Month: May 2007

It’s just a little gas

Ok, prepare for gross bodily humor here. Look, I’m a guy and we guys are champions when it comes to passing gas, also known as farting, cutting the cheese, crankin’ one, etc.

I fondly recall an incident one Saturday many years ago. I was with a friend and we’d been eating and quaffing quite a few things that would make us gassy. His living room was a rectangle, with the television at one of the short ends, and two couches running down both of the long sides.

We got into a little contest that day. Needless to say when his wife came home she literally turned green when she came in the door.

And here’s what I’ve noticed. IT people tend to see gas as a natural humor element. Makes for all sorts of fun at work. As a result I’ve mastered the art of the SBD, silent but deadly. This is particularly handy for elevators, crowded places, etc.

But check out this video on Chronic Flatulence:

It is inside me

I’m listening to Denice Williams “My Melody”. One of the lines of the song is “Some people feel it all around them, some people feel it deep inside…”

I’m the deep inside type. A repressed musician.

It’s funny, we were talking about it the other day when the boss let out that he was a trained classical pianist. I.T. people are either math people, musical people, or abstract reasoning types.

I’ve taken lots of tests and they all say I score very high musically and in the abstract fields. Yet I’ve never played an instrument in my life. Piano/Keyboard would probably be easiest for me since keyboard have been part of my life for over twenty years. I’m talking computer keyboards here but if I can manage a 101 key board, I can manage a piano or synthesizer. I realize the next task is understand what note/pitch/etc. each key occupies.

But I definitely have the music in me. It’s uncanny. One of the tests played you a series of notes, beats/rhythms and then played others that were close or not at all like the original. You had to identify which it was. I ended up scoring 94% on the test. The results said I was a talented musician. Funny stuff.

TMI #84 – The Time Sure Does Fly

1. What was your first job?

Working at NHD in 1980. It was a hardware store in which I learned all about plumbing, electrical, etc. that I needed to know in order to get through life without being a total spaz.

2. When did you go to your first funeral?

That would be the age of 13 when my mom died from metastatic breast cancer.

3. What is the sexiest word in the English dictionary?

Erection, and I’m not talking about the day you go into the booth and cast your vote.

4. Are you left handed or right handed? Which direction does the top of your head lean when you kiss on the lips?

Interestingly I’m ambidextrous but with a very slight preference for the left hand. But a kiss – well I’m leaning right.

5. Males: Which way do you dress?

For work it’s business casual most days, which means I’m missing a tie. Otherwise it’s jeans, a t-shirt or a lacoste type shirt. Shoes are interesting, they’re Converse All Stars but in suede and get this, they’re a sneaker that’s also a loafer. Everybody loves them. I’ve got two pairs, one in brown, one in black. Then I have regular sneakers, hikers, and that’s it.

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.”