What America needs

South façade of the White House, the executive...

Image via Wikipedia

America is in need of a single term president. We need someone who will get into office and do all sorts of unpopular stuff, approval ratings be damned. We need someone who will put policies into effect that sacrifice the short term to help the long term. We need someone who is okay being the villain. Continue reading

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Run a site on the cheap

Do you have a personal site or blog? How much do you pay for it? If you are like most people who host their own blog, you more than likely pay around $5 or $10 a month, and another $10 a year for your domain. This comes out to around $100 a year.

Let me tell you how I keep my blog up for under $30 a year. (It would be under $20 but I bought a second domain for my URL shortener).

Ever since I switched to 1&1 internet I have been dissatisfied. No really big problems with them that would make me recommend against them; I just felt they weren’t right for me. I don’t like their billing policies (why charge for my hosting in February then for the domain in March?), I don’t care for their control panel, I don’t like the way the user and host of my MySQL database are even more obfuscated than the password I randomly generated.

I had been thinking of packing up and moving to Lifehacker favorite Namecheap for a while anyway, so when Namecheap offered a to let me move my domain for cheap while helping wildlife, just as my 1&1 account was due for renewal, I took it as a sign from [insert deity here]. Continue reading

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So long, last.fm!

I have had an account with last.fm for a while now and have always liked the service.

I just said goodbye to them.

Last.fm is a music tracking service. After you create an account, you can install a scrobbler. This is a small program that tells their site what music you are listening to as you listen to it. They keep track of what you like, and can recommend music that you may like based on what you have already listened to. They also have streaming radio stations of music that you may like, or that your friends are listening to. In short, they let you find stuff to listen to that you otherwise might not have heard of.

Continue reading

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Field Trip to the Dallas World Aquarium

On Tuesday, Evan’s grade went on a field trip to the Dallas World Aquarium. The wife and I tagged along as chaperones, taking care of a small group of kids. Despite my normal antipathy towards children, we actually had a great deal of fun!

Before we went to the aquarium, we took a side trip to Linda Spurlock park, where the kids played a while and ate lunch. Then they all boarded a bus and we headed to Dallas. I normally can’t stand Dallas, and refuse to go there even to see a good show (I do plan on making an exception for when the Nekromantix play with the Reverend Horton Heat on 25 July) but was willing to do so to hang out with the wife and kid.

When we got there, we hit a slight snag; parking was $5 and for some reason the parking lot was one of the ones where you have to stuff bills in a box. We rarely if ever carry cash, and this is the first place I have seen in several years where I couldn’t use plastic. Fortunantally, one of the other parents had some extra money and gave it to us. It would normally be embarrassing to have to even ask, but I refuse to feel like a fool when they are the ones who won’t take my Visa.

Jennifer took the camera I got her for X-Mas, and took several pictures. She created a gallery of her favorites; I just uploaded the entite mess online. Feel free to browse and enjoy.

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Great job, Ubuntu developers!

Tux, the Linux penguin

Image via Wikipedia

I must tip my hat to the developers of Ubuntu.

My wife’s friend Michael isn’t quite computer literate. He was complaining to my wife about how he always got viruses. She told him how we don’t since we use Linux instead of Windoze. He didn’t understand how you can use a computer without Windoze on it. She told him we would give him an install disk so he can try it out. I handed him the disk and told him to follow instructions.

About an hour later he called, asking where all his stuff was. He had successfully installed Linux without any help, but was confused by the default empty desktop, since the installer told him it had imported all his crap. I pointed him over the phone to the “Places” menu, and he got it. He wasn’t online last I heard because he had to find out what his grandpa’s router’s WPA key was, but other than those tiny hitches, someone who didn’t even know you could replace Windoze managed to install Ubuntu with no help!

If you have a good connection and a burner, why not download Ubuntu yourself, and give it a try too? You can run it side by side with Windoze, and delete it if you don’t like it after a week or two, so you have nothing to lose, but a great deal of frustration.

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Heartwarming

Ironically, after specifically mentioning in my last post that the wife and I couldn’t take the kids to the doctor, just that situation came up.

Josh and Evan went to the doctor a couple of weeks ago for strep throat. They were both given prescriptions for antibiotics, but for some reason their mother didn’t want to get two identical prescriptions and decided that they could share one. When we pointed out the (seemingly) obvious fact that you have to take the full prescription for the antibiotic to be effective, and offered to get the other one if she would only give us the prescription, she refused. So both kids took five days worth rather than the ten they were supposed to.

On Friday morning, I got out of work at 1 A.M. as normal. Jennifer and I stayed up until four, which is also pretty normal. At six, Josh woke us up crying, saying his ear hurt. Josh sleeps like a teenager, and if left alone will sleep until noon. He also rarely cries unless his feelings are hurt, but pain doesn’t bother him. So we were obviously worried. At nine when his pediatrician opened, we called and tried to set up an appointment, but were told (as we had feared) that they wouldn’t see him because his mother wasn’t present. So we took him to the children’s hospital. After a bit of a wait (swine flu — the number of suspected cases in this country is almost one eighth of the number of fatalities this year from standard seasonal flu, so we all need to live in bubbles!) and explaining the situation to several people, they tried to set us up an appointment with his pediatrician. Unfortunantly, he had left for his vacation at noon, so we were given an appointment with the doctor who was covering his cases.

So we got to explain to four more people there what was going on.

Finally, Josh was seen, and told that his strep hadn’t been taken care of by half a regiment of antibiotics, so we were given a new prescription. We filled it, then when we got home, we looked at Evan’s throat, and he looked like he still has strep too. We managed to talk their mother into giving us the prescription she wouldn’t fill, and got it ourselves. It was $60, which I dropped without second thought. She had second, third, and fourth thoughts though, and loudly announced to the kids how much their medicine was worth. By then I had gone to work on my two hours of sleep, and Jennifer, running on the same, stayed at home to take care of two sick kids. I had a hard day at work that day, my third two truck night in a row, but when I got home I found that the kids had made me a card that touched my heart and made everything worthwhile.

 

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Where are the real heroes?

Why is it this country applauds failure? The wife has had the news on for two or three hours now, and every five minutes I am having to hear about that “hero” of a captain who was taken hostage by pirates. I seem to remember something about a captain going down with his ship. If pirates try to take you hostage, shouldn’t you go down fighting? Seriously, how are you a hero if you let someone take you hostage? Seems to me like that just makes you a cunt.

My favorite part was when he was compared to the “hero” pilot who crashed his plane into a river. How does crashing your plane make you a hero? So no one died… that’s just pure luck. No one dies when you fly your plane to where you are going and land properly like most other pilots do, either, but pilots with good records aren’t called heroes. Nor do most people think of teachers, parents, cops, firefighters, EMTs, honest politicians and press agents, nor any of the other people who help keep people safe and informed enough that we can participate in governing our country and our lives.

Today, call your parents. Visit an old teacher. Shake a cop’s hand. Find a real hero and tell them that you appreciate them.

And mom, dad, if y’all manage to come across my blog, thank you for raising me as well as you did. You guys are my heroes.

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Happy birthday, Jennifer!

Today is my wife‘s twenty fifth birthday! I am taking a four day weekend from work so I can spend some time with her — due to my odd work schedule I spend most of my time either at work or asleep. We haven’t done much together today, as her friend took her out for a birthday lunch/shopping trip she hasn’t been home, but we are going to do something cool later.

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Happy birthday Josh

Jennifer’s brother Josh is turning ten tomorrow, so yesterday we had him a birthday party. He loves Batman, so we themed our party as such.

To make the party extra fun, I dressed as the Joker, which would have worked better had I had some hair. It seemed like a fun idea, and I even got into character quite well, but I didn’t realize how much I was setting myself up to be picked on by a small army of small people! We had water guns and confetti eggs, and instead of turning them on each other all the kids were squirting and confettiing me! Stupid bullies. They were just jealous!

In addition to a malfunctioning pinata and the aforementioned water guns and confetti eggs, we had a huge cake and a shitload of pizzas, and watched the 1990 Batman (with Jack Nicholson as the Joker) and Batman & Robin. I had never seen Batman & Robin, and must say that it is somehow cornier than the Adam West Batman movie! It was just plain awful.

After watching twenty or so kids for three or four hours we were completely exhausted. I don’t see why anyone would have more than two kids… children in large numbers become evil!

Fortunantly everyone seemed to have fun. We spent pretty much our entire grocery budget putting this party together, and knowing that the birthday boy liked it makes it all worthwhile.

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Upgrade to Ubuntu

I apologize for my prolonged absence. My monitor developed a short, and seeing as how I have (had) a first-generation iMac, lack of a monitor meant that I had to replace the entire computer. I finally got an old HP from my step-mom, on which I am now running Ubuntu Linux. It had been so long since I used Linux, I forgot how much I love all the freedom that comes with it. It seems slightly slow due to the age of the computer, but it is still better than my aging iMac. After having converted three or four people to Ubuntu, it is about time that I got to give it a go. I don’t think I will be looking back.

I am working days at work again, sort of. I work 0400—1300 Monday, Thursday, and Friday, and 0800—1730 on Friday and Saturday. I am glad to have a decent schedule again. The overnight freight crew does seem to be having quite a bit of difficulty without me, though.

After the release of WordPress 2.1, with all its improvements in database performance, I am thinking of switching to WP again. Perhaps this time it will be for good. The TextPattern community seems to have stagnated somewhat. The biggest news to come out of TxP lately has all been commercial products that would be nice to have, but that I don’t feel justify paying for when WP is completely free (free as in speech and free as in beer).

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