Wednesday, September 17, 2008

State Constitutions

I just found out that some states may have had more than one Constitution. I'm not sure why this surprises me, but I guess I also figured that if a constitution needed to be changed, it could always be amended. But, now that I think about it, the U.S. went from the Articles of Confederation to the U.S. Constitution, so it shouldn't be that surprising.

It does show that you can learn something new every day.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Next Version of Windows?

I haven't been hearing nice things about Windows Vista. It's a resource hog and doesn't work as well XP, and why would anyone want to upgrade to something that is not as good as what we already have? Not to mention (unless this has changed), Vista was requiring an "always-on" internet connection to validate your use of it. If you have to leave your TV on all the time, then it would be just like George Orwell's 1984.

It seems that some companies are trying to entice companies to try something else. IBM, Red Hat, Novell, and Canonical are working together to come up with a Microsoft-free package that will be less expensive than Vista.

Check it out here at Techtarget.com: IBM, Friends Push 'Microsoft-free' World

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Love...Is a Wonderful Thing....

Everyone has seen shows and heard about how being in love makes you feel. Sure, when you're a kid and life is big and confusing and emotions are new and confusing and the world is so unfair and confusing and you're just confused and don't know what to do or how you feel or-

Wait.

It seems that in order to be truly safe, if you are experiencing the symptoms of "love", you better head on over to your doctor (or the free clinic), and get yourself checked. That's right, it might not be love at all, but one of ten diseases which could be mistaken for love.

Courtesy of the Office of Strategic Influence blog.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wi-Fi Joins the Mile High Club

Delta will be offering internet service soon for it's flying passengers, making all that pesky sleep and readin time much more productive. I think it's great that technology is finally catching up to what we expect it to do.

On the other hand, what will happen when a passenger starts looking at websites that offend their fellow passenger, or airline employees? Will it be banned, blocked or censored by the airline, although a customer is paying for the right to access whatever content they desire on the internet? Although most people would find it embarrasing to access pornographic websites in public, at some point someone will do so if only to test the system.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Music

I am what's known as "musically illiterate", in that I am highly unfamiliar with bands, band members, song names, etc. I will sometimes remember (and definitely misremember) song lyrics, and I can generally tell if I like a song or not, but that’s about it.

In the interest of trying to enjoy music more, I’ve been looking out for new music that I like or might like. Since the mainstream stuff is repeated ad nauseum on the radio, I usually am looking for music that is off the beaten path. Don’t get me wrong, I like that Rockstar song and the Delilah song, but most of them just get annoying after the 100th time it’s played.

I am a fan of the “classic rock” genre, and the kids have me listening to the “kiddie pop” on Radio Disney, but I’m looking for something more recent. While that may not work out, exactly, I figure I’ll address music with at least one blog post.

He hasn’t released a full CD yet, but is working on it. For now, I listen to Freddy on the Kidd Kraddick morning show. His songs tell stories, and I like my songs to do that. He’s got a single out, but iTunes and Quicktime annoyed me last time I downloaded it, so I’m just gonna wait for now. You can hear Freddy's songs on his website, and I think he will only get better.

Kidd also had a guest band that was not generally known, but happened to be in Bermuda when they were doing the show there. After hearing the song they played, I looked them up. They’ve come a ways since then, but I’m still waiting for them to put out a regular type CD also. They are called I Nine and are based out of South Carolina. They have also released some songs to iTunes, but until the CD, you can listen to them here.

Also, as soon as I have the time and actually do it, I’m going to get the soundtrack from the movie Juno. While teenage pregnancy is not one of my favorite topics being a dad and all, I liked most of the songs when I watched the movie. You can download the album (together or song-by-song) from Amazon, which also has a 30 second preview of each one, or just buy the CD.

On the little more adult side, the music from the new(!) Harold & Kumar movie has some funny songs. Being a huge Weird Al Yankovic fan (finally saw him in concert last year, and yes, I bought the T-Shirt), I always appreciate funny songs. So while the material is not suitable for children, it’s on my list to get…eventually.

So, that’s my attempts to “update” my musical inclinations. I’ll post again when I find more.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Man Takes Over San Francisco Computer Network

Sounds like a movie waiting to happen. Apparently the network administrator for San Francisco's new wireless Wide-Area-Network has decided to lock out all of the other administrators. He refuses to give up the password, thereby making the entire network his own private domain.

It doesn't appear that users are locked out, so the city isn't shutting down or anything. But, it can't be accessed for admin purposes.

It's not taking over all the computers in the world ala Stormbreaker, but it's a start.

"This network is mine!!!"

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Electric Car Four in Four Years

Tesla is saying they will have an ell-electric car inside of 4 years, as battery technology improves and the costs of parts decrease. They are also talking of it costing under $30,000.

If you compare that to what's available now, it's either a motorcyle-type electric car that can barely go 20 miles, or some kind of sports car that tops in at over $100,000.

We'll see.

Future of Space Exploration

I'm a big fan of continued space exploration, and of the technological benefits that the industry brings to people. It looks like Popular Mechanics has published an article about the Future of Space.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How Movies Affect the Brain

ScienceDaily (Jun. 9, 2008) — Using advanced functional imaging methods, New York University neuroscientists have found that certain motion pictures can exert considerable control over brain activity. Moreover, the impact of films varies according to movie content, editing, and directing style. Because the study, which appears in Projections: The Journal for Movies and Mind, offers a quantitative neuroscientific assessment of the impact of different styles of filmmaking on viewers' brains, it may serve as a valuable method for the film industry to better assess its products and offer a new method for exploring how the brain works.

The study's authors are: Uri Hasson, Barbara Knappmeyer, Nava Rubin, and David Heeger, who hold appointments in NYU's Department of Psychology and Center for Neural Science, as well as Ohad Landesman, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Cinema Studies at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, and Ignacio Vallines, a research scientist at the University of Munich.
The researchers relied on two methodological tools in their study: functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and inter-subject correlation (ISC) analysis. fMRI utilizes a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner--like that routinely used for clinical evaluation of human anatomy. But it is reprogrammed to get a time-series of three-dimensional images of brain activity. In a typical fMRI experiment, a time-series of brain activity images is collected while a stimulus or cognitive task is varied. ISC analysis is employed to measure similarities in brain activity across viewers--in this case, it compared the response in each brain region from one viewer to the response in the same brain region from other viewers. Because all viewers were exposed to the same films, computing ISC on a region-by-region basis identified brain regions in which the responses were similar across viewers.

"In cinema, some films lead most viewers through a similar sequence of perceptual, emotional, and cognitive states," the researchers wrote. "Such a tight grip on viewers' minds will be reflected in the similarity of the brain activity--or high ISC--across most viewers. By contrast, other films exert--either intentionally or unintentionally--less control over viewers' responses during movie watching. In such cases we expect that there will be less control over viewers' brain activity, resulting in low ISC."

To stimulate subjects' brain activity, the researchers showed them three motion picture clips: thirty minutes of Sergio Leone's "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"; an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents "Bang! You're Dead"; and an episode of Larry David's "Curb Your Enthusiasm." To establish a baseline, subjects viewed a clip of unstructured reality: a 10-minute, unedited, one-shot video filmed during a concert in New York City's Washington Square Park.
The results showed that ISC of responses in subjects' neocortex--the portion of the brain responsible for perception and cognition--differed across the four movies:
The Hitchcock episode evoked similar responses across all viewers in over 65 percent of the neocortex, indicating a high level of control on viewers' minds;
High ISC was also extensive (45 percent) for "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly";
Lower ISC was recorded for "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (18 percent) and for the Washington Square Park, or unstructured reality, clip (less than 5 percent)
"Our data suggest that achieving a tight control over viewers' brains during a movie requires, in most cases, intentional construction of the film's sequence through aesthetic means," the researchers wrote. "The fact that Hitchcock was able to orchestrate the responses of so many different brain regions, turning them on and off at the same time across all viewers, may provide neuroscientific evidence for his notoriously famous ability to master and manipulate viewers' minds. Hitchcock often liked to tell interviewers that for him 'creation is based on an exact science of audience reactions.' "

However, the researchers emphasized that low and high ISC does not necessarily imply that the viewers were not attentive to or not engaged with the events in those films.
"ISC measures only the ability of the filmmaker to evoke similar responses across all viewers," they wrote. "Similar brain activity across viewers, or high ISC, can be taken as an indication that all viewers process and perceive the movie in a similar manner. Variability in the brain activity across viewers--that is, low ISC--can be due to either a less engaged processing of the incoming information, which occurs when daydreaming, or due to an intensely engaged but variable processing of a movie sequence."
For example, they add, an art film may demand an intense intellectual effort from viewers that differs from one viewer to the next, resulting in differences in neural activity.

Apart from the findings, the study points to a new method--inter-subject correlation (ISC) of brain activity--for measuring the effect of films on viewers' minds, which may pave the way to an innovative approach the researchers label "neurocinematic" studies. While they add that a cognitive science analysis of film is not new, functional imaging methods may be of use to both film theorists and the film industry by providing a quantitative, neuroscientific assessment of viewers' engagement with a film.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080606105432.htm

New York University (2008, June 9). Film Content, Editing, And Directing Style Affect Brain Activity, Neuroscientists Show. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 11, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2008/06/080606105432.htm

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

How to Be Cool

On the way home from school, I was talking to Bianca and the subject of earrings and ear piercing came up. I told her the story about how her uncle pierced his own ear, and that he did it in a way that didn't hurt. Bianca then told me that I should get my ear pierced. I brought up the alternative of maybe peircing my eyebrow, lip, or nose.

No, if I got my ear pierced, I would be cool.

Anything else and I would not be cool.

Staying uncool for now.....

Monday, April 7, 2008

Northwest Response

In the interest of balance, the response from Northwest.

Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding your recent trip to
Albany. On behalf of everyone at Northwest Airlines, I sincerely
apologize for the inconvenience that was caused when you checked in for
your flight online and did not print your boarding passes.

We appreciate your comments regarding the lack of service you
experienced from our agents when you appeared at check in without your
boarding passes. After reading your remarks, I certainly understand why
you wanted to bring this matter to our attention.

I am sorry that in this instance you did not receive the service you
expected and should have received from our ticket counter employees, as
we expect our employees to be helpful and professional at all times.
Please know that I will be sharing your comments with our Customer
Service and Airport Operations leadership team for internal follow up.
Thank you for taking the time to share this disappointing experience
with us.

For future reference, since boarding passes are issued when you check in
online, it is a good idea to have a printer available to print them.

I hope I have been able to address any concerns you have about your
trip. Your business is important to us and given the opportunity of
serving you in the future, I am confident Northwest will not only meet
but exceed your expectations.

Sincerely,

Carl Tast
Customer Care
Northwest/KLM Airlines

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Flight to Albany

My friend Becky had a wonderful travel experience. Since it was fun to read, thought I'd post it here.


Subject: My Friday adventure to Albany thanks to Northwest Airlines

There’s something about Albany and weekend trips for me. I had a travel adventure on a biz trip from Albany to Columbus, Ohio when I lived in Lake Placid, but that was weather related.

This is the story of two Northwest Airlines female employees who turned my travel day from what was suppose to be a 1 connection approximate 9 ½ hour total trip time from my door to my hotel room in Albany----which would have allowed me to be in hotel room at about 3 p.m. central time, with time to relax, check work e-mail and have a good dinner with our presenter at this conference, and then have a nice evening with my friend Lorraine who was coming down from Lake Placid to visit me around 9 p.m.-----into the adventure described below.

Dear Diary,
Beginning Friday, March 28, 6 a.m. CT

Yeh, I’m so excited. It’s early, but I am actually packed and have some time before I get ready and leave for my 8:22 flight on Northwest to Detroit and then on another Northwest flight to Albany. I’m looking forward to this trip and meeting our presenter Dr. Toya Wyatt in person and checking out this conference. I am especially excited about going back to Albany because my friend Lorraine is going to come down from Lake Placid for the weekend and I haven’t seen her for nearly four years. Last night I went on Northwest’s website to check in. I changed my seats online, but I don’t have a printer at home so I couldn’t print out my boarding passes so I just closed out the website.

It is 7a.m.ish and I’m headed to the airport 15 minutes from my apartment. Darn construction I think as I get turned around with the barriers by the airport and have to exit the airport and turn back around. No problem it’s only 7:20 something. Well I park and get to the terminal and go to the self service kiosk to print out my boarding passes. Kiosk tells me I must see an agent. So I get in line behind the two people who were ahead of me----no worries. I approach incompetent NWA female #1. I hand her my itinerary and state the kiosk said I needed to see an agent. Incompetent female employee #2, who later claims she is the supervisor, is doing something else. These are the only two NWA employees around and no one is behind me in line to see either incompetent. It is after all the San Antonio airport hardly if ever a hotbed of activities or lines.

7:40ish (Not quite verbatim, but pretty darn close)

#1 “My records show you already checked in last night on the web so you can just check your bag.”

Me “I need my boarding passes though.”

#1 “You checked in already and changed your seats.”

Me “Yes, I did change my seats but I don’t have a printer at home so I couldn’t print my boarding passes so I just closed out of the web site after changing my seats.”

#1 “I am showing you seated in 8A from San Antonio to Detroit.”

Me “Yes, I believe that is correct. I think that is what I changed my seat to.”

#1 “Well, will just check your bag and then you can go.”

Me “I still need my boarding passes.”

#1 “It says you already checked in.”

Me (Still not quite angry) “Ma’am, like I said I checked in at home, but I couldn’t print my boarding passes because I don’t have a printer at home.”

#1 leaves and gets #2. I go through the same thing with #2 while #1 stands next to her.

But when #2 says “It shows you are seated in 8A and checked in online.” (I got a bit sarcastic)

Me “I would like to be seated in seat 8A, but I am not currently seated in Seat 8A, I am standing in front of you asking for boarding passes so I can be seated in seat 8A.”

#2 “But you already checked in.”

Me “But I need my boarding passes. Can’t you just print them?”

#2 “I can’t.”

Me “Why?”

#2 “It’s 7:54 now.”

Me “And?”

#2 “Well it closes 30 minutes before flight time and now it’s only 28 minutes til flight time.”

At this point I start looking for Candid Camera.

Me “But I have been here.”

#2 “You have a bag to check and it has to be checked 30 minutes prior.”

Me “As you can see it’s not that big it’s just a duffel. Can I carry it on?”

#2 “Does it have liquids in it”

Me “Yes, but I will take them out and just buy new stuff in Albany if you will please give me boarding passes and let me on the plane.”

#2 “It’s too late now anyway.”

Me “I need to speak to the supervisor.”

#2 “I am the supervisor, if you’re not content you can call Northwest’s 800 Customer Service number.”

Me “I need to get to Albany today, can you just put me on the next flight.”

#2 “We have nothing available.”

Me “You didn’t even check. You just know that?”

#2 types on her computer for maybe 30 seconds and then says---“Nothing today or tomorrow.” Then she looks at my itinerary and says well your ticket was booked through our partner Continental so you need to go see them.

I’m just dumbfounded and ticked at this point, but know that #1 and #2 obviously aren’t going to help me with squat. And now it is 8:05 and still no one had been in line to see #1 or #2 behind me.

So I gather my “check” bag and my two carry-on bags and walk over to Continental in Terminal 2. There’s no line there---at least when I got there---so I walk up to Kevin Continental. I tell him what happened with NWA #1 and 2 and he asks “Why didn’t they just print you new boarding passes?”

I said I have no idea. They just kept telling me I was already checked in, yada, yada, yada. So bless his heart, Kevin was great and shared in my frustrations because when he called NWA people to take control of my ticket it took to the fourth person to get someone to release me from Seat 8A.

I just started laughing because Kevin said almost the same thing I said to NWA #2 when he was talking to his NWA #3 representative.

Kevin “She is not in Seat 8A on the flight to Detroit, she is right here in front of me.”

So I was with Kevin for 50 minutes before NWA finally let go and let him take control of my ticket out of San Antonio. Meanwhile, a long line actually formed at Continental because one of their earlier flights was delayed so self-service check-in was not available. So finally, Kevin is able to give me an itinerary to get me to Albany on Friday, but not til 9:15 p.m., but oh by the way, even though he tried hard, 151.00 more added to the fare I already purchased because I will have to go through Houston and have three flights to get there instead of two. He told me to make sure that I included that information in my complaint letter to NWA, which I assured him I would do.

So finally, it’s 9 something in the morning and I have three boarding passes. SA to Houston, about a two hour layover and then Houston to Newark and another two hour layover before my short flight from Newark to Albany takes off at 8:05 ET and arrives in Albany at 9:14.

SA to Houston, no problem, get some lunch---hop on the flight to Newark. I’m calmed down by then. I had already talked to my friend Lorraine and told her the morning’s event’s but would still be getting to Albany about the same time as she was. Flight to Newark was fine. Big plane with the little TV Screens in the chairs so you can watch movies, TV episodes, or play games.

Get off the plane at Newark and look at the Departures screen and see my 8:05 to Albany is delayed until 10:30. Mood swing. Go outside and have a couple of smokes (cold, but somewhat refreshing as a long day wake up). Nancy calls me to let me know that she has contacted Toya to let her know that I won’t be able to take her out to dinner tonight.

Go back inside to the Continental Elite access agents. I’m not in that program, but they weren’t busy so I walked up to one of the ladies and just said----“I’m not elite, but it has been a day, can I just ask you a question”----gave her my Albany boarding pass and asked if she could check whether the delay to 10:30 was weather or mechanical. She came back it is delayed until 11:40 and pending cancellation due to high winds and some snow.

Then I found out there wasn’t an early morning flight out of Newark to Albany on Continental anyway to get me there in time for the conference and Toya’s presentation. Plus, I was already locked into the hotel in Albany so couldn’t cancel that. So off on the airport train (TRAM) to the rental cars. While I was on the train, it hit me that I had told the hotel that I would check-in with my CC in person before Jeremy who was taping Toya’s presentation on Saturday, so knowing now that I would arrive after him and he’s checking in on my Corporate Card called the hotel to make sure they would let him check-in ahead of me arriving. Yeh, no problems there.

So it is 7 something eastern time when I get to National to rent a vehicle to get to Albany. They give me a Chevy SUV at a regular car rate (but still expensive) because they need to get it back up North anyway. So the girl gives me the keys and just tells me to go outside and hit the unlock button to find it. Well, I’m not finding it. Large airport, lots of rental vehicles. So finally find a worker outside to find it for me. He brings it up. Just says here you go. And of course he’s about 6’4”, so I spend a couple of minutes trying to figure out how to move the seat closer. Got the recline positions down all well before I finally found the button that moved my feet to the pedals.

Got a phone call from Lorraine she was about 1 ½ hours away from Albany but driving thru some pretty heavy snow. I had about a three hour drive. Insisted on a map and directions from National to get me headed the right way from the airport up North.

They didn’t tell me at National that the reason they wanted to get the SUV back closer up North was that it was from Ontario. So after I got my seat adjusted I get on the Parkway and I look down and it says I’m doing 80 plus. OOPs Canadian vehicle, those are kilometers. I figured that out pretty quickly. Did the New Jersey thing just fine with the tolls and all. Was so happy when I hit the NY state line.

I was thinking from my memory of living in upstate NY that Interstate 87 was just that an Interstate, but it is a toll way too, and especially a funky little transition from NJ to NY. In NJ, most lanes are EZPass but I managed to find the usually wide right lane changes to find the cash booths. I didn’t mean to, but I went past a toll in NY in their EZPass lanes, but it was all confusing. Thought I was in the right place. At the time, however, I was convinced as I passed the very visible “Violators will be Prosecuted” sign that I would have lights flashing behind me on a .70 cent toll. Lorraine told me later though, that I will get a ticket in the mail for that.

So then I’m driving in NY for a while and stop at one of the travel rest stops because I know I won’t get my checked bag to Albany until sometime Saturday at the earliest and get some hygiene necessities that were in my checked bag. Get back on the road and by this time traffic is pretty light. I never figured out how to control the passenger side mirror, but I am cruising a long and the rear view mirror was like on the night vision tint but I wanted to set it on regular vision. Didn’t know how to do that, but there were buttons under the mirror so I hit one.

Beeps went off---and then suddenly---“OnStar what’s your emergency?”

“I’m sorry. Nothing. I’m driving a rental car and thought this button would change my rear view mirror.”

Okay Beck. Don’t touch stuff. Just keep driving. 40 miles or so from Albany. Thinking I’ll be at the hotel by 10:30----making good time in KMs and MPHs. Prior to OnStar emergency, I thought I was turning on the overhead light and instead opened the sun roof. Cold.

25 miles from Albany, hello wind and snow. Not too bad on snow but I haven’t driven it in years. Wind gusts yes. But I manage, and I am getting closer to Albany and there’s no traffic so I turn on the overhead light instead of opening the sunroof to take a look at my hotel address. Doesn’t help me much with which exit to take. Put the itinerary down and suddenly some sort of feline species is in front of me on the road. I swerve and brake and the damn thing runs right back in front of my path. I think it was a feral cat. It was big. Certainly wasn’t pleasant. It upset me. Whatever it was it could have made it across two lanes when I braked and swerved if it wouldn’t have froze and then turned around and ran back right in front of me.

At the same time though, I was grateful that they needed a 4 x4 SUV taken back up north over a compact car. I wonder if the swerve and braking attempts I made in the SUV in the slight snow would have landed me in a ditch in a compact.

So I drive about another 10 miles, much slower as the snow has picked up, and I call regular “OnStar” on the rear view mirror to get directions. The nice lady told me what road I needed to get on to get to the hotel, but she couldn’t tell me which exit number.

So I am directionally challenged and end up missing the right exit----but it is confusing around there. So I am on some road in Albany and call regular “OnStar” again and they tell me I would have to upgrade for more directions. I finally find a nice man at a gas station to give me good directions. So my adventure that began at 6 a.m. CT finally ended at 11:15 ET when I got to the hotel and checked in.

I love Northwest Airlines! Thankfully, I was booked on American for my trip home on Sunday and got into Chicago early and then to San Antonio early too.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Gary Gygax dies at age 69

In 1981, when I was about 10 years old, my friend Bert came over to the house with a "game". It was a box full of rulebooks, dice, and a "module". What kind of weird game was this? Where's the board?
"Read it. Then you make a character, then we can play."
I like to read, so why not?
That was the Dungeons and Dragons Basic Set, and it just got better from there.

The man who made all of this possible passed away Tuesday, March 3, 2008. Ernest Gary Gygax (officially the co-creator, but c'mon now- no offense Dave), the guy who invented Dungeons and Dragons, died.

This brings up bittersweet memories. Sadness over his death, because he brought something to the world that made the world a bigger, brighter place. And good memories, because of all the times I played with my friends. We would draw detailed maps, craft wicked puzzles, and create the most unoriginal characters ever imagined. When Hercules the fighter died at 100th level, his son Hercules II leapt up to take up the mantle of Strongest Guy In The Party. Whole worlds were made, and then taken over, merely for the enjoyment and amusement of my imaginary characters. But it was all right. They ruled fairly, but with an iron fist if needed. And when playing on paper became too much, we would hoof it out to the empty field near the house, uproot some giant willows, and proceed to beat the snot out of each other (while avoiding the giant hole we dug for the never-completed bomb shelter) until we were tired enough to go back inside. When it snowed, it was humans versus the orcs for giant snowball fights, even if the other kids didn't realize they were humans or orcs when they joined us. And every book published was a reason to save up our money until we could run down to the model train store and buy it.

Then, as I got older and moved, I met new friends to explore new worlds with. We played often, enjoying ourselves on weekends instead of watching TV or sleeping. When we got old enough to drive, we would go to movies and such, but when all of the normal hanging out was over, it was off to slay ogres and sneak into castles. We met different people with different playing styles, some of which matched ours while some didn't. We played other role playing and board games, but always seem to, in the end, compare them to the granddaddy of them all, D&D.

As more demands were made on our time, and we grew older and started having families, we played less often. The games were more complex, and rules seemed more important, until it almost wasn't worth the effort to get together. Why should we, when there was.....online gaming!?! Ultima Online, where you could see your character, be your character, and travel the world fighting monsters and *gasp* EACH OTHER! This was hardly ever allowed with friends, and highly discouraged even then. But, you don't know these people....so let's kill them!!

Now, I hear that D&D is preparing for the release of the 4th edition. I don't have time to play anymore, what with the kids and all, but I surely do miss it. I'll buy the latest version to keep up with the rules, and be prepared on the off-chance that a bandit camp needs infiltrating or a princess needs rescuing, and I am called out of semi-retirement to aid in the adventure. But, until then, I have my memories of epic quests, grand battles, and ruthless mages to keep my imagination fueled up and ready to go.

Thank you, Gary.

Rest In Peace.


http://www.newsweek.com/id/119782/page/1

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hometown Hero

I was discussing the upcoming Fiesta event with Carmen, and she mentioned the sniper from "a few years back". Now I don't generally keep up with local news as well as I should, but I think I would have remembered a sniper during the city's major parade event.

A little research later and I found the story of Ira Attebury, who shot people during the 1979 Fiesta.

Well, recently (the 12th of this year), James Middleton, a police officer at the time of the shooting, was honored for his part in stopping Attebury.


Thank you Mr. Middleton.

"Anybody would have done the same thing. I was just the first one there." -James Middleton, Hero



Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Uncle Jay Explains the News- Welcome!

Finally, I no longer have to try and understand the torrent of news coming from all over the place. Good old Uncle Jay explains it all for us.

Luckily, we can start with a 2007 recap and then stay current from now on.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Genetics and Cats

Olivia recently went to a Build-A-Bear thing for a birthday party. She ended up with a stuffed pink cat which she named Gabriella. I mentioned that we already had 2 cats, and Olivia pointed out that Gabriella was a girl cat.
So then came the hypotheticals- what if Julius met Gabriella?

Olivia pointed out they could get married and have baby kittens. Well, since one cat is real and the other is not, I was intrigued by the possibilties, and intrigued by what the 6 year old thinks. So I asked her that if they had four kittens, what would they look like?

"Two would be pink, because Gabriella is pink, and 2 would be grey and white, because Julius is grey and white."

Hmmm. Ok, what if they were 5 kittens?

"Two would be pink, because Gabriella is pink, and 2 would be grey and white, because Julius is grey and white."

I asked bout the last, unmentioned kitten.

"Well, it would be pink on one side, and grey and white on the other. The pink side would be like Gabriella, and the other side would be like Julius."

So, we now finally have the answer to the stuffed cat/ real cat starcrossed lovers dilemma.
Although I was only picturing how half an animal melded into half a stuffed animal would live, live it would.

Boy, I sure love my kids.