Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Durian First Bite

I got to try my first taste of durian today.

A coworker brought in a package of two frozen durian fruits. It was sweet. Creamy. Sticky. With a really strong smell.

I can see why people like it. It would be an acquired taste like so many things. You would have to get eat it and appreciate the flavor without concentrating on the smell. If you just smelled it (like blue cheese or cabbage or cauliflower or frying fish or vinegar) and didn't taste it, it probably wouldn't appeal to you.

I had my first bite outside in the breeze so I got a taste of the flavor before the smell hit me. When I got it home I felt like eating the whole thing but left some for sharing. Not sure if I can get anyone else at Cafe Jack's to give it a whirl. I'd like to try making some durian milk shakes or smoothies.

It was very nice of Hien to bring it in for us to try. I love to try new things to eat.

We decorated a cube at work today for a friend's 50th birthday tomorrow. It looks nice and shiny. I think he will like it. I'm guessing he may want to leave it the way it is. We used about 1100 square feet of tinfoil.

It was fun!

Shiny New Cube

I'm taking Betsy to the airport in the morning. She's going to meet some school friends in Santa Barbara for a long weekend reunion. She's good about keeping in touch with her friends.

Becca is heading down to PLU to visit Rachel. I'll just hang around and take some naps and read. I might try to help a friend figure out why their Earthlink connection isn't working. Maybe try to get some work done if I can get fired up.


I hope this has been a good week for you so far.

As Louis Armstrong said and sang it so well, it really is a Wonderful World. We need to take the time to smell the air, see the clouds, feel the sun...appreciate being here. Easier said then done given our hectic pace.

Here's the Interlude Thought of the Day

Peace to you.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Norah Jones - Amos Lee - Tom Waits

Saw Norah Jones at the Key Arena tonight. What a talented musician she is. A great performer.

It was a nice relaxing concert; she played a lot of her hits and a fair amount of stuff not on her albums. The band playing with her is great too. It's really nice to see great musicians, besides getting to listen to her great voice. I think she is a classic jazz/blues/pop singer that will have her own special place in music for decades to come. She is just amazing...she can play piano with both hands as they say, and sing like an angel.

The opening act was a solo guitar playing singer Amos Lee. He did a nice job. I bought one of his CD's which he autographed. It was a tough to be the opening act in that venue, with the lights on, people walking around and talking. He has a voice that reminds me of Kenny Loggins. Some good stuff.

I'm staying up a little late to watch Tom Waits on Dave Letterman tonight. It will be interesting to see how he's doing.

Just Got Back from the ER

Nothing that serious just that my ear had swollen shut and was hurting me.

My Doctor (Dr. J) had put a wick in my ear last week after I went to see him because I couldn't hear very good and my ear was sore. He gave me some ear drop antibiotics. It was feeling better and the wick was kind of itchy so I pulled the wick out.

That was a mistake. My ear canal swoll shut again and the antibiotics couldn't get to the infection. So I ended up over at the ER at midnight with a hurtin ear.

The Dr. put a new wick in and gave me a couple of Vicodin. I think I'll be on the road to recovery again shortly. I hope so I'm supposed to be at work early tomorrow and the Norah Jones concert's at the Key Arena tomorrow night.

I might miss a few hours of work.

Earaches can be scarey. My daughter Becca had a terrible ear infection several years ago. She got it swimming in a lake and eventually ended up with a Pseudomonas infection in the ICU. She was a trooper. I felt so sorry for her with her face and ear all swollen up. Thankfully she recovered and is doing great nowadays. It was pretty scary for awhile though as they kept trying to figure out what super antibiotic would work.


It's always something isn't it? Tomorrow is D Day at work.

Durian Day.

I'm excited about it. A coworker is bringing Baba G. and me some frozen durian tomorrow. That must be quite a fruit. I've heard so much about it. When I was in Singapore visiting I heard that it was illegal to carry a Durian on the bus because of the strong smell.

A friend told us her husband was eating some Durian outside in the garage and she could smell it inside the house.

Whatever it is that fruit get's a lot of attention, people seem to really like it or hate it. Another friend told me it made her cry when she was little.

Welcome to Durian Palace! A Home of the King of Fruits on the World Wide Web.

I hope Baba doesn't eat all of it (or it get kicked out of the office) before I crawl in tomorrow.


Not much going on in my neck of the woods. Thinking about how I can transport some frozen tuna to family and friends. I need to stop in at UPS when I have a chance and check into sending frozen fish overnight. I want to see if they have packing boxes and if I can use dry ice. If not I can probably jury rig up some kind of packing set up that will keep the fillets frozen for a couple of days.

I hope this week is treating you well and that fall is looking beautiful wherever you may be. I noticed some of the leaves changing colors around here today. Very pretty, but nothing like Minnesota (or I imagine some areas back East) where you have large forests of deciduous trees.

:::: What's It Like Where You Live? ::::

There's a nice full Harvest moon tonight. Here in the Pacific Northwest, it's clear and just a little cool. Very nice night.

Farmers Almanac - Dates and Times of Full Moons tells me next month we have a full Hunter's moon.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Java Jive

This coffee pot shaped club in Tacoma called Bob's *World Famous* Java Jive looks like a fun place for young, and young at heart, people.

Found the MSNBC article Defining Hip somewhat interesting.

I used to really like Tower of Power. Saw them live one time. Can't remember where. I think it was outside. Ahhhh the 60's and 70's; we had some fun eh? Wish I could remember more of it.

This Tower of Power Album has the song What Is Hip?

Maybe you could listen to that good old Tower of Power song Going Down to the Nightclub (Bump City) and imagine yourself at the Java Jive Joint shaped like a coffee pot down in Tacoma.

Ray Charles is on public TV right now. Man what a talent. That guy was hip. I picked up his CD Genius Loves Company this week. It's a good one. He collaborates with Norah Jones, Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, Van Morrison and a bunch of other great musicians.

Wide World of Bloggers

Very interesting to see some of the people all over the world who blog

The United Federation of Bloggers (Part One)

The United Federation of Bloggers (Part Two)

These articles are written by Biz Stone, Genius. He has a nice weblog. I particularly like the photo Maggie Eye, a picture of a little dog who looks really fun to play with. Looks like a troublemaker. I mean that in a good way.

I still miss our little dog Baily. He was a troublemaker...and very loving and loveable to his family. My wife used to say, "it's a good thing he's so cute." She's a little less of an animal lover than my daughters and me.

When the time is right we'll have to get another one. Rachel and Becca are totally for it. Betsy a little less so. We have to pick a time when people will be home with the little guy. Maybe next summer.


The Canon PowerShot S400 Biz uses, takes some nice pictures. I like the optical zoom too but for a budget minded Dad like me the Canon Powershot A310 seems to be working pretty good. I'm looking forward to getting those rechargeable batteries in the mail next week. It eats alkalines like crazy.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Rechargeable Batteries, Spyware and Viruses

I was surprised at how quickly my Canon A310 digital camera was eating expensive Duracell Copper Top Alkaline Batteries.

I wouldn't have been if I would have read the owners manual. The owners manual says you can expect 75 shots using Alkaline batteries and 350 with NiMH (Nickle Metal Hydride) rechargeables. A five fold increase in battery life sounds good, not to mention not having to buy and throw-away the alkalines.

I had a relatively old Intel digital camera that didn't have an LCD display/viewer. Using regular old Alkaline batteries in that camera worked fine. Not true with the Canon.

A good page for information on rechargeable batteries and chargers.

Digital Imaging Accessories Review: The Great Battery Shootout

I decided to buy the Maha Battery Charger - MH-204GT SMART CHARGER package with 8 Maha Powerex NiMH 1800 mAh (milli-amp-hour) AA's. It's not the state of the art charger or battery but I thought it was the best buy.

More information on NiMH batteries here -

Green batteries - Information on Rechargeable Batteries and Battery

I'm curious to see if the NiMH batteries perform well in my daughters MP3 players and whatever else we have around here that uses AA batteries. We seem to go through them at a fast clip. I had an AA battery charger years ago that wasn't very satisfactory. The batteries didn't hold a charge very long and wouldn't recharge at all fairly quickly. From what I read the NiMH batteries don't have that problem in that they recharge to close to original power and can be recharged hundreds of times (how many times depends on if they are totally discharged when you recharge them and other stuff I don't care to read about).

I got kicked off my laptop tonight because Becca and some of her friends are using the living room.

I get to use the desktop for awhile. It's always interesting to see what kind of trojans, spyware, adware, viruses and worms have found their way onto this computer. There's usually a few; sometimes more than a few. I think most of them come from downloading music files or games since I don't get them on my laptop.

Any bad stuff that's found it's way onto our computers has never been catastrophic...more just annoying. I like to fiddle around with stuff so I don't really get too excited about it.

I recommend running Lavasoft AdAware, Spybot Search and Destroy and Trend Micro Housecall and SysClean software. They are all free and easy. Besides the cleaning tools you may want to install antivirus software. I'm trying out Computer Associates EZ Antivirus tools free for a year on this PC now that the free McAfee trial ran out.

I don't recommend following advice you find on how to delete trojans, worms, etc. that is available on various bulletin boards/user forums on the web. One of the trojans on this computer is Trojan something (I forget..and don't really care). Anyway if you search Google for "Trojan something" you will get convoluted, bizarre, incorrect or on occasion maybe good advice on how to "fix" your PC.

An example I just ran across, was someone handing out free advice on how to delete the trojan's I'm interested in. This advisor talks about reformatting your hard drive. That cure is worse than the disease.

A simpler method is to go to Trend Micro, download the latest pattern file and SysClean software and let it run. Not nearly as interesting as all the arcane "expert?" advice you can find on the web but a heck of lot easier and safer for your PC than dinking around in the registry or reformatting a hard drive.

That reminds me of a "fix" a local computer store did for an old computer of mine. I was getting a "divide by zero" error and couldn't figure out what was causing it. I took the computer to the place I bought it from and after a couple of weeks they told me they had fixed my computer. They fixed it by erasing and reformatting the hard drive, without backing up anything I had on the hard drive.

I got a nice clean hard drive and no error until I reinstalled the s/w that caused the problem in the first place. They actually did me a favor sort of. As I reloaded s/w programs on my computer I was able to figure out what s/w was causing the problem. It was a program I'd bought that allowed you to choose a bunch of different funny sounds/recordings to associate with keystrokes, mouseclicks etc. That was years ago before that sort of thing was easy to do with Windows.

I've never bought a computer from a local dealer since that one. Why?

I thought by buying locally I'd get better support. That didn't turn out to be the case and since that experience I've bought a few different brands of computers by mail, and been very happy with the quality and support. Sorry local computer stores...I'm sure some are better than others.


Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Tuna Recipes

Tuna Recipe Index

Tuna Recipes From Better Homes and Gardens

StarKist - Recipes

Seattle Time's article about Pacific Northwest Tuna

A good picture of an albacore in this Seattle Post Intelligencer Article.

There's a cool picture of a bluefin tuna at Tuna Charters Ireland (it's in the middle of the page).

Tuna Caught off Westport Washington

Fresh albacore tuna (one of three coolers)

New used freezer - it's pretty filled with tuna.

Ready for some sushi? - Actually I'm saving most of this fresh, never frozen, tuna to give away. Plus I'll have lot's of frozen to share.


The six of us caught a ton of tuna. Literally. We caught over one hundred albacore that weighed 20 pounds and up.

It was great. Very nice day, sunny and warm, a little rain. On the trip out the boat was rockin and rollin but by Monday we had calm seas and great fishing. We left at 10 pm Sunday and got back about 8:30 Monday night. I think we got 60 miles or so off shore. Interesting that the ocean is warmer out that far (that's what the tuna like I guess).

Live anchovies are fun to fish with. We either used a very small weight (1/4 ounce or so) or no weight and let the anchovy swim freely until WOMP! a big tuna takes it and you're off to the races.

Those tuna are fast, aerodynamic, strong and very pretty. Plus they taste good.

Westport's Cachalot Charters skipper Dave Camp is a good fish finder (and a heck of good shot with a bait fish). He threw an anchovy right into a tuna's mouth for me. All I had to do is reel it in...the fun part. Mark, the first mate, was very helpful and a heck of a fish filleter. They take really good care of the catch; bleed them immediately and keep them on ice. That's a key to good tasting fish.

If you like to fish I recommend trying tuna fishing at least once.

Tip - Don't try to stop a tuna with your thumb. Ouch!

I was letting my anchovy swim freely (my reel was in free spool) and WOMP! a big tuna chomps on him. My reel is singing and I couldn't find the lever to turn on the drag. I put my thumb on the spool to slow him down a little. That braided dacron line burned a big piece of my thumb in about 3 seconds. Most fun I ever had burning myself.

You can't stop a tuna with your thumb.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Please Say a Prayer for Nigel

I have to mention something very sad that I experienced Friday. Normally I wouldn't do this but it's worth mentioning to illustrate how transitory, uncertain and precious life is.

A co-worker of mine was recently diagnosed with brain cancer. He's a great guy, very nice; and a good manager.

Everything was fine for him 6 weeks ago. Now his, and his family's, whole world has been turned upside down.

I was working late on Friday...taking some stuff outside and saw him, a young man and our chief engineer coming into the building. The young man was his son. I'm guessing 16 years old or so. I stopped to say hello. My co-worker was coming to clear out his office. I could see the pain in his son's eyes.

Please say a prayer for all people who are sick, and today for a person named Nigel who has brain cancer.


I Wish I Could Read Spanish.

Besides the pictures, there are some cool links on that page.

I found this song/poem at A aba de Heisenberg

Lonely Planet

Planet Earth is slowing down
Overseas, underground
Wherever you look around
Lord, take me by the hand
Lead me through these desert sands
To the shores of a promised land

You make me start
When you look into my heart
And see me for who I really am

If you can't change the world change yourself
If you can't change the world change yourself

I didn't care if the sun didn't shine
And the rain didn't fall from the sky
I just cared about myself
From this world to the next
And from the next back to this
By our actions we are bound
We're running out of love
Running out of hate
Running out of space
For the human race
Planet Earth is slowing down

You make me cry
When you look into my eyes
And see me for who I really am

If you can't change the world change yourself
If you can't change the world change yourself
If you can't change the world change yourself
And if you can't change yourself ...
Then change the world

I'm in love with the planet I'm standing on
I can't stop. I can't stop thinking of
All the people I've ever loved
All the people I have lost
All the people I'll never know
All the feelings I've never shown
The world's too big and life's too short
The world's too big and life's too short
The world's too big and life's too short
To be alone ... to be alone

(The, "Lonely Planet", album "Dusk", 1993)


Normally I'm not a serious political person, or much of a serious person at all.

So why the long one-sided "don't vote for George Nethercutt" post yesterday?

I was involved in the Engineers strike at Boeing on Feb. 9, 2000.

For those of you who can't understand why people would ever strike. The people on strike loved that company (seeing it as a family of workers) and the work we did building safe and affordable airplanes. We were trying to change the direction the corporate leaders had taken that we believed was, and would continue, driving a great and proud company into the ground.

Besides that global vision, we wanted to keep our medical benefits intact as much as possible, continue to make a fair wage and be treated with respect as partners in the success of the enterprise.

The Kaiser Steelworkers Union members came to picket, march with us, and show their support. Those men and woman had been on strike (and then locked out) for over a year when they came to Seattle to support us.

One thing they asked us to do was call George Nethercutt's office at the Washington State Legislature and ask George Nethercutt to stop blocking the bill that would give those working families an extension on their unemployment benefits. I did that. Like an elephant I have a pretty good memory for some things, so now that George Nethercutt is running for State Senator from Washington, I want him to lose.


I feel really blessed to have been able to participate in that strike, along with the WTO marches and rally in Seattle.

One of the coolest moments of the Boeing strike for me was when we were in front of the Corporate Headquarters picketing and the Teamsters showed up with a big semi painted with Teamster's logos and labor promotional information on the trailer. The trailer was actually a portable sound stage. They backed it across the street from us and started playing really good and loud rock and roll music, including the Rolling Stones song "Street Fighting Man" from Beggars Banquet.

That was fun. Felt very alive.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

George Nethercutt Weasel King

George Nethercutt is the Weasel King

for a lot of reasons.


George Nethercutt lied about his commitment to term limits.

In his 1994 campaign against Tom Foley, George Nethercutt presented himself as an outsider who championed term limits. He broke that promise when it came time for him to honor his pledge and limit his own term.

In November 1994, The New York Times reported that Nethercutt "played up his inexperience in government, saying he wanted to return to something closer to the part-time Congress of old." Now after 10 years in office, he's running for State Senator against our incumbent Patty Murray.

Even staunch Republican William Bennett gives him a thumbs down on that one.

"This ought to bother people," William J. Bennett, the Republican grandee and former Reagan and Bush Administration official, told me. "I campaigned for Nethercutt in '94, and I liked him, I liked his ideas. But he's now acting dishonorably. He's breaking his word, and he's doing it without any apparent remorse. He's making people more cynical about politics. Some promises should not be kept, because circumstances change. But about the only circumstance that has changed here that seems to me to be relevant is that he has gotten to like where he is, and I don't think that's enough."


George Nethercutt shafts working people.

A good example was when the steelworkers in Washington State went on strike Sept. 30, 1998 protesting Kaisers plan to subcontract 950 jobs to a nonunion operator. They were joined by Kaiser workers at plants in Gramercy, Tacoma, Wash., and another in Ohio – more than 3,400 workers nationwide.

Four months later, on Jan. 13, 1999, the strikers offered to return to work under the old contract. Kaiser refused and the strike became a lockout.

What did George Nethercutt do? He blocked a bill in the state of Washington to extend benefits for those workers.

In 2003 he is still voting against extending unemployment insurance to laid-off workers

This link has the Spokane Central Labor Council's take on George Nethercutt when Kaiser locked out striking steel workers

And that's what his constituents in Spokane think of

George Nethercutt voted agains Veteran's health care.

Nethercutt Supports Cutting Veteran's Medical Care

What more can you say?


Well he had a little more to say....

George Nethercutt said about our progress in Iraq that "The story of what we've done in the postwar period is remarkable. ... It is a better and more important story than losing a couple of soldiers every day."

He tried to get the Seattle P-I to clean it up for him -

Nethercutt alleges P-I distorted speech on Iraq

Not unlike weaseling his way to success by spouting the term limits he so firmly believed in until it came time to buck up, show some integrity and limit his own term in office.


George Nethercutt doesn't represent the best interests of average citizens.

Not because he's a Republican because he's who he is (see above).

This article Don't rule out Nethercutt's 'Reagan wing' rival presents a more balanced point of view from another Republican named Reed Davis who unsuccessfully ran against George Nethercutt in the primary this year.

Davis is a former King County Republican chairman who has taught political science for 14 years at Seattle Pacific University.

Reed Davis had this to say,

"I'm embarrassed when people ask me, 'How is it that you guys (Republicans) control everything in Washington, D.C., and you can't cut anything?' " Davis told the activists.

In the past three years, he added, federal spending has grown by $400 billion. The federal deficit is at a record $374 billion, and even non-discretionary, non-military spending has climbed by 20 percent.

Nor does Davis like the energy bill. "I just worry it is loaded with pork," he said afterward, quoting GOP Sen. John McCain's observation that the legislation was "authored, drafted and run through by special interests."

A hopeless cause against the Cheney-Nethercutt juggernaut? Not quite."

Reed Davis didn't win his cause against the special interest Cheney-Nethercutt juggernaut this year.

But Patty Murray will.

Postscript - After I wrote this I found another quote by George Nethercutt.

Congressman Nethercutt didn't mince words in his message to Boeing, "I would have no reason to support Boeing, even on appropriations, if they were to abandon this plant." His message drew shouts of support from the crowd that appreciated their Congressman taking the aerospace giant to task.

He made that statement at the Spokane Rally.

After George Nethercutt made that promise, Boeing did abandon that plant. It was sold to Triumph, some workers lost their jobs and those that were left took pay cuts.

Let's see if he holds to his word on this one.

I just don't get it sometimes.

If I was unemployed I really wouldn't understand why the Republican Congress Leaves Jobless Workers in the Cold for the Holidays with the explanation that the economy is improving.

If you're out of work and losing your unemployement benefits it would be hard to relate to that explanation.

In some parallel universe that must make sense...otherwise why would so many people buy into it? Probably makes sense in the Fox Network universe or the good old boys clubs where high financiers hang with their buds.

A more likely explanation is that the purveyors of this bullshit belive that the American people have short attention spans and deserve to be manipulated because of their lack of understanding. Don't sell people short. Some people get all their news from TV but there's a whole bunch of smart dedicated people in this country who can smell BS even before they step in it.

One last little tidbit. Many years ago I was driving across South Dakota and stopped into a small cafe in a small town. There was a group of farmers and ranchers sitting around visiting. I was a young lad, and even though I had grown up on and around farms and ranches, had a mistaken vision of farmers and ranchers as sort of back country people who watched the livestock report and talked about the weather. They do that sure, but I was totally amazed at the depth and understanding of the politics those boys showed. I don't think those people were unusual. There's a lot of smart informed people in this great country.

My point (or rather P.T. Barnams) is you can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.

Like the Who said We Won't Get Fooled Again

Friday, September 17, 2004

Good Iraqi Food at the Halal Market - The Circus Came to Town - Pita King

Oh my my my. If you want something tasty and different try the Colby Halal Market across from the Flying Pig. I ate lunch there yesterday with some friends. It was very good. We had lamb kebobs, grilled tomato, onion, and lemon in pita bread. And strong chai in glasses for desert. It's at 2932 Colby Avenue in Everett, WA. Call ahead to 425-783-0383 to let them know you are coming or to order out. I see they offer a whole lamb for parties of 50 for that special occasion.

Yum. A nice change from the ordinary. Simple food, good ingredients and nice people.


Went to see the Circus train come to town. Didn't see any PETA's; or elephants, lions tigers or bears for that matter. They were unloading the train for the circus walk at 1 pm and I had another appointment (my job). What I did see were lots of little kids and moms, some dads and senior citizens. All very excited to see the animals come off the train.

The train looked like a good way to travel to me. I've been reading a little about elephants. The ones that came to town are Asian elephants (smaller) rather than their bigger cousins from Africa. Elephants have fascinated people throughout time. They have good memories, strong family bonds and are hard workers.

Babar is a famous elephant and of course Dumbo (1941) and Jumbo - The Elephant who toured with the 19th century Barnum and Bailey Circus, later to become Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey.

If you visit India you can ride an elephant on the beach. If you go at the right time, you might also get to participate in Festival of Ganesh the elephant God.

Here's the Everett Herald article about The Circus Walk

Although I missed seeing any PETA protestors we did see a local protestor yesterday. She's an older lady that I've seen holding various incomprehensible signs around town in the past. The one she had up yesterday said something like "PROTEST WANDA". Made no sense. She always makes me smile a little, seems to be enjoying herself. She doesn't look mad, just sort of mischievious. What the heck she's out getting fresh air, adding to the ambience, not hurting anyone. I'd like to talk to her sometime (maybe). She might be a bit of a wild one.


Went to see the PITA KING yesterday. He wasn't there but one of the princesses was in.

My good friend Baba Ghanoush and I picked up some little pitas (fresh out of the oven), Tzatziki Sauce, baba ghanoush (that must be where his name came from), good lebanese tahini, chickpeas and the grillable Cyprus cheese halloumi.

We were considering buying one of the hookahs to use during smoke breaks at work...but since neither of us smoke decided against it. Those things do look cool though. Maybe I'll get a chance to smoke off someone elses sometime. I'll keep an eye on the loading dock where people smoke at work, just in case someone brings one in.

I'm on the 40 year stop smoking plan. That's the one where you smoke cigs, switch to a pipe, cigar, smokeless tobacco and then repeat it every 5 years. I've gone nicotine free for a few years. Back on the smokeless now. Gotta have some vices.


I hope the tuna haven't got word that I'm heading to the coast this weekend. I'm staying at a place called Harbor Resort in the marina. Looking forward to the views, sights, sounds, smells.

My plan is fish for tuna, fish for tuna, buy tuna at Safeway, come home.

In my fishermanly optimism I have actually procured a brand new used 30 dollar freezer, which is waiting for the tuna I catch with Dave Camp skipper for Cachalot Charters. This is going to be fun. It will just be 6 fishermen and women on that big boat. We get to use live anchovies. There's a picture of Rosie on the home page for Cachalot. Rosie was on the boat last time when my wife and I went salmon fishing. She had brought her 6 or 7 year old grandson with her. He was having a ball.

Looking forward to this Friday. Should be a good one. Hope you have a fine weekend to relax, refresh and re-create.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Password Frustration and William James on Habit

Yesterday I was thinking about wasting time changing, forgetting, remembering or trying to remember, and if all else fails - resetting passwords.

Not to mention the fatigue and frustration caused when we find something we think is automatic (logging onto a computer program) is no longer automatic because a "smart" program was created that forces us to change our password (and not use anything like the previous 10 passwords, for our new password).

I proposed we should do our best to reserve our higher brain functions for constructive thought - learning new things and connecting those learned things to what we already know, rather than committing to memory and then recalling random alphanumeric sequences that must be at least 8 characters and may be case sensitive. I've seen some password rules now that require including non-alpha numeric characters. Let's see was my password (*&polbBT%$ or !@#bln#TbL9?

Looking forward to the day when we use our intelligence to to make computer access secure and easy. Two competing goals, but I have faith in the bright people working on this kind of thing will come up with retinal scans, voice recognition, fingerprint recognition, subcutaneous chip implants (just kidding I think) that will do away with our having to spend time on passwords.

In that discussion I mentioned the 19th Century Teacher/Doctor/Philosopher William James. I think this quote from

Classics in the History of Psychology -- James (1890) Chapter 4

touches on the concept -

"The great thing, then, in all education, is to make our nervous system our ally instead of our enemy. It is to fund and capitalize our acquisitions, and live at ease upon the interest of the fund. For this we must make automatic and habitual, as early as possible, as many useful actions as we can, and guard against the growing into ways that are likely to be disadvantageous to us, as we should guard against the plague. The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automatism, the more our higher powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work. There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision, and for whom the lighting of every cigar, the drinking of every cup, the time of rising and going to bed every day, and the beginning of every bit of work, are subjects of express volitional deliberation. Full half the time of such a man goes to the deciding, or regretting, of matters which ought to be so ingrained in him as practically not to exist for his consciousness at all. If there be such daily duties not yet ingrained in any one of my readers, let him begin this very hour to set the matter right."

Some quotes from William James on Habit.

And a funny sort of equation where lowering our expectations can increase our self esteem (or something like that) William James and Bill Watterson

A quote on genius...William James--Wisdom

All these quotes, and a wealth of other material can be found at this Emory University page on William James.

Monday, September 13, 2004

The Circus Is Coming! Password/Privacy Rant!

The circus is coming to town this week.

I'm excited for the kids who will go.

Some of the animals will be brought to the civic center in a little parade from the railroad station. That sounds cool to me.

There's some controversy brewing with people who want to make sure animals aren't mistreated.

A couple of articles from the local paper -

HeraldNet: Protest follows circus

and this one by Julie Muhlstein to balance things out

HeraldNet: Some animal rights groups go too far in their fight


On the topic of treatment of animals...

I finished Life of Pi awhile back. One of the topics of that book is animals in zoos. I recommend that book for the discussion on zoos alone. The author talks about animals having defined territories in the wild (their homes) or defined territories in zoos (their homes). Then talks about the pros and cons of each.

Imagine what it would be like to be a "free" elephant being eaten by a "free" tiger vs. being a circus elephant who gets to perform, see people who are happy to see you, and know where your next meal is coming from. Not saying we don't need wilderness and wild animals, but being in the wild isn't all it's cracked up to be sometimes. At least if you are a wild animal being eaten by a pack of wolves, hyenas, tigers or other predators or dying a slow death of starvation.

I'll propose that almost no one, aside from abberent psychopathic individuals, want animals to suffer. I believe all life is precious, but we need to prioritize our concern for living things. As a human I have to admit a bias in that I believe human life to be the most precious. I hope the people that get all worked up about the circus treatment of animals still have energy to work on improving the condition of their fellow humans.

Warning long rant ahead....

I wonder how long before passwords are a thing of the past?

Like everyone who uses computers (or imputers) as Becca used to call them I have lots of passwords. My intention this morning was to get up early, log on to my email at work and get a little caught up before I went into the office.

Last week I was getting a message every day when I logged on at work that said "your password will expire in 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 etc...days".

I kept putting it off and now my password expired on Saturday and our system won't let me change it remotely. I have to go to the office today to start work. Oh well.

We have lots of smart password monitoring programs. By smart I mean they keep track of your old passwords and won't let you use anything similar for a new password. The end result? You have a slug of unrelated passwords that no one, aside from some kind of password savant, could remember.

My theory is it's best to keep your brain as clear as possible of trivial things to remember so you can concentrate on "thinking" eg. connecting things into useful patterns. William James wrote about the advantage to our minds in making everyday things habitual, like brushing our teeth.

Imagine what it would be like if everyday you got up and had to think, "now how was I supposed to brush my teeth this week?". Tie my shoes? Was it rinse, lather, repeat or lather, rinse, repeat?

My point is I don't want to clutter up my brain with meaningless unconnected alphanumeric combinations aka passwords.

I don't get too worried about the privacy issues of having some method of identifying me as me (retinal scan, finger print reader, voice analyzer, universal personal ID card with password generator...whatever).

I don't really care to be anonymous and even if I did I don't think we have the right to anonymity. Saying we don't have the right to anonymity is different than saying we do have the right to privacy.

I don't think I have the right to interact in the world and remain anonymous. Let's say I take a bag of manure and light it on fire on your porch. I may want to remain anonymous but I don't think I have the right. Maybe I want to write a letter to the editor. Call you on the phone. I might prefer to remain anonymous but I don't have that right.

What about AA? Certainly people who go to AA meetings have a right to privacy. They aren't anonymous though, since they are physically present with other people at meetings. I'd consider an organization like the KKK more in line with a group that want's anonymity - what with the masks and all. Ditto for terrorist cells. Anonymity makes sense if you doing something legally or morally wrong and don't want to be identified by those members of society who set or enforce legal and moral norms.

I don't care if people know my phone number, address, or name; but I want to have personal information kept private (which to me means kept in the hands of those who need to know or who I chose to share that information with). I want to have my business's confidential or propriatary information kept the same way - in the hands of those who need to know.

I hope inventors come up with a solution that works better than passwords pretty soon.

We'll figure out workarounds in the meantime. A simple one is to have a superpassword ie. the ability to get into something, a computer/PDA/vault that contains the bazillion passwords to everything else.

Some people worry about that single source of passwords. Not me. Consider the possiblity that someone figures out what machine/vault contains your password list and what the password is to that machine and what form that list is in and how to convert that form into something useable.....

to log on to your Yahoo mail? Who cares?

Any access to data that's really important, that's outside of a gated area, shouldn't be accessible even if someone had a password. If you have confidential/important data online in an unsecured area you will use smart cards, or some other secondary protection scheme. A smart card generates a semi-random password based on a password you enter into it. The host computer you are logging onto can determine if that semi-random password came from that smart card.

The end result? Even if you have a password to the smart need the physical device to log on. So I'm not too excited about people stealing passwords. If someone broke into my house and found my smart card...then they'd have to figure out the password to that card to use it. Anyway this is sort of circular.

Not to say identity theft isn't a troublesome issue. If you are worried about someone stealing your identity you would possibly be better served by being careful about what you throw in the trash than trying to memorize every password you have.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Interpreting Your Dreams

Dreaming that you are riding a unicycle means that you are in total control of a situation and exercising authority in both personal and business matters.

Got that information from the hyperdictionary Dream Dictionary

This Explains Everything

Principia Discordia

Wherein is Explained
Absolutely Everything Worth Knowing
About Absolutely Anything


One would have to have a fair amount of idle time and the inclination to while away that time to read the whole thing. Since I had both, I read the whole book online and thought it was laugh out loud funny.

The forums are interesting and have some good links too.


The intro says,

"For full benefit to the Head, this book should be read in conjunction with The Illuminoids by Neal Wilgus (Sun Press, Albuquerque, NM) and Zen Without Zen Masters by Camden Benares (And/Or Press, Berkeley, California). "We are operating on many levels here", as Ken Kesey used to say.

In conclusion, there is no conclusion. Things go on as they always have, getting weirder all the time."


Here's a couple of snips. I'm not sure if they do the book justice out of context, but just to give a feel for what these principia might be about -



In the year 1166 B.C., a malcontented hunchbrain by the name of Greyface, got it into his head that the universe was as humorless as he, and he began to teach that play was sinful because it contradicted the ways of Serious Order. "Look at all the order around you," he said. And from that, he deluded honest men to believe that reality was a straightjacket affair and not the happy romance as men had known it.

It is not presently understood why men were so gullible at that particular time, for absolutely no one thought to observe all the disorder around them and conclude just the opposite. But anyway, Greyface and his followers took the game of playing at life more seriously than they took life itself and were known even to destroy other living beings whose ways of life differed from their own.

The unfortunate result of this is that mankind has since been suffering from a psychological and spiritual imbalance. Imbalance causes frustration, and frustration causes fear. And fear makes for a bad trip. Man has been on a bad trip for a long time now.


Bullshit makes
the flowers grow
& that's beautiful."


"P A R T F I V E



The human race will begin solving it's problems on the day that it ceases taking itself so seriously.

To that end, POEE proposes the countergame of NONSENSE AS SALVATION. Salvation from an ugly and barbarous existence that is the result of taking order so seriously and so seriously fearing contrary orders and disorder, that GAMES are taken as more important than LIFE; rather than taking LIFE AS THE ART OF PLAYING GAMES.

To this end, we propose that man develop his innate love for disorder, and play with The Goddess Eris. And know that it is a joyful play, and that thereby CAN BE REVOKED THE CURSE OF GREYFACE.

If you can master nonsense as well as you have already learned to master sense, then each will expose the other for what it is: absurdity. From that moment of illumination, a man begins to be free regardless of his surroundings. He becomes free to play order games and change them at will. He becomes free to play disorder games just for the hell of it. He becomes free to play neither or both. And as the master of his own games, he plays without fear, and therefore without frustration, and therefore with good will in his soul and love in his being.

And when men become free then mankind will be free.
May you be free of The Curse of Greyface.
May the Goddess put twinkles in your eyes.
May you have the knowledge of a sage,
and the wisdom of a child. Hail Eris."

Friday, September 10, 2004

Playing With Your Button

I've really got to keep playing with that "Next Blog" button on the upper right corner. It is addictive. I tend to just glance at pages read a little and for ones that impress me somehow read more and sometimes send a note back to the creator.

The thing that makes it odd is I'm not bookmarking any of those web logs so chances seem good that I will never return to one. It's sort of like having a million public access channels on your TV. Wayne's World might be on and you looked at it for a second and thought "wow this is kind of funny." Then you're off to the next creation.

It's cool. And sort of weird since it's so transitory. Kind of like passing people on the street and getting some information about them and knowing you won't ever see them again.

You do see some common threads, but then every once in awhile a really uncommon thread comes up that catches your eye.

I recommend trying that next blog thing, if you have some free time to fool around on the web.

To make this a real weblog I should to link to some other weblogs. I don't know for sure what my main interest is. Comedy, philosophy, work, religion, politics, food, people, children, friends, myself, others, education, reading, fishing, talking, writing, breathing, sitting around watching TV? I'll just keep floating around and having fun for now.

Need to close up the Cafe for tonight. I've spent another early morning fiddling with these keys trying to see if I come up with something that fits together and is on occasion pleasing to the ear, eye, mind or heart.

Need to sleep.

Good night to you.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Too Lazy To Pick Up The Remote

I wish I could turn off the TV, but I'm too lazy to pick up the remote.

Now that's lazy. I don't know how we ever got by without remotes. There's a funny comedy routine I've seen a guy do about laying on the couch all day and being too busy to do anything. Sort of the way I feel tonight.

Really enjoyed seeing the new Apprentice. I like that show, it really seems real to me. Sort of watched the Medical Investigators but tried not to watch it too close since I have a tendency to take on symptoms I see or read about. I think the premise tonight had something to do with people accidently eating saltpeter instead of salt and combining it with alcohol which caused them to turn blue.

My skin does have a little blueish tinge to it come to think of it.


I like to think that we are all saints and sinners. Not that I want to hide every flaw I have behind the "I'm a sinner what can I do" banner. It's a fact Jack you're not perfect, no human is. Live with it.

Don't beat up on yourself, don't beat up on other people. Easier said than done. I blamed my wife for our basement flooding last night about 1 am. Or something like that. It makes no sense. I was ranting that she should have looked in the basement earlier in the day. Sometimes I act like a jerk. I hope less often than I used too.

Things are much calmer today. We figured out where the water was coming from, got the wet/dry vac going, some fans and heaters and things are pretty much dried out. Thank God for small troubles. I think about the people in Florida, Russia or even people I know who've been through real floods where significant damage was done.

I've got it good. I'm thankful.


This was the first time I'd used the new wet/dry vac. My wife had taken it out of the box and stuck the hoze and nozzle on it, but hadn't used it. I thought it was weird there wasn't any instruction manual or any other attachments in the box.

The outside of the box said to read the instruction manual before using, and never use without a filter. No manual in sight. I thought maybe someone had returned it and the instruction manual was lost, so I started using it and after 10 minutes or so it quit.

I opened it up and found the instruction manual, filters and some other stuff inside the canister (soaked with dirty water).



A little later I had put an electric space heater downstairs and a fan to help dry things out. Wasn't really thinking but I put the heater right under the clothes chute.

I was all hot and sweaty from carry wet stuff outside. I took my shirt off upstairs and was going to throw it down the chute..something rang a bell in my mind and I didn't. I came close to burning my house down, which gave me a good laugh. I was thinking what else could go wrong? and almost found out. I came close to being one of those Darwin Award people you read about.

Oh well. I'm just glad I have a house, my health, good kids a good family, good friends, a good job, computer, recliner, food, eyesight....everything I need to be happy.

I'm looking forward to a good Friday and hope you are too.

May all your troubles be little ones.


Water in My Basement

Working on an unplanned swimming hole in my basement today. Yesterday I noticed water running apparently out of the ground from the 1317 house and into the gutter. Turned out it was an old sump drain. Figured out today my neighbor to the North (Drew) who is out of town, has a broken water pipe somewhere on his property. Which is in turn filling my basement (more like drizzling I guess) with water.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Now That I'm 50

They know I'm old.

boo hoo

This is the banner ad that Hotmail figured out I need.

Welcome to Senior FriendFinder - the leading personals network for dating, romance, marriage, and fun! Dating for people with experience

I always got the regular personal ad banners (like I assume everyone does)...until just now.

Just joshin ya. I do think the ad server knows I hit the 50 mark. Interesting. Maybe I'll get more targeted ads I can actually use. I like to look at personal ads online or in papers once in awhile just out of curiousity. See if I can find something funny, absurd, nice...

Not a major pasttime but once in awhile.


I made a joke awhile back about not getting enough penis enhancement emails. I think I may have asked to get more. Not sure if that had any impact but I'm getting about 8 out of 10 emails in my junk mail filter on that topic. It was a joke. I'm pretty much caught up on that topic now. I'm not interested in buying some herbal concoction; hell I'm scared of the stuff they advertise on TV made by BigDrugCo. I don't want to contact a Doctor if an erection lasts more than 4 hours (or was it 4 days?). I forget stuff. Well maybe a good looking Doctor...

Anyway we're trying to cut back on medical expenses at the Cafe so we don't want to have to bother our physicians because of a woody that won't go away. Ok?

Another Fine Morning at The Cafe - E.B. White - Hospitality - Live Pate and Potatoe

Another fine morning here at Cafe Jack.

Can I get you a good cup of hot cocoa made with Hershey's cocoa, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and some honey? Trying to steer away from the instant stuff. Too much filler and high fructose corn syrup and not enough real chocolate flavor. On the plus side it is instant. The homemade takes 10 minutes or so to whip up. Gives one time to practice breathing, slow down and think a little while we make it.

Trying to get away from the artificial coffee creamers too. Sorry if you liked them, but those trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils just aren't good for you. I'll get you some real cream and milk, half and half...and real sugar. Let's stick to something people have been drinking for a long time, rather than that stuff that's a molecule removed from plastic.

Maybe we should ban trans fats altogether here at the Cafe. I gotta eat those two bags of Oreos in the cupboard first though.

There's a couple of head lines on MSN today that may be interesting.

One asks "Low Carb Diets Bad For Your Stomach?".

I'm not sure I'll have to think about it.

Okay, I'm done.

Yes. Eating nothing but meat probably puts a bit of a strain on the old digestive system unless you happen to be a tiger. As a long time omnivore I think it's better to try and mix in some fruit, veggies, grass - whatever you like.

On the other hand maybe low carb diets aren't so bad for your stomach if a bad stomach is defined as a big stomach. I've heard people lose weight on that plan. It's just so hard to stick to anything that doesn't include at least a little of everything you love.

There must be something to low-carb. Why else would we have C2?

The other headline asks, "Work Less - Land a Promotion?" It has a couple of points but I find the basic premise that people want to get promoted flawed. The secondary premise that people don't like to work hard is on shaky ground too.

I remember one time I asked a manager on the fast track if anyone ever refused a promotion to a higher level of management (or into management). He couldn't (or wouldn't) consider the idea that anyone would not want to be a manager at all, or work their way to the highest level of management they could. Most of us like to work. Most of us like people who work. Most of us like to joke around about delegating, supervising and what not.

It was interesting in the Navy to see the old saying in action, "Chief's run the Navy." A Chief is an enlisted man or woman in the Navy; equivalent to an experienced worker in civilian life that works and has taken on supervisory type/mentoring roles for new people.

I know a guy who was a Navy pilot but when they assigned him to a base couldn't live with the idea that he (as a newly commissioned officer) was supposed to be "in charge" of experienced enlisted people (Chief's and other petty officers). To me there's integrity, honesty, and common-sense in that view.

My dog Baily was a great supervisor. Liked to watch and have his nose right in whatever people were doing.

E.B. White wrote about his dog being a supervisor in a great old book (with a weird name) called One Man's Meat. I highly recommend picking that book up if you like farming, getting away from the city and everyday troubles..that kind of thing.

Thank goodness we have work that is meaningful and allows us to make a difference. By we I mean taxi drivers, nurses, construction workers, mechanics, doctors, teachers, convenience store clerks, grocery store cashiers, fish market workers, flaggers, espresso stand workers, ministers, insurance salesman, disc jockeys, clowns.


The real reason I started writing this morning was to think about being hospitable.

I was thinking how nice it feels to be at someones home and have them insist you eat (a lot). That feeling of abundance is good. The Native Americans did that with their potlatch. It's a good idea - that there's enough for everybody.

It's no fun when people try to maintain some strict portion control and you feel like you can't take what you want. My philosophy is cook more than enough. You can always eat it later.

Put's a damper on a potluck or anywhere food is available and because of a shortage of food you have people sniping about who took the good stuff. We had a pizza lunch one time and people were talking about who had how many wasn't even good pizza.

Sometimes with technical types you get the "let's figure out the tip to the last cent and divide the bill 29 times to make sure no one over or under pays. What the the lunch, buy everybody in the place a drink. Give the waitress a big tip and a hug. A kiss. Surprise somebody. Be foolish.

A friend of mine once told me, "If I have money I'll pay...if you have money you can pay. I know it will all work out in the end."


When I was a younger lad I had a chance to stay with a family with a nice mom of Italian descent. Not in Montana. I still remember how she asked me if I could eat anymore breakfast? She was cooking for a whole bunch of her family but she was so hospitable. So friendly, nice and funny. Very sad to think of how things change. I'm glad I got to go to her home. We fished for a fish in the cow watering tank, caught toads..ran around in the hills. Those were the days my friend.


A few years ago Betsy and I met and got to be friends with an Iraqi refuge family. We were at their house and Faliha served us scrambled eggs and tomato and eggplant; no silverware. It was fun to eat those eggs with my hands, kind of messy. When we were done she asked if we would like some Halloween? That was her word for candy.

One time Betsy was over and they offered her the eye of a sheep. That was the best part. Or maybe it was the brain or some of the wool (I forget stuff).

We just found out they had a girl after something like 13 boys in a row. I hope that family does great here in America. They hated Saddam and a couple of the boys are serving in the U.S. Army now.

Yesterday my co-workers brought in some home grown pear-apples and grapes, Vietnamese candy and tapioca flour cookies. It was all tasty and.....hospitable. Nice.

I've gotten some good zucchini, cukes and tomatoes from people this summer too. Thank you gardeners.


I want to figure out how to make pate. Nothing fancy something good. Maybe we'll call it chopped liver here at Jack's.

Love liver...braunswager sandwiches with mustard, maybe onion or fried liver and onions with a lot of ketchup. Just roll the liver in flour/salt/pepper, brown it, add sliced onions and cook til done.

This guy mentions a Liver Lover named Johnson in Tough Ancestors by Charley Reese

There's some interesting comments in the review section over at AmazonThe Saga of Liver-Eating Johnson

A friend was telling me about making pate out of chicken livers. It sounded yummy. I want to play with that. Plus chicken livers are good if you are on a budget...and the iron will be good for your blood.


I'm off to go peel some potatoes in back now. Call me if you need anything.

Here's a little article about 1992: Dan Quayle and the 'potatoe' kid you might find interesting. I have a chink in my brain so every time I write potato or potatoes, I have to think of Dan Quayle. Poor guy. He got a bad rap. I'd hate to have all my gaffs put on display to make me look bad. I do more goofy stuff every day than old Dan got credit for in his whole political career.


See you soon.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Garlic Infused Twice Baked Potatoes

Good morning to you dear reader.

Hope you had a good Labor Day Weekend.

I've been slacking on the recipes/cooking part of Cafe Jack for awhile so I'm going to put up a simple recipe. I'd try something more complex but it's getting late and I have to go to my other job in the morning.

We broke out the BBQ this weekend. Had some really good shish-kebobs (someone else made them, I just cooked them). They were good. Made with chicken, or beef, red pepper, green pepper, onion. The meat had been marinated and then rubbed with spices.

I was in charge of the potatoes. Here's a simple way to make Garlic Infused Twice Baked Potatoes.

It was hot so I didn't want to fire up the oven or stove inside and I like to fiddle around so I couldn't just wrap the spuds in tinfoil and throw them on the grill.

You will need -

Some good cheeses. I used some plain old mild chedder and some really good sharp chedder from a local cheesemaker. Some spuds. Some fresh garlic. Olive Oil, Butter, Salt, Pepper, Hot Pepper Flakes, some tin foil and a hot BBQ with a lid.

Rinse the spuds. Double up sheets of tinfoil to wrap them in. Set the spuds on the tinfoil and put a few cloves of garlic, some olive oil, butter, salt, pepper and some hot pepper flakes (not too much. The idea is to let the garlic cook in the olive oil and butter and have the flavor transfer to the potatoes.

Wrap the potatoes up and put them on the grill until they start to soften. It took mine about an hour. They were pretty big.

Remove the potatoes from the grill. Slice the tinfoil open on the top, slice the potato, and maybe mash it a little, and add the cheeses to the top.

Stick the potatoes back on the grill until the cheese is melted.

Take the potato out of the tinfoil and drizzle the olive oil, butter, garlic clove mixture over the top. I added some sour cream..Yum...

Time to close up the old Cafe for now. See you in the morning. We'll have a good cup of java. Maybe some Peets extra dark french roast.

Hope you have a great week.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Hello and Picasa are Great!


I was playing with my digital camera earlier today, just taking random shots around the house.

I happened to find Hello and Picasa while I was mulling over the easiest way to put them online.

In my 15 minutes or so of playing with those two free programs I can only say


Very easy. Plus it seems to be totally free. I love the web.

Anyway these are some pictures from around the house today. I like some of them. Hope you do to.


My Shadow - Looking out back

My New Fan

Puget Sound on Left - Cosmo On The Right


These flowers just re-bloomed a week or so ago.

Different angle of Rachel's leaf

Rachel Made This Leaf

Dancing Angels

Cups and Teapot

Some Wild Plants I brought back from Montana last spring

A glass piece I got in Newport Oregon a few years ago.

Yellowstone Park Bus

This is a rose on the counter, toaster, some butter, apples.

The other side of the fridge

This is a Maxfield Parish Print called Daybreak (my wife told me)

Rubber Band Ball looking out the window

Rubber Band Ball Resting

Viking and Rubber Band Ball Waiting


I like this one

These are beaver sticks and Betsy's baby pictures.

This is the fridge.

This is my rubber band ball. It's pure rubber bands, no artificial fillers.

On the Bus - Zen - IWW

These guys at Key-Z Productions Home Page have a really nice looking bus.

I love busses. I don't know what it is about them. I should say I love the "idea" of busses. I haven't ridden on a bus in a couple of hundred years.

When I was younger I could get turned on looking at the rear-end of a bus.

I think Lenny Bruce might have said something like that.

Must sleep now. I guess.

Here's a zen thought before I drift off...Eat when hungry...Sleep when tired

Good night to you.

Have a great Labor Day weekend.

Any group that wants a 4 hour work day can't be all bad.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Please Send Me Your AOL Shiny CD's - Jazzin Up the Blog - Exciting Ride Stories

If you would send me all your AOL disks that you've received in the mail I'd really appreciate it. I think the bus will look pretty snazzy once it's covered with a few thousand shiny disks. Plus it will keep things a lot cooler in the summer.

Cafe Jack's Goin Mobile - As Soon As I Get a Few Things Fixed

I learned how to put that little piece of text on the bus from

Mandarin Design. Web and Blog Design and Development.

Some day I may work my way up to columns. My blog needs a little pizazz I think. The folks at Mandarin Design can help me I bet.

Sometimes all we need is a big first letter for a paragraph. No drop cap, just a big cap. It looks best when followed by way too much text.

Way to much text you say? Sure I can do that.


I try to keep my log pretty simple visually. I like pictures. Not so hot on pop-ups, songs, scrolling text, blinking stuff, text over pictures (whoops) and really small text. Not that all those things don't have their place. Just not on this old log right now. Maybe if I run out of words.


Vote for somebody.

I just can't get too excited about anybody right now. I might vote for John Kerry's wife. I like her independence. I like the fact that Utne Reader named her one of America's 100 great visionaries in 1995.

Utne quotes her as saying "She views her prolific philanthropy as a way of "fixing things" that is more effective than political campaigns, which are in her words, "the graveyard of real ideas and the birthplace of empty promises."

But not this year.....

Still, the woman behind the man can make the man. Not to say anything bad about Laura Bush, she seems like a nice lady, good mom, wife, ex-librarian. But I like the idea of a really independent (financially) woman like Theresa Heinz-Kerry backing a candidate. Maybe the only people besides those of us who elect him, that he really will have to answer to is her?

That would be interesting. Someone who isn't beholden to BigCo. Not gonna happen, but interesting to think about.


It's 2:02 am so the bars are all closed. What to do?

Did I ever tell you about the time I crashed into a bank with the back of my car? I wasn't intoxicated. It wasn't a holdup. I was stuck.

I'd got off my bartending job and it was after 2 am on a cold cold cold Montana night. No one was in town. No one was driving on mainstreet. I'd parked my car head first diagonally at the curb in front of the bar. There was a slight downslope so the nose of the car was lower than the tail.

I fire up my rig (Vega station wagon) put it in reverse gear and the back tire just spins on the ice.

I'm stuck.

It's freezing cold. No one one to call.

I decided to leave my car in reverse gear, get out, push, and once the car gets going jump in, and TAKE OFF.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Unfortunately once I got the Vega moving it took off without me. It made a big U turn going backwards out on Main Street and ended up rearending the Bank.

Good thing that bank was made of granite. All that I had to show for that little miscalculation was a dent in my rear bumper. It was exciting.


Almost as exciting as the time I was riding with some boys who accidently crashed into the bowling alley while burning a donut in the parking lot. I'll never forget the look on that old waitresses face as the rear tires of the pickup hit the logs used as barriers/parking stops, bumped over them and broke through the window. She ran off. We drove off, then decided it would be best to fess up and claim it was just bad driving. And maybe a couple too many Rainiers.

Another time I was riding with those boys and we drove into an irrigation ditch. It was only a couple of feet deep. I remember the beer bottles floating around in the back seat where I was sitting. We got a tow and went on our way.

Not much to do in a small town in Montana but drink and drive.

There's a lot of stuff to do. I was just to stupid to know it at the time.

Other exciting rides...

Riding TP while he tried to brush you off by running under low branches on the pine trees. Or buck you off if you tried to make him cross a bridge.

Riding a horse bareback if you don't know how to ride bareback and you're on a gravel road...sliding around the horse and your back is about to contact the gravel.

Riding a minibike with no throttle. Well actually with full throttle but not knowing how to make it stop.

Landing in a Piper Cub in a field and coming to a stop a couple of feet from a big old boulder type rock.

Riding on a 737 in a turning stall with an inexperienced government pilot at the controls. Airplane turns upside down, engines cut out...lose altitude. Have to go home to check for structural damage. Yikes that was a little too scary even for me.

Riding a motorcycle on a busy California freeway, weaving in out of traffic and burning your shoe off when it comes into contact with the tire of a car your racing. Try putting your shoe on a tire rotating 100 mph and see if it starts to smoke.

Skiing down a nice Montana ski

Getting pulled behind a pickup on a toboggan on a snowy

Sliding down a ice field on a steep mountain on your belly with an ice ax trying to arrest your slide/fall before you hit the rocks at the bottom.

I love scary rides.

Or maybe more truthfully, I used to love scary rides. Now I kind of like sitting in my recliner and thinking about scary rides.

How To Be Creative

gapingvoid: how to be creative (original short version)

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Labor Day - Rachel's Off to College! - Trip to Fry's - Stuff Don't Last

Looking up

Labor Day weekend.

Yah hoo!

One time I worked every day of Labor Day weekend. Most of the nights too. It was an exciting adventure. I got to fly in a 767 from Texas to Washington. It was just me, two pilots and another engineer. I'd gone down there to help troubleshoot a problem and we ended up flying the bird back home to get the EMI (electro magnetic interference) expertise available locally. It turned out the problem was a cracked microwave cavity on one of the LRRA's (Low Range Radio Altimeter). It only caused a problem when the door to the rack that the LRRA was on, was closed. That made trouble shooting the problem quite difficult. Open the door to look at the box...voila! the problem disappears. The door was lined with metallic foil which created a resonant chamber effect, which caused the one LRRA with the cracked microwave cavity to interfere with the other. The LRRA provides the pilot, autopilot and other airplane systems with the vertical distance between the airplane and the surface below the airplane.

See I told you it was exciting :-)

Actually though it was very exciting and involved a whole bunch of people working together. Since this is a public blog I won't get into details.

Just one little detail...

We were flying back up North and the airport tower was closed. The pilot was smoking a cigar. He was a young gun. We were coming in at night and he was looking for the lights of the airport. It's funny how much a mall parking lot lit up at night can look like an airport. Just for the record this was not a commercial flight. We were flying under part 91 rules.


Rachel started college yesterday. What an exciting time. All the energy and LIFE from those young people. Lot's of ideas, enthusiasm, fun. I'm really happy for her. I think PLU is going to be a great place to be, and a wonderful stepping stone to the future, for Rachel.

I'm sure she will have lots of stories to tell and write about as she progresses through college.

One of the best decisions I ever made was to attend a small liberal arts college. For me it was an education in how to think, how to be an informed citizen, as opposed to training - where you learn what to think.

My point is that you are "trained" for a particular vocation or task. You take computer training to learn how to use a tool or go to beautician school to learn how to cut hair. Education on the other hand is learning how to learn if you will.

I don't think formal education is necessary for everyone. Certainly there are many self-taught enlightened people. The nice thing about college is that it brings a lot of different people together so you can learn together. That's fun.


I was sort of hoping if I turned the comments on maybe someone else would write this web log. I'm always trying to delegate. Didn't get many takers.

Oh well..........


I got to go to Fry's Electronics in Renton yesterday. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

If you are a geeky type or just like tech stuff Fry's is a great store.

I cut this little description of Fry's off their webpage

The History of Fry's Electronics, Inc.

Fry's Electronics, Inc. was founded in 1985 in Sunnyvale, California in a 20,000 square foot location by the three Fry brothers, John, Randy, and Dave, and Kathryn Kolder. Fry's is a closely held private company, with active involvement from all of the founders in the daily operation of the business.

Fry's was founded as a Silicon Valley retail electronics store in order to provide a one-stop-shopping environment for the Hi-tech Professional. Fry's has been keeping Hi-Tech Professionals supplied with products representing the latest technological trends and advances in the personal computer marketplace for over 18 years. Fry's retails over 50,000 electronics items within each store. There are currently seven stores in Northern California and eight stores in Southern California, six stores in Texas, two stores in Arizona, and one store each in Oregon and Nevada. The stores range in size from 50,000 to over 200,000 square feet. Fry's also provides customers with added shopping opportunities via its online center at Fry's

I get to go back to Fry's to return a wireless router. Oooo Ooooo Oooooo I am excited. They have so much cool stuff there.


Have you ever noticed how a fair amount of stuff that used to last a long time has become more disposable?

Three items that come to mind for me are telephones, electric fans and Christmas lights.

A telephone used to last forever. I've probably bought 10 phones over the last few years. Either because they stopped working or in the case of cell phones because I changed providers.

Same thing with electric fans. A good electric fan should last 10 years or more. I've bought numerous fans for our house that last a couple of years and then the motor or the oscillation mechanism gives out.

You might as well throw out Christmas lights after a year. Or sometimes after bringing them home from the store. Except that seems really I spend an inordinate amount of time, sometimes trying to get a 4 dollar string of lights to work.

What's the problem?

A lot of manufacturing has been moved to lowest wage countries. Phones used to be made in the good old US of A. Ditto for fans. Not sure about Christmas lights. The manufacturers of these items find that having a fan made in Mexico, phone in Malaysia, Christmas light in China helps the old bottom line. I'm not silly enough to think that those countries and the people in those countries couldn't produce high quality products.

A couple of things are going on though. One is that people tend to make quality products if their work environment is adequate. The second is that quality tooling and materials have to go into the production to end up with a quality product. Neither one of those items are being taken care of very well by the Corporations who have moved manufacturing off shore.

What the Corporations has gotten though is cheap goods, cheap labor and unreliable goods that have to be replaced frequently. Sounds like a win/lose deal to me.

I bought an expensive electric fan yesterday at Fry's. Relatively expensive anyway. It's called a Vornado Silver Swan

It's guaranteed for ten years. On the box it says it's designed and engineered in the USA and manufactured in China. I like the way it looks. We'll see how long it lasts.


My advice to any young person considering a career would be to not count on any type of skilled manufacturing job as a lifetime occupation. Or any job for that matter. It's sad to me to see the skilled high paying manufacturing jobs in the Aerospace industry moved offshore.

That's why people need to be educated. If you know how to learn you can always learn to do something new.


I still haven't gotten my Hi Monkey lunch box. It's on the way though. I ordered it from CafePress.

Looks like an interesting place to shop or maybe create some things other people might like.