Archive for category Misc

L5 — Crowd-funded science fiction miniseries pilot released

The pilot episode of L5 was released, free to the public, last week.  It’s approx. 27 minutes in length and I thought it was excellent.  Here’s a synopsis directly from the L5 Series home page:

Imagine returning from an exhausting adventure only to find that your home is abandoned, empty. Not just your home, but your neighborhood, your city, in fact, everyone, everywhere, seems to be missing. This is what happens to the crew of the first manned mission to Barnard’s Star – they return after awakening from suspended animation to find that their ship-board AI has sent them on a relativistic tour of the stellar neighborhood while they slumbered, dilating time so severely that nearly 200 years have passed on Earth. After coming to, they discover their vessel is adrift at LaGrange point 5, within visual range of a vast O’neill cylinder-colony. The night side of the Earth shows no lights, and no one answers their calls across all frequencies. They have no choice but to dock with the colony and explore its cavernous interior in the hopes of finding help. When they find the colony to be airless and devoid of life, the remains of human civilization baking in the Sun for decades, their predicament becomes even more dire. Following in the traditions of great legendary hard science fiction, their exploration of this relic of their own civilization will take them on a trans-humanistic and spiritual sojourn.

The pilot episode of L5 can be viewed or downloaded here.

Secrecy News — Great source for CRS analyses & reports!

Secrecy News is a publication of the Federation of American Scientists.  It reports on new developments in government secrecy and provides public access to documentary resources on secrecy, intelligence and national security policy. It is written by Steven Aftergood.

One of the best resources provided by this blog are the analyses & reports from the Congressional Research Service (CRS).  CRS is primarily known for “analysis that is authoritative, confidential, objective and nonpartisan.” Its highest priority is to ensure that Congress has 24/7 access to the nation’s best thinking.  As a taxpayer-funded organization within the Library of Congress, it’s certainly appropriate that ‘taxpayers’ should have access to these analyses and reports.  (We ‘taxpayers’ might as well read these, as it seems fairly apparent that few  – if any – in Congress spend much time reading them)

Here’s just a small sampling of CRS reports over the past few months:

You can subscribe to Secrecy News here.


NightWatch–Great ‘Open Source’ Nightly Intel Newsletter

VERY interesting intel newsletter from KGS that analyzes current international affairs or events affecting US national security interests (and without any of the hype and/or bias that’s present in most all other news sources).

I’ve been reading it for several years and have found it to be not only extremely accurate, but simply one of the best & easily accessible sources of information for non-DOD/non-Intel folks as to “what’s really going on” in Iran, Syria, Egypt, North Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and elsewhere throughout the world.

You can either read the nightly reports directly on their website or subscribe to the newsletter via email here:   KGS NightWatch Newsletter

More Guinea Hens…

This past year our guinea hens managed to hatch AND raise 7 baby guineas on their own, of which 5 survived.  What follows are pics from all of 2011 and the last six just after our Feb 2012 snowstorm.  For most of the past 12 years that we’ve had these “strange” martian-like birds, we’ve had to gather up the eggs; hatch them in an incubator; and raise them ourselves until they were old enough to release with the other guineas.  I guess there’s a first time for everything, eh?

World War I? Anyone remember? Anyone? Anyone?

Know anything about “The Great War”?  How it started?  Who were the players & current alliances?  Remember the Ottoman Empire?

I’ve been meaning to read the history of WWI for many years but just haven’t gotten around to it.  With the recent movie “War Horse” and a couple of series on PBS that revolve around WWI, my curiosity finally got the best of me.

The book I started reading is “The First World War” by Hew Strachan.  I would have preferred to read “The First World War” by John Keegan, but it is not available in Kindle (or any ebook) format plus it is over a hundred pages longer.  If you search hard enough, you can find a scanned pdf version of John Keegan’s book on the Internet.  Hew Strachan’s WWI book is available in a Kindle version, but I didn’t purchase it from Amazon as their price is 50% greater ($14.99) than their paperback price.  I flat out refuse to pay more for an ebook than it’s cheapest hardcover/paperback price.  Period.  Again… if you search the Internet, you can find a “cheaper” version as I did.

I’m only about 75 pages into Hew Strachan’s WWI history, but so far it’s OK.  Since I remember absolutely nothing from my high school WWI history, it’s all new to me, but I’m not sure I’ll last for 384 pages.

On I also found “The First World War: A Very Short Introduction” by Michael Howard.  The Kindle edition is only $4.98 and this book is only 184 pages in length.  Since Hew Strachan’s book seems to require that the reader have at least a little WWI knowledge (which I don’t), I may switch to reading this short intro first & then go back to Strachan’s WWI overview.

Don’t forget… history always seems to repeat itself.  The more we know about our history, the better we are for it.  (Seriously!)

UPDATE:  I just tried the pdf version of John Keegan’s “The First World War” on my Kindle Keyboard & to my surprise, it’s VERY readable!  I so much prefer Keegan’s writing style & analyses that I’m going to abandon Hew Strachan’s book for now & read this one instead.

Colorado Yard Critters…

Besides our normal fare of yard critters (coyotes, foxes, squirrels, moles, man-eating goose & loud guinea hens), this larger critter (dat der muley deer) has been hanging out in our yard the past few days.

Front yard mule deer buck    Colorado mule deer (by garage)   Colorado mule deer in yard

Over-pressurized K-Cups may disable Keurig Coffee Brewers

Keurig Elite Brewer (B40)We recently “broke” two Keurig Coffee Brewers (2 different models) last month at work.  Both were in operation for less than a week.  On both brewers, no water would pump out.  You could hear the pump briefly start, then immediately quit.  I searched the web for a clue as to what might be the problem and found nothing.  Bed, Bath & Beyond replaced both units.

On the second return, the BB&B clerk mentioned that over-pressurized K-Cups might be a problem as we’re located near Colorado Springs, elevation 6500+ ft.  All K-Cups we’ve purchased here have extended tops & bottoms and are extremely tight.  The clerk said that because the top of the K-Cup gets pierced first, the over-pressurized K-cups may be causing coffee grounds to be forced back into the pump (causing its failure).  The solution she suggested is to press the K-Cup into the holder and pierce its bottom BEFORE lowering the lever/handle & subsequently piercing the top of the K-Cup last.

The third Keurig brewer has now been functioning for nearly a month with no issues.  Frankly, I’m a bit skeptical with the clerk’s explanation of pump failure… but what the hey?  With two previous brewers both dying after only a day or two of use, the third one is now going strong.  Bottom line?  I’m certainly not going to pay the going price for something this ‘fragile.’

Recent articles concerning Internet Freedom & Copyright

Here’s a few articles over the past week that I thoroughly enjoyed & strongly recommend reading:

  • And finally, on Techdirt, two fun articles by Tim Cushing that highlight the killers of the music industry:

Dat’s all!

Netflix Subscribers — Watch Out for Hollywood!

I mentioned last December how Hollywood, in it’s infinite stupidity, was becoming upset with the success of Netflix’s streaming video service.  Looks like they’re notching up the pressure now, with Showtime and Starz both limiting and/or delaying content that they’ll make available to Netflix.

Mike Masnick @ Techdirt has a great post that covers Hollywood’s “plan” to kill Netflix.  Be sure to read his reference articles from the LA Times & Variety.

It never fails to amaze me how the content industry, as a whole, continues to cut its own throat — over…  and over…  and over again.  They rant & rave about how piracy is killing their business, yet all they do is eliminate — one by one — any and all legal means to obtain their content.  If they cannot fully control it, they fight it.

If the only competition (legal or not) is P2P — then my “vote” is with P2P.

P.S.  You might find interesting this other post from Techdirt a few weeks ago concerning Hollywood.

Daylight Savings Time – this weekend – don’t forget these items!

Daylight Savings Time begins this Sunday, March 13th at 2:00 am.  Two items I ALWAYS forget to set are my digital cameras and the electronic thermostat for my heating system.  In addition to those, I also forget to set the times in my “old” Davis weather station & indoor/outdoor digital thermometer which record Hi/Lo Temps & the time that they occurred.

Personally, I wish they’d just pick one time standard or the other and leave it at that.  The only value I seem to get for ‘the changing of the times’ is that it forces me to remember how to set all the damn cheap digital watches our family has accrued over many years (and seldom wear, either).  Oh yeah… and did I mention setting the time on my car radios?  Aren’t they just a royal pain in the arse!

Anywho’s… Happy “Daylight Savings Time” Weekend & enjoy losing an hour of sleep!

* Don’t forget — set your clocks AHEAD by one hour.

** And yeah… the only reason I’m putting this in my blog is that I’m hoping — for the first time ever — I’ll  remember to set the time in my cameras & thermostat!

Ron Paul (& others) speak out against WikiLeaks Witchhunt

I’m not necessarily a “Ron Paul” fan… in fact, I don’t really know that much about him.  But he made a speech a few days ago that I can appreciate.  In my (humble) opinion, his speech is one of the only sane announcements made by anyone in this administration (with the exception of Mr. Gates) concerning the WikiLeaks fiasco.  Here’s his transcript:

WikiLeaks release of classified information has generated a lot of attention in the past few weeks. The hysterical reaction makes one wonder if this is not an example of killing the messenger for the bad news. Despite what is claimed, the information that has been so far released, though classified, has caused no known harm to any individual, but it has caused plenty of embarrassment to our government. Losing our grip on our empire is not welcomed by the neoconservatives in charge.

There is now more information confirming that Saudi Arabia is a principal supporter and financier of al Qaeda, and that this should set off alarm bells since we guarantee its Sharia-run government. This emphasizes even more the fact that no al Qaeda existed in Iraq before 9/11, and yet we went to war against Iraq based on the lie that it did. It has been charged by experts that Julian Assange, the internet publisher of this information, has committed a heinous crime, deserving prosecution for treason and execution, or even assassination.

But should we not at least ask how the U.S. government should prosecute an Australian citizen for treason for publishing U.S. secret information that he did not steal? And if WikiLeaks is to be prosecuted for publishing classified documents, why shouldn’t the Washington Post, the New York Times, and others also published these documents be prosecuted? Actually, some in Congress are threatening this as well.

The New York Times, as a results of a Supreme Court ruling, was not found guilty in 1971 for the publication of the Pentagon Papers. Daniel Ellsberg never served a day in prison for his role in obtaining these secret documents. The Pentagon Papers were also inserted into the Congressional record by Senator Mike Gravel, with no charges of any kind being made of breaking any national security laws. Yet the release of this classified information was considered illegal by many, and those who lied us into the Vietnam war, and argued for its prolongation were outraged. But the truth gained from the Pentagon Papers revealed that lies were told about the Gulf of Tonkin attack. which perpetuated a sad and tragic episode in our history.

Just as with the Vietnam War, the Iraq War was based on lies. We were never threatened by weapons of mass destruction or al Qaeda in Iraq, though the attack on Iraq was based on this false information. Any information which challenges the official propaganda for the war in the Middle East is unwelcome by the administration and the supporters of these unnecessary wars. Few are interested in understanding the relationship of our foreign policy and our presence in the Middle East to the threat of terrorism. Revealing the real nature and goal of our presence in so many Muslim countries is a threat to our empire, and any revelation of this truth is highly resented by those in charge.

Questions to consider:

Number 1: Do the America People deserve know the truth regarding the ongoing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen?

Number 2: Could a larger question be how can an army private access so much secret information?

Number 3: Why is the hostility mostly directed at Assange, the publisher, and not at our governments failure to protect classified information?

Number 4: Are we getting our moneys worth of the 80 Billion dollars per year spent on intelligence gathering?

Number 5: Which has resulted in the greatest number of deaths: lying us into war or Wikileaks revelations or the release of the Pentagon Papers?

Number 6: If Assange can be convicted of a crime for publishing information that he did not steal, what does this say about the future of the first amendment and the independence of the internet?

Number 7: Could it be that the real reason for the near universal attacks on Wikileaks is more about secretly maintaining a seriously flawed foreign policy of empire than it is about national security?

Number 8: Is there not a huge difference between releasing secret information to help the enemy in a time of declared war, which is treason, and the releasing of information to expose our government lies that promote secret wars, death and corruption?

Number 9: Was it not once considered patriotic to stand up to our government when it is wrong?

Thomas Jefferson had it right when he advised Let the eyes of vigilance never be closed.’ I yield back the balance of my time.

Here’s the The Huffington Post article with embedded video link of Ron Paul’s speech.

On CNN they interviewed Ex-CIA Ray McGovern who also supports Wikileaks’ Julian Assang.  Here’s a link to the YouTube video.

And lastly,  Daniel Ellsberg, the man responsible for outing the now famous Pentagon Papers in 1971, praises the WikiLeaks founder in this CIO article.

Don’t Get Too Used to Streaming Video on Netflix… it might go away

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been quite a bit of press the past few weeks concerning just how successful Netflix has become, especially concerning their success with streaming video.  Netflix has apparently got both Hollywood & the content industry rather upset (even though Netflix was their “savior” a few years ago).

Why is Netflix so successful?  Because it offers a great service that consumers desire at an affordable price!  What does the content industry (TV, movie, cable, etc.) offer consumers?  Diddly squat!  And now they’re whining about just how badly they’re getting “ripped off” by the cheap prices paid to them by Netflix to stream their content.  Those contract prices are due to expire in 2012 and they’re talking about charging Netflix as much as a hundred times more to stream their content.

What does that mean for consumers?  Probably that Netflix won’t be able to afford to stream content anymore.  What does that say about the content industry?  If they can’t control it, then they kill it.

Here’s the articles in case you didn’t see them.  They’re all well worth reading!

Music recommendations (er… unless you don’t like it, that is…)

I haven’t listened to the radio much over the past several years so don’t get exposed to much, if any, new music.  I primarily listen to podcasts during my commute to & from work.  As a certified old fart, it’s not surprising that my music tastes don’t always coincide with my college-aged son.  He listens to a ton of music & it always amazes me how well he knows what I like.  Here’s just three songs he picked for me over the past year that are “spot on” with my tastes:

If I Die Young (The Band Perry)

Furr (Blizten Trapper) <played on “Chuck” last season>

A Girl, A Boy, and a Graveyard (Jeremy Messersmith) <played on “Chuck” this season>

RE: Custom Orthotics…

 RE:  How I Make My Own “Custom” Orthotics

Just in case you didn’t see it at the top of the “Physician” side of the Hapad web site, they provide a useful manual that addresses “Common Sense Solutions to Common Foot Complaints” and recommends various Hapad products to address your foot problem(s).  It’s titled “Physician’s In-Service Manual.”

I didn’t notice the manual the first few times I visited & ordered from Hapad, Inc.  In fact, for “Post Tibial Tendinitis” they recommend the “3/4 Length Comf-Orthotic Insole”  along with Scaphoid Pads if needed for more arch support.

As stated in my previous post, I really like the Longitudinal Metatarsal Pads with one of Hapad’s Comf-Orthotic Sports Replacement Insoles on top, but I think I’ll order a pair of the 3/4 Length Comf-Orthotic Insoles to place on top of Scaphoid Pads just to see if they feel even better.

How I Make My Own “Custom” Orthotics…

DISCLAIMER:  I am not a podiatrist, foot doctor, orthotic specialist, etc.  I’m just an average, run-of-the-mill schmuck who thought $400 per pair for custom orthotics was excessive.

In December, 2008, I woke up unable to walk on my left foot.  I was diagnosed with “Posterior Tibial Tendonitis, Type II.”  The result was a fallen arch.  The ankle specialist (an orthopedic surgeon) prescribed an orthopedic boot ($225) for 6 weeks, followed by physical therapy & custom orthotic insert ($400).

Not knowing what I know now, I paid full price ($225) for the orthopedic boot.  Unfortunately, I could have gotten a used one on eBay for $45; a new one on eBay for $75; and a new one from MedexSupply for $104.  My insurance didn’t cover any portion of the boot.  Didn’t really care as the boot took away all the pain I had been experiencing.

Next came the custom orthotic inserts for $400.  Again, not knowing anything about these, I went ahead and purchased a set.  Of course, my insurance paid nothing for orthotic inserts either.

I wore the orthotic inserts for a week and went back because they were painful, especially on my left foot.  It felt like it needed more arch support.  The orthotic specialist placed a HAPAD, Inc.Scaphoid Pad” (medial arch pad made of felt) on the left orthotic insert.  Although it didn’t hurt as much, it now felt like it had too much arch support.

Scaphoid PadsScaphoid Pads

I hate wearing shoes when I get home from work.  Inside, I used to always go barefoot in the summer; barefoot w/thick socks in the winter.  Outside, when not at work, I always wore sandals.  Well, now the doctor says NOT to go barefoot or wear sandals.  I tried to place the orthotic inserts in a pair of my sandals, but no go — they just slid out the back.  The orthotic guy sold me a pair of cheap crocs ($36) in which he placed the HAPAD, Inc. scaphoid pads ($25) & said I could wear those.  They felt pretty good, but the crocs pretty much sucked.

Crocks w/scaphoid pads

I was now anxious to see if I could place these scaphoid pads in my sandals.  I went to the HAPAD, Inc. web site & found that for fallen arches, they recommended the Longitudinal Metatarsal Arch Pads for $5.75 per pair.  Their Scaphoid Pads are only $5.25 per pair (almost 5 times less than the orthotics shop sold them for).

Longitudinal Metatarsal Arch Pads

I first placed the scaphoid pads in two pair of my sandals.  They felt great!  I removed them & then installed the Longitudinal Metatarsal Arch Pads.  They felt even better!  In fact, much better than the custom orthotic inserts felt in my regular walking shoes.  I got to wondering if I could use these in all my regular shoes.

Sandals w/scaphoid padsSandals w/longitudinal metatarsal arch pads

Well… that’s primarily what HAPAD manufactures them for — shoes, not necessarily sandals.  HAPAD also sells Comf-Orthotic Sports & Extra Cushioning Insoles ($14.50), and these are perfect for placement on top of the Longitudinal Metatarsal Arch Pads or Scaphoid Pads that are placed in the bottom of each shoe.

HAPAD Comf-Orthotic insoles

Oh… before doing this, you need to remove whatever insole is present in your shoes.  I’ve found some shoes in which the insole is glued in… it’s difficult to use them with these pads unless you can get the original insoles out.

Anywho’s… I’ve been wearing my “custom” orthotics (HAPAD Longitudinal Metatarsal Arch Pads with Comf-Orthotic Sports or Extra Cushioning Insoles) in all my shoes for over a year now & my feet haven’t felt this good in over a decade.  In addition, with either the scaphoid pads or longitudinal metatarsal arch pads, I still get to wear all my sandals whenever I want, including all day, with my feet still feeling great.  Only thing I don’t do anymore is go barefoot.

Shoes w/insoles removed & longitudinal metatarsal arch pads insertedShoes w/longitudinal metatarsal arch pads & Comf-Orthotic insolesShoes w/longitudinal metatarsal arch pads & Comf-Orthotic insoles

And the cost?  For shoes, about $20 per pair.  For sandals (pads only), less than $6 per pair.  Sure beats the heck out of $400 custom orthotics!

Note:  If you visit the HAPAD web site via their home page, be sure to enter the “Patient Guide” side vs. the “Physician’s Guide” side, as the prices are slightly less on the Patient side.

SPC — Subconcious Poop Control

I’ve always wondered why it is that I never have to poop when I’m somewhere where it would be either extremely inconvenient to take a dump; extremely difficult to take a dump; or nigh impossible to take a dump.  Even over a 3 day (or more) period!  Why is that?  I certainly didn’t “will” myself to NOT have the urge to poop (although I’d certainly relish that ability!).  Yet when I’m in a “poop-friendly” environment (i.e., my own home), when the urge to poop arrives, I’ve usually got only a minute or two to hit the toilet before all hell breaks loose.  Luckily, over my lifetime, I’ve always been able to reach a toilet in time.  So again I ask — why hasn’t this ever occurred when a toilet isn’t conveniently available or I’m in a “poop-unfriendly” environment?  For example, I never get the urge to poop when driving (unless I have diarrhea, in which case there’s a nasty rumor that I shit my pants on my way to work… unfortunately, it’s true).

In summary:

  • I never need or get the urge to poop when I’m somewhere where I can’t poop or it would be extremely difficult or inconvenient to do so (i.e., a “poop-unfriendly” environment) .
  • I get the urge to poop & poop often when I’m in a “poop-friendly” environment

Is this normal?  Don’t know.  Is this bad?  Don’t think so.  It’s just that when I get less than a 2-minute warning of imminent poop when I’m in a poop-friendly environment, it makes me wonder (not to mention, worry) what would happen if I was in a “Poop-Unfriendly” environment.  Luckily, it’s never happened over the past 4+ decades.

I’ve never had a ‘regular’ poop schedule except for about a week one summer when I was 20 years old.  At that time I did have a schedule where I went poop every morning around 2:00 AM.  But there were unusual circumstances (i.e., it was a very “poop-unfriendly” environment).  It was the summer after my freshman year in college & I was a 4th Class Navy Midshipman stationed at the San Diego Naval Station for training.  A hundred or so of us were housed in condemned barracks that were slated for destruction.  The only bathroom available to us was approx. 20 ft x 40 ft in size, with a urinal trough running down one side of the long wall (no dividers).  Across from the trough urinal was a row of a dozen or more toilets, approximately 3 ft apart, with NO dividers, NO stalls, NO NOTHING.  Well… I have enough difficulties just taking a leak (when sober) standing 12″ away from someone else with no divider in place.  There is no way in hell I could poop out in the open in a room full of people AND sitting right next to one or two other folks.  Remember–no stalls; no dividers; no NOTHING!  So… without any decision or conscious thinking on my part, I’d wake up around 2 AM every night with the urge to poop, and I had the bathroom ALL to my little self.  Well… almost all to myself.  There were these huge roaches that you could hear walking across the bathroom floor.  The lights went out automatically @ 10PM & we couldn’t turn them on.  I purposely kept my flashlight off just so I couldn’t see how many of the huge buggers were in there with me, tip-tapping across the floor…

OK… enough crap.  I’m pooped.

What do Baby Guinea Hens look like?

Yes!  Just what you’ve been waiting for!  Pictures of baby guinea hens!  Guinea hens are native to Africa, but Wikipedia says that their proper name is “Guineafowl.”  I can vouch for the “fowl” part — they can be both loud & obnoxious (not to mention, just plain “fowl”).

These are the remaining two chicks from six live ones that the mothers let the Magpies ravage.  After the Magpie massacre, one chick & a couple eggs remained.  My wife put the eggs in with the chickens & one more guinea hen hatched, giving us the two in these pictures.

My wife has a thing for guinea hens & loves watching them.  I suppose I, too, have a thing for guinea hens… but MY thing involves a shotgun (heh, heh).

Anyway’s… the chicks are cute for the first couple weeks… then they start growing quickly, get ugly, and STINK!  (kinda’ like me, I suspect).

Baby Guinea Hens (Guineafowl)Baby Guinea Hens (Guineafowl)Baby Guinea Hens (Guineafowl)Baby Guinea Hens (Guineafowl)

TV Commercials – Why isn’t anyone complaining???

Is it just me?  Hasn’t both the length & number of commercials gotten utterly ridiculous over the past few years?  I timed two programs over the past month, one on cable at a friend’s house & one on commercial broadcast TV.  Both averaged nearly 5 minutes of commercials for every 6.5 minutes of content.  If the time & number of commercials isn’t bad enough, add in that they also repeat the SAME crappy commercial numerous times during a 2 hr period.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but too much airing of the same commercial pretty much turns me off on ANYTHING that commercial sponsor offers.

Maybe I’m just oversensitive.  My only source of TV (of which I watch very little) is via over-the-air commercial broadcasts.  When they made the transition from analog to digital last year, as expected I lost more than half of our previous stations (I live in a rural area).  For those stations we lost, I now download from the Internet what we used to watch on those stations.  Uh… gee… uh… OUTSTANDING QUALITY & NO COMMERCIALS!!!  Maybe watching all this high quality, commercial-free content from the Internet over the past year has made me overly sensitive?   Nyah… that’s not it.

Don’t get me wrong — I understand the business model for commercials & free over-the-air broadcast TV.  It’s just that, IMHO, the length & number of commercials has gone way beyond what is reasonable or tolerable.  I, frankly, can no longer tolerate it.  It just amazes me that all the millions of cable subscribers out there continue to tolerate their steadily increasing rates, coupled with increasing quantity of commercials.  When I last had cable (over 14 years ago), all the channels had significantly fewer commercials than broadcast TV (except for the local broadcast channels, TBS & WGN).  Now nearly all the channels on cable appear as dicked up with commercials as regular over-the-air broadcast TV.  SUCH A DEAL!!!

As mentioned previously, I’ve never watched much TV and after 12 yrs of “getting screwed by cable” in Northern Virginia, I vowed I’d never again get cable.  I’m also not interested in satellite TV.  But seeing how many (& how long) commercials are aired, not just on broadcast TV but now even on cable & satellite, well… I’ve pretty much had my fill of it.  I understand that with a DVR I could fast forward through all the commercials.  What I don’t get is how frakking stupid the networks are!  With everybody fast forwarding through the commercials with their DVRs over the past several years, what do the networks do?  Show even more & longer commercials?  AND… they now steal screen real estate & put them on while the program is still airing?  WHAT A BUNCH OF FRAKKING IDIOTS!!!  In my opinion, they’re doing everything within their power to turn people off on broadcast/cable/satellite TV.  And I tell ya… it’s definitely working for me.  About the only channel we watch in our household anymore is PBS.  Granted – their fund raising drives can get a little irritating, but hey… that’s kinda how they survive, and it’s only a few times a year.  My recommendation?  Support your local PBS!

Just my “2-cents” opinion…

RE: Top Ten Reasons You Should Quit Facebook

 (RE: Gizmodo article; Wired article “Facebook’s Gone Rogue“; Washington Post article “Facebook meets the ‘Unlike’ Button“)

Yip-pee!  I feel vindicated!  I’ve ignored OODLES of requests to join Facebook over the past few years from family & friends.  Most folks just think I’m unsocial.  Well, they’re right.  Let’s see… let me look up the technical definition of what I am… oh yeah… I’m supposedly an anti- or unsocial turd (& proud of it, I might add), or just call me a “social introvert.”

Whatever… I actually prefer having my own web site and blog, where I have some control over what I release (or don’t release) about myself and that nobody reads except me.  Not so with Facebook.  In my opinion, whatever you put on Facebook… it’s going to get out (if not already out there for all, or at least advertisers, to see).  Of course… whether or not you have a “presence” on the web, there’s still likely info about you on-line.

What kinda’ irritates me about “Facebook Invites” is that you have to create an account just to see what whomever invited you to see.  No thanks.  I’m kind of an “anti-sheep” kind of guy.  Whenever a large # of people think something is really great, then I begin to wonder why & tend to move in an opposite direction.  I detest fads, and avoid them like the plague.

Is social networking like Facebook & MySpace a fad?  Don’t know, don’t care.  I’m just not interested in social networking.  Don’t forget — I’m what you call a “social turd.”

For reasons NOT to delete your Facebook acct, see this.

And for the ultimate reality check & why the blame ultimately rests with “us,” see this.

Spring in Colorado… April 23-24, 2010

Here’s what Spring in Colorado looks like this year, 15 miles NE of Colorado Springs.  Received approx. 22″ of snow between midnight Thurs and Saturday afternoon:

img_6453_resize.JPG  img_6457_resize.JPG  img_6471_resize.JPG  img_6490_resize.JPG

img_6509_resize.JPG NOT a happy camper! Western Bluebird

Western Bluebird & Pine Siskins Flicker Western Bluebird