August 30, 2002
August 28, 2002
New toy! This is my
This is my new Toshiba Satellite 1105 - And what I believe to be my first name brand new computer purchase (all my other computers have been put-together toys, but that's tougher to do with a laptop). My old laptop died, and this one was a hell of a price at Costco ($899 after rebate, it's going for $1100+ elsewhere). I didn't need it, but I sure as hell wanted it - lets me write, edit, work from anywhere, play with some wireless networks (once I buy a 802.11 card), play strato, and just generally have fun. It means no Vegas trip this year, but that's ok, I've gambled some online and down at the Indian Casino. Should be a fun new toy.
August 27, 2002
A very merry Birthday to
A very merry Birthday to Chris Clark today - he turns the big 2-4.
August 25, 2002
We found "Mustard Man!" Thank
Just got home from San
Just got home from San Diego's new Harrah's casino with Chris Stankevitz.
The good news: Harrah's feels more like a Vegas casino than any other tribal casino I've been in. It's classy, clean, everyone is polite, and the feeling just feels like Vegas. There are no antes, they'll bring drinks to the tables via attractive waitresses (though I believe you have to pay for them, I didn't drink), and they have most of the normal Vegas games.
The bad news: After being ahead most of the evening, I ended up down $100. How, you ask? Chris and I finally get a seat at a low limit ($10 minimum) table, after about 45 minutes of stalking. I get a seat first, play, and Chris gets to sit down about 10 minutes later. I go up and down, staying up for quite a while before hovering +$100, then slowing making my way back to the original stake. This is fine: I'm here to play and have fun, and I am.
Chris and I have a small tradition in Vegas - "Black In Action", named after a dealer call when you bet one $100 (black) chip on a single hand at a low limit table. We do it for the same reason you may jump out of an airplane or drive your car at 150 MPH - the thrills. "Black In Action" usually takes place at the end of the night, especially if we're up. I was dead even, but Chris decided to play his remaining, so I did the same (it's money I took to lose, and I happened to still have it. It's not like I was betting the rent). Four beautiful green ($25) chips in a pile, gaining some shocked responses from our tablemates. The deal starts. First card dealt for me:
First card dealt for Chris:
An amazing start...no matter what else, an Ace is a great card to start with, and it's good odds for a blackjack, which would net me $150 quick and painless. I'm feeling better about my bet at the moment. Second cards coming, dealt to me:
Second card dealt to Chris:
Dealer's up card:
Yikes. If you gamble, you know the feeling we both got. In blackjack, the house has a minor advantage percentagewise. The player's edge comes in being able to do a couple choice things: splitting and doubling down. These actions allow you to bet up to your original bet again. When showing 6, the dealer has the best statistical odds of busting. With two Aces, I get the chance to get two 21s (by splitting). With Soft 15, Chris can double down and hope for an ace, 2, 3, 4, or 5 to get a better hand, and still have a good chance of winning because the dealer is likely to bust.
The rub, however, comes in the fact that Chris and I both have $100 out on the table. I have very good odds of winning, but in order to win more, I must bet more. Luckily, I came prepared. I put $100 cash down to split my aces, and Chris "doubled for less", and put $60 down to split. Risky, but there are almost no better odds, and no better chance to win. The other players do their thing, and here come our cards (we both only get a limited number of cards based on how we split/double down). First card out: Jack. My first split hand is a 21, and I can't lose. Next out: 9. That's 20 total, and damn good against dealer 6. Chris's card out: 5. He also has 21, and can't lose. $360 total bet on two 21s and a 20 against a dealer 6. Beautiful thing, that.
Then it got ugly.
Chris is the last player on the table, so now it's time for the dealer to turn over his cards. We can see the 6, and his hole card is a face. 16, and it's looking DAMN good for us. If his draw card is anything but a 5, we win or push both. The odds are 13:1 that we'll both do that.
Dealer pulls a 5.
After the luckiest draws I've ever seen two people get playing a big, final hand, the dealer gets 21. Chris pushes. I push my first, and lose my second. The scene went from throwing away my money to having a good chance to having almost no chance of losing to dropping $100 on a hand. So close!
Oh, so close. But Chris and I knew what could happen, and we'll likely do it again someday.
The whole thing was a blast.
August 23, 2002
Nearly midnight on a Friday,
Nearly midnight on a Friday, the weekend ahead. I like knowing I can stay up; that's probably what I miss most about being gainfully employed in an 8a-5p job. I'm listening to a mix of new (well, new to me) songs I've heard on internet radio lately, and a collection of Steinman I don't listen to often. Relaxing.
Today is my friend Ali's birthday. The last time I saw Ali was late 1996, while I was on break from school. I grew up with him in my neighborhood, a troublemaker with a really attractive sister. When I talked to him in '96 after not seeing him a couple years (he moved and went to a different high school), he was just about to join the military to work with computers. I haven't seen or heard from him since. Happy birthday, Ali.
It's now 25 minutes later. I took some time to go through my 7th and 8th grade yearbooks to look for Ali's last name (it is very long and very Iranian). He wasn't in there. But damn...I haven't looked at those in years. I remember every picture, but it's still weird to look at them, 10 or 11 years later. It seems so long ago, and we looked so young.
[I just took time time to look through my filing cabinet, which is basically a repository of my life in documents, 1991-1996. Weird. I have a good deal of the same friends (probably more than most people), but it seems like a totally different time, almost like it's someone else's memories. I'm far too young now (24) to be saying things like this. I did, however, find this picture. Now those are some classy motherfuckers.]
It seems my scanner tried to eat that picture. It won't let go of the left side. Like it's fused. I'm not sure what's up with that.
When I had my various online journals, I used to regularly write entries of this length. When Michris/Insignifica came along, the posts got shorter, both because I didn't feel like writing diary-style, and because I think my blog does well with a short entry format. This one's longer and self-serving. Enjoy.
More fun with "froms": Someone
More fun with "froms":
And to think, those are just todays...If you'd like to see the raw logs from my site, click here. Enjoy.
August 21, 2002
I made a deal tonight
I made a deal tonight with [myself]*. If I continue to grow out my hair, drop a little more weight, ride my bicycle some more, and begin writing seriously again, I'll become rich, a little more famous, and get some acting work.
* Feel free to replace [myself] with the wish-granting deity of your choice.
August 20, 2002
Women and men, check out
Women and men, check out "What's Wrong With My Breasts?" - a well thought-out essay on why male breasts can be exposed and female breasts can not. And I'm not just coming from the point of view of someone who loves the female form...it really is absurd.
Good day and happy Tuesday
Good day and happy Tuesday to you. Some notes:
August 19, 2002
This is a picture
This is a picture I found online while searching Google's image database for "kresge ucsc".
Lemme just tell ya, it's amazingly weird to find a picture of yourself online that you didn't know existed. Especially one taken 5 years previous, without your name on it. I was holding the Kresge College flag at the "convocation", a start of term event. This one is from September 22, 1997.
August 18, 2002
As per Chris's request (well,
As per Chris's request (well, he made it months ago, and I'm not sure he remembers), I've written up a history of my webcams.
I had forgotten a lot of the details - it's all pretty interesting (to me, anyway). There's probably still much more I forgot, but this will give you the general idea.
I'm looking for a laptop.
I'm looking for a laptop. I've wanted one for a while (I have a 6 year old one that's recently died, I think I'm ready to move beyond P100 in my portable device). Any suggestions? It doesn't need to be spectacular; I want a good display and decent speed, it doesn't need DVD, CD burner, a huge HD, anything like that. It's not going to replace my current desktop systems, I want something to take places, to connect to my network as an additional machine, to use when I want to write somewhere beyond my desk. I'm willing to go used or refurbished. Ideas?
August 16, 2002
How much does it cost
How much does it cost to get a DNA match performed on two biological samples? I thought it was so expensive that prisoners couldn't afford to get tests done to prove their innocence... but it looks like DNA tests were used to identify the thousands who died on September 11.
Baseball players set Aug. 30
Baseball players set Aug. 30 strike date. What the hell does that mean? Why don't the chickens go on strike now?
Well, I'm not chicken. I'm going on baseball strike now. I will not attend or watch another professional baseball game or put money into the system. My strike will end after 24 months of no player/owner money whining.
Somebody from bradley.dialup.earthlink.net came and
Somebody from bradley.dialup.earthlink.net came and looked at EVERY page on my site this morning. Damn. Who was that?
August 15, 2002
This is a beautiful nude
This is a beautiful nude portrit of a woman.
This is very funny and
This is very funny and very British.
Ok folks, we're going to
Ok folks, we're going to do some Google bombing. What's that, you ask? The concept is simple: because of the way Google indexes web sites, sites that link somewhere using specific keywords give the indexed site higher rankings for the linked words. It works great with blogs because they're often updated (something the google bots like) and usually contain multiple pages with the same linking (via archives).
Example: You link to me (http://www.insignifica.org) using the words "Beef Burglar". You do it, and your friends do it. It gets into your archives for the entry, or all your archive pages if you put it as a permanant link somewhere on your page. Google's bots see this and think it's widely linked, and eventually (depending on volume and the words used), Google begins to assoicate my site with those key words.
The result? If you go to Google and search for "Beef Burglar", the search engine returns my site. The point? None, other than a little harmless hacking of an interesting page indexing practice. That, and the joy that comes with knowing you're the beef burglar of the internet.
So what do I need you to do? Link to me. Use your blog, your diary, your company's homepage, anything. Put the following code on your page:
<!-- Begin Beef Burglar Code -->
Michael Doss is a <a href="http://www.insignifica.org">Beef Burglar</a>.<br>(<a href="http://insignifica.org/archives/2002_08.shtml#001136">What's this all about?</a>)
<!-- End Beef Burglar Code -->
Thank you for your support.
August 14, 2002
I've been meaning for a
I've been meaning for a while to create an "interesting 'froms'" section of this website; that is, a list of the strange pages people come this page from. These usually take the form of search engine queries. Because I blog about a variety of things, plus have some hidden keywords, I get a LOT of weird hits. Some recent favorites:
A search on AOL for "Anal Penis Volcanoes".
A Google search for ""santa ana wind" emotion".
An AOL search for "Anil porn xxx". Yes, that's right, Anil.
And that's just the tip of the iceburg. I literally get hundreds of hits a week from people searching for porn - which is entirely my fault for having my hidden keywords. Unfortunately, a whole lot of people come here looking for child porn, because I have naughty words as well as stories about child porn busts on the site. I'm sure the FBI loves me for that.
Speaking of Anil (fellow blogger and reason people found my page while looking for "anil porn xxx", he has a list of "froms" on his page, though most of his are links from other bloggers (like mine). There's a good possibility I'll do that on my next site revision.
Texas to Execute Mexican for
Barring an 11th-hour reprieve in the courts or from Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Suarez, 33, was to be executed in the Walls prison unit in downtown Huntsville, 75 miles north of Houston, shortly after 6 p.m. CDT (7 p.m. EDT).
I'm against the death penalty - I don't think it's the state's job to kill people, regardless of crime. I don't think it accomplishes anything. But this, like several other recent Texas cases, is going too far. Instead of listening to the calls of 14 foreign countries and the UN, including a phone call from Mexico's president, Texas decides they need to kill this guy today. There are issues regarding his fair treatment as a non-American, and instead of issuing a stay (not a pardon), the governor and parole board feel it necessary to move it through NOW. Whats the harm in further investigation? Might they discover that the state is in the wrong? I don't know, you'll have to ask Texas, who kills a LOT of people...
Update, 4:49PM PST: Texas killed him. When I first blogged this, he was alive. When I updated, he was dead. Sad stuff.
Damn. DAMN. Weasley is dead.
August 13, 2002
Read Garote's site. It's considerably
Read Garote's site. It's considerably more interesting than mine is. It's as deep and wonderful as I'd like Insignifica to be when I'm not being a linkwhore or comic genius.
Check out http://www.olen.com/cgi-bin/food2 - it
Check out http://www.olen.com/cgi-bin/food2 - it has a list of fast food items and their "nutritional" information
Update: Since they're a local favorite of mine, check out also Del Taco's nutrition information.
I've seen similar lists...scary. Items you may want to stay away from (some highlights):
- Philly Beef'n Swiss - 47 grams of fat
- Bleu Cheese Dressing - 31 grams of fat
- Caeser Salad Entrée - 43 grams of fat
- Chicken Caeser Salad - 47 grams of fat
- Ham/Turkey Club w/Cheese & sauce - 43 grams of fat
- Whoppers. They have between 39 and, in the case of the Double Whopper with Cheese - 63 grams of fat, 960 calories. Damn.
- BK Big Fish - 41 grams of fat
- Chicken Sandwich - 43 grams of fat
- Croissan'wich w/Sausage, Egg, Cheese - 46 grams of fat
- Peanut Buster Parfait - 31 grams of fat, 730 calories
- Macho Beef Burrito - 62 grams of fat, 1170 calories. Add a Macho fries and you're up to 106 grams of fat.
- Don't eat here. Their Big Country Sausage has 66 grams of fat and 1000 calories.
- Breast - 35 grams of fat. That's just one piece of chicken, people.
- Chunky Chicken Pot Pie - 42 grams of fat
- Hot Wings Pieces (6) - 33 grams of fat
- Most of their sandwichs have 25+ grams of fat. Watch out also for their ranch dressing, with 21.
- Not clear, but I believe thier listings are per slice, large pizza. That would put the Supreme as the worst offender, with 31 grams of fat PER SLICE.
- The Taco Salad w/Salsa has 51 grams of fat. Drop the shell, and you're down to 21. That's a fatty shell.
There are others, and I based my highlights on fat content, mostly. What's scary is some of the items listed might be considered "healthy" if you didn't know better (the various salad entrees, the chicken alternatives).
August 12, 2002
Holy Shit! One of my
Holy Shit! One of my friend Garrett's web pages is the subject of a Slashdot story!!! The headline is "A High-School Hacker's Notebook", so I clicked on it to pass the time before catching the bus this morning. The page has been slashdotted (effectively shut down due to too much traffic), but the URL was "http://garote.bdmonkeys.net/notebook/", telling me it was Garrett's (Garote)'s notebook from the Braindead Monkey's website. Very weird to see a close friend's work on /.
August 11, 2002
Oh, well yeah. Of
Oh, well yeah. Of course. A turkey.
Bonus: Where was this picture taken?
Why do YOU believe things
Why do YOU believe things without evidence? Does it make you feel good? Are you afraid? Do you think your sky-god will be angry otherwise?
Believe in things because they are likely true. There is no other honest reason to believe.
August 10, 2002
Breaking News! Barry Bonds hit
Breaking News! Barry Bonds hit home run number 600.
I've seen two television shows
I've seen two television shows today that had characters named "Merrill" (or some other spelling with the same pronounciation). One male (in Golden Girls, a former prison inmate) and one female (in Star Trek: Voyager, a unseen date for Barkeley). I find this just a little strange.
August 08, 2002
Peeve: People who type out
Peeve: People who type out "the fuck" when they mean "what the fuck?". It's bad enough when you say it out loud without some sort of quick "w" sound (as a vocal contraction for "what"), but typing it out just makes you look stupid. "The fuck" is it's own sentence with it's own meaning, and that meaning is not an interrogative.
New Tech Could Kill the
New Tech Could Kill the Ump - If Major League Baseball umpires seem a little insecure about a high-tech system to monitor their ball-and-strike calls, they have good reason: Improvements on that system could take their jobs soon enough.
Great article from Wired. Basically, there's emerging technology that will allow balls and strikes in baseball to be called with near 100% accuracy. Umpires and hardcore fans don't like it, because it takes away the "human element", or mistakes.
Personally, I want as accurate a game as possible. I don't want the mood of the umpire to decide whether or not a call is made correctly. I don't want someone blinking at the wrong time to change the outcome of a game. If you don't want accuracy, why have a strike zone at all?
August 07, 2002
Sometimes I wish I could
Breaking news! Barry Bonds hit
Breaking news! Barry Bonds hit home run number 599 last night. Is 599 more significant than 598 or 600? I can understand 600 because it's 6.0 times the base of our counting system raised to the second power, clearly a very important number to mathematicians... but 599?
Does anyone think Mervyn's Before Christmas Sale, Christmas Sale, and After Christmas sale are all just phoney attempts to get us into the store?
August 06, 2002
Word Of The Day: Zaftig
Word Of The Day:
Etymology: Yiddish zaftik juicy, succulent, from zaft juice, sap, from Middle High German saf, saft, from Old High German saf -- more at SAP
Date: circa 1936
of a woman : having a full rounded figure : pleasingly plump
My company is participating in
My company is participating in MC02 with a nifty program that simulates various radars and sensors.
I participated in FY02 UACEP at Ft. Knox, KY. In the picture on this page, I was "stationed" in the lower right corner of the screen operating our aircraft and radar platforms.
August 05, 2002
Midwestern town of 111 people
I think it's cool when little towns give themselves a claim to fame, no matter how strange. It's good for the economy. This one reminds me of one of my all time favorite flash movies...
Click for larger picture I
I had a good time at Disneyland this weekend. I hadn't been there in ages (2+ years, probably the longest I've ever gone without going). For a Sunday in summer, the crowd was reasonable, we didn't have to wait more than 20 minutes for any ride (between luck and Fastpass), and I got to see my friend Jen (who I hadn't seen since Santa Cruz 2 years ago) and meet her fiancé Chris. Good times.
August 02, 2002
Check out this article from
Check out this article from The Smoking Gun. It contains the phrases "meat juice" and "beef burglar".
For those interested, I've put
For those interested, I've put together all the quotes from the site (the words in the upper right hand corner that appear when you load/reload the page) into a file you folks can access and read on your own time, without having to sit and reload the page over and over. Enjoy.
August 01, 2002
The workcams both look like
The workcams both look like drug induced fun today:
Mine (on the top) is looking at Smarties candy through a beveled crystal bowl, hence the distortion. Joe's (bottom) is pointed out his door, and the fluorescent lights are causing a ghosting effect. Fun.
Vegas strippers up in arms
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AP) -- Exotic dancers and strip club supporters are up in arms over a new ordinance restricting lap dance gyrations and barring customers from stuffing bills in G-strings at clubs outside Sin City.
This pisses me off, and not just as someone who enjoys strip clubs. Why does the government have the right to regulate the transaction of non-illegal activities between consenting adults? If I meet a girl in a bar, buy her some drinks, and she gives me a lap dance at home, I'm not breaking the law. But if I pay a woman to, I am. I realize there are issues regarding the place of business, etc...but it's still silly.
This rant leads me to my general rant on prostitution: why is it illegal? Again, if I buy a girl dinner and drinks and take her home, it's fine. If I pay for her company, I'm breaking the law. What's the rational behind that? Sex is not illegal, but paying for it is - that's weird to me. I should have the right to pick up a hooker, ho, call girl or prostitute, take her home, and pay for her services. She's providing a service, albeit sexual, and I'm a paying customer. To me, it's like saying someone can come build a deck at your house for free, but if you pay them, you're both breaking the law.
What do you think?
Oh, and who's up for a trip to Vegas? I'm thinking about putting together a trip. Email me.