September 2004
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Archive for September, 2004

Points for Arnold

Posted in Politics on September 23rd, 2004

Being that I don’t live in California, I haven’t had much of an opinion about how ‘Herr Gropenfuhrer’ is doing as a Governor, but today I can say ‘well done!’

I heard on the news that Arnie has vetoed a bill that would allow illegal immigrants to obtain a Cali driver’s license. His reasoning behind the veto is that a DL is a gateway document that leads to other forms of ID. Much like some researchers say marijuana use leads to more serious drugs, a DL is often used as legal ID for obtaining other forms of ID, which can lead to an immigrant being granted jobs or services normally reserved for true citizens.

Arnold has quite effectively said “look at me and where I am today. I am an immigrant to this great nation, and have made it all the way to Governor. You too can work for and achieve this accomplishment, but you have to go through proper channels and procedure.

Good work, Mr. Governor.

I don’t wanna grow up

Posted in Life on September 22nd, 2004

With Pookie’s birthday coming up this weekend, it was time to do a little shopping of the fun kind. Now, like most kids, she wants something off of almost every commercial on Cartoon Network, but I really dislike most of those toys. There just doesn’t seem to be any life or creativity in them.

Just on the off chance I might find something cool for her, I went down to the local Toys-R-Us and wandered around aimlessly for almost an hour. Sure, there’s stuff in there she wants, but nothing I’d really like to get her with the exception of a big box of Legos. Fortunately, there was a better answer.

Down on Hawthorne St., just west of Noah’s Bagels is a shop called Kids At Heart Toys. It’s a little small, but they have a good selection of stuff aimed at ages infant-to-8 or so. Lots of little wooden toys, with quite a selection of miniature-house furnishings. For the older kids, they have some science toys, a fun selection of ‘spy’ gear, and even Erector sets. (Yay! I want one!) They even have a huge selection of rubber snakes :)

What I got for Pookie is even cooler. First, I had to get her another marble race set – this one has plastic tube pieces that snap together with two spiral ramps and a vortex. She already has a wooden set, but she has a hard time with it because she knocks it around too much. Pookie can’t exactly sit still, y’know. This one should stay together for her.

I also got her a cool book of velvet marker drawings with a zipper-pouch of markers. The whole thing is spiral-bound, so she can take it with her and do it in the car or back-and-forth between here and her mom’s house. Having the velvet will help her get a better handle on her coordination, I think, and she loves to draw and color.

The best part about this shop though is the staff of friendly folks who are amazing gift-wrappers. I’m no slouch in the wrapping department, but these gals can do wonders with handmade ribbon bows. It’s almost a shame to open them up! The wrapping is free, but drop a couple bucks in the tip jar, folks – we should all support the arts where we find them :)


Posted in Geekery on September 21st, 2004

Few things drive me more batty than boredom. Here’s some of the results of my attempt to thwart it:

Friday the 17th, I received 161 hits, most of them in the 7am hour. No idea why, I haven’t downloaded the raw logs yet. The previous Wednesday, however, I got hardly anything. I am still baffled about why nobody ever posts a comment to this blog with all the traffic it gets.

Ego-surfing can find some strange things indeed – my post regarding swapping out washing machines showed up on an appliances website. Posts I made to a play-by-post Cyberpunk game in 2001 still show up. The scary thing is, someone has taken the time to condense all of those posts into a sort of narrative, proving that there are folks out there who outstrip my nerdiness.

But not by much. I spent 20 minutes doing algebra in an effort to plan the improvements to an RPG character. And let’s face it – I did go ego-surfing, after all. In my garage. On a wireless laptop. That I left running all day so I wouldn’t have to wait for it to boot.

I lose 9 out of 10 games of solitaire, and 5 out of 7 games of mahjong. I do pretty good at Klickety, though.

While installing a wireless network for a customer this morning, I realized that every time I have done this, I have found an unprotected wireless network nearby. Usually, it’s a Linksys. And people wonder how identity theft can be so easy.

Which reminds me, I need to call that cop back.

And get some sleep.

Pardon the dust

Posted in Geekery on September 20th, 2004

Just went through and upgraded my WordPress install from 1.0.2 to 1.2 – there may have been a couple things I missed, so please let me know if something doesn’t work.

New to the site is the pop-up comments form – no more whole-new-page crap. I even managed to make it look purty :) Oh, there’s another thing: no more smiliey graphics. It turns out I prefer the text kind.

Here comes Trouble

Posted in Life on September 19th, 2004

Today I bring to you the newest resident here at Chez Wolfie: Trouble, A.K.A. Bob Cat. At least, that’s what we’re calling him until Ratboy comes up with a better name, and it kinda fits due to his ears and the look he gets on his face when you piss him off.
Say ‘mouse!’

Zoe the Monster isn’t too pleased to have him around yet – she’s doing the territorial thing and hisses at him whenever he’s in sight. This doesn’t seem to bother him much, he just keeps on about his business.

Oh – if you plan on coming over to visit him, I don’t suggest sitting on the far left side of the futon. That’s prime runway space apparently, and he doesn’t care if you’re sitting there or not when he blazes through at just short of lightspeed. I have the wounds to prove this.

Be thankful I am not Emperor…

Posted in Humor on September 17th, 2004

I was talking with my girl earlier today about how sex can be a powerful motivation, and the Dark Side came out:

Well, sex is illegal with anyone younger than 18 if you yourself are over 18. So how do we motivate todays youth to do better in school?

Pass a law requiring libido-inhibitors in all minors, removable only after a diploma is awarded. The inhibitors would have to be designed to prevent only climax, though, so they still have the desire for sex and know that the sensations are enjoyable, but inevitably lead to frustration since they can’t finish.

Damn, I’m evil!

New USB standard?

Posted in Geekery on September 17th, 2004

PBS’s I, Cringely wrote about how he feels the new USB standard Redmond is pushing will likely include hardware security controls that are designed to work in correlation with Windows Longhorn, and coupled with that, the new MS strategy for a BIOS-less mobo, thus making it useless while running Linux or possibly even MacOS. They have done it in the past, and much of what he says is true. He forgets one very important thing though: whatever can be done, can be undone.

I’m not saying it won’t be a pain in the ass; my own struggle with ATI drivers attests to the problems of running Linux in a Windows-oriented world. The fact is, though, that I did manage to get them working. Anything is possible if you put the rights heads together on a problem, and some of the brightest people in the world are Linux enthusiasts who take great joy in subverting Bill Gates’ dream of a computing world he controls.

On top of that, it is far more difficult to make something secure than it is to bypass those securities – it’s a simple fact of engineering. Take a look at your car: it has an ignition key lock that costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $60 to replace and locks on the door of a similar nature, but the doors can be openned with a simple piece of flat metal and the car started by simply bridging a couple of wires under the dash and kicking the wheel to break the turn-lock. Hell, I once stunned a frined of mine by bypassing his $7,000 home-security syatsm with a piece of wire and two alligator clips.

Now, the examples I just gave you are examples of illegal behavior. While Microsoft and it’s partners would like you to think so, using a device or tool for something other than it’s intended purpose is NOT inherently illegal – it’s the how you use it that may be illegal. Using a VCR to record a show for later playback is not illegal, it’s the distribution of that copy that gets you in trouble. What we’re talking about here is using a device for it’s intended purpose, just not in a way that MS & Co approve of.

It’s like using a pair of pliers to pound a nail. Is it the easiest way to do that? No. Will it work? Yup. Is it illegal? Get real.

Ok, so maybe it wasn’t a complete waste…

Posted in Work on September 16th, 2004

The other day I ranted about how the Job Fair was such a wash, but I may have been slightly ahead of myself. While looking through some of the documentation, I noticed a listing for the local cable conglomerate, and realized I hadn’t checked their job board in a couple of weeks. Lo and behold, their were four positions I qualify for! A single Level I (installer), and three Level III (Internet installer) positions.

Since my last job entailed mainly re-selling their feed to my own customers, I have tons of experience with their stuff, so I hopped on those spots post haste. Basically, they could hire me and put me in a truck the same day with no training, so I’m feeling prety good about my chances.

On the other side of things, my roomie was able to point me in the direction of some work setting up a home network for one of his co-workers which is always nice. As a matter of fact, I get to go shopping tomorrow for his equipment. I love spending other people’s money :)

I got all dressed up for this?

Posted in Work on September 15th, 2004

Those of you that know me know that I’m all about efficiency and appropriate use of time. I hate doing things that take longer than they should, or jumping through a bunch of unnecessary hoops.

A couple weeks ago, I started seeing advertisements for a job fair being held today, where several companies I would like to work for would be recruiting. The website recommended business dress and “bring lots of resumes!” I was quite happy to see this, since I have spent the last several months looking for work and being frustrated by all the “email your resume here” application processes. Sure, it takes less time to email a resume, but I always do better face-to-face. Up until now, I have gotten every job I have ever interviewed for, so I was really looking forward to a chance to actually talk to a recruiter.

So this morning I got up early, actually put on my slacks and my best shirt and caught the MAX out to the World Forestry Center with a big stack o’ resumes in hand. What did I find? Fifteen tables of bright-eyed PR types handing out sheets of paper with the companies’ opennings and a URL on them. “Here’s what we’re looking for, go to our website to apply.”

“Excuse me?! Let me get this straight: you’ve been advertising for open positions on things like the Unemployment Office website with open positions and instructions of ‘come to the job fair to talk to a recruiter’ for the past two weeks, and now that I’m all the way out here you’re telling me to apply online?”

“Well, yes.”

“So there’s really nothing you can do for me here today.”

“We have mints!”

Thanks. Be a good little girl and go fuck yourself now. Be sure to send me the video so I can at least sell it.

Trouble in Troutdale

Posted in Life on September 14th, 2004

On the backpack front, I finally managed to get ahold of that cop who called. She had been off for a couple days, so didn’t have all the specifics right at hand, but apparently a woman was at least seen trying to pass some of the stolen checks.

Thinking back on it now, when I went out to the car the morning the pack was stolen, there was a grey-haired woman standing on the sidewalk waiting for her ride near my car, and I vaguely remember seeing a backpack on her, but can’t quite recall. It would be just my luck that she was standing right there in front of me with my bag and I was too oblivious to notice. I’ll have to call that cop back again later this week to see what’s up.