Wednesday, August 30, 2006

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Welcome Back....

And summer vacation ends. No where in the kids-instruction book did it say you had to go back to school too. Sure enough, we're back on day 1 getting lunch ready, kids dressed, and now, no bus - its a walk - weather permitting.

As I'm finishing off the last of breakfast (chocolate chip pancakes) Pandora selects Van Halen's "Jump!" - so I crank it up thinking the kids would enjoy it. Not thirty seconds later I have all the kids downstairs...

"Is this the jumping song?" asks my eldest, dressed for school.

"Yes."

"Good!" as all three start jumping along with the beat, pulling me off my chair to dance with them.

Chocolate chip pankakes, Van Halen, and a happy house.

I'll take it.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Hallooo Molten Core!

It's interesting to look back on how your gaming career has progressed. I started playing PC games with F-19, and even a Chuck Yeager flight sim (that didn't have weapons! *gasp*). Then at my first job got hooked on playing Doom with my coworkers, then Descent, and onward we went.

A few jobs later would see me creating my Quake 2 Mod and then some of those coworkers starting the EverQuest addiction. One of those would even make "70" and start planar progression. A few single player titles in there, like Morrowind and FEAR, a long beta with GuildWars and then World of Warcraft.

Somehow, during all that history, there was a change in reality of the gamers and my wife and I are the only ones still playing. The rest have stopped, for the most part. Civ III? Couldn't get anyone into it. Company of Heroes? Looks like the same. WoW? Got a few, but most are quitting - even the level 70 convert from EQ.

Which leaves me entering Molten Core with the guild and, for once, having no one to talk to about it. It's no big deal for the guild now, they've been taking down Rags for a month now and tearing up MC for as long as I've been in the guild - so aside from friends in the guild understanding the feeling of accomplishment, well, as my daughter would say;

It's like watching rainbows in the dark.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

No kidding, really?

From CNN we get the final answer...
(CNN) -- A federal judge on Thursday ruled that the U.S. government's warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered it ended immediately.
And it took how many months to figure that one out? Felt rather obvious to me, you can't wiretap me unless you get permission and show just cause - even if I'm a terrorist. Oddly enough, our country believes they have rights too.

Benjamin Franklin summarized it well -
Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
Seems to me that our intelligence organizations have lost their cold war edge - time to refocus.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Fun with Spam....

I got a fun one the other day. It opened with an add for 1-800-PetMeds, but clearly wasn't from that company. The email was raw text and the links weren't even close to what they were claiming. Since I had the safety of reading the email via Lynx and Mutt (as in, I only got text) so I started poking around...

Without further ado, Fun With Spam!

Lets start with the Unsubscribe options that were listed at the bottom of the email:
To unsubscribe Go to:
<url>
Or write to: 1441 SW 29th Avenue Pompano Beach, FL 33069
Please refer all questions, opinions or additional feedback to
freshhealthystuff@gmail.com or write to:
Fresh Healthy Stuff
1465 Woodbury Avenue
# 334
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Okay, which is it: the Florida address or the New Hamshire one? I wouldn't click on the URL if you paid me, but lets find out where it points to and see if it provides some hints as to which address might win. I honestly doubt there is a physical office attached to this, but we'll see.

All of the URLs in the email point to rare-term-insurance.net so lets see who that is.
indiantown, fl, 34956
Yes fellow geeks, I'm giving them some level of privacy. If you were good enough to recognize that, you are good enough to look up the rest yourself. *grins*

Hmm, that's 3 physical addresses now. All the email addresses and links all point to the same domain. Lets take a look at what a websurfer would get using wget. First up, we get bounced from the rare-term-insurance.net domain over to users.marketleverage.com who says their physical offices are in
Heathrow, FL 32746
Another vote for somewhere in Florida, and our 4th unique address. Now the fun has begun. The script for the page at users.marketleverage.com looks like a complete front end to 1800PetMeds.com.

I didn't dig too deep here, but this is starting to look like a phishing scam. I bet if we dug deep enough we could figure out what details are being collected. Account information and credit cards more than likely, but I've spent enough time on this one - I forwarded it to the actual petmeds guys for them to deal with.
--
Moral of the story; be sure of what you are cliking on before you click on it! I doubt you'd notice much of a difference between the non-1800petmeds site and the real petmeds site, aside from some requiring extra email validation, etc.

The best joke? This site boasts "HACKER SAFE certified sites prevent over 99.9% of hacker crime."

And I guarantee someone believed it.

Darkest before the light...

It spilled into the house a few weeks ago. At first, it wasn't too bad. It made things look dirty, dark somehow even during a bright July day. Slowly it spread through the house darkening even the most fun things. At least at first, it seemed like a bad mood had grabbed the house, no one was themselves. Then it got worse.

The light had gone from the fun, smiles and laughter were replaced by shouting and frowns. Everything seemed to go wrong, although nothing was going wrong. Small, trivial things, came under the scrutiny of the darkness - nothing was exempt.

Even worse, no one noticed.

The darkness had become "normal". It always felt wrong, but if you looked for it you couldn't see it. Shining a light into a corner scared it off, but the moment the light was gone it was back. Happiness was being replaced.

Finally the day came for the words to drive it away. The phone rang and my wife said three words...

"It's not cancer"

Monday, August 07, 2006

She hit me!

I've had the honor of working with one of our new students at my martial arts class. She's a little over 5 foot tall and has no control, yet. It's to be expected, however, it's new to me. Most of the students I work with, even the ones that "have no control" have control enough to not hit full strength. Not so in this case.

My instructor refers to this as part of my "trials". I can see why, I've learned a lot. It's no longer block to practice, its block correctly so that I don't get smacked. We were doing an exercise where we were practicing blocking by bringing the attack up and into your bicep (if your familiar with it, think #1 or #2 block out of the 8 point system). This works very well for people of your height or greater, when they are shorter, if you don't adjust, you get a fist in the chin and if the puncher is not in control of the punch it is a wake up call. Trust me.

The interesting thing isn't that I'm getting hit, that's part of learning, it's that I've noticed my reactions being jaded. People I trust implicitly to control their punches I've been flinching at. It's left me thinking of how the mind processes things in these situations; although I know other students will not land a punch I still react as if they will. Both good and bad depending on the situation.

Makes me wonder what other events left marks like that where you react, not because the person is that way but, because you are afraid of being hurt.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I didn't place 3rd.

Placed 2nd. w00t!

Got into a 5000 player 300+20 (play money) at Pokerstars. Started at 8pm and ended at 2:30a. Had the chip lead for a long time. Came into the final table 3rd in chips. We started with blinds of 40k/80k with 4k antes and battled it out till we were heads up at 150k/300k with 10k antes.

I was toast, made a bad read and got my stack reduced to nadda early in the heads up match. Can't say I'm surprised, I was seeing my concentration wander by 1am. At least it was a draw out on the final hand. I had pushed back to over 600k and was all in with top pair and he caught the flush on the river to win.

Payout was 215k in fake chips. I'll post more details once I'm conscious and crawl through the log for stats and fun hands.