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Archived Entries from December 2010


Silly Newspapers

Our football team beat Baylor yesterday in the Texas Bowl in Houston. A few things happened at the end of the game that I sort of wondered about today. It started when I saw the coach of Baylor meet our coach, Ron Zook, at midfield after the game. It didn't appear to be a pleasant "Hey, nice job" that happens typically. Their coach seemed irritated.

A couple of guesses: irritated that Nate ran for a 55-yard touchdown with 19 seconds left (or whatever it was) and an already-sizeable lead, or irritated that we had a senior linebacker kick the ensuing kick-off as sort of a senior joke. There was nothing about what he might have been irritated about in any of the newspaper articles I read, which all seemed to be rehashes of the AP article about the game.

So I did what I often do, and looked up the newspaper nearest to Baylor, which is the Waco Tribune (I think that is what it is called...).

And on their front page they had a blurb about an article that seemed to be written by their newspaper writers and not the AP--perfect! So I clicked the link, and got redirected to their on-line subscriber page.

Really?

There are still newspapers that think they can make money by charging subscriptions on their content? What is this, 1998?

The Chicago Tribune briefly tried to charge for content. You know what? I can get it DOZENS of other places for free. They were bright enough to wisen up and realize that it would make more sense for me to read it on their site and look at their ads than for me to ignore them and read it for free on Yahoo!. Even though I block all their ads using /etc/hosts, of course. :) (You'd think all those web sites would be smart enough to host their ads on the same domain as their content, but nobody asked me....).

Anyway, Waco Trib article... So I hit the back button to go back to their main page and for grins right-clicked on the link to the story I wanted to read and noticed that it went to an html page, and not a server-generated page (php, asp, etc.). For grins I "saved link to disk" and saved the html file to my desktop. I opened it up with a text editor, and lo-and-behold, was able to scroll down to where the actual article was located. I cut and pasted just that part of the html into another file and opened it up in a browser and voila, there was the article I wanted to read.

Continuing to charge for newspaper content? Dumb. Using javascript in a plain-text html file to block/control subscription access? Even dumber.

Good job, Waco Tribune.

Oh, and after all that their article still didn't say anything about their coach being sore. Oh well.

Posted: Thursday, December 30, 2010, 6:11 pm
Mood: Amused | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Home Hacking

So I deleted my Twitter account a few weeks back, for reasons I won't get into. Suffice it to say, however, that I think it is part of the reason I have stopped blogging. I would have initially blamed Facebook, but I don't post much on Facebook any more, mostly because it feels foolish to continually give updates that nobody cares about, or something. Not saying that I don't care about reading other people's updates, I just feel weird about continually sharing mine. I don't know.

Well I can't get my Twitter account back, so I may as well go back to doing this the old-fashioned way.

Christmas break is going well. We had a good Christmas eve with my wife's family on Friday and a wonderful Christmas day with just the four of us.

I took last Thursday off as well, so I could get the house prepared for all of our guests the following day. We finally got around to painting the main floor of the house (well, or most of it).

Took the television off the wall for (hopefully) the last time and started by trimming around the speakers. Yes, I actually used painting tape instead of eyeballing it. I care a little about the trim and such since I'm the one that stained it and installed it (and of course I didn't want to get paint on my speakers...).

I think it turned out pretty well. We got two different shades of paint that were both on the same paint swatch thing and were only a shade apart. The intention was to put the lighter stuff in the kitchen and the darker stuff in the living room. It's almost hard to tell the difference though.

Here's Alex helping me paint the kitchen.

I also removed the old ceiling fan from the kitchen that was in a weird spot in the ceiling. When the house was built way back when they had a weird built-in eating thing and a bar that stuck out and of course the lights were aligned in such a way that it made sense for that layout. Now, however, both that fan and the dining room light are/were in weird spots. The first to go was the fan.

And stuff like this makes me crazy.

No electrical box. Just a 2 x 4 with a hole drilled in the middle for the wires to stick through and then the fan mounting just attached straight into the wood. Seriously? Because that's how an electrician would do it. Sigh.

Needless to say, I installed wood braces with metal electrical boxes attached to them, wired it all up, and attached two "placeholder" light fixtures. I say placeholder because my intention is to install a couple of nice hang-down can-type lights--I think they are called pendant lights? But that's not in the budget right now, so $4.99 bathroom lights it is!

The redhead actually says she doesn't mind the lights, which probably means it will take a really, really long time to get around to buying the nice new expensive ones. Fine by me.

One of the last things for me to tackle was the wire situation behind the small stand that our television/stereo components sit in. When I installed all the wiring for the speakers I simply had the ends of the wires come out of a box in the wall and plug into the back of the receiver. (You'll also notice what appears to be PVC plumbing to the right o the wires--that appears to be PVC plumbing because that's what it is. I cut out a piece of drywall and installed a pipe with two curved ends--one behind the stand and one up behind the television. I run all/most of the cords up that plumbing and then they aren't visible between the stand and the television...).

Well I ordered a speaker plate thing that has posts for five pairs of wires--enough for my center channel and four surround speakers. Had a bit of an issue with some shorts between the two rear speakers but I took it back apart last night, soldered the wire ends to keep them from fraying, and put it all back together.

Simply awesome.

I have a few more things to do. The wire for the subwoofer is going to go under the floor and I am going to put a power strip on the wall behind the stand and run its plug up through the plumbing so that I can get rid of the wires for the DVD player and surround receiver (I can unplug the cable box at the back of the cable box but cannot do the same for the other two components and want to be able to pick up that stand and move it if need be, and having those two with cords going up into the wall and not being able to be removed easily doesn't appeal to me). I'm getting there.

The last large part to the whole home theater are my 100-watt rear 10-inch round ceiling speakers. As luck would have it, I own a rotozip and also the attachment to cut nice, neat round circular holes. But, of course, the nut to hold the attachment onto the rotozip is gone. I looked and looked and looked and I have no earthly idea of where it could be. So I went and saw Mr. Gilles and Darren uptown and the best we could collectively come up with to replace it was a big steel nut. That's all well and good, but now that sticks out too far so that the little guide post (that would go in the small hole in the center of the circle-to-be) is too short. So I removed the small guide thing and inserted a nice long bolt instead. Whatever works, right? (And I know this does because I tried it on a piece of scrap drywall in the garage..).

I'm going to cut the holes from up in the attic, so to prevent a HUGE mess I'm going to use pushpins and hang plastic bags from the ceiling below to hopefully catch most of the drywall dust.

Now if only Em would wake up so I can get into the attic...

Posted: Tuesday, December 28, 2010, 4:54 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Term Paper

In other news, I have a term paper that is due on Friday. I've known about it for a month or so but knew that I wasn't going to attempt to tackle it until this week--too busy at work.

We had to pick a paper subject that related to BitTorrent. I chose to look at it from the copyright infringement angle. Fortunately I easily found 6 sources right away (we had to have at least 3). The paper has to be 1800-2200 words in length. I started it yesterday and worked on it today and I'm a little over 1300 words. I'll wrap it up tomorrow morning and have someone look at it tomorrow afternoon and hopefully submit it tomorrow evening and get it out of the way.

Our final is next Wednesday and then I'll be done with my last actual class for grad school. I'm starting to get to the point where I'm really just ready for this all to be over with. And I keep telling myself that I want to get my thesis paper written as soon as possible in the semester while I've still got some gumption, rather than doing what I did with this term paper and wait until the last minute. Waiting until the last minute to write a four page paper is a lot different than waiting until the last minute to write a 30+ page paper. I honestly have no idea how long my thesis will need to be, but I'm sure it will be rather extensive.

I don't know what I'll do with myself come graduation in May...

Posted: Wednesday, December 08, 2010, 11:36 pm
Mood: Eh | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Sleep Testing

So I haven't been doing a very good job of keeping track of what I've been eating lately.

And I haven't been doing a very good job of eating well lately either. Oops.

Today our departmental Extension group had lunch at Timpone's in Urbana. That's something that I'd normally skip out of, but recently I was reading "champaign-taste" and saw a picture and review of their pizza and it looked awesome. It was pretty good. Not the best pizza I've ever eaten, but it was pretty good. (And I had sausage, pepperoni, and mushroom...) I had a Pepsi and drank about half of it and started to get the shakes. Yeesh.

For breakfast I had a Lender's onion bagel with a fried egg and piece of american cheese. And a glass of orange pop. I know. Not doing well at all.

Last night for dinner I made homemade alfredo sauce for the redhead and our daughter. They loved it. I tried it. Not a fan. Alex and I had spaghetti with regular old sauce. I also had three or four beers and a couple of glasses of wine.

Yesterday for lunch. Hmm. Oh, I had a ham sandwich on white bread with lettuce and mustard, a bag of chips, and a half of a pickle. And our canned pop machine has been replaced with one that only dispenses bottles (at $1.50) and I only had a dollar and a quarter in my pocket. Sigh.

Breakfast yesterday was two fried eggs, no cheese, on toast. Not even taking small steps at this point, I guess.

Monday for dinner I had a few nachos with leftover taco meat (and choriso) and then the redhead and I split a dozen or so chicken wings. So not too terrible, I guess.

My sleep seems to be getting better. I still wake up once around 3:30 a.m. but have been doing what the doctor said and (other than maybe going to the bathroom really quick) just staying in bed and trying to go back to sleep. I need to get to Pamida some night this week and pick up my new medication.

Posted: Wednesday, December 08, 2010, 11:28 pm
Mood: Fair | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Winter Is Here!

Illinois beat Gonzaga. Both #1 and #2 won in football so we'll be spared the teeny tiny horny frogs being in the BCS title game.

Good day in sports.

I don't necessarily want to go back and hash out what I've eaten the last 24 hours, but suffice it to say, I didn't do too well.

I'll post more about the diet and stuff tomorrow.

Posted: Sunday, December 05, 2010, 2:31 am
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Sleep Testing

Same drill last night as tonight, for the most part. Three beers (maybe four?) before dinner, which consisted of a hamburger (with bacon and cheese on it--I know, bad). Two glasses of wine and I went to bed and was out.

Woke up on schedule at 3:00. Alex's door was open and his reading light was on, so I went and shut his door, but other than that, I stayed in bed during my awakenings. Not quite so many weird dreams last night/this morning.

I got up at 6:30 which is a little early, but I got tired of trying to fight being awake. I toasted myself a bagel, with margarine, which I know is worse than an apple, but it is better than a bagel with a slice of cheese, an egg, and two or three pieces of bacon on it. Small steps.

Oh, yesterday for lunch I had a chicken quesadilla (and it was pretty good...).

No caffeine in the past few days. Any pop I have had has been either cherry 7up or orange Fanta.

I'll go pick up my new medication after work today.

Posted: Friday, December 03, 2010, 12:56 pm
Mood: Relaxed | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Sleep Testing

Well, I'm going to have a hard time posting every day in December. But I am apparently on the verge of having a heart attack (I jest, sort of) so I need to make some changes. And I guess I can document them here.

I'll title each post about my sleep and diet stuff as a very lazy way to be able to search for it later and print it out as a report for my doctor. I hope he'll be impressed an my mad skillz.

Yesterday I got home from work and had three beers--mad dogz pale ale, or something like that, that I had picked up from Friar Tuck in Savoy the day before. They were tasty.

I had two (probably could have stuck with one) chicken fajita/burritos for dinner. Two (?) glasses of Merlot and I went to bed around 10:00 p.m. I woke up at 3:00 a.m. and while I wasn't supposed to, I did get out of bed and checked e-mail.

I also woke up at 4:00, 5:00, and 6:00. I had funky dreams during that time. I hope to keep a notebook by the bed, but we're taking small steps at everything at this point.

Apple for breakfast. Sigh.

Stopped the St. John's Wort. I have been prescribed a mild anti-depressant that I don't know will interfere with it, but I'm not going to mess with it. I'm going to go all in with just plain old medicine and not any of this herbal business.

And I have to lose 40 pounds.

Posted: Friday, December 03, 2010, 4:02 am
Mood: Grouchy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Zeitgeist and NaBloPoMo

So I've been a terrible blogger. Maybe it's because I am not necessarily having the emotional issues that I had previously for which this blog served as an outlet for me. I think a lot of it is Twitter. I do tweet, and frequently, and lots of times when I have something to say, I can be concise and save the world from reading paragraphs to get a one sentence point or idea.

But National Blog Posting Month has a new challenge and subject for December, and I challenged my friend K. Alex to join me (he's also a bit tongue-tied so to speak lately on his blog) and try to blog every day in December.

Zeitgeist? I had heard the term. I knew it was a semi-modern term. I admit I had to wikipedia it and look it up. I don't know that I can write about that for a month.

Interestingly, however, I was thinking about some stuff while making dinner and half-listening to the news from the TV in the other room, and started thinking about this whole Wikileaks thing. The U.S. government says the guy running it is endangering our country, our troops, our freedom, etc., etc.

You know, I maybe don't agree.

I think the U.S. government thrives on people not knowing stuff. And maybe we, and the world, should know more stuff.

If they don't want the rest of the world to know that they have a problem with a certain foreigner's agenda, what are they keeping from me? This is MY country, after all. Which could also easily be emphasized as: This IS my country, after all.

If they are being deceptive to everyone else, what says that they aren't being deceptive to me?

You know, I grew up under the threat of an any-minute nuclear attack from them Russkies. I lost sleep over it. I worried about nuclear fallout. Endless winter. Radiation. Cancer. Being incinerated. We heard about it all the time on the news and in popular media, etc.

And my pal Ronald Reagan tricked the Russians and while there are just as many missiles, that are just as destructive, I stopped losing sleep about it. I still don't lose sleep about it, even with the saber-rattling that is going on now.

Even the whole Korea thing doesn't worry me. Wikileaks let us know that China doesn't really care what happens to North Korea. Really? Hell, let's reunify the peninsula right now then. Get this over with. It would be better for the South Koreans, the North Koreans, the U.S., the rest of the world, and probably China too.

Anyway. I don't necessarily think that Wikileaks is a bad thing. I'm going to go back to watching basketball now (go Big Ten!) and deal with this Zeitgeist thing more tomorrow...

Posted: Thursday, December 02, 2010, 2:50 am
Mood: Relaxed | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


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