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Monday, January 31, 2005

Hmmm, so whats new today?

well, Hillary Clinton collapsed during a speech in Buffalo...I'd probably collapse too if I had to go to least she was OK, and was able to continue on to her next speech on - get this - health care. Reportedly she was suffering from a stomach virus but was able to leave under her own power...

Ontarioans were left to curse the name of Dalton McGuinty after a Judge dismissed a court challenge by a citizens tax group wanting reparations for Daltons broken promise about raising taxes. I think he set a record for how fast a politician could break a promise once in office. The kicker was the Judge calling the voters naive. So, we're left to wonder how can we tell if Dalton is lying? Well, his lips would be moving...

Gotta get some sleep...back on day shift...not a big fan...

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Weekend blues...

...So, after reading yesterday's long-ass post, who agrees with me and Bill Murray from Scrooged?

Got caught up on this weeks lack of sleep, killing off most of the afternoon. Did see some classic NHL action, tho. Gretzky's last cup - 88 Oilers vs Bruins. Now that was good hockey, end to end action, good saves, nice passes. Not like todays clutch and grab crap. I'm not even missing the hockey season this year...I figure Bettman already ruined the game anyway, so if these idiots can't figure out a way to share billions, screw'em there, end rant.

Spent some time converting some VHS clips to MPG files on my computer...I am really liking this Hauppauge PVR 250 card. Very slick and easy to bloatware in sight, which is a nice change of pace. Now its on to learning the DVD burning software, which is a different company, so hello bloatware...

Oh well, thats it...time to get back to the Miami Vice marathon....what?....WHAT? yeah, you read that right...later

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Magic Marker on the Mailbox

In a totally unrelated discussion today, the phrase 'magic marker on the mailbox' came up, and my friend mentioned he thought it would make a good title for a short story. So I tried and this just kinda came to me as the only way I could think of to use that phrase, so this is the result. Way sappier (is that a word?) than what I usually write (where's the guns, the explosions, the fist fight? Where, I say, WHERE?!), but here it is anyway in all its lame ass glory. On that note, Enjoy. later


He walked steadily, if not quickly, through the biting, wind-blown snow and suffered quietly with the bone numbing cold. He really shouldn't have been out here, as he was old enough to know better, but still too young to care. Besides, he'd been through much worse, and many winters had come and gone in an effort to knock him down. Well, he thought to himself as he smiled into the darkness, keep trying, Old Man Winter, cause I'm still standing and I always will be.

It was a shame, however, that his old car couldn't say the same. She'd given up the ghost some ten miles back. He figured he could either stay there and wait it out for help or do what he had done all his life. Just keep going. So he did. He was beginning to question his logic in the effort by now though, as the feeling of certain body extremities was starting to leave him entirely. He simply ignored it and commanded his feet to keep moving, one ahead of the other.

It worked as his continued forward movement presently brought him in sight of a lone house set back from the road a couple hundred feet. It was completely dark except for a small waning light from the front window. He forced his weary body to carry him to the front door and knocked. He didn't know who was in there, but one way or another he was getting inside to warm up enough to be able to keep going. Sure he was tougher than most, but a man had to know his limitations.

The wind whipped around him, trying to move him from his perch on the porch. He mentally told it to get lost and knocked again. Still no answer, but he wasn't the type to give up that easy. He went over to the window where a single candle was putting up a valiant effort against the dark and stormy night. He chuckled to himself, and for no particular reason had a flashing mental image of Snoopy on top of his doghouse. He shook the thoughts away and concentrated on peering through the iced up window. Inside, within the shadows, he thought he saw an outline of a freakishly tall human. Despite the cold, he was getting curious now. He chipped away the ice and snow and marked a spot on the window to peer through. His heart skipped a beat before a surge of adrenaline hit him as he recognized what he was looking at. He saw a brief arm movement before he was racing back to the front door. All thoughts of cold were forgotten as he took a run at the door. Slamming his shoulder into it, the frame gave way and he hurtled inside.

Staggering a few steps to slow himself, he looked to what he had seen before - a young woman hanging from a ceiling hook in what looked like the last stages of the losing end of a suicide attempt. He pulled out his jackknife, quickly cut her down, and got rid of the remaining rope. He looked around for a place to lay her limp body, and noticed for the first time that there was no other furniture in the old house except for a knocked over chair, so he lowered her to the floor instead. He found a pulse, slow but steady, and before he could start mouth to mouth, she coughed roughly, and started to breathe on her own. A few moments later, and she started to come around.

"Take it easy," he told her. "You're gonna be alright."

"W-Who are you?" she asked, slowly rubbing her thoat.

"Frosty the Snowman. The hell happened here?"

"I-I-I," she stammered and looked around. She realized what he had stopped and couldn't bring herself to verbalize her own actions. It was so much easier to do alone. "I, I don't know."

"Uh-huh....Ok. Let's get you up and get that door closed before this place becomes an inverted igloo."

He helped her over to where the lone candle continued burning before going back to the wrecked door and closing it as best he could. It wasn't a perfect seal, but it was better than being outside. He looked around and noticed the fireplace had some wood still stacked beside it, so without a word, he took it upon himself to start a fire. On his third attempt, he got it going using his old lighter. Then he went back and sat down on the floor beside her and wrapped the lone blanket around her. Leaning back against the wall, he was surprised as she leaned against him, so he wrapped an arm around her as they tried to fight off the cold.

Presently, he spoke. "You feel like talking about it?"

She said nothing for awile and he let it lie, but eventually she just started talking on her own.
"Last month, I lost my job. It was a crappy job and I hated it, but it was money, you know? Even so, I was just barely making ends meet. I was barely getting by, but after that I seemed to lose everything else, piece by piece. My car, my furniture, my sanity. Today they told me they were taking the house. I just moved in here, for Pete's sake. After my Aunt died, I inherited this place, debt's and all. I can't go back to what I left, so this is all I have. I just couldn't take it, and I'll be damned if they're going to take this from me while I'm still alive. Either way though, come morning light I'm out in the cold with nothing left. I guess I snapped...I guess I gave up. I bet you think that's pretty weak."

"Not really. We all get a little crazy now and then. Not everybody winds up on the wrong end of a rope, but then there's different levels of crazy."

"Yeah, so I guess I'm at the highest level, eh? Or is it the lowest..."

"Take yer pick..."

"Lowest....You know what finally broke me? The stupidest thing really. I was at the hardware store to buy those little lettered stickers to put on the mailbox when I realized I didn't even have enough money for that. I couldn't even afford to put my name on the only thing I have left. My own home...well, for the time being anyways. I can't even get mail here - nobody know's who is in here! Come the morning, I guess it won't matter anyway. No one will even know I was here..."

"I will. And I'll remember you were nice enough to let me get warmed up out of the cold when I needed it."

"Right, and why are you here again?"

"I just told you. Look, not to harp on it, but swinging from the chandelier hook is a rather drastic step off a pretty steep cliff. You got anyone else around here you might be able to go to?"

"No, like I said, I just got here. Don't really know anybody and nobody knows me. I came here to get away from a particular hell, but it looks like I didn't make it." She paused, then added quietly, "So, what do you do when all hope is gone?"

"You fight. You keep going. Use whatever you've got. I've been through a lot of different hells in my life and I'm still here, still fighting. Besides, after you beat that first one, you'll realize that you're a lot stronger than you thought. You might even get a perverse pleasure out of beating the next one. Don't overthink it. Sometimes the key to surviving is as simple as just putting one foot in front of the other and then doing it again."

"Ok, headshrinker, sounds good, but how does that help me?"

"Well, when in doubt, reboot. Punt. Go to ground. Find something familiar, trustworthy, however small, and work from that. If I were you, I'd start looking around these parts for some help. They're getting damn hard to find, but there's still good people around that'll help others out in a jam. It's worth the effort to at least try. That's where that one foot down theory comes in. Get rid of the bullshit, and those around you that are shoveling it, and start from square one, one step at a time. I don't have all the answers, I just know that there is always a way. Sometimes you have to fight hard to find it, but its there. In the end, the hardest part is determining you're going to keep going. Nothin' is gonna stop you. After that, the rest is easy. Trust me, I should know."

They were both silent awile after that, lost in their own thoughts. As the fire warmed the room, she started to fall asleep, but not before asking him another question.

"Thanks, Mr. Amatuer Psycologist." She mumbled and felt his chest shake with quiet laughter. "Hey, I don't know your name...I'm Robyn...and you are?"

"Getting tired by the minute. Go to sleep Robyn, and don't worry about tomorrow..."

She awoke with a start and a sore throat. The sun was shining in the window, and the candle had made it through its fight with the night again. She looked around the empty room - the fire was still going, but he was gone. Then she heard a noise outside and went to investigate. She pulled the mangled door open to come face to face with the mailman.

"Mornin' Miss. About time you marked your mailbox, I wasn't sure if there was anyone in here anymore. There's been a backlog of mail for this address down at the local post office, but its all yours now. Enjoy!"

"Thanks, I guess," she mumbled confused. Before she could do anything else, a car pulled into the drive and an elderly couple got out.

"Good mornin' Robyn. I'm the pastor at the one church we have in our little one-light town. This is my wife. A friend of yours stopped this morning as I was shoveling the walk and told me you had moved in out here. Your Aunt was a dear friend of ours, and one way or another we'll see that her wishes are kept. I didn't get your friends name, but he was a bit of an odd sort. He said he didn't frequent churches, but thought this time he'd make an exception. I'm glad he did. By the way, I hope you haven't had breakfast yet, 'cause you've just got to try my wife's coffee and cinammon buns..."

"Ok, um thanks. Come in..." The couple went in ahead of her and as she stood there dumbfounded at what was happening she turned and saw it and just had to smile. Her name and address, though she had no clue how he found out, were written in large letters in magic marker on the mailbox. On the side was a picture of a snowman and the words "One Foot Down - Good Luck."
The End.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

"One's a Couple, Baby...Two's a Crowd"

...Nothing much new today. Work's a drag, but what else is new? I'm currently trying to bring a lame hard drive back from the dead. It's actually spinning and now formatting, so there may be hope. Formatting is going damn slow, but at least it is forward movement...

Looked at Future Shop's website for Hard drives and noticed that Maxtor's brand was now mixed together with Cicero. As far as I know, Cicero is a cheaper (read: low-end) product. Then someone tells me that he heard a certain computer company is no longer using Maxtor as they have gone downhill. When did this happen and why doesn't somebody tell me these things? Maxtor used to be one of the best. I guess now its more Seagate and Western Digital. Oh well...picked up a 160GB WD for $120 (not at Future Shop). That's 75 cents per Gig. I remember when 40 MEG was a big deal...I feel old...

Feeling in a bit of a funk today...trying to snap out of it listening to Montgomery Gentry kicking ass singing the Bon Jovi song Wanted Dead or Alive...very cool tune. 'course, I've also had Restless Heart's Fast Movin' Train on repeat too...not to mention listening to a preview of Lee Ann Womacks new album from (sounds like a damn good album and a return to country by Womack. I'll be buying it on Feb 8th to be sure. The first single 'I may Hate Myself in the Morning' is good, but the track 'One's a Couple' is just killer good country music) hmmm, to quote Rob from the movie High Fidelity - "Do I listen to pop music because I'm depressed, or am I depressed because I listen to pop music?" In this case, country, but there you go...maybe when I'm done here, I'll go home and watch that flick. Highly recommended movie - life and relationships from a guy's perspective...chicks may not get much out of it, but guys will understand every line..............."When will it end?!" (Thank you Rob)

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Review: 24-6 (Spoilers Ahead)

Well, it was ep 6 of the show 24 last night. Another good show. [spoilers ahead] They opened it continuing (obviously) from last weeks cliffhanger and we watched as Jack went into the compound alone, with the Marines 15-20 minutes away and the the missile strike happening in 10. So in went Jack on a suicide mission with apprently no backup. Not good.
He shows his skills haven't slipped any being out of the field as he quietly storms the place taking out guards left and right. Driscoll gives him the bad news of the impending wipeout and that the Pres isn't going to call it off. He says "I'm not turning back." She says "I understand." pause, "Good Luck." I think she was finally respecting him. Jack takes the earpiece out and continues on with six minutes left. He finds his girl, Audrey, but can't bust her out from there. He slides her a knife and goes after the Secretary, James Heller. He finds him a minute before the execution order is given on the internet fed kangaroo court. They make eye contact and Jack signals him - 5 seconds and Jack's hitting hard. The gun is pointed at Hellers head, Heller - tied to a chair - ditches himself backwards out of the way and Jack starts shooting. In a cool display of marksmanship, Jack dispatches the baddies and frees Heller. As the internet feed gets knocked over, the Pres is watching and realizes the rescue attempt might be successful and orders the strike aborted while the Marines are going hellbent for leather to get to the compound.
Jack and Heller go back to back to try to make it out of the compound as more baddies keep coming. They get forced outside where they make what appears to be a last stand behind a car. Working well as a team (why do I seriously doubt any real-life current politician could hold his own in a firefight like Heller did? I just can't see Condoleezza Rice emptying a clip into the bad guys from behind a bullet-ridden jalopy, but hey, that's just me), they take out a few more terrorists as they continue to be surrounded. Jack takes a round off the vest, but is alright, as they are running out of ammo. The terrorists start closing in and it looks like Jack and Heller are headed for a dirt nap when,.....wait for it.......It's the Marines! In the nick of time, the cavalry arrives and saves the day as a few choppers sweep over the place taking out the bad guys. They hit the ground and start securing the compound. Of course, Audrey is still unaccounted for, and knowing this show, I figured something bad was going to happen. Sure enough, the chief compound baddie tries to make his way out using Audrey as a human shield. Jack and Heller wind up putting their guns down (I thought they were out of ammo anyway?) to keep her from getting shot. Some dialogue continues, and it looks like she's going to be killed anyway, when she pulls the knife Jack had given her earlier and stabs the terrorist. She hits the deck and Jack throws another knife into the baddie, then a Marine finishes him off with a couple of rounds. There are some intense looks between Audrey and Jack as they all breathe a collective sigh of relief and we head to commercial.
The rest of the show was pretty good as the debriefings started and the psycological intrigue between the players got ratched up. Audrey's husband showed up too. 'Seperated' or not, ya gotta hate when that happens when you're secretly sleeping with the wife. (Here's looking at you Jack) She does happen to finally notify the husband that its over and she's been seeing someone for six months. How considerate ;-)
We also find out that the whole compound, kangaroo-court, planned execution fed over the internet was just a plot to increase internet traffic to hide an attack on a nuclear plant's reactor's computer system so the contents of the stolen briefcase could be used to cause a meltdown. Then the hour ends as we see Marianne phone somebody to warn that the plan has been found and the big reveal is that she's in cahoots with the bad guys (yeah, colour me surprised...).
The other interesting subplot was that the Araz guy allowed his son to be taken out to be killed to tie up a loose end. That's pretty cold - even for a terrorist. However, we've already seen that Behrooz can think on his feet with the previous cellphone con, and he figures it out and manages to take out his would be killer with a shovel. A couple of good thwacks and he was free. He got some good mileage out of that first swing too with a half turn swing into the killers head. Ouch. Go Behrooz!

Another good ep, especially considering the edge of your seat action in the first 15 minutes. To have the kidnapping resolved in a high action piece where all the players made it out alive in only the 6th ep was surprising. I kept waiting for the inevitable 'good news/bad news' scenario this show is famous for, but Jack pulled off the rescue with a little help from the Marines in a very well done action sequence. The dedication to the armed forces at the end was a nice touch too. The rest of the ep was basically setting up the bigger threat for the next arc. Should be interesting. 24 continues to be the best show on TV right now. Its certainly the only one I actually care enough to make sure I see week to week.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Pass the Salt...

So the other week, I get my quarterly post-kidney transplant checkup and out of the blue, I'm told I gotta watch my cholestorol. Ok. Talk about a surprise, since I'm not overweight and my diet is pretty repetitive. So the dietician goes over all the info and gives me the good news. I've got so much diet info in my head now that I can't keep straight the dialysis diet and the post transplant diet. People, there is such a thing as too much friggin' information.

Anyway, the gist of it was - "What are you still eating? Ok, get rid of that too." Haha. not quite that bad, but you get the idea. So armed with this new knowledge, I head to the grocery store and spend way too much time reading labels. Long story short, dang near everything I pick up goes back on the shelf. However there were a few surprises. The bread I was eating (white, natch) had no cholestorol in it. Same with the Jello vanilla puddings. Go figure. Anything in the bakery though, was a heart stopping blend of cholestorol and fat. I kept looking tho, and made it out with some basics including light peanut butter and Ultra low fat Miracle Whip. Not just light, mind you - Ultra light! It tastes like shit tho, so its definately an acquired taste and I've pretty much got all the tastes I really want, so I'm not looking to acquire any more.

The really interesting thing I ran across during my label-reading, hunger-inducing, exercise in futility was when I read the label for the small can of Chunky's Chicken Noodle soup/stew concoction. The sodium listed was over 1000mg!! This, mind you, was in a can no bigger than my fist and way smaller than the other stuff on the shelf. Hell, the bigger can of Chili I had picked up earlier had less. 1000mg sure seems high for so little payoff in edible satisfaction. I mean, why don't I just open my mouth and empty the salt shaker right in and cut out the middle man? Needless to say, I won't be buying any more of that. So there. End Rant.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Oh, Those Poor Linux Icons - Is Microsoft to Blame?

gotta hate it when your prediction of massive glacial bump and grind runs aground....

Yahoo! News - Huge Iceberg Runs Aground

Yahoo! News - Huge Iceberg Runs Aground

Thursday, January 20, 2005

One of these Days...

...Listening to Hendrix wail on Voodoo Chile as I write this...
Long day in the mine, or hole, or orifice, or office, or whatever ya want to call least we had some good laughs today. Tired as hell, tho, gotta crash.

Here's a good one I heard today: Why is eating turkey dinner a lot like the wedding night?.......

Give up? ok, well, you get a little breast, a little thigh, and a whole lot of stuffing.....

Ok, now as promised, the answers to the bonus point lines...the 'structural letdown' line comes from the cabbie in the Jean Claude Van Damme flick "Maximum Risk". The flying monkeys line comes from an ep of Friends...Chandler to BE more specific...

I know, I know...I gotta pay less attention to pop culture and get out more. Oh well, I've got a head full of useless information, so I may as well blog it outta me...

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Boooriing (thank you Homer)

...hmmm, just reread through my previous posts....and my word, they're boring...
gonna have to do something to prop this up a bit...maybe add some CGI action scences with Matrix-style bullet time, throw in a half-naked rave orgy, add some gobbly-gook from a dozen different religions and legends, toss in a blender and set on puree, and hope the general viewing public doesn't spot the difference...just like in a Hollywood movie...

or I could come up with some reviews of the crap I've seen or read and spare someone else the same 'structural letdown' (bonus points if you know where that line comes from!)

or I could come up with something original...but then I'd be too busy ducking the flying monkeys coming out of my ass! (double bonus points if you know where that line comes from!)

stay tuned...or not...
PS - bonus point answers coming tomorrow...I think...hey, I'm not above a cheap marketing gimic to draw traffic (haha)

It's Called Snow... I woke up this morn to a nice layering of snow everywhere...musta got a couple inches during the night. cool, just the way I like it. I'd rather have it cool with snow or rain than endure typical August heat, but that's just me...
The drive to work was fun. It was like the Dukes of Hazzard in snow...power sliding around corners...very cool. Speaking of which, I saw some pics on the net (shoulda blogged 'em, oh well) of Jessica Simpson on the set of the new Dukes of Hazzard movie they're shooting. She looks alright, but I gotta say she's no Catherine Bach. Not. Even. Close. and who's the genius that decided to do a Dukes theatrical film and have a Blonde Daisy Duke?! What's next, a purple General Lee? Willie Nelson is playing Uncle Jesse, so if Uncle Jesse is gonna have a ponytail, I guess they're taking 'creative license' on this project to a whole new level.
Anyway, finally got a half-decent nights sleep, and all I had to do was haul my mattress to a different location to get away from whatever the hell is motoring and rattling on the other side / inside / below my wall. It was worth it tho, as I think I only woke up a couple of times. The downside is that I have no more living room floor. The upside is I can be in bed and watch my big screen TV. I like the upside.
Got home late, but just in time to watch the Daily Show for my daily newsworthy info...Very Funny stuff. I was laughing through the whole news segment. According to C.Rice, Saddam was "cavorting with terrorists". Cavorting?! I like the Jon Stewart comeback of how we've gone from a search for WMD's (which was futile) as the reason for the war to Sadaam was 'cavorting'. It was probably just a poor choice of words on her part, but it was unintentionally hilarious. Oh, and I've got to check out that new '' site. If you saw the show, you'll know what I mean. Even the guy doing the bit was cracking up.
'nuff said for now.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Sleep deprivation

...what a wreck of a night. I couldn't buy sleep! It was like Bill Gates at a Linux convention looking for XP Pro...ok, bad reference, but I am barely upright, so take it as you will. I can't remember the last time I had a good night's rest, so I am going to get one tonight no matter what it takes! So there. End rant.

Watched the 5th ep of '24' last night. Good show. Now that's how you build a cliffhanger and make people want to come back next week. It's only the 5th show, so they'd be excused if they were still building plot, which they are, but to set it up giving Jack basically 10 minutes to complete the rescue in the next ep is pretty cool. I figure it'll all be changed in the next ep, cause they have to drag this story arc further I would think, but either way, nice writing. I had thought the previous ep was more or less filler, but the staged robbery actually was quite consequential to a plot point that happened in the 5th ep. Each part led to something else which turned the pace on its ear and led to the cliffhanger last night. Nicely done. As a hobbyist writer myself, I like seeing how good writing comes together like that. Can't wait for next weeks ep.

anyway, back to work I goeth. oh yes, absolutely thrilled - not. nothing like the challenge of making old hardware work with new software (hence the XP crack) on very little sleep. maybe I'll cross a wire and blow the whole thing up :)

Monday, January 17, 2005

Something or Nothing...

So, me and a friend were talking today and he brought up donut holes...
"...donut holes. Is that really such a thing?"
"Well, yeah. They take a donut and 'pop', out comes the middle and you have a donut hole."
"But isn't a hole nothing? You can't really have a donut hole."
"Yeah, but without the donut around it, there would be no donut hole. So the fact there is nothing is actually something."
"Well, zero is actually something."
"Yeah, in binary."
"No, i mean, 'nothing' is actually matter."
"Well, I've always said nothing matters.........certainly not this conversation."
haha. it was pretty funny at the time. still, that's two minutes of my life i'll never get back.
damn. now i'm hungry for donut holes.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Look at this - its the first post!

well, newbie to blogging has entered the wild world, blogging....

not a terribly interesting way to start off, eh? well, hopefully it gets better and i'll post some more interesting musings on anything that catches my attention...