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August 31, 2003

Free Beta Tester

Rojiasan said to me, "Sounds to me like you've just been designated "beta tester for life"." on irc today.

That's after I complained about not being able to make international calls on my Vonage phone. I spent 15 minutes on hold and another 15 talking to a technical support person who finally said he was going to have to escalate the issue since there appears to be a problem with my vonage line. Someone is supposed to call me back, we'll see. It was after I recounted my experiences on Cingular's new GSM cellular phone network in which I got a useless phone, Rojisan came to that conclusion.

Posted by beamz at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)

August 29, 2003

Reader response

I tried to respond to a reader who replied to my post about driving 100 miles for a donut for an autistic child but the mail bounced so here is my response.

She replied, "But then, you are not autistic, nor do you understand what autism is. Maybe you should do your homework a little bit more before you post rude comments about handicapped people. Do some thinking or you will become so stupid and cynical that you self destruct."

For the record, I didn't intend to offend any autistic people or their mothers. My post was a commentary on how it is ridiculous to drive 100 miles on a regular basis for a donut. Food can give individuals pleasure but to drive hundreds of miles for anything other than narcotic drugs, love interests, or other things besides fried balls of dough, does not makes sense *to me*.

If anyone can point me to more reading on how there is a need to drive 100 miles for a donut due to autism or the beneficial links between donuts and autism, let me know.

On a more serious note, I take autism and other handicaps very seriously. In fact, my mother was an advocate for the mentally ill. Now if she would only advocate for me as I seem to have this superior ability to offend.

Posted by beamz at 9:57 AM | Comments (4)

August 27, 2003

Two weeks, ten people gone

The only thing that comes to mind are these lyrics from Two Step by Dave Matthews Band.

"Celebrate we will
Because life is short but sweet for certain
We're climbing two by two
To be sure these days continue"

In the past two weeks, 10 people have passed away that I either know directly or someone I know well knew.

1. Grandmother
2. Mike's dad (person who helped raise me for 15 years)
3. Cousin
4. Mike Lea a.k.a. mazeone from #joiito
5. Doc Searls' mom
6. Roberta's dad (coworker's dad)
7. Alice's brother (coworker's brother)
8. Conrad Leur (9 year old with leukemia a close classmate knew)
9. Drew's grandfather
10. Father-in-law's close neighbor

Edit: Here's a little something from Joi about mazeone. Something from Jim as well.

Posted by beamz at 9:06 PM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2003

Technology sucks sometimes

My vonage phone isn't working out quite right. I have 1 of 2 problems, either my cordless phones decided to have crappy reception or vonage doesn't work well with them. I tested it out Monday on a conference call and a couple individuals who were barely audible came in perfect to me and ones who spoke clearly to others sounded like they were coming through a distorted megaphone to me.

My loft is a mess. In an attempt to rule out bandwidth issues, I've been trying to rebuild my Soekris 4501 appliance with OpenBSD 3.3 so I had to haul a spare PC out to build the image on. It looks like a disaster up here.

Posted by beamz at 10:45 PM | Comments (1)

August 25, 2003

Today was a good day

I spent today recuperating and trying to feel better. I did figure out however that all my cordless phones suck due to interference from my wifi.

On a brighter note, I achieved a higher level of mental clarity. I also met up with Pam at Starbucks and had a tall tazoberry. I'm convinced it has cleansing effects which clear the mind and body of impurities, or maybe it just tastes great. I helped her with some software issues she was having and she loaned me some graphic design books she has.

I was feeling a bit drained but now I feel fired up.

Posted by beamz at 10:47 PM | Comments (2)

August 24, 2003

I drove 100 miles for a doughnut...

Ok not really but....

NOISE: News of the week

NOISE, a publication out of Lansing, Michigan aimed towards younger readers, noted that Lansing would be getting its first Krispy Kreme.

"Annie Lewis and her son Gregg Pullano were the first in line -- 13 days before the opening. Lewis said she and her son, who is autistic, have traveled all around the state to Krispy Kremes because it gives him such joy."

Please shoot me if I ever a) drive around a state for food or b) tell you that Krispy Kreme doughnuts give me "such joy".

Posted by beamz at 4:31 PM | Comments (5)

White House ordered EPA to mislead public?

EPA misled public on 9/11 pollution / White House ordered false assurances on air quality, report says

"That finding is included in a report released Friday by the Office of the Inspector General of the EPA. It noted that some of the agency's news releases in the weeks after the attack were softened before being released to the public: Reassuring information was added, while cautionary information was deleted. "

It's tough to decide whether or not information will be harmful or beneficial to the public but covering things up and not at least giving them the opportunity to make their own decisions is wrong.

Oh btw, that small Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a possible peace plan that has been going on? Here's a headline on cnn.com:

> BREAKING NEWS
Israeli helicopter gunships fire at least two missiles at a Palestinian security installation in Gaza City, killing four people, witnesses tell CNN.

Posted by beamz at 2:24 PM | Comments (1)

August 23, 2003

Vonage and misc. home repairs

I rewired the phone lines today and hooked our new Vonage Voice over IP device into the main phone line. I moved our primary landline to the second pair of wires. This means that all the phones except one plugged into the second pair in our loft are hooked up to our Vonage number.

With my father-in-law's help, we patched up the drywall but there is more to do. I think we bought the wrong kind of spackling/patching compound. It's irritating as hell. I wish people would build a house right the first time instead of making people go back and fix it. It's ridiculous.

Posted by beamz at 11:45 PM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2003

Almost burned the house down

Note to self: When cooking steaks with a bit of fat, don't remove one and put it back into the oven to broil longer. The grease *will* ignite.

I opened the oven to find flames roaring out at me and Kris panicking. I thought shutting it would extinguish it but duh, ovens aren't air tight, if they were then the gas wouldn't burn. Thanks to so many helpful tips from cooks and fire people, I remembered to throw baking soda on the flames and not some form of water.

With the fire out and my steak untouched by the baking soda, we sat down to eat a fairly decent meal. Pictures of houses burning down because people either don't put the fire out or don't call the fire department are still flashing before me.

Posted by beamz at 10:32 PM | Comments (1)

August 21, 2003

Tidbits

I've revised my blogroll very slightly and added a couple of blogs, most notably Queen of Indiana who happens to be a local friend. Check her blog out if you get some time. She's a mom, a DJ, and has some pretty darn good graphics design skills.

My Vonage Voice over IP gear which allows us to use our broadband connection as a phone line. For $25 you get unlimited local and regional calling as well as 500 minutes of long distance. For $40 a month you get unlimited local and long distance calling.

This weekend we have to finish fixing up the drywall in the house and get this place ready to sell.

Posted by beamz at 10:54 PM | Comments (2)

August 19, 2003

Instant Messaging

I thought AOL Instant Messenger was pretty prevalent until my brother came to visit. He and his friends only use MSN Messenger and he has about 40-50 people on his "Friends" list. He's a 15 year old Thai teenager with tons of friends and keeps in constant touch with a lot of them.

I knew ICQ had a pretty large internatonal user base but now I'm realizing that none of the services really have the ball completely in their court.

Posted by beamz at 10:19 PM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2003

Next best thing to a Hummer

tractor.jpg

We saw this at the fair the other day and I'm convinced this is the next best thing to a Hummer. The sticker price was $244,946. I'm convinced that they should sell this alongside the Hummer H2 and market to your average suburban family.

Posted by beamz at 10:37 PM | Comments (1)

August 15, 2003

Indiana State Fair

We went to the State Fair today and the last time I was at one had to have been over 10 years ago back in Michigan. It was hot but since this is Indiana, there were farm animals to see instead of just carnival rides and games.

I started thinking that the landscape is slowly changing. It is turning from a community event to a more commercialized one. All sorts of events are sponsored by one company or another. Pretty soon the cows and sheep will have corporate logos spray painted on the side of them.

I'll be in Michigan all day tomorrow but should be back home tomorrow night. Enjoy your weekend.

Posted by beamz at 11:34 PM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2003

Day off

I took my brother to see S.W.A.T. this afternoon. It was entertaining even though it lacked any plausible realism. But that's ok because movies don't always have to have realism.

I love the days when I don't have to think hard. I wish everyday were like this.

Posted by beamz at 10:05 PM | Comments (1)

August 11, 2003

I feel normal...

While checking up on aldahlia, I stumbled on to her latest post in which she discusses her life in suburbia.

"But, it's not the boredom that scares me. It's that every suburban house is a fortress. Those walls keep the whole world out--they hide the dirty laundry and the simple joys. They house not just people and things--but life as it cycles. And, the cyclic nature of family scares the ever loving shit out of me," hits the nail on the head.

We want to know what your neighbors are doing but at the same time we don't. Our only gateway in nowadays seems to be reality TV which isn't very real in the first place.

I fear addiction. I've been around it for much of my life and I fear it just as much if not more than not going anywhere in life.

Posted by beamz at 11:43 PM | Comments (1)

August 9, 2003

Long day

I went and picked up my brother today. The drive was 3 1/2 hours each way. I stopped by to visit my mom and meet her new 'friend'. He seemed nice but things were a little awkward.

Disclaimer: Don't click on the link below unless you have a strong stomach.

Anyway I have a question. Is it normal for 15 year olds to surf rotten.com and mail horrendous pictures to their friends? Is it cool? It just seems pretty screwed up. I don't know really how to react besides saying, "That's sick." Any suggestions or am I just overreacting?

Posted by beamz at 11:08 PM | Comments (1)

Concert, brother, and Movabletype Meetup

Kris and I went to John Mayer and Counting Crow's concert here in Indianapolis this evening. The concert was good but we had an extra bonus. The bonus was a skinny female probably around her late 30's who danced like Axel Rose. It was a kodak moment.

Tomorrow I'm going to trek up to Michigan to pick up my little brother and bring him down for a week.

Oh and if you're in the Indianapolis area and are interested in Movabletype or blogging in general, please check out http://movabletype.meetup.com. If you're not busy on Monday at 7:00pm, show up at the Rathskellar. Please RSVP online. We need more folks or this meetup isn't going to happen.

Posted by beamz at 12:14 AM | Comments (0)

August 7, 2003

Wasted money

I spent some decent money on Laura's Lean tenderloin only to overcook it. That's the last time I follow Betty Crocker's 15 minute for 1 inch thick filet advice. The last time I did them in the oven using the broiler, they turned out *perfect*.

Arianna Huffington entered the race for governer in California. Many people probably think she's just the other side of Ann Coulter but I can't see how someone can get as extreme as Coulter. I hope Arianna does well and even if she doesn't win, I hope she makes a name for herself in politics. She's insightful and it will be easy to see if she practices what she preaches based on what she's written in Pigs at the Trough. If you haven't read it already, it's a very good read that doesn't seem to get lost in partisan politics and instead focuses on corporate influence and greed on capitol hill.

Posted by beamz at 6:59 AM | Comments (0)

August 5, 2003

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy

Salon.com Life | Queer eye for the queer mom

While reading the article above this morning, I started to think to myself that shows like "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" further entrenches America in idiotic stereotypes.

The show pushes the ideas that "Queers" are the only people who get fashion, food, and style. The sad thing is that these are the shows that get viewers. Maybe I'm reading into it too much...

Posted by beamz at 11:15 PM | Comments (0)

August 4, 2003

Past weekend

This past weekend I worked with Kris and her dad on some projects we've been neglecting. We put up shelving in the garage and some other storage things to make it a much more useful space and replaced popped drywall nails with screws. There's also a bit of a mess in the kitchen with cracked drywall that we're fixing.

Aside from our immersion in home improvement, we're going to see John Mayer and Counting Crows on Friday and then I'll be picking up my brother from Michigan so he can spend a week here.

In just a sign of how small the world is, while signing up for the MovableType meetup in Indy this weekend, I stumbled over Pam's blog. Hopefully I'll get to meet up with her and some other Movabletype users Monday. She was the DJ for our wedding and did an awesome job. If you get a chance, go take a gander.

Posted by beamz at 10:14 PM | Comments (0)