Month: May 2007

Who would have guessed?

There’s a show in the UK called Speed. In it they tested the difference between someone driving straight, and then the same after they’d smoked marijuana.

It turns out that the guy drove BETTER under the influence than when he wasn’t. I can sort of back that up but my experience is with alcohol. My friend Chris couldn’t drive for shit when he was sober, but put a couple beers in him and he drove like a pro. We could never explain it but now I have a better idea why. He was a bit more relaxed but at the same time a little paranoid about getting stopped (Even in the early 80’s it was possible to get pulled over for drunk driving, though the limits weren’t quite so ridiculous back then, I mean honestly, .08? I recall it being .12 when I was a kid. No greater incidence of drunk driving then than there is now.

Anyhow, I won’t drive after I’ve had a couple drinks. Fortunately I live in a place where I can either imbibe at a bar, pub, or restaurant and either walk home or take public transit.

But this video is very interesting. It appears that driving under the influence of marijuana really doesn’t have a negative effect on ones driving ability. Granted, this isn’t at all a scientific study but I’d love to see someone do such a thing. We’re finally seeing and end to the FUD spread by ONDCP . This is just one such video:

Copyright and Fair Use

This is a very good video that explains the ridiculousness of current copyright law while demonstrating fair use of Disney films to deliver the message.

I had forgotten that the original copyright term was 14 years, while now the copyright is for the lifetime of the author plus 70 years. So lets say a 20 year old creates a work and lives for another 60 years. The copyright would extend out to 130 years!

Pretty clear who benefits from long copyright. It’s big business of course, publishers, movie studios, music producers, etc.

I’d love to see it overturned and wound back to the 14 year limit.

Not TV less anymore

So Keyron finally got on my case enough and today while I was at Wally World I picked up a television.

Here’s the thing, lots of DTV sets for short money but they’re all SD sets. I picked up a 19″ color TV for $79. I’m waiting for the true HD sets to get into that range, from $100 to $200. They will get there, it’s just that DTV isn’t upon us as yet. There are still a couple of years to go before analog broadcasters must turn off their transmitters.

The television is stone deaf though when it comes to receiving signal. I guess that is what happens when you design for a CATV 0db signal right to the F connector on the back of the television. So I crafted my own antenna.

I took the low end frequency of channel 2, and then 4 other representative frequencies up to channel 64, summed them and took the mean. Then I plugged the mean into the formula for finding wavelength of signal which is λ=300/f where λ is the wavelength and f is the frequency in MHz. The mean wavelength for those channels from 2 through 64 is about 1.22m or 4 feet. So I cut off 4 feet of 24 gauge wire, stripped about 5/8″ of insulation from the end and shoved it into the center conductor slot of the F connector on the TV. Then I looped it up into the antenna slot so that it swivels.

With that in place I can get about a dozen or so channels over the air. Not too shabby. And I’m not paying a cable company $30 for the privilege

Earning my amateur radio license actually served the purpose today. I actually learned the formula many years ago, in a high school physics course. Now if I wanted to calculate phase angles for an oscillator, then the amateur radio formulae would really kick in. You know, things like Colpitts oscillators, Hartley Oscillators, Voltage Controlled Oscillators.

And an oscillator in it’s simple form is nothing but an inductor and a capacitor. Because each has different rates of discharge as well as saturation points, and one is a magnetic storage while the other is a static storage device, they oscillate a current back and forth until resistance and reactance finally kill the current.

Yes I know, a little too much information. But now you know a bit about something that is in pretty much every bit of electronic gear out there, from radios to computers.

Too cook is to suffer

I make a very good steak. First I season them. It can be as simple as salt and pepper, or move into rubs etc. Tonight I used a little bit of salt and a spicy steak seasoning mix.

Just liberally coated both sides of each piece with the stuff then seared for 4 minutes a side. That generated enough smoke to fill up the kitchen, dining room and living room. Had to open a few windows and point a fan outward to exhaust it. But once they’d been seared and the smoke cleared I put them onto a half sheet and into a 400F oven for ten minutes, turn once midway through. The searing process involves getting a pan ripping hot, then sliding the steaks in for the above mentioned 4 minutes per side.

Then out of the oven and covered by aluminum foil for five minutes. Screw going out to eat – my steaks rule! I used two nice thick cut Del Monico steaks. It’s got just enough marbling and fat content to be perfect for high heat. And what you end up with is a delectable steak which goes very well with Pinot Noir.

Not to worry – I only had one glass of wine tonight so I’m not feeling the effects of the alcohol at all. As I said in a prior post, I’m learning which wines go with which meals. I also have an idea for the next time I do steak. I might use a little of the wine to make a nice sauce to lay over it. Mmmmmm!

I love to cook. I like trying interesting things, improvising, etc. I’m a bit like a whirlwind in the kitchen. But tonight I really outdid myself. Not only flavor wise, but smoke wise. I was coughing whilst tending the steaks. I need to buy a grill. I’m not sure if I should get a gas model or a charcoal model. If I heed Alton Brown, charcoal is the way to go. But I like the convenience of gas. In my case, I need high heat in a hurry and the ability to close the lid and come back to perfectly cooked meat.

My preference is slightly pink inside, not grey and maybe even a little bit bloody. And that’s how I make them. Even Keyron likes them like that now and he used to be the type that said “I’d like it charcoaled.”

Trying wine

I’d always been a beer guy. I can tell you I like an ale better than a stout, or that I like the flavor of hops and so like hoppy beers.

Over the last few months I’ve branched out into wines.

So far I’ve tried:
Merlot (I like it, but it’s not for use with everything.)
Negroamaro-Cabernet (Very good red wine!)
Shiraz (Like it!)
Pinot Grigio (Good with fish)
Pinot Noir (Excellent red wine!)
Two different Rieslings by different vendors. Love Rieslings.

I’m actually starting to learn what goes well with what. Sure, beer goes well with just about anything but with wine you have to be a bit pickier.

But overall I’m enjoying my little tour. For example, I’ve also tried various vintages and brands of many of those wines. There are some vintages of Pinot Grigio that I wouldn’t give to my worst enemy. Then there are some that I would.

And wonder of wonders, the boss makes his own wine. He’s promised me a sampling. I can’t wait.

Tonight I testified

Tonight the Rhode Island House of Representatives Judiciary Committee held hearings on H6081, Marriage Equality. I’ve updated this because I had time to think about the high and low points of the hearing and to find all the links to the various people. Visit the links and heap praise upon those who support us, and scorn upon those who deserve it.

The hearing started at 5:00PM and by 8:00PM we’d heard just about enough from those against the bill, and it was getting a little nauseating hearing the support.

For example, Stephen Boyce, pastor of New Life Worship Center in Smithfield was a slickly polished pastor. I did make note that most of those vociferously against the bill were people that nobody would want to fuck in the first place. And his wife Nancy Boyce was pathetic. She said that “God defined marriage as one man, one woman. That’s it. It’s defined. It’s undebatable.” Undebatable huh? Well cupcake, how about that little fact that there’s not one sect of Christianity but hundreds.

Rev. John Codega of the RC Diocese of Providence was this metrosexual looking, smooth talking idiot. I loved it when Rep. Donna Walsh asked him precisely what the 97% of straight people had to be protected from.

But the worst was Rabbi Yehoshua Laufer. Laufer said that you cannot push the boundaries of religion. Meanwhile seated to his left was a Muslim Imam, to his right a Catholic deacon. I sort of sotto vocce’d that the men on either side of him belonged to religions that pushed the boundaries.

Then of course Rep. Tim Williamson kept asking the holy-trio (The Imam, Rabbi and Deacon – there’s a joke in there somewhere, I’m just not sure where.) if God might know that person was gay. The Rabbi kept saying that yes, God was all knowing but Williamson pushed the point several times. And still the Rabbi wouldn’t capitulate.

Someone trotted out the tired arguments found in the book of Leviticus. When they started with the “man should not lie with another man as with a woman” crap, I rather loudly stated that they also shouldn’t sleep with a woman during her menstrual period. Or eat shellfish. People don’t realize that Leviticus also setup the clerical class and its support mechanism.

Rep. Edith Ajello was great though. Through most of the proceedings she was quiet, until Rabbi Laufer started spouting. She said that the bill in question did not force religions to recognize gay marriage. And towards the end she stated that we live in a country where an atheist couldn’t be elected President and how that shot down her chance at the Presidency. Yeah, there were great moments for atheists in that hearing.

And as usual, early on Rep. Amy Rice of Portsmouth tore into the religious idiots, beginning with Joanne McOsker, president of Catholics for Life. McOsker stated that homosexuality could be cured, that studies backed her up to which Rice countered that by saying “You think that this committee should take one doctor’s opinion over a whole association of doctors?” whilst fanning a stack of papers with APA signatures. Not only the APA, but the AMA etc. I so love Rep. Rice.

I credit Mark Simmons with the catch phrase of the evening. When talking about his twin brother having gotten married he said ““I want to get married. Nobody ever says ‘I want to get civil unioned.’ ”

I decided to shake it up a bit. I got up to the mic and said this:

First I’d like to tell you how through amateur radio and my desire to prove a point that I became a card carrying Reverend.

As a Reverend in Rhode Island I can marry two heterosexual people but under state law I am unable to marry two homosexual people. And more to the point, I cannot marry the man that I’ve been in love with for the past fourteen years in my own state.

Short, sweet and to the point. Of course I’m waiting to see the video because I think I pounded the table a couple of times, a la Nikita Kruschev. Had I thought about it I would have banged my shoe.

Hopefully this year it’ll clear committee. And I’ve been told that my testimony raised a few heads in awareness. Granted, most of the testimony was earnest, respectful etc. But mine was a little strident and it got the attention of quite a few people, including the legislators on the committee.

I think I’ll have to attend more hearings and I’ve a feeling I’ll have to because it doesn’t look like the legislation will pass this year either, after over a decade of trying. Our esteemed Speaker of the House William Murphy keeps quashing it. I keep telling people that the only way for Rhode Island to have marriage equality is to challenge it in court. Of course GLAAD is behind Marriage Equality RI, and they of course see the RI judiciary as hostile. Perhaps on the district level, but on the level of the Supreme Court of RI, I think they’d not only issue the writ of certiorari but find in our favor. The judiciary has long stood as the bulwark against mob rule.

Sometimes it really is TOO MUCH

It’s TMI Tuesday #83:
1. Have you ever used foods in your sexual activities (ie; whipped cream, syrup, popsicles) and how did you use them?

Chocolate syrup and whipped cream. It’s sticky, messy and fun. As to how they were used just imagine the relevant parts saturated with the stuff and some oral fun.

2. If your SO asked you to get them off using only your toes – would you do it and how?

Sorry, toe jam doesn’t play into my idea of a fun time.

3. Would you ever participate in an orgy? Have you?

Yes I did in my younger days. It was fun but a little void if you know what I mean.

4. What can a lover do to turn you on instantly?

Start kissing me. Seriously, that’s pretty much all it takes.

5. Describe your favorite piece of lingerie or undergarments on yourself or your mate. (PICS PLEASE!!!)

Nothing. Well, if need be certain underwear looks very good. But I can’t figure out how to post pics on this site yet.

Today was a good day

Jerry Falwell, that devil incarnate has finally died. I say good riddance. It’s too bad there isn’t any hell, because if there were we know he’d be roasting.

What is especially charming is that the younger generation of religious freaks is getting outed on a regular basis. And the old timers are dying off. No wonder we’re seeing a rise in atheism.

Why iTunes disappoints

iTunes requires QuickTime. The problem is that QuickTime makes itself the default viewer for TIFF files. Our corporations database in RI uses TIFF format to display corporate annual reports and if QuickTime opens them, you cannot zoom or print them. Windows Picture and Fax Viewer allows both and it can handle TIFF files.

So I uninstall QuickTime and then go to start iTunes. Rotten mother fuckers, they use QuickTime as the gut of iTunes. I knew there was something I didn’t like about Apple. So now I’ve got to re-install iTunes. Fun times. And here’s the other thing, I disassociated QuickTime from TIFF’s and the fucking program STILL opened them in my browser. Grrrrr. That’s why I deleted QuickTime.

Well – upon further investigation I realized that Firefox has little helper apps too, and it had QuickTime defaulted as the TIFF viewer. No doubt installing QuickTime inserted itself into Firefox as well as IE. So I had to default Firefox to use Windows Picture and Fax Viewer.

All I have to say is: FUCK YOU APPLE!