The ongoing prattlings of a lifelong geek and his random luck with love, work, children and rediscovering himself.


Yes, Robert, You ARE Getting Less Spam Now...

...but I doubt it's going to last.

A "rogue ISP" (as described in this article) was knocked offline a few days ago, and in case you didn't notice, you are most likely getting a lot less spam now in your Inbox.

I personally can say that my mail server is easily processing about 30% of the email it used to since this happened.

I'd love to think this will last... but I really doubt it.

GAME: Left 4 Dead (XBox 360)

My sons were chomping at the bit to get this game, and were going to shell out $30 each to buy it, when we came up with the idea of "Trading in" a bunch of older stuff. I was on a kick to get all the old XBox games verified as to which ones worked with the XBox 360 or not, so when that was done, we were left with about 20 games that were no longer playable (since someone stole our XBox recently).

First we sold a few at a fair price of $5 each to a neighbor, then the rest for approximately the same price (except a few that had "no value") to GameStop, along with our old Game Cube (as the Wii plays all our Game Cube games). That ended up purchasing our copy of this game.

My verdict:   Frankly, I'm disappointed.

Yes, it's pretty unique in gameplay, but really, I would swear they made a decision to "not finish it" to rush it out the door for Christmas or something. You can't save, you can only play "an entire campaign" at a time, that's it. And it's being misrepresented as a four-player game. The box clearly tells you it's a two player game, but advertising makes it sound like you can play four on one console. Only two, so be warned.

The XBox Live gameplay value is "good". It works fluidly on my broadband connection and was fun.

I've finished all four campaigns as "single player" on the default difficulty with little problem. I may go back and try them again at Expert (there are some more achievements to open), but really, this is $29.99 game in my opinion, not a $59.99.

Oh well.


Website Maintenance

I finished consolidating all the "Recent pictures" into one location. Previously all the kids had their own space to post pictures at, but this fell into disuse, and with the girls pushing onward toward maturity and their own lives, and the boys never really using this space much at all, I've taken all picture sets and pulled them into the "one Recent picture group". Really just another anal obsessive-compulsive keep-things-in-order on routine on my part. Also updated links on family pictures on our About Us page to actually lead to the respective person's private webpage, but since those two are falling out of use, I will probably update THEM to lead to each person's social networking site(s) (which actually already happens on the About Us page, so...). Anyway, maintenance done. Yay.


Demo Of Flash-Based Interactive Digital Image Manipulation

Whoa, cool stuff. At this link you can actually interact with a superimposed digital gremlin using your webcam (and a printout you make at the website). I tried it out and it's pretty nifty for a "first draft". It runs entirely in Flash, and you simply print out the Square with the word HIRO on it, and then put it in front of the camera. The gremlin appears wherever the printout is in relation to it's location and direction. I found that it's better if there is little else around the Square (like desk clutter). I placed the printout on a giant white board I had for science projects, and the gremlin appeared, no problem. Neat stuff!

Monty Python = Smart

Why try and FIGHT the digital age and all those kiddies posting bits of material from TV and Movies... join 'em and make some money off of it! That's what Monty Python decided to do. And who are we to argue with the black knight? Ni!

US Economy Hitting Home Now

Besides retirement funds being affected over the last 2 months, the US economic woes hit home today as our company made announcements which will have (hopefully) short term effects on the employees. I have faith that it really will be short term (three months), but it's scary none the less. :-/


Star Trek movie trailer

Okay, so I saw this trailer for the Star Trek movie coming out in 2009, and the trailer as a whole was very exciting to see. One thing (as I've rewatched it a few times online now) bugs me: the first scene.

Didn't anyone else notice how pathetically fake the first scene looked with "JTK" scrambling to not fall off the edge of a cliff? He was very obviously "anchored" there while his hands scramble to catch hold to save him. For a film being made by someone (J.J. Abrams) who is supposedly in such demand, I was really wondering how of all the scenes they'd open with (as "cool" as it was with the 'Vette and the hoverbike Cop), why they'd choose a scene with such horrible acting, non-believable "terror" from a kid NOT in any danger, and just how the "I am..." quote was supposed to be "so cool" (I found it very much queer and probably out of context).

I love the visuals and everything else I saw. But in a world where attention spans are so short, and where you are judged on things so critically, this was a horrific "first scene" to use in my opinion. I still think it's going to be a very good movie (and I am quite content for any fellow Trekkers to whine about canon this or OMG WHAT DID HE ALTER that - give it up, people). Let's hope this "kid" is a minimal invasion and his poor acting (and/or the poor engineering of his scenes).

UPDATE: Hi Def trailer (#2) is now available at

MOVIE: Quantum Of Solace

So the new James Bond flick was released, and I went to see it with Vesta. I have to admit I was more interested in seeing the Star Trek and Watchmen trailers "mainly" (I did want to see James Bond, just not as much as the trailers).

The flick was good. The new actor playing James Bond is living up to his reputation of being tougher, stronger, meaner, more cold blooded. Apparently the series is trying to get more like the actual writings of Ian Fleming, and be less 'gadgety'. I like where it's going. People LOOKING for the gadgetry and such may be disappointed, I'm not sure. I enjoyed the movie, though.


Coincidence, Or Lack Thereof

I am not one to believe that "coincidence" happens frequently. I happen to believe it is quite rare. Obviously true "coincidence" is a fairly random thing in most arenas. But let's say for instance, if someone were frustrated with a person, and something important to that person ended up missing, or broken, or altered in some way... that's just too much of a "coincidence" for me to just pass up and say "oh well" to. Yet I find I have to do that frequently or else be even more of a "jerk" than I can already be perceived.

Coincidence is just not a frequent visitor. More often it is "retaliation", I think.


Dad's Ongoing Problems... ALS?

Well, my mom just called and said that the latest "idea" is that my dad has ALS (aka Lou Gehrig's Disease). This is disheartening, but really, at the moment, it's just another guess based on preliminary tests. I can only hope it's wrong, or that somehow we can figure out a way to slow it down... :-/


My Week

Let's see, in general I've not done much outside of working this week. My company let one of my programmer/data handlers go, so my department is running very tightly right now. Frustrating, but it was a purely financial decision. The company is "doing fine" but this "busy season" is not as busy as it usually is it seems. Unfortunate.

I'm still not planning on voting. I don't feel Americans should vote if they are not properly educated on the persons trying to become President. I don't feel informed enough. But then again, it seems like ALL candidates talk with so much double-speak, and they rarely stick to what they say they're going to do, that perhaps it really SHOULD just be a popularity vote... I don't know. It's a sad process because I don't personally believe 80% of the people voting have clear reasoning on the subject. Most are voting because they heard one thing they liked about so-and-so. I would vote for McCain, that's *fairly* clear (so the Obama fans can rejoice that McCain is getting "one less vote" I guess). Obama and McCain both have good ideas, as is frequently the case. Perhaps America should move away from Presidency and towards a Board-driven style of government. Again, I don't know.

Today is another band event (FBA Marching Assessment) which I'll be filming and photographing for the year-end DVD for Spruce Creek High School, per the norm. It's fun stuff, one of the things I still enjoy doing, and includes my kids which is a bonus. Soon enough they'll be completely separated from "this family life" and leading their own lives, so I milk every moment. I'm no longer directly responsible for the content on SCHS Band's website as the new assistant director apparently wanted to handle it. I'm still in charge (board member, et al) but he's doing the daily maintenance and apparently will put up a new site soon.

Finances in the past few weeks have been "disasterous" for various life-event related reasons, but they should be clearing up after next Friday. Not publicly discussed yet, but Vesta is currently living in a separate home, and as far as I can tell (and am pushing to happen on my end) that is how it will remain permanently. There are problems that I cannot see being repaired, some of a very basic nature, and others which are more complicated. Once we were living together, it all came out, which is unfortunate. I've never been one to endorse "living together" before marriage, but after this experience... I see some merit in the idea, despite my religious upbringing screaming at me that "it's wrong". (sigh)

I put my webcam back up. I'm not bothering with URLs in this posting, but it's at if you really are so inclined to see me at my computer desk, when I happen to be there. In the morning, my hair's a mess (like right now). Don't say I didn't warn you.

I guess that's about it for now. Just thought I'd post some thoughts today. Peace out, people..