casual_friday { star trek + NIN (nsfw)

(a friend sent me this video, thanks Baz!)

tech_support { Solaris 10 command to make managing HBAs easier

/usr/sbin/fcinfo hba-port

Fricking sweet! No more 'prtpicl' + 'grep' anymore. Thank you SUN.

Output looks like this:

# fcinfo hba-port
HBA Port WWN: 210000e08b1958a9
OS Device Name: /dev/cfg/c3
Manufacturer: QLogic Corp.
Model: 375-3102-xx
Firmware Version: 3.3.117
FCode/BIOS Version: ISP2300 Host Adapter Driver: 1.14.09 03/08/04
Type: N-port
State: online
Supported Speeds: 1Gb 2Gb
Current Speed: 2Gb
Node WWN: 200000e08b1958a9
HBA Port WWN: 210000e08b190fa9
OS Device Name: /dev/cfg/c2
Manufacturer: QLogic Corp.
Model: 375-3102-xx
Firmware Version: 3.3.117
FCode/BIOS Version: ISP2300 Host Adapter Driver: 1.14.09 03/08/04
Type: N-port
State: online
Supported Speeds: 1Gb 2Gb
Current Speed: 2Gb
Node WWN: 200000e08b190fa9


Music/Threads { ...or Why The World is Conspiring to Get Me To Like Imogen Heap

So I'm going through the websites and myspace sites of my favorite musical artists and groups, not having checked anything out for a while. Mostly I was looking for RSS feeds for news and tour dates by the artists (musicians - please use RSS feeds on your sites). Most of the 'official sites' have plenty of info but no feeds, which means I have to periodically check the sites to see what is new, which I often forget to do. But most of the artists I like seem to have myspace sites as well (ugh, what ugliness has that foisted onto the internets?), and along with it blogs and automatic feeds for said blogs. Best I can do, I guess.

Well, as I'm checking out Joshua Radin (folk musician, had a couple of great tracks on "Scrubs", [Zach Braff is his old roommate]), so I thought I'd check out his site. Seems he's dating Schuyler Fisk [Sissy Spacek's daughter, she did a film with Rachael Cook, who I used to work for years ago]. Anyway, as I'm checking out his tour dates, etc., I also see that he lists Imogen Heap under his top friends. The seed is planted.

So I'm off to check out other artists I like, Brian Transeau (bt) being one of them. So sad, looks like someone stole a whole ton of his equipment including his computers that had a ton of tour stuff on them. Well, there in his myspace page is a link to Imogen Heap.

So a folk musician from Ohio and an electronica musician from Maryland both like Imogen Heap. Not a huge leap, but its a nice little thread between my musical tastes.

So I'm off to check out what Kate Rusby is up to. Wow, she has a myspace page too. And there, third times a charm, is Imogen Heap in her friends list. Now granted, they are both British artists, and may know each other (Rusby is a folk musician from Barnsley, Heap a London artist).

Further, it appears that Heap covered a Radin song at some point, Heap was in the band "Frou Frou" that I loved their 'Let Go' track, which was on the 'Garden State' soundtrack (which Radin's roomie Braff directed), along with "Lebanese Blonde" by Thievery Corporation, which was another one of the bands I was checking out.

Observation: Many of the artists I like have these little connections to one another. I wonder if that means my tastes are more consistent than I think they are (i.e. not as eclectic), or that great minds think alike, or maybe my tastes are becoming insular.

Now I'll know there is a conspiracy afoot if I can find major links between Heap and Weezer, Tool, Muse, and Lisa Gerrard.


location { urban waterfall, downtown Rochester

Man made waterfall off the flood management canal, aka Zumbro South Branch, downtown Rochester.


musings { more coffeehouse thoughts

I've always wanted to replace all the instances of the word 'feet' in the bible with the word 'penis' and see how it reads.

musings { another day, another sit by the window

Yesterday was down right tropical for MN in March, 77F in Rochester. Today 63F and as I sit sipping the remainder of Chai Tea (I'm trying to decrease my caffine intake, a little at a time to avoid the major headaches, sadly I had one yesterday), I watch the storm clouds roll in.

history { War Nerd on '300'

He does a damn good job of summing up '300''s failings from a historical perspective. And its funny to read. Questionable if it is suitable for work.


PS - The Exile was one of my standard reads when they first started out. I thought they closed shop, its good to see they are still around.


politics { Bill Maher on Valerie Plame

WoW { Ode to Pernox

I am the rogue. I strike from stealth and prey on the weak, the tired, the distracted. I am the death that watches from the shadows. I am the thing that goes bump in the night. I am the boogey-man of children's stories. I am the last thing you will most likely never see. Fear my embrace for it is a lingering death or a quick snap. Be afraid of the shadows and the dark places, for that is where I will be.

(little something I whipped up for a posting on a forum where people were asked to describe their World of Warcraft classes, Pernox is my lvl 55 Undead Rogue)

musings { Burgess Street

Nerdwife and I read this article this weekend. These fatal shootings happened less than 2 blocks from where we used to live. I knew this area, I knew this house. I lived in the North End for 12 years. My family had lived there a lot longer. When I was a kid this neighborhood was a 'safe' place of blue collar families, honest people, and elderly retirees. Neighborhoods go in cycles, and this was no different. Around 1995 the urban rot that had started to infest the rest of the city came to my neighborhood. It came in the form of a crack house across the street. When the retirees moved into nursing homes or passed on, often their children sold their homes to whomever would buy, in most cases slum lords or shady land lords. The people who moved in were a couple, he was a drug dealer, she was a prostitute. For the next 3 years we on my block lived in fear. Because there were all kinds of people all times of the day and night going in and out. We called the police when we witnessed crimes but often everyone would flee the house before they would arrive. In 1998 three people were killed in a pickup truck on the corner of Western Ave and Burgess St in a gang-related hit. When we left in 2004 I thought the neighborhood was starting to swing back in to the upside. Families were moving back in, people were cleaning up their houses and the neighborhood. At least that was what appeared to be happening. The block, 2 blocks down where this happened was still rougher. We needed more police presence. Many of us asked the city. In 2000 my house was broken into, luckily no one was at home and only material things were taken. In 2004 there was another attempt, but our new doors and windows kept them out. When we opened the police call and officer arrived about 3 hours later. He apologized for being so late. He was only one of 3 cars on patrol that night due to budget cuts. St Paul is a city of 310,000 people.


economics { fair trade illustrated via World of Warcraft movie

They did a great job too! Anyone who plays WoW knows on average what a stack of 20 [Runecloth] go for, it, along with [Silk], [Wool], and [Linen] are the cornerstones of many realm economies. Comparable to cotton, coffee, tea, and a myriad of other commodities in our real world. While I don't like to compare effort in the digital fantasy world of Azeroth to the efforts of farmers, manufacturers, and people in the real world, whose toil directly impacts their daily life, [Runecloth] especially while not hard to 'farm', it takes time and requires in game expenditures (to repair durability, replace ammo or materials for potions, etc.). So I hope people who play WoW and do not know about the effort of farmer's in the Real World can appreciate, at least at some level their plight and understand the harmful effects of monopolies on markets, on trade, on people.

PS: All you fricking AH-whores on Proudmoore jacking the prices of everything so you can make epic flying mount money be warned, I am going to be using my Auctioneer Mod's powers for good and bring the damn prices back down to more reasonable by undercutting your asses. Market this motherfuckas! :-)

on call { digital seance

Communing with the machine spirits of a sick machine is a lot like peeling back the lid on a tupperware you know has been sitting in the back of the fridge for a long time. You never know what you are going to get and often it stinks. You establish the connection and start sifting the data you get things like this:

Mar 23 04:58:24 2007 ^Mpanic[cpu450]/thread=2a10096bd40: BAD TRAP: type=31 rp=2a10096ba00 addr=91 mmu_fsr=0 occurred in module "unix" due to a NULL pointer dereference
Mar 23 04:58:24 2007
Mar 23 04:58:24 2007 sched: trap type = 0x31
Mar 23 04:58:24 2007 addr=0x91
Mar 23 04:58:24 2007 pid=0, pc=0x10395a0, sp=0x2a10096b2a1, tstate=0x8800001606, context=0x0
Mar 23 04:58:24 2007 g1-g7: 1048f2c, 141e000, 147d738, 3001edf2000, fffffffffffffffd, 0, 2a10096bd40
Mar 23 04:58:24 2007
Mar 23 04:58:24 2007 000002a10096b720 unix:die+80 (31, 2a10096ba00, 91, 0, 0, 0)
Mar 23 04:58:24 2007 %l0-3: 0000000000000000 0000000001423f58 000002a10096ba00 000002a10096b8f0
Mar 23 04:58:24 2007 %l4-7: 0000000000000031 000003002379b100 000003000e4553b0 0000000001038c00
Mar 23 04:58:24 2007 000002a10096b800 unix:trap+8e4 (2a10096ba00, 0, 10000, 10200, 0, fffe)
Mar 23 04:58:24 2007 %l0-3: 0000000000000001 0000000000000000 0000000001489bd8 0000000000000031
Mar 23 04:58:24 2007 %l4-7: 0000000001489ac0 0000000000000001 0000000000000000 0000000000000000
Mar 23 04:58:24 2007 000002a10096b950 unix:ktl0+48 (91, 3001edfa000, 30025798048, 1489bd8, 16, 0)
Mar 23 04:58:24 2007 %l0-3: 0000000000000007 0000000000001400 0000008800001606 000000000102ec9c
Mar 23 04:58:24 2007 %l4-7: 0000000001489800 0000030051e9a316 0000000000000000 000002a10096ba00
Mar 23 04:58:24 2007 000002a10096baa0 unix:setbackdq+29c (0, 0, 1489bd8, 1489bd8, 0, 0)
Mar 23 04:58:24 2007 %l0-3: 0000000001049ed0 0000000000000001 000003001edfa000 ffffffffffffffff
Mar 23 04:58:24 2007 %l4-7: 000003001edfa090 0000000000000003 0000000000000091 00000000014ec800
Mar 23 04:58:24 2007
Mar 23 04:58:25 2007 syncing file systems...
Mar 23 04:58:25 2007 ^Mpanic[cpu450]/thread=2a10096bd40: BAD TRAP: type=34 rp=1487830 addr=79 mmu_fsr=0
Mar 23 04:58:25 2007 dumping to /dev/md/dsk/d20, offset 8390377472, content: kernel
Mar 23 04:58:28 2007
Mar 23 04:58:28 2007 ^Mpanic[cpu450]/thread=2a10096bd40: BAD TRAP: type=34 rp=14860f0 addr=79 mmu_fsr=0
Mar 23 04:58:28 2007 dump aborted: please record the above information!
Mar 23 04:58:30 2007 rebooting...
Mar 23 04:58:33 2007 ERROR: CPU RED_State Reset has occurred.
Mar 23 04:58:33 2007 OBP->SC mailbox is busy, can't send.
Mar 23 04:58:33 2007 Failed to send Set Reboot Info mailbox command
Mar 23 04:58:33 2007 Resetting...

You then need to start stepping through the cryptic messages and start piecing together seemingly different events like a digital Sherlock Holmes. Its one of the aspects of my job I love. The mystery. The hunt for the truth. The interaction with the vendor. The sexy underwear.

casual friday { nothing casual

So I was going to post another great music video or funny post, something from my CubeZooTV channel on YouTube. However as of this morning >50% of my bookmarked videos are no longer available.

I also heard on the NPR that Viacom is suing Google for $1B (over half of what Google paid) over copyright infringement because they have to spend too much time and effort getting their IP removed from YouTube and that YouTube is not doing enough to prevent uploading (YouTube says in no uncertain terms you should not post if you don't own the rights, what else are they to do?). In addition, they argue, Google is getting increased ad revenue off of Viacom's IP. I'm not going to touch whether this is true, untrue, wrong or right, who has moral high ground, who wins, who loses (though I think we as consumers always tend to lose).

I was worried when YouTube was purchased by Google that stuff like this would start to happen. YouTube is/was an amazing place. Google has a pocketbook, which means it is a target.

I think when company's do actions like this it cuts people off from them. The smart companies and artists are realizing that people like to share things, especially music videos, and encourage the proliferation of their product/idea/music/creativeness. The old, archaic institution don't understand the new marketplace and instead their greed fuels them to do stupid things like sue their customers, or try to stifle competition.

In the heyday of Napster I thought something special and magical was going on, millions of people were sharing their music and their videos. It violated the old mindset of 'ownership' and companies who could not adapt and figure out a new ways to make money cried foul and thief and many other things and the world became a more disconnected place, a lesser place. Companies sue their customers, criminalize grandmas. Extort freely and sanctioned by draconian IP laws and DRM. Where now in the new legal framework of the old regime and mindset anyone who rips a CD to digital formats is a criminal.

The spirit of free exchange has been killed.

What happened to Napster will happen to YouTube.

But in every age, Renegades remain.

UPDATE: DeluTube allows you to view deleted YouTube videos, I guess they stay on the servers for a time: http://youtube.infamousx.com/

Viacom vs Google...the Daily Show perspective:


politics { loyalty

Sadly 'theshow' with zeFrank is R.I.P. But this show in his last week of of the show I think hit on a very poignant point. I won't try to explain it because I think he does it well and will defer to his words:



tech { vi by M$

ganked from http://blogs.sun.com/marigan/entry/how_the_vi_editor_would

anxious { ready for the snow to be gone

Its almost gone, almost but not quite. Today will be 62F, so hopefully. I might break the bicycle out tonight and start tuning it up...after I get rid of the xmas tree...and clear up the garage...*sigh*

This morning was a series of unfortunate events. Alarm clock was turned off so Nerdwife and I overslept. The pilot light had blown out on the H2O heater, so we did not have hot water (it was still warm).

I didn't go into the office. I diverted to DCC to work, someplace with a window where I could see outside. I stood in the sun at the bus stop and soaked it up. It felt good, I felt calm. I could smell burning garbage somewhere.

That is one thing about Rochester, the smells. Its not a big city, but the air quality is poor. In the summer you get smells from agricultural endeavors that ring the city, but that's not the source of the bad smells. The air has a stagnant, stifling quality to it. The constant development that rings the city, as well as the field work makes the air dusty and dirty. The multiple power generation plants the main one of which is coal burning (and the other which is waste burning) cause smog. Rochester is kind of in a valley, so the air does not move much unless there is a strong wind.


review { (book) "Ravenor: Rogue"

Ravenor Rogue
author: Dan Abnett
publisher: Black Library (Games Workshop)

synopsis: Third book in the Inquisitor Ravenor series. The book picks up where 'Ravenor: Returned' leaves off, except now the Inquisitor has been on 'special condition' for too long and the Ordos wants him to return to duty. But Ravenor refuses and continues to hunt his arch-nemesis Zygmunt Molotch, someone he has been hunting for over 70 years. Add into this the threat of the emergence of the daemon Slyte. Who was supposed to manifest before 403.M41, its now 404.M41, has it happened? Has the timeline been changed enough so it won't? Or will someone close to Ravenor betray him and bring ruin upon the Imperium.

review: Its hard to write a book review, so much I want to say, yet I don't want to create a spoiler, which sadly means these reviews are rarely helpful I guess, but oh well. Another excellent book by Dan Abnett. This book is not due out in the States until April, but I purchased a copy from across the pond because I couldn't wait. I thoroughly enjoy the Inquisitor Ravenor series. I find it actually better than the Inquisitor Eisnehorn series, but its ok because the two dove-tail with each other. Ravenor was a student of Eisenhorn, who sponsored him to become a full Imperial Inquisitor. Abnett once again manages to capture the gritty, meat-grinder of life that is the Imperium of Man in the Warhammer 40k universe. He manages to set the mood and the tensions such that I was actually creeped out in parts, especially those involving the emergence of the daemon Slyte. His characters, much like I've mentioned in my reviews of the 'Tanith First and Only' series are 3-dimensional and real. The book's ending, which could be misconstrued as a fizzle is actually genius. I hesitate to mention it here because I don't want to give it away, but if you had read carefully through the other two books and this one, it is brilliant and fits. Once again the locations where the Inquisitor and his warband travel feel real. The hardships they encounter are painful. And the ambiguity of who are the good guys, and who are the bad guys is both obvious and smeared in places. Dan Abnett does an excellent job of not only developing the protagonists well, but puts as much effort, and in some case more into the antagonists. His villains range from the anti-hero to the outright malevolent. Molotch is perfectly developed, a Dr. Moriarty to Ravenor's Holmes.

I am sad because this book closes the trilogy. Of the trilogy, currently 'Ravenor: Returned' is my favorite, but this book stands strong.

The end of the book leaves a taste of a new book Dan Abnett is working on involving the 'Iron Snakes' Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes. The teaser chapters they put at the back of this book were enough to whet my appetite for more.

overall: solid A


casual friday { War Photographer (video)

Vikings, guitar battles, roadies, giant robots. It has it all!


quiz { I'm a ninja

My score on The Cowboy-Ninja-Pirate-Knight Test:

Rogue Ninja

(You scored 10 Honor, 1 Justice, 5 Adventure, and 8 Individuality!)

You are as quiet as the wind, deadly as a viper and you follow no master. You are a Rogue Ninja. Let no one say you are without honor, lest they meet a quiet and questionable end.Dress as you like and keep your knives close. You'll do just fine

Link: The Cowboy-Ninja-Pirate-Knight Test

tech/work { National Shutdown Day - March 24

National Shutdown Day, March 24 2007.

Workers of the world unite! I mean shutdown!

From their website, alternate uses for your computer:


emo { NoDak on emo slack

Welcome to the 1990s NoDak.

more musings { the sidewalk

Ok, so I've calmed down after the family tech support affair.

I drank some coffee. Shut off work and spent the last 20 minutes listening to my 0xDEADBEEF playlist on iTunes and watching the world go by outside the window. I find this calming. I wrote a little in my personal journal. Here is what I've seen. This is what I've felt.

The airport shuttle come and pickup some people waiting at the coffeeshop.

An elderly Somali man wander slowly down the street disappearing from view, coming back 10 minutes later. Weather lines and sadness on his face. Why is he sad? What's his story?

I watched someone I call the 'bag lady'. I do not know who she is, but I've seen her all over town. In the subway (the term used in Rochester for the underground and above ground tunnel and skyway system that links together almost all of downtown). On the bus going to the Apache Mall. And, as now, wandering the streets. I've seen her with kids, but not for a long time. The last few months I've seen her around has been without what I believed were her children, but with a sad look, almost pained on her face. Is she ill? Is she homeless? What's her story?

I see the owner of the art gallery across the street, or at least I assume him to be the owner, he is a twin almost for the java-jock at the coffeeshop here. There is a sign in to window, store closing, 50% off. There are 3 stores on this block with similar signs. Why is the store closing? The rug store next to the coffeeshop is closing because the owner has the delusion of opening a bar...despite the fact there is a Pub two doors down from him and an upscale tapas and wine bar next to that. The furniture store is closing after 50+ years because the owner is retiring. The other furniture store is closing for a reason I have not been able to find out yet. The coffeeshop I am sitting in luckily will remain at least for a little while. I hope they last, they're the last local one. The rest are franchises or have closed already. Nothing in this town is open past 9pm it seems.

I see an endless stream of cars, SUVs, vans, and trucks...big loud trucks flow by. They blend into the scenery.

The sky is blue, the Sun is shining.

Kids, well technically teenagers, from the Children's Theater around the corner come in and order smoothies...there's still 10 inches of snow. The noise of the blender intrudes on my playlist. I'm listening to Buffalo Springfield's 'For What Its Worth'. Students and nurses start to filter by on the way to the Mayo employee lot down by Dos Amigos. This daily exodus starts around 3:30pm.

I want to ride my bike.

Winter continues.

The 6D city bus goes by, I've never bothered to look up that route. I take the 7/7A/7N.

I see people I know walk by, they do not see me behind the glass.

I think of the Cities.

I think of San Francisco.

I think of next weekend. We are hosting a dinner party.

I dream of being alone, my INTP side bleeding through in reaction to stress.

An odd meeting invite at work pops up...I contemplate if I should be worried. When did I become so paranoid and cynical at work?

I go back to thinking about Bag Lady and think of the other homeless person I used to see and realize I have not seen him since last summer. I think about the transient couple who used to ask me for money, the couple who a friend, who didn't have any money gave her mittens to because it was cold. I've haven't seen them since last spring.

Rochester is not friendly to those who are homeless or poor.

I think of someone I know in the Graduate School who is from the south who suffers from S.A.D. and hates the winter. He needs a date.

I need a haircut.

The nerd store in Rochester is weak.

An elderly couple from Michigan stop and contemplate the furniture store. Are they here because of the clinic? Maybe, they check a map and drive on.

I've been unfair to a co-worker. I need to rectify that, I still consider him a friend, but I've been hard on him.

I've been unfair to my team lead as well. He means well, but he does get in the way at times.

Le Tigre is awesome.

So is RJD2.

The Oak Street Cinema is going under again. I wish I had the money, I would buy that theater and restore it. It would be cool to own a movie theater and show cool films and movies. It would be cool to own a coffeehouse. Or would it?

Escalades are obscene. So are Navigators. They occur with high frequency in this town. The guy driving the Escalade looks like a twat, but that's not fair of me. I don't know him. He comes into the coffee shop. Its not his Escalade, he's a chauffeur. I remind myself to not be a twat and stop judging.

But this is just a game.

musings { family tech support, or why I'm not a nice person

[prepare thyself, this be a major rant]

I'm a terrible son and a terrible grandson.

Here's why. I get pissed at my family. I get pissed at them because they ask me to help them with their computer problems.

Its not all their fault. I bring some of this on myself. I'm the one who purchased an iMac for my father, so he wouldn't buy a 386 laptop with black and white monitor and windows 3.1 from a pawn shop. I'm the one who purchased a brand new Windows XP machine for my grandmother when the old one she had, donated graciously by a 'friend' of the family and held together with duct tape, literally exploded. I'm the one who installed the Operating Systems for them, hardened them so that they would not be instantly 'pwn3d' when they set foot into cyberspace. Configured their crappy ISP software (Juno for my grandmother, ECE for my father) because the tech support at those places is what happens when you think you know something, but then binge drink until the pain goes away, or you smoke way too much pot and listen to Pink Floyd backwards. I did all this, so I am to blame.

Why am I upset? Simple. I'm never the first one they call, I'm always the last. They tell me I'm the only one they know who knows anything about how, as my grandma puts it, "these silly things work." Yet I am always the last to call. Before today, I never got mad at them. I, with a smile would drive to their house, spend hours undoing and fixing their machines (instead of visiting with and being with them) and getting them back online. I must be a real ass to them in someway however, because I am the last one they call.

I'm feeling a bit taken for granted. I'm feeling a bit hurt. They didn't consult me until after they had purchased Juno, or McAffee, or MSN. It doesn't work and they want me to fix it. I used to try my best to muddle through helping them. But its over. I'm done.

My father called me today as I was re-locating from the windowless office to finish my day at my favorite window at a coffeeshop in Rochester. His internet didn't work. I had a moment of deja'vu. This is exactly how my grandmother's call started not three days earlier. They had taken their iMac to a friends house to use her DSL to download the security updates. This is not a bad thing, as there were 16 updates to download, and it would have taken days over dial-up, and ECE disconnects after an hour, because they're the kind of ISP that couldn't find its ass with two hands, a hunting dog, a mirror, and various high-paid consultants pointing it out. All their friends in the area have MSN, because its 'faster'. How I'm not sure, everyone is on dial-up since only a few places have DSL, but Qwest is rolling out DSL sometime later this year. Well they have been unhappy with their dial-up ECE speeds, and I don't blame them for that, but in honesty they were getting good speeds for where they were. But instead of asking me what I thought, and letting me do some research, they talked to their friends and decided to get MSN. Then they called Qwest and MSN and asked to get it. The shit-wits at tech support were absolutely no help b/c they had Mac OSX and fed them various lines of bullshit and lies that I am not going to repeat because its the kind of bullshit that makes me see red. They told them that they can't get MSN for Mac OSX, which is sort of true according to this link. And then they proceeded to have them go and do something that caused all their network preferences to disappear. This prompted my dad to finally call me. I was walking outside and stopped to talk, as the wind is just enough that walking makes it hard to hear. We proceed to go back and forth for 20 minutes (I made the mistake of telling my dad he made a mistake, which my father does not tolerate well) and I start to freeze my ass off. It turns out all that needed to be done was to plug the USB modem back into the USB port and let the system re-detect the modem and it automatically reconfigured everything back to what would allow them to connect. They did thank me, and we apologized for getting upset with each other, I'm having a shitacular week (its getting better now at least) because of DST. I'm under a lot or pressure and stress and I just snapped.

So for my mental health, I'm done. I live too far away from them and their issues are not ones I can fix from memory over a hundred miles away on the phone.

politics { If a Scooter is convicted in the woods will anyone indict a Cheney?

Seriously. I read the NYT article. Is Cheney next? He should be. Will Congress do anything that is not non-binding?


book review { 'Armour of Contempt' by Dan Abnett

Author: Dan Abnett
Genre: Sci-fi/WH40k

Synopsis: The Sabbat Crusades continue and the Tanith First finds itself with Commissar Gaunt back on Gereon, a once loyal world to be liberated once again by the forces of Man. But the return is not as it seems and the Holy Inquisition, in a deal struck with a refugee desperate to return, threatens to leave the world no better off than the hell it has endured under the foul forces of the Archenemy of Mankind. Gaunt and the Tanith find themselves at odds with duty, loyalty and honor. Meanwhile two of there own, one fresh from boot and one back from indoctrination and sent through a hellish meat grinder where one is reminded of what it means to be a loyal guardsman and the other is forever changed.

Review: Dan Abnett is one of my favorite authors in the sci-fi genre, ever since I started reading the first book of the Tanith series. He is also the author of the Inquisitor Eisenhorn series, the Inquisitor Ravenor series, Double Eagle, and many, many more. My favorite books of his have been both Inquisitor series, a Warhammer book 'Fell Cargo' (about pirates) and my very favorite is 'Double Eagle' a tale of fighter jocks in the WH40k universe.

This book while good, is in my opinion so far the weakest of the Tanith series. All the characters (except for those who have died in earlier books) are there and many of the lead characters keep their 3D personalities (I always feel like I know them) and the world, including the combat, is visceral and realistic (as you can get in a sci-fi setting), but for some reason this book just didn't have the tension and plot twists the others did. His last two 'Traitor General' (where we are introduced to the world of Gereon) and 'His Last Command' were excellent (second only to 'Straight Silver' where the Tanith fought in the hellish trench war of Aexe Cardinal)

Overall: B (Dan is a great writer, but in comparison to his other works its good, but not as good as the others)

tech/work { T-minus 6 days, counting down

To Y2K...I mean DST. Or as I've now taken to calling it, 'Definite Suck Time'. Remember folks, get the latest patches for your Operating System (if you can) and if you use Java, make sure you are running v1.4+ and have either upgraded to 1.5.0_u11+ or have run the SUN 'tzupdater' tool.

blog { Knight of Nothing

Go check out Knight of Nothing. He's a friend and fellow Nerdpodian.


Musings { Coffeehouse ramblings

I'm sitting killing time before Nerd Nacht starts. I'm sitting in the main area of the 'Bean Factory' (formerly J&S Bean Factory, until the owners divorced). The pleasing aroma of fresh roasted coffee wafts through the air from the roaster in the back. This place is one of my old haunts in the Twin Cities. Its still an important place to me. I meet my friend MikeD here before as many Nerd Nachts as our schedules allow. We have a cup, or two, or three of bean juice and catch up on old times. MikeD is one of my oldest and closest friends. I've known him almost all my life. He was a year behind me in school, so I knew of him for many, many years before we became friends in high school. We used to have plans. Graduation and backpacking across Europe. Getting an apartment together in the Cities and going to the same colleges. But life has a way of changing plans. Its only been recently we've had enough money to even buy tickets to Europe, but now neither of us are in a position to take a summer off and backpack across Europe. He never went to college and I dropped out. He's been slowly over the last 14 years moving his way closer and closer to the Cities, while I've been moving away. Despite that, we call each other often. We've always been like brothers. We've been there for each other. He was one of the first friends I introduced Nerdwife to, before she was Nerdwife and just Futurenerdwife. I've stood by him when other friends left him. He was there for me when I had cancer. He is smart, self-educated. Constantly teaching himself new things. His occupation is machinist and he is damn good at what he does. His hobbies are computers and reading.

I awoke this morning looking forward to the day. Tonight is Nerding, something I've done for many, many years. The Nerdpod (in reality Nerdpod 2) is a close cadre of friends, a clan, part of my tribe. I love Nerd Nacht. I get sad when I miss it.

But first a trip to my Grandparents. My grandma's computer is acting up. It turned out to not be major. Her Windows Defender expired and needed to uninstalled. Her McAffee AV expired and needed to be reloaded. She had problems downloading it and in an attempt to fix the errors that pop up, used WinXP's 'System Restore' feature to roll back to mid-Nov...not something to do. I was able to easily undo the restore, uninstalled Windows Defender, and started downloading the renewed McAffee AV Suite (she had already purchased the renewal, I would have moved her to AVG, as its much easier to use and its a commercial piece of bloatware, but c'est la vie). She has dial-up (Juno , but its cheap) and it would take 4 hours to download. She and Grandpa like when Nerdwife and I visit and they love us both very much. She used my visit as an excuse to make breaded pork-chops, a favorite of hers. She makes good pork chops.

As we eat and catch up on news with the family (I have not seen them since Xmas) I notice the age lines. They are both doing well for being in their late 70s, having been smokers all their life. I'm concerned, Grandma has had a melanoma on her face that the doctors have been treating for years. I notice the start of a new one near her nose. But she sees the doctor regularly, and if it was serious, she would say something. I wish they would stop smoking, it is the only downside of visiting them. I've been away from smoke and smokers for long enough now, that being around a single smoker can make me nauseous. My cloths now smell of the toxic stuff. I will have to air them out later and wash them.

From my Grandparents I went to kill time at the Nerd Store (aka The Source). I've been a card member since 1993, one of the few who have a card number less than 300. I soak in the nerd. It feels good. I am pleased to see families, and women. When I first started the full on decent into total Nerdom, there were few women in the hobby. Now there are many, and more people of all types. I see the faintest trace of someone I recognize out of the corner of my eye. I look closer...and sure enough it is someone I know. Or rather knew in a past life. This person was a project manager named Troy for my former employer's employer (I worked for an Outsourcer). He was always a pleasant, if not always easy to work with person. He was also someone to whom I would not figure a nerd. He is, a big one. He is there with his wife and 3 or 4 year old daughter. He is not only a nerd, but so is his wife and they were there buy something for his daughter. I smile. I don't approach him. He more than likely does not remember me, and I am not 100% positive his name is Troy. I go back to looking for a miniature for my 10th level Ranger 'Falin M'Or', whom I've played since joining the Nerdpod. I find a miniature that I will paint. Its not truly Falin, but its the closest I've found in all these years.

Falin is me. Or at least me if I was elven, adept with martial weapons, and could track like Aragorn from Lord of the Rings. I guess he is who I would choose to be if I were this fantasy world we create on every 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month. He has grown from being merely some stats on a piece of paper to a part of me. Much like my World of Warcraft rogue, Pernox, has become a part of me. This bonding with my characters has only happened with a few other characters, usually they are just characters.

Xen - my 13th level Cambian (retired, from Nerdpod 1)
James Ravenscliff - my 11th level Anti-Paladin (retired, from Nerdpod 1)
Anax - my 6th level Gnoll Fighter (RIP)
Xu - my 9th level Dwarven Fighter/Rogue (RIP)

I love the smell of coffee.

Time to get my nerd-on.


Casual Friday { [Video] The Child

I love this animation. The world in letters.

On a side note. We received another 12"+ of snow. It warmed my heart today to see total strangers stopping and helping people either dig out of the snow or get their vehicles unstuck.