Sunday, November 30, 2008

Crazy Television

I was watching some stupid cable show with my wife today and there was a clip that I had to look up about garbage floating around in the ocean and forming small islands (plastic mostly). It lead me to a web site which has fascinated me into the early hours of the morning.

This web site has a lot of small clips that connect together to form a show. It's a nice style of documentary film making that appeals to people with short attention spans - and advertisers. The ad's are pretty unobtrusive since you can skip them at will and they only play at the beginning of a show.

Check out the videos about North Korea, and Eel Sex while you are there.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Detroit's Built the 6000 SUX

Remember the newest "luxury car" to come out of Detroit in the movie Robocop? It was intended to parody what would happen in the future when the "big three" would turn away from the short-lived compact cars of the 1980's. Unfortunately, this ad is too true to be funny.

Boasting under 9 miles to the gallon, the 6000 SUX was "An American Tradition". It came to us in the form of SUV's.

This is why you're broke Detroit. You can't always give the people "what they want". Sometimes people are stupid - and you have to give them better options.

We are not going to change American automotive with money alone. You need a regime turnover. As a smart co-worker once told me "people don't change, which is why you change the people involved". It's a fact of business. When business fails, you throw out the CEO and try something new. Why haven't the shareholders at GM done this?

Give the gift of *GIVING*
This Thanksgiving, why not give thanks to your country by volunteering? The Obama-Biden Transition Team is asking for volunteers for a new program in which you can serve your country and your people - right here at home. New programs are being created to improve our schools, health care, clean energy, and veteran programs.

By helping out you may be rewarded with $4k in college tuition.

Sign up now - and be the first to know about upcoming programs and events. I did.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

FIX MY HEALTHCARE! (or at least let me complain about it)

I stopped by earlier and stumbled upon a great discussion on health care by regular people. You have elderly folks, nurses, health care providers, etc. all jumping in and laying down their concerns and suggestions.

While there is probably more complaining than anything else ... there have also been some good recommendations and suggestions. For that matter, mere observations have really impressed me. As someone who works in health care, I wonder how many people realize just how badly health care providers are being TOTALLY MILKED by corporate piggies (the drug companies, insurance "providers", and even technology vendors). By reading some of these comments I can see that there are a lot of people out there who know full well that we are being taken advantage of.

This is a really good start. Keep talking folks.

Sadly, they grow up. :-(

The night before last I had crawled into bed and fallen asleep for about 5 minutes before getting a call from the hospital. The operator declared that the sky was falling because "all the computers were going black". By "all" she meant two. And the solution was to reboot one, and shake the mouse on the other. Grrr. Then I couldn't go back to sleep. I was up until midnight.

Then last night I put on football - and about 30 minutes later I entered a deep coma. This slumber would not be interrupted because I was finally off of my on-call duty. I slept so hard. I had one of those deep, colorful dreams that can only exist in a state of total REM.

I dreamed that my daughter was a toddler again. A short, stubby, fat little baby. She was sitting on my lap, and I was lifting her up and letting her flail her arms around. She giggled and flopped around. And I rubbed her soft bald little head.

When I woke up I just wanted to cry. It was a nice sentiment. A throwback buried away in the back of my brain. It was so sweet and yet so sad. I think I must have gone to sleep thinking "my kids are all grown up".

I guess you never forget the way your kids were at that age.

My mother recently told me a story about my grandfather. As he went senile, he would have very vivid dreams which he could no longer separate from reality. On one visit he told her "there were two babys here ... right on the floor ... they were playing and rolling around on a blanket". In his senility he was having a flashback to his young twin sons who were long grown up and have children and grandchildren of their own.

I can only hope that when I finally go senile, that I will still have those memories buried away.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Leggo' My Software!

I was exploring old Firefox bookmarks today and I came across one for PostPath. PostPath was a play-a-like Exchange server. That is, it was a Linux based mail server which emulated an Exchange server environment. This struck interest with me because it overcame many of the limitations with Exchange server and yet would allow you to sneak it into an environment and still make mail accessible by use of Outlook.

But - Cisco fucking ATE IT.

By their own words, "PostPath will work with Cisco to enhance the existing email and calendaring capabilities of Cisco's WebEx® Connect collaboration platform". Huh? What this means to you as a customer is "we will merge this with other stuff, rebox it, and raise the price to something ridiculous".

In the process, I see that they have also acquired Jabber. This breaks my heart. Jabber was the worlds first standardized instant messaging protocol and platform. While AOL, Yahoo, and ICQ all fought to obscure instant messaging protocols to protect their advertising revenue, Jabber fought to unify instant messaging. But alas, Cisco has fucking bought the company and will likely just choke the life out of it.

I know that this is a two-fold problem.

1) CEO's and startups selling out. Not that I wouldn't. If I had this great idea and I was struggling to run some business, I would surely sell it for a few million.
2) These days, good ideas are not "dreamed up" - they are auctioned to the highest bidder and then marketed to inflate stock values (regardless of how they might even HELP a company do business).

I probably shouldn't even bring it up, but does anyone remember when Palm bought the Be corporation back in 2001? That was money well spent, eh Palm? What have you done with that code exactly? I loved that operating system and Palm ate it. Palm, I hope your company dies the horrible death that it has coming to it.

How the fuck is Palm still in business any way? Their stock has been under two bucks for like a decade.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


My friends,

I have a confession to make. Many allegations were made about me during election season. There were a lot of things said behind my back. I want to be clear that I did vote for Obama and I stand with him. That being said, I also share many of the same values and beliefs as the President-elect. Namely, we share some common beliefs in socialistic economy tactics.

The rumors are true.

I am a MARX'IST. I have been since 1987. It don't mean nuthin.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I wanted a Volcano Taco

I went into Taco Bell tonight to pick up dinner. I wanted one of those spicy Volcano Tacos that they have been advertising excessively. But when I tried to order two of them, the girl at the counter said "oh, we don't have those any more". What ... the ... hell? I just saw them advertised on TV. Today! How can they be off the menu all ready? This is the third time now n the past few years that I have gone to order that new item from Taco Bell only to find out it's gone. Why would you advertise a new item right up to the minute that it's taken off the shelves.

This is like promoting a television show that has all ready been canceled (which the major networks are all guilty of).

It seems that this method of marketing only succeeds in pissing off your clients.

I know it's trivial. But it's a blog. This is the kind of mindless crap you are supposed to blog about.

I Can Almost Smell ...

Long ago, a guy by the name of Van Morrison made a nice song called "T.B. Sheets". The song was a little obscure and bluesy, and did not become a hit by any means. It could be that it was completely forgotten thanks to another song by the same artist called "Brown Eyed Girl". You probably know that one.

T.B. Sheets is a depressing tale about coming to visit Julie in the hospital, who is no doubt dying of tuberculosis. While he wants to feel something for Julie and relate to her pain - all he can really think about is getting the f*ck out of that hospital. He repeats throughout the song "I can almost smell ... your T.B. sheets". Gross.

This horrible, depressing song makes a good metaphor for our failing economy. The banks are failing. American auto companies are failing. We want to feel bad. We want to do something about it. But all we are really doing is looking for an exit. Turn the channel. Read the headlines of todays paper through the glass in the machine. Drive by the signs at the side of the road where retail shops assure you "we're still here", but grasp your wallet while saying "I'd better not".

Thursday, November 13, 2008

WTF Is So Interesting About Sarah Palin?

Now that the election is over, everyone wants to hear from Sarah Palin. But I am not exactly sure that I understand why. There are some great stories for her to respond to, and we all have a couple of questions to ask her. But the answers are going to be rehearsed, and we all ready know the truth thanks to angry campaign workers who spilled the beans. Case in point: the clothing issue.

Sarah denied that she ever owned the expensive wardrobes that everyone was in a fit about. True.

Sarah criticized the "main stream media" (I hate this fucking term) for not asking what Obama and Biden spent on wardrobes and make-up. Fair.

Sarah stated that the GOP kept the clothing, and she never had any intent of leaving with it. False.

In early post election interviews Sarah claimed that the clothes never came home, and there were no GOP folks coming to look through her closets. Yet her father made a comment to the press about the reality of things coming to an end and how they had to dump out all the clothes in the living room and sort them out. The clothes therefore did actually leave "the belly of the plane".

Now, I digress. Is this really an interesting story that we need to know more about? Who really gives a shit about Sarah Palin? She lost, and now she has to slide into vice-presidential loser obscurity along with every other guy (and that one girl) who ever held the short-lived title. In a year she will still be a punchline to jokes and the news outlets will be onto better stories.

What kills me is that the "main stream media" (ugh, we need a new term) want to imply that she has a chance in the 2012 election. This will never happen. Ever. You must be crazy if you think that the GOP would throw everything they've got to put Sarah Palin in the big house. First, let's examine the obvious. SHE LOST. Losers don't get a second run. If you don't get the vote the first time, your party is going to start looking at better candidates. Secondly - she tanked her campaign. McCain needed swing voters to win this election and he lost them in high numbers thanks largely to Palin. The only fools who thought that Palin was a good pick (or even a decent person) were all ready voting for McCain. I'm not speaking from opinion here, these are consistent and undeniable poll results.

I should note that my wife was depressed by the Palin run. She feels that Palin just set women back 20 years for presidential considerations. I would like to think she is wrong, but I have to agree with her. She cited that Jesse Jackson jumped into a presidential race and made some serious mistakes to set blacks back. We didn't see any serious black potentials for a while, did we?

You know the GOP would NEVER run Palin on their primary ticket. So why are people all ready printing the T-Shirts? Why is her face splattered all over the damned news? Keith Olbermann, you disappoint me. Larry King ... well you're Larry King. Fox News ... I'm not going there. Sean Hannity is probably still scouring the net looking for the definitive Palin look-a-alike porn star.

Can we talk about the new guy a little bit? We're all excited about what he is putting together. Let's give a rest to all the stories about rednecks making racist comments. We can stop giving the spotlight to southern folks and their empty assassination threats (I'm including school children here). I for one would like some uplifting news!

The only good stuff I can find is what's on But hey, this stuff ain't bad. Make sure you're staying informed. Maybe when the new guy takes over we can get a technology upgrade for that awful site. That design makes my eyes sad.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Your Retirement Account = Empty!

I got a statement in the mail the other day for my "retirement savings". It was a sad and measly $803. These days there is so little left there that the bank is charging me to gamble it away. As I was stuffing the statement into my desk drawer, I pulled out statements from better times. Ah, the good old days. I once had $26,000 in that account. But then came the "dot com boom" followed by ... well ... the Bush administration. This got it down to about $18,500. The rest is - blog history.

Here is a quote from myself from just about 2 years ago.

In an attempt to satisfy the mortgage company I cashed in on my retirement account. There’s very little left. A thousand bucks, or so. With the money we paid off our tax debts with mounting interest, our car which was nearing repossession status, and all of our utility bills which were starting to come to the mailbox in festive orange colors. That ought to do it, I thought. I put it all in front of the mortgage company. In my naivety I guess I thought that they would be willing to help me lower my payments. But the response instead was “that’s great, but you still don’t make enough money”.

I used to wonder how many others there were out there in the same situation. Now I don't have to wonder - because we all know. When the banks started to lose records amount of money, and a couple were writing off record losses I had an interesting conversation with my dad (an accountant and banker since about ... birth). I asked "what the hell causes something like that dad?" and he said "people like you, son". And there you had it. The start of the collapse of the big banks. Or as we look back on these events, the "inevitable".

I used to feel pretty lousy and put a lot of blame on myself. I thought I was smart about things. Despite a lousy credit history I was able to negotiate a decent fixed mortgage rate. I held off "Dominion Homes" on every stupid luxury they tried to sell us (carpet upgrades, designer paints, etc). We built a budget based the mortgage payment that we were promised. But them some interesting things happened. That first mortgage payment was almost twice what they told me it would be. I never got the raise I thought I had coming. I eventually got laid off. I would never make it back to the level of income that I was at eight years ago. These days, I still make less and everything seems to cost twice as much. Well, it doesn't seem that way. It IS that way.

But this year, I am getting the best birthday and Christmas gift of all time. Hope. As Obama prepares to take office, he is out gathering the best talents that he can lay hands on. He is preparing for war on this big, broken, horrible mess.

As we all look ahead I wonder what will become of this broken economy. I wonder about all those people who gave up everything they had saved to start over. At 32. At 50. At 65. I think about all the families who have lost it all, and yet still manage to hold some sort of hope for themselves, and this country.

I know that the economy is not going to "bounce back". We aren't going to wake up tomorrow and find great big stimulus checks in our mailbox. We aren't going to get letters in the mail telling us that we can all come back and live in the homes we gave up. Our lost retirement savings are not going to replenish themselves.

No. We are in for a long and bitter battle. But we have hope. My hope is that I can look back on my Blog many years from now (as I often do) and high five my "past self" for thinking the way I do now.

Why so optimistic?
- We put the RIGHT GUY in the White House. Never mind that he is black (I know what a big deal this is). But, he is the right guy for the job. And WE elected him! Thanks America!
- Obama says thanks but no thanks to lobbyists YOU GO BHO!
- Hard hitter Rahm Emanuel chosen to join White House Chief of Staff White House staff, prepare to GET TO WORK.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger (a Republican!) continues to fight for the rights of gays. Arnie, we're with you.

Why so sad?
I know there are some folks out there who actually think that McCain was the right guy for the job. All I can tell you is: shut up, and watch how this is done.

Saturday, November 08, 2008



I made this cake for my wife today. It took a lot of blue food coloring and careful tedious lettering. Underneath all that cream cheese frosting is - a carrot cake!

Tina's birthday is November 12th. Be sure to give her a shout in the comments. ;-)

Post Election Guilt

I got stuck working on a project Friday which I could have probably delegated. For that matter, one of my co-workers asked earlier in the week "why are we having a network engineer work on this"? He was right. There are certain things that I find myself doing which I should be delegating to the PC technician we recently hired. But the truth is - I can get it done right, and I can get it done faster. Alas, I digress.

So I am knee deep in on of the dumbest networking setups that I have ever had the displeasure of bearing witness to. A couple of "vendor representatives" (I equate them to lobbyists) had just stopped by to install two new workstations. They couldn't wait to leave, and just about the time I was getting started running some cables they asked that I stop while they took photos of what they had installed. He explained to one of the nurses "we have been asked to document what we install, because there have been problems with sites that - when we return to them - have been entirely rearranged". Well, I could understand why they would need to re-arrange things. After they darted out the door I spent a good half an hour trying to figure out what the hell they had done.

1) Two workstations were plugged into an 8-port switch with POE features. This makes little sense. POE is typically used for wireless access points which might be stuck on a wall or a ceiling. It was completely wasted on two PC's.

2) There were two cables running from the 8-port switch - to a 24 port switch on the other side of the room. Why two? I have no idea what the fuck they were thinking. On a low level switch such as this one, you end up creating a routing loop. Aside from the two cables nonsense, they had hooked into a switch which was placed there for a separate medical system which "chats too much" (hence it had it's own switch).

3) Each workstation has two network cards. One is a "private network" which is shared amongst the medical devices. The other is to connect it to our own network so that these overpriced Dell workstations can also be used to check e-males and surf the Intarwebs. Both network cards were configured with 10.x.x.x addresses and a subnet mask, but with different network ID's. For the technically included, you should be aware that this does not and cannot ever work.

When I was done fixing all that shit I wanted to leave up a web site as proof that my work was successful. I figured I would load the software that the techs had installed, and show that it actually works correctly now. But I also wanted to show that these workstations all had Internet access. But what web page would I load and leave up? Still ringing with pride I wanted to put up an Obama page. But should I really do that? I don't want to seem inappropriate.

Wait -- why would I be embarrassed to show support for Barack Obama? I live in a largely Catholic, and Republican town which all showed up to vote against me (screw you guys). But, Obama won Ohio anyway. And he won the country by a landslide margin. He is our President-Elect! He is the next President!

No longer do I have to hide my support for the guy that I have long thrown my support to. He won. Now, even those Right-winged nut-jobs have to support him. Or will they retracts those remarks they have always made about Bush? To bash the President is "un-American". I still see fools driving around with bumper stickers that say "I stand with President Bush". I am always curious to see who is driving one of these cars, because I want to see the face of the 20 some percent that still approve of this awful and damaging administration. Well, get some new stickers gang. Now you have to support the new guy.

In the end I decided I would leave up an Obama page to show my patriotism. I typed in the URL and struck enter. Blocked. The damned page was blocked by the web filter which I have to manage. Reason being? Politics/Opinion. Well, I suppose that is accurate. I settled for, which for now is still focused on the Bush "administration". You see how I had to throw up "dick fingers" around "administration"? Who could still take them seriously at this point.

For some more on Obama's plans, check out his new site Kudos to Michael for comments to an earlier post where he dropped the URL. I was not aware of the site.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Landslide

Tuesday was a tough day for me. I spent my work day surrounded by people who were one by one going out and voting for McCain. I know only one other co-worker who voted for Obama. I know I shouldn't take it personally. But I do. McCain's "plan" was to continue on the same thing that he thinks actually works. Let the free market regulate itself. Feed everything else to that free market including health care and social security. He's a gambler, like the administration he serves as a lap dog. He stared a broken economy in the face and said "so what ... this plan works". He stood for dirty politics, greed, and broken promises. His tactics for winning were to sling mud at the other guy to win. We can thank Karl Rove for that bullsh*t. Yet, those around me run out and vote McCain. What are those "values" that he holds that are so damned important?

I tried to keep busy Tuesday, and that was easy because there was just too much on my plate. I have been trying to cover for my wife who has been down with a recent knee surgery. Our Orthopedist got a scope into her knee cap last week and declared "she has the knees of an 80 year old". Surgery was not "well" to her. She has a fear of pain pills (both the adverse side effects on her disease, and dependency problems). But she was taking those pills ... and I know it was bad. So I have done well to keep my mind off of the election by getting dirty up to my elbows. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, all that stuff that my loving wife typically does for the family. My hat off to her. It's a lot of work. And on her ailing body, it's even *more* work.

Tuesday night I stopped by the grocery after work to pick up dinner items. I decided that it might be fun to make pizza, which I haven't done in ages. It's serious business for me. I make my own dough, and the whole bit. As I headed up and down the aisles, I stopped off for ... wine! I don't drink alcohol any more. I stopped that years ago. Partly because I adopted Buddhism - and partly because it's expensive and I don't need it. But this night might be celebrated. Might be. I bought a bottle of the best "cold duck" I could find. Alcohol removed, three years aged, dark Merlot. Mmmmmm!

After pizza had been cooked and consumed, it was time to start watching and waiting. My network of choice, Fox News. Hah! Kidding of course. I flipped on MSNBC which I have watched pretty consistently in the past few weeks. A couple of times I would flip to the other networks - but their anchors and special guests were all crap. I just wanted election results on a big wall board. After a couple of hours things were looking ... as expected. McCain and Obama were pretty well tied. My heart was beginning to sink, and I was starting to doubt my fellow Americans.

Do these people really think Obama is a terrorist? Seriously? Fucking idiot sheep.

A socialist? A Marxist? You fucking idiots don't even know who Karl Marx is! And tell me something about socialism. ANYTHING. No? IDIOTS!

Joe the plumber? He makes $40,000 a year and owes back taxes. And he's supporting McCain? Joe - you're a fucking idiot. A vote for Obama is a vote for the death of Israel? Normally I would laugh at off color remarks like that. BUT YOU IDIOTS ARE SERIOUS. God help us.

Do you think that you can actually buy your own health care plan for $5,000 a year? Have you even LOOKED at what you AND your employer pay for these plans? I HAVE. DO YOUR HOMEWORK.

Then something awesome happened. Votes started coming in for Florida and Virginia and it looked like they might be leaning to Obama. I didn't get my hopes up. I've been disappointed before (see 2000, 2004). But then Obama took OHIO. My home state - made the right choice. That was huge. It was big for me because my home state was in serious trouble in 2004 - and it went for Bush anyway. I will never understand what people were thinking. Ohio redeemed itself.

Then came some of the northern states. They were blue. Keith Obormann started doing the math out loud. He noted that if things kept going as the polls had suggested that there was going to be a landslide. I was on the edge of my seat for hours. At about 10:45 it was clear that Obama had won the 270+ needed electoral votes and this election was in the bag.

I was still a little in shock. Camera's placed around the world reflected cheers which rang for nearly ten minutes of open air. There wasn't a dry eye amongst them. Obama had won. WE had won. I slipped downstairs, and poured the wine. My wife didn't drink much. I had to wake her up as she was passed out cold with a couple bags of frozen vegetables on her knee and a good shot of pain killers. We tipped our glasses and watched. Not much was said. There was nothing to say.

About 40 minutes later McCain took the stage to concede. As the camera panned around the audience, I saw a lot of wealthy older white people who were all pretty upset that they couldn't steal another election. At the mere mention of Obama's name, they jeered, shouted, and booed in disgust. He made a few attempts to silence the crowd and noted that his adversary had fought a long hard and honorable fight to the end. But the crowd wouldn't have it.

Then the word came that at midnight, president-elect Obama would speak to the nation. It was a moment I will always remember. In a speech which will mark the ages, Obama told us that we had a lot of work to do. There is a lot that needs to be fixed, and he will need our help. But that this was our day and OUR victory. And it was.

In the aftermath we have a president who I believe will bring this country back together. A president who is all ready assembling a bi-partisan cabinet containing LEADERS with a history of success and progress. WE elected a black man for president. That's a pretty big deal for all generations. The "blacks" didn't elect Obama. WE the country did. Of course there are still those who didn't want him elected. I wonder what they are left to think.

McCain probably thinks he can walk away from this whole mess and let the people figure out that Obama wasn't actually that bad a guy. He just ran with the wrong party. But what are those disenfranchised souls left to think? That the country failed them and voted a terrorist into the white house?

These are dark, dark, times for our little Nation. If anybody is going to lift us out of this mess - it's going to take a leader we can believe in like Obama. It's going to take a lot of money (we're looking at YOU corporate pigs). It's going to take a staff of intelligence and humbled public servants (he's making those calls).

For the first time, in a long time, I look forward to what tomorrow brings. I believe in my country. I'm truly proud to be an American.

The future begins - now.