Thursday, May 28, 2009


By chance last night I happened upon a show called WipeOut. It's on ABC, Wednesdays at 8pm. I don't normally surf channels but I was immediately captured by the show. The premise is absolutely ridiculous and I believe is related to the popular Japanese shows “Takeshi’s Castle” in the ’80s and the still-running “SASUKE.” I used to watch these shows when I travelled, I think I was seeing reruns on Spike TV.

The Japanese shows were funny but WipeOut had me rolling. I taped the show and actually watched some of it twice. I had to stop my first viewing at around 15 minutes because I was laughing so hard I started had an asthma attack. After a couple inhaler hits, I dabbed the tears from my eyes and tried again. Still funny! Dena was only mildly amused but a couple stunts on the finale had her laughing so hard we had to stop the show again. I'm not sure what's so funny about other people's pain, but hey, comedy has no bounds.

The premise is simple and has to do with contestants moving through an obstacle course. The guys don't wear a cup, keep that in mind when you're watching. If you've had a bad day and need a laugh, check it out, DVR it and watch it!

Clips are available here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Another 3 Second Sound Bite

Equality for all runs into another roadblock but road blocks are dismantled and civil rights march on. Sometimes it just takes a little longer to get each road block out of the way. Today's California Supreme Court decision upheld the validity of Proposition 8, which blocked future same sex marriages. The Supreme court also deemed the 18,000 marriages that occured while it was law to stand. I think of this not as a loss but as a victory. Originally, in 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled that same sex marriages were a legal right according to the constitution of California. Prop 8 is an amendment to the California constitution stating that marriage = man/woman. Isn't it confusing how you can go from not having a right, to having a right, then having it taken away again? Yes, welcome to a skewed democracy where liberty for all only applies to white, straight christians.

You can bet your life there will be another amendment/proposition on the ballet, probably in 2010, overturning Prop 8 and we'll be back where we should be. After all, why should California, one of the most progressive states in the union be so back asswards to not allow it? Already 11 states in the US allow it, as well as Mexico, Canada, South Africa and most of Europe. Of course, who knows about Americans anyways, they couldn't handle the metric system and the rest of the world is doing, why would they be able to handle this?

Unfortunately, most of the world and especially the United States will hear a 3 second sound bite that says "California Supreme Court upholds gay marriage ban". That's the beauty of the 3 second sound bite, it's misleading and points people in the direction that particular news media wants to slant it. Bush/Cheney and Carl Rove were masters at this FUD tactic, (fear, uncertainty and doubt) and in today's fast moving, media frenzied world, 3 seconds is all we have time for.

I'm sure tonight will be a night for rallies, protests, arrests and maybe, if we're lucky, even a riot or 2. You can discover where the rally near you is by going to this website.

“Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.”
Sun Tzu - Art of War

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Eco Flushing

Big flush or little flush? You decide. The new rage in toilet flushing mechanisms.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow

Lately, not so much. Pretty much every morning before trotting off to work I happily mosey out to my garden to check, admire and water. The first batch of lettuce seeds that went in the ground never seemed to come up. I tried germinating more in the house, see blog below, and painstakingly planted them tiny root by tiny root Saturday morning. Do you have any idea how small lettuce seeds are? The roots are thinner than a thread. Sunday morning, I go sauntering out in the hopes that the little guys have come up but alas they are gone. Where did they go? There are little footy prints in my garden plot....

I've been none to happy that all my little lettuce seeds have disappeared, twice. And the established lettuce all has lovely little bite marks out of it. Slugs and Lace Worms are the cause of the bites and according to the very knowledgeable lady at Mordigan's Nursery, birds are the cause of my missing lettuce babies. As for slugs, my sister reminded me of last years slug wars and the effective and cheap treatment for that. Please note blogpost The Slug Wars.

So, in lieu of lettuce, I've planted corn and some eggplant, both Japanese and regular. The lady at Mordigans told me it's too late for lettuce, that it will go to seed faster than you can eat it because of the heat. I guess it must be a better fall crop for Southern California. For the corn I'm told that I will need to play bee later on and rub the stalks together to pollinate. This is why it's planted in rows. A friend at work who is from Iowa said that they used to hire kids to run thru the rows and pollinate the male and female corns that were in side by side rows. Of course the question is, how do you tell a female corn from a male corn?

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Well It Worked

I planted all kinds of fruits and veggies in my little garden in the back when my Mom was here in early April. All are doing well except the green lettuce. Matter of fact, last night we had an entire salad made up of the "mesculin mix" that had already matured enough to eat. The green lettuce I planted didn't even come up. I was trying that from seed.

So searching the internet I read that soaking seeds for 24 hours in warm water then planting will help. Also scoring them with a knife or sandpaper will also speed the process when used with warm water. Well, if you've ever seen a lettuce seed you'll know that neither of those is possible as they are soooo small. I also read that if you soak for 24 hours and then can't plant right away, you can put the seeds in a ziplock baggie in your window in the sun with a moist paper towel and let them grow roots.

I did this and this morning they are well rooted and I'm going to plant them. It took 4 days. Pretty good I think. Now if I could just figure out what is making tracks in my little lettuce plot I'd be happy. It's not birds because I see 4 little footie prints. Squirrel? It's almost like it jumps or falls from above because there are no tracks anywhere else.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Star Trek and What Demographic?

I heard a news brief the other day commenting about how the new 2009 Star Trek Movie , slated to release this weekend is focused on the teen and twenty something demographic. They didn't want to spend money luring the original series fans for some reason. Are we too old? Do they assume we'll go anyways? Hey, we have disposable income, dammit! We give that disposable income to those teens! I demand that we be paid some sort of homage! We are the reason that Star Trek is still viable in all of it's formats and re-incarnations, perhaps with the exception of Voyager.

So this director, Abrams, who is supposedly the hottest thing in Hollywood is making this movie appeal to the all important 18 - 30 year old male demographic. Who made them so important? Why are they important? Do they have more money than the rest of us? Are they more nerdy than the rest of us? Perhaps they have nothing better to do than go see Star Trek 12 times. I guess the bottom line is that I don't appreciate being the older, completely unimportant demographic that is not catered to in the least. I like to be catered to....

Regardless of the momentous special affects that I'm sure will be prevalent in the movie, I am looking forward to it. There were 10 Star Trek movies in their day. I think the Next Gen movies were the best. And thank goodness that Captain Kirk was killed in the last one because I could do without seeing him again. Don't get me wrong, I love Captain Kirk, it's William Shatner I've had enough of. Ah, the trouble with tribbles just popped into my head.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Water and Los Angeles

As of June 1st Los Angeles will be on a mandatory 15% water reduction ordinance. When the news first came out it was stated that you have to consume 15% water than you consume now. Dena and I were concerned. We are pretty water conscious now, watering only when necessary, turning off the water when brushing our teeth, using shorter cycles on both the clothes washer and the dish washer and the best conservation is the "if it's yellow, let it mellow" rule. In our house, that saves a lot of money as I have a small bladder.

We were concerned because I couldn't imagine how in the world we were going to cut another 15% off our water total. We already have low flow everything, we did that long ago. I read that if you use over your first tier that you will be penalized by paying a significant amount of money for anything used in the 2nd water tier. I have no idea what this means.... This morning I called the DWP (Department of Water and Power) for clarification. It turns out that your first tier of water is 28 HCF. HCF stands for one hundred cubic feet which = 748.05 gallons. Dena and I's bill last billing cycle was for 11 HCF. Check out your DWP bill to see how much you are using. A billing cycle at the DWP is 2 months. The lady at the DWP this morning was very nice and said that we were doing great and didn't have to do anything else to conserve than we were already doing. We were already so low in our usage that we were not a factor. She was very nice and encouraged us to keep up the good work!

I am relieved to be sure. I was even considering putting a pail in the shower to collect the water that goes down the drain while I wait for the shower to get hot. I was going to water the plants with it.

Links with tips
  3. Flush less, if you cannot afford to replace your older toilet or don't want to do the "if it's yellow let it mellow" thing, then put a brick in the bottom of your toilet. You'll use .5 gallon less per flush.


Saturday, May 02, 2009

To Do Lists and other Musings

On my drive home from San Diego I was listening to the news. I heard a clip about how Obama popped in on a press briefing at the Whitehouse quite unannounced and talked about how he just got off the phone with Souter and how he's going to retire. I'm not sure if Obama mentioned that on his list now is to fill the upcoming vacancy or whether I thought it but.....
It got me thinking. What does his to do list look like? I see a yellow pad on that big desk in the oval office. In neat penmanship is his list of things to do. Below is what I see:

 Announce Chief Justice Souter’s retirement
 Get troops out of Iraq, make a plan
 Swine flu outbreak, try to comfort public
 Stimulate economy so the unemployment rate doesn’t plummet to 12%
 Deal with torture issue
 Close Guantanamo Bay
 Meet with credit card company executives to stop fee gouging

I would imagine that he felt so excited that there was something he could write on his list and cross off right away that he had to run out to the press corps and tell them. I know I would. I get a sense of accomplishment when I cross things off. Below is my list:

 Fix the leak on the back house faucet
 Decide on a contractor the kitchen remodel
 Take vitamins so I don’t get moody
 Try to get Flex Health Pay plan raised for 2009 with payroll
 Work out with trainer
 Weed garden
 Deposit checks to joint before we get hit with the $ 35 overdraft fee

I've already done 4 of them today. I can't imagine having things on my list that take years to accomplish. I suppose that's the difference between great people and the rest of us. There to do lists take longer....

Friday, May 01, 2009

Cell Phone Chargers

You'll all be thrilled to know that the days of your drawers, desks and countertops littered with different cell phone chargers are limited. The CTIA wireless assocation has endorsed a plan to create a common format, MicroUSB, for all cellular phone chargers. The idea was first put out there in February 2009 and has backing from all the major cell phone players, aka AT&T, Nokia, etc.

But, don't throw away all your chargers just yet. Implementation is targeted for 2012. Patience....

By that time cloud computing will have taken over and Wireless would have changed again...