Posts 551 to 575:

Strange Dreams

I’ve been having really weird dreams lately.  I just now woke up (slept from about 8-12) after dreaming one of ’em.

I was in my room at home, which for some reason was the front end room, which isn’t really my room anymore.  I looked out the window, and the now-big tree that blocks much of the front horizon wasn’t there.  In the distance, in an otherwise blue sky, there were a few giant puffy white clouds, but there were trees growing up through them.  I guess it’d make more sense to say the clouds were passing through the trees, but the clouds were at normal cloud-height, not tree-height.  It looked like something out of a video game: the clouds were totally opaque, and you’d just see a random branch sticking out here and there.

And apparently the sun was setting right behind this cloud/tree formation, because the sky was an amazing orange around it.  I grabbed my camera and ran out front to take a photo.  (Ran, because as anyone who attempts sunset photos knows, they sky is completely different one minute to the next, and it’s gone before you know it.)

Outside, my parents were washing some car that wasn’t ours but that was parked in our driveway, and it was parked at the bottom, which makes no sense.  And the car had dad’s new radio on top of it.  I wasn’t paying enough attention to them to notice that the radio-on-top-of-car-while-washing was bizarre, but of course that’s how things go in bizarre dreams.

I hopped up on the back of dad’s truck, trying to get a good shot at this amazing sunset, but as soon as I got out the door, dad said, "Can you get me another one of these?"  Apparently he really liked the new radio and wanted another.  Then he says, "For the operating system, were we supposed to choose linux, or FreeBSD, or...."  Apparently the radio was a computer based on open-source software.  "Well, we chose linux and it seemed to work."

I’m trying to focus on this sunset, and getting rather annoyed at this nonsense about the new radio.  My parents stop washing (or whatever they were doing to that strange car) and come over to the truck.  Now, my dad isn’t "computer illiterate" -- he’s a straight up technophobe, as in, won’t touch a computer with a 39.5 foot pole, won’t use a CD player (prefers tapes), etc.  He starts talking to me about the differences between linux and FreeBSD.

Dad: I figured linux has more packages, right?
Me: Uh...
Dad: There’s probably, what, 25,000 packages for it?
Me: (utter silence)
Me: There’s probably a ton, yeah...
Dad: So how many gigabytes is that?
Me: (head reeling; realizing this amazing orange-sky-sunset-with-monster-trees-up-in-the-clouds is going to pass me by without so much as a single snap)
Dad: It came on two CDs, so I mean, it’s at least a gig and a half...

And that was the end.

For the record, I have been eating salsa lately, which I’ve never actually done before, except very occasionally at parties, etc.  I don’t like anything spicy, so I’ve always tended to avoid it, but lately I realized that I really like mild salsa.  So I suppose that could explain the strange dreams of late.  Also, I found that Tostitos mild salsa has a strange taste to it.  Not sure what it is, but I don’t like it at all.  ChiChi’s mild salsa has the same salsa-base-taste but lacks the strange component, and that’s what I’ve been eating.  (With shredded cheese on top.)

Posted by Anthony on 5 replies

Moore Lies

The article says:

"Fahrenheit 9/11" ... instantly became the top-grossing documentary in the nation’s history.

Moore says:

Moore made no apologies for his partisanship.  "Documentaries by their very nature are supposed to have a point of view," he said during the conference call.  He calls his documentary "an op-ed piece -- it presents my opinion based on fact."

Merriam-Webster says:

Main Entry: doc·u·men·ta·ry
Function: adjective
1 : being or consisting of documents : contained or certified in writing
2 : of, relating to, or employing documentation in literature or art; broadly : FACTUAL, OBJECTIVE

Hmm... whom to trust?  Micheal Moore, the left-wing media who are busy slobbering and tripping over themselves to heap praise on Moore, or Merriam-Webster?

A Good Week

This is going to be an exciting week.  Cassini will finally move into orbit around Saturn after 7 years of travel, and Spiderman 2 is coming out after... well, after about 2 years since I saw the first one.  But the ending of the first one was so sad and bittersweet, and I’ve been anxious for part 2 for a long time now.  Plus, the new one has Dashboard Confessional and Taking Back Sunday on the soundtrack.

Oh, and The Starting Line is your new favorite band.

Posted by Anthony on 1 reply


posted image

I’m really starting to hate this plant.

Posted by Anthony on reply


Hey Anthony, just wondering if you ever finished the 24 DVDs you got a few weeks back and what you thought of them now that you’ve watched the complete first two seasons of the greatest show on TV.  Don’t know if you heard, but season four won’t be starting until January and they’re moving it to Monday nights.  Thankfully, it’ll fill the void that Monday Night Football will leave at that point.  It’s a long time to wait, but apparently they want to air the entire season uninterrupted so it’ll be worth it.  In retrospect, I probably could have just IMed you to ask you this, but that would be too easy.  Peace out.

Posted by Mike on 6 replies

Saves the Day

Apparently Saves is playing olde songs on this summer your.  I bought two tickets, and one of them has your name on it.  It is on July 10th.  Let me know by telephone or instant message.

Posted by Mark on 3 replies

Understanding Engineers

My brother Rolly sent me this in an email:

Understanding Engineers - Take One
Two engineering students were walking across campus when one said, "Where did you get such a great bike?"  The second engineer replied, "Well, I was walking along yesterday, minding my own business, when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, "Take what you want."  The second engineer nodded approvingly and said, "Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn’t have fit."

Understanding Engineers - Take Two
To the optimist, the glass is half full.  To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.  To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

Understanding Engineers - Take Three
A pastor, a doctor, and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers.  The engineer fumed, "What’s with those guys?  We must have been waiting for fifteen minutes!"  The doctor chimed in, "I don’t know, but I’ve never seen such ineptitude!"  The pastor said, "Hey, here comes the greens keeper.  Let’s have a word with him."  He said, "Hi, George!  Say, what’s with that group ahead of us?  They’re rather slow, aren’t they?"  The greens keeper replied, "Oh, yes.  That’s a group of blind firefighters.  They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime."  The group fell silent for a moment.  The pastor said, "That’s so sad.  I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight."  The doctor said, "Good idea. I’m going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if there’s anything he can do for them."  The engineer said, "Why can’t these guys play at night?"

Understanding Engineers - Take Four
What is the difference between mechanical engineers and civil engineers?  Mechanical engineers build weapons and civil engineers build targets.

Understanding Engineers - Take Five
The graduate with a science degree asks, "Why does it work?"  The graduate with an engineering degree asks, "How does it work?  "The graduate with an accounting degree asks, "How much will it cost?"  The graduate with an arts degree asks, "Do you want fries with that?"

Understanding Engineers - Take Six
Three engineering students were gathered together discussing the possible designers of the human body.  One said, "It was a mechanical engineer. Just look at all the joints."  Another said, "No, it was an electrical engineer. The nervous system has many thousands of electrical connections."  The last one said, "No, actually it had to have been a civil engineer.  Who else would run a toxic waste pipeline through a recreational area?"

Understanding Engineers - Take Seven
Normal people believe that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain’t broke, it doesn’t have enough features yet.

(Actually, it’s management/marketing that believes in "feature creep," and engineers hate them for it.  Not because engineers don’t like cool features, but because they prefer to have the desired features enumerated in the initial specification, which they prefer to receive BEFORE beginning the project, and which marketing/management should not be allowed to change a month before FCS.)

Understanding Engineers - Take Eight
An engineer was crossing a road one day, when a frog called out to him and said, "If you kiss me, I’ll turn into a beautiful princess."  He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket.  The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will stay with you for one week."  The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to the pocket.  The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I’ll stay with you for one week and do ANYTHING you want."  Again, the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket.  Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter?  I’ve told you I’m a beautiful princess and that I’ll stay with you for one week and do anything you want.  Why won’t you kiss me?"  The engineer said, "Look, I’m an engineer. I don’t have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog, now that’s cool."

...priceless : )

Posted by Anthony on 1 reply


"Unspeakable bastards" is one of the few phrases that comes close to being sufficient for these Islamofreaks.  I don’t know which is better -- the fact that they didn’t live one day beyond their savage murder of Paul Johnson, or the fact that they will spend eternity in hell for rejecting God and believing in a warped cultist religion.  As a Christian I know I should feel sorrow for every lost soul but for these beasts I feel none.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Those Crazy Geeks

Running "configure" is the first step in installing a program on a Linux computer (well, sometimes anyway).  The purpose of "configure" is to make sure your system has all the prerequisites for the new program you’re installing, so it looks like a big checklist.

Today, I’m installing mod_python on the dev server here at work, and I see this in the output:

[1614 root@fgpdev mod_python-2.7.10]$ ./configure
creating cache ./config.cache
checking for gcc... gcc
checking whether the C compiler (gcc  ) works... yes
checking whether the C compiler (gcc  ) is a cross-compiler... no
checking whether we are using GNU C... yes
checking whether gcc accepts -g... yes
checking for ranlib... ranlib
checking for ar... ar
checking for a BSD compatible install... /usr/bin/install -c
checking whether make sets ${MAKE}... yes
checking for main in -lm... yes
checking for working const... yes
checking your blood pressure... a bit high, but we can proceed
checking whether apxs is available

...which is funny, because installing software on Linux can often be an extremely high-blood-pressure experience.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Standards of Living

In a long post about things like Socialism and Chernobyl, Den Beste mentions this joke that Poles used to tell each other:

A Pole met a Russian friend and an American friend at a bar for a drink, but arrived late. He apologized, saying he had been waiting in line to buy a ham.

The American said, "What’s a line?"

The Russian said, "What’s a ham?"

(The whole post is worth reading, of course.)

Posted by Anthony on reply

Better than Flossing?

I saw a Listerine commercial last night that says it’s been proven to be more effective than flossing.  There’s a whole list of questions on the website that seem to say, "Yes, it’s better than flossing, but you should still floss."  But come on, who wants to floss?  It’s definitely my least favorite part of MY daily routine.  (Well, after getting up.  And after having to work for a living.)  Then again, Listerine is pretty painful to use.  But it’s 30 seconds of that (x2/day) compared to the ~3 minutes it takes to floss, and flossing is also much more annoying and more work.

Anyone going to the dentist anytime soon?  I want to know what if any advantages there are to flossing over Listerine.

In any event, now’s the time to buy some Pfizer stock... I bet Listerine sales are going to get a nice bump because of this commercial.

Posted by Anthony on 5 replies


In an article claiming that backlash against IT offshoring will "vanish" within 18 months, we find this quote:

"Racism and xenophobia are alive and well in the West," he said.  "The view is often ’Australia’s okay, it has kangaroos and they help in the war against terror, but China and India, well, we just don’t know what’s going on in those countries’."

Aside from its comedic value -- the kangaroo bit is entirely random, but since he mentioned it, who doesn’t love a kangaroo? -- the overall comment is ridiculous.  It isn’t "racist" or "xenophobic" to want to support countries that share the same ideals and goals as we do (aka allies), while not being so enthused about supporting countries with drastically different ideals and goals (aka communist China).  And though he’s wrong about us not knowing "what’s going on" in those countries -- the problem is that we DO know and we don’t like it -- what fool would be upset because we didn’t support a country where we didn’t actually know what was going on inside?

Posted by Anthony on reply


I just watched "Meltdown," which is an FX original movie.  (Stop reading now if you don’t want to know what happens.)

The story is that terrorists take over a nuclear power plant in southern California, and threaten to create a radiological disaster by setting off a giant bomb in the area where the spent radioactive fuel rods are stored.  This is not a "nuclear bomb" of course, but the explosion would spread radiation into the atmosphere, killing hundreds of thousands of people immediately and millions more over time.

The terrorists speak in Arabic and quote from the Koran that any person who dies doing Allah’s work will be greatly rewarded.  But it turns out that they are all American ex-military.  They are dying of cancer from exposure to some kind of dangerous material while serving overseas, and they don’t actually want to blow up the power plant, they just want to scare the government into locking such places down to protect America better.  Interestingly, it turns out that one of them really does want to blow the place up, unbeknownst to the head "terrorist" guy.  Towards the end, the head guy and the chief special agent on the scene have to work together to try to stop this from happening.

But one thing jumped out at me in the middle of it.  One of the aides to the US President says to the Attorney General, "If we get nuked, the Arab world has to see a proportional response -- nuclear.  The President wants to have that option."

Fictional movies are not "real" of course, but they often (as in this case) aspire to present plausible scenarios, to be realistic even though not real.  So that particular line is terribly out of place, as it represents the opposite of reality for that situation.  The most basic principle of our deterrence policy during the Cold War was that in the event of a nuclear attack on America, there would be no such "proportional response."  Our response would be to launch every one of our nukes at the country that attacked us, with the intention of inflicting massive casualties and as much damage as possible on the entire nation.  There would be no tit-for-tat, no city-trading process.  Furthermore, we would consider the threat of an attack against us to be tantamount to the attack itself, and we would respond with full force in the same way.  This was the public and formal policy of the United States, and because of it no nuclear attacks took place during the Cold War, and our enemies were prevented from using nuclear blackmail to wring concessions out of us.

Or for an example of the opposite -- of actually using a proportional response to achieve nothing whatsoever -- consider President Clinton’s response to the attack on our African embassies in 1998.  He fired a few Tomahawks into Afghanistan and Sudan, and then forgot about the whole thing.  He didn’t get bin Laden, and bin Laden then made fun of us, saying we were "too cowardly ... to meet the young people of Islam face-to-face."  Our half-hearted response to the terrorist attacks was just enough to kill the deal where the Taliban were turning Osama over to the Sauds for trial, just enough to unite al Qaeda and the Taliban against the US, all while actually achieving nothing whatsoever for us.

Not that I would expect anyone in Hollywood to know any of that, though.

Posted by Anthony on reply

More Erin Photos

My mom added a few more to this set.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Release Models

Linux seller Red Hat and chipmaker Intel released prototype Linux software this week to support a security technology designed to curtail the spread of viruses.

The security technology, called NX for "no execute," is built into several "x86" processors from Intel, AMD and Transmeta.  The technology is designed to block vulnerabilities that viruses and worms use to spread, but operating system support is required for NX to work.

On Wednesday, Red Hat programmer Ingo Molnar announced a Linux patch for NX support based on a prototype from Intel.

Microsoft’s Windows will support the NX the third quarter.

- zdnet

Posted by Anthony on reply

New Things

Erin Grace is born!  Check out some photos (and send yours!).

Last week I checked a book out of a library.  I haven’t done that in I don’t know how many years.  Definitely not since high school, but even then, I don’t think I even did in senior year at all.  (The book was Asimov’s I, Robot which I’ve been meaning to read lately, because a lyric from a Coheed and Cambria song keeps reminding me of it.)

I learned a new thing on the way home the other night -- I learned how far I can go after the low-fuel light comes on :)  Apparently there’s one gallon of fuel left when the light comes on, because I went about 30 miles after that.  (Actually, I went about 42 miles, but 12 of it was coasting down hills in neutral.)  There was one last small uphill that I couldn’t quite make it up, and I ran out about 200 yards before the crest of the hill.  Beyond the crest there’s a downhill that lasts about a mile, at the bottom of which is the exit for State College, and there’s a gas station near there.  I was so close!  I could have walked and gotten gas in 20 minutes or so.  But since I didn’t crest the hill, it would have been a lot farther and longer (about 2.5 miles and probably over an hour...) so it was easier to call Jeremy and have him rescue me.

I also learned that 20/20 vision isn’t the best vision possible.  That doesn’t really make sense to me in light of the fact that people say things like "hindsight is 20/20" but apparently it’s true.  I have 20/15 vision -- which I always thought meant my vision was sub-par, even though I can see really well -- according to this test.  (Actually, 20/15 is as good as that test will test, so it might be a little better than that.)

Pennsylvania recently repealed the law that required motorcyclists to wear helmets.  My sister knows someone who works in an ICU, and she said that since the law was repealed, the number of motorcycle accident head-trauma victims that they treat has dropped by about 80%.  Sounds like a good thing, right?  Until you learn that it’s because they don’t treat dead people.  Those 80% of the victims aren’t treated because now their injuries are almost always fatal.

Posted by Anthony on 1 reply


I used to listen to NPR every day, because it was a highly convenient way to keep up-to-date with the news.  But I eventually got so sick of their blatant liberalism that I had to stop.

I turned it on again today for the first time in about 6 months, and it was more of the same: in 3 out of 4 segments in a row, these were the items they presented:

Some random poet/artist read her monologue on why religion is evil and why she’s an atheist.

Two democrats talked about Reagan’s politics and what his legacy will be.

Some guy did a review of Morrisey’s new album, which just happens to have songs about how America’s head is too big, America’s belly is too big, and how he "forgives Jesus" for the things Jesus has done to him.

(The 4th segment was about a star hockey player from Canada who is black.)

Pure crap.  This is why I like O’Reilly so much.  Every night he has democrats and republicans on, debating the issues du jour from both sides.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Goodbye to Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan is a peace.

You can send e-mail condolences to Nancy and the family here.

My kind words:

"Please know that a grateful county mourns with you today.  God made a great man and that great man courageously stood with God to do his duty.

Our sincere condolences to your family."

To preempt any "guiding" comments, everyone knows the man was not perfect.  He was, however, a brave man who stepped forward when we needed him most and never looked back.

Posted by Patrick Copland on reply

My Boss

I go into my boss’ office to ask him a question, and he’s listening to Ill Communication in there.  This guy is like 45.  Sweet.

Posted by Anthony on 1 reply

Swap thingie...

Ok, so when I initially installed Gentoo on my laptop (which, aside from my router is the only computer I have left) I had all the files from my desktop system that I couldn’t burn to CD (ran out, and out of money) on there, and so, I shrunk the windows partition down as much as I could, and then installed...

Flash forward to, well, yesterday.  I emerged qtparted (think partition magic + linux + qt) and went to resize the windows partition by about 5gb to dedicate to /home (because I was rushed to install linux, and just made 1 partition) and when I went to fdisk /dev/hda, it told me i needed to delete a partition and create an extended partition.....

Well, the only partition i could POSSIBLY get rid of, would be, the swap partition, so I am wondering how you are doing still with the no-swap partition...  It’s been about a week or so now right?  Just curious.

Posted by steev on 4 replies

Petals Around The Rose

It took me about 40 minutes to conquer the game.  In the interest of not tainting anyone else, I won’t say anything else here; I’ll explain in a reply to this post.

Posted by Anthony on 6 replies

Man on Fire

I just saw Man on Fire yesterday.  Creasy is my new hero.  Sorry that he had to replace you Anthony.

Posted by kaiser on 2 replies


I’ve been waiting for this for a couple years now.  It’s a handheld computer that’s a real computer -- not a Palm device, but an x86 PC with a real processor (1GHz Transmeta), real storage (20GB disk, not flash), a real screen (landscape, not portrait, and 800px wide at that), a real OS (Windows XP, not CE) and a full keyboard built-in.  And it literally fits in your pocket; its dimensions are <5 x ~3.5 x <1 inches.  Less than one inch thick!  And the screen is also a pen-based touch screen.

Check out the specs, photos, and video on the website, and also this video which is an interview with the CTO explaining some of the features.

It’s due out in the fall and will cost "less than $2000."  Now, where did I put that $2000 for which I have no other use...

Posted by Anthony on reply

The Day After Tomorrow

(Warning: spoilers.  Go see it if you haven’t yet, then come back and read this.)

I just saw The Day After Tomorrow.  I liked it a lot.  But some things about it bugged me.  First of all, the fact that the whole premise is based on global warming, which is speculative at best and pure bunk science at worst.  And the fact that for the first 1:50 of the movie, they make it look like mankind might not even survive, and then in the last 10 minutes it turns out that the storms/iceage only lasted a few weeks and was no big deal.

There really wasn’t much to the plot, as a matter of fact.  Come to think of it, the whole movie was basically: man is evil and causing a new ice age because of pollution, the ice age will last a long time and probably kill us all, Sam gets stuck in NY along with a girl he likes, his dad promises to come get him, Sam finally kisses the girl, his dad gets there and calls for helicopters, and oh yeah the ice age is over now.  The end.

Most of the CG (computer-generated) stuff was really good, I thought.  Which is a good thing, since it seems to have been a movie designed just to show off its special effects.  But randomly, there were wolves that were CG, and they were terrible.

I really really like Jake Gyllenhaal (aka Donnie Darko), so that helped me like this movie.  I was glad he got the girl.  And I only recently realized that he is a different actor than Tobey Maguire (aka Spiderman).  Speaking of that, Spiderman 2 is coming out soon and I’m hype about that.  The first one was amazing.

One of the previews before TDAT was for the Alexander movie that’s coming out soon.  Of the batch of movies coming out this summer that look pretty much identical (Alexander, Troy, Arthur), I think this is the one I’m most impressed by so far.  Arthur looks cool too, but Troy sorta just looks like a "give me a break" Brad Pitt movie.

Posted by Anthony on reply

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