Wednesday, April 30, 2008

She Followed Me Home

What did I expect for Las Vegas?

A friend of mine and I went to the see the show, "Bite", at the "Stratosphere".

I saw this show last year and I apparently talked-it-up a bit because my friend decided it would be a good show for us to go see. So off we went to the erotic vampire rock show.

Like last year, the show was great. The interesting thing about the show is I think it's nothing like you would expect it to be. It's an amazingly entertaining show with a classic rock soundtrack and a group of talented people.

This show always leaves people realizing that it's nothing like what they expected. If you're heading to Las Vegas anytime soon I would recommend giving this show a try as long as topless women do not offend you.

After the show we headed back to the Excalibur hotel. My friend went to Tower II and I headed to Tower I.

As I got closer to the elevator an attractive woman asked me if I wanted a date. Of course I told her no since I'm not completely dim. I pretty much assumed that she was only talking to me because she was... a lady of the night.

We're not talking a vampire here, because after watching Bite I may have just said yes.

She decided to follow me into the elevator and on up to my floor. The whole way in the elevator she kept asking me questions and going through a list of what she could do for me. In addition to the list of her "services", she also flashed me to apparently tease me into something I was obviously not interested in.

Trying to get rid of her I told her that I didn't have any money, and that I was just here for a conference and did not have extra money for other things.

She claimed she lost $50 of her girlfriends money gambling and was willing to do anything to get it back.

Yeah, right...

After following me all the way to my door, and a few more flashes, she asked if she could just have $5 or something. I checked my wallet and only had a $20 in there, so I gave her that and told her to leave and that I was not interested in her company. This seemed to make her happy, after all, she got $20 for doing nothing but annoying the crap out of me.

I'm not sure what is more sad, a person who has to offer their body up for sale, or those who make the purchase...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Writing On Air

Another year passes and it's time to return to Las Vegas for InterOp.

This year it also feels like I'm going through a mid-life crisis. Unfortunately I can't afford a sports car, so I decided to purchase a new laptop.

A MacBook Air.

OK, I admit it, I probably could have got a sports car, but why? It's not practical to haul my scuba diving equipment around, or taking the kids and their friends anywhere. Besides, I was tired of lugging my two hundred pound Dell, work provided, laptop around. I stuff enough crap in my backpack when I travel, such as magazines and books, the last thing I need is a heavy laptop to add to the mix.

So far, I'm very impressed with this little gem. The obviously huge benefit is its compact size.

Who says size doesn't matter?

When I first starting dragging a laptop around it seemed like the cool thing to do was to have a huge one, with a large screen for watching DVD's on the road. After several years of doing this, the thrill is gone.

Now, with the MAcBook Air, it has everything I need in a laptop, at a great size.

At first it feels a bit strange to not have all the other stuff that goes along with a laptop, but I think I will be able to adapt nicely. What's the fun in being human if we can't continually evolve and adapt to new things?

For those of you who have not looked into what a MacBook Air has, or doesn't have, let me explain.

The MacBook Air does not come with an optical drive of any sort (i.e. no DVD/CD ROM drive). There is also no floppy drive, but this is not a big deal these days anyway. When was the last time you used a floppy disk?

As the name implies, everything you need will be sent to you through the air.

It's rapidly becoming an all wireless world, and this laptop is on the leading edge of this paradigm-shift. Of course you can always purchase an external optical drive if you really need to "burn a disc" or do some other menial task, but for the most part you live disc-free.

One interesting option for accessing drives is to "leech" off of any computer near you that has one. Just load a little helper program onto the machine and then you can mount its drive just like it was on the MacBook Air. A neat approach for those who are not completely comfortable about being driveless.

One thing I was worried about with a laptop this thin, was that it was going to have a cheesy keyboard. I should have known though, coming from Apple, that nothing is ever done "cheesy". I find the keyboard really nice, with large keys and great response.

Another cool feature is that the keypad has the same technology in it as the iPhone so you can use all of the finger features that make the iPhone interface so nice. No need for a mouse when you can turn pages, zoom, and click, right-click, and more just by the way you massage the keypad. I'm still getting used to this myself, but I feel that soon enough I'll be cussing out my Windoze machines when I won't be able to use these little shortcuts on them.

Back in the old days, I was a big fan of the Amiga computer. It was way ahead of its time, and I loved the innovations it had over other computers, even the Macintosh. Now, times have changed, and the Mac has morphed into what I had envisioned the Amiga was going to be. For that reason, having this laptop being the first Mac I have personally owned, I feel as though I have come home.

Years of working with Windows-based computers has felt more like a daily struggle then a pleasurable experience. I got my MacBook Air because I needed something fun and positive in my life once again. A computer that I can enjoy using without worrying about viruses and the Blue Screen of Death.

Sure there is a learning-curve with using a new operating system, but I think I am ready for the change.

As always, thanks for reading my dribble, and wish me luck on my trip!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Still Alive



This song has been making the rounds recently. When I first heard it I thought it was neat but could not figure out what the heck the lyrics had to do with anything. They seemed sort of random yet like there was some inside joke that I did not understand.

I set out to do a bit of Googling and discovered that this song was from the ending credits of a computer game called, "Portal". So far everything I have read about it makes it a great game to play so I'll probably be getting it soon just so I can play this game and understand the song even more.

After reading several comments about the song and the game I have a basic understanding of the song now and it really makes it even better. I'm going to let you do your own research if you want to understand the song because having not yet played the game, I'd probably just get it all wrong anyway.

Enjoy the song, and let me know what you think!

In case you don't want to scribble all of the lyrics down from the video here they are in print...

Still Alive - Lyrics
==========
This was a triumph.

I’m making a note here: "Huge success".

It’s hard to overstate my satisfaction.

Aperture Science

We do what we must

because we can.

For the good of all of us.

Except the ones who are dead.

But there’s no sense crying over every mistake.

You just keep on trying till you run out of cake.

And the Science gets done.

And you make a neat gun.

For the people who are still alive.

I’m not even angry.

I’m being so sincere right now.

Even though you broke my heart.

And killed me.

And tore me to pieces.

And threw every piece into a fire.

As they burned it hurt because I was so happy for you!

Now these points of data make a beautiful line.

And we’re out of beta.

We’re releasing on time.

So I’m glad. I got burned.

Think of all the things we learned

for the people who are still alive.

Go ahead and leave me.

I think I prefer to stay inside.

Maybe you’ll find someone else to help you.

Maybe Black Mesa

That was a joke.

Ha ha, Fat chance.

Anyway, this cake is great.

It’s so delicious and moist.

Look at me still talking

when there’s Science to do.

When I look out there, it makes me glad I’m not you.

I’ve experiments to run.

There is research to be done.

On the people who are still alive.

And believe me I am still alive.

I’m doing Science and I’m still alive.

I feel fantastic and I’m still alive.

While you’re dying I’ll be still alive.

And when you’re dead I will be still alive.

Still alive

Still alive

Friday, April 11, 2008

Change

It's inevitable, at least that's the consences.

Since we can't prevent change from occuring, it's more important how we deal with changes as they come along.

I'm retired from the Air Force, so I'm used to changes as I moved from base to base. Luckily, I was fortunate enough to not have to move as much as many other folks in the military.

My father is like a Gypsy, because he seems to relish moving all of the time. Every few years he's selling one house and buying another. He currently works for a company where he can drive all across the country delivering RV's to dealers. Once he told me that he believed that the world was meant to be explored, and that's what he likes doing.

A chip off the old block I'm not. Occasional travel is enjoyable, but uprooting my home every few years would make me crazy. I like planning how I am going to improve my home.

For example, I want to knock down a wall between two rooms in my basement this summer and turn the single large room this would create into a library.

In our family room, I plan on getting a flat-panel TV and embedding it into a wall so the wall remains flat and the TV is flush inside the wall. The components will be below this in a knocked out portion of the wall with the back extending into the adjoining room. In the adjoining room there will be a built-in bench seat to cover the fact that underneath is all of the stereo equipment from the family room. This will have the added benefit of being able to reach the back of my components easily to change wiring when needed. I will also run a network cable into the spot so I can connect network devices such as my Apple TV.

These are all nice changes, but what happens when life tosses you a change you don't really want?

My personal constitution allows me to remain stable during difficult times. I'm not sure how I got this way. If I knew, I could probably go on a speaking tour, write a book, and make millions showing other people how to toughen up.

Even though I might be considered an expert when it comes to not showing how much change affects me, I know the real story.

I am affected by changes just like everyone else. The way I deal with things is to look at my situation logically and try to handle things as intelligently as I can. Sometimes this requires the illusion that I am tough, and can appear to handle anything, but it's not always the case.

Life ends. I have lost several people, and animals, that have meant a great deal to me, and will lose a lot more as time goes by. This change cannot be prevernted. At least not yet.

To deal with this, I prepare my emotions by accepting the fact that the day will come when those older then I will pass. I think it helps to acknowledge this early on, and deal with these emotions over time rather then deny it will happen and then suddenly get hit. It's the whole cricle-of-life thing. It's gong to happen, so don't fight it.

The latest change in my life is getting divorced after 19 years of marriage.

Although this too is painful, I have seen it coming for a long while now. For years I have expected this inevitable outcome and have mentally prepared for the day. The result is that we are working out the details together and trying to remain friends throughout the process.

Divorcing intelligently is not the norm. In fact, many people we have had to deal with from our insurance company to our lawyers are amazed at how calmly we are proceeding.

Unfortunately, most divorces happen when one person is completely caught off-guard not realizing there was a problem with their marriage to begin with. Of course, this may be one of the problems...

Denial, not just a river in Egypt.

I was going to give advice to people who might be facing this, but I am not qualified to do so because every situation is different and everyone reacts to this sort of thing differently.

I will say that during this process emotions are high. Internally I have been on an emotional rollercoaster since the process began. If you are even remotely thinking of this in your own situation, make damn sure you have tried everything you possibly could before proceeding. It just makes good sense, before you destroy your family, to exhaust every avenue that is available to you.

In the end, after trying everything at your disposal, then talk it over and proceed intelligently and calmly. I'm certain it will be insanely difficult if just one of you feels this way, and considerably easier if you are both coming to the same realization that things are just not working.

Sometimes, it's tough to take the high road whe things aren't working for one and not the other. Instead of selfishly fighting them, it's best to release them.

I remember part of a saying that goes something like, “If you love someone, set them free...” Doing this is much better then, “I'll see you in court, bitch!”

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Fair Game


I'm hearing a lot of talk and news coverage recently about how we should boycott the Olympic games, or boycott the opening ceremonies, or attack the torch runners.

Although many people do not agree with how China handles their affairs, the simple fact is that the Olympic games are an international gathering of atheletes regardless of the status between countries.

Even though they have in the past, the Olypmic games should not be used as a political tool. For some reason the term, “Is nothing sacred?” comes to mind right now.

China has poor people skills, especially when it comes to rights and freedoms. We all know this, and we get it. There is no need to use the Olympics to attempt to make your point just because they are being hosted in China this time around.

Go ahead and use the news coverage of the Olympics to bring to light the attrocities in China, but don't attempt to do physical, or political, things to prevent the games from occuring.

Atheletes from around the world have literally worked hard all of their lives to get to the Olympics, and who are you with your political agenda to try and prevent them from participating.

I get really annoyed with people who use other people and events to further their goals. If your cause is great then continue to educate people through whatever means necessary, such as the web, seminars, news reports and the like. Eventually, people will see your point of view and be pursuaded to help out.

If you have a cause that nobody is really interested in, guess what? Nobody is interested in it! This does not mean you can then burn down facilties, kill people, or highjack other events to try and bring attention to your cause. They have a word for these actions. Terrorism.

There is great passion in people for various causes, and that's a good thing. Without passionate people we would probably still have many horrible situations throughout this planet. All I am saying is, don't let your passion turn into a dangerous thing.

If you want to call for all of those to feel as you do to not watch the Olympics, then great. All of your supporters can happily do other things while the Olympics are on, and you can feel good about doing something in your own way to protest China hosting the games.

Once you start affecting peoples lives who do not follow your zeal for your cause, now you've crossed the line and are on the border of being out of control.

How do I deal with topics I want others to know I care about? Well, your reading this site aren't you?

It's not much, but it's my personal platform to rant about what annoys me. And right now it's you. Those of you who seek to savatage the Olympic games for your cause.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Highway High Jinks

I received this in email today and thought it was a hoot.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR A FUN TIME ON THE INTERSTATE


Step 1 - Tie balloons to car.

Step 2 - Drive like a bat out of hell...

Step 3 - Watch people freak out!!!!!