Pee-Wee Herman and wtf?!

I have just now discovered that Pee-Wee's Playhouse exists in re-runs on Adult Swim (Cartoon Network) and let me tell you, Internet, the television shows that existed while I was a child were decidedly bizarre. In fact, when I think about it, there were some really wonderful shows on television when I was a child (Transformers, Bill Nye, etc.), some really f***ed up ones and an awful lot of overlap. Of course, on top of Pee-Wee Herman being a very strange children's show star, there's also the part where he got arrested for exposing himself in public; I wonder how many people in my generation that left an effect on and what those effects were. I wonder if every generation gets to look back on their childhoods in the way that television re-runs and downloading old shows from the Internet allows me to; my guess would be not and it leaves me wondering what strange effect that'll leave on my generation.

expect Infrequent Updates

It is now well into the summer and, having quit my job, I once again find myself in the stronghold of relaxation that is Woods Hole. In previous years I held positions that put me in close proximity with computers but this summer, such is not the case; I am running without my constant information net and I'm liking it. I am living a pleasant and unfettered life right now and I will probably not be updating my blog very often. So, if any of you find yourselves wondering if I've dropped off the face of the Earth, the answer is sort of, but I'll still answer my phone.

Goats, Gods and Superheroes

Back in the day, there was a Norse God who went by the name of Thor. This Thor fellow was a mighty guy, in charge of thunder, and he wielded a magical war hammer that went by the name of Mjolnir. Thor traveled around in a cart that was drawn by a couple of magic goats that went by the names of Tanngrisnir (tooth-grinder) and Tanngnjóstr (tooth-gnasher). Thor spent much of his time hunting frost giants, going out smiting and generally adventuring.

On one particular adventure, Thor was caught up without food or lodging and made request of a a small family in a small home. The family--husband, wife and son--were incredibly hospitable in spite of not having the means to do so. In response to their hospitality, Thor decided to slaughter his goats and share the meat with the family. So there was a great feast but Thor told the family that there were absolutely not to break any of the goats' bones. The family's son was quite partial to marrow so he did not heed Thor's request and broke one of the leg bones to suck of the marrow. The next morning, Thor gathered the goat bones, placed them with the goat hides, waved his hammer and brought the goats back to life. One of the goats, as a result of the marrow suckling, had become lame. Thor, rather displeased, smote the son.

Now, for superheroes, the new lameness of the movie Superman Returns is equivalent to Thor's goat's lameness after the above recounted story. That is all.

History shall know today as T-Day

Today is a historic day in the computing world of George; today I have broken the 1 terabyte mark. I've had some minor issues with a few (4) of my hard drives recently, so between my data packrat tendencies and the current price of hard drives, I went out and bought a pair of 300GB hard drives. What, a pair of 300GB hard drives, ludicrous you say? Not so, I always buy hard drives in pairs so that I can stripe them as RAID 0 arrays; it's a principle, habit and policy thing of mine, so pairs. Also, if I'd gotten any less than 500GB, I wouldn't have enough space to resolve my current hard drive issues so as to be able to burn DVDs and reformat everything. Anyway, adding 600GB to thevoid's current 480GB brings her to a grand total of 1080GB, which makes thevoid my first computer to break out of the sub-terabyte world. Doing a quick tally over all of my various datastores, thevoid at 1080GB, hobosphere at 160GB, r-type at 4GB (snicker), ~400 blank and used CD-Rs making 280GB, ~300 blank and used DVD-Rs and DVD+Rs making 1350GB, my current data capacity is sitting pretty near a whopping 2.8TB; man I love big numbers!

In thinking about how much space I now have on one computer (thevoid), it occurs to me that it might very well be time to start putting Operation Dreadnought in action (cue ominous music).

Neutral Nets and Rockets that go Boom

I've started watching the daily vlog (please tell me I'm not becoming hip) Rocketboom because it covers issues that interest me in a style that I like and the host(ess) is cute. I mention this to you today both because I've been watching it long enough to think that it's worth mentioning to the rest of you and because they actually did something that caused me to pause and take note. Today's Rocketboom is probably the best piece I have yet seen on the topic of net neutrality; don't get me wrong, Ask A Ninja did a fine piece on net neutrality too but the piece by Rocketboom does a really good job of explaining why net neutrality is a really important issue and why everyone needs to tell their governmental representatives to keep our internet free. I really don't want to find myself, ten years from now, lamenting over the way the internet used to be.

Freshly Packaged 1s and 0s sent to your Door

Between work and having hard drive problems at home, I've started listening to a lot of streaming internet radio and I've had some pretty good results. For a while I was on an NPR kick, listening to WBUR (my local NPR) and having a pretty good time with that. As is inevitably the case with me, I got tired of hearing old news and went in search of a decent music stream. In the past I'd had rather poor luck with finding a music stream to my liking but this is no longer the past. I stopped by Digitally Imported Internet Radio (di.fm) to see what they have to offer these days. Looking at what DI has to offer, ignoring the ones I know I don't much like, I decided to give their Chillout Stream [.pls] a try and I have got to say, I am mighty pleased. DI sort of fell out of my favor a few years back when they were still playing mostly trance and most trance happened to turn into crap. In the intervening years DI added more streams, none of which quite grabbed me, but now this Chillout stream is really hitting me as just my sort of thing. They've even played a couple songs that I know and am quite partial to: Peace of Mind by Dark Soho and Behind Closed Eyelids by Shpongle. Color me pleased DI.

Now, if only there were some way that I could get this in my car.

Do well and let them say Gordon

Coat of Arms of Clan Gordon

Coat of Arms of Clan Gordon

Coat of Arms of the Meldrum Sept

Coat of Arms of the Meldrum Sept

For those of you that don't know, I've got a fair bit of Scotch coursing through my veins; that's ancestry, not whisky. I derive my Scottish ancestry from my father's mother, who was of Meldrum descent. Having some free time recently, I decided to pick the Internet's electronic scow of a brain to see if I couldn't find out a little about my Scottish heritage.

It turns out that the Meldrums are a sept of Clan Gordon, which goes on to mean that I am a member of Clan Gordon. Having looked around a bit, I have succeeded in identifying the coat of arms for Clan Gordon (left), the coat of arms for the Meldrum Sept (right) and Clan Gordon's tartan (the post background is the ancient variant of the tartan).

Those of you who know me know that the next thing that I would do is determine whether the Meldrums or the Gordons were associated with any particular distillery. The Gordon's are loosely associated with The Speyside single malt whisky and strongly associated with the liqueur Cock O' The North. I have had The Speyside before and as far as good Scotches go, it's pretty mediocre. Cock O' The North seemed interesting enough to me that I decided to get some shipped across the pond to me so as I could give it a try. The liquer is a mixture of The Speyside, Blaeberry (closely related to blueberry) and a secret ingredient (known to the head of Clan Gordon and his eldest son). Having recently received my order of Cock O' The North, I can tell you this: it is fantastic. The liquer is unbelievably smooth considering its potency, fairly sweet and has a very delicate, pleasant bouquet of flavors. Cock O' The North is really fantastic, the first sip I had was just wow and every time I have a sip; I'm sure, without contest, that it is the best alcoholic beverage I have ever had. Fancy that, geneological investigations lead me to an incredible liquer.

Oh yeah, sorry about the legibility on this one; I tried pretty hard but I couldn't find a font color that worked over this background.

I quit, eventually

Earlier today (technically yesterday) I informed my boss that I will be leaving Innov-X Systems at the end of the month. I was expecting it to be rather unpleasant but in reality that was all my fear of certain types of confrontation (that's gotten me into some trouble in the past). My boss was really cool and understanding about the whole thing; he's a good guy in general really. In fact, the whole company is full of really good people and for that matter it will be a little sad to leave. I have been fortunate to have a pleasant, if short tenure in my first, and likely last, corporate engineering position. Oh well, such is the path I have chosen to tread. Soon it will be off for a brief term of unemployment followed by the road to a law degree and the "Esquire" post-nominal.

The Pirate Party of the United States

Pirate Party of the United States

The Pirate Party of the United States is a newly formed political party that is derivative of Sweden's Piratpartiet. Extracted from their website, their platform is as follows:

"The Pirate Party is a newly formed worldwide political party with a chapter in the U.S.. We want to fundamentally reform copyright law, overhaul the patent system, and ensure that citizens' rights to privacy are respected. With this agenda, and only this, we are making a bid for representation in anywhere we can get elected."

Seeing as they stand for the same things that I stand for and their platform and agendas do a good job of addressing the big issues that concern me, I think that I might finally have found a reason to stop being a registered independent. Also, what could be cooler than to be a registered pirate?

Blowouts and Extended Warranties

I had a rather terrifying experience last Friday; I was on my way down to Woods Hole, chugging along in the left lane, minding my own business when, all of the sudden, something was very amiss. It took but a few moments for me to realize that one of my tires had gone so I made my way to the right side of the road. So, there I was, in the right half of the right lane of I-93S, on a bridge with no shoulder. I popped on my hazards and figured that it was high time to investigate the damage and get my spare on. It wasn't until a few moments after I'd gotten out to investigate that it struck me that I was standing in the middle of the right lane of I-93S with cars within 5-10 feet going by at 70+MPH. The moment that realization struck me i called 911 and climbed through my trunk to sit in the front seat with my seatbelt decidedly on. There I remained, on the edge of a bridge, dead still, on the highway, watching my side view mirror as vehicle after vehicle narrowly missed ramming me off into oblivion. Eventually, after a number of terrifying minutes, days, weeks, eternities, or however long it was, a state trooper arrived and told me to sit in my car and wait for a tow truck. After a few moments of sitting through the same sort of terror that I had endured waiting for his arrival, the trooper decided that he did not want to throw away his life waiting for a tow truck and instructed me to drive, in spite of a completely shredded tire, to the next exit. At a speed of about 5-10MPH, I inched my way off the highway and into a nearby parking lot where the recently arrived tow truck helped me get my spare on safely (hooray for full-sized spares). With my life intact, I was able to proceed onwards and Cape-wards, eventually arriving in Woods Hole.

Displeased that one of my tires had spontaneously given way and plunged me into such a terrifying ordeal, Monday morning, I set out for the Sears Auto Center where I bought the tires less than half a year ago. I wandered in, explained that one of my tires had violently given up on me and that I wanted to get it replaced, which earned me the information that if I had Road Hazard coverage for the tires, it would be a free replacement but, if not, I would, essentially, be S.O.L.. Well, as it turns out, in a move totally uncharacteristic of myself, I had spent the extra $7 per tire to get Road Hazard coverage. Low and behold, an extended warranty was going to save me ~$100, that's almost unheard of; usually you spend $10-$20 for an extended warranty and the thing you buy lasts twice that long and then dies on you. So, I dropped the wheel and shredded tire off (luckily the rim was essentially intact) and made my way to work. I returned to the Sears Auto Center on my way home, picked up the new tire, paid $7 to renew the Road Hazard coverage and was on my way. The service and the savings in this matter alone have pretty much sold me on going to Sears for all of my tire needs in the future; I'll still leave fancier work to my own machinations or less fast-food-esque mechanics, but for tires, Sears has a satisfied customer.