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Tuesday, March 30, 2004

(fake) PROTESTORS IN WESTWOOD

protestcap (34k image)
An unrealistically tiny group of protestors yells and hollers on an insignificantly tiny portion of a corner in Westwood Village. Click for video!
WESTWOOD VILLAGE, CA - Corporate sponsored protesters held a portion of a corner hostage in the quiet shopping and movie theater district as locals wondered just what the hell was going on. The "protesters" chanted things that couldn't quite be made out no matter how close onlookers got to the small, but loud, group.

"Free up! WHAT? Free up! WHAT? Free up! Eedi Ameen! Eedi Ameen!" was what the chants sounded like to one onlooker who wished not to be identified.

"I'd like to work for the company organizing this absurd stunt, one day," said the onlooker, adding, "Maybe they're yelling 'free me, I'm mean'?"cutheater (5k image)

The protesters seemed to be protesting something involving the comic book fantasy movie Hellboy which had it's premiere in Westwood later that day. What exactly they were protesting could not be determined. Even their placards were too small to be read.

(c)2004 ThePete.Com News Services, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction of this article without permission is prohibitted. If we catch you with a copy of this article, we'll kidnap your sister and sell her to a homeless person!

WOULD YOU LIKE SOME WEAPONS WITH YOUR SPACE, SIR?

That's right - weapons in space. Are we expecting an attack from aliens? You'd think so based on some of what the USMil has planned. ABCNEWS.com just posted a big-ass article about this and what unnerves me is their complete lack of moral bias. In the 1960s, the US cosigned a treaty with the UN promising to never put weapons in space. The article mentions it only once - almost in passing. This is a serious issue.

Weapons in space makes no sense. We have no enemies there and the USGov claiming they have interests in space that must be protected is just an excuse. If you're afraid of an attack, build a tougher satellite - don't ARM it. You don't need weapons unless you want to hurt someone else. Hell - you already need tough armor plating to protect your satellites from impacts from space debris. In the ANBCNews.com article, Rumsfeld is quoted as saying that we need to avoid "another Pearl Harbor in Space." When was the first one?

Sputnik? How were Americans killed when Sputnik orbited the Earth? Invoking the lives of those dead Americans with the interest of protecting technology is morally corupt.

Here's the best part of that article:
Shortly before his appointment as secretary of defense, for instance, Donald Rumsfeld chaired a blue-ribbon commission investigating the role of space in national security. It concluded in January 2001 the likelihood of an attack on U.S. space systems needed to be taken seriously to prevent another "space Pearl Harbor."

Land, sea and air have seen conflict, the report noted, asserting space will be no different. "Given this virtual certainty, the U.S. must develop the means to both deter and to defend against hostile acts in and from space."
From space? I thought we had nothing to worry about from asteroids and meteors and such. We're always being told that the odds are huge against the Earth being struck by a planet killer.

So what else could the USGov be worried about regarding hostile from space?

Just who the hell is running the USGov, anyway?

And how old are they? 14? That's about how old I was when I still believed in aliens...

Read the ABC News article over at their website.


Monday, March 29, 2004

They were a couple of dolls!

These were up for auction on eBay not too long ago:
janetjustin (12k image)


Don't know how much they went for, but I iwsh I had bid at least once. :rolleyes:

Hardware Problems, Too Much Dayjob Work, Too Much to Write, Patient Friends and an Impatient One...

Well, since I got my iBook back, I've been struggling to catch up with my dayjob work. I was writing about some seriously boring stuff. Writing it all on my PC was not helping making it more interesting, so I was glad when my iBook came back. Of course, it was still hideously boring stuff to write.

I have been really good with keeping up with TheKey which has been good. Not as good as I'd like to be, but better than I expected to be. I think Book 2 is still a little uneven, but it's MUCH better than it was. I've got two more entries to edit and then I have to go back and add a couple of character descriptions. That's something I still have to do with Book 1. And it looks like I'll be doing the covers myself, after all - which is totally cool, since I actually did come up with a cool idea for them. My buddy who was going to do them got distracted by this "movie" he had to shoot.

No, seriously, he's directing a B-movie.

I'm jealous.

He used to help me on my film shoots... :confused:

Anyway, then I hear from this chick I knew back in high school. She was a bit of an outsider, which I identified with and for a while, we hung out a lot. Once I went off to college, we still talked on the phone every once in a while, but I felt weird about a lot of the choices she made in her life, so I sorta let things drift away. Well, she recently tracked me down and if you didn't blink, you might have seen some of the things she posted on this site before I took them down. It seems that she had this idea that because we were good friends over a decade ago, I should be expected to drop everything and talk to her because her kids miss "their Uncle Pete". Right - I met her kids once, back in 93, I think, when they were very young - so young they could only remember an "uncle" Pete by what her mom told them about me. Anyway, so she sent me a few emails telling me how I had to email her back ASAP because she missed me soooo much.

Yeah, so much that she hasn't looked me up once this century.

Then, when I didn't email her back after a day, she started posting to my site, telling me how I need to check my email and so on. She seemed to be blissfully unaware of the fact that I am insanely busy these days, what with my dayjob, my books, screenplays, etc... Perhaps patience would have been nice. So, I make a polite statement on my site, mentioning that I'm very busy writing. To which she posts a comment explaining how I can give her a call while I'm writing - as if this is some how a thing physics would allow.

Sure, I call people all the time while writing - WHAT? That's impossible - at least for me and I'm pretty sure for anyone else, too. And then she used the "Uncle Pete" thing again. As though meeting her kids once and being high school friends with their mom some how equates to me being a blood relation. Then she starts posting to my forum, again trying to guilt me in to emailing her back.

TheFiancee has a saying for people like here - they're "civilians" - people who don't understand the lives we "creative-types" lead. We are all always in a constant battle with forces bent on having us fail at what we love most (whether those forces realize it or not). We need to be very careful who we let into our lives because the wrong influence can seriously mess us up. Hell, I dated a woman once who never encouraged me to write and never minded discracting me from any attempt I would make from writing. These types of people are kind of poisonous to people like me. This old "friend" of mine certainly fits the bill. Just because she missed me, I was supposed to drop everything I was doing (and still am) and email her. All of my friends understand how busy I am and know (without me even telling them) that they need to leave me alone when I say I'm busy. Which they do.

I don't know. Maybe I'm just being an asshole, but I don't really care if I am. I am who I am and if people don't like it, I don't want to accept them into my life. I don't need their guilt trying to get me to put my stuff aside like I've done too many times for too many people in the past. Sure, a single phone call may seem like no big deal, but it wouldn't stop there. It never does. And if people can't understand that and respect my decision, then why should I respect them?

I know what she's going through, too. My absolute best friend from college and I had a falling out back in 1999. I've since come to my senses and realized that I was being a serious ass. I've tried to contact her (my best friend from college) to make ammends (amends?), but she won't email me back. I don't know if she has a website, but I did track down her work phone number. I thought about putting her on the spot, but I felt that as much as I want to force things, I didn't want to force things. I also figure that if she really wants to let me back in her life, she will. I can't force things.

So, I sleep in the bed I made.

I hope both of these women change their minds, though. I like having friends in my life. But it is a two way street. We don't always agree with what our friends do, but we can't force our opinions on them. Part of being friends is supporting friends no matter what. (Within reason, of course.) And if you're going to blow me off just because I don't want to communicate with you the moment you want me to is going to make me seem like a shallow, selfish jerk, then that's your problem, not mine.

I'm not trying to whine here, I'm just saying that I've got more shit to worry about than emailing everybody back in a timely manner. And to my best friend from college (not that she's reading this, but if she is,) I am sorry and I respect you too much to shove my opinion down you're throat. I do hope you reconsider and email me back.

Friends shouldn't guilt friends for the beds they've made for themselves...

Ok, that metaphor was a little clunky, but I think you get it...

Oh yeah and I'm thinking about changing the site again... I know - I never learn...

Saturday, March 27, 2004

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO NOTE REGARDING CLARKE'S TESTIMONY

The following is from a March 28, 2004 New York Times article:
White House fears were realized this week when Richard A. Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism coordinator, depicted the first months of the Bush presidency as a time of indecision and inaction on terrorism. Many of the preliminary findings of the commission supported the picture Mr. Clarke outlined in his new book, "Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror," published by Free Press.
The "commission" the quote refers to is the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, or as they are more commonly known, the 911 Commission.

So, whether you think Clarke lied in 2002 or that he's an idiot, it doesn't matter because the 911 Commission came to the same findings as he did. For your information, the 911 Commission is made up of members from both sides of the political aisle - Democrats and Republicans.

Read the whole New York Times article for yourself.


KERRY CHALLENGES BUSH TO PROSECUTE CLARKE - THANKS, IDIOT! HE'S ON OUR SIDE!

John F. Kerry, who could certainly win no JFK look-alike contests, certainly would win a George W. Bush act-alike contest, however. In a case of protecting the power and fear of the office of the President, Kerry has made the completely risk-free move of challenging King George to prosecute Richard Clarke if it can be determined that he lied under oath.

Kerry is saying this in reaction to Republican calls to discredit Richard Clarke who served as terrorism czar for three administrations, including the Bush 41 Admin. While still under employment of the USGov, back in 2002, Clarke gave classified testimony to Congress that apparently praised Bush 43's behavior in the war on terror. Now that he is no longer an employee of the USGov and he is speaking out against King George's behavior, he is being held to task for his words.

Forget the fact that part of his job was to do what he was told. In his testimony on March 24, 2004, he defended the 2002 testimony by explaining that he was told to accentuate the positive. Putting it bluntly, he did his job and spun the situation so it sounded good. Now that he's spinning it the other way, Republicans want his head. They even accused him of being "immoral" for spinning Bush's behavior in a positive direction despite Clarke's personal feelings on TWAT (The War Against Terror). To that accusation, Clarke responded with what sure seems like the truth. He said that it was strictly a political move. This seems to suggest that he did it to protect his own career, at the time.

Here's where Kerry comes in. He's now goading King George to go after Clarke. Clarke is the guy standing up for what's right here and Kerry wants to see Bush go after him. This is not the act of a man who wants to see the truth come out. Kerry should be behind Clarke saying things like:

"If it's true, Bush has got some explaining to do."

or

"Why was Bush so impotent in the war on terror? Because he didn't realize how it could help him - after 911, he took full advantage of terrorism and still does, to this day."

Instead, Kerry is protecting what he believes to be his future job. He is showing us all that if we speak out against anything the government does that is wrong we will get attacked, despite our courage and despite the fact that it's the right thing to do.

Clarke is on the side of the people, here - he is showing us how Bush and his administration has changed negatively since 911 and how things could have been done to stop 911. Kerry swoops in and plays the role of the instigator, the antagonizer. He is NOT on our side and I am concerned that if he makes it into office there will be few changes. I'm still going to vote for him, but only because I know for a fact that Bush 43 needs to be forced out of his job.

But Kerry - I just don't understand why he's come out on this side of the argument. He should be attacking Bush - not siding with him. Maybe this is still because of that damn fraternity they have common...

Read an AFP article that covers Kerry's comments over at Yahoo News.


Thursday, March 25, 2004

IT'S BACK!

gatchamacisback (48k image)


Well, it IS back sooner than I expected, but ONLY because the Apple "Care" website is so full of crap. They have no idea what their 3rd party repair service is up to. Like I said in my Mac Stories entry, they said it had just shown up on the 24th. Today I called the 800 number and they said it is "being prepared for shipment" back to the Apple Store I dropped it off at. I asked the guy if he thought it would arrive at the store tomorrow (Friday) and he said he couldn't say. All his computer was telling him was that the repair had been done. From that he assumed that it was being prepared for shipment. Fair enough, I told him. I would have to call again tomorrow.

Three hours later, the phone rings and it's my Apple Store - they have my iBook. Go figure.

It seems to work just fine, too. The area of plastic that makes up the left palm rest used to squeak just a little, but ow it doesn't. Hopefully, this means that it won't flake again. The thing is, it still does sqeak if I rest my hand on it just right. So, I'm guessing it'll fail eventually. I think I'll keep a running tally of how many days it takes for this thing to crap out on me again...

Now that I have my iBook back, I am still swamped (as usual) with WAY too much stuff to do. Hell, I hardly email anyone when my iBook is running fine. But if you're one of the many people out there wondering why you haven't heard from me in a while (or at all), it's probably nothing personal. Although it will be personal for those people who can't read this blog and understand how busy I am. My writing comes first, then TheFiancee, then my dayjob, then my website and then the rest of the world. Sorry - but I gotta have my priorities.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

PLEASE PAY ATTENTION (NO ONE ELSE IS): Ex-FBI TRANSLATOR SAYS FBI HAD PLENTY OF WARNING BEFORE 911

Man, oh, man... what more needs to come out about this? 911 was so easy to foresee, apparently, that even a scifi TV show featured a passenger liner being remote piloted into the WTC. Of course, on that TV show, the heroes cared enough to stop it. Less than a year after that episode of The Lone Gunmen aired, 911 happened. The USGov claimed they had no idea and couldn't know that such a thing could happen. This is from an article quoted at TheMemoryHole.org:
A former FBI translator said Wednesday that the bureau had "real, specific" information relating to the Sept. 11 attacks before they happened. Sibel Edmonds worked for the agency working from Sept. 20, 2001 to March 2002.

Edmonds said she was hired to retranslate material that was collected prior to Sept. 11 to determine if anything was missed in the translations that related to the plot. In her review, Edmonds said the documents clearly showed that the Sept. 11 hijackers were in the country and plotting to use airplanes as missiles.
She goes on to explain that when she told Ashcroft she was going to go public he slapped a gag order on her. Essentially, threatening to arrest her if she exposed the truth.

What more has to happen before the tide turns against those in the USGov? ALL of them have been complacent in this. The Democrats could raise holy hell and filibuster (philibuster?) ever damn thing the Republicans put out there until Bush 43 and Co. are censured or kicked out of office.

In Taiwan in recent days polititians have resorted to literal fist fights on the floor of their government. Why is it that the USGov cares so little for it's own principles and the people it is supposed to represent that the worst the liars in office get is a stern speech from John F. Kennedy's little brother about how the Iraq war was waged on a lie.

What about these lies, now ignored by the public consciousness:

1) Supreme Court does not mediate election disputes - according to the US Constitution, Congress does.

2) There are many safeguards in place to stop errant airplanes from threatening the lives of people in buildings or homes. When a famous golfer's airplane strayed off course, a local air force base scrambled at least one fighter that followed it, attempting to determine if it was a threat to anyone on the ground. The fighter, followed it until it crashed, harming no one, but it's orders were to shoot it out of the sky if it looked like it would have threatened anyone. How do FOUR PASSENGER LINERS crash without fighters being within eye-shot of them?

3) Saddam Hussein's Iraq was never a threat to anyone outside Iraq, ever, aside from Kuwait. Kuwait was invaded because they were raising their level of oil production so they could make more money and drive the price down for everyone else. Also, Kuwait used to be part of Iraq, so when Saddam asked the US if they would defend Kuwaiti if he happened to invade, they told him that they had no treaty with Kuwait. When Saddam did invade, the USGov promised to get Saddam out of Iraq and return "freedom" to the dictatorship of Kuwait. (As for Iran, the US was propping both sides up when Saddam gassed them.)

4) When the USGov invaded Iraq in March of 2003, they broke International Law - a law that the USGov helped write when they co-founded the UN.

I could go on.

Give me one reason I should.

Read more about the Ex-FBI translator over at TheMemoryHole - please.

Every Chance I Give Apple to Screw Me They Take!

List of thing's Apple "Care" has done to make me hate them since my last blog entry:

1) Managed to have inconsistent information between their website, their 800 number and the store. Literally - when asked, each location gave me different or incomplete information.

2) Their website is a joke - you log in and not only does it give you different information from the Apple store and the 800 number, but it lists things twice and sometimes changes listings. When I first logged in to check the status Monday night, it said "closed." By 2am it said "Ready for Pick Up." By morning it said "Ready for Pick Up" TWICE. But, of course, when I called the Apple store, they didn't have it and told me it was still being repaired.

3) Today, I decide I'm going to give the Apple "Care" 800 number the first of many daily calls until my iBook has returned to me. I call them and they confirm what the store told me yesterday. It's being repaired at this very moment. I ask the nice lady at Apple "Care" how long they've had it for repair. She says "They've had it since the 24th. No, wait, that's not right - that's today."

Well, it was right. They DID just get my iBook today. Which is really funny since I dropped it off last Thursday. According to the lady on the phone someone mis-filed it at the Apple store so it didn't leave there when it should have. So much for getting it back in 5 business days.

Meanwhile, the status listed at the Apple site still says twice that my iBook is "Ready for Pick Up."

Boy, good thing I don't need that iBook for WORK...

OH WAIT, I DO.

Once again, I'd like to remind anyone reading this that I do prefer Mac OSX to ANY version of Windows. But I am writing these blog entries to remind Apple elitists that their precious company is just like any other company - out to make the most money regardless of the cost. Even if they have to inconvenience their customers and even cost their customers money, which they basically are doing to me.

Trust OSX, trust Apple machines - except for the dual USB iBook! (I spoke with a friend of mine who has a 14 inch iBook and he's had the same "Disaster Sandwich" problem.) AND MOST OF ALL: PRAY YOU DON'T HAVE A DEFECTIVE MACHINE BECAUSE APPLE "CARE" IS NOTHING OF THE KIND. Once again for the search engines:

applecare sucks apple care sucks apple care complaints applecare complaints apple care can lick me apple care is for losers who like being treated badly apple care = masochists anonymous apple care just as bad as microsoft customer service apple computers work their policies don't apple sucks apple bites apple OSX OS X OS 10 OS ten apple customer service sucks apple customer care sucks

Sunday, March 21, 2004

CO2 MUCH!

Hey, check it out, despite all of the great things we're doing to make cars more fuel efficient, scientists have found.

Wait - what great things we're doing to make cars more fuel efficient?

From an AP article over at Yahoo News:
The reason for the faster buildup of the most important "greenhouse gas" will require further analysis, the U.S. government experts say.

"But the big picture is that CO2 is continuing to go up," said Russell Schnell, deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's climate monitoring laboratory in Boulder, Colo., which operates the Mauna Loa Observatory on the island of Hawaii.

Carbon dioxide, mostly from burning of coal, gasoline and other fossil fuels, traps heat that otherwise would radiate into space. Global temperatures increased by about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 degrees Celsius) during the 20th century, and international panels of scientists sponsored by world governments have concluded that most of the warming probably was due to greenhouse gases.
This, coupled with a recent Pentagon report suggesting that global warming could spawn virtual chaos on Earth, suggests we are in need of some serious brain-flossing. Car companies have to begin phasing out ANY kind of vehicle that uses a traditional engine and start replacing them IMMEDIATELY with hybrid engines. Over time, this can cut our fuel consumption by more than half. In fact, if you were to buy a car with a hybrid engine in it, you'd cut what you spend on gas by well more than half, most likely.

The real irony here is that the planet Earth is running out of fossil fuels, period. In fact, you should watch for prices to keep climbing over the rest of this decade. Just remember that you'll be able to blame your rising transportation costs on the car companies, the oil companies and the Bush 43 Admin for not following through on it's promise to spend billions on making our economy a hydrogen based economy.

By the way, that Pentagon report is apparently predicting "Climate Wars" within the next couple of decades according to some. We seem to be staring down some serious problems here. Will we actually get our shit together and save the world? Or will we go on fighting with and trying to take advantage of each other? I know where my money is...

Read the AP article for yourself at Yahoo News.

Read coverage of the Pentagon global warming report at the UK's Observer website.


USGov MUM ON US GI SUICIDES

Did you know that 32 USMil soldiers have killed themselves a arriving in Iraq in March of 2003 or after returning home from there. You probably didn't know this, assuming you only get your news from mainstream American news sources. That's because the USGov doesn't like to talk about things that could damage morale or suggest to Americans back home that perhaps what the USMil is doing in Iraq may be troubling some soldiers there.

Read an article covering how the Pentagon doesn't like to talk about suicides at the Editor And Publisher website - According to their banner, they are America's Oldest Journal Covering the Newspaper Industry.


THE FAX OF (BUSH 43'S) LIES

Wow, well, in another instance of the Bush 43 Admin being caught in a lie, it turns out that the $400+ billion Medicare bill will cost more like $500+ billion AND that the Bush 43 Admin knew about this months before the bill was passed and did nothing to publicize the facts. Or in this case, the fax. Because it's a fax that has, in fact, proven that the Bush 43 Admin lied in the first place.

This is from a New York Times article that ran on their site on March 18, 2004:
Late one Friday afternoon in January, after the House of Representatives had adjourned for the week, Cybele Bjorklund, a House Democratic health policy aide, heard the buzz of the fax machine at her desk. Coming over the transom, with no hint of the sender, was a document she had been seeking for months: an estimate by Medicare's chief actuary showing the cost of prescription drug benefits for the elderly.

Dated June 11, 2003, the document put the cost at $551.5 billion over 10 years. It appeared to confirm what Ms. Bjorklund and her bosses on the House Ways and Means Committee had long suspected: the actuary, Richard S. Foster, had concluded the legislation would be far more expensive than Congress's $400 billion estimate — and had kept quiet while lawmakers voted on the bill and President Bush signed it into law.

Ms. Bjorklund had been pressing Mr. Foster for his numbers since June. When he refused, telling her he could be fired, she said, she confronted his boss, Thomas A. Scully, then the Medicare administrator. "If Rick Foster gives that to you," Ms. Bjorklund remembered Mr. Scully telling her, "I'll fire him so fast his head will spin." Mr. Scully denies making such threats.
At some point after this story broke, Scully apparently claimed that he was just joking with Foster. As if firing someone is something you joke about.

The point is, the Bush 43 Admin has been caught OUTRIGHT in ANOTHER lie...

It's getting hard to keep track of them all!

Check out the whole NYTimes article.

Read more about the aftermath of this and the general feeling of "contempt of Congress" coming from the White House these days in an editorial at the Washington Post website.


Friday, March 19, 2004

A Funny Thing Happened to Me on the Way to the Apple Store

Well, if you read my last "Mac Stories" entry, you know that my iBook flaked on me for the second time and that my plan was to go in to the Apple store and demand they swap out my screen-dead iBook for a PowerBook. Well, I did exactly that. While you can't tell where I am writing this blog entry from, I can tell you it's NOT my new PowerBook. I'm actually writing this on my 5 year-old Toshiba Laptop that still has Winduhs 98 on it. This is because that while the battery doesn't hold a charge and it wil shut down completely if I nudge the power cable, it's still more reliable than my iBook or, more importantly, Apple Customer Service.

That's right, Apple has a policy where they don't satisfy unhappy customers by ridding said unhappy customers of their offending products. In fact, Apple is perfectly content for you to live with your mistake of buying the wrong Apple computer for the rest of your life. Why do they do this?

BECAUSE APPLE CUSTOMER SERVICE SUCKS.

Let me make one thing clear: The Mac OSX is more stable than any OS I've ever used - this includesWindows XP, Windows 98SE and eve previous versions of Mac OS. In fact, sometimes I have to use older Mac apps in "classic" mode (just a cool name for OS9) and that thing is so cumbersome and annoying to deal with - I hate it. But OSX is solid, it's smooth, it's customizable, it's easy to use and best of all, it's easy to use in the way you want to use it (whatever way that may be).

BUT PRAY YOU DON'T BUY THE BADLY DESIGNED MAC!!

This is because APPLE CUSTOMER SERVICE SUCKS.

The iBook has a design flaw in it. I read on a forum someplace an account by a guy who had his logic board fail on him after the warranty expired. Since he figured he would have to pay to get it fixed anyway, he cracked open his iBook to see just what the problem was. According to him, under the left palm rest are not only the hard drive, but the video card as well. (I'll have to get the link to this guy's post later.) And what are palm rests for if not to rest your palm on it. This means that as you type you are putting pressure on the hard drive and the video card. I didn't have my hard drive fail on me, thank God - but this "Disaster Sandwich" as I like to call it did result in cracking the solder joints of the video card. (Solder is the metal stuff that is melted onto wires to essentially glue them to other wires or electrical contacts.) When the solder joints break, this not only can damage the video card, but the mother board, as well.

That's the ultimate lie, it seems coming fr Apple on this problem. They call it a "logic board failure."

But what they really mean is "the motherboard broke."

To anyone who knows anything about computers, you know that the motherboard is the nervous system of the computer - when it is broken, that's serious. When the motherboard breaks on as many systems as it has in the 12 inch dual USB iBook's case, it's very serious. But is Apple doing anything about it? Not really.

They are saying that they are finally stepping up to the plate (after months of pretending there was no problem) and saying that they will fix your iBook if it's out of waranty.

WOW!

THANKS, APPLE!

Uuuuuuhhhhhh, what about REPLACING THE THING BECAUSE IT'S GOT A DEFECTIVE DESIGN??

No, they won't do that - not unless it breaks THREE TIMES.

Yep, ou read it right - there's OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE that their iBook has a serious design flaw (the aforementioned "Disaster Sandwich") and they need you to be inconvenienced a LOT before they can be.

I look at it this way. In my case, on Christmas Eve, my iBook flaked on me for the first time. I was without it for more than two weeks. But, since it was the holidays, let's just round it down to two weeks. This time, when I brought my iBook in to the Apple store, they said it would take at least five business days to get back to me. Thanks to the weekend (which I never take off, incidentally, but they do) that means I will be without it for at least a week. Now, when it goes down again (and it will), how long will it take for me to get a replacement? The point is, that'll be more than three weeks combined that I will have been without the computer I paid MY money to own. THREE WEEKS.

Now, here's the kicker: in my ten years of being a PC person, I have NEVER suffered more than a few days of down time in a row. Here's how it breaks down:

1) When I bought my Toshiba laptop in 1999, the screen was dead, right out of the box. We brought it back to Best Buy the next day and they gave me a new one ON THE SPOT.
2) In 1997, I bought an IBM Aptiva desktop and a few months after I had it, the hard drive crapped out on it. They sent me a new one in two days.
3)In 1997, before I bought my Aptiva, I had bought an HP. I had it a few months and was having problems with it locking up. It was a software problem that I hadn't had with my previous Compaq machine (which NEVER failed me EVER) and after two or three calls to HP support, they finally agreed to just give me my money back. They sent me what they call an RMA number which I believe stands for Return Merchandise Allocation (correct me if I'm wrong) and an address to send the computer to. Within a few days, I had sent off their machine and had gotten a check in the mail for a full refund.

HP didn't care about policy, they didn't care about the policy of the store I bought the HP from, they just wanted me to be happy. So, they sent me a refund and I bought an Aptiva.

This is beyond Apple's capabilities.

Now, there's a lot more to this story, which I'll have to go into next time. But for now, the moral of the story is buy Apple because they have the most reliable OS out there. BUT FOR GOD'S SAKE, DO YOUR RESEARCH!! Go to the Apple.com support/discussion boards. They are a great source for learning about all the problems you can run into with Macs. But don't stop there - do a search at http://news.google.com - if there's news out there about a model, do a search and Google News will find it for you.

In the end, you should remember to keep a level and to not believe the hype. I understand now, how easy it is to become a Mac elitist. The OS will win you over - but don't be fooled. Macs can have problems like any other computer. And Apple's customer service betrays their interests. Which, up until now, I always thought was to build computers. But now, I see, that their interest is to do the same thing every other computer company wants to do - make money off of you.

If you ARE one of those Mac Elitists out there reading this, grow up. You're wasting your loyalty on a shallow, stupid company that has convinced you that a few bells and whistles makes them a great company to get behind. Just because they say they are the best and even if they are, that's no excuse to treat their customers like shit. Which is exactly what they did to me. You watch - you have a hardware failure or try to get your money back past the ten day return period and you'll see just how cool Apple is.

And this is for the search engines:
applecaresucks apple care sucks apple customer services bites apple customer relations sucks disastisfied apple customer dis satisfied apple customer unhappy apple customer pissed off apple customer apple customer money back no refund from apple no understanding from apple apple can lick me apple celebrity angelina jolie nude apple customer service unhappy apple customer service no sympathy for apple customer

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Thinking About Going with a Mac? DO IT - BUT...

Are you thinking about going with a Mac over a PC? Well, all I can say is, DO IT! OSX is a very stable, very smooth operating system that works really well and hardly ever crashes. HOWEVER:

DO NOT BUY THE 900 MHZ 12 INCH, DUAL USB IBOOK!


I have had mine for six months and I've had the motherboard fail on me TWICE and just yesterday it appears to have happened again. My display has died which was the precursor to the mobo dying the last time around. So, without messing around with my iBook anymore, I'm transfering everything off of it and that's taking several hours - and I mean SEVERAL. I have two hours of DV footage on that HD and it's literally take 12 hours to get have of it transfered off on my wifi network to TheFiancee's iBook. (17gbs is slow to xfer on any network, I'd imagine!)

Now, she has the 14 inch dual USB iBook and has not had trouble with hers at all.

When the transfer is finally done (in another 14 hours, according to her machine) I will pack up my iBook in it's original box and take it back to the Apple store I bought it from. Once there, I will then say "I came from the PC world expecting superior hardware, superior software and superior customer service. So far, I've gotten only two of those things. Seeing as the hardware part is probably the most important part of the equation, I'd like to either swap this out for a PowerBook (a machine that does not have the same design flaw as the 12 inch iBook) or I'd like my money back. I have my receipt and all of the original parts, so either way, it shouldn't be a problem."

No doubt, they'll try to say something like "Well, we can't swap out an iBook for a superior machine, we can replace it with a new iBook, but not until we make sure this problem is chronic."

Then I will reply, "When I got my iBook fixed THREE months ago, I sat at your 'genius bar' and tested out my machine. As I sat there, a guy came in with his 12 inch dual USB iBook and demanded a G4 iBook replacement because he was having a motherboard failure for the THIRD time - on his SECOND iBOOK!! Then, there are all the people on the Apple.com/support boards (in the dual usb iBook/usage section) that have posted complaints similar to mine and the other gentleman at the 'genius bar'. I refuse to be put through what your company has put them through. My time is absolutely precious to me. There is no reason what happened to these people won't happen to me again. Like the saying goes - Fix my poorly designed computer once, shame on you. Fix my poorly designed computer twice, shame on me."

And then I will add, "Please replace my iBook with a PowerBook or give me my money back."

Don't get me wrong - I am a Mac person now - if they choose to give me my money back, I will turn around and immediately put it toward a PowerBook. But if they don't take care of me, I WILL go back to PCs for my next laptop. As much as I DESPISE Windows, now. But if they refuse to replace my iBook or give me my money back, what choice do I have? I know the hell I'll get with a PC, I've owned five since 1995 and they have all been nightmarish to get to work the way I want them to work (even my XP box). But at least the hardware isn't likely to mess up on me - just the software.

So, wish me luck - of course if it really does take 14 hours to finish the transfer of my video files, I won't be heading in to the Apple store until tomorrow. I just want to make sure it's as easy as possible for them to say "YES" to my seemingly fair request. Dumping all of my stuff off of there (and not needing them to pull my hard drive out and install it in my new PowerBook) will make sure the process goes more smoothly than it would otherwise.

Either way, I'll have a PowerBook in my hands within the next 48 hours.

Watch this space for updates!

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Look Out for That Storm!!

Check out those clouds!

cycloneg (47k image)

DR. STRANGEBUSH or HOW I STOPPED WORRYING AND LEARNED TO LOVE THE DRAFT

Wow - the draft, we've all heard rumblings about it being re-enacted, but so far there's been no visible movement on it. Well, that's until now. The following is an excerpt from S. 89 - The Universal National Service Act of 2003, which is now working it's way toward being passed:
The language of this bill mandates a national service obligation for every U.S. citizen and permanent resident, aged 18-26. It authorizes the President to establish both the number of people to be selected for military service, and the means of selection. Additionally, the measure requires those not selected specifically for military service to perform their national service obligation in a civilian capacity for at least two years.
Yep, this would mean the return of the draft - this time for both young men and young women. It would mean that, like Israel, EVERY American citizen would have to serve in SOME capacity in the military whether actually being a soldier or in some sort of civilian capacity should the president determine it neccessary.

Of special note would have to be the part in the above excerpt that says this legistlation authorizes the President to establish both the number of people to be selected for military service, and the means of selection. Once again, we see that Congress is bent on giving Bush 43 the power of God over the military. He's the commander-in-chief - but there still has to be oversight. The above would give Bush the ability to send a young journalist digging up dirt on him in to the military. As if King George didn't already have enough power over the press...

Meanwhile, an identical bill is being put forward in the House, by U.S. Representative Charles Rangel (D-N.Y. - he also happens to be African-American). Incidentally, I think Hollings is a Republican - honestly, I couldn't find any direct reference to his party on his website.

Read the legistlation for yourself at HSLDA.org.

Or read it at the Library of Congress.

Or read it's nearly identical counterpart in the House, also at the LOC website.

Read more about this legistlation at InformationClearingHouse.Info.

Read the press release at the website of the guy who authored the legislation, one Ernest F. Hollings, a Senator from South Carolina.

If you're particularly disgusted with this legislation, click here to visit Senator Hollings' "email me" page and let him know what you're thinking!

You might also swing by Rep. Charles Rangel's "contact" page and let him know what you think, as well.


BUSH 43 ADMIN STAGES PHONY NEWS REPORTS ON MEDICARE BILL'S FUTURE SUCCESS

From SFGate.com and the San Francisco Chronicle:
In order to sell the complicated and skimpy plan to seniors, the Department of Health and Human Services is paying actors to pose as journalists in bogus TV "news'' reports. Videos have been sent to TV stations, along with government-prepared scripts for news anchors to read. The idea is to make propaganda appear to be unbiased news during prime-time viewing.

It's a covert effort to exploit both the press and public. Coupled with the misinformation about the bill, it paints an alarming picture of a White House unconstrained about using deceit.
The above may be from the editorial page of the SF Chronicle, but the facts are there. George W. Bush is a liar. Anyone who believes anything he says should wake up and smell what "W" is shoveling.

How many more lies are we going to listen to from this guy before he gets impeached?

At this point, I hope he does stay in office for a second term - that way he can be punished for the treason he has committed against the US. Clinton did some horrible things in office and despite the impeachment, he got off scott-free. So did Nixon - of course, Nixon got pardoned by Ford after resigning. It's likely that Kerry would do the same for Bush. After all, they were in the same fraternity, right?

Read the above referenced editorial at SFGate.com.



From SFGate.com:

EDITORIAL
Bush's Medicare deceit

AFTER FIRST covering up and then misrepresenting the facts about the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, the Bush administration is now shamelessly working to further mislead the public by staging phony "news reports" about how well the law will work.

Last November, during the heat of the congressional debate on the law, the White House reportedly threatened to fire a top Medicare official if he told the truth about the cost of what President Bush described as a $400 billion Medicare bill.

Medicare's chief actuary, Robert S. Foster, said it was clear from the start that the actual cost would be substantially more -- as high as $534 billion. And, he said, the White House was aware of that in June, five months ahead of the debate.

Although, by law, the actuary is charged with providing nonpartisan counsel to lawmakers, Foster said he was silenced by the White House to prevent Congress from getting the true figures. Threatened with "severe'' personal consequences, he was instead ordered to withhold the information, even if Congress asked for it.

Absent the damning cost data, the bill (bitterly contentious even among Republicans) barely eked by, passing in the House, 216 to 215. With cost as the sticking point, the likely outcome would have been reversed, if all the facts had been known. Democrats had argued that the law didn't significantly help seniors and gave drugmakers too much clout. Republicans said seniors didn't gain significantly from the much costlier plan.

In order to sell the complicated and skimpy plan to seniors, the Department of Health and Human Services is paying actors to pose as journalists in bogus TV "news'' reports. Videos have been sent to TV stations, along with government-prepared scripts for news anchors to read. The idea is to make propaganda appear to be unbiased news during prime-time viewing.

It's a covert effort to exploit both the press and public. Coupled with the misinformation about the bill, it paints an alarming picture of a White House unconstrained about using deceit.

Repeatedly manipulating data to stifle honest debate, stirs up disquieting recollections of another White House, disgraced by lies and dirty tricks.

©2004 San Francisco Chronicle

WILL WE SEE 911 II BEFORE 11/2?

The recent terrorist atttack in Madrid, Spain was only reinforcement to USGov officials who are concerned that the US will see another terrorist attack on it's own soil before the November 2, 2004 election. This is perceived as both possibly good and bad. The attack in Spain galvanized voter opposition to the incumbent thanks to his pro-Iraq-Attack stance that the terrorists also used as reasoning for their bombing in Madrid. Would the same thing happen in the US?

If Al Qaida were to attack the US on the grounds that the USMil should never have gone into Iraq, would American voters follow the Spanish example and vote Bush out in November? Or would GOP spin doctors be able to rally the voters behind Bush? Of course, there's also the conspiracy theorists idea that the only way Bush could control the effect on the ballot box such a terrorist attack would have would be to do one of two things:

1) Not hold an election on the grounds that voter safety could not be guaranteed.
2) Fix the election like many (even non-Conspiracy theorists) believe he did in 2000.

All I want to know is whether or not the guy plans on arresting the guy responsible for the last terrorist attack on US soil... you remember him, don't you? Osama bin Something, I think his name is... damn, it's on the tip of my tongue!

Read more about this story at Newsday.com.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

High Fashion Based on Homeless Fashion...

hobo (76k image)
Wow - ordering from these guys you'll save $30!! Oh, DAMN - they're out of stock!! I guess I've missed the Hobo-fashion-wave. :(

Ah, Humans... We Suck

Well, in a daring and skilled show of human intellect, planning, coordination and complete lack of morals, we have 200 more dead people to mourn the loss of. I don't know if any of them were artists, but all of them should still be alive. Was it the Spanish terrorist group, ETA? Was it Al Qeada?

One thing's for certain, the people who did it were human.

spain01 (45k image)

spain02 (41k image)

spain03 (48k image)
10 bombs, 200 people dead, 1200+ injured.

Once we take away these absurd man-made boundries, like countries and organizational affiliations, we'll see that the real culprits are ourselves for letting a climate like the one that exists in the world today to exist.

Of course, while it's easy for someone like me to say we're all to blame, it's difficult for me to come up with the perfect solution. I think the key is simply being more informed and aware. Once we do that, we can act on that information and awareness.

Either way, calling it "civilization" is a bit of a misnomer, isn't it?

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Talented People Who Died This Weekend...

Here are three talented people who are dead, but shall be remembered for the effects they had on people's lives. If you don't know who they are, take a moment, click on each pic and read up on them.

sgray (46k image)
Spalding Gray

Actor, Writer
obit at eonline.com

winfield (18k image)
Paul Winfield

Brilliant, solid actor
from Stage, TV and Movies
obit at eonline.com

pastorelli (14k image)
Robert Pastorelli

Actor who made me
laugh for 7 years on
Murphy Brown
obit at eonline.com

TODAY WILL BE A BETTER DAY!

Well, yesterday sucked hardcore. Bump after bump, pothole after pothole - everything just piled up against me yesterday. Technical problems, my own forgetfulness, and more...

In fact, I don't think there's anything more frustrating than waking up early, ready to attack the day, only to have the day pop you one in the face.

But TODAY I was SMART - I slept late and took my time getting up and ready. Now, I'll probably be up until 3 in the morning just trying to get everything done, but at least I won't be hating life. Then again, for my dayjob I'll be writing about luggage... :crazy:

:doze: ugh

Tuesday, March 9, 2004

SHOOT ME NOW! SHOOT ME NOW!

IT'S PETE HUNTING SEASON!

(apparently)


SHOOT ME NOW!










(The above request is rhetorical in nature and should not be taken seriously by anyone, the LAPD, in particular...)

Monday, March 8, 2004

Good Bush, Bad Bush

GB-BB (23k image)
'Nuff Said!

CONFIRMATION FROM ARISTIDE - US FORCED HIM FROM POWER

From an exclusive interview at the Democracy Now! website with Jean-Bertrand Aristide:
AMY GOODMAN: I am Amy Goodman from the radio/TV program Democracy Now! around the United States. We would like to know why you left Haiti.

PRESIDENT ARISTIDE: Thank you. First of all, I didn't leave Haiti because I wanted to leave Haiti. They forced me to leave Haiti. It was a kidnapping, which they call coup d'etat or [inaudible] ...forced resignation for me. It wasn't a resignation. It was a kidnapping and under the cover of coup d'etat.

AMY GOODMAN: It was a kidnapping under the cover of coup d'etat?

PRESIDENT ARISTIDE: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: Who forced you out of the country?

PRESIDENT ARISTIDE:I saw U.S. officials with Ambassador Foley.

Mr. Moreno, [inaudible...] at the U.S. Embassy in Haiti I saw American soldiers. I saw former soldiers who are linked to drug dealers like Guy Philippe and to killers already convicted, Chamblain. They all did the kidnapping using Haitian puppets like Guy Philippe, [inaudible], and Chamblain, already convicted, and basically, this night, I didn't see Haitians, I saw Americans.
And:
AMY GOODMAN: When you went into the car from your house, did you understand you were going to the airport and being flown out?

PRESIDENT ARISTIDE: Not at all. Because this is not what they told me. This was our best way to avoid bloodshed. We talked with them somehow in a nice, diplomatic way to avoid bloodshed, we played the best we could in a respectful way, in a legal and diplomatic way. Because they that told me that they were going to have bloodshed. Thousands of people were going to be killed, including myself. As I said, it was not for me, because I never cared about me, my life, my security. First of all, I care about the security and lives of other people. I was elected to protect the life of every single citizen. So, that night I did my best to avoid bloodshed and when they took me, putting me in their plane, that was their plan. My strategy was then all I could [do] to avoid bloodshed.
So, there you have it. The guy says that he was lied to by Americans and kidnapped from the country.

Is he lying? He could be. But this certainly does fit the Bush 43 Admin's policy of ignoring sovereign rights of countries and changing regimes with the importance of changing underwear brands.

Well, if your brand of underwear was elected by your ass-cheeks, you'd probably take that choice of brands a bit more seriously.

But after Iraq and Afghanistan, Haiti may not seem like a step toward World War III, but it should. This is the third country the USGov has shoved it's way into and torn out it's government. Now, I know that the Taliban and Saddam were bad people, but how many more countries is the USGov going to send it's military into before it starts respecting a country's right to govern by itself. As much as we Americans like to believe we have the best system, it's NOT the only system.

Beyond all that, Aristide was a democratically elected leader who's greatest offenses don't come close to the abuses of Saddam, the Taliban or those in charge of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan (2 US allies). And US officials calling Aristide's election to be flawed is a severe case of the pot calling the kettle. I mean, come ON, after 2000, it's pretty obvious to me and the world that we can't be telling anyone how to run a democracy - especially the people who had our help in setting theirs up! (That's Haiti, folks!)

Read the whole transcript of the Democracy Now!'s interview with Aristide at their website.

Book 1 is BACK

Sweet - I just got my manuscript back from the retired English professor (TheFiancee's mom) who proofread and gave me notes. The notes are awesome, harsh in some spots, just fine in others, but mostly stuff I agreed with. Of course, their's always a danger of making changes until you find no more things you don't like - which is impossible - which means you could be proofreading and editing forEVER and never get around to just finishing the damn thing. But unless my friend Chad's notes show up some time soon ( ;) ) these will be the last notes I take on Book 1.

Of course, I still have five more books to go... :crazy:

So, for the rest of the day I have my work cut out for me. I do my dayjob writing and then start going through the latest batch of notes. I'm also waiting for a call back from the guy who's doing the cover. I'd taunt him here, but he never checks my website (right, Stew???) but he did say he'd call me tonight.

So, I'm in a good mood, for once! :satisfied:

Feels kinda nice...

Sunday, March 7, 2004

Ugh... headaches, lack of time... getting way less done than I should, buuuut...

I feel like the proverbial headless chicken. I wake up, I mess with my downloads for an hour, shower, head down to my favorite boba house with the free wifi, check my email, check the news, try to update TheNewsBlog and other parts of my site, edit TheKey, then work my day job (I telecommute, which is GREAT). After that, I go home, mess around with some downloads and then crash after watching the Daily Show. This is my day... EVERY day. (Except for days on which the Daily Show isn't on, but everything else is the same.)

I try to sneak in moments to watch some anime, read some comics, read some other stuff, spend quality time with TheFiancee & the cats, and do chores, but it's damn near impossible to do everything.

What's really sad is that I've got a STACK of crap on my to do list which just isn't getting any closer to being do'ed. I've got all of this great artwork (well, it's artwork) that I can publish, but just have no time to edit it all into a book form. I've got short stories to write and screenplays to finish... and an atomic rocket to send for...

Just kidding on that last part.

And now I'm getting these chronic tension headaches...

Anybody know where the cosmic pause button is? :laugh:

Saturday, March 6, 2004

EU STANDS FOR ENEMY UNEXPECTED?

According to a March 2, 2004 Reuters article at Yahoo News, the European Union has slapped the US with mega-sanctions on the US because the US gives illegal tax breaks to exporters. "Illegal" in this sense means that it violates rules agreed upon by the WTO, which is apparently a LOT more important and powerful than the United Nations. This is particularly evident because Bush 43 is urging Congress to scrap the tax breaks since the EU had said it would repeal the duties it is now charging on a variety of US products sold in Europe. The duties do add up to many millions of dollars.

Since the EU is playing hardball the only way it can, through it's financial powers as a member of the EU, the question becomes, when they finish building their military, will they play hardball with it?

Questions, questions, questions....

Read the Reuters article at Yahoo News.

Pretty Cloud!

{{popup cloud.jpg cloud 575x431}}cloud (45k image)


Isn't it pretty? :P

Friday, March 5, 2004

SAME SHIT, DIFFERENT CANDIDATE

Okay, anyone who thinks Kerry is a better choice than Bush or that Bush is a better candidate than Kerry needs to go over to CommonDreams.Org and have a good read of Stephen Zunes' article "Kerry’s Foreign Policy Record Suggests Few Differences with Bush." It's some crazy stuff that, basically, illustrates that there is little or no difference in the foreign policies of Bush or Kerry.

From the article:
That Senator Kerry supported the Bush Administration’s invasion of Iraq and lied about former dictator Saddam Hussein possessing a sizable arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in order to justify it would be reason enough to not support him.

However, a look at his record shows that Kerry’s overall foreign policy agenda has also been a lot closer to the Republicans than to the rank-and-file Democrats he claims to represent.

This is not too surprising, given that his top foreign policy advisors include: Rand Beers, the chief defender of the deadly airborne crop-fumigation program in Colombia who has justified U.S. support for that country’s repressive right-wing government by falsely claiming that Al-Qaeda was training Colombian rebels; Richard Morningstar, a supporter of the dictatorial regime in Azerbaijan and a major backer of the controversial Baku-Tbilisi oil pipeline, which placed the profits of Chevron, Halliburton and Unocal above human rights and environmental concerns; and, William Perry, the retired Republican Senator, former Secretary of Defense, member of the Carlisle Group, and advocate for major military contractors.
As usual, there's more - a LOT more... Check it out and see why we're probably screwed, either way.

More Editing Less Writing

Well, TheKey Book 2 is moving along. I finished editing day 74 yesterday. My work in Book 2 is much better than in Book 1 - I'm finding that I like things just the way they are. I still feel like Book 2 is a little weak, but as I read it, I'm fine with it. I mean, I know it could be better, but I'm not sure I know how.

Meanwhile, I have a friend who has said he's working on the cover of Book 1 and my editor has had the manuscript of Book 1 for a bit less than a week. So, everything in the world of TheKey is coming along nicely. Of course, it would be nice to have an update on the cover - I have talked to the guy in days...

Unfortunately, I've been too busy with my day job to work on anything else. I did get a raise, which is nice. Not enough to scale back how much work I do for my day job, but more money means more paper and ink and blank DVDs and CDRs and toys and movies and cool stuff from ThePeteStuff Store. I just wish I could buy a time machine, or at least rent one. Time is worth SO much more to me right now...

Thanks for following along! ;)

Thursday, March 4, 2004

Wednesday, March 3, 2004

THEY'VE CLONED BUSH AND NOW YOU CAN OWN ONE!

This one comes to us courtesy of the fine folks at MAD Magazine:

BushActi (150k image)


I think I'll repost this one a bit closer to November... :rolleyes:

Monday, March 1, 2004

"Passion" Parody Trailer

Well, it didn't take long for someone to do a parody of Mel's The Passion of the Christ. If you agree with my opinion of this movie of have a good sense of humor, check out this amusing and not entirely disrespectful parody trailer for POTC. It's called Kill Christ and, in my opinion, that title makes a heckuva lot more sense!