( That's my voldemort voice by the way )
Well I just did it, I order my copy of the new Harry Potter book. Amazon seems to have the best deal with delivery on the release date even. While you pay some tax, they also give you a $5 gift certificate for use in Aug, so comes out to $17. Even without it it's about the same as B&N with tax on the release date.
I think I will buzz through it the following week, I don't want any chance of it being ruined, especially after 6 books and many years of build up. Avoiding the store will help by preventing exposure to spoiling events that happened during the last release.
I also found this little tidbit on amazon during ordering. The clustering is a little interesting, Most of the top cities are in the Pennsylvania, Virginia, NY triangle. I'm curious how this plays out politically.
Oh, and July is the best month ever
July 3 - Transformers
July 4 - Holiday!
July 13th - Harry Potter the Movie
July 19th - My Birthday
July 21st - Harry Potter the final Book!
I have a 30GB iPod but iTunes does not seem to agree.
When my iPod is connected to iTunes it says 2.2GB are free but hell if I can't add anything else to it. Trying to add anything more than a few minutes long just has iTunes yelling at me the iPod is full. It's so very annoying, if my iPod is only 28G big, at least tell me up front.
Not much has happened recently, but I finished a tad bit of web development not too long ago. Anatrove got a small bit of AJAX added to it after I saw my first and only introduction to AJAX. It is a nice addition in my eyes, being able to skim through the album randomly; a little dynamic aspect which had some interesting code issues related to it. Sadly the actual Client/Server aspect was horribly easy using Prototype. In fact, I spent much more time getting the visual aspects surrounding the dynamic changing elements to be just right than actually doing the changing. Ah well, it keeps my web development muscle exercised.
The other this is my main site shanem.net, it was pretty horrible and now it is much better. I had grand ideas, that were little more than that back in the day, and my site was just trash for the most park. So, that is all gone and now there's much more structure. I had a little trouble with the 'splash' page, but it's to my liking. Photographing paper is not easy I have found out.
Best Podcast Ever: Science Lab
Science doesn't have a good PR department, but there are a few things working for it. One I partake of regularly is a podcast called Radio Lab. It's an hourly show put out by WNYC. Sadly it has very short season. Season Three just started and there are only 10 episodes before it.
Radio Lab describes their show as "science bumps into culture," I would add that it's like a This American Life for science stuff. I highly recommend each of you, yes you!, give it a try. The only warning I will give is that earlier episodes can be a bit over stylistic to some; it grew on me, but some don't like it at all.
One of the things I learned on the last episode that kinda wowed me was that Placebos can have a Placebo effect. The color of your placebo changes it's effect. For sleeping pills, blue is a better placebo than orange, except for Italian men. The reason given? The Italian mens soccer team is named Azzurri which most likely subconsciously conjures excitement in Italian men.
Ok, I'll give you another. Your situation affects how you feel pain or not. Soldiers in war will feel lees pain from a gun shot than a civilian. It's theorized this is because the soldier subconsciously builds a story that they'll live, have a comfy stay at a hospital, get to go home, get a medal, a pension, and maybe even a parade. Where you and me, when we get shot there's no good story in our future.
Hey Man, Can You Spare a Sensor Bar
( Also on LJ, with a few not here probably )
I was originally going to post about my cat eating stuff and something else, but the something else will have to wait. Let's get onto Abby and eating stuff.
I really don't know which to start with, both are pretty traumatizing, but let's start with the cute one. So my wii was just ... no no, it's cute, but bunnies are cuter, even sad ones :/
So, last night I'm in the kitchen cleaning up, and I hear Abby's collar jingling around signaling that she has come back in from playing outside. She jingles a bit more and I come out of the kitchen, go to look for her and I find a bunny instead. Sad part is, this is not a happy bunny, this is a young, not moving, bunny; a sad bunny. I'm just kinda freaked out that there is a bunny ( dead ) in my apartment and that Abby was part of this. I hadn't given the little guy up at that point, and make a soft poky device from a paper towel and investigate. poke. poke. hmmm
It was very sad, apparently that cat can hunt. The odd thing about it was he was still kind of cute, even in death.
Rachel and I took the kit over to a near by park, and as the sun set buried him.
Good bye little bunny.
That was yesterday, and it would seem that in a fit of rage over not getting her bunny meal, Abby viciously attacked my wii. Rachel and I were all ready to set out with Link to save Princess Zelda when the Wiimote was not showing up on the screen. It was connected, but no icon. We checked the other mote, same thing then investigated the Wii itself.
See, an hour or so before the power blinked out followed by a night lightening strike and a resounding thunder boom. I usually likes these two, but now it was suspected of damaging my wii friend. I figured the sensor bar got fried or something, but discovered a different culprit; several bite marks along the very long wire to connecting sensor bar to wii. My cat chewed through the cable.
This has happened before, I should not have been surprised, but here I was; surprised. My shiny new wii was now a cripple. I tried to mend his little cable much like I successfully did with my mouse, but no go. The wii cable is even much simpler, but not easier to fix.
There is a bit of a good ending to this part though, unlike the first. The brilliant engineers at Nintendo designed the sensor bar so that you can replace it with fairly simple things, like candles. Two small candles on top of the tv and the Wii is back in action.
Kudos Nintendo. Now, can anyone spare a sensor bar?
A Little Financial Help
Some links for any that haven't started a retirement fund.
First, with all the various options of where to put retirement money a quick cheatsheet, with some further explanation. For the highlights, these are the options in order.
* Employer plan with a match
* Roth IRA
* Employer plan without a match
* Traditional IRA
* Taxable investment
And Secondly, a quick guide to setting up an IRA.
( From LJ on 4/7/07 )
I had thought that my recent uploading and usage of winter pictures was a bit untimely until I heard on the radio that there's a chance of snow tonight. They gave 20% and Weatherbug says 30% so not too shabby.
If this were some sign that the summers in Texas would be more temprate It'd be more excited, however the theory of Global Warming says it'll just be even worse. I guess a couple months more of cooler weather might be worth a somehow even hotter though shorter summer.
Bird in Hand
( From LJ on 4/4/07 )
Bird in Hand
Three weeks ago today I came home to find this little guy fluttering around my apartment. The scene I saw was of the bird making a racket at the top of some blinds and Abby the cat on the floor trying to behave normally. Two thoughts entered my mind at the same time. Where is the blood, and why is the bird still alive?
It would seem Abby is better at planning attacks on helpless birds than actually executing them. I can only imagine that the bird stayed high enough for Abby's efforts to be simply in vain.
He ... she? He was pretty easy to catch with a kitchen towel and remained still for me to take a picture. Well, still until I tried to take him out on the porch with the cat on it.
Lock and Key
( From LJ on 4/2/07 )
Abby managed to take a long jump off my balcony last night for the second time in as many years. It's an odd feeling when you realize your cat is not where she should be; the place gets eerily empty all of a sudden.
Thankfully, she showed up at the front door at the same time Rachel did to come help me look around the neighborhood for her.
Wii or Me
My previous JE about my suspect Native American ancestry came to mind today and I decided to do a quick google search.
"dna racial heritage test"
The first result was dead on giving me The Genetic Testing Laboratories, Inc's Earth Origins DNA Ancestory test.
I'm kind of suspect about such things as found over the internet. I guess I feel that anything medical related should be done via a doctor, as well the idea of sending a swab of my DNA off to some random company with a website is somewhat suspicious. But the price is much better than I expected. For this particular place it's $274, about the same price as a Wii including tax.
As it is I'm still waiting until I can just walk into Target and pick up a wii. I've looked on ebay but am unwilling to pay more than what I'd pay in a store, so "good deals" often disappear in the last minute of an auction. This is all a sign of how little video games really excite me anymore. I want one, but I can certainly wait a while. So, maybe that money could be put too more interesting use, like a genetic breakdown.
Currently, it is just a thought, but it would be kinda useful. It would cover me and my brothers in one go, as well my sister-in-law could use it to help direct filling in the geneology tree. Probably not hard to find the right Irish male McDaniel down my dad's side, but the native american supposedly was on the female side, so could help there, as well my mom's side is fairly unknown.
It could be interesting, though maybe I should go the whole nine yards and get the full medical breakdown. Though I have already decided I only want to know about the correctable, or genetically passable things that otherwise I can do something about. I started reading Genome a while ago, and boy did that make me scared of DNA profiling.
Snow / Texas
It is snowing in Texas, just thought you might like to know.
Well it is a bit more like tiny pieces of ice with flurries inbetween, but enough for all the schools to close down and work to follow suit.
What's odd is I really do want to work today :/ Oh well, I'll take this as repayment for when I was sick over the summer and could not take time off.
Yay! Snow Day!
When I was much much younger I wrote two parts of a story for English class. The first embodied rebellion, and the second revenge; that was the gist of the assignments for the year. The stories were pretty horrible as I look them over now. While I had quite the imagination the effort wasn't there, but I'm happy to blame that on the fact that is was an assignment for a class I didn't like.
The story takes place in a post apocalyptic world. A hacker launches all the world nukes, and all of modern civilization goes by-by leaving pockets of life here and there.
The first story talks about how a Flier named Bower learns he has not in fact been spreading a helpful Cure over the citizens of Survival City in New Moscow ( no relation, whatever I actually meant by that ), but has instead been poisoning them to conduct experiments for the evil General Reat. Bower exacts revenge by throwing some of the radioactive chemical into General Reat's face and then running off with all the other Fliers to become rebels.
The follow up sees Bower pursued by General Reat as the group is attempting to escape and make plans. The general ends up dropping a bomb near the group. They hide thinking it to be just a regular old bomb, but no, turns out this is an enzyme bomb which gets on Bowers clothing and eats him through. I was sure to parenthetically specify that enzyme bombs were only bad if they hit synthetics first.
One of the oddest things in these stories is that the vehicles run on 'doolb.' That's blood backwards. I'm not really sure why I went for that, I guess it was somehow obvious at the time. It also is make the story slightly appropriate for me to mention it now. ( I have yet to have a trick or treater by the way )
This story brings up my apparent like for post apocalyptic stories. I've never really thought about it much, but the evidence is there. I actually like The Postman. Waterworld was not _that_ bad and you know it. If there is a movie about people trapped in some sort of natural disaster on tv during a weekend I will need to watch it all. One of my favorite is a recent one where not one, but two volcano's erupt in a major city. Lava is pouring through the city and the bright citizens who must save themselves find the Holy Grail, Jersey Barriers.
Yes, apparently Jersey Barriers can drive the tide of anything from rush hour traffic to molten lava. They also apparantly take the edge off the heat so that you can stand right next to them watching the lava flow by at chest height.
So yea, blood, lava, and mailmen on horses in the future.
Goodnight out there, Whatever you are!
My "Republicans For Voldemort" shirt is in the mail, elections are coming soon, so it seemed like a good time to say a thing or two about the issues.
Stem Cell Research
i think the easiest way to approach this issue is to reduce it down. I'll start with the man himself, President Bush and his policy in 2001 governing the last set of stem cells that were usable.
1. The derivation process (which begins with the destruction of the embryo) was initiated prior to 9:00 P.M. EDT on August 9, 2001.
2. The stem cells must have been derived from an embryo that was created for reproductive purposes and was no longer needed.
3. Informed consent must have been obtained for the donation of the embryo and that donation must not have involved financial inducements.
Ok, #1 was the time line for government funding to stop. #3 is just common sense. Now lets look at #2. #2 basically says that it's ok to have used an embryo that was created for a fertility treatment, but isn't needed anymore. Mommy and Daddy wanted 1 child, 13 embryos were fertilized, the best few were picked and the rest are deemed unwanted, and will most likely be incinerated. Right there several embryos were created that were never going to be used. If you are truely against stem cell research because it creates an embyo that will be 'killed' then you also must be against fertility treatments that do the same. I'd be pretty interested to see the poll number differences on those two things.
I talked about this previously, but here goes again. First off, when we say gay marriage we can only mean legal marriage/union, that is, a document the government endorses that entitles two people to the the rights of legally married people. The religious interpretation is up to the many different churches and they are entitled to dictate whatever they want on their followers. I understand that for some the whole thing may simply be an issue of semantics between the words marriage and union, but I seriously hope that this is not the only reason they would choose to legally prevent the rights of a whole group of people.
Now from a legal stand point ( to the best of my knowledge ), you can not legally discriminate against a person due to race, sex, creed, religion, national origin, age, color, or handicapping condition. It is then illegal to prevent two legally responsible people from entering into a legal marriage on the basis on sex. There is the small issue that the person being discriminated against is not specific since it's the sex of only one of the people that needs to change for it to be 'ok,' however I think that is a pretty weak argument if used. So it comes down to this; to be against legal gay marriage is to be for legal discrimination against a mentally competent adult. The only argument I see at this point is that a gay person is mentally ill in some way. There are lots of studies both ways on this, however there is no conclusive evidence that it is legally an illness. Therefore you can not legally discriminate against it. At this point I suppose a vote against gay marriage is then a vote that being gay is to be mentally ill. This is of course anyone's prerogative, but best to realize what's really going on.
In my view, the best compromise is that the government issue legal civil unions to anyone who wishes and is able, and churches conduct marriage ceremonies. This takes care of the semantic issue which seems to be a big part of things, as well the government is not discriminating against its citizens.
It seemed like a good time to go through some randomness of late.
I recently finished St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, a collection of 10 short stories. It's a pretty nice set in general. All the stories take reality, toss in some fantastical themes, and then tell them from the point of view of their child leading characters. I had an issue with the style of some of the endings, but they don't really matter. The worlds created in the stories, along with the crazy characters are enough even when the endings don't come through. Plus there's a neat picture of a wolf on the cover.
I'll soon be done with Of Love and Other Demons. This is a book I've had since my first intership at Microsoft in 1999 where an intern started a book group, but there was way too much going on that summer for me to do much reading. 700 other interns in a new awesome city will do that to you. There are parts in the book where I'm surprised I'm not bored, but I guess Marquez has infused something in the whole store to make it all interesting.
I was thinking of reading At Swim-Two Birds next, but the closest half-price that has it seems to be several states away. I'll probably snag it when the next Amazon Credit Card rewards comes in.
A couple weeks ago I took a note from Rachel and tossed a bunch of my books up on LibraryThing. So far I've only put up books that I've read and own. Seems I only still own 50 of them. There's several I was kind of surprised to not find; in particular an oddly bound version of Snow Crash. It was slightly shorter than a paper back, but hard back and several inches thick. There was something specific about that binding that made me enjoy reading it. I guess it got lost or dontated during the great migration from Boston to Atlanta.
A week or so ago I started a short story that I think is actually ready to be fully written. It's a bit more light hearted than my other ideas which makes it somewhat easier to write. Almost all the stories I wrote in high school had a humorous slant to them by default. This one in particular has a young cave boy as the protagonist and hopes to offer up an explanation for some of the craziness that archeology has told us about cave persons.
I say this story is ready to be fully written because I have 2 other stories that are kind of hanging there. One needs a completely different direction so it's not so dull. It's more of an idea story, where the characters are minor to an inanimate object. It reminds me of a book Rachel has of Jacek Yerka's art pair with fairly short stories based on them. I kinda get the feeling that'd be the best route for this, but well I can't draw, so there.
The other story is kind of my dream story, the one I want to get right, if I get any of them. The basis for it has been with me since I was fairly young, so I want to do it justice. I have some pieces of the story, but it's not flushed out nearly enough. I do have a title though, if maybe tentative, 'anna.'
Approximately 34 days ago I opened an IRA and filled it out for the year. This happened to give me free trading for 45 days, which caused a small amount of craziness. While I didn't ever make a bad trade, I ran head on into a restriction that really only so called 'day traders' would care about. Due to this I prevented myself from making $300; that's a 7.5% one day gain. It kind of made me pissed with myself, but I guess lesson learned. I now know about this annoying restriction, and have real evidence that even "smart" day trading is just stupid, stupid, stupid. ( If anyone is interested in opening a brokerage account, let me know. I'll get a few free trades that would be useful for my regular account ;o) )
In related news, the first stock I ever bought, SGI back in 1999, was canceled earlier this week. That's right, canceled. Sgi has some trouble, went into Chapter 11 bankrupcty. As part of coming out of that, they were able to just toss all their old stock out the window. Ah well.
Abby got her first annual checkup back in september, I've officially had her a year. It's odd, there are times I feel like I've had her forever, that there wasn't a 13 year gap since Teddy Bear ran off into the rain to die, and then there are times I feel like I just got her. I guess that's a good sign of our relationship. Right now she's laying in the top of her cat tree watching me with almost closed eyes.
Vision, my newer tivo, is still going strong. Currently I'm going through reruns of Dead Like Me, and Arrested Development. These are both shows that people just deserve to be smacked for canceling. I mean come on. I kind of blame marketing for both of their demises. I didn't feel like watching either show until well after they were canceled, so it certaintly took long enough to work on me. I recommend both highly, if you get a change give them a watch, though Arrested Development is one of those shows you're better off starting as early as possible in the series.
Alright, that's enough for one night, bonam noctem.
Of iPods and Other Viruses
So that iPod virus thing that came out today. I was hit by it!!! and boy did it piss me off for so many reasons.
I'd bought my brand new shiny iPod. I even traded in my reliable 3rd gen iPod "Atrus" for it to get a discount.
So I get home plug the new sleekness in and to start with I get a message saying that I needed to upgrade to iTunes 7. Unknown to me, this was also a message that the virus was paying my computer a visit.
So I download iTunes 7, and start the installer, and ... nothing. Installer doesn't come up, I'm just sitting there with the hard drive light flickering, and then it comes. The virus software warning. You've Got Virus!!
Man that fired up. Any change in iTunes is a bad change; here they force me to upgrade to a whole new level of horribleness and, seemingly at the time, give me a virus with it!
I went through some safety measures to make sure I had a good installer, tried reinstalling and all if fine.
When I tried getting the installer again that part of the webpage ( yea just part of the page ) was down, so I figured maybe they caught something. Anyway, I figured it was a fluke, and went on my way.
Luckily that was the end of it, I have McAfee still from GaTech, and I can only assume Microsoft's is actually running since the updater has me update it's definitions multiple times a week.
But it's all ok now, and Podder is here with me. The upgrade was very very nice, even if it wasn't absolutely necessary.
This American Podcast
Looks like This American Life is coming to a podcast near you for free! Starts on the 16th, and better get them the week of or then it costs $.95 which is much better than their audible.com price.
World of Stargate Atlantis
There was a cute reference to World of Warcraft in last night's Stargate Atlantis. I wonder with the references to the currently unreleased expansion if they actually meant the episode to air later in the season but was changed given the canceling of the series.
( Rough transcript )
DL: Dr. Lesban
DW: Dr. Weir
(scene Rodney and Elizabeth are in DL's lab, trying to distract him to hack his computer)
DL: I've gotta say, I've never met a woman this into World of Warcraft.
DW: It's a silent passion of mine.
DL: Oh, as it is with all of us. I'm a level 75 mage specializing in Engineering and jewlcrafting, you?
DW: ( walks around, pulling DL's view away from Rodney; he starts tinkering ) Wow, level 75. Me? I'm only level 50.
DL: Ah, well I had the beta of the expansion pack so I sorts had a leg up on most people. What's your race?
DW: ... Mage.
DL: You know I'm trying to increse my enchanter skill, .. ehh it's just not going very well.
DW: Oh, I disagree Bill.
DL: What? (Turns around to look at Rodney) Uh Rodney...
DW: (Comes in closer and touches him on the shoulders, bringing him back to her ) Uh I don't mean, I don't mean to be so forward.
DL: No no go ahead be forward
DW: Well, oh, I, look, I'm not quite sure how exactly I should put this.
DL: A true mage speaks his mine, or her mind in your case.
( Rodney finishes )
Rodney: Oh look at the time we should get going.
I'M JACK BAUER, I YELL REALLY LOUD
Well it is done. I've just finished the last DVD of 24 season 4. After having watched season 5 on tv I am now glowing in the drama that is 24. Man that Jack Bauer, he's sure something. And what a healthy set of lungs he's got. That's no small feat considering how many toxic situations he's been in. He can even point a gun fairly accurately while serenading his enemies with his bass.
In the end I can't say any of the seasons really stand out from the rest, I guess that's somewhat due to watching somewhere between 8-16 episodes a week for however many weeks given how similar each seasons plot is. But oh well, it was enjoyable as it went along, and I'm looking forward to the 6th season where Jack gets a nasty paper cut and dies of gangrene because he refused to put his gun down.
Time With the Clouds
Time With the Clouds
Anatrove LIVE rwar!!!
Anatrove has a new look. I decided to finally polish it up a bit, and after some help from Rachel it's looking might nice. All the same functionality is there, but Rachel was nice enough to do some wireframes and a new layout that definitely make Anatrove nicer to look at.
For those who don't know, Anatrove is my pet web project. It all started in grad school when I needed to stop doing academic work for a weekend and just pounded out basically all of the functionality you see now in the site. The premise behind the site is that there's little difference between what you get when you buy a CD from Amazon vs downloading all or some of an album from iTunes. What are those differences? Mainly just the visuals like the liner notes, the cd face and maybe even the casing. The problem is, these suck most of the time; so what's the point in paying more for a cd when you get nothing more?
That's where Anatrove steps in. It's a user supplied database of these extras that come with cd's so that you can make a more educated use of your money.
I realize the site will probably never really go anywhere, but I like to play, and it is an actual purpose.
My next thoughts for the site are to round out the user side of things, see who supplied a particular album description, see all the ones they've done, etc. Other than that I'm thinking of redoing it using AJAX to make it smoother, and learn AJAX.