Saturday, December 31, 2005

Lost World - The Museum

Humans and dinosaurs living together - mass hysteria!

Don't these people have something better to do with the silly amounts of money people donate to them?

Sunday, December 25, 2005

A Christmas Song


Bow Down

Bow Down

Before the power of Santa

Or

Be crushed

Be crushed

By

His Jolly Boots of Doom

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Christmas Plans

So, like...are we having a get together or something?

I'll be in Hagerstown on the 24th and 25th and can come up more or less whenever the following week as well.

What's the plan my peeps?

Friday, December 16, 2005

War On Christmas

Apparently, there is a War on Christmas by the liberals. I wasn't aware of this, but the guys that run the liberal agenda meet in some darkend room smoking cigars and talking about how they destroy Christmas. It's quite impressive.

Some of the attacks are forcing retail stores to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas! Nevermind that perhaps these stores want to switch to Happy Holidays because there is more than Christmas going on this time of the year.

In any case, the counter attack has been swift. Why, check out this House Resolution our protectors in the House passed today. Thank god they are looking out for us and Christmas.

What load of crap. Anyone thinking there is any sort of organized War on Christmas has a victim complex they need to get professional help for. That House Resolution bill is real and was passed today. An attempted amendment was to include Chanukah in the bill as well but that was turned down. Fucking hypocrites.

Here is a history of Christmas so you can be sure of just how much of the holiday isn't Christian.

Merry Christmachanukwanzakah to you and yours.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Random Laughing

Read this first.

So can you think of anytime when you just laughed because of your thoughts? I do it all the time, usually because I'm picturing something in my head that's funny. When I think of an example I'll stick it up here.

Comment damn it.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Cult vs Organized Religon

Short post, two quotes.

"Just because a religion has millions or billions of people doesn't mean it's not a cult" - John Kautz (my brother)

"A cult is a religion with no political power" - Tom Wolfe

Discuss.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Worship the Resulting Singularity!

Can someone please tell me just what the hell this guy is talking about?

After your head explodes, this should fix it. It's worth the wait.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Doubt = Death

That is one of the points that a movie I just watch about Christianity makes that I found very interesting. Basically, what it boils down to is this: Jesus will forgive you for any sin except one, and that is denial of the holy ghost. The holy ghost is all around you and if you don't feel it, if you don't believe it is there, if you ever start to doubt in it's existence then you may be committing the one eternal sin. Put another way, you go to hell if you think. Convienent.

On a more historical note, I found something else in this movie interesting. It talked about the beginings of Chirstianity and how Christians are very fuzzy on just what happened in the early years after jeebus's death. In particular, there is a four decade long span between his death around 33 AD to about 70 AD when the bible first mentions something that can be dated. So what happened in the 40 years between the two? The only record comes from Paul who doesn't seems to know about anything that is 'common knowledge' about jeebus's life such as his birth, the miracles, the wise men, etc. In fact, the only things he does recongnize about jeebus's life is his death and rebirth and all of that happened in a mythical plane of existence. And if that isn't great, other stories of the day about other religious figures (i.e., Pagan) follow very similiar story lines. How very very interesting.

Another thing it points out during Jeebus's life is what the heck was he doing between the ages of 18 and 30? He like disappears. Living with wolves I guess.

All in all the movie is very good and the music is great. It is pretty educational and asks some questions I wouldn't mine seeing attempted answers to in the Biblical scholar community.

In any case, on June 6th, 2006 a movie called The Beast is coming out exploring a lot of these same ideas by the guy that did the documentary I've been talking about. What a great release date for a movie called The Beast! 6-6-06. Nice.

Anyway, check out da trailers. First, we have The God Movie which is the documentary.

Check out the short clips about the movie here. The clips raise some good points on there own.

Secondly, we have The Beast.

Comment!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Christmas, Christianity, and Social Control

For a long title, a short post.

Basically it goes back to the earlier post about moving Christmas. Christmas is actually a bastardized version of two celebrations, the birth of Christ for the Christians, and the Unconquered Sun celebration for the pagans. Here is a short history of Unconquered Sun and why the birth of christ was actually moved from Jan 6th to Dec 25th.

And the Yule Log has nothing to do with Christianity.

So if you don't put up a nativity, and you don't sing the religous x-mas carols, you can celebrate Christmas and divorce the christian references all together. I find that interesting and oddly comforting.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Veal of the Sea

Since no one commented on HuFu, here is a picture that might get your attention.




Comment biatches.

BTW, you can click on the picture.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Perspective

“Man is in the world as if in a pure optical and sound situation. The reaction of which man has been deprived can be replaced only by belief. Only belief in the world can reconnect man to what he sees and hears. The cinema must film, not the world, but belief in this world, our only link...Restoring out belief in the world — this is the power of modern cinema (when it stops being bad)...we need reasons to believe in this world.” — Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 2, p. 172


Have I writeen about perspective yet? The above quote is in regards to films but I think it deals with perspective as the way I see it. When you start talking about truth and morality and things like that I don't think you can really say there is any real truth or morality that is absolute. I think you can believe in an absolute truth and morality in regards to a particular culture, but outside of that culture that abolsute truth or morality isn't necessarily absolute anymore. I think I just lost myself on that.

What I'm getting out is the way you experience the world and what you believe is all a matter of perspective. You view things through the lens of your experiences. Those experiences are what you rely on to determine what is true, what is moral, what is right. Your experiences are going to be different from mine, thus a different lens and a different perspective on what is true, what is moral, and what is right. We probably agree on a lot of the same things, but not all, because we come from the same American culture. However, if you sit down with an Iraqi fundamentilist, or hell, and American fundamentilist, the perspective different between you and them is going to be HUGE. Suddenly, what is true, what is moral, and what is right is very different for the two of you. Who is to say whose truth is absolute? I think saying your truth is more right than theirs is the height of arrogance and is the root of most misunderstandings.

Jeebus, what the hell have I been smoking?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Glowing Meat

Where can I get some of this?

Good

Ok, the House isn't completely brain dead. They rejected the measure that including cutting out $8 billion in funding for bird flu research.

Hopefully it'll stick around this time.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Birds!

Uh oh, two political posts in a row. Sorry.

I was trying not to post anything about the bird flu 'pandemic' because it isn't. But something caught my eye today that pissed me off so I thought I'd chirp in.

First, some facts. The bird flu, H5N1, has been around for awhile. This particular straing first popped up in 1997 and killed six people in Hong Kong. It came up again in 2003, only killing one person. Second, in it's current form it can only jump from birds to humans, not from human to human. It would have to mutate to do that and the chances of it mutating in such a manner are slim. In fact, it's been watching since 2003 for just such occurance. So why is it a big deal all of a sudden? Who knows. For more facts about the bird flu, go here.

Now, the avarian flu, bird flu, H5N1, whatever you want to call it, is not pandemic since it doesn't transfer from human to human. It's not even endemic for the same reason. And if it were to start transfering from human to human, there is nothing that says it will certainly turn into a pandemic. In my opinion it is just a bunch of hype to increase rating and to distract people. So the government should take some steps, maybe put out a website addressing avarian bird flu, to calm people down, right? Sure, but why on EARTH would you call it www.pandemicflu.gov?? Jesus H Christ, what the fuck is that?

But that's not what really pisses me off about that. What really really really gets my goat is this: Lawmakers reject emergency bird flu funds. Are you fucking kidding me? It's the one thing Bush did right in this mess was to ask for $7.1 billion dollars so we could start producing vaccine and the like in case a flu ever became pandemic. It takes time for this stuff to ramp up and the flu vaccine shortage last year just screams we need more infrastructure in place. What the hell is wrong with these people? If you want to cut money from somewhere so you can fund responsibilities that are the federal government take money from pork programs that make no sense like The Bridge to Nowhere.

And don't even get me started on the f'ing tax cuts for the wealthy that these dipshits are still trying to push through at the expense of social programs that could actually help victims of the hurricanes this year.

Big Money and the Dem Party Realignment

Eek, big words.

Anyway, there is a realignment going on inside the democratic party that has been a long time in coming. What it boils down is that the Republican party started something called the 'K Stree Project' which was an effort to woo the big money guys on K Street (lobbiest and that sort) over to the Republican party and starve the Dems of a major source of funding. Pretty good idea and with the repubs winning both chambers of congress and the WH the K Street Project was working.

Unfortunately for them and good for us, this happened after the Internet revolution and not before it. What the Dems found after 2000 was that they could actually raise more money from lots of small donors than they were getting from a few big money donors. As a result, a lot of the leadership in the dem party and, in particular, state and country boards and the like are starting to distance themselves from the lobbists.

Any major change or realignment in a political party has to come from the base and that means the states, counties, cities, etc. The big story from the elections last week isn't that we picked up the Governerships in both NJ and VA, although that was important. The big story is that we won in almost every small election country wide that isn't in Ohio. Ohio is a different mess and it will be interesting to see what turns up there.

Big money and lobbiests in general in politics is a bad thing. I don't care how pure you are going into public service, if someone is offering you quite a bit of money or access to their private jet whenever you want it or whatever, it would be hard not to let that influence you to some degree. Lobbiests get the ears of the representatives that should be listening to us, not them.

Anyway, to wrap this all up. I've come to believe that in order for change to happen and for the country to get back to being true to what the people want, one or both of the parties need to separate themselves from the big money lobbiests. I don't care what party does it, it just has to happen. It finally looks like it is going that direction.

Here is a link about the Dems distancing themselves from K Street for anyone who made it this far. Click me!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

It's People!

Ok, well, not really. But check this out: HuFu

I've known about this for a few weeks, but I kept forgetting to post about it. No, its not a spoof or satire, it's real. The FAQ and the Receipes are the best.

Move Christmas!

Christmas is the wrong time of the year. It's too early in the winter to be of any use. It needs to be moved to the end of January.

You see, the Christmas season is fun. Most people are cheerfull and the lights are pretty. With Christmas being where it is now you have it out shining Turkey Day. But more importantly, once Christmas ends you still have two months of winter to deal with. It's just too fricken early. Now, if it was at the end of January, you would already be halfway through winter. Wouldn't that be great!

Also, what's up with Christmas being so dang close to New Years. We need some breathing room here. Move it, dang it.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Political Compass

Ok, here is a good test to figure out where you stand in politics. I was actually pretty surprised where I turned up. I know I may come across super hard core lefty but that's only in reaction to the crazy religious righties that managed to sneak there way into government. I actually agree with a fair amount of traditional conservative values, although I'm left of center.

Anyway, you all should take a few mintues and take this so we can all compare.

My scores are:

Economic Left/Right: -5.25
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.46

That sticks me near Nelson Mandela, The Dalai Lama, and Ghandi. :) Ok, so I am a lefty. Actually, according to this thing I am a Libertarian Lefty. I can live with that. Power to the people!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Talking To Myself

Well, since it looks like I'm just posting for myself I figured I'd just stick a link in every now and then that I find funny or disturbing. This one's both, so I can remember it.

Landover Baptist

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

XBox 2

Here it is, for those that care, a picture of the new XBox:

Xbox 2

Blue Balls

First and foremost, GO COLTS!! Finally.

Second, at work we are coming up with several jingles and advertising campaigns. It's actually a lot of fun. I came up with the new slogan.

Third, my neighbors are moving to Leesburg. They purchased a very nice house out there near where I used to live way back when. I'm jealous but in a good way.

Forth, not sure if I mentioned this in other posts by Shay, my neighbors daughter, was on a sugar high Halloween night and was running around in circles saying 'Candy Candy Candy' over and over again. It was awesome. Apparently, yesterday she was doing the same thing after eating veggies but saying 'I love vegetables' instead.

Fifth, I have this big thingy sitting in the middle of my foyer that is eventually going to be come the Coolest. Toy. Ever. More on that later.

And, finally, here are the Blue Balls. Make sure your sound is on.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Halloween and Leather Pants

Well, we didn't have the typical 60+ kids this year for some reason. So that sucked. But the fog machine rocked. The funniest thing was the first use of it. This kid in a cat outfit came up to the door and was asking for candy. While Becky handed some out I hit the smoke machine. The dad saw the smoke coming out of the pumpkin and flipped out because he thought his kid's tail was on fire. :) Opps.

Anyway, I also carved that skull looking pumpkin into a skull. Anyone know how to preserve a pumpkin? Here are some pictures:


The setup. Smokey on top.


Here is the skull smoking.


Check out how the smoke stays in there and fogs the eyes. It would stay like that for a few minutes.


Here is what I think is the best shot of the skull smoking. I love the way it comes out of his eyes. Its a dark picture because it was no flash. The candle lit the skull up better than that and the teeth kicked ass.


Check out that glowing bastard. Scarry...

Yay Halloween!

Oh, and here is the thing about leather pants.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Pumpkins and the Coolest. Thing. Ever.

Sorry, no clever title this time. I'm tired.

Anyway, I was up late late late last night carving pumpkins with Amy. Here are some pictures:


Amy digging out the guts


Amy trying the thin the wall of her pumpkin so the light shines through.


Amy part way through the most detailed pumpkin carving ever.


Amy's finished product. Now that is dedication.


My pumpkin.


My pumpkin's backside and a tube. Why? You'll see.


My pumpkin's name is Lee.


A pumpkin that is shaped like a skull and will become one Saturday night.


The pumpkin family.


Ok, so why does my pumpkin have a backside and a tube covered in duct tape? Well, because of the Coolest. Thing. Ever. This:


Ohh...what is it?


Maybe this will help?


That's right, a FOG MACHINE!!


Darin...coming in out of the fog...


So what the hell does the Coolest. Thing. Ever. have to do with a pumpking with a butt hole and a tube?

Check it out:



Now imagine that at night with a red light in the pumpkin or something along those lines. Poor kiddies.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Of Fingernails and Airplanes

So a week ago Sunday I was hanging out at my neighbors watching the football games on the tube. I was just sitting there, minding my own business when their little girl, Shay, says something I can't understand and the two of them start cracking up. I'm all like 'What?' and they are all like 'You'll see'. So Shay gets this pink case out and comes over to where I am on the couch and opens it up. Fingernail polish. 'Uh oh' I think. Turns out, what she said was 'Ryan purple nails?'. Oh the agony! So for the next 30 minutes while I sit drinking a beer and watching football I have a two year old painting three of nails (and most of the tip of my finger) purple with glittery things.

The next day, last Monday, I had my refinance settlement at 10 am in Fairfax and had to catch a plane to Seattle in the evening. I went to bed totally forgetting my fingernails were painted. I only remembered the next morning while getting ready to head out to my settlement that I had three painting fingernails on my left hand. So I gave the neighbors a call and asked if they had any fingernail polish remover. In between breaths from laughing so hard Becky said yes so I went on down and cleaned up the fingernails. Off to the settlement then the plane.

As many of you know I refused to fly on an airplane for four years out of General Principle, which we have talked about. Over the summer Leslie and I flew Independence Air down to Florida for her sister's wedding. I had one kinda tense moment on the landing but all in all it was a positive experience. However, this flight was on Independence Air but five hours all by myself! :) Not to bore you with the details, but my flying ass is Back! No problems, bring on the planes.

I did buy a PSP and loaded up with UMD movies and games, so that helped. :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Mind Bullets!

'That's telekensis, Kyle'


Be you angels?

'Nay, we are but men. Rock!'


'And the funny thing my friends is the song we sang that night didn't actually sound anything like this song! This is just a tribute!'

Friday, September 09, 2005

WTF? Freedom March My Ass

Now this is just plain offensive. Four foot high snow fencing? Have to register to be part of the 'freedom march'? Arrested if you join mid-march? Are you fucking kidding me?

Monday, August 15, 2005

What Ever Happened To...

Add or answer as you see fit.

...water wars?
...cheap 9-volt battery water uzi's that you could hook up to a lantern battery and a backpack full of water?
...Evan?
...Dave Penner?
...Yoda's head?
...North High's record setting marching band?
...Noel Kunkle?
...Dana, Hammer, and the other people on the AMA Blue Tour?
...camping out?
...BBQs on my deck?
...Crime Buster movies?
...Kris's credit in the third one (does anyone still have this)?
...child-hood innocence?
...time to smell the flowers?
...The Asylum?
...WOTG?
...Dr. J?
...Brian?
...April?
...my degree (or lack of one)?
...dreams?
...my old contracts?
...motivation?
...hill hopping?
...my mom's old Subaru?
...my old yellow Celica (Kitty Hawk)?
...sign stealing?
...Bob's finger?
...Mandy?
...MCR?
...Leitersburg Theater?
...the treehouse in my backyard?
...the tree in my backyard?
...the Woods?
...playing paintball?
...Ben's character with the REALLY bad luck when we played Legionaire?
...Mr. Reinhart?
...simplicity?
...that club Jamie and I wanted to start with its own club vehicle?
...breadsticks and Pizza hut?
...Mt Aetna (sp)?
...the Golden Foot?
...haunted houses in my basement?
...going from a 97 degree hot tub to a 64 degree pool and then playing Street Fighter all night long?
...Guile?
...surfing on top of a moving car?
...getting off the moving car in the middle of the night on MCR and watching it drive off into the distance?
...those guys in the white truck with shovels in the descecrated grave yard at midnight on Halloween night on MCR?
...Space: Above and Beyond?
...my high metabolism?
...hanging out?

...the last 30 years?

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Berated by Kirk Cameron

Ok.

Don't even ask where I find this stuff, I don't want to talk about it.

But go here. Click 'No' when it asks if you are a Christian or not, then set back and watch good ol' Kirk berate you.

When you are done with that, reload the page and then click 'Yes' for the same question and get berated again for not saving everyone you know.

*sigh*

Thursday, August 04, 2005

I Don't Know What To Title This

Umm, read this, particularly those of you that played AD&D with me back in the day.

WTF?

Excuse me while I go repent.


UPDATE: Ok, I repented by reading this. Now thats funny.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Letting It Happen Naturally

So with Leslie and I split up and me single again, I've entered into territory I'm not familiar with. While I was with Leslie, I didn't go out of my way to make friends of the opposite sex, let alone try to date anyone. I now find myself in the position of needing to take more risks and put myself out there more, which is very hard for me to do around people I don't know.

After a lot of thinking on this I think my attitude toward dating is to just put my self in the position to meet new people and make friends. Then, if anything grows out of that friendship, I'll pursue it if it feels right. To me, that is letting a relationship grow naturally.

I had this conversation with a friend and she brought up some good points. Basically, she questioned just what 'naturally' means, and I quote:


And as for the happen naturally, there'd be a blog thought. What the hell is naturally? Somebody's got to make an effort somewhere, take a chance, etc.


The backstory of where this conversation came from isn't necessary right now, but it does bring up some interesting questions. It's not like there is a little paperclip in the corner saying 'Now kiss her, dipshit'. So there has to be an aspect of risk taking, even the act of just asking someone you have a budding friendship with if they want to go on a date is a risk. I mean, what if the other person hasn't thought anything about it? What if they then start to feel preassured or uncomfortable? What if all the door holding and nice comments start to be second guessed in the frame of 'this guy just wants to date me'? Risk, right? But without that risk, what? I like to believe that things will just happen but I keep out thinking myself trying to figure out what 'just happen' will look like.

So maybe those of you that have more dating experience (which is everyone) or you married people can chime in here. Did you start going out with someone with the understanding of a dating relationship from the begining or was it a friendship that developed into a dating relationship? If it was a friendship first, how did you know when to make the move to dating? What did that move look like? What kind of rejections did you have and how did you deal with them? Could make for some interesting stories if anyone wants to take a risk and post about it.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Full Boat

Took the boat out yesterday. Had seven people and two dogs on it. That was a packed a boat. We purchased a new raft too, it's pretty cool. You can put two people on it and have them lay side by side. The two sides come up like wings so I can whip the raft around a corner without it flipping over. So in the end you can go faster, get more air, and not fly off the thing. It's a bunch of fun.

The only problem with bringing dogs in the boat is the dog hair that they leave behind. My boat is furry right now. Gotta get the ol' vacum out next time.

The water is like bath water now, it's nuts. 87 degrees in the water! Amazing. It'll be like that through September.

If any of you want to make some time and come out with us, let me know what works for you. It's a good time and it isn't as scary as it was on the back bay. Besides, I've learned a lot since then.

Come on out!

Why I Don't Drink Alot

Every couple of years I need to go out and have a crappy drinking experience in order to remind myself why I don't do it alot. This past Friday I went out with the roommate and a bunch of people he knew from old work ties. We went to a Happy Hour, then over to Herndon where they have a concert every Friday night. This concert was a band called 'Gonzo's Nose' that does primarly 80's music. They were actually really good. One of the girl's that went with us had dropped off some chairs and a blanket in the afternoon so we had front row seats. Did some more drinking there. Then on to a cool bar in Hernon where we drank more. So much, in fact, that I danced. I don't dance. I suffer from White Guys disease - no rythym. Plus, with the long arms and stuff I look like a damn gorilla having a seizure.

Anyway, after the bar we went to Reston to yet another bar. However, at this point I was drinking solely water since I had to do the drive home at the end of the night. When I drove home I wasn't buzzed or anything anymore so I figured I was home free as far as a hangover or the like would go. Heh, wrong.

Went to bed and fell right a sleep. About 6:30 am I woke up with a nasty headache and some nausea going on. I just kept laying there and then I started to sweat ALOT. And not just normal sweat, but alchol sweat. Ick! Damn that shit stunk...and I sweat for like an hour or something. It was miserable. Too hot under the sheets, too cold with them on. I finally fell asleep until about noon or so and felt ok afterwards. Had to toss everything in the washer though from sweating so much.

Sooo, that is about it really. Hard enough morning to remind me not to do that shit anymore. It should last for another couple of years. Man, I'm getting a headache again just thinking about that.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Coincidence? I Think Not

So all of us Sci Fi fans surely have heard of the death of Scotty (James Doohan).

We all also know that he had become somewhat more rotund later in life. Perhaps from the eating of TV Dinners? I was perusing CNN yesterday and came across this. My first thought, and I kid you not, was that this was somehow related to Scotty's passing away. Like the TV Dinner guy lost his best customer and could no longer go on.

Is it just me?

The Moon!

Pretty cool eh?

Now zoom all the way in.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Art Imitates Life

Ok, this is a very depressing post. First, read this story in the Onion. The Onion, for thoughs of you not in the know, is a new satire site. It's very funny, and all the stuff is made up.

Now read this.

Some people are just a waste of life.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Communist Smurfs

This kicks so much ass I can't stand it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I Didn't Know This Was In The Bible

Holy crap! I had no idea this crap was in the bible. I thought it was full of love and that sorta thing, but what the heck? No wonder the neocons are trying to blow up everything. Scary, very scary.

The more I read this site the more convinced I become that the bible is nothing more than a form of social control for the uneducated masses back in the day. It reads like a "here's how to survive" manual sometimes, with some crazy stuff tossed in for good measure.

I mean look at this, this, and this.

All from Deuteronomy. Let's look at some other parts of the bible.

From Psalms. My favorite: 'God will laugh at the heathen as he kills them'

From Revelation.

And on and on and on.

Oh, and don't forget to take a look at the Book of Mormon or the Quran while you are there. All social control, baby.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Now That's Sleeping

I've sleepwalked once in my life that I remember. Wasn't a big deal, I was young, ended up in my brothers room or something. I've also had these weird experiences where I partially wake up when someone asks me a question in a deep sleep. I answer them with somthing that makes absolutely no sense, and I am aware of what I'm saying and doing I just can't do anything about it. It's REALLY weird, pretty funny too. I'm sure Leslie has some good stories about that. Finally, I move alot while sleeping and apparently carry out entire conversations that you can follow one side of while I'm zonked out. I also laugh a lot while I sleep.

In any case, I have never, ever done anything like this.

Surprise in the Night

Almost exactly one year ago we had a jail break at the house. Misfit pushed the screen out of the window and he, Mimic, and Moonshine got out. It happened while we were away for the day, when we returned there was no Moonshine. We searched the neighborhood and put up flyers all over the place. We checked with the SPCA and the local vet's, but nothing turned up. For about a month we received phone calls of people seeing similiar cats but it always turned out to be a different cat. We even went so far as to purchase a relatively cheap motion sensitive camera and installed it outside and put food under it, so we could find out if she was coming to the door at night to get the food. Ultimately she never returned, and we decided she was gone.

Every once in a while I would have a dream about finding her or her coming back. I know its just a cat, but it was open ended, and that bothered me. Over time it faded but still popped up from time to time.

Last night I was talking on the phone with Leslie about how her 4th of July went. I guess the lightning storm was messing up the signal with one of our phones so I went outside and walked up and down the sidewalk. At some point during our conversation I noticed a cat meowing at me and wondering around. I got near it and it ran away a little bit. Ever since Moonshine left whenever I would run into a similiar looking cat I would try to get close, just in case. I played the 'catch me' game with this one for about 15 minutes before finally catching it, almost gave up twice. Well, upon closer inspection the cat was silver and quite thin, it had some cuts and a lot burs, so obviously has been outside for a while. This one looked closest to Moonshine I had seen so I grabbed and took it inside and up to my room for closer inspection.

Turns out, unless both Leslie and I are nuts, Moonshine came back. A thiner Moonshine, but Moonshine. She has the same mannerisms, the tail that can lay flat on her back, the weird thing she does with her paw, the pur machine as soon as you look like you are going to touch her, etc. And, most telling, she seemed right at home in this house.

In a nutshell, a cat that escaped from the house and ran away because she was scared found her way back almost exactly one year later. How kick ass is that?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Why I Can't Work a 9 to 5 Job

I worked a 9 to 5 job three times in my life and it about killed me. I just can't function in such a fixed format. And I really don't get the concept of face-time when it puts productivity as the secondary goal. To me, meeting your deadlines should be the primary goal, regardless of how it's actually done. In fact, that was one of the main issues I had at Postal Innovations, that whole concept of face-time over meeting goals. It was coming from the managements lack of confidence in their employees and desire to micro manage EVERYTHING.

I'm not so naive to believe that there is no benifit to face-time. There certainly is, particularly when starting new projects or dealing with some serious issues. I'm just saying face-time for the sake of face-time above all else is pointless. Face-time in order to appease a managers issues with control isn't a productive use of my time.

Also, there are some people that need to be micro-managed and/or thrive in a 9-to-5 job. Working something unstructured like I thrive in is probably only for a minority of the people. But even those that do thrive off structure shouldn't be held to face-time just because, they should be deadline driven. It's the way I manage my peeps and it works very well, but that's just my management style and the type of people I have working with me. In fact, I probably don't manage enough sometimes, but that's a different deal all together.

Anyway, this link got me thinking about it again.

So what are all of your experiences with face-time and micro-management?

Thursday, June 30, 2005

General Principal

I have a habit for latching onto things and not letting go do to something I can General Principal.

Basically, something will come along, such as the movie Titanic, and I'll decide to take a position on it based on general principal. In Titanic's case, I refuse to watch it based on Generel Principal. See how that works?

Some other examples:

1) Not flying for five years. I probably would have been up to flying two years after my sabatical began, but I waiting for give years on General Principal. In fact, I wanted to wait until Dear Leader was no longer in office, but the American people decided to screw themselves for four more years.

2) I refuse to have a North Carolina or West Virgina mailing address, regardless of the deals available in those areas. North Carolina because of Duke and North Carolina Univeristy. Cheaters. West Virgina because of the stigma attached to it...that, a no building regulations what-so-ever.

3) Nine to five jobs. Not only would I probably shrival away and die if I had to work on one of these, I won't even try due to general principal. I have worked nine to five jobs in the past and for the industry I'm in it doesn't make a ton of sense to me. Some position require such time frames, but more creative jobs I think are constrained by such arbitary constructs (yay big words).

That's all that is coming up right now. I guess you could toss some political views I am holding right now in there. I've adopted some mostly because I feel like I have to move more left to offset the nutcases on the right. Historically I have been a moderate.

So what kind of things have you latched on to and maintained out of a sense of general principal?

Who Won The Pot?

Leslie and I have had an epic relationship. Over 14 years we had really good times and really lousy times. We broke up and got back together. We traveled all over the country and lived together. By all measures except the law we might as well have been married. I've spent literally half my life with her and her with me and I will never regret it. It all came to a mutually decided end several weeks ago in front of a campfire in central Virigina and we are both satisfied with the result.

Basically, what it boils down to is after lots and lots of money, work, and love we finally figured out that we couldn't deal with the small things and differences that came between us. We have too much history that creeps up when we try to address some major issues and the silly every day things as well. As a result, we have decided that we will be much better friends than lovers. We both still very much love each other but it has transcended what it was and has grown much deeper. Formalizing this doesn't really change our relationship from the way it's been over the past five months. We still hang out and do everything we were doing, we just can see other people now. In fact, Leslie is already dating someone else and I hope he can treat her the way I could not.

As for me, I'm going to let things happen as they will. I'm not going to actively seek out anyone but I'm going to put my self in situation to meet to new people and see what happens. If anything develops I'm certainly not going to shut it down.

In the end I'm just curious, who won the pot? :)

Friday, June 24, 2005

Ironic, Isn't It

I worked for myself for several years. Part of the drawback is you have to pay quarterly estimated taxes which means you have to guess how much you are going to make at the begining of the year and make quarterly payments on the tax liability of that guess. Well, me being me didn't bother with that the first year I was working for myself, which wasn't that big of a deal because the first 10 months of 2000 I didn't make all that much as a contractor so my tax liability wasn't all that bad. However, in the last two months of the year my income almost tripled because of a nice fat contract I landed. As a result, my tax liability went through the roof and I wasn't even close to being able to meet it.

So I ended up in a whole to the IRS. Everyone has been in a financial whole at one point or another. However, a whole to the IRS is different because:

1) They can take your stuff
2) They assess both penalities and interest
3) They can take your stuff

These whole's also tend to grow larger because the more you make, the more you owe. The short version of all of this is I ended up in a very large whole with the IRS over three years.

Here comes the irony. The area I live in has gone up in value around 30% each year for the past several years. I purchased my town house for $150,000 and similiar town houses to mine are going for about $380,000 right now. A year ago I decided the best way to dig myself out of the tax whole was to leverage the equity in my house, at that point it was about $180,000, to pay off the tax burden. Equity lines of credit are awesome because you get a super low interest rate AND they are tax deductable.

Yup, that's right, that's the irony, I paid my taxes off with a tax deduction. :)

Nice.

Did You Order A Pizza?

Watch the video.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Michael Jackson

I didn't write much about this and I didn't really follow it much either. However, I am pleased with the verdict, and here is why. I believe the shit Jackson's dad put him through and the way startdom was thrust upon him more or less froze his maturity around the 8 year old level. Wonderland is just confirmation of this. Anything that happened between him and those kids was never sexual in intent, he just isn't mature enough. He is stuck at 8 when it comes to that and feels safest with kids that he relates to through that lens. Is it socially acceptable, absolutely not, but he isn't a pedophile. He doesn't fit the MO for a sexual predator.

Anyway, here is a nice little wake up call to the idiot talking heads who feel they can judge a case better than the jury. Check it out. God I hate these 'experts'.

Like This Is A Surprise

Hardly

Operation Yellow Elephant

One of the dumbest things about this war is the way the people that wanted it and now support it even though the original reason for going has been debunked refuse to call for their sheep to enlist, despite the record low turn-out in recruiting. So some enterprising people came up with 'Operation Yellow Elephant'.

Support our Troops! Put your money where your mouth is. Good stuff.

Check Your Pockets!

I have never run out of gas or lost my car keys. Never.

Two Monday's ago I took the boat out with Luke's friends he met through work. Normally the way this works is after we put the boat in the water I drive the trailer up on this hill and park it. Then I get out, put my phone, car keys, and wallet in the pockets of my swimsuit, and walk back down to the pier. I put them all in my pockets so that when I get to the boat the weight reminds me to take them out and put them in a safe place. This particular day, for whatever reason, I only had my keys in my pocket and carried my wallet and phone in my hand, so when I went to place everything in the safe place I didn't check my pockets.

We drove over to a nice little cove I like to go to and stopped. As soon as the boat stopped I was took off my shirt and dove into the water. Somewhere through the air a little voice kept telling me I was forgetting something but, as usual, I just pushed it a way and ignored it. I have to start paying attention to that little voice, it's always been right.

So we had a great day boating and were out 7 hours or so until we put back in around 8:30 pm. Normally what happens at this point is I grab the car keys from the safe place and walk back up the hill to get the trailer while everyone else unloads the boat. Well, the keys weren't in the safe place. It didn't take too long for me to realize that the keys were sitting under 25 feet of water at the bottom of Lake Anna. Not one of my better moments.

After trying to get a hold of someone to break into my car and figure out a way to start it up we found out that out in the sticks it was a pipe dream at best. So we decided to pile 6 people into a Jetta and drive two hours back home. 6 people + Jetta = Uncomfortable but funny. I was driving with my knees up by my ears through a seriour thunderstorm. Good stuff.

To wrap this up I'll tell you this. I couldn't find my extra set of keys. I tore the house up looking for them. So I gave Les a call, who hasn't lived with me for over a year, and asked her if she knew where they might be. Sure enough, she suggested the key ring, where keys are supposed to be placed. Of course, I looked everywhere BUT where they belonged and there they were. Five hours later I had my truck back and all was good.

Cosmos 1

I don't know if anyone else has been paying attention to this but around 3:45 pm EST a rocket will be launched from a Russian submarine carring the first solar sail into orbit to test the theory. Check it out here.

Updates

Ok, been a while, got some stories. Prepare for a deluge of postings.

Friday, June 03, 2005

WoW, First Impressions

I installed it and played it for about three hours last night. Nice interface, pretty easy and intuitive.

Basically, it's sorta like EQ2-lite. EQ2 is a level of complexity higher than WoW, particularly the crafting stuff. However, both seem to be very enjoyable, and WoW works better in windowed mode so I can work while I play. :)

WoW reminds me VERY much of Fable, the XBox game. If Fable became a multiplayer game, WoW would be it. The graphics are extremely similar.

EQ2 is very much like Morrowind.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Lip Synching and Mime's

Ok, this is funny, but this is classic.

Watch'em when you have time. Don't be drinking anything, particularly with the second one.

Crappy DVD Player

I had a DVD player like this, watching movies on it stinked.

Got rid of that thing real quick.

More Star Wars

Fun stuff this time.

First, the real last hope for the galaxy.

Second, a music video filmed within the Star Wars Galaxies online game. If you wanted any idea what the game looked like, this is it. It's all done in game. The dancing is a skill you can learn that can buff others. Good stuff. Check
it out.

Wee.

(Don't Fear) The Reaper

I defy any of you to watch this SNL skit and then listen to the Blue Oyster Cult's original version of "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" and not only hear the cowbell.

Ever since I saw that skit all I hear is cowbell when I hear that song. Funniest skit ever, or up there at the very least.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

You know you're a Republican when...

...Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.

...trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

...A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense. A president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.

...Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

...the best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.

...providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.

...global warming is junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

...being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Uptown

So I am sitting here at The Uptown theater in DC, waiting for the 10 pm showing of Star Wars. This will be my first viewing and I wanted to see it at my favorite Theater.

I love going to the movies. Good, bad, it doesn't matter, I just like the movie going experience. In my ezperience, no Theater does it better than the Uptown Theater.

I'm looking forward to this final installment of Star Wars. Unlike some, I thought the first two overall told a good story, even though there some very very annying parts. From what I've heard, this one is supposed to be good. I hope it is.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Let's Hit It, LLLLEEERRROOOOYYY!!!

Ok, time to geek out. Watch this clip. If you don't want to sit through the whole thing, at least forward it to it about 1:06 and listen until 1:32. And then the very end, 2:47.

Leroy is now a legend.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Hindsight and All That

So when is hindsight asinine and when is it just holding people accountable?

Downing Street Memo

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Update

So, like, I haven't updated in a while. Here is what's up in Kautz land.

We aren't moving west anymore. I've spent the last four years establishing a support network for myself that I'm not ready to move away from. Additionally, moving to a rural area with a job that keeps me at home doesn't exactly lend itself for meeting new people. So as time went on I realized I was more and more uncomfortable with moving away from my social network as well. As a result, we will be staying in the great state of Virginy. Not sure where exactly, perhaps around Lake Anna or towards the north west.

I planted a tree! The front yard now has a tree in it, and I'm working on landscaping the front and back yards. So right now everything is sorta trashed, but what else is new. Should be pretty once it's all done. And my year long deck replacement project is getting close to being finished too. :) If you all ever replace boards on your deck DO NOT do a diagonal pattern. HUGE PITA.

Not sure I even mentioned this but the original plan, back when we were moving West, was to go out to Seattle next week for a series of meetings for work then, the following week, travel around the area with Leslie. Now that we aren't moving out there, I'm not going out to Seattle next week. Instead, I will be staying here working towards a June 10th release deadline and Leslie and I will spend the following week camping around Virginy and hitting the billions of vineyards in the state. Good times.

We pulled the boat out on Monday and its ready to rock this weekend. Gotta replace the radio and the bilge bump shorted out, but that's life. From what I can tell talking to others, electrical problems are just a fact of life when you own a open-hull power boat. So each year its a different issue. Kinda fun, kinda annoying. Anyway, if anyone wants to join us sometime this year, let me know and we will work out a time.

Let's see...what else is going on...I think that's it. Good times.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Badge of Honor





I am:
-4%
Republican.
"You're a damn Commie! Where's Tailgunner Joe when we need him?"

Are You A Republican?

Friday, April 15, 2005

The 'Nuclear' Option

In case you all haven't been paying attention, I thought I'd mention a battle in the Senate that will be coming up in the next few weeks that could lead to some pretty serious backlash.

In Bush's last term he nominated several judges that had extreme views. These weren't judges that leaned just one way or the other, but leaned extremely to the right in their views and in their judgement records. The Dems in the senate didn't allow these judges to come to an up/down vote by excersing the last option available to the minority, the filibuster. The arguement, send some level-headed judges to the Senate, not extremists.

The excersing of the filibuster to prevent the up/down vote of a judicial nomination was very controversial, since it had never successfully been done before, although it had been attempted. The Dems approved the vast majority of Bush's judicial nominations, more than were approved by the Senate of Clinton's nominiations. They picked their battle over a few extreme judges.

Rather than nominate less-extreme judges Bush has chosen to push the issue and renominated the same extreme judges. The Dems have threatened to filibuster them again. As a result, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is threatening to excerise what is called the 'nuclear' option. In short, it would scuttle the filibuster in the Senate. This is VERY dangerous as the filibuster is there to force a greater majority vote. For polices that really have merit and greater majority vote should be able to be secured. For controversial polices (or extremist judical nominations on either site) the minority needs a last option.

So that sits the stage. If Frist pushes the nuclear option the Dems will shut down the business of the Senate for the rest of Bush's term through other means. These are big stakes that they are playing for right now. Judical appointments are for life. Hopefully level heads prevail.

Below is a link that you all should read, particularly the second half discussing Lincoln 1860.

The Filibuster War: Presidential Ambitions and Fealty to the Extreme Religious Right

Monday, April 11, 2005

Monkey Ball

For all of you addicted Monkey Ball peeps, here is a cartoon for you:

GU Comics

I highly recommend hitting the archieves and checking out the other comics this guy has, great stuff...particularly if you have played or are currently playing a MMO.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Higher Education II

Ok, this one doesn't so much have to do with higher education but it continues a thread that was being discussed in my first Higher Education post. I highly recommend you go read the comments there before reading this, good stuff.

Dave and I used to work together on various projects, even had the beginings of our own little company. When I need help figuring out some technical issues or someone to bat ideas around with I usually call him. During my life I've had several business relationships that I thrived in and it's made a few things clear, to me anyway, about how these things relate.

So here comes the big turn away from Higher Education and into some weirdness. I think, in general, people fall into either a big picture, concept-oriented focus or a detail-oriented focus. I'm not saying there isn't cross-over between them, I'm just saying from a comfort level or what you struggle least with, you fall into those two categories. For example, I can and have write a device driver. However, I absolutely hate it and struggle with it. On the other hand, I can go into a meeting with a bunch of people with very little thought of what we are going to talk about and run the show because I focus on big picture stuff, it comes naturally and I trust the details to work themselves out. Of course, that is where I get into trouble.

So these business relationships I mentioned, the ones I thrive on, are the ones in which I am paired with a detail-oriented person. Dave is a good example of this. We work very well together because he fills in my details and puts those constraints around me to keep me focused. He mentioned in his comments that I have a knack for asking the right questions and picking the information out of someone's head. That's why I was a good consultant, I have sorta a feel for that stuff. I don't have a feel for details, organization, that kind of thing. I also don't have any paitence for meetings that go flying off into no where, but that's a different story.

Here is what I'd like some feedback on because I'm curious. First, I think everything is relative to where you stand in the universe. A poor man would kill for $100 but a rich man could care less. Second, and I mentioned this in a different post, perception is everything. Perception trumps reality. When I was a fraid of flying it didn't matter that the reality of the situation that airplanes are extremely safe. It also didn't matter that I knew all of that. What mattered was my perception was that is was unsafe and thus I didn't fly. Y'all agree with them two points?

Next, do you believe more in logic or your gut? To me, when I relax and let things work themselves out things have a habit of working out for the best. When I try to shape the situation or think about it too much, things don't go so well. Have you seen this as well? Any experiences one way or another?

Let's get some conversation going!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Theocracy

Oh, and another good one that should scare the crap out of you. These are your leaders. Sleep tight.

Theocracy

Just In Case...

...you thought I wasn't posting anymore about politics, here is a nice link I urge you all to read. Shows some of the divisions finally coming to the surface in the Republican party between the loonies that run the show and the traditional Republicans that I like.

All Quiet on the Western Front

Enjoy. Curious to hear what you all think.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Risk Taking

Jamie said something in his comments on my Higher Education post that reminded of something that I've heard before but never really accepted. He said that I was more of a risk-taker than the others in our little group. Others have said that about me as well, both professionally and personally. Everytime I hear it I wonder if it's true.

Perception is an interesting thing, it defines your reality. From the positions I've been in I've learned that lesson well. It is more about managing perceptions then what might actually be the truth. So the perception is that I'm a risk taker even though I don't necessarily feel that way. Does that make it so?

I've done risky things, particularly when it comes to driving. I've bungee jumped although there is no way anyone will get me to parachute. I've taken financial risks and tempted the wrath of the IRS, not on purpose mind you. I defied my parents growing up and I remember once, talking to Ben while we walked to where Sheetz is now to play some kickass arcade game with quarters we 'borrowed' from one of our parents, saying 'Nothing ventured nothing gained'. I rarely proof read my work and I tend to release code into production without fully testing it. So in this way, I suppose I am a risk taker.

But there is another side of the coin, and here is where I struggle sometimes with articulating this. In some ways I refuse to make a move until I feel like I have a good chunk of information. Then, at some point of critical mass, I just jump into it. For example, purchasing my first house. Joe and I (or was it Brian?) went to a meeting that a local realtor was putting on for people purchasing new houses. It wasn't something that even occurred to me as a viable option. Once we received the information they were talking about I decided to start looking but slowly. So I did some research and talked with a lender and got myself pre-approved. Then I talked to the realtor and decided to start looking. That part of the process took about two months because I was being cautious. Once I met with the realtor and we started to just look around, I had a house under contract within two weeks. What the hell is that?

In the end I guess I am a risk taker, but I feel I try to mitgate some risks while others I just do on instinct. I am a firm believer and following the gut and that the universe will unfold as it's meant to do. When I don't follow the gut, I get into trouble. So from the outside I can see where the risk taking perception would come from. But on the inside I just feel like I'm going with the flow.

Ain't self discovery grand?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

'A Momentary Lapse of Reason'

The title, a song by Pink Floyd, refers to learning how to fly. In the case of this post, it has to do about flying in general. And in my case, it wasn't a momentary lapse of anything, more like a four year long sabatical from flying.

I learned out to walk on an airplane between Richmond, VA and LA by holding on to the seats and walking up and down the aisle. I've always been fascinated by flight. I made a wing out of Styrofoam that I tied behind my bike by a 20 foot rope and dragged it along into the air. Recently I've gotten into RC Airplanes and have gone nuts with trying to create my own planes and the like. I wanted to take lessons to learn how to fly and attended a few meetings at Frostburg regarding that, even going to far to check out the airport.

Sometime in the late 90's I took my first flying lesson. It was a windy day and the pilot said 'We usually don't take first-timers out on such a windy day but since you are here we might as well do it'. I should have known it was a bad sign when he looked to make sure there were barf bags and none were there. Needless to say, the flight could have gone better.

I developed a fear of flying after that adventure. In fact, I was right on the edge of a full-fledged panic attack on a packed flight out to LAX. If none of you have ever experienced a panic attack before, count your blessings. It took me a year or so to start to get over it and start flying again. In 2000 and the first part of 2001 Leslie and I did a lot of travel that included flying. I started to get back into it and began to feel more comfortable. However, then 9/11 happened and I decided I was going to not fly until certain Administrations were retired. Well, we all know how that went in 2004.

So, I didn't fly for four years. It went from an unjustified fear to just a badge of pride. Kinda like never watching the movie 'Titantic'. When I thought about flying I didn't go through the mental games that would scare the crap out of me anymore. I decided it was time to start flying again, with something easy. Leslie and I flew to Florida a few weeks ago for her sisters wedding on Independence Air. Great airline, similiar to Southwest just with assigned seating and lots of blue. Plus its an Airbus and not a Boeing. In any case, I had very little trouble with the flight and it looks like I'm back!

What really really helped me though was watching 'The Aviator'. Great movie, but it helped me because it helped me get back in touch with my fascination of flight that I had lost years ago, before 9/11. Its amazing how when you loose touch with those fascinations how much your life can change.

Higher Education

If you didn't see the post below, you should read that first since I haven't posted in forever. The first part of this post is historical stuff. The second part is the meat.


FIRST PART

School. I wanted to talk about school. I went to college with everyone else. Hell, I went with everyone to Frostburg. I think I was the second to leave, or third. Third, it was Kris, then Jamie, then me I believe. I started college thinking I would do the music thing. I quickly decided to do the computer thing instead. The computer program at Frostburg SUCKED. They were still using a VMS and teaching Pascal. But, most importantly, I couldn't get anything to eat after 10 o'clock. Seriously, that was the motivating factor for me to jump schools. Stop laughing. Serious. I left because of my stomach.

So I went to Univeristy of Maryland - College Park. My Dad went to UMCP as well, also spent two years in Germany at their campus out there. I stayed in a dorm at College Park. At Frostburg I was in the trial run of the Generating Opportunities for Leadership Development (GOLD) program. As a result, I was able to get a dorm room all to myself, big one too. Now the GOLD program is fricken impossible to get into, but then...wasn't so hard. I should talk about Freedom sometime. Anyway, I was on the forth floor of Ellicot on the high speed access floor and I had a roommate. Hooked up Linux and away I went.

I'm getting away from my point here. I didn't really want to go back through everything, let me see if I can get on track. So at Frostburg my grades were pretty good. At College Park they started out ok, but things changed. Specifically, College Park offered ALOT of additional opportunities that weren't there at Frostburg. I wasn't really a sports fan until my Dad dragged me to a Terp football game. Now I live and die Maryland Football and Baseketball (yes, I was a fan of both before they were good) and I'm into the pro's as well with Football. So there is one distraction.

Oh, and you could get something to eat at College Park 24 hours a day. A 24 hour McDonald's, how cool is that? And a 24-hour computer lab in a Parking Garage!

Ahh, and thus the seeds of my downfall. A 24 hour computer lab in a parking garage a five minute walk from my dorm. Oh, and let's not forget the release of Doom. There was a period of time that I didn't see daylight for two weeks because of that game.

So here comes the dirty little secret. I failed out of college. Yup, three times. The third time I just decided to get my career going. Actually, part of the reason for the third time was because my career had started to go. I started to work with a defense contractor called Aera. Wow, did that ever turn into a good relationship when I went out on my own.


SECOND PART

So, my thoughts on higher education. In a nutshell, it has it's place but it isn't the only way to do it anymore. I've been held back sometimes because I didn't have a degree, but I learned how to adapt and to get around it. In particular, forget about going anywhere in a government position without a degree. However, as I've progressed I've learned that experience trumps a formal education in the private sector. I've run across people that were highly educated but couldn't get the job done. In fact, while working for Aera I worked with a professor on the UMCP campus on a project for the F-22. The guy had a ton of master's and whatever else but all he was was theortical. The conversations these guys had at lunch drove it home for me. There is a place for theory, and it is important, but there is a place for practicality as well.

Have I regretted not getting my degree? From time to time I do, I even think about going back to get it. But then I think about why? It's not going to help me with where I'm at in my career now. I have a pretty good reputation that takes care of that. And when I need some of that theoritical knowledge I just call one of my Comp Sci friends and have it out with them. There is some knowledge that I could have picked up from having a degree that would have made my job easier, but the majority of what I know and have done isn't taught in college. Well, maybe it is, but how would I know, I only have people I've met with degrees that didn't know what they were doing to base it on. I think it provides a firm foundation, it provides the knowledge, but not the understanding. You need both.

Ok, this is turning long but this whole education thing has always kinda bothered me. I'm the CIO of a dot com that made it and it poised to break it wide open. I had a successfull consulting career for several years and the outlook looks good for TADOnline. And I failed out of college.

Stuff

So, like most everyone else I haven't kept up. No excuse! Time to ramble. Just random thoughts in no particular order after catching up on everyone else's blogs.

It seems like we have the baby blogs (Jamie and Ben) and then everyone else. That's cool. Babies everywhere. My neighbors just had a second one (baby boy this time) so now they have a pair. Leslie and I are pretty close to them and still make time to hang out, but it's not so much the case anymore with Ben and Jamie and I miss that. Babies change everything, no doubt.

Leslie and I are moving west. When and where are still up to debate, although we are shooting for the fall and Oregon. We are looking at the Portland area right now and will probably expand the search all the way down to the CA border. We are focusing on a rather narrow strip of eastern western Oregon. Between where its not super rainy and super dry. Shooting for 10+ acres, preferably 20 with a barn, some open field for the horses, and hopefully some woods. Everyone has a wood fireplace out there. Love them, as long as I don't burn up an oven mit again.

So I flew for the first time since early 2001 to Florida for Leslie's sister's wedding. More about that later.

I think I'm going to write about school in my next post.

Lots of thoughts.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Magic Birthday

So can someone please explain to me what magic happens on my 30th Birthday that makes my insurance premium drop $600? That's almost 50%! What the heck is that? I mean, I'll welcome it with open arms, but I'm just not sure what will change between the time I go to bed on June 8th this year and awake on June 9th. Will I even recognize myself in the mirror anymore? Will Leslie still love me? Man, I wasn't too worried about this 30th Birthday thing before but now...I don't know. Do the insurance companies know something that I don't? Is it a rite of passage?

And why is the magic birthday 27 for women? Why does the magic work at different ages for different sexes?

I must noodle this.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Job Opening -- Work From Home!

So I have a job opening in the Tech Division at TADOnline for someone that has a good phone presence and some technical skills. Its a Customer Support job with some Quality Assurance responsibilities rolled in.

You work from home. We provide you with an VOIP phone and computer, all you need is high speed Internet access, which we also will pick up the tab for.

Anyone know anyone that might be interested? You can have them email me at rkautz@tadonline.com if you don't want to write in the comments.

Ted Hitler

Check this video out from the Daily Show. If you don't know what is going on with Jeff Gannon/James Guckert, you are in for a surprise.

Make sure you watch the whole thing.

Ted Hitler

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Follow The Money

In follow up to what I posted yesterday about the lack of actual trained troops. It's now official:

Pentagon Admits Iraqi Troop Lack

Kinda funny how all of the criticism before the election is now being proved afterwards. You all did see the memo's about the warnings to the FAA and Condi six months before 9-11?

Monday, February 14, 2005

Sweet Incompetence

Two stories that I thought were funny in a sad sad way. The first, regarding our excellent mass media:

Nuke Plants

And the second, regarding the number of Iraqis we have trained as a police force:

Can't Count

I mean really, if we really had some 150,000 trained Iraqi police officers I would think the insurgency wouldn't be having such a hayday.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Yay SuperBowl!

Thought I'd tell all you that aren't coming to the party what we will be eating. I am preparing the Beer Can Chicken, smoked ribs, a seven layer dip with seven layers this time (last year I forgot two layers), and if I feel particularly ambitious, pulled pork. I just finished the seven layered dip and need to move on to the pulled pork if I plan on actually going forward with it today. It has to stay in the smoker for at least six hours.

Aww crap, I just realized kickoff is at 6:30pm. There goes the pulled pork plan. :(

Here is to a good SuperBowl and good commercials.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Social Security Primer

If you read nothing else about the SS plan floating around out there, read this. It's short, and it does a good job of getting down to the bottom line of why this plan stinks.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

SOTU

Just in case you wanted some analysis of the State of the Union, go here.

Crap, a US Military Hostage...

...or not.

This cracks me up. And check out the 'gun' held to his head. No one is holding it! That's so funny.

I wonder what would happen if someone held a Bush doll hostage?

Monday, January 31, 2005

And One More


What is your weird quotient? Click to find out!

Nerd Score


I am nerdier than 48% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!


I don't know what to think about that.

There Is No Tomorrow

If this doesn't scare the crap out of you, nothing will.

By no means should you take this all word-for-word. Research it. Check it out for yourselves. He does a good job articulating my issues with theology and ideology when it crosses from the deeply personal to the public.

Bill Moyers, while liberal, is fair and beats up both sides of the aisle. He puts a lot of research into the details and they come through. The rapture index has been around for a while and there are a lot of people that believe it hook, line and sinker. I've run into a few of them, people I respect but don't understand how they buy this crap.

Must...resist...rant.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Holy Crap!

Now this is a load of crap!

I've been through the mid-west bunches of times and have driven past these big cattle operations, but I have never seen such a pile of crap.

And it's on fire!

How cool is that!

Ok, leaving now.

Homeward Bound

I'm heading back to the East Coast this afternoon. Currently I am in Sandy, OR which is about 30 minutes from Portland. I have an appointment to see one more property this morning and then I head back to Seattle to catch the choo choo. I should arrive at Union Station in DC Monday afternoon.

As I found out coming out here, I can read the blogs but I can't post, so you all will be spared my commentary until Monday. :)

Have a nice weekend.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Quick Update

Things going well, don't have much time to update yet. Been taking a ton of pictures. Check them out:

Photos

They aren't in any particular order or named. The latest batch will be the properties I have been looking at.

I am in Bend, OR right now, heading back to Portland tonight.

And the 'Terps beat #2 Duke at home! Sweet!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

And The Search Begins

I contacted two realtors yesterday and will be viewing some properties in the Portland area tomorrow. I plan on taking gobs of pictures for you all. I'm about to head out from Vashon and head towards Portland in about an hour. I have a meeting with my peeps to go over the results of this weekends meeting and then the rest of the week is open for me to putz around. Looking forward to it. Would be nice is Les was out here with me though. :(

Oh, two of the properties are near Molalla. Nice and small, about 25 miles from Portland.

Anyhow, I'll check in when I have Internet access again.

Later.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

End Of Meetings

Well, the two days of meetings with the exec board are over and we accomplished quite a bit. Usually we end up focusing on the broad topics and never really dive into the details. This time the second day was down and dirty and we really mixed things up to engergize the corporation. It'll be exciting to see how it plays out. We are doing a company-wide teleconference on Tuesday to announce some of the changes.

The budgets are locked in and, if we hit them, we will have accomplished pulling the technology piece in as a core business function and making the entire enterprise profitable. We are oh so close.

Now it's the implementation stage. I have a bunch of ideas and thoughts that I need to get working on and, once again, I rearranged the priorities on the development schedule to pump out some revenue generating streams out in the first quarter rather than towards the end of the year. I may even contract some of the work out.

That reminds me, if any of you know of anyone that can make 10 hours available on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I have a pretty well paying data entry job that needs filled that can be worked from home. Four-day weekends! 30 hour work week. Can't beat it. If you can type you qualify.

Let's see...without going into too many details...I have to revisit all of the billing and figure out a new pricing model that isn't going to tick are current customers off. I have to put together a work description for a new tech hire plus the project description for the work I want to look at contracting. Kinda funky to be on the other side of the contracting coin now, after being a contractor for four or so years. I have some development projects that are ready for testing for which I need to work out the migration plan plus workout a test plan. That should suck. On top of all of that we are going to be reviewing financials on a weekly basis to make sure we are on target. And I have my front-line tech support person about to go on maternity leave, so that'll be fun.

Exciting stuff, I say...exciting.

Ok, no more dicking around in the journal. Time to work.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Business Meetings

Well, we just finished the first day face-to-face meetings of the executive board this year. There are six executives including myself, and they all live up here near Seattle except for me. So it's up to me to come out here once a quarter for these meetings.

Today was the first of two days and ran from about 10 am to around 6 pm, then we went to dinner. We reviewed what we did well and not so well last year and then started looking at the actual numbers vs our budget. It's a good thing last year was a transition year for the company and I wasn't part of the 2004 budget process. Ouch.

It's interesting the different level of problems that come up on an executive level vs a department or division level. You get so tied up in the day-to-day department/division management stuff that it is real easy to forget about the big picture strategy stuff on the executive level. It's a real challenge for all of us, but fun too.

Luckily I work with a good group and I really feel like we have all the pieces to make this thing work. We just need to figure out how they go together. It's a good base.

Anyway, tomorrow's meeting starts at 8am and runs until about 2pm. Diving into some of the more tense subjects so I expect some conflict. So far most of that conflict is constructive conflict and is very good stuff, and I expect that tomorrow as well. Kinda looking forward to it now that I have a niche carved out for myself. Took a while to get there.

I should probably get some sleep.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Spongebob, Not Spongebob! Say It Ain't So!!

This is stupid. I thought Christianity was supposed to be a tolerent religion? It seems like a 'tolerance pledge' is the way to go here. That is what I was taught in school. Sexual identity is no different than race, skin color or sex when it comes to learning tolerence and accepting differences in others.

Am I glad for the separation of church and state, as thin as that separation may be right now.

Sooner or later I'm going to have to start bitching about organized religion on here.

Grr.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

First Impressions

I've been to the Pacfic Northwest quite a few times over the past few years, but have not been in a position to really soak it in like I am now. There are certainly differences between the coasts, so I thought I'd relay some of them to you all that I have noticed.

The Seattle area is very health concious. Lots of health food stores and organic places, particularly the island. Seems like a slower way of life than the DC area too, which is a good thing.

The weather in the winter in more mild, no doubt. Lot's of rain though. Oh, that reminds me of another tale. Lance (the CEO) has that seasonal depression thing. They used to spend half the year in San Diego and the other half on the island. Well, moving to the island has been rough, but there are solutions in the form of artifical daylight. Otherwise known as full spectrum lights. These things come with tons of warnings. They have all kinds of side effects if you OD on them, and its real easy to OD. For example, he had crushing head aches for the first week he used them, but now they make all the difference in the world. Well, yesterday, before I knew about all the possible side effects, I turned the big one they have on down in his office to play around with it. About 15 minutes later my head was in the toilet and was sweating through my shirt in this nasty cold sweat. Ick.

Anyone, back to impressions. The thing that is most striking to me is the difference in the trees and such. They tend to be much taller and thinner, branches starting higher in the tree. You end up with the apperance of a lot more clean space under the trees. Not as much foilage. Very green.

When Leslie and I were out here in the summer in 2001 it was really clear and beautifull. The tempature is pretty mild year round and, most importantly, no humidity! Yay!

Mt. Rainer can be seen from their place, here is a picture of it from the deck right in front of the guest cottage:

I'll take more pictures and put them up soon.

Next week, on Tuesday, I'll be heading towards Portland for a few days to meet with my staff and to start searching some areas for a possible move by Leslie and I. The area we are looking at (for those of you with your Oregon maps handy), is south east of Portland, between Sandy and Mt. Hood left to right and the Columbia river and Bend top to bottom. We need to find some acreage (roughly 20 or so) and high speed internet...should be a challenge.

More later.

The First Few Days

I meet up with my boss and his wife (the CEO and CFO) and we go grab some lunch, then head over to Vashon island where they live. Vashon is in the Pugent Sound about two miles from Seattle. I'll get a Mapquest thing going sooner or later. Anyway, you have to take a ferry over to the island, it's the only way to Vashon. It's kinda fun.

Anyway, they let me stay in their guest cottage which is down my the water's edge. It has this wood stove. The weather is in the 60's and more or less raining, so a fire is a good thing. For the first few days I had absolutely no luck with that stupid wood stove. I either didn't set the vent right, or had too much or not enough kindling, or not enough newspaper, or whatever. However, the pinnacle of my trouble came on the second night. I had just failed to get a good batch of coals going again so I reached in with this oven mit they have for just that purpose to move some stuff around to try again. Well, some coals ended up on the oven mit and it started to smolder a bit, just two little holes. I smoothered it and was pretty sure I had it out, so I set the mit down on the floor and closed the stove up. I then went up the stairs to the main house for dinner, etc. Oh, btw, the power was out during all of this too. So I'm up there for a few hours then I come back down to go to bed. I get down to the deck just in front of the house and notice that the house is VERY foggy. Uh oh. I go in and it's full of smoke. Great. So I go over to the stove and see that it is out and the door is shut tight. Puzzleing. I then notice a pile of ash and a big hole in the carpet next to the fireplace. Hmm...how did that get there if the door was shut? Where is the glove? Aww shit. That's right, the hole in the carpet was glove shaped. Apparently I didn't smoother it out as much as I though and the glove slowly burned away until nothing was left but a big hole in the carpet. Good job, Ryan.

So the result of this is a nice burnt glove oder in the guest house. So I basically leave all the windows and door open all the time. The pacific northwest is interesting in that it doesn't usually rain real hard and there aren't that many bugs around, so leaving all the windows and door open isn't that big of a deal. Nice breeze, though. Lot's of blankets on the bed.

One last quick story to leave you with. They have this hot tub out on the deck by the main house. We jumped in it on Tuesday night while it was misting a bit. So we all get in and Deanna, the CFO, says to me 'You know, we are only wearing our bathing suits for your benifit'. Buh! How do you respond to that? :)

Oh, I made Mad Cow Chilli for them last night. Mmmmmm.

The Train: Outgoing

Now that I addressed Team Loyality I can start filling you all in on the trip out.

Amtrak trains are crazy. In case you have never seen one of the cross-country trains, they are fricken big. Usually two engines, two sleepers, two coach, a lounge and a dinning car, plus the baggage cars. The most impressive this is how tall they are, about two stories. That is a lot of train. And the book too. When you get up to the straight, flat areas they get up towards 90 mph. Doesn't exactly stop on a dime.

I took two trains with a lay over in Chicago for three hours. The first train was out of Union Station in DC and was called the Capitol Limited. That trip was pretty unremarkable other than I was able to eat dinner in my room. The car attendant brought the menu to me and then my meal. I had a strip sirloin and half-bottle of Cabernet. Good food.

During the lay over in Chicago I wondered around and purchased two magainzes. Wired, with the Virgin billionaire on it talking about the slowly starting space tourism industry. The other was Scientific America. Lot's of useless knowledge in that one. For example, I now know that there have basically been three flu strains in humans since the evil 1918 flu. They are designated as H1N1 for the 1918 flu, H2N2 for a new strain in 1957, and H3N2 for the one in 1968. There has not been a new strain since 1968 in humans, just recycles those three. Luckily, the evil H1N1 strain has lost a lot of its evilness. The wild thing is that researchers are trying to figure out what made the original 1918 flu so nasty, so they have been able to dig up some corpses from back then and find some of the flu's genetic material. With it they have been reanimating that strain to determine what made it so lethal. Wild.

Ben, what the hell is a superfluid?

Ok, so after I geeked out I jumped on the train for Seattle from Chicago. This was to be my home for three days, two night. The car attendant was this older guy named Sam with a really dry since of humor. They also totally booked the car so the luggage had to be squeezed in pretty tight. I basically locked myself in my room and read, watched movies, and played Mercenaries for three days.

The most memoriable part of the trip was going across North Dakota and Montana where the weather was -40 degrees. It was so cold that a fine mist was leaking in through one of the doors in the car and creating this little winter wonderland in the car. :)

The morning of my arrival I was up at 5:30 am and went to the dining car to get breakfast. One of the guys in that car was asking a waiter about some noises he heard in the early morning hours. Basically, he heard a bunch of screaching and such as was afraid the train was heading for a crash. He asked the guy what was going on and if he should be worried. The waitor replies with 'Yes, we were going to crash. You should be worried'. Good stuff. :)

So then, like...I arrived in Seattle...

Team Loyalty

Ok, here come a bunch of posts. Before updates from the west, I want to address Kris's accusations of my team loyalty.

First, I have always been, and always will be, a Redskins fan above all other NFL teams. That has never changed since I began to get into football my second year of college.

Fact is, the 'skins have sucked for a while. Not exactly a lot to talk about.

The teams you pointed out that I have rooted for all have one main thing in common: exciting quaterbacks. I like the QB position. It's fun to watch and enjoyable to cheer for. You are right that I have switched around as far as who I root for because, I've I said, the 'skins have been sucking the big one and I have to keep myself entertained. Arguing about how well the Redskins play vs New England just isn't even worth it. However, Arguing about the Colts vs New England is a different story.

As far as your accusation about who will I love next, I seriously doubt it'll be Detroit or any of those unless they suddenly find an exciting QB to watch.

However, none of these teams will ever replace the Redskins as my #1 NFL team. A head to head battle between any of them and the 'skins will find me rooting for the 'skins everytime.

Regarding Elway. He was a great QB, awesome to watch, hell of an arm. In fact, it was because of him that I really started to get into the pro-game more and the QB position in general. I've liked Denver ever since, even without him, because I like their style of play and I think Shannahan (sp?) is a great coach.

Oh, and let me point out that I don't just root for 'who is hot now'. Its all about the QB. Christ, I liked watching Jeff George and the teams he had been with SUCKed except for the Vikings for about six games. The Packers just haven't been the same but I still cheer for them and Favre. Etc, etc.

And less anyone accuse me of bailing when things get tough, I have been a Maryland Terps fan since I started getting into sports as well. If any team can test your loyalities by snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, it's the Terps. Back me up here Dave. F'ing Duke.

Ouch my ass.

Friday, January 14, 2005

On My Way

Alrighty my peeps, I am on my way to the great north west. Looks like the Blackberry can read the blogs and post, etc, so I will stay in touch.

Go Colts!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Party Bush

I'm sure everyone has heard about the cost of the second Bush inauguration, something like $40 million...the most expensive inauguration ever. Is that bad? Not in itself, no, but look at the circumstances.

We have record deficits, a BS 'crisis' in SS, a very expensive war that isn't going so well, terrorists threats with the #1 bad guy still running around, and to top it all off, this: U.S. tells D.C. to pay inaugural expenses

What the hell? Funds coming out of the homeland security budget to pay for an inauguration? What kind of bizaro world is this? Where do these people get off thinking that a $40 million inauguration is a good thing? Its more than our initial offering of aide was! Priorities, where are the priorities?

FDR, during WWII, for his second inauguration, had a pot luck dinner and a brief speach at the Whitehouse. That's it. At least FDR had some since of respect.

RatherGate vs WMDGate

I think this more or less sums up which of the two evils is greater:

The Poor Man Compare and Contrast

CBS held themselves accountable and let four people go as well as rebuking Rather. What has the Bush Administration done to hold themselves accountable for such a failure? The lack of a post-war invasion plan is criminal.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Party At My House!

I'm throwing a SuperBowl party at my place on the 6th. Kid friendly. RSVP in the comments.

Monday, January 10, 2005

"I'm Pregnant...

Could you please Pass The Potatoes" --Made famous at Turkey Day dinner several years ago by my sister.

The story goes like this. We are all setting down for dinner at my Dad's house in Hagerstown. Leslie and I, Michelle, my brother, Courtney and her fiance, my dad and step mother. In the middle of dinner we are all talking and Courtney says, out of the blue, "I'm pregnant, could you please pass the potatoes". Dead silence.

Looking back, probably one of the funniest moments of my life. What a way to make an announcement.

In any case, this came up again recently as Michelle and I went out with a couple of her friends and for some reason were explaining all the weirdness that happened that year. Listening to Michelle describe some other stuff that happened made me think of the impression I would have had if I were first hearing about all this and prompted me to explain that No, we had not been on Jerry Springer nor did we at any point live in a trailer. :)

Anyway, that is the secret hidden meaning of Pass The Potatoes, besides, Frunch was taken.

And Ben, want a cheesestick? :)

Why The Colts Will Win This Weekend

This should be controversial for someone...

What the Colts have going for them going into this weekend:

1) A VERY hot offense
2) A QB that set records all year and, against the #4 pass defense in the NFL, almost set the NFL record for passing yards at 457 and four passing TD's.
2) A beat-up New England secondary sans Ty Law
3) A rule that, if any game it is enforced, it will be this one considering the mugging that went on last year. Need proof of the mugging, watch Sports Center this week or the pregame, I'm sure they will show the replays from last year over and over again that prompted the focus on the contact rule this year.
4) An actual pass-rush this year as opposed to none last year.
5) More weapons then Manning to Harrison. The Denver game was the Manning/Wayne show. Plus, they have a real threat in their tight end Clark.


What New England has going for them this weekend:

1) The same Golden Hue Of Luck that surrounds them as it does the Yankees. How else can you explain a quarter back that, as he is falling on his butt, just lobs a pass up in the air and it is caught for a first down. What the hell is that?
2) The home crowd making it hard for Manning to pull off his audible craziness.
3) Bill Belichick has Manning's number, always has. If he can come up with a way to keep pressure on Manning and keep him from getting in a rythm, game over.
4) An actual tail back in Corry Dillon.


Historically, the Pat's have had the Colt's number. Even this year, when the Pats pulled off a 3-point victory over the Colts in the first game of the year in New England. Let's look at that game a bit more against the upcoming game this weekend. Both teams were totally healthy in the first game, where in this game New England's secondary is so banged up they have to use a wide receiver as a corner. That doesn't bode well for stopping Manning.

Honestly, I have no idea who is going to win this. Leslie, who has some weird gift for picking winners, feels New England will win. Luckily, she isn't always right, just most of the time. In any case, it should be a good game regardless.

Go Colts!

Fire away, Kris. :)