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Sat, 02 Feb 2002

We're Here

One site move down and three to go.  What a pain it is to re-link relative URLs when you decide that not only are you moving your site but you're going to restructure the directories as well.  Oh well, it's off to the library with the family; so I'll post more later this evening.

This entry authored by Tyran at 14:31

Mon, 04 Feb 2002

Well, I had a nice long diatribe all ready to go and pow, a coin hit the escape key and it was all history.  As such, I'll be quick, blunt and to the point.  Firstly, every day I hate the fact that the Olympic Games are closing in on Utah and will actually be in full swing by week's end.  Secondly, I hate seeing Salt Lake City inching closer and closer to the great security of Halberstadt, DDR.  For nearly forty years that city's crime rate was next to nil with not a single murder in all that time.  That security came at the price of those three letters DDR also known as Communist East Germany.  I lived there for a short time and the crawling fear of knowing that the police/Stasi/military were around every corner, watching, “protecting” the masses is starting to worm its way into my spine again as I see that the police/Secret Service/military are around every corner and overhead watching and protecting the masses.

I cringe to hear UOPSIC (local security agency in charge of the games) announce that an article in Salon is nothing more than hearsay when NIPC puts out a bulletin dealing with the very issue that is supposedly just hearsay.  It only worsens the situation knowing that I have first hand knowledge of what details were actually available to prying eyes and that Salon has again hit the nail on the head.

In short, I see us giving up more and more liberty in the name of security and, while I am sure that we will regain some of our liberty in due time, I am also sure that we will never fully regain what so many died to give us.  I am also sure that unless we are wise enough to stop trading our liberty for our security that the day will come, not in our life time but in that of our grandchildren's children, when liberty will have paid all in order to gain security.

This entry authored by Tyran at 21:25

Tue, 05 Feb 2002

The following was posted on a forum that I frequent:

A married man and his wife fight, she leaves with children, not saying where she is going.  The husband leaves and goes to a bar. He meets a woman (girl, lady..whatever).  The wife arrives home to find him gone, calls his cell phone, a girl (lady, woman) answers.  Wife hangs up and tries again.  Same outcome.  Wife goes to bed.

Husband comes home after last call, passes out on couch.

Morning comes, wife gets a hold of cell phone only to find womans phone number, not only in address book but as a placed call.  Wife also finds over $100.00 of reciepts from bar.

In response I wrote the follwoing:

It is also possible, since the girl answered the phone that she was the one that placed the called to her own number.  Why?  Just to inform a roommate or whatever that she's taking “Joe” home because he's drunk as a skunk and to come “pick me up at his place in 15 minutes.”

The point being that there are plenty of completely innocent explanations for the whole evening.  As I see it, this couple has only one viable means of salvaging the situation:  Grow up and stop acting like selfish teenagers (no offense to the legitimate selfish teenagers around here).  Too many “adults” are stuck somewhere between 14 and 19; that marvelous time of life when you know everything, your way is always right and everyone else be damned (to one degree or another).

Being an adult takes much more than having chest hair or breasts and being 21.

Adults

  • Take responsibility for their own actions (running off with the kids or soaking one's sorrows are both very responsible reactions right?
  • Are willing to give basic respect to everyone and seek to earn greater respect from those around them.
  • Can respectfully disagree with the opinions of another.
  • Are willing to trust others and seek to gain the trust of others through their own honesty.
  • Realize that, while they want to be right all the time, they aren't and so keep an open mind and are willing to change their own point of view.
  • Most important of all, adults realize that husband + wife != 2 married people but something much much more powerful.

Today those are terrible things for me to say, don't I understand that people's needs are different?  Don't I understand that their circumstances might mitigate the situation?  Don't I realize that I'm just a damned idealistic old fool and that I need to get with the times?  No, what I realize is that our society - the way we each interact with others, especially those closest to us - stinks more often than not and that just like love and peace start at home, so do hate and anger.  Unlike hate and anger which take little or no effort to create, love and peace take hard work and effort to build.  I also know that the day a person learns this is the day that person starts becoming a true adult.

People were amazed that I had wrote such a thing and all the comments have been very positive regarding that post.  Is the above so revolutionary?  I highly doubt it, most of it is simply a boiled down version of what can be found in the tenets of most religions.  I personally think that the thing they really found revolutionary was that instead of posting platitudes designed to be politically correct, I posted the honest truth about the situation.  Apparently, we dance around subjects so often that we've forgotten how simple life really can be.  Of course, living up to the simple honest truth is no easy task, just measure yourself against the above and see how well you do.  If you're anything like me, you'll admit that there are times when you shine and times when you don't.

This entry authored by Tyran at 13:50

Wed, 06 Feb 2002

Whistle Blower's Delight

You've all heard of whistle blowers, right?  They're those people who are really on their toes, willing to take on management when they see a problem and seem to be an endangered species as they are protected by law.  We love these people because they help us remember that standing up for what's right can actually accomplish something.

What about those whistle blowers who force drastic change and then the change turns out to be a disaster?  What about the guy who says, “$300,000 for that new system? Why vendor X can do it for $78,000!” and is so angry about it that he calls the state auditor to force management's hand and now that project is nearing the 1.5 million mark?  What about nimrods like this?  Thanks, I feel better now (btw, that is not a hypothetical situation).

Guess I better get my butt in gear and get my wife's pages online.  Anyone have any nice flower backgrounds they'd like to share?

This entry authored by Tyran at 22:14

Fri, 08 Feb 2002

Well, Shanna's blog is online finally.

This entry authored by Tyran at 19:01

Just finished watching the Olympic Opening Ceremonies.  It was a terribly impressive show, the puppets were magnificent, the performances were breath taking and was good fun for my oldest son Jonathan (his sister and brother fell asleep).  I think the very most stirring image was seeing President Bush among the American athletes instead of ensconced in a private box somewhere.

I had to shake my head at the media's lack of understanding about Utah though.  When Bob announced, I think it was Bob, that most of the performers were Utah natives, he was absolutely surprised by that fact as if Utah were some stagnant backwater.  I know that that viewpoint is not uncommon but folks, it just ain't true, nope i' tain't! ;)  Speaking of Mr. Bob, what was his problem tonight?  Did someone intentionally script his narration that poorly or is he always that annoying?

I know that I've been unusually negative about the games coming and that has not made me a popular favorite.  Not really a problem in my book as I've never been a popular favorite anyway!  That being said, now that the games are here, I hope that everything runs so smoothly that this will be the very most uneventful (other than the sports themselves) Olympics ever.  Just one final note of dissatisfaction at the games, Shanna asked Jona what his favorite part of the ceremonies was and his answer was “the coughing rooster.”  After she prompted him, he said the parade of nations was his favorite part.  This just highlights that, like so much else, the money often over-shadows the event.

Now on to better things: sleep!

This entry authored by Tyran at 21:45

Sat, 09 Feb 2002

Browser pains

This rant started due to a wonderful little project of Fahim's called Scope.  Scope allows you to use one program that displays web pages using either the IE engine or the Mozilla (Netscape) engine.  Seeing, again, how Netscape slaughters my pages I decided to look into how much effort would be required on my part to make them both look equal or at least passable.  As the effort required grew and grew, so did my hostility toward the whole situation and there you have it.

I first alluded to this problem back in September of last year.  What is the problem?  The problem is the FACT that standards exist for how web pages are to be marked for display, commonly known as HTML/XHTML in conjunction with inline styles or CSS files, and yet no two browsers are likely to show the same page in the same way.  The reason that these standards, and let me point out that these standards are WORLD WIDE standards, exist is that you, the consumer, and I, the designer, of this HTML document can view this document with the browser of our choice and see the same thing.  It's a great system and would work flawlessly except for one huge problem:  There is not a single browser that is fully compliant with any of the W3C standards.  Try viewing both floating boxes and non-floating boxes (as this page does) in Netscape 6.2, a browser “designed for standards compliance.”  On the other hand, IE6 believes that 85% of your screen width plus 2.5% of your screen width = 100% of your screen width.  I am not alone as either a designer nor a user in my frustration at this problem, this frustration moved Cari D. Burstein to form the Any Browser Campaign. As Cari puts it

I have displayed the "Viewable With Any Browser" button to emphasize that I try to create my web sites to be viewable in all browsers, and totally functional.

While I applaud Cari's efforts, I think think this campaign is focusing on the wrong issue.  Instead of asking the page designers to design with everyone in mind (you try checking out a page in multiple browsers and tracking down the reason it looks great in one and is unreadable in another, especially when the page is 100% standards compliant!), why aren't people focusing on the real problem:  The browsers.

Again, allow me to point out that THERE ARE STANDARDS!  If there are standards, why don't the browsers or rather their designers follow those standards in building web browsers?  Because of the philosophy of the W3C.  That philosophy boils down to this:  We, the W3C, will set the standard and you, the browser designers, will interpret and implement that standard as you see fit.  Accordingly, statements like

Note: user agents (browsers) are required by the CSS1 specification to recognize the blink keyword, but not to support the blink effect, so CSS1-compliant browsers may or may not make the text blink on the screen.

are perfectly logical according to the philosophy of the W3C.  Worse, there is no oversight group that verifies whether browser X is compliant or not, the browsers designers make that determination themselves! That means that two different browsers can claim 100% compliance with the standards and still display the same page differently!  What gibbering idiot really thinks this is a good thing?  I can just hear it now:

Page Whacker™, the only 100% compliant browser anywhere.

Really?  That's amazing!  How did you do it?

Easy really, Page Whacker™ recognizes each tag and then interprets that tag as the color black and displays it.

So all Page Whacker™ does is display a black page each time you view a page?

No, it displays a uniquely designed black page each time you view a page!  100% compliance!

The long and the short of it is that I've decided to not worry about it.  I'll just continue writing my pages so that they conform with the current XHTML 1.0 Transitional standard (as validated by the W3C via the link at the bottom of the page) and hope for the best.

This entry authored by Tyran at 10:27

Tue, 19 Feb 2002

Browser II

Thanks to Greg's comment, I've revisited the browser issue and while it's still not 100%, the site can now be used fairly well in most browsers.  I'm also fairly sure that I could now design a site from scratch that would work equally well in Netscape 6 and IE 6.  Thanks Greg!

This entry authored by Tyran at 12:00

Yoga!

Where to even begin?  I guess that a good place would be my own prejudices.  I used to believe that yoga = hippie = bad thing.  I've tried writing this three times now and each time at this point I end up in a diatribe about political groups, religion and the evils of extremism but I won't.  I'll force that on you later!  Muwahahaha  Anyway, a combination of suggestions that yoga might help Shanna's back and Jonathan's ability to stay focused (another long post in and of itself) led me to purchase a couple of yoga DVDs.  They arrived on Thursday, I viewed them on Friday and started practicing on Saturday.  I'm hooked, I was actually hooked after my practice on Saturday morning.  At the library (part of our Saturday routine) I checked out everything I could find on yoga.  This morning was the first time in I don't know how long that when I woke up at 5:00 AM I didn't hit the snooze button.  Mind you, I didn't jump out of bed but I was out of bed within ten minutes AND I actually felt rested!

My body has been aching and sore since Saturday morning and so far the aches and soreness has increased each day but for the first time in my life I am actually enjoying the aches instead of cussing them!  I feel alive, I'm thrilled to be alive and it is just amazing.  Even more astounding, I find myself walking and sitting straighter, taller.  When I notice an ache or stiffness, I think to myself that it would be nice if I could just take the time to do this or that pose to loosen up a bit.

Erich Schiffmann has the following to say in his book Yoga The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness

Yoga is a way of moving into stillness in order to experience the truth of who you are.  It is also a way of learning to be centered in action so that you always have the clearest perspective on what's happening and are therefore able to respond most appropriately.  Yoga is not the only way of doing this, of course, but it is an excellent way.  It is an ancient process designed to help you uncover and discover your true nature so you can live daily life with that new awareness.

Someone once said that all myths/legends have a basis in truth.  My father likes to study similarities between myths:  The Norns and the Fates, Aurthur/Excalibur/The Lady of the Lake and Beowulf/the giant's sword/Grendel's mother and the list continues.  I like to combine both and reinforce my personal knowledge of the truth.  This is the first time that I've found something because of what is missing rather than what is the same.  To become joint heirs with Christ as described in the New Testament, we must overcome all things but other than dietary laws, no direction on how to manage, to overcome if you will, our physical bodies has been given.  This is an obvious oversight but now that I've actually looked at it, I am positive that it's an intentional one.  God gives us plenty of instruction on how we should interact with each other and with Him but other than basically telling us to not poison ourselves, He's left our physical care up to us.  Yoga, in my mind, is the perfect means of overcoming our physical bodies and of disciplining our spirits.  As Erich said, Yoga is not the only way of doing this, of course, but it is an excellent way.  I my opinion, it is a very excellent way!

This entry authored by Tyran at 19:08

Wed, 20 Feb 2002

Copyright

Just read in the New York Times (free registration required) that the Supreme Court has agreed to intervene and determine if Congress has gone too far by extending copyright from death of author + 70 years to death of author + 90 years.  The argument that the government is putting forward is that this extension . . .promotes progress by giving people rights to their material. and Congress was entitled to establish a system of copyright that treats authors in a more evenhanded fashion. . . .  If I'm not mistaken, the authors are DEAD as in DEAD.  Now I understand that being able to pass on the rights to a work to children, inheritors, etc. is what is being protected but let's be honest, are the public interests better served by 70 or 90 years?  Is knowing that the book, song, or movie (painting, poem, etc, etc) that you created will only be yours for 70 and not 90 years after you die going to dissuade you from creating another work?  The original copyright lasted only 14 years after the author's death.  Why?  Because our Founding Fathers correctly realized that they should really only be concerned about two groups of people:  Authors (painters, artists, etc., etc.) and the public.  Let the inheritors of the copyright learn to earn their own way instead of living from the accolades of the dead and riding rough shod over the public's right to information, learning, culture and knowledge.

This entry authored by Tyran at 07:16

Thu, 21 Feb 2002

Security vs Freedom

I won't rant on this one but just want to point out an occurrence from yesterday.  Someone brought a noxious though not poisonous (we should hear what the chemical actually was today) chemical into downtown Salt Lake City and exposed a large group of people to its fumes.  If this person had actually had the intent of killing people, it's likely that we would be reading about a death toll and not just a shut down of downtown businesses.  The point is that unless the situation can be controlled completely, evil people will continue to do evil things to innocent people.  Bin Laden's terrorists took advantage of a situation where we could have come close to total control but neglected or refused to do so.  The result is that airport security is nearing what it should have been all along.  The question people are asking now is, How do we expand this security to every day life? when they should be asking, Should we expand this security to every day life?

The answer to the first question is to turn the public world into one big airport and the answer to the second is NO.  Secretary Rumsfeld is so happy to tell people that there is a larger military presence in Utah than in Afghanistan.  So has the war on terrorism moved home or is this just to bolster our false sense of security as evidenced by the article above?

Excuse me miss, I need to see your papers.

Yes officer, here they are.

Ma'am, it looks like you are not authorized to be in this part of the city.  Place your hands behind your head. . . .

I do not believe we'll fall so far, so long as we do not easily give away our freedoms just so we can claim to be safe.  The more I look at it, the more I realize that our military actions in response to the Pentagon/Trader Center tragedy was both a terribly costly price to pay and also the right price to pay.  For years we attempted to peacefully defuse the situation with Bin Laden and after he attacked us for the (at least) third time, we moved to crush him.  If a rattlesnake enters my house, I don't position guards in every room and then hope he goes away, I quickly hunt the thing down and kill it/get it out of the house or more likely I hire someone to do it as they scare the crap out of me!  The point being that I do whatever is required to eliminate the threat, I don't just try to protect myself against the threat.

This entry authored by Tyran at 07:12

Mon, 25 Feb 2002

I got a message last week (maybe a bit earlier) that my instructions on how to make comments had vansished from the web.  Since my old site is vanishing at the end of this month, I moved all the files from it but I forgot to update the new site with anything to replace the old instructions.  Silly, silly me.  I'll have to correct the pages and upload them tonight.

It's been a little over a week since I started yoga practices.  While my enthusiasm to actually get up in the morning to practice has waned a bit, it's still strong enough to haul me out of bed and “dance” on the family room floor.  Once I begin my practice, I feel truly alive.  I constantly find myself stretching into partial poses without even thinking about it.

This entry authored by Tyran at 12:05

There is a new comments tutorial to replace the old one.

This entry authored by Tyran at 14:57

Tue, 26 Feb 2002

WARNING, the following entry may contain too much information on my personal life for your personal comfort.  The font is set to the same color as the background, so you'll have to highlight it to actually read it.  Read this entry at your own risk as it were.

Unusual health problems tend to be the norm for me:  chicken pox on my eyes, intestinal infections from Mars, cartilage that should have turned to bone that's still pliable, multiple kidney/urinary tract infections (highly unusual in men) and the list goes on from there.  About ten years ago, a couple of freak occurrences landed me a very slight hernia and a torn vas deferens.  The swelling, pain and pressure from the blood that pooled in the right vas deferens and epididymis was quite unbearable.  Yesterday an hour before I left work, I noticed two symptoms of kidney/UT infections:  Blood and urgency but there was a very noticeable lack of any burning.  I began chugging water and making frequent trips to the restroom.  My doctor's receptionist, knowing my past history with these painful infections, setup an after hours appointment for me last night with one of the other doctors - God bless that woman!  At 2:00 AM I woke up whimpering, some unknown torturer had inflated that blasted vas deferens back up to 50 PSI and traded my testicle for a golf ball.  Don't ask me how but apparently I've managed to re-injure the same vas deferens but there were no raquette balls or rackets near me (it was during a rather intense game that the last injury happened) the only (and I do mean only) activity I've had for the past 72 hours has been yoga, climbing stairs and sitting on chairs.  I am hoping to get an appointment to see a urologist today on an emergency basis, although I have this painful feeling (HAH!) that he'll tell me the same thing my doctor ten years ago told me:  Time heals all wounds and if the tube heals closed; well just like kidneys, you only need one to be fully functional.

Well, if you decided to brave the unknown, thanks.  If not, I don't blame you.  Either way, here's the complete set of duck jokes that have been appearing, very sporadically, in the Daily Whine:

Why are ducks and tricycles the same?

They both have three wheels, except for the duck!

Why do ducks have big flat feet?

To stomp out forest fires of course!

Why do elephants have big, round, flat feet?

To stomp out burning ducks!

Why do elephants paint their toenails red?

So they can hide in the cherry trees!  Well, have you every seen an elephant in a cherry tree?  No?  See, it works!

Why should you never walk through a cherry tree orchard on Thursdays?

Because that's the day the elephants jump out of the trees.

Why are alligators flat?

They forgot the rule about walking in cherry tree orchards on Thursdays!

What's pink with a trunk in the front?

A Volkswagon Bug.

One quick note about the comments tutorial, I've updated the script files to actually use the email address of the person making the comment (if they supply it) to send the comment immediately to the address of your (the website owner's) choice.  Previously, the script just used the default address as configured by the main web server which made replying to comments a tedious chore.  If you want to see how it works, just download the annotate.php file from the tutorial page I linked yesterday.

This entry authored by Tyran at 07:04

Wed, 27 Feb 2002

Day II

The following is an update on my prognosis.  Again, as it deals with a touchy subject, I've masked the text so you'll have to highlight it to read it.

We were able to track down a urologist (actually his physician's assistant) and off we went.  I won't go into detail as to what happened but here's a quick description:  Pee in a cup - trace amounts of blood in the urine (huge change from Monday).  Check for hernias (I already knew about the little one on the left).  No prostitis (not even going there).  Left testicle in perfection condition and right testicle swollen, refuses to descend and intensely painful (9 out of 10).  Either he agrees with me that it's a tear in the vas deferens or he thinks it's an infection (he didn't say and there's no good non-invasive way to tell).  Either way, he's keeping me on Cipro and given me some Lortab for the pain.  I'm supposed to lie around with my scrotum propped up to improve blood flow.  Normally, lying around naked with a beautiful woman waiting on his every whim would be a guy's fondest dream but, while it's not a nightmare, it sure is not a dream come true!

Thanks for the support everyone!

This entry authored by Tyran at 09:05

Comments tutorial

Greg Mitchell informed me that the comment scripts get processed instead of actually downloading like they should.  I'm updating the page to link to text files instead of php files (duh) so they'll be downloadable.

This entry authored by Tyran at 09:08

OK, the comments tutorial update is complete.

This entry authored by Tyran at 10:18

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