Blog Archive

Happy New Years.

I was going to post my reading list last night when I found out that I'd deleted my most recent copy. I'll probably update my newest copy and post it, but there won't be comments on the last several books

So yeah. Apple Loses AGAIN. (Still?)

Various family members received itunes gift cards for Christmas.

First, there is now browseable web store. You have to download their bloatware in order to buy things from them. Someone should explain why this is wrong to them with a very heavy club. And very small words.

Second, I went and downloaded their bloatware last night. I clicked the link, it downloaded. I tried to install it this morning and received an error message stating that I have to have windows XP or Vista in order to install this software. I'm running 2000. They have a windows 2000 machine here. I'm not used to xp software not working on 2k. Strikes me that the sort of person who purposefully used an apple product is the sort of person who would be using Windows ME, but there is no ME support at all.

There is a 2k version of the software. It is marginally less bloated than the xp software and reasonably hidden from the download screen. Fucking bloatware. You should not need 50 meg of compressed software to play music and video and *%$# the customer up the @$$ DRM.

All of this hadssel is just so that I can look at the list of things these people are trying to get me to pay them money for... Yeah... Bastards.

Well, after playing around with the Firefox documentation for a while (It could definitely be clearer and more accurate... the settings for Firefox need a more transparent interface. I should be able to extract all of the paths the software uses from within the UI.) I have a portable copy if Firefox. I do wish that the mid level configuration options for Firefox were a little more ignorant user friendly. Someone should slap together a program to clone your Firefox installation to removable media and manage configuration file updates between the original and the clone. (I wrote a triad of batch files to manage the upkeep. One to run Firefox from the thumb drive and then two to update my configuration files. I know I know. Open source, saying "someone should do x" can be answered with "well, why don't you do x?" My answer? I'm not a programmer. I know just enough basic to use qbasic to solve simple math problems. Beyond that I'm still lost. (And as evidenced by my last posted qbasic solution to a problem, I'm not 100 percent on that either. Thanks again silvrayn

But yes, I can now bring my thumb drive with me and have my copy of Firefox to use. This makes me happy. Having a USB 2.0 card for my computer would make me happier than I am now of course... Of course, I don't think that would make the front USB ports 2.0, so it isn't a flawless victory. I'd need a 2.0 compatible hub too.

11:57 PM me so, you should have mom read this and then discuss the issue with you...
this is here ladies and gentlemen...
11:58 PM I weep for the republic
12:02 AM My Brother: agh, stupid dial-up
12:04 AM me: heh
buy yeah, you should really do that
My Brother: just did
12:05 AM me: jeez
My Brother: yeah
we're in the process
me: quick disclaimer, I didn't actually read the article
12:06 AM My Brother: yeah you did, you just didn't know it
the rest of the article says exactly what you got from the title, it's just a tad more surreal
me: oh the url says it all?
My Brother: yeah
" How do you talk to kids about Britney's sister?"
that really sums it up
12:07 AM me: I will get back to you when I'm done trying not to wake matt up with my laughter
12:09 AM My Brother: good luck, you'll need it
though I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry, really
CNN? Really?
12:10 AM me: cnn
My Brother: America's most respectable network is covering the difficulties of talking to your children about the Spears' family lives
me: oh you can do both but the laughter needs to be bitter
their website is
My Brother: and giving tips
12:12 AM me: our national infrastructure's upkeep is done by people who would mostly feel that they benefited from this information, assuming that they ran across it and read it
12:16 AM "This is one of those things that should just not happen. These days, by the age of 16, kids probably know more about sex than their grandparents. ... "
12:17 AM what?
My Brother: lol
12:18 AM me: The average 16 year old's grandparents quite likely grew up in the America that the Kinsey study is about
12:19 AM My Brother: lol
12:21 AM me: mom grew up in an era when mainstreet movie theaters ran x rated films
12:22 AM My Brother: yeah, they might've gotten that bit wrong
me: but apparently somewhere between generation x and generation y, sex outside of marriage was invented
My Brother: indeed

I hung some lights today, put up all of my ornaments ((all 6 of them) then gout out the floral wire and my action figures/minis collection and hung a selection of them from hooks. The minis would have been cooler on a tree though. I set up encounter groupings of minis, and a 2/3d arrangement would have been neat.
Heh, I need a Michaelangelo, a Raphael, and a Casey Jones. Also some more mechs. And maybe a squad of Eldar Harlequins or Tyranids. With a tree, I'd field some iggy foot soldiers and a Leman Russ. Ooh, I also have the new years statue from Reaper and some BGC figures that I could put up if I get them painted before the holiday.

Note to self: Serving size for winter stew < 1/2 serving size for regular stew.

Okay, sleep time over! You should all wake up now!

So this day gets better and better...
First I woke up with a deflated bed. Turns out that the plastic has a little bitty hole. I repaired the hole.
Then it was too rainy to make it to the library.
Then I helped some new friends/local game store pack for a move that is going to put them just far enough away that I can't really ever get there this winter.
Then, this evening, the sealant had dried, so I started reinflating my mattress. Split the original hole wide open. My bed had been losing structural integrity anyway, but now it is a plastic choking hazard. Thank goodness for the couches.

Live Journal uses the singular they!

The time stamps on many of my chat conversations look like this:
5:20 PM me: hee hee hee
5:21 PM talking about the philosophical positions of strong Cartesian skepticism and there being no free will: "Actually, I take back the statement that nothing useful comes from either position. They can act as specialized plumage in student-philosopher mating rituals, sort of a short hand way of indicating to other young philosophy students which seemingly profound sorts of things you espouse, thus identifying yourself as a potentially suitable mate for like-minded philosophy students."
6:23 PM Eva: snikers
10:01 PM me: I liked it
10:02 PM I imagine a series of articles about the mating habits of the North American Collegiate Philosophers
10:04 PM Eva: heh
that's not research I would want to do
me: rituals
not habits
10:05 PM 'cause yeah
10:06 PM Eva: still not research I'd want to do :P
me: most coffee shops are non-smoking now
the research is much less dangerous than it used to be
10:07 PM little bit of vics vapor rub on your upper lip...
10:10 PM Eva: snerk

Faith is he belief in something in the absence of evidence.
It is not the belief in something in the face of evidence.
Some people maintain their faith in the face of evidence, but as soon as you have evidence for a proposition, you have moved from the realm of faith to the realm of knowledge.
In the Jeudeo-Christian mythos, Humans have faith in God. Angels have knowledge of God. Angels do not have faith, because they have direct experience of the existence of God.

Ignoring for the moment the Cartesian Skeptic (and really, they suck at parties and complain when you strike them with solid objects, so by all means continue ignoring them after the moment is past), I have faith in any number of things that I have accepted provisionally as true. Should someone demonstrate them to be untrue, I'll probably kick a bit, but I'll eventually switch from having faith that x to having knowledge that not x.

linguistics nerd fight is still going on!
r maybe metaphysics nerd fight
We've got the pair of rabid atheists
the theist scientist
the linguistic prescriptivist
the linguistic descriptivist
the agnostic fact corrector times at least two
three flavors of logician, none of which seem to have studied logic
oh and then there's the guy taking snide rhetorical flourishes at face value to annoy who make snide rhetorical flourishes.
Good times.

Eric Burns decided to declare yesterday Combat Linguistics Day.

So Cold. My own fault, but still...
On the up side I got the hash browns I wanted today, broke down and went to burger king. On the down side? I forgot they used croissants, so I got the wrong sandwich to go with them. And I had some diet coke. This is, by the way, why I am cold. I pretty much don't drink anything without ice any more (except soda from a can.) I had 3 32 oz diet cokes, so I had about 32 oz of ice and 64 oz of cold liquid. Assuming that the Diet Coke is pretty close to plain water.

By the way, the numbers below are approximations and estimates, not the real thing. In other words this is just a back of the envelope calculation based on poor input data.

Let's say that the ice is held at 5 degrees below freezing. No idea if that is correct, but it seems reasonable.
Also, since it was hard ice, the coke wasn't a coke/ice slurry, so we'll say it was 5 degrees above freezing.

Also assume that my body self regulates to 37 degrees.

Specific heat of ice in cal/g is .5, water is 1.0

Latent heat of water is approximately 80 cal/g going from solid to liquid.

32 oz is about 946 ml so I had approximately 1892 grams of diet coke and 851 g of ice (ice is .9 g/ml)

Heating the water to 37 degrees will run about 32 cal per gram or 60,544 cal. Heating the Ice to 0 degrees costs 2.5 cal per gram or 2127.5 cal. melting it at zero costs 80 cal/g or 68080 cal (notice it takes more heat to melt ice without changing the ice's temperature than it does to heat more than twice as much water 32 degrees.) then we have to heat that ice 37 degrees at a cost of 37 cal/gram or 31487 cal. Grand total? about 162,000 calories. (little c)

That is enough to drop a blob of water the mass of an average adult human male 2.3 degrees. Of course I weigh a great deal more than the average adult human male, but it is still quite a hit on my core temperature (and it isn't applied evenly across my body, having originally hit the center bits of my body, thus convincing my body to reduce blood flow to the extremities until the big old chunk of cold is passed. (Notice that unless the ice was extremely cold, the ice's starting temperature was not particularly important. With my assumptions, it comes out to 1.3 percent of the total heat needed to warm it back up. This is way less than the margin of error on my assumptions.)

Long number story short? I'm cold and it is my own damned fool fault.

DDR Remix

Oh jesus, there is a DDR for the WII that involves upper body movement. When will the madness stop?

Oh jesus, there is a DDR for the WII that involves upper body movement. When will the madness stop?

so today was mostly good bits. not really great bits, but pretty good. Except the fucking hash browns.
I got up this morning and said to myself "Hey self, you want hash browns, specifically little round cakes of fried potato pieces. Go to the store and buy some of them so that you don't go to burger king and buy breakfast there."
Trip to the store was good. I bought several things I needed, and a couple of things that would have been nice a while ago. And the store brand seasoned potato rounds.
All of them were seasoned potato (insert shape) but these? Extra special. Apparently in the the store brand "seasoned" means onion powder. Bastards. I should have spent the 50 cents on the Orieda ones. Bet they didn't have onion powder. Seriously, if we are going to season Michael's breakfast foods with pungent dirt orbs, couldn't we at least use garlic? It tastes better and doesn't make me hate the scent of the inside of my mouth. They tasted, well not all the way to good, but alright. I now have freezer food for the day when I should have gone shopping three days ago.

Should have gone to burger king.

Anywhere But Here
It had dug its way into a dead end, so the author has recently restarted it. About being trapped where you don't want to be. We'll see which of the zany bits get reintroduced. So far death and the demon are back.

Ctrl Alt Delete Possibly the second most popular gaming comic. It has branched out from joke a day, though often still brings the funny.

Home on the Strange A neat geek culture/relationship comic, sadly ending soon.

College Roomies from Hell!!!" One of the first comics I ever read. College Humor, Were Coyotes, Laser Eyes, Violent Girl with Guns, Everything Falls apart. I'm hoping that the current story line resolves soon. </a>

BetaPwned Semi-autobiographical comic. If you like somewhat snarky journal comics...

Afterstrife This is a promising little life adter death comic. I really hope it picks back up soon though.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal Joke a day geek/surreal humor. Think XKCD without quite as much geek and not quite as much humor. A lot more of the humor of despair in this one.

PVP Used to be a gaming comic. Did a Dilbert (though it kept more of the funny than Dilbert did.) Now it is a workplace humor comic.

Order of the Stick Best RPG comic I've ever seen. Uses extended stick figures to tell a story set in a D20 fantasy setting. Lots of Rules Humor, Lots of characterization, read one comic off my list and this would be a good choice.

Unshelved Library Workplace Humor. Consistently good, almost always funny.

Something Positive Brutal Transggressive Snarky, hilarious. Read.

Nukees Geek humor set in an Engineering Department at a university. One of the grand old statesmen of the webcomics scene. Still Funny.

Evil Inc. A spin off of one of my favorite dead comics, this one is about a company for and by super villains. Not as good as Greystone Inn, but it is still above average for my list.

Alpha Shade Most excellent artwork. A lot slow to update. Slowly telling a story in two time frames.

Real Life Comics A slice of life autobiographical geek comic. It has been running for a long while and is thus fairly different than it was in the beginning. There was a phase where it diverged completely from the author's life, but it is getting back on track. I likes it alot.

Least I could Do This comic brings the funny a great deal. Which is good, since a lot of it is fairly crude sex humor.

The Whiteboard" Paintball comic. About paintball geeks. Go team.

I'm Blue Hum, this one hasn't updated since September 4th (currently December 2nd). Pretty consistently funny though.

Narbonic This one ended a while ago. Currently the artist is rerunning it with author's comments. The comments do have some spoilers, but you can read the whole archive without comments still. (And it isn't behind a pay wall any more. Major bonus points for that. Pay walls are like micropayments, not useful tools. Either one will generally convince me not to bother with a comic. It is why I don't read Digger.

Schlock Mercenary Best epic SF comic out there. Howard Taylor is making a living of his comic, supporting a fairly large family while doing it (and no pay wall, imagine that.) The artwork improves greatly as time passes. Go read this.

Wapsi Square Supernatural something or another. Worth a read.

Megatokyo It has shifted from the tone of the old days, but I find that it is reliably good, even if the updates are sporadic. This is one of the first 3-4 webcomics I read (CRFH, MT, Exploitation Now, Roomies, half of them are dead comics now. *sigh*)

Questionable Content Near Future Indy Music/Culture Comic with Snarky Barristas and sentient tiny robots.

Malfunction Junction Snarky Funny Autobiographical Comic.

Buck Godot This is my first entry in the Foglio series. If the author's last name doesn't sell it to you, I'm not sure I can either. Read it.

Sluggy Freelance I keep thinking that this one will recapture the magic of the early story lines, but after the "Eternal Stay win the places that nothing happens part one and two" I'm pretty sure I sould just give it up. Read the archive and stop at Timeless Space.

Candi Not as good as Sluggy Freelance was at its height, but better than it is now.

Antihero For Hire Superhero Comic of the toys sort. I started reading this because the author's earlier comic was ending. I think this is a much stronger entry.

Gene Catlow I liked the early bits better than the later bits, but fairly good anthropomorphic comic.

Three Panel Soul The occasionally updated comic from the Mac Hall guys now that Mac Hall is no more.

Friendly Hostility I really liked it better when it was about the parents of the current cast.

Devil's Panties Hee Hee Hee

UC Highschool Relationship Comic gone Supernatural. Better than my recap sounds. Pretty Artwork.

Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic From the view point of the monsters. Frequently NSFW in the way that Disney would do NSFW if Disney did NSFW. Good, though the original viewpoint characters are currently MIA.

A Softer World This is the gentle despair side of the XKCD SMBC ASW scale.

Short Packed Workplace Humor, toy store stuff. A spinoff of It's Walky, which was itself a spinoff of Roomies. Momentum is most of what keeps me reading this one. It is okay, but I want great from the author.

What's New With Phil and Dixie More stuff from the Foglios. That should sell you.

Ozy and Millie A neat kids in school comic. The comic is great, the creator is somewhat of a jerk. (He has a public journal, but has a hissy fit whenever anyone disagrees with him. I mean that's his right (and I wasn't the one disagreeing with him, I just found his attitude offensive) and all, but jeez sounding like the blackhats there.

Erf World This does with the tropes of minis wargames what OOTS does with Fantasy RPGs. Updates are extremely sporadic.

Zortic Funny SF, FTL society with a culture that is based largely on old media broadcasts.

VG Cats Gamer Comic. Very Sporadic Updates.

Apple Geeks Geek comic along the lines of Life of Riley and Exploitation Now (the scope shifts drastically several times.) Updates random.

Goblins A fantasy gamer comic based on an obvious in the setting version of D20 rules. The heroes are a band of Goblins. Very nice comic.

DnDorks Gamer comic mostly from this side of the table. Pretty good, a few hilarious strips.

Cectic Snarky observational comic, sympathetic to the liberal and Atheist side of the debate. I find it funny much more often than not.

Planet Karen A most excellent Journal comic. It does exactly what reading through a person's journal does if the journal is well written. It makes/lets you come to care about the person's successes and failures. Read this. Also? She's British, so for those of us out there who are American, there are the occasional bits of delightful cognitive dissonance.

Fantasy Realms Neat fantasy comic, almost as pretty as Alpha Shade.

Girl Genius This is the Foglios current work. Full of awesome, it was originally a print comic that was slowly sinking due to expenses. They've turned it into a webcomic, their readership has increased, their sales have increased, and there is (as in all good webcomics) no pay wall.

General Protection Fault Was geek office humor, has transformed several times, is currently coming out of one of the slow times.

Girls With Slingshots Two borderline lushes, a fair amount of the funny. A talking Cactus or two.

Penny Arcade The gamer comic. Unafraid to make the joke hang on a 3000 word post, this comic has fun for everyone, assuming you aren't afraid of a little profanity.

Angels 2000 SF Military comic in an all female navy (Plague of some sort wiped out all of the males (sort of silly there, there is always someone immune in a population of 3 + billion.)

XKCD Stickfigure Nerd Comic, references are occasionally a little obscure. Otherwise they are very obscure. Sometimes poignant, usually funny, always full of awesome.

So what comics am I missing these days?

Anyone have essays they like about writing believable female characters, especially for video games, but in any medium would be good?

I was initially asking for a friend, but I'd like a solid list for my own uses too.

Let's expand that to writing for people who are "other" to yourself. (Though if you'd mark the female specific ones, that would also be good.)

Good Morning! Well, except for those of you in GMT -0 or further East. It isn't morning there any more. Wait, which way does this DST crap shift me? We could be 4 hours different at the moment and thus it would be, by a technicality, still morning as far east as England...