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On Vox: QotD: My Journey to Greatness

Feb. 10th, 2009 | 01:51 am

Greatness is not a destination, but a journey. What do you do for your family, career or community that you’re most proud of?
Sponsored by Nature Made

I find it highly amusing that this quote appears today, the day I decide to make my reappearance in the bloggosphere properly. Perhaps this is my synchronicity powers working again. I certainly seem to be more in tune with the universe as a whole lately.

What am I most proud of that I do? I understand most fully the implications of living as part of a greater whole, and realize that everybody has within them an ability, a power, a spark of divinity or trace blood of mythic heroes, and because of this they also have the responsibility to live up to the same standards we imagine in our role models, both real and fictional. 

The synchronicity here is that I have only just recently restated my purpose in life: exploring the magic of stories as inspiration for real world heroes and role-models throughout time and space in order to learn the best ways to inspire greatness in those around me, starting with my family and clan, and through them the rest of the world.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: My internet swami asked me to...

May. 30th, 2008 | 06:00 pm

...Post a link  to http://www.freakangels.com ?  Just to remind people
we're still here  and still pumping out free comics episodes once a week.
Memories get short on  the old intarwubs.

Hell, you could even use


the FREAKANGELS  RSS Window, which auto-updates every Friday.


Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: Curried Meat Pies

Apr. 29th, 2008 | 12:36 pm

Curried Meat Pies
makes 8 pies. Cost: $16

1 lb Ground meat (lamb for me)
3 medium yellow onions, diced
1/2 cup frozen snow peas
1/2 cup turnips, diced
2-3 T  freshly ground Curry powder (I used World Spice Market Capetown Masala)
1 t Sea salt
1 T cooking oil
Cayenne pepper (optional)

2 pkg Pillsbury Pastry dough, thawed

Preheat oven to 425

Saute onions in oil in large skillet until clear, add Curry, half salt, and continue to saute until onions start to brown.

Brown meat separately in medium skillet, stirring constantly to get a fine, even size to the ground meat. Once the meat is hot enough to drain off the fat,  then add meat, and additional salt, to the curry pan and continue to brown. Add turnips and peas and cook until peas are bright green. At this point the meat is cooked and you can taste it to see if more salt or spice needs to be added.

On a lightly floured surface, unfold one pastry shell and cut into halves. Pastry dough may be stretched to desired size or shape, but too thin will not support a full meat filling. If the dough tears, dampen with a drop of water and press together.

Spoon the filling into the halves and fold in any artistic manner you desire. Press dough edges together with a fork and place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 12 minutes. 

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: New camera

Mar. 22nd, 2008 | 12:42 pm

My father bought me a new digital camera for my birthday. It arrived a day late to go with me out to the Peninsula on Wednesday (a post I have yet to finish), but I did take it out for a spin yesterday on my lunch break. I still need to buy a memory card for it--Sony moved to much smaller MemorySticks since my last camera was made. This is a Sony

DSC-W80, a compact black pocket model. Someday I might end up getting an SLR but I feel I have a lot to learn before I bother with the more expensive, fragile models. I

I promise more photos, sunsets, and something from my trip to the beach and Cape Flattery soon.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: Prime, again!

Mar. 14th, 2008 | 12:17 am

This image shamelessly stolen from the comic book, Scud, issue 22. If you're nerd enough to know Scud, then great. If not, well then you should investigate if you need to be that kind of Nerd, because Cowboys Never Quit.

This message brought to you by the number 31. That's how old I am today. Happy Birthday to me!

***Bonus: This week a new Serenity Comic, Better Days #1 by Joss Whedon shipped. Check your local comic stores!

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: RIP Howard Gobioff 1971 - 2008

Mar. 12th, 2008 | 02:01 pm

It is the duty of the living to honor the memories of those that go before us.

There is a very nice piece on Howard on CMU's alumni site.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: An Unplanned Day Should Not Count As Wasted

Mar. 12th, 2008 | 12:39 am

This is my new desktop look. I am proud of it, this cost me 6 hours of my day. An experiment in copying drives destroyed my Ubuntu root installation this morning, before I had eaten or gotten any caffeine. This is my first lesson for the day, it is a very bad time to be using sudo privileges.  I had wanted to migrate off the old, loud, power-hungry SCSI drive onto a sleek, fast and relatively quiet SATA drive, but instead I failed to consider the symbolic links involved. I wasted several hours reading community docs on how to maybe patch the install after critical files were deleted before finally initiating a re-install.
What I did learn: Ubuntu installs pretty easily, but GRUB (a booting program) is very finicky and will try to install on the first IDE device it detects, instead of the root drive selected in the OS install. GRUB will not recognize Ubuntu as a bootable OS on a SATA drive when sitting comfortably on and IDE drive.
Also, I learned to just partition a drive instead of trying to rm the files from it.
With a brand-new install I have found much greater functionality. My previous install had been from a 32-bit disk and involved upgrading to a 64-bit kernel, and in that process I must have missed a lot because gnome themes and desktop effects work much better. I also found a program called Exaile that proposes to work as well as Amarok but in the GTK frontend--the standard for gnome GUI--allowing it to take this beautiful dark skin. Later, I may indulge my vanity and spend an hour looking for a proper wallpaper.

I may not have gotten the chores, shopping and cooking done today that I had planned, but I learned quite a bit about my operating system, and especially learned the dangers of administrating while half-asleep.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: RIP Jeff Healey

Mar. 3rd, 2008 | 09:20 pm

RIP Jeff Healey, Blues/Jazz/Rock Guitar God, 1967-2008

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: FTE Interviews, round 2

Feb. 18th, 2008 | 10:33 pm

I had two more interviews towards Full Time Employment at Zillow.com today. One was with the head of the Windows IT guys, who said mostly fabulous things about me and that he was very Pro-Wulf for hiring me. The second was with my Boss and he just asked me what the others asked and how I answered. There were no technical questions during the process at all.
The next step I believe is to be offered full-time wages and benefits, which will either be good or not.

I should also meet this week with my Comsys representative--this is the company through which I have been contracting since my arrival in the City on the Edge of the Future. If for some wild, unexpected reason the FTE does not work out they will be my next best line on employment.

Pearl Jam

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: Operator Files: Urban Explorer

Feb. 17th, 2008 | 03:45 pm

One of the other Operators I work with is into urban exploration, and shared some photos he took on his weekend with me. This is one of them. He found a building in South Lake Union about to be torn down, but covered in amazing graphiti. This is one of the more amazing images--the strange poetry is actually part of the wall art and not added later. There are more images in his flickr account: raytracing.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: Love Always Trumps Hate

Feb. 17th, 2008 | 01:23 am

There are some things that I love that can trump my distaste for other things. I love Giant Monsters, but I hate hand-cam movies--but my love for the Titanic Terrors trumps my dislike so I am pro-Cloverfield (even though I may never be able to watch it again).
Similarly, I hate musicals--a hybrid media that usually combines the worst of both music and stage. But I love anything to do with HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos.  Lovecraft was a mad genius who's mother dressed him like a girl for most of his childhood, and may or may not have been stark raving mad. But he knew a thing or two about his audience and shared his imagination with several other contemporary authors to form a more complete universe in which his particular horror could thrive. He is the father of modern horror, and though to read his stuff now is difficult for his thick prose, the core concepts of terror are timeless and not dependent on culture or language.

Shoggoth on the Roof is a satirical musical that crosses the famous Jewish Musical and the highlights of the most famous Mythos stories. The production quality on the CD album alone should be enough evidence of Lovecraft's genius--that 80 years later people are still inspired by his stories.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: Some updates to previous posts: H20, PAN, zInterviews

Feb. 15th, 2008 | 12:02 am

* The water in the Davenport has run cold again, perhaps worse than before. It might be warm when I turn it on, or it might take some time and get really hot, or it might never get warm at all and I will have to turn the cold water off entirely. D33 is even more obsessed with her bath than I am with my shower and has demanded an investigation into the matter.

* The discharged batteries in my PAN members Maya and Stark have recovered most of their previous functionality after cycling through them several times.

* I had three interviews towards full time employment at Zillow today. They were rather a surprise, but it seems like HR wanted to get them over sooner rather than later and tomorrow my co-operator is taking off and leaving me to drive the site solo--which I dare not try to do through an interview. These interviews were far less formal than my grueling entry examinations; more like peer reviews from others in my department, and I am certain they went well. I will probably hear more tomorrow from either HR or Boss.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: Lost Season 4 sees new life post-WGA strike

Feb. 13th, 2008 | 11:35 pm

E! Online blogger Kristen is reporting that Lost will see five more episodes beyond the 8 already filmed. The season will be split, so that episode 7 will air on March 13th at 9pm, then go on break for six weeks. The already-filmed episode 8 will air after the break on April 24th, at 9pm, then for the remaining episodes the series will move to 10pm (to follow Grey's Anatomy). Apparently the plot that had been outlined for the original order of 16 episodes will still be fit into the shorter season. Fans may not get as much time with their favorite characters as they would like but they will nto be missing out on any big revelations or plot points.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: Essentials for any good road trip

Feb. 13th, 2008 | 08:57 pm

Tonight a friend asked me what she absolutely needed to take with her on her road trip. I gave her a very short list:

  • Keys - these you need to operate your car
  • Money - this get you food, fuel, and anything else you want
  • Identification/Insurance - If you don't have them and you are asked for them, you will regret it
  • Cell phone - All cell phones can dial 911, regardless of service. A man trapped in the Andes was rescued because of this
  • Digital Camera -  Necessary for evidence. In the unlikely event of an accident, you'll want as much proof of your innocence as possible.

Anything else you can beg, borrow, buy or steal on the way.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: Moonlighting

Feb. 13th, 2008 | 05:48 pm

Moonlighting in  Futurist Warren Ellis' internet army by distributing his viral marketing. He asked, rather nicely for a drunken  bastard.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: Crock Pot Adventures: Pulled Lamb

Feb. 12th, 2008 | 02:25 pm

Before last night, I cannot remember the last time I had barbecue.

Pulled Lamb Barbecue:

1 boneless leg of lamb, 3 to 5 lbs
1 bottle of Barbecue Sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's)
1 onion, sliced in strips (julienne)
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers

Cook on low for 8 hours. At around 6 hours the meat should be tender enough to pull apart. Use tongs or two large forks to pull the meat into strips, then let cook for the remaining two hours in the sauce.
Serve on buns, mashed potatoes, rice, or just get sloppy and shovel it into your mouth with your fingers.

D33 smelled my barbecue cooking yesterday, and then she showed up at my door this morning with a bag of fresh buns and a silly grin on her face.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: Living Plumbing

Feb. 10th, 2008 | 12:54 pm

The shower in my apartment has shifted to favor the hot water, overnight. I mentioned before how the hot water had no pressure and the cold had all of it. A few days ago the plumber was here to fix D33's shower, and now my shower has turned so that the majority of the pressure is in the hot water instead of the cold.
I love hot showers, so this situation favors me. This is the third or fourth time the plumbing has changed in the seven months I have lived here. It does not change every time the plumber does work, and it does not necessarily change with the seasons, and I cannot come up with any other plausible reason for it to change the way it does. The Davenport is an old building by comparison to most of the rest of the City on the Edge of the Future, and this relative age gives it a feeling of having a bit of soul, of character. In any other very old building I have been in, I have sensed a certain, almost living feeling from the atmosphere. The Davenport feels the same. 

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: Crock Pot Adventures: Stuffed Peppers

Feb. 10th, 2008 | 02:04 am

I found a great deal on bell peppers recently, and decided to replicate Mother's stuffed pepper recipe. I used to make these in a big stew pot for large parties to much fanfare, but during my vegetarian years I never bothered trying this with fake meat. This recipe stuffs six peppers, but I could only fit five into the pot.

6 large bell peppers

Stuff these peppers with:
1 lb ground meat (Lamb for me)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 c white rice, cooked (measure a cup, then cook)
1 T herbs de provence
1 t pepper
1 t salt
half a large onion, minced

Immerse stuffed peppers in this sauce:
1 can tomato juice
1 can condensed tomato soup
1/2 can water
1 can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 T herbs de provence
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup diced peppers

Cook on low for 5 hours.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: What do you mean, my vote won't count?

Feb. 8th, 2008 | 10:29 pm

This is from the Washington Democrats website:

"Last Minute Caucus Questions
    The February 19th primary does not count toward selecting delegates. If you want your vote to count you must attend your Caucus
    Unsure if you are regestered or have you recently moved? Register at your Caucus. No need to be registered as a Democrat
    You can bring the kids!
    You don't need your ID or voter registration card
    Can't stay long? You just need to sign in to vote
    Know any teens? They can participate if they will be 18 by November 4th, 2008"

What kind of crap is this? I can vote, but it will not matter? Apparently Washington State Law requires a public election for every primary. The Republicans chose half their delegates by Caucus and half by election. Democrats hold an election just to make people feel better, but chose all the delegates at the Caucus.

Tomorrow is Caucus Day, then February 19th the election.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: Yogurt Experiments

Feb. 8th, 2008 | 12:59 pm

Yogurt is a superfood I try to eat every day in order to quell my resltess digestive tract. I have had severe Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) since 2001 and after seven years I still do not understand it fully. I do know that the cultures in yogurt assist my own saprophytic colonies, so I try to start every day with yogurt. Buying yogurt is expensive, especially in the inner city. D33 started making her own a few months back, and she had been willing to make me some as well, but her erratic schedule means she often does not have either the time or the energy to make enough for me. She has a full sized kitchen where I do not, and bought a specialized yogurt-making machine. I have only a galley kitchen and a dining nook, and because of this I do not like to buy specialized kitchen equipment. This weekend I decided that I should be able to make yogurt with the equipment I have.
    Yogurt requires three things: milk, cultures (any leftover yogurt will do), and a constant temperature. Research on the WWW will show a variety of techniques, but these three things are the core of it. Helpful bacteria grow in milk when given the right setting. My problem was to find the right temperature and a way to keep it consistent. One batch left in the oven on its lowest setting failed entirely, and it took me two more experiments in the crock pot before I achieved success, but I now have the capability of making one gallon of yogurt for about $5 on a day that I have 8 hours to attend the batch. The crock pot with a thick towel on the lid traps heat very well, but it has to be turned on for 10 to 15 minutes every few hours. Once I get the process down, it should be highly efficient, enough for surplus for D33.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: zSnow Day

Feb. 5th, 2008 | 01:05 am

Tomorrow is zSnow Day. At Zillow we have a tradition of prepending words or terms with our initial. For the company birthday celebration at the ski slopes, we have zSnow Day. All employees have been offered transportation and ski passes for the day, though many may take the company holiday in another manner. As for myself, I will be at work. An Operator has to monitor the site and perform daily tasks, and as the n00b I am always given the short straw. I do not mind much, since I despise snow. This aversion comes from having grown up with an excess of the stuff. I hope to one day overcome this aversion, much like I overcame my arachnophobia as a child and acrophobia as a teenager (by falling off a cliff), but I doubt I will find any time this winter. Maybe by next year.
I have been working at Zillow now for seven months. I am still on contract, as I have not yet proven myself qualified enough to be hired on full time. I believe I have enough of a grasp on company operations to please my garrulous boss, so all that is left is to show how I enhance the team. Boss gave both me and the Operators as a group several grand compliments in the last meeting. That he thinks of me as part of the team is a good omen towards getting the real prize--full time employment--and he seems optimistic about the future of our team, me included. That he has not offered me what I covet means that there is and aspect of me yet untried. It is not a question of my work ethic, I have cheerfully taken on overtime and holiday hours not just because it earns me more money but because I do like the job and want to make myself available. I have worked through several highly stressful Operative crises, and no one has found fault with my performance there. What I need to do now is show my value as an individual contributor to the team. For this I am working my way through the cluttered internal documentation, and revising it to reflect current operational procedures. If Boss finds my work pleasing, I should hope to see my goal met soon.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: Beating the Blues: Competitive Spirit

Feb. 3rd, 2008 | 02:20 am

Nothing beats the Blues like winning.

Another item on my list for staving off the Winter Blues as yet another week goes by in the 30s here: Competition.I have found that engaging the competitive spirit is an easy balm, though in the short term it provides only momentary relief. Games and puzzles are always a good way to work areas of the brain that are not used for other activities, and it is easy to use them as a form of mental anesthetic, but there is little gain from mastering most of these. Healthy competition against a dynamic human opponent or set of opponents is much better for personal growth. In Winters long past I have found solace in poker, pinball, table-top role-playing (engages social skills and imagination, if done properly), foosball, and Settlers of Catan. Settlers is something I have both loved and hated, but thanks to a crew of very good companions back in the Steel City who dragged me out of the funk I was in then to join them for very friendly games several nights a week I have come to understand the game on many more levels. The social aspects are especially interesting to me, because the personalities of the players are as important as the mechanics of the game.
I have yet to get a good, steady group of Settlers players together out here in the City on the Edge of the Future. I have taught several people, including D33 and her bff Astroterr, but with their schedules there is never time for regular games, let alone the three to four nights a week that I ended up playing that last winter. Teaching others to play is going to help my own game, if I can be patient enough with them to train them up to my level of experience.
The time this will take is not going to help me with my Winter Blues. I have turned instead to dusting off a long-unused skill: Darts. Until this year I had not thrown a dart at a board since I quit drinking years ago, but I had spent one year living with a dartboard and had been forced to play many games with a drunk, bored roommate. One can only endure spit-slurred epithets for so long before caving, so I learned the basic games and lost a lot.
My fellow Operator at Zillow, Jake, presented the solution just after I returned from my trip Back east. He begged me to join his new Darts Ladder forming at work. He had only three people, including himself, who actually played, and was randomly hitting up everyone he worked with to try to increase the pool of experience. Now, a month later, I am 0-7, stuck at 6th place on the ladder, and have yet to be challenged by anyone lower than me. I practice one game every shift I work and don't play a ladder game, and two of my friends have dartboards at their homes. This past week I have beaten both of them--on home turf is no easy thing!
Winning is a great way to beat the blues, but winning consistently keeps them away.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: A third day of Ubuntu operations

Feb. 1st, 2008 | 10:40 pm

Ceres, the new desktop, is slowly becoming more functional. I am able to play most video and music, though sometimes I have to load different programs than my defaults. With my friend GDub's help I was able to mount one of the large NTFS drives from Claire and get the data off of it. I have to scan for duplicate MP3s on every drive, now, and move the originals to their own partition. There are some excellent tools available to Ubuntu users for this, though all the ones I have found require manually threshing the chaff files.

As for ease of install, Ubuntu is definitely not your Father's Linux. Most all hardware was recognized easily by the OS during the installation process, and I was only required to edit my XORG.CONF file to add the optimal screen resolution for my LCD monitor. This is far simpler than the command-line installs of *NIX OSes that I was used to at Telerama.

Most of the loose hardware has been cleaned up, though until I get all the drives cleaned and sorted Ceres looks rather like something from Serial Experiments Lain. At least I am not sleeping among my computer parts any more.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: In the Crock Pot: Adadaba Lamb Stew

Jan. 31st, 2008 | 09:14 am

This is my second stew with the Adadaba seasoning from Market Spice. This unusual spice mix is only available in store and not in their Amazon catalog. I will endeavor to discern the actual contents of this tasty blend at a later date. If you really need some I might be persuaded to ship it myself.

4T Adadaba
15 medium potatoes, chopped
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 can garbanzo beans (with liquid)
Leftover Cauliflower
1.5lb Boneless lamb steak, cubed

Use 1T of Adadaba to cover the lamb, then brown the cubes. Add the meat and remaining Adadaba to the other ingredients and cook on low for 6 hours or more. The liquid in the garbanzo beans is enough, though if you like a more brothy stew then consider more liquid of your choice. The cauliflower adds texture and nutrition. I prefer my onions fine in this stew so that they blend with other things, but some people like their onion in larger chunks. I have considered maybe some tomatoes in this stew at another time, but I will have had enough Adadaba for a month I think after this batch is through.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: RIP Claire, the indomitable desktop; meet Ceres; A wolf misses the sea

Jan. 31st, 2008 | 07:40 am

Claire, my hme-build, painstakingly maintained desktop, died this weekend. I built her up from parts scavenged at a Pair Networks fire-sale back in '01 and then upgraded her slowly over four years. She faithfully waited for me in storage when I began my exile in the desert, and worked hard for me when she was retrieved by my awesome father on his road trip out to visit me.

On Tuesday, Claire began having frequent, uncontrolled BSODs and all attempts at resuscitation failed. I spent all day diagnosing and operating on her, but even stripping her down to the bare-miminum hardware and uninstalling almost every driver could not fix the problem. A post-mortem revealed corrosion on her capacitors that indicate some form of motherboard failure. This is my second desktop to die while living here in the City on the Edge of the Future, and I have to wonder if there is some pattern to their deaths.

Wednesday I spent activating a server I received as part of a bad debt and installed Ubuntu linux on her.  I have given her the name Ceres, and have begun the slow process of trying to rebuild my Electronic Nerve Center. My desktop is not only my work station but my entertainment center as well. I have 12 years of MP3s collected across the various hard drives, countless comic books and television series archived, and who knows what else at this point. I find that Ubuntu is relatively easy to install, but then very hard to tweak into an optimal working condition. And no matter what anyone says, it is not easy to get an NTFS drive to mount in linux.

My one relaxing interlude in an otherwise arduous weekend was to be kidnapped by D33 for a trip to the YMCA to swim. I have not been to the pool since the last time she dragged me with her, about five months ago. I have not gotten much better in the pool since then, even though my workout program has increased my overall fitness several times over. With my schedule, alternating yoga and free-weights, I do not think there is time to add another activity in at this point, though the temptation to get better at swimming is strong. One high school summer vacation spent at a camp in the mountains of North Carolina I once passed a test involving a mile swim, 30 minutes treading water, and a simple rescue operation. Yesterday I could barely complete 7 laps before feeling vaguely ill and retiring to the shallow end to wait for D33 to finish. The heavy, aerobic activity would ensure that I slept like a baby last night, and the 15 minutes in the sauna afterward made the second day of intensive PC-work much easier to bear.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: Trivia Checkpoint: Passed?

Jan. 27th, 2008 | 04:09 pm

Though the such behavior may construed this delusional when use in excess, sometimes I find it expedient to imagine my life more like a video game. It simplifies things allows me to see my goals more clearly, but also occasionally the random event also reminds me of how life can be like a video game such as that I had to pass on the way to work a man ask me  if I could help him. I said perhaps, nocommitally optimistic. The man pointed to a poster for 10,000 BC and said BC means Before Christ in US? I replide that also sometimes Before the Common era (the academic term). He then asked me what AD stood for. At this point I looked around for a hidden camera somewhere before answering "Anno Domini, latin for In the Year of our Lord."
The man nodded and walked away.
I wonder what would have happened if I had not had the answer, or the man had asked on a top I am weak in such as sports or fine art? Or perhaps I did not answer correctly, that another answer was expected as a password or clue? I know now that I will continue to speculate all day.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: Some thoughts on Mr. Brooks

Jan. 25th, 2008 | 10:11 pm

D33 lent me her borrowed copy of Mr. Brooks a few days ago. I was entertained, though I would not have paid money to see another Kevin Costner film. I fell asleep (thanks to herbal sleep aids) halfway through my first sitting--and had enough curiosity on the following day to pick the movie back up where I left off.
I thought Costner did fairly well in the titular character, though he was far out-acted by his imaginary friend Marshall, played by William Hurt. Actually, I usually hate William Hurt too, but in this role he did not Shatnerize his lines so he came of far more human and likeable, even though he was a killer's imaginary friend. The movie lacked a lot of character development, especially for the lead Detective (played by Demi Moore), whose messy divorce took up an uncalled-for amount of screen time.
Mr. Brooks is not a cure for a fading tolerance for serial killer films. I have grown weary of the Hollywood over-worked detective following contrived clues laid out in a sequence even a four-year old could follow. Mr. Brooks is slightly smarter than that, but only just.
According to IMDB, Kevin Costner said this was to be the first movie in a trilogy. I am mildly interested in seeing where the writers might take the characters, but I will not hold my breath.
See Mr. Brooks if you like thrillers but hate any of the ones that Morgan Freeman or Ashley Judd did recently. DO see this film if you like movies that follow anti-heroes.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: Four deliriously domestic days later...

Jan. 25th, 2008 | 12:08 pm

I spent my weekend, Tue/Wed, getting Silvia licensed to be totally street legal. It cost me another $122.25 total for the emissions test and title transfer. I now have a license plate with an X and a K in it--this was not just significant to me, but to the clerk at the Licensing office, the property manager at the facility where Silvia is stored, and D33. Perhaps they are too significant, bringing my curse of irony to bear with a parking ticket in the half-hour after getting her legal again.
Perhaps then, I should consider the total cost for licensing $157.25.

I got the ticket because I found myself dithering between leaving for a road trip out to the Olympic Peninsula, a spiritual reward for a big project completed, or taking full advantage of the new legality to perform some long overdue kitchen restocking. By the time I had decided on the latter, the parking troll had already come and and left her paper offal on Silvia's windshield.

A good day of shopping is a workout, a chore, and a reward at once. I spent 5 hours, $400, and around 1000 calories, but I now have a nearly fully stocked larder and procured a new shower head. When I first moved in the showers here in the Davenport were wonderful, but after several months the water pressure has trickled off and the hot can no longer compete with the cold taps for dominance, leaving me with either a full blast cold shower or a dribbling hot inch-wide stream. My clearance item sense is strong, and I found an overhead rain-type shower head, all-chrome finish, for $10 at Home Depot. Once again, I love my shower.

To make it a top-notch weekend, after all of this I got to hang out with a man on his sailboat. Astroterr's neighbor called me over to hang out Wed night, a bit of a surprise, but welcome. This man is wealthy, well connected, and damn funny to boot. We traded stories about our party-heavy pasts, and discussed our fondness for Astroterr, and I got to hear about his work on $100,000,000+ yachts. I did not ask his age, but I figure him to be about 20 years my senior, which makes him a very good measure for where I want to be in 20 years.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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Vizu poll: Delilah Dilemma

Jan. 21st, 2008 | 01:33 pm

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On Vox: Is she dead or merely faking it?

Jan. 21st, 2008 | 10:32 am

Delilah, my decrepit digital camera, seems to have slipped into a mechanical coma. She turns on, but does not take photos or sync with any computer. On windows, nothing happens at all, and in Linux I am unable to see the device on the USB bus. I have tried replacing her batteries and fiddling with the memory card, to no use.

I could go out and spend some of my savings on a new camera. I've seen some on clearance at Office Depot that would probably be a good value. However, I am in debt to myself as part of my Savings Game plan, and thus have a moratorium on purchasing any item over $100. It is a harsh rule for myself, but I do love toys so much and I do not want to return to the time when I spent frivolously and had no savings to fall back on in emergency. I hate relying on family for those little hiccups in solitary life that cost more than one can comfortably spend.

I suppose that Delilah's imminent demise could be a sign I should concentrate on learning to edit the photos I do have, or to move on to some other project. However, I feel reluctant to give up taking any photos at all. And to be torn between two decisions causes unnecessary stress on me, something I do not need now.

Here is a new experiment, a Vizu poll:

Vizu poll: Delilah Dilemma

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: The future of Search Algorithms and the Importance of Opinions

Jan. 21st, 2008 | 12:15 am

I had a brainstorm in the shower. I have lots of brainstorms in the shower, it is one of the reasons I would take six showers a day, if I could.

Search Engines are continually getting smarter and smarter. They are the bold future of Artificial Intelligence, the core of reasoning in differentiating data. Eventually, they will be able to aggregate data from across all types of Internet content, including Blogs. One day, instead of reading people's blog posts, a computer will analyze it and be able to produce a digest of information. It is easy to imagine now if you think about Blogs and the number of people who voice opinions. Take one of the modern search engines and a clever searcher can look through as many blogs as possible for some variations on "I liked Cloverfield." Within moments, that search can give a rough estimate of how the entire Blogosphere feels about the film Cloverfield. Instant, relatively free rating system.
Web-based Marketing already does a lot of this, through statistical analysis of page visits to various content and clickpaths of paid advertising. Commercial websites rely solely on this statistical analysis to generate income, because their content is entirely intellectual and value can only be determined by the popularity it generates. However, such analysis is much better suited to economic function than social functions
So where will Search Algorithms go in the future? They will be able to analyze Blog content on a much larger scale, and display trends across a broad demographic. For political scientists this must be a wet dream--instant, constant polling, the ability to know the opinion of a mass of people at any given moment in reaction to their candidate's actions.
Once this ability will extend to user-generated original content the possibilities become both awesome and terrifying. My hope is at least that the popularity of blogging will only grow, and people will learn that voicing their opinions is healthy, and the exchange of ideas leads to growth. The opposite could also be true, and the power of marketing used as a tool to influence opinion, or that a struggle to control the medium for its raw value would eventually stifle the growth of the internet.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: Beating the Blues: ideas and notes

Jan. 19th, 2008 | 06:39 pm

As previously mentioned, I have the Blues, something along the lines of Seasonal Affective Disorder. I have no good reason for having the Blues, nothing is particularly depressing about my life or situation, but I find it harder to find motivation every day, I no longer enjoy many things I did a few months ago, and it is increasingly hard to find an appetite.

To beat the Blues back, I have begun tanning at a facility near my apartment. I have been three times so far, and I feel like there has been a positive improvement, though not quantifiable. I am unfortunately an explorer and not a scientist, so I have no good record, no control for my experiment, and no idea how to measure happiness. If I had to chose one, though, my happiness would be measured by how much I get done in one day, versus how much time I spend in escapist activities or fugues.

To this end I employ a bastardized GTD method using a Moleskine notebook, and I write down everything I plan on doing on a day-to-day basis. The list is divided into five sections: Daily Tasks, Unique Tasks, Calls, Shopping list, and Meal plan. At the end of every day, I carry over what tasks I did not complete to the next day. I take one or two projects out of my mGTD software when I need something to do and work through them. It is very easy for me to come up with new things to do, but if I focus on what I have on hand I can sort of trim the to-do-list-bloat issue in the nub.

I find it much easier to keep a consistent mood and avoid major swings, as well as avoid the low-blood-sugar induced Stupidity that is the cause of most of my major mistakes in judgement, by eating more often in a day. I try to have a small meal every two hours I am awake, whether or not I am hungry. I try to begin with eating something  within the first half an hour of waking up--usually yogurt for its  microbial  digestive assistance. By planning out a whole day of meals, I know what to pack, I know what I have left, and I do not have to make a snap decision and get fast food because I got too busy to eat. The small meals and snacks more frequently helps with completing tasks, because now I pack all of my food prep into specific times instead of having to prepare each time I get hungry. The crock pot is a big assistance with this type of eating--one batch will last for several days and three or four dishes prepared in it is enough for a whole week of basic meals.

I have been doing Yoga for the past few months, every other day, though only today was I actually able to complete the full beginner's program in my book. It was very hard to get into doing Yoga again after many years, but between the back-stretching and hour of heavy, even breathing makes me feel tingly and warm all the way to my soul. I am a long way from finding enlightenment through it, but for an hour of work I can get a pretty decent buzz on.

I listen to Blues Music more. One of the first signs I should pay attention to when gauging my mood is by how much Classic Rock I have in my playlists. Classic Rock is the stuff I grew up on--in the rural country of my origin, most radio played only Pop Country which I hate, and my only alternative for many years was a single Classic Rock station. A lot of the Classic Rock I like is because of its Blues influence. Switching to strictly Blues is very comforting. I am still exploring why this is true.

Do you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder?
What do you do to beat the Blues?

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: Shaking some things out of my head

Jan. 19th, 2008 | 01:26 am

I cannot figure out why on this instance of Firefox on this computer (Claire--home desktop) I cannot comment on other people's blogs.

Monday is MLK Day. There is no parking meter enforcement in the City of Seattle that day.

@Crom74: Toilets are easy. One of my hidden talents is the ability to fix a toilet no matter how inebriated I am. I'm sure sober you can figure it out.

I am still thinking about Cloverfield. I cannot yet find a script online to read to find out what I missed, but I hope to have some time tomorrow to dig around. Once I know that I will probably write an essay about my thoughts on it. However, if you need another reason to go see it, and are not like me and get ill during such films, then I submit to you the Hellboy II trailer.

While I was preparing things to potentially write about tonight, I came across The Cranking Widgets Blog post about people hacking their GTD systems. It echoes some of my problems recently with switching from Thinking Rock to MonkeyGTD, and how I went from loving mGTD to hating it. The problem isn't so much the mGTD software as the fact that I have bloated it with random thoughts and KC project notes that it runs poorly on even the fastest computers. The switch was important because it gave me a chance to do a thorough review of all my junk.

But if mGTD cannot run properly on my fastest computer, imagine what it is like on my poor, aging Celia. On my first flight I discovered how inaccessible all my GTD functions now were. Thus, for my trip back East I found it expedient to resort to a nearly all-paper day-to-day GTD list. It worked so well I have begun using it every day. I still plan to use mGTD for weekly updates, tracking projects, and most importantly my rewards system.

One of my personal hacks to the GTD system is to give every action a reward. It is currently a sloppy system, but for now it works to keep me from binge shopping. If I want something that I do not absolutely need, I list it as a reward item and have to meet one or more requirements before allowing myself to buy that item. I have also made a game out of my savings account, which I will talk about another night.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: On Cloverfield (no spoilers)

Jan. 18th, 2008 | 10:14 am

I did not hate Cloverfield. I did hate having to walk out of it. As I had feared, the hand-cam style of filmmaking affects me as bad as First-Person-Shooter (FPS) video games. Around halfway through the movie I started feeling very nauseated, a headache formed behind my eyes, and my skin turned clammy and cold. Walking home I was dizzy and it took nearly half an hour to make it the four blocks from the theater back to the Davenport.
So, this is my advice. If you like horror movies, and things like Blair Witch Project, Dancer in the Dark, and Bourne Supremacy do not bother your brain, then I suggest you go check out Cloverfield. It is nothing like a Kaiju Eiga except in basic plot, and has as much terror as any other Hollywood horror film out there. As a fan of the Japanese monster film, I was a bit disappointed with how little there is of the monster, but what they do show is very well done and full of terror.
I plan on digging around on the internet today to see if I can find the script, so I can at least know what happened.
And also maybe I should do some research into FPS sickness.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: Some quick notes before the show...

Jan. 17th, 2008 | 11:14 pm

...Cloverfield, 12:01AM at the Cinerama. I paid for tickets online on Monday, so I just have to run my card through the AMC robotronic ticket vendor and then wait in line for a seat. In theory there will have been a long line already, and I will probably get a lame seat. Then again, I have very mixed hopes about this movie. I do love JJ Abrahms style, especially with genre-work like Alias or the bizarre Lost. But I do not like hand-cam style movies, and my fixation with Giant Monsters tells me this will probably not have what I am looking for. In which case I can only hope on a script that is somehow so twisted as to be frightening in some way, or I will be sadly disappointed in losing $12 and sleep to see over-marketed crap.

Elsewhere, the Culinary Explorations and Psychic Spice Shopping led me to what appears to be a proprietary blend of Southern-Mediterranean style called Adadaba. This spice liberally coated two pounds of browned lamb cubes and three pounds of redskin potatoes before being covered in a mix of vegetable stock and potato water and left on low in the Crock Pot for 6 hours. It became a rich stew with an assault of subtle flavors. There's no indication of what is actually in the package but the sign at the store was written in handwritten ink letters at some absurd detail so as to get them all onto the 3 inch square sign. A web search indicates it may have turmeric and cardamom in it, but that is also a blog post.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: Psychic spice shopping and culinary adventures by Crock Pot

Jan. 16th, 2008 | 02:12 pm

Shopping for me is half instinct, and this is part of why I love shopping at the Pike Place Market. There is so much there to take in, you either have to know exactly what you're looking for or have some kind of guide to finding what you want. There are four or five different places to buy good loose leaf tea, for example. There are also two huge, well stocked spice stores. I go to the more mainstream Market Spice Store, and D33 prefers the cash-only Wolrd Spice Market, which I shun for debit-card usage.
On this past trip I was determined to find the perfect spice as a core for a good batch of Chili. With holiday gift money I planeed on purchasing a crock pot, and had three firm ideas for recipes in mind already. I had the taste for sauerkraut from the familyi's traditional New Year's Day feast that hadn't been yet fully satisfied, so I wanted my own. Chili was once a staple of my diet, before losing the capability to assimilate most meats, but now that I have uncovered the irony that I am not allergic to lamb, I want as many ways to eat the meat as possible. (this is part of a larger plan to compensate for previously being unable to develop good muscles while being totally vegetarian.) The last of my three meals planned for the crock pot wouled be a good lamb pot roast, because I already had those cuts of meat. That would be the first meal I made in the crock pot, and while it cooked I went back to the Market to visit my friendly butcher at Fero's Meats. They recognize me now since I am there almost every week buying exclusively lamb, and I find it comforting to have a rapport with my butcher once again. This was one facet of peasant life in the Happy Valley that I found pleasing--knowing hte man who cuts your meat, and being able to request special meat cuts for special occasions. There's nothing like that for vegetarians.
Pot Roast:
3 boneless lamb sirloins
2 large potatoes
1 large onion
1 lb frozen peas
1/2 cup wine vinegar
1/2 cup potato water
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 small handful of herbs de provence
fresh salt and pepper to taste
(I use pickling salt for large batches, but if you have the money I recommend more expensive salts found at spice stores)
    These went in on low for 8 hours and produced a slightly dry but very tender and tasty meat, and the sweetness of the wine vinegar and peas with the herbs complimented the meat and potatoes very well.

Sauerkraut and Sausages
5 lamb, herb and walnut sausages
1 large onion
2 sweet apples
4 cans of sauerkraut
    Layer the sauerkraut, apples and onions, and sausage in the crock pot to cook for 8-10 hours. Some people like to brown the sausages first, but I do not. The apples counteract the bitter, acid nature of the sauerkraut, and the sausages, though no kielbasa, are full of fat and flavor.

1 lb ground lamb
1 can black beans
2 cans kidney beans
3 colored bell peppers, caps and seeds removed
1 large onion
1 t. Vietnamese Cinnamon
2 t. Chipotle
2 t. ground Cocoa
2 t. salt
2 t. Black Pepper
2 t. Smoked Paprika
1 T. Tabasco Sauce
5 cloves Garlic

Saute peppers and onion in as little oil as possible until the onions turn just a bit translucent, then add those and the cans of beans to the pot. Next mix all the dried spices together, then add them to the crock pot with the Tabasco Sauce. Brown the ground lamb on medium heat, stirring constantly to break the meat up very fine. Drain off the fat, then reduce the heat to low and add the other half of the dry spices. Stir them in and continue to brown the meat until an even texture and color, then add to the crock pot. Put on low heat for 10 hours. Good chipotle will add all the heat you need, and should be the first ingredient to adjust to change the heat factor of this chili.
I like to serve my chili over rice and with cheddar cheese, how do you like yours? 

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: Election08 - Voter Registration

Jan. 14th, 2008 | 11:52 am

It is a big election year, are you registered to vote?

If you live in King County, Washinton (Seattle and surrounding area), then primary day is February 19th.
If you are not registered to vote yet, then you have until Saturday, January 19th to register by mail. New residents/voters can visit the King County Auditor's office in person to register up until February 1st for the February Primary. I am not sure what the deadline is if you register with a driver's license or ID request at the WA Dept of Licensing.

To register/change parties/request election information, contact:

King County Auditor
919 SW Grady Way
Renton, WA 98057
Phone: 206-296-8683
Fax: 206-296-0108
email: elections@metrokc.gov

The phone number leads to an automated system. Press 2 for Voter Info, 3 for Absentee Ballots, 4 for Election Info, and 5 for the Precinct/Polling place to attend.

The State of Washington has absentee balloting exclusively in most counties. Only King and another county still have polling stations, and this will be the last year for that. Beginning in 2009 only mail-in ballots will be used for elections in the Evergreen State.

The King County Auditors Office was very helpful when I called. I registered to vote when I finally got my driver's license registration  sorted out, on December 27th of 2007. I have been a bit worried because no voter registration information or polling locations have been mailed to me. The helpful grunt who answered the phone after I navigated the automated system was able to find my application in their backlog. According to him, the Auditor's office moved from downtown Seattle to Renton sometime around the November elections, and they have been trying to catch up ever since. He also claimed that they would be working overtime to get all the registrations processed before the February Primary, so I should have no problems voting this year. He assured me that I should receive something from the Auditor's office by February 1st.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: Self-portrait, 2008-Jan-11

Jan. 13th, 2008 | 08:45 pm

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: Random electromagnetic interference

Jan. 13th, 2008 | 05:06 pm

On Thursday, when I walked home from work, both my phone and mp3 player mysteriously died. Since then I have not been able to charge them back to 'full', instead only getting about half a charge to register, maybe less. Neither one will last for more than half of the battery time that they had before Thursday. I use a lot of rechargeable batteries in my accessory kit. Both my MP3 player (Sansa Stark) and my phone (Maya) are almost always on, though my digital camera (Delilah) is usually off, and these days to reduce my carrying weight I rarely take my iBook (Celia), with me unless I know I am going to use her. The digital camera batteries seem to have been unaffected by whatever happened to me on Thursday. Sansa Stark is only 4 months old, and Maya is either 8 or 10 months old. Neither one should be showing symptoms of battery degradation at this early stage, because I am careful with how they are charged.
I wonder if there was unusual sunspot activity that day, or maybe a government super-collider experiment.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: When the past bites you back

Jan. 13th, 2008 | 10:21 am

Sometimes, the past can sneak right up behind you and bite you in the ass.

On Thursday, Doug Luce showed up out of nowhere at Zillow. He came to see Shrinkydink, allegedly to speak about his divorce, and was surprised to learn that I had moved to the City on the Edge of the Future and worked there.

I have a hard time thinking about Doug without remembering the hell I went through working for him at Telerama. Shrinkydink didn't understand this, but I made it clear to him afterwards. Other former Telerama employees all seem interested in his life, but I could care less.

This is the venom that fills my veins from the wicket nip--dwelling on my mistakes. It is a curse of my mind to conjure up daydreams of what my life might have been like. These are the deadliest poison. The healthy mind follows reason to discern a course of action, an ailing mind finds solace in absurd fantasy.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: I have the blues

Jan. 13th, 2008 | 01:37 am

The blues I have, I have for no good reason. Everything in my life is going much better than could have hoped for six months ago. Yet a melancholy has settled into my cockles and forces idle sighs across my winter-dry lips. I feel less motivated to do anything than I have in a long time. To overcome this I am going tanning tomorrow. Last year, I beat off the seasonal blues with copious amounts of sunshine, the greatest advantage of my exile in the desert. Two hours a day walking through the manmade oasis at the heart of Scottsdale did wonders for my general mood. Ironically, the place for which D33 and I have coupons is called Desert Sun, though I can only hope that their artificial light can compare to the omnipresent life-giver that graces the valley named after it. 

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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I have made it back...

Jan. 2nd, 2008 | 10:55 pm

I have made it back to the city on the edge of the feature, I am going to bed shortly. I'll post more later.


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Due to unforeseen ci...

Jan. 2nd, 2008 | 02:01 pm

Due to unforeseen circumstances my flight to the Twin City [...] delayed. There should be enough time for me to make my next connection but I will not have enough time to see [...], I am disappointed.


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I arrived in the Queen...

Jan. 2nd, 2008 | 01:04 pm

I arrived in the Queen City Airport on the CJ450 Jet. A clench craft that reminds me more of a Greyhound Bus then a plane. Unfortunately, I had no one sitting beside me and was able to stretch my legs out to catch a nap on the hour-long flight here. The Airport is nice though the weather here is windy and 11 degrees and will be 9 degrees when I reach the Twin Cities, worse there is wind and snow back.


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It is a cold bright...

Jan. 2nd, 2008 | 10:06 am

It is a cold bright day in Megabay(?) as I prepare myself to leave, sky is smeared with thin white cloud cover so I do not know if it will be possible to take aerial photos, this leg of my 3 parts journey will take me to Queen(?) City and I board in approximately 15 minutes.


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On Vox: 2007's last transmission

Dec. 31st, 2007 | 05:18 pm

Goodbye, 2007, you will be remembered fondly as a year of successes.
This will be my last time at a terminal before the Big Show, the NYE party at the Colony. This will be the 11th year celebrating in the Steel City and the 10th at the Colony. That's a Decade of memories, good or ill, and of course there was the one very special Millenium party that lasted a little longer than anyone ever expected. How can I explain the sybaritic pleasures experienced by these most noble of psychonauts? The entertainment never ceases. I have cleverly avoided caffeine all day and fed myself many times in order to remain in the waking world along with those who dream while partying. And at midnight, their strange, almost holy ritual to ring in the New Year. Then, the infinite wait for dawn, a hasty breakfast, and arrangements to eat the traditional german Pork and Sauerkraut, for luck in the coming year. Somewhere I may need to sleep again, but I'll build that bridge when the chasm of exhaustion yawns.

Happy New Year everyone.

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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On Vox: Back in the Steel City

Dec. 30th, 2007 | 10:57 pm

I have arrived in the Steel City safely. The very first thing we did was procure ourselfs two  worlds best pizzas. After that we reunited with Navigation East to view National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets.

My review of this movie: see it only if you or someone you are with is under 15 years old. Otherwise, find some other way to waste your money.

It is good to see family and friends. I did manage to meet my foster sister yesterday, and learn firsthand the friction her existence seems to be causing. I met her little sister, who is the light to Rania's dark, effervescent with joie de vivre, and Rania's parents, who insist of cooking for me if they get a chance. I would let them but I think maybe my schedule will not permit so.

I have already failed to take any photos since the sun set on my flight from Sin City to Charlotte, NC. On the way we flew over both Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon, of which I took some mediocre aerials.

More photos to come when I get around to editing them. However, I do want to share something that mildly disturbs me: information pollution on airplanes:

Originally posted on thewulf.vox.com

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