Olympics; Puppy

There is not a lot to say about the news these days. There is the Repuclican National Convention going on in New York City, the 2004 Olympics going on in Athens, of which the American public can watch about 10% of, and that is only when there is an American competitor actually fares well in said event. While it would be nice to actually watch the competition in the Olympic games, it loses something in the chopped up, American highlight type shit that you get to watch here in the states. Considering that none of the events play live on our National Networks, I would rather just not watch it at all.

A friend told me, recently, that they have live streaming video coming from the Olympic games. I am not sure if that is true or not, what I am sure of is that I am crutched by a 56k internet connection and not likely to watch every fifth frame of a video while still considering it “live”. Isn’t that supposed to be some of the glory of the Olympics? You see the people (from any random country) who perform their chosen sport the best? Our media, in the U.S.A., obscures that by only showing events where the U.S.A. athletes perform well, then they fill the time by telling stories of the “hard up-bringing” that the athletes had to overcome to achieve their Olympic dreams. Sure, that does make for a great movie, but what I want to see is the competition.

If the American gymnast totally fucks up, breaks a leg or something, I want to see, at the very least, the medal winners’ performances. This (the Olympic games) is the only venue where people from all countries can compete against each other on an equal footing. Yet, once the U.S.A. is out of the running, the media just seems to shift to a personal story of tragedy that left that particular person without a Mother and Father, which, in turn, made him/her want to compete in the Olympics. I swear that the media is using some formula similar to this…

Yet, my bitch today is not even related to the Olympics. More related to something that I noticed, and tested a few times, regarding computer opponents in actual games.

It is Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I was stopped just as I started yesterday’s bitching, by a puppy (well, full-grown dog that is smaller than the average full-grown dog of it’s breed). That would be our puppy Zelda, who was so angered/whiny when big brother dog went for a walk with mom that I finally just caved in and followed behind them. I originally had hopes of catching up to them before we reached the park, but there was an issue with the fact that Zelda was so excited and jumpy that it was difficult to get the harness on to her.

If you are not a dog owner, especially the owner of rather large dogs, you really need to know about the harness before you do get a dog. The normal way that idiots (most dog owners) walk their large dogs is to use a ‘choke chain’ (I linked there to an article about the disabilities that such collars could cause for a good reason). A ‘Choke Chain’ could be used to great effect by an experienced dog trainer, yet the device is regulary used by any jack-ass who has a dog.

There actually are ways to train a dog on your own, ways that do not involve asphyxiation and broken necks. The easiest way is through positive reinforcement, you know a simple little treat you give the puppy when it does the vocal command. It is not an exact science, nor is it immediate, but it does teach the dog that rewards will be given for performing certain tasks. As time goes on the rewards get smaller, no longer a chewy treat, just a little tummy rub or the such, but the dog will still respond to the vocal command and perform the task.

The unfortunate thing is that any person, who can show a photo ID, can get a pet. That is if they try to get them from a rescue shelter, there aren’t any laws governing who can take a puppy or kitten that they find three houses over. While cats come out of the womb pretty much ‘litter box broken’, it takes some time for a puppy to realize that it is supposed to do the majority of its bathroom duties outside. The little puppy might not understand that you left the pile of Newspapers in the corner so that he would ‘do his business’ on it, but if you show the dog the place that he did pee, then put him on the newspapers, he/she will soon learn that the papers are there for their peeing purposes. After a bit of time, say two weeks if you have a puppy that was just weaned, those papers will get so close to the door that the only time there will be pee anywhere but on the papers is when the dog gets a bit too excited.

Once the dog is ‘house-broken’, a process which could take between a couple of weeks and a couple of years, depending on your level of interaction with him/her, the rest is easy. There is no need for a ‘Choke Chain’, all you need is “Mr. Newspaper”. At least 80-90% of the time, you never have to swing ‘Mr. Newspaper’, you just have to roll it up and look at the puppy. Sure fear tactics are bad and everything, but would you rather all but kill your new puppy with a choke chain, or have it fear a rolled up newspaper?

My/Our dogs are far from perfect, Warlock will chase anything that makes a reflection, while Zelda will bark at any other dog that gets near Warlock. We try to teach them using the command/treat method, and while neither one of them is perfect about following the commands, and neither one would be trusted in a room alone with a child, they are pretty obedient dogs. There has NEVER been a ‘Choke Chain’ on either of these dogs (well, once when Warlock was young, but it lasted only a day or two). We do love our dogs, hell, they are basically our children, there is no way that I would try to strangle a human, why would I do it to a canine?

We (my wife and I) are doing this with larger breed dogs. Warlock has to weigh 60 pounds or so, while Zelda is a very fierce 35 or so pounds. I think that absolute obedience might be impossible, at the very least it is only possible through an obedience school that knows how to correctly use a ‘Choke Chain’. We are not going to be using the ‘Choke Chain’ though, since they have these Harnesses that you can buy pretty cheap.

You just have to remember that you do outweigh the dog by at least a hundred pounds. You certainly don’t have to choke the dog to get obedience, and if you do you don’t deserve to have a pet…Or a child, for that matter.


Now for a movie review of sorts. The name of the film is Lucky. The only way that I can think of to do this without a ton of spoilers is with the following sentence:

A writer overcomes writer’s block through unusual means.

To say anything else would really take away from the viewing experience. That would hardly be a review, so I must elaborate. By elaborating I am going to go into spoilers galore mode, be warned.

The only reason that I feel compelled to do a review of this movie at all is that all of the reviews that I have read over at Rotten Tomatoes seem to have missed a couple of key events that really change the meaning of the movie. That doesn’t make them wrong or myself right, but it does make a hell of a lot of what happens in the film just impossible. I will get into all that as this spoiler-riddled, review-type-thing continues.

The movie starts with a long, quite introspective, narrative by the main character Millard Mudd (Michael Emanuel). Over the first five minutes or so of the movie, the camera slowly goes through the beer can jungle that is Millard’s home. It continues on as the already drunken Millard realizes that he is out of beer and goes to buy some more. The fact that he takes one beer from the six pack, then forgets the rest of them still sitting on the roof of the car, and continues to drive home is absolute proof of his inebriation. It is no surprise, as the camera shows more and more blurred road-markers, the car veering into the wrong lane and the such, that the drive ends in tragedy. Millard has run over a small dog, but, more importantly, the cans of beer break when the fly off of the top of his car!

Millard, being a good samaritan (which is slang for covering his ass), took the dog home to try to nurse it back to health. The dog was in a pretty bad way, there was not really any way it could actually have been alive if the (really bad, joke-shop style) guts were hanging out. Our hero, Millard, continued to try though. He tried everything Beer and….Well that was about it.

This is the point where all of the reviewers seemed to have missed the point. It is my belief, my strong belief, that the dog was actually dead when he took it to the back yard to bury it. The happy puppy didn’t wake up, no, it was dead as a stone. Millard’s mind, however, was getting stronger.

For the next half an hour or so the movie switches between scenes where the talking dog (David Reivers) is funneling ideas to Millard, and other scenes where Millard is having fantasies about Misty (Piper Cochrane). This is, in my mind, the second clue that the dog wasn’t even there. Later in the movie they make a point of telling you about the girl who works at the liquor store, what days she works, what time she works, what car she drives, where she lives…Yet, it is the ‘dog’ that forces Millard to go out. Millard then meets the ‘real life’ Misty.

Now, here is where it is going to get just a little bit confusing, I will try to keep it on course as best I can. When Millard first meets ‘Misty’, the dog tells him to tell her that she has a nice dog. Misty doesn’t even look down…I don’t think our Millard had a dog with him at all when he first met ‘Misty’. I also don’t believe that Millard and Misty had any sort of a relationship, excepting the possibility that he did the necrophilia thing on her corpse (or perhaps a bit of consensual sex before she realized that she was never going to walk out alive). As the movie played, Millard got more and more vicious with his ‘fantasies’, to the point that it showed ‘Misty’ hanging dead from a rafter; I don’t think that was a dream at all.

There was one scene where his weird fantasy was being shown in normal focus, normal light, and with the ‘Misty’ character laying tied to the bed. The dialogue seemed almost joking, as she asked him what he was going to do to her. The fact that she specifically asked him not to disfigure her face can only bolster my case that there was no dog. In that ‘dream sequence’ it was only Millard and Misty, no one else could have heard about the plea to not damage her face. No one else could have heard ‘Misty’ tell Millard to take a tooth as a trophy, yet, both things did happen. Her face was disfigured and a tooth was taken.

Now there is the issue of the other people that died at Millard’s hand. He killed them all, the dead dog was not involved.

I am relatively sure that Millard killed the lot of them. One of the driving reasons for this assumption is that a twelve-pound, Terrier-mixed, dog could not drag a human body around, much less dig a hole to bury that body in. Add that to the fact that the voice of the dog seemed to come out of Millard’s mouth at least once, and the fact that Millard took over the killing duties. I think it is a case closed, though I am still a bit weirded out by the necrophilia.

When Millard goes out to stalk some women later, it kind of cheapens the experience. It has been him all along. There was never a dog feeding him information. It was always his own mind in turmoil. Possibly the death of the dog just whet his thirst for killing, who knows, but, for the sake of this arguement, the dog died when he initially hit it with the car. Everything that happened after that point was only in his mind.

Hell, even my wife knew that. Millard cracked into some sort of schizophrenia and started taking out the locals. Not so far-fetched when you look at it that way. Had he worked at a post office, we would have a word for him, since he didn’t, we just call him a bad, bad man.

Olympic basketball

Once again a quick look through regular blogs and the news didn’t give me much hope for a rant today, yet, I did happen to scrape up something that is not related to current political conditions. As luck would have it, that little gem seemed to be buried under a lot of internet news, not that I visit any international sites so perhaps it was a pretty prominent feature there. Hell, for all I know even FOX news did a feature on the U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball team dropping the ball, so to speak, on a tradition.

I did mention, after the first U.S. loss in the competition, that I would like to see them lose a bit more. The only reason that I wanted to see that was to prove that collegiate athletes are much better for this type of competition than professional athletes. Every other country is exhibiting something called ‘Team Play’. That is a concept that is pretty much lost on most of your NBA players. Sure, back in the early ’90’s Michael Jordan and the original ‘Dream Team’ was kicking ass all over the world. I don’t recall all of the players that were on the team, but that was in the era where the Stockton/Malone type pick-and-roll was used quite religiously. Not to mention the fact that they were simply out to prove that the term ‘professional’ was appropriate when they were described as such.

The losers players that went to the Olympics this year (please, no angry mails about calling them losers. By defenition, if you lose more games than you win you are a loser), never exhibited anything approaching team play. Beyond that, they have blamed everything from the referees to the ‘weird Olympic court’ for their failures. Dear Random Fluctuations of Time and Space, man, snap out of it! The ‘All about me’ attitude of the top-notch NBA players has made it so that they can not come together as a team, not even once every four years, to show the dominance of the U.S. Basketball team. The humorous ‘but’ about that statement is that a lot of players in the NBA defend their home country now, and seem to do it fabulously. That is, the U.S. is putting up guys who (combined) make more annually than the Gross National Product of a lot of countries, yet they lose to teams that are basically playing for a place to stay while they play. If that nation has a player in the NBA, the player will represent his country, and hand the U.S. their ASS. Funny how a superstar on a team of unheard of people can bring them together, and elevate team play, while five superstars can’t seem to pull their heads out of their collective ass long enough to try to represent their own contry.

Now to the quotes that really made me start to bitch about this tonight. I am not going to link any of them since I have seen them all on multiple news sites.

US coach Larry Brown ripped referees for forcing US center Tim Duncan, a San Antonio teammate of Ginobili, to the bench early for fouling out.
“I’m proud of my team. They played hard under some difficult circumstances. It’s difficult when Duncan is on the bench every game,” Brown said. “I’ve never seen him foul out in 19 minutes in our league.”

Mmm. Hmm. In our league they also allow players to carry the ball for three steps after the last dribble without calling it travelling. They allow Shaquille O’Neal to use his ass as a bulldozer, to push two or three guys out of his way to get to the hoop, which is the only way he can score, and that is not charging. If you have a memorable name, you can get away with murder in the NBA and will rarely be called for fouls. The fact that they call the fouls in the Olympics can only bolster my position on thinking that it is far more suited for collegiate athletes.

“It hurts,” US center Amare Stoudamire said. “Everyone knows we have the youngest team here. We’re going to come back for that gold medal. You can count on it.”

I am not sure if they are, by average, the youngest team there. What I can say is that, hands down, they are the most arrogant team there. Arrogance does not equate to success though, as evidenced by the current U.S. team. Also, if you want to talk about extremes of the Olympic Basketball teams, the U.S. team makes more money than probably the rest of the teams put together (not counting the NBA players who play for their home countries, for pride, you see).

That might not be possible after their golden flop, but the US team was set up for failure when a dozen top stars rejected Olympic overtures. Iverson had a message for them – get yourselves into USA uniforms for the 2008 Bejing Games.

Okay, so I am supposed to feel sorry for our team because some of the athletes chose not to attend? I’m sorry, that is not going to happen. How many guys that you played ball with in High School are in the NBA? The Colleges select the top 5 percent of athletes that make it through high school. The NBA then takes the top 2 percent (or so) of athletes that make it through college. Haven’t we weeded out a bit of the riff-raff by that point? The NBA even sends a lot of guys packing every year since they don’t perform well. I bet any random team from any random college could also take out our Olympic team.

“We need to understand that even if we’re not fighting for the gold medal, we still represent our country and fight like it was a gold medal game,” Iverson said. “It’s important to make the people back home proud of us.”

Okay, I guess I lost you at HELLO. Any collegiate team that we could have sent to the Olympics would have brought home the Gold. The lackluster play of a bunch of superstars has tarnished the name of the USA in international play. The U.S. would be better served if you just drove your Porsche to watch the game, played by players who actually give a damn about wins and losses, and, more importantly, about the success of the USA in international competition. I do understand that you need some time off, but come on man, I work 306 days a year…full time…That is working, throwing around boxes that weigh around 80 pounds each. I do it six days a week without a break, save my one-week annual vacation. I can’t even try to feel sorry for you.

The first collection of NBA talent since 1992 not to claim Olympic gold, the Americans fired a dismal 42 percent from the field, closing a US dynasty that produced 12 gold medals and a 109-2 record before Athens.

So that is what you have destroyed. Not only your personal reputation, but the reputation of the USA for the last fifty years. I hope you guys are all sitting pretty, in your million dollar houses, when you realize that you could not beat a college team from Argentina.

Fucking Losers Good game.

Pogo games; PC issues at work

So it seems that I am letting silly little games get in the way of my (supposedly) daily rant again. The game that I have been playing at some length recently is a a new Pogo.com game called Canasta. It is, I understand, a game that little old ladies have been playing for a long time, as my mother says that her mother used to play it, but with actual cards as opposed to a monitor and a mouse. The game is laden with weird rules (some of which are listed on that page are not totally accurate to the pogo version I am playing), but then most card games are, aren’t they? The quickest way I can think to give you an idea of how the game works is to say that it is like Gin, only you play two full decks -with wildcards.

I have been using the ‘Practice with Robots’ option on the game while I have been learning the rules. I am getting pretty good at smacking the crap out of the computer, but I am pretty sure that any woman over the age of sixty could hand me my ass, with a side order of mashed potatoes, if I actually tried to play agains another person.

If you have never played any games over there at Pogo, I really suggest you try a couple. Most of the games are free for play, though there will be a 45 second intermission every five minutes or so if you have not actually paid to become a ‘club pogo’ member. It is not all just card and board games either. It is either owned or sponsered by EA, and as such has some of their golf, basketball, football and such simulations there. There are also a couple of racing games, trivia, sports trivia, hell there are a lot of little games over there and you will certainly find one to your liking. Some of the games do require that you have a subscription to the service, I am not sure if Canasta is one of them, but I already have a subscription so play it I shall.

When Pogo first announced their subscritption service I thought I would just go ahead and quit playing their games entirely. In fact, there was a period of almost a year where neither myself or my wife really played many games there. I think the reason that I ended up paying for the subscription was that they had upgraded their old game ‘Word Whomp’ with one called ‘Word Whomp Whackdown’, but it was subscription only. Someone in one of the rooms gave me a 3 day guest pass, which gives you subscriber status for a few days, and I found that many other of the games were worth playing as well. With an annual membership fee of $29.00 U.S., it seemed silly not to do it.

For less than the price I paid for ‘Hoyle card games’ some years ago, I got the whole site, every game, multiplayer when necessary or possible at no extra cost. Of course there aren’t a lot of people out there who would admit to being ‘Cribbage dorks’, but cribbage would have actually cost me money per month through other sites and, though it is one of the free ones through Pogo, has a really nifty rating system and chat room and stuff.

Dear Random Fluctuations of Time and Space, I am starting to sound like a 3am infomercial for POGO.

• On to the crap about the computer problems at work!

Well, the little thingy that was broken has been fixed. It turns out that the little thingy was not the problem though. Tom, the guy who fixed the part for us in the first place, came over today to assist me in checking the wire from the pc to the register. By “assist” I mean that he had the tester and I didn’t and that was the next thing that we checked. The signal went through perfectly, thus the entire 120 feet of line was good, as well as the connectors. At this point I was pretty sure that the problem was in the circuit board in the register but, to be sure, we checked the rest of the variables as well.

Using a separate device through the communications port on the back of the pc, we were able to say, without a doubt, that it worked. The only other pc-based problem that would even be possible would be that the db-25 to db-9 convertor was not functioning correctly. Since we actually had a spare laying around, we tried it out with the other one. I don’t know what the odds are on one burning out while connected to the pc, while the other simultaneously blows out while sitting in a box, but I would say that those odds are pretty low.

At this point, Tom didn’t really have any new ideas. I checked a couple of other things after he left. First, I plugged the archaic db-25 to db-9 convertor into our hand-held system to make sure it would upload, which it did. I then used that same cable to plug the rj-45 from the register into the pc…Nothing…I even tried swapping the register interface to the other serial port, still nothing. At this point I know that the cable is good, I know that the pc port works, I know that the cables in the back room all work, what is left? It has to be the board in the register itself.

There has been an NEC technician down here to look at some problems we have been having with the registers over the last few days, he mentioned that there may be a problem with the main circuit board of the cash register that is making it so that the scanned items do not actually ring up on the register. He also mentioned that these were the oldest registers in the area, and while they are only eight or so years old, I guess that is kind of right. The fact that they are several years old should not keep them from functioning though. Sure you can get a new pc for 500, but when you are looking for a cash register, with a scale and scanner, go ahead and add a zero to that number. If the crap product that a company sells can not even perform the tasks for which it was purchased, for at least ten years or so, then the merchandise is just crap…Hell, they had been using the previous registers since the early ’70’s, and they still work perfectly!

Perhaps the store is going to start looking a lot more like an Old-West mercantile in the future, there is no way that the owners are going to pour a lot more money into technology that they don’t understand, especially when the out-of-pocket cost of the repairs is rapidly approaching the out-of-pocket for the purchase in the first place.

I know that no electronic device can go on forever without a bit of help. But when you have an old register still plugged in up front, and another in the storage room, that have both been going strong for thirty-some years, while the ones you bought in the late ’90’s are crapping out less than ten years later…I guess it is true of everything when they say, “Well, they just don’t build them like they used to.”

Every single circuit that you add to a system is going to make it both weaker and more likely to break. A Cash Register is something that really needs to be built pretty solidly, since it is going to get hammered on by everyone from here to Jesus and back. When the nerd shows up to say that, yes, the power surge a couple of weeks ago caused the problem, I am going to ask him why the 30 year old registers in the store can take that surge, while the much more expensive, newer, better, registers can not. I wonder what the response will be to that question….

My father’s voice; amusing bumper sticker

Well I don’t really have a lot on my mind today, so there will likely not be much here worth reading. That could be argued for just about every day that I do take the time to write something though, so I guess this will be just about the same as usual. Only I have only a couple of random musings in mind and nothing to totally rant on.

• Shortly after waking up this morning, while in the half asleep/half awake strange dreamworld kind of thing, I had a realization; I can no longer remember what my Father’s voice sounded like. If that sounds a bit strange I do apologize. I am pretty sure that everyone can remember voices, you know you sort of replay the phrases through your head and are able to hear exactly what it sounded like. Much like the way that you can play an old favorite song in your mind, you can hear every vocal and instrument as if the song was actually playing. I can no longer do that with any phrase that my Father spoke to me. I can clearly see his face, remember the situation where the event from memory was taking place and the such, but the words that play through my mind are no longer in his voice, they are in my own voice.

I am not really sure if there is any significance at all to this. The only thing that sticks out in my mind is that it means that I have lost a bit more of him. I am left to wonder, now fourteen years since his death, if I would still remember what he looked like were it not for the single picture that I have of him hanging in the guest bedroom (I mean the picture of him is hanging in the guest bedroom, not that I have a photo of him hanging, which happens to be in the guest bedroom).

After all, once you die the only part of you that remains is your memory, when even that begins to go away then it is more like you never existed at all. Kind of a frightening prospect, yet each day I realize more and more that the growing older thing, which I thought would never happen to me, is happening to me. It turns out that you don’t just turn 70 and all of a sudden lose all of your memories, no no, it is like you lose older memories as you gain newer ones, at least I hope I am going to remember the new memories. I suppose that it goes pretty much the same for everyone and I am only focused on it since I am so introspective, who knows. Hell now that everyone (virtually) has a video camera of some sort I may be in the last generation of people that actually try to use their mind to preserve memories of loved ones. As I read the last line, though, I realize that it isn’t true in the least. There seems to be a much deeper emotion involved with actual memories than there is to a photo or even a home video, that is why they are memories isn’t it?

Memories, as I see them, all seem to have a deep emotional tie to an event, be it good or bad, that both happened and played a role in shaping you into who you are today. Yet it seems that the memories somehow etch theirselves into you moral consciousness to the point that it is a part of your being. The memory may fade, but the ideals that the memory built into you remain. Who knows, maybe the memories themselves have a time stamp on them and can go away when they are no longer necessary.

It may be true that I can no longer remember the stern, disapproving voice of my Father when he scolded me. Nor can I hear the calm, sympathetic voice of my Father when I was injured, be it physically or emotionally. I do not believe that his soul has moved to ‘heaven’ or some ‘higher plane of existance’ , no, he is dead. I find it unfortunate that I can no longer hear the tones and nuances of his voice when I see him in dreams, but I am not going to think about that too much. Through his discipline and love (as well as my Mother) I have become who I am today.

It may not be much, but what I have was earned through hard work. Work done by my own hands (with the wife’s assistance, of course). My Father may have been a lot of things, an alcoholic, unfaithful to his wife, unfaithful to his girlfriends, but he worked for everything that he owned. I know that he took pride in that, and I know that he would take pride in my following in his footsteps as far as working for what I have. He might even have taken pride in my being able to ‘keep it in my pants’, who knows.

What I do know is that the only thing left of my Father is his legacy. Not much on that front. He was horribly in debt at the time that he died, had way more cars than he could afford, at least four or five girlfriends that regularly shared his company on the weekends. Hell, his memorial service was a “who’s who” of sluts in the county. I have taken a more subdued approach to women (monogamy, no, it is not a type of wood), which has resulted in a marriage that has lasted several years so far, I think that this would also have made him proud.

It is (or should be) every parent’s dream that their offspring will better them. It doesn’t really have to be about the size of the house or the number of toys, or any of that material crap. Happiness should really factor in. I may hate my job more than my father ever did, I may hate a lot of things more than my father ever did, but, when you come home to someone that you love, someone that also loves you, isn’t that better than a thousand one-night-stands?

Okay, so that went all over the place, hope you’re still with me.

• I am sure that you have seen this photo on tons of cars everywhere. They do change what is getting pissed on though. I have seen the kid pissing on everything from a chevy logo to GOD. I have always found it pretty humorous, in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way, when they show him pissing on certain things. I have seen that little kid peeing on “My Ex”, “Bush”, “Censorship”, seems he will pose to piss on anything.

What my wife and I saw today just went a bit too far. The little ‘Calvin looking character’ was pissing on P.E.T.A. I certainly don’t count myself as an activist for animal rights, but come on. Sure the PETA people take it a bit too far sometimes, but the piss on PETA sticker looks pretty bad. The car that the sticker was on kind of explained it all though, it was one of those huge SUV’s. The wife thinks that it was a Ford Expedition. I barely saw the nameplate on the back of it, but it looks about the right size/shape to be the one we saw with that bumper sticker.

Anyone who is driving a vehicle that they pay in excess of 30,000 dollars for, with a fuel economy of 15mpg, is not likely to give a hoot about the fact that they are destroying the earth with their excess, especially since there was only one person in that huge SUV. Perhaps they should consider a smaller, more fuel-efficient ride for the ten-second run to the local grocery store, but no, this particular vehicle had a “Piss on PETA” sticker on it. I suppose that the logic is: there will still be an environment, we will adapt to it.”

I did say that I do not support PETA, yet, in this case, I may be right behind them in executing whoever was in that huge SUV.

PC issues; Yeti sports

A screwy work schedule and some other miscellaneous personal stuff has kept me from wrting anything here for the last few days. A quick look at my site statistics shows that both of my readers already know that, so let us assume that I added this last bit of information for later reference, like when I am an extremely successful professional selling my system for a “low, low, price” on obscure tv channels in the dead of the night/morning. At which point someone might want to buzz through the old archives to see what I had said in the past. However unlikely, I am going to go with that, so sue me.

• Work sucks, as usual. Life sucks, as usual. Possibly the reason that I have not felt compelled to type about it here is that it is all the norm. Were I in a position where work on your average day was enjoyable, you know the type of job that you actually look forward to going to, hell, even the type of job that you don’t contemplate slitting your wrists every morning before you go, maybe if I had that type of a job I would be able to write a lot of good anecdotes on some days, then bitch on others. Problem is I never have a good day, EVER.

The day in question, that being today, had this as my problem:
The PC in the back-room will no longer communicate with the cash register. A quick search of cables and other such paraphernalia that make this happen revealed that there was one of the connectors that was totally fucked. The particular item that was fucked is this guy right here. Note that this particular connector got really fucked a couple of years ago in a lightning storm that burnt out both the PC and the master cash register. I told the bosses at the time that the part needed to be replaced, but, after replacing the cable itself the problem seemed to be fixed. I told them that using the part could result in further damage, as the pins no longer had anything to insulate between them, and I didn’t have any idea how many of the wires had power going through them and how many didn’t.

The boss then said, “Does it work right now?” A question to which I had to answer YES, since it was working at that moment. He then said, “it is fixed then.” That was the end of the discussion. No matter how many times I tried to bring up the possibility of future problems he would not listen. It was working, therefore nothing was wrong.

Fast forward a couple of years. The part that is in question did completely short out. According to the guy who built a duplicate of the part, some of the wires had gotten so hot that they had fused together. Now it is possible that either the communications port in the PC is also burnt out (which really isn’t that big a deal) or the rs232 port into the cash register is burnt out, that would be a pretty big deal, they don’t use your average pc components on these type of cash registers, and they certainly don’t sell just the parts. You have to pay for the part and the installation as a package deal. If it is just a simple PC com port problem I can probably fix it in two minutes for a cost of about a dollar. If it is a problem in the register itself, the tech can likely fix it in two minutes, for a cost of about 500 dollars. One must keep in mind that these techs are getting paid an hourly wage for the time that they spend in the car on the way over, as well as charging a trip fee, then charging (way too much) for the replacement part and installation. It is practically extortion.

There still is the possibility that only the data cable got fried in the process so I will reserve judgement for a later date. I will just bring up the key points once again. 1) I told them that this part needed to be replaced or there might be future problems. 2) Once the thing was working again, even though a part was broken, I was told it was fixed, not to waste my time on it. 3) Now that it has come to be that something did definitely go wrong with the system, and all signs point to a short in the device that I told them to replace a couple of years ago. 4) It is all my fault for not fixing it in the first place.

• So I have been playing a lot more of the damn Yeti Game of late. The major reason for this was the addition of the Yeti Pentathalon. Yes, you have to do all five of the Yeti sports in succession. I assumed that this would make it so that one runaway high score wouldn’t lead the world, since that score would have to be factored in with the scores of the four other events. This has held mostly true so far, though there are a couple of scores that just seem a bit too high to have been achieved in a single session by a single person. Still I must assume that it is all legit.

The problem is that I never really thought about the possibility that the opposite would be true. That is, I never have a good game in all five events. On the occasions when I really kick ass in one event I will invariably bomb in another. Thus I am just as likely to make it to the leaderboard if I try to play one and hope for a great game as I am if I try to do all the events and pray for pretty good games. Which all amounts to a hill of 1’s and 0’s when you think about it. I am not going to get an award if I reach the leaderboard, well, unless you count the fact that I will think that wasting fifty or more hours of my life to see my initials on a leaderboard is an award. My god, now I remember why I gave up Asteroids.

Olympic basketball; My friend George

Well the good news is that I saw George in the store today buying a bottle of Port wine. He was pretty drunk when I saw him, which is good since alcohol may be a depressant, but that seems to be the only way to deal with pain. I will cite my neck injury as proof of this; The ibuprofin didn’t really help, the muscle relaxers didn’t really help, the alcohol made it possible to sleep. That is not to say that the pain killers don’t work, just that they may not work in the same way. It is a known fact that alcohol pretty much numbs your brain, whether the pain killers can do that as effectively is probably based on the person and not some formula. I will say that when I was taking the Flexoril (muscle relaxant) it did make the pain subside, yet, if I actually moved the pain would come back. With alcohol it works acrosss the board. Maybe your head is on fire, you don’t care, you can’t feel it, good stuff, liquor, maybe they should use it more often for medicinal purposes. I know I do, and on a daily basis.

• So I have not been paying any attention to the Olympics this year. You may ask yourself why, but likely you don’t care that I am not following them, since you are not following them either. I must admit, though, that I found it pretty humorous that our basketball team got their ass handed to them. Not unexpected, mind you, just humorous. The USA may have some of the best athletes in the world, but when you think about it they are only the best athletes because the conditions allow it. Why is it that the runners from Kenya seem to win every marathon ever? They spend all of their lives running from damn near everything you can think of. They have certainly earned their place as the fastest nation on the planet. I am sure that they do toil and train to get better, but I am equally as sure that if you were to grab a random guy in Kenya, and a random guy in New York, and make them race 26 miles, the guy from Kenya would certainly win. The guy from New York might not even finish, what with his heart exploding about six miles in…

That was a bit off topic, but still, people who happen to live in the USA always get a hand up when it comes to athletic competitions. Well, I suppose it is possible that the jocks that can’t put a noun and a verb together could possibly make it through an average high school English course, but once they are in college (on scholarship) they are getting a lot of preferential treatment. Free passes on exams and the such, just based on the millions of dollars that a college can make on a T.V. deal if they put a good team on the floor. The colleges do sometimes expose the little leaches, usually when the media gets wind of what’s going on, then the NCAA will go ahead and place sanctions against the team for a couple of years. No one really believes that the corruption is going away, but we take the sanctions as an act to show that cheating is not tolerated…However misguided…

The net result of all of the preferential treatment is that we get some more athletes through college and onto professional sporting fields. The fact that they can not read or write seems to take a backseat to the fact that they CAN run, jump, throw, or just be really big for the sake of being big. Hell, ask probably half of the professional athletes in the USA to define a ‘metaphor’ and they would say that they don’t know what a ‘meta’ is for.

This is the crap These are the people that we send to represent our country in the Olympic games, a bunch of whining babies that were the star of the team back when they were playing high school sports in Alaska, then got babied through college since they were the “next big thing”. Then they end up on profesional teams (now I am talking about basketball exclusively) where they are treated in a different way than the rest of the guys who are on the same ‘team’.

You end up with a ton of over-paid, un-educated fools that think they are better than Jesus. Sure the dunk might look great on a poster, but there has to be someone there to pass you the ball to make the dunk. Since the Olympic team we send over now is comprised of a bunch of guys that already think they are better than Jesus, they never really pass. The U.S. basketball team got their ass handed to them, the most likely reason for that is ego. The U.S. has a team that is made up of a bunch of people expecting the other guys to wipe their ass after they shit. The rest of the world is using teams that play as a ‘TEAM’, and they will hand the U.S. its ass over and over again until the U.S. team realizes that it is not a dunk show, it is a game, the team with the most points when time runs out will be the winner. The U.S. guys need to start asking themselves whether they want to be the winner, or the team with the best ‘poster dunk’.

The only reason that I even mentioned the U.S. basketball at the Olympics was because I saw a quote, from Allen Iverson, of all people, that said;

“They play the game the way it’s supposed to be played,” Iverson said. “It’s not about athletics. That’s the game the way Karl Malone and John Stockton play it. It’s good for kids to see how the game is supposed to be played.”

Okay, so even Iverson understands that they need to play as a team. Why didn’t he mention that prior to the game? My best guess is that it would have required him to pull his head out of his ass. Playing the game in the Olympics is not the same as playing it at home; You have to guard everybody, as these are the best five guys that a nation can put on the floor. Every other nation’s team seems to understand that, yet, our athletes think it is going to be a highlight reel. The USA “Dream Team” has won every overall competition since they started to allow professional athletes, don’t you think that is some sort of hype that everyone has on their blackboard?

I really hope that we fall short of the medal in the basketball competition, I hope that only because it will make the athletes try a bit harder next time around. Sure it may be something to write in your diary when you kick the ass of the highest played player in the world, but how do you feel when you lose to a team that doesn’t get paid at all, and therefore plays for thd love of the game? When you can kick the ass of a team that plays for heart., not money., You will be about equal to where I was in grade school, where our team could take all comers. No one ever made a poster out of it, none of us went on to the NBA, but I will guarantee you that we played better, as a team, than the hacks players that we sent to Athens this year.

Audio equipment; Phimosis

Well as my legion of fan (no those weren’t supposed to be plural) might have noticed, I did take a couple of days off from typing this page up. No reason why really. I didn’t feel like typing, no one ever reads it anyway, kind of like farting in the wind… there is just no payoff. Though I have no plans to close down the site, as It is very theraputic for me to write something down that is annoying me, I don’t think I am likely to try to keep making a new post every day. I am not going to set to stone a schedule whereby I will make new posts, as that loses the point of bitching about stuff that is irritating me, what I will do is say that I am likely only going to have, at most, five posts a week. The days that they might occur are going to be a surprise even to me, so I guess it will actually be 100% true that I am typing this for my own benefit from this point forward.

• Something that I want to mention today, as it may be too late tomorrow, is a brief conversation that I had with a regular customer where I work.

The man’s name is George, I consider him a friend even though I do not know him all that well. We have been talking, at length, about all sorts of weird shit ever since I started working at the store. He is quite a friendly, helpful man, but he has a lot of medical problems. I have visited his home several times, even knocked back a cocktail or two while there, and I suppose that, by definition, that would make us friends, though had that never have happened I would still think of him as a friend.

George loaned me his little truck (chevy s10? maybe) a few times to do errands that needed doing. Much like with the local “cat lady”, his only reward was for me to sit with him in his home and talk. Mind you, he is a bit of an Audiophile, and that took a bit away from my apprehensions about visiting his home. The guy has every album you could ever think of on vinyl, 8-track, cassette and CD. There is no place in his house that you can stand without hearing the song that is playing coming from multiple speakers, and sounding totally awesome. That being said, his audio system cost probably in excess of $20,000 U.S. dollars. That system is also installed in a house that likely cost him a lot less than that when he bought it twenty-five years ago. I don’t know why audio is his passion, but it is.

I really started trying to fuck with him with the stuff that I brought over (cd’s I mean). As far as the retail cd’s go, he could tell me every time that they were a retail cd, while he could tell me every time that one was an mp3. I don’t know how he knew, but he did. Just for fun, I brought over an old garage recording that I had made back when I was in a band. He instantly knew that it was not only a “garage effort”, but a very poor one at that. Being pissed off at that point, I ripped “Metallica’s” song “one” to mp3 to see if he could hear the difference between the two. What really shocked me was that, on his system, I could tell the difference between the two. I think that the studio recordings have a lot more sound on them than you can hear on your average, cheap-ass media player. If nothing else, George proved that point to me.

This guy, George, has had a lot of shit happen to him over his life. Possibly the worst thing (at least in my mind) was the Phimosis.

The thing about “phimosis” is that if you are circumcised you never have to fear it. If, however, you are not circumcised, it will be a constant threat to the penis. George had the phimosis problem as a child, but it was never discovered. By the time he was in his late 30’s/early 40’s, he had to have his penis amputated as it was so covered in virus that it could not be saved. I suppose I should note that phimosis, in and of itself, is not life-threatening. When, however, it is let to stay on a body for thirty years, infections can occur. The phimosis kept him from being able to clear up some, I can’t remember the story all that clearly, but it was genital warts, I think. Without the ability for the glans of the penis to be free of disease, the infection spread into his testicles. He had, at that point, two options; 1) Die. 2) Amputate your penis and testicles.

But wait, it gets worse. The guy then had a couple of strokes, which have left his back and legs in constant pain, the kind of pain that even the best drugs can not sate. He said to me today that, “If you (that being me) could take away the pain, I would be forever in your debt.” After that, it got spooky.

George said to me, and I will quote, “You are a very kind and loving man. Not just a man, but a kind and loving human being. When they find me tomorrow, please make sure that the note on my chest still says ‘too much pain’.”

He did go on to say that he figured his children would simply bury him in the back yard so that they would be able to continue collecting his disability and retirement checks from where he worked. So is that human nature? If it is I want right the hell out of this “race”.

Perhaps the most disturbing part of this whole story is that I will likely be the first person to enter his home after he dies. I really don’t think that he was joking today, I think this might be it for him. I don’t know what I could do to stop him from it: he already has every drug in the hospital in his system.

Here’s to hoping that George wakes up again tomorrow.

Kobe lawsuit

I am going to start off with the thick of it, if I get to any random thoughts I might post them below. Time will tell.

The news item in question today is Bryant Accuser Sues, Seeks Monetary Damages

I spent a hell of a long time going through my old posts looking for my mention of this case (which is all my fault, since my archives are about four months out of date.) and I did find it. I must say that it kind of tickled my little, tickly parts when I found that it was saying basically the same thing that I thought it had said. I will quote just one paragraph on this update, if you want to see the whole thing I wrote (which was all about Richard Simmons getting sued for slapping a burly Harley salesman), you can read it Here.

The part from this particular rant that I wanted you to see is the following paragraph, indented for ease of view;

The sad truth is that so many of the cases involving celebrities are utter bull-shit that it is hard to pick through them and find the one in a hundred that is real. Take the trial of Kobe Bryant for instance. Did he have sex with that girl, yes. Was it consentual sex? There are only two people in the entire world that know the truth. I personally believe that it was consentual when it happened, then the girl realized that if it was not consentual she would be able to file a civil suit against him and get a boat- load of money. I feel a little bit more strongly about this case (though I am not actively following it) than I do about others because the woman in question turned in the panties that she had been wearing that night, and they had sperm from three separate persons in them. I am not sure if that was allowed to be entered into evidence in the case, also I guess it would be possible to rape a slut, but that really seems to take away from the credibility when she is screaming rape.

That almost seems prophetic, considering this line in the news today that;

The case took a serious turn against the prosecution when the judge in the criminal case ruled last month that the woman’s sexual history just before and hours after she said Bryant raped her could be presented at the trial. The defense’s theory is that she had consensual sex just hours after she said Bryant raped her, which could explain injuries the prosecution said she sustained. The woman has denied the defense claim.

Well, I have only known one woman that was raped ( I mean actually raped, not like a “date-rape”, which is just a bad a crime, but often never spoken of ). The woman, that I personally knew, who was raped didn’t run out and have consensual sex with the next half-a-dozen guys that she saw. Instead, she cried into my arms for a good six hours afterwards, that was when her friends and myself persuaded her to go to the police. There might be a woman out there who is gonna go fuck anything that moves after she has been raped, but that is going to be a tough position to defend.

The girl in this case is going to have to fight a really uphill battle both in the criminal and civil courts. She is going to have to explain how she has the semen from 3 different men in her underwear. Now, I am certainly not a pundit when it comes to court proceedings, but when you have to sift through your own panties to find DNA from the guy that raped you I think your case is pretty feeble. How did the other semen get there? Was it consensual sex with everyone except Kobe? Why did she have sex with a couple of other guys on the way to the police to report rape?

Don’t get me wrong, if he raped her he should be prosecuted. The thing is that the accuser can’t even keep her story straight about the rape, while the accused knows just how it went down.

The most damning piece of evidence in the whole story is this:

Usually, crime victims wait until the end of a criminal trial before suing in civil court, unless the statute of limitations is running out. “That’s not the case here,” attorney and former Denver prosecutor Craig Silverman said.
The civil lawsuit could be used by the defense to buttress an argument that she was only interested in getting money from the multimillionaire basketball player.

That is totally what happened. If you want to sue someone for rape you should keep it in your pants for a day or two on either side of the accusation.

it’s electric

Well I took a few days off and went on a wilderness retreat to the barren lands of Africa. That is, I spent so damn much time playing the little game on the sidebar that I just never got around to posting. Being as the particular game is supposedly based in Africa I assume that that means I was doing some of that wildnerness therapy crap that all of the rich, SUV driving Metrosexuals get into. It is probably healthier than most other reality escapes but seems a bit less theraputic. Hell, without the aid of any foreign substances the creatures in the game just look rather plain, and not once did I feel the urge to get naked and play the bongos. I guess that is what I get when I try to take the easy way out.

• There was a pretty terrible lightning storm here in town a couple of days ago. It happened pretty early in the morning, which is unusual as we are in monsoon season and that tends to bring lightning storms in the late evening, not at 6 or 7a.m., yet that was when it happened this time. It must have been directly overhead, as this was the loudest thunder I have ever heard in my life; It sounded as though there were gunshots coming from inside my own house all morning. We lost electricity at about 8a.m. as a result of it, but had it restored by shortly before 10a.m., which isn’t a bad turn-around on that sort of thing. When I went in to work, though, everything went straight to hell.

Neither of the two coolers on the roof were working, at all, no power whatsoever. I did a quick test for continuity on each of the 30amp fuses that run to the coolers. Out of a total of six fuses, five were blown. I am not an electrician but I do know a good bit about electrical circuits, when I saw that five of the fuses were blown it did not bode well. The particular circuits that run the coolers are 240volt, that means that you have two power wires and one common wire (the common is often linked to the ground wire in residential applications). When a huge spike of electricity hits, say the store is struck by lightning for instance, it would be pretty likely to blow the fuses on the power wires but not on the common wire. One of the coolers had blown the common wire fuse as well, and I knew even before I replaced the fuses that the motor was burnt out.

As stated, I am not an electrician, I just know from experience that when you blow the fuse for the power and the common that it usually means that a hell of a lot of power went through the common. The most likely reason for this (especially in an electrical motor) is that the power wire had touched (or arced) electricity to the common wire. This would instantly burn all of the fuses in the circuit while at the same time burning a lot of the copper windings in the motor. If you were to ask me to give you a detailed explanation of why this happens, I got nothing. If you were to ask me why the surge burnt out the motor of one of the coolers on the roof while only blowing the fuses on the power wires on the other cooler, that I think I could answer.

When a bolt of lightning strikes it looks for the quickest path to the ground. Anything that is high in the air and made of metal is a really good choice. Both of the coolers on the roof fit that bill perfectly, the one that burnt out is actually a couple of inches higher than the one that didn’t, but I am pretty sure that is coincidence. These are the two highest pieces of metal for at least a good four square blocks, so it was kind of inevitable that one of them would be struck if the ligtning chose to discharge near there. The cooler that survived the ordeal had been rebuilt the previous year and I installed it personally. I mentioned to the owner that there was not a ground on the cooler and he said to just wire it up anyway, which I did, but as a precaution I went ahead and grounded the motor to a piece of metal conduit which ran across the roof and into a breaker box that is securely grounded. I did that for my safety, as I am usually the only one on the roof working on the things and if it is not grounded and gets a power surge it could easily kill me. I truly believe that grounding that cooler through the conduit was what saved it (although the conduit is NOT a good ground and should never be used as such).

When I opened up the other cooler to check on it, I found that it was indeed not grounded. Not only that but whoever installed it didn’t even bother to connect the ground wire to the body of the cooler (which in itself is absolutely wrong, but if you are going to go with no ground on a 240volt circuit you should at least connect the ground to the casing; it could save the life of someone touching it in the case of a surge). With nowhere for the electricity to go, I assume that it traveled down both of the actual power wires as well as the commone wire, which would have instantly turned the motor into a molten metal lump had all of the fuses not blown simultaneously. It is probably lucky that there was not a fire as a result of this whole ordeal.

The even more unfortunate part of the story is that I was so involved with making the cooling system for the store work, and the meat case, which had gone out a few days before for unrelated reasons, that I didn’t bother to check the other cooling systems in the store. The power had been back on for a couple of hours by the time I got to work, I assumed that someone must have checked them. ASS U ME, enough said. Thankfully, the cashier informed me that the wall freezer seemed a bit warm, a quick check of thermometers showed that it was about 30 degrees too warm (but still below freezing) so I went to have a look at that system. It also had a blown fuse, but only a 15amp (not that the amperage matters), which I immediately replaced to get that system back on-line. The only other system that operates on the same (I am going to say ‘Master circuit’ since I don’t know if there is a word for it) circuit as the cooler that burnt is the dairy walk-in, which was operating just fine. Job done, or so I thought.

The second I got home, I mean literally, since I had stopped at the circle K for a hot dog on the way, I got a call from work. It seemed that the large ice cream freezer was a bit warm also. Back to work I went. I found, once I got there, that the light bulb in the continuity tester I had been using all day had burned out. It took me a few minutes to come up with an idea but I did eventually improvise a temporary replacement bulb by using one out of a small flashlight on the shelf. None of the fuses running to that compressor were blown though, so I lifted up the service panel to see if there were more fuses inside, there weren’t, but there was a breaker. Flipped it down, then back up and the compressor started running again. I went home again, for the day this time, thinking that all was well.

Next day (yesterday) I spent my first hour of work moving ice cream to various other freezers around the store. The freezer was working, but for some reason it was not able to go below about five degrees, which is not cold enough for ice cream. A quick look through the sight glass shows that there is no air in the freon lines so I am still not quite sure why that freezer isn’t working. I did notice that as the day went on the case was getting colder and colder each time I checked the temperature, but really how many days should it take to get back to operating temperature? Of course it is about ten time larger than your average home’s chest freezer, and likely fifty times the size of the freezer connected to your refrigerator, so I certainly don’t know. Anyway, it was a bad day or two.