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Badbartopia
Badbartopia
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     Monday October 12, 2004
Quiz time

I received an interesting email quiz from my uncle last week. It was quickly forwarded to all my co-workers and we were quite surprised by the results. If you would like to give it a try, click this link to take the quiz.

Rebates

Just a quick update on the rebate situation: the Costco rebate came with no delay, as promised. A hearty thumbs up for Costco! I have also recently mailed in a rebate for the 1 GB compact flash card that I recently purchased. So far, the rebate seems to be processing without any problem...

Joke

I receive jokes in my e-mailbox periodically (from friends & relatives). Generally, they aren't worth repeating, but sometimes thay are actually pretty funny. Here's one that made me chuckle:

A magician worked on a cruise ship. The audience was different each week, so he did the same tricks over and over again. There was one problem: The captain's parrot saw the shows each week and began to understand how the magician did every trick. Once he understood, he started shouting in the middle of the show. ”Look, it's not the same hat!" "Look, he's hiding the flowers under the table." "Hey, why are all the cards the ace of spades?"

The magician was furious but couldn't do anything about it. It was, after all, the captain's parrot.

One fateful day, the ship sank. The magician found himself floating on a piece of wood in the middle of the sea with, as luck would have it, the parrot. They stared at each other with hatred, but did not utter a word. This went on for three days until, on the fourth day, the parrot could not hold back. "OK, I give up. Where's the ship?"

New Computer

I bought a new computer. The power supply in the old one heated up to the point that I could smell plastic from within the case beginning to burn/melt last week. I suppose I could have gone the cheaper route and just purchased a new power supply (which I will probably do eventually, anyway), but I wanted a new case, a new processor, etc and it would have been too much hassle to do it all. So I just bought a whole new machine.

This computer's case is really different. It has a face with "eyes" that 'light up when the computer is turned on and flicker red when the hard drive is working. It also has two fans in the back and a fan on the side with a metal sun shaped covering. There are yellow and orange lights behind this fan that light up the case interior. I know that it's pretty geeky, but it's fun to have a 'puter that's not so plain for the first time. It's an Intel P4 2.0 GHz with a paltry 256 MB of RAM.

So far, there has been only one problem: the onboard audio device does not work with Winblows XP. Apparently, it's a known issue and "Realtek is currently working to resolve this issue." I will probably have to get a sound card to take care of the problem (I haven't had to use a sound card in years with motherboards including integrated audio support).

Badbartopia Updates

Badbartopia has undergone major reconstructive surgery. I have removed all framesets/frames from the site and made all the base pages PHP based--the components of the pages are still HTML, but the assembly is done with PHP. Browsers other than IE can now view all the pages within my site. One definite drawback to the new design: all the content ow scrolls, so you have to go back to the top of the page to move around. This is something I hate, but I haven't devoted the time to experimenting with alternatives yet.

I have also moved a few things around. The California Overtime Exemption rules page has been removed It will probably reappear in the Downloads section of the site (when it goes back online) and will probably remain unchanged from this day forward (since I am no longer exempt from overtime and no longer have a vested interest in the laws). I have moved the drawings tab to the main page of the site. The "My favorites" tab has been rmeoved and replaced with a drop down menu on the top toolbar. The Downloads section and picures of my kids will return as soon as I have updated their layouts. You will notice, if you click on any of the archived "rants" pages, that only those entries on or after July 23, 2004 open in the main window. All others will open in a new window (until I get around to converting them). I have updated the site map and revised the embarrassment that I call "My Bio." The tabs have gone from graphical back to the straight, simplistic HTML approach.

Speaking of my bio, one of my co-workers, Nick, decided to have a little fun at my expense when he saw the goofy prom picture I had in my bio. Ah, the eighties...they were simple times.

That's about it for now. More changes will, no doubt, be forthcoming.

Web Logs

One of my co-workers was let go recently and wasted no time before spewing any number of exaggerations, accusations and other attacks against his former employer and co-workers in a web log. His "blog-friends" also weighed in on the issue and offered their erudite opinions.

Stupid. What better way to scare away future employers than to spout in incohernet rage about a former employer in a "public" forum?

It's frightening to ponder how many people are so anxious to reveal the dirty laundry of their lives to the complete strangers of the internet community. As if reality TV wasn't bad enough. Now, uncensored-unedited-generally-uninteresting reality is posted continuously for a world of voyeurs and vultures to feast upon.

Blogs are so rampant and uninteresting that I am wondering if my decision to share my thoughts in a blog-ish medium (on this page) is a bad idea. It is somewhat cathartic to just let it out for all the world to read (and I mean both of you). But is it too much information? Mark Oakley's web page was the inspiration for this page. His insightful, humorous and interesting views of the world and events in his life are always fun for me to read.

Opus

Pickles hasn't been around for the past two weeks, to my disappointment. I guess Berke is too busy trying to think up "political" zingers to cater to my personal whims.

Even though the content was not Berke's best, I did scan the October 3 and October 10 Opus strips. I can definetely relate to the October 10 strip.

 Books
Vitals

This was, surprisingly, another conspiracy theory/international intrigue type book written by Greg Bear. I seem to be reading a lot of those lately.

I picked it up because I am somewhat familiar with Greg Bear's books (the one that stands out the most in my mind is The Infinity Concerto--a great fantasy read from many years ago) and I like his writing style. I was very surprised by both the type of story as well as the language of the story (the F-bomb makes frequent appearances).

Here's the gist of the story: the old Soviet Union has a secret and very advanced bio-weapon research project that has been around since before World War II that uses altered bacteria to turn people into mindless slaves. The research of twin brother bio-research scientists leads them to discover the existence of this project and also leads to one of their deaths...maybe. The project is so big that even the president of the U.S. has been "tagged" and is under the control of outside agencies.

About the writing style: the story is told first person by differnt characters (one voice per chapter), so it gets a little confusing at times (especially since two of the characters are twins). I found the ending unsatisfying, but maybe he was leaving it open to a sequel...

It is a very interesting and well-researched novel that I would highly recommend to conspiracy-theory buffs. There was just enough "history" and fact melded with fiction to make is all seem very plausible.

 Videos
Star Wars Trilogy

What can I say about Star Wars that hasn't been said a gazillion times before?

Nothing. The movies are what they are (and with few exceptions, what they have been for 20+ years). They are great escapist fiction--much like Tolkien's Middle Earth. Are there messages "hidden" in the story? Millions would say "yes," but all interpretations of deeper meaning are apparently wishful thinking because George isn't trying to teach, he's only trying to entertain.

I haven't made it to the third DVD yet. The first two looked much the same as they did in the theater (the special edition releases). But what's the deal with trying to make Han Solo into something he's not (with the Greedo shoot out)? He's a smuggler and a rogue. Why try to make him noble...Oh well, they're only movies. If you are one of those psychotics who can't resist taking movies apart, here is a page that analyzes the differences George Lucas made to A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back from the originals to the special editions to the DVD versions of the movies.

The bonus DVD has some interesting stuff on it: an image gallery from the actaul shooting of the movies (loads of Leia gold bikini candids and other interesting photos ), the original Star Wars TV trailers from way back (very lower-tech) and a preview of the X-Box Star Wars game (playable only on the X-Box--which I happen to have, so I tried it out) were the most memorable features.

I have been unable to extract any of the special content from the DVD yet (on my PC), but I'm still trying.

Lady Killers

This film was bad. Maybe my expectations were just too high (knowing that Tom Hanks was in it and trusting in his uncanny ability to make bizarre characters believable). But no part of this movie was in any way endearing to me.

Here's the gist of the movie: Tom Hanks is a con-man/thief who moves into an old-black-southern woman's home under the guise of being a professor and musician hobbyist. He and a group of other miscreants set about robbing a casino nearby through a tunnel in the woman's cellar. Profanity abounds. The plot is slow and unineresting. The characters are underdeveloped.

Blah.



© Brett Wilkes. All Rights Reserved.
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© Brett Wilkes. All Rights Reserved.
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy