Sunday, May 30, 2004

Wheel Of Life Keeps Turning

Wheel Of Life Keeps Turning

My wife, Mrs. Lock, woke me up this morning. We had a big day ahead of us with her family coming over for a Memorial Day reunion and I didn't have the luxury to sleep in too late. But that didn't mean I wasn't going to try. I was lying in bed on my side, she came in and tapped me on the shoulder.

"Rrrrr," I grunted.

"[Lock], you awake?" she asked.

"Mmmmmm," I answered, eyes still shut.

"You're going to be a daddy."

I've never moved this fast in the bed but I did a lightning roll over to face her, my eyes still weary of the light. I said groggily, "I am?"


"Oh! That's great," I exclaimed trying to show excitement in my drowsy state.

Then I complained to her about not being there while she took the pregnancy test. My comatose state probably discouraged her from waking me to wait on a test that had a chance of coming up negative and that would have made me grumpy the whole day for having been stirred from sleep just to watch my wife pee.

And for the record, this was our first try. Oh yeah! My swimmers wear a red cape and have a little 'S' embroidered on their chest. Unfortunately though, this means I won't be getting that summer orgy I was promised.

So it's on to the next stage of my life. I have a good marriage, good house, good education, good income, lots of material possessions (too many), retirement fund is in motion, we have good cars, good friends, a blog I like to write in and we're healthy. I am very fortunate.

When I write the entries for my blog, I imagine my offspring reading them, realizing how their parents thought or felt about certain things. It's to let them know that parents are (children would say were) real people with similar issues, thoughts, philosophies that they'll go through. I'll get into this topic later, but I have always thought of my blog existing for an audience of my descendants. Similarly, my entries are my children. I write a blog for the same reason people procreate - immortality and I'm hitting a double.

Incidentally, I have to keep this entry unpublished until we decide to announce it publicly because many people I know read my blog for some strange reason. I have insisted many times that they can forget my blog's URL but those gluttons for punishment keep coming back. If you don't think they suffer reading my entries, imagine the groans when I referred to my Super Sperm just now. I'll publish this when everyone I know knows. I can also talk about the process as we go through it and my thoughts on the matter, life, death, immortality and you can expect you'll get my special "Lock" view on these popular topics.

Friday, May 28, 2004

It's Friday, Friiiiiiday, Friiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiday

It's Friday, Friiiiiiday, Friiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiday

I'm sitting here at my PC at work listening to Live's Birds of Pray on mp3. I'm in the mood for Live because they were in town yesterday playing on Carb Day at the track (race fans know what this means, see Busy Memorial Week) and I didn't get to see them. I'm not a big concert goer but I've seen Live four times. "Be right by your side, come hell or water high."

I just got a call from my parents who are staying at my house, that the power to the neighborhood went out. We have the transformer in our backyard, surrounded by tall yellow bushes that the electric company won't be happy to see when they come out today. I had my dad check on the transformer and he said it looked ok. No black marks, no caustic smell so I have no idea what happened. Must be a cut somewhere.

When my parents showed up last night, after I got them settled in, I showed them we had one of those Atari controllers with the old games built in and I loaded Pac Man for them. They were more excited about seeing the little yellow chomping round guy than they were about seeing their son. Of course, they haven't seen Pac Man in 20 years when the family bought an Atari 5200 (which is twice as good as the 2600). They must have played a dozen games before finally giving up.

I'm going to take a half day today at work. I've got a 3 day weekend (I guess it will be 3 1/2 day weekend now) since it is Memorial Day on Monday. I'd say it's time to party but the folks are in town.

Before starting Birds of Pray, I had gone through a variety of other songs this morning. Pulled from my Winamp playlist:

Eye In The Sky - Alan Parsons Project
Evanescence - My Immortal (Band Version)
Audioslave - I Am The Highway
Limp Bizkit - Behind Blue Eyes
Peter Gabriel - Burn You Up, Burn You Down
Roy Orbison - Anything You Want
Sixpence None The Richer - Don't Dream It's Over (I have the Crowded House original somewhere)
Rob D - Clubbed To Death (From the Matrix Soundtrack)

Thursday, May 27, 2004

TiVo On The Back Burner

TiVo On The Back Burner

The TiVo will not get much use now that the television season has officially ended and summer reruns rule the airwaves. I've got nothing to record and watch now so I added a season pass (TiVo users know what that means) for Seinfeld. Sure, those are definitely reruns but it's been awhile since I've seen the show
and as good as it was, I decided I needed a Senifeld refresher. You know a show has a major social impact when terms like soup nazi, double dip and sponge worthy become a part of society's language.

So TiVo will hibernate for the most part until the fall's schedule lineup where it will rise like the Phoenix and entertain our household once again. Thank goodness I have an Xbox with an Xbox Live account to hold me until then. If that fails, I still have the Nintendo Gamecube. If that fails, I have a bunch of DVDs I can watch. If that fails I can read some books. If that fails, I should probably do some yard work anyway.

I Am The Eye In The Sky

I Am The Eye In The Sky

Aerial photo of the neighborhood I live in. My house is towards the top, close to one of the cul-de-sacs.

Looking At You I Can Read Your Mind

Looking At You I Can Read Your Mind

And this is where I work. Notice the airplanes parked nearby. Click for larger view.

Images taken from TerraServer.

U.S. Messianic Instincts

"We need to restrain what are growing U.S. messianic instincts -- a sort of global social engineering where the United States feels it is both entitled and obligated to promote democracy -- by force if necessary. . . . Liberty cannot be laid down like so much AstroTurf."
-- Republican Senator Pat Roberts, Kansas

Busy Memorial Week

Busy Memorial Week

I took yesterday off and since I rarely post to my blog from home, that meant no post yesterday. But I'm back.

My parents are in town. They've stopped in to pick up a couple of my nephews to take back with them to their home in Florida, Destin area. My brother has three sons in his care, so our parents taking two for the summer will not leave him lonely.

What a busy week. Besides finding time to watch the NBA playoffs (c'mon Pacers!), I'm getting the house ready for my parents impending arrival. I had a lot of season finales to catch - 24, Enterprise, West Wing. Let me just say God bless TiVo. I've been playing a lot of Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow online which is a load of fun. And to end the week, we are hosting this holiday's family get together and Mrs. Lock has a big family - five aunts, an uncle with their families and of course her own parents. We usually have about 15-20 people depending on how many can make it. We have a theme for it too. It's Memorial Day Fiesta. We'll be serving shish-ka-bobs, magaritas and having piƱata bashing for fun. I'm trying to talk my parents into staying for it but they may need to get back home. They flew out to Colorado Springs last week, where I just returned from vacation, to visit their youngest son, my brother. They stayed there for a couple of days, flew home to the Ft. Walton airport. I shouldn't say home, I should say they flew to the airport, got in their truck that was in extended leave parking and started the 11 hour drive up here. So I imagine they're a bit anxious to get back home.

The city is getting ready for the Indy 500 which is Sunday. Today is Carb Day, a day where half the city takes off work to go visit the track. Live is in town doing the mid-afternoon concert. It's tempting to take off and go see them, but it looks like rain. It's been storming all week and not letting up so hopefully they don't get washed out today. Race Day shows a chance of rain, but hot. Rain and hot, two very bad things for racing.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Search Me

Search Me

I have spent a good portion of my day trying to get a little javascript program sitting on my blog's sidebar to work with a lot of help from Mrs. Lock the master programmer. It's a search query that uses the Google database to search Sensing Samsara. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, sometimes for one browser, not the other but then they'll swap functionality for no known reason. So who knows. I need to take a break and come back to it with a fresh mind.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Why The Media Is Liberal

Why The Media Is Liberal

From The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on May 12, 2004
Rob Corddry reporting

Corddry: "How does one report the facts in an unbiased way when the facts themselves are biased?"

Stewart: "I’m sorry, Rob, did you say the facts are biased?"

Corddry: "That’s right Jon. From the names of our fallen soldiers to the gradual withdrawal of our allies to the growing insurgency, it’s become all too clear that facts in Iraq have an anti-Bush agenda."

Obviously satire but an example that might support a point on why the media is perceived as liberal. Of course, I have an opinion on this as well.

Taxes Upon Taxes

Taxes Upon Taxes

Taxes is a subject I've been meaning to vent about for sometime but since it is generally a boring topic, I could never find the right time. But that hasn't stopped me from posting anyway, right?

In this country, we have many, many taxes. There's income tax which actually breaks down into federal, state, and social security tax. There's sales tax, gift tax, capital gains tax, service tax, estate tax, death tax, marriage tax, sneeze on a Sunday tax. Conversely, with the exception of some online retailers, there is no internet tax (yet) and we're so used to being taxed that when it comes to our online purchases, we keep looking around and scratching our heads as if there should be. "That can't be right. No tax on this? It is right? Coooool. I better take advantage of this while it lasts."

What many people don't realize is that we definitely have a system of taxes upon taxes. If you buy a car and you register it, you pay a tax on it. That's a sales tax. But when you sell that car, the person buying it from you pays a tax on the sell price when he goes to register it. If he wants to sell it, the person buying the car that's had two previous owners, pays a tax on the same car that's already been taxed twice before. Change of possession is a dumb reason for a tax and as long as the product is still functioning (even if it's not actually) the government gets an eternal spring of revenue from one product as long as it keeps changing hands. Can you imagine taxing bread multiple times if you decided you needed to sell your loaf? To add another layer of taxes upon taxes (upon taxes) to this example, most of you buy that triple-taxed car with income that's already been taxed! You see, to me that's insane.

Gift tax is another mind boggling system. It's related to the car example, when the object changes possessions, the government gets to tax it. The gift tax amount is ridiculous too, something close to 50%. If you die and leave your inheritance to your family, it gets that heavy tax. Sure, you don't care anymore since you've passed from this world, but what about us, the living? We could've used that extra $1000 to buy a very fancy gas grill.

Many people have an issue too about where their money is going. Maybe it goes against their politics or personal beliefs but indirectly, they're having to pay for something they disagree with, sometimes even strongly. And let me tell you, your money is going to a spectrum of causes, a few with which you would be shocked and I have no doubt you would object. If you want an idea, start with researching pork barrel funding; a funny name with a not-so-funny cause.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Lewis Black On Political Parties

"We have a two-party system: The Democratic Party, which is a party of NO ideas, and the Republican Party, which is a party of BAD ideas."
-- Lewis Black

Kids In Broadcasting

Kids In Broadcasting

There's this high school station I listen to sometimes on the drive in to work because they play nothing but music in a radio timeslot where everyone else is talking. They had this bumper (station plug), manly voice of course, really deep, really serious.

"If it's too loud, you're too old."

Old cliche right? That's fine. It's a hich school station but the song that followed that bumper was Bryan Adams, "Everything I do, I do it for yoooooou." I cranked it up so I guess I'm not old.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Membership Has It's Privileges

Membership Has It's Privileges

There is a website called gmail swap that is dedicated to getting users an account on the gmail email system. The problem is, the program is still in beta and not open to the public. So this a wantad of sorts for users who can't wait, want an account now and they're not asking for free handouts either. You can browse the list of items they're offering up in trade if you don't want to go the eBay route for cold cash. Among the list of items they're willing to trade for a gmail account:

free magazine subscriptions for life
backstage concert tickets
to have your baby
an email from God
a paperclip used by Jessica Simpson
an oscilloscope
someone's wife (unclear if it's actually his wife)
a picture of someone's girlfriend's dog
nude pictures of someone's dog (as opposed to clothed?)
a robot (doing something sad) drawn in MS Paint (I don't want to know)
a tour of Tokyo
admission to Boalt Law School
a Zippo lighter from 1950
a pot of fresh, home-style spaghetti sauce, shipped in dry ice
a photo of someone doing whatever you like
kung-fu lessons from the student-of-a-student-of-a-student of Bruce Lee's instructor
medical advice from a recent med school grad
the services of a fire-spinner, didgeridoo-player, and photographer
the location and combination of a bank's money-filled safe
a mystery present on your birthday
butter-knives from the Great Depression, with ivory
be the godparent of someone's next child
an authentic bible signed by Jesus
a mutated, laser-mounted sea bass
4 lb. of fresh fudge
artifacts from Gabon, Africa
a week of free drinks at a Barcelona bar
a human kidney. shipping not included
a goatee (uh, how?)
a stone from the military demarcation line between North and South Korea
one human soul
the story of how someone lost their virginity
a photo of a wife and girlfriend kissing
an original photo from Antarctica + an imaginary penguin named Mordie
an Arachnid of Foresight, imbued with the Elixer of Knowledge
slow entropy (I'd like to see that)
Spider-Man's Aunt May
a monkey
a flight crewmember will send postcards from a different place every month
a $30 donation to the charity of your choice

The site refers to current gmail users as "lucky ducks." I'm one of them.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

We Came, We Saw, We Kicked Vermin Butt

We Came, We Saw, We Kicked Vermin Butt

Well we did it. Mrs. Lock and I finally finished Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II and rid the Baldur Gate world of the evil vampire Mordoc. By the time we were finished we had 29th level characters and we had no problem dispatching the boss and his mini bosses. It was sort of anti climatic really. First try and with little problems, bad guy is dead. But being 29th level will do that.

Neat game. We'll have to try it on Extreme now. Can't let our high level characters go to waste.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Hank Kingsley Words of Wisdom

"When life hands you lemons... you make something with lemons."
-- Hank "Hey Now" Kingsley of The Larry Sanders Show

Pandora Tomorrow Today

Pandora Tomorrow Today

When I'm not playing Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance 2 with Mrs. Lock, I'm fighting for control of the Xbox to load up another game title passion of mine, Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow aka Splinter Cell 2.

This past weekend I got quite a bit of playing time where I met up online (via Xbox Live for those in-the-know) with a fellow friend and we really got to know the multiplayer aspect of the game very well.

Here are a couple of things we noticed:

As the spy, if you use your dark vision goggles and the mercenary that's hunting you is using his EM vision goggles (the blueish-white facemask), you light up like a snowy Christmas tree.

The merc has the advantage on a smaller map. The spy has the advantage on a larger map.

The opposing team can not see your laser guided scope beam, only a little red dot on the surface you have it pointed at.

Getting the merc into a choke hold is a very difficult thing to do therefore requires a lot of practice.

More as we continue to scrimmage and get better...

Friday, May 14, 2004

Dan Rather: Hired Gun

Dan Rather: Hired Gun

Some people wondered that when CBS news anchor Dan Rather went to Iraq to interview then President of Iraq Saddam Hussein, why he just didn't pull out a gun, shoot Hussein and save the U.S. from having to start a war.

There are so many answers to this, I'm not even sure where to begin. I'll start with the most important.

1. Dan Rather would forfeit his life in .8 seconds after the assassination.

2. Rather is a civilian, not a member of the U.S. Military. It is military policy not to employ civilians for assassination work.

3. Journalists do not take orders from the government. It would be a disgrace to all journalists and to Rather's career by executing U.S. policy. It defeats the purpose of having a press. Some of you think journalism has no standards already so there would be no real loss but you're the same people who came up with this bonehead question I'm having to answer. So what do you know?

4. Rather would've been thoroughly searched for weapons before entering a room with Hussein. If you think he could've gone CIA and used a hidden garrote wire in his watch, realize that Rather was 72 years old. It wasn't gonna happen.

5. Such an act would have put other journalists into danger or at the very least, many paranoid leaders would close their doors to the press. If you don't consider this a problem, read the last statement in point #3 again. Many times, press and public scrutiny are the only means of freedom for a nation.

6. It was the Bush administration's idea to voluntarily (read: preemptively) go to war with Iraq. If you wanted war avoided, instead of having a respected news broadcaster resort to an act of violence which may or may not have worked, you should not have elected a trigger happy leader.

Dreaming Of Friends

Dreaming Of Friends

I had a dream last night in which I was one of the Friends... you know that recently defunct NBC hit television show called Friends. Now before you laugh that I was some sort of Friends geek (the show was quite funny), there is a reason for this dream. Since I was one of the characters, it's important to realize which one I was to figure out what my subconscious is trying to tell me about my personality.

We were sitting around doing our thing, not in Central Perk for some reason, the setting was outdoors if I remember. I looked around and there were the three women Monica, Phoebe, Rachel. So immediately I was relieved I wasn't one of them. Then I saw Chandler and Joey. No Ross. I was Ross. So I'm Ross? I'll have to think about what that really means. In this same dream I slept with Monica, and I don't mean shared a bed with like a brother and sister might. I'll have to REALLY think about what that means!

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Views About War

Two soldiers stationed together, sitting in a bunker in the middle of
war zone. One's a pessimist, the other an optimist.

The pessimist says, "This is terrible, things couldn't possibly get any

The optimist says, "Oh yes it can."

-- old addage

Testing a new blogger tool

Testing a new Blogger tool

This is a test of a new capability Blogger added where you can add posts to your blog through an email message. I have created this post simply by emailing it to my blogger address and now I shall go log in to the site to see if it is there.

Cool beans.

Step Right Up. Guess Your Age? Win A Prize.

Step Right Up. Guess Your Age? Win A Prize.

Here is an interesting experiment called The Age Project where you view random pics of someone and try and guess they're age. You also have the option of adding your own visage to the experiment and have the masses tell you how old you look.

I put up a picture last week. After nearly 400 guesses, they guessed a year too high, which isn't bad I suppose. Early into it I checked the results and I was six years too high at one point. Thank goodness for the law of average. Were those people who thought I was that old blind? Recently, I took down that picture, satisfied with the results and put up another one. It'll be interesting to see if they can hit the same average age again. A lot of it depends on the picture; the lighting, your expression, clothes, people around you, number any teeth showing...

Thanks Mike for the link.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Political Compass

Political Compass

Here is a site, Political Compass which explains its view on a person's political makeup that I'm coming around to adopting. I have complained before that the two main political parties in the United States have some doctrines that contradict their own party's idea or what people expect of their party - which always confused me about what they stood for. But in my old view, I saw a person's political affiliation as both social and political and now I know that's all wrong. It's all political What it actually breaks down to is social and economic, both under the political umbrella and that makes more sense to me.

I have referred to myself as politically conservative yet socially liberal when I should've been saying economically conservative and socially liberal. Even those two terms, conservative and liberal are misnomers. I don't like how they're used. You can thank the political P.R. machine for using inaccurate labels for that. It's like the People's Republic of China. What's so Republic about it?

I took the test at this website and my result: Economic = +.5; Social = -3.90

What does this mean? I see by the website's graph it approaches a belief in an Anarchism system which I've long believed is the way to go. My economic number which is near-centrist/barely right-wing, is that way because I answered questions in which the arts should be supported. Otherwise, I would've had a more "right-wing" score. It deducted right-wing points all because I like a good show and I think a nation's people should support creativity.

For me the relationship of the two axis is a natural one. The further right you go, the further down you should go. Less restrictions on everything, more freedom. The fourth quadrant is the place to be.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Fighting the Dark Alliance, Again

Fighting the Dark Alliance, Again

Mrs. Lock and I have been spending most of our free time playing Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II. It was a deciding factor for me getting the Xbox since the title is not available on Gamecube yet.

It's hard to tell how far we are in the game but we both have 20th level characters. She's the dark elf monk and I'm an elven necromancer. You'd think I would be the dark elf being the necro and who's ever heard of a dark elf monk? But our characters are pretty powerful. She's the braun and I'm the spell caster. I do have a skeleton minion that helps her out in the fighting. It's pretty tough for something that doesn't have any flesh or muscle.

Ah, The Clinton Years

Ah, The Clinton Years

I'm missing the Clinton years where we had peace and prosperity.

DJI 10020, NASDAQ 1925, SP5 1093
#1 Movie at the box office: Van Helsing
Last movie I saw at the theater: Kill Bill: Vol. 2
Last movie I saw not at the theater: Dr. Strangelove
Books I'm currently reading: Plan Of Attack by Bob Woodward
CDs I'm listening to: Greatest Hits by Guns N' Roses
Fallen by Evanessence

Monday, May 10, 2004

New Blogger

New Blogger

I like the new Blogger look. My favorite feature is the preview function to see what your new addition will look like before you publish it. I think the old Blogger interface allowed for this (one of the views did) but it wasn't real handy if I remember.

Nice work guys.

Friday, May 07, 2004

I'm Back Bee-yatches

I'm Back Bee-yatches

I've returned from my short vacation in Colorado Springs, Colorado where I spent five days with my brother who just returned from a year in Iraq. Let me tell you, Colorado is a very rugged place and I loved it. Jeep dealerships do very well out there.
Here is a picture of me (and nature) taken at a mountainous park called Garden of the Gods just outside of Colorado Springs where you can hike, hike and do more hiking.

As you can tell, Colorado has some serious elevation issues. Living in a relatively flat land where I come from, to me this is impressive.

This one is a shot of the tallest suspension bridge in the world at a location called Royal Gorge in Pikes Peak, Colorado.

Donkey cart shot from the other side of the bridge.

A shot from on the bridge looking down into the valley it spans. Can you see the river raft?

You could take a train, actually it was more like a cramped set of cages welded together, to the bottom of the gorge where I got this shot. You can't get a sense of the depth in this photo so just look at the last one with the river raft to realize how far down I had to go to get this shot.
The river is just to the right of the sign.

They had quite a bit of wildlife in the area. I'm fond of this picture I took of a mother elk and her calf.