Monday, February 26, 2007

How do you...


I've recently started using Flickr more. I have a question for those of you who use it and read this blog (hello? anybody? anyone at all?).

If some random person adds you as a "contact" because they like your work, do you then automatically add them as one of your contacts? Or do you reserve your "contacts" list for people you know or who's work you enjoy? I guess the more contacts you have, the more exposure your work gets (in theory). But what's the use of having hundred of contacts if you are looking for a particular photo by a particular person?

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Coincidence? Probably. But if I were a conspiracy theorist...

Blair Announces Iraq Withdrawal Plan
(dateline: Thursday February 22, 2007 5:01 AM)

Britain's Prince Harry to Serve in Iraq
(dateline: Thursday February 22, 2007 9:16 PM)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Mmm, Hot Fuzz

Ok, that last movie looks good and all, but this is my "must see" movie of the year:

Youtube Trailer

Wikipedia entry for Hot Fuzz (beware, spoilers).

While we're on the subject of "Shawn of the Dead", it looks like the principal actors did a TV show a while back in the UK called Spaced. Official DVDs seem to be Region 2 (UK) only. However there is a guy selling bootleg Region 1 (US) disks out there.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Now on DVD...

This looks promising:

(Image lifted from Amazon.)

Youtube Trailer
House buying, update

So the home inspection went OK. There were a few items that needed fixing up. A couple of electrical connections in the attic that weren't in junction boxes. A knockout in the electrical panel that was missing, some railings that weren't in place. Oh, and the heat pump might be broken(!).

Late last week, the wife and I received the 2 gigantic binders that make up the Home Owner's Association documents, and the "Cluster" (i.e. group of townhouses to which our townhouse is attached) documents. We planned to leisurely read through the tomes Saturday morning, before signing off on the "Yes, we agree to your silly rules and we agree to pay you silly amounts of money" page, when we came upon a huge potential problem. It seemed the current homeowner was in violation of a number of HOA rules (and knew this since October!). Upon sale of the house, the violations (and responsibility to correct them) would transfer to the new owners(!). Not cool. The new rear sliding glass doors and entire front yard/retaining wall were the main issues. If we had to replace the (new) doors and rip out the front yard/retaining wall, it would be a pretty big expense.

A quick call to our Realtor and we were out of the house and on the way to a meeting. So much for "leisurely" morning.

Our Realtor called the seller's agent and left a message asking, in essence, "WTF?". While we waited for a reply, we drafted some legal document basically saying "This is bullshit. Fix it or we walk". After a couple of tense hours, the seller's agent called back and said that the seller was already working with the HOA and had documentation that the stuff had been either been approved or fixed. Why, oh why, would the seller (and seller's agent) not mention this to us in the first place is beyond me. I mean, it's gonna come up. Just a call saying "Hey, the document you're gonna receive from the HOA is going to show violations, don't worry, they've been approved/corrected. Matter of fact, why don't I fax you a copy of the document saying so from the HOA?"

So we finally got the "This shit is fixed" document. We also got the "We called in an electrician and he fixed all this other crap" document too. Now we're just waiting on the "Don't sweat it, the heat pump is fine" document. They have until next Tuesday, the 27th to get us that. That's closing day.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

What the F*** is that noise???

It's been going on for days now.

A beep.

More involved than just a "beep", really.

A "deeedle-eeep".

A small sound. Occasional. Seemingly random. No set amount of time between each group of "deeedle-eeeps".

But it keeps happening.

And I can't, for the effing life of me figure out where it's coming from!!!

It's not my iPod.
It's not my PDA.
It's not my camera.
It's not my ancient PalmPilot.
It's not the company's ancient Palm ["deeedle-eeep"] Pilot which lives in my desk drawer.
It's not my cell phone.
It's not my PC.
It's not the Apple G4 next to me.
It's not the ancient Dell running Linux next to me.
It's not the "countdown to Bush's last day in office" clock that was given to me as a gift a while back.
It's not the AOL stopwatch. Another gift, of sorts.

All of these devices are piled up on my desk next to me. The sound seems to be coming from the other side of my tiny ["deeedle-eeep"] office. There is nothing else in here that could be the cause.

But then, I had a thought...


This kind of treachery is right up his alley.

Hadn't I heard of a device which does almost exactly this? The ThinkGeek Annoy-a-tron. Ben must have bought one and stashed it in my office just before I moved offices last week. Ingenious! The tricky bastard. How could he have stood in my office not two hours ago chatting and not have betrayed his secret! He's is a master at this game.

So out of my office, and over to the other side of the building to confront him. He wasn't in his office, so I decided to see what our boss knew of the situation. I gave him my best Kojak "I'm on to you" look (complete with index finger pointing), but he claimed no knowledge. But then he offered a different theory...Perhaps it's the light switch.

We have these motion-sensor light switches which kill the lights in "empty" rooms. The switches have a series of dip-switches on them to configure all sorts of options. One option is the "warning beep before shutting off the lights". Evidently this option was enabled on half of the switches installed (my new office), and disabled on the other half of the switches (my old office). I haven't pulled the switch off the wall to confirm this theory, but at least I have something on which to focus now. The next time I hear the "deeedle-eeep", I'll pay attention to the state of my overhead lights.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Super B*wl Scofflaws

The CNN/SI story the other day taught us all a few crucial NFL laws regarding television size, the Super Bowl and the legality of watching said "Big Game"[tm] (previously ranted about here). The following people have (foolishly) admitted violating NFL law on Super Bowl Sunday by either (a) having a TV screen larger than allowed by said NFL laws ("no bigger than 55 inches"), or (b) by being involved in a "mass out-of-home viewing" of the Super Bowl.

As we saw when the NFL bravely shut down a church's plan for a "Super Bowl" party...

"NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league's long-standing policy is to ban "mass out-of-home viewing" of the Super Bowl. An exception is made for sports bars and other businesses that show televised sports as a part of their everyday operations.

"We have contracts with our (TV) networks to provide free over-the-air television for people at home," Aiello said. "The network economics are based on television ratings and at-home viewing. Out-of-home viewing is not measured by Nielsen."

My expert journalistic sleuthing hath uncovered the following list of offenders (Johnny Law, take note):

US forces serving in Iraq.

Circumstances: [1st Lt. Lea Ann] Fracasso, who is with Task Force 134 and was rooting for Chicago, joined about 80 other troops for a Super Bowl party in a mess hall at Camp Victory

Violation: Gathering violates the "mass out-of-home viewing" law.


Participants in a Princeton University study. (This violation took place in 2005, so the statute of limitations may have passed. I'll have to have my NFL-Law attorney check the books).

Circumstances: "The 58 fans sitting before the big-screen television were watching the Super Bowl. Psychologist Emily Pronin was watching the fans."

Violation: Gathering violates the "mass out-of-home viewing" law.


A number of "DC elite" as profiled in a Washington Post article:

Violators: Jon Felts - admitted to a "THEATER ROOM: 92-inch Projector Screen broadcasting the game in FULL HD with 5.1 surround sound package" and also to the fact that he "expects about 30 people".

Violation: Gathering violates the "mass out-of-home viewing" law. Television exceeds the "no bigger than 55 inches" law.


Violators: Washington Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas - "said he invited the whole basketball team to watch the Super Bowl". Also..."Arenas owns a 120-inch high-def projection screen, a second 100-plus-inch screen and six more TVs scattered about. All eight will be showing the game".

Violation: Gathering violates the "mass out-of-home viewing" law. Television exceeds the "no bigger than 55 inches" law. Multiple counts on the size violation.


Violators: Shopping mall magnate Herb Miller - who "owns a slightly smaller main screen than [Gilbert] Arenas, 113 inches".

Violation: Television exceeds the "no bigger than 55 inches" law.


Violators: Unnamed "Pentagon Staffers" - "We do have televisions down here," said Lt. Col. George Wright, deep inside the U.S. Army Operations Center. Specifically, five screens of up to roughly 60 inches, at least two of which are high-def capable.

About 30 staffers are expected to work today. Would they flip on the game? "It is not unusual on Sundays for at least one of the televisions to have professional football on," Wright said.

Violation: Gathering violates the "mass out-of-home viewing" law. Television exceeds the "no bigger than 55 inches" law.


Violators: Jim Abdo, the developer who made a name for himself in Washington [DC]'s Logan Circle area - admits to having a "a 61-inch high-def plasma". Mr Abdo goes on to implicate the former Mayor and First Lady of the District of Columbia: "The Abdos generally invite a small crowd over for the game. Last year, then-Mayor Anthony A. Williams and his wife, Diane, came. The Williamses plan to return today.

Violation: Television exceeds the "no bigger than 55 inches" law.


These scofflaws were discovered using a single source (the Washington Post). I expect with a little bit of good ol' fashion beat-cop work, we'll be able to uncover hundreds, perhaps thousands of violators. I sure hope there's a crimesolvers reward for turning in these dangerous criminals. I want a cut of each for unearthing this crime ring.

For those of you looking to the not-so-distant future, both Sharp and Samsung offer TVs on which NFL viewing is illegal. Samsung offers a 102" plasma set, and Sharp, a 108" LCD. Please keep this in mind when whipping out that Amex card at your local Best Buy.

Friday, February 02, 2007

New diggs

Here are a few photos of the new house that I...errr...liberated from the seller agent's site. All of the stuff in the photos belongs to the current owners:

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Our Realtor says:

I forwarded Page 1 to the listing agent. I also had an email for the seller so I sent it to him also. It is a ratified contract and it has been delivered.

Congratulations! You will soon be homeowners.


Guess that makes it official. As long as the home inspection/termite inspection and radon test go OK, it's a done deal.(The home and termite inspections should be fine, the place looks perfect. Who knows about the Radon).


News flash


Uh, I think we just bought a house.


Keep your laws off of my TV

Are you ready for some LITIGATION![TM]

What a load of shit.

NFL won't let church show game. (That would be the Super Bowl(c)(tm)(sm)(ascap)(naacp)(aflcio)(aeiou sometimes y) in case you were wondering. (*)

The NLF "...objected to the church's plans to use a projector to show the game, saying the law limits it to one TV no bigger than 55 inches."

So, according to them, if I want to watch the SUPER BOWL(c)(tm)(sm)(ascap)(naacp)(aflcio)(aeiou sometimes y) (**) on a bigass 96" screen via a nice projector in my basement (a possibility I hope will come to pass), I'd be breaking the law.

What about sports bars, say you? Read on:

"NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league's long-standing policy is to ban "mass out-of-home viewing" of the Super Bowl(***). An exception is made for sports bars and other businesses that show televised sports as a part of their everyday operations."

On this matter, the church has a good point:

""It just frustrates me that most of the places where crowds are going to gather to watch this game are going to be places that are filled with alcohol and other things that are inappropriate for children," Newland said. "We tried to provide an alternative to that and were shut down.""

Way to go NFL. I hope you guys come down with a nice case of jock itch.

* (Uh oh, I didn't pay to say those words in a public forum. Wonder if I'm guilty of copyright violation. Probably ought to call my lawyer just in case).

** (D'oh! Not again).

*** (I swear this one wasn't me!).