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    Monday, February 28, 2005

    Make Bush and His Administration Pay...

    Hey hey hey! Almost 500,000 strong now, you too can add your voice to the list of people who want George W. Bush and his Administration Impeached for Illegal War and other Constitutional crimes...

    Help make the difference.

    Sunday, February 27, 2005

    Shaun Of The Dead

    Well I was fortunate enough to rent and watch Shaun of the Dead last night. I don't normally review movies and stuff, since if I did, it would turn into me bitching about how stupid M. Night Shyamalan's movies really are... Come off it, William Hurt in no way made "The Village" any better than the pile of worm trodden filth it really was... See? However, this one was different...

    All in all, I thought the movie was brilliant. A masterpiece of theatrical creation! At first, it seemed rather pointless and almost boring in it's sheer realism. Character development. But of course, it was funny. Then the signs around our hero Shaun; zombies in the street, car alarms, people sick from work... and through all this, he is totally oblivious, wrapped up in his own (very real) life problems. Not until the "drunk" lady in the backyard does Shaun and his fat lazy dope-selling room-mate have any clue what's going on. From then on, the flic rivals any zombie movie ever. Mixing in the pure comedy of many moments with the sheer terror and hopelessness of their predicament, the cast made this movie well worth watching.

    Gem: Shaun and his Room-mate sorting through the album collection to see which records to thow at the slowly advancing zombies... I almost lost bladder control at that point... :D

    After careful consideration, I give this movie 4 stars out of 5. Well worth a watch, or even a purchase. I will watch it again, guaranteed.

    Saturday, February 26, 2005

    And You Thought Relativity Was Wise...

    "The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing."

    -Albert Einstein

    I think lately, this is something I have taken to heart. An interesting quote to be sure :)

    Friday, February 25, 2005

    Downtown Brown...

    Well staying in a hotel in downtown Edmonton is interesting. Not too noisy I suppose, except for the fact that the Airport is across the street... That's a little annoying. It would be okay if they were huge 747s and stuff, but it seems to be a hub for small double prop planes... Real fun. I did go to the Games Workshop in Kingsway Mall and they actually knew who I was! Man, I feel like a total rock star. :D I was hoping to see some cool stuff in the displays, but apart from some snappy 6mm stuff, the rest were pretty mundane. Still, cool to know where these stores are :D Been to the West Ed store too, where my friend Dan works. Better stuff there in the cabinets :)

    The course is going great. Very easy actually, though I am thrilled to get the basics hammered into my melon. I am hoping to take the Level II and event he Level III courses soon. Would be handy. I don't think I am as prejudiced towards the product as I was before. Seems that after some training and thought, finding parallels between Microstation and AutoCAD is pretty easy. Just a different tool to accomplish the same job really.

    Wednesday, February 23, 2005

    Microstation Training!!!!

    Well off to Edmonton until Friday evening to learn the basics of Microstation for drafting. I have oodles of experience using AutoCAD products, but I find Microstation to be backwards somewhat. A different mindset perhaps. It is rather like picking up an HP calculator after using an adding machine for so long...

    Should be cool to learn though. Once the basics sink in, I will be even more productive at work!!! I will be a force of unsurmountable knowledge :P

    Heroes Can Be Drug Addicts Too You Know...

    And the Greeks are rolling over on their hard marble slab-like beds...

    It isn't a really that big a deal to me, the Steroid abuse in sports. I mean, it allows for bigger hits, faster runners, more homers... I bet nearly every major sport is laced with the stuff. Football? Sure. Those guys are huge. Basketball? Why not... Hockey? For sure... Baseball? You betcha. Tell me McGuire's eyes bulge out because he saw an alien... Heh.

    The thing that really gets me though, is that one guy can come out with a book or story, namely one-time Blue Jay slugger Jose Canseco, and suddenly, everyone else is up in arms about it. "I didn't do it"... "No way"... "He's a tool.." "I didn't know they were steroids..."

    Well now, Barry Bonds is on the go. Canseco's recent book describes the "rampant culture of steroid abuse in baseball." Bonds is blasting him in the media about it. Defending McGuire and also himself... Back in 2003, Bonds had testified to a jury that he used some suspicious substances that his trainer gave him; a trainer later indicted in a steroid-distribution ring. Now he is a big record holder, so maybe he's afraid to tarnish his precious records...

    Come off it. How can you not know. It is your business and your life, and apparently, you enjoy it with your head up your ass :D

    Maybe they shouldn't use them in Pro sport. Maybe they should. Maybe people should just admit it, instead of waddling around like fools...

    Tuesday, February 22, 2005

    It's Cool Cause Kirk Says So :P

    Yeah, so I have used this little wave file for when my Windows starts for ages now. Just htinking about how truly awesome it is that Captain James T. Kirk literally welcomes ME aboard!!! Hehe...


    This is actually from the episode "Charlie X" where he is greeting young Charlie Evans, but then you can believe he is talking to me if you really want!!!

    Monday, February 21, 2005

    "Autumn"... A Teaser For Now

    Well, after all the stress of the deadlines... I enjoyed painting up "Autumn" the Gymnast today :D She is just a teaser to keep everyone happy!

    I think she turned out pretty sexy and all! I could almost have entered her in the contest, but oh well! Check out the rest of her pictures on My Site!

    *** Warning *** Link may or may not contain miniature nudity :P

    Family Day - Hooray!

    Hooray! A holiday :D Long weekend! I am so glad. After finishing my minis for the Chick Challenge, it is nice to have a day of almost nothing important to do. Relaxing :)

    Yay! Made the Deadline :D

    Well, gotta say, I am pleased to have made the deadline for the Chick Challenge. I am also proud of my wife, who did her best figure yet, despite the back pain even, and entered as well!

    Sadly, I cannot share the pictures until the contest is over :( Patience Padewan :D

    It's funny though. Almost as if a great weight has been removed from me. Boy, deadlines really do kick my butt!

    *** I am guessing about 3 weeks before I can post the pics ***

    Saturday, February 19, 2005

    I *Hate* Deadlines...

    Well the Deadline for the 5th Chick Challenge Contest is like tomorrow. Maybe I can squeak in an extra day, but as it stands now, I have one entry complete, and one about 70% done. My third entry is not even primed :( Man, I have a lot of work ahead of me.

    Maybe I can write my progress later.

    It's later....

    Well, so far, I have watched or listened to "Arena" from the Original Trek series and I have painted quite a bit! Probably up to 80% done now :)

    Next up on the video? Why "Tomorrow Is Yesterday"...

    So more done and back at it today... :D

    Cool, after "Return of the Archons" I am really making progress. She is going to kick some serious butt :D

    Friday, February 18, 2005

    NHLPA vs. NHL; Some Numbers to Chew

    Okay, I have heard a lot of talk about the fall through of the deal. $6.5 Million? That's what people are talking.

    Remember, there are 30 teams... that means the difference that the two sides are talking about is actually $200 Million. Now *that* puts a different light on things...

    Now the caps that were being suggested were $42.5M by the NHL and $49M by the NHLPA. Based on last year, there are 10 (almost 11) teams that exceed the $49M range already. Detroit is the highest at 77.9, Rangers have 76.5, Dallas at 68.6, Philly at 68.2, Colorado at 63.4, Toronto at 62.5, St Louis at 61.7, LA at 53.8, Anaheim at 53.3, Washington at 50.9 and New Jersey just under at 48.9. Now Calgary, the runners up, had a total of 36.4... Tampa Bay, who won the Cup, had even less at 34.1. So why do some of these teams pay more? Why do some players (no names) demand such salaries for no show performance?

    Here are some player salaries from last year:

    Peter Forsberg (COL) $11M

    Jammy Jagr (WAS) $11M

    Pavel Bure (NYR) $10M

    Sergei Fedorov (ANA) $10M

    Nicklas Lidstrom (DET) $10M

    Keith Tkachuk (STL) $10M

    Joe Sakic (COL) $9.9M

    Chris Pronger (STL) $9.5M

    Rob Blake (COL) $9.3M

    John LeClair (PHI) $9M

    Mats Sundin (TOR) $9M

    I will go back to Calgary again...

    Iginla makes 7.5, Turek makes 4.3, Gelinas makes 2.4 and Conroy makes 2.2

    Everyone else is under $2M and the average for the team was $950,000.

    Lets look at the top team, Detroit.

    Lidstrom 10, Joseph 8, Shanahan 6.5, Hasek 6, Chelios 5.9, Yzerman 5.8, Hatcher 5, Hull 5, Schneider 3.8, Whitney 3, McCarty, 2.3, Maltby 2

    And the rest under $2M with a team average of $1,500,000.

    So a lot of these guys are spoiled. They get on a team in a High Market area, get a salary that is out to lunch, and what happens when they outlive their welcome? Well now for Calgary to go pick up a 3rd line guy from Detroit that makes 2.5 Million, it breaks them. In fact that guy will become a first line guy on the team (Have a look at Conroy)...

    I dunno. $6.5 Million? Yeah right. I doubt they would have cancelled if *that* is all it was over... Now $200 Million, I could see it.

    All stats taken from and may or may nor reflect current salaries and payrolls... Well, I guess not at all really :)

    Get Out of Iraq - Train Them Boys Up

    As we know, the US has been occupying Iraq for some time now. The apparent goal of this is to train the Iraqi people to have their own security forces and to have a functional infrastructure and defense (while we suck the oil out of them :D). In a conversation about the current request for another $80 Billion to continue the US presence there, this link came up which I found quite refreshing to read:

    Iraqi Training Manual

    Welcome to your Iraqi Training Manual, created to help you take over your own security following your country’s liberation. Learn and practice this material to greatly increase your ability to survive in Iraq, while lowering the chance you’ll be killed or detained by insurgents or American forces. We are offering our wide experience fighting throughout Iraq, at a cost of over 1400 precious American lives and countless other lives, so that you can be trained to secure and defend your own country. And the sooner Iraqis are trained, the sooner Americans can leave.

    Please read the article here. It is worth a visit :)

    Thursday, February 17, 2005

    Engineers and "The Knack"

    Well we have known for a very long time that most Engineers are a little different than your average Joe...

    Here's Why *speakers on if you please*

    I am not sure what this is from :D

    Hockey Schmockey

    Alright, here is my perspective. The Owner's were originally responsible for jacking up the rates. They want to win, sure, so they will pay what it takes. Now however, the players will take FULL advantage of that. Why not. If Joe gets 4 Million, why not me? Right? THe problem here is that it is no longer a performance based scale. Not by any means. As I said in the Brett Hull article, they are paying for his name. He can't perform at all anymore. He should be a 3rd or 4rth line guy, but then he doesn't check so what is the point... There are lots of guys like that. Or the hot rookie who did super at the World Juniors... Signs the BIG deal. Anyone remember Alexander Daigle? Heh. The Player's should have come to the table months ago. Seeing "no talks scheduled until... [insert months away date here]" was pathetic. The Star Players (who get the big bucks) don't love the game. They love the paychecks. And now I am convinced of that.

    That's what it is all about. The stars and their bucks. Do you seriously think Rob Ray wanted to hold out and not play? Or Kristoff Oliwa for you Flames fans? Of course not! A cap wouldn't even affect them. The rollbacks maybe, but why them? It's the BIG names. The Iginlas, The Jagrs.... Forsberg. Good players, but how many more guys are THAT good and deserve a 5 Million contract. Gimme a break.

    All the talk about a new league... Good luck paying enough for these supposed stars to play. I wouldn't watch it. If it was the Rob Rays and the diggers, the heart and soul guys, well for sure! They make or break a game. How would a new league work if those rich boys don't want a pay cut? Tough questions... tough call...

    Maybe the owners should set their own caps. Stop buying the expensive guys. I mean, look at Calgary. They realistically have ONE expensive guy. And they should only have ONE, based on the player's performances. In fact, I would venture that the highest paid guy on the team should not be Iginla, but rather Gelinas. He is easily the hardest working guy on the team... Calgary kicked ass last year with an average roster. Look at the Rangers. What a joke there. They sign all these loser "superstars" that can't do up their own skates, and they don't even make the playoffs... I hope Forsberg goes there next year HAHA! If they don't sign the expensive guys, they don't lose the cash.

    Hang On Cousin!!!!!

    Well I gotta say, these folks were pretty damned lucky... Had this bookmarked for a while, but forgot to post it. MSNBC says:

    Five of six people in this minivan walked away with just bruises after plunging nearly 400 feet last Saturday in Colorado. The sixth person was carried out on a stretcher but, like the others, was at home that night.

    Unbelievable... Black Ice and no guardrail. One of the people said "I thought we were done for..." - NO SHIT!!!!!

    "I tried to brake and nothing happened," Sullivan told NBC's "Today" show on Tuesday. "As we first started down, we thought that was the end," he said. "But as we kept going further and further and realized nothing got us, nothing got us, nothing got us, there was a lot of hope and we just wanted to stop."

    They figure that the fact that they were driving fairly slowly and the ravine they plummetted down was covered with thick snow probably helped save them...

    Wednesday, February 16, 2005

    It's All Over... No NHL Now.

    NHL means No Hockey League...

    Well time to get to know your buddy's feelings as Brett Hull would say. Today marked the deadline for the latest offers between the NHLPA and the NHL.


    NEW YORK (February 16, 2005) - The National Hockey League announced today that, because a new collective bargaining agreement has not been realized, it no longer is practical to conduct an abbreviated 2004-05 season.

    "This is a sad, regrettable day that all of us wish could have been avoided." - Gary Bettman

    Yep. Sad day. Oh well, I was getting sick of watching these guys get paid millions and put out no effort. I will gladly support the local Red Deer Rebels now! Like they could have had a 28 game season anyways... what a joke.

    For further reading on this check out the other entries I have...

    NHL Lockout Continues; Hope In Sight?


    Hockey Blues...

    This was taken from Hoosier Daddy's Blog:


    take their hockey sticks and shove them up their ...

    well there isn't going to be a NHL season this year. Personally I couldn't care less. They can sit there and squabble about who should get what but they seem to have forgotten the most important player on the team. The fans....


    Joke of the Week

    For the people who cannot read more than ten lines...

    Little Johnny's mom is a nymphomaniac. The worst part, she has recently been divorced. One evening, Little Johnny is walking down the hall and his mom's door is slightly ajar. He peeks in and sees her lying on the bed rubbing herself saying,

    "I need a man. I need a man."

    Being only 7, he doesn't consider it as anything important and carries on.

    A few nights later, Little Johnny is walking down the hall and sure enough, a peek into his mom's room reveals her lying on the bed rubbing herself, saying,

    "I need a man. I need a man."

    Still not convinced of any importance, Little Johnny carries on.

    A few more days go by, and Little Johnny walks by his mom's room and hears something different. He sneaks a peek inside and Lo and Behold, there is a MAN on top of his mom!

    Little Johnny immediately runs to his room, strips down and starts rubbing himself.

    "I need a bike. I need a bike."

    Top 10 Odd College Courses - Star Trek Tops The List

    College courses aren't all Econ 101 and The History of Europe: 1500-Present. A trend among many colleges and universities is to offer courses that are slightly off the beaten track. Many of these courses draw their themes from pop culture or sports, or they may be the brainchildren of professors who want to share their passion with students. They may be no less serious than traditional courses, but they certainly cover new academic ground.

    Students take these offbeat courses for a variety of reasons--hoping for an easy A, to try something fun, or to explore a new interest. Underwater Basket Weaving 101 may be an urban legend, but these ten unusual courses are for real:

    1) You can boldly go where no other philosophy student has gone before in Georgetown University's "Philosophy and Star Trek" course, where students discuss the nature of time travel, the ability of computers to think and feel, and other philosophical dilemmas facing the crew of the Starship Enterprise.

    2) Discover how Brick really felt when Opal left him for his neighbor's best friend's sister in the University of Wisconsin's course entitled "Daytime Serials: Family and Social Roles." Students analyze the plots, themes, and characters of daytime soaps and discuss their impact on modern life.

    3) If you've been longing to research how hot dogs, theme parks, and the five-day workweek have impacted American leisure culture, check out the University of Iowa course "The American Vacation." This course pays particular attention to how American families' varying backgrounds shape their vacation experiences.

    4) Bowdoin College students can delve into "The Horror Film in Context" in the school's English Department. Students read Freud and Poe and watch Hitchcock and Craven, all while discussing the horror genre's treatment of gender, class, and family.

    5) At Williams College, students can learn more about those in the cement shoe industry by enrolling in "Comparative History of Organized Crime," which compares the work of goodfellas from the United States, Italy, Japan, and Russia.

    6) If you've got a romantic urge for adventure, check out Barnard College's course on "The Road Movie," which studies Easy Rider and Thelma and Louise, while also discussing the genre's literary precursors, like On the Road and The Odyssey.

    7) If hitting the road doesn't satisfy your rebellious streak, sign up for Brown University's course on "American Degenerates," in which students discuss how early British-American writers embraced the grotesque, monstrous, "not our kind" status bestowed on them by the mother country and reflected their zeal for cultural and physical degeneracy in their literature.

    8) Those artsy types at the Rhode Island School of Design can put down their paintbrushes and take "The Art of Sin and the Sin of Art," which contemplates the relationship between sin and the art world. The course catalog invites you to "lust with the saints and burn with the sinners."

    9) If talking about death several times a week in class sounds like a good time to you, try Purdue University's "Death and the Nineteenth Century" course. Every poem and novel in the course deals with the 19th-century conception of mortality and the world beyond.

    10) At Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, students can take "Art of Walking," in which students not only read literature by noted perambulators like Kant and Nietzsche, but go for neighborhood strolls with their professor and his dog.

    Most college programs offer interesting courses to introduce you to new and fascinating subject matters. Take advantage of the many possibilities offered to you by sitting down with your advisor to talk about course options and then really thinking about the courses you choose to take.

    Tuesday, February 15, 2005

    Torture, Fascism and Our Civilization

    I have taken this article from Newsfare as I feel it is full of truths and may help shed some light on the malign power growing South of us.

    The Bush Administration long ago used up any impulse the world might have to see it as other than what it is: a group of thugs intent on converting the United States into an authoritarian state, with all limits removed on acts committed by its government.

    Further, this ugly regime appears to believe that it can conquer the Middle East by force or threat of force, a plan which can only lead to catastrophic failure with great loss of life.

    The current Attorney General believes that the President has the inherent power to overrule any law. This amounts to shredding the U.S. Constitution as well as hundreds of years of common law.

    This was given the big green light when all of the Republican Senators (and even 6 Democrats) voted to accept Alberto Gonzales as the Attorney General. We had embarked with a very firm resolve to try to stop this with over 500 bloggers opposing his nomination and many of us wrote letters to all of the Senators about the matter, but all to no avail.

    Republicans are in the process of pushing through legislation which allows even the Director of Homeland Security – only a Cabinet member – to disobey existing laws, without the possibility of judicial review. Domestic death squads would be the next logical step. That happened in Argentina during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship in that country.

    Meanwhile the administration has forged ahead with procedures which cancel the venerable law of habeas corpus, discard the right to an attorney, and laugh at prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment. A recent Supreme Court decision was essentially flouted by instituting “reviews” before military personnel in which the accused were given “counsel” who were not even lawyers.

    In short, the Bush Administration is a de facto fascist regime. There is at present no other suitable word to describe it, unless one wants to adopt Gore Vidal’s concise “the junta.”

    In particular, these are fascists in possession of very large numbers of thermonuclear weapons – in missile silos, on bomber aircraft and in undetectable submarines dispersed throughout all the oceans of the world. Each one of these thousands of weapons has many times the power of the atomic bombs unleashed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, sixty years ago this August, which together killed over 100,000 people.

    The peril to individuals, to civilization and to the planet itself could not be, and has perhaps never been, greater.

    It falls to the people of the United States to turn back this ugly and irrational regime. No one else can do it for us. The hour is late and we must make personal and collective decisions to oppose the destruction of our country, and the clear and present danger presented to the world. We must do so now.

    Now this is pretty heavy stuff. I think however, that one point is not erroneous, but perhaps lacking. It falls not only on the citizens of the United States, but rather the citizens of the world to help stop this madness. When mankind stops thinking within the confines of national, religious and political boundary, and starts thinking of themselves as "World Citizens", then times will change, and perhaps peace can be attained!

    In regards to this and other battles against the media, injustice and politicians, some results can be seen by concerted efforts of the internet community. In this recent article on PBS, another high level resignation, due to the efforts of politically oriented bloggers! We CAN make a difference!

    *** UPDATED ***

    If I may add to this, Rhetoric 101 has some excellent parallels to Nazi Germany in their recent article, "Approaching the Tipping Point". Very interesting to be sure.

    NHL Lockout Continues; Hope In Sight?

    Well the lockout is still on. Talks are continuing, and even while discussions were underway, Betteman was preparing to announce the cancellation of the season for good.

    In a sudden change of heart, the NHLPA agreed to a salary cap (Oh my, you think???) but the discussions broke down when it came to the amount that teams could spend.

    The Player's Association offerred a Cap of $52 Million but it is a far cry from the number of $40 Million suggested by the NHL. Considering the NHLPA agrees to a 24% salary rollback, only 8 teams at present would be over the $40 Million...

    Sadly, the NHLPA still will not tie the cost of players to a percentage of league revenues so the talks are at a standstill AGAIN. Damnit.

    Take the cash. Play your game. One million is enough isn't it? Well, for me it is... I dunno about you.

    Oh, and I know that the Owners are partly to blame for paying so much to begin with. Oh well. Suck it up Players... The way I see it, the difference between the two offers woul donly likely effect the top 4 players on a team anyhow. Everyone else still gets paid a "fair" wage so maybe the richest guys should live a little leaner... Heh. That sounds so friggin stupid considering the salaries.

    Monday, February 14, 2005

    The Incredibles....

    Well, I am about to watch The Incredibles with my son. I will let everyone know how cool it is afterwards :D

    Okay, it was actually a great show! I think we will be buying the DVD. I recommend it to all :D

    A great mix of fun, classic superhero stuff and family ideals to boot!

    Happy Valentine's Day

    Happy Valentine's Day all... I know, it's all about Love and Romance or at least that's what Hallmark wants you to believe...

    But is it really? One story goes something like this:

    Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men -- his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

    While some believe that Valentine's Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine's death or burial -- which probably occurred around 270 A.D -- others claim that the Christian church may have decided to celebrate Valentine's feast day in the middle of February in an effort to 'christianize' celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia festival. In ancient Rome, February was the official beginning of spring and was considered a time for purification. Houses were ritually cleansed by sweeping them out and then sprinkling salt and a type of wheat called spelt throughout their interiors. Lupercalia, which began at the ides of February, February 15, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
    To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at the sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would then sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification.

    The boys then sliced the goat's hide into strips, dipped them in the sacrificial blood and took to the streets, gently slapping both women and fields of crops with the goathide strips. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed being touched with the hides because it was believed the strips would make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city's bachelors would then each choose a name out of the urn and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage. Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine's Day around 498 A.D. The Roman 'lottery' system for romantic pairing was deemed un-Christian and outlawed. Later, during the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds' mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of February -- Valentine's Day -- should be a day for romance. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. The greeting, which was written in 1415, is part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England. Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.

    I should mention that this has been taken from the History Channel.

    Neverwinter Nights Means Never Paint at Night

    My latest addiction that has suddenly replaced Fallout 2. A buddy said everyone was going to play, so I decided to make a Bard... Neverwinter Nights is probably worse than Fallout on the addiction scale too. Considering all of my D&D experience is 1st and 2nd edition, the new rules are confusing but yet there is always something new to find and figure out...

    Just when I thought I got out of the Game habit too, and I could get caught up on painting... My character wields a longsword, dagger, and has some nice red leather armor +1. Coupled with a Ring of Crimson he is a pretty red guy... You know what is kind of gay though? I am level 6 and I still have no instrument. I wonder if there are any in the game... Guess my guy is a killer singer :P

    *** UPDATED ***

    So I find out my guy needs to be 3rd level and I am 6th! ARGH! Well this time I can make him better :P

    Saturday, February 12, 2005

    Mentally Challenged CyberCriminals

    This is an addendum to a previous entry I wrote... because criminals get stupider as well as smellier with age...

    Everyone has seen all of the phishing scams from people claiming to be Ebay, Paypal, Citibank, and whoever else. They want you, the customer, to give your infos on their "secure" link in the mail, so that they can rob you blind... Only fools fall for these, but it happens. What happens though, when the Phishers are stupider than the Phishees?

    Recently, I saw this one on Classy Warfare:

    They must have taken the short bus to crime school

    This was in one of my e-mail inboxes today.

    Dear Yahoo! Member,

    This email was sent by the Yahoo! server to verify your bank card information. Your bank ask Yahoo! to do so because some of their members no longer have access to email addresses on Yahoo! and they need to verify you.You must complete this process by clicking on the link bewol:

    (link deleted)

    and entering your bank ATM-Debit Card number and PIN that....

    So these guys are total morons. Now today, I just got a new one as well... This one from Paypal:

    Subject: Paypal flagged account

    Dear PayPal Member,

    Your account has been randomly flagged in our system as a part of our routine security measures. This is a must to ensure that only you have access and use of your PayPal account and to ensure a safe PayPal experience. We require all flagged accounts to verify their information on file with us. To verify your Information at this time, please visit our secure server webform by clicking the hyperlink below

    >Click here to verify your Information<

    Thank you for using PayPal!
    The PayPal Team

    Now this one caught my eye because when I hovered over the link to click... I got a web address like this:


    except it is http... Now the thing is, for a proper IP number like that, you need a FOURTH digit. You know, like Morons. Also, remember that places like Ebay and Paypal never say "Dear Customer" etc... They always use your name.

    After talking to some folks in the "know", I took some security steps.... I also took precautions after checking this out and am happy to say that my machine is both virus and spyware free after... so yeah, they are just idiots.

    Friday, February 11, 2005

    Small Fries In the Big Skies

    Kim Jong Il and George W. Bush

    Well, there is no real surprise here but a news bulletin on MSNBC News states that North Korea has announced it HAS nuclear weapons. Now everyone can deduce that they have had them for some time, and that the US and other European nations have realistically done nothing to stop them. This in itself is a terrifying prospect, but if we can get over the initial horror of news like this, and the simple fact that yet another "Small Fry" has developed nuclear weapons with the I'm a big boy too" mentality, we can maybe consider WHY this sort of thing is happening and WHAT may happen after...

    To quote from the News story itself:

    “We ... have manufactured nukes for self-defense to cope with the Bush administration’s evermore undisguised policy to isolate and stifle the (North),” the North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

    North Korea said Thursday its “nuclear weapons will remain (a) nuclear deterrent for self-defense under any circumstances.”

    Obviously, the US has a different view. They figure they are the only nation in the world who may possess nuclear weapons (er, WMDs if you like) so they are insisting on the disarmament of these weapons and a halt put on further development. That being said, the summit of 6 nations that have been discussing the disarmament since 2003 (USA, Russia, China, Japan, North and South Korea) are all urging them to stop... well except the North Koreans obviously.

    But why? Why do these countries insist on developing these horrendous weapons against the "Will" of the world? Regimes and governments aside, I fully agree that the US has been on a very aggressive and unjustified trend of war, in the name of "Terror", and it is only time before another nation (likely Iran or Syria) is invaded and occupied... So a deterrant yes. Would it do any good to have several of these weapons in the event that the US actually did invade? Probably not. But it can make many of these less powerful countries *feel* like a superpower. It happened in India and Pakistan not too long ago.

    The same thing is happening in Iran right now. According to Reuters, they are preparing for a US invasion already...

    "The Iranian nation does not seek war, does not seek violence and dispute. But the world must know that this nation will not tolerate any invasion," President Mohammad Khatami said in a fiery speech to the crowd in central Tehran.

    "The whole Iranian nation is united against any threat or attack. If the invaders reach Iran, the country will turn into a burning hell for them," he added, as the crowd, braving heavy snow, chanted "Death to America!" and "Death to Israel!."

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Iran on Wednesday that it risks U.N. action if negotiations with Europe over its nuclear program don't progress.

    Rice said the United States had set no deadline on the Iran talks, but that they cannot go on forever. She added the Bush administration had not changed its view that the United Nations should step in to get tougher on Iran.

    In Washington, President Bush said the Iranians needed to know that the free world was working together to send a clear message: Don't develop a nuclear weapon.

    "And the reason we're sending that message is because Iran with a nuclear weapon would be a very destabilizing force in the world," Bush said.

    "I think the message is there," Rice said at a news conference at NATO headquarters. "The Iranians need to get that message," she said, adding that Tehran should know that "there are other steps" the international community can take.

    What is the answer? The more aggressive the US is in forcing it's idealism on these countries, the more aggressive these countries will be in their own policies. Regardless of my feelings towards the US Administration, we cannot allow more countries to develop these terrifying weapons. Our hands are tied.

    I'm not sure what scares me more. It is terrible to think that some of these countries would have weapons like that, but I think I am more scared of what the US will do, and how these countries will react! We wait and hope there is peace some day because the last thing we want is more war...

    "Two Suns In The Sunset" - Pink Floyd: The Final Cut

    in my rear view mirror the sun is going down
    sinking behind bridges in the road
    and i think of all the good things
    that we have left undone
    and i suffer premonitions
    confirm suspicions
    of the holocaust to come
    the rusty wire that holds the cork
    that keeps the anger in
    gives way
    and suddenly it's day again
    the sun is in the east
    even though the day is done
    two suns in the sunset
    could be the human race is run
    like the moment when your brakes lock
    and you slide toward the big truck
    and stretch the frozen moments with your fear
    and you'll never hear their voices
    and you'll never see their faces
    you have no recourse to the law anymore
    and as the windshield melts
    my tears evaporate
    leaving only charcoal to defend
    finally i understand
    the feelings of the few
    ashes and diamonds
    foe and friend
    we were all equal in the end

    *** UPDATED ***

    According to the latest News on MSNBC, the US has refused to hold direct talks with North Korea to defuse this issue. The US maintains that the talks must include neighbouring nations, but North Korea insists that there stockpile of weapons is only to for stopping a US invasion. If they are to remove the weapons and their program, they desire aid, an end to sanctions and a non-aggression treaty with the US.

    In my opinion, the US will never bow to this. As shown time and again now, it is the "US way, or no way".

    Thursday, February 10, 2005

    Fallout 2 - The Addiction Continues

    After all these years, why am I still addicted to this game like it was chocolate covered marijuana? I mean I have played the living crap out of it (albeit I have not actually ever finished... soooo close too, darned reformats...), exploring different roles, and strategies. Now I have started a new game, again. I have played for hours.

    Lets see...

    Lots of guns and shooting - CHECK.

    Very detailed character development - CHECK

    The chance to be a Porn Star - CHECK

    A ton of exploration - CHECK

    A new quest around every corner - CHECK

    Damn... I knew it was the chance to be a Porn Star that put this over the top... Well you can also be a Prize Fighter, a Mobster, a Childkiller, a Slaver, a Pimp, a Drug Dealer... you name it. Of course, if you are a childkiller, there are continual run-ins with Bounty Hunters... Don't get me wrong, you can be a bad guy too :P Great Game. One of my top 5 games of ALL time.

    Hope for the Best, Brace for the Worst...

    Well yesterday was a day of turmoil. It actually started on Tuesday night, around 10 pm. We had just finished swapping some small valentine's things (we like doing things spontaneously sometimes), and after getting the lad off to bed, my wife and I were in the kitchen getting some Hot Apple Cider drinks, and she stretched up, only to be met by a pop and sharp stabbing pain in her lower back. She has had a lot of back problems, but not in the lower areas...

    At first, we didn't think it woul dbe too bad, but then it became increasingly evident that it was very serious, and she could not even move. For the next two hours, I held my breath and helped her do everything. She couldn't even lie down yet. Well after midnight we decided to go in to the hospital the next morning, just to give it a night of rest and see. I had my fingers crossed that it was a muscle strain (as I have had from repetitive lifting and trust me, it hurts like a Mutha....) and not something more serious, like a slipped disc etc.

    Finally got her laid down, and off to sleep we went. Come morning, I had to get up and make like I was getting ready for work. I had to drive the boy to school, and I knew from her reaction when I wolk up that I would need to take her in for sure. So after letting her rest some more, we had a tea and away we went. I hate driving with an injured person. Every bump in the road makes me feel like I am stabbing a knife in her back... Ouch... And with the snow on the roads, there were about a thousand strokes of the blade on the way there :(

    After getting to Emergency, we had the obligatory "over an hour" wait in the waiting area. I had to park so away I went to find some parking. They have been working on the Hospital in Red Deer for years now, so it is always a mess of construction and visitors etc... At any rate, finally we got into a small curtained off observation room. Had to help get the clothing changed into those evil blue smock things, that reveal your buttocks perfectly when you are walking down the hall. Further waiting brought the nurse, who had a quick look and that was about it.

    Finally the doctor, with some sort of european accent, came in and checked out the legs and other symptoms. Finally he deduced it was a "classic case of muscle strain" and he would prescribe some anti-inflammatories as well as some super pain meds. This seems very reassuring but at the same time, this is the latest trend in our province's health care system. Prescriptions... Garrr. Thank God I have a plan at work.

    So we wait and wait for the doc to come back with the prescriptions, and finally we decide to get her clothes back on. I open the curtains to announce that we are ready to hobble out of there, and the nurse looks up and says "Oh hold on, I was going to give you a shot for the pain..." So back on the bed goes the wife, and she gets a super shot in the hip of anti-inflammatories and pain killers... So now she has to lie there for 10 or 15 minutes. Well, 25 minutes later, the nurse comes back, checks the blood pressure and away we go.

    Once we got home, all she could do was rest. Back pain is so terrible. It is a chore to use the washroom, roll over in bed or do just about anything. I am glad now that the kids have the next two days off school. I have to work, but at least my son can look after her for a couple of days :)

    I hope and pray that it gets better right away though. She is a very active hard working person, and seeing her in pain like this and unable to function is really heart-wrenching. I also hope it is nothing more serious...

    *** UPDATED ***

    Well it has been a week now. Not a whole lot of progress. She went to the doctor again yesterday and they sent her for tons of x-rays. There are some issues going on though not specifically this injury. I am hoping they can maybe do something this time other than give her more pills....

    Tuesday, February 08, 2005

    Marketing Brand Name Crap

    I always wondered why companies try new things. Some are really bad. Take one of my all-time favorite candy bars... Nestle brand Coffee Crisp. Now I love the original flavored ones. Awesome bar. Sometimes I wolf 'em down fast, and sometimes I like to split them apart and eat them layer by layer. Delicious. The other day, I go out on a limb and I try a Nestle brand French Vanilla Coffee Crisp. Big mistake. This thing tastes like a total piece of cockapoo brand doggie dung. There is more. The NEstle brand Triple Mocha Coffee Crisp. Maybe they thought that since everyone nowadays is a bunch of bedwetters that can't be happy with a normal cup of Java and has to have triple mocha latte cinnamon twist chocolate sprinkled gut rot instead, they should make chocolate bars that taste the same.

    Just say no to flavors that taste like ass...

    It gets even worse than that. Raspberry flavored Nestle brand Kit Kat bars? What in the good name of Bob is that? Frig, the bars taste good already, and I am sure they sell enough of them as it is... so why do they need to blow the market open with stupid flavored options? I bet sales of *real* Nestle brand Coffee Crisps are down and those arseheads can't figure out why...

    *** UPDATED ***

    Alright, I have to agree totally with the explanation Halfwaymaggie gave. Surround your top selling product with other rubbish and there is no room left for the competition. It's classic. Do we really think that Coke is going to make a mint off of Diet Sugar Free Vanilla flavored Coca-Cola brand soda? Not on this ship mister. But if they take up 2 shelves in the cooler with the rubbish, there is less room for Pepsi brand sodas...

    Fat Is Phat

    So it is looking like the ever-increasing population of chunky folks is more and more content with the fact they are overweight. In a recent survey, according to MSNBC, 70% of overweight Americans are happy with their physical condition, and 66% are pleased with their physical appearance... Man. Whatever happened to the Greek Gods? Apollo is rolling over in his grave... er cloud, er whatever.

    It's funny however as it seems that 66% of them are not physically active, and a full 25% get NO exercise! People do not seem to care that a lack of exercise will kill them especially if their diet is suspect...

    It would also seem that most folks these days think of exercising as a single occurrence. Like going to the tennis club or a game of golf, instead of having a daily routine or establishing it as part of the usual lifestyle...

    Look at this guy. He even has a treadmill style exercise device right next to him, and instead of sweating off those pounds to look like that football star, he is using it to walk his dog... I hope the dog pees on his chairleg...

    Monday, February 07, 2005

    Budget Cuts? How about Trimming That Bush?

    Well obviously I am not an American but Bush's new budget of $2.57 Trillion is calling for some mighty budget cuts to make ends meet... Now this is from an MSNBC news story...

    Now color me stupid, but he wants to spend another $80 Billion to continue his war of aggression on oil rich Middle Eastern countries for another two years, but must cut valuable social programs (albeit some are bound to be useless and corrupt as always) such as reducing subsidies paid to the nation’s farmers, cutting health care payments for poor people and veterans, and trimming spending on the environment and education. Veterans? You mean the guys going over there right now? Wow.

    I dunno. If I *was* an American, I would be pretty pissed off.

    *** UPDATE ***

    I just found this chart showing the budget allocation... Man, look at that huge tan area called "Defence" er, or Aggression maybe.

    Many thanks to Frogs and Ravens for the chart....

    Notice that the HUGE area for "defense" doesn't even include Homeland Security or Interior, or Justice etc... I am sure Counterterrorism isn't in there either...

    From Beyond; The Pineal Gland

    It has long been thought that a small gland located at the geometric center of the brain is the "Third Eye", allowing people to see "Beyond" what is normally possible. This secret has been exposed in the past in the works of such brilliant authors as H.P. Lovecraft, and others. In fact, he theorises that the gland, when fully aroused, can physically emerge from the skull, and allow the person to "see" the creatures and other beings that are around us every day, and which we simply cannot see or comprehend. The illustration below show the location of the Pineal Gland. You can read his story "From Beyond" or watch the half butchered movie of the same name :)

    Much of the following information has been directly ripped off but oh well. It is time that many were made aware of the awesome powers inside their brains.

    The Pineal Gland is about the size of a pea, and is in the center of the brain in a tiny cave behind and above the pituitary gland which lies a little behind the root of the nose. It is located directly behind the eyes, attached to the third ventricle.

    The true function of this mysterious gland has long been contemplated by philosophers and Spiritual Adepts. Ancient Greeks believed the pineal gland to be our connection to the Realms of Thought. Descartes called it the Seat of the Soul. This gland is activated by Light, and it controls the various biorhythms of the body. It works in harmony with the hypothalamus gland which directs the body's thirst, hunger, sexual desire and the biological clock that determines our aging process.

    When the pineal gland awakens one feels a pressure at the base of the brain. This pressure will often be experienced when connecting to higher frequency. A head injury can also activate the Third Eye - Pineal Gland.

    While the physiological function of the pineal gland has been unknown until recent times, mystical traditions and esoteric schools have long known this area in the middle of the brain to be the connecting link between the physical and spiritual worlds. Considered the most powerful and highest source of ethereal energy available to humans, the pineal gland has always been important in initiating supernatural powers. Development of psychic talents has been closely associated with this organ of higher vision.

    The pineal gland contains a complete map of the visual field of the eyes and it plays several significant roles in human functioning.

    There is a pathway from the retinas to the hypothalamus called the retinohypothalamic tract. It brings information about light and dark cycles to a region of the hypothalamus called the suprachiasmatic nucleus(SCN). From the SCN, nerve impulses travel via the pineal nerve (sympathetic nervous system) to the pineal gland. These impulses inhibit the production of melatonin. When these impulses stop (at night, when light no longer stimulates the hypothalamus), pineal inhibition ceases and melatonin is released. The pineal gland is therefore a photosensitive organ and an important timekeeper for the human body.

    Retinal research done with hamsters demonstrates another center for melatonin production. Located in the retina, this center implies that the eyes have their own built in circadian timepiece. This retinal system is distinct from the brains body clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Biologists found that they could throw the retinal rhythms out of sync with other circadian cycles. They also found that they could set and reset the retinal clock even when the SCN was destroyed.

    The retinal clock produces (stimulates the production of?) melatonin. Researchers are now looking for the exact location (s) of this clock in the human eye (and expect to find it). No one yet knows what the separate clock is for or how it relates to the SCN.

    In some lower vertebrates the Epiphysis Cerebri - Pineal Gland - has a well-developed eye-like structure; in others though not organized as an eye, if functions as a light receptor. In lower vertebrates, the pineal gland has an eye like structure and it functions as a light receptor and is considered by some to be the evolutionary forerunner of the modern eye.

    The gland weighs little more than 0.1 gram. The gland is large in children and begins to shrink with the onset of puberty. It appears to play a major role in sexual development, hibernation in animals, metabolism, and seasonal breeding. In humans it affects circadian rhythms, sleep patterns (melatonin levels increase at night), and is implicated in seasonal affective disorder. The abundant melatonin levels in children is believed to inhibit sexual development. When puberty arrives, melatonin production is reduced.

    The pineal gland secretes melanin during times of relaxation and visualization. As we are created by electromagnetic energy - and react to EM energy stimuli around us - so does the pineal gland.

    When activated, the pineal gland becomes the line of communication with the higher planes. The crown chakra reaches down until its vortex touches the pineal gland. Prana, or pure energy, is received through this energy center in the head. With Practice the vibration level of the astral body is raised, allowing it to separate from the physical.

    To activate the 'third eye' and perceive higher dimensions, the pineal gland and the pituitary body must vibrate in unison, which is achieved through meditation and/or relaxation. When a correct relationship is established between personality, operating through the pituitary body, and the soul, operating through the pineal gland, a magnetic field is created. The negative and positive forces interact and become strong enough to create the 'light in the head.' With this 'light in the head' activated, astral projectors can withdraw themselves from the body, carrying the light with them.

    Astral travel, and other occult abilities, are closely associated with the development of the 'light in the head'. After physical relaxation, concentration upon the pineal gland is achieved by staring at a point in the middle of the forehead. Without straining the muscles of the eye, this will activate the pineal gland and the 'third eye'. Beginning with the withdrawal of the senses and the physical consciousness, the consciousness is centered in the region of the pineal gland. The perceptive faculty and the point of realization are centralized in the area between the middle of the forehead and the pineal gland. The trick is to visualize, very intently, the subtle body escaping through the trap door of the brain. A popping sound may occur at the time separation of the astral body in the area of the pineal gland.

    Visualization exercises are the first step in directing the energies in our inner systems to activate the 'third eye'. The magnetic field is created around the pineal gland, by focusing the mind on the midway point between the pineal gland and the pituitary body. The creative imagination visualizes something, and the thought energy of the mind gives life and direction to this form.

    'Third eye' development, imagination, and visualization are important ingredients in many methods to separate from the physical form. Intuition is also achieved through 'third eye' development. Knowledge and memory of the astral plane are not registered in full waking consciousness until the intuition becomes strong enough. Flashes of intuition come with increasing consistency as the 'third eye' as activated to a greater degree, through practice.

    The pineal gland corresponds with divine thought after being touched by the vibrating light of Kundalini. Kundalini starts its ascent towards the head center after responding to the vibrations from the 'light in the head.' The light is located at the top of the sutratma, or 'soul thread', which passes down from the highest plane of our being into the physical vehicle.

    The 'third eye,' or 'eye of Siva,' the organ of spiritual vision, is intimately related to karma, as we become more spiritual in the natural course of evolution.

    As human beings continue to evolve further out of matter, on the journey from spirit to matter back to spirit, the pineal gland will continue to rise from its state of age-long dormancy, bringing back to humanity astral capacities and spiritual abilities.

    At certain brainwave frequencies, a sense of ego boundary vanishes. In the theta state, we are resting deeply and still conscious, at the threshold of drifting away from or back into conscious awareness. As the brain enters deeper states, our consciousness is less concerned with the physical state, our 'third eye' is active, and separation becomes natural. Many native traditions and mystical practices refer to the ability of 'seeing,' or being aware of energy fields at higher levels. This abstract awareness is much more subjective and does not involve the normal level of mundane consciousness, which is mostly concerned with self-identity. This 'seeing' refers to the sight of the 'third eye'.

    Consciousness is raised from an emotional nature into an illumined awareness when the pineal gland is lifted from dormancy. If the pineal gland is not yet fully developed, it will be in the course of evolution. When our sense of ego and personality are set aside and we keep our mental energy intact, we can become conscious of the non-physical, our inner self, the subconscious, through different practices to activate the 'light in the head.'

    Reflections On A Week of Turmoil

    Well turmoil may be a rough word.

    Generally I think I would say that I call things like i see. I have no real political affiliations or agendas, and for the most part, I keep my rantings and complaints about the world to a minimum. Once in a while, I may blurt out something, or get caught up in a brief discussion.

    Last week was different. I would sit and look out my office window, and wonder what could happen if it all went wrong. I wondered what would happen if things went right. I wondered if I could make a difference.

    The battle against Alberto Gonzales was something I believed in, and became passionately involved with on a daily basis. For a week, I was literally consumed with the battle. I'm not sure if I have felt that way about something before, or maybe it is simply that now I have the tools to *try* to make a difference.

    Well, the battle was lost, but the war goes on. All we can do now is watch what happens, and speak out when possible. Between the 100 letters to Senators I sent last week, and the countless mails shared between total strangers, I think I tried to make that difference, and when it is all mellow again, I feel good about it. It isn't just a case of Bush bashing and opposing him and his policies, but I think it is amuch grander scale. The sort of things going on in or world right now are of the darkest and most evil. When the side that has classically been labelled as "The good 'Ol Boys" starts taking on the role of the Bad Guys, the Aggressors, then it is time for change.

    There are many more battles to come to be sure... Whether or not I am passionate about them is another story, but for now, I have met some great people, and I have found some great reading.

    All I can say is every minute of it was worth the chance to make a difference!

    And above all, continue to stand up against tyranny, torture and injustice!

    Sunday, February 06, 2005

    It's All Over...

    Well the game was pretty cool. It's been a long time so I had fun. The kids had fun. It was a good time :D

    They lost though, the bums...

    With 3:58 left in the third, trailing 3 to 1, Sutter pulls the goalie with hopes of getting a couple. Sure enough, a 2 on 1 and a break the other way and it's 4 to 1.

    Good crowd though, and some real exciting plays. I plan on going to more :)

    Saturday, February 05, 2005

    Off to the Game!

    Well, off to the Rebels game right away! Should be awesome :D

    Friday, February 04, 2005

    Stairwell Etiquette

    Alright... this has been bugging me for some time. It happens to everyone, all the time. I have generally good manners, and I am the sort of fellow that will wait to hold a door open for someone, especially the elderly.
    What happens if, you are on a stairwell. One of those nice ones that is half and half. If you are at the halfway landing and the other person is just entering the stairwell, should you wait and hold the door open? Should you rush up the last half of the stairs so you don't need to?
    If you are at the door to the Post Office, what is an acceptable distance for another person to be away from you for you to NOT hold the door open? 10 yards? 5 yards? You can easily get trapped into being "Jeeves the Postal Butler" if you set this distance too far....
    Back to the stairs. If you enter the stairwell after holding the door open to allow another person through, should you wait a few seconds before following them up or down the stairs? Maybe ride real close in case their personal distance fo rdoor holding is only 2 feet...?
    Sheesh, these things just bug the hell out of me... Next time someone doesn't say thanks, I'm gonna push by the person, let a ripper go and bolt up the stairs as fast as I can, shouting "Catch this lardo...."

    D&D *IS* Sexy....

    Found this cartoon on

    Just goes to show that playing Dungeons and Dragons IS sexy :P

    It's Back!!!!

    Well, the SNOW is back. In force too. I propose a war of our own up here in Canada. Lets have a War on Weather... Invade the States where it is generally nicer and let them have our snow!!!
    Damn, woke up to about 6 inches this morning, and ended up shovellign our Olympic Pool sized driveway before leaving for work. This is NOT how I like to start a day!!!

    Thursday, February 03, 2005

    Gonzales Confirmed....

    Well, like the President and his Administration, they get what they ask for.
    Alberto Gonzales was just confirmed as the US Attorney General...
    Again, to quote what one Senator said in his auto-response to me,
    "He is the embodiment of the American dream, a man whose hard work, legal sense and intellect have already lifted him to some of the highest positions of trust in our nation."
    Yeah, and his evasiveness in answering questions regarding the torture and treatment of prisoners is typical of the people whose trust he has earned...

    Blue Skies, Smiling at me...

    Nothing but blue skies, Do I see...
    Beautiful outside today. Last day of this great weather. We have been around the +5 to +10 mark for days now, and tonight it all ends. By Saturday, it will be -17 or so again...
    I can't wait for spring. Time to go get therapy for my SAD.

    Nuremberg Rising...

    Taken from a post on ZNET by Scott Horton of the LA Times
    >"This so-called ill treatment and torture in detention centers, stories of which were spread everywhere among the people, and later by the prisoners who were freed ... were not, as some assumed, inflicted methodically, but were excesses committed by individual prison guards, their deputies, and men who laid violent hands on the detainees."
    Most people who hear this quote today assume it was uttered by a senior officer of the Bush administration. Instead, it comes from one of history's greatest mass murderers, Rudolf Hoess, the SS commandant at Auschwitz. Such a confusion demonstrates the depth of the United States' moral dilemma in its treatment of detainees in the war on terror.<
    I, like most readers, assumed the Statement was from the US Admin. In light of what has been happening, no wonder. With Gonzales on the stage to become Attorney General, this could bring special meaning now.
    When I was younger, I watched the movie "Judgement at Nuremberg". Most is sketchy, but we all should at least know this was where the Allies (mainly the Americans and Russians no doubt) put the German SS officers on trial for WAR CRIMES and crimes against humanity... torture, genocide, you name it. It is almost Ironic that one of the administrations that was so heavily against such acts is on the verge of opening the door to such terrible policies yet again.
    This taken from MSNBC...
    "As the White House’s top lawyer, Gonzales was a prime architect of some of the Bush White House's most controversial legal stands: to deny Geneva Convention protections to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; to define “torture” in extremely narrow terms, and to declare U.S. citizens as “enemy combatants” who could be locked up indefinitely without access to lawyers."
    We can only hope that guys like this do NOT represent the desire of a nation whose core beliefs are based upon freedom and democracy.

    Wednesday, February 02, 2005

    Funniest Spot To Find My Link...

    Well I was checking out some of the stats for my *real* website the other night, and I noticed that there was a link to my MINIATURE PAINTING site in a very strange spot. Now since my site is called "The Miniature Painting GUILD" it would seem logical that those mindless 'bots would find it and add it as a link on Guitar Guide under GUILD Guitars!!!!!

    The best part of all is that the only Guitar I play is an Ibanez, and the only mention of guitars on my site is Ibanez Guitars

    Canned Reply from Senator Chambliss...

    Well I received one response so far from my letters to the Senators, from Saxby Chambliss, Republican from Georgia.

    "Dear Mr. Evans:

    Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding the President's nomination of Judge Alberto Gonzales to serve as Attorney General and your concerns about illegal immigration. I appreciate hearing from you.

    Judge Gonzales has an impressive background that makes him an excellent nominee for the position of Attorney General. In his most recent capacity, Judge Gonzales served as Counsel to President Bush. Prior to his service at the White House, Judge Gonzales served for then Governor George W. Bush as Texas' 100th Secretary of State and then as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas.

    Among Judge Gonzales' other professional positions, he was elected to the American Law Institute, served as a board trustee of the Texas Bar Foundation, was a board director for the State Bar of Texas, and was President of the Houston Hispanic Bar Association.

    Judge Gonzales has received many honors, including induction into the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Alumni Hall of Fame and receipt of the Good Neighbor Award from the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce. He further was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus of Rice University and was honored by the Harvard Law School Association.

    I have no doubt that with Judge Gonzales' impressive background he will be objective and fair as Attorney General. I stand behind the President's decision to nominate Judge Gonzales to the position of Attorney General, and I intend to vote in favor of his nomination.

    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me as always I appreciate hearing from you. In the meantime, if you would like to receive timely email alerts regarding the latest congressional actions and my weekly e-newsletter, please sign up via my web site at:


    Saxby Chambliss

    United States Senate"

    Naturally, I made no reference to illegal immigrants in my letter, and another person received the exact same response. It's a pity politician's value our input so much, yet they cannot even be bothered to read the letters they receive. I wrote back of course, but I will likely receive the exact same letter again!

    "Thank you for the reply Senator Chambliss.

    I understand he is a highly "decorated" man. Unfortunately, even the most highly regarded person could very well be inherently evil. If justifying torture and the mistreatment of prisoners is what the Attorney General does, then he will indeed be an excellent candidate!

    Yours respectfully,

    Glyn (ZaPhOd) Evans"

    *** UPDATED ***

    Well I did not receive anythign further from Senator Chambliss, but I did receive a response from Senator Harkin. His response is also a "canned" response but more sensible I think. Remember these folks likely get 1000000 letters a day, so it is no wonder they send generic mails.

    An excerpt of his mail respons is here:

    "Mr. Gonzales currently serves as the White House Counsel, the top legal advisor to the President. As White House Counsel, he was involved in the decision making regarding the policies that permitted torture of suspected terrorists, and that likely led to the abuses at Abu Ghraib. His confirmation hearing in the Senate was the first time he was asked publicly to account for his role in development of these policies. I am currently reviewing Mr. Gonzales answers to these questions.

    The Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer of the Federal government and is responsible for upholding the rule of law. I will be closely examining Mr. Gonzales' responses on these issues before deciding whether I believe he is qualified to be the Attorney General. Your views are important to me. Please be assured that as the Senate proceeds through the nomination process I will carefully consider your advice and input."

    It's good to see some folks are actually considering all aspects of this, and not blindly following some political agenda.

    Hmmm. Another response just in from Senator George Allen...

    "Dear Mr Evans:

    Thank you for contacting me regarding President Bush’s nomination of Alberto Gonzales to become the next Attorney General of the United States.

    I appreciate your concerns and value to opportunity to respond.

    I applaud President Bush’s nomination of Alberto Gonzalez. He is the embodiment of the American dream, a man whose hard work, legal sense and intellect have already lifted him to some of the highest positions of trust in our nation. I look forward to his confirmation hearings and a fair vote before the U.S. Senate. I am confident that he will make an outstanding U.S. Attorney General."

    The "embodiment of the American dream"????? Wow. This guy has lost his sense of reality...

    Hockey Blues...

    In a recent appearance on Saturday Night Live, Brett Hull answered some pretty tough questions about Canadians, homosexuals and hockey...

    Hull was asked about Canada's Supreme Court ruling last week stating that gay marriage was constitutional, allowing the federal government to call on Parliament to legalize same-sex unions nationwide.
    "That's what happens in Canada when there's no hockey," Hull replied to laughter. "Guys have more time to hang out, talk about their feelings and fall in love with each other. I have nothing against it, but I'd rather be playing hockey."
    Now whether this is true or not is anyone's guess of course. This all being said, I begin to wonder about Hockey, the Money and the Lockout. I love hockey. Even when I am mad at the refs, the rules, or the players. It is a fast and furious sport, and is unparalleled when it comes to entertainment value.
    Is it worth the Big Bucks? One of the sticking points to me with the lockout is the desire of the NHLPA (Player's Friggin Union) to have NO salary cap. In a market like the NHL, the revenues are simply not there. If the money is not the same as Baseball, Football or Basketball, how can the players expect to get paid the same? What is the problem with *only* making $1 million a year? Is it too little to get by on? Maybe $2 million is far more adequate.
    The way I see it, the majority of the players (I will not attempt to research or guess the numbers) do not fall into a salary range that would even be affected by a Salary Cap. These guys are the ones that are really suffering right now. They don't get to play, they don't get paid, and if they did, they would only make $700 K maybe anyhow! So the FEW players at the upper salary ranges are the ones that are going to be hit by a Cap. Fair enough. So why not have THEM sit out, and let the others all play? If a guy is the best player around (remember Gretz????) maybe he deserves $10 million. Maybe it should be in bonuses... If he gets 50 goals, or 120 points or whatever...
    As much as I laughed at Brett Hull's comments, I would DARE anyone to show me how he is worth the $5 million salary he signed for with Phoenix. Is it the goals? The points? The raw skills that the aging veteran shows? Give me a break. These are the guys that are ultimately responsible for the lockout. Either washed up vets, or mediocre guys that signed ridiculous contracts when they got started (heh remember Alexander Daigle and his $1 million deal comig out of the Juniors...)
    So now, I think it is time to embrace Junior hockey. World Cup. Anything except getting these rich bastards richer. I would give my left nut for the amount of money Brett Hull makes in ONE GAME!!!! It is more than my yearly salary. And they complain.

    SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL JUNIORS!!!! I am going to a game Saturday between the Red Deer Rebels and the Kootenay Ice. Go Rebels Go!
    *** UPDATED ***
    I stand corrected in the fact that the players are in fact being paid by the Union while the lockout is in effect. Naturally, it is a paultry sum compared to their usual salaries, but it still puts mine to shame (and I have to work EVERY day)... I am thinking this pay scale may be linked the normal salary scale or perhaps the type of Free Agency etc. that the player falls under.
    Another point that has been brought up is that the Owners themselves should treat the business as a business as opposed to a "My team rules" kind of thing. I still somewhat disagree with that entire mentality however, as the New York Rangers can prove time and again, the highest payroll means nothing (since they can't even make the playoffs)... I would take an entire team of hard working under $1 million players to the Rangers any day.

    Tuesday, February 01, 2005

    Say No To Torture, Say No To Gonzales

    This week marks the timeframe that the US Senate will vote on Alberto Gonzales' confirmation as Attorney General. To paraphrase a message from
    "If every blogger on the No-to-Gonzales list and every reader (who agrees) calls their senator, we could have a significant impact on the outcome of the voting..."
    I strongly believe that the treatment of foreign prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison and other locations is wrong, and that taking the stance of "The end justifies the means" is degrading the values that civilized nations should truly be standing up for...
    *** UPDATED ***
    Well, today I sifted through the US Senate site, and either e-mailed each Senator or sent webmail with a plea to vote against this. It will likely do nothing but I feel as though *I* have at least done something! Too bad my Zip Code was 90210 no matter what State I was in :D

    All opinions shared on this site are strictly my own. Some people may disagree and that is fine, but rude comments or overzealous debate will be curtailed. I enjoy civil discourse, and encourage independent thought. I oppose George W. Bush and his Wars based on lies.

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