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Monday, March 31, 2008

That Darn Cat Food


Yes, Disney Has a Line of Pet Food. Stop them, please. Soon they'll be
feeding us...
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Proof my Brother Knows How to Use the Phone


Check it out: I was surfing a mutual friend's Flickrstream and saw this pic of my little brother! It sure looks like he's on the phone.

Too bad he never dials MY number with that thing! :P

In six weeks we'll be neighbors, bro! Call me back!!!



Maybe he has a friend dial it for him?


Ah, family guilt! It's fun to wield!
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Why Is Obama Not Brainwashed by His Pastor?


I grabbed this screencap from Google News, back during all of the hubbub regarding Obama's former pastor. I think that article is supposed to be a pro-Obama article, but I still find the premise insulting (despite my Atheism) and I hope it's equally insulting to all people of faith.

The headline has someone called Ruben Navarrette Jr. answering "Why Obama's worldview varies from his [ex-pastor's]" I clicked on the link to make sure that was the full headline and it is (see it for yourself here: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_8668584 ) but you don't need to read the article to see what the headline is doing.

It's suggesting that it's rational to assume that most people do exactly what their pastors, ministers, priests, rabbis, etc, tell them to, suggesting people of faith aren't capable of thinking for themselves--that they are not capable of knowing the difference between inflammatory rhetoric and literal, practical guidance for how to live your life.

Last time I checked, most folks who were religious weren't so dumb as to listen to a guy like Wright and think anything *but* "Wow, I think he is trying to make a political point!"

And yes, I know that some religious folks *are* brainwashed by their religious leaders, but to assume that most people of faith are yelling "HOW HIGH?" when their pastors yell "JUMP!" is pretty lame.
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Just xferred a stack of photos...

Just xferred a stack of photos to my iPerstream from Flickr. Check 'em out: http://www.ipernity.com/doc/thepete/home/photos

Finished educating TheWife abo...

Finished educating TheWife about Sarah Jane Adventures. Looking forward to new Who & BSG after this weekend. It's a good time to be a geek.

@adamostrow that's in your nec...

@adamostrow that's in your neck of the woods, we on the west coast get the longest April Fool's "season". :( Can't wait to move!!! :P

@fredericl Awesome--thanks for...

@fredericl Awesome--thanks for the update! I've added it to my podcasts. Hey you don't think this was Google's idea of a joke, do you?

From ThePete.Com: Profit from ...

From ThePete.Com: Profit from Global Crisis Google Ad: I saw this ad on my own website a.. http://tinyurl.com/276gwx

Profit from Global Crisis Google Ad


I saw this ad on my own website a few days back. Kind of depressing, don't you think?

So, while the rest of the world is suffering, I can be making money!

Doesn't it seem like a flaw in capitalism that allows people to benefit from other's misfortune?

Institutionalized schadenfreude?

What's also funny is that if anyone clicked on that ad while it was displayed on ThePete.Com, I made money off of someone else making money off of someone else wanting to make money off of someone else's misfortune.

Of course, I only made a few cents off of that last person's misfortune, so I suppose I shouldn't feel too bad.
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Hey @cherishhellfire thanks!! ...

Hey @cherishhellfire thanks!! You rock, MORE! ;)

@cherishhellfire I like No Tea...

@cherishhellfire I like No Team, too.

@cherishhellfire I'm glad you ...

@cherishhellfire I'm glad you agree--would be concerned if you didn't. o_O No, the world is unchanged for today. But it's only 3pm, yet.

@cherishhellfire Yes! TheKey i...

@cherishhellfire Yes! TheKey is my novel & it's available for $11 in print or $2 in digital at http://snurl.com/thekeybook Why do you ask?

@cherishhellfire You rock. Ju...

@cherishhellfire You rock. Just sayin'.

The 5 Minute Show: Post-Easter Special

Checking in with Jesus!

In this episode of The 5 Minute Show, we check in with our Lord and Saviour, Jesus (yes, THAT Jesus) to see what he's been up to since His Resurrection. As a special bonus, Jesus helps us with the cooking segment!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Most Recent Mugshot: http://ti...

Most Recent Mugshot: http://tinyurl.com/24bvmp

Just got back from a double of...

Just got back from a double of Showboat and Carousel--what a great double!! Showboat blew me away. Carousal, not so much. Still good, tho'.

@lisarein what the heck is Wis...

@lisarein what the heck is Wishfarmers, anyway? Is it SL only?

Now, it's shower time and then...

Now, it's shower time and then off to a double feature TheWife is taking me to! YAY! Hey, uh, anyone know a publisher of good scifi? ^_^

55 pages edited today. Not as...

55 pages edited today. Not as good as yesterday, but still good work. About 50 more to go and I'll be writing new stuff again! YAY!

ZOMG! ISLAM PWNS CATHOLICISM!


WOW! DrudgeReport put that text in RED so it must be true! AND IMPORTANT!

And what ELSE could that MUSLIM saying on the headband mean??

OMG! We're SO in trouble! Because like--like--

Wait, why is this news?
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Ugh--just edited 30 pages of n...

Ugh--just edited 30 pages of novel. Feels more like 100. Bleh. Break and then back to it!

Procrastinating today's marath...

Procrastinating today's marathon edit session, browsing my Utterz circle. Need to get through 100 more pages of editing so I can write new.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sounds :: FirstSounds.ORG: htt...

Sounds :: FirstSounds.ORG: http://snipr.com/1strecordingever [Clicks: 0, Unique Clicks: 0] http://tinyurl.com/22btvk

OH yeah, I got through about 1...

OH yeah, I got through about 100 pages of editing. Just 100 more to go & it'll be time to write new stuff in it for the 1st time in 5 years.

So, I go out for a late evenin...

So, I go out for a late evening, celebratory Pinkberry run to discover it's trying to rain. Where am I, NYC? Gotta wipe off the SK3 screen

OK, moving along nicely. About...

OK, moving along nicely. About 20 more pages to go until another break. I'm TIRED. Editing is draining...

I've come up from a ghostdive ...

I've come up from a ghostdive into my novel. Got through 52 pages of editing. Very happy, but still have 141 more. Long night ahead of me!

ThePete.Cam


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Most Recent Mugshot: http://ti...

Most Recent Mugshot: http://tinyurl.com/38bpzu

OK, time to ghostdive into my ...

OK, time to ghostdive into my novel. I need to get through about 175 pages of editing before tomorrow evening. Wish me luck!

Giving Twitter Tools one more ...

Giving Twitter Tools one more try now that I'm on a new server. Hey, you never know!

Back-Up Birth Control Emergency Contraception


I'm reblogging this from PixelFish's original Utter which you can check out here: http://www.utterz.com/…Nw/utt.php

OK, so why am I blogging about "back up birth control"? Because life is not a simple place and women are (still) treated like second-class citizens in a lot of ways.

Guys: if there was a chance someone could grab you, stick something in you and make you carry around A LIVING THING in your abdomen for NINE months, you'd want some protection against it, right?

I can think of very little that would freak me out more than something ALIVE inside of me. And then to have to carry it around, announcing to the world "I HAVE THIS GROWING THING INSIDE OF ME"--so much for having any conversation start with anything but questions ABOUT the growth. If that weren't enough, the damn growth would be sucking nutrients from me so fast I have to eat almost twice as much as I normally do. Then, when I finally get rid of the thing, I am on the hook to care for it for the rest of my life--even if I give it to someone else, I still know it's still out there somewhere.

Or, I could just take a pill and remove the chance of such a thing happening to me all together. The catch is, sometimes the pill isn't enough because you forget or other drugs mess with it (or vice versa), so it's good to have back up. Here's what PixelFish says about it in her Utter:



For those who don't know, EC (Emergency Contraception) works like an extra strong dosage of the Pill. You receive an extra dose of the hormones that control ovulation, and if you haven't ovulated yet, your body will put it off for a further five days, by which point all sperm SHOULD have died off. EC is NOT an abortofacient. If you have an egg that has been fertilized, EC does not prevent it from attaching to the uterus wall.

It's a good idea for any woman of childbearing age to have access to this important medication. It's just better not to go to the pharmacy and hear that they are temporarily out of it, or worse, to have a pharmacist refuse to fill your prescription. (Although in the US, women over the age of 18 can ask for it WITHOUT a prescription.)

...

And for those that use condoms, you are undoubtedly aware of the possibility of breakage or leakage. Finally, our society is less than ideal and one in four women will suffer from a sexual assault. Having to fight for your reproductive rights right when you are most vulnerable is tough, and having this on hand can give you one less thing to worry about.




So, that's a woman's perspective and before that was a man's.

To me birth control is an issue of self-control--as in, control of one's self. In our culture we're sold a bill of goods--some might say, brainwashed even--natural child birth is a wondrous, magical thing and a blessing from God (or your chosen deity). The reality is that such dialog is really just pro-humanity propaganda that doesn't reflect the reality of our world.

In our current world, a new child represents massive expense in time and money.

1) As mentioned above, the woman carries this organism around inside of her for nine months. If the man gives a shit, he does everything he can to help her through this ordeal--and it IS an ordeal. Your tits get huge, your hormones go crazy and you are essentially a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PERSON because everyone will treat you that way.

2) Before the creature is even born, you're ideally supposed to be spending buckets of money. Sure, insurance may cover some of the medical, but will insurance pay for the extra food the woman eats to feed the thing inside of her? Will it pay to redo the guest room? Or buy the crib, stroller, baby bottles, diapers, etc? No. Will your employer(s) give you time off? What if you're self-employed or a career temp?

3) After the child is born, the money output is incredible. Not just clothes and saving for college, but there's food and entertainment. Suddenly there are toys, vacations get more expensive, and as the kids get older they eat more and more and more.

4) When the child is born and even when the pregnancy is first discovered, to make sure things go right, you really should accept that your own life is over. You are now life support for that child. You are supporting the next generation of humanity--think it will develop fine if both you and your spouse have dayjobs? Think the kid will mentally grow by sticking him or her in daycare, expecting Disney cartoons to educate them or some babysitter?

Look at the world. The current crop of adults were raised largely by divorced and dual-income families. Virtually ignored as children, most of us now can't find Iraq on a map despite the fact that our country is occupying it. We're supposed to believe that terrorists could attack and kill us at any moment, yet, I think I've seen more pregnant women since 911 than I have in the whole of my life before 2001. Our economy has been dying for years but most of us are just starting to notice now. Our environment has been dying for decades, and only now are we talking about doing something about it. Our planet is running out of oil, water and recent food crises in India and Africa suggest that food stocks are low, too--our planet may already have too many people on it.

So, please: practice birth control and have some extra BC laying around, just in case.

Child birth isn't magical. It's biological. It's a force of nature and it WILL find a way. You shouldn't feel obligated to play along. A child doesn't make a woman (or a man) feel whole. A child doesn't give your life meaning. In both cases, the results can be found by doing things that don't require you to take responsibility for another human's life.

Sorry, I really did mean this post to be about women's rights. Damn, I'll have to write about those some other time.
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WFP Foodforce - The Game, The ...

WFP Foodforce - The Game, The Reality, How to Help: http://snipr.com/22xkt [Clicks: 0, Unique Clicks: 0] http://snipr.com/22xkt

Woke up extra late after stayi...

Woke up extra late after staying up extra late watching Gatchaman & the Christian Slater indypic "He Was a Quiet Man". It was nice to relax.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Forgot, Torchwood finale isn't...

Forgot, Torchwood finale isn't for another week. Will watch some old Investigator Mariko eps. Still with the Ashes to Ashes pain, though.

Settling in for some pain--wat...

Settling in for some pain--watching the finales of Torchwood series 2 and Ashes to Ashes series 1. I hope to see why both're coming back.

Ah that lovely awkwardness at ...

Ah that lovely awkwardness at a bus stop when someone starts talking to you when you have your bright red earbuds in.

Most Recent Mugshot: http://ti...

Most Recent Mugshot: http://tinyurl.com/392zcj

It's Friday night--I think I'l...

It's Friday night--I think I'll go buy myself a pair of roller skates! Ah the life of an actress widower!

From ThePete.Com: Tokyo $350 R...

From ThePete.Com: Tokyo $350 R/T???: My website’s is up and down but I’m not.. http://tinyurl.com/yvf4zq

WANT: Spore Green Logo T-Shirt...

WANT: Spore Green Logo T-Shirt from Zazzle.com: http://snipr.com/greensporelogot [Clicks: 1, Unique Click.. http://tinyurl.com/37tmq8

Officially in zombie mode. I'd...

Officially in zombie mode. I'd be happy the weekend is here, but I'm self-employed, so, the weekend never really arrives. I will pretend.

Weeee... more db issues on my ...

Weeee... more db issues on my site. Thought I had it sussed about eight times--now it seems to be cool, but for how long?

Tokyo $350 R/T???


My website's is up and down but I'm not depressed because the local
travel agency has plane tix to Tokyo for half of what they were last
week. Just the other day I found a hotel in Tokyo that caters to
gaijin with long term stays in Tokyo--monthly for a tiny room is less
than $500. Is this a sign? Not until a definite job falls in my
lap--then I'm packing my bags!
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@rodfather thanks for the symp...

@rodfather thanks for the sympathy, man! Sadly, it ends up not being all spam, but something my host didn't set up on the new server.

From ThePete.Com: OK, All Seem...

From ThePete.Com: OK, All Seems to Be Well in ThePete.ComLand: OK, so, after support fin.. http://tinyurl.com/2vnxta

Thursday, March 27, 2008

From ThePete.Com: Still Having...

From ThePete.Com: Still Having Major Database Connection Issues: Sorry folks–I&#82.. http://tinyurl.com/2ba6r7

Still Having Major Database Connection Issues

Sorry folks--I've tried everything. Nothing works to stop these bastard spammers. My database can only take a certain amount of simultaneous connections and even after using WP-Supercache, I'm still screwed.

So, my humble apologies if you have trouble seeing this post. Please check out the below links if you can't get this site to load.

http://friendfeed.com/thepete

http://www.utterz.com/~h-thepete/profile.php

http://thepetecom.blogspot.com

Thanks and sorry again!

Studio Fibonacci, LLC, XO Lapt...

Studio Fibonacci, LLC, XO Laptop Add-ons and Accessories: http://snipr.com/22t47 [Clicks: 0, Unique Clicks: 0] http://snipr.com/22t47

Supposed to be editing my nove...

Supposed to be editing my novel but paid work calls so I'm heading home--just as soon as the bus gets here...........any moment now.........

TheMicroBlog for March 27th, 04:29

thepete: Market Ticker: Articles of Impeachment? Bear Stearns Buyout Illegal?: http://snipr.com/22qf5 [Clicks: 0, Uni.. http://snipr.com/22qf5

Right Now I Wish I'd Never Switched to WordPress


WARNING: This post is long and semi-technical! If you don't know about the world of webmastery or don't want to know, you may not want to continue reading. However, if you want to learn, or know about this stuff, read on, MacDuff!

Back in 2004, I was looking for a new way to present all of the content on my site. It had been six years since I started blogging, though only three or four of those years did I actually use an official blogging tool. Up until 2004, I had been using GreyMatter which was an amazingly versatile flat-file system that I liked quite a bit. However, after several years of using it, it began to slow down. It was painfully noticeable that the entire site was slow to load thanks to all of the HTML posts being served on my site. So, I began to look for an alternative.

At first, I thought a wiki would be a good way to go. Instead of doing something like a blog, I'd have a something that would be a bit more like a reference, as opposed to something like the front page of a newspaper. But then, while Googling the term "wiki" I came across the wiki at WordPress.org. I quickly realized that their wiki was only for their documentation and not something they offered, but I was intrigued by what they did offer--WordPress a blogging tool so easy it takes just 5 minutes to install. So I explored the site.

It turns out that loads of folks used WP and there was a robust community of developers and users who help one another on the forums. I thought this would be perfect, so I switched.

Of course, WP runs on MySQL, a free database system that my host does offer. I found WP to be easy to use and once I worked out how temperamental MySQL (pronounced either My Skyool or My Sequel, depending on who you talk to) was, I had everything up and running in no time (5 minutes, in fact!).

Within a day or two, I suddenly noticed comment spam--a LOT of it. I started looking around for solutions on the forums and while there were plenty of folks who had trouble, like me, there weren't too many solutions that worked for everyone. Still, I tried a few and finally found some that worked. However, with every WP upgrade, I ran into massive spam issues. After one upgrade, I got hit so bad, my web host charged me $120 in bandwidth-overage fees.

I was inches from giving up WP and going back to (cringe) Blogspot. To a control-freak like me, using a blog host is like trusting a daycare center to raise your child to college-age. So, I stuck with WP vowing never to upgrade again. However, newer plugins came along, offering me the ability to crosspost to places like Blogspot, LiveJournal, Twitter and more. These plugins would help me advertise my site and take part in a larger community on the web. So, I caved and upgraded.

This happened again recently with the release of a Pownce plugin. Of course, the Pownce plugin requires PHP5 and my host still had me on PHP4, so I requested an upgrade. They happily complied, free of charge, setting me up on a new server with more space and features, etc. I figured "What better time to upgrade to a new version of WP?"

So, I did. Everything was cool for about a day. Then, everything exploded. My site was and is getting slammed by SOME sort of spam attacks. A few got through to the Akismet antispam plugin but got caught--however one got past Akismet and ended up in my Pownce stream, ironically, thanks to that Pownce plugin. :\

I have installed Bad Behavior, WP-Morph and Akismet, all of which protected my site just fine on my old server, that was still live just days ago. I added WP-Spamfree as suggested by a friend. I also use WP-Cache to allow each page on my site to get stored as a static file so the next person that tries to access it can still see it. Of course, this doesn't help me administer the site since the admin pages don't cache.

So, the only way I have found to stop the site from going down is to rename the wp-config.php file. This is the file that contains the login info for my MySQL database. Essentially, I'm hiding the key for the lock on my db. Of course, doing this brings the site down. After a few minutes I return the wp-config file to it's original name and everything is cool for a good few minutes--then the attacker(s) return and I start the dance all over again.

I've got a ticket open with my web host, but I'm not sure what they'll be able to do.

What is literally happening is this: The MySQL system can only take X amount of accesses before it begins to slow down access-time for every other db on the same server. On my old server this limit was 15 simultaneous accesses. This may not seem like a lot, but it wasn't so bad most of the time.

So, now I'm waiting for tech support to get back to me. The service I get from my web host ranges from the "meh" to the amazing, so I tend to be pretty patient with them. Still, my website represents ten years of my life and it's hard to see it messed with by some greedy assholes with no morals or better things to do with their lives.

In times like this, I wonder if I'd have been better off just sticking with GreyMatter... or even (cringe) Blogspot... O_O
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UPDATE 20080327 14:04: Well, about 15 minutes ago, I shut off comments for the entire site and that seems to have stopped the evil. However, I've just silenced anyone who would want to say something about my posts.

LOVELY.

Bush in TheNews: What's Wrong with this Picture?


OK, this is getting seriously out of control.

BUSH is scolding CONGRESS about Iraq???

HOLEEE Moley.

This isn't America, it's BIZARRO AMERICA. After the incredible mess Bush, himself, has caused in that country, he has the GALL to scold CONGRESS?

It would be one thing if he were saying something like: "Why did you guys vote to give me the power to go to war? Don't tell me you didn't think I'd screw it all to hell, now! We had African tribesman yet undiscovered by modern society sending emails to the White House telling me not to invade, but you guys let me do it anyway!"

However, here's what a March 27, 2008 article from http://AP.org/ and http://MyWay.com/ (here: http://apnews.myway.com/…RRLO0.html ) reported Bush saying:



Bush derided calls from Congress for troop withdrawals or deadlines so that the military could focus more on the anti-terror battle elsewhere. "This argument makes no sense," he said.

...

Bush suggested that Iraqi officials were able to make more progress than the U.S. Congress.

"They got their budget passed," the president said. "Sometimes it takes our Congress awhile to get its budget passed.

"Nevertheless some members of Congress decided the best way to encourage progress in Baghdad was to criticize and threaten Iraq's leaders while they're trying to work out their differences," Bush said.

...

"They're trying to build a modern democracy on the rubble of three decades of tyranny, in a region of the world that has been hostile to freedom. And they're doing it while under assault from one of history's most brutal terrorist networks," Bush said. "When it takes time for Iraqis to reach agreement, it is not foot-dragging, as one senator described it during Congress' two-week Easter recess. It is a revolutionary undertaking that requires great courage."

...

But, he countered, "If America's strategic interests are not in Iraq, the convergence point for the twin threats of al-Qaida and Iran, the nation Osama bin Laden's deputy has called the place for the greatest battle, the country at the heart of the most volatile region on earth, then where are they?"



Yeeeeah.

That last part is what you call a "straw man argument" and the Bush Administration uses them all the time. It's like using "rape" or "Hitler" in your argument--it's a fairly sure sign you *have* no argument. In case you're not familiar, a straw man argument is when you rephrase the issue in a way that makes it easier for you to beat.

For instance, Bush is waging a war on a concept (terrorism) where our enemy is a few-thousand strong (which got that strong thanks to his foreign policy). So, rather than admit that Al Qeada is a tiny, minuscule threat to America (especially when compared to something like cancer, AIDS or even car accidents) he says something like "Don't you want to protect America against the people who hate our way of life?"

How can you say "no" to that?

He sets up the straw man and then knocks it over--paraphrasing Shakespeare:



...it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.




Of course, what's really disgusting, to me at this point, is the way Congress is behaving through all of this. It's bad enough Bush has lied and bullshit his way into wars that are making his friends filthy rich(er), but Congress has the Constitutional authority and obligation to stop him. Yet, they've instead acted like a bunch of sheep, allowing themselves to be herded around by the good shepherd George.

I hope we all vote against our incumbent senators and congresspeople the next chance we get because every single one of them has let us down. Sure, some have tried, but none have stopped Bush from continuing this mess.

The whole thing makes me laugh like Chuck Heston in "Planet of the Apes."
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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Testing Pownce Plugin for WordPress

Testing Pownce Plugin for WordPress. If this works, I shall be very excited :)

TheMicroBlog for March 21st, 22:23

Kurogane’s Anime Blog

TheMicroBlog for March 21st, 11:37

Gonzo Works to be Streamed Simultaneously with Airing - Anime News Network

TheMicroBlog for March 20th, 13:00

Wiretap Whistleblower & Stopping Domestic Violence . NOW on PBS

Plastic Threatens WWII Battleground and More


The above screencap comes from a March 26, 2008 article at the BBC News website (get it here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/…312777.stm ) and it talks about a somewhat hidden effect of plastic on the world. We all know that chemical pollutants are making their way into every fish on the planet--chemicals are almost understandable--it's not like we can see them. Mercury in fish doesn't get into the fish through obvious means and you can't even look in the water and see the mercury--we need scientists to know it's there.

However, the problem facing Midway Island (yes, the Word War II battleground that had a movie made about it) is much more obvious than invisible pollutants in the water. It's got extremely overt pollutants in the water, the beach, and the animals. Here's a cutting from the above-linked BBC News article:

"Witnessing a beach clean-up is like peering into a darker side of our throwaway culture.

We talk about "throwing away" but in reality "away" can mean a place like Midway.

And the cost is grisly. The island is littered with the bodies of albatrosses that haven't made it. Their stomachs are brimming with plastic.

Brightly coloured, and similarly shaped to the birds' much-loved diet of squid, the tiny plastic items we use every day often prove lethal.

Disposable cigarette lighters are a favourite. Without even trying too hard, we collected 62 in a short stroll along the shore littered with dead birds.

I'm not a smoker so I don't know how long those lighters last before the fuel runs out. A week or two? Well, their legacy is far, far longer."

Now, the reporter doesn't tell us directly why this is happening, but he does suggest that maybe that little robot toy in the picture was dropped overboard a cruise ship--but does that explain all the other plastic debris that are killing birds?

I doubt it--I think plastic is one of those things that lives entirely too long on it's own and when "thrown away" the "away" actually refers to "away from me." This planet is big, but it's not that big. As I understand it, most of the trash-plastic in the world is *still in the world*. It's not your or my immediate problem any more, but it will become someone else's problem if it hasn't already. That someone else could be a bird who dies because it mistakes a toy for a fish, or it could be future generations of humans who wonder where the birds have gone. It could also be future generations that grow up in the shadow of huge mountains of plastic.

Sure, we could recycle, but will we?

Do we recycle enough now?
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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Server, New Layout--Not Sure What Works

Hey, so here is the new layout to go with the new server. Wee! Allwebco.com has been so great to me and I'm happy to say that the upgrade went relatively kink-free. :) That said, I'm not sure what will or will not work on my end of things, so if you see something not working, please let me know. Thanks!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Fudgy the Whale was delish! Though I...

Fudgy the Whale was delish! Though I overestimated how filling he'd be so we have the 2nd Fudgy still to eat!

Picked up the Fudgy the Whales and...

Picked up the Fudgy the Whales and are heading to the Brew Co for dinner. Party to ensue.

Just broke TheWife's Carvel ice cream cherry...

Just broke TheWife's Carvel ice cream cherry. Ordered 2 Fudgy the Whales for her bday dinner. ^_^

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Eps 11 & 12 of Torchwood series 2 suggest to me that the writer has serious issues with authority & control. Human rights seem optional,too.

Ahhh. Inside an air conditioned...

Ahhh. Inside an air conditioned bus. Too bad I'm just going 15 minutes down the road. Could stay in here all day.

Ok, WHY is it summer in LA already??

Ok, WHY is it summer in LA already?? It's 85 degrees in the flippin' shade! Frak this, man!!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Groundwork went well, but, as usual...

Groundwork went well, but, as usual, I didn't get enough done. Heading out to dinner with me best mate, Britt.

Almost to Groundwork...

Halfway to Groundwork for my writers meeting. Hopefully, no protests this week :)

Waiting for the good old 2 bus to...

Waiting for the good old 2 bus to take me into Hollywood for TheSaturdaily after running out of ink on my printer. Grrr...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Waiting at In N Out for dinner. Then...

Waiting at In N Out for dinner. Then home to work on some customs while uploading to the new server. Weeeeee

I need to get out of the apartment...

I need to get out of the apartment. Even after today's visit to the P. Off. I still feel cabin-feverish. But will everything be closed?
Running some errands, getting out of the apt. Would like to stay out, but that's not in the cards...

Bad day? Try Some Schadenfreude


I know when I'm feeling down, I like to enjoy the fact that I'm not other people--like the poor woman in this video.
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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Chinese Theater at Midnight


I missed the 11:30pm bus after my Bava double got out, so TheWife is
being kind enough to come get me so I don't have to wait for the 12:30am
bus to show up.

Every once in a while it does suck not having a car.

I'm glad I've got my wife, who has a car :P
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Killing time on Hollywood Blvd...

Killing time on Hollywood Blvd. while waiting for TheWife to pick me up after I missed the 11:30 bus.

At the Egyptian About to See a Bava Double!


While I've seen "Danger Diabolik" on the big screen a few times, I was
in line for popcorn in front of John Phillip Law. :D

I should have said something, but I wussed out :(

"Planet of the Vampires" is the second and I've never seen it at all,
but hey, it's Bava, so it'll be something to remember.

This kind of thing is definitely something I'll miss once I leave Los
Angeles. How many Bava doubles play in Brooklyn?
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EDIT: Ended up John Phillip Law do a short Q&A and now waiting for "Planet of the Vampires" to start.

Theater cleared out after Law left...

Yep, you read it right--I'm on a bus...

Yep, you read it right--I'm on a bus, heading into Hollywood to see a Mario Bava double at the Egyptian. YAY!

Dude on the cramped bus next to me has his MacBook out...

Dude on the cramped bus next to me has his MacBook out--as if it's not crowded enough already. Should I pull out my XO & blow his mind?

Can someone explain to me what...

Can someone explain to me what this "Blue Team" stuff is all about, please?

Look Who Came Today!


Yay! I've got my own Bessie! (And a few other things from SXSW!)

Thanks Utterz.com!
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Mo Money Troubles


So, by now, the Bear Stearns story is positively old news--I mean, that was four or five days ago, at least, right? Still, there are aspects that I think most people might be missing. First, let's review:

According to a March 14, 2008 http://AP.org/ article from http://Biz.Yahoo.com/ (here: http://biz.yahoo.com/…risis.html ): "The Federal Reserve invoked a rarely used Depression-era procedure Friday to bolster troubled Bear Stearns Cos. and said it will provide even more help to combat a serious credit crisis.

...

The plan announced Friday will supply secured funding to Bear Stearns for an initial period of 28 days, seeking to provide short-term relief for Bear Stearns.

Senior Federal Reserve staffers said the arrangement allows JP Morgan Chase to borrow from the Fed's discount window and put up collateral from Bear Stearns to back up the loans. JP Morgan, a bank, has access to the discount window to obtain direct loans from the Fed, but Bear Stearns, an investment house, does not.

While JP Morgan is serving as a conduit for the loans, the Fed and not JP Morgan will bear the risk if the loans are not repaid, officials said."

Of course, if it looks, to you, like the 5th largest bank in the nation is getting preferential treatment, you're not alone. In Tuesday's edition of Democracy Now (here: http://www.democracynow.org/…/headlines ) Amy Goodman reported: "The Federal Reserve�s decision to bail out the investment bank Bear Stearns is coming under criticism from housing advocates who say the Bush administration has done too little to help homeowners facing foreclosure.

...


Jim Carr of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition said, "It's almost stunning to witness the shoring up of a major financial institution, but not addressing the problem that the quality of housing assets is deteriorating with each minute we wait."

On Monday, reporters questioned White House Press Secretary Dana Perino about the bailout.

Reporter: "But people who are facing, say, foreclosures, individuals, the little guys who are facing their foreclosure, are looking at the big guys getting government, if not brokered, certainly they're overseeing deals that are engineered to sort of keep the big picture financial community afloat, and they're saying, well, where's my boost of liquidity?"

Dana Perino: "They're going to get that boost of liquidity in the form of a stimulus package and a tax rebate that's coming to them the second week of May."

Reporter: "But that�s not going to save their houses.""

That reporter has a good point. That check we'll be getting in May won't cover rent for my apartment and will, in all likelihood, either go in my Japan fund or go towards a new iPhone. Neither are going to help get the US economy back on track and only the former will help my own personal economy. Of course, that's part of why I want to go to Japan. While their economy is tied to the US dollar, they're still doing better than us and their standard of living is higher.

Regardless, the Fed and JPMorgan saving Bear Stearns from it's fate seems pretty unfair to me. Of course, if I go bankrupt, I'm not likely to take an entire economy with me--that said, is a system where one bank's failure can destroy everything a system worth trusting? Especially considering the very next story Democracy Now reported on back on Tuesday:

"Concern is also growing that other investment banks could face possible collapse. On Monday, shares in Lehman Brothers plunged 20 percent, its biggest-ever one-day fall. The Federal Reserve has reportedly urged other leading financial institutions to support Lehman Brothers in order to prevent a further economic crisis.

Market analyst James Hughes: "What the fears are, that the other banks which maybe haven't written down so much, the fear is that they're hiding these subprime mortgage issues, and maybe 'hiding' is the wrong word, but they're putting them somewhere else, so we don't necessarily get the whole picture. But, unfortunately, these things will come out, and that is the fear, that there's going to be yet more writedowns and more problems coming along. And, of course, Bear Sterns is now turning into the US's Northern Rock at the moment, and of course the fears are that there's more going to go that way.""

When that guy says "Northern Rock" he's referring to a UK bank that had to get bailed out earlier this year.

Meanwhile, http://money.cnn.com/ is reporting (here: http://money.cnn.com/…/index.htm) that:

"Stocks jumped Tuesday, with the Dow surging 420 points, its fourth-biggest one-day point gain ever, after the Federal Reserve cut the fed funds rate by three-quarters of a percentage point, surprising investors looking for a larger cut."

The fact that investors were looking for a larger cut is pretty frightening considering how much the Fed has cut interest rates recently. If the economy is still shaky after all of this gardening, methinks it might be time to look elsewhere for solutions.

But don't YOU go looking for solutions to your own problems--at least, don't go looking for *drastic* solutions because even if they're legal drastic solutions they could get you in trouble. http://USAToday.com/ reported back on March 12, 2008 (here: http://www.usatoday.com/…12.art.htm ) that the government is watching your financial records. Well, they might be, anyway. Here's a cutting from the article:

"Each year, federal agents peek at the financial transactions of millions of Americans � without their knowledge.

The same type of information that raised suspicions about New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is reviewed every day by authorities to find traces of money laundering, check fraud, identity theft or any crime that may involve a financial institution.

As concerns about fraud and terrorist financing grow, an increasing number of suspicious deposits, withdrawals and money transfers are being reported by banks and others to the federal government. Banks and credit unions as well as currency dealers and stores that cash checks reported a record 17.6 million transactions to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network in 2006, according to a report from the network, a bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department.

"I don't think Americans understand that their financial transactions are being reported and routinely examined," said Barry Steinhardt of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The Treasury Department's database now contains records of more than 100 million financial transactions going back to at least 1996, said network spokesman Steve Hudak."

This isn't even about the Patriot Act or 911--the government's been doing this for years. According to that article the USG's been at it since the 1970s.

I'm seriously starting to wonder just where our government's priorities are.

I'm also seriously starting to wonder where our country's principles are. Then again, it's been a hobby of mine for years: http://thepete.gnn.tv/ Wow, check the date on that thing. I haven't changed much in going-on-four years, have I? ^_^
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SEA INSIDE (2004)

Positive Experience/Entertaining? Incredibly so, yes. Finally, a movie that presents the other side of the argument.

Technically any good? The acting was definitely solid, Javier Bardem is always good and thankfully, he has yet to get boring to me. The story is solid and script entirely believable. The music is also impressive in a movie where it could have easily gone unnoticed. I think this would be a great double feature with "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" because both deal with the same type of setting (a quadriplegic man wrestles with survival). Unlike "Diving Bell" this movie takes a decidedly more "pro-choice" direction, but doesn't leave out the other side. Like "Diving Bell," this movie is also based on actual events.

How did it leave me feeling? VERY moved and with tears in my eyes. This film deals with a not-often-represented view that are generally contrary to popular opinion. Everyone says that life is the most important thing at all cost--if you're living with pain or disease or a body that doesn't move the way it used to, you are told that life is too precious to throw away. Is that the truth? Or is that just fear talking? This movie might help you decide. Either way, it's got a great performance from Bardem and that alone makes it worth checking out. It also won the Oscar for best foreign language film for 2004.

Final Rating? SIYL - See If You Like - this movie is beautiful, poetic, emotional, tragic and triumphant. Some folks might not enjoy those dramatic swings.


I hate that word "triumphant" but I feel like it fits here.

Jeremiah Wright: What If He's Right?


One of the things I think everyone is missing in the middle of all of this controversy regarding Obama and his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, is the free speech issue. People are shocked and offended by Wright's request that "God damn America" but no one is talking (or apparently even thinking) about Wright's right to speak his mind. Also, no one is even considering that he might actually have legitimate concerns.

Granted, some of the things he says seem outlandish--I've seen no hard evidence for AIDS having been engineered by the USG, but if you take a hard look at the history and morality of America's leaders over the past two hundred years you might come to think that it's not impossible. The first thing that pops into my mind when someone talks about AIDS being created in a lab as a weapon is the practice of giving Native Americans blankets infected with disease during the early days of the colonization of North America.

Regarding his "God damn America" comments, I thought it would be a good idea to try to see past his anger and read his words. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a comprehensive transcript of his words, but I did find a bit more context in his Wikipedia entry (here: http://en.wikipedia.org/…iah_Wright ). Here's a bit more around Wright's "GDA" comment: "No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people...God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."

Hasn't America killed innocent people in Iraq? Hasn't American treated many Americans like they are less than human (Katrina victims, Jose Padilla)? Doesn't America march into countries that don't do what we want them to do (Afghanistan, Iraq)?

The answer is yes on all fronts. America does act like it's all-powerful and all-important. It's a depressing and frustrating fact, but it's a fact, nonetheless.

Do I think God should damn America?

I think America's already been damned with an inability to easily face depressing realities. The fact that no one is talking about the meat of Wright's comments is evidence of this (even "The Daily Show" and "Colbert Report" danced around Wright's words).

In the last interview Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh gave before he was executed he told Diane Sawyer that he blew up that building and those people because he was trying to communicate with a government that understood just one language: violence.

I'm not saying he was right to do what he did--but the argument could be made that we could learn from his comments--godforbidweshouldlearnfromakiller!!

Any time someone says "911 was an inside job" or even something as simple as "racism is alive and well in America" too many people just write off said comments as coming from the "blame America first" crowd.

The thing is, what if there are things America should take the blame for?

How are we ever supposed to fix our problems if every time someone speaks up and points them out we dodge the issue entirely by playing holier than thou?

Is everything Jeremiah Wright says true? Well, we'll never know until we look.
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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Did I just see Xeni...?

Did I just see Xeni at the Federal Building in LA? O_o

Got a Dayjob Today...


Just killing time after the bus got me to a day gig 30 mins early.
That's the Nakatomi building from the original "Die Hard" movie in the
background. I forget what it's official name is though.
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I am awake just a few hours after I normally go to bed...

I am awake just a few hours after I normally go to bed... the things I do for money... ugh... waiter? More caffeine, please!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Apparently I'm Clairsentient...

Apparently I'm Clairsentient... Aw, shucks: http://snipr.com/22313 Thanks, Chris!

TheMicroBlog for March 14th, 14:30

YouTube - Mifare Hack

TheMicroBlog for March 14th, 13:51

Amazon.com: Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq: Stephen Kinzer: Books
I'm back on my old PowerBook just because it's more practical to bring with me over my hulking MacBook. No keyboard is nicer to use, too.^_^

RIP Arthur C. Clarke


No scifi fan can exist without knowing who Clarke was. No scifi writer can exist without knowing who Clarke will always be.

He had a good run, but, man--still--he will be missed. The guy predicted so much and was apparently still completely together mentally. The guy invented the communication satellite. Who knows what he would have predicted next?

And in case you are, some how, reading this in the afterlife, Arthur, yeah, I still want to know what those glass-wormy-looking things on Mars are, too.

http://www.enterprisemission.com/…arthur.jpg

http://sprott.physics.wisc.edu/…-worm.html
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Monday, March 17, 2008

New New York Governor: I Knew He Wasn't Perfect!


The above screencap was snagged from a March 17, 2008 DailyNews.com article that you can find here: http://www.nydailynews.com/…er_wo.html

Recently, I joked on an online post that New York's new mayor David Patterson seemed too good to be true. Everything I've heard about this guy was positive. He was friendly, intelligent, cared about the right issues, and one of the first things he announced was that he had never been with a hooker.

Well, it turns out that he *has* cheated on his wife. The good news is that so did she. Seems that marriage wasn't all happy smiles and roses and for a time they fooled around on each other. Why is this good news?

1) He's not perfect and if this is the only "skeleton" in his closet, the state of New York is in good hands.

2) I think them admitting that their marriage took work sets a really great example for couples married and unmarried alike.

I think a lot of people grow up with the idea that marriage is this wondrous experience that is incredible, rewarding, and all around, a positive thing. Personally, I'm sick of the propaganda we all get fed about how perfect an institution "marriage" is--whether it's Christians trying to stop gays from marrying, gays who say it's a right, or Lifetime cable network movies teaching us that a woman's identity should revolve around the concept of marriage. Marriage is not an obligation, but if you're not married you're assumed to be lonely--which is then assumed to be bad.

Now, I'm married and while I'm not unhappy, I am able to see the plusses and minuses to married life. I love my wife, think she's great, but sometimes I wonder if we humans are meant to live together. I know that married couples get into fights and I understand that compromise is the name of the game (along with communication), but I think other married couples don't realize this.

I also don't think a lot of unmarried couples realize that they don't *have* to get married. I do believe that some people just aren't built for the lifestyle and I also feel that some people change and can grow out of or into the personality that makes a stable marriage possible.

What's nice about the Patterson's admission is that we see that relationships can come back from the brink--or even from beyond the brink. We see that there was a point in which they had essentially given up on their relationship and were moving on.

What the Patterson's admission does NOT teach us is that sometimes it's OK to end a relationship. Sometimes people do grow in a direction that leads them away from each other. Sometimes people change into people who aren't as compatible as they used to be. Clearly, in the Patterson's case, it probably made them realize that, for whatever reason, they were the best fit for each other.

Marriage, I think, is taken too much for granted and it seems like our society treats it as an obligation. I remember when I proposed to my wife back in 1999--I felt pressured by some invisible force to get that woman permanently in my life--forever. I really felt strongly about it and when I talked to her older sister (who was already a friend of mine), her first reaction was: "Why do you want to marry my sister?"

I explained to her my reasons why and she replied with something close to: "So? Why not just spend the rest of your life together? And why go so far when you've only been together for two years?"

I further explained myself, to which she answered: "All right, fine, get engaged, but have a long engagement if making sure she doesn't bail, if that's what you're worried about."

It wasn't my *only* concern, but it was the most important and her advice seemed pretty sound, actually. So, I figured as long as I knew TheFiancee wasn't going anywhere, I was happy. Six years later, we finally exchanged vows and not a whole lot changed. We fight, we make up, we have happy times and sad, tense times and joyous times. But being the alternative-thinking kind of guy I am, it sure seems like marriage isn't what it was billed as.

What about the 50+% failure rate? What about the abusive marriages that last, but shouldn't? What about the fact that animals generally don't practice monogamy (sure, some do, but not all)?

I guess what I'm saying here is that the Patterson's case reminds us of the gray area much of our lives really reside in. But I feel like so many people only focus on the positives of marriage and not the negatives.

Failure is OK, believe it or not, but we aren't prepared for it. No one teaches us how to work things out or how to recognize for ourselves when things just aren't going to work out.

Don't worry, this isn't true confessions time for ThePete. TheWife and I are still together, but with a rather big move coming up, we're both experiencing a lot of stress. So, all this stuff has been on my mind, truth be told. However, I've been with her for 11 years this August and I'm pretty confident that we have what it takes.

Still, I can't help but wonder if I'm even equipped with the tools to recognize for myself if we didn't.
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Why the eff does my local Trader Joe's

Why the eff does my local Trader Joe's no longer carry my favorite sugar-free dark chocolate?? Satans work!! That's why!

@lisarein Sorry about smudge :(

@lisarein Sorry about smudge :( He had a good run, though! He was a great kitty.

If only I still wanted this...


I mean, I still want this, but... I don't want to want it.
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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Mmmm, Smell That Cancer!


A couple years ago I was walking down the street and saw this on a lamp post.

It could have been made up by some alarmist with a computer and a printer. Still, part of me is pretty sure it's accurate. We put up a with a lot of dangers in our lives. As I'm fond of pointing out, cars are more dangerous than terrorism and cars are all around us every day.

Ah well. At least I've only got a couple more months of yummy LA air to breathe. After that, it's fresh Atlantic stuff... hey, the Big Apple doesn't have a pollution problem does it? O_O
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Arm feeling better-probably won't be on much today. Hope everyone enjoyed my posts from the protest yesterday. Missed em? http://ThePete.Com