Websites>Children; Sex Ed

I got an email today from someone that I have never heard of, and have no idea how they happened upon my site. This person told me that I should stop with the bashing of MSN customer support. That is a valid argument, probably the best argument that I have gotten since I started doing this site all those weeks ago. I respect his POV and appreciate his email. Thing is that the MSN customer support is just so rich a subject that I could go on and on about it for days, if I was so inclined. They seem to have the guys that get turned down for jobs at McDonalds working there. If anyone really wants me to stop my bitching about their inept service, that person better work for them, and be in a position to hire people who have ever actually done anything to a pc other than love the monitor in a disturbing fashion…Show me just one case where MSN customer support has fixed a problem (not counting incorrect passwords) and I will quit my bitching.

Nice to know that someone happened upon my site though. Unless, of course, my regular reader actually sent them a link. I am relatively sure that I didn’t send them a link, so it must have been just a chance occurance.

• There is something that I was thinking about today that I found just a bit amusing, if not disturbing. I started to keep an actual journal when I was in the sixth grade (that would be a diary to the ladies), but gave it up after it had been found and, consequently, read by one of my brothers. I just quit keeping the journal altogether, even though it was probably not nearly as personal as some of the stuff that I post here. Why is this? I have two working theories, I am not sure which one is closer to the truth, I am not sure if either one is even close to the truth to be honest.

My first theory is that I was at that age where things start to happen for young people. Hair started appearing on my fingers, toes and elsewhere. I do not remember a word of what I actually wrote in that journal, but I could surmise that I would have written about changes that my body was going through. As I think back on it, I think that would be an interesting read for a lot of kids (more on that in a moment).

My second theory is that I would like to be remembered, long after I have died and gone into the dirt that christians call heaven. Words that you speak can often be misquoted or just ignored, words that you write down are there. Words that you write down are there forever (depending on the source of the media that you are using). What I write here could easily outlive me if I could get a relative to preserve it all on a disk. The thing is that I think a lot of people are doing the same thing.

Lots of wealthy people choose not to have children, yet have their memoirs printed. I am certainly not wealthy, I look at it kind of backwards. If I can not offer my child the absolute best, I would rather not have a child. I don’t mean toy cars and the such, I mean that if I know that I will not be able to provide the best education for a child I would rather have that child not be born. I certainly could not foot the 30,000 dollar a year charge for an ivy league college, but I would expect that my child would be capable of that level of success. Sure there are sholarships that would cover some of the cost, but the out-of-pocket cost would still be pretty high. One could only mortgage their home so many times…

Myself, as your average blue-collar worker, could not provide the correct environment for a child to thrive. I could surely provide an environment where a child could survive, yet I would feel extremely bad if the time came when he/she got accepted into an ivy league college and I had to say that we couldn’t afford it. My lack of education would then go against my child. Forcing them to work low wage jobs all his/her life, would it be better to have or not have that child? I thought that the whole point of having children was to make sure that they have it ‘better than you did’. I am sure that there would be no lack of love (site my dogs, for example), but education is everything for a child. I know that I can not afford to send a child to the best schools, and I think that is why I type here each day.

This site will likely be my legacy. The thing that is spoken of, in hushed words, from one family member to another. They never had any children, people will say, that must have been a sad existance. I don’t suppose I will really mind if I am remembered that way, I just don’t want to bring a new life into this world that can only hope to be remembered the same. I strongly believe that the goals that you have for your child/children should be to do better than you ever did, if that is not possible please use a condom…

• When I was in the sixth grade they started doing sex ed. I really think that the teachers were more uncomfortable than the class. When the movies played one of the teachers would go to the bathroom, while the other just sat reading the paper. When it ended he would look up and say, “any questions?”. Even if you had questions you would not ask them from this guy.

Totally on a side note, the latter of the teachers was later arrested and charged for molesting children in the third grade class while he was a substitute teacher at a different school. You just have to love the grammar school system here, don’t you?

I really can’t remember exactly what those videos showed, what I can remember is that it set everything to a certain age. Say you wake up on your sixteenth birthday, that means that you will have full pubic hair, even if you have never had a sign of it before. Men will have chest hair at eighteen, again, even if you had never had any sign of it before. The male penis is able to function for reproductive purposes at the age of thirteen. I assume that all of these things must happen on that particular birthday, as the video did not describe any ‘gray area’ that could explain anomolies in their system.

The thing is that I got hair on my chest before I got hair on my love-sack. A friend of mine, name of Mike W* had a full beard by the time the puberty bug got down to his cajones. Sure, it is not an exact science, so don’t try to make it so exact in the ‘self help’ videos about puberty. That just goes to make us al self-concious and really hate the guy who made the video in the first place.

Of course it is me being bitter, and I think I am really getting good at it. YMMV, but the facts will remain the same.

Mom’s PC

I got that marvel of technology that is my mother’s computer yesterday. It sucks just as bad now as it did like thirty years ago when they first released it. It is not that it is bad, or slow, on its own merits, it is just that it is a dinosaur by todays standards. It works quite properly but it has a problem with a modem being inserted into it. Not like a ‘non-compatible device’ type thing, but just an actual scream like ‘get that damn thing away from me!’

I had never had a problem like that before on any system. I did what I knew was necessary and went online to get the correct modem drivers, they installed just fine. In fact, it connected to the internet just fine, but I was not able to download anything. Not even to load a web page. I was pretty convinced that the reason for that was that the computer was an old office machine, more on that in a bit.

So I called my ISP to see if they could help me troubleshoot the problem. I really should have known that it was a bad idea, considering my last experience with their technical support people. The first thing that I said to the tech was that I thought the problem was because the pc I was trying to configure had previously been running on an intra-office lan. I suggested that there may be a proxy setting somewhere that I was not seeing that would clear the whole thing up. The tech said, “mmm hhh. Okay, did you check your password?”

If I had any common sense I would have just hung up right then, instead I told him that, yes, my password was correct and that I was not having a problem actually connecting, the problem was in downloading. So he promptly suggested that I may not have the correct modem driver. Okay, maybe there is an off chance that I could connect with the wrong modem driver, but honestly, this guy was not listening to a damn word that I said. After a half an hour or so, he concluded that the problem was that my version of Internet Explorer was not up to date.

Now I am always using machines that were in their prime several years in the past. I am always behind on my Internet Explorer updates because, in my opinion, every time they upgrade it it just gets worse. Everything loads slower, there is more crap that you can’t make disappear, it is constantly in your face. I do sometimes get broken images and the such using such an old version, but I am always able to load a page like Yahoo, I was not even able to do that on the machine that I was working on yesterday.

The guy eventually transferred me to another tech, I explained to her what I thought the problem was, and she asked if I was sure I had my password correct (do they even tell them what they have already tried when they transfer the call?). She had me try to ping a couple of websites from a dos prompt, which I was able to do with no problem. In my mind that just reinforced my theory that there was some proxy setting somewhere that needed to be taken care of. Instead of helping me try to find it, the tech told me that I needed to call the pc manufacturer since it was not a problem with their service. That was a bit irritating, but I suppose it wasn’t their fault, their service really wasn’t my problem. I was pretty frustrated at that point so I just went to bed (I had about half of this written at that point) to look at it in the morning with a clear head.

The first thing that I tried in the morning was to go into the BIOS and disable the network password. That had no effect, so I changed it back. Then, with my system’s screen beside the new system’s, I started checking for differences in the dial up networking. They were all good. I started looking through the networking, and I found the first problem. That was that the setting on my machine said to use the windows log on, the new machine said to use the network logon. Once I changed that the computer would connect about twice as fast, but I still didn’t get any information to transfer. I set up a new windows log on, which I am not sure had any effect, but I left it anyway.

Then, just on a whim, I went to find files/folders on the new machine’s start menu and typed “Proxy Client”. It displayed a few help files, but more importantly an executable. Once I opened that folder I saw that it was indeed trying to connect through the proxy client/server thing. It had a button on it whereby I could disable it. Once that was done the internet started to function normally. Though when you first connect it still asks for your network id, password and the domain. It is easy enough just to close that, and I don’t feel like screwing with it any more, so I am calling it fixed.

On a side note. This is a problem that I know would have been fixed if I would just have formatted the hard drive and re-installed the OS. The reason that I didn’t do that is that it already has licensed copies of Word, Excel and Quicken installed. Not a bad bundle of software for 49 bucks, eh?(75 with shipping). I am not sure about the legality of using a program that is licensed to someone else, but whenever I read those agreements it always says that they are for use in one machine, and I have that machine sitting right beside me with the software in it. In my opinion they sold me those licenses when they sold me the system.

Now to talk about this being an office pull. The reason that I bid on this was that I knew that it was an office pull, that much was mentioned in the ad for it. Also mentioned in the ad was the software that was installed. Now I assumed that what this meant was that when they pulled it from the office they had wiped the hard drive and re-installed the programs. Nope. They didn’t delete anything. I mean seriously the had moved some of the desktop icons to the recycle bin, but they were still there.

Some of the stuff that was left on the machine I found a bit amusing, if not disgusting. Such as links to a couple of gay porn sites. An MP3 library that boasted a ton of Bob Marley, Dave Mathews, Sublime and some band called ‘Snot’. Also still installed were AudioGalaxy, Napster and some other file sharing thing that I had never heard of. I deleted everything that I found that was not directly associated with making the machine run. After all I bought this one to replace one that was virus infected, the last thing that I needed was for Mom to happen upon one of those files and open it only to find that the seller had left a trojan in it somewhere and steal all her credit card information, or something even worse.

After browsing the internet for a bit, just to make sure that all was working correctly, I noticed the little computer with antenna pop up in the system tray. Yes, it has Norton antivirus installed on it also. It did a live update, and when the screen saver came on it went ahead and performed a system scan. Now I am pretty sure that you have to pay for that live update thing, so this likely won’t last long, but the fact that it did it once, then scanned for viruses and didn’t find any kind of sets my mind at ease. That has always been my worst fear when thinking of buying a used machine. I am sure that lots of people sell old ones when they upgrade, but I am always thinking that someone is trying to screw me into buying something that is totally screwed and will work only long enough that they can say, “Well, it worked fine when I gave it to you.”

If you didn’t know me you might think that I don’t trust anyone. If you do know me, you know that I don’t trust anyone.

Well that is just about enough about that computer. With a bit of luck I won’t have to speak of it again for at least a couple of years.

Howard Stern

Well it is Thursday so I am back to this after taking a day off. That is kind of a difficult thing to get used to. I have only been doing this for a couple of months but I have gotten so used to writing at least a little bit every single day, regardless of how tired I am, that it just seems odd to not do it on wednesday. In fact yesterday I really had the urge to write a bit after watching the latest episode of South Park but I just didn’t, no real reason why or why not.

I will probably talk about the South Park thing a bit at the end, but for now I have to first give you the test that was promised Last Friday. Unfortunately I can’t ask how many gallons of water lake Mead holds because no one took the time to figure it out and send me the answer. I promised a test, though, so a test there shall be. It will be just a single question and if you get the answer wrong you will be taken behind the barn and shot to death. Here is the question:

There are 40 socks in a drawer. Twenty of them are blue, twenty of them are white. Without looking, what is the fewest number of socks that you could remove from the drawer to be sure that you had a matching pair?
A. 2
B. 3
C. 21
D. 40

I like to keep my tests simple. If you really feel the need, go ahead and email me your guess. Perhaps I will award a pretty gold star like my teachers used to. Or not, such an easy question probably doesn’t deserve such an award. I did at least keep my word and put a test up on thursday. Pity I don’t have the time/inclination to dig out my javascript dictionary and look up how to do radio buttons, as that would look a hell of a lot more professional. Oh well, you get what you pay for.

• It has been some time since I have put any news up here and I really feel the urge to do it again today. I am just sick and tired of the FCC trying to impose the moral view of the religious nuts on the rest of us. They of course pick really easy targets when they do, like Howard Stern. Back in the news again after an unprecidented fine is proposed against Clear Channel so they dropped him completely. It is not like Clear Channel carried him on many stations it appears that his show only ever aired on six of the stations, but still it just sickens me.

It is an AP story, but I read it Here. What I find the most disturbing is just how small the fine really is in comparison to how much money that station generates annually. No, strike that, what I find the most disturbing is that I am being forced to bitch about this, yet again, it is not like the show is being forced onto children in school. People who listen to the show have a thing called ‘Free Will’, I thought that Howard Stern had a thing called ‘Freedom of Speech’, guess I was reading a pamphlet from some country other than the good old U S of A. Stern had a quote in the article that I think was pretty dead on.

In a statement posted on his Web site, Stern characterized the fine as furtherance of a “witch hunt” against him by the Bush administration, which he says is punishing him for his criticism of the president.
“It is pretty shocking that governmental interference into our rights and free speech takes place in the U.S.,” he said. “It’s hard to reconcile this with the ‘land of the free’ and the ‘home of the brave.'”

To be fair, I suppose Stern has probably pissed off a lot of people with his show. People in high places. I don’t listen to his show at all, I find it to be a tad gross, but I have caught clips of it when he is bashing other radio personalities like Larry King. If he doesn’t care about pissing off people in his own business then I have no doubt that he probably does say things that would piss of the President and his cronies. The thing is that the president is not much different than about 99% of the religious kooks in the US so Stern would probably be getting this same treatment if he never said a word about politics.

This all really should be moot. Why is he not allowed to say what he wants to say? If he is not using profanity, or describing beating children, or raping women, what the hell is so wrong with it? I have listened to Larry King’s show a couple of times and have found what he is saying to be as offensive, if not more so, than Howard Stern. Then there is Rush Limbaugh, that guy can throw around hatred for black people, call the lower class the “scum he wipes from his shoes” and I am sure that he has said a lot worse things that I have just not heard about. Where are the fines for those guys?

So, is the FCC basically trying to say that it is absolutely fine to hate people based on their race and talk about it on national radio, but you can not talk about a vagina? I don’t get it. If I had children, I would like to think that I would rather have them hearing about sex than hearing about how to hate black people. After all everyone has sex at some point. While only some very small-minded people hold a grudge against people who have skin that is a different pigment than their own. The people who have a problem with the subjects discussed on the Howard Stern show are likely exactly the same people who preach abstinance instead of birth control, while they have a pregnant daughter, two sons in the KKK and absolutely zero base in reality.

Maybe Stern is right, what he is saying is not any worse than what some of the right wing radio kooks are preaching and he is getting the bulk of the fines for it. Almost half of the 4 million dollars in fines since 1990 imposed by the FCC (if the article is accurate).

The article goes on to say;

Stern’s nationally syndicated show features graphic sexual discussion and humor. It appears on more than 30 stations — most of them owned by Viacom Inc.’s Infinity Broadcasting unit — and draws millions of die-hard listeners.
Infinity spokesman Dana McClintock said the company has no plans to take any action against Stern.

Whether Infinity has cajones or is just making sure not to sour their cash cow is not really all that clear. At least they have not decided to take his show off the air, mostly because it would be all but suicide for them to do so. I doubt that people who listen to the Stern show would ever listen to that station again if they were to willingly cut his show. Again, this all should not be an issue anyway. We all have freedom of choice, if you don’t like it, don’t listen to it. That, I think, is how people like Limbaugh are able to get away with bitching about the plague that is ‘black people’. They believe it to be true, their listeners believe it to be true, and those who don’t want to hear it simply turn the dial. Yet, these Limbaugh-ites are exactly the same people that are making a big hubub about Stern talking about sex. The world is just going straight to hell.

To conclude, it is pretty clear that the FCC is only handing out viloations based on listener complaints, right?

Though the commission received no complaints from listeners to Infinity stations, it is looking into fining that company, too.

Your tax dollars in action. Fining people based on not having a complaint filed against them, but the possibility that maybe someone could have complained, but didn’t. I love this country (that was sarcasm, in this particular case).

Dogs; Terry Brooks

Well the night happened, and the day came, so I guess I must type something here for your/my amusement. I spent a long time, after arriving home from work, typing an email that I may just quote on this page since it is about a subject that just really crushes me. That being said, I am going to discuss my dogs for a couple of minutes, then go off on whatever tangent I will invariably end up writing about.

I have stated previously that my wife and I are the owners of two ‘Vicious Pit-Bulls’, I always say that in jest since the dogs never do anything to show the vicious nature of the Pit Bull. The stereotypical Pit-Bull is a Junk-Yard dog that is trained to attack and kill anything that it sees, our dogs are trained a bit differently. I really believe that if someone were to break into the house while we were away they might use their base animal instinct to attack that person, or failing that, the fact that they both sound like the spawn of Satan when they bark would likely keep your would be intruder well away from our place.

The thing, the important thing is that we have total control over them. I am sure that it sounds a bit silly to say that, since I have previously written about one of them carrying undergarments and shoes out into the yard, but as far as their actions while we are at home, they jump when we say jump. They sleep in the room with us, and they are just cuddly little things for our amusement most of the time. Most of the time.

During a requisite ‘belly rub’ the other night, we noticed that Warlock, the older of the two dogs, had a couple of pretty serious half cut/half abrasion type of things on his hind legs. He was limping a bit also. Thing is that when he didn’t know that we were watching he forgot to limp, so we know that it isn’t anything serious. It was just the two of them playing and she got him, she got him real good that one time, and he has a bit of a boo boo that will take a while to heal.

They ‘play fight’ a lot, and it is very difficult to discern whether the battle is real or playful, unless you look at the happy, wagging little tails, that is. She, Zelda, is not fully grown yet and still has all of the energy of a puppy, Warlock doesn’t have all of that energy, but he is a trooper and hangs in there most of the time. Zelda does use some dirty tactics though, her number one attack is to get him off guard and bite his dick. Not to speak for an animal that has been castrated and has no voice, but, I bet you if he had balls he would be a very unhappy animal a lot of the time right now.

Zelda has yet to be spayed and I am kind of wondering if that may be part of the reason that they seem to fight so viciously when they play. After a round of ‘play fighting’ we can usually find them both laying side-by-side on the floor, sleeping. Zelda certainly owns his ass though. He is probably in the seventy pound range (just judging by having to pick him up to carry him inside from time to time), it could be less or more. Zelda is about three quarters of his weight, but wins every ‘play fight’. She is a bitch. (Literally, she is a bitch by definition, and also she fights dirty so that just adds to the bitch description.)

My wife likes to buy them bones to chew on (I do too, since even as much as the bones cost they still cost less than new furniture) and that is when the real fighting starts. Treats and chew toys are always bought in equal quantites, one for each dog, but the dogs don’t seem to understand that, and will fight over one while there is another one, exactly the same, lying there untouched. Even if we put them into each dog’s mouth they will invariably start fighting over just one of them. I assume this is like the classic argument that children make about how the one glass has more Kool-Aid than the other.

While I was on the phone with my Mother the other night, the dogs got into what I am going to call a real fight. My Mother could hear the growling through the phone, her boyfriend could hear it also, and he was sitting ten or twelve feet from the phone that it was coming through. The dogs were both up on their hind legs (makes them stand about nipple height on a 5’10” man) and they were not pulling the punches. I did jump in to pull them apart, but I tell you that if they were not my dogs I would have run like hell. They looked and sounded like they wouldn’t care who or what they tore apart. It was quite a vicious display.

Knowing that they were both my dogs, I jumped right in there and pulled them apart, but don’t lots of stories about pit-bulls killing their owners start that way? Once I had them both by the collar, and smacked each of them on the snout, they calmed down. I guess if that huge black dog is yours, you know how well it is, or isn’t, trained and you no longer look at it as a huge dog, but the puppy that you raised. Everyone else will be afraid of the dog, because of the negative press, but they really are good dogs.

The one thing that the dogs do viciously attack is…Flies. Yes, the common house fly. Normally we never see them in the house, but the last few weeks they have been here and the dogs can snap them right out of the air and eat them. Also, they do enjoy cockroaches, but the chase them around way too much before they just let them die and leave the body for us to sweep up later. And the cockroaches only come out when it is dark, so that means lost sleep as the dogs sniff around at it for a couple of hours until I finally just get a tissue and throw the damn thing away.


After reading your email, I went to Amazon just to read some of the reviews for the magic kingdom series. The thing that I found interesting is that the first three novels in the series all get a customer rating of 4 or 4.5 stars, while the fourth book, the one that I only got a couple of chapters into, has five star ratings from all the customers. One of the customers said that next to the ‘Xanth’ series this was the best thing going. Why did this one get the best reviews when I thought it sucked so badly? Oh, I guess that you likely don’t go to write a review about it when you hate it then do you. And by the time an author is on his tenth or twelfth novel he probably has a following that would read a retaraunt menu that he had written and find it the best literary work of all time.

On a side note my wife came in as I was typing this and asked what I was writing about, after seeing the subject line she fired off her two cents that Brooks is just unreadable. I told her that your real beef with him was about it being so derivative of LOTR, she said that was funny since she read all of Tolkien’s stuff and never made it through a single one of Brooks, even though we have damn near every one of them on the shelf (in hardcover no less, gotta love those 5-7 dollar prices. Unfortunately that book store went out of business so now I have to shop through amazon just like everyone else.) So I guess that really does just show that everyone has a different opinion about what writing is good and what is bad.

Funny thing about that bookshelf of mine, I always wanted to have a bookshelf in my house, since that is one of the first things that I have always noticed missing when I visit other people’s houses. My bookshelf, though, has turned more into a book graveyard. Out of the probably 100 or so books on it the only ones that find regular use are the thesarus, dictionary and Bible (the bible just for reference when I am bashing it, I want to make sure that I have the quotes right and be able to site the book and verse), other than that we have some classics that get read, sherlock holmes, dracula and the unabridged complete works of Edgar Allan Poe to name a few. So about 8% of my bookshelf is ever touched and the rest of it might as well just be painted on the wall for all the good it does.

Yet, our dvd collection is used constantly, even the ones we don’t particularly care for get watched once in a while. Is that simply because you have to actively read a book while you can passively watch a movie, or do we (people in general) really hold a grudge against an author or a book that we would never hold against an actor or a movie?

Again, I have gone way off topic. I was intending to mention that Brooks had also done some books in the horror genre, I have never read any of them and was searching on Amazon when I found this link. It has nothing to do with his horror writing, but it does just go to prove that he readily admits that Tolkien was his main influence in the Shannara series. (I hope that link works).

Terry Brooks admits to ripping off Tolkien

With that, I think I am going to quit trying to defend him, and just remember his work with the fresh eyes I had a decade and a half ago. His work was the first that I had read in the fantasy genre and I really found it fascinating, knowing -now- that it was all pretty much ripped off from Tolkien can’t change the impact that it had on me in my early teens. Imagine if I had picked up that Piers Anthony novel and just hated it, I might never have read fantasy again. Instead I picked up Terry Brooks and became a fan of the genre. Knowing that I became a fan of someone who plagiarized (sp) someone elses’s work is a bit disheartening, but knowing that it is also the reason that I will be in line to buy the first edition of the Flux hardback should be enough to prove that his work had a profound effect on me.

Donnie

games

Damn online video games have consumed too much of my time yet again. Not even particularly good ones, just the games that can be found on the free sites like Pogo.com. It doesnt take long before you find out that you have pissed the whole day away playing really lame little games.

I guess it is better that way, since I didn’t have anything really worth talking about in the first place, and the only feedback that I get about this site is from my wife. So is it actually more productive to piss away my time on writing this than it would be to piss away my time playing a game?

Someone suggested that if I want to generate traffic to my site I should go and post messages in popular disucssion forums with a link to it. That is kind of exactly the opposite of what I was trying to achieve when I decided to set this whole thing up. I told my family and friends of the site, of course, but was hoping that within a few months I might start getting people to happen upon the site that I had not practically begged to visit it. That has not yet happened and I guess I really should be grateful for it. I mean if I actually had more than two or three people that actually read the site on a day to day basis I would probably feel just a bit guilty for cutting it short, which is what I am going to do right now.

Right now I just seem to feel that wasting my time playing cheesy little on line games will be more productive than trying to continue on this train of thought.

PC’s; The MacGyver of True Value

Well as my regular reader(s?) might have noticed there was no new blog thing on Saturday. If you are upset about this feel free to voice your displeasure in the Complaint Department.

You see, what happened is that I had a hunch (go Velma!) that maybe the reason that the cd drive from my computer would not work in my mom’s computer was that it required me to install drivers prior to shutting down the pc and installing it. This led me back to believing that if I were to just get a cd drive I would be able to format her hard drive and reinstall the operating system. So when I got home from work last night, that is what I did.

And a big thanks to Ron (a guy that I used to work with) who donated the cd drive, which through some miracle was exactly the same brand and speed as the one in my mother’s pc, even though it was pulled from a system that was three years older than hers (which just really proves that she took it anal when she bought this system to begin with, at the price she paid anyway.)

Now, trying to make sure that I had this thought through pretty well, I made a clean windows 98 boot disk on my own machine and clicked it to write protection (this is possible the only time I have ever done that on any floppy ever, that may be why viruses spread so easily, lots of people probably never take that one second to write protect their floppies.) okay, now I needed to make sure that I was booting in the order that I wanted to. Into the BIOS I went, first boot set to floppy to make sure that I got a clean boot. Second boot to cd, though it wouldn’t really matter since I was using a floppy boot disk, I just wanted to make sure that it didn’t try to boot from the hard disk. With fingers crossed I restarted the system with the boot disk.

I got it booted to an a: prompt, and switched it over to the cd drive. I typed in setup, and it worked! It asked if I wanted to restore core system files or format the drive and reinstall windows, and I went with format. It went to work telling me that it would take 30-60 minutes for the process to complete. I called my mom to get her windows 98 key, thinking that I had the problem all but solved, yes, there is a but, about fifteen minutes into the process it abrubptly stopped. The screen said “Write error! boot sector virus detected. continue y/n”. Of course when I typed either of the letters on the keyboard nothing happened and I had to power down with the button on the tower.

I really thought this was just a minor setback. I figured I would be able to format her hard drive manually, then do the install. I went to search the internet to find information about formatting a hard drive, since I had only ever done it once without just using a system rescue disk. Once I had the information that I needed I popped the clean boot disk back into the floppy and powered on her machine, nothing happened. Well, the light flashed on the cd drive a couple of times, and the power light on the tower came on, but nothing displayed on the monitor at all, and the floppy drive never gave any indication that it was trying to read. I hit the reset button a couple of times, tried to shut the power off and restart, even unplugged it and plugged it back in, ’cause I mean it might work, right? Nothing.

There is one thing that was odd about the machine though, and that is that each time I opened up the bios after trying to load windows it seemed to randomly set which device booted first. I only tried to load windows a couple of times while I was initially looking at it the first day, but each time I went into the BIOS afterwards the boot order would be different, and on occasion either the floppy or cd drive would have been disabled.

I am wondering if when I tried to format the drive and install windows again it somehow did format the drive, but then replicated the virus in the boot sector. I am not sure if that is even possible, as it would require that the virus be in the actual system memory. At any rate, I theorize that if I were to remove the old hard drive from my system (which has a working, bootable OS on it) and put it into hers it would probably boot. At least I was theorizing that last night when I looked at the clock and saw that I had just spent another four hours fucking with the damn thing. It would make sense though, if the infected boot sector of the hard drive was the first thing to load it would never make it far enough to load the drivers for the other devices, right? I honestly don’t know.

I had exchanged several emails with Flux over at BlackChampagne regarding this problem, and I started thinking about what he said about putting a value on my time. If I were to be paid the wage I make at work for all the time that I spent working on/researching the problems that this machine is having it would be about 200 dollars. This machine is worth way less than that, even in perfect working order. In fact, I just went on ebay and bought a system that has the exact same hardware as her’s: 366mhz processor, 6 gig hard drive, 64megs ram (well hers only has 32, plus I have an extra 128 on the shelf that I will throw in it), with the same integrated sound and video as her system, but it lacks a modem, which I will re-cycle from her dead system. How much does this pinnacle of modern technology cost on today’s market?? 49 dollars (74 after shipping). Had I known that in the first place I might have just gifted the damn thing to her, as she did have a birthday last month, and paying 74 dollars to replace a system that she paid about 17 times that for would have seemed to be a nice gift.

Mind you that 74 dollar system comes in working order with a Windows 98 operating system already installed. No monitor though, god damned cheap bastards. Let that be a lesson to me to always check on ebay before I decide to pour all these hours into trying to fix an old, worn out piece of shit.

This makes me think of a quote that I heard from a guy at the local True Value hardware store. He said, “it doesn’t make any sense to be penny wise if you are dollar foolish.” He said this to me when I was trying to extend the life of my bathroom sink faucet by replacing all of the seals in it. The repair kit for the faucet cost 7 dollars, a cheap new faucet was 12. I bought the repair kit and spent a good hour fixing it, I was damn proud of the five bucks that I had saved by doing it myself. Unfortunately about a month later one of the water inlet pipes on it rusted completely through and, with water spraying all over under my sink, I was forced to pay the 12 dollars for a cheap new faucet. As I was buying it, the guy smiled at me and said, “dollar foolish”. (I have been buying parts at this place for years so, no, he wasn’t just trying to be an asshole, he had told me originally that my faucet should be replaced, that was where that whole quote came from.)

• This guy at the hardware store, he wears a name tag that says “MacGyver” though his name is Dave, has helped me solve a lot of problems since I bought my house. Even after he told me about being “dollar foolish”, he told me that instead of using expensive cleaning compounds to remove calcium deposits from my cooling system I should instead use vinegar, but when I am not at home so the smell won’t drive me out of the house. To cover up the smell after the vinegar has done its work, just a tablespoon of liquid fabric softener. That solution cost less than a buck, while the chemical cleaners that yield the same results cost about ten.

When I was trying to replace a piece of pvc pipe that had broken, but the water would not shut off completely so I could get it dry enough to clean it and put on pvc cement, he suggested that I take the crusts off of a piece or two of bread, then roll the bread (not the crusts) into a ball and stick them in the pipe while I worked on it. A few minutes later the repair was done and I went to check the faucets to make sure I was getting water, I could see the bread dough coming through them in little bits and realized that that was why he said to use bread, so I wouldn’t clog up the line.

When I was trying to replace the hinges on some of my kitchen cabinets (I have enough hinges to replace almost all of them, but the rest still work, and I am lazy) but the screw holes were stripped out, I thought I would have to replace the wood, nope, he told me to put a bunch of toothpicks in the holes with some wood glue. I let it set and was able to replace the hinges without a problem.

Don’t even get me going on what this guy can do with a box of baking soda.

Any time that I have to go to the hardware store now I always look for Dave. He is going to tell me all of the conventional options as well as what he can come up with to save me a buck. As I think about it, that is kind of like why customers buy meat where I work. I will tell them exactly what is the truth, no more, no less. I don’t lie to them to make them buy a more expensive cut, I just tell them the truth. I think that is why a lot of people don’t mind paying a little bit more to buy stuff from people who know their business, as opposed to saving three cents to ask a kid how to hang drywall or cook Chateau Brionne. For that you want someone who knows what they are doing.

If you do need to know how to cook Chateau Brionne just email me. This is possibly the most delicious dish I have ever tasted. Beef is the main ingredient in this dish, but really good beef.

That is all for today.

The weather

Well I had quite an uneventful day today. So uneventful that I can’t think of a single thing to put here. I went and read a few blogs and some news looking for something that would force me to comment, again nothing. So it seems I am reduced to talking about the weather, and I am not sure just how much one can comment on that.

Strange thing the weather, especially in the last few years. The first eight years that I lived in Arizona you could pretty much go without a calendar and just step outside to figure out what day of the year it was. The last few years, though, it has all started to get a bit screwy, I think that is a direct result of “Professor Chaos” and his aerosal can attacks on the planet, or not. The last two years or so, we have not really had the typical monsoon season that we usually do. There has been the requisite six or eight weeks of 100+ heat and high humidity, but it didn’t really yield any precipitation, at least not in an amount anywhere near the previous eight years.

Each year my wife and I go to Las Vegas on vacation. That requires a drive across the Hoover Dam, which is just an amazing thing to behold, you really should visit it if you never have, just to marvel at how something that massive in scale could have been made by human hands. At any rate, the water level in lake Mead (that’s the lake that the dam created, and I think the largest man made lake on the planet.), is obviously going down each year. The first couple of years that we drove over the dam the water was up at a certain level, but each of the last two years you could look at the large towers out in the lake and see calcium deposits on them where the normal water level is. And each of the last two years that level has been at least a couple of feet lower. I am not sure exactly how much water that would actually be, the lake is 229 square miles and holds about 9 trillion gallons of water (I googled that up, and as such found that there is a place called Owens Falls in Uganda that is the largest man made lake on the planet and is about 5 times larger than Lake Mead). During that search, I found some information about ‘acre feet’ of water. If I had the inclination, I could determine how much water had been lost by finding out how many acres there are in a square mile, multiplying that by 229 square miles, then multiplying that by how many feet the water level has receeded in the last couple of years, then multiplying that by 326,000(that is one acre foot of water). Since my calculator only has eight digits on the display I am not even going to try, if you want to go ahead, assume that the lake has dropped about four feet in the last two years, send me the answer to that question BTW as it is something that I am dying to know. Also, there will be a test on Thursday.

Oh yeah, the weather. As I wrote about previously, the weather here had been unseasonably warm, almost breaking 100 degrees a few days in March. Just as I was beginning to think that we were heading for summer, the weather changed, today we barely made it to 70. On top of that it has been cloudy and rainy all day, not like the type of rain that we normally get here, where it will dump a half an inch of rain in twenty minutes, then be back to clear skies, just a steady drizzle all day. The type of rain that makes Seattle Washington have the nations highest suicide rate. In short, the type of weather that I love.

This is exactly the type of weather that I left behind when I moved away from Oregon ten years ago. The weather up there is what I think I miss the most. I always try to tell myself that the weather down here is better, but when it comes right down to it, I am happiest on days like this, and there are very few of them down here. I think that it is kind of bred into you to like the weather where you are born, unless you happen to be born in Siberia or the middle of the Gobi desert. I don’t mean that as a steadfast rule that if you were born in one place you could never live anywhere else, I really think that it is more about the fact that when you happen to be somewhere else you seem to forget the down side to the weather where you used to live.

I certainly don’t miss being snowed in half the winter. We could actually go out and drive to town, but it took a hell of a long time. Try driving twenty miles, on curvy roads, in fourteen inches of snow with chains on your tires sometime, you don’t really ever make it to highway speeds, unless you are quite suicidal. At the same time if I were to move away from here, I certainly wouldn’t miss the days where we have 90percent humidity on 100 plus degree days, though I would likely miss the very mild winters.

There is one thing about the weather that is constant, and that is that when it is cold you can always add another layer of clothing, or put on a jacket, or gloves. When it is hot, you can only get so naked, and after that you are just miserable if you are outside. I certainly like the cold a lot better than the heat, but it is easy to say that as I sit here with my doors open and a room temperature of just about seventy. I don’t remember a single day in Oregon where I simply left my door open at eight o’clock at night. Except when my dog ran away, but that is a different story.

You may be asking yourself why I left the wonderful temperature in Oregon, well I will tell the story here;

In November of 1994 several things happened in quite rapid succession, that led to numerous reasons why I no longer wanted to be there at that time. 1st) The girl that I was supposed to marry broke up with me (which is a good thing, since had it never happened I would never have moved down here and met my wife, well she wasn’t my wife when I met her, but…you know what I mean). 2nd) I lost my job at the Texaco station because I bought beer there while I was underage. 3rd) As a result of that, I could no longer afford to live in the uninsulated, leaky-roofed garage that I was paying 50 bucks a week for. 4th) I had previously gotten a DUI and needed to go to a counseling class that required payment, money that I did not have. 5th) I was in a hell of a lot of debt, I mean like 20,000 dollars of debt due to checks that were written on a joint banking account before I turned 18 (I made good on the debt once I moved here, thank you). 6th) I just knew that if I didn’t get out of that situation I was going to end up in prison. The friends that I had were all into drugs, the relatives that were nearby were even more into drugs, and though I smoked pot a few times I really didn’t want to end up like some of my other relatives. The ones who have been in and out of jails and prisons their entire lives.

My mother lived here in Arizona at the time, and helped me in getting a bus ticket to get down here. I was twenty years old when I moved here, and literally the only posessions that I had when I got here were what fit in a single suitcase. Unfortunately I was so young that most of the posessions that I actually brought with me were cassette tapes. I actually had to buy clothes at a thrift store a few days after I arrived here so that I would have enough clean clothes to wear to work six days a week.

I actually got a job only nine days after I got here, and am still working there. I am glad that the past is just that, the past. I really believe that it is a wonder that I am doing as well as I am, what after having basically killed my father(I updated that page a bit, BTW), being in trouble with the law( there were other issues which I will not address here), and losing literally everything. Sometimes I really wonder how I have made it through it all, but most times I just look around and thank my lucky stars that I didn’t end up in a little pine box under the dirt somewhere in Oregon.

TV & PC

As previously stated, I did not update this page yesterday. That is a fact that roughly 99.99999999998% of the people in the world already know anyway. I kind of wanted to, just to put on a spoof type news item of the April fool’s sort, but I spent so much time farting around with my mom’s PC that I just never got to it. More on that pc issue below, for now, some discussion of shows on t.v.

Survivor: All Stars was on again today, and it was satisfying if only for the fact that they actually voted someone off. There have been a few weeks where people leave of their own free will and that really makes it boring. In my mind the only time the show is worth watching is when you get down to ten players and they start all of the caniving, back-stabbing shit that they do, but if you had not watched the happy-go-lucky first half dozen episodes you really wouldn’t know who you want to vote for(to win I mean).

I think the two players who are going to make an impact, for the good or the bad, seem to be Boston Rob and Lex. They are each the strongest male on their respective teams, though neither of them really appear to lift a finger, letting the other members do the daily duties. Each one of them, though, also seems to be intelligent enough that they could beat Rupert or Big Tom if there was a mental challenge. If the challenge were physical (pure muscle and stamina I mean) they would certainly be the front-runners there as well. The show has seemed to notice that as well, since they have changed a lot of the immunity challenges to involve a lot of finesse as well as strength to give the women a fighting chance. I am not saying that women are weak, but a fifty year old woman trying to out-lift a twenty-five year old man is not really a fair challenge. If that challenge was to get a hundred pound block on a six foot tall platform, though, the man would just try to lift it there, while the woman would more likely look for a device around her to make it so that she didn’t have to actually bear the weight. That makes it a bit more fair, at least as long as they do not specify that you can’t use what you find on the ground to help you.

At the end we all know (at least anyone who has watched any season of survivor) that the person who is going to win it is one that is going ‘Under the Radar’. That is very likely not what they are doing, but the way that it is edited. My wife and I have noticed that most of the time the less they show someone on camera, the more likely that person is to win. I guess it makes for better viewing, but it kind of makes it almost predictable. Well, to a point. I think it was Sherlock Holmes who said that it is easy to predict the actions of a crowd, but impossible to predict the actions of a single person.

Now, if Survivor were to take it to the next level and do a 24/7 feed online, with a simulcast for the episode on Thursdays (for those who don’t watch the feed mostly) then we would all know a lot more about the contestants and be able to make rational judgements about them. That would, of course, be a little bit creepy for the players, the viewers, hell that is just creepy. I would watch it though.

•South Park

I don’t know how Trey and Matt can get away with the stuff that they do on South Park. This week they showed Kyle watching the movie, “The Passion of the Christ” and deciding that what he needed to do was apologize for the Jews killing Jesus, not because he was the son of God, but just because he was horribly crucified. That seemed well and good to me. I am not a religious pundit, but I am pretty sure that the bible does mention jewish involvement in the death of Christ.

The other plot (if you can call it that in a South Park episode) that was developing was about Stan and Kenny trying to get back their nine bucks each after having hated the film. Without going into too much detail, I will say that they made it to Mel Gibson’s house, took 18 bucks out of his wallet and ran like hell. Mel Gibson was portrayed to be basically Daffy Duck with a weird pain fetish, it was quite funny. They used his actual face on their chartoon model of him, and made him do some really sick stuff, like putting his hand in his underwear then proceeding to spread an unknown brown substance all over the door of a building. I laughed, I cried, then I laughed some more. I have nothing against Mel Gibson, but when they have him chasing a school bus, in the truck from “Mad Max”, and throwing his own feces around, I just have to laugh in that sick and wrong kind of way.

There may be Lawsuits, as I am sure that Mel didn’t agree to have his likeness used in that way, but I still found it funny. Thank you Trey and Matt.


•Mom’s PC is totally fucked!

My mother sent me her pc, well actually handed it to me, after it started to have a problem. The problem was that it seems to have a pretty nasty virus on it. I have spent the last few hours online trying to figure out exactly what it is that she has on there. The virus that she has corrupts all of the system files, and I mean all of them. It has also cleared the BIOS so that I have to start from scratch, if the computer will ever work again is still up in the air, but as of now I am thinking that there is about a 95% chance that it is just dead.

Her hard drive is totally corrupt, the only way to save it will be to reformat it. Why waste the time on a six gig, partioned hard drive though. I thought that her cd-drive was working, but that only worked when connected to my own system. I hooked one of my cd-drives to her PC and nope it won’t work. Yes, I did make sure my jumper settings were right. The closest match that I could find for what this virus did to her system was called “CIH” there are many mutations of that virus, but she seems to have gotten the worst one, that or her boyfriend spent so much time trying to get it to work so that he could look at porn, that he totally destroyed the system.

I have never seen a system in so bad a shape, and I do view my fair share of porn, but my god man, if you kill your computer to get that “full porn video” you are just a fucking idiot.