Tuesday, May 29, 2007


All right, we get it already! Star Wars blends a lot of mythological elements into its narrative tapestry. How many times does the Flanneled One need to bang this over our heads?

Monday, May 28, 2007


This morning I brought my big brother to the in-laws to get some casting in on the lake near their house. So big bro finally landed the big one. After many years of casting about in the Catskills trying to land a Bass he finally got one. A whopper. Hemingway-esque. Click here and bask in the glory.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


At the recommendation of a local Petco employee who claimed to have worked at a shelter, I gave the bunny I took in (see prev. post) some Pedialyte to get hydrated (he was quite moribund when I first took him) and puppy formula (instead of the recommended KMR.) I fed him through an eyedropper and he perked up and became more animated throughout the day. Friday evening, though, I noticed what was presumably the mother hanging around the remains of the burrow, so I put the little guy back. It's been two days and still no sign of him -which I'm taking to be a good thing. The mother was back again in the area last evening as well, so I'm assuming that the little guy is hiding somewhere in the tall grass around my house. I have a slight dilemma as I'm debating whether to ask my landlord to get the overdue gardener to mow the lawn for Memorial Day or to just let what very well may be my erstwhile charge's hideout continue to provide him shelter.

TOPIC CHANGE: This NYTimes magazine article on Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen is amusing. I'm always fascinated by comedians (or comedic writers) and their art. I wonder what Seth's career arc will look like ten years from know. It seems to me that he's pretty much Judd's alter-ego at the moment -much the way George Costanza was Larry David's. Seth is much younger that Jason Alexander was when he took on that famous persona, though. Will he morph into a screen presence in his own right? Will he transition more towards a writing/behind the scenes career? (much the way Harold Ramis -Ghostbusters' Spangler- developed? Only time will tell.

Friday, May 25, 2007


A wild rabbit had a litter on my neighbor's lawn sometime in the past week. I checked up on the little fuzzballs this morning and only one little guy is alive, the rest seemed to have passed in the night. So now I have a teeny tiny little rabbit snuggling in an old towel in my office waiting for me to get some Kitten Milk Replacement from the local Petco as soon as it opens. He probably won't live through the day, though. If he had a Hebrew name to pray for I guess it would be "Chayim Bugs ben/ (bas?) Plonis."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


I finally got the baby Panda Oranda I've been searching for all those years. He's from a local Petco, and he looks a little beat-up, but he swims fine. I've got the little guy in quarantine for the next week or two. You can't be too safe with new fishies -especially ones from chains stores like Petco. I've bought Typhoid Marys before that have killed of entire tanks and I'm not getting burned again. So here's to hoping that the new dude sticks around for awhile!


I‘ve always been interested in Aerospace. The X-Prize -a contest for being the first private entity to get into space repeatedly has been won awhile back and has spawned -among others- Virgin Galactic, a spacefaring airline, scheduled to start service soon. The real player to watch these days, though, is Elon Musk and his SpaceX. Elon made his fortune on the internetby cofounding eBay, among other things. SpaceX is set to achieve real orbital space service for man and machine within the next two years at a fraction of the cost of what Uncle Sam pays. According to Elon, the revolution needed for affordable space transport isn't technological, rather it's in the management and cost control of the spacefaring entity. (NASA's chasing the myth of the next great technological leap into low-cost access for the last quarter-century or so having been a collossal wast of money, read: Space Shuttle and the aborted VentureStar spaceplane.) NASA is -finally- starting to understand this, and awarded some contractors funds for its COTS (Commercial Orbital Transportational Services) initiative -SpaceX among them. NASA is , however, hedging its bets by developing the Ares family of low(er) cost vehicles to take over for the Space Shuttle when it’s retired in 2010. My money is on the development process for the Ares to be so drawn out by budget issues, however, that COTS-like services supplied by companies such as SpaceX, Armadillo, and Blue Origin should be the operating norm by the time the first Ares vehicles begin service sometime in the middle of the next decade. I keep updated on the new field of low cost commercial aerospace through (in no particular order):

Monday, May 21, 2007


If you're a developer, this performance benchmark is sobering. I know I'm way behind on the curve, what with my 1.6 GhZ Pentium M and 2 Gigs of RAM.


I used to switch templates quite frequently but abandoned the practice awhile back. I figure those in the know "get me" through RSS anyways. Anyways, I switched to "Tequila" by Bright Creative (a standard offering on Blogger.com.) I figure it's appropriate for the season. Waddya think?

Sunday, May 20, 2007


A long while back, I wrote about buying the components for making a homebrew Personal Video Recorder (PVR.) I subsequently decided that I no longer required such a device and went with a PVR that my cable company offered. This practice continued in my new abode with my new provider, Cablevision. Late last year, though, I realized that my viewing habits rarely entailed surfing channels above the standard cable spectrum. Aside from the Channel Formerly Known as Discovery Wings (the Military Channel) and some cooking and grilling shows on Discovery Home, basic cable provided for all my viewing needs. Of course, dumbing down to basic meant no PVR service (digital only.) So I returned the company PVR, went with basic (at an aggregate $29/mo. savings) and revived my old PVR project. I boutht a Hauppauge Tuner card/w remote and finally got the EPIA machine working with Ubuntu Linux and MythTV (excellent HowTo's here) All was well for several months. Some caveats that would later come back to haunt me: The EPIA wasn't 100% stable and would freeze up every now and then. Also, the nifty case was extremely compact and had cooling issues. I no doubt compounded the problem by shoving the noisy little beastie in an enclosed cabinet (all that needed to poke out was the remote's IR receiver, which I velcroed to the TV.) Eventually, the machine died, and I was stuck without any way to serve up Barney videos to the kiddies. (This is a BIG issue.) Luckily, the 80 gig hard drive was fine and I was able to hook it up to a discarded 350 MhZ Dell my brother-in-law graciously donated to my cause and retrieve a bunch of Barney shows -especially the critical "It's Your Birthday Barney!" episode. You have no idea how important that one is to my oldest. Once I rescued some important files, I rebuilt the PVR system on the Dell. It went much quicker the second time around once I was familiar with Ubuntu and MythTV. The trickiest parts are the remote configuration and getting the tuner to display the menus on the TV (not just the TV-out.) Once that was set I have a much quieter and more stable system that the EPIA ever was. Ironically, the Dell is -on paper at least- less powerful than the EPIA, but most of the heavy computing tasks (MPEG encoding and decoding for watching TV) are handled in hardware by the tuner card anyways. So now the Barney Machine is back in business and we have a seemingly inexhaustible supply of shiny happy episodes to feed my kids. Happy days are here again.

My other big "project" has been supplementing my Lotus Notes workflow skillset with Java Server Faces know-how. I have made great progress in this area in the past few weeks. Suffice it to say, a great many tasks that are simple as pie using Lotus Notes are not as trivial -at least at first stab- using other toolkits such as JSF. I have -happily- finally gotten over a critical hump in being able to assemble a basic functional toolkit and establishing a workable mindset to be able to problem solve solution sets using the new (to me, at least) meme. I plan to test the waters with an application I developed using NetBeans Visual Web Pack (data persistence and security provided by MySQL and OpenLDAP respectively) and possibly collecting enough notes and tips to develop a seminar or book title tentatively called "JSF Scenarios." Subtitle: "Giving the groupware developer the tools to provide solutions using the Java Server Faces standard." Sub-sub-title: "JSF for Notes developers."

My friend and "blog sister" Wendy is running for a cause. Help her out!

Friday, May 18, 2007


Lorraine just gave me my Fathers' Day gift a few weeks early. See if you can spot what's so special about them...

My wife rocks.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Wife & I just finished The Departed (De-paah-ted.) When did Alec Baldwin become comic relief? (30 Rock notwithstanding.)

Is Cousin Riff the Barney franchise's Jump-the Shark moment? His introduction was carried out in a textbook Itchy & Scratchy & Pootchie style.