Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Stolen from Fark

Monday, December 17, 2007

Running Out of Food

Today the UN reported that the world’s food supply is shrinking. This will lead to higher prices for most foods which will adversely affect the poorest people in the world who struggle to buy enough food to ward off starvation. The author points to governmental programs setup by wealthy countries to pay farmers not to fully utilize their land in order to keep prices artificially high. Subsidies also contribute to this. This biggest cause for this food shortage problem is that farmers are growing crops to turn into “biofuels” instead of food.

Apparently the best solution they can come up with is for rich countries to give coupons to poor countries that they can trade for discounts on seeds and stuff from the rich countries. I vote we just ban ethanol fuels, eliminate all governmental involvement in agriculture, and let the markets work things out. Forest land can be cleared for more farms, dams can be built to better irrigate farmland, and farmers can use all their available land to grow crops when the government isn’t there to bribe them no to.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

We're Getting Nukes

Well by we I mean Texas and by nukes I mean a pair of new nuclear reactors. NRG applied to build two new plants next to two other plants they operate near Bay City, Texas. I also wrote an 8 page paper on the topic for my Political Ideas and Ideologies class. I like the topic, but going out of my way to integrate it into our class materials was a serious pain in the butt. Our professor didn’t care if we used Wikipedia for our paper, as long as it wasn’t our primary information source. I used one page of it as one of 34 sources for this 8 page paper. If you don’t want to read it I wouldn’t recommend it. If you do want something really boring to read here it is:

On March 28, 1979, Reactor 2 at Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station breached, releasing radioactive gasses into the atmosphere. Although no one was killed or injured in the accident, the fear of a nuclear catastrophe was now on people’s minds. Since that incident no applications to build new nuclear plants had been filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) until this year. In June of 2006, NRG Energy Incorporated filed a letter of formal intent to the NRC to build two new reactors at the South Texas Nuclear Generating Station near Bay City, Texas to accompany the two existing reactors at the same site. On September 24, 2007 NRG filed the first formal application for the construction of a new nuclear power plant since 1979. This is believed to be the first of dozens of new applications to be filed in the U.S. by the end of the decade.
These two new nuclear reactors have reopened the national debate over nuclear power, historically considered by many to be impractical and overly expensive. Classic questions of nuclear safety have been largely overshadowed by questions about carbon emissions. Costs of construction have been overshadowed by talk of the historically high oil prices. Talk of radioactive materials is overshadowed by talk of nuclear proliferation. What isn’t being talked about as much are the ramifications of having two new fission reactors being built in Bay City, Texas.
The people with the most at stake in this debate are the citizens of Southern Texas. The residents are the ones who will be living in proximity to the new reactors. The vast majority of the power generated from these reactors will be sold within the region to the local residences and businesses. In the event of a nuclear disaster the local citizens may suffer the possible chance of adverse affects caused by the nightmarish scenario. These are the people who are funding the construction by paying their utility bills. These are the people who will live in the shadow of the new reactors. These are the people whose voices should carry the most weight in any debate on the matter.
The question is whether the decision to build new nuclear reactors should rest primarily with those who are directly affected by building new base-load power plants, either nuclear or coal. John Borland (2007) wrote an article in Wired Magazine about author Gwyneth Cravens, a former nuclear protester, who has become a strong proponent of nuclear energy. Borland quotes her as saying:
I used to think we surely could do better. We could have more wind farms and solar. But I then learned about base-load energy, and that there are three forms of it: fossil fuels, hydro and nuclear. In the United States, we're maxed out on hydro. That leaves fossil fuels and nuclear power, and most of the fossil fuel burned is coal.
In the U.S., 24,000 people a year die from coal pollution. Hundreds of thousands more people suffer from lung and heart disease directly attributable to coal pollution.
Given the need for reliable, base-load power, people such as Cravens argue that nuclear power is the best we can do at this point in time. The heavy pollution from burning coal and other fossil fuels perpetuates the fears of acid rain and heavy carbon emissions, both of which environmentalists want to immensely reduce.
Even though the most catastrophic nuclear disaster in U.S. history (Three Mile Island) didn’t harm or kill a single person, many people are still fearful of nuclear power plants. John Dryzek comments in The Politics of the Earth: Environmental Discourses, “[People] tend to have a low tolerance for low-probability catastrophic events (such as the meltdown of a nuclear reactor), and so overestimate the risks from them.”(2005) These fears must be addressed because the citizens need to be able to feel safe and secure in their daily lives. This ties into Andrew Heywood’s discourse of Conservative ideology on security. Heywood’s claim is that Conservatives “believe that human beings are…security-seeking creatures, drawn to the known, the familiar, the tried and tested.”(2007) Thus employing a relatively new technology, which harnesses the power of matter itself, will definitely make most people uneasy until they are able to learn the facts about what is being proposed in their backyard.
For the citizens of the Bay City area, the proposal of building a pair of new nuclear reactors is not a terrifying prospect. They have the information and knowledge they need in order to know that their lives suffer little risk of being contaminated by a nuclear disaster. According to Wikipedia, the residents already have two of the world’s largest nuclear reactors located at the same site where the new reactors are being proposed. Even residents of neighboring Victoria County are petitioning energy company Exelon Nuclear to build a new nuclear plant in their county (Triplett, 2007). As the population grows the need for an increase of base-power generation also increases. The fear of adding another pair of nuclear power plants doesn’t appear to exist in the Bay City area.
A huge factor in the construction of new reactors is the costs involved. According to Wikipedia, the two existing nuclear plants currently operating in the South Texas Project cost roughly $5.5 billion to build and bring online. Thus the immense capital costs involved in the construction of nuclear plants make them among the most expensive of all power generating stations. Unlike the costs of traditional power plants fueled by coal, gas, or oil; nuclear fuel is an insignificant cost of operating the plant. CNN Money writer, Steve Hargreaves (2007), indicates the cost of enriched uranium to fuel a nuclear reactor is only 28% of the total operating cost of the plant. The two main costs of running a nuclear plant are the amortization of the huge capital investment made during its construction and the salaries of those who operate the facility. By having relatively stable operating costs, consumers are assured that their utility bills will not fluctuate wildly with the whims of the fuel markets. The rising and uncertain costs of oil and other fossil fuels only make nuclear power more attractive to those concerned about unstable prices of electricity.
When analyzing the costs of building new power plants we must also look beyond the financial costs. We need to look at the human costs and the environmental costs as well. The financial costs of building a coal power plant pale in comparison to the costs involved in constructing a nuclear plant. But the costs of operating a coal plant are much higher both economically and environmentally. Whereas nuclear plants are relatively cheap to fuel, almost all of a coal plant’s operating expenses come from buying and burning coal by the trainload. Unfortunately most of the coal that is burned ends up in the atmosphere. Coal smoke contains ash, soot, greenhouse gases, and heavy metals such as lead, mercury, uranium, and thorium. A typical coal power plant releases more radioactive material into the atmosphere than all of the world’s nuclear plants combined. With such heavy pollution coming from our coal power plants, most environmentalists are screaming for alternatives.
According to his editorial in the Austin American-Statesman, Bruce Hight points out that environmentalist groups have protested and successfully lobbied to stop eight of eleven proposed coal power plants from being built in Texas in recent years (2007). He goes on to point out that environmental groups such as Environmental Defense and Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen are vehemently opposed to the production of coal power plants due to their toxic emissions which are harmful to both humans and the environment. Public Citizen is also equally opposed to nuclear power and is horrified that NRG is planning two new reactors anywhere, much less in Southern Texas. Hight also quotes a different opinion from Jim Marston, spokesman for Environmental Defense, as saying “‘Environmental Defense might – reluctantly – consider nuclear power. But not coal plants’” for adding needed base-power to the electrical grid. Environmental groups are in consensus that current coal technology is too dirty and inefficient for a 21st century world. The debate is whether nuclear is an acceptable alternative to higher polluting power plants.
Nuclear power, together with wind and solar power, are generally considered to be pollutionless sources of energy. The only harmful byproduct of nuclear power generation is its spent fuel. On the NEI Nuclear Notes blog, Eric McErlain (2007) quotes a statistic from Gwyneth Cravens concerning spent nuclear fuel:
A family in four in France, where they reprocess nuclear fuel, would produce only enough waste to fit in a coffee cup over a whole lifetime. A lifetime of getting all your electricity from coal-fired plants would make a single person's share of solid waste (in the United States) 68 tons, which would require six 12-ton railroad cars to haul away. Your share of CO2 would be 77 tons.
The spent fuel still needs to be disposed of in a safe manner. The consensus on how to dispose of this spent fuel is to simply bury it. Large disposal sites such as Yucca Mountain in Nevada are being built to store thousands of tons of nuclear waste a thousand feet underground in steel casks where they will remain safely for thousands of years. These sites are funded by taxes imposed on the sale of electricity from all current nuclear plants in the country.
Most editorials and blog posts we found relating to the two new NRG reactors were overwhelmingly in favor of reviving the nuclear industry. Deliberative democracy is intended to give everyone a voice in matters concerning their own lives and the digital age now gives everyone an ability to express their opinions to the world. We fully expected to find strong opposition for these new reactors like there was in the past from environmentalist and “not in my backyard” groups who did not want the nuclear reactors where they were built. Without any way to deliberate in an open forum such as the internet and letters to the editor, the individuals opposing the nuclear reactors would be relegated from “citizen” status to “subject” status by Barbara Cruikshank (2007) because they would not have any meaningful voice in what affects their lives. Unlike citizens, who have both a voice and a role to play in their government, subjects have neither, being subject to those who have the power, with no voice in matters concerning them.
Other forums, such as town hall meetings, would also give people an opportunity to become more informed about the issue at hand, as well as voice any concerns and objections they may feel toward having two new reactors built. Iris Young (1996) describes these meetings in her writings as a place where “Greeting, rhetoric, and storytelling are forms of communication that in addition to argument contribute to political discussion.” There must be places where people can discuss more than just hard facts and statistics when discussing large issues. People must feel connected to their communities and involved with what takes place around them. It’s apparent from reading local news articles that the vast majority of people are welcoming to the prospect of a second pair of nuclear reactors in their region. The people who are not as open to the idea are largely ignored when the press are covering this issue. The forums of deliberation proposed by Young would be a way for those whose voices are largely unheard to be recognized and listened to as individuals in need of expressing their views.
NRG’s plans to build these nuclear plants have sparked a debate, not merely in Southern Texas, but throughout the country. The U.S. government is currently involved only by the actions of the NRC; however, other agencies are sure to become involved. The Environmental Protection Agency is also likely to step into the picture once the NRC has approved the construction. The U.S. Department of Energy also has a stake in this matter as they issue guidelines for all power generation within the country.
NRG’s applications for the first new reactors in decades will determine the future of power generation in the U.S. If the applications are approved, the precedent will pave the way for as many as thirty-two new reactor applications to be completed by the end of 2009 (NRC, 2007). If the applications are rejected, the future of nuclear power in the U.S. may be finished. Groups from all over the country are scrambling to lobby Congress with their positions on the issue. Many people and groups are relieved that nuclear power will get another chance in the 21st century. These people will quickly point out that France, Japan, and China are scrambling to build new nuclear reactors in order to increase their power generating capacity without increasing their CO2 emissions. Other groups quickly point to the Chernobyl accident in 1986 and fear that a similar event will happen on U.S. soil. They will oppose all prospects of building a new nuclear reactor anywhere in the country.
The only certainty in the debate over building new nuclear reactors is that the country will need more base-load capacity soon. The U.S. population will soon reach one-third of a billion residents and those residents will require reliable, cost-effective, and clean sources of electricity. Wind, solar, and tidal generation stations can alleviate much of the anticipated power demand, but they cannot provide the constant output of electricity needed twenty-four hours per day. The nuclear power industry is promising that their technology is the best solution to the anticipated needs of the country. This debate will continue long after NRG’s two proposed reactors are either rejected or constructed.

Friday, December 07, 2007


Bush wants to freeze the mortgage rates for “troubled borrowers.” These are the people who borrowed more money than they could actually afford to with an adjustable rate mortgage. As many of the introductory rates are starting to expire, many of their interest rates are going to go up substantially. I disapprove of this rate freeze.

The Republican party used to be the party of free enterprise and individual responsibility. If people were dumb enough to borrow more money than they could afford and a future interest rate that they couldn’t afford it really sucks to be them. When signing all the paperwork for a loan all of that information is written there. If they couldn’t be bothered to read it all or understand it all, they really shouldn’t have signed any of it. Now Nanny Government is there to save people from their own stupidity. These people need to get out of their current mortgages by selling their unaffordable homes and move into a place they can actually afford.

Monday, December 03, 2007

We're All Going to Die (Again)

With just enough snow to cause everyone in the area to go into a panicked frenzy (about an inch in my neighborhood) we set out for our third Bible Quiz meet of the year on Saturday. My team did relatively well but still not as great as they should have been. Oh well. Afterward we had a party up in the hills, where there was a pleasant 3-4 inches of snow. It was enough to sled for a while, and more than enough to make going up and down the 20% grade driveway much more interesting than normal. Then it rained that night and melted all the snow.

It kept raining to the point where a few cities have now broken the record for most rain ever in December; Bremerton got 12.5 inches of rain in the last 48 hours. School went into emergency closure this afternoon after we got there because the roads in the area were deemed too dangerous due to flooding; therefore they told everyone to leave campus by 3:30.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Movie List (update)

Here's the ranked list of the movies I've seen released this year. I've seen a handful more since my last ranking and I still tweak it once in a while depending on my mood.

20. Epic Movie
It had its moments but otherwise a pretty crappy movie.

19. Nancy Drew
It was ok, very predictable though.

18. The Last Mimzy
This movie was pretty good overall, but the end was just plain weird. And little kids flying is kinda creepy.

17. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
The fist movie I've seen at the theater that I thought was way too long. This movie could have been better if it was 30 minutes shorter. It looked cool but wasn't that exciting to me. Definitely not as good as the first one.

16. TMNT
Decent cartoon. Would have preferred it to be a live action movie like the first 3 turtles movies.

15. Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas in 3-D
A good movie to watch every once in a while. Even better in 3-D. I still liked Corpse Bride better though.

14. Shrek the Third
Very funny movie, haven't decided if I liked it better than the other ones though.

13. Ratatouille
One of the better Disney movies in recent years.

12. Bridge to Terebithia
One of the better movie plots all year. Lost most of its cool points by being depressing near the end.

11. Beowulf in 3-D
The most stunning animation ever. Didn't follow the peom very well. Movie would have been much cooler without Grendel in it, but he was kinda central to the story. Definately a very cool movie to see in 3D on the IMAX screen.

10. Mr. Bean's Holiday
This Bean was even better than the first movie. Very funny throughout.

9. Spiderman 3
Very cool movie, almost as cool as the second one. Animation was great. But it was also too short and too emo.

8. Happily N'Ever After
I heard almost nothing about this movie before it came out; very sad. This movie was just plain cool to watch.

7. Arthur and the Invisibles
Saw it about the same time as Happily N'Ever After and is slightly cooler with better animation, but not quite as funny as HNA.

6. Meet the Robinsons in 3-D
Definitely the best of the Disney Movies released in recent years. Even better in 3D.

5. 300
It's cool in the same way as Braveheart, but much more so.

4. Hot Fuzz
British police comedy at its finest.

3. Ghost Rider
One of the best comic book movies of all time. (I think the theatrical version is slightly better than the director's cut)

2. Stardust
Very solid fantasy movie. Good story, likable characters, and funny.

1. Transformers
Visually stunning. Very funny in parts. Good epic storyline. Slightly better than Ghost Rider.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

:-( followup

Here's the official response from KVI about Bryan:

"Dear KVI Listeners:

We certainly understand that some of you are not happy about the recent changes that have been made on KVI. As we continue to evaluate our programming on KVI, please know this was a difficult decision for us.

"Ultimately, we needed to look at the strongest programs on KVI from a ratings and revenue standpoint and make some hard but necessary business decisions.

"Bryan Suits is one of the most brilliant, quick-witted people we know. But unfortunately his wisdom, experience and sidesplitting humor failed to gain ratings traction against his competitors. We believe the local, political talk show The Commentators will have a better chance competing during the important afternoon drive time period (it will be the only show of its kind on the radio in that timeslot).

"We wish Bryan all the best and thank him for his service to the station, and more importantly, his service to our country."

I know tons of people who love listening to Bryan, yet I don't know anyone who regularly listens to the Commentators. Are the people I know that different from the KVI listening audience?

Monday, November 12, 2007


As far as I can tell, Bryan Suits is no longer on the radio. I heard a promo commercial on KVI on the way to church yesterday morning that mentioned the wrong shows in the wrong time slots. Going to the web site we saw that virtually all refrences to Bryan were gone and Dr Laura was now in the lineup. I can find no word whatsoever relating to where Bryan went, when he’ll be back, or why this is so. Bryan’s was the only radio show I’d go out of my way to listen to, and now there’s very little on KVI that I really like. I even liked Bryan’s show better than Rusty’s. But at least I can hear Rusty on the radio when the weather is right.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Guy Fawkes Day Again

Remember, remember, the 5th of November
Gunpowder Treason and plot ;
I know of no reason why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,
'Twas his intent.
To blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below.
Poor old England to overthrow.
By God's providence he was catch'd,
With a dark lantern and burning match

Holloa boys, Holloa boys, let the bells ring
Holloa boys, Holloa boys, God save the King!

Hip hip Hoorah !
Hip hip Hoorah !

A penny loaf to feed ol'Pope,
A farthing cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down,
A faggot of sticks to burn him.
Burn him in a tub of tar,'
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head,
Then we'll say: ol'Pope is dead.

Four-hundred two years ago Guy Fawkes was caught attempting to rig the Parliament building to explode during the opening session, attempting to kill the entire body and King James I. James was a Protestant and did not answer to the Pope which enraged the Catholics in the country. A group of them believed that killing the king would return the religious rule of the Roman Church to Britain. Naturally they failed and were executed.

Been busy with work, not as busy as I should be with school, and generally slacking off just enough to maintain a shred of sanity. I haven’t been able to run everyday, but still trying to keep it up regularly. Way behind in TBQ memorization already, I’m considering throwing in the towel for the year and getting a head start on next year’s material. Guess that’s all that new now, hopefully more regular updates this week.
Two weeks since my last post? Wow, I've been busier than I though. Maybe I'll make something more substantial than this later this evening.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Same Old Thing

I've decided that I like work a lot more than school. However, I also know that I don’t want to work there forever, hence going to school. Today I drilled holes into a ton of catalogs, cleaned up the 3-hole drilling machine, and moved around heavy boxes while throwing others out. It wasn’t bad, I got to listen to the radio (mostly Bryan Suits) and talk to interesting people.

I also got to use Rich’s scanner to scan the first 200 pages of my organizational management book. Having all of my textbooks on my USB drive and reading them on the computer is much more desirable than lugging them around all day. This is the last of my books to scan and I’m 1/3 done already. As long as I get the chapters scanned before we need them for class Trebone will be happy since we’re sharing books; so I have to send him the scans.

Ran 5K on the treadmill at varying speeds going a few seconds over 30 minutes. That was spread between running and walking. Run fast for a few minutes, then walk to keep my average speed just over 6 miles per hour. Now I’m off to start my reading for organizational management as we have our first midterm tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Quote of the Moment:
“If a pretty poster and a cute saying are all it takes to motivate you, you probably have a very easy job. The kind robots will be doing soon.”

Monday, October 22, 2007

String Theory

No, this doesn’t have much to do with quantum physics. Rather, there is a string strung across my neighborhood. We noticed it on Saturday and saw that it went over my house and behind it as far as we could see. We walked around the block, to the other side of the ravine behind my house and found it high above the trees and the power lines. A few blocks farther north we found its end. It’s a greenish string, probably nylon, and it was fairly tight. The end we found was tangled in some bushes along the road, in front of someone’s house.

We decided to search for the other end so we started hiking up the street again. Nearly ten blocks from the end we lost track of the string as it was getting dark. Thus we gave up the search. Yesterday my dad and I set out to find the rest of the string so we went south to the last place I had seen it, and found it again easily. We went another few blocks south before we lost it again due to lack of light.

Today after work my dad set out to find the other end of this string. He plotted its position on a map and set out to find the rest of it. He finally found the other end nearly a mile from our house near an old school. The weird part was that it was pulled tight, was strung above everything, and was so thin. I wouldn’t have expected a string that thin to be able to be that long. Our best theory is that it was once attached to a small kite that broke, but I don’t know who would attach more than a mile of string to a kite, considering it isn’t usually windy enough around here for kite flying.

School was the same old thing. I had my Managerial Economics midterm today, which wasn’t too bad. It might have been even easier if I’d actually read the textbook, but that’s usually a waste of time. The rest of the day was pretty boring and I could not stay focused in class. I think there’s only 6 weeks left and I’m thankful for that. I have two more midterms this week though, and I’m probably going to have to study for at least one of them.

Saturday was the World Bible Quiz Evergreen tournament. There were 12 teams form several different denominations competing. Our team by far had the biggest disadvantage as our rules are the most dissimilar from the WBQA rules. And we use hand-pad buzzers in our quizzing while every other league uses seat pads, another disadvantage for us. So naturally getting anything above last place would be an accomplishment. We quizzed 7 rounds before lunch which put us in 9th place. After lunch was a single elimination tournament. We competed against the 10th and 11th place teams and beat them without much problem. Somehow we managed to win the next two rounds which put us into the semi-finals. We were losing most of that round as well, but managed to tie for first place, which we took in overtime to win by 20 points. That put us into the final round. We lost that round pretty horribly like 10 to 200 to 120 or something like that. Oh well, I was going to be happy with anything better than last place. But my teammates abandoned me right after that last round was over since they wanted to go to a concert. Therefore Brenda and I were the only ones left from our team to go up and receive our trophy and medals. It was pretty funny.

I got no running in on Saturday, and on Sunday my legs were still sore from the seatpad quizzing. And I was pretty exhausted so I didn’t run then either. I guess two days in a row is my worst so far and I have no intention of making it three in a row so I’m going to go for a jog in a little while. Wow, that’s about a full page of text, so I’m quitting now.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Why Not Prision?

I saw this video on Andrews-Dad's blog a few days ago. It chronicles only a few reasons as to why Hillary Clinton should be in jail right now instead of touring the country to run for President. Some of the details I had heard before, but others were new information to me. But thanks to having family friends appointed to the justice department she didn't get convicted of anything criminal. Instead she was elected to the Senate.

I didn't get in a run on Tuesday because I was too busy studying. Wednesday I got in a 20 minute run at 6.7 miles per hour. Yesterday I got in a 21 minute run at 6.8 miles per hour. Today I plan on walking 2-4 miles as I need my legs well rested for WBQA tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

And I Thought the RIAA was Bad

  Apparently in Britain it is considered piracy to allow someone else to listen to your radio. Apparently a auto shop is being sued for £200,000 because the mechanics turned on their radios and had them loud enough that they “could be heard by colleagues and customers.” The Performing Rights Society is suing because they consider allowing others to listen to a personal radio to be the same as online music piracy. I might be able to accept this case if they were suing those jerks who blast the radios in their cars loud enough to drown mine out; those people should get their £200,000 fine and probably be shot as well.

If it’s illegal to allow other people to listen to a personal radio, shouldn’t the radio station be at fault for enabling people to share the music by broadcasting it over the airwaves? It seems that precedent is saying that enabling others to download music is enough to ding you for piracy. I’ve already heard the MPAA claim that you should have one copy of a movie for EVERY person who is watching it on your TV or you’re a movie pirate. Now the PRS is claiming that you need a radio for everyone who wants to listen. What’s next? Are publishers going to start suing libraries for lost sales since many of us check books out rather than buying them from the bookstore?
Here’s the story if you want to read it.

Random Quote:
“The reason elephants are endangered and cows are not is because cows are generally considered private property and thus are conserved. Whereas elephants are wild animals and considered public property; then are hunted for their ivory.” -Juan Gomez (my Managerial Economics professor)
I think it might have to do with cows being raised for food because they are slower and taste better than elephants, but I haven’t eaten elephant yet so I can’t confirm this.

Monday, October 15, 2007


So yesterday I spent the entire afternoon partying with family. My sisters wanted Italian food so we had various flavors of spaghettis, raviolis, meatballs, and breads. For dessert we had apple pie and pumpkin-spice cheesecake.

Since my sisters are big fans of DDR I went to Game Stop to see which versions they had cheap. I found DDR Extreme 2 used for $40 and was tempted to get it, before I saw that they had it new for $30. The guy at the counter even asked me if I wanted to get the used one for a mere $10 more.

So near the end of the party we were playing DDR for a while, and my legs were really getting tired. I counted that as my workout for the day as playing it on harder modes is more physically demanding than running.

School today was more of the same old boring stuff. I fought to stay awake all day. My economics teacher made a big deal about Leonid Hurwicz winning the Nobel prize, as Hurwicz was his game theory professor in college. They also had an ice cream giveaway at school as a ploy to meet the UW Chancellor, who I think I met but didn’t know who he was.

Got in my jog for today: 19 minutes at 6.5 miles per hour.

Random Quote:
"When birds fly in the right formation, they need only exert half the effort. Even in nature, teamwork results in collective laziness."

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Happy Birthday

Today I got to sleep in for the second day in a row, it was a great start to the day. Then I went over to my Grandma’s to help do a bunch of yard work. Managed to kill the lawnmower less than 1/4 through her back yard, which required a trip to the store for a new sparkplug. The mower’s engine still sounds a little weird, so there was more wrong than just a gummed up plug but it runs again. So I just managed to do the front yard in its entirety as well as kill a bunch of blackberry bushes and ivy.

Once I got home I needed to do all three of our yards. I broke spider web that was connected to one of the dwarf apple trees in the front yard, which turned out to be connected to the power lines above it. So the spider had to climb up the house, crawl along dozens of feet of power line, then drop down and walk across the driveway to climb up the tree. I’m impressed.

I slacked off and didn’t manage to run either Thursday or Friday. I’ve more than made up for it today, spending more than 2 hours cutting grass. I also spent more than an hour on the treadmill while watching the latest Kaizoku fansubs of One Piece. So I got in 6.5 miles today as well.

After church the entire family is coming over for my sisters’ birthday since they’re turning 14. I might not get a chance to run then either, so we’ll have to see. I’ll make it up either way.

Quote of the Moment:
“Neither sense nor courtesy are common around here.”
Not sure if I’ve heard that somewhere before; it may be something I came up with but I doubt it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Americans Can’t Pick Fruit?

Or at least that’s what this article claims. Farmers in southern California might be forced to let their crops rot rather than have them picked. Why? Because tighter border security is shrinking the pool of sub-minimum wage laborers. And since there aren’t as many laborers from Mexico coming to pick fruit the fruit won’t get picked. Last time I checked Americans and Mexicans had roughly the same anatomy: two hands, two arms, two legs, etc. which can just as easily be used to pick crops. It may be time to invest some serious time and money into research for mechanical or robotic fruit pickers.

I still don’t understand the problem the farmers are having. Is there truly no one in southern California who is willing to pick fruit? Or is no one there willing to pick fruit for a few dollars per hour? I’d have no problem picking fruit all day, but I’d expect at least $12 an hour to do it. Really I think the farmers are just whining about nothing right now. It's probably not the difference of paying someone $50 per day to pick a few a thousand dollars worth of fruit a day or having it rot; the difference is paying someone $50 verses $150 per day to pick the fruit. If that is truly not the case, I’m willing to fly down Thursday nights and fly home Monday mornings to anyone hiring and willing to buy plane tickets. If there really is such a crisis, then paying for me to work for you is still more profitable than letting your crops rot. 

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Tuesday Post

An article about Washington's impending $1.5 Billion shortfall. The reason for this, people aren't buying enough gas. They've raised our local gas taxes 14.5 cents over the last six years and people aren't too happy about it. The state keeps raising the price of car tabs, no matter how many times the voters overwhelming pass $30 tabs measures. With gas prices that keep flirting with all-time highs and us now having to pay 56 cents in taxes per gallon of gas, I think people are starting to realize using less gas is a good thing. Some people have bought more efficient cars, others carpool, others drive less either way the state is getting less money in gas taxes. And they’re not happy about it.

Last I knew the entire state of Washington is supplied gasoline from two refineries. That means that all gas sold in stations around here comes from the same place which eliminates the competition that could help keep gas prices lower. Add onto that the highest gas taxes in the country and we’re looking at a recipe for high gas prices. I personally will spend a little under $1,500 on gas this year, up $200 from last year. Last year I paid an average of $2.53 per gallon of gas verses $2.78 that so far this year. I’ve done some tweaking to my truck so I’m getting slightly better mileage this year over last year, but still less than 20mpg. If I had the money to spare I would buy a little car such as a Geo Metro or a Honda Insight for most of my day to day driving, but can neither afford to purchase or insure another vehicle at the moment and my truck is too useful to sell off. Since I only work part time while attending school full time I’m pretty much broke for 5 more quarters. So unless God compels someone to hand me a check for the $12,000 it will cost to complete my degree I’m resigned to being broke until I graduate.

Got my jog in today; 17 minutes at 6.5 miles per hour. It’s progress.

Quote for the Day:
Luck can't last a lifetime unless you die young.


Monday, October 08, 2007

A Lesson in Economics

Yesterday’s Seattle Times had a story on the front page about people outraged over tickets for Miley Cyrus/ Hannah Montana concerts. Apparently the tickets sell out fast for such concerts which leaves parents with the choice of breaking the bank buying tickets from scalpers (which have been able to charge $4,500 for a pair of tickets) or let their 12 year old, spoiled brat kids hear the word “No” for the first time in their lives when they find out that they couldn’t get tickets at face value because they didn’t wait in line all night.

Some people have filed formal complaints with various state Attorney General’s offices about not being able to buy tickets for a concert. When there are a finite number of tickets and more people who want them than available tickets, there are two actions that could result. Either the ticket sellers should charge more for the tickets which would reduce demand until there is an equilibrium, or scalpers buy tickets and resell them for market value, which is significantly more than face value.

Parents today seem to be horrified when they realize that they cannot easily cater to the wishes of their kids. The average price people are for tickets is almost TEN TIMES the face value of the cheap seats. When I wanted tickets for midnight shows to “Lord of the Rings” my parents thought it was a fun idea, but they weren’t going to buy them for me. Do I have the only parents in the world who refuse to bend over backwards to cater to the desires of their children? Those kind of parents are the reason I camp out all day to buy the latest game system or toy; some people will pay any price to get these items for their little monsters for Christmas because they’re afraid of the tantrum that will ensue if they fail to provide.

There’s a reason I bought a Furby years ago and a Tickle-Me-Elmo more recent than that. I could resell them for much more money closer to Christmas. I was able to list three Nintendo Wiis on eBay last year, and tried to do the same with Xbox 360s the year before that. As long as there are people willing to pay a premium for such items for their kids I’m willing to take a day out of my life to sit around and read while waiting for something to come out in order to fulfill the needs of these spoiled brats whose parents are too scared to say “No” and will pay me to for my stuff I don’t care that much about. Since Wiis seem to still be scarce in many parts of the country I will probably pick up a few more and try to resell them in the mall parking lot on Christmas Eve.

I didn’t get a chance to run yesterday, but made up for it by hiking up to the library and back with 20 pounds of books on my back. That comes out to about a mile in each direction with steep hills making up about half the trip. I still got in my 17 minute jog at 6.4 miles per hour today as well.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Day is Finally Over

Today (yesterday actually if you look at the calendar) we had our first Bible Quiz meet of the year. We quizzed over the entire book of Galatians, plus “Application Questions” which often have little – if anything – to do with the book itself. Overall we did relatively well, with my team’s record of 4-5, with two of those losses being within a single question of winning. After the meet, I took my sisters home and Brenda came with us. We watched “Cats Don’t Dance”, “An American Tail”, and “Halloweentown”.

Naturally, getting back at two o’clock from taking Brenda home delayed my daily running until the very wee hours of the morning. I’m happy to say that I still got in a 17 minute jog at 6.3 miles per hour, despite it being close to 80F in the basement thanks to the woodstove burning right now. My cold is getting better and I’ve not medicated myself in any way today, but am still on a fairly hefty cocktail of vitamins at the moment. Lately I’ve been taking 8 different capsules in the mornings. Also, I have to be at church to run camera in 5 hours so I should probably go to bed pretty soon.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Not Our Doing

Here's a story implying that nothing humans do can help the Earth. Antarctica's Ozone hole is shrinking! Do they thank us for slowly cleaning up our emissions by having cleaner exhaust from our vehicles over the last decade or two?
No. For building solar panels and stuff like that? Nope. They claim it's probably natural variation. Therefore the Ozone layer can get thicker on its own, but if it ever gets thinner it's only because we're emitting too many chlorofluorocarbons
(If I'm thinking of the right thing here). Relating this to global warming, we know that the earth has warmed and cooled on its own throughout the millennia, but there’s absolutely no way that it could be natural this time.

I think I need to come up with a way to make money on this whole global warming scam just like Al Gore is doing. I need to figure out how much people are paying for these carbon indulgences and start selling them myself to people who feel guilty for living their lives as they always have.

I also got in my run early today, 16 minutes at 6.3 miles per hour, so a tiny increase in speed and distance. My cold is worse, bad enough that I actually decided to take something for it besides just loading up on foods rich in antioxidants.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Keeping On Keeping On

Today I worked pretty much all day. I managed to sleep through 2 of my alarms and thus got out of bed an hour later than I would have liked. I still managed to get into work 6 minutes earlier than I did on Tuesday, but that was still later than I would have liked. After that it was a quick trip home for food and a shower before heading out to church for tech practice for the event tomorrow.

Sadly I had to skip TBQ practice but made $50 instead, even if I did very little and was totally bored for most of the evening. I did manage to get some time in on the treadmill and ran for 16 minutes at 6.2 miles per hour. Still not a good distance or speed, but my cold is worse than yesterday yet I still managed to get an additional 0.11 miles in today. Tomorrow I will attempt the same duration at a slightly higher speed regardless of how I feel tomorrow.

This is also my second post in two days; let’s see if I can go three in a row.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Another long day

Today in class we discussed the qualities of an ideal work group for our class, as the title of the class is Group Dynamics. Apparently the goal of the class is to teach us to work in teams, which are distinctly different in practice from groups.

In Managerial Economics we had a simulation of how the markets work in the sale and purchase of various goods. And also how the market is affected by outside influences in the forms of taxes, government regulation of prices, foreign demand of goods, and foreign production of goods. Most often the market – free of government controls – gave the best profits and benefits to both buyers and sellers in this game. I also came in second place for the most profit made buying and selling, even though various regulations killed my performance in various rounds as I couldn’t either buy or sell my good at a profit. It was a fun exercise.

In Political Ideology class we discussed Classical Liberalism, which would be considered more conservative than most Conservatives today, which is a far cry from those who favor Modern Liberalism today. It was a pretty boring class and I almost fell asleep while drinking my Coke, which would have been really bad if I did fall asleep and spilled it on myself. I also managed to acquire an mp3 player in that class that was dropped by another student. I’m pretty sure its an Apple mp3 player, and I’m also pretty sure that it belongs to a guy in my discussion group so I’ll give it back to him on Monday if it is his. If its not his I’d like to sell it on eBay and buy a better one with the money while pocketing the rest.

I’ve also been slacking very much in my running of late and have got really out of shape. I cannot realistically run these days outside as I have no free time during daylight hours. Hence I’m restricted to running on the treadmill at night, which is not the same as I cannot use full strides; so its more of a jog than a run. Given that case I’m making it a goal to jog for a set time and speed every day, with each day increasing either the time or the speed. Today I jogged for 15 minutes at 6.2 miles per hour. Given that I’m probably getting sick at the moment and am out of shape that took much more effort than I anticipated. Tomorrow I will most likely add time to that. I’m also making it a goal to log all of my running here everyday so that everyone in the world (or at least the 4 people who read this blog semi-regularly) will know when I’m slacking.

That is all. No interesting quote comes to mind.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

And So It Begins...Again

Today was the first day of the school for me. I haven’t had to sit through 6 hours of classes in a single day in a long time, but now I get to do it twice a week. This quarter doesn’t look to be very fun at all. Thankfully we don’t have to be there until 1:15PM so we miss most of the traffic, but it’s still a long day. My managerial economics class looks to be interesting, my organizational management class will probably be boring, and my political science class looks like a total waste of time. That and I’m looking at a 2-hour, 75 mile round trip commute which makes for long and crappy school days. I’m already looking forward to Christmas break.

Wish me luck.

Random Quote:
“I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.” Galatians 4:11

Friday, September 14, 2007


Looking through some random genealogy/history archives I’ve tried to look as far back as possible to find my earliest known ancestor. The farthest I can find information for was Odin, son of Frithuwald and Beltsa. Odin was born circa 215AD in either Eastern Europe or Western Asia. Over the duration of his life he had five wives and ten children. His genealogy goes back another five generations to Godwulf, born circa 80AD, but I know nothing else about Godwulf except that he had a son around 100AD named Flocwald.

Godwulf is a pretty cool name though.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Save Montana

Shame on President Bush for causing such a bad situation out East. Countless businesses are suffering and can’t get the help they need. Giving tax cuts to stimulate the economy was obviously a bad idea as places such as Montana are suffering thanks to the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. Employers can’t fill job openings because there aren’t enough people in need of a job. Employers can’t even import enough foreign workers to fill these jobs. The few people looking for work won’t work for twice the minimum wage because they know that they can easily find someone desperate enough to pay more for the same work.
We must send aid to Montana in the form of laborers. Next time you see a homeless guy with one of those “WILL WORK FOR FOOD” signs, tell them to head for Montana.

You can read the whole AP story here.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Movies of 2007 (Update)

Here's the ranked list of the movies I've seen released this year. I still tweak it every once in a while depending on my mood.

15. Epic Movie
It had its moments but otherwise a pretty crappy movie.

14. Nancy Drew
It was ok, very predictable though.

13. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
The fist movie I've seen at the theater that I thought was way too long. This movie could have been better if it was 30 minutes shorter. It looked cool but wasn't that exciting to me. Definitely not as good as the first one.

12. TMNT
Decent cartoon. Would have preferred it to be a live action movie like the first 3 turtles movies.

11. Shrek the Third
Very funny movie, haven't decided if I liked it better than the other ones though.

10. Ratatouille
One of the better Disney movies in recent years.

9. Spiderman 3
Very cool movie, almost as cool as the second one. Animation was great. But it was also too short and too emo.

8. Mr. Bean's Holiday
This Bean was even better than the first movie. Very funny throughout.

7. Happily N'Ever After
I heard almost nothing about this movie before it came out; very sad. This movie was just plain cool to watch.

6. Arthur and the Invisibles
Saw it about the same time as Happily N'Ever After and is slightly cooler with better animation, but not quite as funny as HNA.

5. Meet the Robinsons 3D
Definitely the best of the Disney Movies released in recent years. Even better in 3D.

4. 300
It's cool in the same way as Braveheart, but much more so.

3. Hot Fuzz
British police comedy at its finest.

2. Ghost Rider
One of the best comic book movies of all time. (I think the theatrical version is slightly better than the director's cut)

1. Transformers
Visually stunning. Very funny in parts. Good epic storyline. Slightly better than Ghost Rider.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Oh No!

San Francisco is having a major crisis right now that may lead to the end of life as they know it. Is it the number of illegal immigrants moving into the city and refusing to assimilate into the culture? No. Neither is the population now so gay that there aren’t enough children being born to replace the old people dying off. It’s even worse: black people are moving out of the city!

According to the article in USA Today, San Francisco’s population is only 6.5% black as of 2005, down from 13.4% in 1970. Some guy named Ed Blakely was quoted as saying “Black flight can alter a city's character. It's important for a city's future that it be a diverse place, and San Francisco is drifting toward being an upper-middle-class city.”

This either means that the definition of “upper-middle-class” now means “not black” or that the black people moving out are either stinking rich, dirt poor, or some combination of the two. Since SF is freakishly expensive to live in, I’ll assume that poorer people are being priced out of the city into the surrounding areas in hopes of living cheaper. Which is horrifically changing the makeup of the city into more middle class families and less people being forced to live in the slums. Obviously this is terrible if you’re a SF resident as your losing the most valuable commodities on the planet: “culture” and “diversity”. Not sure what their definition of culture is, but the definition of diversity is pretty clear. Diversity now means “not white”.

So now that San Francisco might soon be competing with Seattle for the second whitest city in the country, does anyone really care? People move when they find better jobs elsewhere. People move to where they can enjoy a higher standard of living for the same amount of money. Other people move when they realize that San Francisco sucks and they’re stuck with people like Nancy Pelosi as their Representative in Congress.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I'm Still Alive

Yep, I managed to survive my cruise. I’ve been fairly busy over the last few weeks, even if though it really doesn’t feel like I’ve done very much. School starts in 4 weeks and I think I’m looking forward to it, even if it will be a new experience at a new school. I haven’t been reading much but I’ve been increasing my running/jogging lately.
The new press at work still isn’t up and running yet, even though they’ve now had it for almost 2 months. Work is slow but interesting as I do tons of random stuff that’s completely unrelated to actual print shop work. I’ve been building cabinets, sealing roofs, and working on the boss’s other random projects around the shop. I’ll shoot to have at least one new post up later this week. Maybe I’ll binge blog and write up 10 posts or something and then just release them every day until I’m out of them and then my few readers will have to wait weeks again for the next update as usual.

Friday, August 03, 2007

I'm off

I made several trips to the hardware store yesterday during work for one of my boss's new projects. After getting two new racks measured and cut he decided that he wanted something completely different. Therefore I had to made another trip to the hardware store for another $150 in supplies to redo something in a way that may or may not be as good as what he originally had me do. Weird Al's "Hardware Store" was going through my head all day. Oh well, I get paid by the hour.

We’re leaving for our cruise in an hour or so, and the more I’m hearing the less I’m liking. Apparently there’s a fairly formal dress-code for the entire ship during evening hours that forbids virtually every article of clothing I own. They just told me this the morning after I’ve already packed. I read in the handbook that it forbids: “printed t-shirts, swimsuits, shorts, jeans, and sweats” from all public places on the ship. Not sure I want to go swimming during this time if that’s the case. Gotta run, back next week.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Since my last post I’ve done a few things I guess. I’ve watched countless hours of anime, I’ve upgraded several of the programs in my computer, I’ve harvested my back yard, and generally been pretty lazy.

I’ve been watching anime from both the web and library and am currently watching 5 series. I’ve been watching One Piece as the episodes are subbed and released and am currently on episode 226. I started watching Full Metal Panic on recommendation from one of the people in my History of Animation class and have enjoyed it so far; I’ve watched the first two seasons and am working on the 3rd this week. I’m also watching Witch Hunter Robin, Tsubasa Chronicle, and Ranma 1/2.

My entire family is going on a cruise next week up to Alaska, eighteen of us in all. I honestly have no idea what to do on a cruise that I can’t do at home anytime I want. Nor have I ever had the desire to go on a cruise before, and probably won’t plan on going on one again. So far the things I’ve been told there are to do on our boat include: eating good food, shopping, eating good food, watching movies, working out, eating more food, and gambling. I watch movies all the time, eat whenever I’m hungry, and don’t enjoy shopping. There are three casinos within a 5 minute drive from my house so that’s no novelty either. I’ve bringing enough books and DVDs to keep myself occupied during the week and will probably bring a camera to take pictures of random glaciers and stuff from the boat. I also get seasick fairly easily so I’m not thrilled about being dragged up north on a boat.

Anything else new, yeah but I don’t feel like typing anymore. I’ll probably write up a few posts this coming week and one or two on the boat when I’ve got nothing better to do.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Done with Fireworks

Once again I’ve spent my entire week working at the fireworks stand for church. I got to sleep two nights at home and camped out at the stand for security the other five nights. This year didn’t seem nearly as crazy as years past but I think we did better than we did last year.

The stand a few blocks down the street from us was burglarized Monday night but I never heard how much was stolen. There was also a shooting in the same parking lot as that stand the night of the 4th.

The thing I don’t understand is why people get angry when I say that I’ll only sell them fireworks for the price on the tags. Tons of people start giving sob stories about how they need to bring home huge and cool fireworks or their kids will think of them as the failures they are, but they are unwilling/unable to spend the money for them. And yes, fireworks are too expensive which is why I don’t buy many for myself. One lady started crying because she wanted to buy $90 in fireworks but only had $20 and I wouldn’t sell to her for that price. She went on about how her kids needed the really big and cool fireworks but she couldn’t buy them because she was a single, 25 year old mother of 4 who didn’t have enough money for expensive fireworks. Granted I was willing to make some deals with people that late in the evening since everything I didn’t sell would need to be inventoried and packed back up, but I wasn’t willing to lose money just to make someone happy.

I’ve never seen any of these people harassing the attendants at the gas stations saying they need 10 gallons of gas but only have $10 to spend so the attendant should sell them gas anyway or they won’t be able to take their kids to the movies later. Or seeing people at Fry’s saying how much they need that 60” 1080p TV for $2000 off the sticker price or their neighbors would suspect that they’re too poor to own one otherwise.

Yes, I’m tired from working around the clock for a week and slowly recovering. I’m still saying “Never Again” when it comes to running a fireworks stand but a heavy bribe could change that again.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


My favorite science supply store, United Nuclear, has recently added a new chemical to their catalog that’s among the most toxic they have ever carried. Given this is the only place I know that sells Uranium and other radioactive materials, that makes it pretty toxic. What is it? Here’s the entry for it:

chemical formula: C8H10N4O2

Caffeine is an alkaloid that's found in numerous plant species where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects. In Humans, Caffeine is a central nervous system and metabolic stimulant in small milligram quantities, however, ingestion of only slightly larger amounts can be fatal. This material is for experimental purposes only and not to be added to food or drink products.


Caffeine is toxic. Use normal safety precautions (wear a filter mask/respirator and gloves) when working with Caffeine. Accidental inhalation of fine particles can be dangerous.

Note: adult signature required upon delivery.

MSDS ( Material Safety Data Sheet )

Yep, that stuff can kill you in very small amounts. There’s a reason I generally avoid things that contain more caffeine than Mountain Dew (I believe one can has around 35mg but not certain on that number)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Don't Bother

If you go to extreme measures to use less gas in your vehicle you will probably get a visit from people who are very unhappy with you. They will be very displeased that their employer isn’t making money off of your driving and will use legal power to force you to pay them. They get this legal power because of the money and influence their organizations possess. Not buying gas decreases the revenues of these organizations and they aren’t pleased from this. Which company do these people represent? Exxon Mobile? Shell? British Petroleum? Nope, think bigger.

Try the government.

Here’s a story about what happens when you try to fuel your car yourself.

And the moral of the story is: If you try to do something for the environment that isn’t forced on you by the government, they will bite you.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


I've been really busy lately with school. I've only got two days left but I've done more work in the last two weeks than I have during the previous 9 weeks of the quarter. I needed to make a CG animation from scratch, design every part of an engine and assemble it, and write out a journal of every video clip I saw for my History of Animation class. Here's my animation if anyone is interested.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wednesday Rant

So there were a bunch of hippy groups gathered at school today to celebrate the deaths of American soldiers. They had several thousand fake headstones that they placed all over campus with each one containing the name of a fallen soldier in Iraq. The people claim that they are a non-partisan group whose sole purpose is to show everyone the “human cost of Bush’s war.” I’m pretty sure that they’re celebrating every American death because it gives them another name to add to another headstone.

Also the Senate is trying to force amnesty for 12 million criminals into law. The scary thing is that it looks like they may do it; which would pretty much give millions of ILLEGAL aliens even more rights than citizens as they probably won’t be required to pay taxes on all of their past income. Many groups have estimated that this will produce a net financial burden on the government of $2-4 TRILLION over the next ten years. With 300 million people in the US, that comes out to an average of over $1300 that each and every American will be paying in taxes each year solely to support the drain on the budget caused by these criminals. I’ll pay the extra few cents my fruits and veggies will cost by having to pay Americans to pick them instead of depending on illegal workers illegally handling my food for a few bucks a day.

We used to have places like Ellis Island where we funneled all potential immigrants through and screened them before allowing to officially enter the US. We have extensive laws and regulations and hoops to jump through for anyone who wants to legally come to the US and the process can be expensive and take years. Most of the illegal aliens here today skipped the process and walked across the Mexican border, and now they’re being rewarded for it. Now I want to move to Mexico, renounce my US citizenship and hop back across the US border to enjoy all of the privileges of being an illegal alien in this country.

Also, Congress is considering a bill making it a criminal action punishable with jail time to download copyrighted works from the internet or use them without buying them first. So not only are they going to pardon millions of criminals who shouldn’t be here in the first place, they want to send kids to jail for sharing a song or two with their friends. I’m starting to consider moving to a freer country like China, where foreigners can get away with much more than citizens (sound familiar?) but in things like being a Christian criticizing government without disappearing.

I guess that’s about it for my quasi-coherent rant. Someday I hope to be represented in either half of Congress, but until that day I’ll just complain a lot and wish I was old enough to run against these morons.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Gas Saving Tips

With gas in Seattle above $3 a gallon people are more concerned with fuel economy. The easiest way to improve your car’s gas mileage is to replace it. The Volkswagen Lupo TDI has one of the best MPG ratings in the world (over 80mpg), yet is not a hybrid, nor is sold in the US. However, replacing your car solely to save a few cents per mile is neither practical nor economical.

Many sites give you tips on maximizing your gas mileage in your existing vehicles that have been around for many years. Things such as proper engine maintenance and tire pressure are a given and are important in maintaining maximum mileage. Here’s a few that aren’t normally listed (some for good reason).

1) Kill your engine. Your engine is burning gas whenever it’s running. There are times when you don’t actually need your engine. When you’re waiting at a long red light, turn the engine off. This is not recommended if your battery or starter motor are bad as you could get stuck in the middle of the road.

2) Extreme drafting. One of the biggest factors that reduce your gas mileage at high speeds is air resistance. You can eliminate much of this air resistance by tailgating larger vehicles such as semi trucks. As
ninjawords defines tailgating as driving “dangerously close behind another vehicle,” do so at your own risk.

3.) Shed extra weight. I’m not talking about emptying the random junk out of your trunk or the garbage out of your back seat, although that can help too; I’m talking about your waistline. That extra Big Mac may add a few cents you your gas bill. If you weigh less, your car weighs less on the road which means less gas is burned. You might also end up a little healthier and you’ll save a few bucks a year on your gas bill too.

Friday, May 04, 2007


Hex 09 f9 11 02 9d 74 e3 5b d8 41 56 c5 63 56 88 c0

This string of hexadecimal is being threatened from existence. This happens to be the decoder key for most HD-DVD discs. This key will allow you to use these discs on your computer. The MPAA is threatening to sue web sites that have this key published. So naturally my love for the MPAA forces me to share this key on my blog for the whole world (being my 4 regular readers) to see.

Wow, I've actually been posting fairly regularly lately. Let's see how long this lasts.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

It's May Day again

Apparently many illegal immigrants are taking this year’s Socialist New Year to boycott all things American. They won’t spend money in American businesses. To prove that they are committed to working a better job than they would otherwise work in their home country, many are walking off their jobs to attend random rallies intended to show their solidarity toward other illegal immigrants. I can see this rally as a great benefit to most legal Americans who need some form of government assistance.

If I received a serious injury on this fine Tuesday, today would be the most convenient day to do so. Most of the hospitals around here are plagued by illegal immigrants (from many countries, but mostly Mexico) who use the emergency rooms as a general clinic for any random ailment since they cannot be legally turned away. These people usually add an hour or two or more to the wait times at the emergency room. Since all illegal immigrants are being urged by other illegal immigrants to boycott all things American, the emergency rooms should be nearly empty. If I screwed up while using some of my random power tools and needed emergency room care, today would be the day to do it.

If I was one of the 4.4%* of Americans currently looking for a job, today is the day to search. The unemployment offices will be emptier than usual as many illegal immigrants are boycotting all things American. It would potentially be easier to get a job as some people will potentially fired for walking off their jobs to attend demonstrations. If I needed another job, this would be the time to look.

If I was of the criminal mind and took pleasure from harming people, May Day would be the day to do so. If these illegal immigrants are boycotting all things American, they would not call the authorities to report a crime committed against them because that would be a break in their boycott by getting assistance from American authorities.

My solution for the illegal immigration problem:

1) Build a giant wall along the US-Mexican border. Most of our illegal immigrants are coming into the US via this route and it must be capped. This wall would include seismic monitors to monitor underground tunneling that would probably take place.

2) Build an equally impressive wall along the US-Canadian border. Most illegal immigrants coming through our Southern border are of Latino origin. Most non-Latino, illegal immigrants come across our Northern border. Although these numbers are substantially smaller, they are probably very impressive none the less, and these people are equally guilty of breaking our laws.

3) Increase border patrols. We have millions of active soldiers and millions of National Guard troops. I don’t see why we can’t put them on our borders. If they need funding, we should get them more funding. If they need training, we should get them more training. Our congress seems to have no problem earmarking billions of dollars for their pet, pork projects; why not put some of that money to good use.

4) Monitor those immigrants we have in our country already, those here both legally and illegally. If someone is here legally on a work visa, they will usually be deported immediately if they lose their job, so why not let the same be true for the illegal immigrants too? If a Socialist Security number comes up repeatedly in the IRS databases, they should inform the other governmental agencies to investigate (and these agencies should have the resources needed to do so).

5) Heavily penalize businesses for using illegal labor. A fine of a few thousand dollars per labor hour should be sufficient to deter the hiring of an ineligible employee. Also make it easier for business owners to run background checks on their potential employees.

6) We need a better system for allowing legal immigration into the US. Unfortunately Americans are generally lazy bums who don’t like hard work for low pay. Americans are used to getting others to do hard work for close to minimum wage. We should take all of these jobs and offer them first to all those who collect welfare and unemployment handouts. Unfortunately many of these people have been sucking the tits of big government for so long that they cannot be weaned overnight. They should have their benefits slashed if they are offered a job they are capable of and they refuse. If there are jobs left over that won’t be filled, we should consider raising the pay for these jobs. Since most people don’t want to pay several dollars for a pound of produce from the store, that may be unrealistic for the time being. Thus we must we must get used to the fact that some things will cost more for the greater benefit of society. If we're paying less taxes to support these people we're all saving more money in the long term.

I’ve worked construction, I’ve worked in a kitchen, I’ve roofed houses, I’ve cleaned fish, I’ve emptied garbages, I’ve mopped floors, I’ve cut wood, I’ve picked apples, I’ve shoveled manure, I've landscaped, I’ve done many of the jobs that illegal immigrants do. I personally don’t like many of them and would go out of my way to avoid doing them again, but my dislike is from my own experience. If I really needed the money I would consider doing some of these jobs again, but they’re not my first choice of work. I’m a little fed up that I constantly hear that these are jobs that Americans won’t do. No, they generally won’t do them for minimum wage. Anyone who tells me otherwise is now in jeopardy of losing their head, in any sense of the word you chose.
Happy Socialist New Year to you all.

*Number provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Just Say "No"

There is a dangerous threat creeping into people’s homes all over the nation. Dangerous materials are being put into regular household items and special-interest groups want to make these new items mandatory. Large corporations are lobbying Congress to force people to start putting unsafe and potentially lethal chemicals into your kitchens, bathrooms, and even your bedrooms. What chemical in particular am I talking about? How about mercury? The chemical that causes debilitating nerve damage and other health problems; the chemical that is being tightly regulated because of its toxic properties; the chemical that it too unsafe to even be used in college chemistry labs. How do they propose bringing these toxins into our homes? Through our light bulbs. More specifically through fluorescent light bulbs.

Fluorescent lights are used in most commercial and industrial buildings and are making their way into homes in compact forms that fit into traditional light sockets. The fact that these bulbs are more efficient than incandescent bulbs cannot be disputed, conserving electricity by producing light with little heat. They are touted as lasting longer than traditional incandescent bulbs and also have significant energy savings. They contain toxic levels of mercury and other exotic compounds known to be serious health hazards.

Read this story here for one woman’s experience with CFL light bulbs.

These light bulbs cannot legally be thrown away in the garbage in most parts of the country thanks to the mercury they contain. While most compact fluorescent light bulbs contain 6 milligrams of mercury at the most, this is still enough to require special precautions when cleaning up.

If you want a better solution to a compact fluorescent light bulb, try LED bulbs which are even more efficient and last even longer without the use of toxic heavy metals.

Random Quote of the moment:
“Two-hundred-million American gun owners didn’t shoot anyone today.”

Monday, April 23, 2007

Ninja Commercial

Here's a commercial for a show I've never actually seen, but after seeing this commercial I want to now. It is on G4 which is one of my favorite channels.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Final Essay

Here's my final essay for my Research Paper class from last quarter. I don't know what grade I got, but I know my teacher liked the essay. For 4 hours of work I don't think it’s that bad. Here it is:

Union Membership on the Decline

In July of 2005 the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations held its 50th anniversary convention in Chicago to celebrate their past accomplishments and to plan for their future. What was supposed to be a glorious week to commemorate the organized labor movement quickly turned into a nightmare for the AFL-CIO as factions from within the organizations formally severed ties, nearly breaking the union in half. What was originally intended to unite the unions together in solidarity for their cause drove leaders of six unions, including two of the largest unions in the nation to abandon the rest to pursue their own goals. The primary issue fueling the feud was the use of membership dues.
Andy Stern led the charge against the AFL-CIO as president of the Service Employees international Union, the largest union in the United States. Stern demanded that the AFL-CIO refund a large portion of members’ dues to the member unions to fund greater recruiting efforts to increase their numbers. The proposal would have refunded $35 million dollars back to the member unions for recruiting purposes (Tumulty 18). Deeply cutting
into the AFL-CIO budget would hamper their political activities used to gain political clout in Washington DC. But with declining union membership under AFL-CIO president John Sweeny opponents such as Stern believe that a change in focus is due.
The departing unions from the AFL-CIO formed their own coalition called Change to Win, spearheaded by the efforts of the SEIU and Teamsters unions. Four other unions broke away from the AFL-CIO to join Change to Win totaling six million members, nearly half of the AFL-CIO’s 2005 membership base (Prah 711). In a convention intended to address the issue of declining members within the AFL-CIO, losing nearly half of its membership came as a staggering blow.
Throughout the twentieth century Labor unions have played an important role fighting for fair treatment of employees and safe working conditions. An outcry to the federal government from unions in the early 1900s over unsafe and potentially deadly conditions in many factories led to the creation of the US Department of Labor to oversee aspects of workplace safety and to enforce the existing labor laws. The Fair Labor Standards Act passed in 1938 due to heavy lobbying from unions created the first national minimum-wage and the forty hour work week (Prah 718). The act also outlawed child labor in most industries and guaranteed overtime pay to hourly workers who exceeded forty hours per week.
Unions are currently becoming victims of their own historical successes. They championed against abusive employers who exploited American workers in sweat shops. They were instrumental in the formation of many governmental agencies which oversee workplace safety such as: the Employment Standards Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Bureau of International Labor Affairs, the Employee Benefits Security Administration, and the Women’s Bureau to name a few. They have fought for equal treatment for women and minority workers. Many workers now believe that there is no longer a need to join a union as much of what unions fought for in the past is now enforced by the Federal government. They see no need to pay dues to an organization that fights for something already guaranteed to them by law.
One negative stigma against many unions is compulsory membership. The state of Washington – along with twenty-seven other states – have laws which allow union membership to be a condition for employment in unionized jobs. Employees who do not wish to join the union are given no choice in the matter and are still required to pay membership dues or risk being terminated from their job. Unions support these laws as it keeps their membership higher than in states that do not require employees in unionized job sites to join unions. Opponents to these laws argue the unions are violating their right to choose whether they join the union or not. Some may believe that they derive no benefit from joining the union. Others may object to joining the union on moral grounds or because they disagree with how their dues are spent.
In 2006 the Evergreen Freedom Foundation filed a lawsuit against the Washington Education Association on the basis that it was violating the First Amendment rights of non-member teachers by using compulsory dues to fund political activity without consent. The argument before the Supreme Court is not whether workers can be forced to pay union dues but whether unions must seek permission from non-members to spend those dues for political activities (Greenhouse A24). The EFF argues that the union does not represent the political views of all of their members, but rather only those of liberal members who support the Democrat party. This issue arose during the breakup of the AFL-CIO; Andy Stern argued that the AFL-CIO was wasting millions of dollars unsuccessfully trying to get Democrats elected during the 2000, 2002, and 2004 elections when the money could have been better spent trying to recruit new members.
Unions have traditionally given millions of dollars to the Democrat party and Democratic candidates during elections. The unions also endorse candidates and encourage their members to vote with the unions’ politics. This gives unions extremely large levels of political influence from the local to federal levels of government. The unions preach that what is good for the union is good for the union member. The Democrat party has long been subservient to the leanings of the unions and pushes legislation favorable to unions. While this is reason to celebrate amongst union leaders, many businesses and union members do not support the policies being made in the name of their unions.
Manufacturing industries such as the American auto industry have long been seen as union strongholds in the US. Increased globalization has brought the Big Three to their knees as strong competition from around the world is consuming American car sales. Posting losses in the billions of dollars, Ford, GM, and Chrysler cannot compete against Japanese manufacturers such as Toyota and Honda, despite the American companies having lower prices (Naughton, 44). The Big Three have long been known for their substantial pensions for their retired employees, thanks to their unions; but these pensions are now driving the companies toward bankruptcy. American cars are now among the most expensive to produce due to high labor costs and benefits that must be paid out to current and former workers. American cars are also selling for less than their Japanese counterparts, driving the margins into the ground and often into the red.
The Ford Motor Company has taken staggering losses over the years losing $1.6 billion in 2005 and $12.7 billion in 2006. A company cannot survive in the long term by losing so much money and Ford is looking for any options it can exercise to stay in business. It has been buying out pensions from retired union employees as a way to save money in the long term. It has also announced that it will be closing several US plants and plans to lay off 25,000 American workers by the end of 2010 (McCracken, A3). In a blow to the United Auto Workers union, it has announced that it will be opening several new plants in Mexico in order to cut costs. Union officials are livid that Ford would close down existing plants in the US only to open new plants south of the border with non-union workers. Ford claims that it is too expensive to build vehicles in the US with labor costs consuming as much as 70% of operating costs (Prah, 714).
The age of globalization has had a huge impact on unions as competition is coming from every area of the planet. It makes little financial sense for any manufacturing company to assemble its parts in the US when it can operate in other countries where labor is a fraction of the cost. We have seen this in recent years with call centers being outsourced to India with the “…average hourly wage of a telephone operator in the U.S. is about $13, compared with less than $1 in India.” (WSJ 15) Unions cannot sustain the same practices that have been effective in the past by threatening to shut down an entire company with a strike in order to gain higher pay and benefits for its members. Companies now have the ability to move their operations elsewhere where it can operate at a fraction of the costs. Unions are having to adapt their views from an “Us vs. Them” approach to dealing with companies to cooperation attitude with companies (Prah, 715). Unions now have to work with companies in order to help the company remain competitive enough to keep its workforce within the United States. Despite efforts to work with employees and employers, unions are still facing a decline in members across the board.
Current union membership in the United States stands at 15.4 million as of January 2007 (BLS). This is the lowest level of membership since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began collecting union membership data in 1983. Many union officials are quick to point out that automation and outsourcing are to blame for this decline as three million factory jobs were lost in the US between 2000 and 2003 (Prah 709) which would result in a loss of union membership. An article found in the Wall Street Journal counters this claim by stating that there has been a net gain in jobs in the US with “About 4.8 million jobs [having] been created since December 2001.” (WSJ, 15)
With Democrats being elected to majority positions in both the US Senate and House of representatives unions will regain much of their lost political clout. Favorable legislation from Congress could give unions the chance to regain much of their former power. Pending action in the US Supreme court also has the chance to damage their political contributions if they are required to seek permission from those paying dues before they can spend them for political activity. Only time will tell how the future will shape the influence and membership of unions in the years to come.
There is still debate as to the overall cause of the decline of union membership. Many believe that given the choice many workers will choose not to join a union either because they don’t like how their dues are spent, or because they don’t feel they are getting a good return on their money. Others would argue that union jobs are being lost in the US and exported to countries were labor is cheap. Still others would propose other theories. Whatever the reason, unions need to evolve in the 21st century if they are to be relevant in an emerging global economy.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


One of the biggest shams in the educational world is the cost of college textbooks. Professors expect students to pay around $100 for a book that they probably have no interest in reading and most likely won’t use a few months after it was purchased. Text books are expensive because they are generally large, hardcover books that have many full color pages in them. On top of the expense of printing a single book these books generally don’t sell many copies so the huge publication cost is spread across a relatively small number of books.

The real fraud in this business is the publication of new editions every year or every few years. The differences between editions can be as insignificant as a new cover. Often the introduction is the only change. Sometimes the only differences are the homework questions found at the end of the chapters.

I used the 7th edition of an engineering book almost 5 years ago when I took a drafting class. Last year I took the next class in the series which required the 9th edition of the same book. I checked with the teacher during the first week of the class to compare the two books. They were virtually identical. The only changes were the cover, the introduction, and the side-bar examples scattered throughout the chapters. Of the hundreds of diagrams and problems found throughout the book, every single one matched between the two books. Thus I saved $80 by recycling my old book.

On the other end of that scale was my Calculus book from three years ago. I needed a particular edition for my 1st quarter calculus class. For the following quarter I needed the next edition which had come out during the fall. I could not reuse the book because the problems were different. Honestly, how much of the theories behind calculus changed in my lifetime? Never mind three months!

Most of my teachers have encouraged the students to buy used books from the campus bookstore to save money. I have a better solution: check the library first. Many of the books I’ve needed for classes were available at the public library. I could put them on reserve so that I would be able to check out the next available copy. I can also talk a few friends of mine to also put that book on reserve so that when it is due, I turn it in and they then check it out for me. This allows for the use of a textbook during the entire quarter at no cost.

The second option is to buy the book used, but not from the campus bookstore. The few books that I cannot get from the library are always available from Amazon, usually for less than the bookstore. This quarter I needed three textbooks, two I was able to check out from the library, and I bought the third off Amazon for $18 with shipping. A friend needed an Anthropology book; it was $106 + tax at the bookstore new or $80 + tax used; Amazon had the book new for $106 with free shipping and no sales tax, or used for $48 + $4 shipping with no sales tax either. Buying online can save you almost half on your textbook purchases.

Taken from my and Carter's blog "Living Large on Le$$"

Monday, April 02, 2007

New Quarter

(This post has nothing to do with 25-cent coins)

I’m currently sitting in my first class of the new quarter waiting for the teacher to get things together. This is my CAD class and most of the computers in here aren’t working correctly at the moment. We’re using the program Solid Edge (which I’m not fond of) for 3D modeling of machine parts. Currently, the program isn’t running on the lab computers so we’ve got the next hour to do whatever we want. I’m updating my blog and catching up on some of the other blogs I read. Maybe I’ll regularly update during class since it doesn’t appear that we have much structured lecture time during the 2-hour block.

Random Quote of the Moment:
“…” – Silent Bob

Friday, March 23, 2007

New and Improved?

Some things get improved all the time. Computers for example get faster components available almost monthly. Cars see new models virtually every year. I’m told that even fashions are updated seasonally. Flavors are things that don’t usually require updating.

When Frito-Lay introduced a “new and improved” Doritos Nacho Cheese flavor, I was skeptical. After trying this altered flavor I decided that it tasted exactly the same as the original, but stale. I tried another bag thinking it was a fluke, but it was not. The chips now taste stale right from the bag. I wrote a letter complaining about this and said I wouldn’t be buying stale chips in the foreseeable future. I got a form letter reply thanking me for my interest in Doritos, and I have not bought a bag since.
I tried the new Wild White Nacho and realized that it tastes exactly like the original Nacho Cheese but with less artificial coloring. I give my seal of approval to this flavor, but it will probably be discontinued soon since it’s a limited time promotion.

7-up also decided to change their flavor to become “all natural.” I’ve always preferred 7-up over the other lemon-lime pops but the preference was never very strong. It took several months before I got around to trying this new formula, and once again was disappointed. I don’t really like this new flavoring they’re using and now have a strong preference for Sprite over 7-up and even prefer most of the store brands over it.

Coke also blew it by replacing Vanilla Coke with Black Cherry Vanilla Coke. Vanilla Coke was my favorite soft-drink of all time I went out of my way to get it. When they cancelled it, I wrote to Coke several times as a customer, a fan, and a stockholder. I got responses every time but they just apologized that I didn’t like the new stuff. With the exception of bottles from vending machines I have not purchased any Coke products since I bought my last stash of Vanilla Coke (I still have quite a bit but it will be expiring soon). I don’t intend to start anytime soon either.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Movie Ratings

The MPAA ticked a bunch more people off this past week when they reviewed the movie Transformers. It seems that they did not like the heavy amount of violence in the movie, so they gave it an R rating. The director did not want an R nor did he want to re-cut the movie in order to get his desired PG-13, so he did the next best thing. He called executive producer Steven Spielberg to have him talk to the ratings board. Spielberg talked to the ratings board who then reconsidered their decision and gave the movie a PG-13 rating. So without doing anything but getting a famous guy to ask nicely, a movie that is rated to be R is now rated PG13.

I mentioned this to someone and they started throwing a fit. He’s threatening to write to Congress to have them step in and intervene. Should they? Absolutely not! The MPAA is a private organization that follows its own created standards. Movie ratings (G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17) are registered trademarks of the MPAA and cannot be used without permission. In order to use one of their ratings you have to pay a huge fee, submit a copy of your movie to them; then they will give you whatever rating they your movie deserves. Unless you are really rich, powerful, and famous you are stuck with whatever rating they give you unless you alter the movie and resubmit it and pay another fee in hopes that the new cut will get your desired rating.

Realistically movie ratings are little more than marketing tools. Movies are one of the few forms of media left that do not require ratings by the Federal Government. TV shows must be rated, CDs must carry Parental Advisory stickers if they contain foul lyrics, and radio has to conform to decency standards set forth by the FCC. As movies are generally shown in privately owned theaters, or watched in private homes they do not fit under any government control. The large movie chains have signed monopolistic contracts with the MPAA stating that they will not show a movie on their screens that does not have an MPAA rating. This is one of the few reasons that movie makers get their movies rated at all, to get them into the large theater chains. If you go to a store that sells DVDs you can generally find tons of movies that aren’t rated. Most videos that were never shown in the theater are not rated because it’s expensive to get a rating. Many DVDs that were shown in the theater aren’t rated in the stores because they re-cut the movie to get the desired rating for the theaters, but are selling the original cut on disc, of which they did not accept the MPAA rating.

The MPAA can give any movie any rating for any reason if they so desire. They have guidelines for what would constitute a particular rating but it isn’t strictly followed. For the most part they are consistent in their decisions but there are exceptions to every rule. You can find swearing in a G movie, full frontal nudity in a PG movie, graphic acts of violence and/or sex in a PG-13 movie, and just about anything in an R movie. I’ve seen PG movies that I wouldn’t want my baby sisters to see; I’ve seen R movies that I would have no problem letting them see. I’ve seen too few NC-17 movies to see much of a trend there but I wouldn’t buy most of the ones I’ve seen.

Rant over. I’ve filled my quick break from homework. Now time to get back to my union essay due on Monday.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Yes, it is can be updates tiem now

I think it’s past due for an update. What’s happened in the world since my last post you may ask? Well, Al Gore made a proclamation that anyone reporting on global warming and addressing the issue from more than one angle is obviously biased and is not credible as they have most likely been paid off by the oil companies. People are obviously the only source of global warming and anyone who does not see this is either a liar or stupid. We must all follow the inventor of the internet's direction and conserve energy. Don't actually follow is example as his monthly electric consumption is more than double what the agerage family consumes in a year. His private jet also consumes more fuel in a single trip than my truck does in a year.

I’ve learned that my HP Laserjet II printer is now 20 years old AND it has drivers for Windows Vista. Sadly, my five year old Lexmark multi-function printer does not have drivers yet. I honestly don’t care, I’ve only got one Vista computer in my house, it’s been a Vista computer for almost a year, I see no reason to load it onto any of my other computers for at least another year. By then they’ll have a few thousand of the bugs worked out and there may even be some programs I need that will only run in Vista.

Tomorrow is my last day of classes before my 2 finals on Monday. Then I will be on spring break until the new quarter starts April 2. I’m also waiting for my application to be accepted by the University of Washington so I can attend school in the fall to earn a degree in Business Administration. I got near perfect scores on both of my writing assessment essays so that should help. That reminds me, I need to turn in degree applications to BCC tomorrow morning.

300 was a very good movie and Iran is decrying it as American propaganda against its culture and heritage. The fact that the Persian army attacked Greece roughly 2500 years ago was obviously a fabrication by the US to show today’s Iranian culture as inferior. Combine the really cool elements of Braveheart and Gladiator and you have a good idea of 300. Toss the sex and it would be a nearly perfect movie. It still gets my vote for best movie of 2007 so far, bumping out the tie between Ghost Rider and Happily N’ever After.