Tuesday, September 30, 2003

"I Know What You're Looking For"

Adam Ant

According to my Yahoo stats, 64.95% of the people who found this page via keyword search were looking for "rena sofer nude", 11.79% were looking for "rena sofer naked", and 2.16% were looking for "rena sofer pictures". That's an astounding 78.9% of my traffic.

And 10.65% were looking to see if either she, Jennifer Connelly, or Jennifer Aniston are Jewish, with 8.48% looking for "Jewish actresses" in general. Those total 98% of my search engine traffic.

The other 2% is from "lesbian spank inferno" and "rocket power naked". Heh.

I don't know why I'm so fascinated by this.

Monday, September 29, 2003

"It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"


Sigh. The Astros lost on Saturday, their 6th loss in 8 games. Just prior to that slide they were 1-1/2 games ahead of the Cubs; following the Astros loss and a pair of Cubs wins in a double-header on Saturday afternoon, the Cubs won the NL Central pennant.

Another season, another choke for the Houston teams.

But a look at who's in the playoffs - on the NL side, the Braves, Cubs, Giants, and Marlins; on the AL side, the Yankees, Twins, Athletics, and Red Sox. The Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908 and haven't played in one since 1945 because of the "Billy Goat Incident". The Red Sox haven't won a World Series since 1918 (when they beat the Cubs) and have suffered "The Curse of the Bambino" since trading Babe Ruth in 1920. That's a combined total of 180 years of baseball futility. What happens if they both meet again in the 2003 World Series - does one of them have to win? Or would the world might come to an end first?

The Cubs vs Red Sox in a tale of two curses - isn't that one of the signs of the Apocalypse?

Hmmm... while Googling for research on this, I found some earlier references:
  • An editorial in today's Marion (OH) Star, 9/29/03 says that "they play on and on and on for 99 innings without determining a winner" before the Series is declared a draw.
  • Bryan Burwell in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 9/19/03 says that in the top of the 9th of Game 7 with the score tied, "the world will come to an end".
  • Hubert Mizell, St. Petersburg Times columnist, 7/8/01 says "Nah, it'll never happen".
  • Jeff Dinsky of the Daily Princetonian, 10/1/98 says "complete and total Armageddon ... The meeting of the Cubs and the Red Sox in the World Series could not be anything but the seventh sign of the coming of the apocalypse. The world would surely end before the completion of the Series."
  • Pat Bigold of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 9/29/98 says "for the sake of the little guy who never can seem to win an argument with his wife, a pay raise from his penny-pinching boss, or even the table centerpiece at his sister's wedding, bring on the Sox and Cubs."

    Dinsky wrote of the inevitable tie in the inevitable Game 7: "Shortly thereafter the world would end, because it simply impossible for the Cubs or the Red Sox to win the World Series. The rest of us would join every Cub and Red Sox fan in a state of eternal damnation and fully understand what their existence is like."
  • Friday, September 26, 2003

    Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps

    So the reviews of the new NBC show "Coupling" have been not as favorable as hoped (e.g., MSNBC, USA Today). Most of the reviews commented on how much the show revolves around people having, preparing to have, wanting to have, or just talking about sex. As if they're shocked - shocked! - that this goes on. Two stations in the US have even banned the show.

    I thought it definitely suffered in comparison with the British version airing on BBC America. For one thing, it's nearly a third shorter - the BBC shows are 30 minutes because of no commercials, while the US shows are 22 minutes. We lost a few jokes (unflushable, the zone), a few setups, and of course, Sarah Alexander. We did gain Rena Sofer, though. I'm not impressed with the guy who's playing Jeff. He seems more of a creepy friend than a wacky friend.

    This week's best line cut from the original:
    Susan on Patrick: "One swallow doesn't make a summer."
    Steve on Jane: "One swallow does not make her my girlfriend."

    Apparently the show has brought out a lot of people looking for nude pictures Rena Sofer, too. Traffic to my site tripled today; at 11:30 pm, the logs showed 20 hits in the just the last hour alone from search engines looking for "rena sofer nude".

    I'll keep watching the show. I'm curious to see how far NBC's censors (sorry, Standards and Practices) will let things go. I highly doubt they'll allow "blowjob" and "shit" to be aired. And I'm really curious to see how Steve's "Lesbian Spank Inferno" speech will turn out. That's episode 4 of the original first season, so that should be within the month.

    Tuesday, September 23, 2003

    Arrivaderci, Galileo

    Once again, Jupiter and its moons were the downfall of Galileo.

    This time, though, it's a bittersweet ending rather than imprisonment by the Church. The space probe Galileo, named after the astronomer who discovered Jupiter's moons with his new telescope, was deliberately "crashed" into Jupiter so that it wouldn't eventually crash onto any of the moons which might harbor life. The probe was never sterilized before launch because nobody thought it was necessary, but over the years they've found oceans on Europa, and we don't want to contaminate the moon inadvertantly. So with the little propellant left, Galileo was sent to a crushing end in the gas giant - screaming in at over 100,000 mph, its booms and antennae ripped off, its main body melted and disintegrated, finally being reduced to its constituent atoms in the swirling winds.

    One wonders if the Jovian version of Greenpeace worried much about the RTGs that Galileo carried.

    I remember the launch of STS-34 in 1989 - seeing it on TV, unfortunately. We had just resumed flying shuttles a year before and this was part of the backlog of payloads. How cool was it to be part of the team that sent this probe on its way to Jupiter, not to mention Magellan to Venus and Ulysses to a solar polar orbit. I almost got to see the launch in person, but mechanical delays put off the launch until well after I had left Florida. Would have been my first launch, instead it turned into the first of three launch misses.

    An engineering marvel in hindsight, the Galileo team redesigned the probe and its missions many times between its proposal in 1977 to its near-launch in 1986 (stalled by the Challenger accident) to its launch in 1989 and beyond. The delays resulted in a problem with its high-gain antenna (HGA) being stuck, which caused the NASA team to completely rewrite and upload the operating software - a brain transplant by remote control.

    A joker in the sci.space.history newsgroup suggested that the last message from Galileo was "HGA is now free".

    I responded with "All these worlds are yours except Europa. Attempt no landings there." Ironic, in that when the movie "2010" came out, we didn't really have much of an idea that Europa might be life-sustaining to begin with, yet here we are today crashing Galileo because it might be.

    Of course, someone else had to respond to that with "All your moon are belong to us." Take off every zig, for great justice!

    Friday, September 19, 2003

    Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum

    Avast, ye scurvy dogs! Today be International "Talk Like a Pirate Day". Arrrr!

    Wednesday, September 17, 2003

    Stupid People Piss Me Off

    The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay in the California governor's election the other day, because nearly half of the voters are still using "chad" punch cards to vote, and we all remember how stupid people can be when they have to use punch cards to vote (hi, Florida!). The way I understand it, voting this way is violating their civil rights because the punch cards are more prone to error and thus likely to be thrown out, meaning that they're more likely to have their vote invalidated. Thus, they're disenfranchised.

    Can someone tell me why voters are disenfranchised now and they weren't during the regular gubernatorial election, and nothing has changed? They've had three years since the 2000 Presidential election to get their collective shit together, it's not like this is new.

    Sigh. It's almost as bad as Texas politics.

    Monday, September 15, 2003

    My first September 15th in two years

    It's the new fall TV season, which means I have to get around to cleaning out TiVo's To Do List which keeps track of my Season Passes (the coolest thing about TiVo, in my opinion). So sayonara to Buffy, Dawson's Creek, and Amazing Race 4 (my favorite reality show).

    I'm also depressed, because the start of the new TV season reminds me that last year at this time (when I didn't have TiVo) I had to record everything for three weeks because at this time last year I was in the Honolulu Airport, a couple hours from leaving on my way to Australia. I still have a few of those shows to watch; I gave up on watching the series that were cancelled before I got a chance to watch any of the episodes.

    I didn't have a night of September 15 last year since the International Date Line flipped me from Sunday 9/16 to Monday 9/17 in mid morning (it also happened to be Yom Kippur, so I missed Kol Nidre services). I did get an extra September 30, though, on the return leg.

    Which reminds me, I need to finish updating my trip report from last year before the first anniversary. I've got until October 1st.

    Friday, September 12, 2003

    "Come and Knock on Our Door..."

    Well shit, John Ritter died yesterday.

    As a child of the late 70's, he was the voice of my generation. He told us that it's OK to lie to your landlord in order to get an apartment in LA with two single women, as long as you're hooking up with hot chicks on the side and hanging out with your wacky neighbor at the Regal Beagle.

    We'll miss you, Jack Tripper.

    Tuesday, September 09, 2003

    "I Read the News Today, Oh Boy..."

    Beatles, "A Day in the Life"

    Things happen in early September.

    2003: Warren Zevon died Sunday. I'll confess to never being a fan, outside of his 1978 hit "Werewolves of London". He was diagnosed with terminal cancer a year ago and given only a few months to live. He lived long enough to see his final album completed and to see the birth of his grandkids, just within the last couple weeks. Then he died. There are a lot of people like that, who have this one final task to complete before they die - and then when it's finished, they don't have to struggle to hang on, and they expire peacefully in their sleep one night. There's a Trader Vic's bar/restaurant in Beverly Hills on Wilshire that I pass when I'm in LA. I've always wanted to go inside and see if there's a werewolf with perfect hair drinking a pina colada.

    2002: Less than a week before my departure for Australia on Sept. 14th. I got an unexpectedly big income tax refund check back in April and decided to do something fun with it instead of just dumping it in the bank. I spent the summer making plans to go scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, climb Ayer's Rock in the Outback, visit the Sydney Opera House, and on the way back, lay out on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii. I did all of that and more, and had the best vacation of my life. It really bums me out that it was a year ago.

    2001: I was preparing for a visit with the ophthamologist, trying to figure out what happened to my eye. Turns out a blind spot that suddenly appeared was actually ischemic optic neuropathy, a blood clot getting lodged in the blood vessels that supply the optic nerve. I wouldn't find out for months that it was due to some genetic factors I was born with. Meanwhile, a bunch of fanatics were finalizing their plans to hijack at least four airliners and turn them into bombs.

    2000: Preparing for my certification run as a Sim Control Area instructor at NASA, training flight controllers. I had already passed my ascent/entry cert, the last thing I needed was my orbit cert. My final cert date was Sept. 11, 2000.

    1999: Labor Day weekend, I moved into my new house. It took the better part of a month to get everything unpacked and put in its proper place (or at least the box moved to its proper place, some of my books still haven't been unpacked yet after four years).

    1995: Interviewed for a job in the Systems section of the Space Flight Training division at NASA. It's what I'd wanted to do for years, since I found out about it, but for a long time there was a hiring freeze. But in spring 1995 Congress decided that since NASA's work on the shuttle was more operational than R&D, they needed to turn more shuttle work over to contractors and focus on the upcoming International Space Station. That meant a lot of shuttle instructors had to leave, so there were a lot of openings. Ironically, in hindsight this is one of the things that the Columbia Accident Investigation Board faulted pointed out, that the shuttle should never have been deemed operational.

    1994: Broke up with Chris the weekend before a friend's wedding.

    1989: Went skydiving for the first (and only) time. The short story: A friend cornered me while we were drinking at J. Larkin's one night at Happy Hour, and it sounded like a good idea at the time. While we were up in the (perfectly good) airplane the next day, the instructor had to push me out of the airplane because I couldn't jump by myself; I was too transfixed by the ground moving below me. I told my parents after the fact by saying, "Remember that thing that you didn't want me to tell you about until after I did it? Well, I did it."

    1984: Started college. The kids starting college this year, Class of 2007, were born in 1985. If I had a kid right out of high school, he's be in college already.
    "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas"

    I only know one or two people who read this on any sort of semi-regular basis - Hi Linda! - and I have no idea whether any of the people who come here (looking to see if Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, or Sandra Bullock are Jewish, or looking for nude pictures of Rena Sofer, or looking for naked Rocket Power pictures) read this... but if you are reading this, hi. If you're just coming here looking for them, sorry, that's all I've got. Try www.renasofernude.com or www.sandrabullockjewish.com or something.

    It's early September, just past Labor Day. It's two months until Halloween. So of course, we're already inundated with Halloween decorations in the supermarkets and gift shops. Except for Hallmark, which already has Christmas stuff for sale. Jesus fucking Christ, people, it's nearly four God-damned months til Christmas, can't you at least fucking wait until Halloween is over?

    I swear, shit like this is why I want to be elected king. When's election day?

    Friday, September 05, 2003

    "Daisy, Daisy..."

    "2001: A Space Odyssey"

    For some absurd reason that song went through my head as I was dismantling my old computer last night and tonight, salvaging the wireless router, the 180 GB hard drive and controller card, and the 52x42x52 CD burner. Nothing else in there is younger than about 6 years old, which is a dinosaur in computer years. (I also kept thinking of the song "Seasons in the Sun" about the guy who's dying - "Goodbye my friends, it's hard to die..." - which doesn't say much for my state of mind.) But I was also able to save a spare hard drive formatted with Win98 (a minor 1.7 GB) that I can use in case of emergency.

    The CD burner gave me a little problem until I figured out that the jumpers on the old drive were set to Master instead of Slave, so once I fixed that I've now got a D and E drive. The Dell case is quite a bit smaller than the old Gateway case, so the hard drive is set vertically at the front of the computer and attached with only a single-connection ribbon cable. I'll have to install mounting brackets and a new dual-connection ribbon (or whatever it's called) and then I'll be ready. With the 180 GB "old" drive and the 40 GB new one, that's nearly a quarter of a terabyte. Which is pretty fuckin' amazing, as not so long ago I was shocked when hard drives got to be bigger than 1 Gig.

    Spent a couple hours last night trying to reconfigure my wireless router, gave up and called D-Link's tech support. It took a while, but the guy was awesome and we got it straightened out. Yay wireless! Spent another couple hours downloading new software and installing it and the old stuff. Yay broadband!

    My desktop has been rechristened "LSH-HQ", same as the old one. After all, when the Legion HQ was destroyed (first by the Fatal Five, then by Omega and Wildfire) they didn't call it "Legion HQ II" or something. My laptop is "Computo" and the network is "Sleepnet". Yay 30th Century Legion of Super-Heroes! (Such a geek.)

    Last weekend I bought Dazzle's Fusion hardware/software thingy for capturing video and creating DVDs. My main project with that will be converting some home movies (1940's to 1970's) that had been transferred from film to video in 1989, from tape to DVD. When my sister and I had the tape made for my parents anniversary, we sat down with a tape recorder and watched it all while recording the comments ("That's my grandfather, he died before you were born..."). That'll be the soundtrack. I have exactly zero experience editing and playing with video, this'll be a fun project. It's one of the reasons I got a 180 GB drive in the first place, because I know video takes up a huge amount of room on the hard drive.

    Tuesday, September 02, 2003

    Columbia Accident Investigation Board final report

    Back in May I wrote a bit about the ongoing state of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. The CAIB's final report was published last week and others (like space policy wonks Jim Oberg here, Rand Simberg here and his Transterrestrial Musings blog, and Keith Cowing's Nasawatch and responses) have talked about it ad nauseum, but here's a bit about my take on it.

    It's not ugly, it's just depressing. I want to believe that NASA is the best that this country can do, with the best people running the show so we can get out there and explore space. I want to have something we can be inspired by, something that will make people want to take part in. But the International Space Station isn't sexy. Or the shuttle, for that matter. It's what we've got for the next decade, at least, though.

    But the CAIB report faults NASA management for their handling, mishandling, and non-handling of the Columbia accident, starting well before and while it was fatally wounded in orbit. Jorge Frank, one of my co-workers who also posts on usenet's sci.space.shuttle newsgroup, succinctly summarized a number of things that are disturbing in hindsight:

    1. the fact that NASA knew about the ET foam shedding problem since 1981, but never considered it important enough to ground the fleet to fix
    2. the fact that NASA never performed foam impact testing on the RCC before deciding to live with the foam shedding problem
    3. the fact that, due to the lack of foam impact testing, the Debris Assessment Team had to use a software tool to analyze a foam strike that was far outside the database to which the tool was validated
    4. the fact that the MER manager's presentation of the Debris Assessment Team's conclusions to the Mission Management Team systematically downplayed all the team's uncertainties regarding the validity of said conclusions
    5. the fact that the MMT was unaware that three separate teams were requesting imaging, and in cancelling one of them, inadvertently cancelled all three
    6. the manner and extent to which the crew was notified of the foam strike

    Most disturbingly, it's the "it's been safe for the past 112 flights so it must be safe for the next one" mentality.

    And it's Congress' "Hey, we support NASA and the space program, but see what you can do on a budget that's 40% less than 10 years ago." A mandate and a sense of vision would be nice too.

    Simberg has a great quote in one of his pieces: "As the Cheshire Cat told Alice, if you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there."

    Oh, and I wasn't listed in the Appendix after all. Maybe in a future volume of the Appendix.

    Monday, September 01, 2003

    Sandra Bullock Jewish! Rocket Power Naked! Rena Sofer Nude! (part 2)

    After Friday's post, I figured I'd get a flurry of search engine hits for the above subjects. I was right.

    30 Aug, Sat, 21:06:01 http://www.google.com/search?q=Jennifer+Connelly+%2B+Jewish&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&start=10&sa=N

    30 Aug, Sat, 21:47:24 http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=Rena+Sofer+naked&btnG=Google+Search

    30 Aug, Sat, 23:50:28 http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=jewish+actresses&sub=Search&ei=UTF-8&fr=fp-top

    31 Aug, Sun, 01:46:32 http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=%22lesbian+spank+inferno%22&btnG=Google+Search

    31 Aug, Sun, 21:11:42 http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=%22jewish+actresses%22&ei=UTF-8&fr=fp-top

    31 Aug, Sun, 22:31:33 http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&safe=off&q=rena+sofer%2C+nude&btnG=Google+Search

    31 Aug, Sun, 22:44:23 http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=%2b%22jennifer+connelly%22+%2bjewish&sp=1&ei=UTF-8&fr=slv1

    31 Aug, Sun, 23:57:32 http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=Sandra+Bullock+and+jewish

    01 Sep, Mon, 00:14:22 http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=jew+women+naked&ei=UTF-8&fr=fp-top&vm=i&n=20&fl=0&x=wrt

    01 Sep, Mon, 04:51:47 http://www.google.com/search?q=sandra%20bullock+jewish&sourceid=mozilla-search&start=0&start=0&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

    01 Sep, Mon, 09:38:41 http://search.msn.com/results.asp?RS=CHECKED&FORM=MSNH&v=1&q=Rocket+Power+Costume

    01 Sep, Mon, 11:43:28 http://www.google.com/search?q=rena+sofer+naked+pictures&hl=en&lr=&ie=ISO-8859-1

    01 Sep, Mon, 14:33:07 http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=jennifer+connelly+jewish

    "The internet is a communications tool used the world over where people can come together and bitch about movies and share pornography with one another." - Holden McNeil, "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back"