Thursday, December 22, 2005

Gerber Branches out....

Belated Update

Time for an Update!

I'm still busy.

This week I'm attempting to get through the remainder of my constitutional law course. It's dense. I have until Friday night to do four more lessons, which works out to two lessons today and two lessons tomorrow. I'm not sure if this is possible, but I'll find out in about 36 hours.

On an unrelated note, I'm going home Christmas! My flight leaves at 6:00 am on Saturday. I return on the 28th.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Bi-Monthly update (2005-12-02)

Due to popular demand (I'm popular, so there was demand), I'm posting an update.

GovRel fall training is over, the finance office is still standing with (most) everything properly up to date, and the paper I've been working on for the last two-three weeks will be finished before I go to bed.

That covers most of the bases - I'll update again in two weeks.



Well, I guess I could ramble for a bit...

I'm currently listening to a harpsichord duet by Phebe Craig and Katherine Westine, their album "Beside Themselves" from magnatune.com. If anyone buys the album, can you send me a download link? :-)   (Yes, it's legal. Explicitly so!)

In other news, I'm now officially 24. People are quite often surprised by this, because most people that see my in a professional/formal/employment setting think I'm older, and quite often in off hours I act a bit younger. But, now I'm 24. The morning after my birthday I realized I was getting older - I felt like an adult, which hardly ever happens. Maybe now I'll start acting more like one. ;-)

On a similar note, Thank You too all of you who wished me a happy birthday! Before this year I really wasn't involved with (or even present on) many blogs - my social circle was strictly "meat space" so it was a pleasant surprise to hear from so many of you through blogs.


Ok, enough rambling. Back to Legal Writing II.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bi-Monthly update

Well, it has been a while...

In the last two months I've been very busy with Law School. I've almost caught up, hour-wise, but am still quite far behind in lessons. I hope to catch up (as is typical) sometime this month. I've also been very busy with another program, one that I've been doing in parallel with my finance job- I've been involved with training some young people in law and government policy. There are two people enrolled in the program this fall and next spring, and the 5.5 week training is almost finished. Both trainees will probably be returning to OKC next spring to intern with a legislator at the State Capitol for the upcoming session.

This evening we (the Gov. Training group) attended a banquet in culmination of the etiquette course. We had a three (?) course meal consisting of salad, Steak, potatoes, green beans, and dessert. Everything was rather formal, and it was all very enjoyable. Halfway through dessert I was surprised by a harmonious rendition of "Happy Birthday" when the banquet became a surprise birthday party for me! It was quite a surprise, first of all because (I thought) I was the one coordinating the dinner, and second because my birthday is still two weeks away. It was all very nice.

The remainder of the week will probably go quite fast.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Quick Update - Principles of the Common Law

Well, I got the topic of my next Law School writing assignment. I'm supposed to do it all on my own, so I can't really post any details about it, other than some basic principle type stuff.

The assignment topic looks at a child custody case from California, and asks four "principle" questions about it - i.e., what are some of the assumptions made by the majority opinion, what is the role of civil government in the case of child custody, and two others.

This should be interesting. I'm almost looking forward to working on it!

(For the record: the last paper I wrote for this course concerned the Terri Shiavo incident)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Fresh Insight

Sometime yesterday, while listening to the Common Law lecture tape #2 for the upteenth time, I had a flash of insight- there is a difference between the Common Law and the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God!

This is incredible! The whole Philosophy of Government=Religious vs. Secular seems a lot more well-defined now.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Flash of Insight

After spending a few minutes this morning thinking about how busy and full my schedule is and will continue to be, I came to the realization that if I don't slow down, I'll be dead in eighty years.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Back in the saddle again.

I never realized the redundancy of that line before this evening.

With that out of the way, I've returned to my Law Studies after a week and a half of 'vacation' pending the approval of my class transfer. Since the transfer did go through, as referenced in the previous post, I now have to catch up hour-wise with the rest of my new class.

I realized yesterday that I'm joining the class about 80 hours behind everybody else (5 and a half weeks * 18 hours per week). Consequently, I'm going to aim at getting in 30 hours a week of study time. I'm on track this week, and should catch up in less than two months. The downside of this is that - so far - I have had to stay up well past midnight each night to get enough hours in. Hopefully, things will settle out in a few weeks.

In other news, OCU Edmond is putting on 'Shakespeare in the Park: Romeo and Juliette' this weekend, and there's a group of us getting together to go see it. I'm planning on being able to make time for that, but I'll have to get in the 30 hours by dinner time on Saturday. It should be doable.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

New Classification

It's official: I'm now in a new class. Over the past two months or so, I had been steadily getting farther and farther behind in my studies, so I applied for a class transfer. The transfer was accepted today, and I'm now 5 weeks into the second semester of my second year of law school.

The vacation is over.

I'll now have to put in the whole number of hours for this semester starting today, and ending sometime in December - I'm starting out 5 weeks behind, but I'm already familiar with the materials, so I should be able to catch up in time. I guess we'll have to wait to see how it all works out.

On a positive note, I feel a lot better now. It was very nice to take a 12 day break from studies. Too bad it had to happen during one of the busiest weeks of the year...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Clean Windows! I have Clean Windows!

Shortly after lunch today I walked in my apartment and found that the outside of my windows had been washed! It had been quite some time since they had last been done, but due to the slow nature of the accumulation of grime, I hadn't noticed how bad they had gotten. Well, this afternoon I noticed.

It's sort of like getting glasses for the first time - suddenly everything is in focus, the world is clear, and colors are brighter. This was the perfect day for brighter colors, too. The sun was shining (as it typically is this time of year in OK) and there was a beautiful blue sky - there may have been a few clouds, but that's beside the point. Looking out of my window I have a clear view of our back parking lot and fence from a third-floor perspective, and the greengreen shrubbery along the east (left hand) wall separating our lot from a ten storey parking garage. Somewhere along the wall there's a flowering bush whose bright pinkish-purplish flowers were absolutely stunning through my freshly cleaned portal overlooking the southern world.

Wow- that was getting eloquent. I have the sudden urge to wax my car.

In other news, I had the opportunity to "error-check" a friend's WinXP laptop last night. It did not go well, and I have a much higher appreciation for the UNIX way of doing things.


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Purpose of Blogging

A friend of mine started a blog recently. Actually, the blog is named 'Scribblings' and not 'recently', but it was just started last week. So I guess it was named recently. Sort of a conundrum, really.

Anyway, after I read his first posting I suddenly felt as though our blogs were competing against each other. Since we both live and work at the same place as each other, I guess it's easy to slip into 'comparison mode' and to prove the validity of my blog in relation to his blog. Suddenly, there is a yardstick for me to measure my blog by - and since my friend is a writer/editor, the yardstick is quite above my level.

So, to come to the point of my title- What is the purpose of blogging?

For me, the it was something along the lines of "Hey! I can do this! It's on the internet!" At least, it was initially. I'm not sure where I'm at now with it. I think for Scribblings, the purpose is to practice writing - more of a self-improvement project than a technological demo.

There's nothing inherently competitive about the nature of the two blogs. They're not necessarily targeting the same demographic, and the success of one does not imply the failure of the other. I guess ultimately, the two blogs can't compete. They're not exclusive, and consequently, there's nothing to compete about. The whole competition is pointless.

Except for the fact that it motivated me to write this.

Sort of a conundrum, really.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Public Notice

This blog is still alive. Sort of.

As you may have noticed, there haven't been any updates here in a while. I've been enormously busy the past two-three weeks with work and study. I don't forsee taking the time to update this very often in the next few months, so I'll just post what I had drafted back on the 23rd:

Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend UCO Edmond's "Shakespeare in the Park". They were presenting "Love's Labor's Lost" by William Shakespeare. We arrived late, so we didn't catch the beginning, but that didn't seem to affect the show - I didn't figure out what was going on until shortly before the intermission, and then had to look up the play after we got back to make sense of it.

Pretty interesting, huh? I think the next play (next weekend?) is Romeo and Juliet. I had been thinking about going to it, back before crunch time came, but it has since been moved to a much lower priority.

In other news, I was up really late last night (This morning? 3:30ish?) studying. Since I didn't wake up until 10:30, I didn't go to church. Instead, I listened to a sermon by A. W. Tozer on "The Menace of Religious Movies". It was interesting. He had seven points why 'Religious movies' were a bad thing. I'd like to go back and listen to it again and take notes. The sermon can be found on here, along with a brief summary. I think Tozer's definition of 'Religious Movie' would include the Left Behind movies and The Passion of the Christ.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Assets v. Liabilities

Well, the summer cold and flu season has arrived. Yes, I got hit by it.

In other news, I recently discovered a 'new' viewpoint on personal wealth: Things are predominately assets or liabilities. Wealth comes from buying assets, lack of wealth comes from buying liabilities. I'm going to put some more thought into this one...

I think time can be viewed in the same way - either we spend time on something that has value, or we spend time on something that doesn't. However, it can be difficult to quantify what activity "has value" and what doesn't. For example, writing in a blog can have value- it provides an avenue to learn how to articulate thoughts, it provides an opportunity to communicate, and it can provide a bit of impetus to journal or keep a diary. Ergo, blogging can be an asset. However, reading cases and studying for Law School is also an asset. Since there is a limit on how much Law School study time there is, the Law School study is a greater asset than blogging.

Looking back at what I just wrote, the example provided is pretty clear-cut.

Well, back to studies!


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Long Two Weeks

With the advent of my blog, I've found that I have a bit of an obligation to post regularly (i.e., at least once a week). I just didn't expect the excitement to wear off quite so rapidly. :-)

A bullet-point summary of the past two weeks:

On July 02 (Saturday) I had the opportunity to go see the Thunderbirds perform. It was incredible. It probably would have been even more impressive if we had left on time, and made it to the AFB where they were performing, instead of watching them fly overhead from my car.

July 04 we had a pizza party! A group of us, 7 I think, got together for pizza and games starting around 6:30. At 9:15 we left for Bricktown to watch fireworks. We found a great spot just east of where they were being launched from, so we were able to enjoy quite the view - not many other people had discovered that particular location, and there was plenty of room with no crowding.

Since then, I've been working furiously to catch up with my studies - there's an atrocious amount reading for Constitutional Law, and I have a Legal Writing assignment due by the end of the week.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Emergent Behavior

Earlier this week I read an article about a game/simulation/research project wherein virtual robots were trained to effectively fight enemies. The robots were programed with a simple learning algorithm, and the training would consist primarily of a reward/punishment system for encouraged/discouraged behavior.

By compounding desired traits, such as "move towards the enemy", "shoot the enemy", "don't get too close to the enemy", "Don't clump together", etc., the robots would learn how to effectively fight an enemy. Additionally, after a certain time period, some of the robots could 'teach' their acquired skills to new robots, and impart a time-compounded education.

Individually, the bots' behavior started out pretty simple. Move towards the enemy, don't get too close, and shoot it. However, when there was a whole squadron of similarly trained bots, they could be taught to work together, and those that were most effective could be selected to 'train' subsequent generations of bots, and eventually develop unique attack styles as individuals or teams.

This got me thinking: About two and a half years ago I read an article on using emergent behavior in small real-life robots to develop a higher sort of intelligence (in the form of "Swarm Intelligence"). One white-paper application (similar to this one) was to send a swarm of robot ants, about 6-8 inches long, to Mars. Once there, they would interact with the martian landscape and each other, serving as an exploration rover of sorts that would potentially be much more fault-tolerant than a larger single-unit rover. Since the bots would also be interacting with each other, sharing data etc., a higher form of A.I. would develop. I wasn't able to find the original article, but the concept is outlined here and here.

An existing example of emergent behavior is Conway's Game of Life. With a few basic rules concerning which cells reproduce, lie dormant, or die, complex patterns can arise from an initially random field.

Another example that's a bit more globally dispersed is an ant colony or bee hive. Individually, an ant or a bee might not appear to have a great deal of smarts - they react in certain ways to certain situations, and are (individually) weak. However, when the ants or bees are viewed as a colony or hive, they are very resourceful. They can eliminate threats, store up supplies for winter, regenerate (repopulate) the unit, and adapt itself to changing conditions.

It looks like emergent behavior will probably be the organization of future A.I. units. The basic principle of simple routines leading to complex behavior is already well implemented in computer programming in the form of subroutines and Object-Oriented programming, so it's not too much of a stretch to take those principles and apply them to a logic type processing unit.

Things are going to be interesting.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Tech Project updates

Update 1: This week's project.

Friday (Thursday night?) I attempted to import all my recent financial transactions into Grisbi. This would normally be a short process-- log in to my bank account online and "download transactions" into Money or Quicken. Since I have accounts with three different banking institutions (One in Michigan, one in Oklahoma, and Ing Direct), this should have only taken a few minutes.

However, I found out that while Grisbi imports data just fine, there's something funny with the way my Michigan bank exports the data. It just isn't formatted correctly. Combined with the fact that there aren't any Ing Direct transactions yet, I was only able to import from my Oklahoma bank. My Oklahoma bank is phenominal. The online interface is clean and professional, it supports at least 3 different export file types (They do CSV! Brilliant!), the monthly statements look much more business-like than any other that I've ever seen (which isn't saying too much, actually), and it has an export history of about 90 days.

After I imported and categorized the last three months of transactions, I discovered that I go to Wal-Mart WAY too much. More on that below.


Update 2: Last week's project.

Last night I uploaded some pictures to Walmart.com for one-hour photo processing. After being impressed with their regular one-week processing, I thought it would be good to have something to compare it with.

I uploaded the pictures (finally! It was a bit of a struggle. The uploads kept timing out. It took three or four tries before it worked) at about 7:30, and planned on picking them up sometime around 8:45. My thought was that I could find the pictures I wanted to print after dinner, upload them, study for about an hour, then go pick them up.

I left at 8:35, got there shortly thereafter (more on that later!), and found that the 4x6's and the 5x7's were all ready to go. However, the 8x10's weren't - somehow the on-site photo lab had missed them, so they were not ready for me until this morning. On the bright side, since the goof-up was on their end, there was no charge for them!

Update 2.5: Last week's project, extended

Since I was going in to Walmart this morning anyway, I decided to try out their onsite "Instant Print" photo processing.

The pictures I wanted to get instaprinted were from about 4 different cameras- including a print from a four year old, .81 megapixel Polaroid PDC-700. The results were true to the advertisement in that they were very quickly printed out. However, probably because of the quick-print photo printer they use, the colors were a tad on the blotchy side. The paper was also a lower quality than the paper they use in the big machine.

The print quality was probably about the same as you would get of a home printer on photo paper, and really not too impressive. I think I'll be using their one-hour in the future. The one-hour is also a bit cheaper  than the instant print at about two-thirds of the price.


Update 3:  ...

Earlier this week a friend of mine flew out to San Francisco to take the California First Year Law Student's eXam. Since he drove up to the city and flew out, he left his car with me for the week he's going to be gone.

His car is very nice. It's a royal blue '03 mustang. and it drives smooth.

Since he left instructions regarding it's availability ("it's available"), I took it for a drive last night.

Wow. It's a lot harder to drive within the speed limit than it is with my car.  :-)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Tech Progect of the Week

As I referenced earlier, I have (generally) weekly technology projects. They have recently included re-installing linux on my laptop, starting a blog, and a semi-remote ubuntu installation on a semi-networked computer system.

This week, I'm trying out some accounting software. Specifically, Grisbi.

Grisbi is a single-entry accounting system designed for home users to track their income and expenditures. It was originally written in France, and although it has been completely translated into most of the major languages, it retains it's euro-centric roots (i.e., default currency is the euro, support for multiple currencies simultaneously , each account can have a native currency, exchange rates are used to calculate account values in different currencies - it's kind of neat). It was initially written for linux, and released under the GPL as Open Source. It has been ported to Windows and, I think, Mac OS X.

I had tried out Grisbi under linux several weeks ago and found it to be rather... obtuse. I hadn't used a personal accounting program since Quicken for DOS several years ago. Yesterday, however, I ran across a newsforge article concerning Grisbi and it explained how the process worked. The brief tutorial was very helpful, and I was able to get started with it without much difficulty.

I'll be trying this out for a few months to see how well it works - I don't have much to compare it with, so it'll probably come up favorably. It supports transaction importing via MS Money export files, so I'm able to download transactions from my bank. I can see this working out very well for me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Last Week's Tech Experiment

Last week I conducted an experiment into territory hitherto unexplored by myself or my family: I tried out an online photo processing service. Specifically, the walmart.com online photo processing service.

The results were very encouraging. I ordered a combination of 8x10's, 5x7's, and 4x6's. For the 8x10's I ordered duplicates in the smaller sizes to do a print quality comparison. The quality of the printing is very good. Three different cameras were used to take the pictures (Cannon EOS 10D, Canon PowerShot A60, and something else), so there was some minor variation in picture quality due to differing qualities of camera, but they all were quite adequate for the 4x6's. When we compared the 8x10's, we noticed that the pictures looked great until they were examined closely - then 'image artifacts' would appear, for example, a slightly blotchy look in areas of similar colors (i.e., oklahoma granite), and distinct melty-looking lines along the high-contrast edges (i.e., oklahoma granite against a bright grey sky).

Despite the slight shortcomings of the two lower end cameras, the EOS 10D pictures were phenomenal. The difference didn't wouldn't show up unless you looked at the 8x10's, but if you did, WOW! The quality difference was incredible. That's not to knock the other two cameras, they were more than adequate for the 4x6's, and probably okay for the 5x7's, but they were completely blown away in the 8x10 arena by the EOS 10D.

Oh, the print quality: The pictures were printed on glossy Fuji Fujicolor Crystal Archive photo paper, and appeared to be at a quality level comparable with traditional film prints. There was nothing wrong with the colors. The blues were blue, the reds were red, the yellows were yellow, and the blacks were black. The print quality was fine.

The price was pretty good too. The 8x10's were $1.96 each, the 5x7's were $0.58 each, and the 4x6's were just $0.12 each. Since I had them delivered to a store for pickup, there were no shipping charges. It did seem like the turn-around time was a bit long, clocking in at about 8 days, but for 12 cents a print, that's a discomfort I'm willing to live with.

Next up: Walmart.com's One Hour Photo. Results will be posted.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Theory Continued

Well, this morning I had the opportunity to test my theory of running:
I got plenty of sleep last night.

So far, the theory is working-- I got tired out faster than I have on
the past few runs. More testing to follow.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Thursday Night Storm

Thursday night we had a sudden storm hit.

It was very nice out early in the evening, not at all the sort of weather you'de expect a storm to arise from. It was sunny, and there was a gentle breeze. It was of course warm, but I found it not too warm to be unpleasent. I had retired for the evening and was in my room when I heard a sharp rap on my door. It was about 10:40 in the evening:

"Do you have a car here?" the question came. It was posed by my neighbor, an older gentleman who was in the possession of a NOAA certified weather radio. "I do," I replied. "Well, you'de better get it under cover. There's a big storm moving in, and it's about half an hour away. There's reports of golf-ball sized hail, and winds up to 125 miles an hour. And lots of dust and rain." He continued "There's still room under the canopy out front - maybe enough for one or two more cars."

Immediately I put on my boots and grabbed my keys. I could not let this warning pass! I had never actually seen golf-ball sized hail, but I have had the misfortune of being caught by high speed golf-ball sized apples. I didn't want to see what the effect of a similar volume of ice moving at a similar speed would be on my car. As I left my apartment I could see my neighbor moving down the hall, warning the others of the impending peril.

My car was in the back, so I didn't see exactly how much room remained in the front until I had pulled around there. There was another person in front of me, who looked at the remaining space and decided that there would be better shelter alsewhere. AsI drew closer, I saw that there were already three full sized vans and three minivans assembled under the cover of the solid canopy. The covered area was not square, and in consequence the space was not utilized as tightly as it could have been were the protected area more vehicle-shaped.

After a breif reconnoiter of the remaining space, I determined that I could fit between one the minivans and the fron entrance. This was actually more straight-forward then I initially thought, as the angle of the minivan made it easy to manouver around.

I had just gotten my car carefully parked when I saw the incoming wave: two, three, then FOUR other vehicles were pulling around to the front in an attempt to find shelter. It looked like it was going to be a very tight fit, and it was. However, with the amount of talent that was on hand in the form of driving ability (no, not mine) all three cars and a jeep were able to fit - without scraping - under the canopy.

Then the storm hit.

More accurately, the lightning hit. Lots and Lots of lightning,. We could see the front approaching - it was already dark, being about a quarter past eleven, by the sky grew ominous.More accurately, the sky became onimous, but that's beside the point. We watched the lightning move in from the west, and move generaly around us to the north- most of the lighting appeared to be the cloud-to-cloud type, but this did not diminish the ferousity of the bolts that did make it to earth.

I don't recall ever seeing tuch a great amount of lightning. There were frequent large blasts - there was one blast that turned the whole western sky green. Not an electrical arc type of green, but a bright, vivid, traffic light sort of green.

After about five minutes of watching the lighting move in, the rain arrived. It arrived in great sheets, driven forth by the wind. More accurately, the rain arrived in clouds as great masses of water vapor, which then congealed (ok, condensed) around dust particle whipped up by the wind, which probably did not reach 125 in our location. At any rate, there was a great quantity of rain, and it fell in varying degrees of force as the wind changed directions- first from the west, then from the north, then north-east, then west. It would have been a circular argument to say that the rain only came from one point of the compass.

There were three or four of us that waited out by the cars to watch the storm. It stayed predominately dry under the canopy, but we were bold enough to venture forth into the storm a few times, and I got positively soaked. I was completely wet except for part of my shirt that was covered by my Carhard(tm) brand coat. It was incredible.

We waited out there and watched until about 12:30. We did not go running Friday morning.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

News Flash: Continued

One of the other things I got last night was a can of beverage containing an innocuous looking leafy plant on its label, with the caption reading "Pennywort Drink". I wasn't looking for this specifically, but it was in the checkout aisle, so I made one of my first checkout-lane-impulse-buy purchases. I put in the fridge right away, so this morning when I would have been eating breakfast if I were to eat breakfast I tryed it out.

Since I was sitting at my computer anyway, I decided to google "pennywort drink" before I drank it. I didn't know anything about it, and had only learned of it's exsistance as a beverage last week, on my previous excursion to the asian market. The results of the search were not encouraging:

http://www.toomanychefs.net/archives/001136.php
http://www.jackenergy.com/pennywort.html
http://www.exoticsoda.com/penny.html

After reading the above websites, I decided to try it anyway. I'm glad I did- otherwise I probably never would have known of the exotic grassy/broccoli/kholrabi/celery/sugarcaney/green humusy flavor that it has! Unlike several of the reviewers, I drank it right out of the can (remarkable hefty, that can. Thick walled, too, unlike it's american counterparts) and was not bothered by the brackish brown/green color.

Generally, it was okay. Definately not something I would go out of my way to avoid, but also not something I plan on keeping stocked up on, unlike Dr. Pepper...


Also this morning, I went running. At 6:15, after less than 5 hours of sleep. The experience of running a full mile without stopping or walking has, I believe, given new life to my theory of running. Someday, I hope to try a negative test, and see it's harder to run when I've actually gotten enough sleep.


Also this morning (I think I like this list style of communicating- it's very orderly) I finished my paper!! It really felt good to get it sent in, even if it was a week and a half late. Since it's done now, I can post an abbrieviated outline of the assigned topic:

Apply Common Law principles to the Terri Schiavo incident. Specifically:

Now that there is a precedent for removing a vegetative patient from life support, how could a judge apply Common Law principles to a similar situation?
Under the Common Law principles, was the legislation granting the governor the authority to issue a stay on the court order to remove Mrs. Schiavo's feeding tube a valid law?
What should the government's role be in such situations?

It was really interesting to apply the principles I've been studying this semester to am actual (politically charged) situation and see what the result is. It'll be equally interesting to hear what my professor thinks about it, as it makes of 40% of my final grade for this course.

News Flash: Strange Foods spotted in jhjessup's refrigerator!

Disclaimer:
The headline DOES NOT refer to strange spots growing on food in my refrigerator. Nor does it it refer to spots growwing on strange foods. Nor does it refer to normal looking spots growing on normal looking food in my refrigerator... I mean, hey, none of the spots in my refrigerator even have ocular abilities!

Last night I went out to the asian market to get come ice cream. Not just any ice cream, mind you, but special green tea flavored ice cream. While perusing the frozen treats section, I also happened upon an interesting package of popsicles - more of the ice cream on a stick type than the pop-ice type. These had an interesting and not objectionable flavor, although they looked more appetizing on the box than they did out of the box.

Overall, the ice cream had a flavor not unlike certain types of spiced pumpkin pie, if you disregarded the color... With the color factored in, I think the flavor impression was more along the lines of fresh cut alfalfa hay with lots of sweetening. The popsicles were more of a peanut type of flavor, in they were beany and nutty, but they didn;t taste like peanuts. I'd have a hard time imagining this flavor, except I ate one already.   :-)

Because of the shopping trip I had to stay up really late to finish up my paper. At 1:00am it was about finished, but needed to be read over a few times. If you've ever writen and proof-read a paper, you'll understand that one o'clock in the morning is not the time to do so.

To be continued....

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Traffic Spike!

Last week I installed a statcounter on my main page - a free tracker/counter from StatCounter.

After the novelty wore off, about 36 hours later, I stopped checking on it. I mean, hey, If nobody reads my blog, there won't be any stats to look at, right? Right.

For some reason, there was a surge of activity on Friday. I have no idea what caused it, why it happened, or it it's the result of some miscalculation in the counter- but the logs show that I had 18 unique visitors on Friday, primarily running WinXP and Win2k, with a smattering of Win98, MacOS and Linux. Most of the visitors were from the US, but two were reported from overseas - onr from Portugal, and one from the Netherlands.

My best guess is that on the weekend, people like to go to random blogs.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Monday Morning

This morning I had the perfect opportunity to test my theory of running: I got to bed last night in time for plenty of sleep, unlike my normal routine, so I could see if it hindered my stamina.

The results were surprising- I slept right through my alarm, and didn't wake up in time to run. I'll have to try for tomorrow.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Wow! Great Saturday!

Last night I went to a birthday party for a friend. Thus began my weekend.

Usually, when I go over to this guy's house, we end up playing games (dominos, farkle, Risk(tm), et al.) until the near reaches of the morning - 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, etc., so on Saturday I either loose my entire morning and am pretty much zapped or I get up sometime before noon and am definitely zapped. However, last night in an unprecedented move, I left the party early and got back home around 10:30 (pm, Friday night, in case you were wondering). I then spent the next three hours working on my paper.

I didn't get much written, but I got a lot of background reading+thinking done. It was going pretty well until about 1:30, when I started the main part of the reading.

Now, I enjoy reading. Reading is fun, it's enjoyable, it's something I like to do (yeah I know, that was a bit redundant). Normally. When it comes to Law Books (Proper names are always capitalized) though, I have an extraordinary ability to be wide awake right until I actually begin to look at the letters on the paper. Strange, but true. Anyway, when I began the main reading, my lucidity sort of dropped off, until at 2:00 I was pretty much beyond the reaches of consciousness.

I woke up briefly at 2:30 to find my head on top of the open book, laying on the floor, on my back. My reason might have been slightly impaired at this point, but it seemed to me to be a good idea to call it a night, which I then did.

It was a night.

I woke up sometime around 10:00, having got a decent amount of sleep for possibly the first time in several weeks. It felt great. No, it was marvelous. No, I think it was better than that. Regardless, I felt pretty good.

On to Saturday!

Well, the paper was still not done, so after a shower and morning essentials I returned to my desk. Have I mentioned yet that I really enjoy having a big desk with lots of space on it? It's a blast. I feel like I've got a home office.

I ended up not really leaving the desk until dinnertime at 5:00. After dinner and dishes I came back, and have made great progress. The paper's still not done, but it's getting real close.

Hm. There wasn't much to write on today's activities. Oh well. Did I mention that I feel great?

There was just something about being able to work in my room, fix myself breakfast (Chinese noodles - sort of like Ramen, but made from some sort of sweet potato), and generally act like a well-rested adult that really clicked with me.

Maybe I'm maturing... This could be an interesting study...

Friday, June 10, 2005

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Fresh Linux Install!

This morning I installed ubuntu 5.04 on my laptop (just like the one in the link, but with DVD/CDRW and 640M of RAM).

I was impressed - I had put ubuntu 4.10 on it when I first got it, but there were a few things that didn't get configured properly- such as some file permissions for the windows partition, some screen resolution bugs, a few things like that. I worked really good, but the new version is great!

I had removed the previous installation with the intention of installing OpenBSD, but I couldn't get that install to boot. After a while, I tried SuSE 9.1 Personal off a dvd I had on hand, and it was pretty good, but also had screen resolution issues, couldn't mount the win2k partition, and wouldn't run YOU, their online updater. All that to say, this morning I installed ubuntu 5.04.

The install seemed like it took a long time, but there weren't really any parts where it appered to have hung. In hindsight, I would guess that the install took about an hour and 15 minutes to install, reboot, and configure. That's just an estimate because I wasn't focused on the install process, but was working on a paper simultaneously with the process.

After the network was configured (wireless with WEP) and apt-get's config appropriately adjusted, the system update ran and downloaded about 88 megs. I don't know how long this took because I was in the office. Hey, I've got a job!

This post is being sent from gmail using firefox running on the new install over a wireless mesh network through an anonymizing proxy and an onion router to the blogger servers located in.... well, you get the idea: It's working like it should be.

Notes to fellow T23ers (you know who you are):
Boot with the option "acpi=off"

It fixes things. In both the install disk AND the liveCD

Hibernation does not work, but suspend does!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Theory of Running

This morning I went running, and obtained furthur data on my theory that less sleep=better running (I got 4.5 hours of sleep last night and ran fine). This theory was initially formulated on Monday (I think) and I forgot the blog it. The only other logical conclusion is that by some inexplicable occurance I'm improving my stamina.

At any rate, I'm up to half a mile without stopping, and the whole mile in about 6.5 minutes. Since we're not running in straight lines, though, my distance figures might be a bit off. I think on Friday we'll increase our route by a block and see what happens.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

PayPal woes

For the past month or so, my PayPal account has been frozen. I have been unable to transfer money into or out of my account.

This normally wouldn't have been a big deal, because I hardly ever need to use my paypal account, except that the day before it froze, I transferred $700 into it. You see, for the last three years I've been using my paypal account to electronicall transfer most of my bi-monthly paycheck from my bank in OKC to my credit union back home, which actually has an interest rate.

At first, I wasn't sure what to think - I mean, security is a good thing, right? So it would behoove me to play be their security rules, right? Well, probably.

PayPal wanted me to do three things to "secure" my account before they would unfreeze it: Change the password, change the security question, and 'validate' the credit card hooked with my account.

The first two were easy - It had been a while since I had updated either my password or my security question, so I was glad to do so. The third one, however, was a bit different. I wasn't the one who hooked the credit card to my account. I'm pretty certain that PayPal got my card info from my bank, and took the liberty themselves to connect the two. My theory is that this was done for security purposes - I think it's possible to make an instant transfer from paypal to someone else, then take the money out of the bank before paypal gets to it. Since the transfer is instant, the recipient gets their money before PayPal takes it from your account, and PayPal takes the hit. Consequently, they want a credit card connected with your account so they have the security of knowing that even if you don't have the money, they can get it from you.

I don't necessarily mind this, but now my credit card is hooked with my account, and PayPal will not let me unhook it. Additionally, they wanted me to authorize a $1.95 charge to the card so they could confirm that the right person had access to the bank statement - the $1.95 charge would have a number in the transaction detail on the bank statement, which you would enter in to verify the card.

The next step was the one that got to me: When PayPal said it needed to charge my account, it said it would refund the $1.95. After I authorized the charge (hey, I wanted my $700 back) and entered in the verification numbers, I found out that I would get the money back in the form of a $1.95 credit on by next PayPal payment - NOT as a refund, NOT as a credit on my account, but as a credit ON MY NEXT PAYMENT! I hardly EVER make PayPal payments, and now I have $1.95 tied up there waiting for that elusive next payment.

I know it's only $1.95, but it's not about money, it's about the principle of the thing. PayPal essentially took charge of my account, and wouldn't give it back until I payed them. Oh sure, I get the paymeny back... but only sometime in the future, and even then, the payment stays in the system, probably in a non-interest-paying account like mine was.

This experience has helped convinced me that my new technique for transferring money is a better way to go: Ing, Direct - 3.00% interest rate, no minimum balance requirement, Transactions by phone (much more important to me now), Has a few (ok, 2) brick-and-mortar locations, and up to three checking or savings accounts liked to it. It also allows you to set up direct deposit with your account, So I'm going to skip the transfer step of depositing my checks in the local bank and have them go straight to my Orange Savings account.

What an experiance.


- jhj

Monday, June 06, 2005

New Desktop

I got a new desktop over the weekend. It's a slimline model, only about 1.75 inches thick, and has melamine laminate on the top. It's about 6 feet wide, and 3-3.25 feet deep, with one corner indented for a chair. It came without legs, so I used my computer table as support for one end, and part of a set of Federal Rules Decisions for the other end.

With the new desk, I've had to rearrange a good portion of my room. I also moved in a small refrigerator that was left to be by my neighbor when he left two weeks ago. It wsa tough, but I found a place to squeeze it in.

Also today, my former boss of almost three years left for Washington, D.C. for a month. He and his family are looking to find a place to live and work there, so they can be involved with government policy decisions. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Wireless blog

I've just eaten dinner, and am sitting in the dining room with my wi-fi enabled laptop.

AND POSTING TO MY BLOG!

This wireless+blog stuff is pretty powerfull....

Saturday, June 04, 2005

New hard drive

This evening I went out to Best Buy to pick up a hard drive for a friend who does a lot of home movies and ran out of hard drive space.

Tonight I was telling this to my one and only older brother, and we got a bit competitive (nothing unusual, of course):

(He had just asked where I got them)




I'm not sure who won...

Oh, the hard drives were 80 gig for 20$, after 70$ of mail-in-rebates.
The special pricing ended today, so I got them just in time.

Storm progression

About twenty minutes after I made the previous post, things in our part of the city cleared up, and there was the makings of a beautiful sunset.

That only lasted for half an hour, then the next front moved it. There was a lot of lightning and thunder, with scattered showers, but no hail.

Everything's cleared up now, and the temperature outside is marvelous.

Thunderstorm!

Thunderstorm warning tonight until 11:00pm.

Nowcast from www.wunderground.com:

regional weather discussion... severe storms will continue through 9 PM across the central third of Oklahoma and most of western North Texas. Very large hail...damaging winds and tornadoes are possible with these storms. The storms are moving mainly northeast to east-northeast at 25 to 35 mph. Severe storms will continue to develop and move across the area affecting many locations...including Ponca City... Oklahoma City Metro... Wichita Falls Texas.

Things could be shaping up for a tornado!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Wow. What a day.

This has been a very long day.

It started, as all my days have, at exactly 12:00 midnight. I was awake at the time, working on a table of authorities for this semester's legal writing assignment. It was due last Saturday, and will most certainly be sent out by the end of this Saturday. I was making ok progress on it right up until about 12:30, when the LEXIS/NEXIS interface started to misbehave in firefox. I don't know why, but it just would not show the navigation buttons to move between cases. I tried working with it for a bit, but gave up around 12:45.

I got up about 5 hours later to go running with a friend. Our plan is to run for a mile three days each week, and so far we're right on track.

After a run and a shower, I did some more work on my paper using MS IE to connect with LEXIS. It's working, so I'll probably continue to use it for my research needs. I really wish it had tabs.

When I got down to the office, I found out that there were some issues with our sales order files, our credit card processing module, and some filled backorders. Our normal morning processing takes about forty five minutes to an hour; this morning at went for two and a half hours. On the bright side, we did learn how to work through these issues by ourselves!

When the afternoon rolled around, I was completely zonked. I'm not quite sure how it happened, but we managed to get all the essentials processed by 5:00, only leaving our end-of-week processing to do after dinner.

And now here I am, looking up and cross-referencing case after case, sorting out a table of authorities for a negligence suit in the State of Virginia. What a day.

Hypothetical Question

This morning I had an interesting thought:

If you found out that someone had manipulated you into liking them,
would that make you stop liking them?

I'm not sure. I guess you have to define 'manipulated' as any sort of
interaction could arguably be manipulation, unless manipulation is not
something you do but the reason you do a thing.

Hm.

Really, this is just a hypothetical question.

-jhj

I went running this morning!

It went a lot better than the last time- not as winded, caught my breath quicker, etc. I wonder if the improvement was due to the fact that I hardly got any sleep last night.

I'll have to test this hypothesis on the next run.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Another BloggerBot upload

View overlooking Jed Johnson lake in the Witchitaw Mountains Wildlife Preserve.

Uploaded with BloggerBot

This is a picture from the Witchitaw Mountains in Southwestern Oklahoma. Specifically, it's somewhere on the south side of Mount Scott.

New use for e-mail posting

I just realized that I could sign my blogger account up for an email
list, and it would be automatically aggregated along with my blog
posts.

I'll have to make sure the posting address doesn't fall into the wrong hands...

Just think of it... page after page of spam...

Methinks it could also be used for some sort of covert communications
as well. You could communicate with someone via electronic
communications without knowing any details about them. Oh wait- that
can already be done via forum postings or blog post comments.

Oh well.

- jhj

Post via e-mail!

This post is sort of a test.

While I was flipping through the settings on my blogger account, I
noticed that there was an option to allow posting via e-mail. This
could have potential.

- jhj

Frist Psot!!!

Never thought I'd be able to legitimately post that line...

This is my blog, and this is my opening introduction.
(sort of like a multiple redundancy that's been repeated, eh?)

I'm not sure what sort of stuff I'll be posting here, as I like to remain annonymous and all, but it might turn out to be interesting. I can see myself posting bits and pieces of my daily routine, my latest linux project, or the topic of my current school assignment.

Oh! The assignment! Got to go!