Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Finaly run this year?

It's been a few months since I got out to run. Life, work, reality, weather, pick a favorite reason/excuse for why I couldn't get out, but it's been close to two months since my last run. Finally, the stars aligned so I broke out my cold run gear, grabbed the MP3 player and headed out into a brisk 50 degree fall day.

It was a nice 3 mile run. Normal mile of waking up and then the regular grind up the hill and into the last mile. That last hill always sucks. I should take a walk with the GPS some day and see what the elevation change is across my 3 mile route. It's no heartbreak-hill, but the first hill goes for about a mile steady, then the last hill is a short few hundred yard sprint, but after over two miles it is a wake up call.

I didn't expect to finish this year with "6 miles" as the high point or being able to head out and do 3 miles after a two month break. I guess that just goes to show how much things can change when you put your mind to it - or forget to. Sometimes it's your belief that you can't that makes things impossible. Distinguishing the two is a "fun life challenge".

Scott Adams' sums it up...

His complete blog post on Electronic Voting can be found here. Trust me, this one you want to read;
I think about the history of ATMs when I hear all the nervous Nellies wetting their pants over electronic voting machines. I believe those worries are totally misplaced. Now don’t get me wrong – there’s a 100% chance that the voting machines will get hacked and all future elections will be rigged. But that doesn’t mean we’ll get a worse government. It probably means that the choice of the next American president will be taken out of the hands of deep-pocket, autofellating, corporate $h*tbags and put it into the hands of some teenager in Finland. How is that not an improvement?
Told you you wanted to check it out. It will be interesting to see if anyone believes, or cares, that electronic voting can be very easily rigged. In case your wondering if that is true, check out the paper that was just published on "How to steal an election by hacking the vote".

Personally, I'm waiting for the first electronic voting virus that elects Dogbert, or perhaps finally, Snoopy. A definite imrpovement.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A day in the ...

It's amazing how much can change in one week. In the past week the politics within the group has gone insane. It started when, I'm told, 25 people were thinking about leaving and going off on their own. Obviously, everyone else wasn't too happy about this. Even worse, the manglement types didn't communicate any of this until folks had already started quitting.

It got ugly. Accusations were being thrown this way and that, more people quit. For awhile there it looked like the entire thing was going to go belly up. Still, those remaining stuck it out and are trying to rebuild. The original 25 is more like 40 now. Most of the folks working on the core projects up and left to do their own thing. Many after that left due to managements inaction and lack of communication.

Boggles the mind. This has probably set us back a good four or five months in project terms. I doubt all the aftershocks have stopped, even after a week of quit-quakes.
Even more scary when you realize I'm talking about what happened with my Guild in WoW and not about the company I work for. Games imitate life, politics included.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Preparing for success at the poker table...

From (yet another, am I showing a bias here? *laughs*) an article by Daniel Negreanu over on The Poker Gazette comes these tips for staying "in form" for tournaments:
  1. Get some sleep.
  2. No alcohol.
  3. Limit your caffeine.
  4. Watch what you eat: Heavy, fatty foods can make you tired.
  5. Avoid people.
Most of that I would toss into the common-sense bucket. #5 though, was an interesting observation. Basically, if you are hanging out in the casino listening to the slots clang or out with a bunch of friends for a pre-tournament bash. You will be more tired from socializing than if you had taken the time to relax and prepare your mind for the tournament.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Halo gets fragged....

From Guardian Unlimited comes this morbid announcement;
Hollywood's big screen version of Microsoft's hit videogame Halo hung in the balance last night after the two studios behind the project pulled out at the 11th hour.

Universal and Fox withdrew their commitments to the highly anticipated adaptation at the end of protracted compensation talks with the producers.

Sounds like there were a lot of factors that could have caused it. Still sux. I was hoping for one good game-to-movie conversion. Perhaps someone else will pick it up as the article hints at Microsoft continuing to go for it.

Unfortunately with Universal and Fox out, New Line and Dreamworks already passed, and Sony (for some weird reason *cough* PS3 *cough*) all not interested, the list is getting awfully short.

Weird Al Rocks!

Finally a disc in the top 10 and a single in the top 10... all I can say is, about time! Go Weird Al!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Road rage? Nah, I have Web Rage!

There is a term for everything these days. Someone flips out on the road and "Road Rage" is born. Now, some fool does something similar on the web and we have "Web Rage";
An internet user has been found guilty of what police said was Britain's first "web-rage" attack.

Paul Gibbons, 47, tracked down John Jones using details obtained online after the pair exchanged insults in an internet chatroom, a court heard.

The entire article is over on the BBC. The two got into a heated discussion, and our assailant figured out where the other "real person" lived and he and an accomplice paid them a visit. I don't like the idea of this being termed "Web Rage" - had this happened at the local bar we'd call it something else entirely - at least the Brits have put the guy on trial and found him guilty.

There is one piece of advice from the article, obvious for those of us living on the net, but bears repeating:
"It demonstrates how easily other users can put two and two together and also shows how children could also find themselves in danger."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sorry son, that action is too litigious

You've got to be kidding me. Society complains that our kids play too many video games, are getting too obese due to lack of activity and then turns around and halts those activities....

CNN just reported that a school in Attleboro, MA has banned Tag;

ATTLEBORO, Massachusetts (AP) -- Tag, you're out!

Officials at an elementary school south of Boston have banned kids from playing tag, touch football and any other unsupervised chase game during recess for fear they'll get hurt and hold the school liable.

Part of life is getting hurt and learning to get up and keep going. If we remove the opportunity for these small falls from our children's lives, how will they be prepared for the larger falls?

They come in Threes....

I should go look up the history of that saying, as it is oddly true. I wonder what the third will be in this case?

First, after 10 years of running regular gaming events, it has finally died. The planning and interest has fallen off to the point where we can't get enough to make it viable. You know its dead when you post "It's dead Jim" and the sole response you get is "So long and thanks for all the fish." (Okay, so the one post back didn't really say that but....)

Second, the guild I've been hanging with for the past six months in WoW has taken a turn and those of us "on the edge" (read: refusing to give up our lives for a game) are now gently being pushed aside in favor of people who probably end up looking like Cartman in the WoW episode.

So what's going to be third? The first two have been gaming related, so I'm guessing it'll have to be something in this space. Does the anti-poker bill count?

*sigh* I hate it when weeks are full of Monday's.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Changing to reader....

No doubt that I live in Google, but until recently it was restricted to search or maps. I finally caught up (a little) with the world and migrated from FireFox's Sage extension to the Google Reader.

I have used Sage for the past year or so, no major complaints. I wish it would auto-update, but that's minor as I don't sit around waiting for sites to update. Otherwise, it did everything I needed. The drawback was keeping my home and office systems sync'd. I had to export and import settings to browse my lists at home or work depending on which one I had updated.

No more of that. Exported my Sage settings and have been getting more and more hooked on Reader. It does keep track of what has changed, allows you to tag things for quick browsing, you can export your lists for backup purposes but you don't need to sync home and office as Google owns you (what you expected me to miss that fact? *laughs*)

If you have a few blogs, RSS feeds, news, etc. that you track and you haven't given Reader a shot. You should.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006

I haven't said much about this, as I'm still hoping it goes away. For those who have missed it, here's a quick summary of how this bill, attached to a port defense bill:
The law makes it illegal for banks, credit card companies and other financial intermediaries to transfer funds to online gambling sites. It does not outlaw the sites, or make playing on them a criminal act, it just makes it difficult to conduct financial transactions. Curiously, online betting on horse racing is still allowed, and not surprisingly, state-sponsored lotteries have also been exempted.
In short, paying for poker online is now illegal. Now, I need to look at this further, but it doesn't yet stop those sites paying you (notice "transfer funds to online gambling sites" not from) so events like the PokerStarts Blogger tournament may still be okay - not sure though.

Quick summary; If you were lucky enough to live in a state where you could legally play online for money, that free ride has likely ended for now. Once this goes live, banks and credit card companies will be the ones penalized for you doing so, and they're going to lock you down. What will be interesting is what happens after this; will there be a "Poker Banking" site that pops up that can take your funds and give'em to the company?

Play money games are safe, no real funds are exchanged.

Movie: Fearless

Ended up at the movies again. Was the wife's turn to choose. We had Gridiron or Fearless. She picked Fearless and in we went. I wasn't expecting what we saw.

Fearless turns out to be inspired by the life of Huo Yuanjia (pick your favorite writeup). From Wikipedia;
Huo Yuanjia was a Chinese martial artist and co-founder of the Chin Woo Athletic Association, a martial arts school in Shanghai. A practitioner of the martial art Mízōngyì, he is considered a hero in China for challenging foreign fighters in highly publicized matches at a time when Chinese sovereignty was being eroded by foreign concessions and spheres of influence. Due to his heroic status, legends and myths about events in his life are difficult to discern from the facts.
We really enjoyed the film. Don't go in expecting a Iron Monkey, its more of a drama about Huo Yuanjia's life and the challenges he faces outside of the ring as well as in. Like many people I have encountered, it is those that have walked and lived in the darkness that end up coming into the light and bringing about change.

The store of Huo Yuanjia's life in the movie is no different. If you enjoy a good story and martial arts, you will enjoy the movie.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Is this Heaven? Where's my Goldfish?

It was the first pet death in the house today. My daughters Betta died. The fish had been on the ropes for a few weeks and we, the completely clueless parents, listened to the store we bought her from that things would "be alright". I should have spent five minutes in google.

Lets see, the fish likes 75F water or higher. Well, the bowl wasn't heated and nights around here have been dipping into the high 60s. The fish froze to death. Thanks pet store for not warning us to get a heater.

Anyway, so I'm coding away this morning and my eldest comes down and says "Dad. Come upstairs." in a way that made me wonder who died. She wouldn't tell me what was going on and I was left to figure it out. Thankfully her brother had other plans and blurted out "Pink died."

Pink was the name of the fish. Yup, sure enough, one dead fish and one less than happy 1st grader. Took awhile before the tears hit, but they did. She colored a little memorial fish plaque out of cardboard and construction paper and headed off to school. I've been informed the burial will be after school today.

Next time, a little more research and a heater for tropicals.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

So it's not just Cable Repair that does it....

"This is UPS......we'll be delivering a package that requires a signature today between 8am and 7:30pm"
Doesn't require more explanation than that. They called at 8am to warn me to stay home all day to sign for this package. Unless this is expedited, they wont be here till 5:30p, so if I know that, why don't they?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Phases, changes....

Been awhile since I talked about what's going on in the family. Truth is, with work, I've been flat out of my normal blogging time. Plenty of ideas, no time, and a forgetful streak to write them down. Been a month, what can I say.

Best one liner in the past two months: "Will you two be quiet. I'm trying to sleep."

Nope, not my wife or I. This was my eldest yelling at her parents that they were making too much noise. No, we weren't doing that, think it was our monthly pillow fight... either way, it woke up my eldest and she was a bit miffed.

She followed that up with asking the dinner table: "How does the daddy put the baby seed into the Mommy?"

Thankfully, no adults were injured during the choke moment that followed. My wife took this one and the girls went off to talk about it. The one thing I heard about it was my daughters reaction to part of the explanation: "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEW!"

On the family side, we've entered a new phase. First, it was "What did this kid eat to make the diaper this color!?" that was followed by "Went to the sandbox today did ya? No wonder your diaper rash hurts." or "Why did you put a toy in here?". Then came the "Yes, I realize you have a portable toy there, but that doesn't mean you should be playing with it on the couch" (both of my kids ~3 *rolls eyes*)... now, we have entered the new phase....

As I empty their hamper, or am doing the laundry; "WTF put this in their pocket?" So far, the "missing thermostat sensor" has to be the winner. Thankfully, it didn't make it to the spin cycle.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Army Graduation Speech

Some things need to be passed along.... these are the men going over and, with luck, coming back.