Sunday, December 31, 2006

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

2006 ends in 13 hours from now. It really doesn't seem possible. But I have to say that this year has been a great one. I'd even say one of my best since my mission. I've made a lot of good changes this year. But enough reminiscing. I hope that each of you had a great Christmas with your friends or family. I was only home for two and a half days, but they were all great. Saturday we had our extended family reunion. It went really well and was a no stress event! (For once!) Having Christmas eve on a Sunday was wonderful as well. It gave us time to think about the spiritual side of Christmas... the most important part. I'm very thankful that the Savior came to earth and even in the form of a helpless baby.

Christmas day was wonderful as well. My parents and I woke up and opened gifts. We all received and gave great gifts. A little later, my sister and brother-in-law and nephews came over. We had our traditional Christmas breakfast and then opened each others' gifts. My nephews *loved* the gifts I gave them. I'll say on my part that the Roboraptor was an awesome idea. After they left, my parents and I headed up to Logan to visit my brother and his family. We ate our traditional Christmas dinner there. Mmm... spiral cut ham and homemade mashed potatoes. Then we opened gifts. They loved their gifts as well. Family really is what makes Christmas important and fulfilling.

I hope that all of you had positive and eventful years. I do count myself lucky to have you as friends.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Wow! Can you believe it?

(AXcess News) Washington - The world's oldest person dies at 116. Elizabeth Bolden, who was reported to be the world's oldest person, died Monday of age related illness. Bolden lived at nursing home in Memphis, Tennessee and according to media quotes of her grandson, she lived a 'remarkable life'.

Elizabeth Bolden was born Aug. 15, 1890 to a freed slave family. She married in 1908 and was the mother of 7 children, 40 grandchildren, 75 great-grandchildren, 150 great-great-grandchildren, 220 great-great-great-grandchildren and 75 great-great-great-great-grandchildren.

Bolden celebrated her 116th birthday in August, making her the world's oldest living person. Since suffering a stroke in 2004, Bolden was unable to speak, though at the time of her birthday she was alert and enjoyed eating ice cream while surrounded by members of her family.

No other member of Bolden's family has lived past the age of 100.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Open House

I have to say that the open house was a success! Thanks guys for coming. I had a great time and I hope that all of you did too. We'll have to get together again after the New Year. Oh especially since I can now have spectacular movie nights with our new TV. I look forward to seeing you all again. Oh and as for the pictures, you should be able to click on them, enlarge them, and download them. Let me know if you have any problems!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Word Cloud

This is my blog's word cloud. If you're unfamiliar with the concept, the size of each word reflects its frequency on my blog. I was looking for a word cloud that would update periodically. If you find such a thing, let me know. Otherwise, you can get your own word cloud here.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Church has changed

*lol* But perhaps not in the way you think. During last General Conference I found this article
on the various changes the programs of the Church have undergone the in the last few decades. I learned a lot of things I didn't know before. I'll post a few of the interesting ones here.

Fast Day — Starting in 1896, Fast Day was set on the first Sunday of the month, instead of the first Thursday.

Priesthood advancement — The First Presidency formally adopted the ages of 12, 15, 18 and 21 as ages for deacon, teacher, priest and elder advancement starting in 1908. The age was reduced for teachers and priests to 14 and 16, respectively, beginning in 1954, and the age for elders was lowered to 19 at about the same time. Seventies quorums in stakes throughout the church were discontinued in 1986.

Primary — Presiding officers of the Primary were called presidents, rather than "superintendents," starting in 1942.

Student wards — The first appeared at BYU in 1956 and the practice expanded to other universities.

Home teaching — "Ward teaching" was replaced by home teaching starting in 1964.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

*Jingle, jingle*

No, that isn't the sound of sleigh bells. It is the sound of keys. More specifically, the management keys to The Sharper Image. I received a promotion at work. I am now the Senior Sales Associate. And that makes me a member of management. Along with those keys I get a lot more responsibility and tasks. I can do returns now, open the locked cabinets for items, do mail and phone orders, close and open the store, count registers, etc. I also work full time, get a pay increase of a dollar, get benefits (such as paid vacation, sick leave, paid birthday), and insurance (health, dental, and vision). I'm really excited. I wasn't the only applicant, but my availability made me a good choice.

I have to say, it feels great to work somewhere where I am treated as an adult. All of my previous jobs, they didn't trust the employees. Asking for a day off was a hassle, rules had to be strict, everything was more difficult because there was no trust. But I guess that is how student jobs work. But I am very happy and very blessed to get this promotion. And my readers, when you have a chance, come in and visit me!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Words of Wisdom

1. The nicest thing about the future is that it always starts tomorrow.
2. Money will buy a fine dog, but only kindness will make him wag his tail.
3. If you don't have a sense of humor, you probably don't have any sense at all.
4. Seat belts are not as confining as wheelchairs.
5. A good time to keep your mouth shut is when you're in deep water.
6. How come it takes so little time for a child who is afraid of the dark to become a teenager who wants to stay out all night?
7. Business conventions are important because they demonstrate how many people a company can operate without.
8. Why is it that at class reunions you feel younger than everyone else looks?
9. Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job.
10. No one has more driving ambition than the boy who wants to buy a car.
11. There are no new sins; the old ones just get more publicity.
12. There are worse things than getting a call for a wrong number at 4 AM. It could be a right number.
13. Think about this..., No one ever says "It's only a game." when his team is winning.
14. I've reached the age where the happy hour is a nap.
15. Be careful reading the fine print. There's no way you're going to like it.
16. The trouble with bucket seats is that not everybody has the same size bucket.
17. Do you realize that in about 40 years, we'll have thousands of OLD LADIES running around with tattoos? (And RAP music will be the Golden Oldies!)
18. Money can't buy happiness -- but somehow it's more comfortable to cry in a Corvette than in a Yugo.
19. After a certain age, if you don't wake up aching in every joint, you are probably dead.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Steve Jackson has irked me!

Yes, our good friend Steve Jackson has done it again. The Illuminati expansion Bavarian Fire Drill has been postponed yet again! It was originally scheduled for May of 2006. Now it has been moved back (yet again) to January. When will it end? I got Illuminati for my birthday and I would really like this expansion to come out so I can buy it and the previous expansion. It is very frustrating.

In other news, one of my roommates has moved out. So I now have my own bedroom. I've started moving stuff in. It was Kristen who said that once you have your own bedroom it's very hard to share again. She is right!

Things are looking very good at work too. I can't put it up here yet, because it's not official and I'm not supposed to share... but it's very good news. I can tell you that I've done very well and in the past couple weeks I've sold three massage chairs. We get $25 bonuses for each one we sell. I really *love* my job!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Doua-zeci si opt

Yeah, I'm 28 now. And it feels good actually! My birthday was on the sixth. I had work that morning at ten AM. But before I left my roommates gave me Illuminati! Wahoo, now when the new expansion pack comes out, I will buy that as well as the old one. You will beware the Orbital Mind Control Lasers!

Work went by pretty fast, but it was no fun as I was at the worst of my cold. Grr, fever, chills, sore throat, aches, and achy sinuses made the entire day not quite as happy as it could have been. But I didn't let that keep me back.

After work my mom picked me up. I gave her a tour of the new place and she approved. Phew. Well, I knew that she would. It's a very nice place and very roomy. It's a big improvement over my last place. I went to my parents' place in Layton. I rested a lot there and took some meds. My mom gave me black clothes for work, some candy and some sorely needed new shoes. The black clothes were sorry needed too. I have to wear all black to work.

That night we went to my nephew's too. He was born on my sixteenth birthday. We had cake and ice cream and watched him open his gifts. (Everyone else ate, I didn't feel like it.) Those gifts included a drum set from his parents. Crazy parents!!

The next day I spent resting more and playing Upwords with my mother. Then I came home and went to work. After work is when I came and checked my mail and saw my e-cards. Thank you friends who sent those! I really enjoy them! Also thanks Bob for the phone call!

Two notes that are not birthday related. First, I've upgraded to the new beta blogger. It's really great and has good improvements. However, right now it says that I can't leave comments on non-beta blogs. So I've wanted to comment a couple of times and have been unable to do so. Sorry! Second, there is now a new Mega Monopoly that has a lot of ideas from my Super Monopoly. I'm going to buy it!! I'll let you know what it's like.

PS - I bought the game today!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Something new...

...and political! No, tonight I'm not bringing you anything trenchant (the original mandate for this blog). But it is political in nature. Last week I began watching a show whenever I see it on. It's Glenn Beck on CNN. I highly recommend it. He is conservative, but he doesn't care about party lines at all. So if Republicans or Democrats do something stupid, he points it out. Now I've never been a fan of political shows (radio or especially television) but Mr. Beck is entertaining. You learn something about the real state of politics in the United States but in an engaging manner. The other day a friend of a friend was over while I was watching the show. This acquaintance hates Glenn Beck, but I learned through him that Glenn Beck is LDS! (Glenn Beck was this person's relative's home teacher.) Yeah! And truthfully, I think it shows too. I checked on his site and Glenn Beck was baptized in 2000.

Check it out:

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Halloween is upon us!

Here are the pics for my zombie costume for the first Halloween party of the year! The really creepy dark pics were taken at home with my black lights. They turned out really well I think.

I tried out one recipe of blood vomit and it looked disgusting coming out of my mouth, but it didn't stick to me. So back to the drawing board with that idea.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Why do iPods suck?

As you know, I believe that iPods suck. There are many reasons for this, but now there is one more. Some of the iPods shipped in the last month have a virus on them. Yep! Now those lucky people who dock their iPods to their computer will get a virus. This is the first time something like this has happened... and I doubt it will be the last. To read the full article, go here.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Second Amendment

You... are a part of me.

"I am a part of all that I have met....
Tho much is taken, much abides....
That which we are, we are--
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
...strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

Today I remembered a quote that was on a poster in my AP English class in high school. It was the first stanza of the above quote. So I googled that and came up with the entire quote. Does anyone know where it comes from and who said it? I've always identified with that phrase.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Okay class,

It's time for a pop quiz! I know, I know... but you need to be tested to see if you are my friends.

Take it here.

The grading scale will be as follows:

8-10 correct: You know me well and ought to be considered a close friend.
5-7 correct: Fair weather friend? It must be raining outside.
3-4 correct: Maybe you've heard of me... my name is Scott.
2 correct: Would you even wave to me if we crossed paths?
1 correct: Lucky guess?
0 correct: Did you just stumble across this quiz? Stumble elsewhere.

How did you do? This test is also used to determine if you're a doppelganger alien replicon.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I have a job! Sharper Image just called and asked me to come in on the 2nd and bring all my information. Phew! I finally have a job in Salt Lake. I can finally start making money. I am dirt poor right now and I guess it'll take 2 weeks till I get paid, but hey I'll be making money! I've already started making a list of what I buy once I have paid my bills, what I owe, and have disposable income.
  • a cell phone
  • a video card
  • materials to make a bunk bed
  • new clothes
  • clothes for work
  • a 24 Hour Fitness membership
  • World of Warcraft
  • a digial thermostat
  • "V for Vendetta"
  • food, some good stuff
  • Star Trek: Voyager, seasons 5-7
  • Ninjaburger
  • Descent: Journeys into the Dark
  • And I'm sure I'll come up with some others.
  • Renew my perscription and get new contacts
Also, I need to be thinking about when to have our open house and invite all you guys over. I'd like to play games with you. Especially Illuminati and Settlers of Catan! But, for sure we are going to play Murder in the Dark once it's dark. If any of you have ideas, let me know. Oh Kate and Gill, the Descent game in my list... you're gonna love it. I have a friend who has it.

I have a job!!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

How dare you...

...insult Turkishness. I just read an article about an author who is bring tried because one of his fictional characters insulted "turkishness". Apparently it is illegal in Turkey to "insult Turkey, 'Turkishness' or the government." That is ridiculous. Not only is it a serious inhibition of free speech rights, but how do you define "Turkishness"? If I said that I thought Turkish Delight was disgusting (which is exactly the contrary) could I be arrested? It is Turkish afterall. This is coming from a country trying very hard to get into the European Union. But both sides of the issue are using the case to support their cause. The author did get acquited. So progressives are saying that Turkey is making progress. Traditionalists are using the proceedings to keep Turkey out of the EU. Personally, unless the government cannot see the absurdity of the law, then I don't think they should join. Truth is, they will have to give up *many* of their Islamic fundamentalist ways if they want to join the EU. You can look at that positively or negatively. Either way, they need to be willing to go all or nothing.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Hello again

Hey all, just checking in again. How are all of you doing? Has school started? I'm doing pretty well. I don't have much to report right now. Our house is cleaner now and things are starting to have some order to it. Aaron and I worked on the back porch today. There were a lot of leaves and branches and even some broken glass, but that's all taken care of now. Our friends still have their stuff in our living room so we aren't really moved in yet. Hopefully tomorrow or the next day they will be able to move into their place. When their stuff goes out, our place will look so bare. But it's a nice place with lots of room. I'll take some pictures when it's clean and post them on here.

It's pretty cool up here though. Aaron and I were driving in Sugarhouse (which is pretty close to us) and found a fun used bookstore. Aaron turned in two boxes of books and so he has $75 credit at the store. He let me use the credit to get two books, one is a sci-fi and the other is 100 spooky short stories. It'll be perfect for our Halloween reading. They're all about a page or two long. Perfect.

Well, I'm going to turn in my first job application today. I miss money. I can't wait for that first check... when I'll get online and go to t-mobile and get a cell phone. *sigh* I miss cell phones too. That way I can actually keep in contact with people (namely my mom... she worries about me because she can't contact me at will. lol) I miss you guys too. I'm trying to figure out how I can go to the Stake Opening Social. Do you guys have details on it yet? When is it, etc? Let me know.

Well, I best get going. But I hope all is well in Happy Valley.

Monday, August 28, 2006

My new home

Yes, I made it. I am now officially moved into our new place. Well, only in the fact that I now live there. None of our stuff is put away (and our friends' stuff is there too). But here I am. Already today I put away some of the kitchen stuff, fed the geese at the park, set up my computer (no wireless internet to pirate), and gotten a library card at the Salt Lake City Library.

I will be checking out "Dune: House Atreides". The sad part is that unlike the Provo City Library, the SLC Library does not group the science fiction and fantasy books in one section. They're spread through the adult fiction section. Silly. How am I to find new book ideas or series to read? I did look in the juvenile section and they have sci-fi grouped together. And they aren't just juvy lit either, it's the same kind of stuff that I looked at in Provo. So all is not lost.

Oh, you may be wondering how I am blogging this. I'm using the SLC Library computers. Interesting fact, Liberty Park is Wi-Fi accessible for free. Makes me wish I had a laptop. I could go hang in the park, play some chess, feed the geese, and blog. *sigh* That would be the life. Tonight for FHE I will probably go by myself to a foreign dance festival they are having in the park for free. That'll be fun. Maybe I'll call up Kristen and invite her. I know I'm rambling, but it would be very nice to get a job at the library. Gill, Kate, are there jobs at libraries that don't take a degree in library science or custodial work? I would love to work here. :)

Well, that is my update. I hope all is well in Provo. I miss all of you a lot. But I will talk to you later.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Teacher Applicant

I found this on the blog, Lisa's Life, which is on my blog list. In true blogger style I quickly copied it to my own blog.

After being interviewed by the school administration, the eager teaching prospect said: "Let me see if I've got this right. You want me to go into that room with all those kids, and fill their every waking moment with a love for learning, and I'm supposed to instill a sense of pride in their ethnicity, modify their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse and even censor their T-shirt messages and dress habits. You want me to wage a war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, check their backpacks for weapons of mass destruction, and raise theirself esteem. You want me to teach them patriotism, good citizenship, sportsmanship, fair play, how to register to vote, how to balance a checkbook, and how to apply for a job. I am to check their heads for lice, maintain a safe environment, recognize signs of anti-social behavior, and make sure all students pass the state exams, even those who don't come to school regularly or complete any of their assignments. Plus, I am to make sure that all of the students with handicaps get an equal education regardless of the extent of their mental or physical handicap. I am to communicate regularly with the parents by letter, telephone, newsletter and report card. All of this I am to do with just a piece of chalk, a computer, a few books, a bulletin board, a big smile AND on a starting salary that qualifies my family for food stamps! You want me to do all of this and then you tell me... I CAN'T PRAY?"

Our teachers certainly deserve many thank yous. They deserve a lot more than that, but at least give them the thanks.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Planet Reunion

If you have been following my blog, you know about the current planet debate going on. Just a quick overview. A new planet-candidate was discovered outside the orbit of Pluto. This has caused debate as to a formal definition of planet. There is currently not a definition of planet for astronomers. The International Astronomical Union has set out to make such a definition.

In my previous e
ntry, I guessed that the committee would choose to keep the status quo and reject Xena (2003 UB313) as a planet. In my experience committees generally just want to keep the status quo and thus keep everyone happy. The most desired outcome I had hoped for included accepting Xena as our tenth planet. It seems the IAU has outdone me... by a lot!

The IAU has proposed the following as the definition of planet: “A planet is a celestial body that (a) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (b) is in orbit around a star, and is neither a star nor a satellite of a planet.”

This definition does more than make concrete Pluto's status as a planet and Xena's invitation into the family. With this definition, Pluto's (former) moon Charon is now a planet. In fact Pluto and Charon will be considered a double planet. As well, Ceres (a large celestial body in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter) is welcomed to the family. This will make the planet family a large one of twelve!

Some additional definitions will be introduced. These include: plutons, dwarf planets, and double planets.

Pluto and Charon will be considered double planets. They rotate around each other, where the center of gravity is outside the surface of either planet. The eight planets (excluding Pluto) are considered "classic planets". This is only a historical term, not a IAU definition. If this new definition is adopted, it could result in many more 'planets' being discovered. Astronomers and scientists already believe as many as two dozen exist.

I for one am all for this new definition of celestial bodies. After all, science is the discovery of new ideas and principles. We should not bind ourselves to a definition when new discoveries contradict it. Definitions are made for science, not science for the definition. I welcome Xena, Charon, and Ceres into our planetary family.

What do you think? Leave a comment on this blog. As well, vote in MSNBC's poll, here. To read more about the discovery and changes in planetary matters, go here and here.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Does the RIAA sleep with the devil?

Yes. They decided out of the goodness of their small gray frozen piece of an unbeating heart not to sue the family of a recently deceased man. Actually at first they had decided to give the man's family 60 days to grieve before they began the legal process again. Yep, "Sixty days for you to cry before we pull you into court for something your son did."


Sunday, August 13, 2006

More Trek XI news

Michael Dorn and Marina Sirtis agree with me. *smile* How often do I get to say that? Not often enough. For those of you don't know or have forgotten, Dorn and Sirtis are two stars from Star Trek: Next Generation, Worf and Troi respectively. The two were asked what they thought of the upcoming Star Trek movie.

Dorn said referring to Paramount, "From what I hear, they're tired of it." And when asked about Star Trek XI being a prequel, he replied, "that would be a don't go backward in Star Trek."

Sirtis stated, "Gene Roddenberry always said that Star Trek should go forward...I just don't think anyone at Paramount gets Star Trek anymore."

Sirtis also joked that the studio was only interested in reaching a new "lost" audience, punning on producer JJ Abrams' series Lost.

Truth is, they're both right. Star Trek is about moving forward. It's exploring new frontiers and expanding mankind's boundaries. Doing a prequel isn't doing anything new. And it doesn't please those who know anything about Trek.

And Paramount's quest for the "lost audience" is the wrong way to approach a movie with an existing fan base. Let's walk through the logic. Paramount (and other studios) believe: Star Trek fans will see the movie no matter what. So, we don't need to make a movie they will enjoy. We practically have their money in our hands. What we need is to get all of the people who won't go see a Trek movie, or who are undecided to come see the movie. Then we could make *lots* of money.

They need to step out of themselves and ask, has that ever worked? Has alienating your fans ever worked? Did it work for Star Wars? For X-Men? Anything? No. When you make a movie that will please the fan base, they draw others. If I see Star Trek XI and I love it, I will tell other people. I will convince them that is good and that they don't have to be Trekkers to love and enjoy it. And more importantly, I will return to see it again. I will buy it on DVD. New fans will be born as well.

A short analogy: Perhaps lately I have been hearing a lot of good things about motorcycles. I'm a little curious so I do my research and decide I want to buy one. So I go to a dealer and look around. One of the salesmen comes out and starts to show me the various bikes. We come to a scooter and he says, "Now this is the motorcycle for you!" I look at him funny. "That is not a motorcycle." I say. But he insists. He pushes me and tries to get me to buy. Will I buy? No. I wanted a motorcycle. And I will definitely not recommend that dealership to anyone else.

Trek isn't anything but Trek. We shouldn't remake it into something else and sell it as Trek. It will make fans upset and they will tell the "lost audience" that they should not see the movie, after all it isn't Trek.

Friday, August 11, 2006

From Mercury to.... Xena?

A tenth planetary body has been discovered! The IAU, which is a committee for astronomy will decide on the planetary body's status. There is a little bit of controversy as to the upcoming decision. Apparently there is a field of debris starting at Neptune and contuining outside of our solar system named the Kuiper belt. There is no official way for determing a planet. And Mercury itself has been named the "largest object in the Kuiper belt"

So this decision could go one of three ways. First, we could gain a 10th planet. The committees would choose the name. However most of the Greek/Roman gods' names are already taken. One of the nicknames give the object was Xena. I find that pretty cool. This is my personal favorite outcome. And probably the least likely.

Second, they could determine that "Xena" is not a planet... but neither is Mercury. That would bring our planet count to eight. Now as pragmatic as scientists are *supposed* to be, this is the least likely outcome. You have to remember, this is being determined by committee. That means they're afraid to upset the status quo. And as planets go, Mercury is status quo. We like our dear dark planet from the Netherworld. So I vote to give Mercury a companion planet!

Third (and most likely), the IAU will decide that "Xena" is not a planet but just a Kuiper anomaly. (Don't you love that word!) And Mercury will keep its status.

It would be nice if the IAU would determine what is a planet and how one applies for planetdom. But I am sure they are bogged down in red tape and would be unable to make such a logical step. Much like post-communist countries. And I can make that statement, afterall, I am the BIG RED HAMMER.

Vote for Xena!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Space... The Final Frontier

A friend of mine has started his own Star Trek simulation. I will be playing a Federation Marine Major. The sim is based on a starbase orbiting the planet Ulysses IV. He has asked me to create a planetary map for U4. In doing so, I would like to create a realistic map. An impressive one at that. I've done some research and I've found some interesting things. So I thought I'd share them with you.

I found an interesting site from Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA. It allows you to view most celestial bodies in our solar system from any of the other bodies. This includes all of the planets, their moons, exploratory satellites, and the sun. You can visit it here.

But what I found afterward, is even more amazing. I remember back when we discovered Google Earth. It was so cool to visit all the places we'd been or heard of. Well, now imagine something like Google Universe. That's what the program Celestia is. This is a must have program! You can visit any celestial body you can find... in the solar system and out of it. And this program lets you manipulate the time period. Would you like to see where and when the next solar eclipse on earth will be? How about on Mars? Ever wonder what Jupiter looks like in the sky from Uranus? This program is incredible. Right now I'm watching Mercury rotate. It is just pitted with craters. Now I'm looking at Deimos with Mars in the background.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Cindy Strikes Again

Cindy, Cindy, Cindy... when will you learn? Shrill voices only make people cover their ears. For those of you unfamiliar with dear Cindy, let me introduce you. Cindy Sheehan is a 49-year-old woman who has taken up a crusade. Two years ago she lost her son while he was serving in Iraq. She began crusading to end the war and used part of her son's life insurance to start her campaign. No one will disagree that losing a son, daughter, or family member is an absolute tragedy. It is compounded more if they are young. My condolences and sympathies go out to Cindy and any other families that have lost loved ones, whether in Iraq or in their own backyard.

There are no bad emotions. Hate, love, sadness, and the rest are part of the human experience. It is what we do with these emotions that can be good or bad. Ms. Sheehan has taken her grief and turned it into something I'll bet that her son would not be proud of. I am making some assumptions here, but they are ones that have a lot of examples out there. I would say that most people in the United States military are patriotic. They are willing to serve the good of the nation, protect it from harm, and if necessary give their lives for that freedom to continue. It must take a certain amount of faith in our country, its leaders, and its Commander in Chief. It is admirable beyond compare. God certainly must bless those who serve their nation for good. If those generalizations are true... Then I am sure that Ms. Sheehan's son served with honor and is proud to have died for what he believes in.

But Cindy Sheehan is not proud. She has set up camp outside of President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas. There she continues her 24-hour campaign to end the war. Her shrill cry is heard again: "US out of Iraq!"

To quote the Chicago Tribune: " She has become a household name, yet her once-strong family ties are in ruins. Her work has become a 24-hour-a-day obsession, generating praise from around the world, yet it also brought condemnation--even death threats--from opponents who suggest her constant harangue has made her a bit of a political gadfly. Others say it has served to dilute her message."

And more from the Tribune: "
Sheehan's fiery rhetoric and inflammatory attacks on the president have sent once-close friends running for cover. She has referred to Bush as a "terrorist" and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as an "angel of death."

Sheehan's 28-year marriage is over.

'Out of everything, that hurt me the most,' she explained. 'After 31 years of being in the family, I thought they would support me. They totally disowned me and chose George Bush over murder.'"

I will disagree over her terminology. Her family chose their family over her disunity. She chose something that is temporary over something with infinite potential. The war will end. It will end whether Cindy is screaming her complaints, or if she goes to Iraq and fights herself. And when it does, Cindy will be left without a cause. Oh, but I don't underestimate her... I'm sure she'll find some new cause to tranfer all her hate and rhetoric to. Afterall, she doesn't have a family anymore. What can she do?

Later in the article Cindy says, "
People who still support this war have blood on their hands. It was not right to begin with. It's not right now." Does she realize that her son is one of those? That she is campaigning against the very son she thinks she is memorializing? The son that has stood up and protected the very rights and priveleges she is abusing.

I feel sorry for her.

The Chicago Tribune article

The AP Yahoo article

Friday, August 04, 2006

Interview with my legal expert friend

In the previous blog entry, I shared an article about Circuit City now offering to burn your legal DVDs onto digital mediums. I shared this article with my friend LawDude and asked for his opinions on it. I have included the resulting interview. Remember, this "interview" was a chat session and not originally intended as an interview. As such, I have edited the spelling and grammar of the original chat and eliminated some of the irrelevant comments. I have also highlighted some of the more interesting points. I learned some very interesting points about copyright law. I highly recommend reading the entire post. :)

BigRed: Hey, I have a question for you.

LawDude: Fridays after 2PM. But not on the third Friday of the month.

BigRed: Dang it. My plans are ruined.

LawDude: Yeah, sorry.

BigRed: So I just read a short blurb of an article about an article. And I wanted your professional opinion as to whether this will stand or fall.

LawDude: the ripping of DVDs? Well, it would have to come before the court before a decision is likely and it would likely make it at least to a circuit court.

BigRed: No pun intended.

LawDude: ?

BigRed: Circuit city... circuit court

BigRed: It wasn't funny.

LawDude: Ah...

BigRed: lol

BigRed: Anyway, it's interesting that Circuit City would make such a bold move.

LawDude: Anyway, I would imagine it would be allowed since the standard has been set with CDs and MP3s.

BigRed: Why does the guy who wrote about it feel that it will be shut down?

LawDude: The one major reason is that the MPAA doesn't like it, long story short. However, he is at least partially right in that the service will likely be forced to shut down during the pending legal battle. I was actually surprised that the courts decided in favor of Hollywood on the whole editing of DVDs. It's a very European way of taking copyrights--and technically, we have signed a treaty saying we would follow that sort of standard, but up until this point we haven't really.

BigRed: With CleanFlicks and all?

LawDude: Yup

BigRed: I have some questions on that one too.

LawDude: Okay?

BigRed: Okay, an example: My old roomie Daniel edited Matrix 2 for me and put it on DVD. So I own the original disc and the edited one. That's legal right?

LawDude: Nope. In two different ways it is not. First, you own a copy on another disc--that isn't so legal. Second, you edited the movie, which is illegal as well.

BigRed: Hm. I didn't know the second one at all. Even though it's for personal use? There are no other copies of my edit.

LawDude: Yeah, that's the one that the US just "adopted" as such. It's called author's rights

BigRed: Which supersedes owner's rights apparently.

LawDude: Artists rights. I can't remember the first word. Something like that.

BigRed: Okay.

LawDude: And yes they do, according to the courts now and according to European courts for a while. The problem is this…

BigRed: So, for example, if I bought a painting of yours... and then I decided to add a moustache to the picture... that would be breaking the law?

LawDude: Yes.

BigRed: That's a really strict law.

LawDude: Most of the time, the US hasn't been a big fan of them. We usually like individual rights more. That is why it is surprising that the courts came down this way.

BigRed: Politics.

LawDude: The argument is this: Let's say you buy the Mona Lisa and put a mustache on her… him. lol

BigRed: Right. lol

LawDude: And say, look at my ‘Da Vinci’ and Da Vinci assuming he was alive… Moral Rights! (that's what it is I think) …comes along and says, “I DIDN'T PAINT THAT!” and is furious that you added such disdain to his beautiful masterpiece and goes to the court for you to either remove the mustache and/or repair the "loss" to his reputation.

BigRed: Okay. So I was totally wrong about the reasoning behind the CleanFlicks case.

LawDude: I dunno, depends on what your reasoning was

BigRed: I thought Hollywood was upset with CF because they edited movies and by doing so made many copies of the edit and then was making money off those. Many rentals from one DVD.

LawDude: Nope. All the movies were legit.

BigRed: Well, I'm pretty sure that they bought one DVD... edited it, and then rented many copies of the one. I would guess that's illegal.

LawDude: No, they did not. They bought one DVD, found the offensive scenes, wrote a program to edit the DVD and then applied the program to future DVDs. St least...that is the only way they could do it legally.

BigRed: Okay.

LawDude: Although you might be right and if you are they had two problems. Now one company has worked their way around it. They don't edit the DVD itself, you just put the DVD in, and apply a program that only shows the amount of violence / sex / profanity that you set the machine to or something like that.

BigRed: That's what was promised when DVDs were first coming out.

LawDude: I'm not sure if they have been taken to court...but they aren't actually editing the work. They are simply editing what the TV is showing.

BigRed: There are little boxes out there that you can buy that will edit television and movies. That's the same result as editing the DVD, but not the means.

LawDude: Correct.

BigRed: So another question: If I destroyed the original DVD of my Matrix 2 and only had the edit, would that still be illegal?

LawDude: Yup.

BigRed: I would have no proof that I owned the original.

LawDude: In fact there is a case about just that when the Church did that. The Church bought some genealogical program.

BigRed: BYU used to show edited movies.

LawDude: And made lots of copies and then gave them to all the Family History centers. The owner sued and won.

BigRed: Of course.

LawDude: The Church recalled all copies.

BigRed: You have to buy multiple licenses.

LawDude: They destroyed them. But oops, they destroyed the original and so they just kept a copy. The owner sued again and won again.

BigRed: Wow.

LawDude: Yeah, kind of silly...but that's how it is.

BigRed: So basically, to stay legal you buy one copy, make no changes to it and make no copies. If you want multiple copies, then you buy more.

LawDude: Yup.

BigRed: What about Fair Use?

LawDude: Fair use is a whole different situation. Fair use would be like showing a short clip in a commercial for something else or showing a short clip as part of a presentation.

BigRed: Doesn't Fair Use include something about making backups?

LawDude: That would apply to software only really and isn't Fair Use.

BigRed: Hm. Interesting.

LawDude: It will be interesting to see what the courts do with this movie thing.

BigRed: Very much so.

LawDude: Because movies are different than music. So they could apply the music standard or they could say, no this doesn't qualify and shut Circuit City down. Although, ultimately it will likely work out with something. Just like iTunes in some ways replaced Napster.

BigRed: Legitimate and legal replacing the illegal.

LawDude: Yup. The public demands an outlet and someone fills the outlet legally. Apple is already trying to get movies on their iTunes store. Kind of going through a series of long talks with Hollywood.

BigRed: Which just means they cost more. The outlet has to pay the owners and make a profit.

LawDude: lol Legal things always do cost more. If they didn't, there would be no need for a black market.

BigRed: Rather than letting the consumer do it themselves. A company is much easier to keep in your grip then millions of people doing stuff of their own free will.

LawDude: Well, pretty hard to keep track of payments when it is person to person.

BigRed: For example, the MPAA stopped a program from distributing that could get past their encoding to make copies of movies. The program was completely legal and sold legally, but it put the power in the hands of the people.

LawDude: Well, the only use for the program would be to break a copyright.

BigRed: The only good reason.

LawDude: ?

LawDude: Name another reason to use the program.

BigRed: If someone made a movie and gave me one and said I could make copies to give to friends. A movie they created and owned.

LawDude: But isn't the program to get beyond the anti-copy code? Since your friend wouldn't have that code on his DVD...

BigRed: He might. It would depend. I'm just saying there can be legit reasons to have such a program.

LawDude: lol, I’m not convinced. But that's okay.

BigRed: I don't like these pre-emptive laws. We catch you for having something that *could* allow you to break the law if you use it a certain way.

LawDude: lol

BigRed: We should arrest people for owning guns. They *could* use it to break the law.

At this point, LawDude needed to leave.

Interesting news on the digital media front

I'll let you read the cnet article yoursef:

August 04, 2006, 11:05 AM PDT
Circuit City ripping DVDs for customers
Posted by: James Kim

Circuit City has apparently started a DVD-ripping service where it'll rip a movie for use on a portable video device. Prices: $10 for one DVD, $20 for three DVDs, and $30 for five DVDs. This bold move by the tech retail outlet is akin to spitting in the face of the MPAA, and the service will probably be forced to shut down soon enough. I just don't understand why we can rip CDs but not DVDs, especially when we've already paid full price. Plenty of software online can get you from point A (DVD) to point B (compressed version that will play on your iPod or PVP), but all those DMCA-related legal issues can be a heavy burden. If Circuit City sticks to its guns on this matter, the ensuing legal battle should be interesting. Anyway, Ken Fisher at Ars Technica has interesting things to say about it here.

Bravo to Circuit City! If I want to watch a DVD on a portable DVD player on a long trip, I can. So why does it matter that instead of being on a plastic disc the movie is now recorded on my iPod or other player format. (Btw, iPods suck.) It doesn't make any logical sense. Does the MPAA believe that it has the right to choose in what format their movies are shown? It's good to see corporations use technology as it should be and thumb their noses at whatever misguided money schemes organizations like the MPAA and RIAA try to push on us. Fight the power!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Movies of the Future!

I've been checking out the movies on the horizon... and there are mixed reviews. But that's the case generally. So! I bring you some of the most interesting or odd or well, whatever. Here they are:

The Simpsons Movie
I love the Simpsons. They are clever, multi-faceted, and just plain funny. This fall will mark their 18th season. If the Simpsons weren't gold, they wouldn't have lasted this long.

Rupert Murdoch (owner of Fox) picking up phone: Hello, Murdoch here... 10,000 dollars? You've saved my network!
Bart: Wouldn't be the first time.

And really, Fox must be grateful to Simpsons for giving them a reliable hit. But the show did hit its peak several years ago. The jokes weren't funny and it had lost its savor. The makers of the show had promised that they would make a movie when they ended the series. I will be sad to say goodbye to that dear family, but the DVDs will give us plenty of Simpson joy for well past another 18 years. Wow. Eighteen years. There are kids graduating that were born into a world of Simpsons. But I digress. I don't expect much from this movie besides a fond farewell. I can at least hope for a clever laugh and one last D'oh!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Unlike the Simpsons, the Turtles don't have a sewer to sink lower to. The Turtles franchise is about as low as it can get. The movies were uninspiring and more importantly, not funny. So there is only room for improvement. It looks as if the entire movie will be computer animated. This is a mixed blessing. The movie can easily fall into the "elementary crowd" and fail to please those of us who grew up with the Turtles and consider them retro. I don't expect a lot.

Transformers: The Movie (again)
For those of you who didn't know, there is already a Transformers movie. It was good too. Completely animated in the ancient style of cel animation. The plot was interesting and it fit right in with the entire franchise. Why don't I own this movie? *shakes head* I am very wary about this new movie. Transformers sits in the hallowed land of my childhood. I loved the cartoon and the toys. By making a new movie, it has the chance to ruin those memories. As well, it will draw a new crowd believing that they have a connection with Transformers. Ha! Half of them weren't even born when the show was on tv. It demeans the boy fandom for those who grew up with it.

The Illusionist
I had not heard of this movie until I was exploring The trailer really intrigues me. It seems both mysterious and inviting. I also really like the style of this time period. Is it Victorian? I'm not sure. And I love the goatee of the protagonist (antagonist?). It is refreshing to see a story that isn't a rehash or remake or reconstitution of an old show, movie, or comic book. It seems that Hollywood doesn't have anymore new ideas, just new ways to present them. I long for this era of remakes to be over. Let's be original folks!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Ninja Jedi??

I think after watching this clip, we will all agree that Lucas should have based Star Wars on the ninja not the weak samurai!

Quick update

Did anyone get to see the lightning from that storm? I heard all of the thunder crashes, but by the time I went out, the lightning was done. I lost power here for a little bit. And we got hail for part of it too. Utah storms are nice because they are very shortlived. Though that storm was so cool I wish it would have lasted longer.

Tomorrow morning I'll be hanging with my best friend Chris, his wife Franzis and their new baby Keilani. My mother was nice enough to give me a gift for the baby. :) We will probably play some Settlers of Catan. Franzis was the person to introduce us to that wonderful game. The Nuttall family lives out in North Carolina where Chris is a dentist.

I have beaten the campaigns in Warcraft III. That was a lot of fun! I'm still looking for a way to get "Frozen Throne" the expansion for the game. Limewire just has virus-laden programs when it comes to FT. Which reminds me, if you are downloading from P2P software, *do* scan programs and zip files for viruses. Mp3s should be pretty safe. And that reminds me, Kate could you have Danny find Frozen Throne for me (and you)?

Book wise, I have become swamped. I checked out too many books when I went to the library last. I got a really thick one that I have enjoyed (but not finished). It kept me from reading the others I had checked out. I think I will return them all. I have also been borrowing books. So I have a stack to get through. I have been enjoying my summer reading immensely. And let me tell you I have read a *lot* of sci-fi. I think I want another book about my favorite time period: the not too far distant future. :)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Ryan Earl Brew, my favorite companion

Ryan Brew, 28, of Leland, slipped peacefully from this life on Saturday July 1, 2006, after a courageous four and a half year battle with leukemia. He was surrounded by his family in their Leland home. A true All-American, Ryan was an Eagle Scout, the catcher and MVP of his State Championship High School Baseball team, served a 2 year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Romania, Bucharest Mission, and graduated from NC State University with a BA in Chemistry and a double minor in Biology and French. Ryan is survived by parents, Reggie and Pam, of the home; brother, David and wife Amber, of Winston-Salem; sisters, Lindsey, of Raleigh, Staci, and Taelor, also of the home. A visitation will be held on Tuesday, July 4, at the Coble Ward-Smith Funeral Home on Oleander Dr. from 6 P.M. until 8 P.M. The funeral will be on Wednesday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Leland at 1 P.M., followed by interment. Bishop Trip Child will conduct services with Elder Robert Orton presiding. Pallbearers will be Reggie Brew, David Brew, Danny Brew, Ronnie Lynch, Lacey Nelson, and Ben Barker. Honorary pallbearers will be Arthur Conkle, John Child, Brad Walker, Hollan Pickard, Tony Eason, Rick Finlayson, Kelly Barnum, Mike Jenkins, Randy Fennell, and David Baldree. Ryan could say, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7) Tributes and condolences may be offered to the family at Coble Ward-Smith Funeral and Cremation Services, Oleander Chapel, 791-4444.

January 14, 1978 - July 1, 2006

Man remembered for drive, maturity

By Carol Motsinger
Star-News Intern

Ryan Earl Brew started walking when he was 8 months old.

Reggie Brew said this was the first example of how his son was an early achiever.

Because of his determination, attitude and talent, Brew accomplished a great deal in his 28 years, friends and family say.

Brew, of Leland, died July 1. He was diagnosed with leukemia 4 1/2 years ago.

His life was celebrated July 5 during a funeral service at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Leland.

His "immediate appeal was his maturity beyond his years," said Randy Fennell, who met Brew when he was a coach at Leland Middle School.

Brew "was focused and seemed to know exactly where he was headed … even as a seventhgrader," he added.

Fennell attributed some of his success to the moral influence of his parents, Reggie and Pam Brew, and his strong family ties. Other survivors include four siblings: David Brew, of Winston-Salem, Lindsey Brew, of Raleigh, and Staci Brew and Taelor Brew, both of Leland.

Fennell also coached Brew when he was a member of the football and baseball teams at North Brunswick High School.

He graduated in 1996.

As the new freshman quarterback, Brew was a "vocal leader," Fennell noted.

"You usually expect (freshman quarterbacks) to be a little timid and passive," he said. "But he had control of the huddle."

He played quarterback all four years in high school.

The North Brunswick High School baseball team won the state championship in 1996. As catcher, Brew was named MVP of the tournament.

A year earlier, he became an Eagle Scout. He joined the Boy Scouts at 11 and always enjoyed hunting and fishing.

Even after he became sick, he continued to enjoy the outdoors when he could, Reggie Brew said.

After attending the University of North Carolina at Wilmington for a semester, Brew went on a church mission trip to Romania. He stayed in the country for about two years and became fluent in the language, Reggie Brew said.

Brew also was fluent in French. When he returned to the United States, he studied at North Carolina State University.

He received a bachelor's degree in chemistry with a double minor in biology and French in 2004.

Reggie Brew said his son planned on "a career in medicine."

Brew continued to take classes even after he was sick.

"He wasn't going to do anything halfway," Fennell said.

His father noted he continued to be positive and always worried more about other people. Several friends visited Brew the weekend before he died, his father added.

"I think we live in a selfish society ... and Ryan never bought into that. He uplifted me in so many ways," Fennell noted.

I can't really say anything right now. But I'll add my feelings later.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I was tagged!

1. Go to Wikipedia.
2. In the Search box, type your birth month and day (but not year).
3. List three events that happened on your birthday.
4. List two important birthdays and one interesting death.
5. One holiday or observance (if any).

1. 1789 - Pope Pius VI appoints Father John Carroll (priest) as the first Catholic bishop in the United States.

2. 1860 - U.S. presidential election, 1860: Abraham Lincoln is elected as the 16th President of the United States, the first Republican to hold that office.

3. 1962 - Apartheid: The United Nations General Assembly passes a resolution condemning South Africa's racist apartheid policies and calls for all UN member states to cease military and economic relations with the nation.

1. 1966 - Christian Lorenz, German keyboardist (Rammstein)
2. 1861 - James Naismith, Canadian inventor of basketball (d. 1939)

1. 1231 - Emperor Tsuchimikado of Japan (b. 1196)

1. Dominican Republic - Constitution Day (1844)

A Must See

As you may know, of late I have been on an astronomy kick. I've learned how to make very nice starfields, planets, and nebulae in Photoshop. It's been a lot of fun. Well, the other day I stumbled upon a website that you *must* go look at. It is the NASA picture of the day site. You can reach it here.

Visit it and then go look at the archives. There are some of the most beautiful and awe inspiring pictures on there. And I have to say looking at them, reinforces my belief in God. Wow. His creations are astounding.

Here are some examples:

Monday, July 17, 2006


Just a couple of tries at interesting text effects I've tried out.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Ce am facut?

Well, it has been awhile since I've posted something on my blog. I haven't really had anything that I wanted to say or share the past week. But I'll share what I've been up to.

Today I cleaned all of my dishes and emptied some junk from the fridge. My disposal unit was stinking, so I had it eat a lemon. It smells nice now.

This past week I've been listening to Romanian radio online. I rediscovered a station that I "loved" back on my mission. It was on in the metros and taxis. It is called Radio Twenty-One. And its name is said in English in Romania. "Rrrrrrradio Twenny-one!" I love to say that. Anyway, this and one other station are a lot of fun to listen to. Romanian radio plays lots of good American hits along with their Romanian hits. And Romanian radio fits my musical likes perfectly. I've discovered a band I really really like, Akcent. Their songs are very catchy and have a good beat. I've found and downloaded some of their stuff.

Today and yesterday I went over to my friend Aaron's apartment complex. A bunch of us went hot tubbing and swimming. The pool felt so nice! My friend Dalin dunked me! :( I was in the deep end (nine feet). I hate being dunked! I can't swim underwater. Anyway, I touched the bottom of the pool and then pushed my way back up. The surface looked so far away. That fact means that I opened my eyes underwater. I'm surprised I didn't lose my contacts. So that freaked me out. But later it also excited me. I touched the bottom! It probably isn't as hard as I think it is. I could learn to dive. That was something cool for me to think about.

While I was there I played Seafarers of Catan with my friends Dalin and Robert. Dalin had played Cities and Knights and Settlers before, but never Seafarers. He beat Robert and I soundly twice. So much for being oh so good! (Third in the tournament!) Robert and I want a rematch. Badly.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Cell Phones and Driving Don't Mix

Just a quick pointer to a relevant artice: Apparently driving while talking on a cell phone is as bad or worse than driving drunk according to a new study. Check it out here. I believe it. So just a warning to all of my friends and family who drive and have cell phones. Don't do them together.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The super and not so super hero movies

I took this list from MSN. It has some movies that I've never heard of and now I want to see them. First, the best:

The Top Ten Best Super-hero Movies

10. The Rocketeer - I thought this movie was actually boring. Women seem to like it though.

9. Spy Kids - I've never seen it, but it looks good for a laugh.

8. Hellboy - Chris G. loves this movie. I think it didn't quite peg its potential.

7. Inframan - Never even heard of it, but the synopsis makes it sound worth seeing.

6. Darkman - No clue.
5. Superman II - When did this movie come out? I probably saw it then and that was the last time.

4. The Incredibles - A+ all around. It's witty, stylish, fun, and endearing.
3. Spider-Man - Great movie! Didn't you just want to hit him when he said no to Mary-Jane!?

2. Batman Returns - This movie gave the Batman series new life. And by a new life, I mean reality. No more comic disasters!

1. X-Men - This movie was perfect. I didn't think it could be improved upon, but X2 actually was better. It is very rare that a sequel is better than its predecessor.

The Top Five Worst Super-hero Movies

5. Hulk - The characters never developed, we never cared about them.

4. Fantastic Four - Juvenile at best. The characters were two-dimensional.

3. Catwoman - I'd like to see this movie just to see how bad it really is.

2. Dare Devil - Coincidentally, I saw this movie tonight for the first time. It felt like it was only a quarter of a movie.

1. Batman and Robin - Speaking of comic disaster...

Now there are some of these I haven't seen, so I can't know how accurate these lists are. But there are some honorable mentions I'd like to add: Ultraviolet, X3, Flash Gordon, and Supergirl. I'll let you guess which ones go in which list. ;)

Friday, June 30, 2006


So the past two weeks I've been learning Photoshop so that I can create original graphics for a Star Trek simulation I want to create, the USS Solomon. I've learned a lot and I think I've made some good graphics. You've seen some of them on this site already. Well, I was just looking at to see what style I should create my site. On the site is an article about various "fan films" going on worldwide. For those of you who don't know, fan films are fan created series and created for free. From the article I learned that Paramount allows the 'infringement' as long as the films are free for viewing. Who knew copyright law could ever work for the masses? I've been following a fan film for the past year, the Final Frontiers series. I've been quite impressed by the quality stories, characterizations, sets, and graphics these fans have created. I learned about many more fan fics out there. I'm going to show you them.

The Starship Farragut

The USS Hathaway

The New Voyages

The Starship Exeter - Amazingly true to the original. Their sets are incredible.

Star Trek Intrepid - Worth watching, if even for the incredible British accents.

Star Trek Hidden Frontiers - I've been watching this for over a year and each season is better than the last.

All but three of these, Hidden Frontiers, Intrepid, and the Hathaway are based on the Original Series. Eh, I prefer Next Gen or later, but I think I'll check them out anyway. The Hidden Frontiers series has been very rewarding. I suggest you try one out that catches your eye.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Flag Burning?

Tuesday the Senate rejected the constitutional ammendment to ban flag burning by one vote. The tally was one short of the two-thirds majority it would take to make the changes. It lost because three Republican senators voted against the measure, contrary to their party's choice. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and President Bush were both disappointed that the measure didn't pass. The ACLU was proud of the senators that dissented. Apparently the measure created a heated debate for two days.

I can understand that. Americans look at the flag as a symbol of what they believe in and the ideal of freedom. Most believe that flag burning is an insult that cannot be suffered. I disagree.

Yes, flag burners used to be called "stinkin' commies" on the mild side of things. And true to my blog's title (and moderate conservative viewpoint, there you go Aaron!) I will side with the flag burners in this case. Now before you stop reading my post and start writing your hate mail and replies, hear me out. Take a deep breath, step out of yourself and take a third person perspective. Then step out of your box too.

Okay, I believe Americans take themselves too seriously. And even more so, they take the American flag seriously. There is a strong link between our patriotism and our flag. It's a strong link that doesn't exist in many other first world nations. Canada for example, you can take a Canadian flag and sew it into a shirt or a backpack. *gasp!* And it's actually patriotic, you are wearing your flag! In America, the flag is reserved for poles and coffins only. It is after all, only a piece of material with a certain pattern on it. Whatever emotional value we place on it, is in our minds. I think we need to place less emphasis on the flag.

Now, this doesn't really tackle the flag burning issue. After all, making a backpack out of our flag isn't quite the same thing as protesting in the streets, burning flags, and wanting to scratch your eyes out because of tear gas. Free speech in this country is important. It has its limits and boundaries too. Free speech should not trample on other values we hold dear. Flag burning doesn't concern our other freedoms though. It is only a matter of free speech. And as inflammatory (no pun intended, okay it was intended) as it is to most Americans and as much as they hate it, it is Constitutional. This is one of those very, very, few times that I agree with ACLU. "We applaud those brave senators who stood up for the First Ammendment and rejected this damaging and needless amendment." said the director of the ACLU's Washington office.

Now to turn my big red hammer on Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. He said concerning the amendment, "Old Glory lost today. At a time when our armed services are defending America's freedom in the war on terror, it's unfortunate that a minority of my colleauges blocked [the proposal]." Oh, whatever! Let's look between the lines of that quote, (break out your magnifying glasses!): "I am linking the passing of this bill to our troops in Iraq. It is crucial that our flag not be burned if our troops are to ever come home. Democracy as we know will end abruptly if we cannot keep the American flag from being burned. You stinkin' commie turncoats that didn't vote for the bill!" Okay, so that was a little provocative, but you see my point. This bill has nothing to do with our troops in Iraq or the war on terror.

President Bush said concerning the bill, "By showing respect for our flag, we show reverence for the ideals that guide our nation. We show appreciation for the men and women who have served in defence of those ideals." Well, if you take his quote word for word, he is right on! We do show respect for our men and women in the military by respecting the flag. I agree wholeheartedly. But I do not agree that the law should enforce that respect and appreciation. We should make our own choice on whether we want to reverence American ideals or not and how we want to respect them in the end.

FW: Wife/Girlfriend

Dear Tech Support:

Last year I upgraded from
Girlfriend version 7.0 to Wife version 1.0. I soon noticed that the new program began unexpected child processing that took up a lot of space and valuable resources. In addition, Wife 1.0 installed itself into all other programs and now monitors all other system activity. Applications such as Poker Night 10.3 , Football 5.0 , Hunting and Fishing 7.5, and Racing 3.6
I can't seem to keep Wife 1.0 in the background while attempting to run my favorite applications. I'm thinking about going back to Girlfriend 7.0 , but the uninstall doesn't work on Wife 1.0. Please help!


A Troubled User. (KEEP READING)


Dear Troubled User:

This is a very common problem that men complain about.

Many people upgrade from Girlfriend 7.0 to Wife 1.0, thinking that it is just a Utilities and Entertainment program. Wife 1.0 is an OPERATING SYSTEM.

You cannot go back to Girlfriend 7.0 because Wife 1.0 is designed to not allow this. Look in your Wife 1.0 manual under Warnings-Alimony-Child Support. I recommend that you keep Wife1.0 and work on improving the situation. I suggest installing the background application
"Yes Dear" to alleviate software augmentation.

The best course of action is to enter the command C:\APOLOGIZE because ultimately you will have to give the APOLOGIZE command before the system will return to normal anyway.

Wife 1.0 is a great program, but it tends to be very high maintenance
. Wife 1.0 comes with several support programs, such as Clean and Sweep 3.0 , Cook It 1.5 and Do Bills 4.2.

However, be very careful how you use these programs . Improper use will cause the system to launch the program Nag Nag 9.5 Once this happens, the only way to improve the performance of Wife 1.0 is to purchase additional software. I recommend Flowers 2.1 and Diamonds 5.0 !

, under any circumstances, install Secretary With Short Skirt 3.3. This application is not supported by Wife 1.0 and will cause irreversible damage to the operating system.

Best of luck,
Tech Support

Sunday, June 25, 2006


The red Mars-like planet is my favorite. The Earth-like planet is my second attempt, but using a different tutorial. And now I have a lava planet.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Ms. Nebula Contest

Okay, so we have our contestants here:

Ms. Emerald Nebula

Ms. Nebula Pastel

Ms. Fire nebula

Who wins your vote?

Another starscape...

...But in my estimation, this one is much better!

And I'd love to share the link: How to make a starfield. He also has a tutorial on how to make a planet. Once I get this down pat, I'll start working on that.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Look what I made!

Today, using a tutorial I found online, I created this starscape image. It is my first, but I know the basics now and well... I think I'll be able to improve a lot. *grin* It feels cool to learn a new skill.

"What is real?"

I was just messing around with the buttons on my Yahoo messenger. There is a "Buzz" button which lists the top searches for Yahoo in various topics like "Television Movers" and "Movie Movers". I looked at the television movers and at number four was "Tuesday Night Book Club". I had never heard of it. But I recalled seeing little fliers from Relief Society on Kate's and red brick's doors. The fliers said something about a book club or something. So the link in the Buzz interested me. Perhaps the RS was doing something with a national group. So I clicked on the link and I found out it was a television drama. The tagline is this:

"A CBS one-hour series which follows the lives of a group of real women as they deal with the day-to-day pressures of raising kids, maintaining households, satisfying their husbands, and keeping it together on a personal level."

I followed the link. And here's the pic of the cast:

And the first word that popped into my mind was: bullcrap! So much for "a group of real women". Not one of those women looks remotely real, average, or normal. Heck, they're not even standing/sitting in "real" positions! I guess they're "real" in the fact that they were all born to parents and they're not a figment of my imagination. But if CBS is trying to pass them off as "real" they need to try a lot harder. This show is just a "Desperate Housewives" knockoff. Hearing all of this may sound odd coming from me, seeing as I'm a semi-anti-feminist and I hate political correctness. But I find this ridiculous. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Trip down memory lane

So about ten minutes ago, I was googling my name. I've done it before, I was just seeing if there was anything new. Well, I came across something I had forgotten about. Back in about 1996 a friend and I created our own website. Well, my friend helped me with the web stuff but I made 98% of the content. Anyway, I just explored the site. Wow, that brought me right back to high school. I was such a sentimental goof! Well, "was" is very subjective. Anyway, back in the day I was a *very* big EFY fan. I actually made the site dedicated to EFY first and then to me second. I can't believe it but I'm going to let you explore my past. If you delve deep enough, you'll be rewarded with some pics of me at high school age. There are a lot of interesting things on this site too. LOL

Well, here's link. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Okay, so if you read my last post, I have been reading the Limewire blog. And I read a very interesting and important entry. Basically it amounts to an easy way for someone to look at your passwords for all of your saved passwords on firefox.

Go to Tools and then Options. Pick the Privacy tab. (Your menu may look a little different from mine.) Some smaller tabs will come up. Third from the left is "Passwords". Click on that. Click on "Set Master Password..." put in your password that you're going to remember. Until you have that set, anyone can go to the "View Saved Passwords" and view all the of the sites that you have told Firefox to save the passwords for. You can also look at all the sites you told it not to save for. Anyway, this protects you from an easy breach of privacy. They would just have to sit down at your computer. Well, I hope that helps out.

PS - So I did this myself today. Well, it puts up a password entry window about every time you start Firefox. Annoying! So, I guess you could take your chances, or you could erase all the sites there and not have Firefox remember your passwords, or just deal with the annoyance.

Just Spreading the Word

So I upgraded my Limewire today. I was looking to see if it was the most updated version when I discovered the Limewire blog. And I found something of interest to me. So to spread the word and do my part, here is the entry that interested me.

A Pirate’s Tale

I have a confession. Once upon a time, in a land just a little more dangerous than it is now, I was… a pirate! I did not sail the torrential seas of the internet in search of precious MB of glittering mp3 booty. No, I was content in my little cove, which was given the innocuous name i2hub. You will not find it with any site map or search bar–today it is googols of miles away, farther than any can travel, for even my haven was not safe from the long arm of the RIAA.

It all began with an email from MIT letting me know that the RIAA intended to extract my name from the ‘tute so that I could be named in a lawsuit. I started looking into previous RIAA suits to see how these things played out, and was surprised by the lack of firsthand accounts. How tragic, considering the RIAA hopes fear of lawsuits will keep people from stealing music. More information on how the process works would turn that fear of the unknown into something more concrete and, frankly, deride-able.

That’s what brings me to the LimeWire blog site. I want to share my story of being sued by the RIAA so people can learn more about how the process actually works. So here we go: an account of my foray into the RIAA lawsuit machine. After that first email, I didn’t hear anything for about two months until I received—joy of joys!—a package in the mail. While normally an occasion for any college student to celebrate, the fact that it was indeed a large envelope and came from MIT legal quickly changed by tune. And tunes turned out to be the manner at hand: the materials inside let me know that MIT would be forking over my name in 14 days, and proceeded to enumerate my rights and responsibilities hitherto and forthwith and sideways etc, etc. And just in time for Christmas.

I’ve got to hand it to MIT legal, though. In mid-January I received another fat envelope letting me know that, because there was no confirmation that I had received the last mailing, MIT had held off giving up my name so they could send another one. Which may be legitimate, but also sounds like someone’s tap dancing to buy time. If this was the case, thanks, MIT.

However, even the ‘tute couldn’t put things off forever. Some things in life are inevitable, like death, taxes, and late nights tooling; such is the RIAA’s relentless pursuit of villainous, scurvy pirates like myself. I received a letter from a Colorado based law firm letting me know that I’ve been named in a suit for copyright infringement.

At no time in the course of any of this had I been informed exactly what the RIAA had against me. I had been informed, however, that I should not delete any evidence of my crimes from my computer, even though they already had this mysterious evidence. Which was ironic, really, considering that not long ago I had sent my computer in to HP for a replacement DVD ROM and, in their infinite wisdom, the company had decided that this warranted wiping my hard drive. On top of the three major projects and loads of photographs I’d lost, the music I’d been accused of sharing now rested in that mythical paradise to which all lost data goes.

The law firm was kind enough to pass along a number to contact RIAA representatives, so I gave it a ring…and reached their “settlement negotiation hotline.” My jaw nearly dropped. Talk about an organized attack! And to add insult to injury, the area code was for Missouri, my home state. I left my name and number at the beep as instructed but decided to talk to the law firm instead…and reached their RIAA-related answering machine. The audacity boggles the mind.

I eventually got through to a real person and asked, perhaps a little peevishly, “So, what is it that you guys think you have on me, anyway?” The answer was (a whopping) 272 songs and, should the case go to trial, potentially $750 per song. Now, I know what you’re thinking: with a collection of 272 whole songs, no wonder the RIAA felt compelled to squash my threat to the sanctity of music. However, with the grace and benevolence only a huge corporate machine could display, the lady on the phone told me they’d be willing to settle for $3750.

I actually started laughing at her. “Okay,” I said, “so who do I talk to about negotiating that?” She replied that they usually wanted the amount within 15 days, but that they had a six month payment plan available. How nice. “No no,” I said, “I mean who do I talk to about negotiating the amount.” Turns out the whole ‘negotiation’ part of the hotline covered the way they rape you, not to what degree.

So the conversation was pretty much over after that. Life got in the way for a bit, but a few weeks later I called the lady back. Not to settle, mind you, but to make the most out of the situation and give the RIAA rep as much crap as possible. I’ll post about the ensuing convo soon.