Friday, September 29, 2006

Beta

I created a blog in Blogger Beta so I could test it out, play around with it, beat it into the form I like, before I switch over.

You can look at it here: sotosoroto.blogspot.com.

I like the feature of being able to sort by "labels." I think I'll call it Index, though. With the click of a button, you'd be able to call up all posts with a label of "holidays," "political," "personal," "random," or whatever.

Fad Diet

"Eat less and exercise" means "No donuts!!"

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Random Word Post

My id is surprising in how its negative parts are prefixed by logging. It cheated, but then it commits my generation to complexity. Theirs leaded its sending me to bash my advertised and all inclusive anatomy.

Their proposal is full of restrictions which must cause my desperate sleep drift. How does inconveniencing a monkey by page treatment cause wet sympathy? Only by numeric evils, that’s how.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

More Thailand

It's business as usual in southern Thailand, as well.

SUSPECTED Islamic militants today shot dead four Buddhists in two separate attacks in Thailand's mainly Muslim south, where an insurgency has raged for more than two years, police said.

More than 1400 people have died in the conflict in Thailand's far south since early 2004.

Thaksin Shinawatra, the former premier ousted in last week's coup, has been accused of inflaming tensions there with heavy-handed tactics.

There have been hopes the Muslim army chief who led the coup, General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, may be able to ease the unrest.
Yeah, I'm so glad having a Muslim in charge difused the tensions so quickly.

(hat tip: LGF)

News from Thailand

The Thai military is having some problems with their coup d'etat, but not the kind you'd expect.

Last week they required their soldiers to smile. This week, Thais and tourists have been taking pictures of the soldiers and tanks, posing for pictures with them, and dancing for them.

The leaders ruled that tourists are "no longer permitted to handle weapons when posing for photographs with troops still deployed in Bangkok." Makes good sense, I think.

Thai go-go dancers entertained the troops on Monday, but today, the military leaders ruled that such provocative dancing is "not appropriate."

And the best line from the article? It comes from Lt. Gen. Palangoon Klaharn, a military spokesman: "We have to maintain the seriousness of the coup."

What if we had a coup and nobody cared? Party on!

Here are the dancers who provoked this ruling:

Attention, passengers!

If you look out the left windows, you will see the clouds of Jokranam spiraling into the vastness of infinity. Note the tiny red sparks dancing across their surface. Those sparks are actually lightning bolts a million miles long.

For those of you on the right side of the plane, you should now be able to see Port Ludlow coming up beneath us.

If you happen to be in the middle of the plane or over a wing, just lean back and close your eyes. It's not really that interesting.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

That Darn Slumping Economy

Uh oh! We're stuck in a recession! Oh, well, we're *headed* for a recession! Oh, well, um. . . This too shall pass?

The DJIA closed today at 11,669, just 80 points shy of the record high mark in January 2000.

Teddy Bear Kills 2,500

2,500 fish, that is.

The culprit:


MILFORD, N.H. (AP) - A teddy bear has been implicated in 2,500 deaths. Of trout, that is. State officials say a teddy bear dropped into a pool at a Fish and Game Department hatchery earlier this month clogged a drain. The clog blocked the flow of oxygen to the pool and suffocated the fish.

Hatcheries supervisor Robert Fawcett said the bear - who was dressed in yellow raincoat and hat - is believed to be the first stuffed bear to cause fatalities at the facility.

The deaths prompted Fawcett to release a written warning: "RELEASE OF ANY TEDDY BEARS into the fish hatchery water IS NOT PERMITTED."
Maybe the bear got drunk and fell in accidentally. . .

Monday, September 25, 2006

Time of the Season

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that the tree leaves are reflecting significantly lower electromagnetic frequencies than they were just a week ago?

Go, Owls!

I sure hope that Rice University athletics didn't pass over some really good African-American coach just because of the color of his skin. Because the current coach's win-loss record isn't any better than a sack of rocks'. 0 and 4.

Their last two games, they lost by a combined score of 107-14. But that was against Texas and Florida State. I sure hope the college got plenty of money for those butt-kickings.

Maybe Rice will be able to beat Army next week. Or at least Tulane the week after. When comparing Rice and Tulane's only opponent in common so far this year, U of Houston, Rice should be able to beat Tulane 42-7 or so.

Actually, Rice's problem is that, unlike the other bottom-barrel C-USA teams, Rice isn't playing Division I-AA opponents to get a win under their belt. No Hofstra or Chattanooga to smack around.

. . . The money from the big schools had better be worth it, really.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Yee-haw!

Rice University has basically told a racist group to shut up and go away. At least that's my interpretation. The Houston Chronicle describes it as "Rice gets failing grade for diversity."

The Black Coaches Association wanted documents related to the recent hiring process of Rice's new football head coach, to make sure that Rice did everything in their power to hire a person of African-American heritage. Rice told them, "No. We're a private institution. That's sensitive information. Go away."

The BCA gave Rice a failing grade automatically, just because Rice turned them away. Kinda spitefuly, wouldn't you say?

And, of course, the BCA didn't just go away. They and the researchers have kept hounding Rice's athletic department, and Rice has stopped replying to their emails or their phone calls.

Can't these guys take a hint?

Happy New Year!

I'm sure the sun has set somewhere in the world already today, so therefore it's Rosh Hashanah!

This evening marks the start of year 5767. Wow. Them Jews have been around a really long time. Oh wait. That's counting since the beginning of the world. Nevermind.

Hm. . . Were Adam and Eve Jewish? How about Noah? Nah. I think the first Jews were Abraham and Sarah, right?

And just think: the Jewish people are still living on the same patch of land as they were way back then. All those years and they never left home. . .

South Parking Lot Update

Three months after the groundbreaking ceremony, activity has finally begun on the construction project across the street from my office.

Nothing major so far, though. It looks like they're doing exploratory soils testing along the area they'll be digging up first. And another guy is wandering around with a metal detector. Only a half dozen people out there, but that's infinitely more than two days ago.

They had their building permit back at the time of the groundbreaking, so I really don't know what delayed them. Perhaps there were contract problems.

Or maybe they decided they preferred digging in the mud instead of dry ground. . .

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

work

I receive a submittal for metal roofing. The 24"-panel variety is circled.

24" panels matches what's on the existing building, so I say okay and return it.

A couple days later, I get an email: They can't get the 24". How about 17"?

Then why did you submit the 24"??!! Nyargh!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Uh oh

Bad news from Thailand. The military just coup-d'etated the government.

Thailand's army commander ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in a military coup Tuesday night while he was in New York, circling his offices with tanks, declaring martial law and revoking the constitution. A military spokesman said army Commander-in-Chief Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin would be acting prime minister.

Sondhi, a Muslim in this Buddhist-dominated country, is known to be close to Thailand's revered monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Thailand was one of the few improving democracies in the region. I hope they can get out of this mess.

If You're in Wa St, Vote Today!

Today is the primary election in Washington State, so you better stop by your polling place and cast your ballot.

I voted the Democratic ballot, just so I could cast votes against Cantwell and McDermott. In November, I certainly won't vote for any Democrat.

Primaries are a money-wasting venture, I know, but they're the best we have for now. Once we get IRV in place, we can do away with primaries.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Wallabies and Crocodiles and Pandas, oh my!

Apparently, Britain has quite a few non-indigenous animals wandering around in the wild. Never mind that every inch of that island has been settled for hundreds of years; there's still wilderness.

Enough wilderness, in fact, to host (as counted in the last six years) "51 wallabies, 13 spiders including a tarantula and a Black Widow, 13 racoons, 10 crocodiles, seven wolves, three pandas, two scorpions and one penguin." Not to mention monkeys in Scotland and "5,931 big cats, 332 wild boars and 3,389 sharks in British waters." I'll assume they mean just the sharks are in the water.

I can understand wallabies hopping around. Spiders, racoons, and wolves no problem. But pandas?! Are they all together in one area? Are they doing any better than the wild pandas in China? What do they eat? I thought pandas only ate bamboo. Is there a forest of invasive bamboo somewhere in England?

The article sadly doesn't mention what types of big cats they have, but it does say the cats are mainly in southwestern England. The boars are mainly in the southeast. The wallabies are mainly in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. So those three, at least, sound like viable populations.

I wonder if the others will survive and/or thrive.

Hey, look at me! I'm famous!

Or at least a group of college students in Singapore have read some of my writing and used it as an example in their paper.

What writing, you say? My Vophick calendar for Mars! I wrote it about seven years ago. It was one of many calendars for Mars that I designed back then.

Their paper is about what life on Mars would be like. One of the sections is on calendars. They discuss in depth four systems: Robert Zubrin's (the head of the Mars Society), Thomas Gangale's, Frans Blok's, and mine. Their write-up on mine starts on page 74.

Zubrin's calendar is twelve uneven-length months that fit the eccentric orbit of Mars so that there are exactly three months per season. The months vary in length between 46 and 66 days.
Gangale's Darian calendar has 24 months of 27 or 28 days each. Blok's calendar is structurally similar to the Darian calendar (24 months of 27/28), but he invented a new naming system for the months so there would be no confusion between Earth and Mars.

My Vophick calendar has sixteen months of 41 or 42 days each. I was trying to strike a balance between the long months that only twelve would create and the large number of months that shorter months would cause. And this is precisely why they included it in their paper.

They also mention my leap-year system as being confusing, which it is. But there really isn't any great solution for that one. Instead of an extra 0.242 days, there's an extra 0.592 days. You try to solve it.

Personally, I settled on my Pavonian calendar, which has twenty months of 33 or 34 days. But I still keep track of the Vophick calendar, as well. FYI, today is August 11 on the Vophick calendar, Acidalia 1 on the Pavonian calendar, and Aries 11 on the Darian calendar. I don't keep track of Zubrin's silly thing.

Monday?!

Last Friday seems like ages ago. 'Twas a long weekend. I wish it were longer, though. I need a day of rest. I got home from backpacking at 4 p.m. yesterday and hosted a potluck party starting at 6:30. No one showed up till 6:50, thankfully, because I was still doing things like making my bed after 6:30. I'd think I was done, be sitting there watching Seinfeld, then remember something else and hop up and go do it.

A good weekend, but tiring.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Apologies

So the Pope said some stuff about Mohammed that riled up Muslims around the world. And now he's apologized. Sort of. It depends who you ask.

The AP, for instance, says that Benedict stopped short of the full apology that the Muslims demanded.

Al Jazeera, however, acts as if it's a full apology.

Who's right? Well, both. Neither. To me, it sounds like one of those wishy-washy apologies: "I'm sorry you feel that way" as opposed to "I'm sorry I hurt you."

Here's what the Vatican said:

"[Pope Benedict XVI] sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful and should have been interpreted in a manner that in no way corresponds to his intentions."

I don't know. Maybe something is lost in translation between German, Italian, English, and Arabic. I just wish he hadn't felt the need to apologize at all.

Friday, September 15, 2006

United Dictators

Quick! Who has a grenade?



It's three of your favorite dictators meeting together with all the rest of them in Havana. Left to right, that's Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Lukashenko of Belarus, and Chavez of Venezuela.

This one's an odd pairing, though:



That's India's Prime Minister Singh hugging Iran's President Ahmadinejad. I guess it's just proof that the Non-Aligned Movement isn't prejudiced against non-dicatorships.

Here, this one's more like it:



Musharraf of Pakistan and Raul Castro of Cuba, of course.

This next one must be photoshopped, because Fidel is dead, isn't he?

Handy Chinese Phrases

Hello...........Ni hao
How are you?....Ni hao ma
Good morning....Zao chen hao
Good night......Wan an
Goodbye.........Zai jian
Thanks..........Xie xie
You're welcome..Bu ke qi
Yes.............Hui
No..............Bu hui
Who?............Shei
What?...........Shen me
When?...........Shen me shi hou
Where?..........Na li
Why?............Wei shen me

But remember, you must have the right tones and pronuncation.

This all, of course, brings to mind the Monty Python song, "I Like Chinese," which includes the following line: "Ni hao ma, ni hao ma, ni hao ma, zai jian!"

Do You Believe in Magic?

In Nigeria, they do.

Found by the police with the bloody corpse of his brother, a man told the cops that he had killed a goat, not his brother. It was only after the goat's death did its body magically transform into his sibling.

Do any of you believe this his story is possible? Do any of you believe in magic and the supernatural and miracles and everything else that science says doesn't exist?

If you do, where do you draw the line? Do only Christian miracles count? Do only eerie coincidences occur?

If you don't believe in any of this stuff, why not? Do you really think that the universe is exactly as you see it? Cannot there be something greater, unseen?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Xena -> Eris

In case you hadn't heard, the IAU finally announced the new official name of 2003 UB313, popularly known as "Xena." It's now Eris, named for the Greek goddess of strife and discord.

Eris's moon, once known as "Gabrielle," is now Dysnomia, named for the goddess of lawlessness (a deliberate reference to actress Lucy Lawless).

And the IAU also gave Eris and Pluto new minor-body numbers, just like all the asteroids. They also reiterated Pluto, Eris, and Ceres to be dwarf planets, along with a brief mention of "two other new potential dwarf-planet candidates." I'm guessing they're referring to two of the KBOs which are larger than Ceres, which are "Santa," "Easterbunny," Sedna, etc. etc. etc.

I still want to call it Rupert, though.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

and back to the mundane

I just went and bought a new toilet seat because my old one is so cheap that the cleaning solvents rub away at the white stuff and gradually expose more and more of the dark particle board beneath.

So I'm standing at Home Depot, staring at all these toilet seats hanging on the wall. They come in two sizes, round and elongated. The round ones looked too small for my memory of my toilet, so I bought one of the elongated ones.

I took it home and instantly realized that I, in fact, needed a round seat instead. So I'll have to go back and exchange it.

The moral of the story? Measure twice and buy once.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Never Forget













I'm proud to be an American,
Where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
Who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up next to you
And defend her still today,
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land.
God bless the USA.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Mailboxes

Yesterday, I climbed Mailbox Peak. It's "official" name is Garcia Peak, but nobody knows that name. It got the name Mailbox Peak because on top it has, get this, a mailbox.

Actually, now it has two. Somebody hauled up a new one, with "Mailbox Peak" written neatly on the side. Both are filled with postcards, sign-in books, etc. One had a Tacoma News Tribune from September 1. The first time I was there, several years ago, the mailbox had a Dr Seuss book in it, which was being used as a sign-in book. But that was gone now.

Also in the past, there have been a fire hydrant and a ladder at the peak. Yes, an honest-to-goodness super-heavy fire hydrant. At the bottom of the hill, there's a firefighter training facility, so I blame them for all the random heavy stuff. The mailboxes might've been anyone, though, I supose.

Mailbox

It was cloudy, but not rainy. Not a drop.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Portland

Well, I just agreed to live in Portland three days a week in November and December (minus holidays/vacation). Onsite construction administration, here I come.

It will cut into my burgeoning social life, but that was getting too crowded anyway. . . And I'll actually have time to sit down and work on my novels. No more new stuff. I must revise.

Oh, and the powdered-sugar-coated chocolate donuts from Aurora Donuts taste really good this morning. Especially with a green tea to balance.

Ow

Sometime last night or yesterday evening, I managed to twist my knee. Whether it was sleeping or sitting at my desk or laying on the couch or maybe it was doing pushups and situps for the first time in months (apparently not enough because my upper body isn't sore), I managed to hurt the tendons or something so now I limp if I don't walk deliberately. The pain is mainly from the joint backwards, nowhere near the patella. Odd.

I turned thirty and now my body is just going to pieces!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

American Prisons

If you ever wavered in your belief that America's prisons coddle our inmates, let this be all the proof you ever need:

A New Hamshire man robbed a bank last Friday, then waited around for the police to arrest him and haul him off to jail. He had recently lost his job and wanted to be "supported."

Apparently welfare isn't good enough for him. . .

Notice to All Women

It doesn't matter how good you look standing still in high heels. If you can't walk gracefully in them, you'd be better off wearing rubber rainboots.

I mean, I see women clomping about like little kids playing dress-up with their mother's clothes. *I* can walk better in high heels than that!

Places You Don't Want to Live

Freedom House yesterday released a list of the most repressive countries in the world. It's really just the same-old, same-old, but it's worth remembering.

Belarus
Burma
Chechnya (Russia)
China
Cuba
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Haiti
Laos
Libya
North Korea
Saudi Arabia
Somalia
Sudan
Syria
Tibet (China)
Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan
Western Sahara (Morocco)
Zimbabwe

And to think the worst I have to worry about is my boss asking me to move to Portland for two months. . .

La Lune

Besides today being Brazilian Independence Day, my parents' 37th wedding anniversary (Happy anniversary!), and the Holy Day of Nanímo (God of Anger, Martian calendar only), today also has a full moon, a lunar eclipse, a perigee, and the moon occulting Uranus.

The eclipse is starting soon, peaking at 9:45 or so PDT, so nobody in the Western Hemisphere will be able to see it. Perigee means that the moon is at its closest point to Earth in its orbit this month, so it should look really big. The occultation of Uranus will only be visible (*not* be visible?) from Australia and environs. But if you have a telescope in the US, you should be able to spot Uranus just beside the moon tonight. And if you can't, you better return your Astronomy merit badge.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Why not Seattle?

In a Vermont town called Brattleboro, teenagers (of both sexes) have been hanging out in the nude all summer. There are no laws against public nudity, but some locals are concerned it will give Brattleboro a bad name and drive away business.

But I wonder, if teens in a rural blue state like Vermont feel free to walk around town naked, why does this not happen in an uber-blue city like Seattle? I mean, we don't even have any clothing-optional beaches!

This city is a lot more conservative than it thinks it is.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Cypress Island

Pack pack pack, paddle paddle paddle, unpack unpack unpack, set up camp.

09-CampViewNorth

Pack pack pack, hike hike hike, swim swim swim.

17-BradberryLilypads

Hike hike hike, unpack unpack unpack, eat and sleep.

19-CampViewNorthMorning

Pack pack pack, paddle paddle paddle, wait while other people hike hike hike, paddle paddle paddle, unpack unpack unpack.

27-CampViewSunsetCloudsReflect

Eat and sleep.

32-CampSeastar

Take down camp, pack pack pack, paddle paddle paddle, rest, paddle paddle paddle, rest and eat, paddle paddle paddle, unpack unpack unpack. Whew!

40-SeamensMemorialParkAnke

Dear Mom

I made it home safe and sound last night at about a quarter to nine. Long trip, good fun.

And I have no plans to go salsa dancing anytime soon, but I might sometime in the future.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Beer

So apparently, Miller Brewing Company supports illegal immigration. Don't drink Miller! Or any of its sub-brands:

Sharp's
Red Dog
Icehouse
Southpaw
Leinenkugel's
Henry Weinhard's
Hamm's
Olde English
Magnum
Mickey's
Milwaukee's Best
Foster's
Peroni
Pilsner Urquell
Sheaf
Sparks
Steel Reserve

But I really want to know why anybody was drinking any of this stuff in the first place. Don't you all know you should be drinking Moose Drool (or any of Big Sky's other fine beers)? Or at least Pyramid or Bridgeport. In fact, last night, I had a quite fine Widmer Hefeweizen.

With all the fine northwest beers available (Mac and Jack's? Mirror Pond?), why would anyone choose a Miller, Coors, or Bud? Sheesh!

I feel old.

In Rice University's monthly email newsletter, the following headline jumped out at me:

Rice Welcomes Class of 2010

I feel old now.

Is it Friday yet?

?