Monday, August 30, 2004

Last Call For Spam

Alright folks, starting September 1st (that's this Wednesday) my super email filter goes live. Basically, if you are not in my address book, I will -not- get your email. I have made a pretty diligent effort to include all those emails that “matter”, so hopefully this will all work out. I will be including a rule for emails that new people might send or in the event of a change in your address. Please include the following in the Subject: portion of the email if you are sending from a new address or are unsure if I have you in my address book:


Ok, now that we have that sorted… SPeCks - erm… ok, so, uhm, look I have a full-time job and some other projects going on that kinda put personal hobbies on the back burner. I miss the little guys too, but they will just have to wait to come back out and play.

Rule #11 says it all.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Bleep This

No more dreams. Pack up your imagination. Forget about trying to be humorous. Scared and paranoid idiots belonging to, apparently, powerful groups have put their big, fat thumbs on your commercial viewing pleasure. America has some of the biggest bankrolls to make the coolest commercials — but the best commercials are seen in foreign countries or are labeled as ‘spec’ and will rarely, if ever, see the light of day (and even then, it is only on the internet). Why? Because there are groups out there that would like to control what you see in this ‘free’ country. First Amendment be damned when a remote is involved.

Recently, since the start of the Olympics, GM was showing a commercial for their new line of ‘Vettes. A little tweak on the body style of these cars, I don’t think there is anything new under the hood, but that isn’t what this post is about. Anyway, the spot is a ‘dream sequence’ of this kid rippin’ it up on the highways and through a construction yard. Directed by Guy Ritchie (Snatch, BMW short film, various music videos), this bit of 30 second goodness is pretty nice to watch. It ends when the kid snaps out of the day dream holding his skateboard and looking at the car across the street. Then it’s back to the drudgery of being a child without a license to thrill. Wanna see it? Jumpin’ Jack Flash. “The all new Corvette. The official car of your dreams.” Until we slap you awake with spiked gloves so you can’t see this obvious travesty of public safety.

To me, this has just gone a bit overboard on saying what is appropriate for viewers. What we, as a civilization and society are capable of determining to be right or wrong. They say kids are getting dumber every day, that their lives are softer and more fragile in this crazy world. I think that it is complete bullshit. They are getting that way because of censorship. Kids aren't degenerating into soft lumps of meat naturally, they are being molded that way. A friend of our’s is pregnant. In a book of her’s, it says to not drink herbal tea. Well… erm… what do you think the Chinese were drinking 1000 years ago when they were pregnant?

Detectiooooooon - YA!

Thursday, August 26, 2004


A while back, I got an iPod as a birthday gift. It is awesome. Being able to carry your entire digital music library from one computer to the next is amazingly fun. Wanna know what’s better than that? Listening to it in your car.

Enter iTrip. This little gizmo plugs into the top of your iPod and allows you to set a station and then listen to your library through your car’s radio. The default station is 98.9 and in Austin, that is no good. It just cuts out too much with bleed from more powerful, real radio stations. No worries, the makers of iTrip (Griffen Technology) provide helpful software to find radio stations in your area that are most likely free — meaning they only have static and no signal. I changed the station my iPod would use to 97.5 but that turned out to be sketchy at best. You know how in some sitcoms/movies/funny stuff, they show a person standing in a weird pose so the reception on their TV comes through? Ya, I kinda had to do that with my iPod. While driving. If I wasn’t at least touching the iPod, it would fuzz in and out of clarity as it competed for the station broadcasting from -Houston-. So, for the last week I had been testing several stations (while still having 97.5 set) trying to find one that is predominately static for the entire day. 94.1 was looking good for a while, but then I noticed something odd. When on my street (and on my street only) the station would lose it's silent nature. It isn’t that there is another station bleeding into it that is odd. It’s that there are -three- competing for it. A Tejano station, a country station and a general mix station. It’s just bizarre, and it only happens on my street. Anyway, I have finally discovered a station - 91.5. It worked all the way to work and we shall see how it does all the way back home.

Erm… nothing else for today… go home.

Monday, August 23, 2004

More Olympic Rambling

The Olympics are rife with sports for your viewing pleasure. Unfortunately, unless you are actually there or get cable, you can only watch whatever event NBC decides to show in their 8-hour block. So you will most likely see tons of gymnastics, track and field, swimming, diving, and perhaps some martial arts. What you are less likely to see are the air rifle finals, badminton or handball. Oh sure, you might get highlights like the game winning slam in table tennis or the calculated bullseye shot in any of the shooting competitions, but never the lead up and stories behind the competitors.

However… some “sports” just beg for media attention. They are either so fun or “neat” to watch that the network can’t possibly deny airtime. One such event is Trampoline. OK — who hasn’t jumped on a tramp and loved it (no pun intended)? Trampolines are seen in several backyards, these days, and I am soon to get one of my very own. I’ve always wanted one and it looks like I might be able to finally bounce my way to euphoria and health soon enough. Anyway, this event is only in its second Olympics but it has proven to be a tough sport indeed. Remember those games of Add-On you used to play? Someone would do a trick and then the next up had to do that trick followed immediately by another trick (often times a bit more difficult than the first to weed out the lesser jumpers). Well, imagine being the 10th person to go after 9 other gymnasts/divers/insane people. That is trampoline in the Olympics. You have to perform 10 consecutive tricks (10 “bounces”) and your first one sets the height to which all others must reach lest you be deducted for the loss of altitude. You are also deducted for traveling across the rectangular shaped trampoline. You are also deducted for obvious things such as form breaks. Control is king in this sport and any lack of it could result in your hurling body some 50 feet -away- from the mats. Oh, and a deduction. I think this could be called a sport just as much as diving is a sport. I mean, in diving, you fall off a platform and twist and flip before piercing the cooling waters of potential victory. In trampoline, you are doing the same thing, except you are going the opposite direction and you have to do it ten times in a row. It is an amazing thing to watch, these men and women who literally jump at the chance for gold. Bounce!

Watching some other sport in which Chile was participating, I couldn’t help but notice their flag. Anyone been to Texas? Chile’s current national flag was established in 1817. Texas’ 2nd (and current) design was established in 1839. Charles B. Stewart of Montgomery County is credited for the “Lone Star State’s” flag design. Perhaps Mr. Stewart took a trip to Chile, no?

The first flag, approved by the President of the Republic of Texas (Sam Houston) in 1836, was a golden five pointed star centered on an azure background. I love our state’s flag. It’s strong and there is no denying what state it belongs to. However, I think I would have preferred the original “National Standard of Texas”. We’re bigger than most countries in the world and a good many Texans would like to see Texas return to being its own nation (fantasy such as it is). If that were to happen, perhaps the old flag would be hoisted once more. Imagine -that- at the Olympics.

Thursday, August 19, 2004


I know, it has been a while since I last posted. Over a week. Well, not that there hasn’t been anything exciting to report. On the contrary. The Olympics alone have taken their toll on my time. Particularly of late because Gymnastics is occupying the majority of that viewing. I used to be in gymnastics (through high-school and college). So I like this sport a lot.

Speaking of the Olympics - how bout that Hamm? Fantastic! I feel a little for Yang Wei, however. He really had that locked up until high-bar. Poor guy. And those South Koreans. Absolutely amazing results from those fine fellows. You gotta feel a little for Kim Dae-Eun and Yang Tae-Young as well. They were putting up consistent scores with no horrible performances and that effort resulted in Silver and Bronze for their country, but they were still edged out by someone who -was- in 12th place. All the same, way to go, lads. But Hamm. Paul Hamm. Coming from a barn in Wisconsin to the gold medal podium in Athens. Just incredible. After a disaster of a vault, landing him a 9.137, it looked like his dreams of Olympic Gold were shattered beyond recovery. It would be easier to repair fine china dropped from 10 stories up. If there is such a thing as Olympic Gods, they certainly showed themselves to the world on that night. Yang Wei, fumbles on high-bar, dropping to eighth. Brett McClure dropped from third to ninth on his final event, Rings. Ioan Silviu (of Romania) dropped to 4th after a decent, yet disappointing, parallel bar routine. This opened the door for Hamm to recover from his vault. You don't get second chances at the Olympics. At least, not usually. But Paul got 2 second chances. Parallel Bars: 9.837. Phenomenal grit and steadfast nature when most athletes would crack to the pressure. He saw others falter and he capitalized on it, resulting in a jump from 12th to 4th in the standings. Quite a leap from someone who sat down moments before. He said he was now fighting for bronze. Working for third place. Not considering a gold, but not considering failure or quitting either.

On his last event, high bar, he had his last chance for any kind of medal. He had misfortune strike him in the team competition on this very event. A missed third release move helped fade America's dreams for team gold. He now stood under that bar with hopes of bronze and memories of missed moves and fumbled landings. But what makes a true Olympic champion? Apparently, conviction and a strong routine. 9.837 — Again! Of all the high bar routines, Paul Hamm led the pack. And he led it well.

Olympic champions don't give up until that final score is posted. Even third place is worth fighting for and when you drive to get every ounce of tenths, hundredths and thousandths of a point out of your routine, you get them. Paul Hamm got them. Every last one he could giant swing out of that routine. Point-Zero-One-Two. That was the spread between First and Second. Gold and Silver. Champion and Competitor. Paul Hamm was crowned champion because he fought for third place. That's an Olympic champion. The ones who fight no matter how hard they are knocked down. The ones who get back up and shrug it off. The ones who want third as much as first. Here’s to Paul Hamm for getting gold in the Men’s Individual All-Around competition, being the very vessel of an Olympic Champion and a reason we get to hear crowds chant “USA!” at the Olympics.

In other news: sorry about SPeCks. This last week and a half (two weeks almost) has been rather busy. I have to remind myself that the comic is a hobby and shouldn’t dictate how I spend my free-time and weekends. I was a little stressed at the beginning of this week and while I am still motivated to do SPeCks, I just haven’t found the time to work on them lately. I anticipate page 3.4 to be up by the end of the weekend. The same with the DSNLG I have going now. Just no time to really look into a solid reply on that one yet.

And for those of you expecting something a bit on the lighter side; a sampling of the finer points of female parking: Drop In and Park Fu.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Cartoons Are Fun(ny)

There are a couple of sites I frequent from time to time. Of these, Weebls has probably one of the best collection of webtoons to date. These guys (UK based) are best known for their irregular series, Weebl and Bob. There is is no rating for any given toon, but I will rate my Top 5 Favs on the site:

5) Merry Christmas — Now this guy has the Christmas spirit. Tell me this doesn't get in your head and stay there, boring a hole big enough for it to stretch out in and fill your entire brain case.

4) Magical Trevor — How could you -not- love Trevor?! He's magically clever!

3) Scampi — This is so bizarre, but the toon is undeniably catchy. Kuala Lumpar!

2) Kenya — hands down, they are just cute, cuddly and HOLY CRAP! LIONS!!!

And the #1 All Time Toon, offered by the good folks at

1) Badgers — If you have never seen this before, for shame. FOR SHAME!!!

I feel compelled to give an “Honorable Mention” to Clows. Nothing especially clever here, there are no words, however the music is a nice loop and the technicality of it is spot on.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Moral Game Participation

Is there such a thing as morality in a game? It’s just a game, after all. However, based on the rules of a game, if someone does something -against- the rules, then they are cheating. And if you are caught cheating then you are regarded as immoral. So, what happens if the cheating was a result of a need? Are you committing an immoral act then? But, then, it is just a game. Who are you hurting, really?

As you know, I play FFXI: Online. This game is very addicting and quite fun. However, being that half the players (perhaps more or less) are on PCs, there are third party programs available allowing players to “cheat” in the game. Most specifically, bots. Also, there are characters created with the sole purpose of amassing large amounts of the game’s money, or gil, for sell on the internet for -real- money. Often, there is a combination of the two (in the form of Fishing Bots). So what are the moral implications of buying gil/items online with real money and/or operating a bot in the game? This is probably one of the most heated debates relating to FFXI. A good example of one such debate can be found on the forums.

It is fact that the operation of a bot on the game is illegal (as stated by the Terms of Service and EULA for the game), however, there is (apparently) nothing expressly illegal concerning the purchase of anything, relating to the game, from an outside, third-party source, ie: website (of which has clearly used a bot to generate their product). By purchasing gil online, you are supporting illegal habits and methods prevalent in the game, and therefore (in my opinion) are considered immoral. Should a criminal rob a bank and then give you a cut of the money, you are no more innocent of the crime than the robber himself. Especially if you knew of how it came to be in his possession in the first place.

Legality aside, the motive for purchasing gil is the more egregious offense. By purchasing gil, you are circumventing the purpose of the game - that being the experience of playing the game. Your play is rewarded by the items and gil that is dropped in the game. Your play gives you the experience needed to be an affective, and contributing, member of the society that exists in the game. If you have gained your level/equipment/money via means outside of the games purpose, you can -NOT- be an affective player. You are a hinderance on the other players of the game. So despite the gil sellers performing illegal actions, it is actually the gil buyers (by their support and lack of play) who are performing the immoral behavior. They are saying that gil farming is ok, which in turn says that my poor gaming experience, as a result of gil farming, is not an issue.

FFXI is there, as a game, for your enjoyment and as a means of entertainment. If you forgo all the processes, by purchasing stuff online, then there is no reason for you to be playing the game. To those people I say, “Please delete your character and make room on the server for those who can and are actually trying to play the game.”

In happier news: SPeCks 3.3

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


Today is my birthday. I am 29. A real 29. Not one of those 5th anniversaries of being 29, either. So, yeah… my birthday.

I am honestly not one for big celebrations of my birthday. I don’t dread getting older and having one day that specifically signifies it, but I just don’t get all into celebrating it. Milestone birthdays can be different. 29th birthdays… not so much. Oddly enough, it feels like I was 28 for a lot longer than just a year, too. Either the year took forever to finish out, or I was incredibly bored for a good portion of it. I tell you what, though, these last 4 months have just blown by. Says something about my job, I think. Time flies when you’re having fun.

Of course, as birthdays go, gifts can, and often are involved. No exception here. However, I am not one for being materialistic. I feel a bit guilty to get gifts for something as trivial as surviving another year. “Here! You’re still alive! Isn’t that fantastic? Have a Sony Universal Remote!” But sometimes you get gifts you don’t really expect or think about and those seem… nicer. I have received one so far. From my wife. For all intent and purposes, it might as well be the only gift I will get, cuz I may not remember what others give me — no offense. The -new- 40GB iPod. And so far, it is awesome. I mean really awesome. My only concern is that my grimy paws are muckin’ up the kewl metal surface of it. Gonna have to whip out the Oakley microfiber cloth to clean it up. I have 302 songs on it now. On shuffle. God, it’s sweet!

Speaking of Oakley (weird tangent, I know), a long time ago — about the time I was first getting paychecks — I used to buy these sunglasses without question. The first pair I got were Eye Jackets. Due to manufacture defects in the ear pieces, they broke. Two pairs. No more dumpin’ my money on those. So then I move to the Titanium (not sure if that is what they were called back then, closest to them now is the T-Wire). Those got stolen. That really made me made, cuz they were hella expensive. After that, I just stuck to $10 glasses. And you know what - no breakage, no stealing, long lasting useful sunglasses is what I had. Then while working as a waiter, someone happened to leave their sunglasses at the restaurant. Nice sunglasses. Oakley Straight Jackets. You know what happens to sunglasses left at restaurants for a couple of days? First come, first serve, baby! Guess who first come. Karma paid me back. Took a while, but I have now been the proud owner of someone else’s Oakleys for the last, oh… 8 months.

Happy Birthday to me! And while I am at it, Happy b-lated to my cousin (Aug. 3rd) and happy birthday to his mom (Aug. 5th). I should get a tattoo… I’m old enough to start trying to reclaim my youth, right?

America has a new team — and it looks like they putting more than the “F” in Freedom.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Further Font Findings

I am not nearly as knowledgeable of type as I would like to be. There are several designers out there that have a greater grasp (borderline obsession) of typography in comparison. But I am not here to compare myself to those designers. Only state that there are those out there more knowledgeable and my desire to attain a greater vocabulary of type.

I had mentioned before that I had interest in some fonts offered by Fountain. They are classic serifs that are dignified and clean. At least to me. I have mentioned other type offerings, such as Scala, that I would like to enrich my library with. I have recently discovered further offerings by Hoefler & Frere-Jones Typography, namely, Requiem. A beautiful specimen. Most particularly, the Y. I have mentioned my excessive use of Minion. I am sure at one point or another I expressed my fondness for Pontifex. These are all very nice, clean, readable serifs.

So what does this mean? I believe it means I enjoy the classical, elegant fonts available to designers. Oddly, there are just as equally beautiful sans-serifs that are not on my immediate favorites list, though I do have favorites among them. Officina, for example. Should H&FJ release Retina, no doubt I will be in search of funds to acquire it. What I like most about the serif fonts is that they seem to have more character, more effort in their design. Readability (not necessarily legibility) aside, they also give a better feeling for the piece in which they are used.

Salad Fingers is an excessively disturbing series created by a clearly deranged individual. Worse than a train wreck and certainly viewed at your own risk.

Monday, August 02, 2004

More Designs

IMG01 of One Track Mind is now up. Not really concerned with how this one gets rated. I just want to see how this conversation goes, really. I wish Scoab would reply to As Seen On TV but I don't want to rush him. I am not even sure when he visited the site last.

I got my haircut yesterday. Rather short too. It’s a little shorter on top than I like, but it doesn’t look bad. I give off a bit of a military air now. Could come in handy when I don’t get exact change at the local 7-11. Meh, it’s August, so it’s all good.

I am working on the second page of SPeCks #3. It should be up before tomorrow. So look out for it sometime this evening, maybe.

You know this has happened to you before, but this poor idiot… the glass isn’t even all that clean.