Thursday, February 27, 2003

Life10:01 AM - Um, say what again?

I just can't fathom the reasoning behind this one: "Man Cuts Off Penis, Tosses It to His Wife". So, um... what was he thinking? My idea: probably nothing.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Web Quizzes03:35 PM - What Political Party?

Here's a rather interesting quiz to determine (sort of... don't know what their criteria are) what political party your views are most aligned with: Party Compatibility Quiz. They rate you by percentage how much alike you are to seven different political parties. For better or worse (don't know enough about most of 'em, so I don't know how accurate it is to me personally), here are my results:

  1. Green Party: 82%
  2. Democratic Party: 73%
  3. Reform Party: 73%
  4. Libertarian Party: 64%
  5. Natural Law Party: 45%
  6. Constitution Party: 45%
  7. Republican Party: 27%

Now, um... could somebody tell me what the Natural Law and Constitution parties are? I'd never heard of the former, and I've only barely heard of the latter. Heh, and while I'm not surprised at all that the R.P. came very last on the list, I'm a little surprised that I'd be considered a Greenie. ;) I mean, when I think of the Green party I think of Ralph Nadir, P.E.T.A., and GreenPeace, all of whom I think of in a rather... poor light. In my opinion, Nadir's an unrealistic nut who wants everything now (i.e. everyone must stop using cars and start living within walking/biking distance to work, all companies must stop all logging, dumping, using of anything immediately, etc., and he wants all these changes to take place immediately, in spite of the fact that nothing of that grand a scope could ever happen overnight even if everyone wanted it to). PETA constantly makes asses of themselves to the media (though admittedly, there probably are plenty of supporters who aren't anywhere near as nuts as the people representing them), and GreenPeace is in favor of illegal and often violent tactics to further their causes. So... anyone who considers themselves part of the Green Party, or friendly to their views, please feel free to enlighten me because I really do want to know, and it would be nice to find out whether these examples are representative of the views of the party as a whole, or are just at the loudest fringes. (I personally would like to believe the latter, regardless of how the above results turned out.)

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Life09:24 AM - Babies can learn to talk without speech

I found reference to this article on the BBC's news site. It says that not only can children only a few months old learn to use sign language to communicate, it doesn't slow down their speech at all (and sometimes makes them better at speaking, it seems). So basically, if you learn to teach your children at a pre-verbal age how to sign when they're hungry, their diaper needs changing, etc., they'll do that instead of having to cry to get your attention. Sounds like a great idea to me. When we have kids, maybe this would be something to look into...

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Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Life09:23 AM - Fox News stealing CNN's live feed

There's an article by the AP on's AP news site that talks about Fox News stealing CNN's TV feed directly from its source, in order to show Columbia shuttle coverage post-breakup, not only without giving credit but also trying to hide it:

During coverage of the space shuttle Columbia's disintegration, the folks in CNN's control room thought the picture they saw on rival Fox News Channel looked familiar.

So they tried a little experiment.

The producers superimposed a tiny "CNN" logo on the upper left corner of the network's screen as it showed the shuttle breaking into pieces. Blip! The same logo appeared on Fox News Channel.

Then they decided to abruptly switch cameras so a picture of correspondent Miles O'Brien appeared. For two seconds - until it was hurriedly replaced with a view of NASA's mission control - it looked like O'Brien was working for Fox, too.

The article further discusses other instances of similar taking of news source A using stuff from news source B, and goes into a little of why it's often accepted as part and parcel of the business. Really makes you wonder... the media doesn't want any private people stealing its stuff, but they look the other way when competitors do the exact same thing? Why is that?

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Life06:57 AM - So sleepy

I am sooo tired. I played hookey from work yesterday and went to my first hockey game instead. Basically, a coworker's fiancée, Jill, called me around 9am or so and asked if I wanted to go to the Blues game, 'cause they had an extra ticket. It was a rare instance of having a game during the week in the afternoon, and they were $11 tickets due to a promotion at work. For that $11 you got seats, and a voucher for a hot dog & small soda. I figured, what the heck, and said yes. So I left at 1pm to meet her and a coworker, Kelly, at their building, and her coworker drove us downtown. We met up with Jill's cousin Amy, who was the biggest hockey fan of the four of us, got our tickets and food & drink, and had a great time. We got really lucky too. The way this deal works, is it's first-come, first-served to pick up your tickets at the will-call line. Once they run out of the seats (all in the nosebleeds) they don't sell anymore. However, they had so many people after those seats ran out, and seats closer up that hadn't been sold at all, that they started giving closer seats for those people. So we got really decent club seats (not "on the ice" but higher up so you could see what's going on, and you could order stuff & have it brought out. Very cool. :)

We started out on a kind of bad foot, 'cause the Flames scored 55 seconds after the game started, and then scored again a few minutes later, but we ended up winning 5-3, which also means it's 35-cent taco day at Taco Bell today. :) (Any time the Blues score 5 or more goals, Taco Bell offers its regular tacos for 35 cents the next day, all day. I heard someone in the office say this morning that yesterday was the 14th time this season the Blues have done that.) Anyway, after the game we didn't want to fight traffic, 'cause it got done at 4:30 and in spite of being President's Day (free meter parking!) a lot of people still had to work, so between that and the rush from the Kiel traffic was gonna suck. So since none of us had to be anywhere for a few hours, we went to Union Station and walked around for a while. We got free fudge samples from the Fudge Factory (they weren't doing a fudge-making show at the time though), we stopped in an old movie memorabilia store, and we stopped in B.Dalton bookstore, and just walked past the rest that was open. Bought 3 books: Hammer of Eden by Ken Follet (he's a thriller writer I've yet to read, so I thought I'd give him a whirl since I finished Crosswinds of Time on Sunday), and Shadow of the Hegemon and Shadow Puppets by Orson Scott Card, both in the Ender's Game series. It got to be about 6pm, and it was pretty quiet there anyway, so we left and Kelly took me back to my car so I could go home. Got home about 6:30 or so and relaxed until J got home around quarter to 8.

So it was an awesome day, and 100% better than being at work, but I now have 3 and a half hours to make up in 3 days. (Thursday's the end of our two week work cycle, so I can't flex beyond Thursday.) So I got up at quarter to 6am so I could be in at 7am. Add to that, I stayed up till 12:30, mostly by accident and not keeping track of time, and I'm very tired. I'm working till my normal time today, 4:30, then as soon as I get home J and I are leaving for the 3 Doors Down concert at the Pageant, 'cause instead of having tickets in the assigned seat section (the Pageant is a bar, basically) as was specifically ordered and confirmed Ticketmaster sent our friend who ordered the tickets General Admission tickets, which means first-come, first-served. Concert's at 7:30pm, doors open at 6:30, lines start appearing 1 or 2 hours before that. So we're going to try and get down there ASAP. There's a cafe next door that will be open, so we'll try to grab dinner to eat while in line. I'm glad this isn't gonna be a slow, calm concert, 'cause otherwise I'd prob'ly fall asleep in it. ;) Should be a lotta fun though. And tomorrow I'm gonna go in at 7:30 instead of 7, stay till 5:30pm, make sure I don't take a nap, have dinner when J gets home, and be in bed by 10pm, lights out.

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Interesting places06:28 AM - Visual Thesaurus

This is the most awesome thing I've seen in a while. It's called the Visual Thesaurus. Basically, you type in a word and it connects the word visually with similar words, synonyms, antonyms, etc. with nodes, and the nodes have the actual word definitions. The whole thing kinda moves, and it's 3D (which you can turn on or off, along with a host of other prefs, in the settings menus at the top). It's amazing, really... I don't know how else to describe it. It requires Java, but it's not in Java 2 so no plugin required (though it works in Java 2 fine -- Netscape 6.2 had no problems displaying it, and it uses the plugin for Java support). Go take a look! :)

Edit: Also, be sure to take the guided tour. It explains how it works and how everything's coded, etc. to make it easier to know what you're looking at.

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Monday, February 17, 2003

Interesting places07:34 PM - Icon wars

You just gotta see this Flash animation... Icon Wars. In spite of the fact that the page seems to reference Flash 4, two browsers I tried at work that had Flash 4 didn't ever have it come up, but two browsers (Opera 7 at work, and Netscape 7 at home) that have Flash 6 have it load just fine. (Dunno about Flash 5, if there was one... don't have any browsers that have it.) Anyway... it's great for a giggle, and no scary chopped up faces or rabid animals jumping out at you at the last second. :)

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Thursday, February 13, 2003

This site02:47 PM - More funnies

Okay, that funny I posted yesterday was one I'd just gotten. Now, however, I've posted a bunch more from my list of "to post" items (which, in my work inbox at least, still contains 87 others -- gotta space 'em out!). Go here and have a laugh or three. :)

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Tuesday, February 11, 2003

This site09:59 AM - New Funny up

Just added a new Funny Forward just in time for Valentine's Day... "Not so nice Valentines". I got a giggle out of 'em, at least.

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Monday, February 10, 2003

Games & Gaming09:26 PM - Myst III Exile

I'm probably vastly behind the times, but I'm finally getting around to playing Myst III Exile out of the Myst Trilogy set I bought way before Christmas. Its far and beyond the original Myst and Riven, both in graphics and navigation. The panning you can do with your mouse is awesome. You no longer have to put the pointer above or below, check to see if it changes, and look only if it lets you. You also don't have to put your mouse to the left or right and wait for the mouse to point sideways in order to turn or turn around. You can see above or below you at any time and turn by just panning the mouse. To walk you just click on a spot you want to walk to. (It still only lets you walk in certain paths, more or less, but I consider that to be a good thing. Besides, some places it just wouldn't make sense to humanly walk to anyway, so why let you do it, or develop more complex rules as to that sort of thing.)

I have had to lean on some hints I found linked off of Game FAQs. (One of the ones, concerning the first elevator you use, is wrong in one spot though! Boy was that frustrating -- it said one thing in interpreting some notes, and the way I interpreted the notes was different. I was right.) But I have done quite a few bits myself; a couple things I missed were things that were obvious, others not so obvious.

It's definitely a LOT more involved than its predecessors; I expect it will require a lot more playing time to beat. That's good though; it means it'll keep me engaged for a while. Of course, I have to really make sure I pay attention to where I was, stopping in spots where I'm not totally in the middle of solving something, etc. Cursed poor memory. ;) But I'll get by. Just have to make sure to save at strategically easy to remember places.

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Tuesday, February 04, 2003

This site10:24 PM - In case you haven't noticed...

Unless you have images turned off, or you're using an old and buggy browser, you'll notice something different about some of my links in the main page. I now display a difference between onsite and offsite links. Onsite links look like normal, whereas offsite links (ones that are nowhere to be found on www.- or, are now marked with a tiny image immediately to their right (outside link image). Also, none of my main links open automatically in a new window. This way, your default browser's behavior still behaves as expected, and you have extra visual information as to which links you may or may not want to open in new pages (or tabs if you have them).

All the links in the Slashdot and Sophos Virus feeds still open in new windows, though I'm seriously reconsidering (and you definitely know those are outside links anyway). Also a few others do this as well, and again I'm thinking of changing that. After all, more and more webpage surfers are wanting page designers to stop doing that and to let them decide whether to open a new window, so I figure who am I to argue?

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Fun stuff10:07 PM - A couple of funny Flash animations

These two links are pretty hilarious: Color Vision Deficiency Test and Optical Illusions. Just go and see for yourself. :)

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Fun stuff09:06 AM - There is no missing picture here

I was browsing the PvP Forums this morning, and found the absolute cutest picture being used as one of the mod's avatars (I put a border around it, because it spends a short amount of time being blank):

Kitten stealing IE's red X

I'm gonna have to ask her where she found it. :)

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Monday, February 03, 2003

Technical10:36 PM - w.bloggar

Now this is what I'm talkin' about. :) I went and grabbed w.bloggar again, since it didn't work before (again, because of not having SOAP::Lite on the server side). Voila, it works. And would you believe the features... Does titles, not only does categories but pulls all the categories defined for each blog and has them as the choices (so I can't just arbitrarily type a category that may or may not exist)... very nice. I think I'll stick with this when I'm at home. (Quicker than logging onto MT, waiting for pages to load in order to post... especially with the 500 Internal Server Errors I get after most new posts, etc.)

Obviously, I'll have to do rebuilds for template editing, though even then I edit the template files themselves offline and FTP them up. But stil. I expect this will be nice.

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Technical10:12 PM - MozBlog and blogBuddy

After trying to use MozBlog (it installed in Netscape 7, which is a derivative of a high enough version of Mozilla, but it wouldn't publish), I learned enough doing that to give blogBuddy another try. It turns out there were two reasons I couldn't get it or any other Windows client to connect... first of all, SOAP::Lite needed to be installed server-side, for which I found instructions in the MovableType installation instructions. Second, I needed to reference the exact rpc file for MT (which is mt-xmlrpc.cgi), which I didn't know. I found both of those out doing a search on MovableType's support forums for MozBlog. (Documentation for these clients is sparse at best.)

In any case, I'm going to see if this works... It's evidently not going to have a title, so I may have to go back and find one of the clients that does that, but we'll see.

(P.S. It doesn't do categories either -- I'm typing this in MT instead of blogBuddy, from checking to see what it did for a title (it used the first five words) and I forgot about categories. As quick as this client is, I'm going to have to find another one that does these two things.)

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Fun stuff09:45 AM - Billy Joel & Elton John

Woo hoo! I got four tickets to see Elton John & Billy Joel when they come in on April 4. Yea! :D I got them on Saturday no more than 15 minutes after they went on sale. (I would've written this then, but it seemed rather... inappropriate given the circumstances.)

They went on sale at 10am on Saturday, and so right before 10 I started dialing Ticketmaster. For 2 or 3 minutes I kept getting that awful phone company noise (you know, the one that renders your phone ear deaf when you misdial a number that doesn't exist?) followed by a message that "all circuits were busy." A couple dozen redials later, I finally got through. After playing with the menus, somehow ending up briefly in a choice for Phish despite NOT choosing that, I managed to get to the EJ & BJ concert choices. I chose the $85 tickets, seeing as the expensive ones were $195, and there was no way I was paying for those (nor were my parents, for whom I bought the other two tickets). We got some of the best seats that price can probably buy, so it should be great. (About the only better seats were actual floor seating, which I imagine were all $195, and seating on the sides closer to the stage, which were probably also $195.)

The concert is going to be at the Savvis Center -- yes, I know Savvis is bankrupt, those of you who are long time St. Louisans will think of it as the Kiel Center. For a seating chart, go here and choose "click here to view seat locator". The seating is for "Concert End Stage", and we're in section 110, row 8, seats 5-8. Pretty damn good seats if you ask me. :)

I am so excited!! This is going to be an awesome concert, and I can't wait to go. I have a feeling I'll be queueing up all our Billy Joel and Elton John music (all CDs I or we have bought, turned into mp3s on J's computer) in Winamp during the evenings, at least during the month of March. :D

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Interesting places09:14 AM - New message board has launched

"das brunogekritzel", a replacement message forum for das brunoboarden, has officially launched. :) It is a fan message board for the daily comic strip Bruno by Chris Baldwin. The proprietor of the original board announced a couple weeks ago that he was having to close the board he was maintaining (go to the old board to find out why if you're curious). A replacement was needed, and I thought of the php board my friend wrote and provides. I was a little reluctant at first, saying I'd offer it as long as bandwidth wasn't a concern, etc. I went ahead and created it and its templates, and after getting approval from my friend I gave everyone the link.

It has grown quite a bit from there. There were some things I was asking for that he added in, but there were enough things I wanted to be able to do, that he gave me the code and said, "have fun." Oh, and I have. :D I didn't take away any options already available, and added several, managing not to break it even. A few DB fields and several lines of code later, it's even more customizable than before (for everyone who has a board, not just me).

I have it set up to look a lot like the previous board, with just a wee bit of color (the previous one was totally black and white, which fit well with the comic). Some things are different here and there, but the basics (including the coffee stain background at the bottom right corner) are there. I'm pretty proud of it, because not only was I able to provide another place for Bruno fans to congregate, but because this was a project I'd never taken on before, and I proved to myself I knew enough of programming and PHP that I could learn another person's code (it helps it was pretty well laid out and organized). It was definitely a blast, though I definitely wouldn't want to try and write my own from scratch. ;)

So go on over and visit -- the topics that Brunofiles discuss vary widely, and offer discussion on things both frivolous and weighty. Besides, then you can check out the comic, and maybe put it on your list of must-reads. :)

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Saturday, February 01, 2003

Life02:40 PM - A tragic loss

As I'm sure you've already heard by now, the space shuttle Columbia broke up this morning, around 8am CST, over Texas, just 15 minutes before it was scheduled to land. The reports are all over the news, so if this is somehow the first you've heard of it, head on over to CNN or any of your local news stations to hear the details.

This is a horrible loss for the families of the crew members, as well as the crew's extended family at NASA. My thoughts will be with them. My hope is that they find out what caused the accident and are able to correct anything necessary for future launches of other shuttles. While most people in the United States don't really think about the numerous NASA shuttle launches, no longer waiting by the TV to watch one or even noticing a launch or landing being scheduled, hopefully everyone remembers that there is an incredible risk involved every time a shuttle launches and lands, and that in spite of those risks there have been very few tragedies like this. Also, I hope everyone remembers that every astronaut that goes into space is a hero in his own right.

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