraghs at least, right?

The thing is that I had promised my boss that I would make one of the coolers on the roof be on-line by Sunday (as a side job). The hours that I worked this week made it so that I had to go through the entire process on Sunday, as I was not able to get up there to take care of some of the minor problems that can turn major on this type of cooler. I am not talking about something like changing the filter in your air conditoner, I am talking about servicing an evaporative cooler that is industrial-sized. I doubt that anyone that does not live in the state of arizona actually knows what an evaporative cooler is (strike that, I bet a lot of people who live in deserts in the middle east are pretty fond of them also).

I think that the name of the product may be a bit misleading though. Technically, water has to reach 216 degrees fahrenheit before it evaporates, that is 100 degrees celsius, and damn hot. Evaporative coolers can lower the air temperature by as much as 30 degrees in a zero humidity climate. The water doesn’t actually evaporate (I don’t think). Yet, I just googled it up and that page is Here. It really does evaporate the water. How water can be heated to the point that it evaporates being spewed into a room can cool a room is something that I still don’t understand.

I still don’t believe that it is actually evaporating that water, well, maybe I do, to a point. Water can hold it’s temperature a lot better than air can. That is likely why the oceans stay at within a degree or two of their average temperature year round. That is also why the air temperature can be cooled by the evporation process (maybe), the air that is being pushed through the pads is picking up molecules of water that have been underground, and as such are at the roughly 72 degree temperature that we consider normal. That does result in a nice cool breeze (if that is the way it works at all) but, I am a happy man either way.

If the cooler actually does ‘evaporate’ any of the water, that hot air is magically exchaged for the cold air that it blows into my house. I can deal with that.

There are lots of things in your average home that you could not explain how or why they work, take your computer for instance, it works, do you know why it works? Could you build one if you had to? I am not talking about taking pieces that you buy at a store and assembling them, I mean if you were stuck on a desert island, could you use the resources there to create a computer? or an evaporative cooler? Hell, even a can-opener?

I am 100% sure that I could not build any of those things. I could build all three of them, if I was given the parts to do so, and I coulld also beat a can against a rock until I finally got into it, but that is hardly the point. Technology may simplify our lives, but it makes us ever more reliant on people who know a particular trade and will take advantage of our ignorance of it.

Puppies vs. Pussies

I had every intention of getting some pictures of ‘Zelda’ up here today, the thing is that we have only a precious few of them, and they are all locked in a little disposable camera that has yet to be developed. Just take my word for it, she is a good dog at least 10-12% of the time, the rest of the time you just want to beat her senseless and forget that you ever had a dog…Not a good premise for where I am planning to go with this, but it has been written, and I do not edit.

It is not often that someone can see a very rich, important woman lugging around her pussy, but, she might be lugging around her bitch. Why the ‘American Dream’, or the myth that it has since created, has to involve a dog is far beyond me. The ‘American Dream’ also says that you have 2.6 children, so do you start lopping off your children’s appendages until you fall into that demographic? Hopefully not.

That is the entire reason I am going to go on about this, there seem to be pretty clear lines drawn between the ‘dog people’ and the ‘cat people’. Why? Pick a pet and go with it. If you like cats, that would be your choice. If you like dogs, that would be your choice. Pretty simple.

Stand next to your pet cat, throw a ball, what happens? Likely the cat will look at you like you are some sort of idiot for throwing the damn thing in the first place.

Stand next to your dog and do the same thing. He/she will chase the ball down, pick it up, and bring it back to you. The dog may or may not drop it depending on the level of training.

Stand next to your cat again, point towards something that is some distance away, the cat will just stare at your finger (in most cases), while the dog will look where you are pointing.

When you come home from work, wich one will jump up and wag their tail, just so happy to see you? Which one just looks up from their bed waiting for you to open a new can of food?

I think that dog is certainly the way to go for a pet, but cat is a very popular pet also. When you can make your cat sit, shake each paw (by saying left or right), beg and stand all for one single treat, I may consider them equal…Yet most cat owners will tell you that their animal is so smart that it doesn’t fall for those tricks… Okay, I didn’t want your stupid cat here anyway…

Global Warming; Recycling

Well, it seems that I don’t really have a lot that I am planning to post here today. I have one thing from the news that absolutely requires bitching and a couple of personal notes and that is about it. So I will just jump right into the one news item.

But first, there is one other thing that I took from the layout over there at Blackchampagne and that is the color change for items that are quoted. I have always put quotes into block quotes, since that is the entire purpose of them, but having read a lot of other blogs since I started doing this site I have found that a different color is a good idea. There are a lot of people who use blockquotes when they are quoting something that they had previously written as well as things that they had taken from other articles. Honestly it gets a bit confusing, especially if you are just trying to skim a dozen pages to look for anything worth reading. Of course that is kind of a moot point here, as I have never written anything intersting, and have never felt the need to quote myself in the first place, but the separate color at least should keep anyone from thinking that I was the author of that content.

That digression aside, the news article that I was speaking of can be found Here. It is about rising levels of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere. I am not sure why it is really news at all, I mean take the following pieces of the story for instance;

The reason for the faster buildup of the most important “greenhouse gas” will require further analysis, the U.S. government experts say.

Well, it turns out that it really doesn’t require any further analysis as they seem to answer the question of why with the remainder of the article. Like this next paragraph that was either the next one, or the one after;

Carbon dioxide, mostly from burning of coal, gasoline and other fossil fuels, traps heat that otherwise would radiate into space. Global temperatures increased by about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 degrees Celsius) during the 20th century, and international panels of scientists sponsored by world governments have concluded that most of the warming probably was due to greenhouse gases.

I altered that paragraph only because I wanted to make the part that is causing the problem in bold text. So, wouldn’t it seem like a fairly safe assumption to think that the reason for the increase in the levels of carbon dioxide could be attributed to the burning of fossil fuels? Of course industry is blamed for the majority of this, with huge stacks on power plants billowing out black smoke every minute, every day, but anyone who drives an automobile is spewing out the very same stuff. So, it would seem that there would just need to be a bit of legislation passed to limit the amount of the stuff that any person/company can spit out, right?

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol (news – web sites) would oblige ratifying countries to reduce carbon dioxide emissions according to set schedules, to minimize potential global warming. The pact has not taken effect, however.
The United States, the world’s biggest carbon dioxide emitter, signed the agreement but did not ratify it, and the Bush administration has since withdrawn U.S. support, calling instead for voluntary emission reductions by U.S. industry and more scientific research into climate change.

We’re number one! We’re number one! Why is it that the only remaining “Superpower” on the globe can only seem to be number one in things like obesity, war and pollution? I am a bit surprised that the current administration isn’t more concerned about this, what with the tax breaks that they are giving to government employees who buy the gas-guzzling SUVs as opposed to giving tax breaks to the ones who buy the hybrid vehicles with less than 10% of the emissions of those SUVs. Okay, maybe I am not really all that surprised at all.

I do wonder, though, when the Hydrogen powered vehicles, which have been in testing for quite some time, and have only liquid water as emission, actually come to market if anyone will want to buy them. Here is a link to a pretty good argument for hydrogen powered vehicles, and to be fair, here is the best one that I could find against Hydrogen powered vehicles though the black background with white text makes it a painful read (so painful in fact that I was not able to finish it, and that person did seem to get into a pretty good discussion of fuel economy in gas powered vehicles. Maybe it is a good read?).

The whole point of this, I think, is just to mention that both my wife and myself drive little foreign cars, Kia Sephias to be exact. The cars get amazing gas mileage, 300 miles per ten gallon tank while mixing heavy traffic and freeway, and even while running the air conditioning. The average SUV doesn’t get that kind of gas mileage on an empty freeway, even if you shut off the motor while going downhill. But, America is the land of excess and there is a reason why we are the world leaders in consumption of fast food and fossil fuels, thus making us the leaders in attacking other countries to secure oil for our future use.


This was the other thing that I really wanted to get into today. It seems really odd to me that recycling is not as big as it should be here (arizona) as it is in many other U.S. states.

A lot of states, Oregon, California, Massachusetts and Vermont just to name a few, have made the recycling of aluminum cans and other containers mandatory. It is not mandatory to recycle the cans, but you are charged a fee for every can that you buy at the store (a nickel in most states) that you get back when you return the cans. Simple and straight-forward, you would not just stand in your kitchen throwing nickels into the trash, would you? That is a nickel that you paid, like you were just renting the can for however long it took you to drink the fluid in it. I guess it is more like a ransom in that way, you are holding the can hostage and they are willing to pay you one nickel for each can that you set free. That is some pretty good incentive, since you had to pay the money before they let you use the can.

Here in Arizona they just don’t really give a shit. Well, to a point.

When I first moved here I really felt guilty about throwing away soda cans. It felt almost like I was breaking the law or something, but time has passed and I have realized that there is a reason that people dig through the dumpsters every night looking for soda and beer cans. Them is good money.

You have, as I see it, three options for your cans here in AZ. 1) Throw them away. 2) Put them into a recycling bin (which the town I live in does not have, even though its major draw is tourists since the town has the oldest continuously operating courthouse in the state and half of the houses are on the historic register at over 100 years old). 3) Recycle them. This is, of course the best option, but one that is hard to do in practice.

See, the thing is people will pay you for these cans. The prices vary between about thirty and fourty cents per pound, but that is money that you did not pay out in the form of a deposit. Yet, you can not take the cans back to the place that you bought them, nor to any actual store. You have to take your cans to a place like a scrapyard, like an automobile junkyard, where they deal in scrap metals. These places are invariably open weird hours and subject to the whims of the owners, but they are the only option down here.

I drink a lot of beer. I drink a lot of cheap, canned beer. I end up with a lot of cans. At some point my wife realized that if we could use my alcohol consumption for a good cause it would be a wonderful thing. She bought a separate trash can for me to throw the empty cans into, and thus her plan went into action. The bags, with normal cans, just fill up so quickly that it was hard for either of us to get to anywhere where we could sell them before the next bag was already full.

She bought me one of those ‘can crushers’ that are just insanely cheap on ebay. Since the people who buy scrap aluminum down here just don’t care about product labels (since it is scrap aluminum, not them paying you back the nickel per can deposit) they prefer them crushed, so it all worked out good.

So you see, we are helping to save the planet with the beer that I consume. And, we are getting some cash back also. That cash is currently at 27 dollars, which will fund our next dinner at the restaurant that I bitched about a couple of days ago. I would like to make that fund large enough to eat at a really nice restaurant, but let’s be honest, the beer (that I would have to drink )would cost much more than the bill at the restaurant, and I do only have the one liver. But, money for selling cans, why aren’t people other than hobos doing this?