Wednesday, March 31, 2004

"George W. Bush used to drink...

"George W. Bush used to drink. He doesn't anymore. He gave it up. You know what that says to me? Waffler. Hitler didn't drink either. Do you know why? Mean drunk."
-- Auggie Smith

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Consumer's Bonanza

Consumer's Bonanza

April is the month for spending. There is a ton of stuff coming out that I want. Guns N' Roses Greatest Hits CD is actually out now, Matrix Revolutions DVD out April 6, Kill Bill Vol. 1 DVD out April 13 (with the sequel to be released in the theaters the following week), and Microsoft dropped the price of their Xbox gaming console to $150 today plus the price on a few games. So many toys, so much credit, so little time.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Backyard Photography

Backyard Photography

Here are a couple of daffodils I snapped in the backyard yesterday where our temperatures reached a very balmy 80 degrees! Hard to believe we could hit that mark when less than two weeks ago we looked like this. We did a little cooking out, burgers on the
grill. Ah I missed cookout food. Mrs. Lock did some weeding, I watched. What a great day it was to be outdoors.

Another Hmmmm Moment

Another Hmmmm Moment

If the President of the United States talks about committing suicide, should Secret Service open a file on him and consider having him arrested since it is against a federal law to threaten to kill the President? If not, does this mean the President is above the law (this one in particular)?

Read my first Hmmmm Moment.

And to the law enforcement people whose company filters and conspiracy search crawlers brought them here - Hi.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Get Your Simpsons Fix

Get Your Simpsons Fix

I'm working on a new site (blog) titled Daily Simpsons. On my personal website, I have had something similar for years; a page full of quotes from the television series The Simpsons. I collected some of the funniest quotes and put them in one place for my (and others) reading pleasure. Then I got the bright idea. It would be perfect
in blog form. So the idea of this Daily Simpsons blog is to provide one Simpsons quote a day and blog readers, especially ones who use site feeds, can get their daily Simpsons fix.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Meal And A Fortune

Had Chinese last night for a late dinner. I love to load up on the beef/chicken and broccoli dish and the lo mein noodles. At the end of the meal I got my fortune cookie.

"Enthusiastic leadership gets you a promotion when you least expect it. Lucky Numbers: 1, 2, 3, 17, 27, 37"

On the back.

"Learn Chinese - Friend = Peng-you"

Peng-you too buddy.
"Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence."
-- Albert Einstein

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Petition To Oppose Federal Marriage Amendment

Here is a petition to oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment, an amendment that would be added to the U.S. Constitution if passed (thanks Mike).

An amendment to restrict yet another civil liberty? The Constitution does not need this. It doesn't even belong there. Didn't we learn our lesson with the 18th?

For your reading pleasure, revisit Jon Stewart's comments on the topic.

Monday, March 22, 2004

It Looks Like Spring

What better way to showcase the beginning of Spring than with full color photos of flowers... that were taken indoors. Mrs. Lock and I attended the annual Flower and Patio Show on Friday. The organizers will plant whole gardens indoors for the patrons to walk around and see,
feel, smell and in my case, take pictures of the blooms. No one has anything in their garden that looks like this yet so this is our way of getting the jump on Spring.

I'm not really a flower nut, I couldn't even tell you the species name of the pictures I took (I'm sure someone reading this can), but I am a color nut and a newly claimed camera nut and this is what I've brought back to share with you.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May

Druids unite. Spring is here!

Our state's weather patterns are notorious. Check out our condition just four days ago. Today we'll have a high of 66.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Tank Side Blues

Tank Side Blues

1. All of the other pumps were already in use.

2. He likes to face his tank and the station at the same time.

3. Or the one we all do. He's owned his automobile for years,
filled up with gas a thousand times and still can't remember which side the tank is on.

If you suffer from Whichsideisthegastankonitis, here's a tip. Most newer car models show you which side your tank is on without you having to get out of your car or hold your head out the window looking for that tiny door panel. The indicator is located in your dash near the fuel gauge, near that E, F and icon of a small gas pump. There will be an arrow correctly pointing to the side of the car you need to put closest to the pump when stopping for gas.

Now you're cured. That'll be $50 for your session.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Ode to Rainier Wolfcastle

Ode to Rainier Wolfcastle

The lovable Simpsons character who only guest stars on the show on occasion but when he does have a part, it's usually memorable.

One of his best episodes has to be Radioactive Man (episode 2F17 for the Simpson nerds) where Wolfcastle plays the lead role in a popular comic book series about a man empowered by a radiation accident.

Wolfcastle is an obvious parody of Arnold Schwarzenegger so it's funny to draw the parallels, if only just to hear Wolfcastle's bad Austrian accent. In one scene in the episode, they are trying to teach Wolfcastle Radioactive Man's catch phrase which is "Up and ATOM!" The foreign-born actor struggles with the pun he's obviously missing and keeps saying literatively correctly but character incorrectly, "Up and at them." The banter goes on with the dialect coach a few times and despite Wolfcastle never getting it right, the coach just gives up and says, "Better."

Then there was the big final scene for the movie where they tie Wolfcastle to a barrier and release a tsunami of acid on him. They did give him goggles for protection. When the wave of green, toxic acid was released and burned everything in its path including our star, Wolfcastle exclaims in that cheap Austrian accent as he's being swept away, "My eyes! Zee goggles do nuz-zing."

Another Arnold reference to Wolfcastle which many may have been missed because it went by quick was in an episode titled The Boy Who Knew Too Much [1F19] where Bart Simpson witnesses an accident at the Mayor's mansion, an accident that the Mayor's son is framed for. The Quimby's are an obvious reference to the Kennedy family with the high class living, infidelity, political corruption and the thick Massachusetts accent. In this episode, Mayor Quimby is hosting a party at his mansion for his son. In attendance to the party was our beloved Rainier Wolfcastle with his wife "Mahhhhriiia," solidifying the reference to the real life Arnold Schwarzenegger, husband of Maria Shriver. To add to the parody, Maria Shriver is the niece of former president John F. Kennedy. Of course Wolfcastle would be at this party. He was married to a Quimby (Kennedy)! Double reference. Excellent.

In A Star is Burns [2F31], Wolfcastle goes on Jay Sherman's Critic show to plug his new film, "a mixture of action und comedy. It's called 'McBain: Let's Get Silly'."

[cut to clip from movie showing McBain with a microphone in front of a brick wall]

McBain: Did you ever notice how men always leave the toilet seat up? [pause] That's the joke.
Man: [from audience] You suck, McBain!
[McBain pulls a machine gun and fires into the audience]
McBain: Now, my Woody Allen impression: I'm a neurotic nerd who likes to sleep with little girls.
Man: [from audience] Hey, that really sucked!
[McBain pulls the pin on a grenade and tosses it]

[cut back to interview with Jay]

Rainier: The film is just me in front of a brick wall for an hour and a half. It cost $80 million.
Jay: How do you sleep at night?
Rainier: On top of a pile of money with many beautiful ladies.

Later, when Wolfcastle realizes (eventually) that the critic's review of the film was not a favorable one, he confronts the film critic on the street. Wolfcastle says, "Sherman, I just realized you insulted me! Now you will die." and pulls a machine gun on him. Jay, desperately trying to find a safe way out of the situation informs Wolfcastle that his shoes are untied then runs for it while he's looking.

Rainier: From here, they appear to be tied, but I will go in for a closer look.

[MANY hours later, the sun has set, Wolfcastle is still standing in the same spot staring down at his shoes]

Rainier: On closer inspection, these are loafers.

One last thing about Wolfcastle. How many actors do you know sign their autographs with their character name. Rainier signs all of his "McBain."

And you know they have to make an episode where Rainier Wolfcastle becomes governor of California. You know they'll make it, they have to. It would be criminal to let that one slip by.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Dublin Rocks

Indeed it does.

Mrs. Lock is wishing you a Happy St. Patrick's Day while showing her support for the geological sciences in the capital city of Ireland.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Blog Word Count Shoots Up a Few Thousand

Blog Word Count Shoots Up a Few Thousand

So you've noticed a few images cropping up on the blog recently. It has to do with a new toy I got: the Sony Cybershot DSC-P92 digital camera. It's a 5 mega (million) pixel camera with a ton of features including MPEG record/playback.
I wanted something small and very portable to carry around with me hoping to snap that million dollar picture I might be lucky enough to witness.

It retails for $380+ but I was lucky enough to find it at an excellent online retailer called Chief Value for only $280. They were very fast and very helpful. Given the poor service of many online retailers, Chief Value was a culture shock. I highly recommend this retailer for your electronic needs. Even though I chose the super super cheap express save discount mother hubbard shipping, I got the camera in two days. Not bad for free shipping.

I've been putting the camera to good use much to the dismay of my family, friends, pets, neighbors and strangers. I do a lot of driving and there has been a recent rash of overturned semis on the roads I keep seeing and I'd love to get a snapshot of someone's misery. Hopefully, if all goes well, you'll see one up on the blog soon. HONK HONK. I don't know what it is about overturned semis that get me all excited. Some people like trains, I just like trucks - on their sides.
Do You Know What The Street Value Of This Mountain Is?

Spring is right around the corner and we have been having decent weather leading up to it but now this happens. Out of nowhere, we get a few inches of snow overnight. Our state is notorious for its ever-changing weather patterns but this just messes a guy up.

Monday, March 15, 2004

My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizza...Supremes?

Scientists have found a tenth object that revolves around our sun and as soon as they can verify the size and composition, it might become the newest planet to our solar system since Pluto's discovery in 1930. The object is currently being referred to as Sedna.
Sedna is three times the distance from Pluto as Pluto is from the Sun which isn't saying much since our observatories aren't on Pluto but it's WAY out there. It's eight billion miles from Earth - Pluto is only about four billion miles from Earth, give or take a few billion. Imagine finding a small planet that far away when you're not even looking for it.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

A Blast From Your Parents' Past

That's the slogan on the box. Oy! These are the games I grew up on and I am as of yet not a parent. Here's a shot of Mrs. Lock playing Pac Man.

The device that lets you do this is a small joy stick with many of our favorite Atari games stored inside. You just plug the component cables into your TV and you have access to such favorites as Dig Dug, Centipede, Tetris, Galaga, Pac Man and
many others. I've seen one unit that stores 70,000 games. That's right, 70k. Imagine cramming all of that programming into a 5 by 5 inch box when back in the day, it was a separate cartridge for each title.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Happy Birthday To Outlining Samsara

Today is important in the world of blog. Outlining Samsara, formerly known as Pick Lock's Brain, formerly known as Lock's Private Study is one year old. Yes, today is my first anniversary of blogging. The blog is technically older than one year but I didn't post with as much frequency then as I have in the past year so I took a couple of entries from way back when and started this blog one year ago today.

Looking over the history of my entries, I think I'm getting more loquacious in my writing and I think my thoughts are a little more organized, not completely, there's still a lot of chaos I'm still spewing out but more organized than a year ago.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Pirate? Takes One To Know One

The March 2004 issue of Wired has an article titled Some Like It Hot written by Lawrence Lessig explaining the hypocrisy that is the MPAA and RIAA given their history and also pleads for a compromised solution to try and make everyone happy.

Some key points from the article:

1) The film industry was founded by pirates. They moved from the east coast to the west coast (Hollywood) to escape the patent infringements their art would certainly cause against Thomas Edison and his inventions. California was far enough to be out of Edison's control and by the time the federal marshals got there to take any action, the 17 year patent protection on Edison's film patents expired. Yo ho ho, a pirate they be.

2) Record industry had a similar idea but instead, actually used Edison to help their industry. The copyright law at the time did not protect a music artist's work if it was recorded, ie on a phonograph (invented by Edison). So the record industry had access to music in a form of media that let them do what they want.

Since then, Congress has passed laws to protect the work even in recorded formats but only to a point. Once an artist allows the music to be reproduced by another artist, anyone can use it to their profit. Some of it is kicked back to the composer but that is a price controlled by Congress (not the composer) and he/she has little say to who can use their work. Guess who benefits? Record producers and the public. Blow me down, yet another pirate.

3) Radio wears a patch over one eye and has a peg leg too. Congress established that after a musical performance is played in public, the composer gets a kick back. The artist performing (covering) the piece however, does not. Radio is taking advantage of this inconsistency in the law to play music it only has to pay one artist for instead of the two that are involved. Many artists are glad they don't have to charge a radio station to put their music on the air. It's hard enough to convince them to play it for free.

4) When Cable TV first setup shop in 1948, they would pipe in your local network feeds then charge you for what was basically free television. The article makes reference that this is worse than Napster because Napster never charged you for the pirated content. Cable TV never volunteered to pay the networks for rebroadcasting their feed. Shiver me timbers.

End review of article
Begin soap box

Personally I believe piracy helps the artist. The beef the industries have is they lack the control over the piece being pirated, although it's already been demonstrated that Congress sets the value of what they think an artist's work is worth.

To the artists: Any exposure you get, compensated or not, should be enough. You're an artist. You claim you're an artist, not a business person. Piracy is a good thing for your field. Video games established a huge industry because of shareware. That means free is good. It gives the consumer a taste of what they want and if they like it, they'll pay for more. If they don't like it, then you become a starving artist just like anyone else who isn't popular. Either your work sucks or you're ahead of your time. The complaint is just about who has the control. Your promoters, the RIAA and MPAA want most to all of it, not for the artists they represent, but for themselves!

To the industry: Times change, formats change too. Opera houses probably complained when it became possible to play the music at home. If the RIAA existed in those days, we would still be attending opera houses to get our music and there would be no such thing as a compact disc. The music formats would change very little too - opera forever.

Opera houses still exist, only the format has changed and they are now called concert halls, despite us being able to take the music home for our listening pleasure. There are movie theaters despite the consumer being able to take movies home for our viewing pleasure.

Remember the beef about VCR? When they were first released no one could record anything broadcasted on television! The VCR was about to become a VCP instead. It was quickly overruled and who suffered? No one. Who benefited. Everyone. Video rentals are a billion dollar industry. Being able to record using the VCR promoted the selling of the units which created/supported the rental industry. In the evolution of technology, the VCR is giving way to the DVR. None of this would exist if those restrictions were successfully placed on the VCR.

See how you stimy progress, technologically and artistically? The people you accuse of being criminals are your clients, your customers. They pay your way and without them, you would not exist. Be thankful for what you have and feel blessed that you lasted as long and made as much money as you did. But if your time is through, there is nothing you can do. Step aside and make room for progress that is known as human social evolution.

You blame consumers for consuming. "Piracy" is only window shopping. My music budget increased dramatically after I started using (the original) Napster heavily so we know what's best for us, not you. I don't care if you're only making two billion this year instead of three. As far as I'm concerned, it's two billion too much.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Wasted Weekend

I got the drunkest I have ever been in my life this past weekend. I paid for it all weekend and am still awaiting a full recovery from it.

I went over to a friends to visit Friday night. It was three of us, all college buddies, hanging out at his house on a Friday night. After we sat through the Spongebob Square Pants marathon (he has 2 daughters. No, really!), we decided to play a game of Monopoly. That's right. We are PART-AY ANIMALS! YOW!

Well to spice things up, I volunteered to do some drinking during our game. I promised that every time I passed Go, I would take a shot of 100 proof peppermint schnapps. Big mistake. Huge. I had thought I would be ok because in the past I have had more whiskey in one sitting and did fine. Apparently schnapps is another beast.

After about my 8th time around the board (therefore my 8th shot), I started to feel it. I wasn't in a good position in the game, so in my state, I started giving my property away. I had houses on Boardwalk and Park Place and traded all of that in for three of the railroads. At a later turn I ended up securing the fourth railroad. WOO! WOO! Out of pity I guess, I was given the two utilities as well. It didn't matter. It was all good. I was feeling fine.

Next thing I know, I've lost my railroads and utilities, although I don't remember when and where they went, and the game is over. I assume it was over because I was outside shuffling around on the wet lawn in my socks at one in the morning. I was told later that the guys pretended to pour me the shots that I demanded each time I passed Go and that I would drink the shot glass of air to satisfaction, none the wiser. I better have got my $200 though!

Let me back up a bit. For dinner that night, I wolfed down 12 White Castle cheeseburgers. Now, this particular staple, even in a sober state, can deliver a bit of an upset stomach and some after taste in the mouth. Imagine what it would do to a man in my condition that night. No more details but I will say the night did not end well for me nor did the day after go smoothly.

That is the worst drinking game I ever developed and I think it needs some modfication. Next time it should be a shot each time you land in Jail or on Free Parking. Ugh. It ruined candy canes for me forever.
Hmmmm Moment

Why doesn't anyone ever get cancer of the butt cheeks?

Sunday, March 07, 2004

The Race Is On

John Kerry, the Democratic candidate for the 2004 presidential race, has a huge ally in his chances to be elected President in 2004. Kerry's best campaigner to get the man elected to the White House is his Republican rival, current President George W. Bush. If Kerry was running against any other President, Kerry's chances would be very low to get elected. He's too indecisive on issues for voters to get a sense of what he represents, even if in his mind he isn't indecisive about such issues, he isn't conveying it in a manner to get his point across to the voters.

The reason why President Bush is Kerry's most effective chance is because of Bush's unity and stubbornness on his decisions which makes it very clear to the voters where he stands but it also draws the lines, making his supporters thrilled and his opponents pissed off with a willingness to do anything to get the current President removed from office. So his opponents would support the biggest threat to Bush whoever that may be, which currently is Kerry.

So I don't think the support for Kerry comes from the people who agree with Kerry's policies so much, as the support comes from those who want anyone but President Bush in the White House in 2004.

Currently, the polls show a virtual tie between Kerry and Bush, but Kerry has dominated the news during the primary season which is now winding down so that was his shot, this time is the best he's going to do in this race. It's all down hill from here for Kerry and we'll see his numbers drop barring a cataclysmic event to the country or Kerry changing his strategy to take a strong stance on something leading up to the elections.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Martha G-I-L-L-T-Y

To followup on my 2/20 post: Not lenient at all!

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - A jury found Martha Stewart guilty on all charges in her obstruction of justice trial Friday and the former stockbroker and homemaker turned style setter is expected to go to prison.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

New Look

New look for outlining samsara. It looks TONS better. The old template wasn't too concerned about fashion because I was limited by the very few templates offered. It's not so much an eyesore now that it has content AND style.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Homeland Insecurity

I have always suspected that the reaction to terrorist attack in this country has been exaggerated. People keep asking the Department of Homeland Security, "Are we safer now than we were in 9/11?" Guess what? We weren't in grave danger in September 2001 to begin with! So the answer is, "Sure, maybe. We're not any worse off. Why do you ask?" But no one ever gives that answer simply because they are convinced that we are constantly under attack.

And technically that is true although statistically, it's ridiculous. The Grand Canyon is constantly under attack by the weather elements and erosion. The only terrorist attacks that have occurred in this country, if you exclude disgruntled Americans and countries we were at war with at the time, were on only two occasions: The unsuccessful bombing of the World Trade Towers in 1993 and the successful destruction of the World Trade Towers, a damaged Pentagon building and a downed passenger plane in 2001. Not only is that a small number of events in this country's 230 year history, but two of the attacks were at the same location, at the same address! The occupants that were at 1 World Trade Plaza have the right to say "We're under attack." It's silly for 300 million people living on a land mass of 3,717,800 square miles to stake that claim.

So the response to terrorist attacks, to me, has always been ridiculous. It is too easy to cultivate fear in people. Presidents have been doing it for years to justify war.

Anyway, Wired had an opinion piece written by the CTO of Counterpane Internet Security, Bruce Schneier who is also an author, titled America's Flimsy Fortress. He wrote the piece along the lines of what I just talked about and each of his points I agree with. It's good to know that I'm not the only one who thinks this way.

Some key points from the Wired article:

* 2,978 people were killed by terrorist attack in 2001
* 157,400 Americans died of lung cancer
* 42,116 in road accidents
* 3,454 from malnutrition
* Billions of dollars are spent by the Department of Homeland Security to make our country "safer" from terrorist attack.
* "As a society we can have as much protection as we want, as long as we're willing to sacrifice the money, time, convenience and liberties to get it."

I inadvertantly chose to talk about this topic on the one year anniversary of the creation of the Department of Homeland Security - funny.


DJI 10611, NASDAQ 2047, SP51151
#1 Movie at the box office: The Passion of the Christ (I smell sequel!)
Last movie I saw at the theater: The Last Samauri
Last movie I saw not at the theater: Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd
Books I'm currently reading:
End of Eternity by Issac Asimov
Clear Your Clutter by Karen Kingston
Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents by Cormac O'Brien