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. :)