Friday, December 01, 2006

No Buy List

This is pretty goddamn tasteless.

Well played BenQ. Way to pimp your shit using a national tragedy. Your total lack of shame has added you to the list of Companies From Whom I Will Not Buy A Single Product.

And what the hell is up with the pre-teen Japanese Michael Jackson thing going on there?

How do you think they would react if some company had an ad campaign that featured a mushroom cloud over Hiroshima?


(Hat tip: Engadget)

Winter Wonderland

While the snow is cool, and yes I do have a truck, I seem to have overlooked a very real possibility. It involves snowplows. Specifically, it involves the slope-browed, microcephalic snowplow operators that have the contract with my apartment complex. Oh, yes, they did a fine job plowing this morning. But for one thing. They plowed such that the majority of people are now locked into their parking spots. I have a 1 1/2 foot berm of snow directly behind my bumper. And no shovel.

Actually, I should count myself lucky. Someone's bumper got ripped off by a plow in the night (that happened to me 2 yrs ago). I think these guys were drinking or something.

Anyhow, snow aside, I have yet another emergency. Sometime during the night my pilot light went out on my furnace. It is now 55 degrees in my apt and it has been over an hour since I called the paging service. To say I am... miffed... would be an extreme understatement.

When it doesn't rain it... well, it snows in this case.

UPDATE: I have been asked about the November Chippy Awards. These will be posted over the weekend. I did not have enough free time to get to them in time for today.

UPDATE 2: I have heat. Only took them 1 1/2 hours to get here and light the pilot. I would have done it myself, but it appears we mere renters can't be trusted with keys to our own utility closets.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Just What The Hell Is Going On Here?

This is starting to turn into a bad Robert Ludlum novel.
Gaidar, Russia's first post-Soviet premier under Boris Yeltsin, fell ill at breakfast last Friday in Dublin, Ireland, just a day after former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko died from radiation poisoning.

"I went up to him. He was lying on the floor unconscious. There was blood coming from his nose, he was vomiting blood. This went on for more than half an hour," his daughter Maria said.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Order Now To Beat The Christmas Rush

I am sure everyone has heard about the Alexander Litvinenko poisoning. Apparently, he was poisoned with Polonium-210. He ended up dying a relatively painful death as a result.

Everyone agrees that there is no way this could have happened by accident. From the Wikipedia article regarding the poisoning:
Polonium-210 - 210Po - is exceedingly rare in nature, and must be artificially manufactured using radioactive bombardment in, for example, a specialised nuclear reactor. British and US government sources have both indicated the use of 210Po as a poison has never been documented before, and this is probably the first time anyone has been tested for the presence of polonium-210 in their body. Andrea Sella, lecturer in chemistry at University College London, has pointed out that: "This is not the sort of thing that amateurs could have cooked up in a bathtub. You would have to go to a nuclear lab."
The number one suspect is, of course, Russia. Litvinenko had been recently investigating the very suspiscious murder of Anna Politkovskaya, in whose death Russia (in particular Putin's administration) is also suspected to be involved. In addition, he was a very outspoken critic of Putin. The current, most popular theory is that Putin, or one of his cronies, ordered his death. The difficulty in obtaining and/or creating 210Po is cited as part of the reasoning behind this theory. It is claimed that of all the parties interested in his death (as far as I know, Russia is the only one interested), only Russia has the means and motive for this murder. And really, how hard is it to find opportunity in a large metropolitan city like London?

While I am convinced Russia is ultimately responsible, the means part of this equation may need to be reevaluated.
The radioactive material that killed a former Russian spy in Britain can be bought on the Internet for $69.

Polonium-210, which experts say is many times more deadly than cyanide, can be bought legally through United Nuclear Scientific Supplies, a mail-order company that sells through the Web. Chemical companies sell the Polonium-210 legally for industrial use such as removing static electricity from machinery. United Nuclear claims that the material is "currently the only legal Alpha source available without a license."
I'm heading over to their site and see what other cool shit I can order.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Technology Tuesday

If you want to geek out, engineer style, read this article about a very cool nail. Yes, a nail.
Sutt’s bosses at Bostitch must be happy too. The company is selling every HurriQuake nail it produces and has been doubling production capacity every month. Although the nail is currently available only in the Gulf region (it adds about $15 to the cost of an average 2,000-square-foot house), the company is adding new production lines to meet nationwide demand. Meanwhile, the nail is getting rave reviews from building-technology experts.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Peace? Not Part Of My Christmas

Tis the season to be power mad asshole.
A homeowners' association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan.

Some residents who have complained have children serving in Iraq, said Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs.

He said some residents believed the wreath was a symbol of Satan. Three or four residents complained, he said.

Symbol of Satan? How idiotic are these residents? I mean, this symbol is almost as ubiquitous as the yellow smiley face. I suppose, if you squint your eyes, drop some acid, and drink a bottle of mezcal (eating the worm as well), you can kinda-sorta see an upside down cross. I bet these people probably saw the face of the devil in the debris cloud of the World Trade Towers on 9/11 and hear the backward masking on Judas Priest albums.

The resident says anti-war sentiments (and presumably the Church of Satan) were the furthest thing from her mind when she hung it up. In addition, the association committee refused to require her to remove the wreath saying, quite reasonably, that it's a legitimate seasonal symbol.

T
he dictatorial asshat of an association president fired them.

I think the wreath makes perfect sense. You know, the whole Peace on Earth thing? But F├╝hrer Kearns of the Loma Linda HA seems to have missed that connection to Christmas.

Looks like Kearns has also overlooked the Goodwill To Men part, as well.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Coolest Movie You Never Saw

Right now I'm watching Six String Samurai, a post-apocalyptic-rock 'n' roll-samurai movie. I have to say it is the weirdest, quirkiest movie I have seen in a long time (and yes, that includes Lost Skeleton of Cadavra). I can't believe I've never seen this before.

Let's see if I can do the plot justice.

Basically, in 1957 the USSR dropped the bomb(s?) on the US and took over. The Free City of Las Vegas exists in the middle of the Wasteland and is ruled by the King (yes, Elvis). 40 years have passed and the King is dead. So aspirants are travelling to LV to claim the throne. One of them is the samurai sword wielding, kung-fu mastering, six-string toting Buddy Holly-esque man named Buddy. On the way he encounters the Kid, who tags along against his wishes; bounty hunting bowlers; mutants in a pickup truck with a catapult that shoots super-balls and vinyl records in the slowest car chase I've ever seen; the Windmill People and their god (appropriately named the Windmill God); a cannibal suburbanite family; and Death with his posse. Oh, and the soundtrack is done by the Red Elvises, a Russian band whose genre can best be described as Slavic-Rockabilly-Surf music.

You with me?

In terms of outright strangeness, I'd have to say only the City of Lost Children is a better movie. Yes, that's a good thing.

Vacation Flying

Well, I got back ok, but my luggage didn't.

Actually, travelling was fairly painless this year (excepting the whole luggage thing). I left early on Wednesday and returned on early Saturday. The traffic in the airports was fairly normal. It was about what I've experienced when travelling for business during the week. Plus, having Platinum status on my tickets meant I could go through the expedited security line and board the plane first.

The Raleigh (RDU) airport was disappointing. They could not get the plane ready on time. They fired it up late, so boarding was delayed by 35 mins. Then we had to have the wings de-iced. All in all we took off about 45 mins late. This was of a concern, since I had only allowed 50 mins when I switched planes in DC. I got to DC with 10 mins to spare and made my final leg. I think the delay in Raleigh was why my luggage did not arrive in Chicago when I did. They just did not have the time to transfer it to the second flight.

American Airlines was pretty responsive and I was able to fill out a report in a minimum of time. My luggage is supposed to be delivered sometime today, so we'll see. Fortunately, the only thing I *need* is my electric toothbrush. I bought a regular toothbrush, so no fuzzy-teeth today...

All in all, flying over Thanksgiving was not as painful as some of the doomsayers in my life were prophesying.