Sunday, February 27, 2005

Back at the YP last night. There were lots more people there this time that last time. You had to push your way to the bathroom and in to and in the dance floor. On the plus side, I didn't have to wear a custom made t-shirt that attracted bizarre people...

Clubs are an interesting place. I'm still trying to get accustomed to the whole atmosphere there. There are people everywhere and of all different ages. People too young to be there, people too old to be there. And when places are that packed, personal space does not exist. You push your way thru groups of people as other people brush up against you when you least expect, and who knows if they are really brushing up on you by accident. Especially out on the dance floor.

At one point I went to use the bathroom and came back and there was an extra person at our table, Jill. Steph was talking to her when I got back and I was introduced. Later when I got to ask Steph where she knew her from her reply was, "I don't." Turns out Jill had seen Steph at other clubs before and was looking for some friends that were to meet her there, so happened to sit and start talking to Steph I guess (friends of the band seem to want to know all the other friends of the band). It's a whole different culture inside clubs. I think I fit in pretty well for not knowing too much about them. But then when you're a minority being white at an inner city high school, you learn to adapt to any culture rather quickly...

Saturday, February 26, 2005

So we have a winter here people! Yesterday we finally got some snow! FINALLY! So I did what any 24 year old ski bum would have done, I called in sick and headed out the The Knob! And let me tell you, was it ever worth it! I got up there around 10AM and there was already a couple inches of fresh snow on the ground and about 10 people out there. As the day went on it just snowed harder and harder! And it was fluffy, dry, perfect snow! My mouth watered every time I rode the lift to the top. By the time you made it to the bottom and rode back up again, your tracks were gone. Though come 4PM my legs were completely beat. I could barely move anymore, and as much as I hated to leave, I had too. It was an amazing day and although I may have lied to my boss to get it, it was well worth it. I'll be heading up tomorrow morning to complete the week. Did I hear more snow on Sunday?

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

So here's the low down if you're looking for a digital camera. I realize there's a lot of variety out there and every person has different needs and desires. Let's face it. Digital cameras aren't what they used to be. My last digital camera was one of those Sony's that took a whole big floppy disk. Now I've got a Canon A95 and I'm in love it with. So what best suits your needs? First of all, think of all that you'll be doing with it. Do you want something small that can fit in your cigarette sleeve pocket or can you handle something a little bigger in your travel sack? Are you going to be printing your photos out or will be looking at them on the TV or computer? Things to consider. Frankly, if you're concerned about the megapixels and printing out your photos on a normal deskjet or home grade printer, you might as well go no higher than 3 megapixels. Your printer just won't do it justice. If you're printing from a professional grade printer, you could higher. Keep in mind that normal 35mm cameras would roughly be about the same as 5 megapixles.

Everyone loves viewfinders! In my book, the bigger the better, but some tend to disagree. You pay more for the more you see. You can get great quality cameras with small viewfinders for much less than lesser quality cameras with huge viewfinders.

So let's get down to business. What camera should you get? If you're the normal casual picture taker like most of my friends, I wouldn't go higher than 4 megapixels. Frankly, you're not going to notice the difference between 4 and 7.2 megapixels. No offense to you, you're just not into it that much. Also find something that is slimming and small. You can stuff it your pocket and pull it out anytime you want.

If you're more of a photo taker and you're into photo editing and photography, I'd go with at least a 5 meger. Those cameras usually have some color enhancers and nice effects. It's my guess if you fit in this category, you're going to have some type of gear to carry your camera in anyway since you're not taking photos of your friends at lunch. I'd go with something a little bigger and bulkier.

Getting down to Earth, I love Canon. They have always made great cameras and will continue to do so. They have a huge variety that satisfy all the categories mentioned above. They even have ones with viewfinders that revolve and rotate 180 degrees so you can see yourself when you take you're own picture! And let's face it, there is no better subject than the one you see in the mirror.
It’s no secret, I’m a big computer nerd. Even though I’m a computer programmer by day, my degree and heart still lie in computer engineering. It’s why I built my own arcade cabinet and it’s why I dabble around in computer hardware. My latest and favorite thing to do is to power devices via USB ports on a PC. USB devices require a regulated 5 volts that comes directly from the PC. A lot of USB devices (i.e. web cams, mice, keyboards) don’t even need to be plugged into an AC outlet because they get all the power they need right from the USB port itself. The nice thing is a lot of stuff you use everyday require only 5 volts to operate. Take anything you put 2 alkaline batteries into. Despite it needing only 3 volts, it can work perfectly off of 5 and without the assistance of batteries. What better way than to steel the power right off your computer!

It’s easy to do. Go out and by a USB cord extender for 5 bucks, chop off the female end (some bad irony there but it can be done), and splice apart your wires. Once you get past the shield (wire mesh surrounding more wires) you’ll find a happy little red and black wires (they might even be twisted together). You have now just located your 5 volts! Depending on how much voltage you need, you may need to throw a resistor in series with your device. If you want to dazzle your friends, go out and buy yourself a small 5V LED, and a small 1K Ohm (smaller if you want a brighter light) resistor, attach them in series, and then to the red and black wires of the USB cord, plug ‘er in and voila! You have a very nice homemade, battery-less lamp to light up your keyboard and mouse in the dead of night.

Go on! Give it a go! The worst thing you could is touch the black and red wires together while your USB cable is plugged into your PC and your PC is powered on. And even then all that will happen is catastrophic explosions and destruction! Don’t you wish! You’ll merely short out your PC and shut it down. Just pull out the USB cord and turn ‘er back on again and it’s like you never missed a beat! Get creative and use some clear rubber tubing and super bright LEDs and make yourself some real neat stuff! Have fun! And don’t forget to give me all the credit!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

We are all given a choice. A choice to get up in the morning, a choice to go to work or school, heck we even get the choice to keep on choosing. Sometimes we make the wrong choices. It’s inevitable really. Let’s for numbers sake say that we make on average one choice in our life per minute. I think that’s a bit low, but this is for demonstration purposes only. That equates to roughly 37,869,120 choices in an average lifetime. That’s a lot of choices. How can we possibly make the right choice every single time? Lots of times those choices are not obvious and lots of times they are without consequence. But sometimes our lives come down to a single moment where the right choice is mandatory. Some of us make the right choice, some of us do not. Everyday we see the wrong choices people make. Cause and affect. You chose to do this, ergo, something else happens. Sometimes we get so rapped up in our own choices, we don’t think about everyone else making theirs. Then, suddenly it hits you like sack of bricks. Someone else makes the wrong choice and now your eyes are suddenly open to all that exists around you. All the choices that everyone everywhere is making are now apparent to you. Sometimes I think it would be nice to not have to make any choices. Predestination they call it. Our lives are laid out in a book and can never change, case closed. Every decision is made for us and we have no control over it. We are merely pawns in a giant game of chess completely out of control and completely worthless. Wouldn’t that be nice? We wouldn’t be responsible for our own actions; we wouldn’t have to care about other’s actions. Why would we? There’s nothing we can do about it so just move on. But then I think, “What kind of life would that be?” The fact that we have freewill is an unfathomable gift. We determine our own destiny and we are in control of where are lives can lead (not discounting God here, please note careful use of words). However, there is that mistake of making the wrong choice. And that is something that everyone has to live with. The amazing part is other’s choices affect our own choices. So when someone else makes the wrong choice, we have the choice to try and make their wrong choice, right. Our choices determine our lives and other’s, so although you won’t always make the right one, consider that every choice you make not only affects your life, but the lives around you as well.

Monday, February 21, 2005

I'm not one for a bunch of hoopla and foo in my car. I don't have power windows, or a sun roof, or even a fancy shmancy stereo system. I just don't like all that in a car. But I do have automatic audio adjustment. What's that you say? Let's say I'm at a stop sign and this great song comes on the radio so I turn up the volume. Now as I start to move and pick up speed, the engine starts to drown out the radio, so you turn the volume up some more right? WRONG! The volume automatically adjusts! It's fantastic! Where would I be without it? Probably with carpal tunnel from turning the knob so dang much.

So I'm driving home today in the rain (yeah where's the snow?) and I'm thinking, "Wow, you know what would be great? If my windshield wipers worked just like my stereo!" If you're pokin' along in the rain, the windshield really doesn't get too wet, so you don't need the wipers on full bore, but when you start to get movin', that rain starts to come down! So it would be nice if my wipers would pick up the pace as well. Maybe I'll drop Chevy a note or something, heck maybe it's a feature that already exists out there. In any event, if I'd just put that darn RainX on my car, this would all be a mute point...

Sunday, February 20, 2005

So my goal for this week is to get my blogging rear back on track. Last week sort of went by like a freight train, but there could be an end in sight. Pops is back home from Hawaii so the vacation is over for me as well. It was sort of nice living by myself for a week. I got to cook for myself, and play music all the time, and even control the temperature (that may have been the nicest perk). But you know, I can't complain now. I enjoy living with my Dad (for now) and it seems like he enjoys having me around too. Heck, I can fix just about anything (though he still chooses to call good old Dick Lighty to fix the washing machine) and he would pretty much be unable to watch TV if I weren't around do to the four remotes and receiver. All in all, I like living here, though with a nice taste of living on my own, it may be sooner rather than later I find my own place. All I have to do is either wait for someone to pass away, or build my own place, and I'm good to go.

In other news, I got my butt whooped in volleyball this evening. Six games and not a one won. The first three it was 6 on 3 (me being in the three) but I'd say we held our own. Though after the head on collision with me and Dan in game 3, our playing slacked a little. I'm pretty sure if Dan wasn't intoxicated he would have been out for the count. I'm surprised I walked away from it to tell you the truth. I'm told it looked pretty bad. Two people diving for one ball at each other low to the ground full speed is not a good recipe. The first two games were like 20-25 or something, the last game was a little worse, but hey, the other team had Godzilla A and Godzilla B up at the net at all times and all we had was my 6 foot tall self, another 6 footer and a slightly intoxicated 5'6" Dan. Like I said, I think we did pretty well all things considering.

After driving thru an inch of sleet and freezing rain I made it to Cove Park to play my next three games. We were playing the defending champions and though this time it was 6 on 6, they were the defending champions, but we should have least pulled off one game. But we couldn't. At least I played better than last Thursday. I taped up my finger so I wouldn't break it again and I somehow found my lost blocking skills that have been escaping me the last 6 months. Maybe I've got a second wind in me after all...

Thursday, February 17, 2005

So this past week has been pretty busy. Between cleaning up from Barley Party '05, watching movies, hanging out, and volleyball, I really haven't had time to sit down at my beloved computer and tell the world how I see it (or anyone else for that matter). Actually there's not much to tell. Tonight I broke my finger (again! I broke it two weeks ago first) playing volleyball. After that I was just upset with myself and wound up pretty much loosing the first playoff game for our team. I haven't felt like that kind of crap in I don't know how long. So I did what any normal person would do when they feel like they are worth about foo cents, head out to the bar...Luckily a few fellow volleyballians joined me and managed to cheer me up without me having too many Alabama Slammers. Tomorrow should finally be a day to catch back up on my life and allow me to do what I've wanted to do since last Friday...sleep...

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The count down is at two days! Pops is gone for the weekend, so it's party time! You know how that goes. Invite 15 friends over and have pretty much the best time you could possibly imagine. Of course there will drama, and tension, and annoyances, but the great thing is, no one will care! If my career were parties with my friends, I'd be pretty darn happy. It doesn't get too much better than that.

It rained all day today. What the heck! Come back snow! COME BACK!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

How is it we have so much time on our hands, yet we have none? You know what I'm talking about. You've got this that needs to be done, and that to do with person X, and there is no time to do it. Yet there you sit, in front of the TV watching American Idol thinking about how there isn't enough time to do it all. Why do we do that? Of course there's time! There is time to do all that we could possibly want to do, yet it's not there, and we become disappointed and stressed about it. It's a funny thing, we as humans develop so much crap to help us get stuff done faster so we have more time for something else, and yet the time is still not there. Where does it go? You watched American Idol for an hour, and then watched Scurbs, and then went out, and now it's 5 hours later and it feels like 2 minutes ago you were coming home from work. The time is there, the part that baffles most of us is how to be conscious of that time and live in it. Maybe when we figure that out, things will slow down just a little bit, and give us more time to do what we want.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Thanks to Andy, I’ve begun looking for new music to listen to (can you actually look for music?). I’ve grown extremely tired of what’s on pop music radio anymore. The songs are either about sex, high school relationships (usually involving sex) or about violence. Honestly, it’s not good. I mean, look who is popular these days: Ashley Simpson, P.Diddy, [insert other bad artist here]. It’s why I turned to Country about 6 months ago. Frankly the songs have humorous stories and they’ve got a beat you can tap your feet too. Sure it’s not what I grew up with or even liked, but our lives change, and sometimes we just need to swim against the current to get to where we want to be. So as they say in Hawaii, “Aloha.” It means both hello and goodbye, sort of like the next chapters in our lives. We say goodbye to the old yet hello to the new. While music is just one change in my life, it’s symbolic of much more. And just like my life, the music I listen to is very diverse, yet utterly free. So here’s to reaching out for what’s new, but never forgetting what was once had.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Just for future and current reference, this is what Stillers fans think of Tom Brady. Please take note that I took this picture just outside of Heinz Field the day of the Stillers vs. Patriots game. In case some of you readers out there were thinking about routing for New England, I would highly advise against it. What's ironic is how badly New Englanders hate the Yankees because they dominate the sport of baseball. Now their own Patriots are dominating football with a possible 3 Super Bowl victories in 4 years, yet they think nothing of it. The only real point I am making here is that I'm sure glad I'm not from New England...

Friday, February 04, 2005

What do you think? Sound like me?
James, you're a Skydiver!

You're open minded, extroverted, free-spirited, and independent. Chances are you're pretty liberal. You're like a magnet for love and affection. People adore you. And, thanks to that healthy dose of self-confidence, you're super-flexible.

Chances are, you're a great leader at work. You're also a self-starter and will always volunteer to take on a job. You're also an excellent communicator and tend to spread your enthusiasm to others.
Sorry Moose, I had to delete your comment and spare myself some embarrassment. But you were absolutely right (tell no one). I didn't even realize you still read this...

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Calm down here people. I'm trying to catch up on the blogs. If Andy wouldn't write such dag gone long one's I'd have time to write my own. Anywho, so at work yesterday I was sitting around thinking about math (I do work with the subject all day long) and I remembered a fun math game we used to play back in 8th grade Algebra II. You future math teachers pay close attention here. The game is called Big Bang Bong (sometimes there's a Boing in there too, but that's the advanced version). Anyway, so what you do is start to count (ex. 0,1,2) moving around the room with each person saying a number. When you get to a multiple of 3 you say "BING" instead of the number. When you get to a multiple of 4, you say "BANG" and when you get to a multiple of 5 you say, yup you guessed it, "BONG." Now when you come to a number that is a multiple of more than 3, 4, or 5 alone, you say all the words that correspond to the multiples of that number (ex. 12 would be BING BANG and 60 would be BING BANG BONG). If you get a number wrong, you sit down and you are out. The winner is the last person standing. If you're still lost, I'll count to 20 for you here. 0, 1, 2, BING, BANG, BONG, BING, 7, BANG, BING, BONG, 11, BING BANG, 13, 14, BING BONG, BANG, 17, BING, 19, BANG BONG. Once you get good, you can start playing Bing Bang Bong Boing where you say "BOING" for multiples of 7!

So I hit up The Knob today after about 2 fresh inches of the good stuff. It was great until the High Schoolers came to play. They're loud, and they get in my way. Also, today I couldn't stop smelling weed on the way up the lift one time. Real smart guys. I'm very pleased to know that our future leaders will make excellent politicians...

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

With regards to Andy's comment on randomness, we need to keep in mind a little something Quantum Mechanics likes to call Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. To simplify this theory greatly, it basically says that the more precisely the position of a single particle is known, the less precisely the momentum can be measured in this exact instant, and vice versa. Since a particle's momentum is directly proportional to the product of its mass and velocity, the more we precisley measure one of these magnitudes, our knowledge of the other magnitudes in a sense, blur.

Let me give you an example here. Let's say we have a positron (don't you just love anti-matter?) traveling at a velocity of about 8.38 x 107 m/s. This velocity is measured to a 0.01% accuracy (which is pretty darn accurate). Since an electron has a mass of about 9.11 x 10 -31 kg, we'll assume a positron has the same mass and the resulting momentum would be about 7.64 x 10 -23 kg m/s. The uncertainty of this momentum(Δρ) is the measured accuracy (0.01%) of the determined momentum, or 7.64 x 10 -27 kg m/s. Using Heisenberg's little constant(h) 6.636 x 10-34 J s, we can derive a change in position (Δx) by dividing h by Δρ. The result is the uncertainty in the particles position which is 8.7 x 10-8 m. Now this may seem small to you, but in particle terms, this is an amount of roughly one thousand atomic diameters.

Every time we try to measure either position or momentum, we disturb the other. So in theory, we could never actually predict the lottery ball's location at an instant in time. Want to see more randomness in action? Send a particle like a photon thru a small slit and predict its location just after coming exiting the slit. Then, if you're really in for a doozie, try and determine if that time the photon acted like a wave or a particle. Even with my luck, I always guess right!

By the way, I think that if we zoomed out on the universe it would look like a fractal. Maybe even the golden fractal! Wouldn't that be ironic?