Wednesday, November 30, 2005

defective yeti: Smooth Criminal

Sometimes Defective Yeti just cracks me up. List this entry. :) - Girl with peanut allergy dies after kiss - Nov 28, 2005

SAGUENAY, Quebec (AP) -- A 15-year-old girl with a peanut allergy died after kissing her boyfriend, who had just eaten a peanut butter snack, hospital officials said Monday.

IVR Cheat Sheet by Paul English

The IVR Cheat Sheet lists quite a few companies that after computers that talk to you when you call - and how to get to a human. The web - its a cool thing.

Science & Technology at Scientific Longstanding Puzzle of Honeybee Flight Solved at Last

This means that honeybees are using a wing stroke pattern that is less efficient than the broader strokes and slower flapping of fruit flies and other insects, despite their constant foraging for food and other necessities. But it also means that a bee can generate more lift when it needs to--when it must carry a heavy load, for example.

Sunday, November 27, 2005 -- Japan's Hayabusa Spacecraft Lands Successfully on Asteroid

"On Sunday, JAXA officials had said the Hayabusa probe, on a mission to land on the asteroid named Itokawa, collect material, then bring it back to Earth, failed to touch down after maneuvering within yards of the surface.

However, the agency said Wednesday that data confirmed that Hayabusa had landed on the surface Sunday for a half-hour, although it failed to collect material."

Pretty amazing when you think about it. 2 rovers moving around on the surface of Mars and sending back data, and another probe landing on an asteroid, taking samples, and then bring them back to Earth. Even though the probe didn't collect anything yet (it still has a chance), the concept of the mission is still very cool. -- Seasonal Red Planet: NASA’s Spirit Rover Completes One Full Martian Year

"NASA’s Spirit rover currently exploring Mars completed one full swing around the Sun Monday, giving researchers a year-long look at the Martian seasons."

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Links in a blog

And one more quick thought... actually putting links into your blog entries (like I just did on the previous post) isn't just a good idea because it lets other people follow them... but just in case you stumble across all of this at 3:00 AM, and then a few days later can't remember where all the resources were - you can always go back and read your own blog. :)

(A note to myself as much as to any other blog writter out there...)

A glimpse into what it means to be me

So, typical Wagner holiday with "the kids" - up until midnight playing Xbox with "the boys" Thursday night. Then watched some TiVo before calling it a night around 1:30 or so and going to bed. (Because I'm on vacation my hours are starting to shift towards a little later and sleeping in quite a bit later). Up at 8:00 or so today (well yesterday now - Friday) and then made some breakfast. Anyway, because I'm in vacation mode (and because we played Xbox all afternoon), I went to bed pretty early; probably around 10:30 or so. So - up at 2:30, just because, for just a few minutes...

"Hmm... left the laptop on, I should probably shut it off". In the midst of doing that, read a few emails (why not, I'm a bit awake now), and in doing that somehow decided since I was up anyway, I might as well see if Paul Graham had any new essays. He did. While reading Web 2.0, I saw the reference to reddit, and decided to check it out, which lead me to Practical Common Lisp, and to Lisp in a Box.

Very cool... I've been reading Paul Graham for some time, and gotten very inspired by a few of his essays. (One of which discussed using the tool you use for programming to hack your system and caused me to write several generators for our system in CLIPS, since CLIPS is what implementations use. This lead to some good things. Anyway, I digress). We kick around his assertion that lisp is the best language ever, and having used Lisp at Michigan, I've frequently thought about picking it up again. Especially since it is used to program emacs - and it would be nice to know it better so I could hack emacs a bit. In any case, I downloaded and installed Lisp in a Box, which was easy enough to do, and bam - I'm up and running Lisp and following along in the book. Very cool stuff. :)

But now its 3:44, and although I was only going to be "up for a minute" - it is probably time to go to bed. Otherwise its going to be 5:00 before I know it (especially since its getting later by the minute as I blog this), and it will be morning and then I'll just be up. Resulting in me probably being tired while everyone else is up - which won't be good. So I guess I need to end my first session of lisp hacking - although it is fun and I think might lead to something cool. But... I've got 3 weeks or so of vacation coming up that I must use before the end of the year, and not much to do during that time - besides some blogging, reading, house chores (maybe finally cleaning out the basement and getting my office in shape) - so I have ample opportunity then to do much lisp hacking. Especially if I'm up at weird hours, since I won't have to work the next day and Tina and Jaime will.

Anyway... that's a glimpse into what it means to be me. Wake up in the middle of the night, don't fall back to sleep immediately, and then next thing I know, I'm installing lisp, hacking it some, and now all kinds of thoughts are whirling around in my brain about how I could use it on my current system, how I should finish the entire book so I can learn it more, etc. etc.

Hopefully I'll actually be able to fall back asleep. But its all good. I've got Lisp installed now. :)

And so - a few more quick thoughts:
  1. Wow - how the world has changed since I last used Lisp in school. I'm sitting at my home computer, connected to the Internet over WiFi - and installing a Lisp implementation on my computer, with an emacs front engine. All free. All fast. All easily installed and downloaded. And more importantly, I'm also blogging about it and pointing to numerous articles and resources on the web. All easily accessible by anyone reading my blog - so they too can share in the Lisp experience. Pretty mind boggling. Something that cool about being 47. You can remember back 20 years and think how different things are now.
  2. To anyone reading this that might be interested in programming (Michael) - you should think about reading the book, installing Lisp and doing the programs.
    • Its free
    • Its easy
    • It would teach you some programming - which isn't a bad thing to know - even if you never go into a job that requires it.
    • And while Lisp isn't the most marketable skill set (as mentioned in the book) - it is just very cool. And is impressive as a resume building thing - "I just wanted to learn to program something real (not just HTML, CSS, etc.) and so I found this on the web and hacked some Lisp" :)

OK... enough now - its almost 4:00AM - which is getting dangerously close to "Well its morning and I'm up, so whats the use in going back to sleep" time...

later all - hope you are having a great holiday with families/friends - and as always, excuse the bad spelling - its even worse at this time of night...

Friday, November 25, 2005

You pick

Walking out of Burger King (because Tina needs a burger for lunch the day after Thanksgiving) and I see a couple sitting in their car in front of me, eating their burgers. Why would someone set outside of Burger King and eat their burgers?
  • Secret rendevous?
  • Germaphobes?
  • Intraverts?
  • One is eating McDonalds and the other Burger King?
  • Volunteer Firefighters, waiting for a fire calls? (they did have fire-fighter plates)
  • Were going to take the food home and then decided to go to Wal-mart so just ate in the car?
  • ___________________________ (your guess here)

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Turkey is in!

The turkey is now in the oven. I use an oven bag, which is really cool because it keeps it moist and it takes less time to cook. For a 21lb turkey it only takes a little over 3 hours, instead of the normal 5 hours or so.

So - the turkey is covered in butter, savory salt and pepper, and "stuffed" with some onion, celery, garlic and more savory salt and pepper. Not really a stuffing, but the veggies kind of steam in the body cavity and flavor the turkey, some.

So - the turkey has about 3.75 hours to cook, even though the directions say 3 - 3.5 for a 20lb - 24lb turkey. So for a 21.5 turkey that should be plenty. And it has a meat themometer in it, just so I can double check. One year it wasn't quite done enough, deep in the breast, close to the bone. Probably because it wasn't quite thawed all the way, so I don't take any chances any more. Tina really likes her poultry well done...

Also I made sure the turkey didn't have a kitchen strainer stuck to its butt. :-O - This is probably my most humiliating cooking story, but since everyone in the family probably knows it, and since it is a yearly "Do you remember when" story, I guess I might as well tell it here.

So one year Tina kept losing the kitchen sink strainers. You know, the metal thing that goes into the drain of the sink to keep big chunks of stuff from doing down the drain. Well we kept losing ours, and Tina would buy a new one, and it was getting close to Christmas and ours disappered again. I was thinking of getting her one for Christmas for a joke, when I found one in the trash. Looked like she had been throwing them away while in a mad cleaning frenzy, and hadn't realized. So I took the one I found, wrapped it, and gave it to her! Anyway, around that time, when we were going through the phase of the mysteriously disappearing strainer, we had Thanksgiving at Becky's. I put the Turkey in the sink, rinsed it, got it all prepped, and picked it up and stuck it in the bag. About an hour before dinner was ready, Becky was cleaning up and looking for the strainer. It was no where to be found. We were all like, "What! Another disappering sink strainer!" Weird. We looked all over, looked in the trash, etc. "Are you sure you have one? It didn't get misplaced?" - "Yes, it was here last night." Anyway, we couldn't find it.

So a few hours later, we pull the turkey out of the oven, pull the bag off of it, and as we are getting ready to plate it - and sure enough, there is the kitchen sink strainer, stuck to its butt! I had set the turkey in the sink, and the strainer had some how got stuck to it and I never noticed. The turkey was fine - but I never lived it down.

So now... I remove the strainer from the sink, fix the turkey, and then just double check to make sure no strainers are missing before I put it in the oven...


One of the great things about vacations is that I almost always get caught up on some blogging - either writing blogs, or reading them. I'm always *thinking* about things to write, just don't often get to it. But this week I've just been kind of hanging out, doing a little work, watching TV, taking some naps, and doing quite a bit of reading on things like dispensationalism, ultra/hyper dispensationalism, and sending some emails to people I haven't "talked" to for some time. But after going through all that for a bit, and then getting up at 5:30 this morning, I had even more "extra" time than normal. No one else is up, I don't have to put the turkey into the oven until about 8:00, my email is fairly caught up (for me), etc. So I figured I'd go check out some blogs.

I just love MightyGirl. She rarely fails in making me laugh, bring a tear to my eye, etc. Yes, Bryan does really love her SO much, as evident by his birthday present to her. What a guy! And it was so cool that she jumped in the water. And then I read bmay and DefectiveYeti. I'll probably go through some other blogs as well (although not now because it is getting close to 8:00 so I have to get the Turkey in).

Its just cool to get caught up. :) As I always say (when I get caught up), I don't know why I don't stay caught up more often, but I just don't. Too busy, don't think about it enough, whatever. But as I've said before, I do enjoy reading these blogs and getting caught up with whats going on in these people's lives - people I don't even know. Weird. And I like to blog.

I was talking with someone the other day, about some of the stuff I've blogged lately. About some stuff that was particularly painful, etc. Weird to just "put it out there on the internet" - but like I've said before, its not like 100s (or even 10s) of people read it. The person replied, "But you aren't really putting it out there for tons of people to read. Its your therapy. You aren't a big talker. In fact, if I want to know what is going on in your life - I go look at your blog. Because I know you aren't going to talk about it." Wow, pretty insightful! But exactly right on. Of course this person has known me for a long time. But yeah - that's why I do it. Its kind of a non-personal way of letting people know what is going on, share stuff I think is interesting, etc. And for an introvert, its a safe way to do it. Weird that its safer to write in a medium where potentially tons of people could read it, rather than share it face-to-face with one person. But thats me. :)

Well - like I said, time to go put the Turkey on. Of course, cooking thanksgiving meals are usually "get up early and get the turkey on" followed by just hanging out and waiting for the mad dash of preparing everything else. So... I should be back in a few. :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Just like it was yesterday

Had lunch with Pastor Mark today. He called up out of the blue a couple of weeks ago just to say hi. Even though we only live 50 miles or so apart, we just don't get together all that often. I had this week off so we met for lunch 1/2 way. It was awesome, like we had just had lunch yesterday.

Its great to have strong men of God in your life who you can talk to and who are best friends. Time can elapse (I probably haven't talked to Pastor Mark for almost 2 years) and then you can just get together and its like it was yesterday.

I definately need to keep in touch more often.

Wired News: Outsourcing to the Heartland

Outsourcing to rural America. Very cool

Worship on Sunday

Worship on Sunday was pretty good. I think the best part was the before service worship. We've changed things up at church and now we are doing "before service prayer" for about 30 minutes. We started with the idea that people would pray and the worship team would practice, both at the same time. But that didn't work too well as the people praying are in the same room as the worship team - and us practicing is a little distracting.

So we reworked the format to where we get set up pretty quick, practice, and then we do some worship music while they pray. This type of approach worked very well with the teens - because it provides a strong backdrop of worship during which people can pray. Worship music is sometimes good in helping block out "the noise of the world" and letting you focus on God, thus being able to hear his voice during prayer.

Sunday we were doing that and I was playing with my eyes closed when we went into a very sweet song - and I started hearing this very cool voice that sounded like... Joyce. Joyce granduated from high school this last spring and left the worship team when she went off to college - but it sounded like her, and opening my eyes, sure enough it was. She must be back in town for the holidays. That was very cool - because it was "her song" and she always flows in it so weel. Plus I didn't know she was going to be there - she just kind of jumped in. (Maybe Teresa asked her to). Anyway, it was a very sweet time of worship with us just flowing in that song and following where she lead. Probably the best time of worship of the service.

I just really like that impromptu - flow with the spirit - kind of stuff. It is so conducive to prayer.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Wal-Mart employee fired for Christmas email | The Register

While not the only point of the story, I think this is a good example of why the whole "separation of church and state" thing is carried just way to far, and how it shows that in some countries, they feel that we have nothing better to do here than be stupid and nit-picky.

Friday, November 18, 2005

"Deferred Success" is new term for failure? - Yahoo! News

"In 2005, some people wanted the word 'brainstorming' replaced by 'thought shower' so as not to offend people with brain disorders, and they also wanted 'deferred success' to replace 'failure' so as not to embarrass those who don't succeed."
For the most part, I hate PC words.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Yeah, that's me. I'm a cat.

On my way to work a few days ago. Opened the door to the garage, pushed the garage door opener, light comes streaming in the door and the door starts going up. I'm reading something and walking to the back of the car so I can put my laptop in the trunk. The sound of the door in my ears, as the door continues to rise.


The sound/feeling of my head slamming into the door as I run into it looking downward at whatever I was reading.

I quickly look around to see if anyone say this graceful move on my part. No. Good. Yeah... wasn't me. I didn't just do that.

I wait for the door to finish raising, throw my computer in the trunk and jump in the car, pulling out and checking again to make sure no one is laughing. At the same time making a mental note - "I can get to the end of the garage and arrive at the door much faster than the time it takes for the door to get above my head level. Next time - stop and look before trying to exit the garage." Yeah... something I need to remember.

Well that was fun

I just got done paying my traffic ticket on-line. I got a speeding ticket a few weeks ago. I'm going out of town tomorrow and won't be back until Wed, and my court date is Tuesday. I figured I'd just call them and get it moved... but you can't do that, you have to go down in person. So I went down Friday... but since it was a holiday, the court was closed. (I didn't get it off - so I didn't think about it). So - my choice was to have a bench warrent issued - not a HUGH deal, but still something I didn't want to have happen, or just pay it. So I paid it.

I was thinking about trying for a plea bargin. Doing 48 in a 35 is a $140 fine and 4 points on my license. The $$ is bad enough, but the increase in insurance is probably the real killer. Sigh.

And even though I think it was totally unfair, and considered trying to fight it, once I read this:
Strict Liability: traffic offenses are strict liability crimes. This means that one’s intent is irrelevant. A person’s lack of intent to commit a particular offense is not a defense to a strict liability violation. All that matters is that the elements (eg: "defendant drove a vehicle Five (5) to nine (9) miles per hour over the posted speed limit" in Colorado Springs) occurred.

Radar: With a radar speeding ticket the only issue for the court to decide is the speed of the vehicle. The fact that one did not intend to speed, had a broken speedometer, or oversized tires, is not a defense to speeding. Again, speeding is a strict liability offense.
I decided it wasn't worth it. Basically, the fact that
  • I didn't see any speed-limit sign, because I was driving west and the sun was in my eyes, as the Cop said, "Yeah, pretty bright out here today. Can I see your license?"
  • The road was brand new (they just opened it)
  • The road connects a road where the speed limit is 50 (I was going 48) to a road where the speed limit is 45, and
  • About 1/4 of a mile past where I got the ticket, the speed limit goes back up to 45
Is irrelevant, because the fact was - regardless of intent, I was speeding.

Some days it is pretty cool to have long hair and wear a head-band... other days, not so much. Jaime got stopped a while back and the officer was "Please watch your speed young lady, we wouldn't want anything to happen to you. So this is just a warning. Have a nice day." For me the officer was like, "Yeah. Bright sun. Get your license and registration."

Oh well... its only money. :-S

House for sale, bride included - Countdown with Keith Olbermann -

House for sale, bride included - Countdown with Keith Olbermann - "Woman offers two-for-one package deal online"

Friday, November 11, 2005

Robbing Four Banks, on the Phone All the While

"When it comes to multitasking, it's hard to beat the woman who can rob a bank and never interrupt her cell phone conversation."

Takes all kinds...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The gift of hospitality

In some Christian circles they talk about different gifts (strengths, etc.); one of them being the gift of hospitality. That is certainly a gift that Rich and Angela have. They hosted a Star Wars marathon at their home today. It started at 9:00 AM and probably went to after 10:00 PM. I was there from close to the end of 2, through the end of 4.

It was really fun, and they were so cool how they opened their home up. Their home isn't all that large, but they were comfortable having 20 or so people in it. Rich has a great sound system and a 90" TV that basically covers the entire end of his living room wall. Very cool. :)

Angela was great, cooking the whole time (hot cookies, brownies, chili dogs... yeah - so much for dieting).

Anyway, not that many people have this "gift" - and they certainly do. Was a very cool day.

Clyde - reminds me of some of the volleyball times in the trailer park. Everyone just getting together and having a good time.


My favorite band right now is Evanescence. While their genre is listed as goth rock. I saw one site (that I can't find now) that called it chamber rock. I think I like that term. I think the thing that I like about them most is Amy Lee's erie voice, and the passion in their songs brought on by her voice, the driving bass, drums and hard guitar, and (from the chamber rock point of view) some keys, strings, etc. that are in the background on many songs.

I usually listen to CDs in phases, where I'll listen to only one CD for a month or so. I've got through that at 3 times with Fallen. Usually I'll listen to one CD for a few months, finally get tired of it, and hardly ever go back to it. This has not happened with Fallen.

I've added Anywhere But Home to my Amazon Wish List - having gotten it from Blockbuster and watched it quite a bit. In the amazon review someone posted the easter egg, which is the grammy video. Very cool.

Also cool that Amy Lee and Ben Moody (original co-founder) met at youth camp and they were originally thought to be part of the Christian rock scene. Something that I think can be felt on several of their songs.

Its snowing!

Yikes. I just looked out the window and it is snowing. Brrr... I'm cold now.

Crockpot: Chicken ala King (and Chicken Soup)

A new recipe on my blog: "Tina and I have been pretty much splitting dinner duty lately, but I don't get home until 6:00 or 6:30 - which is a little late for us to start dinner. So I've been making things in the crock-pot. This worked well for dinner and then soup for lunch the next day."

Congress divided on broadcast flag plan | CNET

"Earlier this year, a federal court threw out Federal Communications Commission regulations mandating the so-called flag, a device intended to prevent television viewers from freely copying digital broadcasts and reusing them. "
I wonder if this means it wouldn't be possible to TiVo HDTV. That would be a total drag.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Oddly Enough News Article |

"SAN CLEMENTE, California (Reuters) - A pizza parlor burglar who took the time to bake himself a large pepperoni to go, beat it when the overnight crew arrived but still got away with plenty of dough, police said."
That takes some guts (or stupidity) to make yourself a pizza while you are waiting for the safe. Especailly since it takes some amount of time for the oven to warm up, etc. Takes all kinds I guess. :)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Tiny Vegas home sits at center of housing craze - Real Estate -

Tiny Vegas home sits at center of housing craze - Real Estate - "Manuel Corchuelo's 700-square-foot house in the Las Vegas neighborhood of Naked City, purchased for $30,000 in 1978, is currently on the market for $1.2 million. The tract home is rapidly being surrounded by high-rise condominium projects."