Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Well, That's dropped my confidence in them a bit...

During one of my bored moments, I was websurfing and stumbled across a bunch of hacking stories.

This is something that’s always interested me. It’s like the old confidence tricksters, they do something that is so intelligent, intricate and requires so much balls, it almost stops being a crime…and just becomes a genius way of making money.

One of my favorite stories was the group of computer technicians who went on a junket to Las Vegas. While there, after losing a lot of money at video poker, one guy’s wife said, jokingly: “You’re meant to be good at computers, this is essentially a big computer. Can’t you fix it so we win more?”

Well, I won’t bore you with all the very technical details, but they bought a copy of the poker machine, and reverse engineered the programming to look for a weakness, which they found. They wrote a program that they used to sync their computer with the poker machine’s random number generator, meaning they could input on the computer what cards where on the game’s screen, and it would tell them exactly when to press the “deal” button to get a royal flush….the highest scoring hand in video poker.

They later created a wearable computer that would signal to them (using the vibrate motors cannibalized from mobile phones) which cards to discard in order to get the highest winning hand.

Essentially, they discovered that the random number generator that picks which cards to display couldn’t be truly random, because the casino needs a way to set the odds of winning.

The other, quite scary, thing I discovered was I was being far too lax with my own computer security. Until very recently, I prided myself on “unbreakable” passwords. Basically, when I needed a password, I used a sequence of 10 truly random numbers. These where truly random, meaning not my phone number, my phone number written backwards, my birthday, a loved ones birthday etc.

In other words, I figured they were unguessable. I also never wrote them down

Then, through my reading, I discovered brute force hackers often try sequences of numbers first. My password was 10 digits, which means a hacker would have to start at zero, and basically count all the way up to 9,999,999,999 in order to guess it. Nearly 10 billion combinations.

Secure, right? Wrong!

A brute force hacking program is easily capable of trying well over 2 million combinations a second. In other words, it could crack my password in under a minute and a half. Probably MUCH less time, because a minute and a half assumes the last combination it tries is the correct one.

Let’s just say I changed my passwords.

However, the one thing that truly astounds me is how lax people are with their security. People who should be a lot more careful.

I did a lot of fraud and security training at my last job, and I also learned that it’s the little pieces of information that don’t sound very important that can lead to big trouble.

Take social engineering.

Say I want to steal your identity.

First thing I do is a little dumpster diving. Forget hi-tech, forget your impeneterable firewall. I go through your trash. All I need is your name and address. I find a piece of junkmail, and I’ve taken the first step on the trail.

Then I find out where you work. Either from your trash, or simply following you to work one day.

Then I call your house:

“Hey!” I say. “This is Joe from Human resources. We had a bit of a mishap with the computers, and we’re having to use a backup, and some of your info is missing.”

“Ok.” You say.

“First things first, I’m going to have to share some sensitive data with you, so can you give me your employee number and your mother’s maiden name for security?”

Of course, you rattle it off. You put your employee number on a few hundred documents a day, it’s on your pay stub, it’s no ‘secret’, and of course, you understand the need for security.

“Right, let me check, what was the last training course you took?”

Completely and totally innocuous question. Who cares? I don’t need it, but it helps allay your suspicions. I ask a few more general questions then say:

“Ok, all done, but can you confirm your social security number for me?”

You tell me, why wouldn’t you? You’re convinced you’re talking to the HR dept at your job. They already have it, so what’s the harm?

Then, I ask a few more questions and make some light chit chat with your before hanging up. How the main server went down and we discovered the backup was a couple months old, how management won’t pull their heads out of their backsides and upgrade it etc. Why? People tend to remember that last few questions in a conversation, and getting just the info I need and leaving is highly suspicious.

So what have I got now? Your name, address, mother’s maiden name, and social security number. If I wanted to, I could have “confirmed” your log in and password at work.

Then, I can do whatever I want. I can call your real work’s HR department, pretend to be you, to “confirm” or change your banking details.

So what led me to write this today?

Well, one was me reading about this, but the other was the trip we took today to get our taxes done. That place was so wide open, anyone with a few minutes could leave with anything they wanted.

First thing I noticed was the wireless router out in plain sight. This isn’t such a big deal, as long as they had the brains to encrypt the connection…but it turned out it wouldn’t have made any difference.

Why? Because the guy doing our taxes had his login and password on a sticker on the front of his folder that was sitting on his desk in plain sight. Think about that. You could go home, grab your laptop, park your car outside the building, and go in and not only change your own tax information (and who cares if you get audited, you have the forms you gave to the guy, and it was him who prepared them…it was his login and password that was used after all!), but you could also have access to everyone else’s sensitive information.

This would be bad enough, but sitting across from him at his desk, I looked down.

Under his desk, at my feet was huge box of papers waiting to be shredded. On the top I could see photocopies of at least 50 Social Security cards and ID’s. All I’d have had to do was lean forward to “tie my laces”, and helped myself to whatever I wanted. Thanks to the desk and the cubicle walls, no one would have seen me.

Unfortunately this kind of thing happens a lot. The weakest link in any security system is always the people, and the business owners usually consider themselves nice and secure. The point is, it doesn’t matter how good your firewall is, or if your computers have 256bit encryption on data transfers and passwords, if the employees leave their passwords in plain sight.

…and like I pointed out, I didn’t need to break into the computers to get sensitive information. It was as difficult as leaning forward and grabbing a handful of paper.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Ok, I’m watching the news right now, and have just seen something on it that actually made me quit out of the game I was playing to write about it.

Apparently, (and brace yourself here, because this may come as a bit of a shock), the movie business is one of the biggest polluters in California!

Wow, you mean in the movie capital of the world, a place with more studios than anywhere else, studios produce more pollution than any other industry in that area?

I mean, seriously, you could have knocked me down with 150 trucks all carrying 80 tons of concrete each! You mean to tell me the most prolific type of business in a given area is going to be responsible for the most pollution? Next you’ll be telling me in a state where the primary industry is car production, that car factories will be responsible for most of the pollution!

There’s even a rumor that there’s more overt gambling in Las Vegas than in any other state!

Great guys, you’ve just done a “study” and reported an event that’s about as unexpected and groundbreaking as pointing out that where there are more assholes, there’ll be more shit.

Stay tuned! On tomorrow’s news, they’re going to break the story that there’s more sunburn in hot countries, more traffic accidents in high-traffic areas and drivers are far more likely to be in an auto accident than people who walk.

In all seriousness, when did people get so stupid?

This morning I had someone who obviously eats Carnation Instant Bitch for breakfast whining at me for spamming because I sent her a group invitation in Second Life. That’s fair enough, I only invite people who’ve bought stuff from me, but it’s just a matter of clicking “no” if you don’t want to join.

However, her biggest gripe was that I didn’t IM her and ask her if she’d like to join first. That’s right, sending her an instant message asking her if she wanted to join a group isn’t spam, sending an invitation is.

Isn’t it the same fucking thing???

I’m supposed to invite her to an invitation. Does this dumbass make people invite her to parties twice? Call once to ask her if she’d like to go, and again 5 minutes later to actually invite her?

The longer I live, the more I despair about the human race.

If a giant ‘Planet Killer’ asteroid was hurtling towards Earth, 30% of people would be blaming whoever they don’t particularly like, 30% would start doing studies that would show “scientifically” that getting hit with a moon sized chunk of rock would be bad, another 30% would be campaigning against destroying it in case it hurts any minorities’/Races’/Religions’ feelings (and no minorities would be involved in this campaign), 9% would be selling “Asteroid Proof” umbrellas, not understanding that they won’t be around to spend the money…and the other 1% would have quick, easy solutions to get rid of the Asteroid, but won’t be able to get anyone else to listen.

I seriously think that if I ran a new report that drinking a whole bottle of bleach makes you thinner and more attractive, we’d lose 2/3rds of the population overnight.

The saddest thing of all, if I told everyone who read this blog that putting a shotgun in your mouth and pulling the trigger with your toe is guaranteed to make you rich…and someone did…I’d go to jail.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Let’s just take the warning labels off everything and let the problem sort itself out.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Do You Have A Screaming Preference?

Well, today was take 2 of our trip to the Olive Garden.

Today we arrived at just the right time, and only had a few minutes to wait for our table, and this was only because we specifically requested a table in the non-smoking section. (Yes, I know I’m a smoker, but Sunny isn’t…and if you can’t wait until the meal is over to light up, you have serious problems.)

So we sat down to eat.

“You know,” I began, trying to be heard over the screaming infant in the booth next to ours, “the first person to open a restaurant that refuses entry to anyone under 10 years of age is going to be a rich man.”

“What?” Said Sunny. “I can’t hear you over that screaming baby!”

Seriously parents, if your child is too young to understand that screaming at the top of its lungs, or running around the tables throwing breadsticks at anything that moves is a bad thing, they don’t belong in a restaurant.

I don’t want to sound like an asshole about this. I know you deserve to eat out as well, but invest in a babysitter. It’s selfish. Oh, and before you break out the old chestnut “I pay for my meal and I’ve as much right to be here as you.” Bear in mind that everyone else in the restaurant, the people who want a quiet, intimate dinner for two and didn’t order a side of screaming baby with their bottle of Chablis also have a right to be there…and they outnumber you.

At least take them to McDonalds or KFC. Basic rule of thumb, if the cutlery isn’t made of plastic, the glasses are made of actual glass and you require more than a single fork to eat your meal, your kids don’t belong there.

We talked about this for a while.

The problem is, if you ban kids from restaurants, what’s the cut off age? I mean, you have to be fair.

Then there’s the problem of penalizing well behaved kids and parents who actually parent, because of the people who will sit there and completely fail to act when Little Timmy is screaming the place down and flicking peas at the hostess.

Then it struck me.

I’m a smoker. I’m not allowed to smoke anywhere in the restaurant for the ‘comfort of the other patrons’.

If I want to smoke in a restaurant, I have to go to a specific area where I won’t bother anyone else.

Why not do the same for the screaming kids?

I mean picture it:

You walk into a restaurant.

“Welcome to the Olive Garden.” Says the hostess with a smile. “Do you have a smoking preference?”

“None smoking, please.” You reply.

“Screaming or non-screaming?”

“Oh, definitely non-screaming please.”

“Ok, if you’d care to take a seat, we’ll have a table for you in a few minutes.”

You sit down, then with that all too familiar sinking feeling, you see the next customers walk through the door. Mom and Dad are carrying a baby each. One is already screaming blue murder, and the other is patiently whacking Mom over the head with her rattle.

However, leaping into action, the hostess swoops, welcomes the new-comers with a smile, before spiriting them away to the soundproofed section at the back of the restaurant that’s surrounded by a full five inches of bullet-proof glass.

As the door to the screaming section opens, you’re hit with a momentary cacophony of noise, before the door closes behind them. A ballistic breakstick slams noiselessly against the glass, while the parents in the screaming section happily tune it out, as they always do.

Don’t lie, you know you want this system in place by the time you go out for your next meal.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Ever have one of those days where you get out of bed, and less than two hours later you want to go back to bed, just in the hope that tomorrow is going to be better?

Today was a clusterfuck of almost Tim Allen on “Home Improvement” proportions.

Here’s what happened today.

For Christmas, Sunny and I had received a gift card to the Olive Garden from her son and daughter in law. We decided to save this to go out for my Birthday. Also, as my Birthday landed on a Tuesday, we decided to wait until today, when Sunny was off work.

So we’re getting ready, and I try to shave, only to discover my razor is so blunt it feels like someone’s been planing the door frames with it.

So I decide to use my electric hair trimmers. The only problem is it’s not been used in a while and is so clogged, it needs cleaning. Now, where’s the screwdriver?

Of course, they’ve all vamoosed, so I end up trying to open the thing with one of those tiny hobby screwdrivers with the really thin handles that you can’t get a grip on. Let’s just say this thing was designed to open the battery compartment of an RC car…not to prize open a seized, full sized screw.

It just started to budge when it slipped and I cut my thumb open.

After swearing so loudly that it made the dog run for cover, I gave up…of course, at that point, Sunny walked into the bathroom carrying a full sized screwdriver she’d managed to find.

I get the thing open, then ping! One of the screws falls to the floor, bounces and disappears…making me spend 10 minutes on my hands and knees with a screwdriver, trying to locate it.

Finally I do, put the screws in a safe place and remove the outside of the clippers…

At which point the inner blade makes a break for it and lands, with a gleeful ‘splish’ in the toilet.

Guess what? This thing is so small, there’s no chance of fishing it out with anything…and we’re fresh out of rubber gloves. That’s right, I had to put my hand into the bowl and fish it out with my bare hands.

On the upside, it had recently been cleaned and flushed…and I retained enough sense to not reach in there with my freshly cut hand…so thank heaven for small mercies.

So, after fishing it out, and scrubbing my hands for about 25 minutes, I finally clean and re-assemble the clippers.

Then, as I was reaching for the screws to close the thing up, I knock over my normal wet razor in it’s holder.

Guess what’s in the little niche on the underside?

That’s right, a completely fresh blade, meaning I didn’t actually have to go through all that crap to clean the clippers!

So I did what any sane person would do. Through a major hissy fit, and stamped into the living room and downed half a bottle of Amanda’s Fuck Off pills. Technically those pills are sugar and Red Dye #4, but they made me feel a little better…who knew? They even work when directed to the world in general.

So I shave, get dressed and get ready to go.

I check the gift card to make sure that it’s within its expiry date. In an uncharacteristic stroke of luck, it is!

So we jump in the car and drive across town to the restaurant. By his point I’m laughing at the day I’ve had so far, and I’m really looking forward to mushroom and mozzarella stuffed pasta in garlic and herb sauce…or maybe their chicken…or shrimp!

We arrive at the restaurant, walk up to the door…

Two hour wait for a table.

That’s right…two freaking hours!

Of course, we have very little real money, just the giftcard, so we can’t even go somewhere else.

Anyway, I have to go. The grilled cheese we’re eating for dinner instead is nearly ready.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thank You All!!!

A little late, but time for my Birthday thankyou’s to some very special people.

First and foremost, my darling wife Sunny who got us a kick ass 19” Widescreen LCD monitor. Thanks to her I’m writing this blog in HD….how cool is that? Her birthday is on the 25th of next month, mark your calendars!

Next is my best bud Amanda, who not only hand-knitted me an awesome scarf, but also sent me not one, but two packs of Pocky…and just about the funniest gift I’ve ever received. I’d love to post a picture, but my camera is out of batteries, so I’ll have to just describe it.

It was a bottle of “Fuck Off” pills.

As the front of the bottle says “Guaranteed to make people Fuck Off!” I loved the directions on the side as well:

Are you surrounded by assholes who simply won’t Fuck Off? If you’ve tried ignoring them and even tried telling them to politely Fuck Off but they still won’t listen, then you need Fuck Off pills.

Take one if you’re agitated

Take two if your blood pressure is on the rise.

Take three if you’re considering physical violence.

Thanks Manda! They’ll definitely come in useful (and they taste pretty good as well!)

Third comes the Devil Twins, aka Misty and Bridget, who sent me a box stuffed with gifts in SL. The fact that this gift box also contained a package of “Depends” adult diapers was only a small fly in the ointment.

I gotta ask, Misty and Bridge…are you sure you two aren’t British? No British blood at all? Because you’ve certainly mastered sarcasm to an almost Brit-like level.

Last, but my no means least, a big thank you to Amelia, who gave me my own shout-out post on her blog. You need to post and get on SL more Amelia, we misses ya!

So a big thankyou to you all! It’s no secret to my regular readers that I’ve been feeling pretty down over the past few weeks, and you all really cheered me up.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

How Many People Do You Think They Catch Out?

Actual question just encountered on a job application:

In your previous jobs, how often did you get into pushing matches or fist fights with your fellow co-workers?

[ ] Often

[ ] Sometimes

[ ] Rarely

Yeah, I love violence me! All the time! This one time I punched my boss in the balls for looking at me all funny, and when Miss Jones told me get some work done I broke her hip! Seriously, dude, I ruined her shit!

When do I start?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Birthdays and Time Zone Confusion

I don't know what it is, but every time my birthday rolls around, I always look at the clock at about a minute to midnight, as though I expect something to happen when it strikes 12.

Of course, it never actually does. It's just:

"Huh, I'm a year older."

But today, I realised something.

I'm always up a midnight, so I've pretty much always watched the clock tick over from the 22nd of January to the 23rd. However, three years ago I moved to the USA.

What does this mean?

It means, as I was born in England, I'm aging on British time.

Britain is 5 hours ahead of where I live now, which means for the past three years I've actually been 'officially' starting my birthday 5 hours late.

What a revelation, eh? Bet you're all as gobsmacked as I am.

Now for the part that's gonna make some people nod in agreement, and some people wanna beat me around the head:

I think this is the last birthday I'm going to have where I've looked forward to it. I've officially crossed the line into "dreading birthdays" territory.

Today I'm 26, mid-twenties. Still nice and young.

However, next year I'll be officially be in my late 20's and dangerously close to the 30 years old mark. I know that's not exactly old, but turning 29 is the last birthday you have where you can possibly lie to yourself and convince yourself you're not an actual "grown-up"

Once you turn thirty...forget it...you're a grown up no matter what.

Not forgetting that when you hit thirty, turning 40 looms on the horizon which is a huge shock because. let's face it, no one in their early twenties really believes they're ever going to turn 40.

However, you hit 30, Then suddenly it's:

"Holy crap, I went from teens to 20's, from 20's to 30's...holy shit! It's happened three times before...I'm going to turn 40!"

That's why people complain about "old people" all the time...because in our heart of hearts, we all know that we're never going to actually be old.

Well, Happy Birthday to me....and if all my readers club together and buy me a Nintendo Wii, it'll only cost you about $20 a piece...you know where the paypal donate button is!

...Can't blame a guy for trying.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Do you ever get the feeling that you’re speaking another language? Like you went to bed one night and woke up in the Bizarro World?

I mean, it sounds like everyone else is speaking the same language, and it’s almost as if you can make yourself understood. However, everyone else is running on an entirely different level of linguistic meaning.

Like, you ask someone to do something, and they nod, agree and say they will. Then, later you check up on them and discover not only have they not done what you’ve asked, but have actually gone ahead and done the exact opposite of what you asked them to do.

Then they’re all “Oh! You wanted me to do that! I didn’t get what you meant.”

Of course, back in the real world it’s got precisely dick to do with misunderstanding. All that’s happened is you’ve asked someone to do something they don’t particularly want to do…or asked someone not to do something they particularly want to do.

It’s usually times like this that you discover exactly where you lie in someone’s list of priorities…and it’s never as high as you think.

You know, one of the things I hate about blogs in general is that most of them are just outlets for someone you don’t know, bitching about someone else you don’t know, or for people to whine about their problems when really they don’t have any…and I promised myself this blog would never be like that.

It just seems that my entire life recently is geared towards really pissing me off.

I can honestly say that I’m slowly turning into someone I don’t really like, IE, a whiny, depressed, suspicious, untrusting, cynical bastard.

I mean, seriously, how do you deal with something like that?

I have a pretty solid moral code and set of principles. I believe that certain people should act a certain way.

Is it wrong that I expect other people to live up to the same standards and levels of behavior I expect of myself? Is it also wrong that I expect people to do this because they know it’s the right thing to do, and not just because they’ll get in trouble if they don’t?

Well enough bitching and moaning from me. Suffice it to say that right now, I’m just really, really tired…of pretty much everything.

Friday, January 19, 2007


Ok, usually I’m very reluctant to call anyone, especially the owner of a website, a “Sell-out”.

You see, what usually happens is someone starts their own little website and pays for the web hosting and the bandwidth usage out of their own pockets.

Then their site gets popular. Instead of being faced with a couple dollars a week to pay for their site, they’re suddenly faced with a couple hundred dollars a week, maybe even a couple thousand.

So they have a choice, either close down their site for good, or go ahead and put up a few ads, maybe one or two pop-ups or maybe even turn their site into a suscription service.

This is the point when people start shouting “sell out”. These people aren’t trying to avoid getting a huge bill for the website enjoyed by millions that they’ve made in their own time for free…they’re “shitting on their fans” and “selling out.”

So, that being said, let me talk to you about Zug.com.

I used to like this site. It was mildly entertaining. It’s a comedy site filled with amusing jokes, funny true stories and other comedic flotsam and jetsam.

It’s mostly centered around John Hargrave, the site owner and the pranks he pulls.

I have to admit, some of these are highly amusing. Like the “Credit Card Prank”, where he tries to see just how outlandish and wacky he can make his signature before anyone notices…in the end managing to write his signature as the “poo-poo song”, complete with lyrics and musical notation without comment.

Then, recently, he wrote a book. A book that’s now available for pre-order.

Now hawking this book on his site is not a crime, and there’s nothing wrong with it. If he had a link to its page on Amazon that took up half the page, I don’t think anyone would care.

The bad part is that his last five posts have been about his book. He’s trying to pass these posts off as entertainment as well.

The first was a plain announcement that his book was ready for pre-orders, understandable.

The second was an “article” about all the other comedy website owners who’ve published books (and did he mention his own is ready for pre-order?).

The third and fourth he used to compare how much better his book was than “Moby Dick”, in a comedy style that falls flat on its face….and did he mention his book was ready for pre order?

The fifth, and this was the one that really cracked me up (although for the wrong reasons) was about his writing “process” and a self-interview on how to be a successful writer. Let’s get this straight, no one actually interviewed him, he interviewed himself.

Now I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but Mr. Hargrave, you’re far from being a literary genius, and it might be an idea to see if your book actually sells before interviewing yourself as an authority figure on how to write a book.

You’re a guy who pours Johnson’s “No More Tears” Baby Shampoo into your eyes, so you can call up Johnsons, tell them it’s not as gentle as pure water like it says on the bottle, and then post the transcript on your website.

You’re the guy who takes a powerful laxative and a powerful anti-diarrhea medicine at the same time to see which on “wins”

Now in all fairness, I don’t want to be a “hater”, and I do hope that his book does well. For the most part, he’s a genuinely funny guy.

My point is, if he had a video camera instead of a word processor, he’d just be the next Jackass or Borat rip-off, or just another of the legion of self-proclaimed “funny” people, whose video’s populate youtube.

I suppose what bugs me about this is that the internet is just about the last place available that you can go to for entertainment, and not have people constantly trying to sell you things. Install a pop-up blocker, and most sites (most good sites anyway), just have a few banners on the screen that you can easily ignore.

It’s another case of removing the actual content of a site in order to sell people things…and the fact the latest of these net-versions of infomercials is a previously unpublished author who hasn’t sold a single book yet, writing a “how-to” on writing is laughable.

Mr. Hargrave, you have a book that’s going to be released in a few days. We get it. You’re understandably proud.

However, what it comes down to is you have a popular site, and some book publisher thought they could cash in on it. If I started an equally dumb comedy site…I don’t know, where each week I draw a picture of a famous person on my sack and post pictures…I could easily get a cult following, a few thousand hits per day, and then get a publisher to make a “Paul’s Balls” Calendar.

Only I wouldn’t interview myself as an authority on comedy calendar authorship.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Random Thoughts

Women are the ultimate bundle of contradictions, and they act like it’s the guys who are at fault when we don’t understand them.

Ladies, you’re simply not understandable. You’re a species who will run from a mouse or a spider, make a huge deal over the slightest bruise or cut…but will gladly PAY someone to cover your privates with boiling hot wax, then tear out your pubes by the root.

What is it with these advertisements on TV where they claim to be the exclusive user of “flex-tech”, “hug flex”, “Enzyme-tech” or whatever technology.

“We have patented isoflex technology, which is not available anywhere else!”

Oh shit! I can only get this amazing technology from you? I’d better run out and buy your worthless product.

Of course you’re the exclusive user of this technology, because you just made that shit up off the top of your head.

For example, this blog is the only blog you can read that uses a “Direct pressure-activated data input system” (I use the keys on my keyboard to type this shit)…and it’s the only blog you read using “Opto-Photontech interrface technology. (The light comes from your monitor to your eyes).

Oh, and to the good people at “Bowflex”, you can call them “Iso-grips” all you want. They’re handles .

Who pays these people who do these stupid “studies”, where they essentially spend millions of dollars and man hours to research a “mystery” that’s plain common sense…then either state the obvious, or fail to get an answer.

Like the study into why cornflakes go soggy in milk. A year goes by and the answer comes back “inconclusive”.

Could the answer be that they get wet? More importantly, who the fuck cares?

Then we get to the studies that show that “90% of accidents occur in the home”. No shit? The place I spend 90% of my time? What’s next guys? Are you gonna study why fire burns? (It’s hot). Or why getting punched in the face by an irate Englishman hurts?

Finally, there needs to be a change in the law.

When a person walks into a busy gas station and attempts to pay for a pack of gum or a can of Pepsi with a debit card or check, and not only refuses to just pay cash for a buck-fifty purchase, but also spends 45 minutes searching through an over-stuffed wallet or purse for their card or check book…especially when they had 20 minutes time in the queue to look for it and have it ready…it should be perfectly legal to kill, or at least maim them, in fact it should be illegal for the person behind them in the queue to not bludgeon them over the head with the nearest heavy blunt object.

The same goes for the people who smash into you with their shopping cart, then tut and give you a dirty look like it’s your fault.

Oh, and the people in the parking lot who stroll out in front of your car like the laws of physics don’t apply to them (IE a car hitting them won’t actually hurt them), and then when you stop, refuse to even speed up slightly to get out of the way…you should be allowed to gun the engine and watch them sail over the top of your car.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Get Bent

I watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the first time all the way through today.

People call this a happy, uplifting movie, and I suppose it is…only problem is it got me thinking and just depressed the hell out of me.

Ever heard of the term “Buying friends?”

This is something I do all the time, not on purpose mind you, just because of the way I am.

I like to think of myself as a nice guy. I do a lot for people, I help out, give things when I can. For me that’s friendship. If you’re a friend, need something, and it’s in my power to give it, that’s what I’ll do.

Just it seems that for me, this shit is a one way street. I have too many so-called “friends” who I’ll spend a week working on something for them, hand it over with a smile…and then I either don’t hear from them until the next time they need something from me, or if I ask a favor they quote me a price.

For people who’ve not seen the movie, the story of “It’s a Wonderful Life” is simple. Guy feels like he’s “trapped” in a small town, never gets to do what he wants and is forced to give up his own dreams and ambitions to help others.

Then towards the end of the movie, he gets in deep trouble and is ready to kill himself. He’s visited by an angel and tells the angel he thinks the world would be better off without him and wishes he’d never been born.

Then, of course, the angel shows him what the world would be like if he hadn’t been born. He sees all the lives he’s touched and the happiness he’s created…and then we get to the sickly-sweet ending where he realizes that although he’s not rich or the big-shot he wanted to be, he’s truly “rich” because of his friends.

This is all very nice, including the ending, when hearing about the trouble he’s in, all these friends gather round and help him out.

This is where Mr. Bailey and I differ.

I’m sick to death of the people who are my best friends when they want or need something. But are “Pauli who?” when they either don’t need anything from me, or it’s my turn to ask a favor. The people who act like I don’t exist, that I never hear from, but don’t hesitate to contact me when they need something and then suddenly we’re best friends again…until they get what they need and *poof* I’m off their radar.

So to these people, a simple message:

If I’m not important enough for you to want to talk to or be around unless you’re angling for something you want from me…you can just fuck right off. I don’t want or need that kind of “friendship”.

The thing is I'm not doing things for people so I can get things back. I don't keep a record of favors given and favors owed. All I ask is that if you call yourself a friend, actually act like one. It's not hard to say hello and chat for a bit when you see me.

The truth is, I don't need to be a nice guy, I don't need to be so free with my time and favors. I could be just like every other selfish asshole out there, who's only out for himself.

So here's the deal. If you find my company so unbearable that you can't stand a few minutes conversation with me, I'm completely and totally fine with that...just don't expect anything from me when you find yourself in trouble or need something again...and expect to get shot down in flames the next time we're "best buddies" again because you need something.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Quantum Physics and Jell-o Houses

This is a very strange and somewhat silly short story I wrote after reading too many books on Quantum Physics. I started to grasp the basics, but some things where just seemingly beyond me, so I wrote this in an attempt to explain it to myself.

Quantum Physics is a fascinating subject, even if you’re not into science. Some of the ideas are mindblowing. Well…I’ll let you read on:

“So essentially, quantum particles can exist as a wave a particle or both at the same time.”

I shifted in my chair, glancing at the crude drawing of a guy scratching his head that was etched into my desk. I know how you feel, dude, honestly I do. I raised my hand.

“Yes?” Said the professor, pointing to me…which was odd as I was the only other person in the room.

“I don’t get it.” I said. Congrats Pauli, you’ve just won this year’s “Stating The Obvious” Prize. “How can something be two things at once?”

“Well, that’s the question.” Said the professor with a smile. “The easiest way to think of it is that the wave function of a quantum particle is really more of a…probability. Particles exist as waves until we attempt to observe them, causing the wave form to collapse, and the wave then ‘solidifies’into it’s particle state.”

“So you’re saying we alter them just by looking at them?”

“Exactly!” Said the professor, thinking the penny had dropped…boy was he in for a disappointment. “Basically, Quantum Physics states that things can exist as multiple things, be in multiple places at once…it’s only when we actually attempt to observe them that they become one solid ‘thing’.”

It’s a problem with the way we think. I thought. Our science is based on reductionism. We look at a complex system and break it down into it’s components to see how it works…only then we discover that the components themselves can be broken down. Only when we reach the quantum level, we realize things don’t act like they should. It’s like taking a car apart and looking at all the parts laid out, it makes perfect sense…only when you get out the microscope, its like seeing the parts are really made of bacon and pixie dust. On a quantum level it makes sense…it just doesn’t appear to fit in with everything we already know.

“But that’s impossible.” I said, with the conviction of a man who doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about. “How can looking at something change it?”

“Ah.” Said the professor. “One of the good questions.”

He started to draw on the blackboard.

“The problem most people have is assuming that we’re separate from the world. We’ve separated the “darkness behind the eyes” from the world at large. It’s “Me” in one corner and “Everything else”…uhh, everywhere else. This isn’t true.”

“It isn’t?”

“Absolutely not. When you get down to the quantum level, there are no definite borders between anything. Right now, you’re part of the chair you’re sitting on, part of the air around you, and in turn part of me and everything else that exists.”

I shifted uncomfortably in my chair…The idea that it was somehow part of me was hard to comprehend. The professor, seeing my confusion, continued:

“Think of it this way, if you cool a crystal down to absolute zero, it becomes totally clear. Light waves would pass through it completely unobstructed. However, warm it up a little and you’d get minor imperfections and opaque spaces in the crystal. From the point of view of the light, the crystal would appear to be empty space, and the imperfections matter in that space…yet both are one and the same thing.”

I raised my hand again. “When did we get to crystals?” I said, leafing through my notes. “I don’t remember them being in the lesson plan.”

“Ok.” Said the professor, the first signs of frustration showing on his face. “Forget the crystal, I was speaking metaphorically, trying to give you an object lesson.”

Ah, I thought. I get it. It’s called “Lies to Children”. You give an example that has nothing to do with the subject at hand, but it’s a lie you can understand. Then through that example, you can get at least an idea of what’s going on with the real subject.

“Right, speaking totally metaphorically,” he said, driving that point home, “imagine a fish in a tank. Water makes up a fish’s universe. However, and this is the point, they don’t know it exists. A fish doesn’t even know it’s wet. But the fish is connected to the water, and the water connected to everything else. Its existence causes a change in the water that affects everything else in it.”

“So when we’re talking about quantum physics, we’re talking about the same thing. We’re all connected by it, but aren’t aware of it?”

“Yes.” Said the professor. “Only the entire universe is our tank”

“It seems…a little far fetched.” I said.

“I agree. Said the professor…but it’s true, and we can prove it.”

“How?” I asked.

“Well, there’s a type of particle made up of two different parts, what these are aren’t important, and I don’t want to confuse you even further…but the point is, each part spins in the opposite direction to the other. One spins clockwise, the other anti-clockwise.”

“And?” I asked, vaguely wondering how particles knew which direction was which.

“Well, here’s the mind-blowing part.” He paused for dramatic effect. “Even when these parts are split up, they will continue to spin in sync. If one changes its direction of spin, the other will change its spin to compensate instantly…regardless of distance. If one half was in your hand, and the other was three galaxies away, they’d match eachother’s spin instantly.”

“Wow.” I said. It was all I can think of to say.

“That’s not all.” Said the professor, smiling. “Really think about it. We know this happens, we can prove it in the lab…but even if these particles where able to communicate in some way, over the distances we’re talking about, that communication would have to break the speed of light, something we know under Newtonian physics to be impossible. It proves reality isn’t local. We’re connected to all things at all times, and effect each other just by existing”

This is insane. I thought. Particles that break the known laws of physics, particles that can be in two places at once, particles that aren’t even particles until you look at them. Something that exists only as a possibility, until you look at it, then it becomes something, like it knows you’re looking. It’s creepy. It’s like looking into a microscope and seeing something looking back.

“But Professor,” I began, “I still don’t get it. Even things I’m definitely connected to can’t be altered just by me looking…and if what you’re saying is true, we’re not talking about a single particle off in space somewhere, we’re talking about everything. Aren’t you basically saying that my foot could be a small nightstand until someone looks at it? That right now my house is just a probability of a house, and could instead be a small lump of Jello until I get home?”

The professor sighed and sat on the corner of his desk. He took an apple from his top drawer and took a bite. He thought for a few moments.

“What you need is a definite example, something you can understand.”

“I’d appreciate it.” I said. “I’m feeling a little dumb here.”

“Don’t be.” Said the professor with a smile as he swallowed a bite of apple. “Even the brightest minds are still arguing over what quanta is all about. People are still arguing about Schrödinger’s Cat.”

Ah, Schrödinger’s cat, one of the few thought experiments I half understand. Basically, you have a cat in a box. In that box you have a phial of poison attached to a Geiger counter. If the counter detects the decay of a radioactive isotope, the poison is released. Schrödinger said that if you put a piece of radioactive material in the box that had a 50/50 chance of decaying during the experiment, because the chances of the ‘trap’ being sprung are 50/50, that under quantum physics, both states can exist at the same time. At any point during the experiment, the radioactive atom has both decayed and not decayed.

So until you open the box and see for yourself “collapsing the waveform” of the particle and forcing it to be one form or another…the cat can be both alive and dead at the same time.

The professor continued, shaking me from my thoughts about the poor cat:

“Ok, here’s one you’ll be able to grasp. This isn’t exactly quantum physics, but it illustrates the point.”

I nodded, hoping I’d finally get it.

“Eventually, the whole universe with grind to a complete stop. All the energy will have been spent and dissipated, and we’ll be left with a few lifeless hunks of rock floating in space. Frozen and immobile. Time will stop.”

“What?” I asked. “Time can’t stop!”

“Of course it can.” Said the professor. “You’re forgetting that we created time, not the other way around.”

“Huh?” I said. It was all I could think of to say.

“Think if it this way. Seconds, Minutes, Hours…technically they don’t exist. We created them to measure time, they’re not time itself. They’re intervals, a space in which for something to happen. Time is really all about perception. Ever noticed how when you’re dreading something time seems to speed up, or slow down?”

“Like when you where a kid and Christmas Eve seemed to last for a few weeks.”

“Exactly!” Said the professor. “Time is just a space for something to happen. If absolutely nothing ever happens, or ever will happen, not even an electron orbiting an atom…time becomes completely and totally meaningless. It stops.”

“Well…yeah.” I said. “But time doesn’t really stop. I mean, if I could travel through time to this future and hang around, I’d perceive time moving forward, even if nothing was moving.”

“And there you’ve made my point for me!” Said the professor.

“I have?” I asked, confused.

“Yes, think about what you’ve just said. Nothing is happening, nothing ever will happen We have a clearly defined state. For all intents and purposes time has stopped. Because no-one is observing it, it will remain in that state forever…”

“Ah!” I said, the penny dropping. “But by me going there and being present, just through me observing that state, I’ve changed it.”

“Absolutely!” Said the professor, beaming. “We had a closed system, and even without you touching anything, you’ve altered it by your very presence. You heart would beat, you’d breathe, you’d think…all events that need time to happen in, so by your presence, in a way, you’ve ‘created’ time and changed the system. We had the universe in one state, frozen, changeless for all eternity, and by you looking at it you’ve changed it…and conversely, once you left, it would change back.”

“I see.” I replied, happily making more notes in my workbook.

“And that,” said the professor, “is the nature of quantum physics. Nothing is really ‘fixed’, reality is subjective, the act of observing these phenomena changes them, and pretty much everything exists only as a probability until it’s observed.”

“So technically, under Quantum Physics, if a tree falls in the woods, it actually doesn’t make a sound if no-one is around to hear it?”

“Possibly.” Said the professor with a smile as he finished his apple. “More likely it makes a sound and doesn’t at the same time.”

“And if I listen to see, me listening would affect the outcome.”

“You’ve got it!”

Note : All the science in the above is true, including the magical spinning particles. Only the stopping of time thought experiment is my own invention, which I thought of to try and explain the concept to myself.

My favorite quote about Quantum Physics is from someone who’s name I can’t remember. To my best recollection, it goes “If Quantum Physics doesn’t scare the crap out of you, you haven’t understood it properly.”

Thursday, January 11, 2007


With my 26th Birthday rapidly approaching, I’ve found myself doing a lot of thinking.

This birthday I will be officially closer to being 30 than to being 20. Yes, I know that technically as soon as I was 25 and one second old I was closer to 30 than I was to 20, but that extra year has a certain “realness” about it that you can’t ignore.

I’m very close to 30. When I hit 30… 40 is just around the corner.

I remember being 19 years old, and going to work on a fellow co-worker’s 40th birthday. Talking about my own upcoming birthday (our birthdays where just a few days apart), he said:

“Siiiiigh, I remember turning twenty. Seems like it was only yesterday. Enjoy it while you can, because it goes sooner than you think.”

Of course, being 19 at the time I laughed at this idea. 40 was just over the same amount of time away as the total amount of time I’d actually been alive.

Yeah, whatever, granddad! Like most 19 year olds, at the time I thought aging was something that only happened to other people. I was going to be 19 forever.

It seems odd that now, just over 6 years later, I’m starting to believe him.

Now it’s not that I’m afraid of getting old. I’ve never been a particularly proud person, or overly concerned about my appearance. Wrinkles? Who cares? Graying, balding? I’ll shave my head…I do that anyway!

The only thing about growing old that actually scares me a little is the chance of losing my marbles. But I take comfort in the fact that if I start to go nuts, I won’t be aware of it anyway.

I can also honestly say that I’m not afraid of death. Don’t get me wrong, I’m afraid of actually dying, meaning the process I’ll go through in that space of time where I transition from being alive to being dead, but death doesn’t scare me in the least.

Why? Well, basically I’m an atheist. I don’t believe in any form of afterlife, so in that sense I already know exactly what death is like. It’s just like it was before I was born…and considering I spent from the big bang to 1981 in that state, it obviously wasn’t too hard.

I see death as a nice long sleep, only the alarm never goes off and you never have to get up on a freezing cold morning and head off in the rain to a job you hate. That doesn’t sound so bad at all.

No. What I’ve been thinking a lot about is the fact that I’m now officially a “grown up”.

I mean, seriously. How the hell did that happen? Was I asleep during that meeting? Did someone forget to mail me the memo? I sure as hell know I missed out on all the required training.

Suddenly I’m a grown up, except no one bothered to tell me. It’s like spending the day at work, then looking down to find that not only is your zipper open, but your wedding tackle is out there, swinging in the breeze. Then, when you ask your co-workers why they didn’t tell you this was happening, they shrug and say: “Oh, we thought you knew.”

I remember being a kid and looking at my parents. My Dad was a God. He knew everything, always knew what to do and nothing, nothing ever phased him. In my eyes, if aliens invaded and started enslaving the human race, he wouldn’t even break a sweat. He’d just know exactly what to do. My Mum? Well, I’d have just pitied the alien who tried to enslave her, especially if they’d tracked mud across the living room carpet.

Recently I’ve realized just how lucky I was in who my parents are. I’ve said it a million times over, but “parent” is a job description, not a title you get handed when someone comes along who shares half your genes. You’re not a Father when you fertilize an egg, and you’re not a Mother when you squeeze out a baby. My Parents were (and still are) actual Parents, with a capital P.

Like most kids, I believed that my parents where born parents. They had special training and knew exactly what to do at all times. I just had to sit back and enjoy the ride, because if anything bad ever happened, my parents would swing into action, and with the skill and grace of people who’ve dealt with much worse a million times before, they’d do secret ‘grown-up’ things and make it all go away.

Well, now I’m almost at the same age my parents where when they became parents…and I have to wonder if they where as lost, confused and as clueless as I am.

I always get the feeling that inside I’m still about 14 or 15 years old.

I think in some ways I stopped aging on my 14th birthday. I mean, obviously I’ve gotten a little more intelligent and hopefully a little wiser, but I can’t shake the feeling that, in reality, I’m 14 a 14 year old play-acting as an adult.

Ever seen the movie “Big”? That’s what I feel like, only there’s no Zoltar machine for me to track down to put things right again.

In other words, I still feel about 14. I might look 25, I might be able to grow a full beard in 3 days…but the 14 year old me is still the one working all the controls.

I mean, car financing? Mortgages? 401k’s?

I don’t think the world quite gets it. These aren’t things I’m meant to deal with. These are things I’m meant to hear real grown ups, the ones who went to the meeting and got the hand-outs, talk about over the dinner table while I eat my fish sticks and wonder if the batteries for my Gameboy have charged up yet.

These are meant to be vague, abstract concepts that have no bearing on my daily life, or at least only affect me through a proxy.

For example, when I started college, my parents bought a life insurance policy on me. I didn’t know anything about it, except that I had to sign a bit of paper every so often.

That’s what my life is meant to be like. Someone else deals with all this, and gives me the bit of paper to sign.

I mean, come on, I’m me. I’m not supposed to know about these things.

Remember when you where a kid and someone would call your house and ask for Mr. (Your Surname), and you just automatically knew they were talking about your dad, even though technically they could be referring to you?

I still feel like that, only now the caller is convinced I’m the person they need to speak to, and won’t believe that the person they really need to be talking to is my Dad.

It’s at times like these that I’m convinced they teach the wrong stuff in schools. The basic math I need for every day life I can pick up and learn as I go…but they don’t teach you what to say or do when putting in a loan application, or what to look for in that car lease agreement.

The problem is that life changes far too abruptly. There’s no in-between.

I mean take my life for example. One day I was living at home. I didn’t have a house, I had a room. I didn’t have my own car, I had a scooter that I borrowed the money from my parents to buy. I had a full-time job, but it didn’t really matter if I lost it, because I didn’t have a mortgage or rent to pay. Fair enough, I gave a third of what I earned to my parents every month…but the big difference was if I suddenly found myself unable to pay it, it didn’t mean there’d be no food on the table.

Then one day, I board a flight to America, get married a month later, and suddenly I find myself cast in my Dad’s role.

You think you’re living in the real world until you take that one step forward, a step that while you’re taking it, you don’t feel is particularly important, until you hear those iron gates close behind you.

Then you hear a voice from deep within that says:

“Well, that was your childhood, I hope you had fun, because it’s over, and you don’t get another one. Oh, and have you thought about your 401k?”

Monday, January 08, 2007

A few days ago, I was working on my laptop, and I got the following message:

Battery Low. You should change the battery or plug into an outlet immediately to save from losing your work.

Something about that phrase bugged me, until I finally worked out what it was.

Do I really need to be told that my laptop suddenly losing all power will cause me to lose anything I haven’t saved? Seriously, do you need to be told that? I mean, come on, you don’t need to be a fricking rocket scientist to work that one out.

What’s next?

You are on fire, you should attempt to extinguish the flames immediately, to save from losing all your skin.

Or how about:

You balls are in a vice, this is not a good idea, you should remove your balls immediately to keep your ability to have children.

I mean, seriously, what the fuck?

Anyone noticed that now there is no option to “Shut Down” your computer any more? Instead you “Turn Off” your computer? Seriously people, if you don’t have the mental capacity to decode the “jargon” and understand that “Shut Down” means “Turn Off”, you’re too fucking stupid to own a computer.

It’s not even just these little cosmetic flaws.

I remember when if my computer had a problem, it would give me an error message. An error message I could look at to discover what’s wrong. You know, if I have an IRQ conflict, I’d know to check my device manager and see what was conflicting with what.

However, today, we just get a nice little friendly box, that gives us another “No-shit-sherlock’ comment:

This application has encountered an error and has had to close (Really? I thought photoshop was meant to crash to the desktop every time I apply a layer mask). Would you like to tell Microsoft about this problem?

Explain this to me. Why would I want to send a message to Microsoft telling them that a piece of software they didn’t even make has thrown a major wobbly. What’s going to happen? Am I going to get an email back telling me what’s wrong?

No, it’ll go in a list of a million other problems that may be looked at at some point in the next million years, before it’s decided that my particular problem is too rare to fix in the next patch, or the next operating system I’m expected to pay $800 for!

What really gets me isn’t so much the “tell Microsoft” option, or the needless stating of the obvious…it’s the removal of the error message. Apparently seeing some actual code on the screen, or anything that isn’t presented to you by a cute little dog or that fucking paper-clip is far too intimidating for the average user.

I mean, we can’t even boot into Dos-mode any more, because as computer users we’re far too stupid to be allowed access to the inner workings of our own PC’s, because without Windows standing over our shoulder we might break something.

Program Files “This folder contains files that make your computer work, there is no need to alter these files.”

Fuck the fact that that Browser Hijack could be eaily removed in three seconds in DOS, we’re not allowed.

Look, I’m all for computers being made quicker and easier to use, but theirs is absolutely no reason to take out the more advanced options and applications. Sure, more people will fuck up their own computers…but that’s their boo-hoo and the only way they’ll learn.

There really should be two versions of every operating system. One with the same level of access for the user as Windows 3.1 (back when you where actually expected to be able to tie your own shoelaces to use a computer), and one on a par with the current version of Windows XP.

Only the XP version should called “Window’s ‘Tard Edition.”

Friday, January 05, 2007

Another Open Letter

Dear Dumbasses of the World,

This is a formal notification that you are not, in any way obligated to copy the things you see on Youtube.

Yes, Youtube videos are fun. It’s nice to see Darwinism at work as yet another dumbass douses themselves with gasoline, strikes a match, and is honestly surprised to discover that:

a) Fire is hot.

b) It hurts like buggery.

It seems the latest fashion is for “Dry Ice Bombs”. Of course, this started as a fun science experiment. You drop a couple pieces of dry ice into a few inches of water, put the top on the Cola bottle and stand back as the expanding gasses make the bottle explode in a spectacular fashion.

Of course, in a classic case of dumbass one-upmanship, we now have people filling trashcans with water and about 50lbs of dry ice.

Apparently the risk of getting hit with a small piece of plastic from a bottle isn’t “extreme” enough for you. It appears that the risk of death and dismemberment isn’t quite high enough with the standard experiment.

Why is that nothing is considered fun to you people unless there’s a 50/50 chance or carrying your leg home in a shopping bag?

Look, I won’t lie to you, if you start copying this shit, you’re going to end up (at best) losing a couple fingers, and to be completely honest, I couldn’t care less. If you lose your head (both literally and figuratively), it just means one less dumbass in the world.

What I do care about is the fact that when you’re looking at the bloody stump where your hand used to be, or find your upper body skinless…you’re not going to think “Hmmm, maybe holding a lighter in each hand and jumping into a swimming pool filled with gasoline and butane wasn’t such a good idea.”

Instead, you and the Jack Thompson-esque fame hunters are going to think: “That evil Youtube site put this idea in my head, and there was NO WARNING DISCLAIMER! CHA-CHING!”

So please don’t. I don’t feel like having to put up with yet more government control and censorship, because you fuckwits don’t have the necessary brain capacity to understand that driving a truck on a lake covered with a quarter inch of ice while setting yourself on fire isn’t a terribly good idea.

Yours Sincerely


PS If you don’t do as instructed, we’ll simply see to it that all the warning labels are taken off household products. You’ll all be dead within minutes.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

A Pox on Photoshop!

Recently I’ve really got into photoshopping.

First it was regular drawing as my regular readers will have seen. More recently I found it’s a good money spinner to photoshop profile pictures for Second Life.

Just because I’m an attention whore, here’s one of my latest:

(As a sidenote, I really need more geek friends. I showed that picture to Sunny, and she said it was nice. Can't she see the complicated bloom lighting effect I spent forever creating and tweaking? The layer masks to add that neat "fade out" effect? The drop shadow, embossing and beveling on the text? The 5 different layers of radial and gaussian blur on the background? Don't even get me started on glow effects. Nice! I ask you!)

So, anyway, today I turn the computer on, start up photoshop, and grab my stylus.

Then I notice my line looks weird. Something’s wrong.

I go to brush properties, and see the problem…the pressure sensitivity on my tablet is turned off and won’t turn on. I see a little warning symbol, that I soon discover means “You have pressure sensitivity enabled, but there’s no tablet installed.”

Oh, Mr. Photoshop, I beg to differ.

I do the usual, unplug and replug the tablet. Then, I spend the better part of an hour looking for the driver disc…and as soon as I find it, I remember that my DVD ROM isn’t working.

So after I went outside and screamed a little, I found the drivers on the interweb.

Re-install and….

Nothing. Still not working. Only now I can use the pressure sensitivity in the one crap graphics program I have, that I never use.

Maybe the problem is running my mouse and the tablet side by side.


I just don’t get this. How can I turn my computer on, have everything work perfectly, change absolutely nothing, and when I reboot, have something refuse to work?

Also, why is it that I can get the pressure sensitivity to work with every damn program I have, except for the one I want to use.

I don’t know who I can blame, but SOMEONE is going to pay for this.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

WOOT! Yay the Brits!

Today's post is simply a HUGE shout out to Saffyre

Not only does this woman keep me entertained with her awesome blog, brings me luck as my occasional SL Slingo partner and helps me recharge the Brit Sarcasm batteries every time we talk...it also turns out that when she sends you a gift, she SEND YOU A GIFT.

Being a fellow brit, we often talk about the USA Vs the UK, which often devolves into me whining about all the British stuff I miss, and her gloating about it.

Well, shortly before Christmas, dear old Saffy asked for our address so she could send Sunny and I a "few things."

Well today, after multiple trips to the Post Office, chasing the package that arrived almost a week ago, we finally managed to pick up the package.

I should also point out at this point that not only is Saffy one of the nicest people I ever met, she's also a magician. Why? because in a package the size of a shoe box, she managed to fit:

2 Cans of Gourmet Sea Salt and Black Pepper Pringles.
1 Traditional Christmas Pudding
1 Package of Mince Pies
2 Packs of Salt 'n' Vinegar Hula Hoops
4 Packs of BBQ Beef Hula Hoops
1 Pack of Curry flavored Bachelors Super-Noodles
1 Cadbury's Caramel Bar
1 Cadbury's Dairy Milk Chocolate Bar
1 Crunchie
1 Flake Bar
1 Crunchie Bar

A few things, Saffy? Wouldn't it have been a little cheaper to just ship the local Sainsbury's to me?

All joking aside, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I normally start to feel a little down around Christmas with my family being so far away, so you've absolutely no idea how much this little taste of home means to me.

Oh, and here's a scan of the front of the card that came with the package, included, just because I think it's funny as hell.

Monday, January 01, 2007


I'm tired. Physically, mentally and dare I say it, spiritually.

Does anyone have a remote cabin with no phone in it I can borrow for a couple weeks?

I seriously need to just get away from everything and be left the fuck alone for a couple weeks.

On a slightly happier note, Happy New Year everyone. Here's hoping this year doesn't suck quite as badly as the last.