Monthly Archives: February 2007

If you go to a used car lot, there is a certain class of car that you can get pretty cheaply: The Yankee Car. A Yankee Car is a car that has all the fixins from a CD/DVD player to automatic door locks, but no air conditioning. I call them Yankee Cars because it’s almost a certainty came from points north of my southern home town and almost equally a certainty is that they lived in Dixie for all of two days before they decided it was time to buy a car that wouldn’t give them heat exhaustion.

As it turns out, I spent most of my driving formative years without air conditioning in my car. It takes some getting used to. For instance, if you’re going to be in the car for more than half an hour you have to have a change of shirts. You get used to a stripe of sweat where the seat belt went across your chest. Sometimes you get as involved as to have a particular “driving shirt” that you change into when you get in the car and then change out of as soon as you get wherever you’re going. I remember when I got my first car with air conditioning… I wasn’t allowed to use it in weather under 100-degrees for fear that it would break. 100 degrees in the Gulf weather belt is very, very hot.

So now we flash-forward to the present. It is my new theory that you haven’t lived in a place till you’ve had your car broken into there. I lived in Colosse for many years and my car stereo bills reflect it. My car was broken into three times in the last two years* I was there. It got to the point that I didn’t even bother locking my car in hopes that they’d spare the window. Ironically I never had a problem in my shabby apartment on the wrong side of the tracks… it was when I moved into a slightly more upscale apartment that it started. Then in Deseret my car was broken into**. And yesterdayI officially became an Estocadan

I actually spent a good portion of yesterday waiting for the shoe to drop. Every time I’ve had my car broken into, there was always something in there that it hurt to lose. My laptop, a ZIP drive (back when they cost something and were actually worth something). I was less concerned about the gaping hole where my car stereo used to be and more about the completely cleared out glove compartment. I didn’t have my car title in there, did I? Checkbook? Check from Ed McMahon for a million dollars? Knock on wood, none of the above. They did get my car’s registration papers, though, and maybe a birth certificate. And irony of irony, I actually had some gloves in the glove compartment from when I needed them in Deseret.

They did get my CDs, which is 95% not a problem as they were mostly burned***. There were a couple new ones in there, but I had ripped them… onto the hard drive that died a few days ago. So I have to buy those over again. It includes one CD I don’t even like that much, but it’ll be the third time I’ve had the buy the CD cause it was in my CD player the last time it was jacked. It’s good enough to buy back, though only barely. Part of me wishes that they’d taken a CD of greater personal import. Of course I say that and once upon a time they did: I had the only CD in existence for a band that my best friend was in.

More inconvenient than the lack of a car radio, however, is that the Ford Escort is a dumb car. For some reason they decided that instead of having a CD player like just about every other car in existence, they would put it in a ovular-shaped console and it would share said console with the Air Conditioning, so I’m without AC. It was because of the AC rather than the radio that I needed to take it in pronto. It’s a good time of year to be without AC, but you never know how long that’ll last. So I took it in and had the console repaired… except the AC, which they said they couldn’t do. I wish they’d have told me that I’d have to take it to the dealer anyway $300 earlier.

So I’m still without AC, which should be fine at least for another couple of days. It actually reminds me a bit of back in the day. Except not half as miserable. Yet.

* – This was back in the good old days before the recent PD manpower shortage, population boom, and crime-wave. I’d actually be more worried about my car these days.

** – This was a very instructive thing about living in semi-rural Deseret versus urban Colosse. In Colosse, the cop seemed genuinely annoyed that I called the police about $3000-worth of property lifted from my car. In Deseret I was less than $200 out and the cops gave me weekly updates on their investigation and I got a letter from the District Attorneys office letting me know that if they found the guy they would make him pay.

*** – Technically, according to the RIAA I now have to destroy my CDs because I’ve now illegally distributed their music. No joke, that is their stance on the issue.

Category: Road

In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve been having some unanticipated technical difficulties here at Hit Coffee. The main page is apparently back up, though you can’t access the individual posts, so commenting is out. Though I am apparently able to post right now, regular posting will resume once you can talk back (though I must confess I’ve been feeling a temptation to write a bunch of controversial things since no one can contradict me!).

A special thanks goes out to my webmaster Sam, who has been working hard on getting things back up and running. It has been greatly, greatly appreciated.

Category: Server Room

I’m not a kool-aid drinker of the concept of Open Source. I don’t think something is inherently superior if it’s open source. Cheaper, for sure, but not necessarily better. I use Firefox, OpenOffice, and GIMP, but not Linux (yet). I appreciate the fact that open source gives me options, but I’ll only use it if it makes my life easier or more better.

Wikipedia is the information equivalent of open source software. It’s the encylopedia that anyone can edit (within certain parameters) rather than experts being assigned in their field (or however it is that regular encyclopedias do it). A 2005 report discovered that Wikipedia is not markedly less accurate than the Encyclopedia Brittanica.

Even so, when I first discovered Wikipedia I was pretty unimpressed. Basic things like grammar and structure were amateurish at best and the content was frequently biased. You couldn’t use it in a debate because for all you know the person that wrote it was smoking pot rather than doing his homework.

But then I discovered that it wasn’t that Wikipedia was useless, it was that I found the right use for it.

Wkipedia’s critics miss out on its true value: It offers information, or at least a starting point, to areas of interest where no encyclopedia would even think to go. Whether you’re interested in the comic book character Blue Beetle, the anime Ranma 1/2, the Ferengi race from Star Trek, or the political structure in the imaginary world of The West Wing, Wikipedia will give you information that no one else will.

Not all of it will be correct, but the more obscure the interest the more likely it was written by an anal retentive fanatic and the more likely it actually is correct. People think they know a lot more about America’s Founding >Fathers than they actually do. I doubt anyone thinks they know more about the Ambush Bug than they actually do.

It’s helped me a number of ways. When I’ve needed to keep track of characters in the West Wing, for instance, it helped straighten me out. When I wanted to know who Adam Cray in DC Comics was, it gave me the scoop. When I needed to figure out the order of the various Patlabor serials, it gave me the information that I could not find anywhere else after literally spending hours trying to find it.

So yeah, don’t use it if you have something else handy. But next time you wonder where information on a subject might possibly exist, it’s invaluable.

Category: Server Room

There’s an interesting one going around the web today, about a guy up in Cheddarland (Oconomowakkawakka) who busted down his neighbor’s door over a porn video.

Things against the guy:
– He lives without a phone. With his elderly mom. Creepy.
– He busted in with a sword. Not a baseball bat, not something normal, no, a civil war heirloom cavalry sword. Creepy.
– He “froze” and “freezing”, instead of not doing anything, consisted of scaring the ever-loving daylights out of his neighbor. Bad choice of words.

Things in favor of this guy:
– The neighbor admits to the cause.
– The neighbor admits to having the volume turned up way too loud.
– The neighbor watches some really messed up porn. In an apartment. With the volume blaring really loud.

Were I the police? I’d have to weigh how things were. And I’d probably conclude that this guy ought to be let off the hook, because he had probable cause to believe that someone was in danger right then and there. Calling 911? Good option, but by the time the police were there, if there were a rapist the girl could be dead.

And I’m hoping a jury will find the same, or maybe a grand jury or more sane prosecutor will just let this one pass.

Category: Courthouse

To no great surprise, reports of a possible reunion between the Anglican/Episcopalian and Catholic Churches were premature and ultimately false:

Archbishop Bathersby, who co-chairs the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM), said in a joint statement with Anglican Bishop David Beetge that the London Times report, which carries the headline: “Churches back plan to unite under Pope”, is “unfortunate”.

Episcopalianism will always be thought of as “Catholic Light” and not without reason. They’re both lithurgical in practice, traditional in sentiment, and struggling. They’re sort of like that old divorced couple or that band that broke up and later the former participants think to themselves that maybe it was a mistake. Of course, the more time they spend around each other the more the problems become visible.

None of that is to say that there wouldn’t be benefits. It would give the Catholic Church an easier way to start allowing for married clergy. Back when the Anglican Church started ordaining women the Catholic Church made a deal with Episcopalian ministers that they could convert to Catholicism, still be married, and assume Catholic priestly duties. They remain to my knowledge the only married Catholic clergy. So liberal Catholics could see this as an opportunity to slip through an expansion and ultimately undo the prohibition that has arguably caused quite a few problems in recent years. For the Anglicans it would put butts in pews. For conservative Anglicans it would prevent the church from getting too far off track.

But ultimately there is no way around the fact that Episcopalians and Anglicans will never see the Pope as the infallible messenger of God. A significant portion of the church (including its leadership) disagree with the Catholics positions and emphesis. And to the extent that the church has an identity (at least in the west and in the United States in particular) it’s as the church that doesn’t have strict and rigid demands of its followers. It’s acts as counseller more than leader. That, obviously, isn’t true for the Catholic Church (even if it’s not as rigid as some people would like it to be).

Category: Church

A few weeks ago one of my Pocket PCs had a headphone jack that went on the spritz. So I sent it off to a company to have it “fixed.”

What I sent: A working Pocket PC with a stylus with intermittent headphone jack usage. And $80.

What I got back: A working Pocket PC without a stylus and a headphone jack that doesn’t work at all.

I literally would have been better off just burning the $80. At least then I would have a stylus and intermittently working headphone jack.

I talked to them and they swear that there was no stylus on the unit that I sent, but were apologetic about the whole not-fixing-what-I-paid-them-to-fix-and-in-fact-make-it-worse thing. However, they acted like I should be grateful that it was under warranty. We’ll see how that goes.

Apparently, when Windows 2000 said that there was a problem with my harddrive and asked if I wanted to fix it, it meant that there was not a problem with my hard drive and was asking if I wanted to change that.

Before it “fixed” the drive, there were no problems with it. After it “fixed” it, 3/4 of my directories are inaccessible.

Just over a month ago I lectured to Ethan the virtue of keeping all of your data on a separate hard drive (or better yet, a separate computer):

I came by this one the hard way, but I have breathed easier ever since. If nothing else, you can disconnect the second hard-drive if you’re about to do anything potentially hazardous. I’ve twice had partition formatting expand beyond the scope of the partition I had assigned.

Of course, having your data on a separate drive doesn’t do nearly as much good if you leave it plugged in when you reinstall Windows. So it did something to my data drive right after installing Windows 2000. Unfortunately, I was letting it do its thing so I couldn’t stop it in time, but it said that it was fixing it.

Luckily it wasn’t an actual storage drive. I mostly used it as a dumping ground for when I rip and encode video for my Pocket PC. Unfortunately I have been a little lax in getting the actual DIVX files off the drive and some stuff was lost.

Category: Server Room

News Headline: Romney to Air Presidential Campaign Ad
Clipping: “Republican Mitt Romney, flush with cash from early fundraising, this week will air his first presidential campaign ad to introduce himself to voters in several early voting states.”
My Reaction: So wait, a presidential campaign is going to run campaign ads? That surely is news!

News Headline: Laughs End With Bizarre Britney in Rehab
Clipping: “Britney Spears has been ridiculed for everything from her 55-hour first marriage to backup-dancer second husband and her recent pantyless partying escapades. Now that she’s entered rehab, though, the joke is over.”
My Reaction: I can’t say I’m that interested anymore. Still, I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a celebrity implode as quickly and thoroughly as Britney has. Who’d have thought that Keven Federline would be the more responsible parent?

News Headline: Stars Hopeful Oscar Win May Boost Gore ’08 Run
Clipping: The self-described “recovering politician” has become a star in Hollywood. Now some of Gore’s biggest fans — including some in the entertainment world — are hopeful an Academy Award will boost his chances of entering the 2008 presidential race.
My Reaction: I listened to a discussion on a potential Gore candidacy the other day and they gave a number of scenarios in which Gore could walk in and talk the nomination and maybe the presidency. He continues to deny that he’s going to run, but there is one way to know for sure: If he’s going to run for president, he’s going to need to lose some weight. While obviously not William Taft, he is nonetheless at least slightly above the weight where it becomes uncomfortable: sweating, fatigue, unflattering pictures from many angles. So if you start hearing that he’s going on a diet, it means that he’s running. Otherwise I think we can take him at his word that he is not.

News Headline: Laptop sales help HP gain at Dell’s expense
Clipping: Analysts said the surging laptop sales indicated that HP was making aggressive market-share gains at Dell’s expense in a fast-growing industry segment, and had enough momentum to extend its expansion.
My Reaction: I’m a Thinkpad loyalist but even I had to think twice about passing up HP last time I bought a laptop. HP’s deals are really quite impressive and they’re a slightly more trustable brand than Dell (which isn’t saying much). It’s important to keep an eye on what’s going on with laptop sales. The barriers to entry are so low for desktops that laptops are where the money is going to need to be made for a lot of these companies (though HP will be able to fall back on their peripherals).

News Headline: ASU helps create real face of George Washington
Clipping: ASU oversaw the 3-D scanning of historic artifacts that helped reconstruct the new Washingtons. Researchers used items that best represented his physical characteristics, including a statue, a bust and a mask created from a mold of his face. Guided by an anthropologist, they used computer software to reverse the aging process by filling in teeth, adding fat to his cheeks and smoothing wrinkles. They also aged him slightly for one image
My Reaction: I saw a special on the History Channel about this project. It’s pretty awesome. Contrary to the article, though, Washington really does look about as you would expect him to.

Category: Newsroom

Many years ago, my best friend Clint was angling to take this girl Cho to the dance. He was genuinely interested in Cho, though she was always a little indifferent to him. And any boy, for that matter. But as the day of the dance rolled closer and Cho didn’t have a date, she got Clint and another suitor to stand back to back. Clint was 1/2″ taller and so Clint was her date. Cho was 6’0″ tall and refused to date any guys shorter than she was. But she’d go to the prom with someone an inch shorter, so long as he was taller than the competition.

My wife Clancy and her mother were at a wedding between a very tall guy and a very short woman. “All that height,” Clancy’s mother lamented, “wasted!”

The other day I wrote about the perils of using a woman’s vulnerabilities to try to get the upper hand. Last night I watched and was thinking about it today. Megan McArdle, aka Jane Galt, is something like 6’2″. This actually reminded me of something and I found an issue where I do something like that: height.

I am over 6’3″, which isn’t that tall I guess but it’s definitely tall enough to be useful. I discovered sometime after Clint’s brush with Cho that a lot of taller girls can be varying degrees of self-conscious about their height. I don’t know that my height was particularly useful with the ladies most of the time, but it clearly made a difference with tall women.

And I used it to my advantage.

I would never say anything to them about it, of course. If a 6’0″ woman wasn’t interested, I didn’t lecture her about how tough it’s going to be to find another guy as tall as me to ask her out and how without me she would have to make do with a shorter man. It wasn’t anything like that. If they weren’t interested, they weren’t interested. But what I did do is gravitate towards taller women under the assumption that they would be slightly more likely to be interested. I’m not sure that being taller ever helped me date a woman “out of my league”, but it did help.

Clancy is 5’10” and she was (as far as what’s coming to mind right now) the fourth tallest woman that I’d ever dated. Clancy didn’t have a problem dating shorter men, but she has told me on more than one occasion how glad she was to be able to wear heels at her wedding.

So the question that is coming to my mind is that is there any moral difference between what I did (considered women’s insecurities about height when deciding who to talk to at parties and who to flirt with) and what Howard did in In The Company of Men? I’d say that there is one major difference because I never acted or believed that they were lucky to have the interest in someone like me whereas Howard (in a fit of rage, perhaps) did. But looking at it in this light still makes it feel a bit unsavory.

On a sidenote, two of my more serious exes, Julie and Evangeline, were 5’7″ and 5’8″ respectively, so my height was probably not much a factor with either of them. What’s interesting though is that Julie’s next boyfriend and Evangeline’s boyfriend after the boyfriend after me were both 6’6″. The taller girls I dated, Libby, Cecilia, and Brook, followed me up with someone significantly shorter than me and shorter than them.

Category: Coffeehouse

I’m about ready to hop the train on the TV show 24. Last season was surprisingly good considering it was the 5th (order from best season to worst: 1,2,5,4,3). Here are the problems I’m having:

  1. President Wayne Palmer. This is not working for a number of reasons. First, there was never any indication that he was politically active except by way of his brother. When he was his brother’s Chief of Staff I’m pretty sure they explicitly said that he got there by way of private industry. Even setting that aside (say he got in on the sympathy vote), Wayne Palmer does not look or act like a president. And even setting that aside, what happened to the shrewd and worldwise Wayne Palmer of season three? He’s been replaced by an airy idealist. If they wanted to give the Democrats back the White House and they wanted a link to David Palmer and someone to keep the charge they should have dusted off former Vice President Jim Prescott. That would have had the added value of a former veep who tried to angle out the president being the victim of another veep trying to do the same. That brings me to…
  2. Vice President Noah Daniels. Holy cow, this guy oozes menace. How many disloyal villainous vice presidents are we going to have? I’d say that it’s so obvious that it must be a red herring, but they did that last season with Hal Gardner. Powers Boothe is great, but he would have been better in the Gardner role.
  3. Tom Lennox. I realize when the plot takes place over a 24 hour period you don’t have a whole lot of time for nuance, but seriously the hyperactivity with which he wants to imprison all Muslims everywhere is beyond comic book and his demeanor so snivelling that we have no choice but to hate him. Meanwhile, his plan is so outlandish and offensive they should have tried to put as reasonable a face on it as possible to make it seem less so Someone that seems either sorry that what he believes has to be done has to be done or seems coldly analytical about it. Not someone who seems excited about the prospect of throwing brown people behind bars. And how could he have not known that Palmer would be reluctant to implement such measures? And if he feels that way, he should have supported someone like Noah Daniels from the beginning. With President Logan utterly disgraced up against his hand-picked and unelected successor, the election should have been a cakewalk with whomever they nominated.
  4. Wayne Palmer’s moralizing. I almost wanted to disagree with Palmer on principle about internment. His argument was predicated on the notion (repeated ad nauseum for emphasis) that America’s best weapon against radical Islam is American Muslims. What a ridiculous argument. If he’s going to moralize, how about: we don’t intern an entire ethnic or religious demographic because we’re America and America doesn’t do that. Yes, there was internment in WW2, but we’ve been hung over from that ever since.
  5. Muslim stooges again. Look, I understand reluctance to make Islamic radicals the main enemy every single season, but come on. We’ve had Muslim terrorists that are stooges of the oil companies, stooges of the defense industry, and now stooges of Russian nationalists. If you don’t want to use Muslims then don’t use them, but for heavens sake stop making them puppets for western interests.
  6. Jack Bauer. There comes a point where you’re hoping that someone pops him just to put him out of his misery.
  7. Graem Bauer. I gotta admit, I thought the revelation for Graem was well-played. But again, do you really have to have such a schmuck in such an important position? They should have made this guy Jack’s evil twin. All of Jack’s abilities plus a little more warpedness in the head. Absent that, let’s have someone with some presence. Though I guess that’s the point of…
  8. Philip Bauer. Man, when did James Cromwell get so old? He’s certainly got more presence than his fictional son, but Jack could eat him for lunch (which again is why it’d be better to have his buff brother as the villain). Cromwell is great, but why didn’t this part go to Donald Southerland? I guess cause they didn’t want his villainy to be so obvious? I dunno, I guess I don’t have as much a problem with Philip, except for the whole family soap opera thing. Speaking of which…
  9. Joshua Bauer. Kudos on getting a kid that really looks the part of Jack’s son… errr… “nephew”. But seriously, this has got all of the corniness of a dimestore novel without being, you know, interesting.

Category: Theater

Trying to comment over at Bobvis, I learned Blogger’s commenting server is apparently blocked by my employer’s web filter under the category of “sex”. So I can read comments (since those are on Blogger’s regular server), but alas, I have been silenced. I can’t access

A pox on the house of those that talk about sex in Blogger comment sections.

Category: Server Room