MilBlog X

The WeatherPixie
Weather Conditions, Wish we were there...

Odd things and such things, as I feel appropriate, possibly relating to the war.
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Jerry Lawson, Proprietor

Comments by: YACCS

Thursday, October 30
FINISHED! Damn! It's about TIME!

Oh, wait - I've gotta wire ANOTHER one?

Damn. One more night. Two, three more hours. Then a test run. Then we've got to move it all.


Aardvark Work business is never done.


Well, YOU try to reconstruct Iraq

The Onion's a satrical site - yet THIS one is spot on target, and hardly satirical.


Wednesday, October 29
Sorry for the light blogging - something ... interesting ... is in the works. Couple more days, and I'll have more, but it's taking a lot of free time right now.


Monday, October 27 Home US:
"Bill Gates on Monday offered the first public look at Longhorn, the next generation of the Windows PC operating system that he said would be Microsoft's 'biggest release of this decade and the biggest since Windows 95.'"
Aw, CRAP! We haven't even gotten XP rolled out, and he's talking about a new OS? Come on, Bill, give us a friggin' break here.

On the good side - if we posulate that this new thing will come out in '07 (targeted for '06, but it's gonna slip, you know it...) and they roll it out at the plant 3 years later, that'll be 2010 - 7 years before I'm going to have to seriously worry about it.


Saturday, October 25
Some Democratic Hopefuls Question Value of Debates:
"WASHINGTON, Oct. 23 — Their nearly weekly debates have been the biggest events of the season for the Democratic presidential candidates. They build their travel schedules around the televised encounters. Their aides devote hours to coming up with catchy retorts. And the forums draw more press coverage than anything else the candidates do.

Even so, many of the top candidates and their aides are at their wits' end over the televised jousts. Some openly contend that the events are simply a waste of time.

'I think the crowded field allows the most shrill, conflict-oriented, confrontational voices to be heard,' Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts said Thursday in Iowa, 'and not necessarily the person who might make the best candidate or the best president.'"
Then again, they might have learned something from Al Gore's performance. 3 televised debates, 3 different 'personas' - each one tuned to try for a different audience. And each one confusing the audience of the other two.

So - no debate? That way, they can hide. What don't they want us to see?

J. - Views - ifeminists - Killing the Good Samaritan
"... With no religious implication, I say: a devil is at large. He tells us that acts of kindness and common decency do not exist; the worst possible interpretation should be placed on acts that appear to embody those values. Individuals do not exist; only categories.

In real PC terms, this means that all men should be objects of suspicion. A man, such as Michael, should be subject to a criminal investigation that could damage the rest of his life for trying to ..."
The gentleman in question was under investigation for a heinous crime. What hideous offense did he commit? You will shudder when you read it.. and realize that if you're male it could all too easily happen to you.
On a recent Thursday, two police officers appeared at Michael's house, apparently to investigate his stalking of a female OU student. Stalking is a serious crime, which is defined as "the willful, malicious and repeated following and harassing of another person." It can place a young man on a registry of sex offenders that could haunt his future and limit his options in life. Indeed, Oklahoma is a state in which convicted sex offenders must register his/her address, which is made available to the public. No wonder Michael suffered "a great deal of nerve-wracking anxiety" before being exonerated.

What mistake did Michael make?

On Saturday, Sept. 27, he found the OU ID card of a female student. Looking up her number and e-ddress in the OU online directory, he dialed the no-longer-valid number then sent an e-mail:

"I found your ID card today on a photocopy machine at the AVA copy center. I picked it up to return to you, since you might not have remembered where you left it. I usually go to the campus every day and often go to the library or the computer lab in the physical science building. I get a cup of coffee every morning from the yogurt stand in the union. You can e-mail me or call me to arrange for me to return it to you."

Not hearing anything by Monday, he simply gave the card to an OUPD officer and e-mailed her: "You haven't replied to my e-mail from Saturday so I gave your ID card to an OUPD officer I saw in the main library." (A police officer investigating Michael said the card had not been returned, which was later revealed to be an OU oversight.)

The female student bypassed the university and went straight to the local police with the "allegation" that Michael "had looked up her number" -- albeit in an open directory. The police were forced by law and policy to investigate. Michael was forced to endure a weeklong ordeal before the bureaucracy offered him an apology ... or as close to it as bureaucracy ever comes.
It could happen to you. Find a purse and call the owner? You're a stalker. Find an ID card, and attempt to return it? Get a visit from the police and a record.

And note - this woman didn't even give the guy a chance to return it - she immediately ASSUMED he was a stalker and called the police.

Guilty until proven innocent. Isn't modern education wonderful?


Thursday, October 23
OPERATION GIVE - Sending Smiles to IRAQ One Package at a Time

This was started by Chief Wiggles. The main thrust, to send toys to Iraqi children.

As the left would say, "it's for the children". This time - it really is.


Wednesday, October 22
Few Viewers and Network Executives Scratch Their Heads:
"AS the ratings have rolled in for the first three weeks of the new television season, one question has dominated the conversations inside the industry's executive suites: what the heck is going on?
Network executives are baffled by a season unlike any seen before. Returning hit shows like 'Friends' and 'E.R.' are losing significant numbers of viewers from previous years. New shows have performed far worse than almost anyone expected, a result capped off Monday night when the Fox network started two shows that had received huge promotional pushes during the baseball playoffs, 'The Next Joe Millionaire' and 'Skin,' and they posted crushingly disappointing numbers. And men between 18 and 24 are apparently deserting television in droves. So far this year nearly 20 percent fewer men in that advertiser-friendly demographic are watching television during prime time than during the same period last year.


Mr. Sternberg summed up the state of television at the moment: "No one knows what's going on.""
Seems simple to me. People will watch stuff that's entertaining, that's novel, or that's challenging. They'll watch programs that have characters they care about. They'll watch things like 'Who'd Like To Be A Millionaire?' because it's challenging. They'll watch stuff like reality TV, because it's different - at least for a while.

The problem is, the networks tend to take stuff that's new and entertaining and xerox it out like crazy until the market is saturated. The viewer gets saturated - and the viewer finds something else to do.

You'd think they'd realize that by now.


Pakistan, Saudi Arabia in secret nuke pact
"ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have concluded a secret agreement on "nuclear cooperation" that will provide the Saudis with nuclear-weapons technology in exchange for cheap oil, according to a ranking Pakistani insider.

The disclosure came at the end of a 26-hour state visit to Islamabad last weekend by Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, who flew across the Arabian Sea with an entourage of 200, including Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal and several Cabinet ministers."
See fan.

See fecal material.

See fecal material hit rotating fan...

Many things come to mind when I see this - starting with a whole lot of verbalized obscenities (of which George Carlin's 7 words are on the extremely mild end...) and continuing onward into speculations that are NOT good at all.

What happens when a theocracy that can EASILY justify killing unbelivers gets nukes? Which is willing to take massive losses to strike at the unbeliever? Are they going to try a 'You WILL convert or die' ultimatum? Will we lose Paris or LA, when they try to prove they're 'serious', and get embroiled in a religious war that will end up making the Crusades look like a Sunday picnic?

This, if true, is a shitload of trouble coming at us. Let's hope it's...

1) Not true.

2) If true, that there's SERIOUS control of the warheads.

3) If no stringent control, that the leaders of whatever sect gets them realizes that to use one will insure a religious war that Islam has NO chance of winning. Because it doesn't, if the world gets cranked up and realizes that Islamic fundamentalists would willingly destroy the world if they don't get their way. You thought WW2 was something? That was 60 years ago. They may persuade themselves that they can win - but Saddam thought he could stop the US and he was the best prepared of any ME dictatorship to go toe-to-toe with the free world. And all his forces ended up as were speed bumps for our troops.

God, I hope this is false.


Tuesday, October 21
Cuba - Worker's Paradise or Hitchhiker Hell?:
"When the Soviet Union stopped being able to support its client states, most of them abandoned socialism. Cuba didn't. One of the most obvious signs of this is on the roads: Cuba has become a nation of hitch-hikers.

Moscow once guaranteed the cheap oil that kept fleets of buses on the move and powered the ageing rail network. Now the country can't get enough fuel to run its buses or enough credit to replace those beyond repair. In Havana, huge, converted articulated trucks called cammelos [camels] carry as many as 300 crushed and sweating passengers at a time. Travelling between cities is even worse."
Worker's Paradise? Sure it is. Triumphant example of socialism? Uh huh.

You know, somehow this doesn't make me think Marx or Lenin thought their ideas through to anything other than the conclusion THEY wanted. From what I've read, they did NOT think beyond a mythical future where everyone was happy under the socialist banner and gave no thought to any problems that might arise in their implementation of it.

Thankfully, their ideas have been pretty well proven unworkable at this point. Like it or not, capitalism does work - and it's the wave of the future.


Sunday, October 19
Political commentary morning...

It's Sunday, and after reviewing the usual suspects -

(Metafilter, Indymedia, DU (Democratic Underground - denser than depleted uranium but nowhere near so useful...) and others) -

I'm really rather amazed. Amazed that for all the evil that the US does, for all the stifling of dissent Ashcroft's jackbooted thugs do, for all the heinous imprisonment and tortures that the Gubbermint does to anyone who dissents from Fuhrer Bush's 'Mien Kampf'-ish vision of American hegemony and absolute domination of the world

(which includes, but is not necessarily limited to stealing all the oil in Iraq and all the chocolate in Switzerland, not to mention all the salt in the seas and almost all the oxygen in the air worldwide, leaving the poor heathens in other countries to gasp along at oxygen partial pressure levels equivalent to the top of Mount Everest)

that they're still able to get on the Internet and publish without any sort of censorship or restrictions

(because since the Internet grew from the DARPA it must actually be governmentally controlled, a plot to get the dissidents to expose themselves so they can be located easier...)

and despite the fact that Bush has centuries of historical example of repressive governments to choose from

(Hitler's Germany, Saddam's Iraq, the USSR, China under various leaders up to and including Mao, Japan pre WW2, and dozens of others)

that Bush, who is at the same time the most stupid President we've ever had

(Ignoring Warren G. Harding, I guess, he of the Teapot Dome scandal)

and the most cunning who can wrap the UN around his little finger,

(who started the Iraq war simply so his friends at Haliburton could profit - and somehow managed to get the UN to sign off on resolution #17 against the Iraqis)

just can't seem to find the stones to collect up all the on-line traitors and ship them off to the concentration camps that have been built to house dissidents in the US.

(It was on the Internet, so it must be so.)

In other words, the stuff that's being spouted is the same as last week, the week before, and the week before. I wouldn't mind it if there were something new, but there isn't. Just frothing and seething and a selective disconnection from reality.

Oh, one NEW bit of stuff.... Schwarzenegger's father was a Nazi. (Austria was taken over by Germany, as you may recall...) Bush's grandfather had Nazi ties, through a bank he was working at . Or, as found at...
Documents show Bush had Nazi links : "President George W Bush's grandfather was a director of a bank seized by the federal government because of its ties to a German industrialist who helped bankroll Adolf Hitler's rise to power, government documents show.

Prescott Bush was one of seven directors of Union Banking Corp., a New York investment bank owned by a bank controlled by the Thyssen family, according to recently declassified National Archives documents reviewed by The Associated Press
Fritz Thyssen was an early financial supporter of Hitler, whose Nazi party Thyssen believed was preferable to communism. The documents do not show any evidence Bush directly aided that effort. "
Now - what's interesting here is the following chain of associations.

Thyssen belived that the Nazis were preferable to the Communists. Bush was one of 7 directors of a bank owned by a bank controlled by the Thyssen family. That bank apparently provided money to an industrialist who supported Hitler. Therefore, Bush's grandpa was a Nazi.

Perfectly obvious, isn't it? Never mind that if you look at news back in the '30s, before Hitler started his aggressions, he wasn't seen as being terrible for Germany. And apparently, Naziism is hereditary. If it's something your parents or grandparents either did or financed (however indirectly) then YOU are a Nazi, too.

Man, I gotta get a new hobby.


California's Democratic Attorney General Admits He Voted for Republican Schwarzenegger - from Tampa Bay Online:
"BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - Attorney General Bill Lockyer, often mentioned as a possible Democratic candidate for California governor in 2006, said Saturday he voted for Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger in this month's recall election.
'It was the first time I ever voted for a Republican in my life,' Lockyer said during a speech at the Institute for Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. 'What Arnold Schwarzenegger represented for me was hope, optimism and change, and I want that.' "
Isn't that an interesting money quote? "'What Arnold Schwarzenegger represented for me was hope, optimism and change, and I want that.'"...

Think about what that implies, coming from a Democratic attourney general, being groomed for governorship. He's basically screwed as far as the Dems are concerned - he's basically labeled the party as being without hope, stagnant, and pessimistic.

Could be a lot of other Dems are seeing their 'party' the same way, which is why Schearzenegger got in with such a plurality.

As far as it goes, it's really pretty clear that the Democrat party isn't 'progressive' any more, it's stopped being 'progressive' a long time ago. There's no new ideas, no political 'killer app' that'll suck folks back into the party, and it appears any new ideas are resisted. (At least, I haven't heard of anything new except a proposal to RAISE taxes, which looks to be a non-starter." Instead they want a static political electorate, one that follows blindly when the Democratic party platform changes direction. They're not looking for change, they're looking to be against any Republican initiatives or proposals, and they'll try hard to tear down or denigrate any progress the Repubs make.

How long until people get disillusioned with that? Or, to be more precise, how long until ENOUGH people are sufficiently disillusioned that they bail?

Guess California is finding out....


Friday, October 17
CBC News: Physicists smash internet speed record:
"The land record was set on Oct. 1 by transferring 1.1 terabytes of data over a 7,000-kilometre link in less than 30 minutes, the team said.
The average transfer rate was 5.44 gigabits per second (Gbps), which broke the previous record of 2.38 Gbps – more than 20,000 times faster than a typical home broadband connection"
Now, when they get that for wifi, I'll be REAL impressed.

Wonder what that'd be called - 802.11X?

Thursday, October 16
Bush's foreign policy "not good for the world": Madeleine Albright:
"In an interview with the Europe 1 station Albright heavily criticised the actions of the Republican leadership that replaced the Democratic administration she worked for, and notably the 'chaos' that reigns in Iraq.

'America is much stronger in a multilateral system, we must be on the same side, work with other people in the world. It shouldn't be America versus the others,' Albright said, speaking in French."
Oooh. She spoke French in France. How impressive. (And yes, I'm monolingual. Unless you count being able to converse intelligibly with aerospace engineers and computer folk, AND secretaries.) So - how much chaos was in Iraq before we took over? The Marsh Arabs had undergone an ecological catastrophe, at Saddam's hands. His people were starving, they were terrorised, but we shouldn't have done anything while we were in the area, right?
On Iraq, Albright said "I fear that there really is chaos there. We don't know what's going to happen. One or two Americans a day are killed."

Bush's insistence before and after the war that Saddam Hussein had ties to Osama bin Laden failed to convince her -- "I didn't really think that there was a link" -- but, she said, the situation was getting to a point that Iraq was becoming a magnet for anti-US militants.

"Now there's chaos, now all the terrorists are coming to kill an American."

Even if ridding Iraq of its "terrible" leader had its merits, Albright added: "I don't understand why the war happened now. I would have liked to see us concentrate on Afghanistan."
With all due respect, I think this woman's kind of out of the loop. "I don't understand why the war happened now"? Where was she on 9/11? Overseas somewhere apologizing for America's existence? Perhaps, just perhaps, she doesn't know as much as she thinks she does about the current situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of course, if she goes by media reports she's going to think it's a quagmire. One or two Americans a day dead? Terrorists flocking to Iraq to kill Americans? Slavering to kill US soldiers?

Well, they're doing a damn poor job of it. As far as the flocking goes - this woman's old enough to know about flypaper.


The folks who were in Clinton's administration aren't showing themselves to be the brightest stars in the firmnament, are they?


Sometimes, things make no darn sense to me at all.

No, I'm not talking about world politics, or the California Elections. Both of those are scrutable - in one case you've got fanatical hatreds coming out with chances to backstab, in the other it's just the folks who hate the US doing the same thing their California brethren are doing. SSDD, and I'm not referring to single-sided, double density disks, either.

I'm talkin' wireless networks here. I'm puzzled by a problem I ran into.

When we got OfficeMax for Aaron, I figured the easiest (and cheapest) way to attach it to the Internet with a wireless hub/router. Linksys was selling an 802.11b router about $100 at Circuit City, so I picked one up and brought it home, along with a wireless PCI card for Max. I could string cable, drill through walls and all that - but I'm looking to get the job done as easily as possible - and going through crawlspaces doesn't fit that criteria. Wireless did. I'm lazy, given two solutions that cost an equivalent amount I'll go for the easier of the two. That easier in this case mean even more options was gravy.

When John Bouler brought over Delila (A Dell Laptop) it only made sense to get a wireless card for it. Woo, wireless surfing! We be in the tall cotton now!

Except... my preferred laptop couch potato spot seems to be sufficiently 'shielded' by the rest of the house that the router signal is greatly attenuated. This wasn't much of a problem, really, until I started doing some work in the garage and wanted internet music off the laptop - and I got cutouts like crazy.

So, to recap... the following Linksys parts were in the existing network.

Wireless router - BEFW11S4
Wireless PCMCIA card - WPC11 - in Delila.
Wireless PCI Card - WMP11 - in Max.

Each respective item installed slicker than vaseline on a doorknob. No problems, zip ping bang and there's IE saying the Internet was accessable. So everything worked, pretty much, except for some severe range issues on the laptop. But hey, looking at it in a linear fashion there's about two, three solid feet of wood, plasterboard and various items between the router and my preferred potato spot.

So - something had to give.

Browsing on the Linksys site, I found reference to a WSB24 signal booster. Easy install, just plug in a couple of cables, move some antennas around, and Bing! You've got bandwidth!

(Got any hints as to what's about to happen? Thought so...)

Got the booster. Set it up. And BING! I've got bandwidth and to spare on Delila. Signal? Signal?! More signal than you knew what to DO with! It was great....

Then Max went deaf as a damn post. No signal, not a single glimmer that there was a router trying to talk to it. Took off WEP, same problem. Removed the booster - and it was fine. Put the booster back on, and it was 'You talkin' to ME?' time again.

But Delila, the little tramp, was chattering away like crazy. I surfed, trying to find a clue. Redid my WEP settings, no joy. Reloaded drivers - ditto. With the booster in, Max was deaf. Without - he was fine. WEP? No problem. IPConfig release & renew? Yep. No problem, so long as nobody was 'shouting' at him.

Acting on bits, hints and odd references I was able to find, I changed the channel the router was using from the default 6 to 8 - with no joy. Actually, the symptoms changed a bit - from no connection to a 1 mbit connection with intermittent disconnects.

So, still surfing, I spotted a reference to changing the channel from 6 to 1 or 11 in cases like this. Something was yammering in the 2.4 ghz channel 6-8 spectrum, and Max was offended enough to shut his 'ears' off. (And no, it wasn't Delila - even when she was off, the problem persisted.)

So I set the channel to 11, off of 8. And it worked WELL. I set up WEP, got connected, and it ran without a hitch. Surfin'g faster than ever - and the couch spot went from 13-20% to 60+.

I'm happy about that, but I'm a bit steamed about the hardware issues. 3 hours spent trying to install a LITERALLY plug and play device, a simple add-in, where my initial router setup took less than fifteen minutes. And that included stripping off the shrinkwrap.

Why would boosting a signal cause a problem like that? Anyone got any ideas?


Tuesday, October 14
LindaY asked - "What's Pal Mickey?"

Well, here's a bit of info on him... Pal Mickey

And a bit of discussion on him >here<

It's actually a neat little device - apparently the nose is an IR receiver (possibly wi-fi, since the little stinker vibrated a number of times when I couldn't spot anything resembling a transmitter head), and a computer inside it tells jokes, plays games, and gives hints, tips, and info.

I'm not sure it's worth the money, but what the heck - isn't vacation time for spending money like water on stuff you normally wouldn't think of getting? (You should see my pin trading lanyard! AAGH!)

Gizmodo Link

This Disney Web Site link suggests it's a wireless critter, not IR. Hmm. Wonder if I can get it on the lan? (grin)

You ask, I try to answer!


Sunday, October 12
We went down to Disney - but where did we stay? The Port Orleans Riverside resort. An aerial view of it is here...

Port Orleans Resort

And this one's approximately centered on the pool that Aaron liked ...

Pool Shot - Right side of Island

Our room was to the north-northwest of that island with the pool, and the food court/lobby was to the SW, just across the bridge from the island.

Yep, it was a ways to the food court.

One odd thing I noticed was a section that looked a lot like an airstrip. I even commented to Sue on it. Later on, I found out that Walt Disney used to have his personal plane land there.


There's the racetrack (where folks can live out their racing fantasies, notice the 'natural' lake in the middle of it...) then the main road to the Disney Parking Lot (and boy, I'll bet THAT thing creates thermals in the middle of the summer) then the airstrip. No hangar or support facilities evident - I'd guess that any plane was actually based elsewhere. Of course, they could have been removed...

If you pan up a bit further, you'll see a lot more of the Magic Kingdom from the air...


Disney hints....

It's difficult to find inexpensive Internet access while on the property. There's terminals in various locations - but you'll have to stand while using them.

As far as food and other tips goes...

1. If you’re staying at a resort for four days or more, definitely get a set of mugs at the food court. Drinks are a minimum of $1.89+ no matter where you are, you’re going to amortize it out really fast if you’re eating in the food court for breakfast or lunch, and getting a daily drink for a snack. If you eat two meals a day in the food court (as we did on some days, plus drinks when we were at the central pool) it's surprising how fast they'll pay for themselves.

Food’s costly anywhere on the property in DW, so find the ‘cheap’ food where you can. It helps if you look on the food courts as fueling stations, instead of gourmet dining. Figure a minimum of $10/person/meal – excluding snacks. This figures drinks into the cost, BTW – our first dinner in the food court cost about $60, but we got three mugs.

The omelette breakfasts are good-sized, but slow. As far as I’m concerned the most cost-effective meal at the resort food courts is breakfast. $6 for scrambled eggs, potatoes, and sausage may sound high, but it’s a good-sized meal and should last you till mid-afternoon. (At least, it did for me.) Think slightly more expensive Waffle House. If you’re of a mind to go the really cheap route, you can get a side of grits and a side of oatmeal for breakfast – that’ll probably last you till dinner and it’ll be less than $4.

Dinners aren’t bad – the POR had a blackened prime rib sandwich that was kind of costly, but it was a large piece of meat about 3/8ths inch thick. Very tasty, and filling with the accessories. Also tried the spagetti and meatballs – I liked the sauce a lot, it didn’t have an overly sweet taste like many commercial sauces do.

Popcorn’s relatively cheap ($2.80 a box, $3.20 a bucket) and cheaper than at the movies. That, and a drink, and you’ll be full till dinner. Plus, the bucket makes a good Pal Mickey coffin. (See below.)

2. The Disney Transportation System is pretty effective. Don’t expect to-the-minute precision, you won’t get it – but they’ll get you to and from the parks if you’re at a resort.

3. The lifeguards don’t get to the central pools much before 10 AM, so don’t expect the fun stuff like the water slides to be operating before then.

4. REST! Take a daytime break, go back to the room and rest up. You may begrudge the time, but you’ll be REAL glad you did.

5. Lower your expectations. If you’re traveling with a 5 year old, intending to give him/her the experience of a lifetime, you’re going to be disappointed. The parks aren’t really for them, much as you’d like to think otherwise. It’ll be hot, it’ll be uncomfortable, and the kid’s not going to see much except the backsides of the people in line in front of him. You’ll be cranky, because your normally well-behaved darling is cranky as a cat in a roomful of rocking chairs. See #4 above – if you’re pushing things to do as much as possible, it’s time to step back and figure out if you’ll have more fun in the park, cranky and miserable, or back at a pool playing in a water slide.

6. In fact, it’s hard to figure out who the parks are FOR – my little boy had more fun in the fountain in Downtown Disney and the central pool with a slide than he really did in the parks – though he DID like Test Track. We went through that three times. So perhaps it’s geared for teens – there certainly were enough of them. But kids? Babies? Ect? Nah. No way.

Also, if you’re thinking about using a stroller – go right ahead. Watch out for ankles, okay? And keep the blasted thing out of the area between “It’s a Small World” and “Peter Pan” okay? There they had the things six deep on the Small World side, three deep on the Peter Pan side – so there was maybe a 10-15 feet wide corridor everyone funnels through. This can get really frustrating, real fast. This is not fun.

7. The FastPass system WORKS! Use it early, use it often. Sometimes there’s an opportunity to get FastPasses from a guy who is taking care of a malfunctioning FastPass machine – the passes you’ll get from him aren’t against your ticket, and you can get others immediately.

There’s no such thing as a FastPass for the Fantasmic show at MGM – but the next best thing is to get one of the ‘Fantasmic’ dinner specials which you can find referenced at Intercot. Eat at Hollywood and Vine, or the Brown Derby, and you can get preferred seating. This is a Very Good Thing. There’s no bad seats in the stadium seating for Fantasmic – but some are better than others. Sit approximately in the middle of a section, the special effects work best there.

8. Sometimes you’ll get a “Surprise” Fastpass for another attraction, along with the pass you’re requesting. The time we got it, there was a 15 minute window, which we missed. And depending on your timing, sometimes you won’t need a FastPass at all. Mickey’s PhilHarmagic is darn near empty the first time or three after Fantasyland reopens after the nightly fireworks display. Other rides at park closing are likely to be almost empty, too – as people try to get out before the rush. Good thing to do, if you can manage it. See #4 above - take a nap for energy! BTW, Fantasyland WILL be cleared for ‘Wishes’ – because they’ve apparently got to wash it down afterward. We got there about ten minutes or so after the end of ‘Wishes’ on 9 October, and the streets were wet. Be prepared to be shoved out gently.

9. The SchoolBread in the Norwegian bakery in Epcot is a real bargain – it may look like a cocoanut covered bagel, but it’s filled with sweet cream and is well worth the price. The cloudberry-cream filled horns, however, aren’t worth the money – at least for us. The sweet pretzels, however – yum! Get several, carry them away, snack on them later.

10. Pal Mickey – eh. Some folks swear by them, some folks swear at them on Intercot – I wish we’d rented one instead of buying it. Aaron wasn’t impressed enough with it to carry it around, though he did find it interesting while waiting in lines. Maybe if he were 4, it would have been different. However – what is, is. I found it useful a couple of times, and when we come back I’ll drag the little rodent along. (Plus, he fits nicely inside a popcorn bucket along with spare change and other misc stuff when packing up to go home.)

11. Get a belt pouch with a transparent window on it – it’s useful for ID. I've got what we call a FOD pouch that's Lockheed issue, don't have a source for outside purchase yet. I'll see if I can find one.

12. If you’ve got a digital camera, take extra batteries. Lithium batteries weren’t available except for high priced ones. Nobody will object if you bring your own batteries – and you can get them significantly cheaper than Disney will sell them to you.

All in all, it was a great trip. More later!

Saturday, October 4
We be gone for a bit - have to go visit the Kindom of the Mouse....


Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage - Polish Troops Find New French Missiles in Iraq
"WARSAW (Reuters) - Polish troops in Iraq have found four French-built advanced anti-aircraft missiles which were built this year, a Polish Defense Ministry spokesman told Reuters Friday.
France strongly denied having sold any such missiles to Iraq for nearly two decades, and said it was impossible that its newest missiles should turn up in Iraq.
'Polish troops discovered an ammunition depot on Sept. 29 near the region of Hilla and there were four French-made Roland-type missiles,' Defense Ministry spokesman Eugeniusz Mleczak said.
'It is not the first time Polish troops found ammunition in Iraq but to our surprise these missiles were produced in 2003.'"
And we wondered why France was so... adamant that we not go to war.



Thursday, October 2
Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage : U.S. Report Fails to Link Gun Laws to Violent Crime : "ATLANTA (Reuters) - A report published by the Centers for Disease Control on Thursday found no conclusive evidence that gun control laws help to prevent violent crime, suicides and accidental injuries in the United States.
Critics of U.S. firearms laws, which are considered lax in comparison with most other Western nations, have long contended that easy access to guns helped to fuel comparatively high U.S. rates of murder and other violent crimes."

Wonder how long it'll be until HCI denounces the CDC?


Wednesday, October 1
Eject! Eject! Eject! - POWER:
"I must say that for a racist, mass-murdering nation of Nazis bent on terrorizing poor brown people by blowing as many of them to bits as possible, this is rather an anemic effort. How many American and British lives were lost in Iraq due to our self-imposed reluctance to level, at the merest lift of a finger, the building of city block from which our troops were taking fire? How bitterly disappointed must be the barking moonbats of the lunatic left, that we who had the power to kill hundreds of thousands of civilians to limit our own losses saw fit to stay our own hand? Unilaterally, without prior UN approval. There was not a solitary Belgian in sight to instruct us in morality.


But I digress… "
Bill Whittle's latest is up. And he's got some INTERESTING things to say. The above paragraph? Not even close to the top of the list...


Fior the Indymedia crowd - a song. Sung by the Wicked Witch of the West in the movie "The Wiz": (BTW, read "bad" news as being anything positive about the country, the world economy, the war on terror, the situation in Afghanistan, the situation in Iraq, starving people in Africa where GM foods have been banned, progress in the Israeli-Palestinian mess, indications that global warming isn't as bad as it has been thought, indications that global cooling isn't as cold as it should be, that the ozone hole in the Antarctic isn't growing, OR news about rapes by Muslims in Scandinavia rising. The preceeding list is not all inclusive - anything that might be construed as good for the status quo or the vast majority of people in the world is automatically 'bad' news, and will be ignored accordingily.)

Charlie Smalls Lyrics - Don't Nobody Bring Me No Bad News (Sung by Mabel King & The Winkies) Lyrics. the Wiz Soundtrack Lyrics: "

Artist: Charlie Smalls Lyrics
Song: Don't Nobody Bring Me No Bad News (Sung by Mabel King & The Winkies) Lyrics

When I wake up in the afternoon
Which it pleases me to do
Don't nobody bring me no bad news
'Cause I wake up already negative
And I've wired up my fuse
So don't nobody bring me no bad news

If we're going to be buddies
Better bone up on the rules
'Cause don't nobody bring me no bad news
You can be my best of friends
As opposed to payin' dues
But don't nobody bring me no bad news

No bad news
No bad news
Don't you ever bring me no bad news
'Cause I'll make you an offer, child
That you cannot refuse
So don't nobody bring me no bad news

When you're talking to me
Don't be cryin' the blues
'Cause don't nobody bring me no bad news
You can verbalize and vocalize
But just bring me the clues
But don't nobody bring me no bad news

Bring some message in your head
Or in something you can't lose
But don't you ever bring me no bad news
If you're gonna bring me something
Bring me, something I can use
But don't you bring me no bad news"

More good news from Iraq.

Why We Are Winning in Iraq

And it's rather strange how some folks (specifically Indymedia types) not only don't want to see stuff like this posted on their sites (Independent media? Right...) but will savagely denounce it as pro-war propaganda. Hey, it's their priveledge, but it strikes me that they're fooling themselves with this stuff.

I like to think of myself as being reasonably rational. I can look at an issue, find out enough information on it to make a decision, and then go ahead and act on the results of that decision. If there isn't sufficient information, I'll delay making a decision. If the information I've got is suspect, then I'll delay making a decision until I can verifty it. I'll try like hell not to make a decision based on emotion, because when I've done that in the past, it's come back to bite me bigtime.

Indymedia seems to run primarily on emotion, not rational thought. Was the war justifiable? To me, the answer is yes - we acted on information that was good enough for Clinton, we waited 12 years for Saddam to comply with the UN, we were getting stories out of Iraq showing that country was a hellhole for anyone even SUSPECTED of being disloyal to Saddam (and since verified by a whole lot of folks in Iraq who finally felt free to talk about what was happening) and what you heard from the Indymedia Peace At Any Price crowd was that none of this was worth going to war over.

Separately, no. Combined - yes.

But after having invested so much emotional energy into showing how bad the US was for beating up on poor innocent Saddam (pardon, I mean Iraq) you'd think they'd be looking at what the Iraqis have to say and LISTENING to them...

But they aren't. Their current news page and hidden news pages show what they'd prefer be seen. And their comments on the "Well, maybe Iraq isn't a quagmire after all, and things ARE getting better" posts...
oil theif GW Bush
by see through the imperialist lies Tuesday September 30, 2003 at 09:36 PM

No, the war in Iraq is far from over, more people are dying everyday..

Young americans are being denied a further education and are encouraged to join the military at eighteen. The money that should be going to school is instead going to the military/boeing/lockheed martin/howard hughes/etc..

CNN and Fox news abound with pro-Bush stories, we don't need any GW Bush suck-ups on indymedia..

This war is still about the Iraqi oil being exported by Dick Cheney's Halliburton. If u claim this war is not about seizing a sovereign nation's oil, then u are a liar. Imperialists that continue to support the current dictator GW Bush are guilty of war crimes..
... are telling.

One of the things about growing up (as opposed to growing old) is that at some point you're going to start questioning your own infallability and knowledge. To me, the hallmark of adulthood is being able to go "Okay, what I am certain of may be wrong, and I need to get more information and rethink this." Based on that criteria, there's not a lot of adults commenting over at Indymedia.