Feedback; Terri Schiavo; Dinner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


I have had a really weird schedule at work this week, due to one of the bosses being out of state. That is the simple explanation for why I was getting so much better about doing daily postings then, suddenly, reverted to my old ‘post whenever the hell I want to’ schedule. Unfortunately, that same person is still going to be out of town for a few more days, so I may or may not find the time to make a post before next Wednesday. Therefore I will try to sum up the last week with this post, as well as trying to preblog the events that might happen next week, or not, I do as I please.

• First off (well, not really first since a lot of stuff happened between my last post and now, but the first memorable/blogworthy thing that happened), on Wednesday we got a grocery delivery at the store. We get them every other week so that was not the surprise. Even after unloading all the groceries (which we do by hand with the aid wheeled devices) all was still normal. It was when the driver tried to put the last freezer box on the truck that it all started going really, really bad.

My googling has not matched me up with any photos of a freezer box at all, let alone the one that I am talking about, so I will try to describe it. Your average pallet is about 40×42 inches (some smaller, some larger, depending on the width of the trailer it is being hauled in) ideally, they can fill the trailer of a shipping truck with two pallets from front to back. The 40×42 pallet is pretty standard so I am going to assume that it is the size of the freezer boxes (as they leave no room for error when trying to maneuver one around the other inside the truck). This all being beside the point anyway.

Much like everything else in the world, technology has caught up with the trucking industry. The freezer boxes are now made mostly out of fiberglass, using stryofoam as insulation. Unfortunately, some of the old steel boxes are still being used (some of them being in horrible condition), which is where the day all went to hell for me.

-I am sure that no one really wants/needs to hear this, but I have to mention it or else the story wouldn’t make any sense. These freezer boxes have to be elevated about four inches off of the ground to make it possible to get a pallet jack under them. The old, steel (well, solid metal anyway), freezers had legs welded onto them for this purpose, while the newer fiberglass boxes have them molded to the box. I hope that question is on Jeopardy sometime, else that was a wasted thought.-

The last freezer box that we unloaded was a really, really old box. The doors on it wouldn’t stay shut on their own so they wrapped it in plastic wrap to keep it from falling open. Also, it was missing one of its legs; A fact that was only discovered when the driver was trying to turn the pallet around to get it onto his truck. Then came the destruction. When the box was being turned (on the pallet jack), there was one leg missing. Instead of turning smoothly it tipped over and fell right off of the loading dock. It took the driver, a hand cart, and the pallet jack with it. Thankfully, no one was hurt. There was a substantial amount of property damage though.

The box ripped through the mesh on the steel security door like it was tissue paper, then, when it got to the edge of the door, it caught the frame of it and ripped the door completely out of the wall. It tumbled slightly, off the edge of the loading dock, to end up leaning, very precariously, against a wooden fence, the loading dock, and the lift gate of the truck. It was bad.

Always the trooper, my first thought was, “I need a lot of photos of this”, followed by, “I need him to sign a paper that says that they will pay for all the damage”. I got both of them easily, as the driver knew that his company was at fault and also needed my help to get that archaic freezer box back onto his truck. I did take a lot of the photos before we touched anything, since I wanted evidence that the box had destroyed the security door and was damn near pushing the fence over; he called his immediate supervisor to tell them what had happened and sent photos via his cell phone. That was when we had to figure out how to get the damn box back upright so that we could get it back on his truck.

Just about the same time as we were discussing how to move the box without downing the fence (since it was leaning against the loading dock, the fence, and the lift gate), the termite-sprayer-guy showed up, and was willing to help. I don’t know how much that box actually weighs, but I do know that if three grown men (even if we were all weaklings, which I don’t think was the case) couldn’t move it, it must be at least 700 pounds, of course at that precarious angle, and with little space who knows.

The story finally ends with me pushing the box away from the fence while the termite guy is holding a chain to pull it away from the fence, the driver moves his truck forward far enough to clear the fence, then all we have to do is stand it back up and get it on the truck. Oddly, the three of us were able to stand it up pretty easily, in fact getting it onto the truck wasn’t much of a problem either; I tipped it onto two of its good legs while termite guy stuck a brick under the missing leg, driver got the pallet jack under it and it was done.

The casualties in this case were only a steel security door, which is completely fucked, A wooden fence, which I will likely be repairing in the near future, and a freezer box that should have been retired decades ago. Since I got the guy to sign a paper that said his company was responsible for all the damage, perhaps I should get them to cover punitive damages??

The Pacifier; Alex Winter

Today’s post is going to be pretty mundane, feel free to read it in its entirety!

Today we took in a movie, The Pacifier, which I had seen the trailer for at a different movie and thought would be enough fun to pay for matinee tickets for. It was actually far better than my wife or I had expected, though you wouldn’t know that from the 18% rating at rotten tomatoes.

I have never seen a film with Vin Diesel in it before, mostly since I really don’t like the huge-action-film genre (I just can’t seem to suspend my disbelief in those type of films and it leads me to annoying everyone within earshot when I start picking apart the movie for the obviously fake things happening. Once, while watching Mortal Kombat with one of my closest friends, on tape, he actually just turned it off and said he couldn’t watch it with me. At least I know that I will be disappointed by those movies though, and don’t go watch every one thinking that maybe this will be the one that doesn’t piss me off). This may well have worked to my advantage while watching Pacifier. I knew who Vin Diesel was, but only enough to recognize his face, that character could have been played by any of countless thousands of buff men. I really think Diesel pulled it off pretty well though.

The movie does start off with a huge action sequence, and I could start picking apart all of the impossibilities, but, quite thankfully, that scene was very short and only there to show the limitless capabilities of a trained NAVY S.E.A.L. (which I am sure would piss off an actual Navy Seal if they watched the film, but that is a whole different story).

As a quick aside, while I am thinking about it, Mr. Cap Reports gave this film only his third R-PG rating ever! I can never thank Flux from enough for getting me that guy’s website, the “cap reviews” are frequently more entertaining than the movies. In this particular case, however, I can only find one point to really question in his review of it. Mr. Cap Reports said, “positioning and movement of a teen and preteen girl to cause exposure of their underwear while wearing dresses “. I watched the film, and I look for that kind of thing, and I never saw teen or preteen underwear, at least if I did it was in such a nonprovocative manner that it completely went under my radar.

The movie actually works pretty well in its situational comedy. Of course a hard-nosed military man is going to be out of his element when dealing with common household problems, of course the situations are going to cause friction between the military man and the kids, of course all of the comedy is going to lead to an eventual happy ending. It is a Disney movie FFS. You knew long before you went to the theatre that this was meant to be disposable entertainment, while the PG rating suggested that it was more geared for children. I think that is where the major movie critics get it all wrong on this type of film, it seems that they know that it is a kid’s film, yet they expect it to have a lot of humor that kids just won’t understand. This film didn’t have any of that so the critics are pissed, of course as I look at my track record I notice that I disagree with the critics in damn near every instance so maybe I am just stupid?

I found myself pretty sympathetic to the Vin Diesel character, even though there was never a doubt as to how the movie was going to end. I laughed out loud several times, and had to fight it back a few others. As far as the film being too formulaic, of course it was, but if you didn’t know that from the trailers then you really have no business bitching about it. It is made as a kid’s film, and while it does show it mostly from the adult angle, it is still a kid’s film. The theatre where we saw it was almost evenly split between adults and children and everyone laughed, though the kids laughed at the fart jokes, while the adults laughed at some of the jokes that would really go over the head of a child. The 90 minute film went by pretty quickly, and I am glad that I watched it.

The critics that didn’t like it all seemed to think that it should have been a more ‘adult’ film that would have been okay for the kids to watch. I really wish that the critics had to review the film that they actually saw, as opposed to the movie they wanted to see. Just because Vin Diesel is in the movie doesn’t mean that it has to be the next action hero movie. There is a very simple plot, but were it much more complex the kids wouldn’t understand it. I think they did a pretty good job of balancing the humor for adults and children. Critics suck.

• Today I decided that I had to answer a question that his been burning in my brain for the last couple of months. That question: What ever happened to Alex Winter. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter were the lead roles in the Bill and Ted movies, but it seems that you never hear about Alex Winter anymore. Why? It isn’t like he got completely out acted in the Bill and Ted movies, I bought both of them as complete skater dufuses. Yet, for some reason Reeves went on to bigger and better things, while Winter seemed to simply vanish. I know that some of the ladies think that Reeves is ‘hot’, but is that alone enough to explain it?

Researching the two actors was actually a bit of fun. It turns out that Alex Winter had actually directed a film before the runaway success of the Bill and Ted movies. Not only that but he went on to write, direct, and star in the movie Freaked, which Keanu Reeves also starred in. Wow, who knew.

Between the release of the first and second Bill and Ted movie, Alex Winter also had a starring role in the film Rosalie Goes Shopping. While it seems that no one really watched the movie, Ebert did, and he gave it three stars.

Alex Winter is now writing the script for a bipoic about Sean Fanning, the founder of Napster, and his life and times. All of this was happening while I thought that Winter had dropped off of the face of the earth…

Keanu Reeves, on the other hand, he has made a lot of horrible films. I guess his looks just carry him from job to job. One of the films that he was in, Chain Reaction, is the only film that I have ever seen with a 0% on rotten tomatoes. That was based on only 19 reviews, but come on. That movie had Reeves and Morgan Freeman in it. How can 19 critics all give it bad reviews?

Searching a bit more into the film career of Keanu, I noticed that he also has a lot of less than 50% positive reviews, and I mean a lot. A couple of 13’s, a 14, a 16, and so many under 50 that I am not gonna waste the time counting them. In fact, Alex Winter has a better ‘fresh rating’ the Keanu Reeves does. Of course the IMDB rates all of Reeves films a lot higher, thus proving that critics are not in tune with the general public.

I am sure I will sleep better tonight have finally answered this question.


Well, today I am going to talk about politics. I am telling you now that you would be better off to not read what I am about to write, then again I might surprise myself. Still, I am gonna vent a few views that may be unpopular, so really, don’t read this.

I have been reading The Washington Monthly for quite a while, hell since its inception really, since I used to read it back when it was CalPundit. I know that it is a blog that is written by a liberal, so there are always liberal points made during the presentation of a story, I expect this. I think Mr. Drum does do a pretty good job of presenting the actual facts before trying to spin it though, that is what I find admirable about that blog. While I read his blog daily, I also vist several conservative blogs on a weekly basis, just to see what is going on on the far, far, far right bank of center. Without exception, the right end blogs present less actual facts and more commentary, but I like to read them anyway just enough to know where both sides stand.

I have always considered myself a liberal; I support gay marriage, abortion rights, and many other concerns that are purely liberal. I don’t think that it is anyone’s business who marries whom, beyond that, I really don’t think that marriage is a sacred covenant with GOD, it is a sacred covenant with your spouse, regardless of gender. Men should have absolutely no say in the abortion argument; when you can reproduce asexually, or give birth yourself, then you can have a say. I am also a bit to the left on many of the financial issues that affect me directly, Social Security for instance. It is at just about that point that I want out of the left.

I guess I am kind of conservative on some of the issues as well. I really don’t want a socialist economy, or socialized healthcare for that matter. While it is true that most of the rich were born rich, some have actually gotten rich by hard work and determination. In my opinion it would be wrong for them to literally pay for every good or service that the poor receive. Yet, at the same time, I really don’t think that we should allow the poor to become homeless and die on the street.

I know that I have told the story of how I ended up in Arizona before, but since I can’t find a reference to it (since I never got around to updating my archives), I will just do the quick version here: I left Oregon while I was in a bit of trouble with the law. The belongings that I had with me all fit into a small, overnight bag (which consisted mostly of cassette tapes), I moved down to live with my mother, I actually had to borrow clothes from her when I got a job, six days after I got here, since all I had were shorts and tanktops. I lived with my Mother once I arrived here for about a couple of months. At that point she was moving back to Oregon and I needed to find a place to live. I lived in a cramped studio apartment for the next seven years. I used empty soup cans for drinking glasses and bowls, I was sleeping on a “super single” mattress that was acquired from the trailer court where mom lived, beyond that the only furniture was a small (smaller than loveseat size) couch that was made of wood and naughyde. It was miserable.

Beyond the fact that I didn’t have the money to buy anything, I also had a court judgement against me that was in excess of $10,000, and an outstanding warrant for my arrest in the state of Oregon. I think that the term destitute would be a fair assessment of my situation at the time. I had nothing, and what little I had was being paid to try to clear up the financial problems (which were not of my causing) and the legal problems (which were totally my fault).

Kind of as an aside, You would be amazed at just how many uses you can get out of the average milk crate. They are modular, after all, you can use them as bedside tables, coffee tables, end tables, kitchen tables, footstools, entertainment centers (just for holding the components, trust me), magazine racks, file cabinets, I really could go on and on… Milk crates were my furniture for a lot of years.

It was from that humble beginning (using the term beginning a bit loosely, since I was 20 at the time) that I worked my way to where I am at today. I do mean worked. Most of my relatives didn’t know where I was (which was intentional, since I did owe money to the courts and creditors, and they have an uncanny ability to find debtors…The mob probably wishes that they had that type of efficiency), not that any of them were independently wealthy in the first place, and even if they were they likely wouldn’t have offered to help me out. It seems that some families really care about a strong family tree, while other families don’t give a shit until someone dies (the latter of which is describing me, but when the family members that died are the one that threw you out of your childhood home so he could sell it, followed by the one that didn’t give you the small inheritance you were due [so she could buy a new truck], what would you do?)

Some of those facts are disputed to this day. Unfortunately, the only things that I was ever able to see were the actual, factual documents relating to it. I was not able to hear the spin that whatever relative wanted to put on it. Perhaps I am a bad person for basing my opinion on absolute fact without first listening to spin? I guess I am proving myself liberal again, or at least I thought.

The Washington Monthly website is mostly viewed by liberals. While I side with them on most arguments, I at least check the alternatives first. I made the horrible mistake of reading the ‘comments’ on one of the posts today. It turns out that a lot of the liberal people are just as whacked out as the people on the right. I will say that at least the left-leaning sites usually have a comments section, while most on the right don’t, but I will have to add to that that most of the people who are commenting are getting their news (political anyway) only from that one source. Having biased information is probably worse than having no information, here I must cite the reelection of Dubya; with no information the public would have despised him, with liberal information he didn’t seem so bad. Of course, with conservative information, he was the second coming of Jesus.

I have struggled, really struggled, to pay off my debts and get a meager amount of money into the stock market. I now own my own mortgage (home), and providing I don’t miss any payments it will be mine in the year 2032 (though that number is a bit high since I am paying an extra 6 dollars a month towards the principal, which will actually shave a few years off of the loan).

My stock market investment has absolutely no gurantee. I could lose it al in a second. If I were to invest that money into an IRA I would have some protection, but I have lived under a bridge and, as such, I don’t like the thought of my money being tied up until I retire. This is perhaps naive and foolish, but, if you have ever spent a cold October night sleeping under a bridge in Oregon, you would probably agree that quick access to your money is a good thing. Which actually screws me out of the tax loopholes that the rich use, but, what are you gonna do?

The other thing that is really pissing me off is that the really poor people (like I was not long ago) are claiming that there are no jobs available. I worked at a number of minumum wage jobs for the first 5 years of my adult life. The jobs are there. One of them (when I saw a whole bunch of people applying), I told them I would work one shift for free, if they liked my performance they could hire me, if not I would walk away. I worked the one shift for free. Guess who got the job. Like I mentioned earlier, it was only six days after I got here that I had a job, while mom’s boyfriend had been out of work for months. Could it somehow be related to determination? Maybe the one that really, really wants to have a job gets the job?

Unemployment only requires that you tell them that you looked for a job, while some released convicts have to get a manager to sign to say that they applied for a job and were not hired. Let’s institute my plan: If you are out of work you can only draw unemployment for the first four weeks, then you go four weeks without it. Now you get two more weeks of unemployment, followed by two weeks without it. Then it is done, forever. Get a job or die.

When questioning my wife and then my mother and then her boyfriend, I found that none of us has really ever been out of work for more than two weeks in our adult lives, While I see girls in the town I live in banging out a kid every 9 months and living better than I do. I think it has gone far from a liberal/conservative issue, this is a moral issue. The poor are poor, the rich are rich, but why does the middle end up paying for the upbringing of the poors’ small children?

Mandatory Birth control would be something that I could get behind. Sure, it would never happen since the republicans are in power, but, come on. The wealthy have far fewer children than the poor. Is that due to better education? Is that due to the socioeconomic climate? Is that due to more prophylactics? Maybe all. The thing is that the really poor don’t look at the grand scheme of things, they hardly look two weeks down the road. Another child? well that is just downright fun! So, there go my tax dollars (being middle class) as the rich and the poor battle it out to see just who is less wrong.

I am not happy with the way I am going here, so I am gonna call it a night. As always, the email address is directly below.

BCS; Survivor

Just when I was starting to get back into a semi-regular posting schedule, basketball happened. I had completely forgotten about the College Basketball tournament (the brackets as my wife and many others call them) right until my wife got home earlier than expected on Wednesday. It turns out that since the ‘brackets’ had bumped Survivor from Thrusday to Wednesday, the wife was not nearly as inclined to ride her horse on Wednesday. That is, sure she loves to ride the Horses, but when that interferes with Survivor, Fuck ’em.

I am no better than the wife when it comes to revolving my schedule around that silly show. I didn’t even get to complete my daily surfing activities before it was time to go and watch the show. I know that is not such a big deal since I can visit a website at any time, day or night, while her horse riding activities don’t share the always available quality. But, It did screw up my day a little bit. Damn those Collegiate Athletes!

I really don’t care for college basketball at all, of course I really don’t care about the NBA either, so I suppose that isn’t all that surprising. I do like that they have a playoff system in place for the NCAA, however I really think that the system they use for basketball is at once too inviting and not inviting enough. I am not completely sure of the logistics involved, but what I do know is that in any given year there are teams who should have a legitimate shot at the national title that end up playing in the (secondary) NIT competition. As I say, I don’t follow college basketball so I don’t really know why it ends up this way. I would speculate that they are trying to make sure that they don’t end up with too many teams from a specific conference in the ‘Big Dance’, since, like everything else, this is all about money and too many colleges from a specific region would likely sour the viewing audience, thus leading to less revenue from advertisers. That is all speculation of course.

It is pretty sick of me to bitch about the way the NCAA handles this tournament though, since I really do enjoy college football. NCAA football, of course, has absolutely no playoff system. The national champion every year is picked by a combination of Coaches votes and a computer model that sends teams to face each other in the BCS. I would link to something to try to make sense of this all, were there anything on the face of the earth that could make sense of it. There is no playoff system at all in college football, the ‘Bowls’ (be it the Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl, etc.) are alternated every year in respect to which one is hosting the actual title game. The teams that go to each of the ‘Bowls’ is somehow chosen by a computer. One of the many problems with that approach is the “Margin of Victory” category (which is one of the weighted categories in the BCS model). So, if your team is up by 24 points in the fourth quarter and you just try to run out the clock, you may be screwed later by a team that continues to humiliate the other team for the duration of the game. The computer can’t factor in humility.

I am going to try to piece together a scenario to prove the inherent flaws with the BCS right now. Bear in mind that people have been doing this for years and we have yet to see a change in the way it is handled. All information I am about to present is fictional and for the sole purpose of making the fallacy that the BCS is fair more obvious. I am going to use the teams Florida, Arizona and Texas in general terms and not related to any team from any of those states.

Let’s pretend that Texas has only won 3 games in a season. They have a mediocre offense, but a pretty darn good defense. Further, we must pretend that Arizona has an amazing offense, but a useless defense, while Florida has an amazing defense, but a useless offense. Now I have to pretend that both Arizona and Florida played Texas, and for the sake of this post I am going to say that they both won the game. The Arizona vs. Texas matchup (in my scenario) is going to end with Arizona’s amazing offense beating the Texas defense pretty handily, but, the useless defense of Arizona allows Texas to get some easy points. I’ll call it 37-24 just in case you are nitpicky, so a 13 point win. When Florida plays Texas (in my scenario) it is going to end with Florida’s offense unable to score against the mediocre Texas defense, while Texas can’t score against Florida either. The points that are scored are all on defense or special teams. I’ll call this one 16-7, so a 9 point win. What we learn from this is that, for one team, their offense alone won the game, while, for the other team, their defense alone won the game. If Arizona never plays Florida how do you really know which team is better? The computers will tell you that Arizona is better since they won by 13, but, the same computer is going to tell you that Florida is better since they only gave up 7 points. (not that playing a worthless team really matters all that much in the grand scheme of the BCS, I was just trying to explain it in a logical manner.)

If there were any type of a playoff system in college football the majority of the variables would be sorted out on the field. Of course the second anyone tries to modify the system to a playoff format there will be teams that want to be involved, regardless of the fact that they simply don’t have the players to win big games against good teams. I do understand that football is a sport that is a bit more draining than basketball; not a game that the players can play two days in a row. Yet, somewhere in my mind, I have to wonder why they don’t have all of the teams that have ‘Bowl Bids’ set into a playoff format. It would add a game or two to some of the teams’ schedules, but only the winning teams. That would also result in a lot more revenue for the colleges, with the extra ticket sales. Not to mention giving NFL scouts more opportunities to see all of the top players.

Perhaps the NCAA enjoys the controversy in college football since it allows many teams to believe that they were really the national champions?

• Survivor was what I really wanted to talk about today. It turns out that someone over at the studio had read my latest bitch about the show and bought a Time Machine, then went back in time to alter the episodes that they already had on tape. Sure, it is possible that they just realized it was all getting a bit too predictable, but what would be my stake in that?

The latest episode of Survivor featured yet another loss by the “Ulong” team. This one was a bit different though, for two reasons. The first reason is that both teams were going to have to vote out a player, the second is that I have never seen (in my survivor watching history) a team so easily and adamantly agree on voting someone. The guy that the strong tribe (Koror) was going to vote out has been obvious since day one, however they had never lost an immunity challenge so they never had to think about it. There was a twist, as there always is, that made it so Koror got to give immunity to a single player from Ulong. The winner of immunity was the guy that everyone in Ulong was going to vote off. So, instead, they voted off the only player on their team that excelled at anything…Survival of the weakest I guess.

I really have to hand it to Survivor, they took an impossible situation and made a nice spin out of it. Unfortunately the teams are now at 8 and 4. If they merge the first four to go are pretty obvious. Yet, the team dynamic is so precious to the game (at least to ratings) that I don’t know if they should try to screw it all up.

Half of me thinks that they should let the losers continue to lose. The losing tribe has shown over and over that they don’t really want to win. Perhaps, this time, they will let them all just get voted out. The other half of me wants them to mix up the tribes. Some of the alliances on Koror are getting pretty strong, strong enough that they may never break. If they mix up the tribes at this point, the are doing it only a couple of votes from the merge. If they leave the one team to kill itself it will be a whole new game. The other team has already shown, on several occasions, that they don’t really want to win. I really think that the best way to shake up the game right now is to leave them alone.

The people in the game are expecting a merge so much that they never stop to think about what would happen if they never merge. Which would lead pretty nicely into the winning tribe having to vote out people that they have very strong alliances with. Hell, with one team having only four people, while the other has eight (and they would have been 9 strong were it not for one screwy challenge), I am not entirely sure if the other team really should have the salvation of the merge. Of course with the one team doubling them in numbers it probably doesn’t matter anyway.

My vote is going heftly to the “no merge” theory. That would make for a much more interesting game.

It is possible that they would allow the losing tribe to pick two of the people from the winning tribe (or try to redistribute the members and end with the same result), but I really think the losers have chosen to lose. It was their choice to vote out the most athletic and intelligent players first. This is their Titanic, they should go down with it.


It turns out that my online gaming activity is ever more boring than I had ever thought. This will be the third post in three consecutive days. I don’t know why or how this happens, but, in spurts, I enjoy the gaming a lot, that is nearly always followed by a period where I don’t enjoy it all that much and grow tired of it quickly. It might have something to do with the horrible problems that I have to deal with at work (pc problems), which leads me to come straight home and just play the mindless games that the internet is built on. Who knows.

On tap today, I have the puppy story that I plugged in yesterday’s post and that is about it. Hopefully something else will come to me as I retell it, else this may be a really short post.

• Our dogs, Warlock and Zelda, both have a bit of Pit Bull in their genetic makeup. I know that (to people who don’t understand the breed) the term “Pit Bull” brings to mind visions of huge, mean dogs. The problem with that is that most people get the breeds confused. A Rottweiler looks like this and is a vicious dog that is often put to death for biting/eating children. A “Pit Bull” is a breed of Terrier that is not vicious without the proper conditions. Even the term “Pit Bull” was only ever used to describe the dogs that were specifically trained to fight.

The majority of your Terrier breeds are possibly a bit anxious, easily excitable, little puppies but never actually bite anything. The term “Pit Bull” bears a black mark for the fact that they used to be trained to fight, and even today most owners just stick them on a chain in the yard and pray for the best. While I am not going to try to defend the entire canine family, I will go out on a limb to defend those Bull Terrier Mixes that we own. They are certainly not vicious, they love children (in fact, when we take them for a walk they will always stop to let all of the children pet them), the only growling that we really ever hear is while they are having bad dreams (since they do sleep in the bedroom with us), and the most vicious they ever get is when they are fighting over the kibble that the wife just dribbled the grease from a pan of ground beef over.

Perhaps, much like children, it is not the breeding of the dog that makes a killer, but the care of the child/animal?

It was never my purpose to spend so much time defending my dogs, but they do get a lot of bad press, so I kind of have to. Sure, your dog might have killed thirteen children, might still be on the prowl for new blood, might have rabies, and might be kill-on-sight material, but, had you taken care of the puppy, he/she would be a happy and well-adjusted dog. If you don’t understand that logic you probably should have your reproductive organs removed, lest you try to chain your newborn child in the yard and forget about him/her. The dog might not have a brain as big as yours, but it does have one, and it has a memory, and I doubt you would win the fight if it came down to jaw on fist action.

The dog story involves a “Bark Collar” which is a non-painful type, since I don’t want to hurt the little animal. It simply sprays a bit of citrus when the dog barks, which would suck for a dog, since their noses are so much more sensitive than humans.

The “Bark Collar” comes with a collar, strangely enough. Our dogs tend to fight when there is a collar involved. I assume that this behavior is directly linked to the fact that the harnesses that we use when we walk them is made of the same material. This collar, however, has a little electronic device on it that discharges a strong citrus odor when the dog barks. It is quite the effective deterrent.
The funny part of the story is that Zelda (the little girl dog) is the one that is usually wearing the device, since she is usually the one that is barking. While the collar does spray towards her face, it is coming from her neck, thus it is like a neck-mounted projectile of citrus smell. Zelda’s tiny little brain has seemed to work that all out.

Zelda does get the citrus sprayed in her face on occasion, but that is not story. The story is when she uses it as a weapon.

This all started when Warlock (the boy dog) jumped up onto the stove to steal a slice of yesterday’s pizza. Warlock knew he had done bad, but wanted to eat the pizza anyway, the spoils of war, I guess. Zelda barked at him, and it blew the citrus cloud into both of their faces. Warlock ran away, while Zelda finished the slice of pizza.

I think Zelda knows about it now. She knows that the collar will spray. She is just fucking with Warlock at this point. Both of their brains, put together, wouldn’t equal the weight of a pea, but they are learning. Zelda (the bitch) is learning just how much she owns Warlock. He (Warlock), on the other hand, is only starting to learn that Zelda owns him. Sure it isn’t dignified, but he didn’t lick your ass. Go Warlock!

[Adult Swim]

Being that I am becoming pretty bored with playing silly little on-line games, I am gonna throw another post up here -Possibly a week before anyone is expecting it-, which is the great thing about actually paying for your own website. I don’t really have a deadline, I don’t really have a lot of fans, I just type something out when I feel like it, and stay silent for weeks when I don’t. That is not really a good path to follow if you ever do want to develop a readership, but, I have given up on that aspect of this whole ‘blogging’ thing long ago.

• On tap today, I offer you Robot Chicken. This is a really bizarre show that they show on Cartoon Network as part of the late night edition that they call Adult Swim. Since that seems a little bit confusing as I write it, I will elaborate in a moment. But first, I must elaborate on the aforementioned show.

Robot Chicken is basically a show that comes on, lasts for fifteen minutes (it plays straight through for twelve minutes with no commercials, followed by three minutes of commercials leading into the next show) then is gone. The airtimes for the show (as listed on the website) may differ by region. Since I live in Arizona, which is sometimes on Pacific time and sometimes on central time, we get some of the cable feeds hours early while we get others hours late. That is kind of screwy in and of itself, but I was wanting to talk about Robot Chicken so I will forget that all for now.

In a nutshell, Robot Chicken is twelve minutes of short sketches. Some of the sketches are as short as two seconds while some of them play out over several minutes. They are all done in animation, claymation, or using action figures (at least the several that I have seen), and they run the gamit from being dopey to outright hilarious. I am not even sure if it is possible to explain the show’s premise, not that I really think it has much of one. I really doubt that anyone much under the age of thirty would/could understand a lot of the parodies, some of them are contemporary, but the majority are spoofing stuff that I watched as a child. Things like G.I. Joe, Thunder Cats, He-Man, Voltron, and other cartoons or action figures that were popular in the early-mid eighties.

This is a show that is certainly not meant for children, yet it doesn’t seem to be specifically aimed at adults either. It is frequently hilarious, while being boring or confusing at other times. You really would have to watch it to get a sense of the weird fascination I have with it. To give you a sense of the humor involved, I must tell you about one sketch where they were spoofing Voltron. One of the lions was mounting (for reproducing purposes) another of the lions, while they were trying to build Voltron. Though when spoken (typed) it might not seem that funny, in the context of the short it was hilarious.

Seriously, if you have the cartoon network on your t.v. you should check out a couple of episodes. Hell, it only lasts for ten or twelve minutes and you will likely laugh a couple of times (if remember the cartoons and action figures from the eighties).

• The Adult Swim thing is what the cartoon network is doing after the sun goes down. It is far from porn, it has nothing in it that your average teenager hasn’t seen, but your five or six year old wouldn’t understand a word of it. They use the show Family Guy to lead into “Adult Swim”, after which you should not have children viewing, at least not if you don’t want to warp their fragile little minds.

I was thinking about Cartoon Network’s dilemma today, which was why I typed this out actually. They made a channel that you can sit your kids in front of so that you don’t have to take care of them all day, yet, when the kids go to bed at nine, the Cartoon Network is a Ghost Town. I really doubt that many infomercials would be willing to buy time on the Cartoon Network at two in the morning. They took the only logical step; cartoons for kids in the day, cartoons for adults at night. What were their other options?

Funny aside here. The cable company where I grew up showed Nickolodeon from 6a.m.-6p.m., then switched it to A&E from 6p.m.-6a.m. I am not even entirely sure if that would be legal in today’s market, but it worked for that cable company. It was very specifically targeting the consumer. I only noticed it since I woke up late one night and turned on Nickelodeon. I was expecting to see more green slime getting dumped onto people, instead I saw the last half hour of the movie “Deliverance”. I have never been quite the same since…

Anyway, Robot Chicken, watch it once. You will either like it or hate it, there is no in between. Sort of like porn, only less gender-biased as to the likers and haters.

Funny puppy story to come later today or on the next update, I am not yet sure which.

Survivor; Oddity at work; Hockey

An early day off at work today has made it possible for me to go ahead and throw up a post. Of course I could have thrown up a post over any of the past several days, but you wouldn’t have wanted to read it. That would be because it was all about computer problems, all week. Since my last post the computer problems have been virtually resolved on my Mother-in-Law’s PC, while the problems on the PC at work simply got worse. This was due directly to the fact that the boss ordered a brand new Dell PC, but he ordered it with a flat panel monitor, while he was planning to use his 19″ CRT monitor with the system. Without going into a lot of detail, I will just say that it took me many hours, over several days, to get that to work. What is more is that he is expecting that the flat panel monitor will work on the old pc, which is certainly not going to happen, but that will be a story for a different day. I am just tired of talking about PC’s at this point.

• Survivor, however, is on the block to be hacked at today.

Survivor is one of the only shows that gets myself and my wife to sit down together to watch the teevee (though I didn’t watch the first season, I have been a fan ever since). The bitch that I am having about the show currently is that it is a bit stale at this point. It is certainly true that the interaction between all of the players is the most interesting part of the game, hell it is really the only reason that you should be watching the show at all. The problem is that they have gotten to the point where they spend so much time showing the ridiculous challenges that they don’t show enough of the interaction of the players.

This season, for instance, one team has won damn near every single challenge. As a direct result of that it never shows what that team’s day to day dynamic looks like, while it spends a hell of a lot of time focused on the losing team. Net result: I know the names of everyone on the losing team and can identify them by their faces, the winning team…Not so much.

My wife and I do enjoy rooting against the losing team every week, but that can only take the experience about so far. They really need to quit doing such elaborate challenges and get back to showing a lot more of the interaction of the players, which was what made the show so popular in the first place. Imagine if they were to nix about half of the reward challenge time and replaced it with personal interaction, be it for the winning or losing tribe, it would make you feel far more emotionally involved in the show, regardless of whether the interactions really matter in the grand scheme of the game.

I certainly don’t want them to take the challenges out of the material that they air, I simply want them to show only the pertinent parts of the challenges. If one player really excells at a particular event, by all means show it, but, if it is a dead heat, do we really need to watch twenty minutes of people doing the same thing over and over? Especially when you consider that every player is making deals with every other player; deals that will be broken at the drop of a hat. They need to get back to the team dynamic or their ratings will continue to slide. It might only be my opinion, but, I bet if you were to poll 100 people that are not watching survivor this season (after having watched previous seasons), they would probably share my sentiment.

• Now for some strange happenings at work.

There is a nameless young lady where I work (yes, of course, she actually does have a name, but even if I did know what it was I would not put it here), who had rather a strange experience the other day. It seems she received two phone calls, about a minute apart, one from a man and one from a woman, who were both telling her that her car had been hit by another car in the parking lot. As luck would have it, I happened to be right outside the doors as the second call (the one from the man) came in, and was able to say defenitively that the guy on the pay phone was not the guy that made the second call (not that that really matters).

She ran outside to check her car only to find that it had not been in a collision, instead it had rather a morbid gift stuffed into the door handle. That morbid gift was a female undergarment, with attached feminine hygiene product, which was stained with the blood of some female (or at least I assume it was the blood of some female, I am not a detective). There was an attached note that said, “Please leave me yours. In the same place. P.S. you have a really nice ass.” Again, not being a detective, I can only speculate, but I would think that likely the note was not left by a woman. It is my guess that it was some sort of a sick prank that some of her peers came up with just to freak her out, and it worked in spades.

The police were called, the panties and feminine hygiene product were taken in as evidence. The girl moved her car to the front of the store (where she could actually see it), and she was really, really freaked out for the remainder of the day. She was fine by the next morning though, which leads me to wonder if whoever had perpetrated the prank had come clean. That, of course, is something that sixteen-year-old-peer etiquite would never be allowed to be discussed. The situation seems to be resolved, so, I guess it was the crack investigating team….That or the prankster told her about it and didn’t want to get into legal trouble.

• Did you know that the entire Hockey season has been cancelled? I know only because I occasionally watch the sport, and then I only watch it when my local team (the Phoenix Coyotes) are doing well.

The only reason that I bring this whole subject up is because the players are holding out for better contracts, while the owners of most of the teams are losing tons of money every year. Hockey is a really popular sport in Canada, as well as on the eastern seabord of the U.S., but they simply don’t fill enough arenas often enough to substantiate higher contracts. The market for Hockey is simply not as large as the market for the three major U.S. sports (being Football, Baseball and Basketball).

Here is a simple test: Name five hockey players that have ever lived.

I can come up with five off the top of my head. Brett Hull, Bobby Hull, Wayne Gretzky, Jeremy Roenick, and (pardon the name butchering) Mario Lemieux. Could you do it? Beyond that, a new test. Name five current players in the NHL.

Umm…ehhh…umm…Is Patrick Roy still playing? What about Pavel Bure? Did Wayne Gretzky ever father a child? Did Gordie Howe’s DNA get used to clone him? Where is Nikolai Khababulin, is he still playing? Do you see a forming pattern here? (The reference to Khababulin was only because he used to be a coyote, the other names popped into mind because they actually were playing last I knew. Meaning only Roy and Bure, all cloning aside.)

For sake of comparison I am going to tell you five current players from each of the three major U.S. sports. Please note that the names may be butchered since I am not going to go and spellcheck the names.
NFL: Warren Dunn, Marshall Faulk, Donnie Abraham, Fred Smoot, Aeneas Williams. (I left out Quarterbacks on that one since everyone knows the Quarterbacks).
MLB: Derek Jeter, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio. (I ignored pitchers on this one, since that would have been far too easy).
NBA: Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Vince Carter, Steve Nash. (This one I could have done fifty players, but I really don’t like basketball all that much and I didn’t want to focus on my home team).

I am able to easily name five players from the other major U.S. sports, while I can’t come up with a single, definitiive, name in Hockey. I think that this would imply that Hockey is simply not as popular as the other sports. I would then argue that sincce the ssport is not all that popular, the money should be split between the owners and the players. If the owners are making tons of cash while the players are in poverty, that is wrong. By that same metric, if the players are making millions of dollars while the owners are losing money that is also wrong. That all being said, when is the last time that MLB or NFL or NBA cancelled an entire season??? The answer is, of course, never. No other major, U.S., sports league has ever cancelled a season. There have been portions of seasons missing on lots of occasions, but, no season had/has ever been cancelled…Untill now…

The unfortunate downfall of the logic on this one is that no one who never watched Hockey previously is goinng to start watching it . Those who have never seen Hockey are more likely to think that the players are demanding too much money for a service that doesn’t reaklly pay off.

My logic here is pretty tough to quantify, but that is only becasue it is pretty tough to find a hockey fan in the middle of Arizona.

PC issues

More Computer Problems! I bet you are happy you checked in today!

Before I get going on this I just want to mention that I am going to name a hell of a lot of programs that are free for download, some of which are extremely usefull, I am not going to link to any of them though (nor am I going to link to the viruses and spyware that I mention). If you can not find one of the programs on your own just email me and I will point you to it. Now to the PC problems.

The PC with the problems this time was my Mother-in-Law’s. Even though my Brother-in-Law is Microsoft certified, he is strictly a hardware tech, this pc was having serious software problems. It turns out that I am this families resident computer geek so I got the joy of looking at it. Lucky me. It isn’t that I didn’t want to help them, more that I really hate getting involved with big pc problems since they can often take so long to fix that it would seem so much more effecient to throw it out and start with a new one. In this case that was not an option. A lot of files necessary for their business are on the machine, as well as a lot of imaging software (very expensive imaging software) that will not work on machines that are not running windows 98. Note that the machine is using windows 98 as a lot of the problems they were having would likely not have happened if it was a newer OS. Anyway, on to the problems.

I plugged the machine in on Monday evening. While it only has a 400mhz processor, it has 384mb of ram and two enormous hard drives, still a usuable system (in theory). It took, and this is not a joke, about fifteen minutes to get it booted to windows. That was just doing a normal startup and letting it load everything that was in it. Once it was loaded the mouse moved very slowly, like it would go an inch or so across the screen, completely freeze, then go another inch or so, rinse and repeat. I opened the task manager to see a listing of about 30 files, the PC being a Hewlit Packard I was able to quickly figure out which ones the machine was actually needing, but the others ran the gamit from outright viruses to malicious spyware to worms. Just for fun I tried to connect to the internet and it told me that there was no modem installed on it (even though they had been on the internet when my wife picked it up thirty minutes before), and it could not detect a modem when I tried to manually install it.

I ran Hijack This on it and found that there were about 100 things running that should not have been there. I deleted all of them with the Hijack This software and rebooted to find them all back. Next I went into msconfig and manually disabled all startup items, then I set it to load only the system.ini and win.ini (this is a trick I often use on my old pc to get better performance on graphics heavy games). The reboot went a bit faster this time, but Hijack This was still showing tons of crap that shouldn’t be there. This time I removed every single item that Hijack This had found, which would be a really bad idea if the pc wasn’t as totally hosed as it was. I was still not able to get it to detect the modem, so I booted to safe mode.

For reasons that I still don’t understand, the modem was detected in safe mode, but windows would not search for a driver in safe mode. I was thinking that I might have gotten rid of some registry crap that was killing the detection of the modem, that would require a restart to take effect. I ran Ad-Aware while in safe mode anyway, but it simply froze. Not the machine, just the program. So I booted it back up in the (I’ll call it clean boot) selective startup mode. The modem was no longer identified, the majority of the crap was back, and I was feeling a wee bit helpless. I said fuck it for the night, that being in addition to various other words of curse that I may have uttered at the piece of shit.

The next day it was on. The two biggest problems with the pc (as found by google searching for some of the files loaded) were a vicious spyware called ISTBAR and a recent virus named Bagle.b. I figured that the spyware was the reason that I was not able to run AD-Aware, so I decided to tackle that problem first. has a fix for it, but it could not even detect it on the PC, even though I could search for the term ISTBAR on the system and find over 40 references to it, all zip files, oddly. So I did what us back room techs do; I deleted every occurance of the ISTBAR that I found then ran Hijack This again. I found several files with ISTSVC.exe in them, so I searched for that term and deleted all of them as well. I closed everything that was running in the close program dialog -except explorer- and ran Ad-Aware again. It worked this time.

On the next clean boot Ad-aware would not run, but all references to ISTbar were gone. As a bonus the PC also detected a modem. Of course the modem driver could not be found solo online; I had to download a zip file with the driver for every operating system from windows 95 to windows xp, it was almost 5 megs, and I am on a dialup…Once the modem driver was installed, I was easily online, albeit very slowly. I then downloaded Spybot, Spyware Doctor, Startup Mechanic and Registry Mechanic. The only usefull file out of that bunch was the Startup Mechanic. It was not usefull in that it got rid of anything for me, no, it just showed the directory where I could find the file myself and delete it manually…Once again, in theory…

It actually took me cleaning the suspect files manually from the machine to get rid of the known garbage. The PC is running at least %1000 better now, but I am still not able to get rid of two files. One is in the system.ini and the other in the win.ini directory. The problem is that none of the software I used ever told me exactly where they were. In addition to that I am not able to get completely rid of a few references to the ISTSVC.exe that are in the startup group: As far as the computer is concerned there is no file with that name present, but I know it is there since I can see it when I run msconfig.

The viruses (and let me tell you she had the beagle.b virus, the Netzky virus, and one other that I can’t place) were far easier to take care of than the Malware. She (Mother-in-Law) is going to buy a new antivirus program and bring it over tomorrow to see if we can get rid of the last little signs of all the crap that was on the machine. I am honestly not all that optimistic about it, I mean if can’t find it what are the odds that some other virus protection can? I must also mention that I re-subscribed to my Norton virus protection as a result of this. My thought was that I would be able to scan her machine using my info, that was not the case. I thought briefly about sticking her hard drive into my tower, but that idea was quickly nixed when I remembered how long it took me to get that hard drive to work correctly.

Perhaps it is the anal, perfectionist part of me that really wants to get rid of every single trace of the problem in her PC? I think most people would be happy to get it back in working order; probably ecstatic to see that it is working at least %1000 percent better. I dunno. I just really wish that I could find the system.ini file and the win.ini file that are seeming to keep it from running spyware and virus scans. Of course the software that would do that is worth more than the pc at this point.

Even as I type this I am downloading another program. If this one doesn’t find it, and if the antivirus that she buys doesn’t find it, then I am just going to show her how to use a couple of the programs that I downloaded. I will probably delete Hijack This from her machine since she really could do damage with it, but the program Startup Mechanic shows basically the same thing, only they identify the files by necessary, usefull, useless, harmfull or unknown. In my experience they have been right on every count. I do wish they knew what the unknown ones were though, since those are the same ones that no other program has been able to identify and point me to.

I sure hope that the next time I post it isn’t computer related. I would think that you share that sentiment, but if you actually read this whole post you must at least sympathize.